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[William Shakespeare]
Shakespeare and masonry
The 1623 Shakespeare Folio has numerous references that could be interpreted as referring to Freemasonry. Although the word "apron" appears four times, "brother" 479 times, brethren 18 times, "compass" 32 times, "grave" 185 times, "lodge" 24 times, "mason" two times, "masonry" two times, "square" 14 times, "master" 646 times and "worshipful" five times, it would be difficult to find any masonic significance in the greater majority of the usages or contexts.
And the Meanest of things are made more precious when they are dedicated to Temples.
Epistle Dedication in The Shakespeare Folio. 1623.
To the Most Noble and Incomparable Pair of Brethren, William, Earle of Pembroke.... and Philip, Earle of Montgomery...
Dedication in The Shakespeare Folio.
Like to the Garter’s compass, in a ring:
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V, s.5
Is there no young squarer that will make a Voyage with him....?
Much Ado About Nothing, Act I s.1
I have not kept my square,but that to come shall all be done by Rule.
Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, s.1.
They never meet, but they do square.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, s.1
I shall stay here the forehorse to a smock,
Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry,
All’s well that Ends Well, Act II, s.1
Doth any name particular belong
Unto the lodging where I first did swoon?
'Tis call'd Jerusalem, my noble lord.
King Henry IV, Part ii Act 4, s.5
And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer’s wrist,
Whilst he that hears makes fearful action,
King John Act 4, s.2
Be patient, for the prize I'll bring thee to
Shall hoodwink this mischance: therefore speak softly.
All’s hush'd as midnight yet.
The Tempest, Act IV, s.1
What! My old Worshipful Master!
Taming of the Shrew, Act V, s.1.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Act II, s.2
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.
Richard III, Act I, s.1
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See
In special business from his holiness.
Measure for Measure Act III, s.2
The singing masons building roofs of gold,
King Henry V Act 1, s.2
But this is worshipful society
And fits the mounting spirit like myself,'
Love’s Labour’s Lost Act IV, s.3
Arm. I will visit thee at the Lodge.
Jaq. That’s hereby.
Arm. I know where it is situate.
Jaq. Lord, how wise you are....
Arm. Come Jaquenetta....
Love’s Labour’s Lost Act I, s.2
You have made good work,
You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much
Coriolanus Act IV, s.6
Pray you, without any more virginal fencing, will
you use him kindly? He will line your apron with gold.
Pericles Prince of Tyre Act 4, s.6
'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the
merriest was put down, and the worser allowed by
order of law a furred gown to keep him warm; and
furred with fox and lamb-skins too, to signify, that
craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing.
Measure for Measure Act III, s.2
Flav. Speak, what trade art thou?
Carpenter. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
You, sir, what trade are you?
Cobbler. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am
but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
Cob. A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soules.
Julius Caesar Act I, s.1

cf.: Shakespeare and Freemasonry by Peter Dawkins


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