The white leather apron is more ancient by far Than the eagles of Rome, a symbol of war, Or the fleece of pure gold, by emperors given, A rich decoration for which many have striven. The Garter of England, an Order most rare, Although highly prized, can not with it compare; It is an emblem of innocence, symbolled in white, And purity ever brings the greatest delight; With pure thoughts and actions, how happy the life, How care-free the conscience, unclouded by strife!
No Potentate ever can upon us bestow An honour so great as this apron doth show; No king on his throne in his highest estate Can give us an emblem so cherished or great; ‘Tis the Badge of a Mason, more noble to wear Than the gold of the mine, or the diamond most rare, So here’s to the lambskin, the apron of white, That lifts up all equals and all doth unite, In the Order so ancient that man can not say When its teachings began or name its birthday.
Since its birth, nations young have gone to their tomb, And cities once great turned to ashes and gloom; Earth’s greatest achievements have long passed away, And people have risen and gone to decay. Outliving all these, never changing with time, Are the principles taught in our Order sublime. And now, my good brother, this apron’s for you, May you worthily wear it and ever be true To the vows you have made, to the lessons most grand; For these, home and country, we ever will stand.
D. W. Clements