On Leaving Winchester School

William Lisle Bowles


The spring shall visit thee again,
Itchin! and yonder ancient fane,
That casts its shadow on thy breast,
   As if, by many winters beat,
   The blooming season it would greet,
With many a straggling wild-flower shall be dressed.

But I, amid the youthful train
  That stray at evening by thy side,
No longer shall a guest remain,
   To mark the spring's reviving pride.
I go not unrejoicing; but who knows,
When I have shared, O world! thy common woes,
Returning I may drop some natural tears;
   As these same fields I look around,
   And hear from yonder dome[46] the slow bell sound,
And think upon the joys that crowned my stripling years!

The "ancient fane" is the Hospital of St Cross (a medieval almshouse).

The dome is that of the bell tower of the former Guildhall (now Lloyds Bank).