Many things have been written about Freemasonry in countless books and in papers to be delivered to Masonic research associations, but how many of us know that there is wealth of beautiful material about Freemasonry written in the form of poems?
Some of the world’s greatest men of letters who were Freemasons themselves, have written some wonderful poems. Let’s take Rudyard Kipling and Robbie Burns as just two examples, yet equally some less well known Masons have embodied the teachings and philosophy of Freemasonry in their poems and we will take a look at these too.
There will be one or two poems appearing in this feature every month chosen by our ‘Masonic Poet Laureate’, Fred Lomax and we hope you enjoy reading them.
This month we have a poem by a prolific writer, American Mason, Bro Alexander Pope
By Alexander Pope
Learn, then, what MORALS CRITICS ought to show,
For ‘is but half a Judge’s task to know.
‘Tis not enough , taste, judgement, learning join;
In all you speak, let truth and candour shine;
That not alone what to your sense is due
All may; but seek your friendship too.
Be silent always, when you doubt your sense;
And speak, tho’ sure, with seeming diffidence;
Some positive, persisting fops we know,
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so;
Be you, with pleasure own your errors past,
And make each day a critique of the last’
‘Tis not enough your counsel still be true;
Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do;
Men must be taught is if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
Without good breeding, truth is disapprov’d;
That only makes superior sense belov’d.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
For the worst avarice is that of sense.
With mean complaisance ne’er betray your trust,
Nor to be so civil as to prove unjust.
Fear not the anger of the wise to raise.
Those who best can bear reproof , who can merit praise.