V Voolluum mee 1166 IIssssuuee 11 N Noo.. 112233 JJaannuuaarryy 22002200
M Moonntthhllyy M Maaggaazziinnee
Cover Story, The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns Did You Know? Tylers, Operative and Speculative Robert Burns Initiated 1781 Famous Freemasons – Clark Gable Brother Burns Rays of Masonry The Old Past Master You and the Image you Project Promptus Did You Know? Tavish the Haggis
M Maaiinn W Weebbssiittee –– B Buurrnnss aass aa M Maassoonn
In this issue: Cover Story ‘The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns’ This is an immortal memory of Robert Burns by R.T. Halliday given in 1937 and the final instalment of articles by this Burns author.
Page 8, ‘Did You Know?’ Why do Wardens Lower and raise their columns. Page 10, ‘Tylers, Operative and Speculative.’ Tracing the history of the Tyler. Page 14, ‘Robert Burns Initiated 1781. A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 16, ‘Brother Burns’ A Poem by William Harvey Page 16, ‘Clark Gable’ Famous Freemasons. Page 19, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “What Masonry must Preserve” Page 20, ‘The Old Past Master.’ “The Charity Fund”, tenth in the series. Page 22, ‘You and the Image you Project.’ Page 25, ‘Reflections.’ The Lodge Promptor! Page 28, ‘Did You Know?’ What are the Landmarks of the Order? Page 30, ‘Tavish the Haggis.’ The Story of the Haggis
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Burns as a Mason.’ (This is the 1858 article I have searched for, for years,) [link] Front cover –Robert Burns taken from the Skirving painting.
The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns Scotland to-day is a vastly different conception from the Scotland of the close of the eighteenth century. For this change, which is commonly called Progress, many factors might be deemed responsible, each in its own measure; but outstanding among them is the transformation of the industrial system from handicraft to machine production. When the subject of our theme was ushered into a world of sorrows on that memorable 25th January, 1759, the social status of the Scots toiler was pronouncedly individualistic. In a sense quite unknown in these modern days each man was his own master, using his own brain and employing his own tools and implements, and bargaining with a merchant without restriction or any outside interference for the disposal of the products of his energies. He depended very largely upon himself. If he owed allegiance to anything it was to the Kirk, which was peculiarly powerful in its narrow piety among the Scottish peasantry. But in his secular life he endeavoured to maintain a sturdy independence with all its privileges and all its responsibilities. Sometimes he succeeded and sometimes he did not. Robert Burns as a humble tiller of the soil was in the latter category; his misfortune, but certainly not his fault. Man, however, particularly of the Burns temperament - full of buoyant, jovial and passionate humanity - cannot be independent in a social sense and yet be happy. Social intercourse is as much a necessity for him as food and raiment, and
what the literary salons of Glasgow and Edinburgh were to the city dwellers of those early days, the rockins and kirns were to the Ayrshire peasants. One prime factor which assisted to unite all classes in eighteenth century Scotland into a recognised brotherhood, and provided the opportunity and sanction for voluntary co-operation, was the bond of Freemasonry; not Freemasonry as we know it to-day with all its modern trappings and symbolic teaching, but the earlier jolly brotherhood with its gatherings in the local inn. There is no cause for wonder or surprise that in the fullness of time Robert Burns became a Freemason; the wonder would have been if he had not. It is not my intention to deal with the poet's youth and its hardships which, while stimulating his muse, laid the foundation for his life-long infirmity; nor his poetic flights in love and sympathy, in wit and satire, in reverence and tribulation; nor his admitted frailties which drew upon him the severity of the kirk and of the sanctimonious— whom he dubbed the “unco guid” —and for which he in fullest measure tholed his assize. Each of those aspects in the life of Burns has been written of, debated upon, and criticised a multitude of times; often with the muckrake by those with but hazy understanding of his times and circumstances, and conveniently unmindful of the record of the sweet singer of Israel or the founder of the Holy Temple as given in our Volume of the Sacred Law, compared with either of whom Robert Burns was a very saint in morality. I am not out to offer apologies for faults or excuses for failings. I only claim for Burns a square deal, which has been woefully lacking with some socalled friends and biographers. But what most appropriately concerns us is this place and at this time is his close association with, and enthusiasm for, our Masonic ideal, the 2
Brotherhood of Man; and the steps in his Masonic career are by no means the least significant or inspiring in his brief but chequered life. Let me in summarised fashion in the limited time at my disposal refer to these under the following heads 1. His entry into the Craft at Tarbolton. 2. His revolt with his confrères against presumed injustice. 3. His keen interest in the Craft and its effects. 4. The End of the Road. We can assuredly find in each phase something notable to engage our thoughts and if possible enhance our esteem. The Burns family removed from 'Mount Oliphant, near Alloway, to the farm of Lochlea, near Mauchline, in 1777; and in the following year Robert, then at the close of his teens but the chief labourer on the farm, was sent to Kirkoswald to imbibe the rudiments of mensuration and dialling. His regular work and those additional studios made him familiar with the operative uses of the essential tools of a mason, the Rule and Line, the Level and the Square. This operative foundation in such a nature aroused we know the speculative fancy, for on his return to Lochlea he founded with some boon companions the famed Bachelors' Club, a small but select literary society which included David Sillar and John Wilson, the immortal “Dr. Hornbook." Scotland at this time was comparatively well supplied with Masonic lodges. Edinburgh boasted sixteen, all in flourishing condition; while Dumfries, with but 8000 inhabitants, had no less than five. Tarbolton, the nearest village centre, had two lodges— St. David, No. 174, and St. James, No. 178— which united in June, 1781, under the name St. David, that lodge " having the 3
oldest charter " from Grand Lodge, although not the older lodge of the twain. Nine days after this fateful union—to wit, on 4th July, 1781—Robert Burns was initiated. He was sponsored by Alexander Wood, a tailor, and the entry in the minute book, which is still extant and carefully preserved, although unfortunately not in the custody of those to whom it legally, morally and masonically belongs, reads: “Sederant for 4th July, Robt. Burns in Lochly was entered an apprentice. Joph. Norman, M.” The volume at present forms an attraction in a village hostelry. The Lodge met in John Richard's publichouse, where the Bachelors Club had a room, and from this time onward we may safely say that Burns was an ardent Freemason. The principles which were then inculcated made a direct appeal to his nature, and they remained with him to the end. Shortly after his initiation Burns left the district for Irvine, to train for a flaxdressing experiment which proved a failure. His heckling shop caught fire and his partner swindled him. But while still at Irvine he travelled to Tarbolton on lst October, 1781, to attend the Lodge, and the minute of that date records that he was passed and raised, Henry Cowan being Master. His association with Irvine was renewed some years later under presumably happier circumstances, and on visiting Lodge St. Andrew there he is said to have composed the stanza of his bacchanalian song: Then fill up a bumper and make it o'erflow, And honours Masonic prepare for to throw: May ev'ry true Brother of the Compass and Square Have a big-belly'd bottle when haraw'd with care! By that time he well knew what care meant.
It is unnecessary to recapitulate here the ofttold tale of the historic split in the united St. David Lodge, the raiding of the charter chest (in the custody of Richard) for the recovery of the St. James Lodge charter, and the subsequent proceedings in the Sheriff Court at Ayr. In none of these was Burns directly involved. The union had never been a happy one, and we find Burns in this second phase among the seceders who successfully re-established St. James Lodge, which had originally a Kilwinning warrant. His name is not given in the minutes until nearly two years later. But his keen interest is evident from the letter in his hand writing addressed to the Master on behalf of the seceders in connection with the dispute. In June, 1784, St. James Lodge, having defied the opposition and even the Grand Lodge of Scotland, established itself in the famous Manson's Inn, and a month later elected Burns as Depute Master. This position carried with it the active duties of a Master who in those days was but the figurehead. Hence the Bard's lines: "Oft have I met your social band, And spent the cheerful, festive night; Oft, honour'd with supreme command, Presided o'er the Sons of Light." The first minute, wholly in his handwriting although unsigned, is evidence of his interest: “This night the Lodge met and ordered four pounds of candles and one quire of eightpence paper for the use of the Lodge, which money was laid out by the Treasurer and the candles and paper laid in accordingly.” He attended nine meetings during 1785 and nine again in 1786, at the second of which—on 1st March—he passed and
raised his brother Gilbert. In all he signed 29 minutes as Depute Master, and three are wholly his penmanship. The excellent manner in which he fulfilled his duties may be gauged not only from his attendance record and his care of the minutes of proceedings, but also from the following letter written by Prof. Dugald Stewart: “In summer 1787 1 passed some weeks in Ayrshire, and saw Burns occasionally…..I was led by curiosity to attend for an hour or two a Masonic Lodge in Mauchline where Burns presided. He had occasion to make some short unpremeditated compliments to different individuals from whom he had no occasion to expect a visit, and every thing he said was happily conceived and forcibly as well as fluently expressed.” It may be interesting and possibly salutary to quote some of the rules of St. James Lodge of those days: “At the third stroke of the Grand Master's hammer silence shall be maintained under a penalty of twopence.” “Whosoever shall break a drinking glass at any meeting shall be liable to the instant payment of sixpence sterling for it, and the same sure for every other he may break before he leaves the room or company.” “Those not at meetings within an hour of the fixed time shall be fined twopence." " If any brother be so unfortunate as to have disordered his senses by strong liquors and thereby rendered himself incapable of behaving himself decently, peaceably and kind towards those around him, such brother coming to the Lodge in that condition to this disturbance and disgust of his brethren shall be prudently ordered away to some place of safety in the meantime, and at the next 4
meeting shall submit to such censure and admonition from the chair, and to such a fine inflicted by the Lodge on him as to them may appear proper to his crime, and deter him from it in all time coming." "Whereas a Lodge always means a company of worthy inert and circumspect, gathered together in order to promote charity, friendship, civility and good neighbourhood, it is enacted that no member of this Lodge go shall speak slightingly, detractingly or calumniously of any of his brethren behind their backs, so as to damage them in their professions or reputations without any certain grounds, and any member committing such an offence must humble himself by asking on his knees the pardon of such person or persons as his folly or malice hash aggrieved. Obstinate refusal to comply with this rule of the brethren assembled shall be met with expulsion from the Lodge with every mark of ignominy and disgrace that is consistent. with Justice and Freemasonry." It is well to have such regulations and precepts in remembrance when we are regaled with the usual exaggerated reports of the doings of Freemasons in Burns's day. Had it not been for the brotherhood of Freemasonry in Ayrshire the world to-day would be immeasurably the poorer. To the appreciation and personal friendship of his Masonic brethren we are indebted for the issue of the first or Kilmarnock edition of the poems of Robert Burns. Ile was in sore distress of mind when he undertook this, and had just written “The Lament," mourning in lamentation deep “How life and love are all a dream.” He went to Kilmarnock to see through the press that now precious volume. While still in residence there he was made an honorary 5
member of Lodge Kilmarnock Kilwinning St. John, now No. 22, on 26th October, 1786. The Master was Major William Parker, of whom Burns wrote: “Ye sons of old Killie, assembled by Willie To follow the noble vocation, Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another To sit in that honoured station.” The song front which this stanza is quoted was said to have been written in the Lodge itself and given by the poet to Major Parker. Bro. Parker is said to have subscribed for 35 copies of his forthcoming book; Robert Muir, another of the brethren, disposed of 72 copies; while John Wilson, another brother, printed the work. What these Kilmarnock volumes are valued at to-day is known to most of you. Each is worth its weight in gold; Burns for the whole edition realised but £20. Freemasonry was again the means of altering and re-shaping his course his life when arrangements had been made for his departure to Jamaica. His friend and brother mason, Dr. Blacklock, hinted that a now edition of his poems should be published in Edinburgh and that he should there personally superintend the undertaking. This advice was followed and Burns proceeded to the Metropolis. Shortly after his arrival in Edinburgh he was introduced to Lodge Canongate Kilwinning by Bro. James Dalrymple of Orangefield, and on 12th January, 1737, he was the guest of St. Andrew Lodge, No. 48, on the occasion of the Grand Lodge annual visitation. In writing an account of this evening to John Ballantyne of Ayr he thus describes it: “I went to a Mason-lodge yesternight where the Most Worshipful Grand Master
Charteris and all the Grand lodge of Scotland visited. The meeting was most numerous and elegant; all the different Lodges about town were present in all their pomp. The Grand Master, who presided with great solemnity and honour to himself as a Gentleman and Mason, among other general toasts gave 'Caledonia & Caledonia's Bard, brother Burns,' which rung through the whole Assembly with multiplied honours and repeated acclamations. As I had no idea such a thing would happen, I was downright thunderstruck, and trembling in every nerve made the best return in my power."
The town is at present agog with the ploughman poet. The man will he spoiled, if he can spoil; but he keeps his simple manners, and is quite sober."
incident in the minute of the meeting or elsewhere for many years, and the painting by Bro. Watson, now in the Grand Lodge of Scotland, is purely fanciful. Indeed, there are eminent personages portrayed who could not possibly have been present; some were not Freemasons at the period, and at least one did not set foot in Scotland until some years later. The whole tale is a bold attempt to secure some reflected glory, and by frequent iteration, it has attained a measure of success. It was the outcome of a meeting on 9th February, 1815, when the Lodge resolved to open a subscription list to aid in the erection of the Burns Mausoleum. The statement may originally have been used as a mere figure of speech, but the minute records that Burns was a member and "Poet Laureate of the Lodge"—a very evident afterthought—which is repeated in the minute of 16th January, 1835, chronicling the appointment of Bro. James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, to the honorary office of Poet Laureate of the Lodge which, the minute states, " had been in abeyance since the death of the Immortal Robert Burns." The claim is still made by the Lodge and has occasioned much controversy, but the historical facts and the probabilities are overwhelmingly against it. Burns, who so proudly recorded his visit to Lodge St. Andrew, and immortalised in rhyme his visits at Irvine, Kilmarnock and elsewhere, would assuredly have left some record of so outstanding an event had it ever occurred. He never penned a line on Canongate Kilwinning Lodge.
It has been asserted that on lst March, 1787, Burns was installed as Poet Laureate of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning by the Master, Bro. Ferguson of Craigdarroch, in presence of the aristocracy of the Edinburgh circle. There is nothing to warrant this assertion. No mention is made of such an
During his stay in Edinburgh Burns met the elite of the Masonic circle, who influenced both his character and his subsequent career. It will suffice to mention the Earl of Glencairn: William Creech, his publisher; Alexander Nasmyth; Dean of Faculty Erskine; Dr. Gregory, of the famous
I quote here two contemporary accounts of Burns in Edinburgh. Prof. Andrew Dalzel, of the University there, wrote: “We have got a poet in town just now, whom everybody is taking notice of—a ploughman from Ayrshire—a man of unquestionable genius. . . . He runs the risk of being spoiled by the excessive attention paid him just now by persons of all ranks. Those who know him best say he has too much good sense to allow himself to be spoiled." Alison Cockburn, the gifted authoress of “The Flowers of the Forest," wrote:
Mixture; Lord Moriboddo and Robert Ainslie. These were, of course, the upper crust whose influence at that time was invaluable. But as social distinctions are not recognised in the Fraternity, he also met many worthy people in the lower walks of life who were members of the Order. Among these were Tom Neil, the undertaker; William Woods, the tragedian; Tom Dow, the Town Guardsman, and Peter Williamson, the adventurer. In August, 1787, when about to set out on his Highland tour with Willie Nicol, who brewed the notorious “peck o' maul," Burns addressed to St. James Lodge his letter oft quoted at such Masonic gatherings : "I am truly sorry it is not in my power to be at your quarterly Meeting. If I must be absent in body, believe me I shall be present in spirit." Then, after some remarks about defaulters, the letter concludes with the verse of his Kilmarnock song: “Within your dear Mansion may wayward Contention Or withered Envy ne'er enter; May Secrecy round be the mystical bound, And brotherly Love be the Center!” During another absence from his Ayrshire home Burns went on a Border tour with his friend Ainslie, a member of St. Luke's Lodge, and received a cordial welcome from several lodges. Ainslie was advanced with him into Royal Arch Masonry in St. Abb's Lodge, Eyemouth, paying a guinea for the privilege, while Burns, “on account of his remarkable poetic genius,” says the recording minute, was advanced gratis, the encampment considering themselves "honoured by having a man of such shining 7
abilities for one of their companions." It is interesting to note that the members of the lodge forming this “general encampment” secured an English charter some three months later warranting them as the “Land of Cakes " R.A. Chapter, No. 62. The chapter is now Scottish, with the number 15. In December, 1788, having removed from Ayrshire to Ellisland farm, Burns affiliated to Lodge St. Andrew, Dumfries, No. 179, and with this lodge he retained his connection till the end. It became known colloquially as “Burns’s Lodge." He moved from Ellisland into the town of Dumfries in 1791, when his attendances became more frequent; as matter of record he put in 11 out of a possible 16, although in those days the meetings were by no means regular. He acted as a Steward early in 1792, and was elected Senior Warden on St. Andrew's Day of that year. In the autumn of 1795 he lost a dearly-loved daughter, three years of age, who had been sent to Mauchline for reasons of health, and his bitter anguish was intensified by the fact that owing to his own serious illness he could not be present at her funeral. For by this time the deadly malady from which he had suffered for twenty years, and which in the light of modern medical research has been ably and fully explained by Sir James Crichton Browne, had begun to sap his remaining strength. He attended with a struggle the Lodge meeting on 14th April, 1796, out of loyalty to Capt. Adam Gordon, who was initiated on that occasion. On 21st July Burns passed to the Great Beyond, aged but 37 years. With a number of his poems and songs Freemasonry is directly associated, and indirectly with many more, both grave and gay. They are too numerous to refer to in any detail. But at such a function as this I
may appropriately recall one stanza, the concluding lines of his farewell poem to St. James Lodge when he meant to sail for the West Indies: A last request permit me here, When yearly ye assemble a', One round, I ask it with a tear, To him, the Bard that's far awe." Brethren, in this necessarily brief and imperfect survey I have endeavoured to show that from the beginning to the end of his manhood Freemasonry was an ideal in which our National Bard exhibited a deep and abiding interest. When the cold shadows of Death were gathering over his frail clay he was so imbued with the principles of its brotherhood as to risk the slender grip he then had upon life for the sake of his friends. If the Fraternity of his day was prodigal with the honours it showered on him, it was because of the consciousness of the distinction such a genius conferred upon the Craft. As the years pass and we gain the fuller and wider perspective, we vie with each other to be yet more lavish in our tribute. For never was there a truer prophecy than that uttered by Burns himself to his devoted Jean when he was on the very brink of his grave: " Don't be afraid: I'll be more respected a hundred years after I am dead than I am at present." In that belief and consolation, since so abundantly justified, he passed to his rest. Brethren, I ask you to recall his “last request," and to rise and honour in silence “The Immortal Memory of Scotland’s Bard and true Freemason, Robert Burns." Toast: "The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns" proposed at the Burns Night of Lodge St. Vincent Glasgow, No. 533, -1937 by Dr. R. T. Halliday. J.P., Senior Grand Deacon, Grand Lodge of Scotland Sourced from the Burns Chronicle 1937
DID YOU KNOW? Question: Why do the Wardens in a Craft Lodge raise and lower their Columns? Answer. To find an acceptable answer to this question, we have to go back to early ritual. There was a time in 18th century English practice when both Wardens stood (or sat) in the West; this is confirmed by a passage in Masonrv Dissected. 1730: Q. Where stands your Warden? A. In the West. Incidentally there are several Masonic jurisdictions in Europe which retain this ancient practice: but some time between 1730 and 1760 there is evidence that the J.W. had moved to the South, as shown in Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, and J. & B., 1762, both using identical words: Mas. Who doth the Pillar of Beauty represent? Ans. The Junior Warden in the South The business of raising and lowering the Wardens' Columns made its first appearance in England in Three Distinct Knocks, in which we have the earliest description of the procedure for 'Calling Off' from labour to refreshment and 'Calling On'. The 'Call-Off' procedure was as follows: The Master whispers to the senior Deacon at his Right-hand, and says, 'tis my Will and Pleasure that this Lodge is called off from Work to Refreshment during Pleasure; then the senior Deacon carries it to the senior Warden, and whispers the same Words in his Ear, and he whispers it in the Ear of the junior Deacon at his Right-hand, and he 8
carries it to the junior Warden and whispers the same to him, who declares it with a loud Voice, and says It is our Master's Will and Pleasure, that this Lodge is called from Work to Refreshment, during Pleasure; At this point we find the earliest description of the raising and lowering of the columns and the reason for this procedure. Then he sets up his Column, and the senior lays his down; for the Care of the Lodge is in the Hands of the junior Warden while they are at Refreshment. Unfortunately, apart from the exposures, there are very few Masonic writings that deal with the subject of the Wardens' Columns during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Preston, in several editions of his Illustrations, 1792-1804, in the section dealing with Installation, allocates the Columns to the Deacons [sic]. It is not until the 1804 edition that he speaks of the raising of the columns, and then only in a footnote, as follows: When the work of Masonry in the lodge is carrying on, the Column of the Senior Deacon is raised; when the lodge is at refreshment the Column of the Junior Deacon is raised. [There is no mention of 'lowering'.] Earlier, in the Investiture of the Deacons, Preston had said Those columns, the badges of your office, your care... entrust to Knowing, as we do, that the Columns had belonged to the Wardens since 1760, at least, and that many of the Craft lodges did not appoint Deacons at all, Preston's remarks in the extracts above, seem to suggest that he was attempting an innovation (in which he was certainly unsuccessful). 9
The next evidence on the subject comes from the Minutes of the Lodge of Promulgation, which show that in their work on the Craft ritual in readiness for the union of the two rival Grand Lodges, they considered 'the arrangements of the Wardens' Columns' on 26 January 1810, but they did not record their decision. We know, however, that most of our present-day practices date back to the procedures which that Lodge recommended and which were subsequently adapted -with occasional amendments -and prescribed by its successor, the Lodge of Reconciliation. It is thus virtually certain that our modern working in relation to the raising and lowering of the Columns was then adopted, following the 1760 pattern, not only for 'Calling Off and On' but also for Opening and Closing generally. Up to this point we have been dealing with facts; but on the specific questions as to why the Columns are raised and lowered, or why the care of the Lodge is the responsibility of the J.W. while the Brethren refresh themselves. we must resort to speculation. In the operative system, c. 1400, when the Lodge was a workshop and before Lodge furniture was standardized, there was only one Warden. His duty was to keep the work going smoothly, to serve as a mediator in disputes and to see that 'every brother had his due'. We have documentary evidence of this in the Regius and Cooke MSS of c. 1390 and c. 1410, and this idea apparently persisted into the Speculative system where the S.W.'s duty in 1730 now included closing the Lodge and 'paying the men their wages'. But in the Speculative system there were two Wardens, with the Senior, by ancient tradition, in charge of the Lodge while at
work. It seems likely that in order to find a corresponding job for the J.W., he was put in charge of the Lodge while at refreshment. There was no mention of Wardens' Columns, or procedures relating to them, in the exposures of 1730 or earlier. We may assume therefore that they were a more or less recent introduction in the period between 1730 and 1760, that the 'raising and lowering' procedures came into practice at about the same time and were subsequently authorized at the Union in 1813. The 1760 explanation is still in use today. It may seem inadequate, but that is invariably the case with such problems as 'one up and one down', 'left-foot, right-foot', 'left-knee, right-knee', etc., because each interpretation has to give a satisfactory explanation for a particular procedure and for the reverse of that procedure, which is virtually impossible. The only satisfying explanation in this case is the simplest of all, i.e., the procedure was laid down to mark a distinction between the Lodge when open, and when it is closed or 'Called Off'. During the 18th century, there is ample evidence that much of the Lodge work was conducted at table, punctuated by 'Toasts' and drinking, while the Lodge was still Open. If the Lodge was 'Called Off', while a meal (as distinct from liquid refreshment) was to be taken, and the Brethren remained in their seats at table, then some signal recognizable at a glance -would have to be shown, to indicate whether the Lodge was at work, or at refreshment.be drawn is that now is the time to remember our Creator rather than at some indefinite future time which for us may never come. The Questions and answers from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Did you Knowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; were collected from various constitutions across the world, and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.
Tylers, Operative and Speculative.
Origin of The Word Tyler Various dictionaries indicate that the spelling Tyler is simply an older form of the more modern Tiler. Freemasonry with its leaning towards antiquity has merely adopted the older spelling. The word tile is derived from the Latin Tegula and became in Old English Tigule. The word hele as used in our obligations is derived from the word helan in Old English with the meaning to cover, and led to the common use of the word helyer, for a tradesman who thatched with reeds, heled with tiles or daubed with plaster to cover in a dwelling or other building. In London Ordinances of 1382 we find the word Tylere, from the Bristol Ordinances of 1450 - tyler and in 1475 tiler. Workers at the St. Mary Redcliff Church between 1509 and 1534 were described as tilars, tilers or tylers. In 1753 a list of London Companies contained that of the Tylours. The Early Tylers The more permanent building materials such as bricks and tiles were introduced by the Romans during their occupation of Britain but after their departure the ancient Britains went back to building with wood and covering with thatch and straw. The population grew, houses were built closer together and the inevitable happened. After a number of devastating fires in 1077 and again in 1087 and 1161 in London and many more in other towns and villages, a London Ordinance was issued in 1212, requiring that in the future no roofs be covered with the inflammable materials 10
such as straw and reeds but only with tiles, lead, shingles or plastered straw.
tilers and the stone-masons, each man with an emblematic apron.
This was obviously a great boost for the tilers trade, which was further enhanced when in 1362 an uncommonly heavy storm flattened many houses throughout Britain and unroofed many more. The tilers profiteering was quickly stopped by a Royal Order prohibiting the tilers from charging more for their labour and materials than they had done before the disaster. They were not to charge more than 6 pence per day for their labour and not more than 7 shillings per 1000 plain tiles.
The Tylers Place in Freemasonry Skilled workers have guarded their trade secrets through the centuries and the use of a member of their own group as a sentry to keep out intruders was an established custom in medieval times. That they were not always successful is evident and industrial espionage is today almost a respected occupation. These sentries are referred to in various Masonic documents as Outer Guards, Junior Entered Apprentices, doorkeepers, guarders and janitors. After the word Tyler first appeared in print, these various other titles continued in use for many years thereafter.
A mere 20 years later, on 10 May 1382, another Proclamation settled the wages of a tiler at 12 pence per day, a rate of inflation of 100% in 20 years which is one we have not had the luxury of for many years. It is not certain when the Guild of Operative Tilers was formed but it is likely to have been in the period around 1212 when tiles and slate were used in preference to straw and reeds. In 1461 another Ordinance decreed: That the tilers of the City shall henceforth be reputed as labourers and shall not be incorporated nor deemed to constitute an Art or Society. In 1468, however, the tilers requested that The Fellowship of the Craft of Tilers be reinstated as indeed they were and their status as an Incorporated Society was redeemed. The Tilers Guilds continued for many years and much of their activity is recorded. One of the last was at the coronation of Queen Victoria on the 28th June 1838: Four Masonic Lodges, all members wearing regalia, took part in a procession. They were followed by various trade guild representatives, amongst which were the 11
So, when did the word first appear in print? Dr. James Anderson in describing the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717, in the second Book of Constitutions which was issued in 1738, wrote: Sayer, Grand Master, commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every quarter in communication at the place he should appoint in his summons sent by the Tyler. So there it is . . . but why was it not in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions, which was issued in 1723? There is no record that indicates that Dr. Anderson took part in or even attended the 1717 formation of Grand Lodge and it is therefore likely that the good Doctor (of Divinity) quotes Grand Master Sayer from notes taken by someone else. It might well be that the title had come into use subsequent to the formation of Grand Lodge and that Dr. Anderson in recording an event that took place 21 years earlier might well have used the word in current use rather than the
actual word used by our first Grand Master. We shall never know. In the By-Laws of a Lodge, probably written towards the end of 1732, appear 16 rules, the ninth one of which reads: That the Master or Secretary do give notice by letter to all members of the time of election or any other emergency that at any time shall happen. Also that the Tyler do require from every Brother, as soon as the Lodge is closed his apron. Also that the Tyler admit no visitor into the Lodge room except there be some present who can vouch for his being a regular Brother. We have already seen that the word was not used in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions. In Old Regulation XXXIII we read: Another Brother, who must be a Fellowcraft should be appointed to look after the door of Grand Lodge but shall be no member of it. The same regulation in the 1738 second edition reads: Another Brother and Master Mason should be appointed Tyler, to look after the door, but he must be no member of the Grand Lodge. In the same second edition is this interesting paragraph; In ancient times the Master, Wardens and Fellows on St. Johns Day met, either in a Monastery or on the top of the highest Hill near them, by peep of Day and having there chosen their new Grand Officers they descended walking in due form to the place of the Feast, either a Monastery or the House of an Eminent Mason, or some large House of Entertainment as they thought best tyled. Before dismissing Dr. Anderson as having misquoted our first Grand Master it needs to be remembered that the second Grand Master George Payne, elected in 1718, was a member of the committee formed to issue
the third edition of the Book of Constitutions, that the relevant paragraph was the same in that edition and that George Payne was present at the formation of Grand Lodge. But how good was his memory for words actually used in 1717 when the third edition came out in 1756, nearly 40 years later? The Tylers Sword The trowel now seen as a working tool or symbol, was used differently in the early days of Masonry. From the minutes of a Lodge in Carmarthen we learn that they paid for 5 trowels and mending 12 others. From some versions of the old catechism we learn that the Junior Entered Apprentice was armed with a Sharp Instrument which was a pointed trowel. Bernard Jones suggests that the sentence in the Charge after Initiation: that in every age monarchs themselves have been promoters of the art; have not thought it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the sceptre for the trowel refers to the practice of the most recent initiate, the Junior Entered Apprentice being armed with the trowel as the means of keeping out all cowans and intruders. So the earlier use of the trowel may have been transferred to the sword . The Tylers Dress First impressions being considered as very important, Tylers in days gone by were decked out in colorful clothes. The Grand Tyler in 1736 wore a red waistcoat under a dark blue coat trimmed with gold lace. A Tylers coat in the possession of the Eaton Lodge No. 533 E.C. is of black serge, lined, faced and edged with red while the collar, cape and cuffs are edged with light blue flannel. How proud they must have been, these Tylers of old. Dressed in their blue and red coats with yellow trousers and 12
cocked hats going around delivering the notice papers to all the Brethren. Everyone must have known them as being Freemasons. There was no secrecy about being a Freemason. They walked in processions in all their regalia, carrying their swords. A beautiful illustration of the wearing of regalia in public is the well known painting of Brother Hogarth Night. Thomas Johnson, who was Grand Tyler in 1784, had a business card which had various Masonic emblems on the front as well as his name and that he was Tyler to the Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons. On the reverse it stated where he lived and where letters or messages for him could be left, which he undertook to duly answer. The Tylers (of Old) Duties Unlike the Tyler of today who keeps off all cowans and intruders and sees that the candidates are properly prepared, the Tyler of old had in many Lodges the job of Drawing the Lodge; the delivery of the summonses, now better known as the notice paper and was also often in charge of the various assets of the Lodge. The drawing of the Lodge stems from the days when the speculative Masons were meeting in taverns. The rooms available in those inns were usually pretty sparsely furnished and with bare floorboards. On a clear space in front of the Masters pedestal the Tyler would draw with chalk and charcoal a rectangle and therein various Masonic emblems, such as the Pillars, the Tesselated Pavement, the various Working Tools and many others. The Tyler was also paid for the delivery of the summonses. In the second half of the 18th century the delivery of a note in an envelope by the postal service would cost 4 pence, where the 13
Tyler was usually paid about 12 pence for delivering all the summonses, so obviously a good money saver for the Lodge. Tylers Today Bernard Jones in his Freemasons Guide and Compendium writes The officer responsible for the preparation of the candidate is the Tyler, who should be an experienced craftsman well able to ensure, both by his knowledge and personality, that the candidate enters upon his preparation in the right spirit. Although today the preparation is usually done by a steward or one of the deacons, it is still the Tylers job to actually see that the preparation is properly carried out. And, as noted earlier, the Tyler is also responsible for ensuring that each Brother will enter the Lodge room properly clothed and to admit only properly vouched for Brethren! The written history of Tylers does not go beyond 1732 but from various Lodge Minutes and reports we have been able to form a reasonably good picture of the duties of Tylers and how they appeared to the outside world. No more important injunction can be given the Tyler than the advice of Brother Bernard Jones, who wrote that the Tyler should be an experienced craftsman, well able to ensure that the candidate enters upon his preparation in the right spirit. Article by P.J. Adrian and sourced from Masonic World.com.
Lodge Robert Burns Initiated 1781
Six lodges were approached who readily agreed to become sponsors, namely :Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No.2 Lodge Edinburgh St. Andrews No.48 Hawick Lodge St. James No.424 Lodge Buchan St. John No.636 Lodge Thorntree No.1038 Lodge Burns Immortal No.1730 The steering committee approached Lodge Trafalgar No.223 to host the new lodge, they were delighted to do so and gave assistance and every encouragement to establish a very agreeable base for this new venture.
On December 6th 1985, twenty four brethren interested in forming a "Burns Lodge" met for the first time in the hall of Canongate Kilwinning No2. The reason for forming a "Burns Lodge" here in Edinburgh was that, surprisingly, in the whole east of Scotland there wasn't a single "Burns Lodge". The aim was not only to found such a lodge with a view to practicing Freemasonry within the Constitution and Laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland but also to spread and encourage among the brethren a knowledge of the life and works of Scotland's national Bard, the poet and brother mason, Robert Burns. They therefore formed a steering committee to canvass for sponsor lodges and like-minded brethren to become Founder Members.
Between the years 1985-89 the steering committee and founder members held many meetings to discuss and vote on such issues as the official title of the new lodge, it's by laws, the fees, it's badge and motto, the lodge colours and regalia and all those details concerned with the setting up and management of a working lodge. At these meetings it was unanimously agreed that the unique title "Robert Burns Initiated 1781" be chosen - 1781 being the year in which Robert Burns was initiated into Freemasonry. The steering therefore asked the sponsor lodges to apply to Grand Lodge for a charter with this specific number. Since charter numbers are issued in strict numerical order, a fairly long wait was anticipated. It was agreed that the maximum number of founder members would be restricted to one hundred and fifty and a fee ÂŁ50 plus Grand Lodge fees would be levied. The first one hundred and fifty brethren to apply, representing sixty lodges from "A' the Airts", were accepted as founders. 14
The lodge motto would be "Brithers A' " and a founder member's breast jewel was designed in the form of a saltire with a roundel in the centre, the lodge name around the perimeter of the roundel, the motto across the centre and the roundel quartered with the symbols of a plough, mallet, open poetry book and trowel. This design was to become the lodge badge, and the roundel became the mark token. The plough represents the humble beginnings as a member of the hard working, poverty stricken Scottish peasantry, where as a boy he was the principle labourer on the farm his father rented. The maul portrays his 15 years as a freemason and a lover of the craft, he held the high office of depute master of his lodge for 4 years (1784-1788 and was a keen and active freemason. The open book of poems is his gift to the nation and the world, a legacy of poems and songs written by a man who fought poverty, hypocrisy, deceit and arrogance, the people’s poet who became Scotland’s national bard. The trowel symbolises his great belief in spreading the cement of brotherly love and friendship throughout the world in the hope that man’s inhumanity to man, would final cease. The saltire reminds us of his love of Scotland, its history, its heritage, and its people, to the Scot he is and always will be, an auld acquaintance, ne-er forgot, until the end of time itself. The lodge regalia was to be apron with a black flap trimmed with gold braid, a band 15
of Robert Burns' check around the lambskin and the apron edged with gold braid. Office bearers' collarettes were to be black flap trimmed with gold braid, a plaid of Robert Burns' check was to be worn over the left shoulder. The office-bearers would be encouraged to wear their own clan kilts. A lodge manual, which contains a brief biography of Robert Burns compiled and edited by Bro David Manclark, was produced bound in black with the individual founder's name embossed in gold on the front cover. This along with the breast jewel was presented exclusively to each founder member on the day the new lodge was consecrated. The same manual, but bound in red and without the individuals name was to be presented to Initiates and Affiliates. At last, on 3rd August 1989, a charter with the number 1781 was approved and granted to "Lodge Robert Burns Initiated" by Grand Lodge. The ceremonial erection and Consecration of the lodge and the Installation of the Founder Master, Bro David Manclark, and his Office-Bearers took place in Freemason's Hall, Edinburgh on the 7th October 1989. The ceremonies were performed by :- Bro. Rev. Hugh Mackay of Talmine K.C.L.J. , M.A., F.S.A. Scotland Right Worshipful Depute Grand Master and Bro Derek Grafton Chairman of the Metropolitan District Committee Assisted by The Office Bearers of the Grand Lodge Of Scotland This History of Robert Burns Initiated 1781 was sourced from the 1781 website which can be viewed by clicking here. (Please visit their site) Our thanks go to the Lodge No. 1781 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owner of this History.
Brother Burns Wi’ leal an’ lichtsome hearts we meet, Thy natal day aince mair to greet; Our board, wi’ gusty fare replete, The Brethren thrang, Forgettin’ cauld an’ wind, an’ weet, In toast an’ sang.
Famous Freemasons Clark Gable The King of Hollywood
Aince on a day thou wert, thyself’, Weel-skilled wi’ plumb-rule, an’ wi’ mell; But whyles – gif ane the truth daur tell – On canty nichts Thou trimmed wi’ oil drawn aff the stell Thy Lesser Lichts. An’ aft. I’se wad, the Three Degrees Were whiskey-punch an’ claret sprees, For thou wert unco gleg to seixe An’ thrapple Care, An’ droun her deep in Harmonies Heid on the Square. Yet, Rab ae glorious hour wi’ thee, Whan sang gaed round, an’ wit was free, An’ Brethren kept thy company – I’m bound to say it – I’d swap my life an’ liberty Gif I could hae it! Waesucks! Sic luck athort our ways Can never airt. Sae we’ll juist raise Thy honoured name wi’ blithesome phrase An’ hie regard; An’ habbernab to faur-off days – Auld Scotland’s Bard.
By William Harvey – January 25th 1916. Taken from Harvey’s Book, “Masonic Readings and Recitations.”
Born William Clark Gable, in Cadiz, Ohio on February 1, 1901, Clark Gable would come to be known as “The King of Hollywood,” often simply nicknamed “King.” He was initiated into Freemasonry on September 19, 1933, in Beverly Hills Lodge No. 528, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on October 17 and, whatever the reason may have been for so short an elapse of time, he was raised to the sublime degree on October 31st, just two weeks later. 16
Young William Clark was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent, born to parents Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. His mother passed away when he was only seven months old and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania for his first two years, but then returned and took him back to Ohio. Gable's step mother would get him interested in music, but Gable's father discouraged his son from things like music and literature, encouraging him to follow more "manly" pursuits. By 13 he was the only boy in the men's town band. At age 16, William Clark quit high school, went to work in a tire factory, and then aged 17 Gable would become interested in acting, although he would not pursue it though until he was 21. This happened after his step mother had passed away and his father had moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to work in the oil fields. Clark had decided to become an actor after seeing the play The Bird of Paradise. He toured in stock companies, worked oil fields, and sold ties. Gable would begin travelling with second rate theatre companies around the country. Eventually he would end up in Oregon. There he would meet Josephine Dillon, a woman 17 years his senior. She would become his stylist, manager and first wife. The couple would move from Oregon to Hollywood in 1924. She paid for dental work and hair styling and trained him to lower his voice and attain better body posture, attributes that that were instrumental in contributing to his later success and eventual iconic status. She became his manager and the two eventually married. 17
For the first few years Gable was in Hollywood, he would get bit parts and play as an extra in silent pictures. He eventually achieved supporting roles in a few films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and in 1931 he landed his first leading Hollywood role. Over the next 30-plus years he would be a leading man in more than 60 motion
pictures. Gable won the 1935 Academy Award for Best Actor for It Happened One Night, with Claudette Colbert, and was nominated for leading roles in Mutiny on the Bounty and, of course, for what is possibly his best-known role â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. In Hollywood he would meet Lionel Barrymore, the two men would become lifelong friends. Barrymore encouraged Gable to work more in theatre, and from about 1926 until 1930 Gable would work in Houston and New York. In 1930, Gable divorced Dillon and almost immediately (within days) marry his second wife. At this same time, Gable came under contract to MGM, and many of initial film were roles where he was cast as the villain. Gable was a critical and commercial success throughout his career, including films such
as Red Dust (1932), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), San Francisco (1936), Saratoga (1937), Boom Town (1940), The Hucksters (1947), Homecoming (1948), and The Misfits (1961), with Marilyn Monroe, which was his final screen appearance. He appeared opposite some of the most popular actresses in Hollywood. Joan Crawford, his expressed favourite, partnered with Gable in eight films. Myrna Loy worked with him seven times, and he was paired with Jean Harlow in six films. He also starred with Lana Turner in four features, with Norma Shearer and Ava Gardner in three each and, at the end of his career, with Marilyn Monroe. Through the 1930's Gable's star power grew. In 1939, the film that he is most arguably known for, Gone with the Wind was made. Gary Cooper was the first choice for the producer’s first choice for the role of Rhett Butler. Cooper turned down the role and pressure mounted on the producer to get Gable for the role. After Gable accepted the role Cooper was quoted as saying, "Gone With the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history. I’m glad it'll be Clark Gable who’s falling flat on his nose, not me." The Gone with the Wind of course was far from a flop and Gable received a best actor nomination for his role. Gable became friendly with many of the cast members, in particularly Hattie McDaniel. It was because of this friendship that Gable initially planned to boycott the premier of Gone with the Wind because McDaniel, an African-American, was banned from attending the premier in Atlanta, Georgia. McDaniel pleaded with Gable to go and he eventually relented.
Gable was married multiple times. After divorcing Josephine Dillon in 1930, he married Maria Langham. When that marriage also ended in divorce in March 1939, Clark married Carole Lombard. Though this marriage seemed destined to survive the long haul, tragedy struck in January 1942. While assisting with the U.S. War effort, Carole and her mother died in a plane crash. Prior to her passing she had encouraged Gable to join the military and do his part for the war effort. Gable was on the fence about serving and MGM was reluctant to let one its biggest stars go off to war. After Lombard's death, MGM allowed Gable to enlist, sending a cinematographer with Gable to enlist with him and accompany Gable through training. Devastated over his wife’s death, Gable joined the USAF and flew as an air gunner in B-17 “Flying Fortresses” in Europe, which took him away from his film career for three years. After Gable's enlistment General Henry "Hap" Arnold approached Gable with a special assignment. Arnold wanted Gable to make a recruitment film for aerial gunners. Gable accepted the assignment and started making the film during combat missions he was flying out of England. By the time the footage was ready to be put together though, the recruitment problems they had for aerial gunners had already been solved. A little known fact is that during World War II, Adolf Hitler was fascinated by Gable that he offered a reward for anyone who could bring Gable to him unharmed. After the war in 1949, he married Silvia Ashley, divorced in 1952, and married a former sweetheart, Kathleen Spreckles (a.k.a., Kay Williams) in 1955. 18
Gable’s contract with MGM lasted 23 years. But at one point he refused an assignment and the studio punished him by loaning him out to (at the time “low-rent”) Columbia Pictures. Columbia put him in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, which earned him his Best Actor Oscar. Needless to say, MGM welcomed him back. The very next year, he starred in Call of the Wild with Loretta Young. His affair with Ms. Young resulted in the birth of a daughter, Judy Lewis, who later gave him a granddaughter, Maria. Clark continued with substantial roles at MGM, including his notable roles as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. In 1960, Gable's wife Kay discovered that she was expecting their first child. But in November 1960, while completing filming on The Misfits, Gable suffered a heart attack and died on November 16, 1960. Gable was buried shortly afterwards in the shrine that he had built for Carole Lombard and her mother, at Forest Lawn Cemetery. In March 1961, Kay Gable gave birth to a boy, whom she named John Clark Gable after his father. Gable is considered one of the most consistent box-office performers of all time. He appeared on Quigley Publishing's annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll 16 times. He was named the seventh - greatest male star of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute. He was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960, and his star is located in front of 1608 Vine Street. This article has been assembled from various sources for the famous freemasons section of the magazine, the main ones being 18th District Light Magazine and Today in Masonic History. To whom our grateful thanks go. Ed.
Rays of Masonry “What Masonry must Preserve” It is well to pause at times and ask ourselves the question: "Whence arises my love for Freemasonry?" Does my enthusiasm arise from the devotion to a name, an institution, or does it come from the desire to understand the great principles and teachings, truths which stand today as they have stood since creation? Institutions have grown big and powerful only to lose sight of their original purposes. Numerical values have been the goal of these institutions; they have branched out in their various ramifications and have become arrogant because of that power figured in numbers. Their political influence far exceeds their spiritual influence. The most heinous crimes have been committed by religious zealots. The history of persecutions throughout the ages is the story of religious intolerance. The design of Masonry is to develop individuality, individual thought, so that men may concentrate on the substance and not the shadow. The work of Masonry is to preserve, not cold edicts, not idle claims to infallibility, but those things which insure to posterity rights that are God-given, and which can only be preserved in the hearts of all mankind. Masonry is the agency for the preservation of all that is worthy to be preserved. If principles are preserved the agency need not be concerned about its place in the future.
Dewey Wollstein 1953.
"Of course," agreed the Yearling Brother. "But it seems to me we ought to do more big things." "Such as putting a few more brethren in the Home?" smiled the Old Past Master. "Well, of course, we can't put a man in the Home who doesn't need or want to go there," answered the Yearling Brother. "How about buying some coal for your family, then?" "Me? Why, man, I am no object for charity...."
The Charity Fund "I've been going over the lodge records," said the Yearling Brother to the Old Past Master in the corner, "and I am plumb discouraged." "Why, the lodge records ought not to discourage you," smiled the Old Past Master. "Seems to me we have a right nice lodge record; books all straight, money in the bank, charity fund growing, and everything." "That's the trouble...charity fund growing," answered the Yearling Brother. "It doesn't seem to me we do enough to justify ourselves or our existence. We have one brother in the Home. We are putting one young man through school, and we are buying three widows coal and paying one girl's bills out west so she can recover from threatened tuberculosis. And that's all. And we are a great big lodge." "Well, wait a minute," said the Old Past Master. "When you say "all" you mean all the big things. Of course, we spend some money all the time for immediate relief...
"Well, do you know any brother of this lodge, or any relative of any brother of this lodge, who needs coal?" "Er....no, I don't. But there must be such. We ought to take care of them." "Well, why don't you go and hunt them up!" "How can I hunt them up?" defended the Yearling Brother. "If they don't tell me, how would I know?" "Exactly. And if they don't tell the lodge they need coal the possibilities are they don't need it." "Now let me clarify your mind a little. You evidently have the impression, which so many people have, that the Masonic order is founded and conducted entirely for charity, for relief and assistance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Masonry is not an organization conducted for charitable purposes. It is not a mutual benefit association. Men are not permitted to join a lodge with the idea that they can get help from it. There are several very good Orders, whose insurance and relief and benefits are the principle things to be considered. A man who wants that sort of insurance should join one of them. But Masonry is devoted to teaching, not to helping with material aid. True, we do help; for we practice, as we teach, brotherhood. But we are not an organization for that purpose. 20
"If you have a blood brother, you don't expect to support him. You don't expect him to regard his blood relationship as a reason why he should sponge on you. You don't expect him to be continually asking for charity. If he has hard luck, or gets sick or is down and out, you put your shoulder to his wheel and push for the two of you. So do Masonic brethren, when one of their own gets in a hard case. But Masonry can choose her brethren, which the blood brother cannot do. Consequently, we aim to take into the order only men who will be pushers and not pushees. "You think we ought to do more than we do. I tell you we are doing all there is to do. We are an upright, self-respecting, selfsupporting lot. We have a fine membership. We have picked and chosen wisely. Only a few of us have fallen by the wayside. Those few we do our whole duty by. The reason we don't do more is that there is no more do. The reason the charity fund grows is because we are wise enough to get only those members who won't need to use it." "But," demanded the Yearling Brother. "If you carry the argument to its logical conclusion, the best lodge would be the lodge which had no indigents, and the charity fund of which would have no need for existence." "Surely, the best lodge is the lodge with the best membership, of course. But if it has no need to use charity among its own members, there are always ways to use the funds for others. We contribute our share to the Home, for instance, whether we have a guest there or not. And we will forever, and when Brother Wells dies, we will be paying our pro rata for the brethren of other lodges, just as they now pay something towards our brother. 21
"The great objective of Masonry is to teach. It teaches good men to become better men. It teaches the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It teaches the need of knowledge and the need of virtue. It teaches men to circumscribe their passions. It teaches toleration and uprightness and character. Its great end is to make men better men, and thus the world a better place in which to live. If we did nothing but charity, if all its efforts and all its funds went to charity, these great ends could not be so well accomplished. Masonry is charitable and its hand is behind all the fallen brethren, but it tries to pick brethren who will not fall, knowing that the more men who stand on their own feet, the more there will be to help those who do stumble, and the better it can teach its great lessons. "Don't get off on the wrong foot, brother. This lodge does all it should do, all it can do, all it ought to do. No real appeal for help ever went unheard within its doors. And our resources would be behind that charity fund if it needed it. But thank the Great Architect, that we don't need to do more, that enough men in this lodge have learned the lesson of life as well as of Masonry, are discriminating in the selection of brethren who will help the lodge teach, rather than those who will help it become but a refuge of those who want help." "What I need," confessed the Yearling Brother, "is some one to talk sense to me." "What you need," countered the Old Past Master, "is experience; and a few years in Masonry. Time will give you both." This is the tenth article in this our regular feature, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Old Past Master,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
You and the Image You Project Almost all the candidates I have interviewed for freemasonry - when asked why they wished to become a Freemason, give one of the reasons - "TO BECOME A BETTER PERSON". The chances are you also gave that as a reason. Now that time has past, I pose the question to you as a Freemason. "Why did you join Freemasonry" and “What image are you projecting?” A difficult question one we sometimes don’t give enough though to. If I were to ask you to sit and with a pencil and paper describe the image you project. What would you say about yourself? In other words, how do you want others to see you? THE IMAGE YOU PROJECT IS YOUR LEGACY – WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY? Most of us would like it to be said, 'He is a good guy, a good friend, and a good father/grandfather. He makes a difference. “He lives his life well” etc. The phrase “lives life well” what does that mean? To some it may mean that you have achieved certain objectives; to others, it may mean that you are following certain moral or ethical imperatives in your life, or that you van afford to take your family on holidays. On the other hand is it possible that you are projecting an image similar to Ebenezer Scrooge's in the classic tale, "A Christmas Carol?" What would be your reaction if you were to get a glimpse of your destiny? How do you want people to think of you? So,
regardless of your religious or faith-based orientation, there is an important life lesson to be taken from this Dickens story. In contemplating your image you should take a step back hypothetically and ask. How do I live? What have I done for others or to others? How am I able to decide right from wrong? What am I living for? Wealth? Power? Service? Longevity? Reason? Love? Faith? Family? God? Virtue? Happiness? Fulfilment? Comfort? Contentment? Integrity? These are taxing questions but for a freemason concerned about his image this should not be a difficult task, more especially if we are living our life according to the core principals and tenets of Freemasonry the most important of which is contained in the charge to a newly invested Entered Apprentice. As a Freemason, you were charged to seriously contemplate the VSL and to regulate your life by the Divine precepts it contains. A tall order the VSL is a thick book and gives us many lessons. Theses can all be summed up however in the short phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” The Charge further goes on instructing us to live our life practicing the four Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice. “LET PRUDENCE DIRECT YOU; TEMPERANCE CHASTEN YOU; FORTITUDE SUPPORT YOU; AND JUSTICE BE THE GUIDE OF ALL YOUR ACTIONS”. The words mean naught but prose unless you really appreciate their meaning and live them. If you were to apply more modern names you may refer to them as Wisdom, Moderation: Courage, and Justice, The Cardinal Virtues are not the sole property of 22
Freemasonry. They are ascribed to Plato the Greek Philosopher around the century 400BC and also included in the writings of Aristotle. They were later incorporated into Christian doctrine by the Catholic Church and became the basis for Christian teaching. They were only incorporated into Masonic ritual around 1750, although you will be able to deduce from The Regius Poem (1390) the oldest Masonic Documents does not specifically name the Cardinal Virtues but adherence to the very high principals is clear. Perhaps you are already living what can be described as a Masonic life without having to reflect on Masonic ritual, taking your inspiration from other sources. This is great and will no doubt assist you with the task at hand of writing about ourselves. The Cardinal Virtues provide us with the yardstick we require “LET PRUDENCE DIRECT YOU, TEMPERANCE CHASTEN YOU FORTITUDE SUPPORT YOU AND JUSTICE BE YOUR GUIDE”. Sounds like some real good advice – So now determine how you measure up. In contemplating the Cardinal Virtues we need to apply some deep philosophy, so here goes. Prudence: A fancy word for having common sense/being careful. Someone who thinks things through. “What is the best way for me to do the right thing?” Prudence means to make the right decisions and then to act. It teaches us to regulate our lives and actions agreeably and of reasonably. The difficult part about this, is that sometimes, we may not know until it’s too late. We should always consider all situations, 23
actions, or words spoken before hand. A prudent person learns from his mistakes. We’ve all found ourselves at one time or another saying something like, “I wish I hadn’t”, or “with hindsight I would have….” It is this realisation that gives us the insight to know for the future what the prudent course of action should be. An important element of prudence is the willingness to seek the advice of other wise or prudent people. As an aside, for our Lodges, prudence is of the utmost importance. We must be especially prudent on proposing, scrutinising and balloting for new members, because if we are not, the results may be undesired, and irreversible. Temperance: Temperance is the virtue of moderation and self-control especially in indulgence in pleasures Temperance is the direct opposite of the two deadly sins gluttony and lust. The chief violations against temperance are drunkenness and impurity. Put simply temperance is about 'moderation' and 'self-control'. Exercising temperance places conditions upon our habits and passions. You have heard the saying “to tame the passions”. It frees the mind from the allurements of vice.. When we think of temperance more often than not we associate this with the consumption of alcohol but the lesson applies to us in many different areas of our lives, including tempering our language, our boastfulness our rudeness. The temperate person asks himself how does the use of this good thing whether it be food, drink, sport, sex, study, music, company, properly express my true dignity as a rational human being?
Temperance then is the virtue which enables us to control what has traditionally been called the Lustful appetite, our desire for food, drink and sex. Basically there is nothing wrong with these things but they can become crutches or escapes from our human and every day responsibilities and this is when they need to be tempered. Temperance enables us to moderate and control these desires. Fortitude: is something pleasure seekers don't aspire to. They lack fortitude. Instead they just drift through life without wanting anything better they moan and groan when there is work to be done. Fortitude really is that noble and steadfast purpose of mind whereby we are enabled to undergo any pain, peril, or danger, when prudently deemed expedient. Put more simply, fortitude is courage. However, as Freemasons, it is be more in the line of moral fortitude, or moral courage that we use as a beacon. As Freemasons we must have the courage to act rightly in the face of opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement. Fortitude describes a habit of steering a middle path between foolhardiness and cowardice. Justice: can be defined as the power or habit whereby one person renders to another that which is his rightful due. For human beings justice is perhaps the most difficult of the virtues, since it is the attitude of mind and heart which is constantly looking towards the goods or possessions of others. Justice is generally understood to mean what is right, fair, appropriate, and deserved. It requires us to render to every man his just due without distinction. Justice teaches us not to take that which is not rightly ours. It also means settling our debts both to our debtors and society.
In the Old Testament Justice was seen as an “EYE FOR AN EYE” Today justice is a tempered action. Justice is achieved when an unjust act is redressed and the victim feels whole again. We often hear it referred to as closure Justice also means an offender is held accountable for his behaviour. If an injustice is committed it is quite acceptable to seek restitution or compensation but not seek vengeance in such a way as to harm the other party. Justice also takes on a whole new meaning As a Freemason you were charged when you entered the Order “to be exemplary in the discharge of your civil duties, by never proposing or countenancing anything which may disturb the peace and good order of society; by paying obedience to the laws of the State in which you reside……. and ever loosing sight of the allegiance you owe to the Sovereign of your native land”. That is Justice Perhaps you are starting to get the picture. How do you measure up on the PRUDENCE / TEMPERANCE / FORTITUDE / JUSTICE scale? These are the starting points to the development of your legacy and will determine how others see you. Your legacy is not only something that you will leave behind. Your legacy is something you build every day you live. Listen to this poem I came across while researching this paper (I don’t know the author) I don't want to be remembered as the guy who was good or bad at sports; The guy who was physically strong or weak;
The guy who was good or bad looking; The guy who was talented at one thing but definitely not in another; The guy who was smart or dumb or even worse, average. I want to remembered for the love that I gave; For the friendships that I made; For the caring and compassion that I showed towards others; For the happiness that never seemed to go away Which I shared with every person that I possibly could; And for the faith and hope that never died inside... A Masonic Essay By Wor. Bro Clive Herron Marine Lodge No. 627 IC, Durban South Africa
PROMPTUS “The next word please!” Searching through the Masonic references material for Prompting Instruction the only information that seems to be available is noted in the book titled ―Meeting The Challenge- page 85, item 7 which states ― “It is not in good taste to prompt, unless specifically asked for assistance by a brother. The wise Master will name a brother to be official prompter, and will announce the fact to the Lodge.” Such limited information leads one to wonder about the promoter’s present monitoring techniques in regards to the rituals in Masonry. If you consider the situation of prompting the anxious or apprehensive person (performer) who is probably performing for the first time, this could be a bit of an 25
experience for the prompter. As the performer is doing his work, an unexpected hesitation followed by a panic appearance and a frozen stance can be troublesome, as the performer‘s mind seems to be in a complete blank stage for some seconds, but he usually struggles out of it and humbly progresses on. Occasionally, this occurrence happens when the prompter least expects it; consequently, many members will witness the prompter frantically looking in his book, trying to locate the appropriate words or phrase to assist the struggling performer. Naturally, in these situations one can hear a high level of whispering, as many brothers are anxious to help the performer. Many confident performers, with considerable practice in recital work, may experience an unexplained stoppage in their performance and a word or phrase from the prompter is more often than not accepted with grace. And there are others within this group who simply on their own volition insert words, phrases or sentences when the need arises thus maintaining the rhythm and flow of the recital. Unfortunately, there is that stubborn or contrary performer, who when mentally searching for that word, becomes vexed and occasionally stammers and might ever be incoherent when the prompter tries to assist him. An extra-ordinary recital was recently witnessed at a Second Degree ceremony. The person (performer) giving the Charge in this Degree was reciting it with grammatical precision accompanied with a polished voice. This recital, which was captivating the attendees, caught everyone off guard when about midway through, he suddenly stopped and turned slightly towards the prompter, and said “the next word please”. When the word was announced by the prompter, he continued to recite with the
same precision and command though to the end of the Second Degree‘s Charge. Later in the evening, the idea that this break was planned became a haunting theme. When one reviews the occurrence, this request simply shifted everyone‘s attention to the prompter. This shift may have purposely allowed the performer for a few seconds to do whatever he wished to do. Succinctly, success was the outcome for this artifice. These are just a sampling of the trials witnessed by a prompter. However, the ideal scenario would be to have all the performers do their recitals with a resonant voice that is commanded with style and grace− without the assistance of a prompter. Unfortunately, having witnessed all sorts of intriguing exchanges between performers and the prompters, one might be convinced that the prompter is the keystone for the ritual ceremonies. CONSIDERATIONS: Changing the traditional concepts of the prompter towards the idea of him being the keystone for the ceremonies would no doubt pose problems but could be interesting. Maybe some of the following comments might assist in altering a portion of the present tradition. Rehearsal: The custom has been to hold rehearsals that dealt primarily with the performers and are held as frequently as necessary. The suggestion here would be to have the performers practice with the prompter in simulating sudden stoppages and clearly stating to the prompter ―the next word please”. The purpose is to eliminate doubts and create a relaxed style, during these ceremonies, when dealing with the prompter. Setting Plan: A performer‘s setting-plan should be developed. If set up properly the staging continuity would be effective as the
performers would be able to shorten the time between recitals. This approach would reduce time loss and enhance rhythm or flow of the ceremony. Extra Prompters: Another consideration for reducing the prompter voice projection, would be the appointment of a second prompter who would be seated at the opposite end of the Lodge Room and he could easily handle any prompting that may be needed at that portion of the Lodge Room. Candidate Influencing: What the candidate hears and observes during the ceremony is important. The words will have a small impact; however, the voice and voice quality will have a pronounced impression; meanwhile, the performer‘s physiology (posture, breathing patterns, facial expressions, hand and foot motion, and eye contact) stays with the candidate for long time. Listening to a smooth and polite exchange between the performer and the prompter can have a positive or marginal outcome; whereas, an awkward exchange may raise doubts about future participation. (With the average age increasing within Masonry, there are many Masons who feel that they cannot do the recital work as well as they could some years ago. Thus, they are reluctant to participate in these ceremonies. Many circumstances are attributed to this reluctance; often it is declining health such as, poor hearing or poor memory.) Mobile Prompters: As for that performer who has hearing difficulties the possible solution would be to have the second prompter located at the opposite end of the Lodge Room and when the performer with hearing difficulty is about to start his recital then this prompter could easily move to a 26
position immediately behind the candidate and be ready to assist the performer if needed. The Challenge: The reported successes of dementia sufferers in California should be of interest to Masonry, as this success was attributed to participation in memory work classes. Participating seems to delay the disease‘s development. Maybe! Masonic ceremonial work can present similar effects. If so, all senior members should be encouraged to take part in their Lodge‘s ceremonies. Senior Ceremonial Team (SCT): The idea of creating a Senior Ceremonial Team within the Lodge warrants consideration. As the average age in Masonry is creeping upwards, it is recognized that many of the senior members in the Lodge are stepping back from ceremonial work because they fear that their memory is not as good as it used to be. This questionable fear can be easily dispelled, if the verbal interplay between the performer and the prompter was encouraged. This interplay could be developed further with a senior group because some unusual techniques would have to be produced in order to support some of the handicapped members. The basic criteria for a senior group could be that they: must be no younger than seventy years and are willing to co-operate with the prompter(s). SUMMARY: Finally, as prompters mean different tasks to different people, they are subject to the ravages of time in the form of slow erosions due possibly to the poor interest and limited guidance. An aimless drift serves neither the performer nor the prompter. The intention of this article is to stimulate the brethren to consider the possible shift from the remain − intact − 27
prompting − approach towards examining and trying a new prompting-approach. The Lodge might create a Prompter’s team, composed of at least two prompters, preferably four. Furthermore, there is no prompting documentation that might suggest the ‘rightway’. Presently, the appointment is nebulous and the style is anticipating the situation and responding accordingly. This style determines whether the interaction between the prompter and the performer is effective or ineffective. Naturally, the object within any Lodge should be a cooperative and sound understanding of the many Performer-Prompter situations. Post Script: Prompt – to whisper to (a speaker) words which he has forgotten/to suggest words to a hesitating speaker. Prompt – To assist (one acting or reciting) by suggesting or saying the next words of something forgotten or imperfectly learned The word for prompting of a speaker is prompter’. Article by Cecil M. Clark, Secretary of Mount Olivet Lodge, No. 300 GRC, Thorndale.. This is a new Regular feature of articles under the title, “Reflections.” Articles from all around the world from a variety of Constitutions and authors and adapted to use in SRA76
Can we wish a happy new year to all our readers all over the World.
DID YOU KNOW? Question: We frequently refer in the ritual to the Landmarks of the Order, yet they are nowhere specified or listed. What constitutes a Masonic Landmark, and can you furnish a list of them? Answer: This is one of the most debatable subjects in Masonry and it gives rise to very wide differences of opinion. Any good dictionary will define a 'Landmark', but Masonically the term requires a stricter definition. The best writers on the subject are unanimous on two essential points: (a) A landmark must have existed from the 'time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary'. (b) A landmark is an element in the form or essence of the Society of such importance that Freemasonry would no longer be Freemasonry if it were removed. If these two qualifications are used strictly to test whether certain practices, systems, principles, or regulations can be admitted as land-marks it will be found that there are in fact very few items that will pass this rigid test. Nevertheless the tendency, even among prominent writers who try to compile lists of landmarks, seems to be to incorporate items which really come under the heading of regulations, or customs, or principles, and tentative lists of landmarks range from five to fifty separate items. Without the least desire to be dogmatic, the following is an attempt to compile a list of acceptable landmarks that would conform to the two-point test:
1. That a Mason professes a belief in God (the Supreme Being), the G.A.O.T.U. 2. That the V.S.L. is an essential and indispensable part of the Lodge, to be open in full view when the Brethren are at labour. 3. That a Mason must be male, free-born, and of mature age. 4. That a Mason, by his tenure, owes allegiance to the Sovereign and to the Craft. 5. That a Mason believes in the immortality of the soul. The first four items listed above are derived directly from the Old Charges, which date back to c.1390 and are the oldest documents in the world belonging to the Craft. The last item in the list, 'immortality', is implicit in the religious beliefs of that period. English Masons may be interested to know that many Grand Lodges overseas have adopted specific codes of landmarks, usually printed as preambles to their Constitutions, and the brief list above is in close accord (though not identical) with the code adopted by some Grand Lodges. One of the most interesting lists was drawn up by Albert Mackey, a great American student (1807-1881). Although he based his selection on the two essential points noted above, quoting them almost word for word, his list ran to twenty-five items, most of which could never have passed as landmarks if he had applied his own test. Limitations of space do not permit a detailed analysis and only a few of Mackey's landmarks are examined here, with comments to illustrate the pitfalls. Mackey's No. 1. 'The modes of recognition. They admit of no variation . . .' These cannot be landmarks. Several of the most important of them did not make their 28
appearance in the Craft until the 18th century.
however, the mode of congregation for Lodge purposes is governed by regulations.
Mackey's No. 2. 'The division of symbolic Masonry into three degrees . .' The trigradal system did not emerge until some time between 1711 and 1725. Prior to this period there is no evidence of anything more than two degrees.
Mackey's No. 10. The government of the Craft in a (Lodge) by a Master and two Wardens . . .' Another doubtful landmark. There was a time when the Lodge was governed by the Master and one Warden.
Mackey's No. 3. 'The legend of the Third Degree . . .' The earliest evidence of this legend concerns Noah, not Hiram Abif. There is good evidence of the F.P.O.F., in 1696, as a part of the then second degree (for Master or fellow-craft) and the legend in one of its early forms may have been in existence at that time, but there is no evidence of it in the ritual until 1726. Mackey's No. 4. 'The government of the Fraternity by a presiding Officer called a Grand Master who is elected . . .' The first Grand Lodge was founded in 1717. There was no Grand Master of Masons before that time. This item is a very proper regulation in the Book of Constitutions, but it cannot be a landmark.
Several of Mackey's landmarks deal with the rights of individual Masons, rights which are all governed nowadays by regulations and some of them are certainly not of time immemorial status. Of course it is quite impossible to discuss such a wide-ranging subject within an article of a 1000 words or so, and these brief notes are designed mainly to open up the subject and to point the way to discussion. The Questions and answers from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Did you Knowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; were collected from various constitutions across the world, and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.
Mackey's Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8. Various prerogatives of the Grand Master, but all of them are, in fact, privileges vested in him by the Grand Lodge over which he presides. They are regulations, or customs, not landmarks. Mackey's No. 9. 'The necessity of Masons to congregate in Lodges . . .' This extremely interesting item may well be a landmark, but if we try to go back to 'time immemorial' practice, the operative masons seem to have had the right to congregate for Lodge purposes when any five or six of them came together anywhere. Nowadays, 29
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies: But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis.
THE BACK PAGE Tavish the Haggis A long, long time ago, well in fact, it was just over three hundred years ago, a herd of Haggis lived on a wild and windy mountain side in the northern part of Scotland. Now for you who don’t know, a Haggis is one of the strangest creatures that there is. It is even stranger than the Duckbilled platypus and that is a very strange creature indeed. A Haggis has small legs that are longer on one side of its body than the other. This is so it can stand on the steep sides of a mountain without falling off. Its body is round and fat and its tail is curly. It is quite wild looking and has long ears that are covered in thick hair and it is the size of a cat. But the strangest thing about the Haggis is that it can change colour. Very few other creatures can do this and probably the best known one is the Chameleon but they don’t live in Scotland. When a Haggis gets cold it goes blue and living in Scotland this is not unusual. If it gets angry it turns bright red. It turns purple with rage and green with envy and so on. But the Haggises have a very big problem. They are delicious to eat. People would pay a lot of money for a Haggis and they were easy to catch. All the hunters had to do was walk around the mountains shouting rude things about Haggis and make them angry. As soon as this happened the Haggis would turn bright red with anger and the hunter would see it and shoot it with an arrow. So it is not surprising that by the time this story takes place the Haggis were on the verge of extinction. By now their were only two herds, or to give them the proper name, Clans of Haggis, left in the whole world and their total number was forty eight. They were moving from mountain to mountain all the time to try to avoid the hunters but they knew that time was running out for them. The smallest member of one of the Haggis clans was called Tavish and he was also the cleverest. Tavish had a secret ambition; he wanted to be a famous poet. Tavish loved poetry and would wander around the mountain side thinking up poems all day. Unfortunately, when he told them to the other Haggis he soon found out that they were not poetry lovers and thought it was a complete waste of time. ‘Away ye go,’ they would say as Tavish started to recite his latest poem. ‘Do ye na understand that there are hunters about who want to kill us? Never mind the stupid poems, ye 30
should be keeping your eyes peeled and be on the look out for them. Not thinking up poems. There are only the two clans left and when we’re gone there’s nae more Haggis left in the world.’ Tavish knew this was all true. The trouble was the poor Haggis had no defence against the men who hunted them. They were too slow to run away and too small to fight. As soon as they were made angry they turned red and were easily seen. In fact they all knew it was only a matter of time before they were all killed and eaten. And so it came about that on one bleak and misty morning, the clans of Haggis were grazing on the mountainside when the alarm cry went up. ‘Watch out, there’s a hunter coming this way,’ shouted the lookout. Poor Tavish, in his panic to get away he ran straight into a thick patch of heather and got his leg stuck in the branches. He was trapped. As he tried to free himself the heather bush shook more and more and attracted the man’s attention. Tavish froze as he watched the man come nearer and nearer until finally he was next to him. The man bent down and with a little pulling, freed Tavish and picked him up. ‘Hello wee man,’ he said, ‘ye seem tae have got your self in a wee bit of trouble there. Don’t worry; I’m nay going tae hurt you.’ He gently put Tavish down and took an oat biscuit out of his sporran and gave it to him. ‘Thank you,’ said Tavish as he gobbled up the biscuit. The man sat down next to Tavish. ‘So its true then,’ he said, ‘the Haggis can understand humans.’ ‘Oh aye,’ said Tavish, ‘but were all afraid of ye, because most of ye want tae kill us and eat us, that’s why there’s nae many of us left.’ ‘That’s true enough,’ said the man,’ but don’t worry, I’m nae one of them. Your quite safe with me. By the way my names Rabbie, Rabbie Burns. I’m hoping tae be a poet one day but I’m no very good at it. That’s why I came up here, tae see if I couldn’y get some ideas. Not that a Haggis will know anything about poetry.’ ‘Oh, that’s where you are wrong, Mr. Burns,’ said Tavish. ‘I love poetry but I can’t read or write so I have to remember the poems that I think up.’ And so it was that the two poets sat for a long time chatting away and Tavish recited some of his poems to Rabbie. The first one was about a small mouse that Tavish had seen one day and began “Oh wee cowering, timorous beastie” When he had finished it Rabbie sat back. ‘That’s the finest poem I have ever heard,’ he said, ‘would ye mind if I use it?’ ‘Na problem,’ said Tavish, ‘I would love ye to, after all no one’s going tae listen to a poem by a Haggis and I’ve got a lot more if ye would like tae hear them.’ ‘Tell ye what wee Tavish. How about tomorrow I come back and we meet again. I could write them down so I don’t forget them.’ And that’s what they did. Every day Rabbie and Tavish would meet up and Rabbie would write down another poem that Tavish told him. One was all about some red roses and another about a man called Tam a’ Shanter, which is also the name of a hat worn in Scotland. 31
‘Do ye nae mind me putting my name to your poems?’ asked Rabbie ‘Not at all,’ said Tavish, ‘I just hope people enjoy them.’ The two poets continued to meet until Rabbie had quite a collection of poems. He had tried them out on a few people and they had liked them very much indeed. He had even written one himself called “Ode to a Haggis” which was about Tavish. But one day when Tavish went to meet Rabbie he saw he was running up the hill looking very worried indeed. ‘Tavish,’ he shouted, ‘ye and your two clans are in great danger. I have just heard that tomorrow there is to be a huge Haggis hunt, with a hundred pieces of silver to the hunter who kills the most Haggis.’ Tavish started to cry, he knew that the clans could not get far away enough in time and that they would all be caught. ‘No, no,' said Rabbie, ‘don’t cry wee Tavish, perhaps I can help ye, after all ye have been so good tae me.’ ‘But what can ye do Rabbie?’ asked Tavish. ‘There’s forty eight of us left, ye can’t take us all home with ye, can ye?’ Rabbie sat down thinking for a while then looked at Tavish. ‘Tavish,’ he said slowly, ‘is it true that ye can change colour like those chameleon things?’ ‘Aye that’s right enough but what help is that tae us? That’s how we get caught.’ ‘Well’ said Rabbie, ‘I've an idea. I want ye tae go over next tae that heather bush and see if ye can change yourself to the same colours as the bush.’ Tavish did as Rabbie had asked him and after a few attempts he got it right. He was exactly the same colours as the bush and could not be seen. ‘Right,’ said Rabbie, ‘away ye go and tell all the others tae learn how tae do the same, then the hunters will no be able tae see ye.’ By the next morning the Haggises had practiced so hard that they could match anywhere they were, so well they could not be seen, even if they were angry or cold. That day over one hundred hunters came for the Haggis hunt and not a single Haggis was even seen let alone caught. From that day onwards no human has ever seen a live Haggis, even though there are now thousands roaming the mountains of Scotland. So it goes to show if you help people out, when you need it most, they will help you back. Rabbie Burns got his wish and with the help of some of Tavish’s poems went on to be the most famous Scottish poet of all time. Every year all round the world, he is remembered on ‘Burns Night’ when there is feasting and drinking as well as the reciting of the poems. But every Burns night begins with a Haggis being brought in to the sound of the bagpipes. Of course its no a real Haggis, just something the cooks make up to look like one, because all the real Haggis are safe and well grazing on the heather in the mountains of Scotland, all thanks to Rabbie Burns. Until next month, Keep the faith! Story sourced from storylandtime.com The Editor 32