Saturday, November 30, 2019


Howler of the Week

Denis Faucher (1487-1562), "Ad Scholasticam," in University of Pennsylvania, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Ms. Codex 1620, fol. 1v:

My transcription:
Coelesti ut valeas sponso formosa videri,
    Compone hic vultus casta puella tuos.
Non placet huic facies, aut frons, quae effricta pudorem
    Perdidit, ora illi mortificata placent.
The poem appears below this picture of a crucified nun:

Translation of the poem by Nicholas Herman, "Question of the Week: 'What will you do when he comes at you with the sickle?'" Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project (October 25, 2019 = No. 31/52):
The heavenly bridegroom, so that he could appear beautiful / Made this likeness of a chaste girl for your eyes. / Do not be pleased by her face, or lose your shame in front of what is shown here, / only pray now for those who are dead.
Screen image of the translation (captured on November 29, 2019):

Dr. Herman says that this is "roughly translated." I say that it completely distorts the meaning of the Latin. I would give it a grade of F. Here is my own rough, but I think more accurate, version:
So that you can appear beautiful to the Heavenly Bridegroom, adjust here your facial appearance, o chaste girl. A scrubbed face or forehead that has lost its modesty does not please Him; a deathlike visage does.
On the image of the crucified nun, see Cristina Cruz González, "Beyond the Bride of Christ: The Crucified Abbess in Mexico and Spain," The Art Bulletin 99.4 (December, 2017) 102-132.

Thanks to friends who previewed this post and made helpful suggestions.


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