The Unicorn in Laurence Andrew’s The Noble Lyfe / Hortus Sanitatis

Cover of Laurence Andrew The noble lyfe and natures of man of bestes serpentys fowles and fishes that be most knoweu

Laurence Andrew (fl. 1510-1537) was a printer and translator active in Antwerp. Not much is known about him and many of the works he translated and/or printed have not survived into present day.

However, one book that did survive was The noble lyfe a[nd] natures of man of bestes, serpentys, fowles a[nd] fishes [that] be moste knoweu published in Antwerp. The date of publication is unknown, but historians of the book regularly date the book to 1527. The noble lyfe is a translation of portions of the Hortus Sanitatis, a natural history published in Germany in 1485.

The entry for the unicorn read:
“Monocheron yt is a vnicorne for it hath but one horne standinge in his forhede & it is so sharp yt what so euer it touchet wt his horn it tereth it a sonder or rõneth it thrugh / & it is a beste wt iiij. fete feringe nothere yron nor stele / & it feghteth oftentymes agaynst ye oliphant & thursteth hym in ye beli wt his sharpe horne & so ouercõmeth hym.”

My modernization of the passage:
Monoceron that is a unicorn for it has but one horn standing in his forehead and it is sharp that whatsoever it touches with his horn it tears it asunder or run it through & it is a beast with four feet fearing not iron nor steel & it fights oftentimes against the elephant and thrust him in the belly with his sharp horn & overcomes him.

Unicorn Laurence Andrew the noble lyfe and natures of man of bestes serpentys fowles and fishes
Laurence Andrew, The noble lyfe a[nd] natures of man of bestes, seprentys, fowles a[nd] fisshes [that] be most knoweu (Antwerp, 1527).

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