man in black suit standing on staircase

The vicar’s life

Through the portal and down the Nave,
he march’d with Holy Writ in hand,
to kneel and pray
at break of day,
and lean upon the reading stand.

Of first order is morning prayer,
so on is thrown a surplice.
Then follows he
with the Litany
and say the Lord’s Prayer twice.

Then the rite all love the best
to say, Holy Communion.
The words of Christ
they’ve now prayed thrice,
with Christendom in union.

Into the vestry and off is put,
And hung upon the door,
the surplice there.
Now gown to wear
to go into the church once more.

Now to expound the words of Christ
for all who stay’d to hear it;
that all who hear
should come draw near,
to take up the cross and bear it.

A sermon preached like none other wrote
or ever read before.
Take off the gown
and throw it down,
to don the surplice from the door.

“Draw near with faith,” he tells them all:
to make contrite confession—
and hope and pray
what he had to say
was not lost in the lesson.

Then to the Table of the Lord,
by the north most side to stand,
to pray the line
of words divine,
while taking loaf and cup in hand.

They pray again, this comes to four,
“Our Father which art in heav’n.”
All did meet,
His meal to eat,
and all before eleven!

The Curate’s work is never done.
He’s earned his drink of liquor!
So on Sunday,
please take time to say,
“Dear Lord God, bless the Vicar!”


  • John Taylor Brantley is a vicar, teacher, and Christian education advocate from eastern North Carolina. He is a minister in the United Episcopal Church of North America.

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Clarence M. Novess III
Clarence M. Novess III
June 27, 2022 1:17 am

John –
This is wonderful! You’ve captured it very well.
Thank you!
Deacon Clarence

June 27, 2022 10:09 pm

If one reads through Morning Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communion as the 1662 rubrics originally call for, one will be reading the Lord’s Prayer four times; that is true. The rubrics do provide for some alternatives.

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