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Roses & Rue Antiques

Victorian Manuscript with Gravestone Cartoon & Prison Verse

Victorian Manuscript with Gravestone Cartoon & Prison Verse

Regular price $150.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $150.00 USD
Sale Sold out

This very unusual manuscript and cartoon is likely from a Victorian scrapbook: It was common to copy favorite verses but it’s always nice when there is artwork as well. The inscription at the top is an old rhyme about prison that seems to have been first written down in the 1600s: In his Jottings from Jail: Notes and Papers on Prison Matters, 1887, J.W. Horsley says the first publishing of this verse was by Geffray Mynshul in 1618 while he was himself imprisoned for debt. A reprint from 1812 contains these lines:

A prison is a house of care
A place where none can thrive
A touchstone true to try a friend
A grave for one alive
Sometimes a place of right
Sometimes a place of wrong
Sometimes a place of rogues and thieves
And honest men among.

It’s not known who exactly wrote these lines but Sir Walter Scott includes them at the opening of Chapter 15 of his novel Guy Mannerling. 

The cartoon seems unrelated but humorous: Within a gravestone is a man beneath a cartwheel and a funny rhyme.

Presented in an antique frame. 

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