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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 that

"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."

 

Article submitted by David Triplett 

 

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