Table of Contents

Albert Pike
  1. The Mason's Holy House
  2. Anthem No. 1

  3. Some non-Masonic poems:
  4. Ode to the I.O.O.F.
  5. Dixie
  6. The Struggle For Freedom
  7. The Widowed Heart
  8. Ode to the Mocking-Bird
    Pike also has one non-Masonic poem in
    Morris' The Poetry of Freemasonry:
  9. 1884 The Spring Has Less Of Brightness

  10. A Biography of Albert Pike


The Mason's Holy House


We have a Holy House to build,
A Temple splendid and divine
To be with glorious memories filled;
Of Right and Truth to be the Shrine;
How shall we build it strong and fair
This Holy House of praise and prayer
Firm set and solid, grandly great?
How shall we all its rooms prepare
For use, for ornament, for State?

Our God hath given the wood and stone
And we must fashion them aright,
Like those who toiled on Lebanon,
Making the labor their delight;
This House, this palace, this God's Home,
This Temple with its lofty dome,
Must be in all proportions fit
That heavenly messengers may come
To lodge with those who tenant it.

Build squarely upon the stately walls
The two symbolic columns raise,
And let the lofty courts and halls
With all their golden glories blaze
There, in the Kadosh Kadoshim,
Between the broad-winged cherubim,
Where the Shekinah once abode
The heart shall raise its daily hymns
Of gratitude and love to God.

This may have been written as a memorial to the Civil War dead.

Anthem No. 1


Among the dead our Brothers sleep,
Their lives were rounded true and well;
And Love in bitter sorrow weeps
Above their dark and silent cell.

No pain, no anxious sleepless Fear
Invades their house; no mortal woes
Their narrow resting-place come near,
To trouble their serene repose.

Their names are graven on the stones
That friendship's tears will often wet;
But each true Brother's heart upon
That name is stamped more deeply yet.

As Hiram slept, the widow's son,
So do our Brothers take their rest;
Life's battle fought, Life's duties done,
Their faults forgot, their worth confessed.

So let them sleep that dreamless sleep,
Our sorrows clustering round each head;
Be comforted, ye loved, who weep!
They live with God; they are not dead.

Lyrics and Love Songs edited by Albert Pike's daughter, Lillian Pike Roome, 1916. p.232


Let us not forget that while we know Pike mainly for his work with the Scottish Rite, he was also involved in other areas of fraternalism, such as the International Order of Odd Fellows. The story in this poem may be based on his journeys on foot from St. Louis to New Mexico and back to Arkansas as a young man. I found it confusing until I realized that any references to the sea were metaphorical.
okl.

Ode

Sung at the celebration of the I.O.O.F.


The night cometh swiftly, the thick clouds are drifting
Around the dark mountains that rampart the plains;
The storm, its tumutuous surges uplifting,
Is calling its hosts to the foray again.

The surf, white with foam, round the sun madly dashes,
As waves dash against a lone ship near the shore;
The lightning at intervals gloomily flashes,
And over the plain moans the thunder's hoarse roar.

The night comes with darkness, the night comes with terror,
The storm with his armies rides fast by her side, —
Wo, wo, to the way-farer wand'ring in error,
To whom the glad sight of his home is denied!

Lo! weary and way-worn comes fainting a stranger,
Whose feet and their blood stain the pitiless ground; —
Where, where, shall we seek for a refuge from danger,
Where hide when the storm hurls its arrows around?

Lo! feeble with terror his weak footsteps falter
He thinks with despair of the pleasures of home,
He seemeth a victim, the desert an altar,
The far-flashing lightning his sentence of doom.

What is it that suddenly calms his emotions,
Gives strength to his feet that were ready to fail?
'Tis a tent gleams ahead, as far off on the ocean,
The foundering sailor descries a white sail.

Haste onward, lone brother the storm howleth o'er thee,
Loud roars the wild wind, fiercely beats the cold rain; —
'Tis an Odd Fellows' Camp that lies calmly before thee,
And none there for shelter and food ask in vain.

The Sentinel hails, his lone vigil that keepeth;
The stranger is welcomed, is sheltered and fed;
Without still the storm roars, but calmly he sleepeth,
While Love, Truth and Friendship encircle his bed.

Ho! wake thee up, Brother! the fresh day is dawning,
The storm that beset thee has fled far away; —
Eat, Brother, and drink! then set onward this morning!
Thy children shall greet thee while yet it is day.

And henceforth when humbly and tearfully kneeling,
Thy heart with devotion and gratitude warm,
Forget not the night when the thunder was pealing,
And the Odd Fellows' Camp shone a star through the storm.

Lyrics and Love Songs edited by Albert Pike's daughter, Lillian Pike Roome, 1916. pp.234-235


Patriotic poetry is fair game on this website, since patriotism is considered a Masonic virtue. And this was certainly a patriotic song at the time it was written, one of several versions by various writers that floated around, keeping the soldier's spirits up. The repeating lines are only included in the first verse, but should be echoed in the rest as well if you want to sing this.
okl.

Dixie

Southrons, hear your Country call you!
Up, lest worse than death befall you!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
Lo! all the beacon-fires are lighted,
Let all hearts be now united!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
Chorus:

Advance the flag of Dixie!
Hurrah! hurrah!
For Dixie's land we take our stand,
To live or die for Dixie!
To arms! To arms!
And conquer peace for Dixie!
To arms! To arms!
And conquer peace for Dixie!

Hear the Northern thunders mutter!
Northern flags in South winds flutter!
Send them back your fierce defiance!
Stamp upon the accursed alliance!

Fear no danger! Shun no labor!
Lift up rifle, pike, and sabre!
Shoulder pressing close to shoulder,
Let the odds make each heart bolder!

How the South's great heart rejoices
At your cannons' ringing voices!
For faith betrayed and pledges broken,
Wrongs inflicted, insults spoken.

Strong as lions, swift as eagles,
Back to their kennels hunt these beagles!
Cut the unequal bonds asunder!
Let them hence each other plunder!

Swear upon your Country's altar
Never to submit or falter,
Till the spoilers are defeated,
Till the Lord's work is completed.

Halt not till our Federation
Secures among earth's Powers its station!
Then at peace, and crowned with glory,
Hear your children tell the story!

If the loved ones weep in sadness,
Victory soon shall bring them gladness;
Exultant pride soon banish sorrow,
Smiles chase tears away to-morrow.

The Struggle For Freedom

The Ancient Wrong rules many a land, whose groans
Rise swarming to the stars by day and night,
Thronging with mournful clamour round the thrones
Where the Archangels sit in God's great light,
And, pitying, mourn to see that Wrong still reigns,
And tortured Nations writhe in galling chains.

From Hungary and France fierce cries go up
And beat against the portals of the skies;
Lashed Italy still drinks the bitter cup,
And Germany in abject stupor lies;
The knout on Poland's bloody shoulders rings,
And Time is all one jubilee of kings.

It will not be so always. Through the night
The suffering multitudes with joy descry
Beyond the ocean a great beacon-light,
Flashing its rays into their starless sky,
And teaching them to struggle and be free, —
The Light of Order, Law, and Liberty.

Take heart, ye bleeding Nations; and your chains
Shall shiver like thin glass. The dawn is near,
When Earth shall feel, through all her aged veins
The new blood pouring; and her drowsy ear
Hear Freedom's trumpet ringing in the sky,
Calling her braves to conquer or to die.

Arm and revolt, and let the hunted stags
Against the lordly lions stand at bay! —
Each pass, Thermoplæ, and all the crags,
Young Freedom's fortresses! — and soon the day
Shall come when Right shall rule, and round the thrones
that gird God's feet shall eddy no more groans.

It has been conjectured that this poem may have been an inspiration for E.A. Poe's "The Raven." Pike writes about Isadore as "wife", but actually his wife was named Mary Ann Hamilton, who would die in 1876. Isadore was his daughter, who drowned in the Arkansas River 7 July 1869.

The Widowed Heart


Thou art lost to me forever! — I have lost thee, Isadore!
Thy head will never rest upon my loyal bosom more;
Thy tender eyes will never more look fondly into mine,
Nor thine arms around me lovingly and trustingly entwine, —
Thou art lost to me forever, Isadore!

Thou art dead and gone, dear loving wife, thy heart is still and cold,
And mine, benumbed with wretchedness, is prematurely old:
Of our whole world of love and joy thou wast the only light, —
A star, whose setting left behind, ah me! how dark a night! —
Thou art lost to me forever, Isadore!

The vines and flowers we planted, Love, I tend with anxious care,
And yet they droop and fade away, as though they wanted air:
They cannot live without thine eyes to feed them with their light;
Since thy hands ceased to train them, Love, they cannot grow aright; —
Thou art lost to them forever, Isadore!

Our little ones inquire of me, where is their mother gone: —
What answer can I make to them, except with tears alone?
For if I say “To Heaven,” then the poor things wish to learn
How far it is, and where, and when their mother will return; —
Thou art lost to them forever, Isadore!

Our happy home has now become a lonely, silent place;
Like Heaven without its stars it is, without thy blessed face:
Our little ones are still and sad; — none love them now but I,
Except their mother’s spirit, which I feel is always nigh; —
Thou lovest us in Heaven, Isadore!

Their merry laugh is heard no more, they neither run nor play,
But wander round like little ghosts, the long, long summer-day:
The spider weaves his web across the windows at his will,
The flowers I gathered for thee last are on the mantel still; —
Thou art lost to me forever, Isadore!

Restless I pace our lonely rooms, I play our songs no more,
The garish sun shines flauntingly upon the unswept floor;
The mocking-bird still sits and sings, O melancholy strain!
For my heart is like an autumn cloud that overflows with rain;
Thou art lost to me forever, Isadore!

Alas! how changed is all, dear wife, from that sweet eve in spring,
When first my love for thee was told, and thou to me didst cling,
Thy sweet eyes radiant through their tears, pressing thy lips to mine,
In our old arbor, Dear, beneath the over-arching vine; —
Those lips are cold forever, Isadore!

The moonlight struggled through the leaves, and fell upon thy face,
So livingly upturning there, with pure and trustful gaze;
The southern breezes murmured through the dark cloud of thy hair,
As like a happy child thou didst in my arms nestle there; —
Death holds thee now forever, Isadore!

Thy love and faith so plighted then, with mingled smile and tear,
Was never broken, Darling, while we dwelt together here:
Nor bitter word, nor dark, cold look thou ever gavest me —
Loving and trusting always, as I loved and worshipped thee; —
Thou art lost to me forever, Isadore!

Thou wast my nurse in sickness, and my comforter in health,
So gentle and so constant, when our love was all our wealth:
Thy voice of music cheered me, Love, in each despondent hour,
As Heaven’s sweet honey-dew consoles the bruised and broken flower; —
Thou art lost to me forever, Isadore!

Thou art gone from me forever; — I have lost thee, Isadore!
And desolate and lonely I shall be forever more:
Our children hold me, Darling, or I to God should pray
To let me cast the burthen of this long, dark life away,
And see thy face in Heaven, Isadore!

Not in any way Masonic, this is an example of one of Pike's poems, with about as complex a rhyme scheme as any poem I've ever seen: a-b-a-a-b-c-b-c-d-d-c. And as if that's not bad enough, in stanza 3 of the 6, the b terms don't rhyme with each other.
okl.

Ode to the Mocking-Bird


Thou glorious mocker of the world! I hear
Thy many voices ringing through the glooms
Of these green solitudes; and all the clear,
Bright joyance of their song enthralls the ear,
And floods the heart. Over the spherëd tombs
Of vanished nations rolls thy music tide;
No light from History's starlit page illumes
The memory of these nations; they have died:
None care for them but thou; and thou mayst sing
O'er me perhaps, as now thy clear notes ring
Over their bones by whom thou once wast deified.

Glad scorner of all cities! Thou dost leave
The world's mad turmoil and incessant din,
Where none in other's honesty believe,
Where the old sigh, the young turn gray and grieve,
Where misery gnaws the maiden's heart within:
Thou fleest far into the dark green woods,
Where, with thy flood of music, thou canst win
Their heart to harmony, and where intrudes
No discord on thy melodies. O, where,
Among the sweet musicians of the air,
Is one so dear as thou to these odd solitudes?

Ha! what a burst was that! The Æolian strain
Goes floating through the tangled passages
Of the still woods, and now it comes again,
A multitudinous melody, - like a rain
Of glassy music under echoing trees,
Close by a ringing lake. It wraps the soul
With a bright harmony of happiness,
Even as a gem is wrapped when round it roll
Thin waves of crimson flame; till we become,
With the excess of perfect pleasure, dumb,
And pant like a swift runner clinging to the goal.

I cannot love the man who doth not love,
As men love light, the song of happy birds;
For the first visions that my boy heart wove
To fill its sleep with, were that I did rove
Through the fresh woods, what time the snowy herds
Of morning clouds shrunk from the advancing sun
Into the depths of Heaven's blue heart, as words
From the Poet's lips float gently, one by one,
And vanish in the human heart; and then
I reveled in such songs, and sorrowed when,
With noon-heat overwrought, the music-gush was done.

I would, sweet bird, that I might live with thee,
Amid the eloquent grandeur of these shades,
Alone with nature - but it may not be;
I have to struggle with the stormy sea
Of human life until existence fades
Into death's darkness. Thou wilt sing and soar
Through the thick woods and shadow-checkered glades,
While pain and sorrow cast no dimness o'er
The brilliance of thy heart; but I must wear,
As now, my garments of regret and care,
As penitents of old their galling sackcloth wore.

Yet why complain? What though fond hopes deferred
Have overshadowed Life's green paths with gloom?
Content's soft music is not all unheard;
There is a voice sweeter than shine, sweet bird,
To welcome me within my humble home:
There is an eye, with love's devotion bright,
The darkness of existence to illume.
Then why complain? When Death shall cast his blight
Over the spirit, my cold bones shall rest
Beneath these trees; and from thy swelling breast,
Over them pour thy song, like a rich flood of light.

Albert Pike (1809-1891)

(There are numerous biographies of Brother Pike, on paper and on the Net. The following has been compiled from several of them, with an emphasis on his literary history. okl.)

Pike was the oldest child of Benjamin Pike and Sarah Andrews Pike. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 29, 1809, and grew up in various towns in Massachusetts. He passed the Harvard entrance exam at 15, but was unable to afford tuition, In later life, he would be given an honorary Ph.D. from Harvard. For a few years, Pike taught school, while writing poetry and engaging in an extensive program of self-education in his spare time. His self-acquired knowledge of the classics was prodigious, and he acquired a working knowledge of Sanskrit, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French. In addition to a strong literary bent, he possessed unbounded energy and great determination. More than six feet tall and large of frame, Pike also presented an impressive physical appearance.

In 1831 he traveled west to Taos, New Mexico. It was November of the following year when he arrived in Santa Fe and was able to support himself by working as a clerk in a store and as a traveling merchant, before moving back east. Settling in Arkansas in 1833, he taught school and wrote a series of articles for the Little Rock, Arkansas Advocate under the pen name of "Casca." The articles were popular enough that he was asked to join the staff of the newspaper, and eventually owned it. While serving as editor of the Advocate, Pike wrote travel narratives, short stories, and verse of his recent adventures. These vivid memoirs, tales, and poems, which first appeared serially in the Advocate were published by Light and Horton of Boston in 1834 as "Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country." The narrative of his travels remains one of the most important descriptions of early New Mexico and far West Texas. Certainly Pike was New Mexico's first Anglo-American poet as well as its first short story-writer in English and was among the first to describe in print the Mexican borderlands. In 1837 he sold the newspaper and took up the practice of law until the Mexican War, where he served with a regiment of the Arkansas Volunteer Cavalry and was commissioned as a troop commander. He and his commander had several differences of opinion. This situation led finally to a duel between the two men. Although several shots were fired in the duel, nobody was injured.

After that war, Pike resumed his law practice in Arkansas and New Orleans. Albert Pike was not made a Mason until he was 41 years of age, being raised in 1850 in Western Star Lodge No. 2 in Little Rock. He received the Scottish Rite Degrees from the 4th to the 32d, inclusive, in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1853, and the 33rd Degree in 1857, becoming an Active Member of the Supreme Council in 1858. These were not his first fraternal experiences, as he was already a member of the Odd Fellows, and even served as their Grand Master of Arkansas in 1852.

With the outbreak of the Civil War. Pike was commissioned as a brigadier general, and was responsible for a Confederate brigade of Indian cavalry. Although initially victorious at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Pike's unit fell into disarray and was defeated later in a counterattack. Also, as in the previous war, Pike came into conflict with his superior officers. It was charged that his troops had scalped soldiers in the field, and he had mishanded money and material. The first charge was true, but beyond Pike's control; while the latter two were doubtful. Facing arrest, Pike escaped into the hills of Arkansas, sending his resignation from the Confederate Army. He was at length arrested on charges of insubordination and treason, but his resignation was accepted a few days later and he was released.

Pike faced the postwar years unable to earn the trust either of his former comrades or of the Union victors, and subsequently relocated to New York and later to Canada. At length however he was given a formal pardon by Andrew Johnson in 1865, and thereafter became an associate justice of the Arkansas supreme court, then editor of the Memphis Appeal while practicing law in Tennessee, and finally becoming editor of the Patriot newspaper in Washington, D.C.

Pike's reputation as a poet was considerable, and his contribution to Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine caused its editor to place him "in the highest order of his country's poets." His works include "Hymns to the Gods and Other Poems" (1872), "Gen. Albert Pike's Poems" (1900), and "Lyrics and Love Songs" (1916). Although his reputation as a poet has suffered over the years, his "Dixie" maintains a lusty vigor that makes it perhaps the best of the many versions of the famous Southern anthem.

Pike died in the Scottish Rite Temple in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 1891.