The Freemasons: An Hudibrastick Poem

 

As published in The Daily Post of London, Friday, Feb. 15, 1723

 

 

Appendix

 

The

Free Masons

AN

Hudibrastick POEM

 

Illustrating the Whole History of

The Ancient Free Masons,

From the Building of the Tower of Babel

To this Time.

 

With their Laws, Ordinances, Signs, Marks,

Messages, &c. so long kept secret, Faith-

fully discover’d and made known.

 

And the MANNER of theie INSTALLATION

Particularly Describ’d

 

By a FREE MASON

 

All Secrets, ‘till they one are known

Are wonderful, all men must own,

But when found out, we cease to wonder,

‘Tis equal then to Fart and Thunder.

 

LONDON,

 

Printed for A. Moore, near St. Paul’s, 1723

 

(Price Sixpence)

 

 

 

To the Worshipful Mr. ************

One of the WARDENS of the Society of Free-Masons,

 

SIR,

 

Having had the Honour, not long since, when I was admitted ito the Society of Masons, of Kissing your Posteriors, (an Honour superior to Kissing the Pope’s Toe) I am fully determin’d to make you only the Deserving Patron of these my Labours.

 

The Following poem is Dedicated to You, as to one who, by Experience, can Vouch it to be True to a title, excepting only that small part of it which chiefly relates to the Toasting of Healths, at the Clubs of the Free Masons; which I must own is a little Fabulous; and that of the Brewer’s Fart, at the time of Installation, when the utmost Respect is paid to Mr. Breech, would likewise be thought, by all grave Persons, a little Romantick, if I did not appeal to you my Patron, in the most solemn manner, for its Truth and Confimation.

 

It must be confess’d you bore it, from you loose Brother, with Christian Patience. And from thence I may presage, if Examples are to be regarded, that in time you will be advanc’d to the Dignity of a Courtier; because an Eminent One, in several Reigns, had his first Rise, as Tradition tells us, from a Blast of the like Nature, from a Royal Fundament.

 

And I take it court Politicians and Free Masons are oftentimes ally’d, for it is possible the one may build Castles in the Air as well as the other; And whenever they enter upon Chimerical Projects, beyond their Accomplishing, they may be undoubtedly said to build such Castles; so  that it will not be a Wonderful Wonder of Wonders if you in time become a State-Politician, and arrive at Immortal Fame.

 

This, Sir, is all I have to say by way of Dedication, unless it be to assure you I expect no Present for the Honour I do you; for I am no mercenary Scribbler; and telling you as to the Oath I have taken, for keeping the Masonry Secrets, I have a Priest at hand (that was very serviceable during the late rebellion) who will give me the benefit of Absolution.

 

This will effectually east my tender Conscience from the Load it lies under, and I hope entitle me to Pardon and Forgiveness for all Free Masons.

 

I am, SIR, Your mot Devoted Humble Servant, the Dedicator.

 

ALL Kingdoms have their Masons-Free,

Which help to form Society;

By Signs ad Marks they’ll know each other,

In num’rous Crowds spy out a Brother;

They have their Laws, ad Orders good,

To Govern o’er the Brotherhood,

That ne’er have been, in Ages past

Divulg’d, ‘til now found out at last:

But here at length the Secret’s shown,

And faithfully to all made known.                 10

 

 

IF Hist’ry be no ancient Fable

Free Masons came from Tower of Babel;

When first that Fabrick was begun,

The Greatest underneath the Sun,

All Nations thither did repair,                         15

To build this Great Castle in th’ Air;

Some Thousand Hands were well employ’d,

To finish what was ne’er enjoy’d;

For as They built, it still gave way,

And made Word for succeeding Day;                        20

But after They some Years had spent

In Labour, with a good Intent,

Ad found that all their Lab’ring Pain,

Was still, alas! Besow’d in vain,

They then resolv’d no more to rome,              25

But to return to their own Home;

Tho’ first they Signs and Marks did frame,

To signify from whence they came;

That wheresoe’er the Men shou’d go,

They always might their Breth’ren know;      30

And this was well contriv’d, for want

Of Learning, for the Ignorant,

That without speaking ev’ry Tongue,

(As by an ancient Bard had sung)

All Masons might of ev’ry Land,                   35

Their Meaning ever understand

And that it shou’d a Secret be

Amongst themselves, they did agree

Their sev’ral Rules and Orders made,

Relating to the Mason Trade,

Ahou’d be observ’d as long as Time,             40

As Records write in Prose or Rhyme:

And by a soemn Oath enjoin’d

The only Tye upon the Mind.

 

BUR since, ‘tis found, the Mason-Free,         45

Which in our modern Times we see,

Workmen are of another kind,

To Sport they’re more Toil inclin’d,

They have no Trowels, nor yet Lines,

But still retain their Marks and Signs;            50

And Tools they’ve got which always fit,

A Lady, Dutchess, or a Cit,

To Build upon Foundation good,

Not made or Earth, but Flesh and Blood;

And they ne’er want the strongest Stuff,       55

As it appears when stript to Buff,

When they’re in Bed, all Females find

To Build the Fabrick of Mankind:

This still must be allow’d by all,

Who’ve Skill in Buildings that must fall,       60

That this same Workmanship exceeds

The Labour, Pains, and manly Deeds

So long since us’d by all goo dPeople,

On Babel’s Tower and Salisbury Steeple.

 

OUR modern Workmen naked stand,                        65

Their Clothes untruss’d by Female Hand,

And after they’ve a Flogging bore,

(But not by Jilt or common Whore)

When once they’re to their Building mov’d

The Members then are straight approv’d        70

By lusty Females, who’re best Judges’

Or working Tools for nature’s Drudge:

These ‘tis can try the Strength of Bone,

And all Material made of Stone;

And till they’ve view’d ‘em (O Vesation!)    75

The Mason’s in State of Probation;

And after he has stood the Test,

This goes for Truth, and is no Jest,

He’s mark’d upon the Buttock right,

With red-hot iron, out of sight,                       80

To shew that he dares when defy all,

And well can stand the fiery Trial:

By this the Mason’ always known,

Whene’er his Breeches are pull’d down.

Some likewise say our Masons now               85

Do Circumcision undergo,

For Masonry’s a Jewish Custom,

And by this means they all will thrust home:

But still their Privities are hidden,

Till they’re Examin’d (but not ridden)           90

And none but Females have the Power,

Their Breeches and their purse to lower.

 

 

WHEN thuse the Masons have been stript,

And well Approv’d, and Mark’d, andWhipt,

They strait are Rigg’d from Top to Toe,         95

And dress’d as fine as any Beau,

With Gloves and Apron made of Leather,

A Sword, Long-Wig, and Hat, and Feathr;

Like mighty Quixote then they swagger,

And manfully they draw the Dagger,             100

To prove that they’re all Men of Mettle,

Can Windmills fight, and Treaties settle;

TheLeather Apron is the Dres,

If one may be allow’d to guess,

Which represents the martial Buff,                 105

And every thing that Great and Rough:        

Now ‘tis the Mason is install’d,

And to the Book is friendly call’d’;

Where after he has sworn upn’

The Bible, that he’ll ne’er make known          110

The Secrets of the Masonry,                          

Or aught that shou’d still Secret be,

Then ‘tis the Brother last was made,

(This is no part of Mason’s Trade)

His Breeches low pulls down, and shows      115

His A-se, this all must here expose,

 

Which the New Mason close salutes,

For none here durst to hold Disputes;

And when he thus the Bum has slabber’d,

And put his Sword up in his Scabbard,          120

A learned Speech is then held forth

Upon the Breech, and the Mason’s Worth;

And he’s Install’d at last compleat,

And lead down to his Mason’s Seat.

 

HERE only ‘tis that we can see                      125

The A-se promotes Society;

And it is this alone does prove,

They live in Fellowship and Lvoe,

Whene’er tis Kiss’d, ‘tis understood,

It still promotes the Brotherhood;                  130

And if it haps, by Accident,

The lower End must needs have Vent,

He that can best a Brewer bear,

If it does not his Face Besmear,

Is still the most indulgent Mason,

Althou’ the A-se be note made Case on:        135

Then if a hole’s made fit in Leather

To t’other Hole, when put together,

When once the Mason does untruss,

Behind you’ll find the sweeter Buss;             140

For this will guid the Lips aright,

When Master Breech is not in sight.

This last has been contriv’d, ‘tis said,

To keep the Secrets of their Trade;

An certainly that man’s a Fool,                       145

Who’ll boast of kissing such a Hole.

 

THIS Fellowship has Lodges many,

Where when you’re strip’d it is they tan ye;

They study well, but ‘tis no matter,

The Secrets of their Mother Nature;               150

For if Philosphy they know,

It is Natures Charmes below,

And in this ev’ry one agrees

They know all Nature’s Privities;

Each lodge with Library is grac’d                  155

In which in Order neat are plac’d

Fam’d Aristotle’s Master-Piece,

Who was the Midwife of Old-Greece,

And all the modern Grannies down

To Ch-bl-n, D-gl-s, and B-n;                           160

Here Books are on the Shelves around,

And Rochester’s in Folio found;

The Play of Sodom likewise here

Does open on each Shelf appear;

For ev’re unlearn’d modern Student,             165

That whores and rakes, yet still is prudent’

There, on another Side, is seen

The Works of wanton luscious Behn;

And that they may be here compleat,

On t’other Shelf’s display’d a Set                  170

Of Impotency and Divorce,

Caus’d by debasing Nature’s Force;

Onania likewise has a Place,

And is by all caress’d, alas!

For rather than they’ll want Employ,

They’ll deal in every idle Toy,

They’ll practice o’er this Sin unclean,

Read Books on Curll’s the most obscene;

This is the Library of those,

Who’re now amongst Free Masons chose;     180

And these can ne’er of Knowledge fail,

Who pry in Secrets of the Tail.

 

WHENE’ER the club it, ‘tis to fiddle,

And try the Strength of each man’s Noddle;

No Charities can these Men boast,                 185

For who’ll be bounteous at’s own Cost;

They drink, carouse, like any Baccus

And swallow strongest Wines that rack us;

And then it is they lay Foundation

Of Masonry, to build a Nation.                      190

They various Healths strait put around,

To every airy Female sound;

 

But Sally Dear’s the Fav’rite Toast,

Whose Health it is they drink the most;

And tho’ she’s drunk, in Newgate, swearing,195                 

Which is no Building of their rearing,

And ev’re Turn-key has a Taste

Of what lies hid below her Waste,

And revels in the self-same Place,

Where lately did my L-d, his G-c;                  200

She common is to all the Town,

From airy Beau to meanest Clown:

Yet is ths Toast here drank by some,

As to the best in Christendom.

Next Berry, Darby, all the Train,                    205

Down to the Royal Sovereign,

Are put about by Masons all,

E’er they do for the Reck’ning call;

And none can love a Female more

That these, if She’s no dirty Whore.               210

 

THIS is the Converse when they shine,

And well are rais’d with potent wine;

And now the goodly Task remains,

To shew how ‘tish they’ve rack’d their Brains,

To find out Marks and speaking Signs,          215

Which each within his Breast confines.

 

WHEN once a Man his Arm forth stretches,

It Masons round some Distance fetches;

Altho’ one be on Paul’s Great Steeple,

He strait comes down amongst the People,    220

His Brother follows, far and wide,

If he a hundred Miles shou’d ride;

If he to antient York does haste,

The other must go on as fast,

Or if he should a Maggot take,                       225

To ship himself on Sea or Lake,

He still attends, nor hard it thinks,

Altho’ he with his Brothers sinks:

 

And this is Fellowship indeed,

Where they thus mutually proceed:                230

All Hazards run, without a Slip,

Risque Life and Limb in Partnership.

 

A MASON, holding up his Finger,

Shews he has got below a Swinger;

That he’s a Member of Old Drury,                 235

And dares attack with manful Fury;

This is a Mark of Mother Wyburn,

That Hanging means, but not at Tyburn,

And that the Mason is preparing,

To dring and whore, and not be sparing.        240

 

A WINK then signifies ‘tis Rising,

(Which is not to all Girls surpizing)

And that they quickly shall be ready,

If they’ve not drank what’s over heady,

For Lady or a Courtezan,                                245

To exercise and play the Man.

 

THE Nod doth make us understand

The great Enjoyment’s near at hand;

That they’re then full prepar’d to show,

And do all that a man can do:                                    250

With Female Fair they dare engage,

Encounter with a Godlike Rage.

 

A SHRUG is Mark foul Disgrace,

For when ‘tis given, this is the Case

Of Mason, that his Building fair

Is worn, and out of due Repair;                      255

But when ‘tis fall’n all is not vain,

For it at length will rise again.

 

IT is an ignominious thing

When e’er the Mason gives a Swing;              260

With Arm, downright, wide stretch’d and jogging,

This shews a Mason dull wants Flogging;

(And she that can Stroke draw Blood,

Is stil esteem’d a Flogger good;)

Our Masons ne’er will well be pleas’d            265

‘Till with Dame Birch their Bums are teaz’d,

And jirk’d, and whipp’d, with Rod and Scourges,

Which still the brawny Buttocks purges;

And then they feel the greatest Pleasure,

When the’re thus scourg’d beyond all measure:         270

For ev’ry Stroke of pleasing Pain,

That helps to empty Cupid’s Vein,

Is usher’d in with tickling Joy,

And Bliss that ne’er will Masons cloy.

 

THESE some are of the Marks and Signs,                 275

To which each Mason strong inclines;

And to these Signs I’ here to add,

What may be deem’d almost as bad,

Their messages, and Scraps of Paper,

Which are not seal’d with Wax or Wafer,                  280

Nor writ upon, and yet make known

The greatest Secrets of the Town.

 

A MASON, when he needs must drink,

Sends Letter, with Pen and Ink,

Unto some Brother, who’s at hand,                            285

And does the Message understand;

‘The Paper’s of the Shape that’s square,

Thrice folded with the nicest Care;

For it ‘tis round (which is ne’er it ought)

It will not then be worth a Groat,                               290

Have any Force or Meaning good,

By which it may be understood;

And in it there must never be

Least Writing which the Eye may see,

For it may prove as empty ever,                                  295

And are their Pates under the beaver,

Or is it not Purpose fit,

Or consonant with Mason’s wit,

Whene’er this Paper’s sent to Woman,

‘Tis then with Finger stamp’d uncommon,                 300

To shew it means, what is in Fashion

At Plays and Balls, an Assignation;

And he that can interpret these

Unwritten Scrolls and messages,

It is alone is welcome Guest,                                      305

And fit to be a Mason’s Feast.

 

BUT there’s another billet-deux,

Which it times past was much in Use,

It Paper was, all over writ on,

By Spaniard, Sweed, by Dane or Briton;                   310

In antient Language, and each Rover,

All Masons cou’d the Sense discover:

But as where Paper has no Writing,

So when ‘tis of these Men’s inditing,

None but their mighty selves cou’d read,                   315

Or myst’ries know of Mason’s Trade;

And Dashes, and no Scribbling, mean

The self same Thing as Paper clean,

To him who knows not one of t’other,

Is not install’d a Mason’s Brother.                             320

From hence they’ve been for Traitors taken,

But still have Masons sav’d their Bacon;

And tho’ in Queen Eliza’s Days,

A Reign that merited much Praise,

And since they’ve been, at times, suspected,             325

They never once have been detected:

As Plotters and Confederates,

Whose Heads are plac’d on Poles and Gates,

They were adjudg’d, in Ages past,

Which has an Odium on them cast;                            330

Yet they are very harmless Creatures,

Have nothing plotting in their natures,

But what’s against Hoop-Petticoats;

For they’ve more Wit than risk their Throats,

Their valuable Lives expose,                                       335

Or hazard e’re their Ears and Nose;

Tho’ he’s not worth a single Farthing,

Who’ll not endure a strong Bombarding.

 

THUS now my Muse has faithful shown

The History of Masons down,                                                340

Their Secrets set in truest Light,

And Penance, to the Reader’s Sight.

But here I must, at last, confess,

This is not with all Men the Case;

For we have L-ds, and D-s, and such,                                    345

Who do not undergo as much;

Who’re free, we’ll say (without a Sneering)

From Scourging, and from Buttocks Searing;

Nor must they make a Rout or Pother,

Kiss lower End of any Brother,                                  350

Or Health’s Toast to the famous Sally,

Or Drabs that dwell in Street or Alley;

Nor do they study Onan’s Crime,

Yet some of these begin betime;

Or Impotency, or Divorce,                                          355

Altho’ some call all Females curse;

‘Tis only vulgar, common masons,

(that build no Churches, Walls, nor Bastions)

Who feel the Whipping and the Marking,

Are treated with such Strokes and Jirking;                 360

And he’s not e’er a Mason good,

Who’s sparing of his Breech’s Blood;

Or who can’t well a Whipping bear

By Hands of lusty Female Fair;

Or that will shrug, unmanly start                                365

At Rods, or Friendly Brewer’s Fart.

 

FINIS

 

 

 

 

         

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