Guard thou this Apron even as thy soul!
High Badge it is of an undaunted band,
Which, from the dawn of dim forgotten time,
Has struggled upward in a quest of light; –
Light that is found in reverence of Self,
Unselfish Brother-love, and love of God.
This light now on thine Apron shines undimmed;
Let ne’er a shadow intercept its beams.
Thine eyes late saw the Sun burst from the East,
Marking the Morn of thy Masonic day,
Calling thee forth to labor with thy peers,
Gird then thy lambskin on; nor fail to find
In it a thought of brooks and sweet clean fields,
Haunts of this lamb through many a sunny hour.
Find in it, too, a nobler thought of Him
The Light ineffable, that Lamb of God,
Immaculate, unstained by shame or sin,
Who, dying, left ensample to all men
Who would build lives in purity and truth.
In Wisdom plan thy Apprentice task; divide
Thy time with care, thy moments spend as though
Each day were lifelong, life but as a day.
In purity of heart and sheer integrity
Use thou the gavel on each stubborn edge,
Divesting thought of aught perchance might stain,
Or scar, or tear this badge of shining white.
At Midday in the Craft’s high fellowship,
Gird round thy life these bands of loyal blue,
Uniting with thee all to thee akin.
Strong in a deepening knowledge, bend thy skill
To leveling false pride in place attained,
To squaring thy foundations with the truth,
To setting each new stone in rectitude.
When in the West the Evening turns to gold
And beautifies what Strength and Wisdom reared,
Pause not, but search thy trestle-board, God’s plan;
And ply with solemn joy thy master tools,
Earth’s many cementing into heaven’s one.
Full soon an unseen Hand shall gently stay
Thine arm; and on thine Apron, scutcheon bright,
Shall rest the Allseeing Eye, adjudging there
The blazoned record of thy workmanship.
Anon, thy Sun goes out and brothers lay,
With thee, thine Apron in the breast of earth,
Among the forgetful archives of the dust.
* * *
Wear worthily this thy Masonic badge,
While still thy body toils to build thy soul
A mansion bright, beyond the gates of death,
No edifice that crumbles back to clay,
But a glorious house eternal in the skies.
These, now, be Mason’s wages; when from his hands
Forever fall the working tools of life,
Arising, to ascend to loftier work; –
From out the lowly quarries to be called
To labor in the City of the King;-
Glad in the light of one long endless day,
To serve anew the Celestial Architect
And Sovereign Master of the Lodge Above.
* * *
Thy portion, Brother, may it be to hear
These welcome words, when the great Judge shall scan
Thy work, “Well done! Thou good and faithful servant,
Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”