THE PLEYEL HYMN
THE PLEYEL HYMN-which is often used in one of
our Masonic degrees and is fitting to reflect on
today. The hymn was written in 1816 by David
Vinton, a lecturer on Masonry and teacher of the
ritual in the first quarter of the last century,
whose field of labor was in the South, chiefly
in North Carolina. Originally it had eight
stanzas, only four of which are used in our
ritual and burial service,
Whether we hear this hymn in the tiled recesses
of the Lodge, or on a green sward out under the
sky, our hearts answer to its appeal. - that
mighty funeral hymn of the human race - with its
chant of the swift death of mourning flowers, of
the vanishing of man, and the hush of profound
sleep to which all things mortal decline. How
helpless man is, pursued by Time and overtaken
by Death - his life a vapor that melts, his span
of years a tale that is soon told. There is here
"Solemn strikes the funeral chime,
Notes of our departing time;
As we journey here below,
Through a pilgrimage of woe."
"Mortals now indulge a tear,
For mortality is here;
See how wide her trophies wave,
O\'er the slumbers of the grave."
"Here, another guest we bring;
Seraphs of celestial wing,
To our funeral altar come;
Waft a friend and brother home."
"Lord of all below, above,
Fill our souls with Truth and Love;
As dissolves our Earthly Tie,
Take us to Thy Lodge on High."
Death, where is thy victory? Our trust is in
God, that He who made us what we are will lead
us to what we ought to be. Higher faith there is
none. Even so, Masonry rests its hope upon the
ultimate Reality, the first truth and the last,
and it is therefore that its singer sees, amidst
the fluctuating shadows of this twilight world,
an august, incomprehensible destiny for man. As
a song of triumph the four stanzas omitted from
this historic hymn are worthy of remembrance:
"For beyond the
grave there lie
Brighter mansions in the sky!
Where, enthroned, the Deity
Gives man immortality.
There, enlarged, his soul will see
What was veiled in mystery;
Heavenly glories fill the place,
Show his Maker
face to face.
God of life\'s eternal day!
Guide us, lest from Thee we stray,
By a false, delusive light,
To the shades of endless night.
Calm, the good man meets his fate,
Guards celestial round him wait;
See! he bursts these mortal chains,
And o\'er death the victory gains."
by David Triplett