"war" Bely errs. This is etymologically related in Slavic languages to the root "var" and perhaps cognate with English/German war[m]. See Max Vasmer, translated into Russian and revised: Maks [Max] Fasmer [Vasmer] Etimologicheskij slovar' russkogo yazyka. Perevod i dopolnenie. O. N. Trubachev. 2-oe izd. IV tt. (Moscow: 1987), I, 273, who discusses the root [var] related both to the [skotnyj dvor] barnyard and boiling water.
gobbled it up. Russian [pozabashe]. "in which the bird eats the seed." Bely uses the Church Slavonic to point in his text to the passage with the parable of the Sower and the Seed in New Testament of the Bible, Gospel of St. Luke 8:5 "A farmer went out to sow his seed; as he did, some of it fell along the footpath and was trampled on, and the birds of the sky gobbled it up." His readers might have also remembered the warning in Luke 8:8 "Let the one who has ears to hear heed."
Comprehension....Begriff...begreifen. The German for "idea, concept, comprehension." The Russian and German words, as does English comprehend (Latin con+prehendo) revolve around taking hold of, grasping, seizing. They are ultimately related to Indo-European *em-, *m-. See Julius Pokorny 310-311. Also Vasmer II, 19 and II, 129. Concept in English is related to con+ceptio "The action of conceiving in the womb, or A mental concept, idea, notion. " See Oxford Latin Dictionary, 385. However, Russian [ponyatie] etymologically related to "comprehension" is the word used in philosophy for "concept."
I have routinely replaced "understand, understanding" for the Russian words [ponimat', ponimanie] with "comprehend and comprehension" in the spirit of the Russian as an active process, involvement . Max Müller notes coincidentally enough: "We understand things if we can comprehend them; that is to say, if we can grasp and hold together single facts,..." (18).
noto Latin "to mark, note down something." (OED,1193).