Having no more ink

Originally uploaded by Librarienne.
This delightful book had 17th century scribbling all over it. In at least three places I found variations of this little rambling: “John Siser is my name and with my hand and pen I wish all the same and if my pen (pow’r?) it had borne better… But for having no more ink in my pen… John Siser his book 1677.”

John then goes on to practice writing the letters “J” and “S” several times. I did a quick Google search on him and found a baptism record for one John Siser of Burrough Green, Cambridgeshire dated 3 June 1643. Even if that were the year he’d been born (though he could have been born a few years earlier) John would have been 34 years old in 1677. Which makes the whole thing even funnier to me. A 34-yr-old man writing his name over and over in an old mathematics book?

But then it gets better. This was the honest-to-God printed title of a little pamphlet I cataloged yesterday:

An approved answer to the partiall and vnlikt of Lord Digbies speech to the bill of attainder of the Earle of Strafford.
Which was first torne in pieces and afterwards disgracefully burnt by the hang-man in Smithfield, Cheapside, Westminster, upon Fryday being the 15 day of July, 1641…
written by a worthy gentleman.

from a six-page tract by Thomas Wentworth Strafford, 1593-1641

I worry about Mr. Strafford, first having his bill “torne in pieces and disgracefully burnt” and then mysteriously dying in the same year…? What in the world happened to the poor man? Or maybe he had it coming, I don’t know. I cataloged all sorts of little pamphlets yesterday just like this – all written in England during the 1600s. All of them seemed to be responses to someone else’s pamphlet. To my modern interpretation, they all seemed to be polite only in the tongue-in-cheek sense while indignantly rebuking whatever that other pamphlet writer had said. Can you imagine what these characters would have done with all the communication styles, tools, methods available today? Oh, the hilarity!

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