Yearnings for the Orient

Before I go to death's dark shore
To meet the friends who've gone before,
I must survey that sacred earth
In which Freemasonry had birth.

I cannot lay this body down,
Until from snowy Lebanon
I trace the footsteps of that band,
Whose art ennobles every land.

I long to climb that sacred hill,
Once crowned with unexampled skill,
Where Hiram planned and Hiram wrought
Perfection of Masonic thought.

To sleep where wearied Jacob slept,
To glean where Ruth, the widow, wept;
To kneel at Lazarus' rocky tomb —
These are the charges I assume.

To stand by Jordan's rushing flood,
That once in meek submission stood;
To watch the stars' mysterious gleam,
Upon the plains of Bethlehem.

To scale the walls of Joppa's height,
And hear those solemn sounds by night,
Which from the waves below he hears
Who contemplates three thousand years.

To walk o'er Zeredatha's plain;
At Sinai's base to list in vain
For that long-silenced voice, that broke
The stillness when Jehovah spoke;

To search the quarries deep and vast, —
Dark caverns of the buried past,
Whence block and pillar fitly came —
This is the privilege I claim.

Since all those strangers passed away
Who hailed the Dedication Day,
No Mason's foot in search has trod
The Shore, the Plain, the Mount of God.

My foot shall tread them; and my eye ,
Though dim, those landmarks shall espy
Which from our fathers' lips we took,
Or gathered from God's holy book.

Around Moriah's walls I'll go;
Each sure foundation-stone I'll know;
And not a relic shall elude
My search through Sion's solitude.

Then home returned, I will rehearse
To you, in faithful prose and verse,
My journeyings through the Holy Land,
Where worked the first Masonic band.
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