Posy Ring, "FORGET NOT HE WHO LOVETH THEE"
A heavy posy with large cursive script that reminds the wearer to never forget this special gift.
Messages of romantic love on rings, and mottoes or inscriptions in prose or verse on plain gold bands go back to the Middle Ages. In the Elizabethan period they find mention in the plays of William Shakespeare, as in Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, posy rings, as they were also known, enjoyed great popularity, their name deriving from the term poesie or poetry. These tokens of affection were exchanged between friends, lovers, and family and were increasingly given at betrothals or wedding ceremonies. The message of love was often concealed inside the hoop, touching the finger, and its content only known to the giver and the wearer of the ring.
A gold hoop with D-section, plain on the exterior and on the interior the engraved inscription in italics “Forget not he who loveth thee” (Do not forget the one who loves you). The ring is in good wearable condition.
The same motto appears on a seventeenth-century posy ring in the British Museum, London (Dalton 1912, no. 1151). The posy is quoted in Evans, 1931, p. 37. For a history of posy rings with extensive list of posies, see Evans, 1931 and Anon., A Garland of Love: A Collection of Posy-Ring Mottoes, London 1907. For further information on their use, see Dalton 1912, pp. 174 ff.; Scarisbrick 2007, pp. 74 ff., Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978, and Oman 1974, pp. 39 ff.