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Poem by Bessie Rayner Parkes

St. John Lateran

OF temples built by mortal hands,
Give honour to the Lateran first;
'Twas here the hope of many lands--
The infant Church--was nursed:

And grew unto a great estate,
And waxed strong in grace and power,
With Christ for Head and Faithful Mate,
And Learning for her dower.

Since first this house to Him was raised,
Three times five hundred years have run;
For this let Constantine be praised,
An English mother's son!

He with his own imperial sword
Did dig foundations broad and deep,
That henceforth in His hand the Lord
Rome and her hills should keep.

In after ages, one by one,
Arose the altars vowed to Heaven;
Each crest is sacred now, but none
Like this of all the Seven!

Behold she stands! The Mother Church!
A queen among her countless peers!
Ah! open be that sacred porch
For thrice five hundred years!

Bessie Rayner Parkes

Bessie Rayner Parkes's other poems:
  1. Rome
  2. Firelight
  3. Up the River
  4. The Old Chateau
  5. King Arthur

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