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Masonic Toasts

A festive board, or dinner, normally follows a lodge meeting. While fairly formal with speeches and toasts it is marked by the sound of friendly discussion, sometimes singing and plenty of fun and laughter.

On the subject of formal Masonic toasts the format of these vary with the lodge but there is always a toast to the Queen and to The Grand Master followed by others which vary according to the ceremony. For instance when there is a new initiate he is toasted and often responds. In some lodges they sing the Initiates song .
The Loving Cup
A very old custom, but which still takes place in some lodges, even with the passing of the snuff. This is a ceremony handed down through the ages and not necessarily limited to initiations..It represents sharing, coupled with protection, which helps to reinforce the ancient Masonic bond.
The Mason's Chain
The Mason's Chain again which is not practiced in all lodges is another old part of the Festive board  As part of the Initiation ceremony the Brethren form a continuous double chain by linking hands across the brother on each side.
Masonic songs
While the songs, and the number of them vary with each lodge most lodges sing the visitor’s song and one of the two versions of the masters song.

The visitor’s song
Brethren from the East and West.
Who have stood the Tyler’s Test,
You will find a welcome here,
Bright, Fraternal and sincere.

We salute the man of worth.
Whether high or low his birth,
Whatsoever be his lot
Rich or poor it matters not.

And when we have said adieu,
May our love remain with you,
And may we renew that love,
In a Grander Lodge Above

Chorus after each verse
Warm Masonic hearts to meet you,
Hands of fellowship to greet you,
May our welcome here today
Cheer each Brother on his way.

 

Masters song version 1
We have toasts in the Craft among others,
that especially thrill through the breast.
While singing in praise of our brothers,
who rightly rule over the rest.

The blood in our veins flows faster
as the toast is proposed loud and free
of our excellent Worshipful Master,
for a jolly good Mason is He.

Though we greet him with hearty ovation,
as a monarch o'er all he surveys,
we must help him on every occasion,
his banner Masonic to raise.

Our love and obedience requite him,
our zeal in the cause gives him bliss
and our harmonies ever delight him w
ith a chorus as friendly as this.

Here's a Health to our Worshipful Master
beloved of us all on the square,
let his name in the Craft
with all honours be quaft and
prosper the art everywhere

At the sound of his voice or his Gavel,
let smiling attention prevail.
None dreaming to cark or to cavil
but silently utter "All Hail".

May his year be a season of gladness,
His cup and his cupboard be full.
And our way to ward off care and sadness
is with him together to pull.

Chorus after each verse
Here's a Health to our Worshipful Master
beloved of us all on the square,
let his name in the Craft with all honours be quaft
and prosper the art everywhere

The Master's Song "Here's to his health..." is of mid-Victorian origin. It was first published under the title 'The man who is kind to another'. The composer of the music was Dr. John Morgan Bentley of Alexander Lodge No.993, and he dedicated it to the Masonic Brethren of his Lodge. :-
Masters song version 2
This world is so hard and so stony;
That if a man is to get through,
He’d need have the courage of Nelson,
And plenty of Job’s patience too.
But a man who is kind to another
And cheerfully helps him along,
God Bless such a man and a brother,
And here’s to his health in a song.
And here’s to his health, here’s to his health
And here’s to his health in a song.
.
This life is as cheerless as Winter,
To those who are cold in the heart;
but a man who is warm in his nature,
Bids Winter for ever depart
The ground that he treads on will blossom,
`Till beauty around him shall throng;
God Bless such a man and a brother,
And here’s to his health in a song.
And here’s to his health; here’s to his health
And here’s to his health in a song.

As clouds that in sunshine are open,
And silvered by light passing through;
So men who are generous in spirit,
Are blessed by the good deeds they do;
There’s nothing like helping another
For getting one’s own self along;
Who does this is truly a brother.
And here’s to his health in a song.

Chorus And here’s to his health, here’s to his health
And here’s to his health in a song
And here’s to his health; here’s to his health
And here’s to his health in a song.

 

The Initiates song
From Anderson's Book of Constitutions, 1723 the Imitates song is one of the earliest known Masonic songs. It was by an actor/comedian, Matthew Birkhead, who was given a Masonic funeral on the 12th of January 1723. And is sung to an old Irish tune. There is an engraved sheet of 1730 with the words and music printed thereon :-
Come, let us prepare
We Brothers that are
Assembled on merry occasion
Our wine has a spring
Here's health to an accepted Mason

The world is in pain,
Our secrets to gain,
And still let them wonder and gaze in
Till they're shown the light
They'll n'ere know the right
Word or sign of an accepted Mason.

'Tis this and 'tis that,
They cannot tell what,
Why so many great men of the Nation
Should apron put on
To make themselves one
With a free and accepted Mason.

Great Kings, Dukes and Lords
Have laid by their swords,
Our mysteries to put Grace on;
And n'ere been ashamed
To hear themselves named
With a free and accepted Mason.

Antiquity's pride
We have on our side,
And it maketh men just in their station.
There's nought but what's good
To be understood
by a free and accepted Mason.

We're true and sincere
And just to the fair.
They'll trust us on any occasion.
No mortal can more
The ladies adore
Than a free and accepted Mason.

Then join hand in hand,
By each Brother stand,
Let's be merry and put a bright face on.
What mortal can boast
So noble a toast
As a free and accepted Mason?

The last three lines of every verse is repeated as the chorus.

The evening will end with a toast by the tyler
To all poor and distressed Freemasons
Wheresoever they may be,
On the land, the sea or in the air.
Wishing them a speedy relief from their suffering,
And a safe return to their native land should they so desire

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