The longer the College stands empty, the more haunted it becomes.
I don’t wish to imply that I’ve communed with Thomas Ken in Chamber Court, or seen the Grey Lady. I’m talking about all the people who have been happy here, their memories, and our memories of them.
Some do their haunting in person, as visitors, or dons, but the Old Wykehamist with whom I associate the lines below returned to be received Ad Portas (the highest honour the school can bestow upon a guest, with a ceremony in the medieval heart of the College) in an astonishing line-up of his friends and contemporaries, all Fellows of the Royal Society or the British Academy. I’ve never forgotten his transparent joy at being back in the school he loved.
John Lucas (Coll: 42-47) died this April, aged 90. You can read all about his distinguished philosophical career in The Trusty Servant, but I remember him in a fraying greenish academic gown held together with what looked like electricians’ tape, standing at the lectern in Merton Chapel to read this poem.
They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
I wept as I remember'd how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.
And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.
William (Johnson) Cory, 1823–1892
2nd July 2020
In our last postcard from home this term, Anvesh explains that, whilst he misses friends and school life, he has enjoyed spending time with his family, learning recipes from his older sister and playing games with his parents.
22nd June 2020
English don Tom Quale considers how literature bears "the indelible impression of its time" and what that might mean for the writing taking place during this turbulent period.
15th June 2020
Volunteering in his local village and cycling for charity, Alfred is using his time away from school in a particularly inspiring way.
8th June 2020
English don, Richard Stillman reflects on the protests sweeping the United States and United Kingdom, what we might do to educate ourselves, and how this might help make a difference.
7th June 2020
Living through lockdown in Nigeria with his family, Tomiwa describes the all too familiar pattern of endless baking, eating and then realising the need to exercise intensely. He writes about how he's filling the time when he's not studying.
1st June 2020
Two brothers write of their experiences of lockdown together, with one studying for exams, and the other continuing his singing, remotely.