Rob Morris' The Poetry Of Freemasonry has been divided into the following parts:

PART SECOND

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

IN THIS PART IS GIVEN A SERIES OF ODES AND POEMS,

embodying emblems and symbols of Masonry, the technical phrases, the myths and traditions, the festival pieces, the references to Lodge nomenclature and numerous offerings concerning death and the dead.

In so great variety of productions will be found appropriate hymns for cornerstone and cap-stone ceremonials, for the consecration of halls and cemeteries, for the semi-annual feasts of the Order, and for all other incidents that agitate the Lodge.

Many of the shorter pieces in this division of the book have been made subjects of musical compositions by famous song writers, among whom may be named without impropriety, H. R. Palmer, Mus. Doc., of New York, Geo. F. Root, of Illinois, A. C. Gutterson, of Minnesota, Prof. Butter-field of Illinois, Ossian E. Dodge, of Minnesota, M. H. Morgan, of Chicago, Ill., Henry C. Tucker, of New York, J. T. Baker, of Massachusetts, H. S. Perkins, of Chicago, Ill., and others of our own country, with some in England.

A few pieces, such as "Our Vows," etc., written only for recitation in tyled assemblies, are properly omitted here.

And yet the world goes round and round,
And the genial seasons run,
And ever the truth comes uppermost
And ever is justice done.

— Brother Charles Mackay.

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY


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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY


THE SYMBOLISMS OF THE LODGE


THE LODGE FOCUS

Oh, when before the Lodge we stand,
Its walls hung round with mystic lines,
And for the loving, listening band
Draw truth and light from those designs;
See on the Right the Open Word,
Which lendeth grace to every thought!
See on the Left the Mason's lord,
'Tis chosen well, the sacred spot.

For there our youthful minds received
The earliest impress of that light,
Whose perfect radiance, believed,
Will lead the soul to heavenly height.
Around the spot there clusters much
Of Masons' lore; and dull were he
Who, standing in the light of such,
Cannot unveil our Mystery.

If in instruction's voice there come
A tone of hatred; if, alas,
The love and music of our home
Be changed to discord and disgrace, —
'Tis that the speaker has forgot
The solemn words first uttered there, —
His feet have left the sacred spot,
His heart and tongue no wisdom bear.

But when the soul is kindled high
With love, such love as angels know
And when the tongue trips lightly by
The truth and love our emblems show;
When round the Lodge, the eye and cheek
Prove how congenial is the theme,
No further need the speaker seek
Good spirits stand and speak with him!

It is admitted by lecturers that the true acoustical focus of the Lodge is near the northeast corner. This is attributed to the fact that it was there each of us received those first impressions on which to build our future moral and Masonic edifice. Certainly in no other part of the room can the speaker give utterance, so truly and eloquently, to the genuine sentiments of the Order; and the unhappy debates which sometimes disturb the harmony of our meetings would be obviated were the speakers required to take their stand at the focus of the Lodge!

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE SQUARE

In the Holy Land, Oriental Masons teach that while the Supreme Architect used the Gauge, Gavel, Plumb, Level, and other working tools in building the earth, yet when He built the heavens He used the Square alone.

'Twas in Damascus on an April day;
In the bazars where pilgrims congregate
I met an aged Mason; on his head
The turban of Mohammed, large and green;
In his right hand the mystic almond rod,
Such as wise Jacob bore, and Moses bore
When the Red Sea was cleft beneath his hand.
Mustapha was his name; tall, gaunt and gray,
Yet his black eye, undimmed, flashed into mine;
And his strong hand exchanged the mystic grip
With sinewy force.

He was my senior by some forty years,
And sixty years a Mason. He had thought
More deeply than the most of the intent
Of Solomon's wise imagery so quaint and old,
And how it makes its impress on the soul.
I asked him which of all these emblems wise
That glorify our Trestle Board, is best?
Which gives divinest light? Which points to us
Most surely the Great Master of the Craft?
In quick reply, he laid that sinewy hand
Upon the Square. It is my favorite type,
One that in a thousand Lodges I have loved
To moralize upon the Trying Square.
He took it up, and with great reverence
Raised it toward the Throne.

"By this," he said,
"The Heaven of Heavens in perfect order fell,
When God took out the Master's implements
From His own chest, and built the universe!
By This the radiant Throne — by This the Courts
Of His own glory were constructed sure!
"Earth and the stars were fashioned well by these,
The Gavel, Trowel, Level, Line and Rule;
The Lodge Celestial by the Square alone!"
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
This was the legend that the Arab told.
I partly do believe it, for I see
In this full angle and these perfect lines
What in no other working tool appears.
And noting that you choose this honored type
To give your Lodge a name, I charge you now,
Dear brethren, keep within it! Do your work,
Your praise, your counsels to the listening Craft,
And on your daily walk before the world,
Keep within the Square.

PERFECT ASHLARS

The sunbeams from the eastern sky,
Flash from yon blocks, exalted high,
And on their polished fronts proclaim
The framer and the builder's fame.

Glowing beneath the fervid noon
Yon marble dares the southern sun,
It tells that wall of fervid flame,
The framer and the builder's fame.

The chastened sun, adown the west,
Speaks the same voice and sinks to rest,
No sad defect, no flaw to shame
The framer and the builder's fame.

Beneath the dewy night, the sky
Lights up ten thousand lamps on high;
Ten thousand lamps unite to name
The framer and the builder's fame.

Perfect in line, exact in square,
These Ashlars of the Craftsmen are,
They will to coming time proclaim
The framer and the builder's fame.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE WORKING TOOLS


Let us be true, — each Working Tool
The Master places in our care
Imparts a stern but wholesome rule
To all who work and journey here;
The Architect divine has used
The Plumb, the Level and the Square.

Let us be wise; the Level see!
How certain is the doom of man!
So humble should Freemasons be
Who work within this narrow span;
No room for pride and vanity
Let wisdom rule our every plan.

Let us be just; behold the Square!
Its pattern deviates no part
From that which, in the Master's care,
Tries all the angles of the heart.
O sacred implement divine,
Blest emblem of Masonic art!

Let us be true; the unerring Plumb,
Dropped from the unseen Master's hand,
Rich fraught with truthfulness has come,
To bid us rightly walk and stand;
That the All-seeing Eye of God
May bless us from the heavenly land.

Dear friend, whose generous heart I know,
Whose virtues shine so far abroad, —
Long may you linger here below,
To share what friendship may afford!
Long may the Level, Plumb and Square,
Speak forth through you the works of God.

THE APRON


This fair and stainless thing I take
To be my badge for virtue's sake;
Its ample strings that gird me round
My constant cable tow are found;
And as securely they are tied
So may true faith with me abide;
And as I face the sunny South
I pledge to God my Mason's truth,
That while on earth I do remain
My Apron shall not have a stain.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
This fair and stainless thing I raise
In memory of Apprentice days,
When on the checkered pavement wide,
With gauge and gavel well supplied,
I keep my garments free from soil
Though laboring in a menial toil;
And as I face the golden West
I call my Maker to attest
That while on earth I do remain
My Apron shall not have a stain.

This fair and stainless thing I lower, —
Its 'Prentice aid I need no more;
For laws and principles are given
The Fellow Craft direct from Heaven; —
To help the needy, — keep a trust, —
Observe the precepts of the just;
And as I face the darkened North
I send this solemn promise forth,
That while on earth I do remain,
My Apron shall not have a stain.

This fair and stainless thing I fold, —
A Master Mason now behold!
A welcome guest in every land
With princes and with kings to stand;
Close tyled within my heart of hearts
I keep all secret arts and parts,
And try to walk the heavenly road
In daily intercourse with God;
And as I face the mystic East,
I vow by Him I love the best,
That while on earth I do remain,
My Apron shall not have a stain.

This fair and stainless thing I doff; —
But though I take my Apron off
And lay the stainless badge aside, —
Its teaching ever shall abide;
For God has given Light Divine
That we may walk opposed to sin; —
And sympathy and brotherly love
Are emanations from above;
And life itself is only given
To square and shape our souls for Heaven,
The glorious temple in the sky,
The grand Celestial Lodge on high.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

GAVEL SONG

Through the murky clouds of night,
Bursts the blaze of Orient light
In the ruddy East appears the breaking Day.
Oh, ye Masons, up! the sky
Speaks the time of labor nigh,
And the Master calls the quarrymen away.

CHORUS
One, Two, Three, the Gavel sounding,
One, Two, Three, the Craft obey;
Led by holy Word of Love
And the fear of One above,
In the strength of God begin the Opening Day.


Oh, the memory of the time
When the temple rose sublime,
And Jehovah came in fire and cloud to see!
As we bowed in worship there
First we formed the Perfect Square,
And the Master blessed the symbol of the free.

While the Mason craft shall stand,
And they journey o'er the land,
As the golden sun awakes the earth and main,
They will join in mystic ways
To recall the happy days
When on Zion's mount they built Jehovah's fane.

Life is fleeting as a shade, —
We must join the quiet dead,
But Freemasonry eternal life shall bear;
And in bright millennial way
They will keep the Opening Day
With the Sign and Step that make the Perfect Square.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE LEVEL

We love to hear the Gavel, to see the silver Square,
But the moral of the Level is best beyond compare, —
Is best beyond compare for it guides us to the West,
Where the shades of evening cover the islands of the blest.

When the weary day has parted and starry lights appear,
We miss the faithful-hearted, the brother-forms so dear, —
The brother-forms so dear, of all the world the best,
But the Level points their mansions in the islands of the blest.

And we again shall meet them within the sunset band,
And face to face shall greet them, the Unforgotten Band, —
The Unforgotten Band, whose emblem is the best,
The Level, for it points us to the islands of the blest.

THE TROWEL

The Perfect Ashlars, duly set
Within the walls, need mortar yet —
A Cement mixed with ancient skill,
And tempered at the Builder's will
With this each crevice is concealed —
Each flaw and crack securely sealed, —
And all the blocks within their place
United in one perfect mass!

For this the Trowel's use is given,
It makes the work secure and even
Secure, that storms may not displace,
Even, that beauty's lines may grace
It is the proof of Mason's art
Rightly to do the Trowel's part!
The rest is all reduced to rule,
But this must come from God's own school!

We build the "House not made with hands";
Our Master, from Celestial lands,
Points out the plan, the blocks, the place,
And bids us build in strength and grace:
From quarries' store we choose the rock,
We shape and smooth the perfect block,
And placing it upon the wall,
Humbly the Master's blessing call.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
But there is yet a work undone, —
To fix the true and polished stone!
The Master's blessings will not fall
Upon a loose, disjointed wall;
Exposed to ravages of time,
It cannot have the mark sublime
That age and honor did bestow
Upon the FANS on Sion's brow.

Brothers, true Builders of the soul,
Would you become one perfect whole,
That all the blasts which time can move
Shall only strengthen you in love?
Would you, as Life's swift sands shall run,
Build up the Temple here begun,
That death's worst onset it may brave,
And you eternal wages have?

Then fix in love's cement the heart!
Study and act the Trowel's part!
Strive, in the Compass' span to live,
And mutual concessions give!
Daily your prayers and alms bestow,
As yonder light doth clearly show,
And walking by the Plummet just,
In God your hope, in God your trust!

THE PUBLIC GRAND HONORS

I.

Bear on your souls, dear friends, the blest departed;
Engrave on memory his beloved name;
Gone to his wages, gone, the faithful-hearted,
Write on heart tablets his deserved fame,
His spotless truth, his boundless charity,
His trust in God, his love for Masonry.

II.

Look to the Lodge floor where he now is walking!
Angel and spirit, he is clothed in white;
Hark, of what mysteries he now is talking;
Too bright, too dazzling for our mortal sight!
There his undying nature has its rest,
In the communion of the good and blest.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

III.

Honor the grave, honor the open earth,
Honor the body that we give to clay;
'Twas an immortal structure from its birth,
And it shall have its resurrection day;
Tenderly give to mother earth the prize,
And let her keep it till God bid it rise.

In recitation, these lines are pointed by the three appropriate movements of the Public Grand Honors as practiced in this country.


THE PILLARS OF THE PORCH

The Old is better: is it not the plan
By which the Wise, in by-gone days, contrived
To bind in willing fetters man to man,
And strangers in a sacred nearness lived?

Is there in modern wisdom aught like that
Which, midst the blood and carnage of the plain,
Can calm man's fury, mitigate his hate,
And join disrupted friends in love again?

No! for three thousand years the smiles of Heaven,
Smiles on whose sunbeams comes unmeasured joy,
To this thrice-honored Cement have been given,
This Bond, this Covenant, this sacred Tie.

It comes to us full laden; from the tomb
A countless host conspire to name its worth,
Who sweetly sleep beneath th' Acacia's bloom;
And there is naught like Masonry on earth.

Then guard the venerable relic well;
Protect it, Masters, from th' unholy hand;
See that its emblems the same lessons tell
Sublime through every age and every land;

Be not a line erased; the pen that drew
These matchless tracings was the Pen Divine —
Infinite Wisdom best for mortals knew —
God will preserve intact the Grand Design.

An innovation upon the Masonic landmarks is like removing one of the emblems from the Pillars at the entrance of the Temple. It is Masonic sacrilege.

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE FIVE POINTS OF FELLOWSHIP

Joyful task it is, dear Brothers
Thus to take upon the lip
With full heart, and fitting gesture,
All our points of fellowship.
Foot and knee, breast, hand and cheek
Each a measured part shall speak:
Speak of answering mercy's call;
Speak of prayer for Masons all;
Speak of keeping secrets duly;
Speak of stretching strong hand truly;
Speak of whispering the unruly.

FOOT TO FOOT: 'tis Mercy's mandate,
When is heard the plaintive sigh,
Hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked,
On the wings of aid to fly;
Hasten, mitigate the grief,
Hasten, bear him quick relief!
Quick with bread to feed the hungry;
Quick with raiment for the naked;
Quick with shelter for the homeless;
Quick with heart's deep sympathy.

KNEE TO KNEE. in silence praying,
Lord, give listening ear that day!
Every earthly stain confessing,
For all tempted Masons pray!
Perish envy, perish hate,
For all Masons supplicate.
Bless them, Lord, upon the ocean;
Bless them perishing in the desert;
Bless them falling 'neath temptation:
Bless them when about to die!

BREAST TO BREAST: in holy casket
At life's center strongly hele,
Every sacred thing intrusted,
Sealed by faith's unbroken seal;
What you promised GoD to shield
Suffer, die, but never yield.
Never yield whate'er the trial;
Never yield whate'er the number;
Never yield though foully threatened,
Even at the stroke of death.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
HAND TO BACK: A Brother falling,
His misfortune is too great,
Stretch the generous hand, sustain him,
Quick, before it is too late.
Like a strong, unfaltering prop,
Hold the faltering Brother up.
Hold him up; stand like a column;
Hold him up; there's good stuff in him;
Hold him with his head toward Heaven;
Hold him with the lion's grip.

CHEEK TO CHEEK: O, when the tempter
Comes, a Brother's soul to win,
With a timely whisper warn him
Of the dark and deadly sin.
Extricate him from the snare,
Save him with fraternal care.
Save him, — heavenly powers invoke you, —
Save him, — man is worth the saving, —
Save him, — breathe your spirit in him
As you'd have your God save you.

This completes the obligation;
Brothers, lest you let it slip,
Fasten on tenacious memory
All our points of Fellowship;
Foot and knee, breast, hand and cheek, —
Foot and knee, breast, hand and cheek.

The above was a favorite poem of Brother Andrew Johnson, late President, and is one that has entered largely into popular use, during the twenty years since it was written. The paraphrase embodies the following ancient form of injunction. "Foot to foot [ teaches ] that we will not hesitate to go on foot and out of our way to aid and succor a needy Brother; knee to knee, that we will ever remember a Brother's welfare, in all our applications to Deity; breast to breast, that we will ever keep, in our breast, a Brother's secrets, when communicated to us as such, murder and treason excepted; hand to back, that we will ever be ready to stretch forth our hand to aid and sup-port a falling Brother: Cheek to cheek, or mouth to ear, that we will ever whisper good counsel in the ear of a Brother, and in the most tender manner remind him of his faults, and endeavor to aid his reformation; and will give him due and timely notice that he may ward off all approaching danger." These sentiments seem to express the whole charitable scheme of Freemasonry. In the succeeding poem the same thought is wrought out to correspond with the English form of injunction.


Transcriber's Note: The following poem, a variation on the one above, is untitled in the the book, but is similar to one known today as

"The Mason's Pledge"

okl.



Men and brethren, hear me tell you
What we Masons vowed to do,
When, prepared at mythic altar,
We assumed the Masons' vow:
Hand and foot, knee, breast and back
Listen to the charge they make.
Men and brethren, God be with you
While you keep the charge they make
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

Hand to hand, in mystic meeting,
Thrills the Masons' cordial clasp,
Telling of a deathless greeting
Linked in this fraternal grasp:
While upon God's earth we stand
Truth and love go hand in hand.
Men and brethren, God is with you
While in loving grasp ye stand


Foot to foot, he stands before you
Upright in the plummet's line!
Share with him your manly vigor,
Be to him the power divine.
While he keeps the unerring law;
Never let your foot withdraw.
Men and brethren, God be with you,
While ye keep the unerring law!


Knee to knee, in earnest worship,
None but God to hear and heed,
All our woes and sins confessing,
Let us for each other plead.
By the spirit of our call
Let us pray for Brothers all.
Men and brethren, God be with you,
While ye pray for Brothers all!


Breast to breast, in sacred casket,
At life's center let us seal
Every truth to us intrusted,
Nor one holy thing reveal.
What a Mason vows to shield
Die he may, but never yield.
Men and Brethren, God be with you,
While your mysteries you shield!


Hand to back, no base-born slander
Shall assail an absent friend;
We from every foul aspersion
Will the honored name defend,
Warding from a Brother's heart
Slander's vile, envenomed dart.
Men and Brethren, God be with you,
Warding slander's venomed dart!
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Let us, then, in earnest ponder
What we Masons vowed to do,
When prepared at mythic altar
We assumed the Mason's vow.
Hand and foot, knee, breast and back,
Heed the solemn charge they make.
Men and Brethren, God be with you,
While you heed the charge they make!

The author employs the following expressions as a preface to the recitation of this piece: "If there is real antiquity in Freemasonry, as I sincerely believe; if this Order has come to us from the remote period of David and Solomon, as I am convinced it has, then this `Five points of Fellow-ship' is the nucleus around which the whole structure was formed. Nothing in Masonry exhibits the master mind of Solomon like this symbol. How practical thus to teach the principles to Masons by these selected portions of the human body, the foot, knee, breast, hand, cheek; as no one can lawfully be initiated who is deficient in these parts, they become the most undeniable object-lessons, always in sight, always in front!"


THE SACRED CORD, THRICE WOUND

Bind it once, that in his heart,
He may surely hold
All the mysteries of the Art,
As did the Craft of old;
Bind it once, and make the noose
Strong, that sin shall not unloose.

Bind it twice, that Masons' law,
Faith and Charity,
Ever may his spirit draw
In one resistless tie;
Bind it twice, and make the noose
Stronger, — death alone shall loose.

Bind it thrice, that every deed,
Virtuous and chaste,
On the heavenly page be spread,
Worthy of the best;
Bind it thrice, and make the noose
Strongest, — death shall not unloose.

These lines were highly complimented by Brother George D. Prentice.

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES — A RECITATION IN FIVE PARTS


I. EXORDIUM

(Bible closed. Position west of the altar, facing the east.)

The Landmarks of Freemasonry are graven on God's Word;
It tells the Wisdom and the Strength and Beauty of the Lord;
These tapers three, in mystic form, reveal to willing eyes
The freest, purest, grandest light of Masons' mysteries.
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
Reveal this Law to us!

(Position north of the altar, facing the south.)

As lies the mightiest oak within the acorn's fragile shell,
So, with the secrets of the Craft, they in this Volume dwell;
King Solomon, directed here by the Omniscient Judge,
Drew forth the ashlars from their place, and built the Mason's Lodge.

(Position east of the altar, and facing the west.)

The golden Law unfolds itself, mysterious, by degrees;
At first comes sunrise, then high twelve, then sunset gilds the trees;
So, by three grades, we see our Ladder up to Heaven ascend,
And rising stronger, clearer, holier to the very end.

II. THE ENTERED APPRENTICE

(Bible open at the 133d Psalm.
Through the rest of the recitation, the speaker stands west of the altar, facing the east.)

"Behold how good and pleasant 'tis, — read it on yonder page, —
For brethren in true harmony of labor to engage!
'Tis like the dew of Hermon, yea, 'tis like the holy oil.
It sweetens all life's bitterness and mitigates the toil."
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
We bless Thee for this light!

We must work in Fidelity; no mystic thing, reposed
Under the sacred seal of faith, should ever be disclosed;
This, this is the foundation stone King Solomon did lay,
And curses on the traitor's heart that would the trust betray.
We must not take the Holy Name, the awful Name in vain;
God will not hold us guiltless, if we dare that Word profane;
But all our trust must be in Him, sole source of living faith,
From our first entrance to the Lodge till we lie down in death.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

III. THE FELLOW CRAFT

(Bible open at the 7th Chapter of Amos.)

The Master stood upon the wall, a plumb line in his hand,
And thus in solemn warning to the working, listening Band:
"By this unerring guide," he said, "build up your edifice,
For I will blast your labors as ye deviate from this!"
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
We bless Thee for this light!

We must preserve the Landmarks olden, that our fathers set;
Approved of God, hoary with age, they are most precious yet;
Our brothers over the river worked within their mystic bound,
And for a six days' faithfulness, a full fruition found.
We must relieve the destitute, disconsolate and poor;
For 'tis our Master sends them to our hospitable door;
And He who giveth all things richly, to His children's cry,
Will mark, well pleased, our readiness His bounty to supply.

IV. THE MASTER MASON

(Bible open at the 12th Chapter of Ecclesiastes.)

Remember our Creator now, before the days shall come
When all our senses failing point to nature's common doom;
While love and strength and hope conspire life's pilgrimage to cheer,
We'll give our Master grateful praise whose goodness is so dear.
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
We bless Thee for this light!

We must in honor shield the pure, the chaste ones of the Craft;
Ward off the shaft of calumny, the envenomed, horrid shaft;
Abhor deceit and subterfuge, cling closely to a friend;
And for ourselves and others at the shrine of mercy bend.
We must inter in everlasting hope the faithful dead;
Above their precious forms the green and fragrant 'cacia spread;
'Tis but a little while they sleep, in nature's kindly trust,
And then the Master's Gavel will arouse them from the dust,

V. PERORATION

(Bible closed.)

And thus exhaustless mine of truth this holy Volume lies,
As open to the faithful heart as to the inquiring eyes;
Here are no dark recesses, but Freemasons all may see
The Landmarks of the ancient Craft, beneath the tapers three.
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
This Law shall be our guide!

In every place, at every hour, this constant friend we have,
In quarry and in forest, on the mount and on the wave;
At toil and at refreshment, in youth, manhood, and old age,
Let's draw our inspiration from its bright and holy page.
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
This Law shall be our guide.

Thus laboring, all our six days' burdens cheerfully we'll bear,
In hopes of wages ample, golden, held in promise there;
Then resting with the faithful, wait the Master's gracious will,
The summons to the Lodge above that crowns the heavenly hill.
O Wise and Good Grand Master,
Desert us not in death!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

STRONG FOUNDATION

Craftsmen, this lesson heed and keep,
Lay your foundations wide and deep!
When the appointed time had come,
And Israel from allotted home,
Came up, by Solomon's command,
To lay in state the corner stone,
And build the Temple high and grand,
Such as the Lord would crown and own,
The Monarch by a just decree
Thus set the law eternally:
"Lay your foundation deep, the fane
Will not eternally remain;
For tooth of time will gnaw its side
And foe deface its golden pride;
Pillar, pilaster, height, and base,
May mingle in the foul disgrace;
But with foundation deep and wise,
Other and nobler works may rise,
And till the earth in ruin fall
Some structure crown Moriah's wall."
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
The people bowed obedient head;
Hiram, the Architect, began,
By long and wise experience led
(How sadly to our spirits come
The memories of the good man's doom!)
To justify the Monarch's plan.
From mighty quarries raised, the rock
In ashlars huge and weighty, drew;
See yet they rise upon the view
In spite of time and earthquake's shock!
Until there stood, as yet there stands,
The grandest pile of human hands;
A sure foundation, deep and wise,
On which the noblest works may rise.

The underpinning of Solomon's Temple, intact to the present day, is the heaviest piece of stone masonry ever constructed.


THE TESSERA

Parting on the sounding shore
Brothers twain were sighing;
Mingle with the ocean's roar,
Words of love undying;
A ring of gold was severed then
And each to each the giver,
His faith renewed in mystic sign
Which bound the heart forever.
"Broken thus the Token be,
While o'er the earth we wander;
One to thee and one to me —
Rudely torn asunder;
But though divided, we are one —
This scar the bond expresses,
When all our painful wandering's done,
Will close and leave no traces!
"Warmly in thy bosom hide,
The golden voice, I love thee!
Keep it there whate'er betide,
To guard thee and to prove thee!
And should the Token e'er be lost,
The ring that now is riven,
I'll know that death hath sent the frost,
And look for thee in Heaven!"
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
Parted on the sounding shore,
Each the Token keeping,
Met these Brothers nevermore
In death they're widely sleeping.
But yet love's victory was won, —
The scar that bond expresses,
Their long and painful wanderings done
Has closed and left no traces!

The ancient practice of sealing devoted friendship between parting friends, by separating some metallic substances, as a ring, a coin, and the like, and dividing the fragments between the parties, is not altogether disused. In the rural districts of England and Scotland it is a custom of lovers, and many a poor laborer, whose body lies buried in the soil of the western continent, bore upon his person at his dying hour this token of betrothal with one who shall never again meet him on earth.


THE DOOR OF THE HEART

Tyle the door carefully, Brothers of skill,
Vigilant workers in valley and hill!
Cowans and eavesdroppers ever alert,
Tyle the door carefully, door of the heart.
Carefully, carefully, tyle the door carefully,
Tyle the Door carefully, door of the heart.

Guard it from envyings, let them not in;
Malice and whisperings, creatures of sin;
Bid all unrighteousness sternly depart,
Brothers in holiness, tyling the heart.
Holily, holily, tyle the door holily,
Tyle the Door holily, door of the heart.

But should the Angels of Mercy draw nigh,
Messengers sent from the Master on high —
Should they come knocking with mystical art,
Joyfully open the door of the heart!
Joyfully, joyfully, ope the door joyfully,
Ope the door joyfully, door of the heart.

Are they not present, those angels, to-night,
Laden with riches and sparkling with light?
Oh, to enjoy all the bliss they impart,
Let us in gratitude, open the heart!
Gratefully, thankfully, ope the door thankfully,
Ope the Door thankfully, door of the heart.
90

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

BEAUTIFUL STONE OF THE MASONIC ARCH

If I were the Master Grand,
If I were the King of Judah now,
And of that sage Tyrian band
Who wore the cockle shell on the brow,
I'll tell you what I'd do:
I'd choose my brightest Parian rock,
No flaw or crevice in the block,
And right above the ivory throne,
I'd set the beautiful stone,
The beautiful, beautiful stone.

I'd take from Lebanon the trees,
The cedars fragrant, tall and fair,
And hardened by the centuries.
And them to the Mount I'd bear;
Hiram should them prepare.
From Ophir's golden sands I'd drain
The yellow, choice and glitt'ring grain,
And these in mystic form should crown
The white and beautiful stone, —
The beautiful, beautiful stone.

Then unto every shrine I'd go,
To every lorn and humble grave,
And all the prayers and tears that flow
From women meek, and manhood brave,
And orphan lone, I'd have;
Prayers for sweet incense should arise,
And holy tears for sacrifice;
I'm sure that God Himself would own
And bless the beautiful stone, —
The beautiful, beautiful stone.

This beautiful stone, its name should be
Each loving Mason loves it well,
'Tis writ in glory, — Charity, —
Best word the earth can tell,
Best word the heavens can tell;
Above the ivory throne so bright, —
Were I the Master Grand to-night,
Where God and man alike would own
I'd set the beautiful stone,
The beautiful, beautiful stone.
91

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE CHECKERED PAVEMENT

I on the White Square, you on the Black;
I at fortune's face, you at her back;
Friends to me many, friends to you few;
What, then, dear Brother, binds me to you?
This, the Great Covenant in which we abide —
Hearts charged with sympathy —
Hands opened wide
Lips filled with comfort,
And God to provide.

I in life's valley, you on its crest;
I at its lowest, you at its best;
I sick and sorrowing, you hale and free;
What, then, dear Brother, binds you to me?
This, the Great Covenant in which we abide —
Hearts charged with sympathy —
Hands opened wide —
Lips filled with comfort,
And God to provide.

They in death's slumber, we yet alive;
They freed from labor, we yet to strive;
They paid and joyful, we tired and sad
What, then, to us, Brother, bindeth the dead?
This, the Great Covenant in which we abide —
Hearts charged with sympathy
Hands opened wide —
Lips filled with comfort,
And God to provide.

Let none be comfortless, let none despair;
Lo, round the Black grouped the White Ashlars are!
Stand by each other, black fortune defy,
All these vicissitudes end, by and by.
Keep the Great Covenant wherein we abide —
Hearts charged with sympathy
Hands opened wide
Lips filled with comfort,
And God will provide!

There is no emblem that teaches a more practical every-day lesson to a Freemason than the Mosaic pavement, denoting human life checkered with good and evil.

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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE CORNER STONE

The thought embodied in these lines is one of the most charming fancies in Masonic symbolism; for the use of the trowel is admittedly the best work of the best Masons, and the Lodge that exists in peace and harmony is the model Lodge. To disturb this harmony by substituting clamor, calumny, and harsh judgment for the mild voices of peace is what is implied in the following lines under the idea of robbing the corner stone!


Here is a legend that our fathers told
When Mason toils were done, and round the board
The Craftsmen sat harmonious, in the glow
Of Brotherly Love ! I heard it long ago
From lips now silent; and by this corner stone
I fain would tell it as 'twas told to me.

'Tis said that Solomon, in the vast array
Of nine score thousand workmen who came up
From Lebanon's foot, to build the temple, found
Discord and strife, contentions harsh and sharp,
Even to murder; hands that wielded best
The peaceful Trowel, black with human gore;
Aprons, worn to protect them from the soil,
Bloody with horrid stain; and in their speech,
Instead of gentle memories of home,
And children's prattle and sweet mother love,
Dire curses, threats, the very speech of Hell, —
Such base materials came up from Tyre.

King Solomon all humbly took the case to God,
And in deep visions of the night the Voice
Divine came to his soul in sweet response.
From the great Peace Lodge, where the patriarchs sit,
Wisdom descended, and his soul was glad.
The Wisest gave our wisest such a warmth
Of Light celestial that the fire has burned,
Steady, undimmed, lo, these three thousand years.

'Twas this. I was but young in Masonry
When first I heard it; and 'twas told to me
By one of four score, long since gone to Heaven;
And he did testify unto his truth;
And now, I add the experience of my life
To its strict verity, and it was this: —

The Monarch bade prepare a corner stone,
Vastly more large than this, than ten of this;
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

I saw it in my visit to the place —
A monstrous Ashlar, beveled on the edge,
Phoenician emblem, standing plumb and firm
Within the mountain, standing, as we say,
Respected friends, "trusty, deep-laid and true!"
And on the under side of this large stone,
King Solomon gave orders to scoop out
A Cavity, as you have done with this;
And when with mighty enginery, the Block
Was raised, as yours, dear Craft, just now was done,
He placed, with his own hands, within the Crypt,
What think you? newspapers? and current coins?
And names of honored men? No, no, he placed
All those damned vices, that discolored so
The spirits of his workmen, hatreds, all
That stained their Aprons, fouled their Trowels, cursed
The air of Palestine with notes of Hell!
These things by his great power, King Solomon took
From out the hearts of that Freemason band,
Placed them within the Crypt and ordered quick,
The mighty stone let down, and closed them there,
And stamped his Mystic Seal upon the stone!
And there they lie intact, unto this hour!

Henceforth the Work all peacefully went on;
The giant stones were laid within the walls
Without the sound of ax or iron tool.
Pure Brotherly Love sublimely reigned, and so
The Temple of King Solomon was built!
Honored and well beloved Grand Master! see
This mighty Order you so justly rule,
For thirty centuries has given respect
To Solomon's Seal! his corner stone abides
Right where he planted it, the strange contents
Festering dishonored in their dark repose.
Oh, may they never rise to plague the Craft!
No blood is on our Aprons, on our Tools
No trace of human gore; upon our tongues
No unfraternal epithets; thank God!
Thank God! And to the latest day of earth,
When the last trump shall call the blest above,
May Peace, sweet Peace, celestial Peace, abide
In Masons' lodges and in Masons' souls.
94

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE GRAND HAILING SIGN

Shipwrecked, nigh drowned, alone upon the sands,
Chilled with the flood and with the frosty air
Hungry and wounded, lo, a Mason stands,
And looks despairingly on nature there.

Her coldest frown the face of nature wears;
She offers to the shipwrecked but a grave!
No fruits, sustaining life, the forest bears,
No cheering flowers nor yet a sheltering cave.

The brake impenetrable closes round;
Thence the dense clouds of stinging insects come,
Maddening with venom every cruel wound,
Vexing the spirit with their ceaseless hum.

No hope, no hope! the soul within him dies;
He seeks a sepulture within the sands,
Once more unto his mother's breast he flies,
And scoops a self-made grave with bleeding hands.

The river moans in solemn strains his dirge;
The unfeeling birds upon the tree tops sing,
Or in the distant skies their pinions urge,
Southward to regions of perpetual spring.

He bids farewell to life; its joys so sweet;
Children and mother, — happy, happy home, —
But yesterday, ran out his steps to greet,
And bless his coming who no more shall come.

He bids farewell, and seals it with a prayer;
That lonely beach resounded with the word.
"Keep them, All Gracious, in thy tender care,
Thou art the widow's, Thou the orphans' God."

Then downward lying on earth's kindly lap,
He draws the sand as a thick blanket o'er,
And strives in dreamless quietude to sleep,
Vexed by life's fears and hungerings no more.

But hark, O joy! the voice, the voice of man!
Springing with heart elastic from his bed,
Life's strong desires in him revive again,
And hopes that seemed but now forever fled.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
A gallant boat doth down the river come,
A hundred men upon its margin crowd;
Surely among the many there are some
Who know the Mystic Sign, the Holy Word!

He makes the Signal and the Signal Cry;
The pitying crowds his frantic gestures see;
The echoing shores his solemn words swept by,
"O, God, is there no help, no help for me?"

Alas, no help! 'tis thus that traitors work;
Ay, even so full many a gallant boat,
Decoyed by pirates, as they grimly lurk,
Has met the brand, or the destructive shot.

Yearning to stop and save him, how they gaze!
Some answering who know not what they do,
Some weep, some turn away in sheer amaze,
And so the vessel vanishes from view.

All then is death and solitude again;
Months pass; a wary hunter hurrying by,
Sees on the beach the sad decay of man,
And gives a grave for kind humanity.

Aad in the silence of the winter night,
A voice from that poor skeleton is heard:
"The heart of man is smitten with a blight,
There is no help but in the pitying God!"
This incident occurred in 1862, on the lower Mississippi.

LETTER G

Referred to the emblem of Deity that marks the Lodge-East. Deo optimo, maximo [To God, all great].

That Name! I learned it at a mother's knee,
When, looking up, the fond and tearful face
Beaming upon my eyes so tenderly,
She prayed that God her little son would bless!

That Name! I spoke it when I entered here,
And bowed the knee, as each Freemason must;
From my heart's center with sincerity,
I said, "In God, in God is all my trust!"
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
That Name! I saw it o'er the Master's chair,
"The Hieroglyphic bright," and, bending low,
Paid solemn homage at the emblem there,
That speaks of God, before whom all must bow!

That Name! In silence I invoked its power
When dangers thickened and when death was nigh!
In solemn awe I felt the death clouds lower,
And whispered, "God be with me if I die!"

That Name! the last upon my faltering tongue,
Ere death shall still it, it shall surely be;
The Password to the high celestial throng,
Whose Lord is Gon in truth and majesty!

That Name then, Brothers, always gently speak,
Before your father's, mother's name revered!
Such blessings from His gracious hand we take,
O be His honor to our souls endeared!

QUARRY

Darkly hid beneath the quarry,
Masons, many a true block lies;
Hands must shape and hands must carry
Ere the stone the Master prize.
Seek for it, — measure it,
Fashion it, — polish it!
Then the Overseer will prize.

What though shapeless, rough, and heavy,
Think ye God His work will lose?
Raise the block with strength He gave ye;
Fit it for the Master's use.
Seek for it, — measure it,
Fashion it, — polish it!
Then the Overseer will use.

'Twas for this our Fathers banded, —
Through life's quarries they did roam,
Faithful-hearted, skillful-handed,
Bearing many a true block home.
Noticing, — measuring,
Fashioning, — polishing!
For their glorious Temple home.
97

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE PERFECT BRICK

Come, ye that strongly build,
And deftly wield
The Level, Plumb and Square!
Ye whose hard, girding toil,
God's Corn and Wine and Oil
Were made to cheer!
Ye clothed in aprons white,
Whose uttermost delight,
All through life's toilsome week,
Is, from the quarry, to perfect a stone,
That the Chief O'erseer will own,
And bless from His exalted Throne,
Come, and I'll tell you of a Perfect Brick!


Fit for the inclosing Wall
Of Hiram's royal Hall;
Fit for the Pavement that Queen Sheba trod;
Fit for the Capstone high,
Or in the Depths to lie,
Hid from each prying eye,
In the Mount of God,
This Perfect Brick, whose shape delights the view,
Whose polish charms us, too,
Whose angles all are true,
By examination due,
This Mason fair and meek,
This son of Light and eke the son of Love,
Whose pattern is the Sun and Dove,
Rare are the virtues of our Perfect Brick!


See, on its six-fold face
This Perfect Brick displays the things of light!
Turn it about, about, and trace
The ancient symbols as they catch the sight!
The Trowel, — ah, it speaks of spreading peace,
Causing all wars and bickerings to cease!
The Compass, — ah, it serves to warm the soul,
To circumscribe the passions and control
The appetites within the due and honest bound!
The G, — can any view that mystic round,
Nor feel like bending reverent knee,
As if in presence of the Deity?
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

It is the Signet of a King,
Greater than Babylonian bard did sing!
The Square, — its trumpet tongue proclaims
Great virtue's power to Square the heart,
Upon the perfect angles of our Art!
The Broken Column, whose white marble gleams
Above the grave of Hiram; and the Spray
Of everlasting Green that bade them seek
"Where he lay buried "; and through countless years
Of sin and strife, and mortal agony,
Hath taught the sorrowing spirit to look up,
Amidst its tears, and fondly hope,
In Immortality to lose its cares,
These are the Emblems of our Perfect Brick!


At last life's powers fail;
The Silver Cord is loosed, the Wheel
Of Life, and Golden Bowl are broken;
The sunny days return no more;
There comes through every avenue, the Token,
That Death is knocking at the Door!
The Grinders cease; the Eyes grow dim;
Gray Hairs are blossoming above;
The Ear no more receives the happy hymn,
The Heart no more is kindled up with love;
The ruffian Death his work completes, —
The Mourners go about the streets,
Our souls with Sympathy to move!
Beneath the green Sprigs we entomb
Him the delight of the Mason's Home!

What, then, is there for all his toil
Through life's long, weary week,
No Corn and Wine and Oil?
Ye unseen, hovering Spirits, speak!
Hath the Grand Master a reward
For him who sleeps beneath the sod?
I tell you yes! and when the wick
Of life's poor taper all is spent,
And the body goes to banishment,
The Soul, the Soul, the white-robed Soul,
All earthly dross off throwing, finds its goal;
The Column finds its place in Temple high,
To stand in honor to Eternity,
Then God Himself will claim our Perfect Brick!

The expression "Perfect Brick," is but another form for that of "Perfect Ashlar."

99

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

QUARRY, HILL AND TEMPLE

Thine in the Quarry, whence the stone
For mystic workmanship is drawn;
On Jordan's shore,
By Zarthan's plain,
Though faint and weary, thine alone.
The gloomy mine knows not a ray, —
The heavy toil exhausts the day,
But love keeps bright
The weary heart,
And sings, I'm thine without decay.

Thine on the Hill, whose cedars rear
Their perfect forms and foliage fair
Each graceful shaft
And deathless leaf
Of Masons' love the emblems are;
Thine when a smile pervades the heaven, —
Thine when the sky's with thunder riven. —
Each echo swells
Through answering hills,
My Mason prayer, for thee 'tis given.

Thine in the Temple, holy place,
Where silence reigns, the type of peace;
With grip and sign,
And mystic line,
My Mason's friendship I confess.
Each block we raise, that friendship grows,
Cemented firmly ne'er to loose;
And when complete,
The work we greet,
Thine in the joy my bosom knows.

Thine at the midnight in the cave; —
Thine in the floats upon the wave, —
By Joppa's hill,
By Kedron's rill,
And thine when Sabbath rest we have.
Yes, yes, dear friend, my spirit saith:
I'm thine until and after death!
No bounds control
The Mason's soul
Cemented with the Mason's faith.
100

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

TRUE CORNERSTONE

What is the Mason's cornerstone?
Does the mysterious temple rest
On earthly ground — from east to west —
From north to south — and this alone?

What is the Mason's cornerstone?
Is it to toil for fame and pelf,
To magnify our petty self,
And love our friends — and this alone?

No, no; the Mason's cornerstone —
A deeper, stronger, nobler base,
Which time and foe cannot displace
Is Faith in God — and this alone!

'Tis this which makes the mystic tie
Loving and true, divinely good,
A grand, united brotherhood,
Cemented 'neath the All-seeing Eye.

'Tis this which gives the sweetest tone
To Mason's melodies; the gleam
To loving eyes; the brightest gem
That sparkles in the Mason's crown.

'Tis this which makes the Mason's grip
A chain indissolubly strong;
It banishes all fraud, and wrong,
And coldness from our fellowship.

Oh, cornerstone, divine, divine!
Oh, Faith in God! it buoys us up,
And gives to darkest hours a hope,
And makes the heart a holy shrine.

Brothers, be this your cornerstone;
Build every wish and hope on this;
Of present joy, of future bliss,
On earth, in Heaven — and this alone!
101

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

CORN, WINE, OIL

It is the Master's province to communicate light to the Brethren.

They come from many a pleasant home —
To do the Ancient Work they come,
With cheerful hearts and light;
They leave the world without, apace,
And gathering here in secret place,
They spend the social night;
They earn the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

Upon the sacred Altar lies,
Ah, many a precious sacrifice
Made by these working men:
The passions curbed, the lusts restrained,
And hands with human gore unstained,
And hearts from envy clean;
They earn the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

They do the deeds Their Master did;
The naked clothe, the hungry feed
They warm the shivering poor;
They wipe from fevered eyes the tear;
A Brother's joys and griefs they share,
As One has done before;
They earn the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

Show them how Masons, Masons know,
The land of strangers journeying through;
Show them how Masons love,
And let admiring spirits see
How reaches Masons' charity
From earth to Heaven above;
Give them the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Then will each Brother's tongue declare
How bounteous his wages are,
And Peace will reign within;
Your walls with skillful hands will grow,
And coming generations know
Your Temple is Divine;
Then give the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

Yes, pay these men their just desert,
Let none dissatisfied depart,
But give them full reward;
Give Light, that longing eyes may see;
Give Truth, that doth from error free:
Give them to know the Lord!
Give them the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

THE HOUR GLASS

Life's sands are dropping, dropping,
Each grain a moment dies;
No stay has time, nor stopping —
Behold how swift he flies!

He bears away our rarest —
They smile and disappear;
The cold grave wraps our fairest —
Each falling grain's a tear.

Life's sands are softly falling,
Death's foot is light as snow;
'Tis fearful, 'tis appalling,
To see how swift they flow;

To read the fatal warning
The sands so plainly tell;
To feel there's no returning
Through death's dark, shadowy dale.

Life's sands give admonition
To use the moments well;
Each grain bears holy mission,
And this the tale they tell:

"Let zeal than time run faster,
Each grain some good afford,
Then at the last The Master
Shall double our reward!"
103

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

OH CEDAR TREE

Droops thy bough, Oh Cedar tree,
Like yon dear, yon aged form,
Droops thy bough in sympathy,
For the wreck of life's sad storm?
Sad, indeed, his weary age, —
Lonely, now, his princely home,
And the thoughts his soul engage,
Are of winter and the tomb!


'Twas for this, Oh Cedar tree,
Verdant midst the wintry strife,
'Twas for this he planted thee,
Type of an immortal life,
That when round his grave in tears
Brothers in their Art combine,
From the store thy foliage bears
Each may cast a portion in!


Lo! he comes, Oh Cedar tree,
Slowly o'er the frosted plain;
Pauses here the signs to see,
Graven with a mystic pen;
How does each some hope express!
Lighter gleams the wintry sky,
Lighter on his furrowed face
Smiling at the mystery!


Soon to rest, Oh Cedar tree,
Soon the veteran shall be borne,
There to sleep, and patiently
Wait the resurrection morn.
Thou shalt perish from the earth;
He in sacred youth revive,
Glorious in a better birth,
Truths like these the emblems give.

In the lawn that graces an aged Mason's residence stands a Cedar tree, planted in 1836, "for Masonic purposes." Still (in 1853) the withered hand that placed it there to furnish sprigs of ever-green for burial use was strong enough to do the Master's Work at each Lodge meeting. and still at an age passing the Psalmist's utmost computation, he who planted it waited patiently for the day when its limbs should be bared of their foliage to bestrew his coffin.

104

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

EAR OF CORN

Of the water fall 'tis born,
In the nodding fields of corn,
Blest type of Masons' love and plenty;
And the hymn of our delight
Shall be this symbol bright,
Singing the type of love and plenty.
CHORUS

The emblem of plenty,
The rich, Golden Ear,
Gift of a Father of grace ever dear,
Oh, the hymn of our delight,
Shall be of this emblem bright,
Singing the type of love and plenty.

Of the bliss of earth it tells, —
Every blessing in it dwells,
Sunshine is on its treasure golden;
And the cooling drops of morn
Have bedewed the nodding Corn,
Ripe in the field of treasure golden.

In the nodding Ear of Corn,
Finds the spirit, weary, worn,
Hopes, hopes of better days in Heaven;
When the harvest toil is done,
And the feasting is begun,
Joy, joy, the Sabbath day of Heaven!

Let the golden symbol be
Where the toiling Crafts may see,
Toiling, and never quite despairing;
Of the water fall 'tis born,
In the nodding fields of Corn,
Meet for the soul in its despairing.

The Masonic emblem of the Ear of Corn, though rarely commented upon by our writers, is, in fact, one of the most expressive of all the designs upon our Trestle Board. It is generic, embodying all those symbols that refer to refreshment, rest, holidays, and the slumbers of the grave. In every Lodge the Ear of Corn should constitute one of those conspicuous objects which, like the letter G, by attracting the eye, instruct the mind. Its place is over the station of the Junior Warden.

105

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

WEARING THE EMBLEMS

You wear the Square! but have you got
That thing the Square denotes?
Is there within your inmost soul
That principle which should control
Your actions, words, and thoughts?
The Square of Virtue, — is it there,
Oh, you that wear the Mason's Square?

You wear the Compass! Do you keep
Within that circle due
That's circumscribed by law divine,
Excluding hatred, envy, sin,
Including all that's true?
The Moral Compass draws the line,
And lets no evil passions in!

You wear the Trowel! have you got
That mortar, old and pure,
Made on the recipe of God
Divulged within His ancient Word,
Indissoluble, sure?
And do you spread, 'twixt man and man,
That precious mixture as you can?

You wear the Oriental G!
Ah, Brother, have a care!
He whose All-Seeing Eye surveys
Your inmost heart, with open gaze,
Knows well what thoughts are there!
Let no profane, irreverent word
Go up t' insult th' avenging God!

You wear the Cross! it signifies
The burdens Jesus bore,
Who, staggering, fell, and bleeding, rose,
And took to Golgotha the woes
The world had borne before!
The Cross, — oh, let it say, Forgive,
Father, forgive, to all that live!

Dear Brother! if you will display
These emblems of our Art,
Let the great morals that they teach
Be deeply graven, each for each,
Upon an honest heart!
Then they will tell, to God and man,
Freemasonry's all-perfect plan!
106

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

FOUNDATION STONE

When the Spirit came to Jephtha,
Animating his great heart,
He arose, put on his armor,
Girt his loins about to part,
Bowed the knee, implored a blessing,
Gave the earnest of his faith,
Then, divinely strung, departed,
Set for victory or death.

If a rude, uncultured soldier
Thus drew Wisdom from above,
How should we, enlightened Laborers,
Children of the Sire of Love,
How should we, who know "the Wisdom
Gentle, pure and peaceable,"
Make a prayerful preparation
That our work be square and full!

Lo, the future! One can read it,
He its darkest chance can bend.
Lo, our wants, how great, how many!
He abundant means can lend.
Raise your hearts, then, Pilgrims, boldly
Build and journey in His trust;
Square your deeds by precepts holy,
And the end is surely blest.

Vainly will the builders labor
If the Overseer be gone;
Vainly gate and wall are guarded
If the All-Seeing is withdrawn;
Only is successful ending
When the work's begun with care;
Lay your blocks, then, Laborers, strongly,
On the Eternal Rock of Prayer.
107

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE VETERANS' GATHERING

Composed for a gathering of Masons at the Grand Union Hotel, New York City, February 15, 1883, in compliment to Brother Rob Morris, of Kentucky.

'Tis well nigh forty years ago,
This gallant company set forth,
A warmer-hearted set, I trove,
Hath never graced the earth;
And here we are, — a veteran ring,
A remnant old and gray,
Resolved, whate'er the morn may bring,
To-night we will be gay, dear Boys,
Oh, very glad and gay.

Then close the ranks, touch elbows, Boys,
Old friends are dropping fast,
Close up, close up a manly front,
'Twill all come right at last, dear Boys,
Sure to come right at last.

What's three score years to men like you?
The spirit scorns a base control,
Old Time your sturdy backs may bow,
He cannot bend the soul;
The eye that scans an honest life
Nor age nor clouds may dim;
The heart with generous promptings rife
Sings a perpetual hymn, dear Boys,
A bright, perpetual hymn.

Shall we begrudge the tender tear
To those who've stemmed the Lethean wave?
Ah, no, 'twill cast no shadows here
To name them in the grave;
We loved them, "there's no fear in love,"
Then reach across the sea,
And hail them in their homes above,
Bright forms of memory, dear Boys,
Best forms of memory.

A moment longer, — he whose name
To-night goes round your festive board,
In stammering words and couplets tame
Thus pledges heart and word;
"We may not meet again 'till death
Unite us 'neath his power,
But while I draw the vital breath
I'll not forget this hour, dear Boys,
Never forget this hour!"

Then close the ranks, touch elbows, Boys,
Old friends are dropping fast;
Close up, close up a manly front,
'Twill all come right at last, dear Boys,
Sure to come right at last.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

GAVEL

"We meet upon the Level," is the Senior Warden's word,
As he lifts his mystic column in the West,
"We act upon the Plumb" — is the Junior's quick accord,
And to work the brothers hasten with a zest.
But the Gavel is my fancy
Over Level, Square and Plumb,
For it marks the very spirit of command,
In its ringing notes methodic
Every dissonance is dumb,
And a willing spirit hovers o'er the band.

"We part upon the Square" is the fiat of the East
When the hour of ten commands us to depart,
And the Junior lifts his column, and the Tyler is released,
And we hurry to the welcome of the heart.
But the Gavel is my fancy,
I shall never cease to cry,
'Tis Celestial music dropping to the earth;
'Tis a memory of the angels
As they heard it in the sky,
When the King from chaos called creation forth.

In the weird and mystic circle, solemn silence brooding round,
There's a something all invisible but strong,
Maybe summoned from the Highest by the Gavel's holy sound,
And it brings the better spirit to the throng.
Oh the Gavel, Master's Gavel,
It shall ever have my praise
While the Book and Symbol whisper "God is love";
In His mighty Name it speaketh,
All contention it allays,
Till the Lodge below is like the Lodge above.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE EMBLEMS OF THE CRAFT

Who wears the Square upon his breast
Does in the face of God attest, —
And in the face of man,
That all his actions will compare
With the divine, the unerring Square,
That squares great Virtue's plan.
And he erects his edifice
By this design, and this, and this.

Who wears the Level says that pride
Does not within his soul abide,
Nor foolish vanity;
That man has but a common doom,
And from the cradle to the tomb
An equal destiny.
And he erects his edifice
By this design, and this, and this.

Who wears the Plumb, behold how true
His words and walk! and could we view
The chambers of his soul,
Each hidden thought, so pure and good,
By the stern line of rectitude
Points up to Heaven's goal;
And he erects his edifice
By this design, and this, and this.

Who wears the G, — that mark divine, —
Whose very sight should banish sin,
Has faith in God alone;
His Father, Maker, Friend, he knows;
He vows and pays to God his vows
Before the eternal throne;
And he erects his edifice
By this design, and this, and this.

Thus life and beauty come to view
In each design our fathers drew,
So glorious and sublime;
Each breathes an odor from the bloom
Of gardens bright beyond the tomb,
Beyond the flight of time,
And bids us ever build on this,
The walls of God's own edifice.

In reciting this popular piece it should be marked with full esoteric accompaniments, to give it due effect.

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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

SETTING A MEMORIAL

We'll set a green sprig here to-night,
To rescue, from the days to come,
Each bright and joyous memory
That henceforth gilds this festive room;
And should occasion e'er require
A token, to recall the place,
These Leaves will bring to clearest view,
The cheerful thought and sunny face.

We'll set a green and deathless sprig —
Each leaf a Brother's Name shall have;
And fragrant will th' acacia bloom
When one has left us for the grave;
When one in Temple labor fails,
And golden bowl is broken quite,
How grateful to the sense will be
The green sprig that we set to-night!

We'll set the sprig with every hand,
Come round, and plant the deathless tree!
There is not one in all this band
But what is marked by destiny;
Death comes to all — how well to know
There is a life beyond this scene,
Whose deathless limit may be read,
O, Brothers, in this sacred green!

We'll set the green sprig deep in love;
We'll water it with sympathy;
We'll give it fond and faithful care,
Nor shall a single leaflet die;
And when the last of this true band,
Death's mighty puissance shall attest,
May those who follow after say,
Faithful and true, how sweet they rest.

These lines embody an expression familiar to the Masonic reader: "Setting a green sprig, that the place may be known should occasion ever require it."

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

SHOE

Take this pledge! it is a token
Of a truth that ne'er was broken, —
Truth which binds the Mystic Tie,
Under the All-seeing Eye.

Take this pledge! each ancient Brother,
By this gift bound every other
Firmly, so that death, alone,
Rent the bonds that made them one.

Take this pledge! no pledge so holy;
Though the symbol seem but lowly,
'Tis divine! It tells of One,
Of the raindrops and the sun.

Take this pledge! the token sealeth
All that judgment day revealeth;
Honor, truth, fraternal Grace,
Brother, in thy hands I place!

THE GREEN SPRIG

From me to thee, from me to thee,
Each whispering leaf a missive be,
In mystic scent and hue to say,
This green and fragrant spray,
In emerald green and rich perfume,
To teach of Faith that mocks the tomb,
And link the chain Fidelity,
'Twixt, Brother, thee and me!

'In distant land, in olden time,
The Acacia bore the mark sublime,
And told to each discerning eye
A deathless constancy.
So may these green leaves whisper now,
Inform the heart, inspire the vow,
And link the chain Fidelity,
'Twixt, Brother, thee and me!

It was the practice of the members of the now dissolved Order of Conservators, to inclose in all their correspondence with each other a sprig of evergreen.

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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE SWEEP OF SYMBOLISM

In the conception and arrangement of the following pieces, the writer has imagined himself conducting an intelligent inquirer around and through a well ordered Lodge room, whose lights, furniture, jewels and ornaments are complete in number, appropriate in pattern, and systematic in arrangement.

The neophyte is supposed to enter at the visitor's portal in the southwest, and stand, for a moment, taking in the imagery of the Lodge with a comprehensive look. Then the hierophant addresses him in these fifty-two forms of instruction:


I. THE MICROCOSM.

"The Freemasons' Lodge is a microcosm of symbolic forms and colors; a chamber of imagery; a school of moral truth, developed through ancient forms."

Bright Microcosm of high celestial types,
World of rare form and color, quaint,
Instructive in eternal laws which bind
All creatures, — yield us now thy truth!
Bear us above the sordid things of time;
For one brief hour; and let us see above,
Below, around this secret chamber, what
The Sages wrote upon the mystic tombs
That yawn in emptiness along the Nile.

II. BLUE

THE CELESTIAL COLOR

The cerulean sky, nowhere so deeply blue as in the land of Hiram, affords fitting color for the Masonic Lodge.

The o'erarching sky around our busy sphere
Looks down alike on every race of man;
Where'er our feet may wander, there appears
With morning blush and evening's crimsoning,
The sober BhuE prevailing over all.
So should a Mason's charity extend,
To every needy soul, unchecked by clime,
By nation unrestricted, and by tongue!
For where the destitute, there, too, is God,
Calling us thither with an open hand,
To do His charity upon the poor.

III APRON

NO DEGENERATION

No person can become worse for being a Mason. "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called," says the most philosophical writer of the sacred canon, and the injunction is made practical in Masonry.

White, only white, the badge of truth,
Type of unspotted innocence,
The virgin color, lily-white,
Tire hue that marks the sheeted dead.
The Lodge Celestial, round the Throne,
The raptured choir, all enrobed in white,
Sing high salvation unto God
Cleansed of all gross impurity,
We toilers in the Moral Fane,
So, humbly wear our garments, white.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

IV. EAST, WEST AND SOUTH

NORTH, THE PLACE OF DARKNESS

In all systems of ancient rites, the Borean has been stigmatized as the quarter of "frigid cold and cheerless dark."

Why tread in gloomy shades, when paths
Of light await the willing steps?
Leave the dark Borean to the feet
Profane — to cowan's feet profane —
To shapeless monsters of the night
That hate the glories of the noon,
Marauders of the dark; — but we,
The ways of pleasantness and paths
Of peace will seek, where Wisdom dwells,
And find her form exceeding fair.

V. BEEHIVE

INDUSTRIOUS APPLICATION

A society whose motto is, "Travel and travail, walk and work," sees practical suggestions to duty in the beehive. Well said the poet, "To do nothing, is to serve the devil and transgress the law of God."

None idle here! look where you will, they all
Are active, all engaged in meet pursuit;
Not happy else. No, for the Master's voice
That called them first, is ringing in their ears;
Go build! go build! a brief six days of toil
I have allotted, arduous toil, but brief;
The burden and the heat ye must endure
All uncomplainingly, — such is my will,
In darksome quarry, and on toilsome mount,
And heated wall; — go build! not happy else!

VI. HOUR GLASS

FLIGHT OF TIME

"So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

Voice of the ages, wisdom ever new,
Speaking to Masons, in simplicity,
Soon thy last sand must leave the glass of time;
For while we contemplate them, they grow less,
And even now still less as yet we muse;
The Hour Glass bids us gauge the unfinished work
That meets the eye, and sum the amount, and so
With double assiduity to toil;
Each grain recorded in celestial scroll,
Demands of all a corresponding deed.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

VII. BOOK OF THE LAW

THE MIND OF GOD

As when we turn a vessel upward, during a shower of rain, the drops from Heaven are caught therein, so in the written Word have been caught and retained, in the descent from Heaven, the very thoughts, purposes and will of Him who ruleth all. "In keeping of them there is great reward." "The Bible is the lamp which God threw from his palace down to earth to guide his wandering children home."

And can we know the mind of God,
A window to the will supreme?
And is His purpose all exposed
To human eye, so faint and dim?
Look! Open upward broadly lies
The Word of God — the unerring Law,
Threatening and promising by turns,
As Masons yield to fear or love.
Oh, be it ours to walk therein,
And at the end have sure reward!

VIII. ALL-SEEING EYE

SOVEREIGN INSPECTION

That we are never lost to the direct inspection of God is a doctrine as consoling to the faithful workman as alarming to the man servant, the idle and the shirk.

Watch me, oh, Master, at my work,
And note my diligence of zeal!
Through the long day my handstrokes fall,
For thou shalt have my utmost strength;
So in the midnight horror; so
In the worst terrors of the storm;
And midst the assassin's thrust, and in
The hour and article of death,
Thy vigilant Eye will surely note,
Thy Hand avert, Thy Love abate!

IX. CHECKERED PAVEMENT

HUMAN VICISSITUDES

The lesson of human vicissitudes is too obvious to require repetition. Uncertainty and change pervade all the affairs of men.

From purest white to deepest black; —
Despair and rapture, fear and joy, —
Misfortune's gloomy discipline,
The happy troop of good success,
Stern hue of death, sweet hue of life,
Coldness of winter, summer's heat,
Oh, who can walk from West to East,
Along this mystic floor, nor feel
His deep dependence on the
Hand Invisible that guides his steps?
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X. CABLE TOW

BONDAGE OF DUTY

To the faithful laborer in the speculative Temple, the four-fold cord, which "is not easily broken," is like the wing of the bird, which incumbers, yet uplifts: strong indeed, yet its restraints are altogether wholesome.

A gentle bond, soft as the filmy thread
That strings the dew drops on the sunny morn,
Or gossamer that floats upon the air;
A mighty bond stronger than anchor chain,
Or brazen fetters to the honest soul;
A chain of length, reaching as high as Heaven,
As deep as to the very mountains' roots;
A chain of strength that holds the wayward heart
From drift and danger; admirable bond,
Who would not be constrained with such as this?

XI. ARK

SAFETY UNDER DIVINE SHELTER

In all systems of ancient mythology, the Ark is a type of refuge from danger — the resort in time of impending peril.

Type of serenity, we think of thee
When lightnings flout our unprotected heads;
So, when life's storms whip our unhappy souls,
And wild temptation rages in our hearts,
We turn, oh, Masons' Lodge, we yearn for thee,
Another ARK of refuge, tried and sure,
And in thy halls serene regain our strength;
In vain the storm at thy close portals beats;
Life's discords lag without; the voice within
Is music; doors secure, and keepers strong.

XII. GAVEL

OBEDIENCE

There is no union of men so orderly as a Freemasons' Lodge. Submissiveness to rule is the sine qua non of the Mason. "The King's wrath," declares our first M. E. Grand Master, "is as the roaring of a lion."

As midst the incoherent clash and void
Of the new world, the voice of God rung out,
" Let there be Light, and there was light! " so falls
This gentle monitor, and all is peace
The clangor of debate, the heated breath,
The vow forgotten, and the sharp retort,
Yield sweetly to the GAVE L's strong " Be still!
Reason returns with quiet, and she brings
That fine reaction which the generous heart
Moves to confess and heals the rankling wound.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

XIII. CHARITY

THE GREATEST OF THE THREE

"Now, there abideth faith, hope, charity, these three." This was the expression made, in unusually poetic mood, by a master of the human mind: "these three, but the greatest of these is charity "

The soul serene, impenetrably just,
Is first in Charity; we love to muse
On such a model; knit in strictest bonds
Of amity with spirits like disposed;
Aiming at truth for her own sake, this man
Passes beyond the golden line of Faith,
Passes beyond the precious line of Hope,
And sets his foot unmoved on Charity.
"A soul so softly radiant and so white,
The track it leaves seems less of fire than light."

XIV. LILY

REMOVING THE STAINED

The instinct of self-preservation compels Masons to expel from their Order the "found unworthy." " Put away from among yourselves that wicked person " is a divine injunction.

A wail of sorrowing hearts pervades the Lodge,
And flows and bears a volume of sad sounds;
O purity defiled! oh, soiled and smirched,
Who wert so fair! upon our Pillars twain
We hung thine emblem, gathered from the mead,
A modest flower, the LILY, virgin white,
White like the Apron, modest like the soul
That hides the left hand when the right hand gives.
Tear the smirched LILY from its place defiled,
And cast it out, alas, with bitter tears!

XV. TROWEL

SPREADING PEACE

The fundamental idea of Freemasonry is peace. "He loveth transgression," declares the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem; "he loveth transgression that loveth strife."

Divinest privilege to trowel peace:
Strongest of cement, peace, the bond of Heaven,
Exalted on the everlasting hills:
This makes us fellow laborers with God,
And gives us best assurance of reward.
Peace, holy calm, — it broods within the veil
Where rests the golden Ark, and in the soul
Of gentle Craftsmen, infinite delight;
No sound of Axe discordant breaks the calm
In which the walls of Sion's Fane go up.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

XVI. RULE

UNERRING TRUTH

This emblem — the Rule — teaches that the paths of truth are straight, the portals to her temple are strait, " and few there be that enter therein."

What voice, O simple Rule, hast thou to warn
And guide the willing toiler on his way?
"Better to journey with the humble few
Who walk the path unerring, than to crowd
Along the broad, meandering paths of sin;
Better in steadfastness to fix the gaze
On Truth's fair Temple where the Master sits,
And so, in shortest lines attain the prize,
Than gratify the lawless, roving eye,
In crooked highways ending in despair."

XVII. THE ACACIA TREE

SACRED FOLIAGE

The Acacia, or Shittah, is emphatically the Freemason's tree. The Burning Bush of Moses, the Ark of the Covenant and the Altars of the Temple were all of Acacia. It is sacred to the most affecting traditions of the Order. The sap of this tree is the well known Gum Arabic.

Thy very tears are precious, holy plant,
Dropt in sad recollections of the past;
The olden Builders knew thy merits well,
And prized, above the cedar, olive, palm,
The rare Acacia, offspring of the wild;
His feet the prophet bared before thy Bush,
Burning, and marvelous, and unconsumed;
Thy wood inclosed the tables of the Law,
In peaceful Sanctum resting; and the blood
Of countless victims on thine Altar flowed.

XVIII. EAR OF CORN

BOUNTY OF NATURE

The term Corn, in all Biblical and Masonic passages, is to be read Wheat. This product of nature, in the abounding soil of Palestine, is the finest in the world.

Look, traveler, what name you this, that droops
In wondrous heaviness upon the stalk?
Look, traveler, old Canaan hath no gift
That equals this, to speak its Maker's praise!
Abounding land'. how lost to early truth
When Ear of Corn is made the test of doom
The rapid Jordan makes impetuous course, —
The lily specks the hills where Jephthah dwelt, —
The oleander scents the valley sweet
As in his time, — they wake the gloomy thought
Of Shibboleth, the master key of doom!
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XIX. SPANGLED ARCH

NOCTURNAL SPLENDORS

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou bast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him?" In Palestine the stars shine with a brilliance unknown to more northern heavens.

Not stars alone, but windows unto Heaven, —
Not lights, affixed in glittering concave,
But chandeliers hung from invisible chains
Held by angelic hands beside the Throne!
O spangled roof, O feeble thought of Heaven,
How grand the night curtained so gloriously!
The watchers of Old Tyre beheld them thus,
And worshiped God; sages of Babylon
Grew old, in study of thy splendors, and
The Bard of Israel sung, from palace roof, thy blaze!

XX. SQUARE

IMPLEMENT OF PROOF

The emblem of morality, in Masonry, is the implement of proof. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," is an injunction cheerfully accepted by the Craft.

And who is this, — grave, reverend man, — who brings
With high command The Square! whose practiced eye
Takes warily in the length and breadth and depth
Of the offered stone! how, with this implement,
He proves the angles, tests the corners each,
Sternly rejects the ashlar reprobate,
Cheerful accepts if, to his scrupulous care,
The block responds! not strange, if in the shock
Of earthquakes and the jarring elements
This wall, built up with such precision, stands!

XXI. BROTHERLY LOVE

THE SPIRIT OF THE CRAFT

"Bear ye one another's burdens"; " Let brotherly love continue"; "Tychicus, a beloved brother."

To suffer long, and yet be kind and true;
To bear the slight and yet retain the love;
To hope, whate'er betide, and still to hope
Through all the gloomy days that life may yield, —
This is the love of Masons, — Brotherly Love;
This binds the old fraternity with brass
And iron fetters; — while such Love endures,
The rage of foes assaults our fort in vain;
The bigot's hate recoils; palsied the arm
Which strikes a Brotherhood knit by such ties.
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XXII. COMPASSES

BOUNDARY OF PASSION

The limit, within which the exercise of the passions of man is allowable, is clearly marked in the use of the ancient emblem, the Compasses.

The grace of God directs this implement;
His gracious hand so separates its limbs
As to inclose a gracious boundary;
He gives us ample scope for every bliss
Of which our nature is susceptible;
Let us, then, Craftsmen, keep within the sphere
His wisdom marks, nor contravene his will
Lust and intemperance, the greed of gain,
Anger and malice, envy, villainy, —
All these outside the Compass' points are seen.

XXIII. G

SUGGESTIVENESS OF DIVINE PRESENCE

This constant reminder to all Lodge attendants cannot fail to work happy effects in our age, so profane that the words of the prophet Jeremiah are literally verified: "Because of swearing, the land mourneth."

As through an open window into Heaven,
Through this strange symbol, golden, bright, we look,
And muse upon celestial chamber; where
"Upon His glorious throne God sits alone,
Hath ever sat alone, and shall forever sit,
Alone, Invisible, Immortal One!"
The Master, o'er whose head the type impends
Names it, awestruck and reverently, God!
Then humbly as the creature should, the
Craft In silent adoration, lowly bows.

XXIV. CLAY GROUNDS

FOUNDRIES OF THE BRAZEN PILLARS

"In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan."

How once the furnace fires were heated here!
Here the soft cooing of bright Jordan's dove,
And nightingale's sweet song were silenced all
By roar of Hiram's cupolas! the scent
Of oleander buds, so exquisite,
Lost in thick smoke and soot of molten brass!
Now all is desolate; the poisonous thorn
In matted thickets, guards the gloomy place,
And Hiram's masterpieces are a myth.
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XXV. MOON

NOCTURNAL RULER

The meetings of Lodges in hilly, woody, and unfrequented places, are mostly arranged with reference to the changes of the moon.

Thy gentle face calls up the parted years,
Guide of the evening, Moon, the Mason's sun.
Led by thy light, the woodland paths were filled
With cheerful voice — the stilly night was moved
With feet fraternal, thronging to the Lodge.
Sweet Moon, thou peered upon our mysteries,
But saw no motion but what God could bless;
Bending toward the West thy silver light
Admonished of the midnight hour, and led
The happy Craftsmen to domestic joys.

XXVI. NETWORK

INTERWOVEN FRIENDSHIP

The world observes the union of Masons, and marvels thereat. "A friend loveth at all times," observes the most shrewd observer of antiquity, "and a brother is born for adversity."

This Net so strong, of thirty centuries,
That gleams on high, in brazen imagery,
Shows an artistic knot at every joint.
Wonderful Network! whose the hand that first
Taught us to tie thy fastenings intricate?
The wants, and woes, and joys, and cares of men,
So shared, so equalized, — whose work is this?
None other than the Artificer's divine!
'Tis the same Unity that reigns in Heaven,
Binding the angels to the throne of God.

XXVII. OBLONG SQUARE

TRUE TO PERFECT ANGLES

The form of Solomon's Temple, an oblong square, with no circular projections suggests a whole class of symbolisms in the moral architecture of Freemasons.

Blessed the man who walks not by advice
Of the ungodly, and who standeth not
In the way of sinners, nor in scorner's seat
Doth sit; but in the law of God delights,
And meditates thereon, both day and night;
He shall be like a fruitful, spreading tree,
Planted on river's brink; his fruit shall come
In season, and his leaf shall never fade;
Such are the blessings promised in the Law,
To those who duly form the Oblong Square.
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XXVIII. PALM TREE

WATER, SHADE, FRUIT, GRACEFULNESS

This far-famed tree, from which the land of Hiram, Phœnicia, was named, has many rare qualities. At its roots is water; its shaft is the image of gracefulness; its sluule is inexpressibly grateful to the desert dweller; its fruit is the most nutritious grown in the Orient. On the walls of the Temple the palm tree was engraven.

Thou sealest up the sum of nature's gifts,
O grateful shaft, that send'st thy shade afar!
The royal sage adorned his olive gates
With thy fair image; for it told of food
Delicious to the taste; and grafeful shade
Made by thy thickened foliage, while the sound —
No music in those eastern lands so sweet —
Of trickling water echoed at thy roots.
Perfect in beauty, and with bounty full,
Thou art the chief of Masons' imagery.

XXIX. ROUGH ASHLAR

UNFORMED CHARACTER

"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep."

What changes must this quarry stone receive,
Ere the fair statue from its folds looks out!
Shapeless, unsightly — who can tell the form
May yet delight the eye from this rude block?
So with the soul that comes beneath the edge
Of moral implements; we cannot know
What treasure's hidden in that Ashlar Rough,
Until the forming, skillful stroke shall fall,
Divesting of all superfluities,
And leaving just the image God designed.

XXX. FORTITUDE

SAFETY OF ESOTERY

The coward merits no confidence, nor should he be made a Mason. Under the influence of terror he evinces the openness of the child.

In some far oriental land, they tell
Of one, a brave old man, who fairly died
His honor to maintain; rude, violent hands
On him were laid in unexpected hour
And secret place, and he was given to choose
'Twixt vile dishonor and a cruel death.
He died; in Fortitude he gave his life,
Redeeming thus the pledge made long before.
His high example for three thousand years
Has formed the model of true courage here.
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XXXI. FAITH

APPREHENSION OF UNSEEN THINGS

"So it was with all the mysteries of faith; God set them forth unveiled tc asked him to investigate them." Our faith in God rests alone in the promises contained in his word.

Book of all Books, thou volume most profound,
Whose very words, majestic and sublime,
Excel all others! see, we humbly lay,
And hopefully, undoubted Faith on thee!
These good right hands we gladly rest on thee;
If thou art false, there is no truth on earth,
No God, no Heaven, no Hell, no lasting hope.
By Faith we lightly pass beyond the grave,
O'erleap all present evils, and enjoy,
In fond anticipation, boundless good.

XXXII. WATER-FORD

REMEMBRANCES OF THE EXPLOIT OF

The swiftness of the traditional river of Freemasonry explains the cataract where fell at that time, of the Ephraimites, forty and two thousand."

So when we end this dreary tale of life,
And stand upon the river's edge, river of death,
Safe passage, needful aid, good cheer are all
Assured to him who has the needful word.
Dark stream! we shudder at thy gulf profound
Bitter thy waters to sin's votary;
All that a man hath he will give t' escape.
But to the righteous there awaits a guide,
Strong to uphold and gentle to console,
To him who, whispering, safely yields the word.

XXXIII. ANCHOR

CLINGING TO ASSURED TRUTH

A true Mason may veer amidst tides and storms the length of his cable, but he will never drift.

Good anchorage our Master hath secured, —
Strong cable to the Master's bark is fixed, —
Brave Anchor, rooted firmly in the rock, —
What wreck, what peril can befall us now?
The storms may break, — they enter every life;
Foes may assault, — all good men live at war;
Time may install harshest vicissitudes,
And threaten all that timid souls can fear; —
Yet our good Anchor holds, will ever hold,
And we shall close our voyage in peace at last.
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XXXIV. HERMON

MOUNT OF COOLING DEWS

The elevation of this grand mountain, securing a cap of snows all through the sultry months, makes it a regulator of the atmosphere through its cooling dews. The expression "the dew of Hermon," in the opening of the Entered Apprentices' Lodge, is therefore an exquisite suggestion of Brotherly Love.

In sultry eve, oppressed with dust and toil,
The burning earth conspiring with the air,
The pilgrim waits, in deep suspense, the fall
Of Hermon's dews. It comes; like angel guest,
The cooling mist, down from the snowy crown,
Brings tone and gladness. The wanderer sleeps,
Devoutly grateful for the mountain joy;
So in the heat and dust of mortal strife,
The influence of Brotherly Love is seen,
Cooling and calming the o'erheated soul.

XXXV. BROKEN COLUMN

SUDDEN AND VIOLENT DEATH

The application of this emblem is trite to every Mason.

Too soon, too soon, alas! for earth and us,
The temple yet unfinished, he is gone;
Weep, Craftsmen, not for him, — is not his fame
Secure? — but for the stricken mourners left.
Who, now, on tracing board, shall wisely draw
The strange device that binds the finished work
With the undone, making a perfect Fane,
By closing up in one the Grand Design?
Fallen the stroke, the inexorable blow,
Too soon, too soon, alas! for earth and us.

XXXVI. BOAZ

THE LEFT-HAND PILLAR

"He reared up the pillars before the Temple, and called the name of that on the left, Boaz." The terms right and left being reckoned from the position of a person looking east, Boaz was on the north side of the porch. The word Boaz denotes strength.

Not strength for slaughter, strength to desolate
And strew the earth with legions of our race;
But strength to uphold the falling, strength to check
The erring, strength to build and not destroy.
In this our Craftsmen are confederate, —
Like network knotted, they're a web of strength,
Grand Pillar, next the heart, thy gleaming cap
Looked out in glory toward the rising sun,
Bidding our souls be strong! "Boaz, in strength
God will establish all His promises!"
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XXXVII. SPADE

TILLAGE AND INTERMENT

The same implement that opens the bosom of mother earth in the operations of the husband-man turns up the sod for the interment of the dead.

Are graves of man indeed a hopeless night,
That has no morn beyond it, and no star,
Wherein life's music ends forevermore?
Then, whence these transformations? Lo, the root
And tiny seed cast in the self-same earth,
Escape entombment! see them burst above,
With power irresistible, and clothe
The conquered earth with leaves and blossoms fair!
Have comfort, then, ye sons of heavenly hope,
The voice of God shall call our buried up.

XXXVIII. CORN

EMBLEM OF NOURISHMENT

The wheat of Palestine is the heaviest and most productive that is cultivated. It was, therefore, one of the three conservating elements of Solomon's Temple, chosen as a representative of the country's best products.

We feed and worship, Author of our life,
Nourished by Thee. All through the changing year
Thou guid'st the seasons that we may not want.
The yielding furrow Thy command obeys,
And gives its Corn to consecrate our Lodge.
Oh, bounteous source of food, this precious grain,
Thus scattered on our altars, let it bring
Blessings of nourishment to after years,
Strength'ning the generations that shall fill
These chambers, when our pilgrimage is done!

XXXIX. WINE

EMBLEM OF REFRESHMENT

The grapes of Palestine form the heaviest clusters of any known, and their wine is extremely sound and wholesome. It was, therefore, with corn and oil, one of the three conservating elements of Solomon's Temple, chosen as a representative of the country's best products.

We drink and worship, Author of our life,
Refreshed by Thee. All through the changing year
Thou guid'st the seasons that we may not want;
The stony hillside Thy command obeys,
And gives its Wine to consecrate our Lodge.
Oh, bounteous Source of good, this precious Wine
Thus sprinkled on our altars, let it bring
Refreshment's blessings to the coming years,
Gladdening the generations that shall fill
These chambers, when our pilgrimage is done!
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XL. OIL

EMBLEM OF JOY

The olive oil of Palestine is of the heaviest and purest. It was, properly, one of the three conservating elements of Solomon's Temple, chosen as a representative of the country's best products.

With Oil anointed, Author of our life,
Joyful we worship; through the changing year
Thou guid'st the seasons that we may not want;
The rocky cleft Thy great command obeys,
And gives its Oil to consecrate our Lodge.
Oh, bounteous Source of good, this precious Oil
Thus dripping on our altars, let it bring
Blessings of joy to all the coming years,
Cheering the generations that shall fill
These chambers, when our pilgrimage is done!

XLI. PLUMB LINE

UPRIGHTNESS

The duty of rectitude, "Upright standing in the presence of God and man," is strongly suggested by this emblem: "Walk honestly toward them that are without."

We cannot hear His voice or see His face,
Yet, looking up along the unerring Line,
We see it points Him on His radiant throne.
Earth's center is beneath the foot of God,
And they will please Him best who bear the head
Erect, and walk uprightly on the earth.
'Twas thus with Hiram, widow's son, — he stood
Among the Builders like a polished shaft,
Along whose sides the Plumb Line vainly sought
A trace of deviation from the proof.

XLII. POT OF INCENSE

OVERFLOW OF GRATITUDE

The ascending smoke, composed of the exquisitely compounded spices require, by the Jewish ritual, afforded the best type of grateful prayer ascending from pious hearts.

"For He is good," — went up the exultant cry
Of Israel's millions on their faces bowed.
"For He is good," — our grateful hearts respond,
When at the morn we pray, and at the eve.
What dues we owe Him, creatures of His care!
What treasures from His liberal hand we take,
Of Corn and Oil and Wine! oh, at the close
May our enraptured tongues in Heaven be heard
At God's right hand, in glory evermore,
Hymning forever the Creator's praise!
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XLIII. CEDAR TREE

EMBLEM OF ENDURANCE

So enduring is the wood of the Lebanon cedar, that it is not extravagant to assert, "had not the Temple of Solomon been burned, its cedar beams would yet be found undecayed, after three thousand years."

Type of endurance, child of the mountain tops,
Companion of the eagle, born midst snows
And desolation, tree of Lebanon!
With toil and weariness thy trunks were brought
Seaward, by Joppa, to this honored site.
Here, with the olive and acacia strong
Wedded to marble, gold, and precious gems,
Thy wood was consecrate in work divine.
Time spared thy glory, time and gnawing worm
But left thee victim to the foeman's torch.

XLIV. TRUTH

FOUNDATION OF EVERY VIRTUE

"Oh, truth, divinely sweet and fair,
The crystal springs of life are thine!
The light of years thy garments bear,
The stars of ages o'er thee shine;
Inwrought with every circling sphere
Born of a heavenly atmosphere."
And so, at last, we find the basis stone,
The sure foundation of all virtues, Truth.
Through layers of materials select,
All rich, and rare, and gathered from afar,
And prized alike by angels and good men,
And hated by all those who hate the light,
We come to this, the deepest and the best!
This holds them all, and well may hold them all;
For 'tis the richest gem in Crown divine,
And sparkles brightest on the Orient Throne.

XLV. HILL AND DALE

LOCAL SECURITY

The character of Palestine, a country of lofty hills and intervening valleys, gives point to the legend that "our ancient brethren met on the highest hills and in the lowest dales."

What caution marked the early Craft who met
In Canaan's dale, or Canaan's mountain top!
They sought in nature their security.
And scared the eagle from his rocky crag,
And drove him screaming at their opening lays;
They dazed the darkness with intruding torch,
Whispering their secrets in the chilly cave,
Teaching their lore from all intrusion free;
Thus it befalls, this ancient land is filled
With myths of wondrous meaning, dim and quaint.
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XLVI. COFFIN

MANSION OF UNDISTURBED REST

There is a serenity pervades this emblem when we view it as a type of undisturbed rest.

No cares shall meet the silent sleeper here;
No foes annoy; kind mother earth, wherein
He lies, surrounds him fostering, in her arms;
She plants fair flowers above him; storms may beat
Her bosom, opened to the winter's rage, —
He is secure, — she is his sure defense;
"Clods of the valley shall be sweet to him,
And friends shall come and with him make abode."
Mansion of rest, the stillness and the gloom
Can bring no horrors to thy quiet home!

XLVII. LAMB

INNOCENCE

The idea of the lamb runs throughout Scriptural and Biblical teaching; everywhere it is reckoned the emblem of innocence.

Invested thus in garb of innocence,
Robed as the angels are who soar and sing,
We cast our yearning eyes to that sure time
When on Celestial Hills our happy feet
As in the lamb-like days of youth shall stray;
Oh, freed from all defilements, freed from sin,
And from sin's sequel, children once again,
In knowledge men, but in transgression babes;
Lamb of the happy springtime, 'twas from thee
The Sinless took His title, — Lamb of God!

XLVIII. GLOBES

ASSURANCE OF TRADITION

"Brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught." "Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh not after the tradition which ye received."

In Oriental memories there dwells
A store of truths, dropped out of history,
But precious none the less; from sire to son,
From age to age a rich inheritance,
These grains of gold have passed; in ballads some
Are sung, when village loiterers sit down
To while the evening hour; in nurse's croon
Above a sleeping babe these myths are heard;
And when a fiery youth goes forth to war
His soul is kindled high with truths like these.
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XLIX. OLIVE TREE

UNCOUNTED LIBERALITY

"Who gives what others may not see,
Nor counts on favor, fame or praise,
Shall find his smallest gift outweighs
The burden of the mighty sea."

The doors of King Solomon's Temple were constructed of olive wood, as being the most elegant wood of the Orient.

To oldest age the Olive yields its wealth
In streams of oil; the oldest gives the most
And gives the best; tree of a thousand years,
Ragged and gnarled, none worthier than thou
To close the entrance of the Holy Fane;
The worshiper who bowed adoring, read
The lessons of the Olive; — secret grace
That gives divinely; and unstinted grace
That knows no scant of flow; and that best grace
That flows still faster, richer to the end.

L. HOPE

FIXED UPON GOD

The hope that Masonry teaches is in God. Seeking hope elsewhere is like "seeking mellow grapes beneath the icy pole, or blooming roses on the cheek of death."

To life's worst labyrinth there is a clew,
A thread of silk that leads the traveler
Through losses, crosses, sicknesses, and deaths,
And gives him entrance to the central place;
'Tis Hope, the anchor of the soul, —
'Tis Hope, steadfast and sure, a very gift of Heaven;
How could our Temple ever be complete,
So great the work, so feeble we who build,
But for this aid? the six days' work so long,
The summer's heat so strong, the toil so great!

LI. RAINBOW

CHEERFUL HOPE

The essential idea of refreshment after labor suggests cheerful hope. "The most Holy One requires a cheerful life." "There is joy in Heaven." "There shall be no more sorrow nor crying." The earth shall no more be destroyed by a flood.

Gorgeous in hue, a painted arch is drawn
Across the sky, late blackened and enraged,
A brilliant monitor, celestial cheer;
From the bright picture falls the voice divine, —
After the thunder's roar how soft and low!
"The earth no more shall perish by a flood."
Oh, in the quiet of the Masons' Lodge
Where every emblem breathes of harmony,
How fit the iridescent bow to span
Our spangled arch, and bring its comfort home.
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LII. RELIEF

THE DIVINE REPRESENTATIVE

In the the sublime allegory of "the Judgment Day," the Teacher clearly expresses the thought that distressed human being is the representative of God.

We need not rise above this mundane sphere,
We need not 'neath the briny deep descend
To find the Deity; but on the path
Where blind Bartimeus begs, the Lord is seen;
Upon the fever couch He lies and burns;
He hungers in the dungeon's dreary cell;
He shivers naked, cold and shelterless;
Where sorrow dwells the Master too abides;
Builders of "house not made with hands" look out
At every window and behold the Lord!


THE BROKEN COLUMN

"His Work was not done, yet his Column is broken";
Mourn ye and weep, for ye cherished his worth;
Let every tear drop be sympathy's token,
Lost to the Brotherhood, lost to the earth.

His Work had been planned by a Wisdom Supernal;
Strength had been given him meet for the same;
Down in the midst he is fallen, and vernal
Leaves fall above him and whisper his fame.

His Work was to Build; on the walls we beheld him;
Swiftly and truly they rose 'neath his hand;
Envious death with his Gavel has felled him,
Plumb line and Trowel are strewn o'er the land.

His Work thus unfinished to us is intrusted;
Master Of Masons, give strength, we entreat,
Bravely to work with these Implements rusted,
Wisely to build till the Temple's complete!

A paraphrase of the well known expression found in the opening line.

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THE ETERNITY OF THE ORDER


ONO

In the eleventh chapter of Nehemiah, the expression, "Ono, the valley of Craftsmen," occurs.

Where is the true heart's Mother Lodge?
Is't where, perchance, he earliest heard
The frightful voice, from rocky ledge,
Told of a horrid deed of blood?
Is't where his vision earliest saw
And hands enclasped that Golden Thing,
The symbol crowned, the wondrous Law,
Noblest creation of our King?

No; though in fancy he may turn,
In pleasing reminiscence back,
As happy hearts at times will yearn
To tread again youth's flowery track,
The true heart's Mother Lodge is found
Where truest, fondest hearts conspire
To draw love's deathless chain around,
And kindle up love's deathless fire.

Methinks that here, dear Friends, must be
Ono the Craftsmen's happy Vale;
And you, true Laborer, brave and free,
The Master in the peaceful dale!
So let me fancy, and when bowed
In daily adorations due,
I will entreat the Masons' God
To bless the Craftsmen here, and you!

THE MASTER COMETH


When the Great Master comes to view his own,
Reclaim his Gavel, and resume his Throne;
When through the Temple chambers rings the word
That Hiram and his willing Builders heard;
What will he find? in all this Brotherhood,
Where thousands stand, where myriads have stood,
What will he find?
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By many a grave, the acacia boughs beneath,
He will detect the tokens of our faith;
The shining marble, and the humble stone,
Will the dead Mason's trust in triumph own.
The pointed Star, the Compass, Line and Square,
The acacia sprig will join in glory there;
These will he find!

By many a happy fireside, he'll see
And bless the fruits of Masons' charity:
The orphan's tear to merry laughter turned;
The widow's heart its cheerfulness has learned;
Blest households, round which groups of angels stand
And guard unceasingly the cherished band;
These will he find!

In many a Lodge, our Master's guest will find
The generous hand, large heart and cultured mind,
Engaged in toil, not upon walls of stone,
But squaring hearts for heavenly walls alone;
Builders of house eternal, mystic Craft,
Whose work is worthy, Ashlar, Keystone, Shaft;
These will he find!

Of every tongue on earth's extended bound,
In every land our Brotherhood is found;
Rising to labor with the awakening East,
Sinking to slumber with the darkening West;
Leading our sons as we ourselves were led;
Laying in honored graves our quiet dead;
These will he find!

Brothers! if here to-night our Chief were found, —
If now, at yonder door, were heard the sound, —
If, in the East, in Oriental hue,
Grand Master Solomon should meet the view, —
What welcomes, loud and loyal, should he have,
Absent and mourned so long in Sion's grave?
Would it were so; would it were mine to say,
"Behold, O King, thy Brethren! Day by day
Through countless years, our sires blew up the flame
Of love fraternal for thy honored name!
And we, obedient sons, have fanned the light,
And done the labor as we do to-night.
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"Look 'round thee, Master! is there aught amiss?
Whence this mysterious image, this and this?
Who cast yon pillar with consummate cap?
Suggests this mournful emblem what mishap?
Look overhead! what golden arc is there,
Before which strong men bow as if in prayer?
What page is that, that lends unerring rays
To Mason groups who kneel and, reverent, gaze?"

Brothers, we may not see him, but we'll bind
The tie he gave us with unfailing mind;
His lessons, fraught with wisdom, we'll revere,
And keep his secrets with unwearied care;
The poor and sorrowing over land and sea,
To willing ears shall make their piteous plea;
The Holy Name we'll reverence and trust,
High over all, the Gracious and the Just;
And when death's Gavel falls and we must go,
This epitaph shall speak the general woe: —

"Honored and blest, his heart was given
To feel for sorrow and to aid;
On earth he made the unhappy glad,
His coming gives a joy to Heaven!"

A tradition among Oriental Masons affirms that the mighty Suleiman Ben-Daoud (Solomon, son of David), the Founder and Chief of Freemasonry, who deceased B.C. 975, and was buried upon Mount Sion, at Jerusalem, will return again to the earth in the last days, and inspect the work of the world-wide Brotherhood which he founded. Then he will pass upon the perjured and unfaithful. Then he will restore to the worthy the secrets forfeited by rebellious Craftsmen during the erection of his Temple upon Moriah.


LAST WORDS OF THE BUILDER KING

'Twas in the years of long ago
The mighty task was done,
The waiting Craft in silence bow
And list to Solomon:

"Oh, bind the tie, Freemasons dear,
Where'er your feet may rove,
With gifts the empty hand to cheer,
The wounded heart with love!
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"Whatever lands your skill reward
With Level, Plumb and Square,
Oh, teach the Golden Rule of God,
And be Freemasons there.

"The bread, the wine of quick relief,
Have ready in your hand;
For tear and sigh of brother-grief
Fulfill my last command.

"And though from Sion you depart,
Still do your Master's will,
That you may build, with hand and heart,
Upon the heavenly hill!"

When the Temple was finished, the monarch called the Craft together in the ample inclosure, and standing between the glittering shafts J. and B., he exhorted them, as his last injunctions, to perfect themselves upon the sublime principles of Brotherly Love and Relief. The duty of Relief he applied to the column on his right, that of Brotherly Love to the column on his left.


THE EAST

Yes, in yon world of perfect light,
The fettered soul is now released;
No higher, farther wings its flight,
Brought to the glories of the East.

There is the long-sought boon divine,
'Tis worthy of the painful quest;
When evening shades of life decline,
The day is dawning in the East.

Who feels this truth in fervent heart,
May know his last hours are his best;
How joyful from the West to part,
When calls the Master from the East.

Join hearts and hands in union dear, —
Jesus has sanctified the test;
Life's chain is only broken here
To join forever in the East.

Mourners, your tears with gladness blend!
Joy, Brothers, joy, our faith's confessed!
The grave will yield our parted friend,
When we with him approach the East.
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LINGERING NOTES

Lingering notes the echoes stir,
Soft and sweet, these walls along;
Softly, sweetly they concur
In the pleasant tide of song;
Night birds cease their plaintive lays
Listening to the hymn of praise.

Angels gliding through the air,
On celestial mission bent,
Pause, the sacred hymn to hear,
Fold their wings in soft content,
Join their notes divine to these,
Hymning Masons' mysteries.

Now the solitary room,
Peopled with a countless throng, —
Now the stillness and the gloom
Kindled with the tide of song,
Filling our delighted ears
Music of three thousand years!

Every Emblem pictured there,
On the ceiling, wall or floor,
Gavel, Trowel, Apron, Square,
Column rent or open Door,
Blends a light and yields a tongue,
To this softly lingering song.

Now the anthem dies away;
One by one the voices cease;
Birds resume their wonted lay;
Angels on their mission press;
But the latest note that moves
In the mystic song is Love's!

None of the ancient Masonic legends are more graceful, or convey a more charmingly esoteric meaning, than that which assures us there is for an hour after the Brethren disperse from their Lodge room a mysterious echo of sounds, which may be heard there, weird, lingering, fraternal in tone, made up, in fact, of all the brotherly expressions and divine acknowledgments that have passed about the group through the entire convocation! It is affirmed by those who have the gift to understand it, to be charming beyond expression, and that the last note, as it dies away upon the ear, is the echo of that spirit which filled the soul of our Patron Saint, the Evangelist John — "Love!"

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

KING SOLOMON'S FAREWELL

King Solomon sat in his ivory chair,
His chair on a platform high,
And his words addressed,
Through the listening West,
To a Band of Brothers nigh;
Through the West and South,
His words of truth,
To a Band of Brothers nigh.

"Ye Builders, go! ye have done your work —
The Capstone standeth sure;
From the lowermost block
To the loftiest rock,
The Fabric is secure;
From the Arch's Swell,
To the Pinnacle,
The Fabric is secure.

"Go, crowned with fame! old time will pass,
And many a change will bring,
But the Deed you've done,
The circling sun
Through every land will sing;
The moon and stars,
While earth endures,
Through every land will sing.

"Go build like this! from the quarries vast,
The precious stones reveal;
There's many a block
In the matrice rock,
Will honor your fabrics well;
There's many a beam,
By the mountain stream,
Will honor your fabrics well.

"Go build like this! strike off with skill,
Each superfluity;
With critic eye
Each fault espy,
Be zealous, fervent, free.
By the perfect Square,
Your work prepare, —
Be zealous, fervent, free.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
"Go build like this! to a fitting place
Bring up the Ashlars true;
On the Trestleboard
Of your Master's Lord,
The Grand Intention view;
In each mystic line
Of the vast Design,
The Grand Intention view.

"Go build like this! and when exact,
The joinings scarce appear,
With the Trowel's aid,
Such cement spread,
As time can never wear;
Lay thickly round,
Such wise compound,
As time can never wear.

"Go, Brothers! thus enjoined, farewell!
Spread o'er the darkened West;
Illume each clime,
With Art sublime
The noblest truths attest;
Be Masters now,
And as you go,
The noblest truths attest!"

THE INVISIBLE WORKMEN

And who are these, like shadows thin,
Heaving vast hammers without din,
Splitting in fragments huge the ledge;
Noiseless, with crowbar and with wedge,
In silence plying chisel's edge!

They bear the marks of steel and fire;
Upon each brow the impress dire
Of sin, and shame, and penalty,
As driven from the upper sky,
And doomed in God's rebuke to sigh.

It is the belief of the common people in the East, that the immense blocks seen in the ruined edifices at Baalbec, Gebal, Jerusalem, and elsewhere, were taken from the quarry, shaped, and set in place by the Invisible Ones summoned through the influence of King Solomon's device (the five-pointed star) from the depths, and made thus to serve his irresistible will. Some of these ashlars weigh exceeding eight hundred tons.

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE VISIT OF KING SOLOMON

A TWENTY-FOURTH JUNE IDYL

"Now the sun is burning dim,
and the world is but a glim,
And the race of man is loitering to its close,"
Quoth a phantom that I saw,
weird and horrible with awe,
In a vision that my very marrow froze.
'Twas the phantom of the son
Of King David, Solomon!

On the twenty-fourth of June,
at the rising of the moon,
In the year of Jesus eighteen seventy-five,
I was scurrying home at night,
while the starry host was bright,
Straight and sober, yes, as any man alive;
I was hurrying home alone,
When I met King Solomon!

All was silent save the frogs,
hiccoughing among the bogs,
And the katydids a-soloing through the trees;
When this fearful thing I saw,
weird and terrible with awe,
Even to tell it doth my very marrow freeze;
'Twas the phantom of the son
Of King David, Solomon!

First I took it for the devil,
but I spied the Mason's gavel
Held aloft, as Masters hold it in the East;
And the phantom let it fall,
as we do the setting maul,
With a clatter that the frogs their noises ceased.
Such a vim have mortals none
As Grand Master Solomon

On his left hand and his right
were his Wardens clothed in white,
As we see in every mystic gathering;
Each a proper badge did wear,
each displayed the silver Square,
So I knew them, — Widow's Son and Hiram King;
Hiram King and Widow's Son
Walking with King Solomon!

"Why this meeting, I invoke?"
Then the Prince of Masons spoke,
"I have broken, I have broken death's repose,
For the sun is burning dim,
and the world is but a glim,
And the race of man is loitering to its close."
Then a melancholy groan
Shook the friends of Solomon.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
"'Tis almost three thousand years
since I left in doubts and fears,
My great Brotherhood beneath Moriah's dome,
And I gave the working band,
as my very last command,
Not to alter nor to falter till I come;
Now to judge them on my throne
I will sit," said Solomon.

"Every tower and temple grand,
built by their instructed hand,
Every dwelling that displays my mystic seal,
Soon must topple to the ground,
for the end of earth is found.
And the cornerstone its secrets must reveal;
Underneath the cornerstone
Treasure's hid," quoth Solomon.

"When I left the weeping Craft,
weeping round my Broken Shaft,
Adjured them by this symbol to be true!"
Then the Monarch showed a Name,
I had bowed before the same,
Even when the mystic Winding Stairs I knew,
"Bright as the meridian sun
Is this name," quoth Solomon!

"And they have been," I declared,
while the attendant Wardens stared,
"Yes, they have been faithful, earnest, and sincere!
Come, Grand Master, come, and see
our world-wide Fraternity;
This St. John's night, busy, closing up the year!"
Then a smile, all sunny, shone,
On the lips of Solomon!

How 'twas done I cannot say,
but we scurried swift away,
And we rattled round and round the world that night.
Where the Lodges were at work,
Christian, Israelite, and Turk,
Gavels sounding, Jewels gleaming, Tapers bright;
Never Mason's road was run
Like my trip with Solomon!

Many a query made the King
of each mystic gathering,
Many an answer prompt and honest they returned,
As the Craftsmen told of good
they had done through Brotherhood
And the plaudits of their first Grand Master earned;
And I noticed, one by one,
What they said to Solomon.

But as we went I said,
"Both the living and the dead,
Both the joyous and the sorrowing of our Band
Are the same to us in love,
for we learn of God above,
That we all shall meet again in Heavenly Land
Far beyond the glowing sun," —
Were my words to Solomon.

But the moon had left the night;
in the East a ruddy light
Had awaked the early birds to morning strain;
And the Monarch disappeared,
as my homeward course I steered.
And I never met the Mason King again;
But I've truly made it known
What was said by Solomon.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

SOWING OF THE SEED

He that hath ears to hear,
May listen now,
While he shall hear, in mystic words indeed,
Of a good husbandman who took his seed
And went to sow.

Some by the wayside fell,
On breezes borne;
The fowls of air flew down, a greedy train,
And snatched with hasty appetite the grain,
Till all was gone.

Some fell upon the rock;
And greenly soon
They sprouted as for harvest, strong and fair;
But when the summer sun shone hotly there,
They wilted down.

Some fell among the thorns, —
A fertile soil,
But ere the grain could raise its timid head,
Luxuriantly the accursed plants o'erspread,
And choked them all.

But some in the good ground,
God's precious mould,
Where sun, breeze, dew and showers apportioned well;
And in the harvest, smiling swains could tell
Their Hundred Fold!

We are exhorted, in that Volume about which an Oblong Square is formed in the Masonic Lodge, "to sow beside all waters." In a Lodge of Freemasons, no more than in any other society, is there perfect sameness in sentiment and choice. While similarity in physical, mental and moral qualifications is needful in the construction of our social edifice, there are diversities of character sufficiently marked among us to justify the poet in offering the above paraphrase of Luke viii, 5-8.

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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE THREE KNOCKS

The Day has come:
Prophets and seers foretold it, — greatest day;
All secrets of this life to be exposed,
All prisoners and slaves to be released,
All darkness banished and all discord healed, —
Old time is ripe for this, and earth and Heaven
Wait with expectant ear and eye the call.

ONE!

A sigh, as from a sleeping host, begins to stir the air;
A voice from an awakening band whose numbers none compare;
The earth is to its center stirred, and on their crumbling base,
Old monuments are toppling down, in ruin and disgrace.

Upon the lower sky a gleam is reddening up the East,
As if the sun, ere early morn, would to his journey haste;
Strange faces, wondrous sweet, like those for which our torn hearts yearn,
Peer out, benignantly, from clouds that in the radiance burn.

In Mason Lodges, here and there, where taper light still burns,
Lo, every Brother from the open page of Scripture turns!
He turns, he looks beyond the East, beyond the Master's chair,
And wonders at the kindling blaze that stains the Orient there.

The Master drops his gavel now, — the Omnipotent is heard;
The Tyler leaves his trust uncalled, resigns his useless sword;
The Scribe shuts up his volume, for the penman's work is done;
And all may see Eternity's great promised morn's begun.

TWO!

Now 'neath the heaving hillocks life descends;
Now bone to bone conjoins, the sinews knit;
The coursing blood its vermeil brightness lends;
The heart in rapture hastes again to beat;

Death and the worm are vanquished, and the grave,
Stripped of its horrors, seemeth but a bed
Where tired ones come and sweet reposings have,
And rise and go when eastern skies are red.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
The Master joins his Craftsmen, and they link
Their trusty hands in friendship's farewell chain;
As deeming, while they stand upon the brink
Of Fate, that Brethren faithful should remain;

Nearer and nearer yet they gather in,
And one, a gray-haired veteran, holds up
A green sprig gathered from an aged pine,
Worn as memorial of Masons' hope.

What comfort now, that emblem of their faith!
They pass it round, they press it to the lip;
Its sacred hue has often mocked at death,
And lent new meaning to the Masons' grip.

Nearer and nearer yet, till foot to foot,
And breast to breast, the moral builders stand,
While roar the unfettered elements without,
And shudderings disturb the solid land.

Now on the left there starts from out the wall
A shadowy hand. With occult character,
In light ineffable it fills the hall,
Flashing till human vision scarce can bear.

It writes, — and well the joyful group can read:
"You did it to the poor and the distressed;
Heaven's records show the generous word and deed, —
Enter, ye faithful, to the promised Rest!

THREE!

The drama ends, — the dead cast off their shrouds,
And, all erect, in solemn awe await
The Message; earth in every ear attends,
And Heaven is hushed while the Grand Master speaks.

'Tis not for man to look within the skies;
Let pen prophetic all these words record:
"I saw the dead, both small and great, arise,
And stand before the judgment seat of God;

"I saw the grave deliver up its dead;
I saw, amazed, the once remorseless sea,
The very dust the winged winds had spread,
Collect and render up, all tenderly; —

"I heard one say, within the golden gate,
The happy, happy dead, forever blest,
Who died in Jesus, — for their works do wait,
And follow them to their eternal rest;
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"I heard one say, Depart, ye accursed, far
From Love Divine, and Light, and Heaven, depart;
The sick, the poor, the friendless prisoner,
Plead in my name, but vainly, to your heart; —

"I heard a multitude in sweetest frame,
Singing and harping to the All-Gracious God,
Who is, and was, and will be, aye, the same,
And never fails to man his plighted word!"

And reading this from the inspired hand,
May we not humbly hope, we Masons free,
That when before the Overseer we stand,
He will recall our deeds of charity?

Is it not written, from the widow's eye
We've wiped sad tears, — the fatherless have smiled, —
The homeless through our doors passed joyously, —
The hungry soul has been refreshed and filled?

We feel death's influence nearing, day by day;
In mother earth our hands must soon be stilled;
The evening shades to us seem cold and gray;
The night dews fall, our aching limbs are chilled.

Then let us hope, and hoping, labor yet,
Till the dread Signal fall, and we shall rise;
Ample our wages, and divinely set,
In rest and peace and bliss beyond the skies!

Brother the Reverend John Newland Maffit, in a masterly discourse upon Freemasonry delivered at St. Louis, Mo., twenty-five years since, among various figures of surpassing elegance, describes the Omnipotent Judge calling up the "sheeted dead" from their places of sepulture on the Ressurrection Day, by the three symbolical knocks of Freemasonry, This is in allusion to one of the oldest traditions of the Order, more fully expressed in the lines above.


VERDANT, FRAGRANT, ENDURING

GREEN, but far greener is the Faith
That gives us victory over death.
FRAGRANT, more fragrant far the Hope
That buoys our dying spirits up.
ENDURING, but the Charity
That Masons teach will never die.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE WISE CHOICE OF SOLOMON

In Gideon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, discerning between good and bad."

When in the dreams of night he lay,
Fancy led through earth and air,
Whispered from the heavenly way,
The voice of promise met his ear;

Fancy ceased his pulse to thrill,
Gathered home each earnest thought, —
And his very heart was still
Awhile the gracious words he caught:

"Ask me whatsoe'er thou wilt,
Fame, or wealth, or royal power,
Ask me, ask me, and thou shalt
Such favors have as none before!

Silence through the midnight air, —
Silence in the thoughtful breast,
What of all that's bright and fair,
Appeared to youth and hope the best?

'Twas no feeble tongue replied,
While in awe his pulses stood, —
"Wealth and riches be denied,
But give me Wisdom, voice of God!

Give me Wisdom in the sight
Of the people Thou dost know!
Give me of thyself the Light,
And all the rest I will forego!"

Thus, oh, Lord, in visions fair,
When we hear Thy promise-voice,
Thus, like him, will we declare,
That Wisdom is our dearest choice!

Light of Heaven! ah, priceless boon,
Guiding o'er the troubled way,
What is all an earthly sun
To His celestial, chosen ray!

Wisdom hath her dwelling reared, —
Lo, the mystic pillars seven!
Wisdom for her guests hath cared,
And meat, and bread, and wine hath given;

Turn we not, while round us cry
Tongues that speak her mystic word;
They that scorn her voice shall die,
But whoso hear are friends of God.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

HARD SERVICE, GOOD WAGES

Bow the back, ye Brothers dear! —
Pinch the flesh, the work's severe!
Come, while every workman sleeps,
View the City! heaps on heaps!
See the Temple desolate!
Lo! the burnt and shattered Gate.
To repair it is your wish?
Bow the back! and pinch the flesh!

Bow the back! — 'tis hopeful toil;
Yours the Corn and Wine and Oil,
Emblems of reward, shall be,
Plenty, Peace, and Unity!
Pinch the flesh! — not long you wait! —
Standing in the Golden Gate,
Lo! your Lord! and in his hand
Wages rich at your command!

Cheer to those who, long and late,
Meet and toil at Sion's Gate!
Cheer and courage! — See! on high
Beams the bright, All-Seeing Eye!
See! the work goes bravely on; —
Wall and Gate and Tower are won!
Grasp the Trowel! — Wield the Sword! —
Cheer! — And trust in Sion's Lord!

By the Hieroglyphics ten,
Wisdom, Strength and Beauty's plan; —
By the mystic Features seven, —
Surely by the Master given;
By the covenant-woven faith,
Strong in life and strong in death;
Every hope of foemen crush!
Bow the back! and pinch the flesh!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE CULLING OF THE QUARRY
A POEM IN FOUR PARTS


I. CULLING THE ASHLAR

The Master to the Quarry came;
The glittering Square bespoke his rank;
An aged man — Phoenicia's swarthy race
Claimed him of birth; his Apron, deftly turned,
Told of the mystic Ladder, up whose rounds
He had by faithful vigilance ascended
His thoughtful eye scanned all the busy scene;

A thousand hammers ringing,
Ten thousand Craftsmen bringing
The Ashlars from their native bed
Where they had lain, deep hidden since creation,
To be inspected, trimmed, and shaped by rule,
And rendered worthy of the Sacred Fane,
Ah, faithful laborers! no hand was stayed —
Yet sometimes upward glanced an eye,
Hoping to see the sun pause in the South;
And sometimes stayed an ear to catch the sound
So longed-for, that would mark Refreshment Hour.
The Master's Gavel signaled a command.
Then every hand was stayed, and every ear
Opened to learn his will and pleasure.

"Craftsmen, ho,
A Block, a perfect Stone, an Ashlar true,
To grace the Temple wall!" Quickly the word
Passed through the quarries and the Warden brought
An Ashlar, laid it at the Master's feet,
And waited silently his bidding; long
And earnestly the venerable man
Gazed on the polished stone,
As if to penetrate it to the core.

He sternly tried the angles, gauged the sides,
With measured steps thrice round it walked,
Then at low breath, as in a muse, he said:
"This is such work as our Grand Master loves
The ages will not see this crumble;
The morning rays, peeping o'er Olivet,
Will give it wondrous beauty, and the moon
Will kiss its pearly face with daintiest beams;
Bear it, Apprentices, away, away
Up to the Temple!" Then loudly sung
The bearers, as they journeyed Sion-ward.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
An Ashlar for the wall!
Sing praise, ye Masons all!
Give honor to the bright and perfect stone;
A polished block and true,
Right worthy of the view
Of the Celestial Master from his Throne.
The gnawing tooth of time,
The lightning flash sublime,
The penetrating frost, shall have no power,
Nor earthquake's mightiest shock,
To harm this chosen rock;
Of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty 'tis the dower.
We bear it proudly home
Ye Masters, lo, we come!
Prepare the cement for this chosen block;
Have by your Trowels bright,
And lay the Ashlar right,
In loving company with kindred rock.
Thus may the walls ascend,
And nearer, nearer tend
Unto that high Celestial Canopy,
Where, toil and travel ceased,
Beyond the gleaming East,
The Universal Builders we may see!

II. CULLING THE PERFECT SQUARE.

Again unto the Quarry came
The Master; for Phoenician hands had reared
The Temple walls; the cedar beams beneath
The lofty roof high span the sacred spot;
And golden spires reflect the early rays
Flashing from Moab's hills. For seven years
These zealous Builders had bestowed their strength,
While Wisdom planned and beauty graced their work.
For seven years, debarred the joys of home,
Strangers and pilgrims; weeks sped wearily,
And Sabbath hours dragged cheerless; seven years
To wrest th' unwilling blocks from cryptic bed,
To fell the groaning cedars on the heights,
To guide the flotes across the stormy wave,
And bow the back beneath oppressive loads.

Such, oh ye moral Builders, who do ply
Your easy tasks on cushioned seats, such was
The apprenticeship of men in olden time!
What wonder Hiram's works do live forever?
The Master's Gavel signaled a command;
Then every hand was stayed, and every ear
Opened to learn his will and pleasure.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
"Craftsmen, ho,
A Square, a perfect Square, of firmest stone,
To grace the checkered pavement."
Swift the word
Was passed from Warden unto Warden, through
The Lodges of the Fellowcrafts, and soon
Twelve stalwart men brought up a marble block
And proudly laid it at the Master's feet.
It was a milk-white stone, whose polished face
Reflected all the scene — the scaffolding,
The hammers, swung by brawny arms, the pick,
The keen-edged chisel, and that aged Man,
Whose glittering Square bespoke his rank. Within
Its glassy depths he peered, as though to read
The future; had a prescience then been given,
What mourning through the ages had been spared!
Then had the Acacia's glory ne'er been shorn,
Nor Craftsmen ever blushed their fellows' sin!

He sternly tried the angles, gauged the sides,
With measured steps thrice 'round and 'round it walked;
Then in commanding tones he said;
"Bear it, Apprentices, away, away,
Up to the Temple! " Then loudly sung
The bearers as they journeyed Sionward:
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Through the northern Gate we bear,
Joyfully the Perfect Square;
Craftsmen, clear the way,
While the Checkered Pave we lay.
Where the Father stayed the knife
O'er the darling of his life;[*]
Be this marble laid,
Where the Avenger's Sword was stayed.[†]
O'er this consecrated stone
As a thousand years shall run
Their appointed ways,
Prophets, Kings and Priests shall trace.
Here the victim's blood shall flow
For a heritage of woe;
Here in latest time,
One shall stand with power sublime.
Let the sunshine and the air
Warm and grace the Perfect Square;
Craftsmen, clear the way,
While the Checkered Pave we lay.

III. CULLING THE COLUMN.

The Master to the Quarry came;
The Temple walls are up, the Pavement laid,
The inclosing Courts spread broadly round,
The gilded Pinnacles displayed,
And Kedron's brook in song beneath
Murmurs the Temple's praise.
The Master comes, but not alone;
Beside him walks his King;
Monarch of wave-girt Tyre's Isle;
The Sea King, whose broad sails
Whiten a hundred coasts;
The Mason King whose wondrous skill has reared
The palaces renowned of the world's kings.
With bended knee and downcast eye
The Quarrymen in worship pause,
The echoes dying into silence.
The Master's Gavel then implies command,
And every form erect, and every eye
Intent, the laborers wait to hear
Once more his will and pleasure.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
" Craftsmen, ho!
A Block, a Stone of value—
One of ten thousand! search the quarries through;
'Tis for a Column, beautiful and true!
Search in the depths where light
Has never penetrated;
Look for an Ashlar in whose heart is found
A figure polished, elegant and round,
Left on Creation's morn to serve
And glorify the Temple of the Lord!
Look North, look South, look East, look West,
Take no refreshment, seek no rest;
Somewhere within the mine exists this stone,
Seek it and find it ere the sun goes down!"

Quick and successful was the quest;
Deep in the caverns had a veteran seen
That very morning such an Ashlar;
Answering the might of nine score stalwart arms
It came to light, and lo, a perfect Block!
Divested of excrescences it stood
As the Creator made it,
Beautiful, strong and good.

The Master scanned it. Seven times around
The glorious shaft he journeyed;
With steady hand and eye applied
The line, the compass, and the unerring Square,
Then to the musing King he solemn said:
"This, Sire, will stand the ravages of time;
The gnawing tooth of frost will vainly bite
To roughen its glossy face, nor till the foeman's wrath
Shall tread down Sion will it be o'erthrown!"
Smiling the King responded; then the arms
Of brawny Craftsmen swung the heavy shaft
Aloft, and bore it at good speed
Up to the Temple; singing as they went
A fitting chorus
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Room for the polished Shaft!
Give way, ye Mason craft—
A fitting site for nature's gem prepare;
Give it an eastern base,
That it may earliest grace
The Orient sun upon his golden car.
Room for the Column bright,
Rescued from nature's night,
Snatched from the cavern's loneliness and gloom;
And let it signal here,
Through many and many a year,
To call the wandering worshipers all home.
Room for the Pillar true;
Flow grandly on the view,
How like a speaking truth our treasure stands!
Never till time shall end
From rectitude to bend,
But ever pointing to the heavenly lands.
Alas, that we decay
And die from day to day,
While things inanimate thus grandly live!
Room for the polished Shaft!
Give way ye Mason craft,
And fitting site for Nature's treasure give.

IV. CULLING THE CAP STONE

The Master to the Quarry came once more,
Two Mason kings attending — one of Tyre,
Pillar of strength through all the seven years' toil,
Whose fourscore thousands had the sacred Mount
With unexampled glory crowned;
And one, great David's greater progeny.
The wise, the matchless Solomon,
The world-renowned, favorite of God and man,
For whom these thousands and this mystic plan.
Proudly between, the aged Master walked,
And all who saw the Architect declared:
"This is his triumph day, his crowning day,
To-day he seeks the cap stone!"
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
It was so —
Block upon block the walls had risen up,
North, South, East, West, the roof inclosing in,
And each in ghostly silence to its place;
Pillars and porch colossal faced the East;
The Checkered Pavement showed its mystic face.
Rich curtains veiled the portals of the Fane;
The glittering rays of diamonds displayed
Device of cherubim and Judah's palm
Graven on every wall; — the work was done;
Moriah from her deepest base to crown,
Was hidden 'neath this monument of God.
On bended knees the Quarrymen are grouped
Around the three Grand Masters, quick to hear
The final order; down — once, twice and thrice,
The Gavel falls upon a neighboring stone
And every ear intent, they cheerful wait
To hear the will and pleasure.

"Craftsmen, ho!
A stone of matchless worth!
From deepest crypt bring forth the block to light,
A Cope Stone broad and beautiful and bright;
Ye veterans, seek it, ye can best attest
What prize of Nature crowns our Temple best!"
'Twas found, 'twas wrought, and in an after day
(He whom they loved had passed from life away)
The exulting thousands looked aloft and sighed
To see his Signet on the stone; but now they sing:
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Hail, favorite of the skies,
Hail, Sovereign great and wise,
Whose God hath answered thee in smoke and flame —
This day The Scribe hath penned
A record that shall lend
Thee and thy works to everlasting fame!
Hail, Hiram, builder king —
The cedars thou did'st bring
In princely state from snowy Lebanon,
Shall speak thy royal bloom
In beauty and perfume,
While vernal leaf shall catch the kindling sun!
Hail, thou departed one,
The loving Widow's Son,
In life beloved and best beloved in death —
This Temple, through all time,
Shall speak in notes sublime
Thy skill unequaled and unshaken faith.
Hail to the finished Fane!
All hail, again, again —
Thy form magnificent our eye doth see,
Midst streaming fire and cloud
That vainly would enshroud
Its glories from th' Omniscient Deity!
Hail the Mark Master's Sign!
How from those letters shine
The mystic meaning that inspires the heart!
They speak of laboring days,
Of blessed rest and peace
They prompt us each to choose the better part:
Jerusalem, farewell!
Fond memories shall tell
Flow we have builded, how fraternized here;
The might of Israel's God
Spread o'er thy hills abroad
To crown thee with all glory, year by year!
Hail now our long-hoped home!
Land of our birth, we come;
Ah, yearned for, prayed for, long and ardently!
Upon thy children now
A mother's gifts bestow,
In life a blessing and in death a sigh!
153

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE TEMPLE

No human wisdom framed our halls,
No bodily sweat bedews our walls;
The utmost ken of mortal eye
Fails its proportions to espy;
Nor is it for a mortal's ear
Its songs at eve and morn to hear.

Our Temple crowns no earthly hill;
The Turk profanes Mount Sion still;
Siloam pours her hallowed stream
For those who spurn the sacred Name;
Yet fixed on an unshaken base
Is seen our Temple's resting place.

Unnumbered hearts and hopes prolong
The cadence of our votive song;
The savor of our sacrifice
Ascends and gladdens up the skies,
Where Builders, met from many lands,
Rear up "the House not made with hands!"

We would record some fitting phrase
Of those sublime, those mystic lays;
Some names of the unnumbered host
Else 'neath the moss of ages lost;
One episode in all those cares
Whose story marks three thousand years.

Author of Wisdom, make us wise
To apprehend these Mysteries!
Author Of Strength, the power impart
To build and cement from the heart!
Author of Beauty, lend us grace,
The hue to paint, the line to trace!

The stones of the foundation
In the Holy Mountain lie,
Brought from the sacred quarries
By the hand of Deity;
Each block "the perfect angle"
Fulfills and gratifies,
And rests upon the level
Acknowledged in the skies.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Each on its broadside graven
Displays some mighty name;
'Tis daily called in Heaven
That roll of deathless fame;
All ages, lands have yielded
Their honored names to prop —
A glorious substructure —
And bear our Temple up.

In such a sacred place,
On such a solid base,
Built on the pattern of the Plan Divine,
With time-defying walls,
With love-o'erflowing halls,
Behold our Temple and come view our Shrine!

The mind would faint and fail
The multitudes to tell,
Of all the Ashlars that are here inwrought;
They're culled from every clime,
Through long-revolving time,
And each bears token of the Master-Thought.

Each bears the impress of Man —
Such was the wondrous Plan
Of man in body, mind, and heart complete;
Each fills a stated place
Of Wisdom, Strength or Grace,
By the Grand Master designate and meet.

Many years since, the author projected a poem which, under the title, "The nails of the Temple should designate the names and services of those great men of the past and present generations to whose labor and sacrifices the Masonic Institution is chiefly indebted for its present high position in this country. These stanzas are but the opening of the design, which now it is likely will never be resumed.


HOURS OF PRAISE

Morn, the morn, sweet morn is springing;
In the East his sign appears;
Dews, and songs, and fragrance flinging
Down the new robe nature wears.
Forth from slumber, forth and meet him!
Who so dead to love and light?
Forth, and as you stand to greet him,
Praise to HIm who giveth night.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
Noon, the noon, high noon is glowing;
In the South rich glories burn;
Beams intense from Heaven are flowing;
Mortal eye must droop and turn.
Forth and meet him! while the chorus
Of the groves is nowhere heard,
Kneel to Him who bendeth o'er us —
Praise with heart and willing word.

Eve, the eve, still eve is weeping —
In the West she dies away;
Every winged one is sleeping —
They've no life but open day.
Forth and meet her! lo, she lends us
Thrice ten thousand brilliants high!
Glory to His name who sends us
Such night jewels from the sky.

Death, pale death, to all is certain;
From the grave his voice comes up —
"Fearless, raise my gloomy curtain
Find within eternal hope";
Forth and meet Him, ye whose duty
To the Lord Of Life is given;
He will clothe death's garb with beauty —
He will give a path to Heaven.

THE REDDENING IN THE EAST

Hopeful we look for the long-promised dawning,
Yearn for the light and the songs of the morning;
See how the shades pass! the day is begun;
God soon will smile on the Land of the Sun.
Let the harp, let the trumpet make haste and rejoice;
Stand, O ye people, and join every voice!
Wake, holy mountains! sing, tuneful fountains!
God soon will smile on the Land of the Sun!
God frowned on Judah, — His mercies withholding, —
Darkness He sent, all her glories enfolding, —
Blasting and blight on her meadows came down,
Olive and vine wilted under His frown.
But the curse is removed, the light is restored;
Stand, O ye people, give praise to the Lord!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE SELF-EXAMINATION

When placed before the throne,
Beyond the Orient sun,
Where the Supreme Grand Master sits as judge,
What record shall we show
Of all our works below,
We who have labored in the earthly Lodge?

Through life's hard travel come, —
It was our earthly doom,
Through sin and sorrow suffering many a wrong,
When bowed in death at last,
And 'neath the trumpet's blast,
We've risen with th' innumerable throng;

What answer shall we make?
Oh, brothers, for His sake,
Who died on Calvary to redeem us all,
Let's ponder while we may,
The questions of that day,
And have the answer ready for the call.

And this our answer be: —
"We strove to follow Thee,
In teaching truth and lessening human woe;
And scanty though our deed,
We ask Thee, Lord, to heed
Not what we've done, but what we tried to do."

Brothers, how brief is time!
But there's a world sublime
Eternal, blest, ineffably sincere;
And in this mystic place,
We can with surety trace,
His gracious purpose who has placed us here.

Then pledge anew each heart,
Ye, of the Royal Art,
To labor strongly and in truth to love;
And with the closing week,
Our eager hands will take
The royal wages waiting us above!
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THE LADDER OF NINE ROUNDS


I. THE ENTERED APPRENTICE

Where two or three assemble round,
In work the Lord approves,
His spirit with the group is found,
It is the place He loves;
Be now all hearts to friendship given,
For we, the Sons of Light, are seven.

Bring here the Gavel and the Gauge,
Those implements renowned;
And from each conscience disengage
The faults that there are found;
Be now afar each folly driven,
For we, the Sons of Light, are seven.

Display the law — the volume grace
With Compass and with Square;
Illume the Tapers in their place,
And all for work prepare;
We'll please our Master well this even,
For we, the Sons of Light, are seven.

Spread o'er us yon rich Canopy,
Set up the Ladder high,
That angel visitants may see,
And from their stations fly,
Where Faith, Hope, Charity are given,
And we, the Sons of Light, are seven.

II. THE FELLOWCRAFT

This Lodge of Five from Tyre came,
Their leader one of matchless fame;
All through the toiling seasons seven,
Their time upon the work was given.

This Lodge of Five from Joppa's shore
To Sion's hill have journeyed o'er;
The quarry's inmost crypt have traced,
Whence many a stone the wall has graced.

This Lodge of Five have reared the shaft
That on the eastward hails the Craft;
And well they ken each mystic line
That sanctifies the great Design.
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This Lodge of Five with faith obey
The holy Law and holy Day;
They bow in reverence when they see
The emblem of the Deity.

This Lodge of Five, for honest toil,
Good wages have — Corn, Wine and Oil;
And, should a brother be in want,
They ne'er forget the covenant.

This Lodge of Five have nearly done
The glorious work so long begun;
They, homeward bound, right soon will see
Their Master in eternity!

III. THE MASTER MASON

O, Death, thy hand is weighty on the breast
Of him who lies within thy grasp;
No power can raise the captive from his rest,
When thy strong hand doth clasp!
The tears of broken spirits fall in vain;
Their sighs are wasted o'er the grave;
Thou laugh'st to scorn the funereal strain,
For "there is none to save."

From age to age mankind hath owned thy sway,
Submissive bowed beneath thy hand;
The hoary head — the infant of a day
The loveliest of the land.
And thou hast struck the true and faithful now,
Our model of Masonic faith;
It was a cruel and a dastard blow
Thou stern, unpitying Death!

Yet, boastful Monster, he shall have release;
Thy weighty hand, relentless power,
Shall be withdrawn, and all thy mockings cease,
And all thy triumphs o'er.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah comes
See in the heavenly East the sign!
To rend the sepulchers, disclose the tombs,
And shut thee, Monster, in!
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IV. THE MARK MASTER

God trusts to each a portion of his plan,
And doth for honest labor wages give;
Wisdom and time he granteth every man,
And will not idleness and sloth forgive;
The week is waning fast — art thou prepared,
O Laborer, for the Overseer's reward?

Hast thou been waiting in the market here,
Because no man hath hired thee? rise and go.
The sun on the meridian doth appear,
The Master calls thee to his service now;
Rise up, and go, wherever duty calls,
And build with fervency the Temple walls.

Behold, within the heavenly home above
One who hath done his life-tasks faithfully;
In the dark quarries all the week he strove,
And "bore the heat and burden of the day";
So, when life's sun passed downward to the West,
Richest refreshment was his lot, and rest.

So shall it be with thee, O, toiling one!
However hard thine earthly lot may seem;
It is not long until the set of sun,
And then the past will be a pleasing dream;
The Sabbath, to the faithful laborer given,
Is blest companionship, and rest, and heaven.

V. THE PAST MASTER

O! raised to Oriental chair,
With royal honors crowned,
High grace and dignity to bear,
As in the days renowned!
With firmness guide the ruling hand,
Nor Gavel fall in vain;
And kindness soften the command,
And law the vice restrain.
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The open Word delight to read
That Trestle Board of Heaven —
And see that every Mason heed
The deathless precepts given.
And let the Trowel truly spread
Its cement so divine,
That all the Craft be duly paid
Their corn, and oil, and wine.

The Plumb Line, hanging from the sky,
In the Grand Master's hand —
Be this your emblem, ever nigh,
By this to walk and stand;
Thus, grateful Craftsmen will conspire
To sing your praises true,
And honors grant you, ever higher,
Than now they offer you.

VI. MOST EXCELLENT MASTER

Prostrate before the Lord,
We praise and bless His name,
That He doth condescend to own
The temple that we frame,
No winter's piercing blast,
No summer's scorching flame,
Has daunted us; and prostrate here,
We praise and bless His name.

From lofty Lebanon
These sacred cedars came;
We dedicate them to Thy cause,
And praise and bless Thy name.

Each noble block complete,
Each pure and sparkling gem,
We give to build and beautify,
And praise and bless Thy name.

With millions here below,
With Heaven's own cherubim,
Prostrate before the fire and cloud,
We praise and bless thy name.
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VII. ROYAL ARCH

O weary hearts, so worn and desolate!
Torn from their native land, from ruined homes,
From desecrated shrines. O, hapless fate!
Better the solitude of Judah's tombs
Than all that Judah's foeman can bestow;
In the far land, where tuneless waters flow,
Along the sad Euphrates, as they sigh,
"Jerusalem!" "Jerusalem!" they cry,
"When we forget thee, city of our love,
May He forget, whose city is above;
And when we fail to speak thy matchless fame,
May He consign us to enduring shame."

O, joyful spirits, now so bright and free
Amid the hallowed palm trees of the West;
No more the exile's want and misery,
The tuneless waters or the homes unblest;
Remember Sion now, her ruined shrine;
And take each manly form, the work divine;
Set up the altar, let the victims bleed,
To expiate each impious word and deed;
And tell the nations, when to Sion come,
"The Lord is God; He brought His people home!"

VIII. ROYAL MASTER

We can predict, from day to day,
Some things will meet us on our way;
But who, of all that draw life's breath,
Can shadow what is after death?

When spring awakes, we look for flowers,
And leafy boughs and genial bowers;
The flowery spring rewards our faith —
What shall we look for after death?

When autumn spreads its sober skies,
With open lap we wait the prize;
We catch the showering fruits beneath —
For us what fruitage after death?

We trace the infant through each stage
Of youth, of manhood, and of age;
Each stage confirms our previous faith —
What grade awaits him after death?

Such the reflections of this grade;
Such question here is freely made;
Life's secret lies beneath, beneath —
'Tis only yielded after death!
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IX. SELECT MASTER

At midnight, as at noon,
The ancient worthies met;
The glances of the moon
Beheld those laborers late;
Nor, till the glancing moon was high,
Did any lay his Trowel by.

Each felt a weight of care,
A solemn charge o'erspread;
Each toiled in earnest there
With busy hand and head;
And to the deep and faithful cave,
Those midnight craft a secret gave.

In whom the fire burns bright
At midnight as at noon,
All secrets come to light
Beneath the glancing moon;
Nor till the glancing moon is high,
Must any lay his Trowel by.


NOT BROUGHT TO LIGHT

Not brought to light! when, ere your call
At Masons' portals, you had given
All pledges that an honest soul
Can give to earth or give to Heaven.

Not brought to light! that word you spoke,
By man, by heavenly things adored,
The silence of the Lodge you broke,
And loud averred, "I trust in God."

Not brought to light! when journeying round,
Within the range of every eye,
Whole and unspotted you were found,
Fit for the ranks of Masonry.
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Not brought to light! when from that Book,
That written Law by us adored,
Your dazzled glance its flight betook,
To yonder type that speaks of God.

Then shame on them, "the sons of Night,"
Thus blindly stumbling on their way,
Mistaking Masons' ancient Rite
For childish jest or senseless play.

Shame on "the blind who lead the blind";
Oh for an hour of Him who drove
From temple courts the crowd that sinned,
And taught the law of Light and Love!

OH, PITY, LORD

Oh, pity, Lord, the Widow; hear her cry!
Lonely her household lamp burns through the night
He who possessed her heart's young sympathy
No longer lives, her portion and delight.
She looks from earth, raises her heart on high, —
Pity, oh Lord, the Widow, hear her cry!

Oh, pity, Lord, the Orphan, hapless Child!
Father and mother mourning, view her tears;
Abandoned, lost upon earth's dreary wild,
What can relieve her anguish, what her fears?
Walking with Thee, the just, the undefiled. —
Pity, oh Lord, the Orphan, hapless Child!

Oh, pity, Lord, the Lonely! through the street
Of crowded life, no friendly face she sees;
Turn Thy face to her graciously, and greet
Her, Oh, blest Father, with the words of peace.
With Thee, Companion, solitude is sweet;
Oh, pity, Lord, the Lonely through the street.

Oh, pity, Lord, Thine own; each hath a care,
And we do lean in fondest trust on Thee!
Infinite mercy Thou canst justly spare,
For Jesus died and rose, our souls to free.
Father of Jesus, answer now our prayer,
Oh, Lord, on Thee we lean, each hath a care!
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THE DRUNKARD'S GRAVE

I stood beside the grave,
The last and dreamless bed;
One whom I knew in other days
Lay there amidst the dead;
His head toward the setting sun;
For O, his life and pilgrimage were done.

'Twas evening's pensive hour,
The rich and painted West
Had called earth's laborers, — weary ones, —
To home delights and rest;
Bird songs and voices of the day
Had melted all in evening's hush away.

Then came upon my soul
A rush of memories;
I seemed to see beside that grave
My friend of other days;
His beaming eye, — his generous hand, —
The largest, brightest, readiest of our band.

I seemed to hear once more
His voice so full and free,
My hand, — my heart, — my purse, — my life,
I give from me to thee!
The scalding tears my grief confest;
While night and darkness settled o'er the West.

For oh, I thought me then
Of all his sad decline;
He fell from honor's topmost height,
The victim of one sin!
Yes, he, the generous and the brave,
Lay there dishonored in a Drunkard's Grave!

Long years and hard he strove
Against the Siren cup;
Wife, Children, Brotherhood combined
To bear him kindly up,
And cheer him midst that mighty woe
With which the unhappy drunkard has to do.
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We plead by this and this;
We urged his plighted word;
We told him what a shameful tale
His story would afford;
We gathered 'round him all our band
And warned and threatened with stern command.

In vain; too strong his chain —
Our cable tow too weak!
That cursed thirst had burned his soul,
He would no warning take;
He broke the heart that leaned on his,
And brought himself, at last, at last, to this.

His sun went down at noon;—
His life expired in spring;
His work undone, his column broke, —
A ruined, loathsome thing!
Expelled from Masonry, his Grave
No emblems of the ancient Art can have.

I turned away in tears;—
The night had settled round;
I heard in cypress branches nigh,
The owl's complaining sound,
Then homeward fled, amidst the gloom,
And left my Brother in the Drunkard's tomb!

THE VETERAN MASTER

Worn, but not weary; stanch and true,
Again the Master's Gavel bear,
And standing in the Eastern gate
Display the bright and mystic Square.
Worn, but not weary; three score years
Have marked your brow with lines of care,
Yet beats your heart as warm's the day
When first you wore the mystic Square.
Worn, but not weary; when at last
The slumbers of the dead you share,
May you be happy in His love
Who wears in Heaven the mystic Square.
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THE SPIRIT OF UNION

In the settlement of long-pending difficulties among the Canadian Masons, the writer was called in, in July, 1858, with Philip C. Tucker, Grand Master of Vermont, to suggest proper terms of reconciliation. The pleasing task being performed, and the union complete, the following lines were read at a banquet that most agreeably terminated the meeting:

There never was occasion, and there never was an hour,
When spirits of peace on angel wings so near our heads did soar;
There's no event so glorious on the page of time to appear,
As the union of the Brotherhood, sealed by our coming here.

'Twas in the hearts of many, 'twas in the prayers of some,
That the good old days of Brotherly Love might yet in mercy come;
'Twas whispered in our Lodges, in the East and South and West,
That the time was nigh when the plaintive cry our God would hear and bless.

But none believed the moment of fruition was at hand;
How could we deem so rich a cup was waiting our command?
It came like rain in summer drought, on drooping foliage poured,
And bade us look henceforth for help, in all our cares, to God!

The news has gone already upon every wind of Heaven;
The wire, the press, the busy tongue, the intelligence has given;
And everyone who heard it and who loves the Sons of Peace,
Has cried, "Praise God, the God of Love! may God this union bless!"

Vermont takes up the story, — her "old man eloquent,"
Long be his days among us, on deeds of mercy spent,
He speaks for the Green Mountains, and you heard him say last night,
"Bless God that I have lived till now to see this happy sight!"

Kentucky sends you greeting, — from her broad and generous bound,
Once styled of all the western wild, "the Dark and Bloody Ground;"
She cries aloud, "God bless you! Heaven's dews be on you shed,
Who first took care to be in the right, then boldly went ahead!"

From yonder constellation, from the Atlantic to the West,
Where the great pines of Oregon rear up their lofty crest,
From the flowery glades of Florida, from Minnesota's plain,
Each voice will say, "Huzza! huzza! this Craft is one again!"

Old England soon will hear it; not always will the cry
Of suffering Brothers meet her ear, and she pass coldly by;
There's a chord in British hearts vibrates to every tale of wrong,
And she will send a welcome and a Brother's hand ere long.
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Then joyful be this meeting, and many more like this,
As year by year shall circle round, and bring you added bliss;
In quarry, hill, and temple, Peace, nor cruel word or thought
Disturb the perfect harmony the gracious God has wrought.

But while your walls are thus compact, your cement strong and good,
Your workmen diligent and just, a mighty Brotherhood,
Remember, Brethren, o'er the earth, and on the raging sea,
How many a heart there is to-night that sighs, "Remember me!"

By the sign the world knows nothing of, but to our eyes so clear, —
By the token known in darkest hour, that tells a Brother dear, —
By the sacred vow and word, and by "the hieroglyphic bright,"
Remember all, the wide world round, who claim your love to-night.

TO THE SECRETARY

Make thou the record duly, —
Our Mason life is there;
Make thou the record truly,
With close and anxious care.
The labors on the busy stage, —
At every step, — from age to age!

Make thou the record plainly, —
How oft does error lurk!
Herein our children mainly
Will read their fathers' work.
Herein will trace with joy or gloom
Our pathway to the closing tomb.

Make thou the record kindly,
Omit the cruel words;
The Mason spirit blindly
A gentle shroud affords.
Oh, let thy record grandly prove
Freemasonry's a thing of love.

Make thou the record swiftly, —
Time's scythe is sweeping fast;
Our life, dissolving deftly,
Will soon, ah, soon, be past.
And may a Generous Eye o'erlook
Our record in the Heavenly Book!
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THE PURSUIT OF FRANKLIN

When Dr. Kane, the Arctic navigator, left New York in search of Sir John Franklin, he set the Masonic Square and Compass in large characters upon his foresail. He visited a Lodge in Newfoundland at his brief call there. The flag taken and left, by his orders, nearest the North Pole, was the Masonic flag. It was an incentive to the zealous search made by our intrepid countrymen, that Franklin was reported to be a Freemason.

The following lines were written in 1853, upon his setting out upon his philanthropic errand. It is needless to say, however, that the writer's prediction failed in its fulfillment.

Midst polar snows and solitude,
Eight weary years the voyager lies,
Ice-bound upon the frozen flood,
While expectation vanishes;
Ah! many a hopeless tear is shed
For Franklin, numbered with the dead!

Midst joys of home, and well earned fame,
Young, healthful, honored, there is one
Who pines to win a nobler name,
And feels his glory but begun;
His heart is with the voyager, lost
Midst polar solitude and frost.

The voice from off the frozen flood
Appeals in trumpet tones for aid;
'Tis heard, 'tis answered, — swift abroad
The flag is hung, the sail is spread;
That sail on whose pure face we see
Thy symbol, honored Masonry!

Away, on glorious errand, now,
Thou hero of a sense of right!
Success be on thy gallant brow,
Thou greater than the sons of might!
Thy flag, the banner of the free,
Oh, may it lead to victory!

Is there some chain of sympathy
Flung thus across the frozen seas?
Is there some strange, mysterious tie,
That joins these daring men? — there is!
This, honored, healthful, free from want,
Is bound to that in Covenant!
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For though these twain have never met,
Nor pressed the hand, nor joined the heart,
In unison their spirits beat,
Brothers in the Masonic art;
One, in the hour of joy and peace,
One, in the hour of deep distress.

And by the Symbols, best of those
Time-honored on our ancient wall,
And by the prayer that ceaseless flows,
Upward from every Mystic Hall, —
And by thine own stout heart and hand,
Known, marked, and loved in every land.

Thou shalt succeed, — his drooping eye
Shall catch thy banner, broad and bright,
That symbol he shall yet descry,
And know a Brother in the sight!
Ah, noble pair! which happier then,
Of those two daring, dauntless men?

INSCRIPTIONS FOR A LODGE ROOM

EAST

Erect before Thee,
A hand upon Thy Word,
We thus adore Thee,
And swear to serve Thee, Lord!

WEST

So mote it be — each murmuring word
Speaks the soul's earnest, deep accord,
And echoes, from its inmost sea,
A deep Amen, So Mote It Be!

SOUTH

Ye faithful, weave the chain!
Join hand in hand again!
The world is filled with violence and blood!
Hark to the battle cry!
Hark to the answering sigh!
Come weave the chain admired of man and God!
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GO ON THY BRIGHT CAREER

Go on thy bright career, brave, faithful heart,
Prayers of the faithful every step attending;
Go spread the triumphs of the Mystic Art,
Wherever knee to Deity is bending;
Raise up the landmarks, long in rubbish hidden;
Rear high the Altar on Moriah's brow;
Denounce all teachings by our rites forbidden,
And Light, More Light, on yearning hearts bestow.

Crush all things that obstruct the cause of truth;
How grand, how noble is the sacrifice!
How worthy of the brightest dreams of youth,
To build a House like that within the skies!
Oh, when we lay thee, mourned-for, 'neath the sod,
And cast the green and fragrant bough of faith,
How cheerful can we give thee to thy God
Whose works defy the utmost power of death!

PRAYER — ORAL OR SECRET

There is a prayer unsaid
No lips its accents move;
'Tis uttered by the pleading eye
And registered above.

Each Mystic Sign is prayer,
By hand of Mason given;
Each gesture pleads or imprecates,
And is observed in Heaven.

The deeds that mercy prompts,
Are prayers in sweet disguise;
Though unobserved by any here,
They're witnessed in the skies.

Then at the altar kneel
In silence make thy prayer;
And He whose very name is Love
The plea will surely hear.

The darkest road is light
We shun the dangerous snare,
When heavenly hand conducts the road
Responsive to our prayer.
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THE DEATH OF THE GRAND MASTER

Crawford, Grand Master of Maryland, died under the affecting circumstances here described:

His voice was low, his utterance choked,
He seemed like one in sorrow bound,
As from the Orient he invoked
God's blessings on the Masons round.

'Tis sad to see the strong man weep —
Tears are for sorrows yet untried;
But who with sympathy can keep,
When age unseals emotion's tide?

Reverently stood the Brothers round,
While their Grand Master breathed farewell,
And strove to catch the faintest sound
Of accents known and loved so well.

He told them of the zealous care
Of their forefathers of the Art;
How valley-gloom and mountain-air
Bore witness of the faithful heart.

He conned the precepts, line by line —
Oh, that the Craft may ne'er despise
Precepts so precious, so divine,
That shape the Mason mysteries!

He warned them of a world unkind,
Harsh to the good, to evil mild,
Whose surest messengers are blind,
Whose purest fountains are defiled.

He told them of a world to come,
To which this life a portal is,
Where tired laborers go home,
To scenes of never ending bliss.

Then of himself he humbly spoke —
So modestly! so tenderly!
While from the saddened group there broke
An answering sigh of sympathy:

"Now give me rest; my years demand
A holiday, Companions dear!
My days are drawing to an end,
And I would for my end prepare.
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"Now give me rest; but when you meet,
Brothers, in this beloved spot,
My name upon your lips repeat,
And never let it be forgot!

"Now unto God, the Mason's Friend,
The God our emblems brightly tell,
Your dearest interests I commend —
Brothers, dear Brothers, oh, farewell!"

Down from the Orient, slowly down,
Weeping, through that sad group he passed,
Turned once and gazed, and then was gone.
That look — his tenderest and his last.

His last — for, ere the week had sped,
That group, with sorrow unrepressed,
Gathered around their honored dead —
Bore their Grand Master to his rest!

THE PYRAMID OF CHEOPS

Not useless: cold must be the heart
Can linger here in critic mood,
And fail to recognize the good,
And look and sneer, and so depart.

Not useless: were it but to prove
What aspirations are in man;
Almost divine this mighty plan —
Almost an impulse from above.

Not useless: were it but to stir
The sense of awe within the breast;
What grandeur does the pile attest!
Is it a mortal's sepulcher?

Not useless: no; while life abide,
The measure of the soul, to me,
Its utmost stretch of thought shall be
My memories of the Pyramid!
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THE DYING REQUEST

The last request of Morgan Lewis, Grand Master of Masons in New York, is embodied in these lines:

The veteran sinks to rest; —
"Lay it upon my breast,
And let it crumble with my heart to dust
Its leaves a lesson tell; —
Their verdure teacheth well
The everlasting greenness of my trust.

"Through three score years and ten
With failing, dying men
I've wept the uncertainties of life and time!
The symbols, loved of yore,
Have changed, have lost their power,
All save this emblem of a faith sublime.

"Things are not as they were;
The Level and the Square,
Those time-worn implements of love, in truth, —
The incense flowing o'er
The lambskin, chastely pure,
Bear not th' interpretation as in youth.

"Their moral lore they lose;
They 'mind me but of those
Now in death's chambers who their teachings knew,
I see them — but they breathe
The charnel airs of death
I cannot bear their saddening forms to view.

"But this, O symbol bright!
Surviving age's blight,
This speaks in honey tones, unchanged, unchanged!
In it I read my youth,
In it my manhood's truth,
In it bright forms of glory long estranged.

"Green leaves of summer skies,
Blest type of Paradise!
Tokens that there's a world I soon shall see,
Of these take good supply;
And, Brothers, when I die,
Lay them upon my breast to die with me?"

'Twas done. They're crumbled now,
He lies in ashes, too;
Yet was that confidence inspired in vain?
Ah, no, his noble heart,
When death's dark shades depart,
With them in glory shall spring forth again.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

FRAGRANCE OF A GOOD DEED

Many years since, a poor sojourner through the wilds of Texas paused at a farm house on the lonely banks of the Brazos, to die. The owner, a Freemason, discovered the Masonic claims of his guest not too late to make the mystic tie available. All the consolations of brotherly sympathy and attendance were freely bestowed upon him, and when these could avail the pilgrim no longer, his remains were tenderly consigned to maternal earth, the generous planter reading the Masonic service and covering in the precious dust, alone!

Long years afterward, and when a populous village had sprung up upon the river banks, a Masonic Lodge was established there. The hall was built, and the Mount Moriah upon which it was erected was the green knoll beneath which the stranger's bones are moldering! Morton Lodge, No. 72, at Richmond, Texas, yet (1884) stands to perpetuate " the fragrance of a good deed."

On hallowed ground those walls are reared;
That roof incloses in
A spot to Masonry endeared,
To Sion's Mount akin;
Since Sion's Temple is bereft
And Judah mourns his God,
No holier site on earth is left,
Than this our feet have trod.

For here, inspired by truest faith,
Relief a Brother gave,
Upheld a wanderer unto death
And blessed him with a grave;
Aye, with a grave whose portals closed
To that majestic song,
Which has to the fraternal host
Brought deathless hopes so long.

The Eye Divine approved the deed,
'Tis graven as with steel;
And when the noble act we read
This fond desire we feel, —
That all our mystic work and word
Thus modeled well may be,
And so the Temple of our God
Rise fast and gloriously!
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THE OBEDIENT DISCIPLE

The ancient historian, Iamblichus, describes with unction the circumstance that forms the basis of the following piece. The two travelers therein named were disciples of Pythagoras, whose system of secret affiliation, if it was not Freemasonry, at least exhibited the benevolent features which make up so large a part of it.

A Brother, bound for distant lands,
In sickness fell alone, alone;
And stranger care from stranger hands,
Did the last rites of nature own.
But ere the trembling spirit passed,
He on a Tablet faintly traced

Some mystic lines — a spiral Thread
A Square — an emblem of the Sun
A Checkered Band, that none could read
And then his work and life were done.
And stranger care from stranger hands,
Gave him kind burial in the sands.

Full many a year swept by, swept by,
And the poor stranger was forgot;
While on an olive column, nigh,
That Tablet marked his burial spot;
And many gazed at Square and Thread,
And many guessed, but none could read.

But then the sage Disciple came,
Of one whose wisdom filled the land,
Himself right worthy of the name,
The thoughtful head and ready hand;
He looked upon the mystic lines,
And read the Tablet's full designs.

It spoke of one long passed before,
In quest of truth, like him, sincere;
Of one gone onward, never more
To delve in mines deep-hidden here;
And solemn was the lesson traced, —
Lo, Pilgrim! 'tis your fate at last!

Awe-struck, yet wiser now, he strayed
In solemn silence from the spot;
Repaid the debt his brother made,
And eastward journeyed on his lot;
Yet never on life's shifting wave
Lost he the lesson of that grave.

How weighty is the charge we give,
Brethren, in this short history read,
To bless the living while we live,
And leave some tokens when we're dead!
On life's broad Tablet let us trace
Emblems to mark our burial place!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

PLEASANT MEMORIES

It is the mercy of our Heavenly Friend
That memory clingeth most to pleasant things;
We may forget the ills and pains of life,
Its bonds and losses; we may forget the graves
Of best beloved ones early torn away;
But in our memory there is safely hid
A store of happy things — the social hours,
The genial smiles, brightest of earthly light;
The manly grip that thrills the soul within;
The loving "Farewell, farewell, brother dear!"

These things do lie so closely at the heart,
While pulses beat they never can fade out.
So, dearest Friend, in calling up the past,
We find our early friendship of that sort
That dwells in memory; for it was enshrined
With unforgotten names of friends now dead;
Kind-hearted, faithful, full of zeal and love,
In graveyard now is their abiding place;
Beneath the green sprigs they repose in peace;
While we, a little longer, toil and wait,
Cheered by the recollections of their love.

And so, in future years, should we be spared,
May we recall this one more happy hour,
This group of cheerful faces, every hand
Strong in the grip fraternal, every eye
Filled with the light fraternal, every soul
Softened and sanctified by brother love;
And when, at last, the summons we accept,
And join the Lodge Celestial, may we find
Amongst our very happiest memories,
The hour of social joy we now begin!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE INHERITANCE OF FRIENDSHIP

To B. B. French, in 1856.

When twenty years have circled round,
The lads now standing at my knee
Will cherish one poor spot of ground
Sacred to memory and me.

Gazing upon the humble sod,
Recalling each fond, loving word,
They'll keep one link in memory's chain
Bright, till the hour we meet again.

Such is the lesson I impart
At evening's set when prayers are said;
The last sweet sentiment at heart
Ere little eyes are closed in bed.

That when upon life's billows tossed,
In worldly selfishness engrossed,
A Cable Tow the thought shall prove
To draw them by a Father's love.

When twenty years have come and gone
They who shall fondly look for you
Must leave the scenes you now adorn,
And seek the sodded hillock, too;

Tears will bedew the grass beneath,
Sighs will unite with nature's breath,
T' embalm within that hallowed bed,
A father loved, a father dead.

There's Brotherhood in honest sighs,
There's Brotherhood in earnest tears;
Our sons, made kindred by such ties,
Shall interchange their hopes and fears;

Yours to the West their steps will bend
To honor their dear Father's friend;
Mine to the East will make their way
A pious pilgrimage to pay.

Such was the dream that fired my brain
Last night as 'mid my loved ones lying,
It came again, again, again,
And traced itself in lines undying.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
I dreamed we twain had joined the bands
Who live and love in other lands,
And from high seats beheld with joy
The step of each dear pilgrim boy.

I dreamed that on some sunny plain
They, o'er whose couch we've bent at night,
Met, twined with eager hands the chain,
The Chain of Love, the Chain of Light;

With glowing lips exchanged the Word, —
No fonder does our tongue afford,
And covenanted by that faith
Their fathers pledged and kept till death.

Then be it so, dear Friend, and while
For earthly labors we are spared,
Let's teach our sons to cherish well
The friendship we've so freely shared.

Then at life's sunset we may die
And yet the power of Death defy;
Then by the Monster victor slain,
In our dear Children live again!

THE NARROW BOUNDARY

So each one stands, — a narrow line
Divides the future from the past, —
A little space to labor in,
So brief for purposes so vast.

Those grand designs, whose tracing proves
Their inspiration is from Heaven,
Those boundless hopes, — those deathless loves, —
'Tis but a day to these is given!

Then let us labor while we can,
Throw off the burdens that oppress, —
Redeem our poor and fleeting span;
And trust in God to help and bless.

And should we seek, to give us cheer,
Examples of the bold and true,
A cloud of witnesses is here,
To prove what laboring man can do.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

LANGUAGE OF FREEMASONRY

Hark, 'tis the voice of the long-parted years!
An hundred generations, joining tongues
From every land to swell the choral song,
While angels bear it to the throne of God.

Where'er the patient dead lie waiting for
The Resurrection trump, their very graves
Are vocal with thy imagery divine,
That speaks the language of Freemasonry.

The living, loving groups in mystic round,
Whisper those words their fathers knew and loved;
While kindled eye and burning heart confess
That time but strengthens thee, Freemasonry.

Hark, 'tis the voice from vanished years, deep-toned
Like some cathedral chant, sounding the depths
Of human feeling, and awakening all
In one grand chorus to the God of love.

Hear it, ye nations! still the clash of arms!
The blood-flow stanch! no longer brothers' hands
'Gainst brothers' hearts be raised! but heed the voice
That speaks the Common Father of us all.

THE VETERAN'S LAMENT

There's tenfold Lodges in the land,
Than when my days were few;
But none can number such a band,
The wise, the bright, the true,
As stood around me on the night
When first I saw the Mystic Light,
Full fifty years ago.

There's Brother-love and Brother-aid,
Where'er the Craft is known;
But none like that whose twinings made
The mighty chain that's gone
Ah, none like that which bound my soul
When first my eyes beheld the goal
Full fifty years ago.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
There's emblems green to deck the bed
Of Masons where they rest,
But none like those we used to spread
Upon the Mason's breast,
When, yielding up to death, they fell,
Who'd battled with the monster well.
Full fifty years ago.

Oh, how my heart is kindled now,
When round me meet again
The shadows of the noble few,
Who formed the mystic train
In which my feet were proud to tread,
When through admiring crowds we sped,
Full fifty years ago.

They're fled, that noble train, — they're gone, —
Their last procession's o'er
And I am left to brood alone,
Ere I, too, leave the shore;
But while I have a grateful tear,
I'll praise the bright ones that were here,
Full fifty years ago.

YEARNINGS.

Oh, might I live to see each Mason Lodge
The abode of peace, the school of harmony,
The place of prayer, the fount of charity,
The judgment seat of the Celestial Judge!

Oh, might I know that, when I weep beside
A dying brother, weeping for his loss,
That loss is all any own, and he will cross
In light and ecstacy the rolling tide!

Oh, might I feel, when standing by the grave
Where sleeps a Mason brother, that his soul
Has gone on royal pinions to that goal
Where reigns the King who died our souls to save!

Oh, that the day may come — it will, it must,
When Masons all shall live upon the Square!
Brothers, be this our constant aim and care,
And we shall have the approval of the Just.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

TO THE DOUBTING

Think ye that Masons, when they tyle the door,
Excluding all unfriendly ears and eyes,
Think ye they find no spirits hovering o'er,
That bring bright blessings to their mysteries?
With Bible at the feast,
And God's Name in the East,
And prayer and vow,
true hearts to bow;
Can holy ones absent themselves from these?

Think ye, when first are led our wandering feet
About the mystic altar, slow and bare,
And priestly voice rehearses, as is meet,
Of brotherhood all precious, fond and rare, —
Think ye, in that dark hour
There comes no inward power
To bid us trust
in God the Just,
And waft full orisons on wings of prayer?

Think ye the long succession that have worn
Our badges, understanding well their lore, —
Think ye when, to their resting places gone,
They dropped the tools their fathers dropped before,
The Level, Plumb and Square,
So bright with moral rare,
And Gavel full
of mystic rule,
That all their wisdom to the tomb they bare?

Think ye the dead, above whose face we flung
Undying leaves that symbolize our faith,
Think ye in honored graves that mighty throng
Is silent utterly in sleep of death?
When standing round their grave,
Our weeping Craftsmen gave
In sign and word,
such full accord,
With all they felt and hoped, who lie beneath?

Most wrongly judge ye, ye who judge us thus;
We may not scorn the social word and smile,
For these are blessings God hath granted us,
Life's weary heat and burden to beguile;
But in our lightest thought
A thousand types are wrought,
Drawn from the Word
and will of God,
That link the heavenly to the earthly soil.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE PRAYER OF DANIEL

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed (forbidding any person praying for thirty days, except to King Darius), he went into his house, his windows being open in his chamber toward 7erusalena; he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. — Daniel vi, 10.

If thy people sin against thee, and thou deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives into the land of the enemy, yet if they shall bethink themselves and repent, and make supplication unto thee, and pray unto thee, toward the city which thou has chosen; then hear thou their prayer in Heaven, thy dwelling place, and maintain thy cause and forgive thy people. — I Kings viii, 46.

As from the Orient the sun
Proclaimed his golden race begun,
And earth awoke in light and song,
Calling to toil the busy throng,

Upon his housetop, all abroad,
The exiled Hebrew plead with God,
And Sionward he breathed his prayer,
For Sion was his morning care.

"Hear the voice of supplication;
Save our sinful captive nation
Lead us back to Sion's hill;
Lord! thou hast the power and will!"

As in the South, the solar light
Mounted to his meridian height,
And man to cooling shelter fled
Shunning the fiery beams o'erhead;

Upon his housetop, all abroad,
The exiled Hebrew plead with God;
And Sionward he made his prayer,
For Sion was his noontide care

"Hear the voice of supplication;
Save our sinful captive nation
Lead us back to Sion's hill;
Lord! thou hast the power and will!"

As in the West the sun withdrew
Midst zephyrs bland and healing-dew,
While weary laborers homeward bent,
On evening cheer and sleep intent;

Upon the housetop, all abroad,
The exiled Hebrew plead with God;
And Sionward he made his prayer,
For Sion was his evening care:
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
"Hear the voice of supplication;
Save our sinful captive nation;
Lead us back to Sion's hill;
Lord! thou hast the power and will!"

If thus the exile bent his knee,
Fearless of spite and tyranny,
Shall Masons shrink to give their praise,
Through peaceful nights and happy days?

No, no, in Lodge, at home, abroad,
Let Masons boldly plead with God,
And Sionward address their prayer,
Heaven is their Sion, God is there:

"Hear the voice of supplication;
Save our proud and sinful nation;
Lead us all to Sion's hill;
Lord! thou hast the power and will!"

A WELCOME INTO MASONRY

Directed to one who subsequently acquired a distinguished name as a Masonic writer.

There were many with me were glad, Brother,
When we read your latest thought,
And to one another we said, Brother,
'Tis an omen of good import!

For the battle of law has begun, Brother,
The strife for "the good old way,"
And we need just such an one, Brother,
As we knew you of old to be!

Yes, one of the daring type, Brother —
Such men as they had of yore,
With a head that in age is ripe, Brother,
And a heart that is brimming o'er;

To know what a Landmark is, Brother —
In love to be warm and true
Oh, how have we longed for these, Brother,
And 'tis these we shall find in you!

In the day when your sands are spent, Brother,
And the Craft shall your history tell,
They'll say, as their grief has vent, Brother,
"He has done his labor well!"
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
For you know we have Archives, Brother,
And a Column rent in twain,
And a Name that still greenly lives, Brother,
Though We dust hath its dust again!

And these they'll give to you, Brother,
As the guerdon of your meed;
For the love that is warm and true, Brother,
For the heart and for the head;

For the battle of law has begun, Brother,
The strife for "the good old way,"
And we need just such an one, Brother,
As we know you of old to be!

LINES WRITTEN TO ACCOMPANY RECITATIONS.

Come, then, ye Masons wise,
Come with sound ears and eyes,
Join me in spirit, and with hand in hand,
Cross the broad waters o'er
Old Canaan to explore,
And make our Crusade to the Holy Land!



Honor to him who fills the East,
For Wisdom's rule revered;
Honor to him who fills the West,
For Help and Strength endeared;
Honor to him who fills the South,
Model of Beauty, Grace and Truth.



Oh, glorious task! to dig in sacred soil
'Neath ruined towers and temples where the hands
Of nine score thousand craftsmen wrought in toil
Sublime! Oh, to rehearse our Master's dread command
Amidst those scenes inspired! oh, to join
Around those altars loving hand and heart!
In all this Lodge terrestrial there's no shrine
Like that where first was wrought Masonic Art.



What is the Mason's speech?
How does the Master teach
The undying thoughts that we call Masonry?
Mysterious dialect
Where sharpened souls detect
The inmost secrets of the mystic tie!

'Tis no mere local tongue
Informs our world-wide throng;
No! 'tis the hand, the lip, the face, the eye
These make the unerring voice
That bids our souls rejoice
When hand in hand we form the mystic tie.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE DECAYED LODGE

These walls are tottering to decay,
There's dampness on the stair;
But well I mind me of the day
When two score men met here;
When two score Brothers met at night,
The full, round moon above,
To weave the mystic chain of light
With holy links of love.

But now the lightest of the train
In early grave is bowed;
The chain is broke, the holy chain,
The Master's with his God!
The wailing notes were heard one day,
Where cheerful songs are best,
And two score Brothers bore away
Their Master to his rest.

The South, that pleasant voice, is still,
That spoke the joys of noon;
The West, that told the Master's will,
Has set, as sets the sun.
The sun may rise, may stand, may fall,
But these will stand no more, —
No more the faithful Craft to call,
Or scan their labors o'er.

I'll weep the rending of this chain,
As Jesus wept His love!
This haunted spot! what shall restrain
The tears these memories move?
Where two score Brothers met at night,
There's solitude and gloom;
Let grief its sacred train invite
To this old haunted room.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

FREDSTOLE: THE SEAT OF PEACE

Far away in the West, where the savage is straying,
His war path all gory, his visage begrimed,
Where man hates his fellow, betrayed and betraying,
And nature alone breathes a spirit sublime —
There's a Fountain whose flow sweet as nectar inviteth,
Embosomed in hills such as Eden adorn;
Each sip of its waters to Friendship inciteth
And Peace is the song that its song birds return.

There met, drops the Savage his hatchet and arrow,
There met, breast to breast, joins in fondest embrace;
From the song birds the foemen sweet caroling borrow,
And war paint the waters wash out from each face;
The hills smile around — 'tis the approval of Heaven —
Their light catches glances in every eye,
And speaks of a host of foul insults forgiven,
And pledges a Covenant that never can die.

The Lodge is a peace fount! come, Brothers, and taste it!
O'erflowing with sweetness, to you it is given!
A Rock its Foundation, — what ages have placed it!
Its Covering, the starry-decked arches of Heaven.
Its Law, 'tis inscribed in yon holiest Volume —
Its Chain, every link is the soul of a Man!
Behold on the right hand and left hand its Column!
Behold in the East is its marvelous Plan!

HEIMSKRINGLA

SWEDISH FOR HOME CIRCLE

Heimskringla, world circle,
The sacred, the vast, —
The present and future
Enlinked with the past, —
Great girdle fraternal
That bindeth the earth,
Whose strands are all spirits
Of virtue and worth,
Thy name is Freemasonry,
Cherished and blest,
And thy light from the East
Ever tends to the West.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE REPRESENTATIVE OF SOLOMON

Ay, master of the true,
Urge on those hearts to do
A better testimony to the One
Who gave, all laws above,
The conquering law of Love,
And sealed it with the gracious name of John.

Ay, hail his natal morn!
Fear not the winter's scorn,
The storm god will move leniently above;
Bring wife and child to hear
The word we so revere,
The key word of all Masons' music, Love.

Ay, round the Altar now
Let each one humbly Vow
Humbly but firmly, as beseems the wise,
That all that gracious Law
Which John in vision saw.
Shall be the essence of your mysteries!

Ay, thus will life afford
Its comfort and reward,
Its strengthening corn, its oil, its cheering wine,
And so to latest day,
Will coming craftsmen say,
"They loved each other with the Love Divine!"

APPRECIATION

'Tis good to feel ourselves beloved of men;
To know that all our anxious cares and sighs
For others' weal are given not in vain,
But treasured up in grateful memories;
How light the toil for those we fondly love!
How rich the wages grateful spirits prove!

But when those men are Brothers, strongly bound
By bonds indissoluble, sweet and true, —
When gratitude springs out of sacred ground,
And prayers are mingled with the praises due;
Ah then, toil is no burden, gifts no load!
We have full recompense for what's bestowed.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
'Tis thus with you, my friend: the voice of all
Yields willing tribute to your high deserts;
But from the Craft there comes a stronger call,
From that great Brotherhood whose chain begirts
The broad world round, the grateful wages come,
Whose price is Honor and whose favor Bloom.

Long may you live in Bloom and Honor, long,
To show the Christian in the Mason's guise!
In Strength Omnipotent may you be strong!
In Wisdom Heavenly may you be wise!
And when to Death's dark portals you shall come,
May Jesus banish all the fear and gloom!

FELLOWCRAFT'S SONG

His laws inspire our being —
Our light is from His sun;
Beneath the Eye All-Seeing,
Our Mason's work is done.

His Plumb line in uprightness
Our faithful guide shall be,
And in the Source of Brightness
Our willing eyes shall see.

Thou, Father, art the Giver
To ever. earnest prayer!
O, be the Guide forever
To this, our Brother dear!

By law and precept holy,
By token, word and sign,
Exalt him, now so lowly,
Upon this Grand Design.

Within thy Chamber name him
A Workman, wise and true!
While loving Crafts shall claim him
In bonds of friendship due;

Thus shall the walls extol Thee,
And future ages prove
what Masons ever call Thee,
The God of Truth and Love!

Founded upon the Scriptural passage appropriate to this Degree, viz.: Amos vii,7-8 and used in American Lodges in the circumambulation in the Second Degree.

189

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE MASTER OF THE UPRIGHT HEART

German authors describe the affecting incident given in the following lines. The opening verses allude to a journey up the Mississippi River in 1853, swollen at that time out of its banks, during which the author related the incident to his three sons.

We journeyed up the western flood,
My little boys and I,
And watched the drifts of ice and wood
That floated swiftly by;
While banks and trees and dwellings, too,
Appeared like islands in the view.

We marked with sympathy and grief
The general distress,
And fain the lads would give relief
To every suffering case;
But when a corpse came floating past
They fled the spectacle, aghast.

Then in our little room we met;
They thronged the willing knee,
And listened to the various fate
Of men by land and sea;
Of shipwrecked sailors, starved for food,
And lost ones wandering in the wood.

I told them of such noble deeds
Where rescue had been given,
Such generous acts, that he who reads
Is moved to worship Heaven.
But most I pleased them with the part
Of Julian of "The Upright Heart."

"'Twas on a stormy April day,
The floods were at their height;
All Frankfort gather'd out, they say,
To see a dismal sight:
A broken bridge — a swollen sea —
And oh, a drowning family!

"The Master of 'The Upright Heart'
Was Frankfort's noblest son;
On many a field of high desert
His laurels had been won
Not laurels wet with human blood,
But those acceptable to God.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
"Smiles from the face of cold despair,
The widow's grateful song,
The orphan's praise, — the stranger's prayer,
These to his crown belong;
Ah! many such, thank God there be
In our world-wide fraternity!

"Prince Julian galloped to the brink
Of that tremendous flood;
The perishing about to sink
Inspired his noble blood;
He called aloud, he called the brave
This wretched family to save!

"None answered him; again he cried:
'Oh! have you hearts of stone,
To see them perish by your side?
Look, look, they wave us on!'
He offered gold as water free,
To save the drowning family!

"But when the boldest shrank — deterred
From such a desperate deed, —
He uttered not another word,
But bowed his pious head,
Looked upward, — gave his soul to God,
And plunged into the raging flood!

"That day the gates of Heaven were thrown
To admit a spirit freed;
That day earth lost her noblest son,
And gave him to the dead;
That day enshrined the Royal Art,
Her hero of 'The Upright Heart! ' "

The lads sat thoughtful on my knee,
Reflecting on the tale;
They loved to talk of Masonry,
And knew its precepts well;
"I know what made him take such pains;
The signs they made were Masons' signs!"
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE GREATEST OF THESE

The Word of God, the rule of faith to Masons true and free,
Sublimely says, "The greatest grace in man is Charity,"
To feel the sympathetic glow for souls in sorrow driven
And lend relief, — 'tis this that brings the Mason nearest Heaven.


This broad-spread land, the Empire State, foremost in every art,
Hath lately shown in Charity the largest Mason heart;
A Brother from a distant land came empty to their door,
And lo, the generous Brotherhood threw open wide their store.


All honor, praise, respect to them, the noblest in the land,
And honor their Grand Master, right worthy of command;
And honor over all, to Him, the Sovereign King of Heaven,
Forever blest, who hearts to feel and hands to give, hath given.

EXHORTATION TO CHARITY

'Tis but an hour — our life is but a span;
No summer rose so frail as dying man;
Did there no memory of our deeds survive,
Death were more welcome than the happiest life.


But the true heart shall live in mercy's deed;
The Record stands where every eye can read —
Where countless myriads on the judgment morn
Shall see each charity our hands have done.


What wondrous mercy doth The Master give,
That the true Workman in his Work shall live!
What wondrous power the dark grave defies —
The Temple stands although the Builder dies!


Bear me in memory then, kind Friends and true,
As one who loved the Master's cause and you!
Join my poor name with yours in Mystic Chain,
Although we may not, cannot meet again!


And when the stroke of Death, long-pending, falls,
And I no more shall work on Temple walls,
Wreathe the Acacia green about my head
And give one memory to your faithful dead.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

HAIL TO THE PEN

"The pen is mightier than the sword."

Hail To The Pen! the day is past,
When man is governed by the sword;
There is a principle abroad
Greater than bayonet or the cannon's blast.

Hail To The Pen! the skillful Scribe
Wields it, a scepter, o'er the world;
From thrones of darkness it has hurled
The despot, spite of threatening and bribe.

Hail To The Pen! perennial youth
And power be with the hand that wields,
Drawn from a Fount divine that yields
Impartial Justice and unbiased Truth.

Hail To The Pen! and hail to you,
Illustrious Friend, whose pen has taught
How light and truth may be inwrought,
And History writ that to all time is true.

A HEBREW CHANT

Lonely is Sion, cheerless and still,
Shekinah has left thee, thou desolate Hill;
Winds sweep around thee, familiar their tone,
But trumpet, timbrel, song are gone.

Joyous was Sion on that glorious day,
When Israel beheld all thy Temple's display;
Heaven sent a token approvingly down,
But temple, altar, cloud are gone.

Foemen of Sion uplifted the spear,
The brand to thy Temple, the chains to each frere;
Pilgrims and strangers, thy children yet mourn,
But foemen, fetter, brand are gone.

Spirit of Sion, oh, hasten the day,
When Israel shall gather in matchless array!
Lord! build Thine altars, Thy people return,
For temple, altar, cloud are gone.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THAT VAPOR, LIFE

Life is a vapor, how brief is its stay!
Vanishing, vanishing, passing away;
Life is a flower that springs in the morn,
Fading, O, fading, no more to return;
Life is an arrow, how swift is its flight,
Life is the rose tint that fades into night;
Lord, may our lives in Thy service be given,
Fading on earth, but immortal in Heaven.
Teach us the worth of the vanishing time,
Make every life, in its purpose, sublime;
Virtue and innocence, charity's dower,
Merciful Father, bestow us with power;
Patient and strong to endure to the end,
Hopeful and faithful and true to each friend;
Lord, may our lives in Thy service be given,
Fading on earth, but immortal in Heaven.

THE VISITOR'S WELCOME

Composed to he read before The Friends in Council Lodge No. 1383, London, England, at a visit, September 3, 1 878.

It is the pride of ancient Masonry,
When Lodge fires blaze and Craftsmen gather round,
That in the East, upraised where all may see,
An honored place is for the Stranger found.

Amid the Friends in Council then, I come,
To claim the stranger's seat and welcome, too;
For in my far-off, loved Kentucky home,
There waits such welcome, Friends beloved, for you.

The Stranger represents the absent Host;
"The Universal Lodge " through him is here;
Himself though lowly, he may proudly boast
That in his person all the Craft appear.

Around me, though invisible, there stand
The forms of Franklin and of Washington,
Of Clinton, Hubbard, Clay, — O, 'tis a Band,
No man can number 'neath the circling sun.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Rank upon rank they throng me, though I am
Not worthy to unloose the latchet-string;
Such honor glorifies the Stranger's name,
When made the subject of your welcoming.

Then, as the spokesman of this mighty throng,
O Friends in Council, hear the Stranger's word:
His aims are yours, like yours his vows are strong,
His Overseer is yours, the Mason's Lord.

His word is Fides — Brethren, con it well,
And Fides Incorrupta your reply;
Let it be with you while on earth you dwell,
Let it fly with you when you mount the sky.

BEING DEAD, YET LIVING

Long, long ago, the man of Bethany
He whom the Saviour loved — in sickness fell,
Died and was buried. Yet he lives again;
He "being dead yet lives," to die no more.
Toiling and sorrowing, bending 'neath the yoke
Of age — gray hairs, dimmed eyes, enfeebled limbs —
What is there left, old friend, for me and thee?
Where are the joys of youth? where is the scorn
With which we mocked misfortune? where the hope
That beamed from every sky and lured us on?
Gone, gone, all gone! the winter binds us now,
And in our life there's no returning spring!
Soon with our fathers thou and I must sleep;
And round our graves the busy world will surge,
Forgetting that we ever died or lived.
"Yet being dead we live!" if ever once
In genial mood we dropped the generous word
Or penned the loving precept; if in prayer
We sought the common Father, and besought
His aid to save the sorely tempted soul;
If from a scanty hoard we drew a mite
To help the poor and sorrowing, then, dear friend,
We have not lived in vain; we being dead,
Shall live forever in the life of God.

Be comforted; 'tis but a little while,
And the dark river that arrests our path
Shall roll behind us while we walk the fields
And climb the Mount Celestial; for we know
In whom we have believed, and rest secure;
Be comforted; rejoice in hope; farewell.
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BURNS' FAREWELL

As sung by Professor John C. Baker, the vocalist, there is a pathos in Burns' celebrated Ode that is irresistible. The occurrence is that of October, 1860.

Never since, 'neath the daisies laid,
Burns joined the cold and tuneless dead,
Were those sweet lines, his noblest flight,
Sung as you warbled them last night.

They bore us, fancy-winged, above;
They thrilled the inmost soul with love;
And tears confessed "The fond Adieu"
As given so well, last night, by you.

Ah, what a thing is this to spread,
That binds the living with the dead,
And makes them one fraternal throng,
As you, last night. so justly sung.

How blest are we who rightly claim
The Mason's heart, the Mason's name,
And see "the Hieroglyphic bright!"
Of which you sung, so well, last night.

Then as you journey sweetly sing;
Let Craftsmen hear that tuneful thing;
No better can the pen indite
Than those sweet words you sung last night!

Ah, what a power doth music give
To make the dead again to live,
And join with our fraternal throng
As you, last night, so justly sung!

And when your own High XII has come,
And Craftsmen bear you, weeping, home,
May loving friends your requiem write
In those grand words you sung last night!
196

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

WHY HAVE THEY LEFT US?

They went out from us, because they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. — 1 John ii, 19.

Why have they left us? did we not impart
Through Masons' ceremonials, noble thought?
Is there one doctrine, dear to generous heart,
We have not, somewhere, in our system wrought?
Faith, Hope in God, a childlike Reverence,
High, brotherly Trust, a very strong defense, —
And patriotic Zeal, and love for Art, —
Such are the lines we printed on their heart.

Why have they left us? did they not receive
Within our tyled retreats a holy thing?
Walls, floor, and ceiling, all combined to weave
The pattern woven by Judea's king;
Bright types of truth immortal, old and quaint,
Things rare and common in strange union blent;
The Square, the Trowel, objects near and far,
The quivering Leaflet and the Orient Star.

Why have they left us? in yon hallowed graves
Are there not buried friends for whom they mourn?
How can they look where yonder willow waves
Nor long for those who've passed death's solemn bourne?
We laid them there with mystic signals, given
All earnestly, connecting earth with Heaven,
We'll join them there when the great Word shall come,
And with them rise when bursts th' inclosing tomb.

Why have they left us? do they feel secure
That trials and afflictions will not come?
Can they suppose that earthly things endure,
That anything is sure, this side the tomb?
Health, Wealth, Prosperity are but a span,
That mocks with transient bliss deluded man,
When Sorrow shades us, Oh, how good to bend
Our steps toward the Lodge where friend meets friend!

Then let the good return and go with us;
Their vacant seats wait to be occupied;
Our shattered ranks have long bewailed their loss —
Worse the deserter than the faithful dead!
Return, — go with us in our generous toil;
Return, — sleep with us in our hallowed soil;
And when the well pleased Master calls his own,
Stand by our side before the Great White Throne!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE DUELIST

A Brother, known and beloved for his Masonic and general worth, and had in fraternal contemplation for the highest honors of the Craft, was killed in a duel. His Lodge, though warmly solicited, refused to bury him with Masonic honors, but accompanied his remains to the grave in citizens' apparel.

Hark, how the air resounds with death!
Lo, to the tomb a Mason comes!
But where is the badge the Mason hath —
Type of a life beyond the tombs?
Is there not one in all the band
Owns him a Brother now?
Speak, ye that weep around the bier,
And say where the honors were his due.
How he was loved these tear drops show
How he was honored midst our band;
For he had a heart for every woe.
For each distress a liberal hand.
Bright in the East our rising sun,
Proud viewed we his career; —
But now that to-day his race is run,
We fling no Acacia on his bier.
Whispering low the cause we yield —
History of his unworthy death —
False honor called him to the field
And death the erring Brother met.
No dirge from us can o'er him swell,
No banners round him wave;
Emblem of faith we dare not strew
Upon the sad, self-murderer's grave.
Ceases the knell of sorrow now
But long will the heavy sigh be drawn;
Vacant the East! ah, heavy woe!
Our Wisdom, Strength and Beauty gone;
But worst the grief this thought will bring
To our fraternal home
Brightest and dearest, thou art passed,
Dishonored, to an early tomb!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE STRAIT AND NARROW WAY

We Masons walk along a road
Narrow and rugged, straight and rough,
But waymarks are laid down by God,
Whose discipline and rules afford
Guidance upon the road enough.

At every step we're called to warn
Some halting, erring, fainting friend;
Some pilgrim from the road will turn
In paths forbidden — slow to learn
What sufferings such sins attend.

The poisonous cup allures the most, —
Alas, what havoc has it made!
What noble hearts therein are lost!
But few retrace of all the host
Who in this dangerous path have strayed.

The lust of flesh, — the speech profane, —
The tattling tongue, the thievish hand, —
The greed that craves unholy gain, —
And Sabbath breach and murder stain,
Alas, the errings of our band!

At every step we're called to aid
The fallen of misfortune's host;
The sick, in withering bondage laid, —
The mourner, sorrowing by his dead,
The aged, destitute and lost.

Each waymark set by Hand Divine
Yet points unerring to the end, —
And we who seek life's crown to win
Must shun the glittering lures of Sin,
And the sure voice of Gob attend.

Our Master thus we'll represent;
He walked in innocence life's road;
To humbleness strange beauty lent,
In deeds of ceaseless mercy bent;
And gave to man the grace of God!

Departing to His Lodge above
Thus to our willing hearts he said —
"Your faith by deeds of mercy prove,
Live in full exercise of love,
And I will raise you from the dead!"
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THE OLD TYLER

The presentation of a beautiful set of Gavels to the Grand Lodge of Iowa, in 1869, by Theodore Schreiner, for many years the Grand Tyler, was the occasion of this poem.

It was a happy thought
To have these gavels wrought
By the old Tyler, for the honored Craft;
Though placed without the door,
To make the Lodge secure,
You know him as a bright and polished shaft.

How many a year he's stood,
Old Schreiner, brave and good,
And guarded you while secret works went on!
How many a Brother's dead,
Since first his honored head
Was seen amongst you in the early June.

Can you forget him? No;
His earthly form may go,
His kindly smile be hidden in the sod;
But when those gavels ring,
Fond memories they will bring
Of the old Tyler gone to rest with God.

Then let his gavels sound
At every annual round,
And when you hear them think of him that gave;
'Tis but a fleeting day,
And then the Craft will say,
"The Lodge has joined old Schreiner in the grave!"

A knock will yet be heard,
The sheeted dead be stirred,
With all that are and have been we shall rise;
Oh, may each Brother come,
Thus summoned from his tomb,
And share eternal glory in the skies!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

HOLY LAND SPECIMENS

I seem to see the heavenly Book
Ten thousand roots send down,
As though from out its native soil
To vindicate its own;
To rock and water, wood and earth,
The unerring fibers haste,
And draw such princely wisdom forth
As vivifies the waste.
The Book itself grows wiser, hence,
Its Lamp beams forth anew;
The Spirit's best deliverance
More plainly comes to view,
If He, our Wisest, deigned to use
Such objects for our good,
Oh, let us not their teachings lose,
So plainly understood.

NUNC DIMITTIS

It is written of a venerable Craftsman of the past generation, that, having lived through all the trials and reproaches of the Anti-Masonic period (1826-36), and maintained his membership first in one Lodge and then in another, as the contiguous Lodges successively gave way under the pressure, he came peacefully to his death bed at last, and smilingly said to the friends who thronged about, his bedside, "Now, Brothers, let me have my demit!"

"Now dismiss me, while I linger
For one fond, one dear word more;
Have I done my labor fairly?
Is there aught against my score?
Have I wronged in all this circle
One by deed, or word, or blow? —
Silence speaks my full acquittance
Nunc dimittis, let me go!

"Let me go, I crave my wages;
Long I've suffered, long I've toiled;
Never once through work days idle,
Never once my apron soiled;
To the Chamber, where the Master
Waits with smiling to bestow
Corn, and Wine, and oil abundant,
Nunc dimittis, let me go!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
"Let me go, but you must tarry,
Till the sixth day's close has come;
Heat and burden patient bear ye
While you're far away from home;
But a little, for the summons
Waits alike for each of you; —
Mine is sounding, spirits wait me,
Nunc dimittis, let me go!

"Oh, the Sabbath day in Heaven!
Oh, the joys reserved for them,
Faithful Builders of the Temple,
Type of blest Jerusalem!
Oh, the rapture of the meeting
With the friends 'twas bliss to know!
Strive no longer to detain me,
Nunc dimittis, let me go!"

Hushed that voice its fond imploring;
Faded is that eager eye;
Gone the soul of labor wearied,
To repose eternally.
But the memory of his service
Oft shall cheer me as I go,
Till the hour I, too, petition, —
"Nunc dimittis, let me go!"

THE CELESTIAL RECORD

An English Mason, whose name has never been made public, donated considerable sums of money about the year 1852, and made the Western Grand Lodges his almoners for its disbursement in Masonic charities. Kentucky received $500.

Written in Heaven What he has given!
Placed on the records in letters of gold;
Read by the spirits, Judges of merits
Some day the name to us all will be told.
Meantime let silence,
Free from all violence,
Drop its mute veil o'er the face of the man;
Seek not to show it —
Strive not to know it —
Go and do likewise, ye Brothers who can.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Blest was the offering;
Voices of suffering
Hushed under sympathy noble as that;
Tear drops were trailing
Sighs and bewailing,
And tear drops and sorrow the orphans forget.
England, our Mother,
Toward thee each Brother
Reverently turns at this noble emprise,
"This makes the cable
Holy and stable,
Binding our Lodges forever," he cries.

A RESPONSE OF GRATITUDE

Long may your Lodge fires burn!
Workmen in mystic labors, kind and good!
And many a year return
To shed new luster on your Brotherhood;
You, who the call of mercy heard and heeded,
And gave with cheerfulness as it was needed.

Men may your work defame,
And call your deeds the offspring of the night;
How often scorn and shame
Have stricken hearts in virtuous doings bright!
The Lord of all bore to his home of bliss,
In hands and feet and side the proofs of this.

But doubt ye not, dear friends,
There surely waits for you a Full Reward.
The Lord will give amends
At the great Pay Day, for thus saith the Lord, —
"Because ye did it to the least, so free,
Come to my throne, ye did it unto me!"

A lasting blessing rest
Upon your labors prospering more and more;
God's largest gifts and best
Fill to the brim your basket and your store,
Till from hard service summoned by His voice,
You shall in Lodge Celestial all rejoice!
203

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE TEACHER TO HIS PUPILS

The National Masonic School of Instruction, at Louisville, Kentucky, May, 1859, was a scene of great interest to the participants. The assemblage was large and enthusiastic, representing many portions of the country. The writer, as President, made the following his Valedictory of the School:

From the hills of old Virginia, from the meadows fat and rare,
From the banks of broad Ohio, and of others broad and fair,
From the borders of our neighboring states, true neighbors each they stand,
You have come responsive, Brothers, and have gripped me by the hand.

You have brought me words of greeting, — words I never can forget; —
Have given me light my eyes will see till life's poor sun has set;
You have told with signs significant, your messages so true,
And now, at parting, one kind word I offer, Friends, to you.

A goodly group around us! the thoughtful air of Greene —
The cheerful gaze of Webster, — and Williams' modest mien, —
The chivalry of Bullock, that courteous look and how, —
The sterling sense, the honest voice, the gentleness of Howe.

These are the types of all who've sat unwearied 'neath the voice
That told of Masons' labors and of Masons' well earned joys;
Deep in the souls of these have sunk the unchangeable and true,
The mighty Covenants that bind, dear Brothers, me and you.

Here, too, those welcome lights have shone, ay, welcome as the sun,
Whose fame as skillful builders has in distant lands been won —
The veterans, Penn and Norris, Tracey, vigilant and leal,
And Hunt, the genial-hearted, and Bayless, true as steel.

To all who work as these work, to all who love like them,
To all who build as they build the New Jerusalem,
Be wages such as they shall have, when, standing in the West,
They hear the Master call them, "Come, ye faithful, to your rest."

True, zealous, loving men! on this tempestuous, rocky shore
I may not meet — ah, sad to think — not meet or greet you more;
Each day speaks louder in my ears the uncertainties of time,
And death amidst life's music louder peals his solemn chime.

Then each Farewell! bear homeward Light our fathers well approved,
Set up the Pillars, rear the walls; — 'twas work our fathers loved;
Time will your fond devotion to unending ages tell;
God will o'ersee and bless you! Brothers, faithfully, farewell!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

TIMELY WARNING

Where is thy Brother, Craftsman, say,
Where is the erring one to-day?
We look around the festive band, —
What cheerful smiles on every hand!
The voice of laughter swells amain, —
Where is the brightest of the train?
The ready wit, the generous word,
The glee in music's best accord,
The bounteous gifts, — oh, where is he,
The prince of Masons' revelry?

Not left unwarned in death to fall,
To lapse without one friendly call!
Alas, the grave has closed above
So many objects of our love!
There is so many a vacant chair
In every group where Masons are!

Of some the drunkard's cup doth tell;
Tempted, yet sorrowing, they fell;
Day after day they saw the light
Recede, till day was turned to night;
Yet yearned and strove to pause, and stay
Their feet upon the slippery way;
They fell, and none so bright are left
As those of whom we are bereft.

A voice from out the grave demands, —
"Where is thy Brother? are thy hands
Quite guiltless of his priceless blood?
How often have ye kindly stood,
And whispered loving words and prayer
Within the erring Brother's ear?
How often counseled, plead, and warned,
And from approaching danger turned?
"The thoughtful tear, the heavy sigh,
Must speak for conscience a reply;
Quick, then, oh Craftsman, up and save
The living from untimely grave!

We whisper good counsel in the ear of a Brother, and in the most tender manner remind him of his faults, and endeavor to aid his reformation; such is the world-wide command.

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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

ASK! SEEK!! KNOCK!!!

ASK, and ye shall receive;
SEEK, ye shall surely find;
KNOCK, ye shall no resistance meet,
If come with ready mind;

For all that ASK, and ask aright,
Are welcome to our Lodge to-night.
Lay down the bow and spear;
Resign the sword and shield;
Forget the arts of warfare here,
The arms of peace to wield;

For all that SEEK, and seek aright,
Are welcome to our Lodge to-night.
Bring hither thoughts of peace;
Bring hither words of love;
Diffuse the pure and holy joy
That cometh from above;

For all that KNOCK, and knock aright,
Are welcome to our Lodge to-night.
ASK help of Him that's high;
SEEK grace of Him that's true;
KNOCK patiently, the hand is nigh,
Will open unto you;

For all that ASK, SEEK, KNOCK aright,
Are welcome to our Lodge to-night.

THE LAST, LAST WORD, "FARE WELL."

The last, last word, — oh, let it tell
The inmost soul of love — Fare well!
Fare well in heart, in health, in store,
In going out, in coming in;
And when to slumber you incline,
May man's respect and woman's smile
And childhood's prattle to beguile,
Be yours, be yours, for evermore!
By every impulse that can swell
A loving heart, fare well, fare well!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Fare well, — the lights grow dim; the tear
Lingers and sparkles in the eye;
"So mote it be!" I faintly hear
Winged on the breath of answering sigh.
It is the voice of sympathy,
It tells of a fraternal tie
Once, twice and thrice about us wound
When first on consecrated ground
We walked the dark, mysterious round.
By all the secrets it doth tell
Of Bonds and Links and Ties, fare well!

Fare well! what other word besides
Conveys the spirit of God's Word,
Around, above, beneath whose lids
We tied the indissoluble cord?
Had I the tongue with power to say
All that the hand expert can tell
Of signs and grips and mystic way
I could but say, but say fare well!
I could but say, "May God thus do
By me should ever I prove untrue!"

And my choked utterance would prove
How weak are words to tell my love.
Then let the Hand speak what it should,
And call to witness noblest things;
The bounding heart responds and brings
Its godlike power to compass good.
The answering heavens admit the plea,
And vouch a present Deity;
Angels my loving wishes swell,
And God himself proclaims, — fare well!

EARNESTNESS OF COVENANTING.

Never will I break the Covenant
Plighted, Brother, with thee now!
One between us stands attesting
To the fervor of my vow.
In His name, above His Promise,
By His honor, for His cause,
Here's my hand, the Lord confirm it,
I will surely keep my vows!
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SO MOTE IT BE

So mote it be with us when life shall end,
And from the East the Lord Of Light shall bend
And we, our six days' labor fully done,
Shall claim our wages at the Master's throne.

So mote it be with us; that when the Square,
That perfect implement, with heavenly care,
Shall be applied to every block we bring,
No fault shall see our Master and our King.

So mote it be with us; that though our days
Have yielded little to the Master's praise,
The little we have builded may be proved
To have the marks our first Grand Master loved!

So mote it be with us; we are but weak;
Our days are few; our trials who can speak?
But sweet is our communion while we live,
And rich rewards the Master deigns to give.

Let's toil, then, cheerfully, let's die in hope;
The Wall in wondrous grandeur riseth up;
They who come after shall the work complete,
And they and we receive the wages meet.

THE CHAMBER OF IMAGERY

DECLAMATION PRIOR TO A LODGE LECTURE

Hail, workmen of the mystic labor, hail!
To-night let all things that have language speak,
Here in the image chamber of the Craft,
Where pure instruction beams on every hand;
Above — the spangled Arch, whose diamond rays
Twinkle sweet welcome on our road to Heaven;
Around — emblems of truth eternal, grand,
Quaint old imaginings of by-gone days;
Before — oh, blest eternally of God,
Yon Book, whose secret is undying hope;
Beneath — the earth, our mother, whence we sprung,
And in whose bosom we shall sleep at last;
All these inspire and move the Poet's heart
To claim a welcome, Brothers, in your Band.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
And let them speak; those Pillars that look down
In brazen symbolisms on the scene
That golden G, that names the sacred Name;
The Sheaf that marks His beauty and His love;
The Gavel ringing in submissive ears;
The Level, Plumb, and Square, on faithful breasts;
The Gauge, wise monitor of fleeting time, —
Of time, whose sands no mortal may recall;
The Trowel, with its soothing tale of peace;
Each has its voice, and let it speak to-night.

Craftsmen, we build but for a day,
Unless His precepts we obey!
How oft we see within our land
A structure reared upon the sand!
Its walls magnificently rise, —
Its turrets pierce the very skies, —
Crowds through its portals eager press, —
Beauty and rank its altars grace, —
And then the tempest falls, 'tis gone
From tower top to cornerstone!
Craftsmen, this lesson heed, and keep, —
Lay your foundations wide and deep!

THE THREE SALUTES

I hail you, Brother, in the place
Where none but those should meet
Whose types are bended knee and brow,
And the uncovered feet;
I take you by the grip, expressing
All that heart can feel,
And I pledge myself to be to you
A Brother True As Steel!

I've watched with real joy your quest,
So ardent and so rare,
Your bold, unflinching gaze upon
The things we most revere;
I've seen that nothing daunts you
In the paths our Lights reveal;
And I pledge myself again to you,
A Brother True As Steel!

I think there's that within you
Only needs for time to show, —
Will kindle up a flame, where others
Only feel a glow;
I think the grave will claim you
As a Mason ripe and teal;
And so once more I pledge myself
A Brother True As Steel!
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WHITE-APRONED BROTHERS

Come, cease from your labors,
Ye white-aproned neighbors,
And answer my words —
Tells us who are ye?

"We are friends of humanity,
Hating profanity,
Spurning all vanity,
Children Of Peace.
Men who can feel
All our own need of kindness,
And bless the Great God,
Who hath lightened our blindness."

Tell us, what do ye?

"By precept, example,
We're building a temple,
Fair, lofty and ample,
For Him whom we serve —
Following the plans
That our Master doth give us,
And amply repaid
When His servants receive us."

And what do you work with?

"The Gauge and the Gavel,
The Plumb, Square, and Level,
And then as we travel,
The Trowel we hold —
Skillfully these,
At first we're inducted —
Obediently these,
In the way we're instructed."
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Your timbers, what are they?

"The blocks that we quarry,
And timbers so heavy,
Our hands shape and carry,
Those ashlars are Men;
Rough ashlars they are
But hewed, marked and garnished,
By precepts divine,
Our task will be finished."

Your resting, when is it?

"We look for no leisure,
We sigh for no pleasure,
We covet no treasure,
Till Saturday Night.
Wages and joys,
And a rest without breaking,
Wait for us then,
In the home that we're seeking."

"And he said unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they? I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb."


ALL-SEEING EYE

There is an eye through blackest night
A vigil ever keeps;
A vision of unerring light,
O'er lowly vale, o'er giddy height,
The Eye that never sleeps.

Midst poverty and sickness lain,
The outcast lowly weeps;
What marks the face convulsed with pain?
What marks the softened look again?
The Eye that never sleeps.

Above the far meridian sun —
Below profoundest deeps,
Where dewy day his course begun,
Where scarlet marks his labor done —
The Eye that never sleeps.
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No limit bounds th' Eternal Sight;
No misty cloud o'ersweeps;
The depths of hell give up their light —
Eternity itself is bright —
The Eye that never sleeps.

Then rest we calm, though round our head
The life-storm fiercely sweeps;
What fear is in the blast? what dread
In mightier Death? An Eye's o'erhead,
The Eye that never sleeps.

TOM BIGGS' BOTTOM DOLLAR

He tapped his bottom dollar, Joe,
When that poor barefoot child
Came moaning through the drifted snow,
With cold and hunger wild;
Tom Biggs himself is old and poor
And has a cough, you know,
But when he saw that wretched girl,
He tapped his bottom dollar, Joe,
Tom tapped his bottom dollar!

I don't believe he'll miss it, Joe,
In that last, solemn rest
To which he's hurrying so fast, —
He's shaky, at the best;
I rather think the records there
That very coin will show,
And God himself will keep the count
Of Biggs' bottom dollar, Joe —
Tom Biggs' bottom dollar!

THE OLIVE DOOR

The two doors (of the Temple) were of olive tree. — I Kings vi, 31.

No more to grieve for pleasures gone,
For broken hopes no more,
We leave the outer world forlorn,
And close the Olive Door.
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The Tree of Peace, whose holy leaf
The gentle Tyler bore;
It ranked in Eden's bloom the chief,
And made the Olive Door.

When brother-hands, on Aaron's head,
The holy oil did pour,
The Olive of its fatness shed,
And made the Olive Door.

So may we find unfailing Peace,
And Plenty's utmost store;
May God His plenteousness increase,
Within the Olive Door.

We gather round the Altar here,
With spirits gone before,
And join the hand, in union dear,
Within the Olive Door.
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FESTIVAL SONGS


FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF A LODGE

Two score and ten revolving years
Full charged with labors, sighs and tears,
The Craft have brought
Their tools, and wrought
Upon this temple old and vast,
A legend of the mighty past!
Now, Brothers, joyfully appear,
And celebrate our FIFTIETH YEAR!

One-half the century is spent,
But where the faithful ones who lent
Voice, heart, and hand,
A zealous Band,
To set aloft their Pillars twain
And dedicate the Holy Fane?
Not one is spared us to appear
And celebrate our FIFTIETH YEAR!

They sleep beneath th' Acacia green;
Their graves in solemn ranks are seen;
And at the head,
'Tis joy to read
The emblems full of hope and trust,
Which give a glory to their dust;
But yet, their names and lives are here
To celebrate our FIFTIETH YEAR!

What change has swept across this land
Since first their Gave hs gave command!
It is our boast,
The countless host
Of Crafts, the living and the dead,
Where then a wilderness was spread;
In serried ranks our lines appear,
To celebrate our FIFTIETH YEAR!
214

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Unchanged while all the world grows old,
We joy the ancient faith to hold,
Through centuries still
The task fulfill
That God intrusts to man below,
Freemasonry no change shall know!
Strike hands in this, ye Crafts, appear
And celebrate our FIFTIETH YEAR!

And when the century shall end
And over us th' Acacia bend,
The Craft will come
Within this home,
And speak our names with grateful thrill,
The loved, the unforgotten still;
In such belief, dear friends, appear
And celebrate our FIFTIETH YEAR!

BROTHERLY LOVE

By one God created, by one Saviour saved,
By one Spirit lighted, by one Mark engraved,
We're taught in the wisdom our spirits approve,
To cherish the spirit of Brotherly Love.

Love, love, Brotherly love —
This world hath no spirit like Brotherly love.


In the land of the stranger we Masons abide,
In forest, in quarry, on Lebanon's side;
Yon temple we're building, the plan's from above,
And we labor, supported by Brotherly Love.

Though the service be hard, and the wages be scant,
If the Master accept it, our hearts are content;
The prize that we toil for, we'll have it above,
When the Temple's completed, in Brotherly Love.

Yes, yes, though the week may be long, it will end, —
Though the Temple be lofty, The Keystone will stand;
And the Sabbath, blest day, every thought will remove,
Save the memory fraternal of Brotherly Love.

By one God created, — come, brothers, 'tis day!
By one Spirit lighted, — come, brothers, away!
With Beauty, and Wisdom, and Strength to approve,
Let's toil while there's labor in Brotherly Love.
215

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

ST. JOHN'S DAY

Go now, dear friends, take fond farewell,
Bear kindly cheer to Masons' home;
The bliss of this bright morning tell
In dews of memory to bloom.

Go now, dear friends, but ne'er forget
That smiles and sunshine are of God;
He makes the joys of life complete,
And strews sweet flowers along the road.

Go, then, and serve Him all your days,
Walk in His ways, obey His word;
His ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all His paths sweet peace afford.

Go, then, and hopeful look on high,
There, where He sits on radiant Throne;
He sees the tear, he hears the sigh,
And waits to make our life His own.

MASONIC GREETING

Lo, from the distant West,
Lo, from your honored guest,
The voice of greeting and the word of prayer;
Ye sons of cheer, all hail!
This grateful tongue shall tell
The tie that binds you and the joys you share!

There is a Cord of length,
There is a Chain of strength;
Around you each I see the sacred coil.
How long, ah, well I know!
How strong, your deeds do show,
The while you labor in the sacred toil.

In amplest share bestowed,
By Him you worship — God,
The joy of Friendship well you feel and prize,
'Tis His own best design,
'Tis perfect, 'tis divine,
It is the bliss diffused through upper skies.
216

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Peace be within your halls!
The Cement of your walls
Be Holy Love — pure, indestructible!
From the o'erarching Heaven
A gracious smile be given,
The favor of the Deity to tell.

When each shall bow in death,
Joy to the parting breath!
Rich fragrance from a thousand generous deeds!
And where your ashes be,
Sacred to memory
The spot while man pure truth and honor heeds!

And me, oh loving Friends,
When life's poor story ends,
Me in your inner heart of hearts enshrine!
Humble, but oh, sincere,
Erring and sorrowing here,
Write me as one who loved each Mystic line!

Builders of light, your hands!
Distant our several lands?
No; for I see, I hear, I feel you now!
Bind once again the chain;
Again, dear Friends, again;
Hear, Gracious Lord, hear and confirm the Vow!

PSALM CXXXIII

How pleasant is the scene
Where Masons kindly dwell!
Where mystic tapers burn serene,
And hymns fraternal swell.

How good the searching word
That from the East descends!
It speaks the unerring Law of God
And richest grace attends.

How strong the Mason tie,
It holds the willing band;
'Tis wove in golden unity
By God's mysterious hand.

How sacred is the place!
Behold, He dwelleth here!
His dews descend in nightly grace
Our loving Craft to cheer.
217

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE FREEMASON'S HOME

Music of a very high character was composed for this by George F. Root.

Where hearts are warm with kindred fire,
And love beams free from answering eyes,
Bright spirits hover always there,
And that's the home the Masons prize.
The Mason's Home, the peaceful home,
The home of love and light and joy;
How gladly does the Mason come
To share his tender, sweet employ.

All round the world, by land, by sea,
Where summers burn or winters chill,
The exiled Mason turns to thee,
And yearns to share the joys we feel.
The Mason's Home, the happy home,
The home of light and love and joy;
There's not an hour but I would come
And share this tender, sweet employ!

A weary task, a dreary round,
Is all benighted man may know,
But here a brighter scene is found,
The brightest scene that's found below.
The Mason's Home, the blissful home,
Glad center of unmingled joy
Long as I live I'll gladly come
And share this tender, sweet employ.

And when the hour of death shall come,
And darkness seal my closing eye,
May Hands Fraternal bear me home,
The home where weary Masons lie!
The Mason's Home, the heavenly home,
To faithful hearts eternal joy;
How blest to find beyond the tomb
The end of all our sweet employ!
218

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE GRAND, GRAND DAYS OF OLD

Ye blithe and happy few
Ye true, ye merry, merry men,
Come, now, I'll sing to you
A good old mystic strain;
When the Rules and the Tools
Made men free and bold;
And the Masons were like brothers —
They were not like any others
In the Grand, Grand Days of Old!

How broad, how high toward Heaven
Their Temple nobly, nobly soared!
And there 'twas grandly given
The Presence of The Lord;
For his fire, on each spire,
Did the craft behold;
When the Masons were like brother. —
They were not like any others
In the Grand, Grand Days of Old!

The tears of kings and craft,
Like drops of heavy, heavy dew,
Fell on our Beauteous Shaft
That crime had rent in two;
And the dirge of the surge,
Like a deep bell tolled;
And the Masons were like brothers —
They were not like any others
In the Grand, Grand Days of Old!

They bore our Master then,
With still and broken, broken heart;
No skill like his again
Shall bless the Royal Art;
For His lamp, through death's damp,
Cannot light our mold;
Though the Masons were like brothers —
They were not like any others
In the Grand, Grand Days of Old!

But shall we not revive
Those good, those happy, happy days?
Our Master bids us strive,
And all our toil repays.
We can trust, — He is just,
And will not withhold
While the Masons act like brothers,
And be not like any others,
As in Grand, Grand Days of Old!
219

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

TO MASONS EVERYWHERE

In gladsome mood again we're met,
How swiftly passed the year!
Begin the feast, and Brothers, drink
To Masons everywhere!

A Mason's love is unrestrained;
Each other's woes we share;
Then lift the cup, and, Brothers, drink
To Masons everywhere!

What would our Mystic Tie be worth, —
How little should we care
For Masonry, did not its links
Encircle everywhere?

With Masons' love so unrestrained,
Each other's woes to share,
Well may we fill the cup, and drink
To Masons everywhere!

Though some we loved have fallen on
The weary path of care,
What then? in Heaven they're yet our own!
To Masons everywhere!

For Masons' love, so unrestrained,
Eternity may dare!
Then, Brothers, fill, and fondly drink
To Masons everywhere!

And so, when death shall claim us, too,
And other forms be here,
May we in memory's heart be held
By Masons everywhere!

For Masons' love is unrestrained,
Nor death the chain may tear;
O'erflow the cup, and, Brothers, drink
To Masons everywhere!
220

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE OLD TYLER

God bless the Old Tyler! how long he has trudged,
Through sunshine and storm, with his "summonses due!"
No pain nor fatigue the Old Tyler has grudged
To serve the great Order, Freemasons, and you.

God bless the Old Tyler! how oft he has led
The funeral procession from Lodge door to grave!
How grandly his weapon has guarded the dead
To their last quiet home where the Acacia boughs wave.

God bless the Old Tyler! how oft he has knocked,
When, vigilant, strangers craved welcome and rest!
How widely your portals, though guarded and locked,
Have swung to the signal the Tyler knows best!

There's a Lodge where the door is not guarded nor tyled,
There's a Land without graves, without mourners or sin,
There's a Master most gracious, paternal and mild,
And he waits the Old Tyler, and bids him come in!

And there the Old Tyler, no longer outside, —
No longer with weapon of war in his hand, —
A glorified spirit, shall grandly abide
And close by the Master, high honored, shall stand.

ST. JOHN'S DAY

Ended now the Mason's labors,
Past the travel and the toil;
Gather in, ye loving neighbors,
Share the Corn, the Wine, the Oil;
Brethren now, of each degree,
Come in harmony and glee;
Happy meeting,
Gentle greeting,
'Tis the joy of Masonry.

Spirits of the blest departed,
As on earthly ways they roam,
Where are met the faithful-hearted
They to share our labors come;
Though their forms we cannot see
They are here with you and me.
Happy meeting,
Gentle greeting,
'Tis the joy of Masonry.

Love unites us with its cement;
Truth inspires the Mason's breast;
Ever faithful, ever clement, —
Thus our doctrines we attest.
Thus we come of each degree,
Come in harmony and glee;
Happy meeting,
Gentle greeting,
'Tis the joy of Masonry.
221

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

BUILDING THE FANE

Come, Comrades, let us build! 1
Our Mason hearts are filled
With fond solicitude and keen desire, 2
While musing o'er these heaps,
Whose every ashlar keeps
The stains of bloodshed and the marks of fire! 3

What though some voice would say
"Leave Salem to decay!" 4
Our Mason hearts were not instructed thus.
Let's work for Salem's Lord,
And, Comrades, be assured
The God of Heaven, He will prosper us! 5

With goodly Sword and bright,
With Trowel in the right,
Each hand is sanctified to God's employ; 6
Let's build, nor doubt that soon —
This weary labor done
Our Mason hearts will feel the Builders's joy! 7

1Come and let us build up the walls of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. — Nehemiah ii,17.

2I sat down and wept, and mourned, and fasted, and prayed. — Nehemiah i,4.

3They slew with the sword young man and maiden, old man, and him that stooped for age, and they burnt the house of God and all the palaces with fire. — II Chronicles xxxiv,17-18.

4Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem laughed us to scorn, and despised us and said, what is this thing that ye do? — Nehemiah ii,19.

5 I answered and said unto them, "The God of Heaven, He will prosper us, therefore we His servants will arise and build." — Nehemiah ii,20.

6Every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. — Nehemiah iv,17.

7 They sang together by course in praising and giving thanks, and all the people shouted with a great shout, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. - Ezra iii,11.

The cry of Nehemiah, when, on his return to Jerusalem, he saw the Royal City lying "heaps upon heaps," has, in every age, echoed upon the heart of the moral builder. Oh, the world in ruins! Oh, the wrecks of humanity, lying about us on every hand, and crying aloud for the Master Builders, who alone can reconstruct the edifice so fearfully cast down!

222

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

PERISHING ON THE RISE

This extravaganza was written in ridicule of the tendency of the times to stiffen up Lodge work, and turn the Worshipful Master into a mere martinet.

Old Jephtha Hoys had drilled his boys
With gavel, plumb and square, sir,
Till every craft a perfect shaft
Stood perpendicular, sir.
Each Friday night 'twas his delight
To call them to the hall, sir,
And catechise the willing boys,
Till each could "cut and call," sir.

One evening late it was his fate,
In leaning back his chair, sir,
The window glass right through to pass,
And push the thing too far, sir;
In fact, he fled, heels over head,
Clear down unto the ground, sir;
With mighty noise old Jephtha Hoys
A broken neck had found, sir.

The neighbors there, with tender care,
Prepared him for the tomb, sir,
And on the way, a long array
Went out with grief and gloom, sir;
Yet many said, with whispering dread,
"No Mason here is seen, sir!"
Strange to declare, not one was there,
To cast the mystic green, sir!

I'll tell you where those Masons were, —
Prepare for much surprise, sir,
When Jephtha Hoys forsook his boys,
He left them on the rise, sir!
The Brethren stood straight as they could,
Till he should bid them sit, sir;
And as he's gone with no return,
Why, there they're standing yet, sir.

The Tyler bore, outside the door,
The pangs of cold and thirst, sir;
The Wardens twain do still remain,
And will till they are dust, sir;
The Deacons stand with rod in hand,
Not one will budge the least, sir;
And, strange to own, each skeleton
Is facing to the East, sir.

Then be my task humbly to ask
Each Master this to read, sir,
And beg and pray to them, that they
The moral well may heed, sir;
When calling up the mystic group,
To stand and catechise, sir,
Think of those boys of Jephtha Hoys,
Who perished on the rise, sir.
223

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

WORLD-WIDE RECOGNITION


Wherever man is tracing
The weary ways of care,
Midst wild and desert pacing,
Or lands of softer air,

Chorus
We surely know each other,
And with true words of cheer,
Each Brother hails his Brother,
And hope wings lightly there.


Wherever tears are falling,
The soul's dark, wintry rain, —
And human sighs are calling
To human hearts in vain,
We surely know each other, etc.

Wherever prayer is spoken,
In earnestness of Faith,
We're minded of the Token
That tells our Master's death.
We pray, then, for each other, etc.

Wherever man is lying
Unknowing and unknown,
There's one yet by the dying, —
He shall not die alone.
For then we know each other, etc.
224

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

ST. JOHN'S DAY

We meet who never met before,
And may not meet again;
Then fill the day with happy thoughts
That memory will retain.
To-day the hand in honest grasp,
To-day the tuneful voice,
Speak of the white-robed Brotherhood
Who round the earth rejoice.
To-day be Sabbath to our God;
His grace inspired this tie;
Honor to Him, the first, the last,
Lord of Eternity!
The day will come, oh, blissful time,
The parted shall unite;
Be ours the hope, when life is done,
To share the long delight!

NEW YEAR'S REFLECTIONS

There is nothing esoteric in these initials. They are read as [indicated when you roll your mouse over them].

Shall we see it, loving Brothers,
Ere another New Year's day?
Shall we join those loving others,
Whom the past year tore away?
Shall we change this toil and drudge,
For the bright Celestial Lodge,
T. C. L. A. W.
T. S. A. O. T. U. P.?


Shall we tread that one more station,
Take that last and best degree,
Whose consummate "Preparation"
Is to set the spirit free?
Lay our bodies off, that then
Souls unburdened may go in,
T. C. L. A. W.
T. S. A. O. T. U. P.?
225

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
Shall we find beyond the river,
Shall we find beyond the tomb, —
Those who left us, not forever,
Left us till we, too, should come?
Shall we learn the long-lost Word
That admits a man to God,
T. C. L. A. W.
T. S. A. O. T. U. P.?


Then, be zealous, loving Brothers,
While your lives so swiftly tend;
Emulate those faithful others
In the prizes they have gained;
O'er the river, on the shore,
They are happy evermore, —
T. C. L. A. W.
T. S. A. O. T. U. P.


Toil, — your wages rich are ready;
Bear, — your burdens all shall cease;
Give, — however poor and needy;
Pray, — and God will give release
From this bitter toil and drudge
To the bright Celestial Lodge,
T. C. L. A. W.
T. S. A. O. T. U. P.!

DUTIES OF THE CRAFT

Come, and let us seek the straying,
Lead him to the Shepherd back;
Come, the traveler's feet betraying,
Guide him from the dangerous track;
Come, a solemn voice reminds us —
Come, a mystic fetter binds us —
Masons, here your duties lie,
Hark, the poor and needy cry!
Come and help the worthy poor,
Starving for the needed bread;
From your well replenished store
Let your fellow-man be fed!
Bounties God to you supplieth,
To the poor He oft denieth.
226

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Come where sorrow has her dwelling,
Comfort bring to souls distressed;
To the friendless mourner telling
Of the Rock that offers rest;
What would life he but for Heaven?
Come, to us the Word is given.
Band of Brothers, every nation
Hails your bright and Orient light!
Fervent, zealous, free, your station
Calls for deeds of noblest might!
Seek — the world is full of sorrow, —
Act — your life will end to-morrow.

To afford succor to the distressed, to divide our bread with the industrious poor, and put the misguided traveler in the way, are duties of the Craft, suitable to its dignity, and expressive of its usefulness.


OPENING ODE

Begin the work of praise,
The joys of song begin;
And bid the mystical rays
To enter in.

The gleaming light, the guiding light,
The light that shines afar,
It yields a radiance pure and bright,
The beautiful, beautiful star.

It tells of deathless love,
And faith and hope sublime;
It lifts the soul above
All things of time.

It makes us free to die;
Since love has conquered death
No hopeful heart need sigh
To yield its breath.

Then let the song of praise
Our evening tasks begin,
And bid the mystical rays
To enter in.
227

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

MASONIC AULD LANG SYNE

We do not sigh for pleasures past,
Nor fondly, vainly pine;
Yet let us give one memory
To Auld Lang Syne.

With Gavel, Trowel, Gauge, we work,
With Level, Square, and Line;
Come, join the Chain Of Love, and sing
Of Auld Lang Syne!

For Auld Lang Syne, my dear,
For Auld Lang Syne;
Ah, who like us can sing the days
Of Auld Lang Syne?


'Twas sweet when evening's shadows fell
How bright our Lights did shine!
Down from the East to hear the words
Of Auld Lang Syne.

The 'prentice knocked with trembling hand,
The Craft sought Oil and Wine,
The Master stood, and nobly fell,
In Auld Lang Syne.

With step so true, with form upright,
We drew the Grand Design;
'Twas well we knew "to square the work"
In Auld Lang Syne.

A tear to them, the Early Dead,
Fond memory would consign;
We dropped the green sprig o'er their head,
In Auld Lang Syne.

And till the Master call us hence
To join the Lodge Divine,
We sometimes give a grateful thought
To Auld Lang Syne!

This piece in song or recitations is illustrated by the working tools named.

228

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

MODEL MASON

There's a fine old Mason in the land, he's genial, wise and true,
His list of brothers comprehends, dear brothers, me and you;
So warm his heart the snow blast fails to chill his generous blood,
And his hand is like a giant's when outstretched to man or God; —
Reproach nor blame, nor any shame,
has checked his course or dimmed his fame —
All honor to his name!

This fine old Mason is but one of a large family:
In every Lodge you'll find his kin, you'll find them two or three;
You'll know them when you see them, for they have their father's face,
A generous knack of speaking truth and doing good always; —
Reproach nor blame, nor any shame,
has checked their course or dimmed their fame —
Freemason is their name!

Ah, many an orphan smiles upon the kindred as they pass;
And many a widow's prayers confess the sympathizing grace;
The Father of this Brotherhood himself is joyed to see;
Their works — they're numbered all in Heaven, those deeds of charity!
Reproach nor blame, nor any shame,
there check their course or dim their fame —
All honor to their name!

TRIBUTE TO ROBERT BURNS

The sun is uprising on Scotia's far hills,
Day's labor is opening, the Grand Master wills,
But Lodge lights are gleaming in cheerfulness yet,
Afar in the West where we Masons are met.

There's song for the tuneful, kind words for the kind,
There's cheer for the social, and light for the blind.
But when we, uprising, prepare us to go,
With one thought and feeling we'll sing thy Adieu.

A melting farewell to the favored and bright, —
A sorrowful thought for the sun set in night, —
A round to the Bard whom misfortunes befell, —
A prayer that his spirit with Masons may dwell.

When freedom and harmony bless our design,
We'll think of thee, Brother, who loved every line;
And when gloomy clouds shall our Temple enshroud,
The voice of thy music shall come from the cloud.
229

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
Across the broad ocean two hands shall unite,
Columbia, — Scotia, — the Symbol is bright;
The world one Grand Lodge, and the Heaven above,
Shall witness the triumph of Faith, Hope, and Love!

And thou, sweetest Bard, when our gems we enshrine,
Thy jewel, the brightest, most precious, shall shine,
Shall gleam from the East to the far-distant West,
While morning shall call us, or evening shall rest.

MASONIC REMINISCENCES

Where have we met, my boys?
Let memory tell,
She knows it well;
Beneath the Eye Divine, —
Before the ghostly shrine, —
Around the festive board,
Where wit and wine were poured,
Bright wit and wine; —
At silent graves,
Where Acacia waves; —
There have we met, my boys;
Hands round, old friends, let's meet again!

When have we met, my boys?
Let memory tell,
She knows it well; —
At midnight and at noon, —
Beneath the crescent moon, —
Through festive winter-night, —
Through day-hours long and bright,
Bright days of June;
And all the year
To us was dear;
Then have we met, my boys;
Hands round, old friends, let's meet again!

How have we met, my boys?
Let memory tell,
She knows it well;
In aprons blue and white,
And Tyrian scarlet bright, —
In funeral black arrayed,
Token of One who prayed
On Calvary's height;
With Gavel's aid,
Scepter and Blade; —
Thus have we met, my boys;
Hands round, old friends, let's meet again!
230

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Why have we met, my boys?
Let memory tell,
She knows it well; —
To dry the widow's tear,
The sorrowing heart to cheer, —
To keep our life's design
Within the unerring line
Of Him so dear;
With mirth and song
Life to prolong,
For this we've met, my boys;
Hands round, old friends, let's meet again!

Shall we not meet, my boys,
In Lodge above,
The Lodge of Love?
The Master waits us there,
With many a lost and dear, —
And wages of the best, —
And for our toilings, rest,
Full end of care;
The Cross lay down,
Take up the Crown,
And in the spirit Lodge, my boys,
Hands round, old friends, let's meet again!

ONE HOUR WITH YOU

One hour with you, one hour with you,
No doubt, nor care, nor strife,
Redeems a day of sin and woe,
And gives new zest to life.

One hour with you, and you, and you,
Bright links in mystic chain —
Oh may we oft these joys renew,
And often meet again!
231

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
Your eyes with love's own language free
Your hand grip, strong and true,
Your voice, your heart do welcome me
To spend an hour with you.

I come when morning skies are bright,
To work my Mason's due —
To labor is my chief delight,
And spend an hour with you.

I go when evening gilds the West,
I breathe the fond adieu,
But hope again, by fortune blest,
To spend an hour with you.

And if, perchance, the page is closed
On which my life is given,
I would beseech the Mason's God
That we may meet in Heaven.

In Heaven with you, and you, and you,
To join the blissful strain;
Oh may we there these joys renew
And meet in Heaven again!

These lines, wedded to Auld Lang Syne, are much used in the closing of American Lodges.


TO-DAY AS THEN

Cornerstone, Chamber Of Commerce, Peoria, Ill., June 3, 1875.

How ever fresh and vigorous
The tie that binds these men!
Three thousand years, — and yet as strong
And true to-day as then!

The Sacred Hill, that owned the might
And skill of Hiram's men,
Rears up its summit, gray and bold
And grand to-day as then!

The tears, the sighs of broken hearts,
The wails of dying men,
Appeal to sympathy as true,
And strong to-day as then!

The arm Divine maintains its power.
The All-seeing Eye its ken,
As gracious and as wonderful
And wise to-day as then!

Lay deep the stone; apply the Square,
The Level and the Plumb;
Happy the work and bright the day
When mystic craftsmen come.
232

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE LOVING TIE

The loving tie we feel,
No language can reveal
'Tis seen in the sheen of a fond Brother's eye.
It trembles on the ear
When melting with a tear,
A Brother bids us cease to sigh.

Behold how good and how pleasant
For Brothers in unity to dwell!
As Heaven's dew are shed
On Sion's sacred head,
The blessings of the Lord we feel.

'Twas at the sufferer's bed
Now moldering with the dead,
This Bond, ah, so fond, was discovered first to me!
I saw his dying eye,
Light up with speechless joy,
And I felt how fond that love must be.

I ever will proclaim
With gratitude the name
Of Him, the Divine, who has granted this to me!
That weary tho' I stray
O'er nature's rugged way,
I never, never, alone can be.

There's some I know will smile
And others may revile
'Tis so as we know with the evil heart alway
But if I can but prove
Through life a Mason's love,
I little care what man may say!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

SONG OF ST. JOHN

How blest is the home
Where the Brotherhood come!
How charming the time and occasion!
The love that was born,
In the heart of St. John,
Now warms up the heart of the Mason.

It is you, Sir, and you,
Friendly Brothers and true,
No matter what may be your station, —
On the level our way,
We are equal to-day,
For I, Sirs, with you, am a Mason!

This love that was born
In the heart of St. John,
Is the bond of a charming connection;
Through good, and through ill,
It abides with me still,
And makes me thank God I'm a Mason!

When in the Lodge met,
And the officers set,
'Tis of duty and pleasure a season;
Ah! gladly is given
The Father in Heaven,
The praises devout of the Mason.

When labor is done,
And the Brotherhood gone,
Do you think that our secrets we blazon?
No, no! 'tis the joy
Of our mystic employ,
That we tell them to none but a Mason.

For 'tis this we do learn,
From our patron, St. John,
The pride of this charming occasion,
That the tongue that conceals,
And never reveals,
Is the very best thing for a Mason!
234

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Then, Lady and Sir,
While we stoutly aver,
In our secrets we'll never work treason,
The rules we profess
Are the same that did grace
Our patron St. John, The Freemason.

And while to his name
We may boldly lay claim,
To his graces we'll cling till death's season,
And then to the bourne,
Where his spirit has gone,
We'll hie us with every good Mason.

WALKING TOGETHER

In thought, word and deed,
We, too, are agreed,
From the same Fount of Knowledge instructed;
And by the same hand
We'll travel or stand,
To the same goal of triumph conducted.

Through the same open door,
We lame, blind and poor,
Undertook the same mystic endeavor;
Through the same grave at last,
When death's trial is past,
We'll share the forever and ever.

Our friends are the same,
Whatever their name,
Whatever their nation or station;
The same are our foes,
Whose malice but shows
Their hearts black with coming damnation.

We too, then, can walk,
Sit, stand, work or talk,
In union make sign or give token,
And while life remains
With its losses and gains
Let's see that the tie be not broken!
235

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

NOT FAR FROM ME

Not far from me, not far from me,
When first on checkered floor
I bow in humble trust the knee,
My Maker to adore;
I bow, and fervently declare,
That God is all my portion there.

Not far from me, not far from me,
In Middle Chamber led,
I pass the mystic portals three,
And up the stairway tread;
I pass before the Mark divine,
Whose light is Masonry's and mine.

Not far from me, not far from me,
In holiest glace betrayed,
When human hopes all fade or flee,
And there is none to aid;
And there is none to hear me cry,
But Thee, all-pitying Deity!

Not far from me, not far from me,
These mystic labors done,
My body 'neath the deathless tree,
My soul before the Throne;
O God, through blest eternity,
Be mine a place not far from Thee.

TRIBUTE TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

O! Brothers of the Mystic Tie,
Come round me, if you please;
Lay down the Gavel and the Square,
And let the Trowel cease;
The work may stop a little while —
The Master will not blame,
While I from memory sing of one
Right worthy of the name,
A true, old-time Freemason,
Whose name was WASHINGTON!
236

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Of every superfluity
His mind he did divest;
He would not set a timber up
Unless it was the best;
He plumbed, and squared, and leveled well
His Blocks, and set them true;
Then turned his apron Master-wise
And spread the mortar due,
This true, old-time Freemason,
Whose name was WASHINGTON!

When bloody war at foreign hands,
His country threatened sore,
He thought it right to take the sword,
And guard his native shore;
He stood where bravest hearts are found,
He struck for liberty;
But when the white-winged angel flew,
A man of peace was he, —
This true, old-time Freemason,
This glorious WASHINGTON!

Upon his Apron was no stain,
His work had no defect;
The Overseer accepted all,
And nothing to reject.
He lived in peace with God and man;
He died in glorious hope,
That Christ, the Lion, Judah's Pride,
Would raise his body up, —
This true, old-time Freemason,
Our Brother WASHINGTON!

CHEERFULNESS.

No, not a gloomy look to-night,
To cloud the pleasant faces here;
Our tapers burn, our walls are bright
With emblematic cheer;
Be every look a sunny smile,
And let it speak of happier days,
When Mason songs did sweetly fill
The Temple that we raise.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
No, not a cruel word to-night,
To mar the harmony that fills
And sanctifies this dear retreat,
And every discord stills;
Be every word a note of love,
From that seraphic chorus heard
In the celestial Lodge above,
Whose Master is the Lord.

Oh, not a painful thought to-night
Of war; are not we in God's hand?
Let's humbly follow in the light
He gives the Mystic Band;
Be every thought a ray divine,
Prophetic of the days to come,
When holy peace shall smile again
On each dear Mason's home.

Not often do we meet as now,
Nor shall we all be here again;
To-morrow each his path must go —
To some a path of pain.
Then let to-night be doubly bright;
And when Low XII shall bid us part,
Its memories we will not forget
While life blood warms the heart.

Written for a military Lodge, 1864.


FIRE OF FRIENDSHIP

Men of the bright inheritance, oh, true and loving band,
Who, linked in chains of Masonry, around this altar stand,
Bright let The Fire Of Friendship burn and warmly let it flow,
For a stranger from a distant land comes in your circle now.

The Acacia blooms in every clime, the Broken Shaft doth rear
Its mournful form in mystic guise, and meets us everywhere;
The Gavel rings o'er land and sea, yon Emblem speaks the same
About the globe, as here it speaks, The Universal Name.

And why? Because One God we have, in whom alone we trust;
He made us all, Our Father made us all of kindred dust;
The same green Mother Earth, the broad, the generous, He gave
That feeds us while we live, and gives us when we die, a grave.
238

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
We build a common Temple too, the lofty and the low,
We bring the same heart-offerings and in common homage bow;
Our Tracing Board the same designs in every clime has given,
And, serving the same Master, we expect the same bright Heaven.

Then let the stranger have a place within your mystic band,
Where eye responsive answers eye, and hand unites with hand;
He knows your Word, He knows your Sign, He asks no better grace
Than with you here to sit awhile and greet you face to face.

Peace in the Lodges where you work be Heaven's boon to-day;
Peace, Peace; it is the yearning prayer the stranger's heart would pray;
And could they hear it from the land and from the rolling sea,
From every Mason's lips would come the cry, So Mote It Be!

Nothing in the Masonic institution is more practical or more grateful to the sensibilities of the traveling brother than to find, as he will do in every Lodge in this country, an officer whose constitutional duty it is "to welcome and accommodate visiting brethren."


HAPPY HOUR

Oh, happy hour when Masons meet!
Oh, rarest joys that Masons greet!
Each interwoven with the other,
And Brother truly joined with Brother,
In intercourse that none can daunt,
Linked by the ties of Covenant.

See, ranged about the Holy Word,
The Craftsmen praise their common Lord!
See in each eye a love well proven!
Around each heart a faith well woven!
Feel, in each hand-grip, what a tie
In this whose scope is Masonry.

Blest bond! when broken, we would fain
Unite the severed links again;
Would urge the tardy hours along
To spend the wealth of light and song,
That makes the Lodge a sacred spot;
Oh, be the season ne'er forgot,
That takes us from a world of care
To happy scenes where Masons are!
239

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

THE TEST

I never have denied —
I'm willing to be tried —
A call for sympathy from sorrowing man;
My own hard griefs impel
My heart for such to feel,
And I am willing to be tried again.

The claim, so often made,
For shelter and for aid,
I never have refused, and never can;
And though my purse is scant,
The poor did never want,
And I am willing to be tried again.

Is counsel craved, I give
What pleasure to relieve
The doubts my neighbor's spirit that unman!
The wisdom given to me,
To him is offered free,
And I am willing to be tried again.

My brother goes astray, —
Ah, me, I know the way,
The slippery way that lures the thoughtless man!
I run to draw him back —
I point the dangerous track,
And I am willing to be tried again.

I've suffered many a wrong,
From evil hand and tongue
I've learned forgiveness from no common Man!
Forgiveness I have shown,
As God to me has done,
And I am willing to be tried again.

Each night on bended knee,
The All-Seeing Eye doth see
My body suppliant at a Throne Divine;
And there for brothers' need,
As for my own I plead,
And I am willing to be tried again.

I'm dying fast and soon, —
My life is past its noon,
I've had such premonitions as were plain;
My heart is strong in faith
That God will smile in death,
And I am willing to be tried again.
240

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

MASONIC VALEDICTORY

When auld acquaintance closing round
Our parting grips entwine;
What song awakes the tender sigh,
Like auld lang syne!
'Tis auld lang syne, the voice
Of other days divine!
Come, Brothers, now a parting word
To auld lang syne.

From many a pilgrim pathway come,
To work the grand design,
We've wrought, and praised the sacred bond
Of auld lang syne.
Of auld lang syne, the bond
Of auld lang syne;
Our fathers marked the sacred way
In auld lang syne.

Though wintry blasts the flesh may chill,
Though torrid suns may shine,
Our hearts' response unchanged will beat
To auld lang syne.
To auld lang syne, they beat
To auld lang syne;
Each pulse responsive, thrilling high,
To auld lang syne.

Adieu, adieu! the falling tear
To friendship we assign;
Your hand, your hand, my brother dear,
For auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, adieu
For auld lang syne.
Ah! rent forever is the bond
Of auld lang syne.
241

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

WINTER FESTIVAL

Friends ever dear, begin the opening lay;
Chant ye of joys that none but Masons know;
Heart answering heart, love's secret power display,
Gain from our rites a blessing ere you go.
Love reigneth here, — Love reigneth here;
Hate has the rule without,
But love reigneth here.

Bleak blows the wind; the sky with angry storms
Glares on the traveler as he flits along;
Here genial fire, the fire of Friendship warms;
Here gleams the eye, here tunes the jocund song;
Love reigneth here, — Love reigneth here;
Bleak storms may blow without,
But Love reigneth here.

Sadness and care, — our life is full of these;
'Tis but a strife, a turmoil, at the best;
Here all is calm; our walls we build in peace;
Here one short hour the weary heart may rest.
Love, reigneth here, — Love reigneth here
Sadness and care without,
But Love reigneth here.

FESTIVAL ODE

Hark, from the lofty dome,
Hark, from the Mason's home
Comes a sweet song;
Words full of mystery,
Virtue and charity,
Tuned unto melody,
Rise from the throng.

Joy, the Mason's year is ended,
Freres of St. John!
Joys, which every month attended,
Pains with brightest pleasures blended,
Ended and gone;
Crafts of the temple, to your altar throng,
Children of light, upraise the festive song.
242

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Come, oh ye newly made,
Late to our altar led,
Hasten, oh youth;
Gone is the gloomy night,
Sweet is the mystic light,
Broke on the dazzled sight,
Glowing with truth.

Age, with your locks of snow,
Time's burden bending low,
Fathers, oh come;
Welcome the veteran here —
With every added year,
Dearer and yet more dear,
To Masons' home.

Master, your toil is done;
Brethren, the prize is won;
Hail the new year;
Pledge every soul again,
Strengthen the mystic chain,
Long may the Lodge remain
Without a peer.

THE GOODLY HERITAGE

O, what a goodly heritage
The Lord to us has given!
How blest the brotherhood that pledge
Their Mason vows to Heaven!
We sing the mystic chain that binds
These western realms in one;
Such loving hearts, such liberal minds,
No other land has known.

Ten thousand lights in Mason halls
Are gleaming on our eyes;
Ten thousand emblems on the walls
Tell whence the gleaming is;
And when the portals ope, to pass
The humble seeker in,
The voice of prayer pervades the place,
And proves the light Divine!
243

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
On every hill our Brothers lie,
And green sprigs deck the knoll;
Their fall brought sorrow to the eye,
But triumph to the soul.
Our orphans sing in many a home,
Our widows' hearts are glad,
And Mason light dispels the gloom
And comfort finds the sad.

Thus link in link, from shore to shore,
The mystic chain is wound;
Oh, blended thus forevermore,
Be Mason spirit found!
And while the Heavens, on pillars sure,
Of Strength and Wisdom stand,
May Brotherhood like ours endure,
Where Strength and Wisdom blend!

ODE FOR CORNERSTONE PLANTING

Custom House, Chicago, Ill., June 24, 1874.

When the kindled wrath
Of offended Heaven
Gave, in smoldering smoke and flame,
The wealth that He had given;
Though that day, in black dismay,
Saw our city melt away,
Yet we hoped, 'twas not in vain,
God would smile on us again.

Then deeply lay the stone;
Plant it firm and true;
So shall distant ages own
The work the Masons do.


In its deep recess,
Set with mystic care,
Hark, our faithful witnesses,
The Level, Plumb, and Square!
"Nations sink beneath the curse
As they deviate from us;
In unerring truth may yours
Last while circling time endures!"

Then strongly lay the stone;
Plant it firm and true;
So shall distant ages own
The work the Masons do.
244

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Hear our prayer, O God,
Thou, the Nation's trust!
And may these walls majestic rise
When we are in the dust!
Humbly — we are but as one;
Hopeful — are we not Thine own?
Midst this mighty gathering
To Thy name we rise and sing,

And grandly lay the stone;
Plant it firm and true;
So shall distant ages own
The work the Masons do.

CENTENNIAL ODE

Composed in 1855 for the Centennial of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, New York.

How the souls of friends departed
Brood around this joyful scene!
Tender, brave and faithful-hearted,
They have left their memories green.
Could we view them,
Smiles upon each face were seen.

As they scan our gladsome meeting,
It recalls a thousand joys;
As they list our cheerful greeting,
'Tis to them a glorious voice;
'Tis the echo
Of a hundred years of joys!

One by one those loved ones perished,
But they left the chain still wound;
Every virtue that they cherished
Here is found as here they found;
Thus in Heaven
Blessed souls with ours are bound.

Thus shall we, tho' long departed,
When a hundred years are sped,
Join the brave and faithful-hearted,
Who around this Lodge shall tread;
And our memories
Shall be cherished here, though dead.
245

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

HYMN FOR CONSECRATION

Lo, God is here, our prayers prevail!
In deeper reverence adore;
Ask freely now! he will not fail
His largest, richest gifts to pour.

Ask by these Emblems old and true;
Ask by the memories of the past;
Ask by His own Great Name, for lo,
His every promise there is cast!

Ask Wisdom! 'tis the chiefest thing;
Ask Strength, such strength as God may yield;
Ask Beauty from His Throne to spring
And grace the Temple we shall build.

Lord God most high, our Lodge we veil!
'Tis consecrate with ancient care;
Oh, let Thy Spirit ever dwell,
And guide the loving Builders here!

THE SCOTCH RITE

Be ours to-night to sing,
Be ours to-night to laugh,
And in these cups, no drunken bowls,
The loving toast to quaff;
We consecrate this odorous wine
And drink to Love and Auld Lang Syne.

Now raise the generous flood,
And drink to those who've gone;
Beyond the grave, beyond the sky,
They seem to beckon on;
With tears of friendship we attest,
And drink the Memory of the Blest.

Now drink to sober age,
To men in life's decline;
To eyes bedimmed and wrinkled front,
The oldest, purest wine.
O brethren, give the loving toast
To Age and Worth and honest Frost.

Now drink the fond farewell, —
Now drink the come again;
But not in song, and not in speech,
We make this last refrain; —
With vision raised to God above
In silence drink — Freemasons' love!
246

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

TWELVE, HIGH TWELVE

Now we hail the Junior Warden,
Lo, his column crowns the South!
Drop the heavy tools of labor,
Give the time to song and mirth.
Twelve, High Twelve, the hour is sounding,
Noonday sun is in the sky;
Come, the Social Lodge surrounding,
Filled with sympathy and joy.

Corn that feeds the soul in fatness,
Oil in radiant truth to shine,
Wine that sparkles in love-promptings, —
Come, ye weary ones, and dine!
Twelve, High Twelve, the hour is sounding,
Noonday sun is in the sky;
Come, the Social Lodge surrounding,
Filled with sympathy and joy.

How the Social Fire enkindles
These true souls on every side!
Could we ask for richer wages
Than Our Master doth provide?
Twelve, High Twelve, the hour is sounding,
Noonday sun is in the sky;
Come, the Social Lodge surrounding,
Filled with sympathy and joy.

Lord Jehovah, bless our meeting,
Thou this time of joy hath given!
'Tis for thee we toil and labor,
Own our workmanship in Heaven!
When High Twelve by death is sounded,
And eternal rest shall come,
Grant us bountiful refreshment
In thine Upper Lodge at home!
247

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

LEANING TOWARD EACH OTHER

There is an incident connected with these simple lines which is worth noting. They were first read at the banquet, following the inauguration of the Crawford Equestrian Statue of George Washington at Richmond, Virginia. Not long afterward, the writer, visiting President Buchanan at the White House, by invitation, was requested to repeat them again. He did so, having for his audience the president, the vice-president (John C. Breckenridge), the secretary of state (Lewis Cass), and the Hon. B. B. French, all four Freemasons!

The jolts of life are many,
As we dash along the track;
The ways are rough and rugged,
And our bones they sorely rack.
We're tossed about,
We're in and out,
We make a mighty pother
Far less would be
Our pains, if we
Would lean toward each other!

Behold that loving couple,
Just mated for their life
What care they for the joltings,
That happy man and wife!
The cars may jump,
Their heads may bump
And jostle one another;
They only smile,
And try the while
To lean toward each other!

Woe to the luckless pilgrim,
Who journeys all alone!
Well said the wise King Solomon,
"Two better is than one!"
For when the ground's
Most rugged found,
And great's the pain and pother,
He cannot break
The sorest shake
By leaning toward another!

There's not one in ten thousand,
Of all the cares we mourn
But what if 'twas divided,
Might easily be borne!
If we'd but learn,
When fortunes turn,
To share them with a Brother,
We'd prove how good's
Our Brotherhood,
By leaning toward each other!
248

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Then, Masons, take my counsel —
The Landmarks teach you so
Share all the joltings fairly,
As down the track you go!
Yes, give and take
Of every shake,
With all the pain and pother,
And thus you'll prove
Your Mason's love,
By leaning toward each other!

THERE'S SOMETHING TRUE BELOW

What years are gone since last we met,
What friends beloved are dead,
And frosty brow and failing eye
Confess the life that's fled!
But still our manly hearts deny
That time the soul can bow;
Oh, 'tis good to feel in a world like this
There's something true below!

The work goes on we loved so well,
In halcyon days of youth;
And rising high upon the eye,
Behold the walls of truth!
The work we hope will still go up
Though we in death must how;
For 'tis good to feel in a world like this
There's something true below!

Th' Acacia blooms at silent graves,
The sorrowing Virgin weeps;
The arm so strong in death is hung,
For lo, the Builder sleeps!
Yet they and we beyond the sea
Shall meet again, we know;
And 'tis good to feel in a world like this
There's something true below!
249

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY
Then raise the Mason song once more,
Who meet so soon to part;
The hands we clasped in days of yore
Combine, and heart with heart;
The Master lives, and at the close
Good wages will bestow;
For 'tis good to feel in a world like this
There's something true below

IF GOOD MEN ALL WERE MASONS

There's never a tear would drop
But some kind hand would steal it;
There's never a sigh would swell
But some kind heart would feel it;
And never a widow sad,
And never an orphan lonely,
But some one would make glad
With smiles of joy, if only
The good men all were Masons.

There's never a word profane
By heedless mortal spoken,
And never a cruel blow,
And never a law be broken;
There's never a man would die
Away from loved ones, lonely;
There's never a shuddering cry
Would mount to Heaven, if only
The good men all were Masons.

But every heart would smile,
And tongues break forth in singing,
And corn, and wine, and oil,
The generous would be bringing;
And each would strive to make
The path of life less lonely,
A green and flowery way,
An Eden-walk, if only
The good men all were Masons.

But since the good men all
Are not in our connexion,
Let's try, what few we are,
To be of one complexion;
Let's try, though few and frail,
And, maybe, poor and lonely,
To show what life would be
And men would do, if only
The good men were all Masons.
250

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

WELCOME TO THE VISITING BROTHER.

Oh welcome him from distant land
Who comes to bear his part;
Give him the grasp of generous hand,
The warmth of trusting heart.

He sees the emblems on your walls,
And reads their light divine;
Yon hieroglyphic bright recalls
His Master's Name and thine.

For well he knows the words you breathe,
Those sentiments of love,
And he can stand in form beneath
The All-Seeing Eye above.

Then welcome him from distant land,
No more a stranger now;
Give him the grasp of generous hand,
A Mason's welcome show.

King Solomon, in his Dedication Prayer, that effort unparalleled in pathos, scope and religious trust, invoked a blessing upon the stranger who should visit the Temple. "Concerning the stranger," he said, "who is come from a far country for Thy great name's sake, if they come and pray in this house, then hear Thou from the heavens, and do all that the stranger calleth to Thee for." II Chron. vi,32-33. And this suggests that spirit of welcome which, in every Lodge of Masons, designates the officer, one of whose principal duties shall be "to welcome and accommodate visiting brethren."


PARTING HYMN

Refreshed with angel food, we go
To serve Thee in Thy work below;
Trusting, when Sabbath rest is given,
To share Thy richer joys in Heaven.
Then bind our willing souls in one;
Confirm the Covenants here begun;
Each day these vows more sacred be,
Cemented in eternity.
251

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

HAPPY TO MEET, SORRY TO PART, HAPPY TO MEET AGAIN

Happy to meet the sparkling eye,
The sinewy hand, the joyful tongue;
Happy to meet where never a sigh
Nor a cold word chills fraternal song;
Happy around the altar's base!
Happy beneath the All-seeing Eye!
Telling the glories of that place,
The happier Lodge beyond the sky.

Happy to meet, sorry to part,
Happy to meet again, again;
Happy to meet, sorry to part,
Happy to meet again.


Sorry to part, for who can tell,
As time goes by and changes come,
If those we have met and cherished so well,
Shall gather again in the Mason's home?
Sorry to part, we lingering stand;
Sorry to part, these loiterings prove;
But whisper the word along your Band:
"Meeting again in the Lodge above!"

Happy to meet again, again;
Oh, hasten the joyful moment soon,
When, happily met, King Hiram's men
Shall Measure again the Mason's tune!
The strong may bow, the hair grow white,
Mourners may go about the street;
But carol we will as we've sung to-night,
Happy again, again to meet!

HIGH XII

There's Pillars II and Columns V
Support and grace our halls of truth,
But none such sparkling pleasure give
As the Column that adorns the South.
"High XII," the Junior Warden calls
His Column grants the festive hour,
And through our antiquated halls
Rich streams of social gladness pour.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
'Tis then, all toil and care forgot,
The Bond indissoluble seems;
'Tis then the world's a happy spot,
And hope unmixed with sadness, gleams.
High XII! I've shared the festive hour
With those who realize the bliss,
And felt that life contains no more
Than sparkles in the joys of this.

What memories hover round the time!
What forms rise up to call it blest!
Departed friends; why should it dim
Our joys to know that they're at rest?
High XII! how they rejoice to hear!
Quickly each implement laid down,
Glad to exchange for toil and care
And heavy Cross, a heavenly Crown!

Then Comrades all, by 3 x 3,
Linked in the golden chain of truth,
A hearty welcome pledge with me
To the Column that adorns the South!
High XII! and never be the hour
Less free, less brotherly than now!
High XII! a rich libation pour,
To joys that none but Masons know.

The custom of Lodge refreshment, time-honored and sanctioned by the example of the noblest and best of American Masons, might well be renewed. The Order with us has too much of the pulpit, and too little of the table. A due intermixture of both was what the Craft in the olden time regarded.


FERVOR OF AFFILIATION

A place in the Lodge for me,
A home with the free and bright,
Where jarring chords agree,
And the darkest soul is light;
Not here, not here is bliss,
There's turmoil and there's gloom,
My spirit yearns for peace,
Say, Brothers, say, is there room?

My feet are weary worn,
And my eyes are dim with tears;
This world is all forlorn,
A wilderness of fears;
But there's one green spot below,
There's a resting place, a home,
My spirit yearns to know,
Say, Brothers, say, is there room?
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I hear the orphan's cry,
And I see the widow's tear.,
I weep when mortals die,
And none but God is near;
From sorrow and despair,
I seek the Mason's home,
My spirit yearns to share,
Say, Brothers, say, is there room?

With God's own eye above,
With Brother-Hands below,
With Friendship and with Love
My pilgrimage I'll go;
And when, in death's embrace,
My summons it shall come,
Within your hearts' best place,
O, Brothers, O, give me room!

The privilege of association in a harmonious, strongly cemented band of Masons, is a thing coveted. Exiles from home, deprived of the long-accustomed pleasures of the Lodge, have been known to express their yearnings for reaffiliation in language not less forcible than this.


THE WIDOW AND THE FATHERLESS

As on my road delaying,
The stream's cool waters by,
My thoughts in fancy straying,
I heard a plaintive cry
"There may be hope in Heaven, —
For us no hope is here;
Oh, why was joy thus given,
So soon to disappear!"

Around the grave was weeping
A widowed, orphaned band;
Beneath their feet was sleeping
The husband, father, friend;
And as their sorrows swelling
Broke forth midst sigh and tear,
Again these words are telling,
"Alas, no hope is here!"
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The stream's cool waters flowing
No longer sung to me,
The soft spring sunbeams glowing
Were cheerless all to see;
For still that widowed mother,
And still those orphans dear,
Bewailed my buried Brother,-
"Alas, no hope is here!"

My Brother? yes, forsaken,
These lov'd ones round thee mourn;
Too soon from friendship taken,
Dear Brother, thou art gone!
Gone from a cold world's sighing,
From sorrow and from fear,
But left these mourners crying,
"Alas, no hope is here!"

These tears, my heart, are holy!
These sighs by anguish driven,
This mourning group so lowly,
Are messengers of Heaven;
And so will I receive them,
As God shall give me cheer,
Protect them and relieve them,
And teach them Hope Is Here!

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

"Let your light shine," the Master said, —
"To bless benighted man!
The light and truth my spirits shed
Are yours to shed again."
We come, O Lord, with willing mind,
That knowledge to display;
Enlighten us, by nature blind
And glad we will obey.
255


The following poem entitled The Kentucky Style, page 304, has been moved to here from Part III, Holy Land.
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THE KENTUCKY STYLE

If it were only that you hold within
Such faithful breasts the secrets of the Craft;
If only that the Mystery divine
In your devoted spirits is engraft,
We would extend to each of you the hand,
And welcome to the Dark and Bloody Land.

For here Freemasonry we prize above
All other gifts the Gracious Lord bestows.
Where first our fathers with the savage strove,
They reared her altars, they exchanged her vows,
And taught us, as we love each parted sire,
To keep alive, undimmed, the Sacred Fire.

And we have done it; until now, no more
A dark and bloody ground, Kentucky stands;
The light and love our fathers did adore,
Refulgent, in six hundred Mason bands,
From mountain height to river, — east to west, —
The gavel falls, our mystic toils to attest.

But what best welcome shall we offer you,
Masters and leaders in the sacred quest?
What fitting salutation shall we show
To Masonry's thrice-honored, worthiest, best?
Take, Brothers, take our hearts! words are too weak
To express the sentiment we fain would speak.

Shape your own welcome in Kentucky's home;
Find at each vestibule the latch string out;
As conquerors within our dwellings, come;
Abide in peace, nor harbor fear nor doubt;
Ours the honor, — give us but to know
Our guests are happy, we are happy, too!
304


The following poem entitled The Lodge Far Away, page 317, has been moved to here from Part III, Holy Land.
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THE LODGE FAR AWAY

Composed for a most happy occasion at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, June 24, 1877.

In the Lodge far away, where the work is completed,
The temple in glory, exalted, sublime,
And the Masons are met 'round the Grand Master seated,
In one grand accord swell the jubilant hymn:

"All hail, Master Grand, from our labors terrestrial,
Thou raisest Thy workmen when labor is past!
All hail on Thy throne with a glory celestial,
Thy promise is sure, for we meet Thee at last,
Where the weary at rest have an ample reward,
And the praises we hear are the word of the Lord!"

For the Lodge far away how the spirit is yearning!
In low lands of sorrow we labor forlorn;
To the East, whence its sunrise, the eye will be turning;
We wait and we long for the coming of dawn.

We know we must pass by the fords of the river,
And nature will shudder in view of the grave;
But "the Strong Hand" we feel, and 'tis strong to deliver,
"The Lion of Judah" will conquer the grave,
And the weary at rest have an ample reward,
And the praises we hear be the voice of the Lord!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

CONCERNING DEATH AND THE DEAD


THRENODY, OR HYMN OF DEATH

In the recitation of this piece (consecrate to the memory of Salem Town, of New York, 1864) a full set of Lodge emblems is employed as named in the poem, viz.: the square, level, plumb, green sprig, gauge, trowel, hour glass, and gavel.

So falls the last of the old forest trees,
Within whose shades we wandered with delight,
Moss-grown and hoary, yet the birds of Heaven
Loved in its boughs to linger and to sing.
The summer winds made sweetest music there;
The soft spring showers hung their brightest drops,
Glistering and cheerful on the mossy spray,
And to the last, that ancient, vigorous oak
Teemed with ripe fruitage.                                                  
                                                  Now the Masons mourn,
Through Temple chambers, their Grand Master fallen!
The clear Intelligence, — the genial Soul, —
The lips, replete with wisdom, — quenched and still.
The ruffian Death has met and struck his prey,
And from the Quarry to the Mount, all mourn!
Bind up with asphodel these mystic Tools
And Jewels of the Work;                                                  
                                                   bind up, ye Crafts,
The Square; it marked the fullness of his life;
In truth's right angle all his deeds were true!
The Level; lo, it leads us to the grave,
Where, in kind mother earth our veteran sleeps!
The Plumb; it points the home his soul hath found;
Did he not walk true to th' unerring Line,
Let down, suggestive, from the hand of God?
Th' Acacia Sprig, type of the verdant life,
Bright and immortal in Celestial Lodge.
Bind up in mourning, dark and comfortless,
The Gauge; he gave one part to God, and God,
In blest exchange, gave him eternity.
The Trowel; in his gentle charge it spread
Sweet Concord, binding long estranged hearts;
The Hour Glass, whence his vital sands have sped,
But every grain denoted one good deed;
The Gavel; in his master hand it swayed,
Through three score years, the Moral architects,
Quelling all strife, directing every hand,
And pointing us to the Great Builder, God!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Bind these with asphodel; conceal these
Tools And Jewels of the Work; let bitterest tears
Flow for the man who handled them so well,
But, overborne with death, hath, in ripe age,
His labor fully done, passed from our sight!

HONOR TO THE AGED

Inscribed to Col. Moore, an aged and veteran Templar of Canada.

Who can without a sigh behold
The bended form and furrowed face
Of one we knew in manhood's grace,
Before he thought of growing old
The memories of the joyous prime
Come up with such a deep impress
We make our dearest happiness
In calling back the parted time.
Dear friend! our winter closes round,
The summer gone! the winter fled,
All objects bright and joyful dead,
And we just lingering on the ground.
How can we bear to live, if all
Is but the phantom of the past?
We will believe, far o'er the waste,
There is a life beyond recall.
Aged and honored, when the cry
Of death shall summon you away,
Leave us to hope, in that bright day,
To meet our friend, and meet for aye.
A thousand hearts in sorrow sore,
A thousand swords in mourning dressed,
A thousand voices round thy rest, —
All honor to the gallant Moore.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

OUR FUTURE MEETING

Where types are all fulfilled
Where mystic shades are real —
Where aching hands and hearts are stilled,
And death has set his seal —
In that bright land called Heaven,
Dear Friend, we'll meet once more!
The token in thy parting given,
Points to a Heavenly shore.

'Tis this, our signs have taught —
Our symbols old and true;
'Tis this upon our work is wrought,
Which every frere can view;
From the first line we traced,
On the foundation walls,
To that bright stone, the last, the best,
The glory of our halls.

Oh, what a land of joy
Hast thou beheld, my Friend!
Oh, what ineffable employ
Thy faithful heart has gained!
Thy Brother, weary, worn,
Longs for the same bright dome,
Where, all the week's hard service done,
He'll have thy welcome home.

YEARNINGS

Brothers, when o'er my head,
The silent dust is spread,
And this poor heart its quiverings shall forbear,
Where'er my body lie,
Though far the grave away,
I would, dear Brothers, be remembered here!

Brothers, when tender sighs
Around me shall arise,
And speak of what I did, or fain would do,
Such honest, truthful words
As Mason's tongue affords,
I would, dear Brothers, have rehearsed by you.
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A poem entitled How Cold Would Be The Tomb has been moved from here to the Adoptive Masonry section.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

MEMORIAL HYMN

The Masonic membership is composed of two very unequal, yet homogeneous portions. One part consists of the comparatively small number who work in the Lodges of this life — build up the Temple of the Soul, and moralize upon emblems that can never fully satisfy the craving spirit; the other, of the innumerable host who throng the Celestial Lodge above, wearing robes of the same color as ours, and worshiping the same Deity, but purified, perfected, relieved of earthly burdens, stains and sins, and able to look face to face upon God. The following Hymn is supposed to be addressed by the laboring Few to the rejoicing Many.

We sing of those who've gone,
The friends to memory nearest,
Who left our Lodge forlorn
When youthful hopes were dearest;
We drop our voices low,
And tears in silence flow
They're gone, they're gone, we know,
To the quiet place of death,
To the silent Lodge beneath,
Where the green sprigs ever bloom,
In the low, low tomb.
Rest sweetly there!
So mote it be!

Each mystic grace they had
Our faithful souls have yielded
The types that made them glad,
Our hearts on them are builded.
The Level, Plumb and Square, —
Th' Acacia, green and fair,
We dropped it gently there
In the quiet place of death,
In the silent Lodge beneath,
Where the green sprigs ever bloom,
In the low, low tomb.
Rest sweetly there!
So mote it be!

We deem not they are lost,
To Faith and Hope no craven,
But, with the white-robed host
Who look in Love to Heaven,
We raise our voices high,
And call them to the sky,
Who here in darkness lie;
From the quiet place of death,
From the silent Lodge beneath,
Where the green sprigs ever bloom;
From the low, low tomb;
Rise, Brother, rise!
So mote it be!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE DARK DECREE

'Tis done, the dark decree is said
That called our friend away;
Submissive bow the sorrowing head,
And bend the lowly knee;
We will not ask why God has broke
Our Pillar on its stone,
But humbly yield us to the stroke,
And say, "His will be done."

At last the weary head has sought
In earth its long repose;
And weeping freres have hither brought
Their chieftain to his close;
We held his hand, we filled his heart,
While heart and hand could move;
Nor will we from his grave depart,
But with the rites of love.

This grave shall be a garner, where
We'll heap our golden corn; —
And here, in heart, we'll oft repair.
To think of him that's gone;
To speak of all he did and said,
That's wise, and good, and pure,
And covenant o'er the hopeful dead,
In vows that shall endure.

Oh, Brother, bright and loving frere,
Oh, spirit free and pure,
Breathe us one gush of spirit air,
From off the heavenly shore,
And say, when these hard toils are done,
And the Grand Master calls,
Is there for every wearied one
Place in the heavenly halls?
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

CONSECRATION OF A CEMETERY

In each cold bed a mortal sleeps
The Silent Lodge is here!
Pale death an awful vigil keeps,
Through all the changing year.

What tears have wet these grassy mounds
What sighs these winds have heard!
Oh, God, have not the piteous sounds
Thy pitying bosom stirred?
Shall man thus die and waste away,
And no fond hope be left?
Is there no sweet, confiding ray
For bosoms all bereft?

From each cold bed a form shall rise
When the great hour shall come;
The trump shall shake the upper skies,
And wake the lower tomb.
No weeping then, no tear nor groan,
For these around us spread;
A shout shall reach the very Throne
From the long-silent dead.

Then hush our hearts, be dry each tear,
Wake, oh, desponding faith!
And when our Saviour shall appear,
We too shall conquer death!

On these blest Graves let sunbeams pour
Their balmiest influence;
On them let each reviving shower
Its gracious pearls dispense.
O'er these blest Graves each gentle breeze
Its heavenly whispers breathe;
O'er them the foliage of the trees
A crown of verdure wreathe.

Round these blest Graves at dead of night,
May angel bands combine,
And from their Mansions ever bright,
Bring something all Divine.
From these blest Graves may hope revive;
May Judah's Lion tell
That we shall meet these dead alive,
For oh, we loved them well!

Then come, sad hour, we lay us down
And calmly wait his word
Blest are the dead, our spirits own
Who knew and served the Lord.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

MONODY TO P.C. TUCKER

The following Monody forms a part of the "Eulogy" pronounced by the writer in January, 1862, in the presence of the Grand Lodge of Vermont:

Dead! and where now those earnest, loving eyes,
Which kindled in so many eyes the light?
Have they departed from our earthly skies
And left no rays to illuminate the night?
Dead! and where now that heart of sympathy
That welled and yearned, and with true love o'erflowed?
Oh, heart of love, is the rich treasure dry?
Forever sealed, what once such gifts bestowed?

Dead! and where now that gen'rous, nervous hand
That thrilled each nerve within its generous clasp?
Will it no more enlink the mystic band,
Hallowing and strength'ning all within its grasp?
Heart, eyes, and hand, to dust are all consign'd —
It was his lot, for he was born of earth;
But the rich treasures of his master-mind
Abide in Heav'n, for there they had their birth.

Abide in Heav'n! oh, the enkindling trust!
The record of his deeds remaineth here;
The Acacia blooms beside his silent dust
To point unerringly to yon bright sphere.
Then, though the Shattered Column mark his fate,
And Weeping Virgin tell th' unfinished Fane,
Not altogether are we desolate,
For oh, departed friend, we meet again!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

MOURNFULLY LAY THE DEAD ONE HERE

Mournfully lay the dead one here,
And silently gather nigh;
Lovingly yield your tribute tear,
His dirge, a tender sigh.

Our chain is broke, and life can ne'er
This fondest link supply;
Mournfully lay the dead one here,
And silently gather nigh.

Ever his face was set to go
Toward Jerusalem;
Ever he walked and lived as though
He saw its golden beam;

That place whose emblem was so dear
Is now his home on high;
Mournfully lay the dead one here,
And lovingly gather nigh.

A piece of rich melody was composed to these lines, in 1866, by George F. Root.


TRUE SITE FOR MASONS' GRAVES

In Shakespeare's Timon of Athens is a passage relating to the grave of one who would be forgotten. But the spirit of a Mason's interment suggests eternal memory.

Bury me on the hill top,
Where sunbeams earliest come
And starlight longest lingers
Make there your Brother's home;
There, through the hours of darkness,
The glittering hosts will pass,
And dewdrops weep my requiem,
And night winds sigh, Alas!
When I am dead.

But not by ocean billow,
Oh, not on briny shore,
This form consign to nature —
I hate its hollow roar;
Cold weeds and sea things floating
Above me, on the wave,
Would vex my spirit's slumber
In that unquiet grave,
When I am dead.

No stone to mark my resting —
No gentle form to bow —
Oh, Brothers true and tender,
Lay not your Brother so;
Within my soul a yearning
Impleads a Mason's home —
Bury me on the hill top,
Where sunbeams earliest come,
When I am dead.
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

FUNERAL SOUND

Wreathe the mourning badge around —
Once again that funeral sound!
From his friends and from his home,
Bear him, Brothers, to the tomb!

While they journey weeping, slow,
Silent, thoughtful let us go;
Silent — life to him is sealed;
Thoughtful — death's to him revealed.

How his life-path has been trod,
Brothers, we will leave to God;
Friendship's mantle, trusting faith,
Lends a fragrance, even to death.

Here, amidst the things that sleep,
Lay him down — his rest is deep;
Death has triumphed — loving hands
Cannot raise him from his bands.

But the Emblems that we shower
Tell us there's a mightier Power;
O'er the strength of death and hell,
Judah's Lion Shall Prevail!

Dust to dust, the dark decree —
Soul to God, the soul is free!
Leave him with the lowly lain —
Brother, we shall meet again!

This hymn in many localities has taken the place of Vinton's "Solemn Strikes the Funeral Chime."

265

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

VIA CRUCIS, VIA LUCIS

How sad to the grave are our feet slowly tending,
The cold form of one whom we loved, on the bier!
What sighs swell our hearts while above him we're bending
And shudder to think we must part with him here
Ah, gloomy is life when our friend has departed!
Ah, weary the pathway to travel alone!
There's little remaineth to cheer the lone-hearted
Oppressed with the burden, "the loved one is gone!"

But glad from the Grave are our feet homeward tending
Though death's cold embraces our Brother restrain!
Hope springs from the hillock above which we're bending
And whispers, "Rejoice! you shall meet him again!
Death's midnight is sad, but there cometh the morning
The pathway is dark, but its ending is nigh."
Then patient we wait for the glorious dawning,
That's told in our emblems of life in the sky!

GRAVE OF THE GRAND MASTER

Over the grave of the Hon. Henry Gee, Past Grand Master of Masons in Florida, is a marble monument of rare beauty and propriety. The writer visited the spot January 24, 1858. The place of interment was selected by the deceased — a grove of oaks near the verge of a hill. The birds sing their sweetest through the Florida winters, and the evergreens, whose brightness is reflected upon the marble surface of the monument, give no indications of mortality.

"May I, when given to dust, be laid
In the o'erarching oak trees' shade!
Not midst the crowded ranks of those
In life commingled, friends or foes;
Not 'neath the dust of trampling feet;
Not where the mourners frequent meet;
But far from life's poor turmoil laid
In the o'erarching oak trees' shade."

'Tis done; this sweet, retired scene
Is nature's own delightful green;
No voice but the lamenting dove
That sighs and murmurs of her love;
No footsteps but the tender tread
Of those who loved, who love the dead;
No passion but the sigh subdued,
Breathed for the friend who's gone to God,
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
The pilgrim, dusty from a path
That circles round the weary earth,
Stands mutely pleased: — 'Twas well to place
The Master on a couch like this!
The Builders, scattered as they be,
Sleeping on plain, and mount, and sea,
Dispersed until the trumpet's blast —
Few of them have such fitting rest.

How searchingly that awful Eye
Reads the impress of memory!
Death cannot hide a brother dead,
But the Omniscient Eye will read
Each act, each word, each secret thought,
Through a long life conceived or wrought;
Well for the sleeper if his life
Endure a scrutiny so rife!

But thou, oh Master of the Craft,
A spotless memory hath left;
The pitying heart, the loving soul,
The liberal hand to crown the whole,
And zeal in toils of mystic plan,
Which honor God and honor man —
These are thy jewels — they will try
The ken of the All-Seeing Eye.

Rest peaceful, then, while nature sighs,
And graces where thy body lies!
Lift high that column many a year,
To call the grateful Builders near!
Wait patient for the mystic call
From out the depths of Heaven's hall; —
"Ye Builders, Men from many lands,
Come to the house not made with hands!"

TEARS AND SMILES

The tear for friends departed,
The faithful and true-hearted,
Cast midst the rubbish of the silent grave,
Is changed to smiles of pleasure,
While trusting that our treasure
A glorious Resurrection day will have!
267

THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

TWO VISITS

I saw him first one snowy winter night,
But summer's fire glowed in his youthful breast,
A humble seeker for Masonic light,
A pilgrim journeying for Masonic rest;
From the bright orient southward to the West,
Darkly he journeyed, while our eyes inquired
If form, and heart, and garb fulfilled our test.
From the ordeal he came, as one inspired,
And glad amongst us stood, enlightened and attired.

Once more I saw him, — but his eyes were hid,
Hoodwinked by death; as with an iron band
His limbs were fettered; 'neath the coffin lid
The strong man lay extended, and his hand,
Whose grip had thrilled me, ah! how dead it spanned
His pulseless breast! yet 'round our Brother's head
Thrice we encircled, though with grief unmanned,
And with respectful tenderness we spread
Upon his breast green sprigs, fit presents to the dead.

For he had journeyed further, learned a lore
Profounder, drank in purer light than we,
And of desired treasure gathered more
Than dwells in all the mines of Masonry!
What unto us is veiled in mystery
Was real to him, and by his Master's side,
Knowing as he was known, the dead was free!

Therefore we paid our homage to the dead,
And, "We shall meet again, our Brother dear," we said.
And we shall meet again, not as in quest
Of light Masonic, nor as in that time
When last I saw him pallid in his rest,
But in a Lodge transcendently sublime!
Death there shall ring no funereal chime, —
No weeping band shall go about its dead,
But light and life inspire an endless hymn;
Ah, happy we, whose very grave may shed
Effulgent hope and joy as round its brink we tread!

The incident here versified occurred to the writer in western Tennessee in 1851.

268

SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

RESURRECTION

The Craft in days gone by
Drew from their Mystery
The mightiest truths God ever gave to men;
They whispered in the ear,
Bowed down with solemn fear,
"The dead, the buried dead, shall live again!"

Oh, wondrous, wondrous word!
No other rites afford
This precious heritage, this matchless truth!
"Though gone from weeping eyes,
Though in the dust he lies,
Our Friend, our Brother, shall renew his youth!"

And we, who yet remain,
Shall meet our dead again;
Shall give the hand that thrilled within our grasp,
The token of our faith,
Unchanged by time and death;
And breast to breast his faithful form shall clasp!

But who, oh, Gracious God!
The power shall afford?
Who with Omnipotence shall break the tomb?
What morning Star shall rise
To chase from sealed eyes
The long-oppressing darkness and the gloom?

Lo, at the Mystic shrine
The answer all Divine!
Lo, where the Tracing Board doth plainly tell;
"Over the horrid tomb,
The bondage and the gloom,
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah shall prevail!"

Then hopefully we bend
Above our sleeping friend,
And hopeful cast the green sprigs o'er his head;
'Tis but a fleeting hour
The Omnipotent hath Power,
And He will raise our Brother from the dead!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

A MASON'S EPITAPH

His epitaph, "a Mason true and good,
Sincere in friendship, ready in relief,
Discreet in trusts, faithful in Brotherhood,
Gentle in sympathy and kind in grief."

On grateful memories his name is writ;
His genial heart our hearts did kindle up;
We drew our inspiration from his light,
And buoyancy from his all-buoyant hope.

His toils are ended; we must labor on;
Our Master for a little longer calls
Our hands to duty at the rising sun,
Our hearts to rest when evening shadow falls.

But 'twill be ended soon; may our reward
Be upon hearts like his to lie secure;
Like him to enjoy the favor of the Lord,
Whose grace is boundless and whose promise sure.

WHEN GOOD MEN DIE

This "song of death" was composed at the request of M.W. John W. Simon, of New York, a veteran in Masonic literature, and a life-long friend of the writer. It is arranged to the air of Bethany.

Better the day of death,
Life's evening nigh,
Better the parting breath,
When good men die.

Closed all the cares of life, —
Calm after toil and strife, —
O, in that peaceful hour
When good men die!

Sweet flow fond memories,
Life's evening nigh,
All bear a holy peace
When good men die.

Gently the fetters fall,
Softly the angel-call,
O, in that happy hour,
When good men die!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
Sigh not by such a bed,
Life's evening nigh,
Let not a tear be shed
When good men die.

Better than day of birth,
Parting with sin and earth,
O, in that joyful hour,
When good men die!

Christ is the unerring hope,
Life's evening nigh,
He buoys the spirit up
When good men die.

He broke the darksome tomb,
He lights the dreaded gloom,
0, in that blissful hour,
When good men die!

THE DYING HOPE

Algernon Sydney was executed on the scaffold, December 7, 1683. Having ended his devotions, he placed his head, unassisted, on the block. Being asked by the headsman, according to custom, "Sir, will you rise again?" he answered promptly and unfalteringly. "Not till the general Resurrection! Strike on!"

On the verge of Eternity, calmly surveying
The dark, rolling waters that threatened beneath,
The Martyr Of Liberty ended his praying
And patiently waited the signal of death;
His head on the block, but his spirit away
In the land where the tyrant shall forfeit his sway.

The words of his lips, how undaunted and cheering!
They spoke of a victory grand and complete.
They told that this mortal, whom despots were fearing,
Though conquered by wrong, was the conqueror yet —
"The grave cannot hold me! the dust shall be won
From the worm and the darkness of nature!
STRIKE ON!"

How mighty that hope, when the spirit departing,
Must sunder the ties that have bound it so long,
To feel that this tenement we are deserting,
Shall rise to new glories thro' Jesus, The Strong!
The grave cannot hold us! — the flesh shall be won
From the worm and the darkness of nature!
STRIKE ON!
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Ah, yes! and each flaw that the eye has detected,
While occupied here, shall be covered above;
Renewed by the same glorious hand that erected,
These Temples shall all be made perfect in love;
The grave shall not hold us — this flesh shall be won
From the worm and the darkness of nature!
STRIKE ON!

Then cheer, Brothers, cheer! for why should death alarm us?
A brief separation the monster will bring;
His pangs will afford, though a moment they harm us,
A glorious reunion thro' Jesus, the King!
The grave shall not hold us — this flesh shall be won
From the worm and the darkness of nature!
STRIKE ON!

VERY SOON

Read before the Grand Lodge of Michigan, January, 1882.

There's a change will surely meet us
Very soon;
Though our dearest friends may greet us,
And bewail us and entreat us,
Yet death's onset will defeat us
Very soon, very soon.

Then these emblems, old and hoary,
Very soon,
Will unfold their mystic story,
Making plain the allegory,
Blazing with a blaze of glory,
Very soon, very soon.

Oh, the heartaches that will leave us
Very soon;
Oh, the partings that bereave us,
And the traitors that deceive us;
They will lose their power to grieve us
Very soon, very soon.

Soon the bedside of the dying,
Very soon;
Soon the weeping and the sighing,
Soon th' Acacia, death defying,
And the clods above us lying,
Very soon, very soon.

But in bright lands o'er the river,
Very soon,
Midst the treasures of the Giver,
Who from sorrow will deliver,
We shall make our Lodge forever,
Very soon, very soon.
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THE LAST DEBT OF NATURE

When nature has paid her last debt,
And earth claims her lendings again,
When soul has no more a regret,
And body no longer a pain;
Above the dark grave as we bend,
And cast the cold turf o'er his head,
We feel that this is not our friend,
It is not our brother that's dead.

We feel there is something that lives;
The dust could but cover its dust;
Fond memory faithful retrieves
The treasure we placed in her trust.
She rescues our friend from the gloom
That nature flings over his rest;
She draws him with strength from the tomb,
And makes him eternally blest.

He lives in each comforting word
Once whispered in misery's ear;
He lives in each bounty conferred
That lightened a sigh or a tear;
He lives in those counsels so wise,
That point to the heavenly track,
A wisdom that comes from the skies
To guide all its votaries back.

His spirit still meets with us where
In mystic seclusion we group;
Our emblems forever will hear
The perfect impress of his hope;
His column is broken in twain,
Yet none will our brother forget,
Though earth claims her lendings again,
And nature has paid her last debt.
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THE TYPE OF IMMORTALITY

Green, — but far greener is the Faith
That gives us victory over death;
The waving woods of May,
The meadows and the plain,
This deathless hue display,
Dispelling winter's reign;
And grateful to the eye,
And charming to the soul,
Is that rich, grassy canopy
That covers plain and knoll;
But greener is the hue of Faith,
That gives us victory over death.

Fragrant, — more fragrant far the Hope
That buoys the dying spirit up;
This branch gave sweet perfume
When from the Acacia rent,
O'erhanging Mason's tomb,
Its balsam tears were spent;
No flowers bloom from the field,
No spices from the East,
An odorous breath like this can yield,
That in the grave we cast;
But far more fragrant is the Hope
That buoys the dying spirit up.

Enduring, — but the Charity
That Masons feel can never die;
Faith may be lost in sight,
Hope in fruition ends,
And in Celestial light
We meet departed friends;
This mystic branch survives
The tooth and touch of time,
And till the Resurrection lives
An emblem all sublime;
But yet more lasting Charity
That Masons feel, 'twill never die.

Faithful we cast the Acacia now,
Hopeful above our Brother bow;
And when the dead shall rise,
And emblems lose their power,
And we within the skies
Shall view their forms no more, —
Blest Charity shall join
Our hands in endless chain,
And, glowing with the Love Divine,
Eternal shall remain.
Then faithful cast the Acacia now,
And hopeful o'er the parted bow.
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PILGRIM'S HOME

Bear him home, his bed is made
In the stillness, in the shade;
Day has parted, night has come,
Bear the Brother to his home,
Bear him home.

Bear him home, no more to roam,
Bear the tired Pilgrim home;
Forward! all his toils are o'er —
Home, where journeying is no more,
Bear him home.

Lay him down, his bed is here;
See, the dead are resting near!
Brothers, they their Brothers own,
Lay the wanderer gently down,
Lay him down.

Lay him down; let nature spread
Starry curtains o'er the dead;
Lay him down; let angels' eyes
View him kindly from the skies,
Lay him down.

Ah, not yet for us the bed
Where the faithful Pilgrim's laid!
Pilgrims, weep, again to go
Through life's weariness and woe, —
Ah, not yet!

Soon 'twill come, if faithful here,
Soon the end of all our care;
Strangers here, we seek a Home,
Friends and Saviour in the tomb, —
Soon 'twill come.

Let us go, and on our way
Faithful journey, faithful pray;
Through the sunshine, through the snow,
Boldly, Brother Pilgrims, go,
Let us go.

In the "Life in the Triangle," is described a Masonic Burial at Night, of which this Ode forms a part. Four members of the Fraternity, who resided in an intensely anti-Masonic community, had discovered the body of a man upon whose garments was seen the mystic emblem of the Order. This they had carefully enshrouded and provided with a coffin. At night, with every precaution against interruption, they took it to the village graveyard and interred it, with the songs and the signs and the circuits prescribed by the time-honored usage.

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PLEDGE TO A DYING BROTHER

We'll lay thee down when thou shalt sleep,
All tenderly and brotherly;
And woman's eyes with ours shall weep
The precious drops of sympathy;
We'll spread above thee cedar boughs,
Whose emerald hue and rich perfume
Shall make thee deem thy resting place
A balmy bed, and not a tomb.

That teeming breast which has supplied
Thy wants from earliest infancy,
Shall open fondly, and supply
Unbroken rest and sleep to thee;
Each spring the flower roots shall send up
Their painted emblems to the sky,
To bid thee wait, upon thy couch,
A little longer, patiently.

We'll not forget thee, we who stay
To work a little longer here;
Thy name, thy faith, thy love shall lie
On memory's tablet, bright and clear;
And when o'erwearied by the toil
Of life, our heavy limbs shall be,
We'll come, and one by one lie down
Upon dear mother-earth with thee.

And there we'll slumber by thy side;
There, reunited, 'neath the sod,
We'll wait, nor doubt in His good time
To feel the raising hand of God!
To be translated from the earth,
This land of sorrow and complaints,
To the all-perfect Lodge above,
Whose Master is the King of Saints.
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DEATH, THE CELESTIAL GATE

By the pallid hue of those
Whose sweet blushes mocked the rose, —
By the fixed, unmeaning eye,
Sparkling once so cheerfully,
By the cold damps on the brow,
By the tongue, discordant now, —
By the gasp and laboring breath,
What! oh, tell us, what is death?

By the vacancy of heart,
Where the lost one had a part, —
By the yearning to retrieve
Treasures hidden in the grave, —
By the future, hopeless all,
Wrapped as in a funeral pall, —
By the links that rust beneath,
What! oh, tell us, what is death?

By the echoes swelled around,
Sigh and moan and sorrow-sound, —
By the grave that, opened nigh,
Cruel, yields us no reply, —
By the silent king, whose dart
Seeks and finds the mortal part,
We may know no human breath
Can inform us what is death!

But the grave has spoken loud!
Once was raised the pallid shroud;
When the stone was rolled away, —
When the earth, in frenzy's play,
Shook her pillars, to awake
Him who suffered for our sake;
When the veil's deep fissure showed
All the mysteries of God!
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Tell us, then, thou grave of hope,
What is He that breaks thee up?
"Mortal, from my chambers dim,
Christ Arose, inquire of Him!"
Hark unto the answering cry
Notes celestial make reply!
"Christian, unto thee 'tis given,
Death's A Passage Unto Heaven!"
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

THE NOMENCLATURE OF LODGES


ROBERT BURNS

From Scotland's bard you have your honored name, —
Master of song, bard of the social lyre;
Freemasonry has spread, world-wide, his fame,
And Mason poets kindle at his fire.

He was the interpreter of bird and bee;
The heather blossomed as he moved along;
The streamlets down their beds rolled pleasantly,
While Burns attuned their ripplings unto song.

And Masonry, — oh, who has sung like him?
Within his poesy our symbols glow;
The spirit warms, the tender eye grows dim,
As we rehearse his "heart-warm, fond adieu."

Well named, then, Craftsmen! sound it proudly forth,
Kindle his genial flame within your band;
Like him, prize man for his intrinsic worth,
And let the heart be wedded to the hand!

ORION

In the Orient the Masonic star gazer is accustomed to accredit this brilliant to King Solomon.

Star of the canopy, oh, beaming star!
The patriarch Job admired thy silver light
Through the long courses of the Arabian night;
And worshiped God, seeing thy form afar.

The sailor marks thee in the glittering sky,
Guiding his bark along the silent main,
And names thee brightest of Celestial train, —
Good fortune follows him when thou art by.

Propitious star, star of King Solomon,
Thy richest influence is o'er mystic toil, —
We gain best wages of Corn, Wine and Oil
When through the glittering sky thou movest on.

Give light, Orion, to our gathering!
Guide us in paths of duty! move the heart
To do for suffering man the brother's part,
And honor give to the Celestial, King!
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LEXINGTON

A fire was kindled on the plain
Of Lexington that gloweth yet;
Each blood drop from a patriot's heart
A lasting horror did beget,
Of tyrant's chain and despot's rule,
With which our sorrowing world is full.

Here on your altars glows the flame
Sacred to Truth and Charity;
Each Craft before the Sacred Name
Bows low in mute sincerity;
And peace has, like a spirit, shone
Within the walls of Lexington.

So mote it be till time shall end!
May circling ages bless the Band
That build the Mystic Temple here,
And round the Mystic Altar stand!
Eternity shall gild the flame
Of Lexington's thrice-honored name!

CRESCENT MOON


Growing, Growing still in Numbers,
Still in living stones of strength;
Some on earth and some in Heaven,
Where you may arrive at length;
While the Moon her horns shall fill,
"Crescent" be your motto still!

Growing, Growing still in Wisdom,
Light still breaking, day by day,
Sacred light from yonder volume
Leading to the perfect way!
While the Moon her horns shall fill,
"Crescent" be your motto still!
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Growing, Growing still in Honor,
Still in all good men pursue;
Honest reputation gilding
Every gracious deed you do;
While the Moon her horns shall fill,
"Crescent" be your motto still!

Growing, Growing still in Goodness,
Drawing daily nearer Heaven;
All the emblems glowing 'round you
For that very purpose given, —
While the Moon her horns shall fill,
"Crescent" be your motto still!

Growing, Growing: — Men of Crescent,
May your growing never cease,
While there is a voice to chasten,
Or a sorrowing heart to bless!
Till your fullness you shall see
Dawning on Eternity!

EASTERN STAR

The Eastern Star that first arose
And moved to where the Infant lay,
Though faint its beams, has since illumed
The heathen world with perfect day;
And still, to all beneath the sun,
Its glorious light is moving on.

No holier name for Mason Lodge,
No worthier thought than Eastern Star!
And may the knowledge here diffused
Be spread o'er land and sea afar!
May each reflect the sacred ray'
That moved to where the Infant lay!

Each perfect thought, each precept sure,
That makes our Craft almost divine,
From the blest Altar rising here,
In light and joy forever shine!
And in the world of bliss afar
Each Craftsman find the Eastern Star!
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

PLEIADES

'Tis said that in the glittering Pleiades,
Now shining only six resplendent stars, —
There once were seven — one sweet astral's fled.
In every Lodge there should be virtues seven;

First Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, and then
Great Temperance, — lying at the base of all, —
And Fortitude and Prudence manifest,
And Justice, noblest attribute of God.

Brethren of Pleiades, is aught of these
Lacking to you? Is any dearth of Love
Or generous Relief, or Truth divine?
Say, is your glittering cluster incomplete?

In bonds of Temperance your workmen shine,
Bold unto Fortitude, they do not quail;
In laws of Prudence they are deeply versed;
And none deny to Justice her high claim.

When at the midnight hour you view the sky,
Radiant with lamps lit by the Hand divine,
Single your own, the pictured Pleiades!
And as you mourn the one bright astral fled,
And think how brighter were the former seven,
Rejoice that in your brotherly ranks there shines
The unbroken cluster.

SPRIG OF ACACIA

It flourished in historic earth,
Land long and greatly sanctified;
It had its proud and noble birth
Among the hills where Hiram died;
It minds us of Masonic faith,
That knows no counterpart but death.

Though torn away from native dust,
And faded from its mother tree,
Its leaves still whisper "sacred trust,"
They still impart love's mystery;
They blend in one all thoughts of them
"Who last were at Jerusalem."
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY
How many graves these leaves embower!
How many forms they lie above!
Mingled with tears, affection's shower,
And bursting sighs, and notes of love;
But oh! the comfort they have given!
A balmy zephyr, straight from Heaven,

Telling of that not distant day
When parted love is joined again;
Bidding the storms of sorrow stay,
Affording antidote to pain;
Suggesting an all-powerful Hand
Will raise the dead and bid him stand.

Soon will these leaves be showered on thee —
Thy months are numbered, every one;
Soon the last solemn mystery
Above thy coffin will be done;
Once more thy requiem will be said,
Though thou, in silence, will not heed.

So live, that when these 'cacia leaves
Shall blend with thy forgotten dust,
Kind Mother Earth, who all receives,
Will yield, unchanged, her sacred trust;
While angels lead thee to the Throne,
And God, the Master, claims His own.

THE BEACON LIGHT

A city set upon a hill
Cannot be hid;
Exposed to every eye, it will,
Over surrounding plain and vale,
An influence shed,
And spread the light of peace afar,
Or blight the land with horrid war.

Each Mason's Lodge is planted so
For high display;
Each is a Beacon Light, to show
Life's weary wanderers, as they go,
The better way;
To show, by ties of earthly love,
How perfect is the Lodge above!

Be this your willing task, dear friends,
While laboring here;
Borrow from Him who kindly lends
The Heavenly Ladder that ascends
The higher sphere;
And let the world your progress see,
Upward, by Faith, Hope, Charity.
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THE POETRY OF FREEMASONRY

MYSTIC STAR

The light your Lodge is blest to shed
Is "mystic" and divine!
The radiance by its influence shed
Each pious heart will win.

Its source is Deity; it comes
Pure from the Eternal King,
And warm from those Celestial homes
Whence all our blessings spring.

Its rays are Faith and holy Hope,
And boundless Charity;
Three steps by which the soul goes up
To Immortality.

Its glory is the praise of God;
Join, Brothers in that praise;
And when these thorny walks are trod,
To higher flights we'll raise.

SALEM

Salem, peaceful city, blest,
Where the Ark of God did rest, —
Where the voice of prayer ascended,
With the silver trumpets blended, —
Where the incense, daily given,
Rose and reached the courts of Heaven, —
Peaceful city, home of love,
Type of better things above!

Here be peace, like that bestowed,
Salem, here from Israel's God!
Here the voice of daily prayer,
Sweetest music on the air,
From each angel hither come, —
Fill the chambers of our home;
Here be felt Jehovah's power,
Shielding in the dangerous hour!

Salem, in thy Lodge be love,
While the Orient Sun shall move!
May all strife and discord fail
As the fogs his rays dispel!
May the fruitage of the soul
Ripen 'neath his warm control!
And to all be heavenly grace,
Salem, seat of love and peace!
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SYMBOLICAL MASONRY

RISING SUN

In dewy Morn, with day begun,
The reddening East allures the sight;
We see the mild, the Rising Sun,
And bless the invigorating light.

In radiant Noon, with day advanced,
The sunny South attracts the eye;
We hail the luster thus enhanced,
The larger glories of the sky.

In gentle Eve, with parting day,
The painted West rewards the gaze;
And when her last beams fade away,
We linger o'er the gorgeous rays.

So, Craftsmen of the Rising Sun,
May all your working hours be past,
That when your temple toil is done
Your brightest scenes may be your last.

CONCORD

The song is set, the sweet accord
Of tuneful note to tuneful word —
The Master and his men;
Thus do the Mystic brothers form,
With hand and heart and bosom warm,
The rich, fraternal strain.
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A poem entitled Lines Congratulatory, by Daniel Sickels has been moved from here to the Foreward, Biography of Rob Morris.
okl.

286

Rob Morris' The Poetry Of Freemasonry has been divided into the following parts: