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Frontispiece to James Anderson's Constitutions of Free Masonry

Engraved by John Pine

Frontispiece to James Anderson's Constitutions of Free Masonry Engraved by John Pine

The scene depicts one Grand Master (the Duke of Montagu) passing the scroll of the Constitutions to the next (Philip, Duke of Wharton). Both Grand Masters are supported by their officers.

In the background is a depiction of the parting of the Red Sea. Recalling the successful flight of the Israelites from the Egyptians to the promised land. This might signify here the survival of a tradition that had been in danger, but was now entering a time of security. The pillars depict the five orders of architecture introduced to England by Inigo Jones and may also allude to the five monachs who supports the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral by Sir Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1708.

In the foreground is the Greek word Eureka (Archimedes' famous exclamation "I have found it!") below a representation of the 47th proposition of Euclid, a symbol which is traditionally associated with Past Masters.

In the sky directly overhead the sun approaching its meridian height is allegorized in the figure of Apollo Helios, Greek God of the Sun.

The overall impression is one of great triumph on many levels: the philosophical and scientific, organizational and traditional, and the spiritual and transcendent. These various elements combine to present Anderson's view of history as the careful unfolding of a divine plan.

The Master's Song by Anderson

ADAM, the first of humane Kind,
Created with GEOMETRY
Imprinted on his Royal Mind,
Instructed soon his Progeny
CAIN & SETH, who then improv'd
The lib'ral Science in the Art
Of Architecture, which they lov'd,
And to their Offspring did impart.

For Father ABRAM brought from UR
Geometry, the Science good;
Which he reveal'd, without demur,
To all descending from his Blood.
Nay JACOB's Race at length were taught,
To lay aside the Shepherd's Crook,
To use Geometry were brought,
Whilst under Phar'oh's cruel Yoke,
'Till MOSES Master-Mason rose,
And led the HOLY LODGE from thence,
All Masons train'd, to whom he chose,
His curious Learning to dispense.
AHOLIAB and BEZALEEL,
Inspired Men, the TENT uprear'd;
Where the Shechinah chose to dwell,
And Geometrick Skill appear'd:

At length the GRECIANS came to know
Geometry, and learnt the Art,
Which great PYTHAGORAS did show,
And Glorious EUCLID did impart;
Th' amazing ARCHIMEDES too,
And many other Scholars good;
'Till ancient ROMANS did review
The Art, and Science understood.

Palladio Villas

And great Palladio did impart
A Style by Masons justly prais'd:
Yet here this mighty Rival Jones,
Of British Architects the prime,
Did build such glorious Heaps of Stones,
As ne'er were match'd since Csar's Time.

Then let good Brethren all rejoice,
And fill their Glass with chearful Heart,
Let them express with grateful Voice
The Praises of the wondrous Art;
Let ev'ry Brother's Health go round,
Not Fool or Knave but Mason true,
And let our Master's Fame resound,
The noble Duke of MONTAGU.

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