Buying a Book of Hours 2

WELL, IF YOU ARE interested (and you are probably not but I’m going to tell you anyway), I’ve found the translation of my Book of Hours leaf I showed you last week. I could impress you by saying I translated it myself following my course on Medieval Latin, but that would be a lie (and you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway).  I found the translation on the internet, of course – although I did have to recognise the actual Latin words, some of which are in abbreviation (so give me a little credit!).


just to remind you of the leaf

It reads:

eruere.   R: Qui Lazarum resuscitasti a monumento foetidum. Tu eis Domine dona requiem, et locum indulgentiae. R: Thou which didst raise Lazarus stinking from the grave: Thou O Lord give them rest, and place of pardon.
V: Qui venturus es iudicare vivos et mortuos, et saeculum per ignem. Tu eis Domine dona requiem, et locum indulgentiae. V: Which art to come to judge the living, and the dead, and the world by fire. Thou O Lord give them rest, and place of pardon.
[Lectio tertia Iob 10]
Manus tuae Domine fecerunt me, et plasmaverunt me totum in circuitu: et sic repente praecipitas me? Memento, quaeso, quod sicut lutum feceris me, et in pulverem reduces me. Nonne sicut lac mulsisti me, et sicut caseum me coagulasti?
[The third lesson Job 10]
Thy hands O Lord have made me, and framed me wholly round about: and dost thou so suddenly cast me down headlong? Remember, I beseech thee, that as clay thou madest me, and into dust thou wilt bring me again. Hast thou not as milk milked me, and curded me as cheese?

The fancy M begins the word Manus which is the beginning of the third lesson of Job 10 [Lectio tertia Iob 10]; above it is the end of the second lesson of Job 10; both are from the ‘Office of the Dead’.

This ‘Office of the Dead’ originated as a text for private mourning. It commemorates the deceased  in order to shorten his or her ordeal in Purgatory.  It also serves to remind the living of their own immortality (memento mori).  It’s made up of three liturgical hours: Vespers (vigil over the body the night before burial), Matins and Lauds (both recited in the church the following morning).

The above leaf is from the second hour – Matins. This consists of three Nocturns each containing three Psalms and three lessons. All nine are from the Book of Job.


So there you have it.


Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I have discovered another volume of Artemus’ notebooks (followers will recall Dr Artemus Smith was an archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction). Here is another extract:

I spotted a sign outside a house that read ‘Talking Dog for Sale’.  Intrigued, I knocked and asked for a demonstration

The dog owner looked at the dog and said, “So what have you done with your life?”

“I’ve led a very full life,” said the dog. “I lived in the Alps rescuing avalanche victims. Then I served with the police drug sniffing at airports.  After that I helped out with the visibly impaired.  And now I spend my days reading to the residents of a retirement home.”

I was flabbergasted and asked the dog owner, “Why on earth would you want to get rid of an incredible dog like that?”

The owner replied, “Because he’s a liar – he has never done any of those things!”


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