“Once in so Often,” King Solomon said,
Watching his quarrymen drill the stone,
“We will club our garlic and wine and bread
And banquet together beneath my Throne,
And the Brethren shall come to that mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less
“Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre,
Felling and floating our beautiful trees,
Say that the Brethren and I desire
Talk with our Brethren who use the seas.
And we shall be happy to meet them at mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less.
“Carry this message to Hiram Abif
Excellent Master of forge and mine
I and the Brethren would like it if
He and the Brethren will come to dine
(Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress)
As Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less.
“God gave the Hysop and Cedar their place
Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn
But that is no reason to black a man’s face
Because he is not what he hasn’t been born
And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess
We are Fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less.
So it was ordered and so it was done,
And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark,
With foc’sle hands of the Sidon run
And Navy Lords from the Royal Ark
Came and sat down and were merry at mess,
As fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less
The Quarries are hotter than Hiram’s forge
No one is safe from the dog’s whip’s reach
It’s mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge,
And it’s always’s blowing off Joppa beach
But once in so often, the messenger brings
Solomon’s mandate: “Forget these things!
Brother to Beggars and Fellow to the Kings,
Companion of Princes- forget these things!
Fellow-Craftsman, forget the things!”