Illustrations of Masonry

by

William Preston

Odes

Ode I

Hail to the Craft! at whose serene command

The gentle Arts in glad obedience stand:

Hail, sacred Masonry, of source divine,

Unerring sovereign of the unerring line:

Whose plumb of truth, with never failing sway,

Makes the join'd parts of symmetry obey:

whose magic stroke bids confusion cease,

And to the finished Orders gives a place:

Who rears vast structures from the womb of earth,

and gives imperial cities glorious birth.

To work of Art Her merit not confined,

She regulates morals, squares the mind;

Corrects with care the sallies of the soul,

And points the tide of passions where to roll;

On virtue's tablet marks Her moral rule,

And forms her Lodge an universal school;

Where Nature's mystic laws unfolded stand,

and Sense and Science joined go hand in hand.

O may Her social rules instructive spread,

Till Truth erect Her long neglected head!

Till thought deceitful night She dare her ray,

and beam full glorious in the blaze of day!

Till men by virtuous maxims learn to move,

Till all the peopled world Her laws approve,

and Adam's race are bound in brother's love,

 

Ode II

 [Written by a Member of the ALFRED Lodge at Oxford set to Music by Dr. Fisher, and performed at the Dedication of Freemason's HALL.]

STROPHE.

A I R.

WHAT solemn sounds on holy Sinai rung.

When heavenly lyres by angel fingers strung, 

Accorded to th' immortal lay, 

That hyrnn'd Creation's natal day

RECITATIVE, accompanied.

Trwas then the shouting sons of morn 

Bl,ess'd the great omnific word.; 

Abash'ld hoarse jarring atoms heard, 

Forgot their pealing strife, And softly crowded into life,

When Order, Law, and Harmony were born

CHORUS.

The mighty Master's pencil warm, 

Trac'd out the shadowy form, 

And bid each fair proportion grace, 

Smiling Nature's modest face.

AIR

Heaven's rarest gifts were seen to join 

To deck a finish'd form divine, 

And fill the Sovereign Artist's plan; 

The Alrnighty's image stampt the glowing frame

And sealed him with the noblest  name,

Archetype of beauty, Man.

ANTISTROPHE.

SEMI-CHORUS AND CHORUS.

Ye spirits pure, that roused the tuneful throng.

 And loosed to rapture each triumphant tongue

Again with quick instinctive fire,

Each harmonious lip inspire: 

Again bid every vocal throat

Dissolve in tender, votive strain.

AIR

Now while yonder white-rob'd train

Before the mystic shrine.

 In lowly, adoration join

Now sweep the living lyre and swell the melting note

RECITATIVE

Yet ere the holy rites begin,

The conscious shrine within

Bid your magic song impart.

AIR.

How within the wasted heart

Shook by passion's ruthless power,

Virtue, trimmed her faded flower

To opening buds of fairest fruit: 

How from majestic Nature's glowing face

She caught each animating grace,

And planted there the immortal root.

EPODE

RECITATIVE, accompanied,'

Daughter of gods, fair Virtue, if  to thee

And thy bright sister Universal Love,

Soul of all good, e'er flow'd the soothing  harmony 

Of pious gratulation; from above

To us, thy duteous votaries impart

Preference divine.

AIR.

The sons of antique Art, 

In high mysterious jubilee, 

With Paean loud, and solemn rite, 

Thy holy step invite, 

And court thy listening ear, 

To drink the cadence clear 

That swells the choral symphony.

CHORUS.

To thee, by foot profane untrod 

Their votive hands have rear'd the high abode.

RECITATIVE.

Here shall your impulse kind,

Inspire the tranced mind:

AIR'

And lips of Truth shall sweetly tell 

What heavenly deeds befit, 

The  soul by Wisdom's lesson smit;

What praise he claims, who nobly spurns,

Gay vanities of life, and tinsel joys. 

For which unpurged fancy burns.

CHORUS.

What pain he shuns, who dares be wise 

What glory wins, who dares excel! 

 

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