Knights of Pythias
Rank of Page
At the hour appointed, a quorum being p resent, the Chancellor Commander shall take his station, invest him with the jewel of his office and call the lodge to order. The other officers will at once invest themselves with the proper jewels and take their respective stations; and the members will take their seats.
Chancellor Commander, standing: It is my will that ... Lodge, No. ..., Knights of Pythias, now come to order in the rank of Knight, for the dispatch of such business as may be brought before it.
Inner Guard, order the Outer Guard to clear the anteroom, close the door and allow no one to enter.
Takes his seat.
Inner Guard, standing in the door: Outer Guard, it is the order of the Chancellor Commander that you clear the ante-room, close the door and allow no one to enter.
Outer Guard, from his station: The order of the Chancellor Commander shall be obeyed.
Inner Guard, closes the door: Chancellor Commander, the Outer Guard has received your order.
Chancellor Commander, gives two raps: Master at Arms, approach my station and communicate to me the semi-annual password and the password of the rank of Knight, and examine all present in the same.
Master at Arms communicates the word to the Chancellor Commander and then proceeds with the examination. Should anyone present be found without the semi-annual password or the password of the Rank of Knight, the Master at Arms will at once report that fact to the Chancellor Commander, whereupon that officer will require each person so reported to advance to his station and receive the words, if entitled thereto. If not so entitled, he must immediately retire. When all present have been examined, the Master at Arms, standing at the altar, will open the Book of Law, salute the Chancellor Commander and report: Chancellor Commander, I have obeyed your order, and have found all present in possession of the semi-annual password and the password of the rank of Knight.
Chancellor Commander gives three raps: Inner Guard, relieve the Outer Guard, and direct him to report at your station.
Inner Guard retires and relieves the Outer Guard, who immediately reports at the station of the Inner Guard.
Outer Guard: Chancellor Commander, the Outer Guard reports for instruction.
Chancellor Commander: Outer Guard, your station is in the ante-room. Your duties are to take charge of the outer door; to see that no one enters the ante-room who is not in possession of the semi-annual password, unless otherwise ordered by the Chancellor Commander; to require each Page and Esquire to invest himself with the jewel indicating his advancement in the order; and to obey the orders of the Chancellor Commander. Return to your station, relieve the Inner Guard, and, until so ordered, allow no one to enter.
Outer Guard retires.
Inner Guard returns to his station: Chancellor Commander, the Inner Guard reports for instruction.
Chancellor Commander: Inner Guard, your station is at the inner door. Your duties are to allow no one to enter the lodge-room who does not give the correct alarm and password; and to obey the orders of the Chancellor Commander.
Inner Guard takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Master at Arms, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Master at Arms, standing: My station is at the right and front of the Chancellor Commander. My duties are to examine all present prior to the opening of the lodge, and to report the result to the Chancellor Commander; to prepare and accompany candidates; and to obey the orders of the Chancellor Commander. Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Treasurer, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Treasurer, standing: My station is at the left of the Chancellor Commander. My duties are to receive from the Financial Secretary all moneys collected by him, and to disburse them only on an order from the Chancellor Commander, attested by the Secretary; to present to this lodge, at the end of every semi-annual (or annual) term, a written report of all receipts and disbursements during the term; and to perform all other services required of me by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge. Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Financial Secretary, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Financial Secretary, standing: My station is at the left of the Chancellor Commander. My duties are to keep the accounts of this lodge; to notify all who are in arrears; to receive all moneys, and immediately pay the same to the Treasurer, taking his receipt therefore; to make, at each regular convention, a statement of all moneys received by me, and from whom; to present to this lodge, at the end of every semi-annual (or annual) term, a written report, showing the indebtedness of each member and the general financial condition of the lodge; and to perform all other services required of me by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge. Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Secretary, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Secretary, standing: My station is at the right of the Chancellor Commander. My duties are to keep a true record of all the proceedings of this lodge; to conduct all its correspondence; to have charge of the seal and archives; to make out semi-annual (or annual) reports of the work and business of the lodge, and transmit the same to the Grand Lodge; to deliver to the proper officers all funds, documents or other lodge property coming into my hands; and to perform all other services required of me by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge.
Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Master of the Work, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Master of the Work, standing: My station is at the right of the Chancellor Commander, opposite the altar. My duties are to have special supervision of all preparations for floor-work in conferring the ranks; and to perform all other services required of me by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge. Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Prelate, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Prelate, standing: My station is at the left of the Chancellor Commander, opposite the altar. My duties are to administer the obligations; to offer invocations to the Deity and ask his blessings upon our brotherhood; and to perform all other services required of me by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge. Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Vice Chancellor, where is your station and what are your duties in this lodge?
Vice Chancellor, standing: My station is opposite that of the Chancellor Commander. My duties are to assist the Chancellor Commander in preserving order; to aid in conducting the ceremonies of the ranks; to appoint a minority of all committees (unless otherwise ordered by the lodge); to preside in the absence of the Chancellor Commander; to have supervision of the wicket; and to perform all other services required of me by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge. Takes his seat.
Chancellor Commander, standing: The station of the Chancellor Commander is in the executive chair of the lodge. It is his duty to preside over the lodge; to preserve order during its sessions; to appoint a majority of all committees (unless otherwise ordered by the lodge); and to perform all other services required of him by the laws of the order and the by-laws of this lodge.
All of these duties I am under solemn obligation to perform with justice and impartiality. In their discharge I ask your earnest co-operation.
What is the duty of every member of this order?
All take the position in which the obligation of the Rank of Knight was assumed, and respond: To avoid anger and dissension; to work together in the spirit of fraternity; to exemplify the friendship of Damon and Pythias.
Resume ordinary position.
Chancellor Commander: To aid us in this work, the Prelate will invoke divine assistance.
Prelate: Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we humbly ask thy blessing upon the officers and members of this lodge and visiting brothers. Aid us to avoid anger and dissension; help us to work together in the spirit of fraternity; and inspire us to exemplify the friendship of Damon and Pythias. Hear and answer us, we beseech thee. Amen.
God bless our knightly band!
Firm may it ever stand,
Through storm and night;
When the wild tempests rave,
Ruler of wind and wave,
Do thou our order save
By thy great might.
For this our prayers ascend—
God bless, protect, defend,
God guard our rights;
Thou who art ever nigh,
Viewing with watchful eye,
To thee aloud we cry:
God save the knights!
Chancellor Commander: Master at Arms, display the shield and arrange the altar.
Inner Guard opens the inner door.
Master at Arms places upon the inner door a shield of the emblematic color of the rank. The door is then closed, and the Master at Arms returns to the altar, places the sword of defence in proper position, salutes the Chancellor Commander and says: Chancellor Commander, your order has been obeyed.
Chancellor Commander: I now declare ... Lodge, No. ..., duly opened for the dispatch of such business as shall legally come before it.
Attention! Raise your visors.
All give the sign of courtesy of the rank of Knight.
Chancellor Commander: Master at Arms, you will retire to the ante-room and present the flag of our country.
The Master at Arms then retires to the ante-room where he will procure the flag, previously prepared on a staff, bringing it unfurled into the castle hall. The Master at Arms will advance to the center of the castle hail in front of the altar, facing the Chancellor Commander.
The Chancellor Commander will then command: Attention! Join me in saluting the flag of our country.
All members will then salute the flag in unison with the Chancellor Commander (using the right hand military salute).
The Master at Arms will then place the flag at the right of the station of the Chancellor Commander, in a socket prepared for it, where it will remain throughout the convention.
The Master at Arms will then return to his station.
(a) The flag ceremony, as incorporated into the official opening and dosing ceremonies, is an outward and visible sign of loyalty and devotion to our country, and will be conducted with deference and dignity.
(b) If practicable, a march shall be played when the Master at Arms enters or retires with the flag, and the national anthem during the salute.
(c) The Chancellor Commander, before ordering the Master at Arms to present or return the flag, may appoint two members to act as a color guard to escort the flag to and from the castle hall. This guard shall wait one on each side of the Master at Arms, armed with a drawn sworn at carry. At the command, “Attention,” by the Chancellor Commander, the color guard will bring their swords to the present, as for non-commissioned officers (raise and carry the sword to the front, base of the hilt as high as the chin and 6 inches in front of the neck, edge to the left, point 6 inches farther to the front than the hilt, thumb extended on right of the grip, all fingers grasping the grip. As soon as the salute has been given by the members, the guard will bring their swords to carry.
(d) The flag ceremony will be used at all open or public sessions held by a subordinate lodge.
(e) A member entering the lodge, after the lodge has been declared open for the dispatch of business, shall proceed to the altar, and, before giving any sign, salute the flag, without exclamation. A member retiring from the lodge before the closing thereof, shall, without exclamation, salute the flag before giving any sign.
Chancellor Commander: Inner Guard, inform the Outer Guard that this lodge is now open in the rank of Knight, and direct him to admit all who are qualified to enter.
Inner Guard, standing in the door: Outer Guard, this lodge is now open in the rank of Knight, and it is the order of the Chancellor Commander that you admit all who are qualified to enter.
Closes the door.
Chancellor Commander, the Outer Guard has received your order.
Chancellor Commander gives three raps. If any visitors are present, the Chancellor Commander will say: The lodge will be at ease, and the members will join me in extending a fraternal welcome to our visiting brothers.
1. Robes appropriate to the official stations may be worn if desired.
2. Everything being in readiness in the lodge-room, the Chancellor Commander will order the Outer Guard to admit the candidates to the ante-room. The presence of the candidates in the ante-room should be the signal for complete silence in the lodge-room, which the Chancellor Commander shall enforce. The Chancellor Commander will order the Secretary and the Master at Arms to proceed thither and propound to the candidate the following questions, and obtain his signature to his answers:
Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme Being?
Are you of sound bodily health?
Have you hitherto applied for membership in the order of Knights of Pythias—if so, when and where?
Are you willing to take upon yourself a solemn obligation to keep forever secret all that you may hear, see or be instructed in—an obligation that will in no wise conflict with your creed or your conscience?
The candidate replies to these questions, and the Secretary writes the answers in a book prepared for the purpose, after which the candidate signs his name to them, and the Secretary and the Master at Arms sign their names as witnesses. The Secretary, with the Master at Arms, then returns to the lodge-room and reports the result of the examination. If all the answers are not satisfactory to the lodge, the Secretary shall immediately notify the candidate. If all the answers are satisfactory, the lodge shall at once proceed to the initiation.
Master at Arms gives the alarm of the rank.
Inner Guard repeats the alarm and attends the wicket: Who comes here?
Master at Arms: The Master at Arms of this lodge, with a stranger who desires to be initiated into the mysteries of the rank of Page in the order of Knights of Pythias.
Inner Guard closes the wicket: Chancellor Commander, the Master at Arms of this lodge, with a stranger who desires to be initiated into the mysteries of the rank of Page, applies for admission.
Chancellor Commander: Admit them.
Inner Guard opens the door.
Master at Arms enters into the darkened lodge-room with the candidate (un-blindfolded) on his left.
Pythagoras, a competent member, in suitable costume, representing Pythagoras, will be stationed inside. As the Master at Arms and the candidate enter, Pythagoras meets them, and addresses the candidate, the Master at Arms quietly retiring: In me behold Pythagoras. Centuries before your eyes had opened on the light of day, I had attained the knowledge of all the ages. The arts of ancient Egypt, the science of Arabia and the philosophy of Phoenicia, the lore of the Chaldean sages and the occult mysteries of the Persian magi, are to me an open book.
I welcome you as a seeker after knowledge; but bear in mind, O neophyte, this truth—the wish to know contains not always the faculty to acquire. He who seeks to discover must first learn to imagine and to deliberate. The life that contemplates is nobler than the life that enjoys. He who merely is, may be a dull, insensate hind; he who knows, is in himself divine.
The journey which is before you is to you unknown. It lies, perhaps, through flower-bespangled plains and verdant meads, where summer sunshine sifts through interlacing boughs, and perfumed zephyrs sigh, and music-throated birds entrance the listening air. It peradventure winds its devious and uncertain way along the mountain side, where unscaled peaks their towering summits lift amid the thunder’s sullen roar, and depths abysmal yawn beyond the treacherous precipice; or else where darkling rivers run, ‘mid rayless gloom, through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea. Mayhap it leads through bog and fen and foul morass, where hideous creatures climb and crawl, and slimy serpents cling and coil, and nameless, countless horrors lurk unseen.
Fear is the deadliest foe to knowledge. Be brave. The coward fancies perils which may not exist, and dies a thousand deaths; to the hero danger comes only to nerve his arm and steel his soul to combat and to conquer.
And now, farewell. You go to claim the golden spur that knighthood wears. To wear it, you must win it. Should you succeed, your guerdon and reward will be companionship with loyal-hearted and chivalric knights; should you fail, on you and you alone will rest the burden of the blame.
Pythagoras then retires. This scene may be illustrated by stereopticon views, tableaw~ or in any similar manner, at the option of the lodge.
The Master at Arms, who, in the meantime, has been in waiting, takes the candidate by the arm, and, without speaking, leads him to the ante-room.
1. Shall appoint two or more members to assist the Master of the Work in the preparation of the floor, which shall be as follows:
On two trestles, twelve inches high, covered by a black pall reaching to the floor, shall be placed an open coffin, which shall contain a skeleton. On the coffin shall be two crossed swords, with the hilts towards the Prelate, and on these the open book of law. The coffin may be placed in the center of the floor, or in front of the station of the Vice Chancellor, or in an alcove of the lodge-room.
2. When directed by the Chancellor Commander, the Master at Arms will retire to the ante-room and prepare the candidate, by placing on him a white sash (extending from the right shoulder to and below the left hip) and securely blindfolding him. As many attendants may be appointed as desired. No frivolous conversation shall be permitted in the presence of the candidate. Only such remarks as are essential t~ his proper preparation shall be allowed. There may be such floor-work, forming of triangle, or scene arrangement, as each lodge may determine for itself.
Master at Arms enters, with the candidate on his left, escorts him very slowly once around the room, and halts before the station of the Chancellor Commander. In the meantime, perfect silence should prevail. If possible, a solemn march should be played. While passing around the lodgeroom with the candidate, the Master at Arms should be between the candidate and the altar or coffin.
Master at Arms: Chancellor Commander, before you stands a stranger, who desires to be initiated into the mysteries of the rank of Page in the order of Knights of Pythias.
Chancellor Commander: Stranger, favorable consideration of an applicant for the ranks of Knighthood is an expression of our belief in his honor and integrity. Being thus favored, it remains for you, when you have attained the ranks of Knighthood, to make of this belief a verity. That you may the better understand what you may see and hear, as step by step you advance in this great brotherhood, I ask a listening ear.
This order does not rest its claim for favor solely upon its signs and symbols, but its ceremonies point the way to a higher and better standard of manhood. It would develop and maintain character, and reputation would follow, as the night the day.
We do not claim nor expect perfection, but our hope is for better things. We realize the frailties and weaknesses of man, and from the lessons taught, we learn to overcome our own. Whatever of pleasure we may find along the way will prove your profit in the end.
In our ritualistic work, each sentence has a meaning, and each paragraph a lesson for your daily life. You will realize that friendship brings its full reward. The force and sting of hasty judgment may be yours, but caution has its part, and charity’s broad mantle will protect the thoughtless and the weak.
We believe that the unkind word is not an asset in the life of man; it brings naught of good, and once sent forth, is a liability which can never, never be redeemed. As you have faith in yourself, your honor and integrity, so have faith in the honor and integrity of your fellowman. Disregard of prudence that vanity may feast, is often seen, but much preferred is the exercise of cautious judgment, and you will learn that confidence in others is as necessary to a successful life as the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the love-light of the home. We look for the good, the brighter, the better side of man.
This order, founded in the City of Washington, February 19, 1864, in its teachings, takes hold of the hearts of men, appeals alike to the high and the low, to the learned and the unlearned, and strikes the chord of human sympathy found in all who do not live for self alone.
The story of Damon and Pythias is its basic thought; every lesson taught has its application to life, day by day—as it was, is, and will be, through each unfolding year. Our wish, our hope, our aim, is that this order may aid you to be true, cautious, charitable, benevolent and brave, in all that tends to make for good, in a world filled with golden opportunities to plant a flower, and uproot a thorn along the path of life.
In this spirit, I welcome you as an applicant for the mysteries of this rank. In return for the honors we
bestow, what may we expect of you?
Prompted by the Master at Arms, the candidates answers: Obedience.
Chancellor Commander: Master at Arms, the stranger having pledged obedience, you will conduct him to the Prelate of this lodge, who will administer to him the obligation of the rank of Page.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate once around the room, and then to the coffin, in front of the Prelate: Prelate, by order of the Chancellor Commander, I present a stranger, who has pledged obedience, and who wears an emblem of the purity of his purpose, that you may administer to him the obligation of the rank of Page.
Prelate: White has ever been an emblem of purity; and to the members of this order it represents that purity of purpose essential to admission here. You wear it as one whose presence we welcome and whose purpose we applaud.
Master at Arms, require the stranger -to kneel upon both knees, place his left hand upon his left breast and his right hand, palm downward, on the book of law.
Master at Arms obeys the orders as given.
Prelate advances to the coffin.
Master at Arms: Prelate, the stranger is in position to take the obligation.
Chancellor Commander gives two raps. If attendants assist in the ceremony, one should stand at each end of the coffin, and the other attendants (if any) behind the candidate and the Master at Arms. The members remain in their places.
Prelate: Stranger, as you have promised obedience, and are about to assume the obligation of this rank, justice to you demands that you should be in possession of all your faculties.
Master at Arms, you will now remove the hoodwink, that he may see as well as hear.
Master at Arms removes the hoodwink.
Prelate: Stranger, you will repeat after me.
I solemnly promise that I will never reveal the password, signs or any other secret or mystery of this rank, except in a lodge of this order, recognized by and under the control of the Supreme Lodge Knights of Pythias, or when being examined by the proper officer of a lodge, or to one whom I know to be a member of this rank.
I further promise that I will not become a member of, recognize or countenance any organization using the name of this order or any derivative thereof, which is not recognized by or under the control of the Supreme Lodge Knights of Pythias.
I further promise that I will obey the laws and, so far as possible, comply with the requirements of the order.
I further promise that I will heed the teachings of this rank, and seek to profit thereby, and, as I meet the members of this order, I will endeavor to exemplify, in my conduct and my demeanor toward them, the principles of friendship embodied in the lesson of tonight.
To the faithful observance of this obligation I pledge my sacred word of honor. So help me God—and may he keep me steadfast.
Prelate: Stranger, by this vow you are bound until death.
All: Even until death!
Prelate: Until the mortal casket is forever stilled, no longer obeying for good or ill the behests of your immortal being, and soon to return to undistinguish able dust; and when your frame, like that on which you gaze, becomes an object lesson to be conned—a spectacle for curious or reflective minds to ponder o’er, and wonder if, once instinct with life, it sipped of every sinful sweet, and unremembered fell asleep; or if the hand, ne’er closed to human need, its largess so bestowed that e’en the fleshless and cadaverous palm could not the kiss of gratitude affright—may the record of your life be such that the briefest truthful thought must be, “He lived to bless mankind!”
Prelate, Master at Arms and attendants kneel on right knee.
In the deep hush that o’er the earth is stealing,
Father, I come to thee;
In humbleness of heart I kneel appealing—
Be merciful to me!
Be merciful to me!
Prelate: You will now arise.
My friend, you have pledged your sacred word of honor—man can give no higher pledge. You have called upon the ruler of the universe to aid you in keeping that obligation inviolate. You come to us in the strength of vigorous life, desiring to know our mysteries and willing to aid us in the work we have to do. As an order, we do not seek to shape your creed; but we do ask you to exercise your powers for good. In coming here, you assume no obligation in conflict with your duty to home and loved ones; and you can best honor us by your care of those who by the ties of home have claims upon you. You have now not only your own good name to protect and defend, but, enrolled under our banner, working for the elevation of mankind, do no act that will bring dishonor upon this order. We would have you fill the hours with kind words, the days with generous deeds; and as you meet your brethren,
“Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life,
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away!”
With pleasure I present to you a sprig of myrtle, which you will retain until its symbolism shall have been explained.
Master at Arms, conduct our friend to the ante-room, that we may prepare to give him further instruction.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate to the ante-room, and removes his sash.
Chancellor Commander gives three raps.
The attendants, under the direction of the Master of the Work, will remove the paraphernalia. The Inner Guard will inform the Master at Arms, through the wicket, when everything is in readiness.
Master at Arms gives the alarm of the rank.
Inner Guard repeats the alarm and attends the wicket: Who comes here?
Master at Arms: The Master at Arms, with a friend who desires to receive further instruction in the mysteries of the rank of Page.
Inner Guard closes the wicket: Chancellor Commander, the Master at Arms, accompanied by a friend who desires to receive further instruction in the mysteries of the rank of Page, applies for admission.
Chancellor Commander: Admit them.
Inner Guard opens the door.
Master at Arms enters, with the candidate, conducts him once around the room, and halts before the station of the Vice Chancellor: Vice Chancellor, I present to you a friend who desires to receive further instruction.
Vice Chancellor, standing: How am I to know that he has taken the obligation of the rank of Page?
Master at Arms: He is in possession of a sprig of myrtle.
Vice Chancellor: What does the myrtle symbolize?
Master al Arms: The friendship which bound Damon and Pythias.
Vice Chancellor: How should we exemplify that friendship?
Master at Arms: By the practice of fraternity.
Vice Chancellor: I accept the emblem [takes it from him] as an evidence of your intention to join us in the practice of fraternity; and I will now instruct you in the secret work of this rank.
When this lodge is open in the rank of Page, and you desire admittance to the ante-room, you will make your presence known at the outer door. The Outer Guard will open the door, obtain your name and report it to the Inner Guard, who will report it to the Vice Chancellor. If you are in good standing, the Outer Guard will be ordered to admit you to the anteroom, where you will invest yourself with the jewel of a Page, bearing the letter “F” on a field of blue, blue being the emblematic color of this rank.
You will then approach the inner door and give thereon ... which will be answered from within by ...
The wicket will then be opened, and through it you will give your name. This will be reported to the Vice Chancellor, who will order you admitted if correct. The wicket will again be opened, and through it you will give in a whisper the password of this rank, which is ... You will then be admitted to the lodge-room, and will advance to the altar, on which will rest the open book of law, with two swords crossed underneath, the points toward you. There you will salute the flag of our country, using the right hand military salute. You will then give to the Chancellor Commander the sign of courtesy, thus: ... The Chancellor Commander will answer it by ..., which indicates permission to be seated. Should you desire to retire while the lodge is open in this rank, unless leaving the lodge-room to execute an order of the Chancellor Commander, you will advance to the altar and salute the flag of our country. You will then give to the Chancellor Commander the same sign which you gave on entering the lodge-room. Should the Chancellor Commander answer it by ..., you may retire— otherwise, you will return to your seat.
The motto of this rank is ...
The gavel is the emblem of the authority of the Chancellor Commander, and is used to preserve order, call the members of the lodge to their feet and seat them— one rap calling the lodge to order, two raps calling all the members to their feet and three raps seating them.
Master at Arms, conduct our friend to the Chancellor Commander, that he may learn the lesson of this rank.
Takes his seat.
Master at Arms conducts the candidate to the station of the Chancellor Commander: Chancellor Commander, by direction of the Vice Chancellor, I present a friend, that he may learn from you the lesson of friendship.
Chancellor Commander, standing: The friendship of Damon and Pythias shines through the mists of centuries, a glowing tribute to the humanity of the past. It was made the sweet song of ancient Greece, and is immortalized in the permanence of our order.
Damon, a senator of Syracuse, had incurred the displeasure of Dionysius, and was under sentence of death. Many delighted to honor him when he wore the robes of office; now he has but one friend in all Syracuse—the companion of his brighter, better days. Pythias was true; and knowing Damon’s love of home, he begged the tyrant to grant his friend a respite, that he might see his wife and child before he died. A hero of many battles, a stranger to the art of speech, his love for Damon inspired a most eloquent appeal:
“As thou’rt a husband and a father, heax me!
Let Damon go and see his wife and child
Before he dies. For four hours respite him;
Put me in chains; plunge me into his dungeon,
As pledge for his return. Do this—but this—
And may the gods themselves build up thy greatness
As high as their own heavens!”
The fervor of this strange request touched the heart of Dionysius. It was to him a mystery. He had lived for self alone; he had sacrificed his friends, his honor, his home, upon the altar of a boundless ambition, for place and for power. To him friendship was
Whereto the climber upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.”
The request was granted, and Pythias became a hostage for Damon, who hastened toward his home by the distant sea.
The mystery deepens—the tyrant cannot solve it.
By his decree, in the lone dungeon where Pythias wears the chains, the fair Calanthe urges her lover to break his bond and fly with her where dangers can not come.
He will not go; he has pledged his word; honor is more to him than life—and in his refusal the tyrant marvels still the more.
Will Damon return? The love of home, of wife and child, the tender memories that shine like burning stars through the gathering gloom, hold him, until, ere he knows, the last hour of respite is hastening by.
Giving a last fond embrace to his loved ones—a last longing, lingering look at his once happy home— he starts for Syracuse, to redeem his promise and to save his friend.
The hour of execution is at hand; Damon has not returned; and his hostage is brought to the block to suffer in his stead. The evening sun shines golden on the towers and temples of ancient Syracuse, as Pythias looks out upon the vast throng, who taunt him with the seeming falseness of his friend. Relying upon the honor of Damon, trusting in his word, proud of his friendship, he calls upon the gods to prevent his return; and, in response to the cruel jeers of the mob, proclaims the fidelity of Damon, and turns to meet his fate.
At the last moment, when the headsman’s axe is raised, a horseman is seen in the distance, coming with the speed of the wind.
It is Damon! He has been true to his promise. He has saved his friend.
The air resounds with the shouts of the populace, in recognition of a virtue that has long been buried under the weight of human selfishness.
At the strange scene the tyrant looks in wonderment; and, as he looks, the cruel purpose of the hour passes away, and friendship sits upon the throne, wearing a crown “that ne’er encumbers nor can be transferred.”
These heroes still live, and will live while friendship warms the heart of man. This virtue is the cornerstone of the order, and our members are sworn to exercise it toward each other.
Keep sacred the lesson of to-night; and so live that, when you come to the river that marks the unknown shore, your hands may be filled with deeds of charity, “the golden keys that open the palace of eternity.”
I now confer upon you the rank of Page in the order of Knights of Pythias.
Invests the candidate with a blue jewel.
Master at Arms, face the Page to the lodge.
Master at Arms faces the Page toward the station of the Vice Chancellor.
Chancellor Commander gives two raps: Officers and members of ... Lodge, No. ..., I take pleasure in introducing Page ...
The lodge will be at ease.
NOTE.—When the lodge is at ease, it shall be the duty of the Secretary to have the candidate enrolled as a member of the lodge. It is further made the duty of this officer to promptly enter the dates when the ranks of Esquire and Knight are conferred upon every candidate.
The lectures of this rank may be illustrated by stereopticon views, tableaux or in any similar manner, at the option of the lodge.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: If there is no business to be transacted necessitating the return to the Rank of Knight we will proceed to close. Attend, while the Prelate implores the blessing of Deity.
Prelate: Vouchsafe Thy blessing, our Heavenly Father, on the events of this evening. Be Thou with us, shield us from all harm, and finally permit us to be with Thee, on the last great day, a united brotherhood, to share the blessings of life eternal. Hear and answer us, we beseech Thee. Amen.
Chancellor Commander: Master at Arms, return the flag of our country to its resting place.
Thereupon the Master at Arms, with the flag, will assume the same position in front of the altar as in the opening ceremonies, and the salute of the flag will be given in the same manner and form as in the opening ceremonies. The salute having been given, the Master at Arms will then return the flag to the property room.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap: Master at Arms, remove the shield, close the books of law, secure the swords of defence, and collect the jewels.
The Chancellor Commander will pause until the Master at Arms has obeyed his instructions in every particular.
By virtue of the power vested in me, I now declare ... Lodge, No. ... duly closed.
Inner Guard, inform the Outer Guard.
Inner Guard, standing in the door: Outer Guard, the lodge is closed.
Chancellor Commander gives one rap.