A masonic song 

une chanson maçonnico-paillarde de Robert Burns


Nous avons trouvé cette très égrillarde chanson dans l'ensemble de celles attribuées à Robert Burns sur le site Masonic poets Society.

 A Masonic Song

It happened on a winter night,
And early in the season.
Some body said my bonny lad
Was gone to be a Mason.
Fal de ral (*), etc.

I cryed and wailed, but nought availed,
He put a forward face on.
And did avow that he was now
A Free Accepted Mason.

Still doubting if the fact was true,
He gave me demonstration;
For out he drew before my view
The Jewels of a Mason.

The Jewels all, baith great and small,
I viewed with admiration;
When he set his swage and drew his gauge,
I wondered at my Mason.

So pleased was I to see him ply
The tools of his vocation,
I beg'd for once he would dispense
And make a Maid a Mason.

Then round and round in mystic ground
He took the middle station,
And with halting pace he reached the place
Where I was made a Mason.

His compass stride he laid it wide,
I thought I guessed the reason.
But his mallet shaft it put me daft;
I longed to be a Mason.

Good plummets strong he downward hung
A noble jolly brace on;
And off a slant his broacher sent
And drove it like a Mason.

Then more and more the light did pour
With bright Illumination,
But when the grip he did me slip
I gloried in my Mason.

But the tempered steel began to fail,
Too soft for the occasion.
It melted lean he drove so keen,
My gallant noble Mason.

What farther passed is here locked fast,
I'm under obligation.
But fill to him, up to the brim,
Can make a Maid a Mason. 

Une chanson maçonnique

Cela se passa une nuit d’hiver
au début de la saison
quelqu’un me dit que mon amour
est allé se faire maçon.

J’ai crié et pleuré mais rien n’y fit
Il montra un visage effronté
et admit que maintenant
il était maçon franc et accepté.

Comme je doutais que ce fût vrai
il m’en fit la démonstration.
Car à mes yeux il sortit
les bijoux d’un maçon.

Tous les bijoux, grands et petits
lorsqu’il posa son mandrin et sortit son gabarit
je m’émerveillai de mon maçon.

Si heureuse je fus de le voir utiliser
les outils de son métier
je le priai pour une fois de faire une exception
et de faire d’une vierge un maçon.

Alors sur un sol mystique il fit des tours
prit la position centrale
et d’un pas hésitant il gagna le lieu
où je fus faite maçon.

Il allait à grandes enjambées
je croyais en savoir la raison
mais le manche de son maillet me fit perdre la boule
j’avais hâte d’être maçon.

Il pendit une belle et forte perpendiculaire
une belle et noble broche
envoya en oblique son marteau
et poussa comme maçon.

Alors de plus en plus la lumière se déversa
en une brillante illumination
 mais quand il me fit lâcher la griffe
je me réjouis d’être maçon.

Mais l’acier trempé se mit à faiblir
trop tendre pour la circonstance
Il fondit de maigreur il maniait si bien
mon noble et vaillant maçon.

Ce qui se passa ensuite 
est sous clé je l’ai juré 
mais donnez-lui à boire à ras bord 
il peut faire d’une vierge un maçon.

Dans son ouvrage British Poets and Secret Societies (Routledge Revivals), Marie Mulvey-Roberts présente et commente cette chanson comme suit (pp. 68-70) :

The connection between wine, women and Masonry during the eighteenth century is evident from a number of bawdy Masonic drinking songs. Invariably the Masons' working tools were subject to sexual innuendo while aspects of ritual and symbolism were used to evoke erotic imagery. Perhaps saucy lyrics were intended to compensate for the exclusion of women from the lodge-room. But it is more likely that the brotherhood hoped to counter their enemies' accusations of sodomy by asserting their heterosexual virility. A bawdy poem attributed to Burns called "A Masonic Song", describes how a Mason provides evidence of his initiation through his sexual prowess ...

Throughout this poem Masonic terms are used as sexual metaphors. These include jewels which denote rank and office and the broacher or broached thurnel which is a conical stone chisel. Burns also exploits the phallic symbolism of the plummet or plumb-line, the 'gage' referring to the 24-inch gauge used by the Entered Apprentice and the shaft of the "mallet" or hammer associated with the Master of the lodge. The Masons' clandestine communication through the use of body language is parodied by the image of the "compass stride" in stanza five while the secret "grip" or handshake is ridiculed in stanza ten. The poem culminates in a description of the sexual act which caricatures Masonic initiation by punning on the expression "made a Mason". G. Legman dismisses the homosexual undertones of the poem as factitious "homoerotic mummery" which may have been intended to clash with its feminine perspective for comic effect.

Apparently Burns composed the "Masonic Song" extempore at a lodge meeting. The Masonic environment provided Burns with poetic inspiration because it was able to accommodate his defiance of the social and moral order outside. 

(*) Fal de ral est une formule d'usage courant dans la vieille chanson anglaise, par exemple ici ou ici ... ou même dans les Irish songs de Beethoven :



‘Twas a Marechal of France, and he fain would honour gain, 
And he long’d to take a passing glance at Portugal from Spain, 
With his flying guns this gallant gay, 
And boasted corps d’armée, 
O he fear’d not our dragoons with their long swords boldly riding. 
Whack fal de ral la la la la la la la, 
And Whack fal de ral la la la la la la la.

Walter Scott

Other english-speaking songs

Retour au sommaire des chansons diverses du XVIIIe:

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