The Song of the Three Children Illuminated Book of Hours leaf, c.1480, France.

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"Whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye our Lord:   bless our Lord all ye fowls of the air."   

Recto:  15 lines of text in Latin written in a gothic bookhand in brown ink on vellum.   Ruled in red.   Six one-line illuminated initials in raised and burnished gold on grounds of blue and red outlined in black and finished with white penwork.  Four similarly decorated line fillers. 

Verso:  As Recto, with five similar illuminated initials and four line fillers.  A catchword  - pecora - in the bottom margin.

Origin:   Northern France.

Date:   c.1480.

Content:   The Office of Our Blessed Lady at Lauds includes this much loved prayer, The Song of the Three Children. The text on both Recto and Verso is a section of the prayer. 

See Appendix for the Latin and English.

Condition:  The leaf is in very good/excellent condition.  There is residue of previous hingeing in the inner margin, but not visible in the window of the mat.  The colours of the illuminations remain strong and the burnished gold shines brightly. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Notes:   A "catchword" is a  word which is usually written on the bottom margin of a page that repeats the first word on the following page. It helped the bookbinder make sure that the leaves were bound in the correct order.

The "Song of the Three Children", also called "A Song of Creation" or simply The Benedicite, is a canticle taken from the book of Daniel in the Apocrypha. (The Greek translation of Daniel contained material not in the original Hebrew.) The three children, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego recite or sing this song as they stand in the flames of Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace.

Books of Hours were prayer books designed for the laity who wished to emulate the cycle of daily devotions followed by the clergy but without taking actual vows.  The contents grew out of the psalter but included a mixed variety of other types of material - hymns, lessons, biblical readings, calendars etc. Its central text is the Hours of the Virgin. There are eight Hours (times for prayer): Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.

Size:  Leaf: approx. 180x125 mm.  Please note that shipping is invoiced separately.

Appendix:  The text on Recto and Verso:


Benedicite Sol et Luna Domino: benedicite stellae caeli Domino.

Benedicite imber, et ros Domino: benedicite omnes spiritus Dei Domino.

Benedicite ignis, et aestus Domino: benedicite frigus, et aestas Domino.

Benedicite rores, et pruina Domino: benedicite gelu, et frigus Domino.

Benedicite glacies, et nives Domino: benedicite noctes et dies Domino.

Benedicite lux, et tenebrae...

(Sun and Moon bless ye our Lord: stars of heaven bless ye our Lord.

Shower and dew bless ye our Lord: every spirit of God bless ye our Lord.

Fire and heat bless ye our Lord: cold and summer bless ye our Lord.

Dews, and hoar frost bless ye our Lord: frost, and cold bless ye our Lord.

Ice, and snow bless ye our Lord: nights and days bless ye our Lord.

Light, and darkness bless ye our Lord: ...


benedicite fulgura, et nubes Domino.

Benedicat terra Dominum: laudet, et superexaltet eum in saecula.

Benedicite montes et colles Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra Domino.

Benedicite fontes Domino: benedicite maria, et flumina Domino.

Benedicite cete, et omnia quae moventur in aquis, Domino: benedicite omnes volucres caeli Domino.

Benedicite omnes bestiae, et [pecora] (catchword)

(bless ye our Lord: lightnings and clouds bless ye our Lord.

Let the earth bless our Lord: let it praise, and extol him for ever.

Mountains and little hills bless ye our Lord: all things that spring in the earth bless ye our Lord.

Bless our Lord ye fountains: seas, and rivers bless ye our Lord.

Whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye our Lord: bless our Lord all ye fowls of the air.

All beasts and cattle …)

Item No:  MBH207 

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