Bionos kai Moschou ta leipsana [printed in Greek characters]. Illustrabat et emendabat Gilbertus Wakefield.
London, T.Bensley 1795.
8vo. (8) + 32 + (2)(first of these pages misnumbered 17) + (82)pp. Contemporary full calf, gilt crossed arrows on spine (binding for Harrow School), rubbed at head of spine and outer corners. Ink names on front free endpaper of “Haddo” (i.e. Lord Haddo, afterwards 4th Earl of Aberdeen) and of “C.Tower Schol.Harrow”. Early nineteenth century book label of Charles Tower.
The copy of this edition of the Greek bucolic poets Bion and Moschus that was used as a text book at Harrow School by George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen (1784-1860), writer on Greek classical architecture and a future British Prime Minister. Lord Haddo (as Aberdeen was known until he inherited his grandfather’s title in 1801) entered Harrow School in June 1795, where he joined Lord Palmerston, another future Prime Minister, who had entered the school a month earlier, and when Lord Aberdeen formed his government in 1852 he reported to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that Palmerston had reminded him that “they were great friends of sixty years standing” (Prince Albert recorded that he and Victoria “could not help laughing at the Harrow Boys and their friendship”). The present volume evidently passed from Aberdeen to Charles Tower, who entered Harrow in January 1796 and later became a clergyman in the Church of England.School books used by British Prime Ministers are uncommon, and this one is of interest in that it is in an unpretentious but distinctive Harrow School binding, identifiable by the crossed arrows on its spine, in recollection of a famous annual archery contest held at the school between 1697 and 1771.