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



It is but justice to others who have written detached pieces upon Masonic themes to present a few of their best productions here. Much care has been taken in making selections, and it is thought that no partiality can be charged either in the choice of authors or works.



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By John H. Sheppard, late of Boston, Mass.

Ah, when shall we three meet, like them
Who last were at Jerusalem?
For three there were, but one is not, —
He lies where Acacia marks the spot.

Though poor he was, with kings he trod;
Though great, he humbly knelt to God;
Ah, when shall those restore again
The broken link of friendship's chain?

Behold, where mourning beauty bent
In silence o'er his monument,
And widely spread in sorrow there
The ringlets of her flowing hair!

The future Sons of Grief will sigh,
While standing round in mystic tie,
And raise their hands, alas! to Heaven,
In anguish that no hope is given.

From whence we came, or whither go,
Ask me no more, nor seek to know,
Till three shall meet who formed, like them,


By Albert Pike, of Washington, D. C.

The Spring has less of brightness
Every year,
And the snow a ghastlier whiteness
Every year;
Nor do Summer flowers quicken,
Nor Autumn fruitage thicken,
As they once did, — for we sicken
Every year.

It is growing darker, colder,
Every year,
As the heart and soul grow older
Every year;
I care not now for dancing,
Nor for eyes with passion glancing,
Love is less and less entrancing,
Every year.

Of the loves and sorrows blended,
Every year,
Of the charms of friendship ended,
Every year,
Of the ties that still might bind me,
Until time of death resigned me,
My infirmities remind me
Every year.

Ah, how sad to look before us
Every year,
While the cloud looks darker o'er us
Every year!
When we see the blossoms faded,
That to bloom we might have aided,
And immortal garlands braided,
Every year.

To the past go more dead faces
Every year,
As the loved leave vacant places
Every year;
Everywhere the sad eyes meet us,
In the evening's dusk they greet us,
And to come to them entreat us,
Every year.

You are growing old, they tell us,
Every year;
You are more alone, they tell us,
Every year;
You can win no new affection,
You have only recollection,
Deeper sorrow and dejection,
Every year.

Yes, the shores of life are shifting
Every year;
And we are seaward drifting
Every year;
Old places changing fret us,
The living more regret us,
There are fewer to regret us,
Every year.

But the true life draweth nigher
Every year;
And its Morning Star climbs higher
Every year;
Earth's hold on us grows slighter,
And the heavy burden lighter,
And the DAWN IMMORTAL. brighter,
Every year.


by George P. Morris, late of New York.

Man dieth and wasteth away,
And where is he? hark, from the skies
I hear a voice answer and say,
"The spirit of man never dies.
His body, which came from the earth,
Must mingle again with the sod;
His soul, which in Heaven had birth,
Returns to the bosom of God! "

The sky will be burnt to a scroll,
The earth, wrapped in flames, will expire;
But, freed from all shackles, the soul
Will rise in the midst of the fire;
Then, Brothers, mourn not for the dead
Who rest from their labors, forgiven;
Learn this from your Bible instead,
"The grave is the gateway to Heaven!"

O, Lord God Almighty! to Thee
We turn as our solace above;
The waters may fail from the sea,
But not from thy fountains of love.

O teach us thy will to obey,
And sing with one heart and accord, —
"The Lord gave, He taketh away,
And blest be the name of the Lord!"


by Brother A. J. H. Duganne.


It is told, in a quaint old nursery tale,
That perchance you have often read,
How a castle lies hid in some charmed vale,
Remote from the usual tread;
And within an enchanted Princess lies,
Asleep in her silken bed;
Whilst round about, under slumberous charms,
Lie the forms of her lordly train —
And their squires, and archers, and yeomen-at-arms,
As valiant as ever drew rein;
But with helmets, and bucklers, and lances,
All clouded with mildew-stain.

All corroded and mildew'd with rust of time,
They are lying in court and hall;
Every young knight's beard bears a frosty rime —
Like the beard of the Seneschal
Who awaits, in his chair, at the postern gate,
The sound of a trumpet call;
While below, in the crypts of this castle strange
O'erbrooded by self-same spell,
There are shapes like friars, in cloister'd range,
Lying each at the door of his cell,
And awaiting, in motionless slumber,
The stroke of a summoning bell!

For whenever a Knight who is tried and true
Rides late o'er the haunted wold,
And peals a loud summons the trumpet through,
That hangs at the postern old,
Then, in all the crypts of this castle
A bell is solemnly toll'd

And the Princess arises, in royal gear,
From the couch of her charmed rest,
And her knights and her nobles take shield and spear,
At their beautiful lady's behest;
And they hie to the gate of the postern
To welcome their midnight guest!

Then afar through the cloisters and corridors
Sounds a monotone stroke of the bell;
And each friar steals forth, o'er the marble floors,
From the door of his darksome cell;
And he creepeth away to the postern gate —
His marvelous story to tell;
While the bell of the castle is ringing amain,
And the wondering guest comes in;
And the Seneschal leading his ghastly train
Away through the ghostly din;
Then the friars rehearse to the stranger knight
Their stories of sorrow and sin.

With a patter of prayers and a dropping of beads,
They recount, to the shuddering man,
How their souls waxed heavy with sinful deeds
In the days of their mortal span;
And how Heaven's avenging sentence
Their earthly years o'erran!
And the Princess reveals to the stranger knight
How she needs must slumber alway,
Till a Prince of the Temple, in valorous fight,
Shall a Saracen sorcerer slay
And the spell of his midnight magic
Disperse under morn's sweet ray!

But alas! for that guest of the haunted grange,
If no Templar Knight he be;
And woe, when he listeth that story strange,
If no memories pure hath he!
To the spell of the sorcerer's magic
He must bow his powerless knee;
He must sink into sleep, with the shape he sees,
And his buckler and helm will rust!
He must lie in the cloisters and crypts, with these
Who have risen, to greet him, from dust!
And await, with them, an awakening
By hero more pure and just!

Like that charmed castle, in haunted vale,
Is the wondrous Masonic Past!
Where the heroes and yeomen of History's tale
Are reclining in slumbers fast;
With the spell of an indolent seeming
Over all their memories cast!
But the Princess, who sleeps in her silken bed,
Is the spirit of ancient Truth;
Lying evermore shrouded with tatter and shred,
But for evermore fresh with youth —
And awaiting the pure-hearted Seeker
To come, with his valor and truth!

Like the knights and the nobles in slumber profound,
Are our riddles and fables of old;
In their rust and their dust they incumber the ground,
And abide in their garments of mold —
Keeping truth, like a charmed Princess,
Asleep in their ghostly hold.
'Mid the haunted cloisters of History's script,
In the House of the Past they dwell;
Like the souls of the friars, they hide in each crypt,
And emerge from each darksome cell —
At the blast of a summoning trumpet,
Their wonderful stories to tell!

In the volumed marvels of Grecian mind,
And the records of Roman lore,
There are riddles of wisdom for human kind,
To ponder a lifetime o'er;
And to all of their mystical meanings
Each heart is an open door!
Every human heart is a postern gate
To the house of the wondrous Past,
Where the heroes and sages of History wait
The sound of a trumpet blast,
That shall break the enchanted slumbers
For ages around them cast!

How the voices of song, out of Dorian aisles
With their Iliad and Odyssey swell!
How they roll'd from the shadows of Tuscan piles,
Where the Florentine chanted of Hell!
And how grandly, through Gothic chancels,
Of Paradise Lost they tell!

And the whispers of hearts, and responses of souls,
Flow around, like the west wind kind,
Then the song of the Singer of Avon rolls
Through the gates of our listening mind,
And the plaint of the pilgrim Harold
Sounds fitful and strange behind!

All the climes of the earth are as Holy Lands
To the feet of the children of Song;
Every realm hath its Mecca, where pilgrim bands
To some Kaaba of Poesy throng;
And the homes and the tombs of the poets
To the whole wide world belong.
In the paths of their minstrels the nations tread,
And the king on his bard awaits;
For Ulysses is dumb, and Achilles is dead,
Until Homer their soul creates;
And 'tis Tasso who frees Jerusalem,
Though Godfrey wins her gates.

Through the twilight of oaks and of mistletoe bowers,
The hymns of the Druids I hear;
And the Fairie Queene, through lab'rinths of flowers,
Lures me with her melodies clear,
From the echoes of "woodly Morven,"
To the murmurs of sweet Windermere;
And I hear the old Norsemen chanting their tunes,
Under arches of boreal fires,
And the Troubadours singing, through long, rich Junes,
To their soft Provenηal lyres;
And the bards of the Cambrian mountains,
O'ersweeping their 'wildered wires.

O! those voices of Song, how they ebb, how they flow!
How they swell, like the tides of the main!
Every age, every clime, hath its life-giving throe,
And its utterance of generous pain —
Till its master-thought leapeth, full armor'd,
From out some Jove-like brain!
O! the heroes and kings have no story to tell,
In the dust of their funeral urns;
But the songs of the poets immortally dwell
Wheresoever a true heart yearns —
In the halls of the royal David,
Or the cottage of Robert Burns!



But the house of the past hath its tongues of stone,
Yea, its voices of marble and brass —
From the sands of the desolate desert up-thrown,
And the mold of the wilderness grass!
Though the myth of their awful meanings
Too often we idly pass!
Where the Nile flows down by its pyramid tombs;
Where the ruins of Tadmor lie;
Where the Petran cities, from cavernous glooms,
Like sepulchers, startle the eye —
O! the voices of granite and marble
To our souls make audible cry!

Every crumbling plinth, every prostrate shaft,
Hath a murmur of moldering years;
From each column and cornice the low winds waft
A dirge to our listening ears;
And each frieze, from its sculptured tablet,
Seems weeping with stony tears;
Where the gardens of Belus o'er Babylon hung,
And where Nineveh's walls were raised;
Where the hundred portals of Thebes swung,
And old Tyre over ocean gazed;
And where high upon Mount Moriah,
King Solomon's Temple blazed!

Oh! that mountain of God, in the realms of my love,
Hath a marvelous glory and worth;
And the Temple that rose its high places above,
Covers more than Jerusalem's girth;
For its aisles are the highways of ages,
And its courts are the zones of earth.
O'er its mythical meanings and parabled sense
I have pondered, in childlike mind,
Until, back through the ages, with yearnings intense,
My unsatisfied heart hath inclined —
Longing still for the word of the Master
The Word that no mortal may find!

In the dreams and the visions of fervent desire,
I have mingled with Levite and Priest;
With the widow's son, Hiram, and Hiram of Tyre,
Sitting down at Meridian feast;
And beholding King Solomon's glory
Arising, like morn in the East!

With mine ancient brethren in Masonry's craft —
When my soul the lambskin wore
I have stood by the mystical corner shaft,
And knelt on the tesselate floor;
With the glorious roof of the Temple,
Like Heaven's roof, arching me o'er!

Under all the rude noises of battling thrones,
And of realms that jar and strive,
Flows the voice of our Master, whose tender tones
Overbrooded the Hebrew hive.
When he spake three thousand proverbs,
And his songs were a thousand and five;
When he sang of Mount Lebanon's cedar tree,
And of hyssop that springs from the wall;
Of the fowls of the air, of the fish of the sea,
And of things in the dust that crawl;
Till the words of his love and his wisdom
Enlighten'd and beautified all.

To the ruler of Sidon — the lord of the seas
Flies the word of Jerusalem's king,
Saying, "Bid thou thy servants that Lebanon's trees
To Judean borders they bring;
And between us shall peace be alway,
And blessings around us cling.
From his wars and his sorrows King David doth rest,
And he sleeps under Sion's sod;
But, with trembling and awe, at his high behest,
I abide in the paths he trod;
And I build on the Mount of Moriah
A house to the Lord my God! "

Then, from far-away forests of Lebanon come
Great floats unto Joppa's strand;
And from Tyre and Sidon arises a hum,
As of bees, overswarming the land;
And it swells through the Valley of Jordan,
In chorals of industry grand!
Under manifold halos of column and arch,
Through the soundless courts and aisles,
At the word of their Master the Craftsmen march
To their labors, in lengthening files;
While the Temple arises before them,
From portal to golden tiles!

From the echoless earth, through the motionless air,
How that beautiful fabric upgrows!
From the heart of the King, like a voiceless prayer,
How it mounts, in its fragrant repose
Bearing upward King Solomon's worship,
As incense ascends from the rose!
In their brass and their silver, their marble and gold,
All noiseless the Crafts have wrought,
Till, in grandeur of silence, their works unfold,
As with life everlasting fraught.

By the glow of the greater and lesser Light,
And the power of the Master's Word —
By the Plummet of Truth, and the level of Right,
And the Square that hath never err'd —
Through the work of a Master Mason,
King Solomon's prayer was heard.
At the fragrant morn, 'neath the golden moon,
And the eventide's hour of balm,
All the hearts of his Craftsmen were lifted in tune,
Like the mingling of harmonies calm
And the Temple arose on Moriah,
A mighty Masonic Psalm!

Oh! that Temple of God, from the house of the past,
Shineth down o'er the centuried years
And my heart, through the veil of its mysteries vast,
The voice of King Solomon hears,
Asking me, with the sign of a Master,
Why my spirit no Temple rears.
With the Three Great Lights ever shining above,
And the tools of the Craft at hand,
Why I build up no fabric of prayerful love,
With the arch of a lifetime spann'd;
And the wings of embracing cherubs
Overbrooding its yearnings grand.

Oh! the house of the Lord that our lives might raise,
How it gleams from our fair youth-time!
How its manifold arches and architraves blaze,
Through the wilderness-dust of our prime;
Yet our years, when they molder to ashes,
Behold us but wrecks sublime!

For the house that we build in a lifetime's length,
From the midst of our worldly din,
Hath no Jachin and Boaz, established in strength,
And no Holy of Holies within ;
And we bear up no Ark of the Covenant,
From out of our Desert of Zin

There's a mountain of God in each human heart
For that glorious Temple's base ;
And the lines of each loyal Mason's art
May its grand foundations trace ;
And within it, the wings of cherubs
May the Holy of Holies embrace !
Through the beautiful aisles of the charmed past,
How its wonderful harmonies swell !
When their meanings arise, at the Templar's blast,
From the mold of each darksome cell ;
And the soul of the true no longer
With the dust of the false shall dwell !

When the thoughts of our morning shall royally plan,
And the deeds of our day shall build ;
And the arch of perfection eternally span,
With the measure our Master hath will'd ;
And the depths of our Holy of Holies
With incense of prayer be filled !
When the pillars of strength in our porch shall abide,
With the lilies of beauty above ;
And the veil of the Presence, encompassing wide,
Overshadow the ark of our love ;
And the peace of the blessed Shekinah
Enfold, like the wings of a dove

Oh! the cedars of Lebanon grow at our door,
And the quarry is sunk at our gate;
And the ships out of Ophir, with golden ore
For our summoning mandate wait;
And the word of a Master Mason
May the house of our soul create!
While the day hath light, let the light be used,
For no man shall the night control!
"Or ever the silken cord be loosed,
Or broken the golden bowl,"
May we build King Solomon's Temple
In the true Masonic soul!



Written December, 1799, by Oliver Holdin, a celebrated musical composer of the day. He was the author of the immortal air, "Coronation."

What mortal strains invade our ears?
Whence those sad plaints, those copious tears?
This solemn silence, awful pause,
All, all bespeak some deep-felt cause;
A deep-felt cause! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

A nation's prayers his life to save,
To Heaven, in clouds of incense rose;
A nation's tears bedew his grave,
And angels guard his sweet repose.
The Patriot's dead! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

When Albion, proud, insulting foe, —
Aimed our best rights to overthrow,
His arm, outstretched in conquering might
Their veteran armies put to flight.
The Hero's dead! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

The peace obtained so long desired,
To Vernon's shade the Chief retired;
But faction's hateful feuds arose,
And broke the Farmer's hoped repose.
Our Friend is dead! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

His country's voice once more he hears,
And in its councils he appears.
The mighty charter of our land
Is sanctioned by our Moses' hand.
Our Chief is dead! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

With equal laws he rules the State,
Supports the weak, directs the great;
Then yields the helm, retires to rest,
By all his country loved and blest.
The Sage is dead! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

Again his ready sword he draws;
Unmoved he stands in freedom's cause;
Nor shrinks to hear the marshaled band,
Should hostile foes invade the land.
Our General's dead! a nation weeps!
In dust Columbia's Guardian sleeps.

Thy ways, O King of kings, are just,
Or when we live or turn to dust!
Then cease from man, look up on high,
Our only hope's above the sky.
We all must die and turn to dust;
Though man is mortal, God is just.



To stretch the liberal hand,
And pour the stream of gladness
O'er misery's withered strand,
To cheer the hearth of sadness, —
To dry the orphan's tear,
And soothe the heart nigh broken, —
To breathe in sorrow's ear
Kind words in kindness spoken, —
This is the Mason's part,
The Mason's bounden duty,
This rears the Mason's heart
In wisdom, strength and beauty.

To practice virtue's laws
With fervency and freedom,
And in her noble cause
Advance where'er she lead 'em,
To curb the headlong course
Of passion's fiery pinion,
And bend its stubborn force
To reason's mild dominion,
This is the Mason's part,
The Mason's bounden duty,
This rears the Mason's heart
In wisdom, strength and beauty.

To shield a brother's fame
From envy and detraction,
And prove that truth's our aim
In spirit, life and action, —
To trust in God, through all
The danger and temptation,
Which to his lot may fall,
In trial and probation,
This is the Mason's part,
The Mason's bounden duty,
This rears the Mason's heart
In wisdom, strength and beauty.


by Thomas Smith Webb.

Let there be light, th' Almighty spoke, —
Refulgent streams from chaos broke
T' illume the rising earth;
Well pleased the Great Jehovah stood, —
The Power Supreme pronounced it good,
And gave the planets birth.
In choral numbers, Masons, join,
To bless and praise this Light divine!

Parent of Light, accept our praise,
Who shed'st on us thy brightest rays,
The light that fills the mind!
By choice selected, lo! we stand,
By friendship joined, a social Band,
That love to aid mankind!
In choral numbers, Masons, join,
To bless and praise this Light divine!

The widow's tear, the orphan's cry,
All wants our ready hands supply,
As far as power is given;
The naked clothe, the prisoner free, —
These are thy works, sweet Charity,
Revealed to us from Heaven.
In choral numbers, Masons, join,
To bless and praise this Light divine.



by Hercules Ellis, a British poet of celebrity.

[Ellis was Irish, not British. Born 1810, noted lawyer as well as poet, edited Romances and Ballads of Ireland (London: Duffy 1850). Three of his poems are included in the Gutenberg file at He died sometime after 1870.]

[The Duke of Sussex was Prince Augustus Frederick (1773-1843), president of the Society of Arts (1816-1843), president of the Royal Society (1830-1838) and Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (1813-1843).]

Linger no voices in our island home
Which Sussex, by his virtues, long adorned,
To raise the grateful song above his tomb,
And praise our Prince so loved, so deeply mourned !

Ye Masons whom he led so long and well,
Ye sons of Science whom his goodness raised,
Widows and orphans fed by him, 0 tell
How shall your patron worthily be praised ?

His kindness, truth, his worth and wide-spread fame, —
0, words are vain, when hearts by grief are riven ;
But write upon your hearts his grief and name,
And let them shine as stars in memory's Heaven.

Ye loved him for the love that was his life,
The gentleness that round his glory grew,
And as he parted from the world's dark strife,
Fell o'er his spirit, soft as evening dew.


by Robert Burns, first Masonic Poet Laureate.

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

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

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

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

We also have copy of this poem in more modern English.


by J. Werge, of Glasgow, Scotland.

Of a' the seats within our ha'
I dearly lo'e the West;
For here the Brethren, great and sma',
At parting ha'e been blest;
And memory lends her ready aid
Recalling all the past;
The many times we've met, and prayed
It might not be the last.

Each time we're Brothers, Brothers a',
And every worthy guest,
For here we to the Level fa',
E'en Kings are like the rest;
They may be great in Church and State,
Or any other sphere;
The poor, the rich, the low, the great,
Are on a level here.

Assembled in our Sacred ha'
We're with our Order blest,
For by the great unerring law,
We're lowly in the West.

Before us we have Wisdom's light
And Beauty shining there,
Here Strength to keep the work aright
By acting on the Square.

This symbol tells us once and a'
Who with the light are blest,
How grand and mighty structures fa'
And mingle in the West.
When faith must be our password on
To the Celestial goal,
Where Kings and peasants stand as one
On the GRAND MASTER'S roll.


by Owen Meredith.

King Solomon stood in his crown of gold,
Between the pillars, before the altar,
In the House of the Lord. And the King was old
And his strength began to falter,
??? that he leaned upon his ebony staff,
Sealed with the seal of the Pentagraph.

knd the King stood still as a careen king,
The carvern cedar beams below,
in his purple robes, with his signet ring,
And his beard as white as snow;
And his face to the Oracle where the Hymn
Dies under the wings of the Cherubim.

And it came to pass as the King stood there,
And looked on the house he had built with pride,
That the hand of the Lord came unaware,
And touched him so that he died,
??? his purple robe, with his signet ring,
And the crown wherewith they had crowned him King.

And the stream of the folk that came and went,
To worship the Lord with prayer and praise,
Went softly over in wonderment,
For the King stood there always;
And it was solemn and strange to behold
The dead King crowned with a crown of gold.

For he leaned on his ebony staff upright,
And over his shoulders the purple robe,
And his hair and his beard were both snow-white,
And the fame of him filled the globe;
So that no one dare touch him, though he was dead,
He looked so royal about the head!

And the moons were changed and the year rolled on,
And the new King reigned in the old King's stead,
And men were married and buried anon,
But the King stood stark and dead;
Leaning upright on his ebony staff,
Preserved by the sign of the Pentagraph.

And the stream of life, as it went and came
Ever for worship and praise and prayer,
Was awed by the face and the fear and the fame
Of the dead King standing there;
For his hair was so white and his eves were so cold
That they left him alone with his crown of gold.

So King Solomon stood up, dead in the house
Of the Lord, held there by the Pentagraph,
Until out from the pillar there came an old mouse,
And gnawed through his ebony staff;
Then flat on his face the King fell down,
And they picked from the dust a golden crown!


Words by Charles Mackay; Music by Henry Russell.

Old Tubal Cain was a man of might,
In the days when earth was young;
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright,
The strokes of his hammer rung;
And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron, glowing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet rout,
As he fashioned the sword and spear.
And he sang, — "Hurrah for my handiwork!
Hurrah for the spear and sword!
Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and lord!"

To Tubal Cain came many a one,
As he wrought by his roaring fire,
And each one prayed for a strong steel blade,
As the crown of his own desire;
And he made them weapons, sharp and strong,
Till they shouted loud for glee,
And gave him gifts of pearl and gold
And spoils of the forest free.
And they sang, — "Hurrah for Tubal Cain,
Who hath given us strength anew!
Hurrah for the smith! hurrah for the fire!
And hurrah for the metal true!"

But a sudden change came o'er his head,
Ere the setting of the sun;
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain,
For the evil he had done;
He saw that men with rage and hate
Made war against their kind;
And the land was red with the blood they shed,
In their lust for carnage blind;
And he said, "Alas, that ever I made,
Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword, for the man whose joy
Is to slay his fellow man!"

And for many a day old Tubal Cain
Sat brooding o'er his woe,
And his hand forebore to smite the ore,
And his furnace smoldered low!
But he rose at last with a cheerful face,
And a bright, courageous eye,
And bared his strong, right arm for work,
While the quick flames mounted high;
And he sang, "Hurrah for my handiwork";
And the red sparks lit the air;
" Not alone for the blade. was the bright steel made,"
And he fashioned the first plowshare!

And men, taught wisdom from the past,
In friendship joined their hands,
Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,
And plowed the willing lands;
And they sang, — "Hurrah for Tubal Cain,
Our stanch, good friend is he!

And for the plowshare and the plow,
To him our praise shall be!
But while oppression lifts its head,
Or a tyrant would be lord
Though we may thank him for the plow
We'll not forget the sword!


by Hon. Charles Scott, late of Memphis, Tennessee.

Beneath a Royal Arch, I see
A Thrice Illustrious Deity;
And Faith, and Hope, and Charity
Whisper the Sacred Name to me.

Their mystic hands were raised on high, —
The white-robed multitude stood by;
In syllables I heard the Word,
Eternal Word, — Almighty God.

Masons should love their Master's name,
Jesus, the Spirit, God's the same,
The Holy Being, making three,
The Eternal One, — ah, can it be?

When raised, exalted, I shall hear
The Living Word I love so dear,
Beneath an arch of heavenly light
Where day ne'er sings a song of night;

The Word, — how good, how great, how free!
Accepted it shall ever be!
While Faith, and Hope, and Charity
Revere Thy name, O, Deity.


by Fay Hempstead, of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Sung at the Opening Services of Christ Church Chapel, Little Rock, Arkansas, Novemember 5, 1876.

O, Father, bless this sacred place,
Which for thy glory now we rear;
And may the riches of Thy grace
Be on Thy people gathered here!

Here would we seek the Church,
Thy bride, In this fair fane of bright array;
O, draw us, Saviour, near Thy side,
That we may see Thou art the way.

Incline our hearts to seek Thine aid,
And turn our thoughts to things above;
May numbers at this shrine be made
To feel the sweetness of Thy love!

So teach us, Lord, our faith to cast
Upon Thy Word which firmly stands,
That we may gain, when life is past,
A home with Thee, not made with hands.


by J. S. Reeves, M.D., of Niles, Michigan.

God said, "Let there be light," and there was Light!
Light for a world, — dark night was rolled away;
The sullen, solemn gloom was put to flight,
As burst upon the earth the light of day.
A holy stillness reigned, as o'er the earth
The silvery radiance spread its cheering beam;
Then angel voices to the shout gave birth:
"Light for the world!" for angels fit the theme.
And earth was bathed in glory, Eden bloomed,
The garden-home of man to whom 'twas given;
The Tempter came, man fell and, falling, doomed
His race to exile from his God and Heaven.

light for the world! O great and glorious day,
The Son of God came down, a world to save;
On Calvary the curse was washed away,
And many triumph over death, the grave:
Praise to the Almighty Architect, who willed
Form to the void profound, great First and Last!
Praise to our Master great, that He did build
The glorious structure of Creation vast
Praise for the Immortal Spirit breathed in man;
All kindreds, climes and tongues your voices raise;
But higher praises for the Gospel Plan,
Let all Creation join the work of praise!



by Thomas W. Davis, of Waverly, Massachusetts.

How shall we raise our dead?
Bring from their worldly store
Treasures unlimited,
To give them life once more?
With these the realms of death invade?
Perchance a ransom may be paid; —
Ah no! skin slips from flesh; ye know
We cannot raise the body so.

How shall we raise our dead?
Their dear ones join the cry;
Our tears with theirs are shed
In fruitless agony.
Shall love have power to vanquish death,
And summon back the fleeting breath?
Ah no! flesh cleaves from bone; ye know
We cannot raise the body so.

How shall we raise our dead?
0, God, relieve our pain!
Help in the hour of dread,
For mortal help is vain.
When dust returns to kindred dust,
In Judah's Lion fix the trust;
For by His strength, and only so,
Our dead eternal life shall know.


by Brother Joseph Covell, late of Jay Bridge, Maine.

Parent of all, Omnipotent,
In Heaven and earth below,
Through all Creation's bounds unspent,
Whose streams of goodness flow,

Teach me to know from whence I rose
And unto what designed;
No private aims let me propose,
Since linked with human kind.

But chief to hear fair virtue's voice
May all my thoughts incline;
'Tis Heaven's law, 'tis wisdom's choice,
'Tis Nature's call and Thine.

Me from our Sacred Order's cause,
Let nothing e'er divide;
Grandeur, nor gold, nor vain applause,
Nor friendship's false misguide.

Teach me to feel a Brother's grief,
To do in all that's best;
To suffering man to give relief,
And blessing, to be blest.


by John G. Saxe.

The Head is stately, calm and wise,
And bears a princely part,
While down below in secret lies
The warm, impulsive heart.
The lordly Head that sits above,
The Heart that beats below,
Their several office plainly prove,
Their true relations show.
The Head erect, serene and cool,
Endowed with reason's art,
Was set aloft to guide and rule
The throbbing, wayward Heart.
And from the Head as from the higher,
Comes all-directing thought,
And in the Heart's transforming fire,
All noble deeds are wrought.
Yet each is best, when both unite
To make the man complete;
What were the Heat without the Light?
The Light without the Heat?



by James G. Percival, a poet of rare powers.

To live beyond the grave, — to leave a name
That like a living sun shall hold its way
Undimmed through ages, — to be hailed hereafter
As first among the spirits who have gifted
Their land with fame, — to dwell amid the thoughts
Of all sublimer souls or deities,
As treasures in their shrines, — to lead the tongues
Of nations, and be uttered in the songs
And prayers of millions, — he who bears such hope
Fixed in his heart, and holds his lonely way,
Cheered by this only, and yet keeps himself
Unwavering in the many shocks that push
His purpose from its path, — he was not cast
In nature's common mold. Such hope itself Is greatness.


by Joseph Robbins, M.D., of Quincy, Illinois.

Sacred Asylum! here we meet
And tell our vows at Friendship's shrine;
Father! guide Thou our wandering feet,
And make the hearts before Thee Thine.

Beneath the bannered Cross we stand,
From worldly noise and strife apart,
And, trusting, grasp the offered hand,
That holds within its palm the heart.

From off our pilgrim sandals brush
The dust of busy, toiling day,
And here, in evening's quiet hush,
Bending before the Master, pray —

That in our hearts, without alloy,
May dwell the love that Christ hath shown,
Responsive to a Brother's joy
And making all his griefs our own.

With firm reliance on Thy name,
May we the path of duty tread
O'er frozen ways, or through the flame,
Whence Molay's martyr-spirit fled

And when at last, this mortal dust
Shall put on Immortality;
O, grant us then serenest trust
In Thine unending verity.


by Hon. John P. Brown, late Official Dragoman to the American Embassy, Constantinople.

Ah, yes, indeed, I'm the children's friend,
Though my limbs are weak and my pulses slow;
From their homes above this word they send, —
"How that old man loved us here below; "

When I hear the sound of their voice at play,
It seems to come from the far-off sky;
Its tones are not of life's rugged way,
And I think of my age with a gentler sigh.

A glimpse of Heaven I catch in their smile,
It frees my heart of all earthly cares;
I feel me away from this earth awhile,
And my breast is free from the load it bears.

In their merry eyes there are angel forms,
When they look in each other, so pure and bright;
In their small blue orbs are no sinful storms,
But they seem resplendent with Heaven's light.

How often I sit with my old eyes closed,
And am carried away, far away from this,
To that peaceful abode, where it is supposed
The children dwell in the kingdom of bliss.

Yes, then indeed, I'm the children's friend,
Though my limbs are weak and my pulses slow!
From their homes above this thought they send,
"How that old man loved us here below!"




Amid this life of change how glorious the thought
That one bright link survives the wreck,
By warring nations wrought;
This Mystic Tie doth proudly scorn
The touch of change and blight,
And, like the pinions of the morn,
Spreads o'er the world her light.

Six thousand years of winged flight,
Have chased the hopes of man away
Like withered leaves in tempest's might;
But this one fabric nobly braves
The tooth of time, the papal power,
The traitor's fang, the trick of knaves,
Sublime, immutable, unchanged its tower.

And each successive age has taught
How weak the venom of her foes;
In God's right arm her strength she sought,
Hope, Charity, and Holy Faith,
A garland woven for her brow;
Love's pure cement the fabric hath,
And crowned with youth's eternal glow.


by Lawrence M. Greenleaf.

The temple made of wood and stone may crumble and decay,
But there's a viewless Fabric which shall never fade away;
Age after age the Masons strive to consummate the Plan,
But still the work's unfinished which th' immortal Three began;
None but immortal eyes may view, complete in all its parts,
The Temple formed of Living Stones, — the structure made of hearts.

'Neath every form of government, in every age and clime;
Amid the world's convulsions and the ghastly wrecks of time, —
While empires rise in splendor, and are conquered and o'erthrown,
And cities crumble into dust, their very sites unknown, —
Beneath the sunny smiles of peace, the threatening frown of strife,
Freemasonry has stood unmoved, with age renewed her life.

She claims her votaries in all climes, for none are under ban
Who place implicit trust in God, and love their fellow man;
The heart that shares another's woe beats just as warm and true
Within the breast of Christian, Mohammedan or Jew;
She levels all distinctions from the highest to the least, —
The King must yield obedience to the Peasant in the East.

What honored names on history's page, o'er whose brave deeds we pore,
Have knelt before our sacred shrine and trod our checkered floor!
Kings, princes, statesmen, heroes, bards who square their actions true,
Between the Pillars of the Porch now pass in long review;
O, Brothers, what a glorious thought for us to dwell upon, —
The mystic tie that binds our hearts bound that of Washington!

Although our past achievements we with honest pride review,
As long as there's Rough Ashlars there is work for us to do;
We still must shape the Living Stones with instruments of love
For that eternal Mansion in the Paradise above;
Toil as we've toiled in ages past to carry out the plan,
'Tis this; — the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man!


by W. Sneling, London, England.

Lo, where yon structure rears its ample dome!
'Tis light's abode, 'tis Masonry's high home;
See where its walls, by love cemented, rise,
Till their bright turrets pierce the brighter skies:
From where the East pours forth the ruddy ray,
To where the West receives its fading ray;
From the mild South to where the gelid North
Marshals its storms and sends them hurtling forth.

In form symmetrical the pile extends,
Nor with earth's center or earth's concave ends.
Three pillars high their polished fabrics rear
And with united force the structure bear.
This Wisdom called, that Strength, that
Beauty named, Emblems of those whose hands the Temple framed;
Of work mosaic wrought with matchless skill, —
The pavement formed, designed the mind to fill
With truthful images of man's estate,
To curb proud scorn and suffering truth elate.

A blazing sun in liquid azure glows,
And o'er the starry roof its luster throws;
While all around bright hieroglyphics gleam
Like Heaven's jewels to a slumbering stream.
Between the pavement and the starry spheres,
Of many steps a rising way appears;
Pleasing the path to him by faith inspired,
By hope sustained, by charity attired.

But effort impotent and labor vain
To him who strives with carnal steps to gain;
From out the Temple, flashing with light's beams,
Three rivers gush, then mix their crystal streams;
Still as they roll, their limpid waves expand,
Bless every shore and gladden every land,
With the full tide of sweet fraternal love,
Relief and truth, all hallowed from above.


by R. H. Taylor.

My Brother of the Mystic Tie
Wherever you abide,
Or on Nevada's mountain high,
Or by the ocean tide,
Whate'er your station, rank or fame.
Where'er your native land,
Because you bear a Mason's name,
Here is a Mason's hand.

As you and I our journey take
Along life's rugged way,
No adverse fate our faith may shake,
Or turn our love away;
The bond between us, triple strong,
No power on earth may part; —
To you this tribute of a song,
Goes with a Mason's Heart.

While in the quarries of the Craft
We work with one accord,
A Mason's blessing let me waft
To all who keep the Word;

With charity to all mankind,
And faith in God above,
And these with gentle hope entwined
Accept a Mason's Love!


by Thomas Moore.

Fallen is thy throne, O, Israel!
Silence is o'er thy plains;
Thy dwellings all lie desolate,
Thy children weep in chains;
Where are the dews that fed thee
On Etham's barren shore?
That fire from Heaven which led thee
Now lights thy path no more.

Lord, Thou didst love Jerusalem!
Once she was all thy own;
Her love Thy fairest heritage,
Her power Thy glory's throne;
Till evil came and blighted
Thy long-loved olive tree,
And Salem's shrines were lighted
For other gods than Thee.

Then sunk the star of Solyma,
Then passed her glory's day,
Like heath that in the wilderness
The wild wind whirls away;
Silent and waste her bowers,
Where once the mighty trod,
And sunk those guilty towers
While Baal reigned as God.

“Go," said the Lord, "ye conquerors,
Steep in her blood your swords,
And raze to earth her battlements,
For they are not the Lord's!
Till Sion's mournful daughter
O'er kindred bones shall tread,
And Hinnom's vale of slaughter
Shall hide but half her dead!"



by S. M. Gilpins.

Come, Brothers, assemble, the pleasures to share,
Where we meet on the Level and part on the Square,
Where the watchword is love, and strife is unknown,
Save striving to honor the widow's lone son.

Where the poor and the rich unite on the Plumb,
Inviting and welcoming others to come;
Come, place on the altar a sprig that is green,
To mark the loved spot where a Brother has been.

If we meet in our place and live by the rule,
And walk by the lights which encircle the soul,
We'll all find a Lodge and a temple of rest,
Where the Grand Master rules o'er the loved and the blest.

Come, then, with the Trowel and spread the cement
Of Brotherly Love with the common intent,
Presenting the Chief of the Grand Lodge above
With richest of jewels all brightened with love.


Written in 1745, at Smyrna, by Alexander Drummond, British Consul at Aleppo, Syria.
"I cannot help congratulating myself upon the opportunity I enjoyed here, of making so many worthy Brethren at Smyrna, and of forming the only Lodge that is in the Levant."

For ages past a savage race
O'erspread the Asian plains,
All nature wore a gloomy face,
And pensive moved the swains;
But now Britannia's generous sons
A glorious Lodge have raised,
Near the famed banks where Meles runs,
And Homer's cattle grazed,

The briery wilds to groves are changed,
With orange trees around,
And fragrant lemons, fairly ranged,
O'ershade the blissful ground.

Approving Phoebus shines more bright,
The flowers appear more gay, —
New objects rise to cheer the sight
With each revolving day.

While safe within the sacred walls
Where heavenly friendship reigns,
The friendly Mason hears the calls
Of all the needy swains;
Their generous aid, with cheerful soul,
They grant to those who sue,
And while the wholesome precepts roll,
Their smiling joys pursue.


by Thomas Smith Webb.

Which is the greatest, the strength of wine, or of the king, or of woman?

How Strong Is Wine! it causeth all to err,
Who to calm temperance excess prefer;
Under its influence the mind's undone,
The poor man and the rich become as one;
Their thoughts are turned to jollity and mirth,
Sorrow and debt despise, and pride of birth;
The miserable man forgets his woes,
Neglects his kindred, mingles with his foes;
The virtuous heart a vicious course defends,
And draws its sword against its truest friends;
How strong is Wine, that forceth to these things!
Is it not greater than the power of Kings?

The Great Creator, when He formed our race,
To all His creatures each assigned a place,
And man ordained the master of the whole,
To rule and govern them without control.
But man himself by man must be restrained,
And Kings and Princes this great power attained;
Now those who rule all sublunary things
No earthly power controls, and such are Kings!

The strength of Wine is not to be denied,
It lightens poverty and humbles pride;
Neither is that of Kings, whate'er its source,
Which binds so many men by will and force;

But yet the frown of Woman far excels
The force of Wine and Kings; with magic spells
She captivates her votary by her charms,
And he's content to die within her arms.

Though Wine by strength should rule, by wisdom Kings,
Though Woman's beauty partial durance brings,
Yet all their power shall fail and fade like youth,
And wisdom, strength and beauty dwell with Truth.
For neither Beauty, mighty Kings, nor Wine,
Hath power and majesty, fair Truth, like thine.

Thy judgments just, thy precepts ever pure,
In all vicissitudes shall still endure;
Thy fruits are not the pleasures of an hour,
And ages yet unborn shall own thy power;
For neither Beauty, mighty Kings, nor Wine,
Hath power and majesty, fair Truth, like thine.

All else is evanescent, false and frail,
All else deceives, but thou shalt never fail ;
At thy approach hypocrisy shall flee,
For wisdom, strength and beauty dwell with thee;
Thou still shall blossom in immortal youth, —
Forever blessed be the God of Truth!
For neither Beauty, mighty Kings, nor Wine,
Hath power and majesty, fair Truth, like thine!


by Benjamin B. French, late of Washington, D. C., a pillar of Masonry in the last generation.

A signal from the outer gate
Has passed within the wall,
The Master from his Orient throne
Surveys the Brethren all ;
Each, duly clad, is in his place,
Where truth stands ever by. —
Falsehood would quail beneath the frown
Of the All-seeing Eye.

The Tyler stands with naked blade,
To guard the sacred door;
None but true men must ever tread
The tesselated floor.

There the great lesson, — how to live,
The greater, — how to die,
Are taught beneath the symbol grand,
The All-beholding Eye.

But joy and love and sympathy
Burn bright in every soul,
'Tis human bliss to worship God,
And seek Heaven's happy goal;
This bliss within the Lodge is found,
Beneath its azure sky,
Whence, ever watchful from above,
Looks God's All-seeing Eye.

The gavel falls, the Lodge is closed,
Each wends his several way,
But the great lesson he has learned
Within his heart shall stay;
And as he walks his worldly walk,
Whatever work he ply,
He ne'er forgets that o'er him still
Is God's All-seeing Eye.


by Brother Thaddeus Mason Harris, of Massachusetts, a Masonic writer of eminence.

Great Source of light and love,
To Thee our songs we raise!
Oh, in Thy temple, Lord, above,
Hear and accept our praise!

Shine on this festive day!
Succeed its hoped design;
And may our Charity display
A ray resembling Thine!

May this fraternal Band,
Now consecrated, blest,
In Union, all distinguished, stand,
In Purity be dressed!

May all the Sons of Peace
Their every grace improve,
Till discord through the nations cease,
And all the world be Love!




They're traced in lines on the Parthenon,
Inscribed by the subtle Greek;
And Roman legions have carved them on
Walls, roads and arch antique;
Long ere the Goth, with vandal hand,
Gave scope to his envy dark,
The Mason craft in many a land
Has graven its Mason mark.

The obelisk old and the pyramids,
Around which a mystery clings, —
The hieroglyphs on the coffin lids
Of weird Egyptian kings,
Syria, Carthage and Pompeii,
Buried and strewn and stark,
Have marble records that will not die,
Their primitive Mason mark.

Upon column and frieze and capital,
In the eye of the chaste volute,
On Scotia's curve, or an astrogal,
Or in triglyp's channel acute,
Cut somewhere on the entablature,
And oft, like a sudden spark,
Flashing a light on a date obscure,
Shines many a Mason mark.

These craftsmen old had a genial whim,
That nothing could e'er destroy,
With a love of their art that naught could dim,
They toiled with a chronic joy;
Nothing was too complex to essay,
In aught they clashed to embark;
They triumphed on many an Appian Way,
Where they'd left their Mason mark.

Crossing the Alps like Hannibal,
Or skirting the Pyranees,
On peak and plain, in crypt and cell,
On foot or on bandaged knees;

From Tiber to Danube, from Rhine to Seine,
They needed no "letters of marque ";
Their art was their passport in France and Spain,
And in Britain their Mason mark.

The monolith gray and Druid chair,
The pillars and towers of Gael,
In Ogham occult their age they bear,
That time can only reveal.
Live on, old monuments of the past,
Our beacons through ages dark!
In primal majesty still you'll last,
Endeared by each Mason mark.


by Captain Samuel Whiting, late of New York.

0, HOLY BIBLE, book of truth,
Full of rich love on every page,
"Our rule and guide of faith" in youth,
Our help and comforter in age!
Let thy clear beacon shine afar,
Dispelling all the gloom of night,
And prove a guiding Bethlehem Star
To all inquiring Sons of Light.

The SQUARE upon the Bible place,
To rule our actions day by day,
May we, while on life's eager race,
Ne'er from its line of duty stray,
Though Beauty's line may be the curve,
And angles seem, perchance, less fair,
From rectitude let no man swerve
Who ever parts upon the Square.

The COMPASS let us keep at hand,
To circumscribe our daily life;
If we within its limits stand
We shall escape all worldly strife.
These three GREAT LIGHTS our path will cheer,
And guide to Heavenly Mansions fair,
If "meeting on the Level" here,
At last "we part upon the Square!"



by Michael Hodge, Jr., late of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

When first Eternal justice bade
Life's varied ills untempered flow,
'Twas then Almighty Goodness said
"Go, Pity! cheer the realms of woe!
Go, mild Compassion! Go, Charity and Love!
Tell man there's mercy yet above."

Scarce fled from Heaven the high behest
That whelmed in light the smiling earth,
Ere wide creation, doubly blest,
Hailed Masonry's propitious birth;
With strains majestic ye Masons lift the skies!
Let grateful hallelujahs rise!

Hail, royal Art! in humble zeal
The Mason greets thy gladdening sway;
'Tis thine to teach his heart to feel,
'Tis thine to bid his hand obey;
'Twas Wisdom fashioned, 'twas Strength thy Teml
And beauty o'er the fabric blazed.

Sweet Charity, whose soothing art
Can bid all apathy adore,
Come, sweep the chords of every heart,
Primeval harmony restore.
Come, lovely Sister, come smooth life's rugged wa:
And lead our souls to realms of day!


by W. W. Fernie, of South Shields, England.

Have faith in one another,
When you meet in friendship's name;
For a true friend is a brother,
And his heart shall throb the same;
Though your paths in life may differ,
Since the hour when first ye met,
Have faith in one another,
Ye may need that friendship yet.

Have faith in one another
When ye whisper faith's fond vow;
It may not be always summer,
Nor always bright as now;
And when winter time comes o'er ye,
If some kindred heart ye share,
Have faith in one another,
And ye ne'er shall know despair.

Have faith in one another;
For should doubt alone incline,
It would make this world a desert,
And the sun would cease to shine;
We have all some transient sorrow
That o'ershadows us to-day,
Yet have faith in one another,
And it soon will pass away.

Have faith in one another,
And let honor be your guide,
Let the truth alone be spoken,
Whatever may betide;
The false may reign a season,
And we doubt not but it will,
But have faith in one another,
And the truth will triumph still.


by John Stuart Blackie.

Three blissful words I name to thee
Three words of potent charm,
From carking care thy heart to free,
Thy life to shield from harm.
Whoso these blissful words may know,
A bold, bright-fronted face shall show,
And, shod with peace, shall safely go
Through fire and wild alarm.

First, ere thy forward foot thou move,
And wield thine arm of might,
Lift up thy heart to God above
That all thy ways be right,

To the prime source of life and power
Let thy soul rise, even as a flower,
That skyward climbs in sunny hour,
And seeks the genial light.

Then gird thy loins to manly toil,
And in the toil have joy;
Greet hardships with a winning smile
And love the stern employ.
Thy glory this, — the harsh to tame
And by wise stroke and technic flame
In God-like labors fruitful name
Old Chaos to destroy.

Then mid thy workshop's dusty din,
Where Titan stream hath sway,
Croon to thyself a song within,
Or pour the lusty lay;
Even as a bird that cheerily sings
In narrow cage, nor frets its wings,
But with full-breasted joyance sings
Its soul unto the day.

For lofty things let others strive
With roll of vauntful drum;
Keep thou thy heart, a honeyed hive,
Like bee with busy hum.
Chase not the bliss with wistful eyes
That ever lures and ever flies,
But in the present joy be wise,
And let the future come!

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