Posy Ring, “Be constant and true”
This posy ring expresses the wearer’s wish for a long and faithful relationship, either in friendship or married life.
“Posy rings,” their name deriving from the term poésie or poetry, are rings with mottoes or inscriptions on a plain gold band, either in prose or verse. They find mention in plays by William Shakespeare, such as Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. However throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century rings with amatory motifs and posy rings, in particular, became hugely popular as gifts. These were customarily exchanged between friends, relatives and lovers, and at betrothals and wedding ceremonies. In many instances the message was concealed inside the hoop and its content only known to the wearer and giver. In this ring the bestower expresses his or her wish for a long and faithful relationship, for loyalty either in friendship or in married life.
The wide gold band with D-section is engraved inside with the inscription “Be constant and true” in italics. The ring is in good wearable condition.
This posy is not recorded in Evans 1931, however, variations of mottoes such as “Constancy is a noble virtue,” “Constant to thee Ile ever be,” “Constant true love comes from above” or “Constant you for I am trew” (p. 29) give a deeper meaning to the inscription inside the hoop of the above ring. 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, see Dalton 1912, pp. 174 ff.; Scarisbrick 2007, pp. 74 ff., Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978, and Oman 1974, pp. 39 ff.