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'Twas in Damascus on an April day
In the bazars where pilgrims congregate
I met an aged Mason on his head
The turban of Mohammed, large and green
In his right hand the mystic almond rod,
Such as wise Jacob bore, and Moses bore
When the Red Sea was cleft beneath his hand.
Mustapha was his name tall, gaunt and gray,
Yet his black eye, undimmed, flashed into mine
And his strong hand exchanged the mystic grip
With sinewy force.
He was my senior by some forty years,
And sixty years a Mason. He had thought
More deeply than the most of the intent
Of Solomon's wise imagery so quaint and old,
And how it makes its impress on the soul.
I asked him which of all these emblems wise
That glorify our Trestle Board, is best?
Which gives divinest light? Which points to us
Most surely the Great Master of the Craft?
In quick reply, he laid that sinewy hand
Upon the Square. It is my favorite type,
One that in a thousand Lodges I have loved
To moralize upon the Trying Square.
He took it up, and with great reverence
Raised it toward the Throne.
By this, he said,
The Heaven of Heavens in perfect order fell,
When God took out the Master's implements
From His own chest, and built the universe!
By This the radiant Throne — by This the Courts
Of His own glory were constructed sure!
Earth and the stars were fashioned well by these,
The Gavel, Trowel, Level, Line and Rule
The Lodge Celestial by the Square alone!
This was the legend that the Arab told.
I partly do believe it, for I see
In this full angle and these perfect lines
What in no other working tool appears.
And noting that you choose this honored type
To give your Lodge a name, I charge you now,
Dear brethren, keep within it! Do your work,
Your praise, your counsels to the listening Craft,
And on your daily walk before the world,
Keep within the Square.
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