Your correspondent BALLIOLENSIS, at p. 127. of the current volume of "N. &
Q.," gives several forms of inscriptions in books. The following may prove
interesting to him, if not to the generality of your readers.
A MS. preserved in the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve--it appears to have
been the cellarer's book of the ancient abbey of that name, and to have
been written about the beginning of the sixteenth century--bears on the
fly-sheet the name of "Mathieu Monton, religieux et celerier de l'eglise de
ceans," with the following verses:
"Qui ce livre cy emblera,
Propter suam maliciam
Au gibet pendu sera,
Au gibet sera sa maison,
Sive suis parentibus,
Car ce sera bien raison,
Exemplum datum omnibus."
An Ovid, printed in 1501, belonging to the Bibliotheque de Chinon, has the
"Ce present livre est a Jehan Theblereau.
"Qui le trouvera sy lui rende:
Il lui poyra bien le vin
Le jour et feste Sainct Martin,
Et une mesenge a la Sainct Jean,
Sy la peut prendre.
"Tesmoin mon synet manuel, cy mis le x^e jour de avril mil v^c trente
et cyns, apres Pasque."
Here follows the paraphe.
School-boys in France write the following lines in their books after their
names, and generally accompany them with a drawing of a man hanging on a
"Aspice Pierrot pendu,
Quod librum n'a pas rendu;
Pierrot pendu non fuisset,
Si librum reddidisset."
English school-boys use these forms:
"Hic liber est meus
Testis est Deus.
Si quis furetur
A collo pendetur
Ad hunc modum."
This is always followed by a drawing of a gibbet.
"John Smith, his book.
God give him grace therein to look;
Not only look but understand,
For learning is better than house or land.
When house and land are gone and spent,
Then learning is most excellent."
"John Smith is my name,
England is my nation,
London is my dwelling-place,
And Christ is my salvation.
When I am dead and in my grave,
And all my bones are rotten,
When this you see, remember me,
When I am 'most forgotten."
"Steal not this book, my honest friend,
For fear the gallows should be your end,
And when you're dead the Lord should say,
Where is the book you stole away?"
"Steal not this book for fear of shame,
For under lies the owner's name:
The first is JOHN, in letters bright,
The second SMITH, to all men's sight;
And if you dare to steal this book,
The devil will take you with his hook."
HONORE DE MAREVILLE.
I forward you the following inscription, which I met with in an old copy of
Caesar's _Commentaries_ (if I remember rightly) at Pontefract, Yorkshire:
"Si quis hunc librum rapiat scelestus
Atque scelestis manibus reservet
Ibit ad nigras Acherontis undas
F. F. G. (Oxford).