You’re Not Helping (Mmm… Marginalia #40)

This week’s marginal image is found in the bas-de-page* of the Bodleian Library’s MS Douce 5. Incidentally, if someone comes up to you at a cocktail party** and asks you what your favorite fourteenth-century Flemish Psalter is, you’ll look all smart and refined if you reply, “Why, Bodl. Lib. MS Douce 5 of course.” Extra points if you can pronounce the periods at the end of the abbreviation.

Where was I? Ah, yes. This week’s image:

You’ve heard of the phrase, “kicking a man when he’s down”? The medieval equivalent, clearly, was, “poking an ape’s butt when he’s accidentally stuck his head into a dragon’s mouth”. At least among medieval rabbits.

The best part, for me, is the dragon’s reaction shot. “Do you mind?” he’s clearly saying, “I’m kind of in the middle of something here.”

*I could have said “bottom of the page,” but if I had, then what would I footnote?
**It should be noted that I got to like two cocktail parties a year, but for some reason they still remain my go-to context for oddball conversations.

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  • Adam Roberts Project

    You think he’s poking? You don’t think he’s pulling, eg a thread, out?

  • Got Medieval

    I assume the rabbit’s poking because with his digitigrade legs he’d fall forward if he weren’t pushing.

  • Adam Roberts Project

    I can’t fault your leg-orientation pulling-physics reasoning here. Much as I would like to.

    I’d say the dragon’s splendid expression is in part to do with the fact that the bunny is, like, standing on his tail.

  • Jordan

    I believe that the rabbit is assisting the man — giving him an extra “kick in the ass” into the Hellmouth.

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