Saturday, May 30, 2015

Knights Templar Cross of Honor

Today my Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine met. It was a standard meeting and we didn't have much to do except ballot on a candidate. Towards the end of the meeting, the acting-Recorder and Junior Past Grand Commander of Idaho asked me to meet him at the altar. There he invested me with the Knights Templar Cross of Honor.

I am very humbled and grateful to my Commander and Sir Knights of Idaho Commandery No.1 who nominated me, the Grand Commander who approved of the nomination, and the Most Eminent Grand Master of Knights Templar of the USA for awarding it to me. This award was announced at the Grand Banquet of the Grand York Rite of Idaho this past April, but as I was in Washington D.C. working they waited until I was home to bestow it upon me; today's Red Cross of Constantine meeting was the first time Jay and I were both available for the investiture to happen.

The Knights Templar Cross of Honor (KTCH) is awarded by the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States to Sir Knights for "exceptional and meritorious service rendered to the Order, far beyond the call of duty, and beyond the service usually expected of an officer or member." Each Grand Commandery may nominate one Sir Knight, but with a Grand Commandery over 5,000-members may receive an additional nomination for each additional 5,000-members. The KTCH is not available posthumously nor to past or present Grand Commandery officers.

Recipients of the Knights Templar Cross of Honor are presented with a golden circular medal which contains a purple Patriarchal Cross in the center and bearing the words “KNIGHTS TEMPLAR CROSS OF HONOR” on the outside. This medal is suspended from a red neck ribbon. They also receive a lapel pin and a certificate signed by the Grand Master and Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment. This award may be worn with the Commandery uniform on all occasions.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Introduction to Kappa Sigma

"Not for a day or an hour or a college term only- but for life."

During my Freshman and Sophomore years of College I was involved in the Kappa Rho Chapter of Kappa Sigma where I served in that time as Grand Treasurer and House Manager. Military duty took me away from college, but upon my return I stepped up and took over as Grand Procurator of my Chapter, which is the officer second only to the Grand Master of the Chapter and who acts as the judicial officer of the Chapter. By the time I had taken up this position the Chapter was in poor decline due to poor decisions made by the members of the Chapter, and by September 2012 the Chapter was closed down. While in DC I was informed that some of the Alumni of my Chapter are working with some undergraduates at restarting the Chapter. I plan on giving assistance where I can. Of all of my posts on this site, I have only talked about Kappa Sigma a couple times.

The Kappa Sigma fraternity was founded in America on December 10th, 1869, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville at 46 East Lawn in the room William Grigsby McCormick, one of the five founders commonly called "The Five Friends and Brothers". Membership is open to all collegiate males who profess a belief in God, though adherence to a specific religion is not required. The mission of the fraternity is to enhance the educational experience of the student and education mission of that insitution, to promote Brotherhood, to contribute to personal development, to promote ethical behavior and proper decision-making, and to encourage service to our fellow man and community. Our membership rosters have included Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Presidential canddiates, Governors, Judges and Justices, entertainers, actors, businessman, journalists, academics, athletes, and members of the Armed Services

While the seeds and bonds of the fraternity were established by the Five Friends and Brothers (William Grigsby McCormick, George Miles Arnold, Frank Courtney Nicodemus, John Covert Boyd, and Edmund Law Rogers), the ritual was solidified by the Golden Hearted Virginian, Stephen Alonzo Jackson. He was also instrumental in nationalizing the order, writing the first Constitution, and becoming the first Worthy Grand Master. During the 2nd Grand Conclave he gave a speech on the expansion of the order, an excerpt of which has been immortalized by the Brothers of this fraternity:
“Why not, my Brothers, since we of today live and cherish the principles of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, throw such a halo around those principles that they may be handed down as a precious heirloom to ages yet unborn? Why not put our apples of gold in pictures of silver? May we not rest contentedly until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every college and university in the land!”
The legendary founding of Kappa Sigma traces back to Bologna, Italy, the famous City of Letters, in the year 1400 where Kappa Sigma was said to be founded at the University of Bologna by Manuel Chrysoloras, a Greek scholar. The order was founded to protect students from assaults by the men following the corrupt governor, Baldassare Cossa, who would become John XXIII during the Great Schism of the Catholic Church. The ritual of Kappa Sigma surrounds this central myth. Kappa Sigma was said to exist in Europe for the next several centuries, but dwindled into almost non-existence until Americans in Europe met with some nobles who said, "My colors fade...for want of wearers." To ensure that Chrysoloras' legacy would never fade, the Five Friends and Brothers established in North America.

The badge of a Kappa Sigma is the Star and Crescent which is composed of an inverted pentagram overlaid on top of crescent moon laid sideways. Four of the points of the pentagram divide the crescent into three sections in which are found the following symbols: two crossed keys, a skull and crossbones, and two crossed swords. In the center of the pentagram there is a golden ring with 12 gems going around and alternating between green and red. At the dead center of the golden ring are the Greek letters ΚΣ. As a Pledge you learn and commit to memory many things including the "Star and Crescent":

The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man, 
but only by him who is worthy to wear it. 
He must be a gentleman... a man of honor and courage... 
a man of zeal, yet humble... an intelligent man... a man of truth... 
one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, 
one who walks in the light of God.

Brothers of the Kappa Sigma fraternity follow the Four Pillars: Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, and Service. By Fellowship, it alludes to the unmatched experience and involvement in the Brotherhood that is Kappa Sigma. By Leadership, the fraternity expects its members to get involved in their communities and take the role of leader. By Scholarship, a member of Kappa Sigma is expected to excel in his academic career, remembering that while at school, his education should be his primary concern as a preparation for their futureBy Service, a Brother is reminded that helping and supporting others should always be his primary duty.

The basic organizational structure is the undergraduate Chapter. Each Chapter is led by an "Executive Committee" consisting of a Grand Master (GM), Grand Procurator (GP), Grand Master of Ceremonies (GMC), Grand Scribe (GS), and Grand Treasurer (GT). The Grand Master is the presiding officer of the Chapter. The Grand Procurator is the second-in-command, but in reality is one of two Vice Presidents in charge of judicial matters. The Grand Master of Ceremonies sits as the second Vice President and is in charge of the various ceremonies used in Kappa Sigma as well as the education programs. The Grand Scribe is likened unto the Secretary and holds similar administrative duties, just as the Grand Treasurer is the financial officer of the Chapter. These officers are elected by the Brothers on an annual basis. Beneath the Executive Committee there are a number of committees who assist the officers in the dispatch of their duties and the operations of the Chapter.

At the international level stands the Supreme Executive Council, or SEC, who sets the policies for the entire fraternity, disciplines chapters when needed, and approves the formation of chapters/colonies. The officers of the SEC are like those at the undergraduate level with the appellation of "Worthy" attached to it. They are: Worthy Grand Master (WGM), Worthy Grand Procurator (WGP), Worthy Grand Master of Ceremonies (WGMC), Worthy Grand Scribe (WGS), and Worthy Grand Treasurer (WGT). The first three officers serve for 2-year terms while the Worthy Grand Scribe and Worthy Grand Treasurer serve for 4-years terms, and all are elected at the biennial Grand Conclave. The SEC has divided North America into 5-areas or regions and those into districts, 60 in total. Each district is overseen by a District Grand Masters (DGM) and a number of Assistant District Grand Masters (ADGM) who serve as liaisons between the undergraduate chapter and the SEC. An Alumnus Adviser (AA) and a number of Assistant Alumnus Advisers (AAA) who provide advice and guidance to the Chapter; typically there are AAA's to advise the GP, GMC, GT, and GS. These positions are primarily all volutneer, but there is a professional staff who works at the headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. These staff members include an Executive Director, program directors, administrative assistants, and area recruitment managers.

Some of the programs ran by Kappa Sigma are "A Greater Cause" which is designed to promote community service, the Champion Quest program which is a recruitment initiative which pursues "Jackson's Dream", Brothers in Action program which is a membership development program by emphasizing the Four Pillars, the Military Heroes Campaign which focuses on service and donations towards disabled soldiers and veterans, and the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund which was established "to support the charitable and beneficent purposes of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity".

Today, Kappa Sigma sits as one of the large international fraternites with currently 316 active chapters and colonies in North America. I am proud to be a member of such a venerable institution and my involvement only enhanced my experience as an undergraduate at Boise State University.


1. History. n.d. 

2. Kappa Sigma. n.d. 

3. Kappa Sigma History. n.d.

4. Who We Are. n.d.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Officers of the College of the SRICF

The officers of a College of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) are Chief Adept, Celebrant, Suffragan, Treasurer, Secretary, First Ancient, Second Ancient, Third Ancient, Fourth Ancient, Conductor of Novices, First Herald, Second Herald, Torch Bearer, Guardian of the Caverns, Prelate, Medalist, and Acolyte. These titles demonstrate the influence of the history of Rosicrucianism and how Masons incorporated them into the hierarchy of this order.

The basic organization of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis is known as the College and, within the United States, there is one per State (exceptions being New York and California). This body is presided over by the Chief Adept who, along with the Secretary and Treasurer, is appointed by the Supreme Magus, the head of the national organization. The Celebrant, Suffragan, and the four Ancients are elected annually by the members of that particular College. The other officers of the College are appointed by the Chief Adept.

The Chief Adept is the presiding officer of the convocations of a College of the SRICF in the First Order (I° - IV°) and Second Order (V° - VII°); the Third Order (VIII° & IX°) is under the charge of the Supreme Magus and the High Council of the SRICF. The use of "chief" has traditionally been used to mark a leader such as the chief of a clan or tribe, or, in America, the "Commander-in-Chief" or "Chief of Staff." Chief comes to us from the French language meaning "highest in rank, most important or prominent, or supreme" which itself derives from the Latin word 'caput' meaning "head or leader." An adept is a skilled individual or one who has gained a level of knowledge or skill to be considered an expert. This word comes to us from the Latin word 'adeptus' meaning "to attain or acquire." Traditionally this title was reserved for those not just masters of skills relevant in the material world, but also spiritually.

The top elected officer of the College is the Celebrant is to preside over the First Order, if not done by the Chief Adept, and in the absence of the Chief, the Celebrant shall become the presiding officer of the College. A Celebrant can literally mean anyone who takes part in a celebratory rite, but it is also used to indicate an officiating priest or clergyman who specializes in certain rites. This word is rooted in the French word 'célébrant' which means "officiating clergyman."

The next elected officer is the Suffragan, like the Celebrant, has duties and responsibilities to discharge during the rituals, and, in the absence of the Chief Adept and Celebrant, is to preside over the convocations of the College. A Suffragan is a bishop who is often an assistant to a diocesan bishop, which makes this title appropriate to this officer as he is subordinate to and assists the Celebrant. The etymology of this word is 'suffraganeus,' a Medieval Latin word, meaning "an assistant."

The Treasurer and Secretary have duties similar to those found in other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations as the financial and administrative officers respectively.

The four Ancients are the last of the elected officers. These four officers have administrative and ritualistic duties, particularly giving instruction of Rosicrucian principles and philosophy to the members and aspirants of the College. Etymologically there are two ways to looks at these officers: ancient as an adjective comes to us from the Latin word 'anteanus' meaning "from before" while ancient as a noun refers to a "standard bearer" as a bastardization of the word 'ensign' from the Latin word 'insignia' and which is used by the military often as a designation of the junior-most commissioned officer. These four are the collective junior elected officers of the College who are indeed ancient being the keepers of ancient wisdom held by the order.

The Conductor of Novices has duties similar to the Stewards and Senior Deacon of the Blue Lodge as he is the one who ensures the preparation of and guides the candidates, or aspirants. A conductor is a director or guide, and comes to us from Latin via Middle French from the word 'conductus' meaning "a carrier". A novice is a beginner or inexperienced in a skill or knowledge, and which derives from the Latin word 'novicius' meaning "inexperienced."

The First Herald and Second Herald assist the Conductor of Novices; have charge of the ballot, and other duties as defined in the ritual. A Herald was traditionally an officer who conveyed messages or proclamations as well as acted as diplomats or ambassadors for monarchs. This word derives from the old French word 'heraut' meaning "messenger or envoy."

The Torch Bearer assists the Conductor of Novices and has duties during the opening of a College; this officer has duties that correspond with the Senior Deacon and Marshal in the Blue Lodge. While this title has a literal meaning it is also used to indicate someone who leads others, frequently in a campaign or movement. The etymology of 'torch' has to do with the traditional composition of a torch more than what it does as it derives from the old French word 'torche' meaning "handful of straw." The word 'bearer' is derived from the 'beran,' an old English word meaning "to bear or bring."

The Guardian of the Caverns corresponds with the Junior Deacon of the Blue Lodge and holds the corresponding duty of protecting the entrances of the College from the unworthy. The word Guardian stems from the old French word 'gardien' meaning "keeper or custodian." Cavern has its roots in the Late Latin word 'caverna' meaning "cave" which comes originates from the Latin 'cavus' meaning "hollow."

Like the Chaplain found in the Lodge, the Prelate has the duty of offering prayers to God. A Prelate is traditionally a high-ranking member of the clergy and the word is derived from the Latin word 'prelatus' referring to a clergyman of "high rank or of preference over others."

Like the other names used for the title of officers, the Medalist denotes "one who is skilled in metals" or "medal maker".

Traditionally an Acolyte was a junior officer in the church who assists the clergy, but in the College acts as the outer guard which corresponds to the Tiler of the Blue Lodge. This word has come to its current use traveling from French by Latin, but originating from the Greek word 'akolouthos' meaning "following, attending on."

Throughout Freemasonry, we use certain appellations or honorary titles to show respect for certain stations or offices in a given body. It is no different in the SRICF. For the Supreme Magus, the title of "Most Worthy" is attached while members of the Third Order are denominated as "Right Worthy". Celebrants and Suffragans who have not yet attained the Third Order are regarded as "Very Worthy" and members of the First and Second Orders are called "Worthy"; worthy as meaning "having merit".


1. Acolyte. n.d.

2. Acolyte. n.d.

3. Adept. n.d.

4. Adept. n.d.

5. Ancient. n.d.

6. Bear. n.d.

7. Cavern. n.d.

8. Cavern. n.d.

9. Celebrant. n.d.

10. Celebrant. n.d.

11. Chief. n.d.

12. Chief. n.d.

13. Conductor. n.d.

14. Conductor. n.d.

15. Ensign. n.d.

16. Guardian. n.d.

17. Guardian. n.d.

18. Herald. n.d.

19. Herald. n.d.

20. Medalist. n.d.

21. Medalist. n.d.

22. Novice. n.d.

23. Novice. n.d.

24. Ordinances and Regulations. n.d.

25. Prelate. n.d.

26. Prelate. n.d.

27. Suffragan. n.d.

28. Suffragan. n.d.

29. Torch. n.d.

30. Torchbearer. n.d.

31. Adept. n.d.

32. Celebrants. n.d.

33. Ensign (rank). n.d.

34. Acolyte. n.d.

35. Celebrant. n.d.

36. Herald. n.d.

37. Medalist. n.d.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Heading Back to Idaho

Since January I have been working in DC, but now its time to head back to Idaho, the good ol' 208. I have gained some great experience, toured around the US capitol, and met some great people. This summer is taking me down a new path and I look forward to what the future holds.

While in the DC area I had the chance to visit some of my Masonic Brothers. I had the pleasure of attending Nine Muses Lodge #1776; DC Scottish Rite; District #1, Royal Arch Masons of Virginia (during the Grand High Priest's Official Visit); AMD Masonic Week in Reston, VA; Columbia Chapter #1, Royal Arch Masons (RAM) of DC; Potomac Commandery #3, Knights Templar of DC; and "Virginia Night" hosted by Columbia Chapter #1, RAM. I'd like to thank the members of officers of those Masonic bodies for their hospitality, it was greatly appreciated. I'd also like to thank Bro. Ben for housing me while I was on the East Coast and Bro. Shawn for showing me around the area.

Now it's time to board my plane and take to the friendly skies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

National Sojourners, Inc.

"Born in War, Nurtured in Peace"

The National Sojourners is a patriotic and fraternal organization organized for Masons who are or were also members of the United States military (or allied nation) includes those who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard as well as Public Health Service (such as) or National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The national headquarters is located at the Collingwood Library and Museum on Americanism in Alexandria, VA, which is north of Mount Vernon on land that was once George Washington's "River Farm." This organization has chapters in 44 States, France, Germany, Guam, Japan, and Vietnam.

According to its Purpose section of Nation Sojourners, Inc., the purpose of the organization is:
To organize Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of the uniformed forces (past and present) of the United States, and Honorary Members, who are Master Masons, into Chapters, for the promotion of good fellowship among its members, for assisting such as may be overtaken by adversity or affliction, for cultivating Masonic ideals, for supporting all patriotic aims and activities in Masonry, for developing true Patriotism and Americanism throughout the Nation, for bringing together representatives of the uniformed forces of the United States (past and present) in a united effort to further the military need of National Defense, and for opposing any influence whatsoever calculated to weaken the National Security.
Some of the patriotic activities performed by the Sojourners include "speeches, flag ceremonies, presentations and other actions intended to promote national security and true love of country, with special emphasis on youth."

The roots of the National Sojourners lie in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Military Lodges were instrumental in bringing Freemasonry to the American Colonies prior to the American War for Independence. During the Revolutionary War, military Lodges existed, but were not seen during the wars of the early and mid-19th centuries. When the North Dakota Regiment of Volunteer Infantry was deployed to the Philippines in that year, the Grand Lodge of North Dakota granted the Masons of that Regiment a dispensation for a military Lodge. In 1900 the Regiment left the Philippines which also removed the dispensation. 

The Masons that were still in the Philippines formed a “Sojourners Club.” This club served as a replacement of the military Lodge to allow for the congregation of Masons. This club was the driving force behind the formation of Manila Lodge #342 under the Grand Lodge of California which would later become Manila Lodge #1 under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines; formed in 1913. Once Manila Lodge was formed the Sojourners Club was temporarily disbanded.

In 1907 the Sojourners Club was re-established in the Philippines and was open to Master Masons who were not members of local Lodges. As the Sojourners grew, they began to spread, and in 1917 Masons formed the "Chicago Sojourners Club." As the group spread further around the globe with the military, the group became more organized and changed from a "club" to the National Sojourners, Inc. in 1931.

The National Sojourners strives to remind us of the lessons of the Trowel which teaches us to spread the cement of Brotherly Love and Affect as they seek to bring together military Master Masons from different jurisdictions and perpetuate the universal principles taught by the fraternity. While this group did not exist in the time of Washington, they seek to emulate him as he was a great example of a Mason and soldier and often use his quote:

"When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen."


1. About Us. n.d. 

2. National Sojourners. June 2002. 

3. Sojourners. n.d.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Knight Commander of the Temple

The second-highest decoration awarded by the Grand Encampment is the Knight Commander of the Temple (or KCT); not to be confused with the 27° of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite with the same name. The recipient also receives a lapel pin and a certificate. The KCT is often awarded at a KCT Dinner held by the Deputies in charge of Grand Encampment Honors for that jurisdiction, and the time and location usually correspond to the Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery. The investiture can be done in public so ladies may be present.

This award originated in 1994 at the 59th Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the USA when the Most Eminent Grand Master William Thornley ordered the creation of three awards to recognize those members who have given continued service to the Templar Order, Freemasonry, their community, and to mankind: the Knight Commander of the Temple, Companion of the Temple, and Knight Grand Cross of the Temple (KGC).

The oversight of the KCT, KGC, and the KTCH the College of Honors was created in 2003 by the Most Eminent Grand Master William Jones and the Most Eminent Grand Master is also the head of the College of Honors. At each Triennial Conclave, one or two Sir Knights are designated as Deputies of the College of Honor for their respective Grand Commandery. A further explanation of the structure of the College of Honors can be read in the article by Sir Knight George L. Marshall, Jr., PGC, KCT, ADC titled "Grand Encampment Awards and Honors." Any recipient of the KCT may make a nomination and the Deputies will accept or reject the nomination according to the merits of the nominee. The amount of nominees for each Grand Commandery depends on the size of their membership.


1. Marshall, George L. "Grand Encampment Awards and Honors." Knights Templar magazine, August 2014: 28-32.

2. Zito, Joe. "Honors in the York Rite." The Phoenix York Rite Mason Trestleboard, March 2009.

3. Honorees. n.d.

4. Knight Commander of the Temple. n.d.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Masonic Dating Systems

In the Masonic fraternity, the Lodge along with the appendant and concordant bodies use a unique dating system when keeping records. In this article, I will be discussing those used by the Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, Royal Arch, Order of the High Priesthood, Cryptic Masons, Knights Templar, and Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests.

In the Blue Lodge, Anno Lucis is used and translates as the Year of Light and adds 4000 to the current year (2015 A.D. = 6015 A.L.). This date originates from the creation of the world as read from the Book of Genesis when God brought light to the world, and then created night and day. This dating system is used not because we think Freemasonry to be of the same age as the creation of the world, but due to the fact that Light is an important symbol in Freemasonry as it relates to the truth, knowledge, and mysteries of Freemasonry; just as light helps make things clear before our eyes so will knowledge and truth make things clear for our minds.

In the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the dating system Anno Mundi, or Year of the World, is used. Like Anno Lucis, this date is to signify the creation of the world, but is based upon an older Hebrew calendar, which starts the year in a different month from that used in the Gregorian calendar; September instead of January. With this dating system, one adds 3760 to the current year (2015 A.D. = 5775 A.M.).

In Royal Arch Masonry, the Year of the Discovery, or Anno Inventionis, is used in the dating system as the degrees of Royal Arch Masonry concerns the recovery, or discovery, of that which was lost in the Third Degree during the rebuilding of the Second Temple. This date is created by adding 530 to the current year and signifies the year, 530 BC, in which Zerubbabel began to build the Second Temple (2015 A.D. = 2545 A.I.).

The Order of the High Priesthood is a "chair" degree that is conferred upon those who are or have served as Excellent High Priest for a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. Within this organization, Anno Benefacio, or Year of Blessing, is used as the dating system which adds 1913 to the current year (2015 A.D. = 3928 A.B.). This commemorates the year in which Abraham was given a blessing by the High Priest Melchizedek.

Cryptic Masonry surrounds the preservation of that which was lost in the Master Mason degree and the construction of secret vaults, for which reason Anno Depositionis, or Year of the Deposit, is used by Royal & Select Masters. For this calendar, one simply adds 1000 to the current year (2015 AD = 3015 A.Dep.) and celebrates the completion of King Solomon's Temple.

The Knights Templar use Anno Ordinis, or Year of the Order, for their dating system. For this calendar, you subtract 1118 from the current year (2015 A.D. = 897 A.O.) and is used as 1118 is the year that the original medieval Knights Templar was founded.

An invitation group, the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests (HRAKTP), uses Anno Renascent, or Year of Revival, to date their calendars. You subtract 1686 from the current year and this date signifies the supposed revival of the order in 1686 AD (2015 A.D. = 329 A.R.).

There are other dating systems, but these are most well-known and will be discussed in a later article. It should also be noted that there are also some groups that only use the current year-to-date records.


1. Bessel, Paul. Masonic Dating Systems. n.d. 

2. Mackey, Albert. Masonic Abbreviations. 1873. 

3. Masonic Calendar. n.d. 

4. Masonic Calendar. n.d. 

5. Masonic Calendar. n.d. 

6. Masonic Calendars. n.d.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day!

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daughter of Heaven and Earth, coy Spring, 
With sudden passion languishing, 
Maketh all things softly smile, 
Painteth pictures mile on mile, 
Holds a cup with cowslip-wreaths, 
Whence a smokeless incense breathes. 
Girls are peeling the sweet willow, 
Poplar white, and Gilead-tree, 
And troops of boys 
Shouting with whoop and hilloa, 
And hip, hip three times three. 
The air is full of whistlings bland; 
What was that I heard 
Out of the hazy land? 
Harp of the wind, or song of bird, 
Or clapping of shepherd's hands, 
Or vagrant booming of the air, 
Voice of a meteor lost in day? 
Such tidings of the starry sphere 
Can this elastic air convey. 
Or haply 't was the cannonade 
Of the pent and darkened lake, 
Cooled by the pendent mountain's shade, 
Whose deeps, till beams of noonday break, 
Afflicted moan, and latest hold 
Even unto May the iceberg cold. 
Was it a squirrel's pettish bark, 
Or clarionet of jay? or hark, 
Where yon wedged line the Nestor leads, 
Steering north with raucous cry 
Through tracts and provinces of sky, 
Every night alighting down 
In new landscapes of romance, 
Where darkling feed the clamorous clans 
By lonely lakes to men unknown. 
Come the tumult whence it will, 
Voice of sport, or rush of wings, 
It is a sound, it is a token 
That the marble sleep is broken, 
And a change has passed on things. 

Beneath the calm, within the light, 
A hid unruly appetite 
Of swifter life, a surer hope, 
Strains every sense to larger scope, 
Impatient to anticipate 
The halting steps of aged Fate. 
Slow grows the palm, too slow the pearl: 
When Nature falters, fain would zeal 
Grasp the felloes of her wheel, 
And grasping give the orbs another whirl. 
Turn swiftlier round, O tardy ball! 
And sun this frozen side, 
Bring hither back the robin's call, 
Bring back the tulip's pride. 

Why chidest thou the tardy Spring? 
The hardy bunting does not chide; 
The blackbirds make the maples ring 
With social cheer and jubilee; 
The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee, 
The robins know the melting snow; 
The sparrow meek, prophetic-eyed, 
Her nest beside the snow-drift weaves, 
Secure the osier yet will hide 
Her callow brood in mantling leaves; 
And thou, by science all undone, 
Why only must thy reason fail 
To see the southing of the sun? 

As we thaw frozen flesh with snow, 
So Spring will not, foolish fond, 
Mix polar night with tropic glow, 
Nor cloy us with unshaded sun, 
Nor wanton skip with bacchic dance,
But she has the temperance 
Of the gods, whereof she is one,-- 
Masks her treasury of heat 
Under east-winds crossed with sleet. 
Plants and birds and humble creatures 
Well accept her rule austere; 
Titan-born, to hardy natures 
Cold is genial and dear. 
As Southern wrath to Northern right 
Is but straw to anthracite; 
As in the day of sacrifice, 
When heroes piled the pyre, 
The dismal Massachusetts ice 
Burned more than others' fire, 
So Spring guards with surface cold 
The garnered heat of ages old: 
Hers to sow the seed of bread, 
That man and all the kinds be fed; 
And, when the sunlight fills the hours, 
Dissolves the crust, displays the flowers. 

The world rolls round,--mistrust it not,-- 
Befalls again what once befell; 
All things return, both sphere and mote, 
And I shall hear my bluebird's note, 
And dream the dream of Auburn dell. 

When late I walked, in earlier days, 
All was stiff and stark; 
Knee-deep snows choked all the ways, 
In the sky no spark; 
Firm-braced I sought my ancient woods, 
Struggling through the drifted roads; 
The whited desert knew me not, 
Snow-ridges masked each darling spot; 
The summer dells, by genius haunted, 
One arctic moon had disenchanted. 
All the sweet secrets therein hid 
By Fancy, ghastly spells undid. 
Eldest mason, Frost, had piled, 
With wicked ingenuity, 
Swift cathedrals in the wild; 
The piny hosts were sheeted ghosts 
In the star-lit minster aisled. 
I found no joy: the icy wind 
Might rule the forest to his mind. 
Who would freeze in frozen brakes? 
Back to books and sheltered home, 
And wood-fire flickering on the walls, 
To hear, when, 'mid our talk and games, 
Without the baffled north-wind calls. 
But soft! a sultry morning breaks; 
The cowslips make the brown brook gay; 
A happier hour, a longer day. 
Now the sun leads in the May, 
Now desire of action wakes, 
And the wish to roam. 

The caged linnet in the Spring 
Hearkens for the choral glee, 
When his fellows on the wing 
Migrate from the Southern Sea; 
When trellised grapes their flowers unmask, 
And the new-born tendrils twine, 
The old wine darkling in the cask 
Feels the bloom on the living vine, 
And bursts the hoops at hint of Spring: 
And so, perchance, in Adam's race, 
Of Eden's bower some dream-like trace 
Survived the Flight, and swam the Flood, 
And wakes the wish in youngest blood 
To tread the forfeit Paradise, 
And feed once more the exile's eyes; 
And ever when the happy child 
In May beholds the blooming wild, 
And hears in heaven the bluebird sing, 
'Onward,' he cries, 'your baskets bring,-- 
In the next field is air more mild, 
And o'er yon hazy crest is Eden's balmier Spring.' 

Not for a regiment's parade, 
Nor evil laws or rulers made, 
Blue Walden rolls its cannonade,
But for a lofty sign 
Which the Zodiac threw, 
That the bondage-days are told, 
And waters free as winds shall flow. 
Lo! how all the tribes combine 
To rout the flying foe. 
See, every patriot oak-leaf throws 
His elfin length upon the snows, 
Not idle, since the leaf all day 
Draws to the spot the solar ray, 
Ere sunset quarrying inches down, 
And half-way to the mosses brown;
While the grass beneath the rime 
Has hints of the propitious time, 
And upward pries and perforates 
Through the cold slab a thousand gates, 
Till green lances peering through 
Bend happy in the welkin blue. 

April cold with dropping rain 
Willows and lilacs brings again, 
The whistle of returning birds, 
And trumpet-lowing of the herds. 
The scarlet maple-keys betray 
What potent blood hath modest May; 
What fiery force the earth renews, 
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues; 
Joy shed in rosy waves abroad 
Flows from the heart of Love, the Lord. 

Hither rolls the storm of heat; 
I feel its finer billows beat 
Like a sea which me infolds; 
Heat with viewless fingers moulds, 
Swells, and mellows, and matures, 
Paints, and flavours, and allures, 
Bird and brier inly warms, 
Still enriches and transforms, 
Gives the reed and lily length, 
Adds to oak and oxen strength, 
Boils the world in tepid lakes, 
Burns the world, yet burnt remakes; 
Enveloping heat, enchanted robe, 
Wraps the daisy and the globe, 
Transforming what it doth infold, 
Life out of death, new out of old, 
Painting fawns' and leopards' fells, 
Seethes the gulf-encrimsoning shells, 
Fires garden with a joyful blaze 
Of tulips in the morning's rays. 
The dead log touched bursts into leaf, 
The wheat-blade whispers of the sheaf. 
What god is this imperial Heat, 
Earth's prime secret, sculpture's seat? 
Doth it bear hidden in its heart 
Water-line patterns of all art, 
All figures, organs, hues, and graces? 
Is it Daedalus? is it Love? 
Or walks in mask almighty Jove, 
And drops from Power's redundant horn 
All seeds of beauty to be born? 

Where shall we keep the holiday, 
And duly greet the entering May?
Too strait and low our cottage doors, 
And all unmeet our carpet floors; 
Nor spacious court, nor monarch's hall,
Suffice to hold the festival. 
Up and away! where haughty woods 
Front the liberated floods: 
We will climb the broad-backed hills, 
Hear the uproar of their joy; 
We will mark the leaps and gleams 
Of the new-delivered streams, 
And the murmuring rivers of sap 
Mount in the pipes of the trees, 
Giddy with day, to the topmost spire, 
Which for a spike of tender green 
Bartered its powdery cap; 
And the colours of joy in the bird, 
And the love in its carol heard, 
Frog and lizard in holiday coats, 
And turtle brave in his golden spots; 
We will hear the tiny roar 
Of the insects evermore, 
While cheerful cries of crag and plain 
Reply to the thunder of river and main. 

As poured the flood of the ancient sea 
Spilling over mountain chains, 
Bending forests as bends the sedge, 
Faster flowing o'er the plains,-- 
A world-wide wave with a foaming edge 
That rims the running silver sheet,-- 
So pours the deluge of the heat 
Broad northward o'er the land, 
Painting artless paradises, 
Drugging herbs with Syrian spices, 
Fanning secret fires which glow 
In columbine and clover-blow, 
Climbing the northern zones, 
Where a thousand pallid towns 
Lie like cockles by the main, 
Or tented armies on a plain. 
The million-handed sculptor moulds 
Quaintest bud and blossom folds, 
The million-handed painter pours 
Opal hues and purple dye; 
Azaleas flush the island floors, 
And the tints of heaven reply. 

Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring 
To-day shall all her dowry bring, 
The love of kind, the joy, the grace, 
Hymen of element and race, 
Knowing well to celebrate 
With song and hue and star and state, 
With tender light and youthful cheer, 
The spousals of the new-born year. 
Lo Love's inundation poured 
Over space and race abroad! 

Spring is strong and virtuous, 
Broad-sowing, cheerful, plenteous, 
Quickening underneath the mould 
Grains beyond the price of gold. 
So deep and large her bounties are, 
That one broad, long midsummer day 
Shall to the planet overpay 
The ravage of a year of war. 

Drug the cup, thou butler sweet, 
And send the nectar round; 
The feet that slid so long on sleet 
Are glad to feel the ground. 
Fill and saturate each kind 
With good according to its mind, 
Fill each kind and saturate 
With good agreeing with its fate, 
Willow and violet, maiden and man. 

The bitter-sweet, the haunting air,
Creepeth, bloweth everywhere; 
It preys on all, all prey on it, 
Blooms in beauty, thinks in wit,
Stings the strong with enterprise, 
Makes travellers long for Indian skies, 
And where it comes this courier fleet
Fans in all hearts expectance sweet, 
As if to-morrow should redeem 
The vanished rose of evening's dream. 
By houses lies a fresher green, 
On men and maids a ruddier mien, 
As if time brought a new relay 
Of shining virgins every May, 
And Summer came to ripen maids 
To a beauty that not fades. 

The ground-pines wash their rusty green, 
The maple-tops their crimson tint, 
On the soft path each track is seen, 
The girl's foot leaves its neater print. 
The pebble loosened from the frost 
Asks of the urchin to be tost. 
In flint and marble beats a heart, 
The kind Earth takes her children's part, 
The green lane is the school-boy's friend, 
Low leaves his quarrel apprehend, 
The fresh ground loves his top and ball, 
The air rings jocund to his call, 
The brimming brook invites a leap, 
He dives the hollow, climbs the steep. 
The youth reads omens where he goes, 
And speaks all languages the rose. 
The wood-fly mocks with tiny noise 
The far halloo of human voice; 
The perfumed berry on the spray 
Smacks of faint memories far away. 
A subtle chain of countless rings 
The next unto the farthest brings, 
And, striving to be man, the worm 
Mounts through all the spires of form. 

I saw the bud-crowned Spring go forth, 
Stepping daily onward north 
To greet staid ancient cavaliers 
Filing single in stately train. 
And who, and who are the travellers? 
They were Night and Day, and Day and Night, 
Pilgrims wight with step forthright. 
I saw the Days deformed and low, 
Short and bent by cold and snow; 
The merry Spring threw wreaths on them, 
Flower-wreaths gay with bud and bell; 
Many a flower and many a gem, 
They were refreshed by the smell, 
They shook the snow from hats and shoon, 
They put their April raiment on; 
And those eternal forms, 
Unhurt by a thousand storms, 
Shot up to the height of the sky again, 
And danced as merrily as young men. 
I saw them mask their awful glance 
Sidewise meek in gossamer lids; 
And to speak my thought if none forbids. 
It was as if the eternal gods, 
Tired of their starry periods, 
Hid their majesty in cloth 
Woven of tulips and painted moth.
On carpets green the maskers march 
Below May's well-appointed arch, 
Each star, each god, each grace amain, 
Every joy and virtue speed, 
Marching duly in her train, 
And fainting Nature at her need 
Is made whole again. 

'T was the vintage-day of field and wood, 
When magic wine for bards is brewed; 
Every tree and stem and chink 
Gushed with syrup to the brink. 
The air stole into the streets of towns, 
And betrayed the fund of joy 
To the high-school and medalled boy: 
On from hall to chamber ran, 
From youth to maid, from boy to man, 
To babes, and to old eyes as well.
'Once more,' the old man cried, 'ye clouds, 
Airy turrets purple-piled, 
Which once my infancy beguiled, 
Beguile me with the wonted spell. 
I know ye skilful to convoy 
The total freight of hope and joy 
Into rude and homely nooks, 
Shed mocking lustres on shelf of books, 
On farmer's byre, on meadow-pipes, 
Or on a pool of dancing chips. 
I care not if the pomps you show 
Be what they soothfast appear, 
Or if yon realms in sunset glow 
Be bubbles of the atmosphere. 
And if it be to you allowed 
To fool me with a shining cloud, 
So only new griefs are consoled 
By new delights, as old by old, 
Frankly I will be your guest, 
Count your change and cheer the best. 
The world hath overmuch of pain,-- 
If Nature give me joy again, 
Of such deceit I'll not complain.' 

Ah! well I mind the calendar, 
Faithful through a thousand years, 
Of the painted race of flowers, 
Exact to days, exact to hours, 
Counted on the spacious dial 
Yon broidered zodiac girds. 
I know the pretty almanac 
Of the punctual coming-back, 
On their due days, of the birds. 
I marked them yestermorn, 
A flock of finches darting 
Beneath the crystal arch, 
Piping, as they flew, a march,-- 
Belike the one they used in parting 
Last year from yon oak or larch; 
Dusky sparrows in a crowd, 
Diving, darting northward free, 
Suddenly betook them all, 
Every one to his hole in the wall, 
Or to his niche in the apple-tree. 
I greet with joy the choral trains 
Fresh from palms and Cuba's canes. 
Best gems of Nature's cabinet, 
With dews of tropic morning wet, 
Beloved of children, bards, and Spring, 
O birds, your perfect virtues bring, 
Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight, 
Your manners for the heart's delight, 
Nestle in hedge, or barn, or roof, 
Here weave your chamber weather-proof, 
Forgive our harms, and condescend 
To man, as to a lubber friend, 
And, generous, teach his awkward race 
Courage, and probity, and grace! 

Poets praise that hidden wine 
Hid in milk we drew 
At the barrier of Time, 
When our life was new. 
We had eaten fairy fruit, 
We were quick from head to foot, 
All the forms we look on shone 
As with diamond dews thereon. 
What cared we for costly joys, 
The Museum's far-fetched toys? 
Gleam of sunshine on the wall 
Poured a deeper cheer than all 
The revels of the Carnival. 
We a pine-grove did prefer 
To a marble theatre, 
Could with gods on mallows dine, 
Nor cared for spices or for wine. 
Wreaths of mist and rainbow spanned, 
Arch on arch, the grimmest land; 
Whistle of a woodland bird 
Made the pulses dance, 
Note of horn in valleys heard 
Filled the region with romance. 

None can tell how sweet, 
How virtuous, the morning air; 
Every accent vibrates well; 
Not alone the wood-bird's call, 
Or shouting boys that chase their ball, 
Pass the height of minstrel skill, 
But the ploughman's thoughtless cry, 
Lowing oxen, sheep that bleat, 
And the joiner's hammer-beat, 
Softened are above their will. 
All grating discords melt, 
No dissonant note is dealt, 
And though thy voice be shrill 
Like rasping file on steel, 
Such is the temper of the air, 
Echo waits with art and care,
And will the faults of song repair. 

So by remote Superior Lake, 
And by resounding Mackinac, 
When northern storms and forests shake, 
And billows on the long beach break, 
The artful Air doth separate 
Note by note all sounds that grate, 
Smothering in her ample breast 
All but godlike words, 
Reporting to the happy ear 
Only purified accords. 
Strangely wrought from barking waves, 
Soft music daunts the Indian braves,-- 
Convent-chanting which the child 
Hears pealing from the panther's cave 
And the impenetrable wild. 

One musician is sure, 
His wisdom will not fail, 
He has not tasted wine impure, 
Nor bent to passion frail. 
Age cannot cloud his memory, 
Nor grief untune his voice, 
Ranging down the ruled scale 
From tone of joy to inward wail, 
Tempering the pitch of all 
In his windy cave. 
He all the fables knows, 
And in their causes tells,-- 
Knows Nature's rarest moods, 
Ever on her secret broods. 
The Muse of men is coy, 
Oft courted will not come; 
In palaces and market squares 
Entreated, she is dumb; 
But my minstrel knows and tells 
The counsel of the gods, 
Knows of Holy Book the spells, 
Knows the law of Night and Day, 
And the heart of girl and boy, 
The tragic and the gay, 
And what is writ on Table Round 
Of Arthur and his peers, 
What sea and land discoursing say 
In sidereal years. 
He renders all his lore 
In numbers wild as dreams, 
Modulating all extremes,-- 
What the spangled meadow saith 
To the children who have faith; 
Only to children children sing, 
Only to youth will spring be spring. 

Who is the Bard thus magnified? 
When did he sing, and where abide? 

Chief of song where poets feast 
Is the wind-harp which thou seest 
In the casement at my side. 

AEolian harp, 
How strangely wise thy strain! 
Gay for youth, gay for youth, 
(Sweet is art, but sweeter truth,) 
In the hall at summer eve 
Fate and Beauty skilled to weave. 
From the eager opening strings 
Rung loud and bold the song. 
Who but loved the wind-harp's note? 
How should not the poet doat 
On its mystic tongue, 
With its primeval memory, 
Reporting what old minstrels said 
Of Merlin locked the harp within,-- 
Merlin paying the pain of sin, 
Pent in a dungeon made of air,-- 
And some attain his voice to hear, 
Words of pain and cries of fear, 
But pillowed all on melody, 
As fits the griefs of bards to be. 
And what if that all-echoing shell, 
Which thus the buried Past can tell, 
Should rive the Future, and reveal 
What his dread folds would fain conceal?
 It shares the secret of the earth, 
And of the kinds that owe her birth. 
Speaks not of self that mystic tone, 
But of the Overgods alone: 
It trembles to the cosmic breath,-- 
As it heareth, so it saith; 
Obeying meek the primal Cause,
 It is the tongue of mundane laws: 
And this, at least, I dare affirm, 
Since genius too has bound and term, 
There is no bard in all the choir, 
Not Homer's self, the poet sire, 
Wise Milton's odes of pensive pleasure, 
Or Shakspeare, whom no mind can measure, 
Nor Collins' verse of tender pain, 
Nor Byron's clarion of disdain, 
Scott, the delight of generous boys, 
Or Wordsworth, Pan's recording voice,-- 
Not one of all can put in verse, 
Or to this presence could rehearse, 
The sights and voices ravishing 
The boy knew on the hills in Spring, 
When pacing through the oaks he heard 
Sharp queries of the sentry-bird, 
The heavy grouse's sudden whirr, 
The rattle of the kingfisher; 
Saw bonfires of the harlot flies 
In the lowland, when day dies; 
Or marked, benighted and forlorn, 
The first far signal-fire of morn. 
These syllables that Nature spoke, 
And the thoughts that in him woke, 
Can adequately utter none 
Save to his ear the wind-harp lone. 
And best can teach its Delphian chord 
How Nature to the soul is moored, 
If once again that silent string, 
As erst it wont, would thrill and ring. 

Not long ago, at eventide, 
It seemed, so listening, at my side 
A window rose, and, to say sooth, 
I looked forth on the fields of youth:
I saw fair boys bestriding steeds, 
I knew their forms in fancy weeds, 
Long, long concealed by sundering fates, 
Mates of my youth,--yet not my mates, 
Stronger and bolder far than I, 
With grace, with genius, well attired, 
And then as now from far admired, 
Followed with love 
They knew not of, 
With passion cold and shy. 
O joy, for what recoveries rare! 
Renewed, I breathe Elysian air, 
See youth's glad mates in earliest bloom,-- 
Break not my dream, obtrusive tomb! 
Or teach thou, Spring! the grand recoil 
Of life resurgent from the soil 
Wherein was dropped the mortal spoil. 

Soft on the south-wind sleeps the haze! 
So on thy broad mystic van 
Lie the opal-coloured days, 
And waft the miracle to man. 
Soothsayer of the eldest gods, 
Repairer of what harms betide, 
Revealer of the inmost powers 
Prometheus proffered, Jove denied; 
Disclosing treasures more than true, 
Or in what far to-morrow due; 
Speaking by the tongues of flowers, 
By the ten-tongued laurel speaking, 
Singing by the oriole songs, 
Heart of bird the man's heart seeking; 
Whispering hints of treasure hid 
Under Morn's unlifted lid, 
Islands looming just beyond 
The dim horizon's utmost bound;-- 
Who can, like thee, our rags upbraid, 
Or taunt us with our hope decayed? 
Or who like thee persuade, 
Making the splendour of the air, 
The morn and sparkling dew, a snare? 
Or who resent 
Thy genius, wiles, and blandishment? 

There is no orator prevails 
To beckon or persuade 
Like thee the youth or maid: 
Thy birds, thy songs, thy brooks, thy gales, 
Thy blooms, thy kinds, 
Thy echoes in the wilderness, 
Soothe pain, and age, and love's distress, 
Fire fainting will, and build heroic minds. 

For thou, O Spring! canst renovate 
All that high God did first create. 
Be still his arm and architect, 
Rebuild the ruin, mend defect; 
Chemist to vamp old worlds with new, 
Coat sea and sky with heavenlier blue, 
New-tint the plumage of the birds, 
And slough decay from grazing herds, 
Sweep ruins from the scarped mountain, 
Cleanse the torrent at the fountain, 
Purge alpine air by towns defiled, 
Bring to fair mother fairer child, 
Not less renew the heart and brain, 
Scatter the sloth, wash out the stain, 
Make the aged eye sun-clear, 
To parting soul bring grandeur near. 
Under gentle types, my Spring 
Masks the might of Nature's king, 
An energy that searches thorough 
From Chaos to the dawning morrow; 
Into all our human plight, 
The soul's pilgrimage and flight; 
In city or in solitude, 
Step by step, lifts bad to good, 
Without halting, without rest, 
Lifting Better up to Best; 
Planting seeds of knowledge pure, 
Through earth to ripen, through heaven endure.