Sunday, October 7, 2018

Cat Love

Llull's Llibre de meravelles
(BNF Fr. 189, fol. 283),
  second half of the 15th-century
You have my new cat Luna to thank for this blog post. I’m lounging with my tablet because she wants a nap.
But this Luna-break gave me a reason to look up medieval pet cats. And so I came across a ninth-century poem about a monk's white cat named Pangur Ban. 

While the poem was written by an Irish monk it was found in a monastery near today’s Austria on Reichenau Island. In the poem, the monk compares his search for knowledge to the cat’s hunt for mice and the pleasure both get from their efforts.
In the poem translated by Robin Flower the monk shows the fondness he had for his cat. He named it and called his pet a “he” not an “it.”
So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.
That is a person who adores his cat.
Pangur Ban” is a delightful poem relevant to us in the SCA today when you take joy in hunting for history's knowledge. Aren't you elated when you snare an elusive information tidbit? Don't you want to show it off as a cat displays a trophy-mouse to its owner? 

Related Prior Post: 
Searching For Illumination Manuscript Humor 
SCA Award Texts