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This poem, published in The Daily Post of London on Friday, 15 February 1723, appeared only eleven days before Anderson's Book of Constitutions, published on 26 February 1723. In the same masonophobic catagory as a London fly-sheet of 1698, addressed 'to all Godly people', and a letter in a London paper on 7 July, 1722, this poem represents the first prolonged attack on Freemasonry, introducing two common slurs, that the Freemasons were heavy drinkers and sexual libertines.
Although enjoying a second and third edition the same year, it was unavailable until Knoop, Jones and Hamer published Early Masonic Pamphlets (1945) in which they included a bowlerized version of only 158 of the 366 lines.
The full version was first republished in Wallace McLeod's The Quest for Light (1997).
Hudibrastick POEM:
Illustrating the WHOLE HISTORY of
The Ancient Free Masons, from
the Building of the Tower of Babel
To this Time.
With their Laws, Ordinances, Signs, Marks,
Messages, &c. so long kept secret, Faith-
fully discover'd and made known.
Particularly Describ'd
All Secrets, ‘till they one are known
Are wonderful, all men must own,
But when found out, we cease to wonder,
‘Tis equal then to Fart and Thunder.
Printed for A. MOORE, near St. Paul's, 1723
(Price Sixpence)
To the Worshipful Mr. ************
One of the WARDENS of the Society of Free-Masons,

Having had the Honour, not long since, when I was admitted ito the Society of Masons, of Kissing your Posteriors, (an Honour superior to Kissing the Pope's Toe) I am fully determin'd to make you only the Deserving Patron of these my Labours.
The Following poem is Dedicated to You, as to one who, by Experience, can Vouch it to be True to a tittle, excepting only that small part of it which chiefly relates to the Toasting of Healths, at the Clubs of the Free-Masons; which I must own is a little Fabulous; and that of the Brewer's Fart, at the time of Installation, when the utmost Respect is paid to Mr. Breech, would likewise be thought, by all grave Persons, a little Romantick, if I did not appeal to you my Patron, in the most solemn manner, for its Truth and Confimation.
It must be confess'd you bore it, from your loose Brother, with Christian Patience. And from thence I may presage, if Examples are to be regarded, that in time you will be advanc'd to the Dignity of a Courtier; because an Eminent* One, in several Reigns, had his first Rise, as Tradition tells us, from a Blast of the like Nature, from a Royal Fundament.
And I take it Court Politicians and Free Masons are oftentimes ally'd; for it is possible the one may build Castles in the Air as well as the other; And whenever they enter upon Chimerical Projects, beyond their Accomplishing, they may be undoubtedly said to build such Castles; so that it will not be a Wonderful Wonder of Wonders if you in time become a State-Politician, and arrive at Immortal Fame.
This, Sir, is all I have to say by way of Dedication, unless it be to assure you I expect no
Present for the Honour I do you; for I am no mercenary Scribbler; and telling you as to the Oath I have taken, for keeping the Masonry Secrets, I have a Priest at hand (that was very serviceable during the late rebellion) who will give me the benefit of Absolution.
This will effectually ease my tender Conscience from the Load it lies under, and I hope entitle me to Pardon and Forgiveness from all Free Masons.
I am, SIR, Your most Devoted Humble Servant, the Dedicator.
The FREE MASONS; AN Hudibrastick Poem
ALL Kingdoms have their Masons-Free,
Which help to form Society;
By Signs and Marks they'll know each other,
In num'rous Crowds spy out a Brother;
They have their Laws, and Orders good,
To Govern o'er the Brotherhood,
That ne'er have been, in Ages past
Divulg'd, 'till now found out at last:
But here at length the Secret's shown,
And faithfully to all made known. 10
IF Hist'ry be no ancient Fable
Free Masons came from Tower of Babel;
When first that Fabrick was begun,
The Greatest underneath the Sun,
All Nations thither did repair, 15
To build this Great Castle in th' Air;
Some Thousand Hands were well employ'd,
To finish what was ne'er enjoy'd;
For as They built, it still gave way,
And made Work for succeeding Day; 20
But after They some Years had spent
In Labour, with a good Intent,
And found that all their Lab'ring Pain,
Was still, alas! Bestow'd in vain,
They then resolv'd no more to rome, 25
But to return to their own Home;
Tho' first they Signs and Marks did frame,
To signify from whence they came;
That wheresoe'er the Men shou'd go,
They always might their Breth'ren know; 30
And this was well contriv'd, for want
Of Learning, for the Ignorant,
That without speaking ev'ry Tongue,
(As by an ancient Bard had sung)
All Masons might of ev'ry Land, 35
Their Meaning ever understand
And that it shou'd a Secret be
Amongst themselves, they did agree
Their sev'ral Rules and Orders made,
Relating to the Mason Trade,
Shou'd be observ'd as long as Time, 40
As Records writ in Prose or Rhyme:
And by a solemn Oath enjoin'd
The only Tye upon the Mind.
BUT since, ‘tis found, the Mason-Free, 45
Which in our modern Times we see,
Workmen are of another kind,
To Sport they're more than Toil inclin'd,
They have no Trowels, nor yet Lines,
But still retain their Marks and Signs; 50
And Tools they've got which always fit,
A Lady, Dutchess, or a Cit,
To Build upon Foundation good,
Not made or Earth, but Flesh and Blood;
And they ne'er want the strongest Stuff, 55
As it appears when stript to Buff,
When they're in Bed, all Females find
To Build the Fabrick of Mankind:
This still must be allow'd by all,
Who've Skill in Buildings that must fall, 60
That this same Workmanship exceeds
The Labour, Pains, and manly Deeds
So long since us'd by all good People,
On Babel's Tower and Salisbury Steeple.
OUR modern Workmen naked stand, 65
Their Clothes untruss'd by Female Hand,
And after they've a Flogging bore,
(But not by Jilt or common Whore)
When once they're to their Building mov'd
The Members then are straight approv'd 70
By lusty Females, who're best Judges
Or working Tools for nature's Drudges:
These ‘tis can try the Strength of Bone,
And all Materials made of Stone;
And till they've view'd ‘em (O Vexation!) 75
The Mason's in State of Probation;
And after he has stood the Test,
This goes for Truth, and is no Jest,
He's mark'd* upon the Buttock right,
With red-hot iron, out of sight, 80
To shew that he dares then defy all,
And well can stand the fiery Trial:
By this the Mason's always known,
Whene'er his Breeches are pull'd down.
Some likewise say our Masons now 85
Do Circumcision undergo,
For Masonry's a Jewish Custom,
And by this means they all will thrust home:
But still their Privities are hidden,
Till they're Examin'd (but not ridden) 90
And none but Females have the Power,
Their Breeches and their purse to lower.
WHEN thus the Masons have been stript,
And well Approv'd, and Mark'd, and Whipt,
They strait are Rigg'd from Top to Toe, 95
And dress'd as fine as any Beau,
With Gloves and Apron made of Leather,
A Sword, Long-Wig, and Hat, and Feather;
Like mighty Quixote then they swagger,
And manfully they draw the Dagger, 100
To prove that they're all Men of Mettle,
Can Windmills fight, and Treaties settle;
The Leather Apron is the Dres,
If one may be allow'd to guess,
Which represents the martial Buff, 105
And every thing that Great and Rough:
Now ‘tis the Mason is install'd,
And to the Book is friendly call'd';
Where after he has sworn upon
The Bible, that he'll ne'er make known 110
The Secrets of the Masonry,
Or aught that shou'd still Secret be,
Then 'tis the Brother last was made,
(This is no part of Mason's Trade)
His Breeches low pulls down, and shows 115
His A—se, this all must here expose,
Which the New Mason close salutes,
For none here durst to hold Disputes;
And when he thus the Bum has slabber'd,
And put his Sword up in his Scabbard, 120
A learned Speech is then held forth
Upon the Breech, and Mason's Worth;
And he's Install'd at last compleat,
And lead down to his Mason's Seat.
HERE only ‘tis that we can see 125
The A—se promotes Society;
And it is this alone does prove,
They live in Fellowship and Love,
Whene'er tis Kiss'd, 'tis understood,
It still promotes the Brotherhood; 130
And if it haps, by Accident,
The lower End must needs have Vent,
He that can best a Brewer bear,
If it does not his Face Besmear,
Is still the most indulgent Mason,
Altho' the A—se be note made Case on: 135
Then if a hole's made fit in Leather
To t'other Hole, when put together,
When once the Mason does untruss,
Behind you'll find the sweeter Buss; 140
For this will guid the Lips aright,
When Master Breech is not in sight.
This last has been contriv'd, ‘tis said,
To keep the Secrets of their Trade;
And certainly that man's a Fool, 145
Who'll boast of kissing such an Hole.
THIS Fellowship has Lodges many,
Where when you're strip'd it is they tann ye;
They study well, but 'tis no matter,
The Secrets of their Mother Nature; 150
For if Philosphy they know,
It is Nature's Charmes below,
And in this ev'ry one agrees
They know all Nature's Privities;
Each Lodge with Library is grac'd 155
In which in Order neat are plac'd
Fam'd Aristotle's Master-Piece,
Who was the Midwife of Old Greece,
And all the modern Grannies down
To Ch-bl-n, D-gl-s, and B-n; 160
Here Books are on the Shelves around,
And Rochester's in Folio found;
The Play of Sodom likewise here
Does open on each Shelf appear;
For ev're unlearn'd modern Student, 165
That whores and rakes, yet still is prudent
There, on another Side, is seen
The Works of wanton luscious Behn;
And that they may be here compleat,
On t'other Shelf's display'd a Set 170
Of Impotency and Divorce,
Caus'd by debasing Nature's Force;
Onania likewise has a Place,
And is by all caress'd, alas!
For rather than they'll want Employ,
They'll deal in every idle Toy,
They'll practice o'er this Sin unclean,
Read Books of* Curll's the most obscene;
This is the Library of those,
Who're now amongst Free Masons chose; 180
And these can ne'er of Knowledge fail,
Who pry in Secrets of the Tail.
WHENE'ER the club it, 'tis to fuddle,
And try the Strength of each man's Noddle;
No Charities can these Men boast, 185
For who'll be bounteous at's own Cost;
They drink, carouse, like any Bacchus
And swallow strongest Wines that rack us;
And then it is they lay Foundation
Of Masonry, to build a Nation. 190
They various Healths strait put around,
To every airy Female sound;
But* Sally Dear's the Fav'rite Toast,
Whose Health it is they drink the most;
And tho' she's drunk, in Newgate, swearing, 195
Which is no Building of their rearing,
And ev're Turn-key has a Taste
Of what lies hid below her Waste,
And revels in the self-same Place,
Where lately did my L—d, his G—c; 200
She common is to all the Town,
From airy Beau to meanest Clown:
Yet is ths Toast here drank by some,
As to the Best in Christendom.
Next Berry, Darby, all the Train, 205
Down to the Royal Sovereign,
Are put about by Masons all,
E'er they do for the Reck'ning call;
And none can love a Female more
That these, if She's no dirty Whore. 210
THIS is the Converse when they shine,
And well are rais'd with potent wine;
And now the goodly Task remains,
To shew how 'tish they've rack'd their Brains,
To find out Marks and speaking Signs, 215
Which each within his Breast confines.
WHEN once a Man his Arm forth stretches,
It Masons round some Distance fetches;
Altho' one be on Paul's Great Steeple,
He strait comes down amongst the People, 220
His Brother follows, far and wide,
If he a hundred Miles shou'd ride;
If he to antient York does haste,
The other must go on as fast,
Or if he should a Maggot take, 225
To ship himself on Sea or Lake,
He still attends, nor hard it thinks,
Altho' he with his Brothers sinks:
And this is Fellowship indeed,
Where they thus mutually proceed: 230
All Hazards run, without a Slip,
Risque Life and Limb in Partnership.
A MASON, holding up his Finger,
Shews he has got below a Swinger;
That he's a Member of Old Drury, 235
And dares attack with manful Fury;
This is a Mark of Mother Wyburn,
That Hanging means, but not at Tyburn,
And that the Mason is preparing,
To dring and whore, and not be sparing. 240
A WINK then signifies 'tis Rising,
(Which is not to all Girls surprizing)
And that they quickly shall be ready,
If they've not drank what's over heady,
For Lady or a Courtezan, 245
To exercise and play the Man.
THE Nod doth make us understand
The great Enjoyment's near at hand;
That they're then full prepar'd to show,
And do all that a man can do: 250
With Female Fair they dare engage,
Encounter with a Godlike Rage.
A SHRUG is Mark of foul Disgrace,
For when 'tis given, this is the Case
Of Mason, that his Building fair
Is worn, and out of due Repair; 255
But when 'tis fall'n all is not vain,
For it at length will rise again.
IT is an ignominious thing
When e'er the Mason gives a Swing; 260
With Arm, downright, wide stretch'd and jogging,
This shews a Mason dull wants Flogging;
(And she that can each Stroke draw Blood,
Is still esteem'd a Flogger good;)
Our Masons ne'er will well be pleas'd 265
‘Till with Dame Birch their Bums are teaz'd,
And jirk'd, and whipp'd, with Rod and Scourges,
Which still the brawny Buttocks purges;
And then they feel the greatest Pleasure,
When they're thus scourg'd beyond all measure: 270
For ev'ry Stroke of pleasing Pain,
That helps to empty Cupid's Vein,
Is usher'd in with tickling Joy,
And Bliss that ne'er will Masons cloy.
THESE some are of the Marks and Signs, 275
To which each Mason strong inclines;
And to these Signs I'm here to add,
What may be deem'd almost as bad,
Their Messages, and Scraps of Paper,
Which are not seal'd with Wax or Wafer, 280
Nor writ upon, and yet make known
The greatest Secrets of the Town.
A MASON, when he needs must drink,
Sends Letter, without Pen and Ink,
Unto some Brother, who's at hand, 285
And does the Message understand;
The Paper's of the Shape that's square,
Thrice folded with the nicest Care;
For it ‘tis round (which is ne'er it ought)
It will not then be worth a Groat, 290
Have any Force or Meaning good,
By which it may be understood;
And in it there must never be
Least Writing which the Eye may see,
For it may prove as empty ever, 295
And are their Pates under the beaver,
Or is it not Purpose fit,
Or consonant with Mason's wit,
Whene'er this Paper's sent to Woman,
‘Tis then with Finger stamp'd uncommon, 300
To shew it means, what is in Fashion
At Plays and Balls, an Assignation;
And he that can interpret these
Unwritten Scrolls and Messages,
It is alone is welcome Guest, 305
And fit to be a Mason's Feast.
BUT there's another billet-deux,
Which it times past was much in Use,
It Paper was, all over writ on,
By Spaniard, Swede, by Dane or Briton; 310
In antient Language, and each Rover,
All Masons cou'd the Sense discover:
But as where Paper has no Writing,
So when 'tis of these Men's inditing,
None but their mighty selves cou'd read, 315
Or myst'ries know of Mason's Trade;
And Dashes, and no Scribbling, mean
The self same Thing as Paper clean,
To him who knows not one of t'other,
Is not install'd a Mason's Brother. 320
From hence they've been for Traitors taken,
But still have Masons sav'd their Bacon;
And tho' in Queen Eliza's Days,
A Reign that merited much Praise,
And since they've been, at times, suspected, 325
They never once have been detected:
As Plotters and Confederates,
Whose Heads are plac'd on Poles and Gates,
They were adjudg'd, in Ages past,
Which has an Odium on them cast; 330
Yet they are very harmless Creatures,
Have nothing plotting in their natures,
But what's against Hoop-Petticoats;
For they've more Wit than risk their Throats,
Their valuable Lives expose, 335
Or hazard e're their Ears and Nose;
Tho' he's not worth a single Farthing,
Who'll not endure a strong Bombarding.
THUS now my Muse has faithful shown
The History of Masons down, 340
Their Secrets set in truest Light,
And Penance, to the Reader's Sight.
But here I must, at last, confess,
This is not with all Men the Case;
For we have L—ds, and D—s, and such, 345
Who do not undergo as much;
Who're free, we'll say (without a Sneering)
From Scourging, and from Buttocks Searing;
Nor must they make a Rout or Pother,
Kiss lower End of any Brother, 350
Or Health's Toast to the famous Sally,
Or Drabs that dwell in Street or Alley;
Nor do they study Onan's Crime,
Yet some of these begin betime;
Or Impotency, or Divorce, 355
Altho' some call all Females curse;
‘Tis only vulgar, common masons,
(that build no Churches, Walls, nor Bastions)
Who feel the Whipping and the Marking,
Are treated with such Strokes and Jirking; 360
And he's not e'er a Mason good,
Who's sparing of his Breech's Blood;
Or who can't well a Whipping bear
By Hands of lusty Female Fair;
Or that will shrug, unmanly start 365
At Rods, or Friendly Brewer's Fart.

Dedication: Sir S. F. Knight.
Line 79: Letter M, an antient Custom.
Line 178: Bookseller to the Society.
Line 193: Sally Salisbury, the noted Prostitute, in Prison for stabbing a young Gentleman.


© 1871-2024 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. Updated: 2019/08/11