Nomina Animalium (Adam Naming the Animals)


Northumberland Bestiary and Psalm 148

Commissioned by: 

Gerald Kollodge for The Rose Ensemble


The Rose Ensemble at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California
Item Voicing Media Price
LK013-06 SSATBB a cappella with tenor and baritone solos
digital download
SATB a cappella with tenor and baritone solos $2.00


excerpted from the Northumberland Bestiary and Psalm 148

Primus homo cunctis iniuxit nomina rebus.
Omnibus animantibus Adam primus vocabula indidit
appellans unicuique nomen ex presenti i
nstitucione iuxta condicionem nature cui serviret.

Incipit liber de naturis bestiarum et earum significacionibus.
Bestiarum vocabulum proprie convenit leonibus, pardis et tigribus,
lupis et vulpibus, canibus et simiis, ursibus et ceteris.
Bestie autem dicte a vi qua seviunt.
Fere appellate eo quod naturali utuntur libertate
et desiderio suo ferantur.

Laudate Dominum de terra, dracones et omnes abyssi.
Bestie et universa pecora: serpentes et volucres pinnatae.

Unum autem nomen avium set genus diversum.
Nam alie simplices sunt ut columbe.
Alie vocibus strepunt ut hyrundo,
alie cantus edunt dulcissimos ut cignus et merula.

Non autem secundum latinam linguam atque grecam,
nomina illa inposuit Adam, set illa lingua que ante diluvium una fuit omnium.

The first man assigned names to all things:
Adam first gave names to all animals
calling each one a name from its present disposition,
according to the condition of nature to which it was subject.

Here begins the book about the natures of beasts and what they signify.
The term beasts properly applies to lions, panthers and tigers,
wolves and foxes, dogs and apes, bears and others.
They are called beasts because of the force with which they attack.
They are called wild animals because they enjoy their natural freedom
and are led by their own desire.

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all ye deeps.
Beasts and all cattle: serpents and feathered fowls.

Birds are one in name, but various in kind.
For some are simple, like doves.
Some have loud calls, like the swallow;
others produce the sweetest songs,
like the swan and the blackbird.

But Adam did not give those names in Latin or Greek,
but in that language that was the same for all before the flood.