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Perishing on the Rise

Old Jephtha Hoys had drilled his boys
With gavel, plumb and square, sir,
Till every craft a perfect shaft
Stood perpendicular, sir.
Each Friday night 'twas his delight
To call them to the hall, sir,
And catechise the willing boys,
Till each could cut and call, sir.

One evening late it was his fate,
In leaning back his chair, sir,
The window glass right through to pass,
And push the thing too far, sir
In fact, he fled, heels over head,
Clear down unto the ground, sir
With mighty noise old Jephtha Hoys
A broken neck had found, sir.

The neighbors there, with tender care,
Prepared him for the tomb, sir,
And on the way, a long array
Went out with grief and gloom, sir
Yet many said, with whispering dread,
No Mason here is seen, sir!
Strange to declare, not one was there,
To cast the mystic green, sir!

I'll tell you where those Masons were, -
Prepare for much surprise, sir,
When Jephtha Hoys forsook his boys,
He left them on the rise, sir!
The Brethren stood straight as they could,
Till he should bid them sit, sir
And as he's gone with no return,
Why, there they're standing yet, sir.

The Tyler bore, outside the door,
The pangs of cold and thirst, sir
The Wardens twain do still remain,
And will till they are dust, sir
The Deacons stand with rod in hand,
Not one will budge the least, sir
And, strange to own, each skeleton
Is facing to the East, sir.

Then be my task humbly to ask
Each Master this to read, sir,
And beg and pray to them, that they
The moral well may heed, sir
When calling up the mystic group,
To stand and catechise, sir,
Think of those boys of Jephtha Hoys,
Who perished on the rise, sir.
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