The Mother Lodge

A poem by Bro. RUDYARD KIPLING, LL.D.

published in The Treasury of Masonic Thought, Dundee 1924

There was Rundle, Station Master,
An’ Beazeley of the Rail
An’ ’Ackman, Commissariat,
An’ Donkin’ o’ the Jail;
An’ Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
Our Master twice was ’e,
With ’im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Eduljee.

Outside — “Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!”
Inside — “Brother,” an’ it doesn’t do no ’arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was Junior Deacon in my Mother Lodge out there!

We’d Bola Nath, Accountant,
An’ Saul the Aden Jew,
An’ Din Mohammed, Draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An’ Amir Sing the Sikh,
An’ Castro from the fittin’ sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We ’adn’t good regalia,
An’ our Lodge was old and bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An’ we kep’ ’em to a hair;
An’ lookin’ on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain’t such things as infidels,
Excep’, per’aps, it’s us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We’d all sit down and smoke,
(We dursn’t give no banquits,
Lest a Brother’s caste were broke),
An’ man on man got talkin’
Religion an’ the rest,
An’ every man comparin’
Of the God ’e knew the best.

So man on man got talkin’
An’ not a Brother stirred
Till mornin’ waked the parrots
An’ that dam’ brain-fever-bird.
We’d say ’twas ’ighly curious,
An’ we’d all ride ’ome to bed,
With Mo’ammed, God, an’ Shiva
Changin’ pickets in our ’ead.

Full oft on Guv’ment service
This rovin’ foot ’ath pressed,
An’ bore fraternal greetin’s
To the Lodges east an’ west,
Accordin’ as commanded
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother Lodge once more.

I wish that I might see them,
My Brethern black an’ brown,
With the trichies smellin’ pleasant
An’ the hog-darn1 passin’ down;
An’ the old khansamah2 snorin’
On the bottle-khana3 floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother Lodge once more.

Outside — “Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!”
Inside — “Brother,” an’ it doesn’t do no ’arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was Junior Deacon in my Mother Lodge out there!


[1] cigar-lighter
[2] Butler
[3] pantry


The chief need of Freemasonry is not to advance the moral standard of Freemasonry, but to bring the morals of Freemasons up to the moral standard of Freemasonry.

Tyler-Keystone, August 1923

You cannot tell how much religion there is in a church by the horse-power of the motors standing in front of it, any more than you can tell how good a Freemason is by the size of the badge he wears upon his lapel.

Tyler-Keystone, March 1923

 

 

         

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