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     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 28  1909  page 367

Sybill Arms at Little Mote, Eynsford By George C. Druce continued

positively to have found its cub. It delights in admiring the beauty of its form to such an extent that it forgets to pursue those who have taken its young, and stops where it is as still as a captive beast. It is thus that the hunters get possession of the cubs."
   Physiologus says on this subject: "Take care you are not like the tiger." And Amos the prophet proclaims that this world is an image of the forest where the tigers abound, and adjures us to keep watch attentively over our cub, that is to say, over our soul. For the hunters (i.e., the devil) lie in wait for us and spy us out. They always have mirrors ready, if they see a chance to be able to seize our cub. The mirrors are the elaborate feasts, the great pleasures of the world that we desire; fine clothes, horses, beautiful women, and all the other objects of sin. It is thus that the hunters produce an image in the mirror that they throw before man. It is why every man should consecrate himself to the service of his Creator, for then no enemy would have any power over the Soul of man, that is to say, over the cub which he covets."

   The symbolism here speaks for itself, and is typical of what occurs throughout the Bestiary. Sometimes it takes the form of dogmatic Christian teaching; sometimes it points the virtues of Christ and his followers, or condemns his ill-treatment by the Jews and foretells their punishment; or again is more moral, taking the line that the Devil is always ready with his wiles and sinners getting into his clutches will be destroyed. The ingenuity with which the various characteristics of the animals are turned is marvellous. The monkey carrying its favourite young one in front is the Devil carrying off sinners whom he loves to hell; the peacock’s beautiful feathers, on the other hand, denote the Gentile nations coming to Christ, resplendent with many virtues through His grace.
   The feature about the illustration in the French MS. is the wings of the tiger. In dealing with this subject le Pere Cahier says (Mélanges d’Arehceologie, vol. ii., p. 141): "Si le copiste n’a point trahi l’auteur en classant le tigre parmi les serpents, ce serait le seul serpent non pas a ailes, mais a

Page 367

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