County Down Grand Black Chapter

Instituted 1846

Song Book


A Collection of Songs/Poems.

'The Blackman's Making Song' (Contributed by Sir Knight John Irvine of RBP 209)

One night I left my native home, and to my lodgeroom I went,
My brethren all were sitting there, and seemed to be content.
Soon one request I asked of them, if they would grant to me,
Another step along the road that leads to liberty.

When I began the mount to climb - Mount Horeb was it's name ---
I saw a bush was burning, just in a mighty flame;
When I beheld the mighty blaze, I knew not what to say,
I then went to Mount Carmel, like old prophets, for to pray.

And when my prayers were ended, out of the East did rise,
A little cloud like a man's hand, which did me much surprise.
The next demand was made to me, my chariot to prepare,
With speed I drove along the way, like eagles in the air.

Then went I to Golgotha - went to drink a health to all,
The toast went round, my name was found, sirs, brethren we are all.
Then straight to Jericho I went, so Joshua gave command,
It was my business when there to view the promised land.

And soon the King sent after me, all for to take my life,
And a woman did preserve me, that was neither maid nor wife.
'Twas out of a window, with a scarlet thread let down,
And went straight unto a garden, and there my brethren found.

Now to conclude and finish, keep Joseph in your mind,
Through all your weary travels, you left him not behind;
I'm sure he was a man of God, he interpreted the King's dream,
I wish you all true brethren ever steady to remain.


'The Shepherd's Boy'

One night as I lay on my bed, I fell into a dream,
Some rugged paths I thought I trod, till a sheepfold I came;
Down by a brook, with scrip and crook, a youth I did espy,
I asked his name, from whence he came: he said, a Shepherd's Boy.

The sheepfold being on a plain, near to a camp it lay,
The lovely lambs around their dams did fondly sport and play;
The fields were green, all things there seen, to me did yield much joy,
But nothing there I could compare to the young Shepherd's Boy.

He got a pack placed on his back, and a staff in his right hand;
This very day I must obey my father's just command;
I asked him where he was bound for, he made me a quick reply,
To yonder camp I must repair, although a Shepherd's Boy.

My brethren I must go and see, they're fighting for the King,
This very hour their hearts I'll cheer, glad tidings I'll them bring;
I asked him how he could get there, or climb yon mount so high,
A mark, said he, was left for me, to guide the Shepherd's Boy.

When he came into the camp I saw a terrible sight,
Two armies there they did prepare for to renew the fight;
A man six cubits and a span his brethren did defy;
None in that place then dare him face but the young Shepherd's Boy.

The Kings says, this Goliath doth fill our camp with awe,
Whosoever does this monster kill shall be my son-in-law;
Then I will go and lay him low, the youth he did reply,
Then go, says he, Lord be with thee, my valiant Shepherd's Boy.

Then out of the brook five stones he took, and placed them in his scrip,
Undaunted across the plain this gallant youth did trip;
At the first blow he laid him low, cut off his head forbye,
He dropped this sling, and they made a king of the young Shepherd's Boy.

Now to conclude and finish this wondrous dream of mine,
There's none but he who is born shall ever know the sign;
So fill your glass, round let it pass, for I am getting dry,
And toast with me the memory of the young Shepherd's Boy.


'Another' Shepherd's Boy'

One by one Jesse's sons stood before the prophet
Their father knew a king would soon be found;
And each one passed except the last,
No one thought to call him
Surely he would never, ever wear a crown.


But where others see a shepherd's boy, God may see a king
Even though your life seems filled with ordinary things;
In just a moment He can touch you and everything will change
Where others may see a shepherd's boy God doth see a king.

One by one the problems come and dreams they do get shattered
And sometimes it's hard just to understand;
But things like chance and circumstance
They do not really matter,
Our Father holds tomorrow in His encircled hands.


Well it wasn't the oldest
It wasn't the strongest chosen on that day
Yet the giants fell and Nations trembled
When they stood in his way.


'The Black Man's Dream'(Contributed by Sir Knight John Irvine of RBP 209)

One night I thought a vision brought
Me to a spacious plain,
Whereon its centre stood a mount,
Whose top I wished to gain;
Orange, blue and purple, too,
Were given me to wear,
And for to see the mystery
They did me thus prepare.

My guide a pack placed on my back ---
With pillars of an arch ---
A staff and scrip placed in my hand,
And thus I on did march;
Through desert lands I travelled o'er
And the narrow road I trod,
Till something did obstruct my path
In the form of a toad.

So then I saw what did me awe,
Though wandering in a dream ---
A flaming bush, though unconsumed,
Before me did remain;
And as I stood out of the wood,
I heard a heavenly sound,
Which bade me cast my shoes away,
For it was holy ground.

Two men I saw, with weapons keen,
Which did me sore annoy ---
Unto a pyramid I ran,
That standing was hard by;
And as I climbed the narrow way,
A hand I there did see,
Which layed the lofty mountains,
In the scale of equity.

Blue, gold, and black about my neck,
This apparition placed ---
Into a chariot I was put,
Where we drove off in haste:
Twelve dazzling lights of beauty bright,
Were brought to guide my way,
And as we drove thro' cypress shades,
One of them did decay.

Near to a mount I saw a fount,
Of living water flow:
I being dry, they did reply,
To drink you there may go;
The mystic cup I then took up,
And drank a health to all,
That were born free and kept their knee
From bowing unto Baal.


'The Black in Bangor Town'

This 'Song' or 'Air' was given to Sir Knight Trevor McBurney of RBP 542 by the Late Honorary Past Sovereign Grand Master Most Worshipful Sir Knight William Logan MBE. It was published on Saturday 29th August 1931, when the Sir Knights from the County Down Grand Black Chapter gathered in Bangor for their Annual Demonstration. It was priced at Twopence and was to be sung to the tune of 'The Shepherd's Boy'. Lacking a title when he received it Sir Knight McBurney simply called it 'The Black in Bangor Town'. It is also reproduced on the website of Bangor Royal Black District Chapter No.13

Come all ye noble Marksmen wherever you may be,
I hope you'll pay attention and listen unto me:
It's concerning this great meeting in Bangor seaport town,
Long may they live in unity - our sons of the County Down.


The County Down men they will attend also in grand array,
With the black rosette upon their breast,
While the bands will sweetly play; they will march the town courageously,
Where they will join heart and hand, and we will give great thanks
To Lady Clanmorris, she is a credit to our land.

On Saturday the 29th in a place called Bangor town,
The Blackmen they will assemble there from all the districts around,
With sashes black and banners gay, with hearts as true as steel,
Like true sons of Ulster that was never known to yield.


The morning it looked gloomy yet the day turned bright and fair,
In time they came at 11 a.m., they assembled at the Hotel,
As they reached the town their fifes did sound and the tunes I heard them play --
'God save the King', 'The Blackman's Dream', and 'Derry Walls Away'.


There were men that came from Belfast and some from Comber town,
From Donaghadee and Newtownards and Banbridge all around,
When they reached the place of meeting, their flags and drums laid down,
Around the platform of the speakers they all assembled round,
To listen to those speakers that came to Bangor town,
The words they spoke in accents clear with them we do agree,
For to live true-born brethren in peace and unity.


So now to conclude and finish I mean to drop my pen,
Here's health, long life and prosperity to all true Blackmen--
Be kind to one another with good will to everyone;
I hope I have said nothing wrong so this will end my song.


'The Martydom of Ridley & Latimer'

I found this song in a very old book which had been given to me many years ago by my Grandmother. I have added below a short extract from a piece on the execution of these brave martyrs:

On October 16th 1555, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were lead to their martyrdom. Ridley came fully robed, as he would be dressed as a Bishop. Latimer, wore a simple frieze frock. The seventy-year-old Latimer followed feebly behind Ridley. Ridley gave his clothes away to those standing by. Latimer quietly stripped to his shroud. "And though in his clothes he appeared a withered, crooked old man, he now stood bolt upright". As they were fastened to their stakes, Ridley's brother tied a bag of gunpowder to both of their necks. And then, as a burning faggot was laid at the feet of Ridley, Latimer spoke his famous words:

"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

NOTE: Verse five contains the line 'Three hundred years have passed' indicating that the song was written after 1855. I have substituted the words 'Almost Fve' instead of 'Three' to bring it up to date.

Trevor McBurney

They stood beside a stake;
Their look was calm and high,
And no sign of fear from either brake,
Though there they stood to die.


Dark faces scowled around,
Loud curses rent the air;
But little they recked of sight or sound,
While moved their lips in prayer.


Within their bosoms glowed
A pure and living flame;
And all erect and firm they stood,
To die for their Master's name.


My friend, be of good cheer,
And seek the man to play,
For never, I trust, will the fire be quenched,
That we'll kindle here to-day!


Almost Five hundred years have passed,
The flame still blazes bright;
Nor hand of power, nor stormy blast,
Hath quenched that beacon light.

And let it still burn on;
Let it blaze more bright, more high;
For England's glory would be gone
If e'er that flame should die.


Ay, mark with a cross the spot
Where those mitred men were led,
And let not their names be e'er forgot
Amid England's honoured dead.


Ye may rear the pile, if ye will,
To the holy martyrs' fame,
But the church for which they died is still
A witness to their name.


And more high the record yet ---
They laboured in God's word;
Their hands unto His truth were set,
And their work is with the Lord.


'Sham Fight at Scarva' - 13th July

One night as I lay on my bed
I thought that I would try
To write a few loyal verses
Bout the thirteenth of July.

In Scarva town of high renown,
That place I hold most dear,
The Grand Sir Knights of Israel's camp
Do meet there once a year.

To the memory of King William
All loyal men do join
To see King James defeated
At the battle of the Boyne.

A sham fight there takes place
In memory of the day
That we freed from Popery
And gained our liberty.

With bands and banners marching
Through Buller's fair demesne
And loyal sisters join with us
And each year do the same.

Here's to Sir Norman Stronge
That man of high renown
Long may he lead the Grand Sir Knights
Through Scarva's loyal town.

With the churches on the hill
And the Orange Hall by the lane
That leads the Grand Procession
Through Scarva's fine demesne.

Now ye loyal Sons of Scarva
One Thousand RBP
Remember your forefathers
That fought for liberty.

You always make us welcome
Let it be wet or dry
For the great historic Sham Fight
On the Thirteenth of July.

May you always still remember
That place of noted fame
So join with the Grand Sir Knights
Through Buller's fair demesne.

With Banbridge town and Portadown
And Tandragee so fair
And Newry with their colours bright
Blow proudly in the air.

And Markethill, with a free will
Together with us join,
In memory of that day
When William crossed the Boyne.

Now I'll bid farewell to Scarva men
All honour to them due
To RBP One Thousand
Of Gideon's chosen few.

Now to the Buller family
I cannot pass them by
Their gates are always open wide
On the Thirteenth of July.

'A Mystic Song'

Each worthy brother round the globe,
Come hither all and lend an ear;
And read with care these few remarks
That you will find now written here.
While I the secret steps display,
The Israelites of old have trod--
Taking the Scriptures for my guide,
The sure, unerring word of God.


To Jacob first we will proceed---
We find from him twelve tribes did spring,
To Padanaram he did go,
A wife from thence with him to bring,
And as he travelled on his way,
At night he slept upon the ground,
He dreamt a ladder reached from heaven,
And angels walked up and down.


To egypt Jacob then did go,
And dwelt in Egypt till he died;
Through course of time, as you may read,
His seed was greatly multiplied
The Egyptians did oppress them sore,
And tasked them, as we understand,
Till God sent Moses them to lead
From bondage to the promised land.


Through the Red Sea, as on dry land,
Moses did them in safety lead;
And in the wilderness the Lord,
With manna did their numbers feed.
The Lord to Moses gave command,
For to prepare and ark straightway,
Wherein Aaron's rod, the manna pot,
Likewise the ten commandments lay.


Then Moses led them to Moab's plains,
And viewed from thence the promised land.
Upon a mountain top he died,
Was buried there by God's own hand.
But Joshua did him succeed,
A man of courage, might and skill.
We are told by an inspired pen,
When Joshua pray'd the sun stood still.


The spies to Jerico were sent,
And on their way they quickly trudged;
They came unto a harlot's house,
And there all night with her they lodged.
Withs stalks of flax on the housetop,
She privately did them conceal.
When it was night, and the gates were shut,
Her mind to them she did reveal.


"Your God is God in heaven above,
And likewise in the earth beneath;
We've heard His fame and are afraid
There's nought remains for us but death."
"Our lives for yours," the men replied,
"If ye our business do not tell.
When we come back to take the town,
All things with you shall be well."


From the window, then, she let them down
Safely with a scarlet line,
And in the window bound the same,
That it to them might be a sign,
To save her house. They then returned,
And told all that had come to pass
To Joshua, who ordered them
Jordan immediately to cross.


Then the priests the ark of God did bear,
While the Great Jehovah was their guide.
When the priests' feet the waters touched,
The streams beat back at every side.
From the bottom twelve stones they took,
And carried them unto dry ground,
And in Gilgal, near Jericho,
There in a heap will they be found.


But Joshua died, as you may read,
And Israel's tribe they walked not right;
The Philistines oppressed them sore,
And challenged them ofttimes to fight.
A giant clothed in coat of mail--
The great Goliath was his name--
But none with him would fight that day,
Till David who from Bethehem came.


Then to the brook Pendron he went,
And five small stones from thence he chose,
Then with his shepherd's sling and staff
To meet Goliath straight he goes
And Saul says to him, "Go thy way,
And the Lord He will be with still.
I will enrich and make thee free,
If thou this Philistine do kill."


Then David to Goliath said,
"Come let us now the battle try,
The armies of the living God,
Ofttimes this day thou didst defy."
He took a stone and flung at him,
And it sank deep in his forehead;
Upon the ground Goliath fell,
And the Philistines instantly fled.


Now brethren dear, ere I conclude,
I will you earnestly advise,
Shun the path that leads to pain,
Striving always to be wise.
That when the archangel's trumpet sounds,
And cries that time shall be no more,
And Israel's tribe receives the seal,
Your joys may last for evermore.

Protestant Hymn

We won't give up the Bible--
The lamp of light and love--
To guide us through the darkness,
To brighter worlds above.
Oh, may its radiance streaming,
Enlighten all our way;
Brighter and brighter beaming
Unto the perfect day.

We won't give up the Bible,
For which our fathers bled--
For which their flesh was roasted--
Their blood like water shed.
When they, by bloody Mary,
Were burned in Smithfield's fires;
And we-oh! can we -- dare we,
So shame our noble sires.

We won't give up the Bible,
We'll grasp it while we've life;
Then let us arm for combat,
And nerve us for the strife;
In God our strength depending,
Though fire and faggot come,
We vow to war unending,
Against apostate Rome.

We won't give up the Bible,
The beacon of our hope,
For all the powers of darkness,
The Devil or the Pope!
What, though the drunken woman
Should gnash her bloodstained jaws;
Their strength is more than human,
Who fight in God's own cause.

We won't give up the Bible,
Which set our fathers free
From Rome's polluting bondage,
And blind idolatry:
Beneath whose living power
The reigh of terror ceased,
And men refused to cower
Before a sinful priest.

We won't give up the Bible,
Till life's expiring breath;
And may its blessed shining
Illumine the vale of death,
May God, the Holy Spirit,
Its saving truths apply,
Till we, through Jesu's merit
Gain immortality.

We won't give up the Bible,
We'll try to love it more,
And may its glorious tidings
Resound from shore to shore.
Oh, let us try to send it
To each poor child of Rome,
And may God's grace attend it,
To call the wanderers home.


Ulster 1912 - by Rudyard Kipling

First published in The Morning Post, April 9, 1912.

"Their webs shall not become garments,
neither shall they cover themselves with their works:
their works are works of inquity
and the act of violence is in their hands."

Isaiah Chapter 59 Verse 6.

The dark eleventh hour
Draws on and sees us sold
To every evil power
We fought against of old -
Rebellion, rapine, hate,
Oppression, wrong and greed
Are loosed to rule our fate
By England's art and deed.

The faith in which we stand,
The laws we made and guard,
Our honour, lives, and land
Are given for reward
To murder done by night
To treason taught by day,
To folly, sloth, and spite,
And we are thrust away.

The blood our fathers spilt,
Our love, our toils, our pains
Are counted us for guilt
And only bind our chains -
Before an Empire's eyes
The traitor claims his price.
What need of further lies?
We are the sacrifice.

We know the war prepared
On ever peaceful home
We know the hells prepared
For such as serve not Rome
The terror, threats, and bread
In market, hearth, and field -
We know, when all is said,
We perish if we yield.

Believe we dare not boast,
Believe we dare not fear:
We stand to pay the cost
In all that men hold dear.
What answer from the North?
One Law, One Land, One Throne!
If England drives us forth
We shall not fall alone.

Last Night I Knelt

Last night I knelt on my right knee
In token of my humility
My hand placed on the Holy Book
In token of my sincerity.
Now I'm much closer to my God,
A Sir Knight in the Black fraternity.

Tho' hither-fore my fellow man
Seemed just like any other,
Today I search each one apart
When looking for my 'Brother'
And as I feel his friendly grip
It fills my heart with pride
I know that being in the Black
Then he is on my side.

His footsteps on my errand go
If I should such require
His prayers will plead on my behalf,
If I should such desire
My words are safe within his breast,
Just though within my own
And with the pack upon my back
Will guide me safely home.

Good counsel whispers in my ear
To warn of any danger
For by the compass and the square
They'll never call me stranger.

I might have lived a mortal life
Even risen to distinction
Without my Brother's helping hand
Or fellowship of the Institution
But God alone knows how hard it is
Resisting life's temptations
That's why I knelt as others have
And took that obligation.


'The Unfurling of Conlig Village Star RBP 632 Bannerette on Saturday 7th August 2010'

(By Sir Knight Eric Cooper Past Master & Bard of Belfast Total Abstinence RBP 329)

One Saturday in August we went to County Down,
To a little village called Conlig quite near to Bangor town,
And the reason that we went there, I'm happy to relate,
Was the unfurling of a bannerette by Sir Knight John Tate.

We met up at the Lodge room, where they welcomed one and all,
And then marched to the service in the Presbyterian Hall;
The Master in his welcome speech was glad to see us there,
And the Reverend Roy Sterling, then led us all in prayer.

He said, "men please be upstanding, with joy your voices raise",
Then the band struck up the music and we sang a hymn of praise.
There was a Scripture reading from God's own Holy Word,
Where Joshua stood proclaiming - "for me I'll serve the Lord".

The bannerette was then unfurled by the aforesaid John Tate,
Who was an early candidate in nineteen and forty-eight.
The dedication followed, to God be glory given,
His banner floating o'er us, we'll follow it to heaven.

The second hymn we sang reminded us, all earthly gain is loss,
The victory over sin and death, was won upon the Cross.
The County Down Grand Master then had some words to say,
He'd travelled far to be with us, on that very special day.

A vote of thanks to all concerned, approved by one and all,
The benediction followed, but before we left the hall,
We all sprang to attention, and with words we really mean,
We sang our Countyy's Anthem, God Save Our Gracious Queen.

Sir Knights don't need reminding of our faith in God above,
As day by day we witness, the blessings of His love.
Before the ending of the day, our praise to Him is due,
And we thank you Lord, with grateful hearts, for our friends in 'Six-Three-Two'.

The Wee Red Cross

I wear a Red Cross on my collar, a simple reminder to me

it shows that I have obtained, that high and subline degree

This little Red Cross is not magic, or is it a good luck charm

i know it will never protect me, from any bodily harm

It is only a simple reminder, between my Saviour and me

my Lord my Saviour and Master, who died on Calvary’s tree

Our banners they all tell a story, perfect to the last dot

they show the road we have travelled, they tell the degrees we have got

That great encampment in heaven, is full of Sir Knights young and old

and each one is wearing a crown, of the brightest and purest of gold

Each month as we sit in our meeting, the Scripture is read to us all

if Christ was to come in his glory, are we ready to answer his call

So Sir Knight when you put on your collar, always wear it with pride

our Lord our Saviour and Master, has promised to walk by our side.

The above words were written by Sir Knight and Brother Robert Attwell from Johnston, Renfrewshire Scotland, and a member of Johnstones Chosen Few R.B.P. 238.