A Song of Freemasonry

A Song of Freemasonry

From ‘Songs of religion and life’, 1876

John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)

GOD save me! at last the grim waste I have passed
Of a prickly scholastic theology,
And now in a region I float, where religion
To common sense owes no apology.

But pray don’t expect I shall found a new sect,
No pulpit on earth I’ve an eye to!
My new patent plan’s to be merely a man,
And as I was born live and die too!
Orthodox, heterodox,
Luther, and Laud, and Knox,
Squabbles of High Church and Low Church
“Tis my present plan
To be merely a MAN,
And laugh both at High Church and Low Church!


I looked and I wondered, I battled and blundered
With much metaphysical struggle,
With saintly desiring, and pious aspiring,
Till reason itself seemed a juggle.

And now the poor swimmer, with every vain glimmer
Of hope sank more deep than before, Sir!
Till I fell on this notion of healthy devotion,
That a man is a man, and no more, Sir!
Orthodox, heterodox,
Luther, and Laud, and Knox,
Squabbles of High Church and Low Church!
If no wisdom you see
In my masonry free,
Then go to the High or the Low Church!


‘Tis new, and ’tis old, to no Churchman ’tis sold,
This gospel all true hearts believe it,
And blessed are they, ‘mid the sons of the clay,
Who with hearty good welcome receive it.

O ! seek not a spell from the dark depths of hell,
Nor let not the bright starry host win you!
The gospel of God is at no bishop’s nod,
Orthodox, heterodox,
Luther, and Laud, and Knox,
Vain wisdom of High and of Low Church;
Though the cock on the steeple
Is gilt for the people,
And bells ring for High and for Low Church!


A poor Arab maid may with faith undismayed,
Her heart in the desert sustain, Sir!

And a Christian may tread on a poor brother’s head,
And all for most heathenish gain, Sir!
In Christian and Turk the deep Devil may lurk,
In Kaiser and Tartary Khan, Sir!
But I know a spell that will blast him to hell,
Tis to swear by the GOD that’s in MAN, Sir!
Orthodox, heterodox,
Luther, and Laud, and Knox,
Harsh dogmas of High Church and Low Church.
For what’s in a name
Tis smoke round the flame
To bemuddle both High Church and Low Church.


Of eternal decrees and election I can
Know as much and as little as you, Sir!
But that I ‘m a man who can purpose and plan,
Tis true, by the Powers, ’tis true, Sir!

And ’tis my intention, I modestly mention,
To cleave to my kin and my clan, Sir!
And do some small good to the brave brotherhood
That graces the title of man, Sir!
Orthodox, heterodox,
Luther, and Laud, and Knox,
Mere quibbles of High Church and Low Church!
Your wits run aground,
Or in misty profound,
You are swamped by the High and the Low Church!


My fancy bright weaves it, my firm faith believes it,
The time is not far, but is near, now!
When strong hearts with glee shall shake their wings free
From crotchets and whims that are dear now!

When every true man shall bless brother man
By Bible-law and by Koran, Sir!
And each true heart brim with free worship to Him
Whose image shines brightest in MAN, Sir!
Orthodox, heterodox,
Luther, and Laud, and Knox,
Vain squabbles of High Church and Low Church!
In God and in Man
I believe; but I can
Subscribe to sheer nonsense in no Church!

About the Author


Photo Credit: Elliott & Fry, Albumen Cabinet Card, 1870s.


John Stuart Blackie FRSE (28 July 1809 – 2 March 1895) was a Scottish scholar and man of letters. He was the brother of George Stodart Blackie.

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