George H. Free
  1. What Of Your Masonry?
  2. What Makes A Mason?
  3. My Ashlar
  4. The Work Divine
  5. My Temple
  6. Just Friends
  7. The Old Dairy Cow
  8. Who is George H. Free?

What Of Your Masonry?

What of your Masonry? Is it put by,
Doffed with your apron, forgotten, to lie
Dormant and void, inefficient and vain,
Till in the lodge you resume it again?

Listen, my brother, true Masonry dwells
Out in the world, not in dungeons and cells;
It feeds the hungry, defends the oppressed,
Lifts those of languish, and soothes the distressed.

Masonry's place is in shop, street and store,
Fully as much as behind the tiled door.
'Tis not a thing to be hidden away,
It should be worn, used, and lived day by day.

Worthy is study and labor to gain
Ritual skill, and perfection attain,
Yet this is only the means to an end,
Useful alone for the aid it can lend.

What of the lessons by Masonry taught?
Have you their practical principles caught?
Live by them, grow by them, build by them, too,
Let them your thought and your actions imbue.

What Makes A Mason?

What makes you a Mason, O brother of mine?
It isn't the duegard, nor is it the sign,
It isn't the jewel which hangs on your breast,
It isn't the apron in which you are dressed,
It isn't the step, nor the token, nor grip,
Nor lectures that fluently flow from the lip,
Nor yet the possession of that mystic word
On five points of fellowship duly conferred.
Though these are essential, desirable, fine,
They don't make a Mason, O brother of mine.

That you to your sworn obligations are true —
'Tis that, brother mine, makes a Mason of you.
Secure in your heart you must safeguard your trust,
With lodge and with brother be honest and just,
Assist the deserving who cry in their need,
Be chaste in your thought, in your word and your deed,
Support him who falters, with hope banish fear,
And whisper advice in an erring one's ear.
Then will the Great Lights on your path brightly shine,
And you'll be a Mason, O brother of mine.

Your use of life's hours by the gauge you must try,
The gavel to vices with courage apply;
Your walk must be upright, as shown by the plumb,
On the level, to bourne whence no travelers come;
The Book of your faith be the rule and the guide,
The compass your passions shut safely inside;
The stone which the Architect placed in your care
Must pass the strict test of His unerring square,
And then you will meet with approval divine,
And you'll be a Mason, O brother of mine.

printed in A Treasury of Masonic Thought, 1950

My Ashlar

O, Master Builder, here I bring
This ashlar as my offering —
This block entrusted to my care —
O, try it by thy faultless square.
Prove Thou the stone which I have brought,
Judge Thou the task my hands have wrought —
My hands unskilled! Ah, much I fear
Their work imperfect shall appear.

See, Master, here are corners rough
Which marred the stone, so stubborn, tough,
They long withstood my gavel's blow;
What toil they cost, Thou mayest know.
My zeal I own did often swoon
Ere from the ashlar they were hewn;
(Ah, vice and habit, conquered now,
With agony you wrung my brow.)

Crushed by the load of guilt I bear,
O, Master, look on my despair,
For where was drawn Thy fair design
My plan appears in many a line.
Hot tears, alas, cannot efface
The flaws which speak of my disgrace;
To late the mischief to undo,
My ashlar I submit to you.

O, Master, grant this boon to me;
Unworthy though my stone may be,
Cast it not utterly away,
But let it rest beside the way
Where its grave flaws may warning be
To him who follows after me.
If he thereby my faults may shun,
I'll feel some grain of worth I've won.

The Work Divine

Conceited man, whose empty boast
Is that thy works shall live for aye,
Behold the ruin of the host
Who wrought like thee, but won decay!
Proud Babel's tower, vanished, quite;
The crumbling sphinx and pyramid
In vain attest their builder's might
For e'en their names from us are hid.

No marvel that those ruins stand,
Slow crumbling in decrepit shame;
The wonder is, though wisely planned,
How brief indeed their builder's fame.
How puny are the deeds of man,
When to creation's works compared;
How transitory is their span,
Their plan how weak, when time is bared.

Consider Him whose hand has hung
Those orbs on high, thy steps to lead,
His sparkling stardust broadcast flung,
Like a sower cast his seed;
Who set the bounds for ocean's tide,
Commanded mountains, Stand ye here,
Unrolled the boundless prairies wide,
And fixed the seasons of the year.

Vain creature, hang thy head in shame!
Behold the heaven's vaulted bowl;
There read thy great Creator's fame
Inscribed upon its blazing scroll.
The firmament displays His skill,
Through far-flung space his glories shine.
Ye proud bombastic lips be still
Behold the works of One divine!

My Temple

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God. and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

"Build me a temple," the Master said,
"Fashion each block with care;
Stones for my house I have placed at hand,
More will be furnished at your demand,
See that you build it as I have planned —
Build it surpassing fair."

Tools for my task He has given me —
Tools for my every need;
Gavel and trowel and plumb and square,
Level and gauge, and equipment rare,
Implements perfect beyond compare,
Meet for my work indeed.

Plans He has drawn on my trestleboard —
Worthy designs and plain:
Foundation firm, based on faith secure,
Sanctum sanctorum, a heart kept pure,
Dome, seat of reason, a fortress sure —
Plans for a noble fane.

How am I doing my Master's work —
What of my zeal and skill?
How will my shrine with His plans compare?
Will it prove true by His perfect square —
Fitting abode for His presence fair —
How do I work God's will?

The Builder, March 1925

Just Friends

'Twould never do for God to live across the street,
Or in the house next door, where we should daily meet;
So in His wisdom and His love he sometimes sends
His angels kind to walk with us — we call them "friends."

Just friends — one word! But letters can express
A wealth of sympathy and pure unselfishness.
One syllable — a single breath can form it — friends,
Yet O how much our happiness on them depends.

When trouble comes, or loss, when grief is ours to bear,
They come, our friends, with words of cheer, our load to share.
How could we face defeat without a friend's caress?
Had we no friend to praise, how bare would be success!

A friend will never doubt, though foes may vilify,
Nor is there need, with him, the falsehood to deny,
And should we go astray, or guilt our fair fame kill,
Though conscious of our faults, forgive and love us still.

'Tis not God's plan that we shall see Him face to face,
Yet He would hedge us in with His bounding grace;
And so His messengers of love to Earth He sends.
They're angels, but we know it not and call them "friends."

Nothing Masonic about this one, it's just a fun poem!

The Old Dairy Cow

The farmers best friend is his old dairy cow;
If he owes a debt, she will pay it somehow;
She grazes the roadside to eke out her life
And works without wages, the same as his wife.

The Jersey or Holstein or Shorthorn her breed;
Hard work is her habit and thrift is her creed;
And if, when she comes home at night to the barn,
You praise her or blame her, she don't care a darn.

She always has something to add to your pelf,
She brings in the coupons, just clip them yourself —
Get out the old milkstool, sit down with a bump,
Grab hold of her handles and pumpety-pump.

And if, in her efforts to brush off a fly,
She happens to switch her tail — spang — in your eye,
She murmurs "Beg pardon" politely, and then
Goes on with her chewing — and does it again.

She helps with the living and keeps us all fat,
The hired man, the baby, the pig and the cat;
Then Dad takes the surplus to town, and by Heck!
The creamery gives him a wonderful check.

And when she is ready to die of old age,
The butcher writes "Finis" at the end of her page;
The back to our table she comes, I'll be bound
In prime ribs and steaks that cost thirty a pound.

All hail to the heifer, the steer and the calf,
The curly-faced bull, with his bangs full of chaff.
But when at your evening devotions you bow
Give thanks for that treasure, the old dairy cow.

George H. Free (?-?)

A bit of a problem here, as there are at least 2 poets named George H. Free. One writing about Masonry in the 1920s was from Iowa, with no other information available. Another is a Cowboy poet born 1943 and still kicking. It's unknown which one wrote the last two poems on this page.