Friday, July 12, 2019


Genitive, Not Dative

From the Wikipedia entry for Elizabeth Johnson (died 1752) (square brackets in original):
She died at 63, and is buried in Bromley Parish Church. Her gravestone inscription says Formosae, cultae, ingeniosae, piae (in Latin: [dedicated to, or for] the beautiful, elegant, talented, dutiful).
Screen capture:

The words "dedicated to, or for" imply that the adjectives are in the dative case, which they aren't. They modify ELIZABETHÆ, which is genitive after the nominative plural Reliquiæ:

Hic conduntur Reliquiæ
Antiqua Jarvisiorum gente
Peatlingae, apud Leicestrienses, ortæ;
Formosæ, cultæ, ingeniosæ, piæ;
Uxoris, primis nuptijs, HENRICI PORTE[R],
Secundis, Samuelis Johnson
Qui multum amatam diuque defletam
Hoc lapide contexit
Obijt Londini, Mense Mart.

In Wikipedia's translation "the" is also otiose. Here is a translation of the inscription by John Wilson Croker, in his edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, new ed. (London: John Murray, 1866), p. 78:
Here are buried the remains of Elizabeth, of the ancient family of Jervis, of Peatling in Leicestershire. Beautiful, accomplished, ingenious, pious, the wife in a first marriage of Henry Porter; in a second, of Samuel Johnson: who has covered with this stone her whom he much loved and long lamented. She died in London in March, 1752 [sic, the stone says 1753].
Hat tip: Eric Thomson, who also points out that "Henry Porter probably lost his <R> on the night of 16th April 1941. The church was largely flattened."


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