Philobiblon: Can anyone help with some early modern Latin?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Can anyone help with some early modern Latin?

In the British Library copy of Epicedium (see post above) is written (in a hand and ink that looks to me 16th-century or thereabouts):

epitaphium lapide Lydio misculptim, &
literis aueeus miscriptum in tumulum
delubro sancta Maria Abchurche
LONDON decoris exructim
Anno a partue virgins, 1594

In fahicem memoriam pia pulchra & pudicae femina domina HELEN BRANCH, filia venerablis, GVIELMI NICOLSON ohim ciuis & Pamnarin LONDON quondam per quadraginta ammos (& eo ampliup) vxoris viri dignisim JOHANNIS DIINORS ciuis et etiam Pannarin LONDON cui peperit filium vnum Rogerum, & filias tres, Joannam Ripman, & Plaragaretam omnes fine prote deunctos Nuper (ad annum asque vugezimum) uxoris aurati quondam praecharizimae ciutatis LONDON homoratizimi Plaioris:
ROBERTUS NICOLSON generosus ex fratre nepos vreiufoz heres & dicta Dominae sotus executor, suis fumptubus spontaneis hoc Monumentum pofuit.

Nuper fui eti estis:
Nunc sum eti eritis.

Quam ter falicem pietas opulentia, forma,
Flecere' im terris modo suffragante popells:
Suffragante' Deo fideo, constantia viuoe'
Eternum in calis, te nunc iubet eze beatam.
Nonagenaria obut 10 mo. Aprilis
Annon Salutis 1594 to.

Cuius honoratizimae' Dominae' exequinae' moerentes splendenie
Die unnae ( ) 29 Aprilis 1594 to magna comitant caterua tam ornatizima Domini CVIBERTI BVCKLE tunc turrigeri LONDONI==INI Plaioris, quam venerabilizimocum
Doctorum, Generoforum, confanguineorum, Affirmum, proximorn, caduceatorum; perhomorificaruma Dominarum 'generosarm & pauperum, honorifice celebrata fuerunt . .

Tetratichon suprascriptum Anglice.
Ladie whom Pietie, Plentie, Beautie rare'
thrice hapie made on earth by peoples voices:
By constant lively faith, Heaven doth prepare'
eternal bliss for thee', wher LOVE reiosies,
Per Robin Nicolson; dicta Dominae nepotem'
Idem Anglice.

whom Pietie, Plentie & Beautie made,
thrice happie here, in Earth among the best:
Her lively faith, whose true fauite never fade'
makes home with God in heaven for ever blest.

[The bottom line is unfortunately cut off, but I think it almost certainly reads
Joshua Silueter: 1594]

So at least the English part of that is probably from one of the other pamphlets.

I suspect that the part above the line might be the epitaph from her tomb (the original having been lost in the Great Fire.)

I get from the bolded part that she was a beautiful and modest/chaste matron, dutiful daughter to John Nicolson, and that Robert Nicolson was her executor. Can anyone help with anything more?

Thanks in advance, and please forgive any transcription errors - not easy with handwriting in a language you don't know.

(I find that Phillips at least wrote quite a few similar elegies, although mostly for aristocrats rather than gentry.)


Blogger clanger said...

In the forthcoming 'Growing Old in Early Modern Europe' (Ashgate, ed. Erin Campbell, March 2006) is promised: "'Should I as yet call you old?' Testing the boundaries of female old age in early modern England" by Aki C. L. Beam.

Phillips wrote elegies etc on:

The wife of Lord Mayor, Alexander [Avenon] (1570).
Sir William Garrarde, chief alderman of the city of London (1571).
Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1578).
Lord Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (1581), father of Shakespeare's patron.
Sir Phillip Sidney (1587).
Sir Christopher Hatton (1591).
Dame Helen Branch (1594).

Also some verses in a witch pamphlet, a couple of devotional items, a ballad, some verse, and 'A Commodye of Pacient and Meeke Grissill', presumably a dramatic version of the popular tale of Patient Griselda (rep. 1909). Around 1577 he wrote the 'Rare and strange historical novel of Cleomenes and Sophonisba surnamed Juliet', of which only a single leaf survives.

His most successful work was 'The Perfect Path to Paradice', a devotional work still being printed in 1626.

His works incorporated dedications to Sir R. Constable (1584), Sir E. Osborne (1584), & George Devorax Esq. (1590).

Presumably a minor writer, writing verse in order to pay the bills, or as favours.

Sorry can't do Latin. Only Klingon. :-)

1/29/2006 01:11:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

I don't think they had Klingon then, although of course there's always time travel ...

Seriously, thanks! You've been enormously helpful!

1/29/2006 09:27:00 am  
Blogger Ronnie Smartt said...

I missed this request until today. There may be some errors in the transcription, but my Latin is worse these days and of course it is not my period, but I'll try. The bits in brackets are guesses or just admissions of failure.

The memorial of Dame Helen Branch nee Nicolson, carved in Lydian stone - black jasper - and written in gold letters on her tomb i9n the shrine of St Mary Abchurch, London, (a graceful structure, was erected) in the 1594th year from the Virgin birt

To the happy memory of the pious, beautiful and virtuous lady, dame Helen Branch, venerable daughter of William Nicolson formerly a cccitizen and ( ) of London, and for fortyb years (and more) wife of the most excellent John ( )by whom she had one son, Roger, and three daughters, Joanna (Ripman)and (Margaret)( ) and more recently(to his th year wife oif a (knight) and sometime Mayor of the famous city of London.

Robert Nicolson, gentleman, grandson of her brother, ( ) heir and sole executor of the said lady, at his own expense and by his own choice, has erected this monument.

Lately I wasw what you are now
Now I am what you will be

You whom piety, wealth and beautymade thrice blessed on earth, in the judgment of people, now your faith, constancy and virtue, in God's judgment, command you to be happy for ever in heaven

She died at the age of ninety on 10 April in the 1594th year of Our Salvation.

The sad funeral rites of this most honourable were splendidly and properly celebrated on ( ) day, 20 April 1594, accompanied by a great crowd including (Gilbert) Buckle, then Mayor of turreted London -? governor of the Tower - and also most learned doctors, gentlemen, relations, ( ), (neighbours),(officials) and honourable ladies both well-born and poor

Above in English is this quatrain
Ladie whom Pietie........

By Robin Nicolson, grandson of the said Lady

A;so in English
whom pietie........

2/14/2006 11:37:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Ronnie, you are an absolute and total star!!!! I really wasn't looking forward to trying to teach myself Latin just to translate this! Please award yourself a large glass of whisky or your tipple of choice on my behalf!

2/14/2006 11:54:00 pm  

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