Table of Contents

Chas. F. Forshaw
  1. The Builders
  2. The Goddess of Masonry
  3. A Sprig Of Acacia
  4. A True Mason
  5. Who Would Not Be A Mason?
  6. Pledged!
  7. An Annotated Bibliography

The Builders

If in the rearing of an edifice
We form one stone that makes the perfect whole;
To us 'twould be the beau-ideal of bliss
And prove glad unction to the work-worn soul.
A Temple with proportions just and true
Can but erected be by Masons skilled,
Instructed by an Architect who knew
Exactly how to tell them what to build.
And he taught us — however small the stone —
To plumb and level by the' unerring Square —
To make it pattern, so that all might own
'Twas strong and beautiful beyond compare, —
With Chisel and with Gavel we have wrought
To gain "Well Done," — The Tongue of Good Report.

written at Baltimore House, Bradford, England; August 14th, 1916
published in the Masonic Sun, Toronto, Canada; October, 1916

The Goddess of Masonry

Goddess of Purity,
spotless and rare;
Emblem of Charity
unsullied, fair;
Symbol of Meekness —
radiant, bright,
'Minding the Brethren
of realms of Light —
Strong in the knowledge
of virtuous might.
Symbol of Chastity,
Spirit of Bliss;
Coming to cheer us
through the abyss.
Token of faithfulness —
be thou our guide;
Emblem of Hopefulness —
keep by our side,
Help us and lead us o'er
every dark tide!

From "The Freemason's Chronicle"

A Sprig Of Acacia

Say ye that now, alas!, has come the night,
When peace and silence hold unrivalled sway:
When 'neath the scepter of Death's awful might
Our Brother left the realms of timeworn day?

Then hush, ye Craftsmen — friends who loved him well;
I say that to him comes a wondrous sight;
Our Brother now is underneath the spell
Of our Grand Master's everlasting light.

Yes! I admit its solemnness and dread —
But are not Masons taught the way to die?
And I repeat, our Brother is not dead —
He built on Earth a lodge-room in the Sky.

Where, with the Master Builder, lo!, he waits
For you, my Brethren all, at Heaven's eternal gates!

We're suspicious that the final lines of this poem may be mangled. If you have any other source for it, we'd be obliged if you could check it for us.

A True Mason

Write him as one who loves his fellow men,
Who speaks no evil of an erring soul;
But ever strives by action, voice, and pen,
To point the wanderer to the safest goal.

Who understands Masonic beauties rare,
Who metes out praise if praise is rightly due,
And who rebukes if straying ones should dare
To walk the path that leads them from the true.

Write him as one who sows no discord seeds;
Within whose breast there dwells a perfect peace;
Whose heart rebels against ignoble deeds;
Whose praise for God doth day by day increase;
And who in lodge no earthly mason know
Will stand to order at the gavel's blow!

Who Would Not Be A Mason?

Who would not be a Mason, and wear the apron white?
And feel the bonds of friendship the rich and poor unite?
To know Masonic virtues, to do Masonic deeds?
And sympathetic, minister unto a Brother's needs?

Who would not be a Mason, and join the brethren true?
To see our noble teachings their glorious work pursue?
To feel a bond Fraternal is theirs where'er they go?
And find a hearty welcome as they journey to and fro?

Who would not be a Mason, a craftsman just and fair,
To meet upon the Level, and part upon the Square?
To hear the voice of Charity, where'er our Lodges be?
And to know our Grips and Passwords, and share in all our glee?

Who would not be a Mason, to labor day by day?
And laboring try to lessen the thorns upon life's way?
To help to form a column, all perfect and complete?
Fit for building that great Temple, wherein we hope to meet?


On seeing a Past Master's Jewel exposed for sale in a pawnbroker's window.

What Mason did this honored Badge adorn,
This Jewel 'mongst its fellows so forlorn?
Its givers never dreamed that it should be
Exposed for sale — an unredeemed Pawn.

Did he who wore it with such joy and pride,
Fall 'neath the battle of life's fitful tide?
And were there none to treasure or to claim
Such glorious Token when our Brother died?

Was he such Craftsman as would ne'er confess
He needed help, so great was his distress?
And so he left it here in pledge; the while
Old Father Time brought further hopelessness?

Or did he tire of Ancient Art and Rite
For it was so long ere first he saw the Light;
That now his eagerness was on the wane,
And fickle memory dared him to recite.

Had he seceded from our Mysteries —
Fraternal meetings nevermore be his,
Yet Secrets safely locked within the breast?
One can but wonder, when such sight he sees!

July, 1915.

Bro. Charles Frederick Forshaw, M. D. (1863-1917)

Author of several books, particularly "Masonic Musings" (1900), "Masonic Poems"; and edited several others, mostly with mixtures of poems by known and unknown poets (not unlike the content of this MPoets website!). Because of his encouragement and anthologizing of minor poets, we've here given him the sobriquet of "The Amateur Poet." The following chronological bibliography of Brother Forshaw's other works (probably incomplete) contains a few odd instructive notes. Charles was obviously unafraid of lengthy titles!

"Holroyd's Collection of Yorkshire Ballads." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1892). [I have no idea why Holroyd is mentioned in the title, since it's Forshaw's collection. okl.]

"In Memoriam: Tributes to William Ewart Gladstone, Former Prime Minister." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1898).

"Poetical Tributes to the Memory of the Late Most Hon. the Marquess of Salisbury, K.C." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1904). (Advertising sheet of Miss Gabrielle Forshaw, certified optician of Bradford, on each pastedown.)

"At Shakespeare's Shrine: A Poetical Anthology." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1904).

"In Memoriam: Tributes to the Memory of the Late Sir Henry Irving Litt. D. LL. D, president of the Actors' Association." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1905 or '06). [Irving was both one of the greatest actors of the day, and a Mason. okl.]

"Yorkshire Notes And Queries. Being the antiquarian history of Yorkshire." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (5 Volumes, 1905-09). A journal which arose from a series of articles of the same name in the Bradford Weekly Telegraph. These were expanded by the editor to cover the whole of Yorkshire. A valuable feature is the series of “pen portraits” of well-known Yorkshiremen, one for each issue. The series ended in March 1909 due to a shortage of new subscribers.

"Pearls of Poesy. A Biographical Birthday Book of Popular Poets of the Period at the time of the Coronation of King George and Queen Mary." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1911). By 365 poets, mostly very minor, and of some value for the notes on the contributors; a couple of poems are here first published and many more apparently appear for the first time in book form. Forshaw was a Bradford dentist who laboured indefatigably in the stony fields of amateur poesy."

"Poetical Tributes to the Loss of the R.M.S. Titanic" Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1912).

"One Hundred of the Best Poems on the European War: By Poets of the Empire." Edited by Chas. F. Forshaw (1915). 200 poems in all; volume I contains male poets, volume II female.