Monday, 13 August 2012

Vita Columbae c.23. St. Columba takes leave of his horse before his death.



The nice thing about mediaeval Latin is that it is often not that difficult. This piece of Latin is far less difficult than my previous post. It is a charming story about St Columba, founder of the monastry on the isle of Iona. He was born on 7 december 521 in Ireland and passed away onn 8 june 597 in front of the altar at his monastry. On the morning 0f 7 december 597 he returns to his moneastry with his servant Diarmuid, after having blessed a barn. At that blessing God revealed to him that he would die that night. On his way home he meets his old horse, who wants to take leave of his master for the last time.
The text is taken from the Vita Columba c.23, by Adomnan of Iona (627/8-704).


Post haec Sanctus horreum egreditur, et ad monasterium revertens, media residet via, in quo loco postea crux, molari infixa lapidi hodieque stans, in margine cernitur viae. Dumque ibidem Sanctus, ut praefatus sum, senio fessus, paululum sedens, requiesceret, ecce albus occurit caballus, obediens servitor, qui scilicet lactaria bocetum inter et monasterium vascula gestare consueverat. Hic ad Sanctum accedens, mirum dictu, caput in sinu ejus ponens, ut credo inspirante Deo, cui omne animal rerum sapit sensu quo jusserit ipse Creator, dominum a se suum mox emigraturum, et ipsum ultra non visurum sciens, coepit plangere, ubertimque, quasi homo, lacrymas in gremium Sancti fundere, et valde spumans flere. Quod videns minister, coepit illum flebilem repellere lamentatorem: sed Sanctus prohibuit eum, dicens, ‘Sine hunc, sine nostri amatorem, ut in hunc meum sinum fletus effundant amarissimi plangoris. Ecce tu, homo cum sis, et rationalem animam habeas, nullo modo scire de meo exitu potuisti, nisi quod tibi ego ipse nuper manifestavi: huic vero bruto et irrationali animanti, quoque modo ipse Conditor voluit, egressurum a se dominum manifeste revelavit.’ Et haec dicens maestum a se revertentem equum benedixit ministratorem.

horreum                                 storehouse, barn
egredior                                 to leave
reverto                                   to return
media via urbs condita construction: on the middle of the way
resideo                                   to sit down
crux, crucis                            cross
lapis molaris                          mill-stone
infixus                                    fastened in (infigo)
hodie                                      today  
margo, marginis                    side
cerno                                      to see
dum                                        while
ibidem                                    at that place
ut praefatus sum as I told earlier
senium                                   the feebleness of age
paululum                                a little, a short time
requiesco                               to rest
albus                                      white
caballus                                  horse (maybe a loan-word from Celtic. in classical Latin it                                           denotes an inferior horse, but not so in later Latin.)
oboedio                                  to obey
servitor                                   servant
scilicet                                               as you may know, namely (but often this particle gives only a                                       slight emphasis)
lactaria bocetum inter et monasterium vascula gestare consueverat:  lactaria vascula inter bocetum et monasterium gestare consueverat
lactaria vascula                     milk-jugs
bocetum                                 stall for cows (non-classical Latin)
gesto                                      to bring
consuevo                                to be used to
cui omne animal rerum sapit sensu quo jusserit ipse Creator:  to (= of) whom every animal intuitively (sensu rerum) knows, what (quo litt.  `to what’)  the Creator self has deceided (iusserit coni. perf.)
accedo                                               to come closer
mirum dictu dictu is a supine form, actually a u-class noun used as infinitive:
sinus, -us                                bosom
dominum a se suum mox emigraturum, et ipsum ultra non visurum sciens : sciens (+ aci) dominum etc.
mox                                        soon
emigraturum prtc. fut., like visurum below.
ultra                                       further
plango                                    to lament, wail
ubertim                        abundantly
lacrymas = lacrimas
gremium                                 lap
spumo                                    to foam
minister the servant Diarmuid
coepo                                     to begin, start
flebilis                                    weeping, crying
lamentator, oris                     weeper
sino                                         to let, allow
amator, -oris                          friend
fletus, -us                               tears (acc. pl.!)
effundo                                   to pour out
amarus                                   bitter
plangor, -oris  nomen agentis from plango    
exitus, -us                              departure
manifesto                               to make manifest
nollo modo                             in no way
huic vero bruto et irrationali animanti, quoque modo ipse Conditor voluit, egressurum a se dominum manifeste revelavit:  And in the way the Founder (of the world) himself wanted, he revealed clearly (manifeste) to this truelydull (brutus) and irrational animal, that his master was to depart from him.
equum ministratorem ministratorem stands in apposition to equum: the servant horse
maestus                                 sad


The abbey at Iona, founded by Saint Columba.

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