- Decimus punctus.
- Tenth point.
- The tenth point presenteth well good life,
- To live without care and strife
- For if the mason live amiss,
- And in his work be false y-wisse, (I know)
- And through such a false skewsasyon (excuse)
- May slander his fellows without reason,
- Through false slander of such fame.
- May make the craft acquire blame.
- If he do the craft such villainy
- Do him no favour then securely,
- Nor maintain not him in wicked life,
- Lest it would turn to care and strife;
- But yet him you shall not delayme, (delay)
- Unless that you shall him constrain
- For to appear wheresoever you will
- Where that you will, loud or still;
- To the next assembly you shall him call,
- To appear before his fellows all,
- And unless he will before them appear,
- The craft he must need forswear;
- He shall then be punished after the law
- That was founded by old dawe. (day)
- Punctus undecimus.
- Eleventh point.
- The eleventh point is of good discrction
- As you must know by good reason
- A mason, if he this craft well con, (know)
- That seeth his fellow hew on a stone
- And is in point to spoil that stone,
- Amend it soon if that thou can
- And teach him then it to amend
- That the lords' work be not y-schende, (spoiled)
- And teach him easily it to amend, .
- With fair words, that God thee hath lender (lent)
- For his sake that sit above
- With sweet words nourish his love.
- Punctus duodecimus.
- Twelfth point.
- The twelfth point is of great royalty
- There as the assembly held shall be
- There shall be masters and fellows also,
- And other great lords many mo- (more)
- There shall be the sheriff of that country,
- And also the mayor of that city,
- Knights and squires there shall be
- And also aldermen, as you shall see;
- Such ordinance as they make there,
- They shall maintain it all y-fere (together)
- Against that man, whatsoever he be
- That belongeth to the craft both fair and free
- If he any strife against them make
- Into their custody he shall be take (taken)
- XIIJus punctus.
- Thirteenth point.
- The thirteenth point is to us full lief,
- He shall swear never to be no thief
- Nor suecour him in his false craft,
- For no good that he hath byraft- (bereft)
- And thou must it know or sin
- Neither for his good, nor for his kin.
- XIIIJus punctus.
- Fourteenth point.
- The fourteenth point is full good law
- To him that would be under awe:
- A good true oath he must there swear
- To his master and his fellows that be there;
- He must be steadfast and true also
- To all this ordinance, wheresoever he go,
- And to his liege lord the king,
- To be true to him over all thing.
- And all these points here before
- To them thou must need be y-swore, (sworn)
- And all shall swear the same oath
- Of the masons, be they lief be they loath
- To all these points here before,
- That hath been ordained by full good lore.
- And they shall enquire every man
- Of his party, as well as he can,
- If any man may be found guilty
- In ante of these points specially;
- And who he be, let him be sought
- And to the assembly let him be brought
- Quindecimus punctus.
- fifteenth point.
- The fifteenth point is of full lore
- For them that shall be there y-swore, (sworn)
- Such ordinance at the assembly was raid
- Of great lords and mvsters before said
- For the same that be disobedient y-wisse (I know)
- Against the ordinance that there is,
- Of these articles that were moved there,
- Of great lords and masons all y-fere. (together)
- And if they be proved openly
- Before that assembly by and by
- Befor that assembly , by and by
- And for their guils no amends will make,
- Then must they need the craft forsake;
- And no masons craft they shall refuse,
- And swear it never more to use.
- But if that they will amends make,
- Again to the craft they shall never take;
- And if that thev will not do so
- The sheriff shall come them soon to,.
- And put their bodies in deep prison,
- For the trespass that they have done,
- And take their goods and their cattle
- Into the king's hand, every delle, (part)
- And let them dwell there full still,
- Till it be our liege king's will.
- Alia ordinacio artis gemetriae.
- Another ordinance of the art of geometry.
- They ordained there an assembly to be y-holde, (held)
- Every year, wheresoever they would,
- To amend the defaults, if any were found
- Among the craft within the land;
- Bach year or third year it should be holde, (held)
- In every place wheresoever they would;
- Time and place must be ordained also,
- In what place they should assemble to.
- All the men of craft there they must be,
- And other great lords, as you must see,
- To mend the faults that he there spoken,
- If that any of them be then broken.
- There they shall be all y-swore, (sworn)
- That belongeth to this eraft's lore,
- To keep their statutes every one
- That were ordained bv King Athelstane;
- These statutes that I have here found
- I ordain they be held through my land,
- For the worship of my royalty,
- That I have bv my dignity.
- Also at every assembly that you hold,
- That you come to your liege king bold,
- Beseeching him of his high grace,
- To stand with you in every place,
- To confirm the statutes of King Athelstane,
- That he ordained to this craft by good reason.
- Ars quatuor coronatorum.
- The art of the four crowned ones.
- Pray we now to God almight, (almighty)
- And to his mother Mary bright,
- That we may keep these articles here,
- And these points well all y-fere, (together)
- As did these holy martyrs four,
- That in this craft were of great honour;
- They were as good masons as on earth shall go,
- Gravers and image-makers they were also.
- For they were workmen of the best,
- The emperor had to them great luste; (liking)
- He willed of them an image to make
- That might be worshipped for his sake;
- Such monuments he had in his dawe, (day)
- To turn the people from Christ's law.
- But they were steadfast in Christ's lay (law)
- And to their craft without nay; (doubt)
- They loved well God and all his lore,
- And were in his service ever more.
- True men they were in that dawe, (day)
- And lived well in God's law;
- They thought no monuments for to make
- For no good that they might take,
- To believe on that monument for their God,
- They would not do so, though he were wod; (furious)
- For they would not forsake their true fay (faith)
- And belleve on his false lay. (law)
- The emperor let take them soon anon,
- And put them in a deep prison;
- The more sorely he punished them in that place,
- The more joy was to them of Crist' s grace.
- Then when he saw no other one,
- To death he let them then gon, (go)
- Whose will of their life yet more know.
- By the book he might it show
- In the legend of sanetorum (holy ones)
- The names of quatuor coronàtorum (four crowned ones)
- Their feast will be without nay, (doubt)
- After Hallow-eten the eighth dale
- You may hear as I do read,
- That many years after, for great dread
- That Noah's flood was all run
- The tower of Babylon was begun,
- As plain work of lime and stone
- As any man should look upon;
- So long and broad it was begun,
- Seven miles the height shadoweth the sun.
- King Nebuchadnezzar let it make
- To great strength for man's sake,
- Though such a flood again should come,
- Over the work it should not nome, (take)
- nor they had so high pride, with strong boast,
- All that work therefore was lost;
- An angel smote them so with divers speech,
- That never one knew what the other should reche (tell)
- Many years after, the good clerk Euclid
- Taught the craft of geometry full wonder wide,
- So he did that other time also,
- Of divers crafts many mo. (more)
- Through high grace of Christ in heaven,
- He commenced in the sciences seven;
- Grammar is the first science y-wisse, (I know)
- Dialect the second, so have I bliss
- Rhetoric the third without nay, (doubt)
- Music is the fourth, as I you say,
- Astronomy is the fifth, by my snout,
- Arithmetic the sixth, without doubt,
- Geometry the seventh maketh an end,
- For he is both meek and hende. (courteous)
- Grammar forsooth is the root,
- Whoever will learn on the book;
- But art passeth in his degree,
- As the fruit doth the root of the tree;
- Rhetoric measureth with ornate speech among,
- And music it is a sweet song;
- Astronomy numbereth, my dear brother,
- Arithmetic sheweth one thing that is another,
- geometry the seventh science it is,
- That can separate falsehood from truth y-wis. (I know)
- These be the sciences seven,
- Who useth them well he may have heaven.
- Now dear children by your wit
- Pride and covetousness that you leave it,
- And taketh heed to good discretion,
- And to good nurture, wheresoever you come.
- Now I prav you take good heed, .
- For this vou must know nede, (needs)
- But much more you must wyten, (know)
- Than you find here written.
- If thee fail thereto wit
- Pray to God to send thee it:
- For Christ himself, he teacheth out (us)
- That holy church is God's house,
- That is made for nothing ellus (else)
- But for to pray in, as the book tellus; (tells us)
- There the people shall gather in,
- To pray and weep for their sln.
- Look thou come not to church late
- For to speak harlotry by the gate; XLVIII.
- Then to church when thou dost fare,
- Have in thy mind ever mare (more)
- To worship they lord God both day and night,
- With all thy wits and even thy might.
- To the church door when thou dost come
- Of that holy water there some thou nome"t
- For every drop thou feelest there
- Quencheth a venial sin, be thou ser. (sure)
- But first thou must do down thy hood,
- For his love that died on the rood.
- Into the ehureh when thou dost gon, (go)
- Pull up thy heart to Christ, anon; XLIX.
- Upon the rood thou look up then,
- And kneel down fair upon thy knew (knees)
- Then pray to him so here to worche (work)
- After the law of holy church,
- For to keep the commandments ten,
- That God gave to all men;
- And pray to him with mild steven (voice)
- To keep thee from the sins seven,
- That thou here may, in this life,
- Keep thee well from care and strife;
- Furthermore he grant thee grace,
- In heaven's bliss to have a place.
- In holy church leave trifling words
- Of lewd speech and foul bordes, (jests)
- find put away all vanity,
- And say thy pater noster and thine ave;
- Look also that thou make no bere, (noise)
- But always to be in thy prayer;
- If thou wilt not thyself pray,
- Hinder no other man by no way.
- In that place neither sit nor stand,
- But kneel fair down on the ground,
- And when the Gospel me read shall,
- Fairly thou stand up from the wall,
- And bless the fare if that thou can,
- When gloria tibi is begun;
- And when the gospel is done,
- Again thou might kneel down,
- On both thy knees down thou fall,
- For his love that bought us all;
- And when thou hearest the bell ring
- To that holy sakerynge, (sacrament)
- Kneel you must both young and old,
- And both your hands fair uphold,
- And say then in this manner.
- Fair and solf without bere; (noise)
- "Jesu Lord welcome thou be,
- In form of bread as I thee see,
- Now Jesu for thine holy name,
- Shield me from sin and shame;
- Shrift and Eucharist thou grant me bo, (both)
- Ere that I shall hence go,
- And very contrition for my sin,
- That I never, Lord, die therein;
- And as thou were of maid y-bore (born)
- Suffer me never to be y-lore- (dot)
- But when I shall hence wend,
- Grant me the bliss without end;
- Amen! Amen! so mote it be!
- Now sweet lady pray for me."
- Thus thou might say, or some other thing
- When thou kneelest at the sakerynge, (sacrament)
- For covetousness after good, spare thou nought
- To worship him that all hath wrought;
- For glad may a man that day be,
- That once in the day may him see;
- It is so much worth, without nay, (doubt)
- The virtue thereof no man tell may
- But so much good doth that sight,
- That Saint Austin telleth full right,
- That day thou seest God's body
- Thou shalt have these full securely:
- Meet and drink at thy need
- None that day shalt thou gnede; (lack)
- Idle oaths and words bo, (both)
- God forgiveth thee also;
- Sudden death that same day
- Thee dare not dread by no way
- Also that day, I thee plight
- Thou shalt not lose thy eye sight;
- And each foot that thou goest then,
- That holy sight for to sen (see)
- They shall be told to stand instead
- When thou hast thereto great need
- That messenger the angel Gabriel
- Will keep them to thee full well.
- From thls matter now I may pass
- To tell more benefits of the mass
- To church come yet, if thou may
- And hear the mass each day
- If thou may not come to church,
- Where that ever thou dost worche, (work)
- When thou hearest the mass knylle, (toll)
- Pray to God with heart still
- To give they part of that service,
- That in church there done is.
- Furthermore yet, I will you preach
- To your fellows, it for to teach,
- When thou comest before a lord
- In hall, in bower, or at the board,
- Hood or cap that thou off do,
- Ere thou come him entirely to
- Twice or thrice, without doubt,
- To that lord thou must lowte; (bow)
- With thy right knee let it be do, (done) LVII.
- Thine own worship thou save so.
- Hold off thy cap and hood also,
- Till thou have leave it on to do. (put)
- All the time thou speakest with him,
- Fair and amiably hold up thy chin
- So, after the nurture of the book,
- In his face kindly thou look.
- Foot and hand thou keep full still
- For clawing and tripping. is skill;
- From spitting and sniffling keep thee also
- By private expulsion let it go.
- And if that thou be wise and felle, (discrete) LVIII.
- Thou has great need to govern thee well.
- Into the hall when thou dost wend
- Amongst the gentles, good and hende, (courteous)
- Presume not too high for nothing
- For thine high blood, nor thy cunning,
- Neither to sit nor to lean,
- That is nurture good and clean.
- Let not thy countenance therefore abate,
- Forsooth good nurture will save thy state.
- Father and mother, whatsoever they be,
- Well is the child that well may thee,
- In hall, in chamber, where thou dost gon; (go) LIX.
- Good manners make a man.
- To the next degree look wisely
- To do them reverence by and by;
- Do them yet no reverence all o-rowe, (in turn)
- Unless that thou do them know.
- To the meat when thou art set,
- Fair and honestly thou eat it
- First look that thine hands be clean,
- And that thy knife be sharp and keen
- And cut thy bread all at thy meat,
- Right as it may be there y-ete. (eaten)
- If thou sit by a worthier man.
- Then thy self thou art one
- Suffer him first to touch the meat,
- Ere thyself to it reach.
- To the fairest morsel thou might not strike,
- Though that thou do it well like;
- Keep thine hands fair and well
- From foul smudging of thy towel;
- Thereon thou shalt not thy nose smite, (blow)
- Nor at the meat thy tooth thou pike- (pick)
- Tco deep in cup thou might not sink,
- Though thou have good will to drink,
- Lest thine eyes would vaster thereby
- when were it no courtesy.
- Look in thy mouth there be no meat,
- When thou beginnest to drink or speak.
- When thou seest any man drinking,
- That taketh heed to thy carpynge, (speech)
- Soon anon thou cease thy tale
- Whether he drink wine or ale,
- Look also thou scorn no man
- In what degree thou seest him gone:
- Nor thou shalt no man deprave,
- If thou wilt thy worship save
- For such word might there outburst.
- That might make thee sit in evil rest
- Close thy hand in thy fist,
- And keep thee well from " had-y-wiste." (" had known ")
- In chamber, among the ladies bright,
- Hold thy tongue and spend thy sight;
- Laugh thou not with no great cry,
- Nor make no lewd sport and ribaldry.
- Play thou not but with thy peers
- Nor tell thou not all that thou hears;
- Discover thou not thine own deed,
- For no mirth, nor for no mede: (reward)
- With fair speech thou might have thy will,
- With it thou might thy self spylle. (spoil) LXIII.
- When thou meetest a worthy man,
- Cap and hood thou hold not on;
- In church in market or in the gate,
- Do him reverence after his state.
- If thou goest v.ith a worthier man
- Then thyself thou art one,
- Let thy foremost shoulder follow his
- For that is nurture without lack;
- When he doth speak, hold thee still,
- When he hath done , say for thy will
- In thy speech that thou be felle, (discreet)
- And what thou sayest consider thee well
- But deprive thou not him his tale,
- Neither at the wine nor at the ale.
- Christ then of his high grace
- Save you both w it and space
- Bell this book to know and read,
- Heaven to have for your mede. (reward)
- Amen! Amen! so mote it be!
- So say we all for charity.
The Manuseript has been discussed at various thnes by several students. A lengthy and careful examination of it appears in volume i of the Antigrapha of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1889, and among the Collected Essays and Papers Relating to Freemasonry by Robert F. Gould, 1913, published by William Tait of Belfast, Ireland. Brother William Begernann published a discussion of it in the German language, which is summarized by Brother George William Speth in volume vii~ Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge.
The name Reyius Manuscript was the suggestion of Brother Gould as indicating its pre-eminence as a Masonic document as well as its previous ownership by the Kings of England. The Manuseript, as Brother Baxter well said, is of prime importance to the Fraternity of Freemasons as being its oldest preserved document which affords evidence of a legendary history and an indication of a speculative origin. Brother Baxter read a paper upon the subject before the Lodge of Research at Leicester on November 2S, 1914. From this discussion we take the following comments of Brother Baxter:
I should like to ask you to carefully consider the wording of the poem, and to notice the remarkable number of instances in which the phrases have been introduced
although in different terminology into our ritual, and the cases in which its requirements have been incorporated with our Constitutions. Even the last stage of the document, which deals with manners at table and in the presence of superiors, and appears at first sight to be quite irrelevant, may be accepted as evidence that our present custom of celebrating special Masonic events by
banqueting and fraternizing was a feature of the Craft at the time of which the Manuseript speaks. You will all be acquainted in some degree with the remarkable series of documents known variously as the Manuscript Constitutions, the Gothic Constitutions, or more commonly
nowadays as the Old Charoes of the British Freemasons and you will further know that after an introductory prayer, of a purely Christian character, they go on to relate how the science of geometry (or Freemnsonry) came to be founded. This same legend forms the first part of the poem we are now considering, and as it clearly states that the story is to be found in old books, abundantly proves that the versifier had access to copies of the Old Charges which are unhappily now lost to us.
I wish to use this legend as the basis of a theorv which I shall try to develop. Briefly stated, my idea is that the poem, as well as all the other Old Charges, elearly indicates that architectures the mistress of the arts, which is undoubtedly founded on geometry, was developed in Egypt, the cradle of civilization, and that its early practitioners were, as related in these old Manuseripts, of gentle birth. They must have been the actual designers of the structures and have worked, in conjunction so far as the execution of their projects was concerned with the skilled craftsmen and manual labourers who were necessary to their purpose. A gild, composed of different grades of members, would thus be formed, possibly with different secret signs for each class, and from this gild, through different channels of development, would arise the present-day purely speculative form of Freemasonry, with its system of Degrees.
Brothers Speth and Gould have laboured hard to establish the fact that prior to the institution of Grand Lodge, and during its early regime, two Degrees only were worked, and I have used the weight of later evidence to back up their assertion. What is more likely than that the higher or Master's Degree was confined to the skilled geometricians, whilst the simpler artificers had to content themselves with the lower step? All students know definitely, that from the earliest times of which we have any monuments remaining, that architecture was a living art developing along elearly defined lines, and varying in character with the nature of the materials employed, and the climatic conditions existing in the countries where they were used, down at least to the close of the Gothic Era in Western Europe, and its counterpart in Eastern countries. (I am not at all suggesting that the Renaissance effected an arrest of creative design, although it reverted to and made use of forms of a bygone age.) It is therefore not possible to conceive that buildings of any architectural pretensions could have been erected, without carefully thought-out designs having been prepared. Dealing more particularly with the actual time of the writing of the poem, we can only conclude that such a progression of design as commonly proceeded over the whole of England almost simultaneously, could only have been produced bv a school of thought and not by individual effort. My firm conviction is that this school was composed of the Master Freemasons of the period.
Commenting on lines 143-G of the poem which (modernised) read:
By old time written I find
That the Prentice should be of gentle kind
And so sometime great lords' blood,
Took this geometry that is full good.
The late F. J. Furnivall said, "I should like to see the evidence of a lords son having become a working mason. and dwelling seven years with his master 'his craft to learn."' Alv contention is that neither the poem nor any other craft document ever suggested that a lord's son had become a working mason. That they became students of geometry and designers of buildings is in every
way likely, and was in no way derogatory to their dignity. I might even point out that the present Lord Ferrers (the successor in the earldom of your own late Provincial Grand Master) was, before his accession to the title, a practicing architect, and that other scions of noble families are at present similarly engaged. There seems to be good evidence of this in the poem, particularly in Lines 279-83, which read:
She privities of the chamber tell he no man,
Nor in the lodge whatsoever they don;
Whatsoever thou hearest or seest them do
Tell to no man wheresoever you go;
The counsel of hall and even of bower
Steep it well to great honour—
That these gentlemen were on a different footing from the ordinary eraftsmen, and that their labours were conducted. not in the Lodge, but in the chamber, are conditions which I suggest are parallel to the masons' shed and the drawing office.
Reverting now to Henry Yevley, whose name is variously spelled, but always easily recognisable, I find on turning up his name in Ivenning's Cyclopaedia
'Said by the Revd. James Anderson, D.D. (in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions, 1723) to have been the King's Freemason, or general surveyor of the buildings of King Edward III, and employed by His Majesty to 'build several abbies' and other edifices. Unfortunately Doctor Anderson was gifted with the imaginative faculty to an undue extent, so that such statements as the foregoing (which are frequently met with in his work) confuse more than they benefit the general reader, and, Masonically speaking, have done much harm. We fail to see why Masonry requires unhistorical statements to render it acceptable in any way."
The Reverend Brother Woodford, who was the author and editor of the encyclopedia, in conjunction with Brother Vaughan, who wrote the articles under the letters U. V, W. Y. and Z. appears, however, to be wrong on this occasion, and the imaginative doctor quite right. Doctor Begemann contributed a note to Transactions. Quatuor Coronati Lodge, xxi, in which he endeavored to prove—and I think with complete success—that the title of Freemason applied to Yevley by Stow in his Survey of London, 1598, had actually been used during the former's lifetime, and was not a posthumous description. Doctor Begemann's note inspired an article by Brother E. W. M Wonnacott, of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and himself an architect in the same volume, in which he conclusively proved from existing documents, that as early as 1362 Yevley was described as a " deviser of Masonry," and that William of Wykeham, generally credited with having been a great architect, was merely mentioned as a clerk. In 1381 Nicholas Typerton undertook to build the aisle of Saint Dunstan's Church in Thames Street " selon ho devise de Mestre (according to the design of Master) Henry Iveleghe," and in 1395 works were carried out at Westminster Hall from a model made by the advice of Waster Henri Zeveley.
" Selone be purport d'une fourme et molde fait par conseil
de mesttre Henri Zeveley.
(According to the style of a form and mold made by counsel of Master Henri Zeveley.)
I have not picked out the ease of Yevley as being at all singular, but merely because it has been so fully dealt faith in Masonic writings which are available to us all. tn examination of the list of names in Wyatt Papworth's paper on the Superintendents of English Buildings during the Middle Ages, and a careful study of their records, nould doubtless prove that their duties were in every way analogous to those of the character selected. Surely there ean no longer be any doubt that the Master Masons of the Gothic Era at least (and possibly so long as architecture has been practiced), were architects in the truest sense of the word, for when we eonsider the constructive ingenuity of their buildings, no less than their perfect proportions and beauty, we are compelled at once to admit, that their skill and knowledge of geometry were profound. Thus I think you will agree, I am quite justified in concluding that the legend of the founding of the science of geometry by the children of great lords and ladies, as related in the first part of the poem, is no myth, but is founded on fact, for unlettered working masons could never have produced the temples and churches for the worship of T. G. A. 0. T. U., which of all things that excite pleasure to the eye, rank next only to the works of the Great Creator Himself.