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[Ms P, fol. 126rPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K1, fol. 119r; Ms E1, fol. 140v; Ms E2, fol. 215r]

Ch. 42

Translated by: Manu Radhakrishnan

1Omni tempore silentium1 debent studere monachi, maxime tamen nocturnis horis, 2et ideo omni tempore, 3sive jejunii sive prandii, mox ut surrexerint a coena, sedeant omnes in uno, et legat unus collationes vel vitas patrum aut certe aliquid, quod aedificet audientes.

1Monks should strive for silence at all times, but especially at night, 2and therefore at all times, whether of fasting or non-fasting. 3If it is an ordinary day, as soon as they rise from supper, the brothers should all sit down together and one of them should read the Conferences or the Lives of the Fathers or something else to edify listeners.

Rectum ordinem tenuit in hoc loco S. Benedictus in eo, quod dixit, quibus horis oportet refici fratres perveniens ad illum locum, ubi dixit: ipsa tamen vespera sic agatur, ut lumine lucernae non indigeant fratres reficientes, sed luce adhuc diei omnia consummentur, [Regula Benedicti, c. 41:8] et subjunxit hoc capitulum, cujus clavis dicitur: ut post completorium nemo loquatur. Nam quid aliud melius potuerat dici, quam dictis horis diurnis, quibus reficiendum erat, statim diceret,2 ut post completorium nullus loqui debuisset, et diceret3 etiam, quomodo ad completorium agendum venire debuissent, eo quod completorium cum luce agendum est. Et postquam dixerat mentionem lucis, ut cum luce omnia agerentur, subjunxit illico dicens: Omni tempore silentium debent studere monachi, maxime tamen nocturnis horis. Superius enim diximus: ubi silentium dicit regula, de suppressa voce intelligitur dicere, ubi vero maxime, sicuti hoc loco, dicit, non vult, ut loquatur, sicut in refectorio dicit.

St Benedict held right order at this point when he mentioned the hours in which it behooves the brethren to be fed, coming to that place where he said: Vespers should be done so that the monks do not need lamplight to eat, but everything should be finished in daylight [Regula Benedicti, c. 41:8] and added below this chapter whose title is Nobody should speak after Compline. For what else could have been said better than having mentioned the daylight hours during which one ought to eat, immediately to say Nobody should speak after Compline and also to say how they should come to do Compline, since Compline is to be performed in daylight. And after he had made mention of light, since all these things were to be done during daylight, at that place he added the words below, saying Monks should strive for silence at all times, but especially at night.For we had said above: where the rule says silence, it is understood to mean the lowered voice; where he says especially, as in this place, he does not want that one speak as one speaks in the refectory.

Sed hoc notandum est, quod, si nocturno tempore damnum viderit quis tale aut necessitas fuerit, quam non potest expectare, ut congruo tempore loquatur, hoc non interdicit regula loqui statim; verbi gratia (si) viderit fratrem fugientem aut aliquid damnum vel aliquod grave peccatum, debet significare priori. Tria enim inspicienda sunt tempore locutionis, i. e. damnum, necessitas tam spiritualis quam corporalis, atque interrogatio prioris, quae omnia, si altius consideraverit, ad interrogationem referuntur, quia sicuti prior interrogat, ita etiam damnum et necessitas interrogare cognoscuntur.

But this ought to be noted, that, if during nighttime someone sees some such harm that it is necessary that he cannot wait to speak at an appropriate time, the rule does not forbid speaking immediately. If someone should see a brother fleeing or some damage or some serious sin, he should inform the prior using words. For three things ought to be considered a time for speech, i.e. harm, a spiritual or a bodily necessity, and a question by the prior, all of which, if you should consider them more deeply, refer to a question, since just as the prior questions, so also are harm and necessity to be understood.

Nocturnis horis cum dicit, [page 454] totam noctem significat, sicut inferius dicit. Excepto si neccesitas hospitum supervenerit aut forte abbas alicui aliquid jusserit. Ecce per hoc manifestum est, quod dixi, quia, licet etiam loqui pro damno aut necessitate, quia interrogatio est ista, sicut superius diximus.

When he says during night hours [page 454] he means the entire night, as he says below except if care for guests is necessary or if the abbot orders someone to do something. Behold that through this what I said is made plain since it is also permitted to speak in face of harm or necessity, for this is questioning, as we mentioned above.

Quod autem dicit: si forte abbas alicui aliquid jusserit, i. e. si consuere, si piscari, si scribere jusserit, obediendum est. Verumtamen non assidue debet facere, sed tarde et pro necessitate, quae non potest ferri, eo quod regula non dicit ‘assidue’, sed forte, ac per hoc, cum dicit forte, quasi diceret: si contingat, ut abbas alicui jubeat in nocte aliquid operis facere, i. e. quando silentium monachi debent tenere, hoc, quod justum est, cum silentio fiat, sicut ipse dicit cum summa gravitate, hoc est, cum majori silentio et honestate, quam in die.

Moreover, what he says — or if the abbot orders someone to do something — i.e. if he orders you to sew, to fish or to write, it is to be obeyed. However, this should not be done hastily, but slowly and on account of necessity, that which cannot be borne, in that the rule does not say hastily but perhaps, and by this, since he says perhaps, it is as though he said: should it happen that the abbot orders someone to do something at night, i.e. when the monks ought to keep silence, let this, as is right, be done silently, just as he himself says with the greatest seriousness, this is (to be done), with great silence and respectability, just as in the daytime.

Quod autem dicit: 3Si tempus fuerit prandii, mox ut surrexerint a coena, sedeant omnes in uno et legat unus collationes vel vitas patrum aut certe aliquid, quod audientes aedificet, 4non autem heptaticum aut regum, quia infirmis intellectibus non erit utile illa hora hanc scripturam audire; aliis vero horis legantur — subaudiendum est: tam in aestate quam in hieme.

Where, moreover, he says, 3If it is an ordinary day, as soon as they rise from supper, the brothers should all sit down together and one of them should read the Conferences or the Lives of the Fathers or something else to edify listeners, 4but not the Heptateuch or the Books of Kings, because it will not be good for weak minds to hear those parts of Scripture at that time; they should be read at other time, it is to be understood that just as it is in the summer, so too in the winter.

Istud enim mox, non pro continuatione positum est, sed quia noluit S. Benedictus, ut grande intervallum fuisset, sed parvissimum inter coenam et collationem, ideo dixit mox, ac si diceret: ut surrexerint a coena parvissimo intervallo facto, donec servitores manducant, mox accedant ad collationem.

For this as soon as is not placed as a continuation [of the meal] but because St Benedict did not want that there be a long interval, but the smallest, between the dinner and the evening gathering, therefore he says as soon as, as though he were to say: as soon as they rise from supper with the shortest interval, while the servers are eating, let them come directly to the evening gathering.

Et hoc notandum est, si tempore nubili fallitur vespera, i. e. plus tarde quam in aliis diebus, non debet intervallum inter coenam et collationem ita exspectare aut facere abbas, sicut in aliis diebus, quando moderate agitur, sed mox accedere ad collationem.

And this ought to be noted, if the evening should fall at a cloudy time, i.e. later than on other days, the abbot should not await an interval between dinner and the evening gathering or do as on other days, when one acts more moderately, but they should come directly to the gathering.

Et hoc sciendum est, quia tempore collationis et in loco collationis nullus debet loqui, nisi aut lector, qui legit, aut abbas, qui exponit, aut certe talis frater, cui jusserit tradere lectionem.

And this ought to be known, since during the time of the gathering and in the place of gathering, no-one should speak except the reader who reads, or the abbot who explains, or certainly such a brother to whom he shall order the handing over of the reading.

Et iterum sciendum est, quia cum lavant pedes fratres, nec cantare nec legere debent.

And this too ought to be known, that when the brothers wash their feet, they should neither chant nor read.

Forte dicit quis: 'Quare, cum regula dicit legere?' Cui respondendum est: duo dicit S. Benedictus, legere et pedes abluere, sed tarnen non insimul, [page 455] quia non possunt insimul pedes abluere et collationes legere, sed separatim, i. e. primitus pedes lavare et postmodum legere.

Perhaps someone says, ‘Why, when the Rule says to read?’ To which one ought to reply that St Benedict says two things, [page 455] to read and to wash the feet, but nevertheless not simultaneously, since they cannot at the same time wash feet and read the evening lessons, but rather separately, i.e. first to wash the feet, and then to read.

Per hoc, quod dicit regum aut heptaticum, significat illos libros, qui similes sunt illis, i. e. qui sub allegoricis figuris conscripti sunt.

By this, where he says, [the books] of Kings or the Heptateuch, he means those books which are similar to them, i.e., which are written using allegorical figures.

Istud enim, quod dicit et ideo omni tempore sive jejunii sive prandii, ad illud respicit, ubi dicit: cum adhuc dies fuerit, dieta vespera ita agatur, sicut dicit, si tempus fuerit prandii et reliqua.

For that which he says, and therefore at all times, whether of fasting or non-fasting, refers back to where he says, If it is a (fast) day, let the aforementioned vespers be done thus, as he says, if it shall be a time of non-fasting and so on.

Forte dicit aliquis: ‘Quomodo illud respicit, cum illic habetur sua constructio, cum dicit: si tempus jejunii fuerit?’ Cui respondendum est: consuetudo est aliquando doctorum hoc, quod in capite sententiae dicit, iterum in fine replicare, sicut superius diximus, ubi de gradibus exponebamus.

Perhaps someone says: ‘How can it refer back to that, since at that place this is his meaning when he says: If it shall be a fast day?’ To this one should reply that it is a certain custom of the learned to repeat that which he says at the beginning of the sentence again at the end, just as we said above where we were explaining about the steps.

Sequitur: 5Si autem jejunii dies fuerint, dicta vespera, parvo intervallo mox accedant ad lectionem collationum, ut diximus, 6et lectis quatuor aut quinque foliis, vel quantum hora permittit, 7Omnibus in unum concurrentibus per hanc moram lectionis.

Then follows: 5If it is a fast day, once Vespers is said, there is a short break, and then the brothers should proceed at once to the reading of the Conferences, as we said, 6four or five pages being read, or as much as time allows, 7all coming together during this reading period.

Et hoc sciendum est, quia istud quod dicit: si tempus jejunii fuerit, parvissimo intervallo mox accedant ad lectionem collationum, ut diximus, tale vult fieri intervallum, quando coena, quale quando non coena, ab ipsa, vespera usque ad collationes legendas, i. e. sic grande intervallum debet esse ipsa coena, quale est, quando non coenant.

And this ought to be known, since what he says — If it is a fast day, after a very short break, and then the brothers should proceed at once to the reading of the Conferences — as we said, [shows] he wants such an interval to occur, when dining as when not dining, from the same vespers to the reading of the Conferences, i.e. there should be as great an interval from dinner as there is when they do not dine.

Sequitur: 7Si quis forte in assignato sibi commisso fuerit occupatus, occurrat. 8Omnes ergo in unum positi compleant. In assignato, i. e. injuncto.

Then follows: 7If it happens that one of them has been busy with his assigned task, he should attend. 8All thus assembled in one place should say Compline. With his assigned [task], i.e. enjoined.

Quod autem dicit omnes ergo in unum positi compleant, subaudiendum est: praeter eos, qui non possunt occurrere, veluti est portarius, infirmarius, si praeoccupationem habuerit.

Moreover, where he says All thus assembled in one place should say Compline, this ought to be understood: except those who cannot attend, such as is the case of the doorkeeper [or]the head of the infirmary, if he should be preoccupied.

Sequitur: 8Et exeuntes a completorio nulla sit licentia denuo cuiquam loqui aliquid. 9Quod si inventus fuerit quisquam, hanc praevaricari taciturnitatis regulam, graviori vindictae subjaceat, 10excepto si necessitas hospitum supervenerit aut forte abbas aliquid alicui jusserit, 11quod tamen et ipsum cum gravitate et moderatione honestissime fiat.

Then follows: 8and once they leave from Compline, nobody should be permitted to say anything further. 9If anyone is discovered in violation of this rule of silence, he should be punished severely, 10except if care for guests is necessary or if the abbot orders someone to do something, 11but this, too, is to be done with the utmost gravity and most seemly restraint.

Sciendum est enim, quia hoc, quod dicit: et exeuntes [page 456] a completorio mala sit licentia denuo cuiquam loqui, non est intelligendum dixisse completorio de illo, quod dicit: omnes in unum positi compleant, sed completorium appellavit officium, quod in ultima hora diei canitur, et quamquam de illo dicat completorio, i. e. de officio, tamen non debet quilibet, postquam surgit a Capitulo, aliquid loqui, quia aliud silentium eum constringit.

For it ought to be known that in this place where he says: [page 456] and leaving Compline, nobody should be permitted to say anything further, 'Compline' ought not to be understood as his having referred to that place where he says: All assembled in one place should say Compline but he called Compline the office, which is sung in the last hour of the day, and although he calls this Compline, i.e. the office, nevertheless no-one should, after he rises from the Chapter, say anything, since another silence constrains him.

Quod autem dicit lectis quatuor aut quinque foliis vel quantum hora permittit, non dicit usque dum videre potest legere legat, sed dicit, tantum legere, quantum hora permittit, hoc est, quantum congruum tempus est, i. e. ut completorium cum die com? pleatur, quia si iu die non cantaveris completorium, non reddis Deo septies laudes in die.

Where he says four or five pages being read, or as much as time allows, he does not say that he should read to the point where he can see to read, but he says, to read as much as the time permits, that is, as much time is available such that Compline can be sung during the daytime, since if you will not have sung Compline in the daytime, you will not render praise to God seven times a day.

Notandum est autem, quia ita intelligendum est de gravi vindietae, sicut de graviori, aut districtiori vel gravissime, sicut diximus.

Moreover it ought to be noted, that severe punishment is to be so understood as we understand more severe or stricter or most severe, as we said.

Et hoc sciendum est, quia, cum dicit excepto si necessitas hospitam supervenerit aut forte abbas altem aliquid jusserit, non dicit, ut semper abbas faciat, sed forte, quod tamen et ipsum cum gravitate et moderatione honestissime fiat.

And this ought to be known since, when he says except if care for guests is necessary or if perhaps the abbot orders someone to do something, he does not say that the abbot should always do this, but perhaps, which nevertheless should be done respectably with gravity and restraint.

Attendendum est autem, quia diurnis horis cum gravitate dicit aliquid agere, nocturnis vero cum summa gravitate, quasi diceret: nimis cauta.

Moreover, one should note that where he says to do something with gravity during daylight hours, [he means] during night truly with the utmost gravity, as though he said: with a great deal of caution.

Quod enim de suppresssa voce possit dici silentium, B. Augustinus docet, ubi exponit de resuscitatione Lacari hoc modo dicens: Abiit et vocavit Mariam sub silentio dicens: Magister adest et vocat te. [Io 11:28] Advertendum est enim, quemadmodum suppressam vocem silentium nuncupavit; nam quomodo siluit, quae dixit: Magister adest et vocat te?

Concerning the lowered voice, this can be called silence, the blessed Augustine teaches, where he explains the resurrection of Lazarus in this way saying, She went and called Mary in the stillness saying: the Master is here and is calling you [Io 11:28]. For we should attend to this, the way he calls the lowered voice silence, for in what manner can she be silent who says, The Master is here and is calling you?

Forte dicit quis: ‘quare in hoc capitulo de silentio dicit, cum superius dixit, ut usque ad interrogationem non loquatur?’ Cui respondendum est, quod intentio S. Benedicti fuerit in hoc capitulo, quanta debuissent folia legere, vel quomodo agere; et hac occasione accepta iterum dixit etiam de silentio ad exaggerandum silentium.

Perhaps someone says: ‘Why does he speak of silence in this chapter, since he said above that no one should speak until questioning?’ To which one should reply that St Benedict´s intention in this chapter would have been [to explain] how many folios they should read, or the way to do it; and having taken this opportunity he also spoke once again of silence to exalt silence.

Istud enim quod dixit forte, adverbium est contingendi, significat, ut, cum loquitur abbas, non omni tempore loquatur per licentiam, sed tardius, hoc est, per contingentiam et necessitatem, quia, si aliter loquitur, i. e. si non propter [page 457] eam necessitatem, quae sufferri non potest, peccat.

The perhaps that he mentions, a contingent adverb, signifies that when the abbot speaks, he speaks with presumption but more slowly, i.e., by contingency or necessity, since, if he speaks otherwise, i.e., if not [page 457] on account of necessity that cannot be endured, he sins.

Notandum est enim, quia valde S. Benedictus erga silentium laborat; nam aliquando dicit cum gravitate loqui, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 6.3] sicuti habes in XI gradu humilitatis, aliquando dicit ut interrogatus non loquatur, [Regula Benedicti, c. 7.56] sicut habes in VIII gradu humilitatis , aliquando vero summum silentium, [Regula Benedicti, c. 38.5] sicuti habes ad mensam, aliquando maxime nocturnis horis, sicuti superius habes in hoc capitulo, aliquando horis incompetentibus non jungantur, [Regula Benedicti, c. 48.21] sicuti in XLVIII capitulo.

For it is to be noted that S. Benedict labours a great deal in relation to silence; for on one occasion he says to speak with gravity, just as you have it in the eleventh step of humility, on another he says that one asked should not speak, but on another he says complete silence, as you have at the dining table, and on another he says above all at night time, just as you have above in this chapter, and on yet another he says Nor should brothers associate with each other at unsuitable times, as in the 48th chapter [Regula Benedicti, c. 48.21].

Sciendum enim est, ubi dicit silentium cum adjectione, i. e. summum aut maximum, aut dicit: ‘ut non sit domo licentia cuiquam loqui', aut maxime, aut non jungantur, aut cum omni, vult, ut nulla, inquisitio aut petitio aut interrogatio fiat.

For it ought to be known that where he says silence with a small addition, i.e. highest or greatest, or he says ‘Let there not be permission for anyone to speak,’ or especially, or let them not associate, or with complete [silence], he wants there to be no enquiry or petition or question.

Et hoc etiam sciendum est, quia sicut laborat erga voluntatem propriam, ita etiam erga silentium, quia silentium mortificationem significat; silentium enim, sicut dicit propheta, custos justitiae est, quia, ubi silentium non est, nulla ibi justitia solet esse, eo quod murmuratio et cetera mala locutio est; ideo tam valde erga silentii custodiam laboravit.

And this also should be known, that just as he labours in relation to his own will, so also in relation to silence, since silence signifies mortification; for silence, as the prophet says, is the custodian of justice, since where there is no silence, no justice is accustomed to be, because there is murmuring and other bad speech; for this reason he laboured so greatly in relation to the keeping of silence.

1. silentio. Cod. Fürstzell. (Mittermüller).
2. dicere (?). (Mittermüller).
3. dicere (?). (Mittermüller).

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