Burns collage from www.robertburns.org/works/

Table of Contents

Robert "Robbie" Burns (1759-1796)
  1. The Master's Apron
  2. Masonic Song: Ye Sons of Old Killie
  3. Adieu, A Heart-Warm, Fond Adieu
  4. Stanza Added in a Masonic Lodge
  5. Presentation Of The Pillars
  6. A (Bawdy) Masonic Song
  7. For Auld Lang Syne
  8. Links to Masonic biographies of Burns
    A collection of articles about Burns

(Move your mouse over colored words in poems for translation)

This poem has been attributed to both Robbie Burns and Henry Kent. No reference to it has been found prior to Kent's using it in a speech in 1880, and some contemporary accounts reported that Kent had written it himself in imitation of Burn's style. However, some esteemed Masonic historians, particularly Robert Freke Gould (1836 - 1915), as well as later ones like George M. Martin and Ray V. Denslow, have confidently attributed it to Burns. Brother Kent seems to have stonger claim, but the issue is not entirely settled.


The Master's Apron

Ther's mony a badge that's unco braw;
Wi' ribbon, lace and tape on;
Let kings an' princes wear them a'
Gie me the Master's apron!

The honest craftsman's apron,
The jolly Freemason's apron,
Be he at hame, or roam afar,
Before his touch fa's bolt and bar,
The gates of fortune fly ajar,
'Gin he but wears the apron!

For wealth and honor, pride and power
Are crumbling stanes to base on;
Eternity suld rule the hour,
And ilka worthy Mason!
Each Free Accepted Mason,
Each Ancient Crafted Mason.

Then, brithers, let a halesome sang
Arise your friendly ranks alang!
Guidwives and bairnies blithely sing
To the ancient badge wi' the apron string
That is worn by the Master Mason!

Masonic Song: Ye Sons of Old Killie

Ye sons of Auld Killie, assembled by Willie,
To follow the noble vocation;
Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another
To sit in that honoured station.
I've little to say, but only to pray,
As praying's the ton of your fashion;
A prayer from the muse you well may excuse,
`Tis seldom her favorite passion.

Ye powers who preside o'er the wind and the tide,
Who marked each element's border,
Who formed this frame with beneficent aim
Whose sovereign statute is order,
Within this dear mansion may wayward contention,
Or withered Envy ne'er enter,
May secrecy round be the mystical bound
And brotherly love be the center.

Adieu, A Heart-Warm, Fond Adieu

Adieu, a heart warm, fond adieu,
Dear brothers of the mystic tie!
Ye favored, ye enlightened few,
Companions of my social joy!
Tho' I to foreign lands must hie,
Pursuing fortune's slidd'ry ba',
With melting heart and brimful eye,
I'll mind you still, though far awa'.

Oft have I met your social band,
An' spent the cheerful, festive night;
Oft, honored with supreme command,
Presided o'er the sons of light;
And by that Hieroglyphic bright,
Which none but Craftsmen ever saw,
Strong memory on my heart shall write
Those happy scenes, when far awa'.

May freedom, harmony and love
Unite you in the grand design,
Beneath th' omniscient Eye above,
The glorious Architect divine;
That you may keep the unerring line,
Still rising by the plummet's law,
Till order bright completely shine,
Shall be my prayer when far awa'.

And you farewell, whose merits claim
Justly that highest badge to wear,
Heaven bless your honored, noble name,
To Masonry and Scotia dear!
A last request, permit me here;
When yearly ye assemble a',
One round, — I ask it with a tear
To him, the Bard, that's far awa'.

A Stanza Added In A Mason Lodge

Then fill up a bumper and make it o'erflow,
And honours Masonic prepare for to throw;
May ev'ry true Brother of the Compass and Square
Have a big-belly'd bottle when harass'd with care.

source for this lyric was

This poem was reportedly taken from the West Australian Constitution Ritual Book. Since it was only found at www.micronet.net.au/~tmolde/Resources.html on the net, and not in the Burns website, which is supposed to have all of his writings on line, this may be something just written in homage to him by someone else.

Presentation of the Pillars

Long may this Lodge in prosperity shine
And its members still vie with each other
In spreading the light of our order divine
And relieving the wants of a brother.

May envy and malice ne’er enter that door
That is aye closely tyled to the cowan
But peace, love and harmony aye be in store
More abundant the older you’re growing.

May our Master who presides like the Masters of old
In wisdom excel and astonish
May he never be heard erring brothers to scold
But with brotherly love aye admonish.

May our Warden in the West, like the sun’s setting rays
Illumine the golden horizon
May his strength never fail with the burden of days
But increase every moment that flies on.

And to our Warden in the South, like the beauty of day
May he gladden the worn, tired and weary
Inspire with his smiles as they rest by the way
The toilers, and make them feel cheery.

And to you whom our Master is honoured to rule and instruct
Be ye always sober and steady
Expert in the use of each working tool
And aye hae them handy and ready.

Thus will the Temple we seek to upraise
Be completed when all do their duty
And our voices unite in a chorus of praise
To Wisdom, to Strength and to Beauty

Another poem not found on the Robbie Burns site.

A Masonic Song

It happened on a winter night,
And early in the season.
Some body said my bonny lad
Was gone to be a Mason.
Fal de ral, etc.

I cryed and wailed, but nought availed,
He put a forward face on.
And did avow that he was now
A Free Accepted Mason.

Still doubting if the fact was true,
He gave me demonstration;
For out he drew before my view
The Jewels of a Mason.

The Jewels all, baith great and small,
I viewed with admiration;
When he set his swage and drew his gauge,
I wondered at my Mason.

So pleased was I to see him ply
The tools of his vocation,
I beg'd for once he would dispense
And make a Maid a Mason.

Then round and round in mystic ground
He took the middle station,
And with halting pace he reached the place
Where I was made a Mason.

His compass stride he laid it wide,
I thought I guessed the reason.
But his mallet shaft it put me daft;
I longed to be a Mason.

Good plummets strong he downward hung
A noble jolly brace on;
And off a slant his broacher sent
And drove it like a Mason.

Then more and more the light did pour
With bright Illumination,
But when the grip he did me slip
I gloried in my Mason.

But the tempered steel began to fail,
Too soft for the occasion.
It melted lean he drove so keen,
My gallant noble Mason.

What farther passed is here locked fast,
I'm under obligation.
But fill to him, up to the brim,
Can make a Maid a Mason.

British Poets and Secret Societies, p.70

Not a Masonic song, but perhaps Burns' best known.

For Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae rin about the braces,
And pu'd the gowans fine
But we've wandered monie a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl't i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun til dine
But scas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.
And here's a hand, my trusty fiery
And gie's a hand o' thine
Ane we'll tak a right guid willie-waught
For auld lang syne.
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Also known os "Bobbie," "Robbie," or "Rabbie" Burns.
For complete biographies from a Masonic viewpoint, visit
"Rabbie Burns, Poet Laureate, or Not?," G.L. of B.C.& Y.
or Short Talk Bulletin; v1#6; June, 1923
or "Robert Burns - Freemason," G.L. of Scotland, 1954
or The Builder, v14#1, Jan.,1928