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



Much of the author's time prior to 1868 was spent in preparations for an Oriental journey. The journey itself and the public descriptions of his experience among the hills, valleys and plains of Palestine have occupied still more. A considerable number of his poetical productions referring to sacred localities were written for Sunday schools and religious conventions and cannot claim a place in the present volume, but the remainder are given, usually with reference to the places or circumstances of their authorship.

The volume "Freemasonry in Holy Land," published in 1872, and largely disseminated, gives the history of his explorations so thoroughly that nothing further is required here. One permanent result, among others, is that a broad and well traveled way has been opened between the Freemasons of the East and the West, and a solid foundation afforded for the traditions of Symbolical Masonry, before altogether mythical.

We see not, know not; all our way
Is night — with Thee alone is day.
From out the torrent's troubled drift,
Above the storm our prayers we lift,
Thy will be done!
We take, in solemn thankfulness
Our burden up, nor ask it less,
And count it joy that even we
May suffer, serve or wait for Thee,
Whose will be done!






The flag named in the second stanza was displayed by the author on mountain, shore and plain in every sacred locality. It has been three times carried since through the same places by other Masonic explorers, viz.: in 1873, by John Sheville, and in 1880 and 1883 by Rev. Henry R. Coleman, Grand Chaplain of Kentucky.

Thanks, Brothers, thanks — a noble prize,
The promptings of impulses high, —
Upon this altar of your sacrifice
High heaped doth lie!
Earnings of honest, manly toil,
Winnings from your exuberant soil,
All consecrate with willing hand
To shed new light upon the Holy Land.
Thanks, Brothers, thanks! the fame of this
Shall sound throughout the Orient
Where'er Freemasons work their mysteries,
In homage bent.

This flag on many a sacred hill
The tale to every wind shall tell;
And echo gratefully prolong
Thro' holy caves my thankful song.
Aided by this, I cheerful go
To do the work that God ordains;
My life and fate are in His hands, I know,
O'er all He reigns;
He'll guide me safely on my way,
Perfect my labors, day by day,
Nor leave me till my race is run
And the appointed work is done.
Praying and toiling I depart,
Far eastward, over land and sea;
But let me ask each kind, fraternal heart
To pray for me.

Yes, when within the Lodge you come,
The dear, delightful Mason's home,
One faithful, fervent prayer bestow
On him who'll never cease to pray for you.

Farewell, — farewell, — farewell, — farewell;
My heart and voice would say adieu;
May the Grand Master in great power dwell
With you, and you;

Bright glow the Lodge fires kindled here;
Love to your home groups, fond and dear;
Prosperity your lives attend,
And each at last Heaven's ladder safe ascend.


Written at the foot of Mount Lebanon after witnessing a terrific thunder storm.

O, charming Mount! thy flowery sides,
Thy heights with cedars crowned,
Thy gushing springs, and painted wings,
And birds of sweetest sound!

O, Lebanon! oh, roseate throne,
The Church of God shall be,
In days to come, a flowery home,
A roseate mount like thee!

O, fearful Mount! thy stormy Crown,
Thy echoing tongues of flame,
Whose awful word proclaims its God,
And bids adore His name!

O, Lebanon! oh, darkened throne,
The Church of God shall be,
In days to come, an anchored home,
A solid mount like thee!

O, mighty Mount! thy stony gates,
Thy heights in walls secure,
Thy dizzy hills, and sheltered dales
And guardians tried and sure!

O, Lebanon! oh, guarded throne,
The Church of God shall be
In days to come, a castled home,
A forted mount like thee!



Composed on the author's return from Holy Land, August, 1868.

There is no guiding hand so sure as His
Who guided me, a weary pilgrim, home;
There is no utterance so true as this:
"Go, trust in God, and you shall surely come,
Though broad your pilgrimage, across the ocean foam."

In all my wanderings I met no harm;
I could not go where God, Our God, was not!
Though weak, I leaned on His Almighty arm;
Though ignorant, on that Infinite thought,
Which both on nature's page and in His Word is taught.

You sent me, Craftsmen, to the Holy Land —
It was my dream from youth to manly age
Birthplace and cradle of the mystic Band,
Whose charities adorn earth's brightest page,
Refuge of loving hearts, the Masons' heritage.

Receive now from that Orient land the tale
Gathered for you on Lebanon's snow hills,
From Tyre's granite reefs, from sad Gebale,
From Joppa's crowded slope, from Zarthan's rills,
And from Jerusalem, the world's great heart that fills.

The spirit of our Craft is reigning yet
Through every hill and dale of Palestine;
Strong hands, warm hearts, great sympathies I met,
And interchanged around the ancient shrine,
And brought my wages thence of corn, and oil, and wine.

I stood in silent awe beside the tomb
Where Hiram, Prince of Masons, has his rest;
Its covering is the cerulean dome,
So fitting one with Mason burial blest;
His sepulcher o'erlooks his Tyre on the West.

I knelt beneath the cedars old and hoar
That streak with verdure snowy Lebanon;
The mountain eagles o'er the patriarchs soar,
The thunder clouds of summer grimly frown,
Where large and strong they stand, those giants of renown.

I mused along the bay from whence the flotes
Went Joppa-ward, in old Masonic days;
Its waters sing, as when the Craftsmen's notes
Made the shores vocal with their hymns of praise;
And fervent notes and true my grateful heart did raise.

I plodded midst the heaps of sad Gebale;
Of all her glories not a trace is found,
Save here and there a relic, left to tell
The School of Mystic lore, the holy ground,
Where Hiram's matchless brows with laurel leaves were crowned.

I climbed the hill of Joppa, at whose foot
The unceasing tide of stormy waters beats;
Though raftsmen's calls and gavel sounds are mute,
The generous Ruler of the port repeats
Our Sacred Word in love, and all true Craftsmen greets.

From Shiloh's cap I overlooked the site
Of Hiram's foundries, Zeredatha's plain;
Beyond, on Gilead's ranges swelled the fight
When Jephthah drove the invading force amain,
And Jordan tinged her waves with unfraternal stain.

Upon Moriah's memorable hill,
And in the Quarries 'neath the city's hum,
And midst the murmurs of Siloam's rill,
And in Aceldama's retired tomb,
My Mason songs I chanted, fraught with grief and gloom.

For oh, in sadness sits Jerusalem!
Queen of the earth, in widow's weeds she lies;
Shade of historic glory, low and dim,
Thy Day star gleams upon our eager eyes;
Oh, that from her decay loved Salem may arise!

Now homeward come, my Mission I return
To this warm Brotherhood, dear Sons of Light;
My Testimony stands — my work is done,
Yours be the honor, as is just and right!
Be all your jewels bright, your aprons ever white.

Honor to those who bore this generous part,
Writing their names upon the Holy Land!
Honor to every true and loving heart
That makes Freemasonry such matchless Band;
And may the Great I Am amongst you ever stand!



This is the common expression in Holy Land, signifying "Peace be with you."

Once, when a sorrowing group was met
To weep their lord and master slain,
While every eye with tears was wet
And every tongue made sad refrain;
Jesus Himself among them stood,
And "Peace be with you," said the Lord.

Now may your humble Craftsmen say
Those words, so sweet, so sanctified?
Yes, for no other words portray
The sacred bonds around him tied;
Hear, then, the message as I call
Salaam aleikam, one and all!

Salaam aleikam, peace to you
Whose Square adorns and marks the East;
Though brightest honors are your due,
Peace in the lodge you prize the best!
Oh, let that Gavel never cease
Out of confusion to bring peace!

Salaam aleikam, peace to you
Whose Level glitters in the West;
Your task at evening's close, you know,
When weary Craftsmen go to rest, —
To give each laborer release,
His wages pay, and go in peace!

Salaam aleikam, peace to you
Whose Plumb denotes the glowing South,
Where pleasure spreads her rosy hue,
And social joy combines with truth;
The bond of Temperance ne'er release,
But make Refreshment yield to Peace.

Salaam aleikam, peace to all
Good friends and true, around the Lodge,
Whatever fortune may befall,
Be this the sentence of the judge, —
"In love and peace to pass away
And sleep beneath the Acacia spray!"

And when life's imagery shall fail,
And closing eyes and ears no more
Tell of the friends we loved so well,
And in our hearts their memories bore,
May the Great Master from His throne Say,
"Peace be with you, every one!"



North, South, East, West, and everywhere,
O'er hill and dale, in holy earth,
The emblems of the Masons are,
Where Masonry itself had birth.

I met them on the stony hills,
Where olives yield the "oil of joy";
I marked them by the sunny rills
Where lilies hang their petals coy;
I found them on swift Jordan's shore;
Upon the verge of Galilee
I read their "quaint and curious lore,"
Those ancient types of Masonry.

Where vines upon Judea's fields
Pour forth their sweet, refreshing juice;
Where Ephraim's cornland bounteous yields
Its nourishment to human use;
Where the tall cedars glad the sight
On high and snowy Lebanon;
And Hiram's palm trees, strong and bright,
Hold forth their branches to the sun.

The almond taught me all its lore;
On Joppa's beach the scallop-shell
Lit up the old historic shore
With many a song remembered well.

By Junia's Bay, the broken shaft
Recalled the fate of "Him that died";
And far and near, the ancient craft
Their checkered pave had scattered wide;
The fair pomegranate's scarlet flower
Revived me in the noontide gleam,
Flaming through many a verdant bower
That overhangs the murmuring stream.

In every cave I saw the print
Of gavel marks and working band;
On every hill the skillful dint
Of chisel in the working hand;
Each mighty ashlar bears a trace
Indelibly inscribed, to show
That till old time those marks efface
Freemasons have their work to do.

The Pariah marble meets the eye
In ruined shrines and palaces —
And yields its sacred purple dye,
The murex of Sidonian seas;
The salt presents on Sodom's shore
Its test of hospitality,
As though the patriarch at his door
Stood yet, the coming guest to spy.

The funeral lamp, within each tomb,
Speaks grandly of the ancient faith,
And burns and lightens up the gloom
With its own doctrine, "life in death";
The acacia too, in bloom outside,
Tells to the moldering form within —
"Not always shall the dead abide;
The morn will break, the sun will shine!"

All these I saw; and by the Sea
Of Galilee, upon a stone
Of wondrous grace, appeared to me
The signet of King Solomon;

The gentle dews that on me fell
When midnight stars inspired the sky,
Told where the old historic hill
Of Hermon soared in majesty.
'Twas like a vision thus to rove
Amidst the emblems of the Art,
Which cheer the eye below, above,
And with their wisdom fill the heart;

No wonder — 'twas my frequent thought
At noontide's stilly hour of ease
No wonder Tyrian Craftsmen wrought,
Inspired by emblems such as these!



This was the writer's farewell on his departure, February, 1868, for the Holy Land.

Mizpeh! well named the patriarchal stone,
Once fondly reared in Gilead's mountain pass;
Doubtless the Eye All-seeing did look down
Upon that token of fraternal grace;
And doubtless He who reconciled those men,
Between them watched, until they met again.

So, looking eastward o'er the angry sea,
The wintry blast, inhospitably stern, —
Counting the scanty moments left to me
Till I go hence, — and haply not return, —
I would, oh! Brethren, rear a Mizpah too,
Beseeching God to watch 'twixt me and you.

It was His providence that made us one,
Who otherwise perpetual strangers " were;
He joined our hands in amity alone,
And caused our hearts each other's woes to bear;
He kindled in our souls fraternal fire,
Befitting children of a common Sire.

In mutual labors we have spent our life;
In mutual jays sported at labor's close;
With mutual strength warred against human strife,
And soothed with mutual charity its woes;
So, sharing mutually what Gnu hath given,
With common faith we seek a kindred Heaven.

Bring stones, bring stones, and build a mound with me, —
Rear up our Mizpeh, though with many tears,
Before I trust me to yon stormy sea,
Hither, with memories of many years;
Come round me, mystic laborers, once more,
With loving gifts, upon this wintry shore.

Bring prayer, — the Watcher in the heavens will heed;
Bring types, — significant of heavenly hope;
Bring words, in whispers only to be said;
Bring hand-grasps, — strong, to lift the helpless up; —
Bring all those reminiscences of light
That have inspired so many a wintry night.

Lay them on Mizpeh, and the names revered
Of those who've vanished from our mystic band, —
Are we not taught, that with the faithful dead,
In Lodge celestial we shall surely stand?
Oh! crown the pile, then, with the good and blest,
Whose memories linger, though they are at rest.

Finished, — and now I hope whate'er betide,
Though wandering far toward oriental sun,
He who looked kindly on that mountain side,
Will watch between us till my work is done.
Lord God Almighty, whence all blessings are,
Behold our Mizpeh and regard our prayer.

Be my defender while in foreign lands,
Ward off the shafts of calumny accurst, —
My labors vindicate, while Mizpeh stands,
And hold my family in sacred trust;
Should I no more behold them, fond and dear,
I leave them, Brothers, to Masonic care.

Finally, Brothers, if in careless mood,
Forgetting pledges sealed on Word Divine,
I've injured any of the Brotherhood,
Impute it not, this parting hour, a sin; —
Forgive! lo, He by whom all creatures live
Grants us forgiveness, — e'en as we forgive.


April, 1868.

When God, propitious to his people's cry,
Directing to this suffering world his eye,
Would bless the earth with his most gracious boon,
He bends benignly from the Heavenly Throne,
And sends a Ruler from His presence down.

He takes the pattern best approved in Heaven,
One to whose mind the wisest views are given,
One to whose heart the law of truth is dear,
Who gives to vice a frown, to grief a tear,
And cherishes for all God's love sincere.

Happy the people whom God treateth so!
Happiest of all inhabitants below;
To them the teeming year incessant goes;
Greenness springs forth where yet no fountain flows;
And "desert lands do blossom as the rose."

So hath God blest this people in His love,
Hath granted them a Ruler from above,
Stern in integrity, in spirit pure,
Bounteous in charities, in justice sure,
His shadow in benignity and power.

May God prolong thy days! this ancient land
Needeth thy loving care and ruling hand;
God give thee "wisdom to contrive" the best,
And "strength to execute" each wise behest,
And "Beauty" in the radiance of the Blest!


The first American missionary to the Holy Land, a Brother of the Mystic Tie, These lines were conceived under the great cypress that overshadows his grave in the Protestant cemetery at Beyrout, Syria.

'Neath our weeping, 'neath our weeping,
Lies the young disciple sleeping;
Jesus moved him with His story,
Promised him the heavenly glory,
While his vows of service keeping.

Earnest spirit, earnest spirit,
How he did that fire inherit!
How, to seek the lost, did wander,
Rent his home-ties all asunder,
And his martyr's crown did merit.

O, to see him! O, to see him,
When the stroke of death did free him!
Burst the chains that long impeded,
Quenched the sorrows he had heeded;
Angels to his home convey him.

Blessed resting, blessed resting,
Not a jar of earth molesting;
Leaves of cypress sigh above him,
Breathe the faith that once did move him,
Green and fragrant life attesting.



Written in April 15, 1868, at the tomb of King Hiram, five miles southeast of Tyre.

Eastward from Tyre, where the sun
First gleams above gray Hermon's side,
They brought thee, when thy work was done,
And laid thee here in royal pride;
They brought thee with the noblest rites
The wisest of our Craft enjoined;
Before thee soared the mountain heights,
And thy loved ocean isle behind.

The cedars bowed their kingly tops
As Hiram, Chief of Masons, passed;
O'er Lebanon's all-snowy slopes
The eagle screamed upon the blast;
Westward the foaming sea was crowned
With snow-white sails returning home;
Their Sea Queen glorious they found,
Where thou, their King, should no more come.

Where in thy lifetime thou hadst reared
This Tomb, befitting one so great,
They bore thee, monarch loved and feared,
And laid thee in thy bed of state.
They closed thee in with cunning art,
And left thee to thy well earned fame;
'Twas all the living can impart, —
A tomb, a pageant, and a name.

Loud was the wail on Zidon's hill,
Her sages mourned thee as their own;
Loud the lament on far Jebale,
Her wisest Son of Light was gone.
The ships of Tyre bore the word
On every wind across the main,
And white-robed Craftsmen wept their lord
And strewed the mystic leaves again.

Nor these alone, — on Zion too,
A Brother joins his tears with theirs;
King Solomon, to friendship true,
The grief of Tyre fitly shares;
His matchless pen such words indites
Of true report and sacred woe,
That to this hour Freemasons' rites
Within his wise direction go.

The centuries wore apace, and changed
The kingdom of each royal sire;
Ephraim from Judah was estranged,
And Zidon separate from Tyre;
Then swept the deluge over all —
The conqueror came with sword and flame,
And templed shrine and kingly hall
Are but the shadow of a name.

Yet here thy burial place is kept, —
Still this Memorial appears,
Though shadows of old time have crept
Along these stones three thousand years.
The frost and rain have gently seared,
The Orient sun hath kindly blessed,
And earthquakes shattering have spared
Our Iiabr Hairen, Hiram's rest.

Still warm thine eastern front the rays
That call the Craftsmen to the wall;
Here let me chisel a device,
The oldest, holiest of all!
And as the western sun goes down,
To give the wearied Craft release,
His latest gleam, in smile or frown,
These time-stained ashlars still doth kiss.

The lizard darts within thy walls,
The Arab stalks indifferent by,
Vast relics once of lordly halls
Around in mute suggestion lie;
The hyssop springs between the stones,
The daisy blossoms at the foot,
The olive its peace lessons owns,
Best moral where all else is mute.

Stand thou till time shall be no more,
Great type of Masonry divine!
From eastern height, from western shore,
Let Craftsmen seek this ancient shrine;
And from each pilgrim this be heard,
As from one humble voice to-day:
"Honor to Hiram, — Masons' lord,
Honor and gratitude we pay!"



Penned upon Mount Seopus, the last point northward from which the Holy City can be seen.

Farewell, Jerusalem! — thy sun bends low,
And warns me with his parting beams to go;
One more fond look; — never again to me
On Moab's summit shall his rising be;
Never on flowery Sharon's westward plain
His sunset visage greet my eyes again;
Though other suns may lighten up my shore,
Sion, thy sun shall gladden me no more!

Farewell, blest city; — all thy sacred hills,
Thy winding valleys, thy historic rills,
Thy sepulchers that pierce the mountain's side,
Thy fragrant gardens 'neath Siloam's side,
With me I bear, by loving fancy's aid,
Inscribed in images that cannot fade;
Memory may forfeit many a precious gem,
But never thee, thou best Jerusalem.

Farewell, thou Mount beloved! can it be
The gracious King in wrath abandoned thee?
There was no remedy; such clouds of sin
Polluted all thy courts, without, within,
That the fierce fire of vengeance, long withheld,
Kindled at last; His loving heart was steeled;
Then up those hills there surged such floods of flame,
They left thee but "a by word and a name."

Farewell! above the skies eternal wait
Glories transcending far thy best estate;
There gates and walls with precious jewels dressed,
And streets of gold allure the happy guest;
There flows the river and there grows the tree —
Water of life and endless fruits for me:
And God hath given to the place thy name,
The Holy City, — New Jerusalem!



Written in 1867.

Before I go to death's dark shore
To meet the friends who've gone before,
I must survey that sacred earth
In which Freemasonry had birth.

I cannot lay this body down,
Until from snowy Lebanon
I trace the footsteps of that band,
Whose art ennobles every land.

I long to climb that sacred hill,
Once crowned with unexampled skill,
Where Hiram planned and Hiram wrought
Perfection of Masonic thought.

To sleep where wearied Jacob slept,
To glean where Ruth, the widow, wept;
To kneel at Lazarus' rocky tomb —
These are the charges I assume.

To stand by Jordan's rushing flood,
That once in meek submission stood;
To watch the stars' mysterious gleam,
Upon the plains of Bethlehem.

To scale the walls of Joppa's height,
And hear those solemn sounds by night,
Which from the waves below he hears
Who contemplates three thousand years.

To walk o'er Zeredatha's plain;
At Sinai's base to list in vain
For that long-silenced voice, that broke
The stillness when Jehovah spoke.

To search the quarries deep and vast, —
Dark caverns of the buried past,
Whence block and pillar fitly came —
This is the privilege I claim.

Since all those strangers passed away
Who hailed the Dedication Day,
No Mason's foot in search has trod
The Shore, the Plain, the Mount of God.

My foot shall tread them; and my eye,
Though dim, those landmarks shall espy
Which from our fathers' lips we took,
Or gathered from God's holy book.

Around Moriah's walls I'll go;
Each sure foundation-stone I'll know;
And not a relic shall elude
My search through Sion's solitude.

Then home returned, I will rehearse
To you, in faithful prose and verse,
My journeyings through the Holy Land,
Where worked the first Masonic band.


It is a legend in Masonry that the Cornerstone of Solomon's Temple, sunk firmly in the northeast corner of the holy Mount, contains many objects strange and curious. Among them is a collection of all the vices and passions that were found in the hearts of the Temple builders when they came up from Phoenicia to undertake the work. These King Solomon was enabled, by his wisdom, to detect, and by his power to withdraw from their working places, and to confine them securely as already stated. Since that period, whenever a Mason-brother exhibits any passion or impropriety repugnant to his Covenants, he may correctly be charged with having "robbed the Cornerstone of King Solomon's Temple!"

Build up, ye Crafts, the Sacred Fane —
Raise up its walls as high as Heaven —
But shape your blocks and lay them there,
Upon the pattern given.

Our Master bade us labor so —
He marked the years, three score and ten,
And gives us many a noon-tide hour,
To cheer his toiling men.

We build no walls for time to gnaw,
No halls for men who yield to death; —
Our pattern is the perfect Law,
And God our service hath!

He reined the passions' evil train;
He quenched the fires within the breast;
He sunk them deep beneath the earth,
And there we bid them rest.

He laid in love the Cornerstone, —
A firm, unshaken Rock 'tis found,
Our fathers built on thicalone,
For this is holy ground!

We build no walls for time to gnaw,
No halls for men who yield to death;
Our pattern is the perfect Law,
And God our service hath!


A poem entitled The Kentucky Style, has been moved from here to Part II, Festival Songs.




It is one of the most charming traditions that past generations have intrusted to the present, this of King Solomon's Midnight Visit. The legend is that the Mighty Sage, weary with protracted waiting for the Resurrection Day, is permitted an hour each night to roam over the earth. Naturally looking up Masonic Lodges, he hears the gavel sounds of those that are working past mid-night, enters them, though invisible, and infuses a spirit of wisdom and love into every bosom. Thus it has long been observed of the Brethren returning home at so late an hour, that they are fraught with a peculiarly brotherly spirit, explained best by this hypothesis of the Midnight Visit of King Solomon!

In a deep, rocky tomb great King Solomon lies,
Sealed up till the judgment from all prying eyes;
The Square on his breast, and his kingly brow crowned —
His Gavel and Scepter with filletings wound;
At midnight, impatient, his spirit comes forth,
And haunts, for a season, the places of earth.

He flits, like a thought, to the chambers of kings, —
To the field where red battle has shaken his wings, —
To the cave where the student his late vigil keeps, —
To the cell where the prisoner hopelessly weeps;
But most, where Freemasons their mystical round
Continue past midnight, King Solomon's found!

Oh, then, when the bell tolls Low XII do we hear
A rustling, a whispering, startling the ear!
A deep, solemn murmur — while Crafts stand in awe
At something the eye of a mortal ne'er saw!
We know it, we feel it, we welcome the King
Whose spirit takes part in the anthems we sing!

And then, every heart beats responsive and warm —
The Acacia blooms freshly — we heed not the storm
Our tapers are starlit, and lo! from above,
There seems as descending the form of a dove!
'Tis the Emblem of Peace which King Solomon sends,
To model and pattern the work of his friends.

His Friends, loving Brothers, as homeward you go,
Bear Peace in your bosoms, let Peace sweetly flow!
In Concord, in Friendship, in Brotherly Love
Be faithful, — no Emblem so true as the dove!
The world will confess, then, with cheerful accord,
You have met with Kin, Solomon at midnight abroad!



"A good land and a large... a land flowing with milk and honey." — Deut. vi,3; xi,9, etc.

O, land of wondrous story, old Canaan bright and fair,
Thou type of home celestial, where the saints and angels are;
In heartfelt admiration we address thy hills divine,
And gather consolation on the fields of Palestine.
In all our lamentations, in the hour of deepest ill,
When sorrow wraps the spirit as the storm clouds wrap the hill,
Some name comes up before us from thy bright, immortal band,
As the shadow of a great rock falls upon a weary land.

The dew of Hermon falling yet, revives the golden days;
Sweet Sharon lends her roses still, to win the poet's lays;
In every vale the lily bends, while o'er them wing the birds
Whose cheerful notes so marvelously recall the Saviour's words.
From Bethlehem awake the songs of Rachel and of Ruth;
From Mispah's mountain fastness mournful notes of filial truth;
Magdala gives narration of the Penitent thrice blest,
And Bethany of sister-hosts who loved the gentle Guest.

Would we retrace the pilgrimage of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Behold His footsteps everywhere, on rocky knoll and sward;
From Bethlehem to Golgotha, His cradle and His tomb,
He sanctified old Canaan and accepted it His home,
He prayed upon thy mountain side, He rested in thy grove,
He walked upon thy Galilee, when winds with billows strove;
Thy land was full of happy homes, that loving hearts did own,
Even foxes and the birds of air — but Jesus Christ had none.

Thou land of milk and honey, land of corn, and oil, and wine,
How longs my hungry spirit to enjoy thy food divine!
I hunger and I thirst afar, the Jordan rolls between,
I faintly see thy paradise all clothed in living green.
My day of life declineth, and my sun is sinking low;
I near the banks of Jordan, through whose waters I must go;
Oh, let me wake beyond the stream, in land celestial blest,
To be forever with the Lord in Canaan's promised rest!



With true and ardent grasp,
A strong and mystic clasp,
In fond farewell the Mason monarchs bent;
Briefly upon the tongue
The word of parting hung,
But hand and eye and face were eloquent.

The servant of the Lord
Gave them a parting word;
From mouth to ear the whispering farewell passed;
The world can never know
That sound, conveyed so low,
But 'tis the Mason's fondest and his last.

Hand answered hand, and tongue
Moved the Great Word along;
It kindled up each Mason's bosom there, —
As you have seen the rain
Moistening the barren plain
And making green the hillocks, lately bare.

It banished all the pain
Of parting from those men;
It left a glow fraternal in each breast;
And though no brother's eye
Beneath its power was dry,
Their tears were holy dewdrops, soft and blest.

And then, all silently
The Builders moved away,
And turned forever from the Mount of God;
But never to the end
Did friend forget the friend
Who wept that farewell morning 'neath the Word.

And never to this day,
And never while the sway
Of time shall roll the mighty spheres around,
Can one who owns the tie
Of holy Masonry
Refuse to melt before that mystic sound.



These lines were directed to Hon. E. T. Rogers, now the chief commissioner of public instruction in Egypt.

How sweet is friendship in a foreign land!
How warm the pressure of fraternal hand,
When every other voice upon the ear
Falls cold and meaningless, or insincere!

Dear Friend, I swear your hospitable creed
Embodies all that Mason's heart can heed;
The courtesy, unwearied kindness, love —
The ruling principle in things above —
A genial manner, grateful to the soul,
And dignity of mien, to grace the whole.

Is this the work of Masonry? why then
Honor to Masonry, we'll shout again!
But no; 'tis the Great Master Builder's Craft,
Intent on shaping one exquisite shaft.
God makes the good man, ours the humbler part,
To indorse the work, and polish it with Art.

Around thee let me, with prophetic eye,
A band of Moral Architects espy —
Warm with thy fervor, in thy wisdom wise,
Seeking through Masonry a goodly prize;
Bounteous in charities, in honor true,
Yielding to man and God the guerdon due;
Brave in the truth as to each one 'tis shown,
And bold with justice, fearing God alone.

Thus circled, honored, blest by old and young,
Thy years shall pass as one continued song;
The Temple, rising 'neath thy Master care,
Golden inscriptions in thy praise shall bear.
Jew, Christian, Moslem, blent in one by thee,
Shall show the world how Masons can agree;
And influenced by thy wise and timely thought,
Blood feuds and hatreds shall be all forgot.

Then shall this epitaph as thine be given:
"Faithful and true, his wages are in Heaven."



April 14, 1868

Composed at the place where the miracle occurred of the healing of the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman. Matthew xv,21-28.

Led by a hand invisible,
I come at length to view the place
Where Jesus broke the power of hell,
And gave the tortured child release.

And can it be my wearied feet
Press the same earth that Jesus trod?
O, happy hour, O, bliss complete,
O, promises fulfilled of God!

These mountains looked on Christ that day;
This fountain murmured in His ear;
The sky serene, the glassy bay,
The charming flowerets all were here.

How looked the Saviour? O, to see
His face divine! Was it in grief
At human pain, and misery,
And want, and sin, and unbelief?

Beneath this tamarisk tree I muse;
Grant me to drink the spirit in
Of that great hour, nor let me lose
One feature of the wondrous scene.

The mother clamorous with her plea,
The apostle's cold, impatient word,
Faith's trial and sure victory,
And 0, the utterance of the Lord!

Cease, murmuring fountain, cease thy flow,
And let His utterance reach my soul:
"Great is thy faith, O, woman, go!
Already is the child made whole!"

The chain of evil power released,
The demon's fetters broke at last;
The very crumbs of Jesus' feast
Better than all the world's repast.

No longer to restrain my tears,
Such gratitude these drops recount;
'Tis surely worth my fifty years,
This noontide at Sarepta's fount!

Sing, murmuring waters, lulling streams;
Roar, foamy breakers, on the shore;
Broken Sarepta's fleeting dreams,
The vision will return no more.

Far o'er the western sea my heart
Wanders from lone Sarepta's shrine;
I rise, and on my way depart,
Never to view these scenes again.

But I shall rise with Him! yes, I know,
My inmost being this assures,
Where founts celestial smoothly flow,
And perfect blessedness allures.

Onward and onward moments fly,
My sands of life make haste to run;
Lord, grant me favor ere I die,
To leave no appointed task undone!


Thoughtfully gazing on this wall,
By Egypt carved for Egypt's glory,
I strive to call before me all
The sum of this symbolic story;
It is, that in the human breast
There ever is a deathless longing
For life eternal; from death's rest
The immortal soul expects returning.

These conquerors, in blood and flame,
Wrote on earth's history their hope
To have eternity of fame!
Traveler upon these mountains, stop
And pay obeisance! 'twas a good
And worthy hope, — the same that fires
And animates your generous blood,
And to all noble deeds inspires!



Within this sacred chamber, where in still
And awful solitude, great Peace abides,
Where Hiram fell and taught the Craft to die
In solemn testimony to their faith;
Where lies the Word of God, out of which speaks
The Voice that broke from Sinai, we have brought
One from the outer world and made him ours.

With solemn vows, — Jehovah witnessing;
In mystic methods, — ancient and complete;
With quaint devices, — teaching truth divine;
Here in tyled portals, — all the world shut out;
A faithful friend to brother is transformed!
New birth and wondrous! not from ties of blood,
But spirit-born, his mother, this our Lodge

What have we done? how will our mysteries
Bear fruitage on this new and untried stock?
Alas, so many barren plants appear
Within our vineyard, shall we look in vain To Him?
A hope prophetic fills my soul
That here, at least, our choice has fallen well.

From Sion's temple there were two escapes
For offerings made by pious worshipers;
One through pure burnings upward to the skies,
One by foul conduit to Kedron's Vale;
His be the upward flight!                                        

                                        Bring now the tools,
The mystic Implements that Hiram loved,
And place them on this Ashlar, newly set; —
How beautiful, how beautiful the sight!
As Boaz and as Jachin see him stand!
Lo, in what narrow bounds of truth he moves, —
His virtues, how they gratify the Square!

It needs but that we ask the Master's gift
To endow him with all grace in life, in death;
That when his work is ended here, a seat
May wait our Brother in the Lodge above!



And the dove came to him in the evening; and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off. So Noah knew that the waters abated from off the earth. — Genesis viii, II.

The author, upon his arrival at Beyrout, Syria, March, 1868, gathered olive leaves, then just in maturity, and sent, inclosed in printed copies of the above poem, to a very large number of Masonic patrons and friends, throughout the three continents.

Like wandering Dove, whose restless feet
Could find no solid landing place,
I pluck this Olive leaf, to grace
A memory ever pure and sweet.

This was the ancient type of peace;
The wrathful flood was overpast,
The gladsome sun beamed forth at last, —
The ark on storm-tossed waves did cease.

Then from the Olive bough the bird
Cropt this green leaf with mystic care;
And to the patriarch's hand she bare
The missive with its high accord.

Dear Friend, to you this Olive spray
I send, the messenger of love;
It speaks a sentiment above
All other language to convey.

The Olive, — glory of this land,
Our ancient Craft from this expressed
The Oil of joy that shone and blessed,
In hours of rest, the laboring band.

The deadliest hands, upraised in hate,
Before this gentle missive drop;
The direst discords quickly stop;
The Olive speaks, — the floods abate.

All this and more I fain would teach,
From this bright, ancient, verdant text;
Take it with all the words annexed, —
Be yours the sermon that they teach!



Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter inquire in it who is worthy, and there abide till ye go hence. — Matthew x, II. During my stay in Beyrout, in 1868, my good fortune led me to the house of the worthy, viz.: Samuel Hallock, with whom I "abode" for two months.

It was a happy day
That brought my feet this way,
And stopped me at this hospitable door;
Parting, I'll not forget
T' acknowledge friendship's debt,
Now that I go, to see these walls no more.

There is no such thing as chance,
God rules the circumstance,
He guided me, a stranger in this land;
Intending good that day
He led my feet this way,
And joined my hand with this fraternal hand.

With Christian courtesy stored,
Gentle in deed and word,
Generous with all the Master doth bestow,
Modest and kind and true,
This eulogy is due
To him whose roof-tree gives me welcome now.

A blessing on him rest!
I seek the distant West;
But I can never sail so far, or fast,
But that my instant prayer
Shall find him even there,
And crown him with good wishes to the last.


Best type that teeming nature gives
Of the accepted man;
Lofty and large, the palm tree thrives,
And where no other can,
Stands crowned with glorious fruit, and lives
Its whole allotted span.



Composed at the Narrows in sight of the sea, July 3, 1878, and sung by Prof. Wm. H. Slack, on the steamer next day in celebration of the national anniversary.

Low, low, sing low; the surge is hoarsely murmuring;
Sighs the sad wind, the cold, reproachful blast;
Hark, 'tis the sea bird, on pursuing wing,
Bearing words from home, the tenderest and the last,
Sweet home, good bye! sweet friends and true,
Love breathes the prayer — the fond, the last adieu.

O, in this hour, when memory claims the whole,
What tears, what sighs, to us are fondly given;
Christ heed them all! and give the praying soul
Hopes, bright and strong, the gleaming star of Heaven.
Lands yet untrod await our eager feet;
Skies all untried will lend their radiance soon;

Hand joined in hand, the chain fraternal greet,
Notes, strange and weird, the mystic chords attune.
Swift roll the months; and oh, ye seasons fleet,
Bring the best morning on returning track;
Wait, sweet, sweet Home, your pilgrim friends to greet,
Bear, ye sad sea bird, this fond message back.


Crown the Sacred Hill!
Raise the Golden Shaft!
God doth bless the cheerful will,
Oh, Brothers of the Craft!

Long in sleep Moriah lay,
Mourned her desolation clay;
Now awake, in accents clear,
Speak, and willing Masons hear,

To crown the Sacred Hill, etc.

Bring each mystic tool,
Old and worn they are,
Trowel, Gavel, Line and Rule,
And Level, Plumb and Square.

Spirits of the ages gone,
Guide us to the cornerstone;
Strangers wait, a loving band.
Westward gazing, yearning stand,

To crown the Sacred Hill, etc.

Lo, the ruined shrine!
Ours that mighty pile;
See on every stone the sign,
We know and love it well!
Though in dust the builders lie,
Though their works in ruin sigh,
Yon device, in whispers read,
Give the lesson earnest heed,

To crown the Sacred Hill. etc.


Gray with the frosts of age,
Dim o'er the midnight page,
Bowed toward the earth, where soon my rest must be,
I give my closing years,
With all its sighs and tears,
O land of holy mysteries, to thee.
Hills, over which our Brotherhood have trod,
Dales, in whose shadows Masons worshiped God!

No nobler work at hand,
It is our fatherland,
There first Jehovah breathed his awful name;
In that historic earth
Our customs had their birth,
Our emblems from the land of Hiram came;
Eastward they rose, where Orient suns enrobe,
Westward they moved, encircling all the globe.

Then, Craftsmen, work with me!
Freemasons, come, and see
The sacred mountain where our Temple stood;
Join your right hand with them
Who, at Jerusalem,
Have linked anew the Mason brotherhood
Help us to kindle up the hidden flame
That on Moriah gilt the Holy Name.



Each cooing dove and sighing bough
That makes the eve so blest to me,
Has something far diviner now
It bears me back to Galilee.

Oh, Galilee, sweet Galilee,
Where Jesus loved so much to be;
Oh, Galilee, blue Galilee,
Come, sing thy song again to me.

Each flowery glen and mossy dell
Where happy birds in song agree,
Thro' sunny morn the praises tell
Of sights and sounds in Galilee.

And when I read the thrilling lore
Of Him who walked upon the sea,
I long, oh, how I long once more
To follow Him in Galilee.

Dr. H. R Palmer, of New York, has composed music to these lines that receive an instant and national fame.


Consider how the lilies grow,
Perfume shedding,
widely spreading,
How the scarlet blossoms blow!
Broad in Galilee their fame,
Jesus called them by their name.

Consider how the lilies thrive,
Beauteous ever,
toiling never,
Only need to smile and live;
Father has them in his care,
Makes the scarlet blossoms fair.

Consider what the lilies say:
"All is given
us from Heaven,
Father keeps us every day!
He who makes the lilies grow,
Will He not provide for you?"

Consider how the lilies die
Loved and cherished,
lost and perished.
We are for eternity!
He who gives the flowerlet bloom,
He will snatch us from the tomb!


A poem entitled The Lodge Far Away, has been moved from here to Part II, Festival Songs.




The Voice of the Temple! the tidings of Love,
That speak of the Master who reigneth above;
"His Glory, His Glory, in the Highest who dwells
And Good Will to Man" is the burden it tells!
Come, Brothers, in chorus
Prolong the glad tidings,
No duty so sweet as the hymning of God;
His faith each professing,
His knowledge possessing,
Exalt each the blessing His grace hath bestowed.



Traditions embodying the remarkable friendship that existed between King Solomon and King Hiram abound in the East. The tie that connected those neighboring potentates of Israel and Phoenicia was intimate and enduring beyond the custom of kings. After the completion of the celebrated Temple on Mount Moriah, the Royal Brothers used often to visit each other at their respective capitals, Jerusalem and Tyre, to exchange friendly sentiments. Embassies were continually passing. Costly presents were given and received. Bonds of amity were established between the two nations, which it took the events of five centuries to weaken and destroy.

The death and obsequies of King Hiram were accompanied by incidents extremely curious. It being announced to King Solomon that his venerable friend was in the last extremity, he ordered chosen men placed as sentinels upon every prominent peak in the interval of one hundred miles that separates Jerusalem from Tyre. These were provided with signal flags and torches, so that the news of the calamity came to Solomon in the space of thirteen seconds; and thus he was enabled to join, in due time, the obsequies of King Hiram.

'Twas told me by a Troubadour,1 a singer of Jebail,2
Part prose, part song, on thrumming strings, this Oriental tale;
The bard had learned it from his sires with whom, with some arrears,
This story of King Solomon had lived three thousand years.
Around us the Fellahee3 sat with flashing eyes and teeth,
And swore by Allah it was true, upon an Arab's faith!
I wrote it then and there, lest time the legend should efface,
And bring it accurately here, our interview to grace.

"Be not afraid of sudden fear!" thus Solomon did write;
"Thou shalt lie down in glorious rest, nor dread eternal night
Sound wisdom and discretion all thy busy life have blest,
And God is now thy confidence and thy eternal rest."

For was not Hiram dying? was there not a wail of dread
Moving along the Tyrian shores, the palm trees overhead?
Therefore the Royal Comforter his words of parting said.

Then thrums my bard the strings;
His slave the coffee brings;
Each Fellah draws upon his pipe the while;
Till with my pencil swift
I catch the gusty drift,
And wait another portion to beguile.

1 Traveling singers, resembling the troubadours of the Middle Ages, abound in the East. Seating themselves in the corner of a coffee shop, in the center of a crowd of natives, or walking through the villages, they ply their art and sing, to the accompaniment of a rude guitar, legends of the olden time.

2 This is the ancient Gebal of the Freemasons, the place from whence the Gebalites or Stonesquarers of Solomon were derived. The word is now pronounced as in the text. Jebail is twenty-five miles north of Beyrout.

3 The Fellaheen are the village Arabs, in distinction from the Bedaween or desert Arabs.


On every mountain peak between Jerusalem and Tyre,
A sentinel was set alert, supplied with flag and fire,
Each facing to the Northward, where the dying monarch lay,
Prepared to pass the intelligence, who knows, by night or day;
And "death to him that slumbers," the relentless Captains say!

The King on Sion waited, midst a bright and gallant throng,
Five thousand steeds begirt beneath five thousand horsemen strong;
Ten score and seven chariots, in gold and silk arrayed,
And twice twelve thousand footmen, armed with Hebrew spear and blade.
Oh, who, of all the sons of earth, in grace and glory can
Complete in royal pageantry with Melek Suleyman?1

Tyeeb, Tyeeb,2 aloud
Screams forth the enraptured crowd;
The bard thrums all his strings in ecstacies;
While round the Hakeem3 stand
The wild and motley band,
And watch his pencil as it deftly flies.

Was it a meteor darting down from lofty Lebanon?
Was it the fox fire of the marsh that lures the traveler on?
Or meant that little flash to say, The Royal race is run?
The sentinel by Scandaroon4 a faithful vigil bore,
And with quick torch the message sent, King Hiram is no more!
While thunderous lamentation mocked the surges on the shore.

The sentinel at Nazareth5 took up the fatal word;
The sentinel on Carmel6 saw, and passed it to his lord;
A flash on Ebal7 followed, and high Gerizim8 replied,
And Bethel9 told to Sion of the Monarch who had died!

1 This is the Arabic equivalent of the expression, "King Solomon."

2 Tyeeb means good, excellent, - first rate.

3 Hakeem is the Arabic for Doctor. The author was styled Melican Hakeem, or the American Doctor.

4 The mountain pass, ten miles south of Tyre. The word means Alexander, and the construction of the military road there is attributed to that enterprising monarch.

5 The high mountain behind Nazareth is in sight of that above Scandaroon.

6 Mount Carmel is in plain view of the mountain near Nazareth.

7 I am not quite positive that Mount Ebal is in sight of Mount Carmel, but such is my impression.

8 Mount Gerizim is but half a mile south of Ehal.

9 The high ground near Bethel was equally in view of Gerizim on the North, and of a sentinel standing on the towers of Jerusalem on the South.


Oh, was there ever wisdom like the wisdom of the plan
By which, in thirteen seconds came the news to Suleyman?
Oh, was there ever King like him, who, over earth and hell,1
Could make his power felt, and yet be loved so long and well?
Now let my strings be vocal, and resound in every chord
The praises of great Suleyman, the matchless Hebrew Lord!

At this, th' excited wretch
Was wrought to such a pitch,
He sprang aloft and led a fiendish dance;
The Arabs joined apace,
And for a little space
It seemed my Legend would no more advance.
They circled round and round,
They spurned the very ground,
They danced lascivious measures at my feet,
Till, weary, faint and sore,
The bard returned once more,
And thus his ancient story did complete:

As Bethel told to Sion of the Monarch who had died,
The body guards of Solomon were buckled for the ride,
Five thousand shining cavaliers, in military pride,
Ten score and seven chariots, in silk and gold arrayed,
And twice twelve thousand footmen, armed with Hebrew spear and blade.
The horses neighed, the lances flashed beneath the starry dome,
And the procession answered to the message that had come.

Up Scopus rode they, as Low Twelve struck the attentive ear;
Up Ebal, when on Gilead the sunrise did appear;
By nine at Nazareth they drank, that thirsty morn of June,
And through the portals of old Tyre they entered at High Noon!
Oh, was there ever such a ride, since horsemanship began?
And was there ever as our guest so great and good a man?
And who of all the sons of earth so liberal and free
As this our Hakeem, who will give good Backskeesh unto me?

The Legend thus was done;
The begging then begun.
My ears were deafened with the horrid yell;
I fled the crowd, aghast,
But ere I went to rest
Wrote down the narrative which now I tell.

1 All Oriental traditions credit King Solomon with power over demons, and they attribute the getting out and removal of the enormous ashlars yet seen around Mount Moriah and elsewhere, to the aid of supernatural hands.




Recited in the Grand Consistory of Kentucky (Scotch Rite), at Louisville, May 2, 1868.

The sun had sunk beneath the western slope,
The deepening shades of eve were gathering in,
The sounds were of the closing hours of day;
When 'neath an olive tree I, musing, sat
Within Gethsemane.

I sat and mused
Upon the awful scene that opened there.
Here, said my heart, here Jesus knelt and prayed,
Here, at my feet, those drops of sorrow fell
Like blood drops to the ground; here, with sad voice
He prayed : "0 Father, if it be Thy will, this cup,
O, let it pass! but yet Thy will be done!"
And here the Father, yearning for His Son,
A strengthening Angel sent right from the Throne.

My answering tears fell 'neath that olive tree,
And in that darkening hour my spirit cried:
"O, Father, who didst give sustaining Grace
Unto the suffering Son, give strength to me!
I know not what's before me, — be my stay!
I cannot see before me, — give me light!
My burden is too heavy, — give me power!
My enemies are mighty, — be my shield!"

Ten years have passed, I see that place no more,
The olive tree still blooms in fatness there;
But down life's slope my rapid steps have trod,
Near to that bourne whence man cannot return.
But He who heard me in Gethsemane
Hath followed still my prayer; I have not been
One moment from His presence; never once,
In all my sorrow, all my burdens, stood
Alone, but always knew Emmanuel!

And come what may, my soul hath confidence
That He will guide and bless me to the end.
Brethren, this was the very night He prayed
Within that garden! pray ye now to Him,
The reascended Saviour! by the lights
And tokens of your Faith, light up your souls
This night to follow through Gethsemane
And Golgotha and Olivet, to Heaven.


A poem entitled Lines Upon Crowning Bro. Rob Morris Poet Laureate, by Hiram N. Rucker has been moved from here to the Foreward, Biography of Rob Morris.


The following poem entitled Come, View The Holy Land, page 348, has been moved to here from Part IV, Adoptive Masonry.


Come, view the Holy Land, indeed!
Come, see the place where Jesus lay!
The rock, the tree, the flower, the seed
Are all there as they were that day
When heartless thousands heard him pray,
When pitiless thousands saw him bleed.

Behold, this is the Holy Land!
From Jordan's wave these pure drops come;
This shell, that glittered on the strand,
Bears witness with its ocean foam,
And this from its high mountain home,
That all the words of Jesus stand.

Now read the Gospel of these things, —
On this poor stone perhaps Christ trod!
And so, a Monitor, it brings
Our clay-bound spirits nearer God,
Because it represents the sod
Whence his humanity took wings.

With fervent tongue each little thing
Its words of testimony says;
You, who Christ's truths are gathering,
These tokens from His land address,
For tree, mount, river chant his praise,
And "they that dwell in dust do sing."

The following poem entitled Talitha Cumi, page 350, has been moved to here from Part IV, Adoptive Masonry.


This is the story of "the daughter of Jairus" and her resurrection, as told me in Galilee in 1868. The Scriptural passages are these: He took her by the hand and the maid arose. — Matthew ix, 25. He took the damsel by the hard, and said unto her talitha cumi, which is being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. — Mark v, 41. He took her by the hand and called, saying, Maid, arise. — Luke viii, 54.

By the sea her memory dwelleth,
Maiden well beloved and fair;
And each loving mother telleth
How the child lay dying there;
How she lay, that sweet one, dying,
Only child, there was no more,
While the Oriental crying
Swelled the murmurs of the shore;
So they tell it by the Sea
Of the placid Galilee.

How the anxious father hastened
Jesus, present help, to meet,
And, with awful sorrow chastened,
Fell imploring at His feet;
"Master, oh, my little daughter,
Only child, — about to die!"
While the plashing of the water
Mocked at his despairing cry.
So they tell it by the Sea
Of the storm-tossed Galilee.

How the Lord, no tarry making,
Through the thronged and narrow street,
Hastened to a wondrous waking,
Such as every saint shall meet;


Matters not though servant coming
Told him that the child was dead,
And the breakers hoarsely booming,
All the mournful message spread.
So they tell it by the Sea
Of the dirge-like Galilee.

How He found the stricken dwelling;
Clasped the clay-cold little hand, —
Needless is the further telling,
Death obeyed the Lord's command;
While those waters roll, the story
Of the maiden will remain,
Promise of the greater glory
When the Christ shall come again.
So they think along the Sea
Of this much-loved Galilee.

The following suite of poems, collectively entitled Thinking Of Jesus, comprising pages 36-40, has been moved to here from Part I, Masonry of Christian Knighthood.




That which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled.... declare we unto you. — 1 John i,1-3.


I thought of Jesus on the Hill
Of Bethlehem, fair Bethlehem:
The Shepherds watching through the night,
The angelic songsters clothed in light,
The promised Child so humbly born
For pilgrimage of toil and scorn;
Then, as I mused on them,
This voice from Bethlehem I heard,
The Hill Is Holy to our new-born Lord!

...fair Bethlehem: The city of Bethlehem, five miles south of Jerusalem, is charmingly situated upon an eastern spur of the ridge that composes the land of Palestine. It is 2,700 feet above the Mediterranean, and 4,100 above the Dead Sea. It covers the hill, terraced on every side from the valleys, and is thus embowered in groves of mulberry, fig and olive trees, and grape vines that produce marvelous clusters.

The Shepherds watching through the night. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. — Luke ii,8.

The angelic songsters, clothed in light. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. — Luke ii,9-13.

The promised Child... Behold, a virgin shall bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. — Isaiah vii,14. humbly born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. — Luke ii,7.

For pilgrimage of toil and scorn. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, hid not my face from shame and spitting. — Isaiah l,6. "He went about doing good."


I thought of Jesus in the Vale
Of Nazareth, sweet Nazareth.
His name is murmured in its Fount, —
His praises sweep along its Mount, —
His youthful feet have trodden there, —
His earliest thoughts distilled in prayer;
Then, as I bowed in faith,
This voice from Nazareth I heard, —
The Vale is Holy to our youthful Lord!

His name is murmured in its Fount, The fountain which supplies the people of Nazareth with water is one-half mile east of the city. Thither the mother of Jesus must have gone often with water jar on shoulder, and the prattling boy by her side, as the mothers of Nazareth are yet seen to do, morning and evening.

His praises sweep along its Mount. Above the city of Nazareth, on the west, is the overhanging mountain described in Luke iv, 29. The view from its top is one of the broadest and most interesting in all Holy Land, and as such must frequently have met the eye of the divine Nazarene.

His youthful feet have trodden there. From the day of his learning to walk, to his departure upon his divine mission at the manly age of thirty, Jesus made his principal labors and journeys in and around Nazareth.

His earliest thoughts distilled in prayer. As we read in Luke ii, 52, that Jesus, at Nazareth, grew "in favor with God," and as he was emphatically a man of prayer during his ministry, often withdrawing in solitude for that purpose, we may safely conclude that his mind was absorbed in this sacred abstraction, even from early youth.




I thought of Jesus in the rush
Of Jordan's waters, cool and good;
How cheering was that noontide draught!
Never such healthful cup I'd quaffed;
So Christ, whose presence blest its wave,
Health and refreshing coolness gave;
Then, as well cheered I stood,
This voice from Jordan's wave I heard, —
The Stream is Holy to our baptized Lord!

Of Jordan's waters, cool and good. The water of this swift-flowing river is much cooler than the atmosphere in the hot valley through which it flows, and being pure and wholesome, it is extremely grateful to man and beast. All the wild beasts and birds of the Jordan Valley throng to these waters as to a banquet God hath prepared for them.

Never such healthful cup I'd quaffed. The writer had gone down from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, bathed there, tarried there for some hours, and then traversed the burning plain six miles before he reached the Jordan, and this made his first draught of its cooling waters so delicious and refreshing that "the good cheer of Jordan" will abide in his memory so long as life shall last.

So Christ, whose presence blest its wave. Then cometh Jesus to Jordan to be baptized. — Matthew iii,13. Jesus was baptized of John in Jordan. — Mark i,9.

Health and refreshing coolness gave. All the happiness of the body, as well as the spirit, is primarily due to Jesus, Creator of all things. This fact is realized with peculiar force by the traveler following up the traces of the divine feet.


I thought of Jesus by the Sea
Of Galilee, blue Galilee:
His sermon blessed its peaceful shore,
He stilled its tempest by His power,
His mightiest deeds He wrought and drew
From fishermen there His chosen few;
Then, as I bowed the knee,
This voice from Galilee I heard,
The Sea is Holy to our laboring Lord!

...Blue Galilee. The purity of the atmosphere in Palestine, giving a deep cerulean hue to every object, is peculiarly observable around the Sea of Galilee, as it lies in the bottom of a deep basin of basaltic mountains. All travelers remark "How blue is this charming lake!"

His sermon blessed its peaceful shore, "The Sermon on the Mount" was delivered, it is believed, upon the hills that overhang the Sea of Galilee on the west. In that clear atmosphere, the sound of his voice would readily reach the sea shore, and mingle with the singing tones of the waters as they ripple along the sand.

He stilled its tempest by his power. He rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. — Matthew viii,26. The Sea of Galilee is subject to sudden storms like the one described in the Scripture.

His mightiest deeds he wrought... Some twenty out of the thirty-five of the recorded miracles of Jesus, including the cleansing of the leper, restoring the blind to sight and raising the dead, were performed around or in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee.

...drew from fishermen there, His chosen few. Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee saw Peter and Andrew, fishers, and James and John, in a ship mending their nets, and he called them. — Matthew iv,18-21. It is thought that all the Apostles, save, perhaps, Judas Iscariot, were residents of the vicinity of Capernaum.




I thought of Jesus, in that Grove
Of agony, Gethsemane:
Its hoary leaves around me sighed,
Its dewdrops wept; my spirit vied
With nature's grief, till I forgot
All time, all space, in that sad spot;
Then, as my thoughts came free,
This, from Gethsemane I heard,
The Grove is Holy to our sorrowing lord!

...that Grove of agony, Gethsemane: The present inclosure of Gethsemane, a scanty half acre, is marked by the presence of eight large olive trees, to which were applied by the writer of this poem the names of eight pious song writers of America.

Its dewdrops wept... The writer visited the Garden of Gethsemane at the close of the day, as the cool olive leaves began to condense from the superheated atmosphere the refreshing dews of evening.

I forgot all time, all space in that sad spot; Cold must be the heart that can meditate under the trees of Gethsemane without tears. The writer reading there "of the agony" and "the sweat," as recorded in Luke xxii, was fain to yield to an uncontrollable gush of emotion.


I thought of Jesus, as I walked
A pilgrim through Jerusalem.
What memories does its history trace!
His living lone; His dying grace;
The bread; the wine; the coming doom;
The Scourge; the Crown; the Cross; the Tomb;
Then, in the Paschal hymn,
This, from Jerusalem I heard,
City most Holy to our dying Lord!

...I walked a pilgrim through Jerusalem. Jerusalem is, of all the cities upon earth, the nucleus of pilgrimage. The Jews crowd there as to the capital city of their fathers; the Mohammedans visit Jerusalem in multitudes, as a noted place in the history of their own lawgiver; and Christians "walk about Zion," as to the place of "the death and rising again" of the Son of Man. Mount Moriah, the site of the Jewish temple, is equally holy to both.

His living love. Jesus having loved his own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. — John xiii,1.

...his dying grace; Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. — Luke xxiii,34. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. — John xv,13.

The bread,... He took bread, and gave thanks and brake it, and gave unto them. — Luke xxii,19.

...the wine,... He took the cup and gave it to them and they all drank of it. — Mark xiv,23.

... the coming doom,... Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world. — John xiii,1.

...The Scourge,... He scourged Jesus. — Matthew xxvii,26. Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him. — John xix,1.

...the Crown,... The soldiers therefore platted a crown of thorns and put it upon his head. — John xix,2.

...the Cross,... He bearing his Cross went forth. — John xix,17.

...the tomb,... Joseph laid him in a sepulcher. — Mark xv,46. A new sepulcher wherein was never man yet laid. — John xix,41.




I thought of Jesus, on the Mount
Of Olivet, gray Olivet;
'Twas there He led His weeping band,
Within their group they saw Him stand,
His parting promises were given,
He blest them, rose and went to Heaven;
Then, as I turned my feet,
This Voice from Olivet I heard, —
The Mount is Holy to our ascended Lord!

...gray Olivet. The character of the stone which composes the country around Jerusalem is calcareous, producing a thick, caustic and grayish dirt. The general impression made upon the traveler's mind is grayishness.

Within their group they saw Him stand. No painter has succeeded in embodying this event. The King about to exchange His earthly for His heavenly throne; the waiting Disciples accompanying Him to the very confines of His promised possession; the solitary place; the awful expectation standing out upon the countenances of His own, — the idea is too grand for mortal pencil to delineate.

His parting promises were given. Behold I send the promise of my Father upon you. — Luke xxiv,49. This Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go. — Acts i,11.

He blest them, He lifted up his hands and blessed them. — Luke xxiv,50.

...rose, and went to Heaven. While he blessed them he was parted from them and carried up into Heaven. — Luke, xxiv,51. He was received up into Heaven and sat on the right hand of God. — Mark xvi,19. He was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight. — Acts i,9.


Thus Holy Land, on every side
Tells of the One, the Crucified!
Its Hill tops sacred witness bear,
That He, the homeless, slumbered there;
Its Plains His footsteps still imprint,
Who o'er their thirsty pathways went;


Its Waters His blest image trace
That once reflected Jesus' face;
Its Stars on Heaven's broad pages write
That Jesus prayed beneath their light;
Its Flowers in grace and perfume tell
That their Creator loved them well;
And e'en its Thorn tree bears His Name
Whose platted Crown was woven of them.

That He, the homeless, slumbered there. Jesus said, Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. — Luke ix,58.

Who o'er their thirsty pathways went. Jesus, wearied with his journey, sat on the well and said, Give me to drink. — John iv,6-7. The Holy Land is emphatically a "thirsty land" to travelers, who require frequent draughts of water at every stage of their journey.

That once reflected Jesus' face. In visiting the fount of Ain Kanterah at Sarepta, where Jesus healed the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, the writer was moved by this thought: "Could the unconscious fountain speak, it would describe the lineaments of the Son of Man." And he there wrote this stanza:

"How looked the Saviour? Oh to see
His face divine! Was it in grief
At human pain, and misery,
And want, and sin, and unbelief?"

How Jesus prayed beneath their light. He went up into a mountain to pray. — Matthew xiv,23; Mark vi,46. He continued all night in prayer to God. — Luke vi,12.

That their Creator loved then well. Consider the lilies of the field. — Matthew vi,28.

And e'en its Thorn tree bears His Name whose platted Crown was woven of them. The Spiny tree, from which the twigs were taken that formed "the platted Crown," were unquestionably those of the Nubk (Zisyphus spina-christi), or "Thorn of Christ." It grows in the valleys around Jerusalem, and abundantly in the Jordan Valley, and is a vegetable production of portentous character.


Its Breezes sigh; its Tempests roar:
Its wild waves break along the shore:
Its Fruitage ripens in the Sun:
Its Song Birds tell the day begun:
Its Hills in snowy grandeur rise:
Its Storm Clouds vex the peaceful skies:
In every sight the Christian's eye
Something of Jesus will espy!
In every sound the Christian's ear,
Something of Jesus Christ will hear!
One testimony all afford, —
The Land Is Holy Unto Jesus Christ Our Lord!

Its breezes sigh, The morning and evening breezes in the hill country are regular, and in the sultry season peculiarly grateful and wholesome. As they come surging up the mountain slopes they seem to sigh of the waves they have just left.

...its tempests roar. The writer encountering a terrible storm of hail and rain in Lebanon, near the Nahr-el-Kelb near Beyrout, was deeply impressed by the splendid imagery in which the Psalmist describes such an elementary strife.

Its wild waves break along the shore. The coast line of Palestine undergoes steady abrasion from the heavy rollers that move in upon it with irresistible power from the broad expanse of the Mediterranean. Many wrecks meet the eye along the beach.

Its fruitage ripens in the sun. The immense variety and abundance of Holy Land fruits have been the marvel of all ages. Fruit constitutes much of the living of the natives.

Its song birds tell the day begun. A burst of nightingales (bulbuls), doves and many other varieties of song birds hails the approach of day, particularly along the water streams.

Its hills in snowy grandeur rise. Hermon, 10,000 feet high, and Sunnin, even a little more elevated, exhibit snowy caps all through the season of summer.

Its storm clouds vex the peaceful skies. As intimated, the strife of elements at certain seasons is indescribably grand, especially through the mountain region of Lebanon.

In every sight the Christian's eye something of Jesus will espy. The traveler who reads "the coming Messiah" through all the narratives and predictions of the Old Testament will discover that every visible object is made use of by the Holy Spirit as an emblem to suggest the character or mission of the Coming One.

In every sound the Christian's ear something of Jesus Christ will hear. The Messianic imagery embraces as well the sounds of nature as its sights. The very birds give tongue to Him who framed them and intrusted them with the sweetest notes in the scale of earthly music.

One testimony all afford, — The Land is Holy unto Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the only conclusion that renders the Land of the Bible a worthy place of pilgrimage. All others degrade it to the class of ordinary resorts. Unmitigated despotism, supplementing the waste and horror of protracted war, leaves nothing else to the country save glorious memories and its power to illustrate "the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ."


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