The Great Canterbury Psalter

The Great Canterbury Psalter f. 39v, psalm 22, The Lord rules me and I shall want nothing

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f. 39v, psalm 22, The Lord rules me and I shall want nothing

This psalm tells of God’s mercy and protection of the psalmist throughout his life. The hand of God blesses the seated psalmist from the clouds (v. 1, Dominus reget me et nichil michi deerit // The Lord rules me and I shall want nothing). The psalmist sits holding a large cup in front of a table on which there is food and drink (v. 5, Parasti in conspectu meo mensam, adversus eos qui tribulant me ... et calix meus inebrians // You have prepared a table before me, against them that afflict me ... and my chalice which inebriated me); behind him stands an angel holding a baton and anointing his head with oil (v. 4, Nam(Iam) et si ambulavero in medio umbre mortis, non timebo mala quoniam tu mecum es. Virga tua et baculus tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt // For though I should walk in the middle of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they have comforted me; v. 5, Impinguasti in oleo caput meum // You have anointed my head with oil). From behind the man, in the bottom right, three men are shooting arrows at him (v. 5, eos qui tribulant me // them that afflict me). At the left, facing the psalmist, is a church with an altar and a lamp (v. 6, Ut inhabitem in domo Domini in longitudinem dierum // And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days), and goats, cattle and sheep in a landscape beside a river (v. 2, In loco pascue ibi me collocavit. Super aquam refectionis educavit me. Animam meam convertit // He has set me in a place of pasture. He has brought me up on the water of refreshment. He has converted my soul). The contours of the landscape frame the various parts of the picture. As in other psalm illustrations, these framing divisions set apart the good, here the psalmist and the angel, from the evil, represented by the men shooting arrows.


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