In 1891, Aristotle’s recently rediscovered Constitution of the Athenians
was published in full for the first time, creating quite the stir and press attention
. The papyrus manuscript had been purchased for the British Museum by E. A. Wallis Budge in 1890.
Nor did the momentous occasion escape the notice of satirical magazine Punch
, who in the January 31 1891 edition, penned a short ditty in commemoration, treating Budge’s quick acquisition as a source of national pride:
THE ARISTOTELIAN TREASURE-TROVEAll have heard of “a Manuscript found in a Bottle,”
But here is a waif with romance yet more fraught:
A newly-found treatise by old ARSTOTLE
Is flotsom indeed from the Ocean of Thought.
Oh, happy discoverer, lucky Museum!
Not this time the foreigner scores off JOHN BULL.
Teuton pundits would lift, for such luck, their
Punch hopes, such a triumph to dull!
May it all turn out right! Further details won’t tire us.
We may get some straight-tips from that Coptic papyrus!
Two weeks later, and a Punch
cartoon took a different tack – portraying a well-groomed young man telling his mother how glad he was to have left school before they found even more Aristotle for him to translate…!