Transcription Notes: First published in 1723, notes on the history of this book can be found in an appendix. This Internet file is not an exact copy of the book. Certain liberties have been taken. Photographic copies are available elsewhere on the Internet, so this file has been designed for greater readability instead. It is presented here as a collection of poetry, rather than as songs to be sung. Some of the conventions helpful for singing, such as heavy use of apostrophes for elided 'e's and 'v's, were felt unnecessary and distracting, so all of the vowels that were apostrophized out have been replaced. While choruses are noted, repeating lines have otherwise been left out. A very few spellings have been modernized, and typographic errors corrected. Capitalization and use of italics have been reduced to conform to modern practice.

This file presents only the title pages and songbook portion of the original. The songbook portion ran from pages 81 to 91 in the 1734 American edition, and pages 83 to 101 in the 1859 London one. If a more precise rendition is required, photocopies of various editions are available online at several places. The 1723 edition included musical scores, which were not reproduced in the 1734 version. The books did not include any Table of Contents, and the songs were not included in the indexes. The ToC and indexes in this file have been compiled for the MPS, and were not part of the originals.


Title page to Anderson's 1723 edition:






History, Charges, Regulations, &c.
of that most Ancient and Right

Worshipful FRATERNITY.

For the Use of the LODGES.

L O N D O N:

Printed by William Hunter, for John Senex, at the Globe
and John Hooke at the Flower-de-Luce, over-against St. Dunstan's
, in Fleet-street.

In the Year of Masonry — 5723
Anno Domini — — 1723

Title page to Franklin's 1734 edition:






History, Charges, Regulations, &c.
of that most Ancient and Right

Worshipful FRATERNITY.

For the Use of the LODGES.

L O N D O N Printed; Anno 5723.

Re-printed in Philadelphia by special Order, for the Use
of the Brethren in N O R T H- A M E R I C A.

In the Year of Masonry 5734, Anno Domini 1734

The song-book portion was not mentioned in any forward, preface, etc.

Table of Contents

(Compiled by the transcriber)
The Master's Song, or,
The History Of Masonry
James Anderson
Part I: Adam to Babel
Part II: Babel to Sampson
Part III: Solomon to Rome
Part IV: Rome to James I
Part V: Inago Jones to Duke of Montagu
The Warden's Song, or
Another History Of Masonry
James Anderson
The Fellow-Craft's Song Charles Delafaye
The Entered 'Prentice's SongMatthew Birkhead
A New SongBenjamin Franklin (?)
Index of First Lines
Biography of James AndersonPaul Royster
Biography of Benjamin FranklinPaul Royster

The Master's Song.

Or The

History Of Masonry.

by James Anderson
To be sung with a chorus, when the Master shall give leave (no brother being present to whom singing is disagreeable) either one part only, or all together, as he pleases.


Adam, the first of humane kind,
Created with Geometry
Imprinted on his royal mind,
Instructed soon his progeny
Cain & Seth, who then improved
The liberal Science in the Art
Of Architecture, which they loved,
And to their offspring did impart.

Cain a city fair and strong
First built, and called it Consecrate,
From Enoch's name, his eldest son,
Which all his race did imitate:
But godly Enoch, of Seth's loins,
Two columns raised with mighty skill:
And all his family enjoins
True colonading to fulfill.

Our father Noah next appeared,
A Mason too divinely taught;
And by divine command upreared
The Ark that held a goodly fraught:
'Twas built by true Geometry,
A piece of Architecture fine;
Helped by his sons, in number three,
Concurring in the grand design.

So from the general Deluge none
Were saved, but Masons and their wives;
And all Mankind from them alone
Descending, Architecture thrives;
For they, when multiplied amain,
Fit to disperse and fill the earth,
In Shinar's large and lovely plain
To Masonry gave second birth.

For most of Mankind were employed,
To build the City and the Tower;
The General Lodge was overjoyed,
In such effects of Masons power;
'Till vain ambition did provoke
Their Maker to confound their plot;
Yet tho' with tongues confused they spoke,
The learned Art they ne'er forgot.


Who can unfold the Royal Art?
Or sing its secrets in a song?
They're safely kept in Mason's heart,
And to the ancient Lodge belong.

[Stop here to drink the present Grand Master's health.]


Thus when from Babel they disperse
In colonies to distant climes,
All Masons true, who could rehearse
Their works to those of after times;
King Nimrod fortified his realm,
By castles, towers, and cities fair:
Mitzraim, who ruled at Egypt's helm,
Built pyramids stupendous there.

Nor Japhet, and his gallant breed,
Did less in Masonry prevail;
Nor Shem, and those that did succeed
To promised blessings by entail;
For Father Abram brought from Ur
Geometry, the science good;
Which he revealed, without demur,
To all descending from his blood.

Nay, Jacob's race at length were taught,
To lay aside the shepherd's crook,
To use Geometry were brought,
Whilst under Pharaoh's cruel yoke;
'Till Moses Master-Mason rose,
And led the Holy Lodge from thence,
All Masons trained, to whom he chose,
His curious learning to dispense.

Aholiab and Bezaleel,
Inspired men, the tent upreared:
Where the Shechinah chose to dwell,
And Geometric skill appeared:
And when these valiant Masons filled
Canaan, the learned Phoenicians knew
The Tribes of Israel better skilled
In Architecture firm and true.

For Dagon's house in Gaza town
Artfully proped by columns two;
By Samson's mighty arms pulled down
On lords Philistian, whom it slew;
Tho' 'twas the finest fabrick raised
By Canaan's sons, could not compare
With the Creator's Temple praised,
For glorious strength and structure fair.

But here we stop a while to toast
Our Master's health and Wardens both;
And warn you all to shun the coast
Of Samson's shipwracked fame and troth;
His secrets once to wife disclosed,
His strength was fled, his courage tamed,
To cruel foes he was exposed,
And never was a Mason named.


[Stop here to drink the health of the Master and Wardens of this particular Lodge]


We sing of Masons' ancient fame,
When fourscore thousand craftsmen stood,
Under the Masters of great name,
Three thousand and six hundred good,
Employed by Solomon the sire,
And General Master-Mason too;
As Hiram was in stately Tyre,
Like Salem, built by Masons true.

The Royal Art was then divine,
The craftsmen counseled from above,
The Temple did all works outshine,
The wondering world did all approve;
Ingenious men, from every place,
Came to survey the glorious pile;
And, when returned, began to trace
And imitate its lofty style.

At length the Grecians came to know
Geometry, and learned the Art,
Which great Pythagoras did show,
And glorious Euclid did impart;
The amazing Archimedes, too,
And many other scholars good;
Till ancient Romans did review
The Art, and Science understood.

But when proud Asia they had quelled,
And Greece and Egypt overcome,
In Architecture they excelled,
And brought the learning all to Rome;
Where wise Vitruvius, Master prime
Of architects, the art improved,
In great Augustus' peaceful time,
When arts and artists were beloved

They brought the knowledge from the East;
And as they made the nations yield,
They spread it through the North and West,
And taught the world the Art to build;
Witness their citadels and towers,
To fortify their legions fine,
Their temples, palaces, and bowers,
That spoke the Masons' Grand Design.

Thus mighty Eastern Kings, and some
Of Abram's race, and monarchs good,
Of Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Rome,
True Architecture understood:
No wonder, then, if Masons join,
To celebrate those Mason-Kings,
With solemn note and flowing wine,
Whilst every Brother jointly sings.


[Stop here to drink to the glorious memory of emperors, kings, princes, nobles, gentry, clergy, and learned scholars that ever propagated the Art.]


Oh! glorious days for Masons wise,
O'er all the Roman Empire when
Their fame, resounding to the skies,
Proclaimed them good and useful men;
For many ages thus employed,
Until the Goths, with warlike rage,
And brutal ignorance, destroyed
The toil of many a learned age.

But when the conquering Goths were brought
To embrace the Christian Faith, they found
The folly that their fathers wrought,
In loss of architecture sound.
At length their zeal for stately fanes
And wealthy grandeur, when at peace,
Made them exert their utmost pains,
Their Gothic buildings to upraise.

Thus many a sumptuous lofty pile
Was raised in every Christian land,
Tho' not conformed to Roman style,
Yet which did reverence command;
The King and Craft agreeing still,
In well-formed Lodges to supply
The mournful want of Roman skill
With their new sort of Masonry.

For many ages this prevails,
Their work is architecture deemed;
In England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales,
The Craftsmen highly are esteemed,
By kings, as Masters of the Lodge,
By many a wealthy, noble peer,
By lord and laird, by priest and judge,
By all the people every where.

So Masons' ancient records tell,
King Athelstan, of Saxon blood,
Gave them a Charter free to dwell
In lofty Lodge, with orders good,
Drawn from old writings by his son,
Prince Edwin, General Master bright,
Who met at York the Brethren soon,
And to that Lodge did all recite.

Thence were their laws and charges fine
In every reign observed with care,
Of Saxon, Danish, Norman line,
Till British crowns united were:
The monarch first of this whole Isle
Was learned James, a Mason King,
Who first of kings revived the style
Of Great Augustus: therefore sing.


[Stop here to drink to the happy memory of all the revivers of the ancient Augustan style.]


Thus tho' in Italy the Art
From Gothic rubbish first was raised;
And great Palladio did impart
A style by Masons justly praised:
Yet here his mighty rival Jones,
Of British architects the prime,
Did build such glorious heaps of stones,
As ne'er were matched since Cæsar's time.

King Charles the First, a Mason too,
With several peers and wealthy men,
Employed him and his craftsmen true,
Till wretched civil wars began.
But after peace and crown restored,
Tho' London was in ashes laid,
By Masons Art and good accord,
A finer London reared its head.

King Charles the Second raised then
The finest Column upon earth,
Founded St. Paul's, that stately fane,
And Royal Change, with joy and mirth:
But afterwards the Lodges failed,
Till Great Nassau the taste revived,
Whose bright example so prevailed,
That ever since the Art has thrived.

Let other nations boast at will,
Great Britain now will yield to none,
For true Geometry and skill,
In building timber, brick, and stone;
For Architecture of each sort,
For curious Lodges, where we find
The noble and the wise resort,
And drink with Craftsmen true and kind.

Then let good Brethren all rejoice,
And fill their glass with cheerful heart;
Let them express with grateful voice
The praises of the wondrous Art;
Let every Brother's health go round,
Not fool or knave, but Mason true;
And let our Master's fame resound,
The noble Duke of Montagu.


The Warden's Song.

Or Another

History Of Masonry.

by James Anderson
Composed since The Most Noble Prince Philip, Duke Of Wharton, was chosen Grand-Master.
To be sung and played at the Quarterly Communication.

When e'er we are alone,
And every stranger gone,
In summer, autumn, winter, spring,
Begin to play, begin to sing,
The mighty genius of the lofty Lodge,
In every age
That did engage
And well inspired the prince, the priest, the judge,
The noble and the wise to join
In rearing Masons' Grand Design.

The Grand Design to rear,
Was ever Masons' care,
From Adam down before the Flood,
Whose Art old Noah understood,
And did impart to Japhet, Shem, and Ham,
Who taught their race
To build apace
Proud Babel's town and tower, until it came
To be admired too much, and then
Dispersed were the sons of men.

But tho' their tongues confused
In distant climes they used,
They brought from Shinar orders good,
To rear the Art they understood:
Therefore sing first the Princes of the Isles;
Next Belus great,
Who fixed his seat
In old Assyria, building stately piles;
And Mitzraim's Pyramids among
The other subjects of our song.

And Shem, who did instill
The useful wondrous skill
Into the minds of nations great:
And Abram next, who did relate
The Assyrian learning to his sons, that when
In Egypt's land,
By Pharaoh's hand,
Were roughly taught to be most skillful men;
Till their Grand-Master Moses rose,
And them delivered from their foes.

But who can sing his praise,
Who did the tent upraise?
Then sing his workmen true as steel,
Aholiab and Bezaleel;
Sing Tyre and Sidon, and Phoenicians old.
But Samson's Blot
Is ne'er forgot:
He blabbed his secrets to his wife, that sold
Her husband, who at last pulled down
The house on all in Gaza Town.

But Solomon the King
With solemn note we sing,
Who reared at length the Grand Design,
By wealth, and power, and Art divine;
Helped by the learned Hiram, Tyrian Prince,
By craftsmen good,
That understood
Wise Hiram Abif's charming influence:
He aided Jewish Masters bright,
Whose curious works none can recite.

These glorious Mason Kings
Each thankful Brother sings,
Who to its zenith raised the Art,
And to all nations did impart
The useful skill: for from the Temple fine,
To every land,
And foreign strand,
The Craftsmen marched, and taught the Grand Design;
Of which the kings, with mighty peers,
And learned men, were overseers.

Diana's Temple next,
In Lesser Asia fixed:
And Babylon's proud walls, the seat
Of Nebuchadnezzar the Great;
The tomb of Mausolus, the Carian King;
With many a pile
Of lofty style
In Africa and Greater Asia, sing,
In Greece, in Sicily, and Rome,
That had those nations overcome.

Then sing Augustus too,
The General Master true,
Who by Vitrivius did refine,
And spread the Masons' Grand Design
Through North and West, till ancient Britons chose
The Royal Art
In every part,
And Roman architecture could disclose;
Until the Saxons warlike rage
Destroyed the skill of many an age.

At length the Gothic style
Prevailed in Britain's Isle,
When Masons' Grand Design revived,
And in their well formed Lodges thrived,
Tho' not as formerly in Roman days:
Yet sing the fanes
Of Saxon Danes,
Of Scots, Welsh, Irish; but sing first the praise
Of Athelstan and Edwin Prince,
Our Master of great influence.

And eke the Norman kings
The British Mason sings;
Till Roman style revived there,
And British crowns united were
In learned James, a Mason king, who raised
Fine heaps of stones
By Inigo Jones,
That rivaled wise Palladio, justly praised
In Italy, and Britain too,
For architecture firm and true.

And thence in every reign
Did Masonry obtain
With kings, the noble and the wise,
Whose fame, resounding to the skies,
Excites the present age in Lodge to join,
And aprons wear
With skill and care,
To raise the Masons ancient Grand Design,
And to revive the Augustan style
In many an artful glorious pile.

From henceforth ever sing
The Craftsman and the King,
With poetry and music sweet
Resound their harmony complete;
And with Geometry in skillful hand,
Due homage pay,
Without delay,
To Wharton's noble Duke, our Master Grand:
He rules the free-born sons of art,
By love and friendship, hand and heart.

Who can rehearse the praise,
In soft poetic lays,
Or solid prose, of Masons true,
Whose art transcends the common view?
Their secrets, ne'er to strangers yet exposed,
Preserved shall be
By Masons free,
And only to the ancient Lodge disclosed;
Because they're kept in Masons' heart
By Brethren of the Royal Art.

The Fellow-Craft's Song.

by our Brother Charles Delafaye, Esq.
To be sung and played at the Grand-Feast.

Hail, Masonry! thou Craft divine!
Glory of Earth, from Heaven revealed;
Which dost with jewels precious shine,
From all but Masons' eyes concealed.

Thy praises due who can rehearse
In nervous prose, or flowing verse?

As men from brutes distinguished are,
A Mason other men excels;
For what's in knowledge choice and rare
But in his breast securely dwells?

His silent breast and faithful heart
Preserve the secrets of the art.

From scorching heat, and piercing cold;
From beasts, whose roar the forest rends;
From the assaults of warriors bold
The Masons' art mankind defends.

Be to this art due honour paid,
From which mankind receives such aid.

Ensigns of state, that feed our pride,
Distinctions troublesome, and vain!
By Masons true are laid aside:
Art's free-born sons such toys disdain.

Ennobled by the name they bear,
Distinguished by the badge they wear.

Sweet fellowship, from envy free:
Friendly converse of brotherhood;
The Lodge's lasting cement be!
Which has for ages firmly stood.

A Lodge thus built, for ages past
Has lasted, and will ever last.

Then in our songs be justice done
To those who have enriched the art,
From Jabal down to Burlington,
And let each Brother bear a part.

Let noble Masons' healths go round:
Their praise in lofty Lodge resound.

The Entered 'Prentice's Song.

by our late Brother Mr. Matthew Birkhead, deceased.
To be sung when all grave business is over, and with the Master's leave.

Come, let us prepare,
We Brothers that are
Assembled on merry occasion;
Let's drink, laugh, and sing;
Our wine has a spring:
Here's a health to an Accepted Mason.

The world is in pain
Our secrets to gain,
And still let them wonder and gaze on;
They ne'er can divine
The word or the sign
Of a Free and an Accepted Mason.

'Tis this and 'tis that,
They cannot tell what,
Why so many great men of the nation
Should aprons put on,
To make themselves one
With a Free and an Accepted Mason.

Great kings, dukes, and lords,
Have laid by their swords,
Our mystery to put a good grace on;
And ne'er been ashamed
To hear themselves named
With a Free and an Accepted Mason.

Antiquity's pride
We have on our side,
And it maketh men just in their station:
There's nought but what's good
To be understood
By a Free and an Accepted Mason.

Then join hand in hand,
To each other firm stand,
Let's be merry, and put a bright face on.
What mortal can boast
So noble a toast,
As a Free and an Accepted Mason?

A New Song

[Unattributed, but likely by Benjamin Franklin.]

What though they call us Masons fools,
We prove by geometry and rules,
We've arts are taught in all our schools;
They charge us falsely then.
We make it plainly to appear,
By our behaviour every where
That when you meet a Mason, there
You meet a Gentleman.

'Tis true we once have charged been
With disobedience to our Queen;
But after monarchs plain have seen,
The secrets they have sought.
We hatch no plots against the state,
Nor 'gainst great men in power prate
But all that's generous, good and great
Is daily by us taught.

What noble structures do we see,
By ancient Brethren raisèd be!
The world's surprised, and shall not we
Then honour Masonry?
Let those that do despise the Art,
Live in a cave in some desart,
And herd with beasts from men apart
For their stupidity.

View but those savage nations, where
No Masonry did e'er appear,
What strange unpolished brutes they are
Then honour Masonry.
It makes us courteous, easy, free,
Generous, honourable and gay;
What other Art the like can say?
Here's a health to Masonry,

Index of First Lines

(Compiled by the transcriber)
First LineAuthor
Adam, the first of humane kind,James Anderson
Come, let us prepare, We Brothers that areMatthew Birkhead
Hail, Masonry! thou Craft divine!Charles Delafaye
What though they call us Masons fools,Benjamin Franklin
When e'er we are alone,James Anderson

The following appendices are by Paul Royster, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, dated February, 2006, from an online version of this book.

James Anderson (c.1679–1739) was born and educated in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was ordained a minister in the Church of Scotland in 1707, and moved to London, where he ministered to the Glass House Street congregation until 1710, and to the Presbyterian church in Swallow Street until 1734, and at Lisle Street Chapel until his death. He is reported to have lost a large sum of money in the South Sea Company crash of 1720. Anderson was a Master of a Masonic lodge and a Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. He was commissioned to write this history of the Free-Masons by the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster in September of 1721, and it was published in 1723. A second edition, much expanded, appeared in 1738. The work was translated into many languages, including Dutch (1736), German (1741), and French (1745). His other published works include Royal Genealogies (1732), A Defence of Masonry (1738?), News from Elysium (1739), and A Genealogical History of the House of Yvery (1742). His authorship of the present work is declared on page 80.

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) came to Philadelphia from Boston in 1723, and opened his own printing business in 1728, in partnership with Hugh Meredith, who left in 1730. He began to publish the Pennsylvania Gazette in October of 1729 and became the official printer for the colony of Pennsylvania in 1731. Franklin was admitted to the St. John's Lodge of Free-Masons in January of 1731, became a junior grand warden [sic] of the lodge in June of 1732, and Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania in June of 1734. He advertised his edition of The Constitutions of the Free-Masons as “just published” in the Pennsylvania Gazette for May 16, 1734 (at a price of 2s.6d., or bound at 4s.). Franklin’s connections with Masonry were very important for his professional, intellectual, and political careers, and he maintained them throughout his life, not only in America, but in England and France, as well.*

* [During Franklin's lifetime, the Grand Lodge of England was split by a schism, which was not healed until long after Franklin's death. When Franklin returned from France to the US, the Grand Lodge he had known had dissolved, and was replaced by a Grand Lodge of the opposing faction, which did not recognize Franklin's Masonic credentials, and which he in turn did not recognize, so that he had no further Masonic contact from that time on.

The edition of The Constitutions of the Free-Masons that Franklin produced in Philadelphia in 1734 is a fairly faithful reprinting of the London original of eleven years earlier. It omits only the musical scores for some of the songs, the engraved frontispiece and coat of arms of the Duke of Montagu, and the Hebrew type occurring in the note to page 15 in this edition. In general, it is not as ornate or as typographically complex as the London edition, although clearly the effort was made to produce an attractive and fully ornamented book. It consisted of 96 pages, with the last two blank, on imported Genoese paper, with the pages measuring 8 inches high by 5.7 inches wide. In August of 1734, Franklin sent 70 copies to the Masonic Lodge in Boston and, at some point, another 25 copies to Charleston. Seventeen copies of the edition are known to survive. Facsimile editions have appeared in New York in 1905 and in Washington, D.C., in 1924. (See C. William Miller, Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia Printing, 1728-1766: A Descriptive Bibliography, [Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1974], pp. 39-40.)

One of the five songs (“A New Song,” page 91) in the book appeared in print for the first time in the 1734 edition. It is not known if Franklin composed this song, but it is known that he composed another (“Fair Venus Calls”) around 1741 that continued to be sung at Masonic meetings into the nineteenth century. (See J. A. Leo Lemay, Benjamin Franklin: A Documentary History; available online at, and Leonard W. Labaree, ed., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, v.I, pp. 373-76.)