The Great Canterbury Psalter

The Great Canterbury Psalter f. 76r, psalm 43  We have heard, God, with our ears

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f. 76r, psalm 43  We have heard, God, with our ears

In a semicircle at the top centre, God rests asleep on a bed protected by a curtain (v. 23, Exurge quare obdormis, Domine? // Arise, why do you sleep, Lord?). Flanking him on each side are two groups of men seated on benches and holding books and scrolls (v. 2, Deus auribus nostris audivimus. Patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis // We have heard, God, with our ears. Our fathers have declared to us). Below, a city is being attacked by many soldiers on horseback with swords, battle-axes and spears (v. 4, Nec enim in gladio suo possederunt terram // For they got not possession of the land by their own sword). Some of them are entering in through the city gate (v. 11, Avertisti nos retrorsum post inimicos nostros “You have made us turn our back on our enemies). At the front, among the soldiers, are sheep and goats, and a man lying dead on the ground (v. 12, Dedisti nos tanquam oves escarum // You have given us up like sheep to be eaten; v. 22, Quoniam propter te mortificamur tota die, estimati sumus sicut oves occisionis // Because for your sake we are killed all day long, we are counted as sheep for the slaughter). Inside the walls of the city, on the left, a group of men is prostrated before an altar in a church (v. 25, Quoniam humiliata est in pulvere anima nostra, conglutinatus est in terra venter noster // For our soul is humbled down to the dust, our belly cleaves to the earth). On the right, a man holding a large scroll, shield and spear stands before a broken sword, bow and horn on the ground (v. 6, In te inimicos nostros ventilabimus cornu, et in nomine tuo spernemus insurgentes in nobis // We will push down our enemies with the horn, and through your name will despise them that rise up against us; v. 7, Non enim in arcu meo sperabo, et gladius meus non salvabit me // For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me). Behind him stand a group of men holding shields and spears.


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