Aubrey Thomas de Vere
The 'Washing of the Feet,' on Holy Thursday, in St. Peter's
Once more the temple-gates lie open wide:
Onward, once more,
Advance the Faithful, mounting like a tide
That climbs the shore.
What seek they? Blank the altars stand today,
As tombstones bare:
Christ of his raiment was despoiled; and they
His livery wear.
Today the puissant and the proud have heard
The 'mandate new':
That which He did, their Master and their Lord,
They also do.
Today the mitred foreheads, and the crowned,
In meekness bend:
New tasks today the sceptred hands have found;
The poor they tend.
Today those feet which tread in lowliest ways,
Yet follow Christ,
Are by the secular lords of power and praise
Both washed and kissed.
Hail, ordinance sage of hoar antiquity,
Which She retains,
That Church who teaches man how meek should be
The head that reigns!
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