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Ashlar Home > Poems > Rob Morris

The Poetic Works of Rob Morris

Mind of God

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

The Model Mason

There's a fine old Mason in the land, he's genial, wise and true,
His list of brothers comprehends, dear brothers, me and you
So warm his heart the snow blast fails to chill his generous blood,
And his hand is like a giant's when outstretched to man or GOD
Reproach nor blame, nor any shame, has checked his course or dimmed his fame
All honor to his name!
This fine old Mason is but one of a large family:
In every lodge you'll find his kin, you'll find them two or three
You'll know them when you see them, for they have their father's face,
A generous knack of speaking truth and doing good always
Reproach nor blame, nor any shame, has checked their course or dimmed their fame -
Freemason is their name!
Ah, many an orphan smiles upon the kindred as they pass
And many a widow's prayers confess the sympathizing grace
The FATHER of this Brotherhood himself is joyed to see
Their works -they're numbered all in Heaven, those deeds of charity!
Reproach nor blame, nor any shame, there check their course or dim their fame -
All honor to their name!

Masonic Training

Oh, Ladies, when you bend above
The cradled offspring of your love,
And bless the child whom you would see
A man of truth and constancy,––-
Believe there is in Mason′s lore,
A fund of wisdom, beauty, power,
Enriching every soul of man
Who comprehends the mystic plan.

Then train your boy in Mason′s truth
Lay deep the cornerstone in youth
Teach him to walk by virtue′s line,
To square his acts by Square Divine
The cement of true love to spread,
And paths of Scripture truth to tread
Then will the youth to manhood grow
To honor us and honor you.

The Level and the Square

We meet upon the level and we part upon the square
These words have precious meaning and are practiced everywhere

Come let us contemplate them, they are worthy of a thought
From the ancient times of Masonry these symbols have been taught

We meet upon the level, every country, sect and creed
The rich man from his mansion, the poor man from the field

For wealth is not considered within our outer door
And we all meet on the level upon the checkered floor.

We act upon the Plumb the Junior Warden states
We walk upright throughout our lives, we seek the pearly gates

The All–seeing Eye that reads our hearts doth bear us witness true
That we shall try to honor God and give each man his due

We part upon the square as all good Masons do
We mingle with the multitude a faithful band and true

So the brotherhood of Masonry from every corner come
To meet upon the level and act upon the plumb.

There′s a world where all are equal we′re coming to it fast
We shall meet upon the level there when the days on earth are past

We shall stand before the altar and our Master will be there
To try the blocks we offer with his own unerring square

We shall meet upon the level there but never thence depart
There′s a Mansion … ′tis all ready for each trusting, faithful heart

There′s a Mansion and a welcome and a multitude is there
Who have met upon the level and been tried upon the square.

Let us meet upon the level then while these earthly ties we share
And just hope we′re there to answer when the roll is called up there

As we travel through our lifespan time aids us prepare
To gather up our working tools and part upon the square

So remember all our teachings, that bright fraternal chain
We part upon the square below to meet in heaven again

These words have precious meaning and are practiced everywhere
We meet upon the level and we part upon the square.

The Beacon Light

A city set upon a hill
Cannot be hid
Exposed to every eye, it will
Over surrounding plain and vale,
An influence shed,
And spread the light of peace afar,
Or blight the land with horrid war.

Each Mason's Lodge is planted so
For high display
Each is a BEACON LIGHT, to show
Life's weary wanderers as they go,
The better way
To show by ties of earthly love,
How perfect is the Lodge above!

Be this your willing task, dear friends,
While laboring here
Borrow from Him who kindly lends
The heavenly ladder that ascends
The higher sphere
And let the world your progress see,

The Emblems of the Craft

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

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

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

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

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

The Mason's Pledge

Brother, hearken, while I tell you
What we Masons pledged to do
When, prepared at yonder altar,
We assumed the Mason's vow!
Foot and knee, breast, hand and cheek
Hearken while I make them speak!

Foot to foot, on mercy's errand,
When we hear a brother's cry,
Hungry, thirsty, barefoot, naked,
With God's mercy let us fly.
This of all our thoughts the chief,
How to give him quick relief.

Knee to knee, in earnest praying,
None but God to hear or heed,
All our woes and sins confessing,
Let us for each other plead
By the spirit of our call,
Let us pray for brothers all.

Breast to breast, in sacred casket,
At life's center let us seal
Every truth to us entrusted,
Nor one holy thing reveal!
What a Mason vows to shield,
Let him die, but never yield.

Hand to back, a brother's falling,
Look, his burdens are too great.
Stretch the generous hand and hold him
Up before it is too late.
The right arm's a friendly prop,
Made to hold a brother up.

Cheek to cheek, in timely whisper
When the temper strives to win.
Urge the brother's bounden duty,
Show him the approaching sin.
Point to him the deadly snare,
Save him with a brother's care.

Wearing the Emblems

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lodge Welcome to Ladies

It is in our hearts, dear sisters,
While the Mason's chain is bright,
To give our warmest welcome
To the best beloved, tonight
To the wife, so fondly cherished,
To the daughter, sister, true,
To the faithful, tenderhearted
Shall I say the word? to you.

We acknowledge countless blessings
From the Bounteous Hand above
Our bond was first cemented
By Divine assent and love
We are grateful, truly grateful,
For all gifts He doth bestow,
But our warmest thanks are given
Shall I say the word? for you.

The woes of life are many,
Thronging dark on every side,
In tears, and sighs, and broken hearts,
And sorrows far and wide
The Mason's hand is generous,
But most freely we bestow,
When the appeal is made us
Shall I say the word? by you.

Our brotherhood is countless,
From the East unto the West
In every land, and clime, and tongue,
They range among the best
And every man a hundred miles
On frosty sod will go,
To give you help, or win a smile
Shall I say the word? from you.

Then hail! Adoptive Masonry,
That brings us here together
May manly arms 'round lovely forms
Protect from stormy weather
And when, adown the hill of life,
Our tottering feet shall go,
May our weary steps be comforted
Shall I say the word? by you.


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

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

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

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

The Square

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

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

By this, he said,
The Heaven of Heavens in perfect order fell,
When God took out the Master's implements
From His own chest, and built the universe!
By This the radiant Throne — by This the Courts
Of His own glory were constructed sure!
Earth and the stars were fashioned well by these,
The Gavel, Trowel, Level, Line and Rule
The Lodge Celestial by the Square alone!

This was the legend that the Arab told.
I partly do believe it, for I see
In this full angle and these perfect lines
What in no other working tool appears.
And noting that you choose this honored type
To give your Lodge a name, I charge you now,
Dear brethren, keep within it! Do your work,
Your praise, your counsels to the listening Craft,
And on your daily walk before the world,
Keep within the Square.
Read Commentary

Perfect Ashlars.

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

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

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

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

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

The Working Tools

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

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

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

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

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

The Apron

This fair and stainless thing I take
To be my badge for virtue's sake
Its ample strings that gird me round
My constant cable tow are found
And as securely they are tied
So may true faith with me abide
And as I face the sunny South
I pledge to God my Mason's truth,
That while on earth I do remain
My Apron shall not have a stain.

This fair and stainless thing I raise
In memory of Apprentice days,
When on the checkered pavement wide,
With gauge and gavel well supplied,
I keep my garments free from soil
Though laboring in a menial toil
And as I face the golden West
I call my Maker to attest
That while on earth I do remain
My Apron shall not have a stain.

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

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

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

Gavel Song

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

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

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

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

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

The Level

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

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

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

The Trowel

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

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

We build the House not made with hands
Our Master, from Celestial lands,
Points out the plan, the blocks, the place,
And bids us build in strength and grace:
From quarries' store we choose the rock,
We shape and smooth the perfect block,
And placing it upon the wall,
Humbly the Master's blessing call.

But there is yet a work undone, —
To fix the true and polished stone!
The Master's blessings will not fall
Upon a loose, disjointed wall
Exposed to ravages of time,
It cannot have the mark sublime
That age and honor did bestow
Upon the FANS on Sion's brow.

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

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

But there is yet a work undone, —
To fix the true and polished stone!
The Master's blessings will not fall
Upon a loose, disjointed wall
Exposed to ravages of time,
It cannot have the mark sublime
That age and honor did bestow
Upon the FANS on Sion's brow.

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

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

The Public Grand Honors

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

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

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

The Pillars of the Porch

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mason's Pledge

Men and brethren, hear me tell you
What we Masons vowed to do,
When, prepared at mythic altar,
We assumed the Masons' vow:
Hand and foot, knee, breast and back
Listen to the charge they make.
Men and brethren, God be with you
While you keep the charge they make
Hand to hand, in mystic meeting,
Thrills the Masons' cordial clasp,
Telling of a deathless greeting
Linked in this fraternal grasp:
While upon God's earth we stand
Truth and love go hand in hand.
Men and brethren, God is with you
While in loving grasp ye stand
Foot to foot, he stands before you
Upright in the plummet's line!
Share with him your manly vigor,
Be to him the power divine.
While he keeps the unerring law
Never let your foot withdraw.
Men and brethren, God be with you,
While ye keep the unerring law!
Knee to knee, in earnest worship,
None but God to hear and heed,
All our woes and sins confessing,
Let us for each other plead.
By the spirit of our call
Let us pray for Brothers all.
Men and brethren, God be with you,
While ye pray for Brothers all!
Breast to breast, in sacred casket,
At life's center let us seal
Every truth to us intrusted,
Nor one holy thing reveal.
What a Mason vows to shield
Die he may, but never yield.
Men and Brethren, God be with you,
While your mysteries you shield!
Hand to back, no base-born slander
Shall assail an absent friend
We from every foul aspersion
Will the honored name defend,
Warding from a Brother's heart
Slander's vile, envenomed dart.
Men and Brethren, God be with you,
Warding slander's venomed dart!

Let us, then, in earnest ponder
What we Masons vowed to do,
When prepared at mythic altar
We assumed the Mason's vow.
Hand and foot, knee, breast and back,
Heed the solemn charge they make.
Men and Brethren, God be with you,
While you heed the charge they make!
Read Commentary

The Sacred Cord, Thrice Wound

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

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

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

Strong Foundation

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

The Tessera

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

The Door of the Heart

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

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

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

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

Beautiful Stone of the Masonic Arch

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

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

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

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

The Checkered Pavement

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

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

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

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

The Corner Stone

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Grand Hailing Sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But hark, O joy! the voice, the voice of man!
Springing with heart elastic from his bed,
Life's strong desires in him revive again,
And hopes that seemed but now forever fled.

A gallant boat doth down the river come,
A hundred men upon its margin crowd
Surely among the many there are some
Who know the Mystic Sign, the Holy Word!

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

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

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

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

Aad in the silence of the winter night,
A voice from that poor skeleton is heard:
The heart of man is smitten with a blight,
There is no help but in the pitying God!

Letter G

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

That Name! I spoke it when I entered here,
And bowed the knee, as each Freemason must
From my heart's center with sincerity,
I said, In God, in God is all my trust!

That Name! I saw it o'er the Master's chair,
The Hieroglyphic bright, and, bending low,
Paid solemn homage at the emblem there,
That speaks of God, before whom all must bow!

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Perfect Brick

Come, ye that strongly build,
And deftly wield
The Level, Plumb and Square!
Ye whose hard, girding toil,
God's Corn and Wine and Oil
Were made to cheer!
Ye clothed in aprons white,
Whose uttermost delight,
All through life's toilsome week,
Is, from the quarry, to perfect a stone,
That the Chief O'erseer will own,
And bless from His exalted Throne,
Come, and I'll tell you of a Perfect Brick!
Fit for the inclosing Wall
Of Hiram's royal Hall
Fit for the Pavement that Queen Sheba trod
Fit for the Capstone high,
Or in the Depths to lie,
Hid from each prying eye,
In the Mount of God,
This Perfect Brick, whose shape delights the view,
Whose polish charms us, too,
Whose angles all are true,
By examination due,
This Mason fair and meek,
This son of Light and eke the son of Love,
Whose pattern is the Sun and Dove,
Rare are the virtues of our Perfect Brick!
See, on its six-fold face
This Perfect Brick displays the things of light!
Turn it about, about, and trace
The ancient symbols as they catch the sight!
The Trowel, — ah, it speaks of spreading peace,
Causing all wars and bickerings to cease!
The Compass, — ah, it serves to warm the soul,
To circumscribe the passions and control
The appetites within the due and honest bound!
The G, — can any view that mystic round,
Nor feel like bending reverent knee,
As if in presence of the Deity?
It is the Signet of a King,
Greater than Babylonian bard did sing!
The Square, — its trumpet tongue proclaims
Great virtue's power to Square the heart,
Upon the perfect angles of our Art!
The Broken Column, whose white marble gleams
Above the grave of Hiram and the Spray
Of everlasting Green that bade them seek
Where he lay buried and through countless years
Of sin and strife, and mortal agony,
Hath taught the sorrowing spirit to look up,
Amidst its tears, and fondly hope,
In Immortality to lose its cares,
These are the Emblems of our Perfect Brick!
At last life's powers fail
The Silver Cord is loosed, the Wheel
Of Life, and Golden Bowl are broken
The sunny days return no more
There comes through every avenue, the Token,
That Death is knocking at the Door!
The Grinders cease the Eyes grow dim
Gray Hairs are blossoming above
The Ear no more receives the happy hymn,
The Heart no more is kindled up with love
The ruffian Death his work completes, —
The Mourners go about the streets,
Our souls with Sympathy to move!
Beneath the green Sprigs we entomb
Him the delight of the Mason's Home!

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

Quarry, Hill and Temple

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

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

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

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

True Cornerstone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corn, Wine, Oil

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

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

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

Show them how Masons, Masons know,
The land of strangers journeying through
Show them how Masons love,
And let admiring spirits see
How reaches Masons' charity
From earth to Heaven above
Give them the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

Then will each Brother's tongue declare
How bounteous his wages are,
And Peace will reign within
Your walls with skillful hands will grow,
And coming generations know
Your Temple is Divine
Then give the meed of honest toil,
Wages of Corn, and Wine, and Oil.

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

The Hour Glass

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh Cedar Tree

Droops thy bough, Oh Cedar tree,
Like yon dear, yon aged form,
Droops thy bough in sympathy,
For the wreck of life's sad storm?
Sad, indeed, his weary age, —
Lonely, now, his princely home,
And the thoughts his soul engage,
Are of winter and the tomb!
'Twas for this, Oh Cedar tree,
Verdant midst the wintry strife,
'Twas for this he planted thee,
Type of an immortal life,
That when round his grave in tears
Brothers in their Art combine,
From the store thy foliage bears
Each may cast a portion in!
Lo! he comes, Oh Cedar tree,
Slowly o'er the frosted plain
Pauses here the signs to see,
Graven with a mystic pen
How does each some hope express!
Lighter gleams the wintry sky,
Lighter on his furrowed face
Smiling at the mystery!
Soon to rest, Oh Cedar tree,
Soon the veteran shall be borne,
There to sleep, and patiently
Wait the resurrection morn.
Thou shalt perish from the earth
He in sacred youth revive,
Glorious in a better birth,
Truths like these the emblems give.
Read Commentary

Ear of Corn

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

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

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

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

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

Foundation Stone

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

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

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

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

The Veterans' Gathering

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Setting a Memorial

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Green Sprig

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

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


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

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

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

The Master Cometh

When the Great Master comes to view his own,
Reclaim his Gavel, and resume his Throne
When through the Temple chambers rings the word
That Hiram and his willing Builders heard
What will he find? in all this Brotherhood,
Where thousands stand, where myriads have stood,
What will he find?

By many a grave, the acacia boughs beneath,
He will detect the tokens of our faith
The shining marble, and the humble stone,
Will the dead Mason's trust in triumph own.
The pointed Star, the Compass, Line and Square,
The acacia sprig will join in glory there
These will he find!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Words of the Builder King

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

Oh, bind the tie, Freemasons dear,
Where'er your feet may rove,
With gifts the empty hand to cheer,
The wounded heart with love!

Whatever lands your skill reward
With Level, Plumb and Square,
Oh, teach the Golden Rule of God,
And be Freemasons there.

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

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

The East

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

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

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

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

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

Lingering Notes

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

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

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

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

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

King Solomon's Farewell

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

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

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

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

Go build like this! strike off with skill,
Each superfluity
With critic eye
Each fault espy,
Be zealous, fervent, free.
By the perfect Square,
Your work prepare, —
Be zealous, fervent, free.

Go build like this! to a fitting place
Bring up the Ashlars true
On the Trestleboard
Of your Master's Lord,
The Grand Intention view
In each mystic line
Of the vast Design,
The Grand Intention view.

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

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

The Invisible Workmen

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

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

The Visit of King Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

Why this meeting, I invoke?
Then the Prince of Masons spoke,
I have broken, I have broken death's repose,
For the sun is burning dim,
and the world is but a glim,
And the race of man is loitering to its close.
Then a melancholy groan
Shook the friends of Solomon.

'Tis almost three thousand years
since I left in doubts and fears,
My great Brotherhood beneath Moriah's dome,
And I gave the working band,
as my very last command,
Not to alter nor to falter till I come
Now to judge them on my throne
I will sit, said Solomon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sowing of the Seed

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

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

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

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

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

The Three Knocks

The Day has come:

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


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

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

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

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


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

Death and the worm are vanquished, and the grave,
Stripped of its horrors, seemeth but a bed
Where tired ones come and sweet reposings have,
And rise and go when eastern skies are red.

The Master joins his Craftsmen, and they link
Their trusty hands in friendship's farewell chain
As deeming, while they stand upon the brink
Of Fate, that Brethren faithful should remain

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I heard one say, within the golden gate,
The happy, happy dead, forever blest,
Who died in Jesus, — for their works do wait,
And follow them to their eternal rest

I heard one say, Depart, ye accursed, far
From Love Divine, and Light, and Heaven, depart
The sick, the poor, the friendless prisoner,
Plead in my name, but vainly, to your heart —

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

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

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

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

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

Verdant, Fragrant, Enduring

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

The Wise Choice of Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hard Service, Good Wages

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

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

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

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

The Temple

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

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

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

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

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

The stones of the foundation
In the Holy Mountain lie,
Brought from the sacred quarries
By the hand of Deity
Each block the perfect angle
Fulfills and gratifies,
And rests upon the level
Acknowledged in the skies.

Each on its broadside graven
Displays some mighty name
'Tis daily called in Heaven
That roll of deathless fame
All ages, lands have yielded
Their honored names to prop —
A glorious substructure —
And bear our Temple up.

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

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

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

Hours of Praise

Morn, the morn, sweet morn is springing
In the East his sign appears
Dews, and songs, and fragrance flinging
Down the new robe nature wears.
Forth from slumber, forth and meet him!
Who so dead to love and light?
Forth, and as you stand to greet him,
Praise to HIm who giveth night.

Noon, the noon, high noon is glowing
In the South rich glories burn
Beams intense from Heaven are flowing
Mortal eye must droop and turn.
Forth and meet him! while the chorus
Of the groves is nowhere heard,
Kneel to Him who bendeth o'er us —
Praise with heart and willing word.

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

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

The Reddening in the East

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

The Self-examination

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Brought to Light

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

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

Not brought to light! when journeying round,
Within the range of every eye,
Whole and unspotted you were found,
Fit for the ranks of Masonry.

Not brought to light! when from that Book,
That written Law by us adored,
Your dazzled glance its flight betook,
To yonder type that speaks of God.

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

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

Oh, Pity, Lord

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

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

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

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

The Drunkard's Grave

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

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

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

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

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

Long years and hard he strove
Against the Siren cup
Wife, Children, Brotherhood combined
To bear him kindly up,
And cheer him midst that mighty woe
With which the unhappy drunkard has to do.

We plead by this and this
We urged his plighted word
We told him what a shameful tale
His story would afford
We gathered 'round him all our band
And warned and threatened with stern command.

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

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

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

The Veteran Master

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

The Spirit of Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old England soon will hear it not always will the cry
Of suffering Brothers meet her ear, and she pass coldly by
There's a chord in British hearts vibrates to every tale of wrong,
And she will send a welcome and a Brother's hand ere long.

Then joyful be this meeting, and many more like this,
As year by year shall circle round, and bring you added bliss
In quarry, hill, and temple, Peace, nor cruel word or thought
Disturb the perfect harmony the gracious God has wrought.

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

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

To the Secretary

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

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

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

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

The Pursuit of Franklin

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

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

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

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

Is there some chain of sympathy
Flung thus across the frozen seas?
Is there some strange, mysterious tie,
That joins these daring men? — there is!
This, honored, healthful, free from want,
Is bound to that in Covenant!

For though these twain have never met,
Nor pressed the hand, nor joined the heart,
In unison their spirits beat,
Brothers in the Masonic art
One, in the hour of joy and peace,
One, in the hour of deep distress.

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

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

Inscriptions for a Lodge Room

Erect before Thee,
A hand upon Thy Word,
We thus adore Thee,
And swear to serve Thee, Lord!
So mote it be — each murmuring word
Speaks the soul's earnest, deep accord,
And echoes, from its inmost sea,
A deep Amen, So Mote It Be!
Ye faithful, weave the chain!
Join hand in hand again!
The world is filled with violence and blood!
Hark to the battle cry!
Hark to the answering sigh!
Come weave the chain admired of man and God!

Go on Thy Bright Career

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

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

Prayer β€” Oral or Secret

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

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

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

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

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

The Death of the Grand Master

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now give me rest my years demand
A holiday, Companions dear!
My days are drawing to an end,
And I would for my end prepare.

Now give me rest but when you meet,
Brothers, in this beloved spot,
My name upon your lips repeat,
And never let it be forgot!

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

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

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

The Pyramid of Cheops

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

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

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

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

The Dying Request

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fragrance of a Good Deed

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

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

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

The Obedient Disciple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pleasant Memories

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

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

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

The Inheritance of Friendship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such was the dream that fired my brain
Last night as 'mid my loved ones lying,
It came again, again, again,
And traced itself in lines undying.

I dreamed we twain had joined the bands
Who live and love in other lands,
And from high seats beheld with joy
The step of each dear pilgrim boy.

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

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

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

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

The Narrow Boundary

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

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

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

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

Language of Freemasonry

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

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

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

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

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

The Veteran's Lament

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

There's Brother-love and Brother-aid,
Where'er the Craft is known
But none like that whose twinings made
The mighty chain that's gone
Ah, none like that which bound my soul
When first my eyes beheld the goal
Full fifty years ago.

There's emblems green to deck the bed
Of Masons where they rest,
But none like those we used to spread
Upon the Mason's breast,
When, yielding up to death, they fell,
Who'd battled with the monster well.
Full fifty years ago.

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

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


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

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

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

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

To the Doubting

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

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

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

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

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

The Prayer of Daniel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Welcome into Masonry

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

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

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

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

In the day when your sands are spent, Brother,
And the Craft shall your history tell,
They'll say, as their grief has vent, Brother,
He has done his labor well!

For you know we have Archives, Brother,
And a Column rent in twain,
And a Name that still greenly lives, Brother,
Though We dust hath its dust again!

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

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

The Decayed Lodge

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

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

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

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

Fredstole: The Seat of Peace

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

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

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


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

The Representative of Solomon

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

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

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

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


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

But when those men are Brothers, strongly bound
By bonds indissoluble, sweet and true, —
When gratitude springs out of sacred ground,
And prayers are mingled with the praises due
Ah then, toil is no burden, gifts no load!
We have full recompense for what's bestowed.

'Tis thus with you, my friend: the voice of all
Yields willing tribute to your high deserts
But from the Craft there comes a stronger call,
From that great Brotherhood whose chain begirts
The broad world round, the grateful wages come,
Whose price is Honor and whose favor Bloom.

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

Fellowcraft's Song

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Master of the Upright Heart

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

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

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

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

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

The Master of 'The Upright Heart'
Was Frankfort's noblest son
On many a field of high desert
His laurels had been won
Not laurels wet with human blood,
But those acceptable to God.

Smiles from the face of cold despair,
The widow's grateful song,
The orphan's praise, — the stranger's prayer,
These to his crown belong
Ah! many such, thank God there be
In our world-wide fraternity!

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

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

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

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

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

The Greatest of These

The Word of God, the rule of faith to Masons true and free,
Sublimely says, The greatest grace in man is Charity,
To feel the sympathetic glow for souls in sorrow driven
And lend relief, — 'tis this that brings the Mason nearest Heaven.
This broad-spread land, the Empire State, foremost in every art,
Hath lately shown in Charity the largest Mason heart
A Brother from a distant land came empty to their door,
And lo, the generous Brotherhood threw open wide their store.
All honor, praise, respect to them, the noblest in the land,
And honor their Grand Master, right worthy of command
And honor over all, to Him, the Sovereign King of Heaven,
Forever blest, who hearts to feel and hands to give, hath given.

Exhortation to Charity

'Tis but an hour — our life is but a span
No summer rose so frail as dying man
Did there no memory of our deeds survive,
Death were more welcome than the happiest life.
But the true heart shall live in mercy's deed
The Record stands where every eye can read —
Where countless myriads on the judgment morn
Shall see each charity our hands have done.
What wondrous mercy doth The Master give,
That the true Workman in his Work shall live!
What wondrous power the dark grave defies —
The Temple stands although the Builder dies!
Bear me in memory then, kind Friends and true,
As one who loved the Master's cause and you!
Join my poor name with yours in Mystic Chain,
Although we may not, cannot meet again!
And when the stroke of Death, long-pending, falls,
And I no more shall work on Temple walls,
Wreathe the Acacia green about my head
And give one memory to your faithful dead.

Hail to the Pen

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

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

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

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

A Hebrew Chant

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

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

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

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

That Vapor, Life

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

The Visitor's Welcome

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

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

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

Around me, though invisible, there stand
The forms of Franklin and of Washington,
Of Clinton, Hubbard, Clay, — O, 'tis a Band,
No man can number 'neath the circling sun.

Rank upon rank they throng me, though I am
Not worthy to unloose the latchet-string
Such honor glorifies the Stranger's name,
When made the subject of your welcoming.

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

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

Being Dead, Yet Living

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

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

Burns' Farewell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Have They Left Us?

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

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

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

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

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

The Duelist

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

The Strait and Narrow Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Old Tyler

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Land Specimens

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

Nunc Dimittis

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

Let me go, I crave my wages
Long I've suffered, long I've toiled
Never once through work days idle,
Never once my apron soiled
To the Chamber, where the Master
Waits with smiling to bestow
Corn, and Wine, and oil abundant,

Let me go, but you must tarry,
Till the sixth day's close has come
Heat and burden patient bear ye
While you're far away from home
But a little, for the summons
Waits alike for each of you —
Mine is sounding, spirits wait me,
Nunc dimittis, let me go!

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

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

The Celestial Record

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

A Response of Gratitude

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

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

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

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

The Teacher to His Pupils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timely Warning

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

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

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

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

Ask! Seek!! Knock!!!

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

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

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

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

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

The Last, Last Word, Fare Well.

The last, last word, — oh, let it tell
The inmost soul of love — Fare well!
Fare well in heart, in health, in store,
In going out, in coming in
And when to slumber you incline,
May man's respect and woman's smile
And childhood's prattle to beguile,
Be yours, be yours, for evermore!
By every impulse that can swell
A loving heart, fare well, fare well!

Fare well, — the lights grow dim the tear
Lingers and sparkles in the eye
So mote it be! I faintly hear
Winged on the breath of answering sigh.
It is the voice of sympathy,
It tells of a fraternal tie
Once, twice and thrice about us wound
When first on consecrated ground
We walked the dark, mysterious round.
By all the secrets it doth tell
Of Bonds and Links and Ties, fare well!

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

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

Earnestness of Covenanting

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

So Mote It Be

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

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

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

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

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

The Chamber of Imagery

Hail, workmen of the mystic labor, hail!
To-night let all things that have language speak,
Here in the image chamber of the Craft,
Where pure instruction beams on every hand
Above — the spangled Arch, whose diamond rays
Twinkle sweet welcome on our road to Heaven
Around — emblems of truth eternal, grand,
Quaint old imaginings of by-gone days
Before — oh, blest eternally of God,
Yon Book, whose secret is undying hope
Beneath — the earth, our mother, whence we sprung,
And in whose bosom we shall sleep at last
All these inspire and move the Poet's heart
To claim a welcome, Brothers, in your Band.

And let them speak those Pillars that look down
In brazen symbolisms on the scene
That golden G, that names the sacred Name
The Sheaf that marks His beauty and His love
The Gavel ringing in submissive ears
The Level, Plumb, and Square, on faithful breasts
The Gauge, wise monitor of fleeting time, —
Of time, whose sands no mortal may recall
The Trowel, with its soothing tale of peace
Each has its voice, and let it speak to-night.

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

The Three Salutes

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

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

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

White-aproned Brothers

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

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

Tell us, what do ye?

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

And what do you work with?

The Gauge and the Gavel,
The Plumb, Square, and Level,
And then as we travel,
The Trowel we hold —
Skillfully these,
At first we're inducted —
Obediently these,
In the way we're instructed.

Your timbers, what are they?

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

Your resting, when is it?

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

All-seeing Eye

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

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

Above the far meridian sun —
Below profoundest deeps,
Where dewy day his course begun,
Where scarlet marks his labor done —
The Eye that never sleeps.

No limit bounds th' Eternal Sight
No misty cloud o'ersweeps
The depths of hell give up their light —
Eternity itself is bright —
The Eye that never sleeps.

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

Tom Biggs' Bottom Dollar

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

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

The Olive Door

No more to grieve for pleasures gone,
For broken hopes no more,
We leave the outer world forlorn,
And close the Olive Door.

The Tree of Peace, whose holy leaf
The gentle Tyler bore
It ranked in Eden's bloom the chief,
And made the Olive Door.

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

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

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

A Mason's Pledge

Brother, let us often ponder
What we Masons pledged to do,
When, prepared at yonder's altar,
We assumed the Mason's vow
Foot and knee, breast, hand and cheek,
Let these oft our duties speak.
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© 2018 The Ashlar Company “Received yesterday! Beautiful ring. Who knew steel could do such a thing?” Brother Nate, Tecumseh, MI

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