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Michael Lapidge (ed.), Oxford Medieval Texts: Bede's Latin Poetry

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pg 244XVIII. QVOMODO CORVI NOXAM QVAM VIRO DEI INTVLERANT PRECIBVS ET MVNERE PVRGARINT

Translation

pg 245XVIII. HOW BY MEANS OF PRAYERS AND A GIFT THE RAVENS REPAIRED AN INJURY WHICH THEY HAD INFLICTED ON THE MAN OF GOD

[VCA iii. 5; VCP c. 20]

The ravens rescind this treaty by a black deed; they attack his outhouses and delight in removing thatch from his damaged roof to use for nests for their own offspring. The saint warns them to stop, and when they ignore his entreaties he says to them: 'Why do you demolish the monks' guesthouse? Be gone [435], and remain forever as exiles from this land!' He spoke, and they depart, saddened; and after three days one of them comes to the saint and throws itself at his feet, and spreading out its wings piteously, begs forgiveness and permission to return. After peace has been made he departs and revisits his companion [440]. In due course they both arrive happily and bring with them some pork lard as a worthy gift for the saint, with the fat of which the holy one was able to treat his leather shoes; and thereafter they build their nest from innocent materials. Why, savage arrogance, do you boil up with swollen neck [445]? pg 247Put aside your blind rage, and study the ways of the raven, which redeemed its injury by prayers, weeping, and a gift. Let it not be disgraceful to take a model for your life from the feelings of birds, since the Book of Wisdom exhorts us: 'Look to the pathways trodden by the ant, and learn from them rational behaviour' [450].

Notes Settings

Notes

Critical Apparatus
431 rescindunt] descidunt MGT, descendunt G1, descindunt P; pactum] pactu M
Critical Apparatus
432 effringuntque] confringuntque MG; domus] domos HRGKP1
Critical Apparatus
437 triduoque] tristoque M; peracto] percato MG
Editor’s Note
437 For the transition-formula dixerat et, see above, line 426 (with note). For the cadence triduoque peracto, cf. Arator, HA ii. 124 ('ante fuit, tunc ipsa perit, triduoque peracto').
Critical Apparatus
438 uati] uatis HRO2 KP1, uatis corr. from uati V; alas] alis HRO2 KP1P, alis corr. from alas V
Editor’s Note
438 pedibusque uolutus: cf. above, line 238 ('genibusque uolutus').
Editor’s Note
438–9 alas … sparsus: for the collocation, cf. Vergil, Aen. vii. 191 ('fecit auem Circe sparsitque coloribus alas'); Ovid, Ars amat. i. 233 ('uinaque cum bibulas sparsere Cupidinis alas'); and Corippus, Ioh. i. 546 ('comptas ut spargat callidus alas'). Michael Reeve once suggested to me that Bede may originally have written lugubres pansus, which is a more elegant expression, and one where the -s of lugubres, followed by pansus, could easily be corrupted to sparsus (with confusion of the Insular letter-forms r and n); but lugubres sparsus is also the reading of the Besançon redaction at this point; so that if Bede did originally write lugubres pansus, he failed to correct it when revising VCM in about 720.
Critical Apparatus
439 sparsus] sparsis P(a.c.)HO2KP1, spargens O3H2
Editor’s Note
439 reditumque precatur: cf. Cyprianus Gallus, Num. 636 ('delictumque dolens reditum uitamque precatur').
Editor’s Note
440 sociumque reuisit: cf. Vergil, Aen. iv. 899 ('sociosque reuisit'); this cadence is repeated at Aen. viii. 546.
Critical Apparatus
441 ueniunt] ueniant G
Critical Apparatus
442 secum digna] secondigna G1O3H2C
Critical Apparatus
443 ualeret] ualere G1; exin] exim MG1
Editor’s Note
443 calciamenta: although Bede's scansion of calciămenta here is technically incorrect (correctly cālcĭāmentum), he was evidently following the model of earlier poets such as Paulinus of Nola, Carm. xxiv. 341 ('panno ergo sordens, calciamento nitens') and Aldhelm, Enigm. xxxii. 3 ('calciamenta mihi tradebant tergora dura'), both of whom scanned the medial -a- as short.
Critical Apparatus
445 praetumido] pertumido H1
Editor’s Note
445 Note Bede's error in construing ceruix as masculine ('praetumido … ceruice'): ceruix is correctly feminine. It is interesting that the same error of gender is found in the earliest manuscripts (LMB) of the HE at iii. 26. 4 (flexo ceruice), in the Comm. in primam partem Samuhelis i. 4 ('non timuit fracto superbiae singularis ceruice': CCSL cxix. 44), and in the Comm. in Lucam i. 4 ('sed et flexa ceruice', where all manuscripts read flexo and flexa is the editor's correction: CCSL cxx. 99); see discussion in Beda: Storia, ed. Lapidge, ii. 561. The correct gender of ceruix could readily have been known from (e.g.) Vergil, Aen. i. 402 ('dixit, et auertens rosea ceruice refulsit'). Cf. also below, line 857, where Bede construed the fem. noun rupes as masc.
Critical Apparatus
446 caecum] saeuum MG, tecum P1
Editor’s Note
446 depone furorem: Lucan, Bellum ciuile ii. 83 ('uanum depone furorem') is the only poet earlier than Bede to use this collocation.
Critical Apparatus
447 munere] mununere O2
Critical Apparatus
448 nec] ne G
Critical Apparatus
449 calles] callem O2
Editor’s Note
449–50 The reference is to Prov. 6: 6 ('uade ad formicam, o piger, et considera uias eius, et disce sapientiam'); for the wording, however, cf. also Vergil, Georg. i. 380 ('angustum formica terens iter').
Critical Apparatus
450 terat] teret G; addisce] disce H2
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