"Once in so often," King Solomon said, Watching his quarrymen drill the stone, "We will club our garlic and wine and bread And banquet together beneath my Throne, And all the Brethren shall come to that mess As Fellow Craftsmen no more and no less." "Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre, Felling and floating our beautiful trees, Say that the Brethren and I desire Talk with our Brethren who use the seas. And we shall be happy to meet them at mess As Fellow Craftsmen no more and no less." "Carry this message to Hiram Abif, Excellent master of forge and mine: I and the Brethren would like it if He and the Brethren will come to dine (Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress) As Fellow Craftsmen-no more and no less." "God gave the Hyssop and Cedar their place, Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn, But that is no reason to black a man's face Because he is not what he hasn't been born. And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess We are Fellow Craftsmen no more and no less." So it was ordered and so it was done, And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark, With foc'sle hands of Sidon run And Navy Lords from the Royal Ark, Came and sat down and were merry at mess As Fellow Craftsmen no more and no less. The Quarries are hotter than Hiram's forge, No one is safe from the dog-whip's reach. It's mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge, And it's always blowing off Joppa beach; But once in so often, the messenger brings Solomon's mandate: "Forget these things! Brother to Beggars and Fellow to Kings, Companion of Princes-forget these things! Fellow Craftsmen, forget these things!"
Return to the Rudyard Kipling library , or . . . Read the next poem; Barrack-Room Ballads