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. . . the Builders 

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The Masons Holy House

By Albert Pike

 

We have a holy house to build,

A Temple splendid and divine,

To be with glorious memories filled;

Of Right and Truth to be the shrinr.

How shall we build it strong and fair, -

This Holy House of Praise and Prayer,

Firm-set and solid, grandly,great?

How shall we in all its rooms prepare

For use, for ornament, for state?

 

Our God hath given the wood and the stone,

And we must fashion the aright,

Like those who toiled in Lebanon,

Making the labour their delight:

This House, this Palace, this God's Home,

This Temple with it's lofty dome,

Must be in all proportions fit,

That heavenly messengers may come

To lodge with those who tennant it.

 

Build squarly up the stately walls,

The two symbolic columns raise,

And let the lofty courts and halls

With their golden glories blaze.

There, in the Kadosh-Kadoshim,

Between the broad winged cherubim,

Where Shekinah once abode,

The heart shall raise it's daily hymn

Of gratitude and love to God.

 

A Riddle

by Bro. Friedrich von Schiller

There is a Mansion vast and fair,
That doth on unseen pillars rest;
No Wanderer leaves the portals there,
Yet each how brief a guest!
The craft by which that mansion rose,
No thought can picture to the soul;
Tis lighted by a Lamp which throws
Its stately shimmer through the whole.
As crystal clear, it rears aloof
The single gem which forms its roof,
And never have the eye surveyed
The Master who that Mansion made.

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My Ashlar

by Bro. George H. Free

O, Master Builder, here I bring
This ashlar as my offering-
This block entrusted to my care-
O, try it by thy faultless square.
Prove Thou the stone which I have brought,
Judge Thou the task my hands have wrought-
My hands unskilled! Ah, much I fear
Their work imperfect shall appear.

See, Master, here are corners rough
Which marred the stone, so stubborn, tough,
They long withstood my gavel's blow;
What toil they cost, Thou mayest know.
My zeal I own did often swoon
Ere from the ashlar they were hewn;
(Ah, vice and habit, conquered now,
With agony you wrung my brow.)

Crushed by the load of guilt I bear,
O, Master, look on my despair,
For where was drawn Thy fair design
My plan appears in many a line.
Hot tears, alas, cannot efface
The flaws which speak of my disgrace;
To late the mischief to undo,
My ashlar I submit to you.

O, Master, grant this boon to me;
Unworthy though my stone may be,
Cast it not utterly away,
But let it rest beside the way
Where its grave flaws may warning be
To him who follows after me.
If he thereby my faults may shun,
I'll feel some grain of worth I've won.

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The Building Code

by Bro. Montford C. Holley

Our ancient brethern used their tools
With confidence and skill;
Though centuries have passed away,
Their works are standing still;
With admiration and with awe,
Our hearts and souls they thrill.

They called in Wisdom to conceive
And execute the plan;
Then Strength to make the structure sure
When first the work began;
The Beauty to adorn and make
A monument to man;

So we, who build in later days,
Still use the self-same tools,
Still follow through the Master-Plan,
Still use the self-same rules,
Still work with diligence and skill,
As did the Ancient Schools;

Would use the Plumb for rectitude
As day by day goes by,
The Level to remind us all
That we must lowly be,
That right and true our work may prove
When we the Square apply;

No longer work with wood and stone,
But rather, with the mind
We would erect a dwelling-place
Wherein our souls may find
A quiet and a holy rest
At peace with all mankind;

And so, as we continually build
These buildings for the soul,
Would work with Wisdom and with Strength
Perchance to reach the goal;
Then crown our work with Beauty rare
To make the perfect whole.

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The Work Divine

by Bro. George H. Free

Conceited man, whose empty boast
Is that thy works shall live for aye,
Behold the ruin of the host
Who wrought like thee, but won decay!
Proud Babel's tower, vanished, quite;
The crumbling sphinx and pyramid
In vain attest their builder's might
For e'en their names from us are hid.

No marvel that those ruins stand,
Slow crumbling in decrepit shame;
The wonder is, though wisely planned,
How brief indeed their builder's fame.
How puny are the deeds of man,
When to creation's works compared;
How transitory is their span,
Their plan how weak, when time is bared.

Consider Him whose hand has hung
Those orbs on high, thy steps to lead,
His sparkling stardust broadcast flung,
Like a sower cast his seed;
Who set the bounds for ocean's tide,
Commanded mountains, Stand ye here,
Unrolled the boundless prairies wide,
And fixed the seasons of the year.

Vain creature, hang thy head in shame!
Behold the heaven's vaulted bowl;
There read thy great Creator's fame
Inscribed upon its blazing scroll.
The firmament displays His skill,
Through far-flung space his glories shine.
Ye proud bombastic lips be still
Behold the works of One divine!

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The Laying of the Cornerstone

by Bro. Russell J. McLauchlin

The symbol of a stalwart faith thou art,
Firm set and sure, for ages there to stand,
At once the token of a cunning hand,
And of the consecrated, faithful heart;
To those who follow us shalt thou impart
Some knowledge of the tasks this day fulfilled,
And of the men that wrought it, wise and skilled,
Their mem'ry shall their presence ever start;
O stone, thou art an altar, on thee rears
A Temple, standing wondrous in the sun,
A Lesson unto all the coming years
Of faithfulness to work today begun,
And on thee, raised in glory, there appears
All Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, joined in one.

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The Road of Masonry

by Bro. Douglas Malloch

Men built a road of Masonry
Across the hills and dales,
Unite the prairie and the sea,
The mountains and the vales.
They cross the chasm, bridge the stream,
They point to where the currents gleam,
And many men for many a day
Who seek the heights shall find the way.

Men build a road of Masonry,
But not for self they build:
With footsteps of humanity
The hearts of men are thrilled.
This music makes their labor sweet:
The endless tramp of other feet.
The thought that men shall travel thus
An easier road because of us.

We build the road of Masonry
With other men in mind;
We do not build for you and me,
We build for all mankind.
We build a road! remember, men,
Build not for Now, but build for Then,
And other men who walk the way
Shall find the road we build today.

Who builds the road of Masonry,
Though small or great his part,
However hard the task may be,
May toil with singing heart.
For it is something, after all,
When muscles tire and shadows fall,
To know that other men shall bless
The builder for his faithfulness.

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The Builder

by Bro. Herbert N. Farrar

I built my house on the Sands of Time,
A house that I built to stay;
But the tide came in- as the tide will come,
And it washed the sands away.
Then my house fell down, as a house will fall,
And hope went out with the tide,
But I built again, as a man will build,
If he be a man of pride.

Then came the storm with the fierce whirlwind,
And my house was wrecked again.
And I stood and looked at my labor lost,
And it all seemed so in vain.
But I built again in another place-
Where the storm and the tide came not,
And I felt safe in my new strong house-
But one thing I forgot.

It was the flames with their red-hot tongues,
That came in the still of the night,
And they ate it up- as the flames will eat,
Though I strove with all my might.
And again I looked at the house that was,
Then knew it was not to be,
For a well built house won't fall three times,
When built for eternity.

Now why should I build a house three times,
And why should it three times fall?
Were it better I build a house that falls
Than never to build at all?
Then came a thought from the Great Somewhere,
I had not followed the rules,
For a well built house won't fall three times,
When built with the Master's tools.

So I built again with the Master's tools,
The Level, the Plumb and the Square,
Each ashlar hewn from the Rock of Faith
Was polished and laid with care;
And the plans I used were the Plans of Life
And my house it faced the sun,
Now I dwell therein as a man should dwell,
When the Craftsman's work's well done.

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Our Temple

by Bro. Charles Clyde Hunt

When our Temple of earth has been finished
And our tools have been laid aside,
When the sound of the gavel is silenced,
And on earth we no longer reside,
We shall rise at the Word of the Master,
And remember the way that we grew,
As the Master of All Good Workmen
Shall put us to work anew.

And the faithful there shall be happy,
As they sit near the Golden East
When the gifted shall scorn not the dullard,
But aid both the great and the least.
We shall have real Masons to teach us,
Solomon, Hiram and Paul.
Whose lives have been squared by their service,
As they gave to us of their all.

We there will build a new Temple,
Reflecting the will of our God,
Its portals be easy to enter,
For love is its entering rod.
Then each brother shall work without ceasing
For the God whose dealings are square,
He will build the Temple of greatness
For the God who in all things is fair.

And only the Master shall praise us,
And only the Master shall blame,
And each for the love that is in him,
With never a thought of fame,
Shall build his part of the Temple,
With care for each detail,
That will raise a perfect structure,
A work that will never fail.

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King Solomon's Temple

by Bro. Charles Clyde Hunt

There's a Temple of God in tales of the past,
I see through the mists of historical years.
And my heart through the veil of its mysteries vast
Is filled with the vision of numberless spheres,
Revealing my failure to build temples to last
Through the age after age that before me appears.

With the stars of my God ever shining above,
And the tools of my calling at hand,
I will build me a temple of glorious love,
With the arch of my Masonry spanned.
And the spirit of God coming down from above
Will comfort my soul with His hand.

There's a mountain of God in each of our hearts
For that temple's enduring base.
And the work we may do by a Mason's arts
Will this solid foundation embrace.
And within it's a spirit that never departs
Nor will ever the temple disgrace.

Through the beautiful aisles of the glorious past
Will its wonderful harmonies swell,
When the dead shall rise at Gabriel's blast
From the grave's most darkening cell.
Then the lot of the true will no longer be cast
With the false he ought to repel.

"The cedars of Lebanon grow at our door,
The quarries are found at our gate,
The ships out of Ophir with golden ore,
For our summoning mandate wait."
Then let us get busy (day soon'll be o'er)
And the house of our soul we'll create.

While the light is still with us, the light should be used
For the night we cannot control.
Or ever the silver cord be loosed,
Or be broken the golden bowl.
May we build the Temple we never can lose
For the dwelling place of our soul.

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The Man With the Hoe

by Bro. Edwin Markham

God made man in His own image
In the image of God He made him. -- Genesis

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this--
More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed--
More filled with signs and portents for the soul--
More packed with danger to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rife of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quencht?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, Immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?

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