Ode to the Grand Khaibar
In freta dum fluvii current, dum montibus umbræ
Lustrabunt convexa, polus dum sidera pascet;
Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt.
Some say their Sires, the first made Man,
Far in Antiquity surmounted;
Before Creation they began,
And by the Julian Period counted.
Whole Nations most prodigious Lies
To set Mankind at Gaze agree on,
Make Years to Tens of Thousands rise,
Chinese, Ægyptian, and Chaldean.
Self rais’d from Earth Athenians sprung.
Like Grasshoppers when hot the Noon is :
And old Arcadians, Poets sung,
Were much more ancient than the Moon is.
But the Grand Khaibar scorns to vaunt
Such Parents strange, that never had ’em;
Content with what the World must grant.
And humbly pleas’d to come from Adam.
Arts there were none before the Fall,
Or tasting the forbidden Tree;
But all was happy, Nature all,
Yet then there was SOCIETY:
From whence such dear Delights arise,
Eden without it wanted Joys,
Till Eve compleated Paradise.
Wherever Buildings Masons found,
To praise their Art they pick’d Occasion;
Hence Cain was for the Craft renown’d,
And mighty Nimrod was a Mason.
Cain founded not his City fair,
Till mark’d for murthering of Abel
And Nimrod till a Tyrant, ne’er
Commenc’d the Architect of Babel.
They feign that Enoch’s Pillars stood,
(So skill’d the Builder was his Trade in)
Spight of the Waters of the Flood;
And was not this true Cosonading?
But Noah made an Ark, ’tis true.
Whose Ship a mighty Stress they place on,
As if they no Distinction knew
Betwixt a Shipwright and a Mason.
But the Grand Khaibar wise disdains
To idle Dreams or Shifts to flee,
Unmov’d, immortal it remains,
Firm founded on SOCIETY:
From whence such dear Delights arise,
Mankind on Earth by this enjoys
All that is left of Paradise.
To see the Roll of Masons good
So boasted of, must move your Laughter;
Cain was their Head before the Flood,
And Ham the first Grand Master after.
Hence rose the Pyramids so high,
Which cost so many Lives to frame ’em;
That all the Builders Names might die,
Th’Egyptians were forbid to name ’em.
But Nimrod first despotick king
In Verse once more is worthy noting,
From whom our modern Craftsmen spring,
Ev’n now the Grand Design promoting.
The Grand Design t’amuse Mankind
With unintelligible Gabble,
And speaking by dumb Signs their Mind,
The true and genuine Sons of Babel.
No Ham accurs’d, or Vagrant Cain,
In the Grand Khaibar can you see,
No Nimrod with Ambition vain
E’er tainted this SOCIETY:
SOCIETY, from whence arise
Endearing and substantial Joys,
Compleater but in Paradise.
Next Abraham living in a Tent
Taught Mason’s Art to each Descendant;
And Moses to the Desart went,
Or doubtless there had prov’d an End on’t:
The less of History they saw,
Their kind Invention flow’d the faster;
So Jews made Bricks without their Straw,
When Pharao was the true Grand Master.
Behold from Realm to Realm they fly,
All one to them, or Jew or Pagan;
The Tabernacle now they cry.
And by and by the House of Dagon.
Samson his Secret did declare,
The Craft he therefore was not skill’d in:
Tho’ I should think it Reason fair,
That he pull’d down instead of building.
Self-lov’d the Mason’s idle Skill
Invents the Praise it cannot find;
So Clouds their Prospect vary still.
Obsequious to the Viewer’s Mind:
Castles soon vanish built in Air,
But what the Building can impair,
That’s founded on a solid SQUARE?
Make Room for Masons there, make Room,
Sure for their Numbers you’ll admire ’em;
Full fourscore thousand of ’em come,
Sent by the Tyrian Monarch Hiram.
Who can so strong a Troop withstand,
Which muster’d with the People chosen,
Will altogether make a Band
Of eight or of nine hundred thousand ?
Yet Solomon this num’rous Crowd
In Masonry employ’d, and try’d all,
Some for a Temple to his GOD;
And some for Houses to his Idol.
One Concubine lost SAMSON’s Fame,
It therefore justly may be wondred
That SOLOMON should keep his name,
After his having of three hundred.
Their own Encomiums Masons prize,
Of Force content with them or none;
The wiser Khaibar seek to rise.
By other Praises not its own:
No solemn fooleries are there,
But friendly Love and Union fair,
They deal in all things onthe SQUARE.
Of Egypt, Syria, Rome, and Greece,
Of East, and West, and North there Need is,
The great PYTHAGORAS they press,
And EUCLID learn’d, and ARCHIMEDES;
VITRUVIUS, and AUGUSTUS too,
With all the Great in every Region:
To such a jolly Pagan Crew
Who can deny the Name of Legion?
Next to our Ancestors they go,
With seeming Praise, but real Scandals;
From Goths they Architecture know,
And draw Politeness from the Vandals.
If on their Words you take their Stuff,
They bow, and are your Servants humble,
But if you ask them for their Proof,
Then down their Gothick Buildings tumble.
For Crowds the Khaibar scorns to shine,
And yet in Numbers cannot yield,
No not, Pythagoras, to thine.
Thou Sage, in mystick Silence skill’d.
Grateful when taught the Secret rare,
And who thy Hecatomb would spare.
To find the Virtues of the SQUARE?
To the Welch Mountains next they fly,
Like Merlin sure by Magick Writing;
And Mason Lairds in Scotland spy,
As being skill’d the second Sight in: The Saxons,
Normans, Danes are nam’d,
And Athelstan’s and Edwin’s Charter;
And Jamy for his King Craft fam’d,
And Charles the Mason, and the Martyr.
Nor these alone of Royal Race,
In tedious miserable Ditty,
But other Monarchs they disgrace,
Nassau the wise, and Charles the witty.
They call fine Structures Heaps of Stones
That ne’er were match’d since time of Cæsar,
Palladio and his Rival Jones
Blush at such Architects as these are.
See they Sir Christopher forget.
And pass unnam’d Sir Isaac by,
And by their Tales tho’ not their Wit
Declare their need of Memory.
They boast their Gloves and Aprons white,
The sacred Gown with better Right,
Is reverenc’d by the Khaibarite.
So pleas’d with Dreams the Masons seem,
To tell their Tales once more they venture;
And find an Author worthy them,
From Sense and Genius a Dissenter:
In doggrel Lyrick, worse than Prose,
Their Story he again rehearses;
But nothing of a Poet shows,
Excepting Fiction in his Verses.
As Brutes by Men exceeded are,
A Mason other Men excelling
Knows all in Knowledge choice and rare;
A Fable surely worth the telling:
Each happy Craft’s Man were it so,
To wear an Apron that is able,
Might greater than Sir Isaac grow,
Quite down to B———n from Jabal.
How can the Masons Fame survive,
Which Lays like theirs can ne’er prolong:
Let the Grand Khaibar ever live,
Recorded in sublimer Song;
Ye Bards, jour loftiest Yerse recite,
And give to future Ages bright
The Glories of the Khaibarite.
For Prentices the Lyre is strung,
When finish’d is each grave Proceeding:
The rest perhaps may pass when sung,
But only this will stand the reading.
For Rhyme they pump, and Numbers strain,
And patch the Verse with eke so pretty,
But conscious of themselves refrain
From all Endeavour to be witty.
With empty Names of Kings and Lords
The Mystick Lodge may sooth the Fancy,
Words without Meaning it affords,
And Signs without Significancy:
One only thing they plainly tell
In Prose and Verse on this Occasion,
A Mole-hill to a Mount to swell
Is the true Sign of a free Mason.
The Craftsmen’s Honours Treasures are
Of Fairies, lost as soon as shown,
Let the Grand Khaibar happier far
Improve and shine by being known.
You who in Friendship dear delight,
Tuneful in Chorus all unite
Immortalize the Khaibarite.
Source: Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha, Vol. I, ii, 5. (1889)