Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ABR - Masonic Music

Recently we received a pile of Masonic songbooks, which may be of historical value, so I take the liberty of quoting from it here.

The full title page of the first item reads as follows: "Respectfull dedicated to The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of the Province of North Wales, Bro. Colonel Henry Platt, C.B. (P.J.B. Deacon Eng.) / A Masonic Musical Service Book for the Three Degrees of Craft Freemasonry / Being a selection of appropriate Psalms (newly appointed); Hymns; Kyries, etc.; with settings of teh E.A.'s song; the Masonic Honours ("Prosper the Art"; "Worthy Mason He"); and New setting of Burns's song of "Farewell to Tarbolton Lodge" by Bro. E FARNALL, P.M. 2375, P.P.G.O With new Chants and Hymn Tunes expecially composed for this work / The whole compiled and edited for the Service at the Lodge of St. Trilo, 2569, Colwyn Bay. by Bro T J Linekar ORGANIST (1907-10) Copyright by William Reeves, MCMXI / ondon: William Reeves / 83 Charing Cross Road, W.C.2 / Second Edition Revised."

Oddly the Contents page has been both typed and handwritten. It begins with "Duly open for the purposes of F.M. first degree", opening hymns by Cautlett and Linekar himself and on the following page is a "Closing Hymn". Then begins a section on some "Ceremony of Initiation", with a refrain to be sung if the candidate is a "Fit and proper person to be made a Mason." The candidate is instructed to "advance to due form" to music by Turle, and to Kramer is written the instruction "You will S... it with........ on the V.S.L." After music by Mendelssohn, TJL and P Humphries, candidates are told "I delegate you to ......Badge of a Mason". There is a song of readmission, possibly after some form of excommunication and an "Entered Apprentice's Song", which is worth quoting in full:

"Come let us prepare We brother that are,
Here met on this merry occasion.
We'll quaff and we'll sing, Be he peasant of King
Here's a health to an accepted Mason.

"The world tries in vain Our secrets to gain,
And still let them wonder and guess on;
They ne'er can divine A word or a sign
Of a Free and Accepted Mason.

"'Tis the and 'tis that They cannot tell what,
Why the great men of every Nation,
Should put aprons on, And make themselves one
With a Free and an Accepted Mason.

"Great Kings, Dukes, and Lords Have laid by their swords,
Our Myst'ries to put a good grace on;
And have not been ashamed To hear themselves named
As a Free and an Accepted Mason.

"Antiquity's pride We have on our side,
As we keep up our old reputation:
There's nought but what's good To be understood
By a Free and an Accepted Mason.

"We're true and sincere, We're just to the Fair;
They'll trust us on any occasion;
No more mortal can more The Ladies adore
Than a Free and an Accepted Mason.

(All rise and join hands.)
"The join in hand in hand, To each other firm stand
Let's be merry and put a bright face on:
No Order can boast So noble a toast
As a Free and an Accepted Mason.

"No Order can boast So noble a toast
As a Free and an Accepted Mason."

The emphasis on accpetance, or popularity, is one of the anachrnonistic features of the song that perhaps rings a little discordant in twenty-first century ears. Also, am I correct in thinking that to quaff is to sup a drink?