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The Abingdon Foundation, Park Road, Abingdon, Oxford OX14 1DE 01235 521563 • Edited by Jane Warne – communications@abingdon.org.uk 01235 849123 • Design – www.petergreenland.com Abingdon Out of the Past Words of Wisdom Two hundred and seventy-five years ago the Abingdon School library was refurbished as part of a scheme to ‘repair and beautify’ the old schoolroom. The new library took the form of a handsome gallery, fitted with bookcases and embellished with a Greek inscription from Isocrates – ἐὰν ᾖς φιλομαθής, ἔσῃ πολυμαθής – the best way to become learned is to love learning. This was Erasmus’s advice when asked whether there was a short cut to acquiring knowledge. No, he said, you just have to work hard but you can help yourself by trying to take pleasure in the learning process. Erasmus’s words are as true today as they were when he wrote them in 1529, and when they were painted onto the library gallery in the old schoolroom in 1743. You can now follow Abingdon School on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Twitter: @abingdonschool Facebook: @abingdonschool Instagram: @abingdon_school The schoolroom received another gift in 1743: “The Revd Mr Woods gave ye clock”. Thomas Woods was the Headmaster and the clock is still in the School’s possession. It too has an inscription, this time from the Roman poet Martial – Pereunt et Imputantur – the hours pass but are charged to our account. The message to the boys was and is: whether you use the passing minutes wisely or you waste them, they are still gone forever. In 2006, Isocrates’ Greek inscription was painted onto a bookcase in the Grundy Library using the spelling ἔσει for ‘you will be’, as Isocrates would have done, rather than ἔσῃ which would have been more familiar to the eighteenth-century schoolboy. Changing the Map of Europe The school library appears to have acquired a collection of maps over the centuries too. Among them is one showing the postal routes across Germany in 1805, reflecting the changes to the map of Europe that followed Napoleon’s victories at Marengo and Hohenlinden in 1801, but predating those that followed his victories at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805. From the Eighteenth-Century Library By the eighteenth century it had become the custom for former pupils to donate books to the School. Some of these remain in the School’s possession, including five volumes of The Works of Shakespeare in Seven Volumes edited by Lewis Theobald in 1733 and donated by James Dawkins in 1740. Theobald was the first scholar to attempt the recovery of Shakespeare’s original text from the alterations that had been made to it by linguistic misinterpretation and literary fashion. Not every pupil seems to have appreciated this scholarly addition to the School’s collection: one boy has scrawled ‘imposition’ all over the front cover of Volume Three, probably in revenge for being made to copy out passages from the book as an imposition, an old word for a punishment. Library Gallery with the Greek inscription from an 1840 print of the old schoolroom James Dawkins 1722-1757

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