Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Something About Cats

So, here's the only line I know from ANCRENE WISSE, one of the three works upon which JRR Tolkien spent the bulk of his career:

ne schulen habbe na beast bute cat ane*

While Mary Salu** translates as

you must not keep any animal except a cat.

Given the context (advice to anchoresses about how to live godly contemplative lives), where the author forbids his readers from keeping a cow because it will involve her too much in worldly things, it seems cats are okay because they're self-keeping. Rather nice, though, to think about the hermit and her cat; a somewhat different mental image than I wd otherwise have had.

current reading: MY FRIEND RONALD (aka J. R. R. TOLKIEN'S DOUBLE WORLDS) by Arne Zettersten (just finished).

*Ms. Corpus Christi College Cambridge 402, folio 112b, lines 25-26
[JRRT edition = EETS vol. 249, p. 213]

**THE ANCRENE RIWLE [1955], p. 185

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