Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> Simms, Freemasonry, and His ''Epistle to a Brother Mason in Affliction'' >> Page 119

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Secondary Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 119THE SIMMS REVIEW

especially those of Columbia, would be ever grateful to Simms and his
efforts to afford succor and relief to the suffering people of his war-torn

Simms as Masonic Poet
Among the more notable individuals with whom Simms met
on his initial journey North were Brothers Robert Macoy and Daniel
Sickles of Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Company of New
York. In their 1866 publication The Masonic Eclectic, Simms published
two explicitly Masonic poems, the only poems he wrote as a Mason for a
specifically Masonic audience. One of these, "Epistle to a Brother Mason
in Affliction," is a moving summation of Simms's experience with and
gratitude towards the Masonic fraternity, especially his experiences dur-
ing his post-war pilgrimage to the North. Its seven, 7-line stanzas rhym-
ing ababcdcd describe an exchange between two Masons, one in distress
and the other trying to console him, reminding him that, as Masons, they
all took the same sacred obligation. That oath meant that succor and relief
could be counted upon, that there was reason to be hopeful, and that the
sufferer should pick himself up and carry on.
Simms's speaker assumes the role of a Northern Mason, one of
the "Northern Brethren" who sympathize with "the distressed and pros-
trate condition of the Masonic lodges of Columbia":
Dear Brother of the Mystic Tie,
With brethren ever on the Square,
Why creeps the sadness to thine eye,
Why now the sigh, and now the tear?
Doth sorrow brood beside thy hearth?
Is fortune to thy hope adverse?
These are the Fates that sadden earth,
From ADAM down to us, the curse!
But, with the bitter comes the sweet;
There's love and friendship giv'n to man;
And ties more sacred round thee meet,
To give thee succor if they can!
Our Brotherhood of holiest ties
Commends thy sorrow to my care;
A Mason's love shall dry thine eyes,