TIES & VOWS POEM

                      

                 ROB MORRIS        JOSEPH SAMUEL MURROW  BENJ. L. HADLEY


The poem titled "On Yonder Book" or more commonly called a Mason's "Ties and Vows" is a compilation of work from three separate authors.  During 1884 Rob Morris, the founder of the Order of the Eastern Star and author of that organizations' Esoteric work, published his book of masonic poems that included the ode.....  "On Yonder Book that oath I took and will I break it? Never!  But stand by this, and this, and this, for ever and for ever."

Around 1890 Joseph Samuel Murrow (1835-1929) who was a Baptist missionary in the Indian Territory and would serve as the 2nd Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory which later became the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, took the words of Rob Morris and incorporated into his four verse poem as the chorus.  This poem known as a masons Ties and Vows was made a part of the Master Masons' charge and is still practiced today in Oklahoma as well as other Grand Lodge jurisdictions as a part of the closing charge in the 3rd degree.  It was also given as a charge in the Texas lodges as well until it was deleted by the Grand Lodge of Texas in the early 1900s.

During 1942 Benjamin L. Hadley took the poem and added 3 additional verses and the work was penned as, On Yonder Book.  

While the Grand Lodge of Texas abandoned the poem, many subordinate lodges continued to give the ode apart from the Masters degree.  Neches Lodge No. 535, A. F. & A. M. gave the poem as late as 1937 before also abandoning it.  On September 27, 1988 at the conclusion of two master degrees in Palestine Lodge No. 31, A. F. & A. M., affiliated Past Master Charles L. Barnhill revived the practice by delivering the Ties and Vows from the Oklahoma Masonic Murrow Monitor.

Over the next 6 years "Charlie" continued, what became a tradition in Palestine Lodge, last reciting the poem on December 13, 1994, when shortly thereafter he relocated to Crosby, Texas.  After 8 years in which the poem was not given, Brother Charles L. Steen restored the tradition by reciting the ode on January 14, 2003.  Since that time he has delivered this moving poem at the conclusion of the third degree. 

A  MASONS'  TIES  &  VOWS
In masons lodge with darken eyes and cable tow about me, 
I swore to hail all mysteries that masons keep and masons prize,
All brothers secrets whispered low, all words they speak, all things they
do, in mystic manner taught me.
On yonder book that oath I took will I break it, NEVER!
 But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.

I swore to answer and obey all summons sent me duly, 
By brothers hand or lodge astray, I swore that I would never stray,
From ancient laws and rules that bound 
Freemasons in the days renown,
But would observe them truly.
On yonder book that oath I took will I break it, NEVER!
But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.

I swore to help with generous care all those in sorrow hidden,
the brother on the darken square, the mourner with dishevel hair,
the orphan doomed alas to stray upon a cold and wintery day,
while tears gush forth unbidden.
On yonder book that oath I took will I break it, NEVER!
But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.

I swore to deal in honesty with each true heart around me,
that honor bright should ever be, unbroken bond twixt you and me,
no wrong, nor guilt, nor cruel fraud, should loose the noble cord,
by which my vows have bound me.
On yonder book that oath I took will I break it, NEVER!
But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.

I swore to guard the portals close of the masonic temple,
and purge the quarries or their dross,
and build the mystic walls, those of bodies pure,
and honest hearts, and minds mature in mortal art,
by precept and example.
On yonder book that oath I took will I break it, NEVER!
But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.

I swore the chastity to shield, of women true and tender,
A masons widow, wife or child,
his mother, sister undefiled,
each pure and innocent, whose love makes masons home,
like that above, I AM the sworn defender.
On yonder book that oath I took will I break it, NEVER!
But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.

My brother these are your vows, be they your every care,
and such aid be given in answer to your every prayer,
in all that you may ever do and dare,
God's gracious laws enjoy
So when evening shades decline, you may be found in heaven.
On yonder book that oath YOU took and you should break it NEVER!
But stand by this, and this, and this, forever and ever.       

              
    
 
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