The poem depicts a religious event carried on on a Holy Thursday, in which rows of clean children dressed in cheerful clothes walk into Saint Paul cathedral in a sort of procession, guided by beadles. Citizens of London town, including the aged man, sit and observe the ceremony while thousands of little boys and girls elevate their hands and a song is raised to Heaven.
The poem reads the following:
Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green,
Grey headed beadles walking before with wands as white as snow;
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.
Oh what a multitude they seemed, those flowers of London town.
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs:
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.
Now like a mighty wind they raise to Heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among.
Beneath them sit the agéd men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.