Here is a chestnut from William Andrews’ Curious Epitaphs (1899). See if you can translate it.

Figure 1. The puzzle. In W. Andrews, Curious Epitaphs (p. 232) William Andrews & Co., London, 1899, from a 1796 engraving.

I hope you’ve boned up on your Wheelock! But more to the point, the wit of the satirist is evident here with the bespectacled professors learnedly discussing the stone and taking the inscription down. The one pointing to his eye seems to question what he sees, and the top-right figure is squinting earnestly—almost angrily—at the inscription. The bottle-bottomed figure staring into the distance is the image of confusion. They’ve clearly traveled far to reach this inscription: see their cloaks and one has his sword visible.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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