Traditional Scottish Songs
- Friendship, Love, and Truth

James Montgomery (1771-1854) was born in Ayr, the son of a missionary of the Moravian Brethren. When he was twelve, his parents moved to the West Indies he was placed in the care of a seminary of the Moravian Brethern near Leeds in England, with a view to being trained for their Church. He never saw his parents again as they died seven years later in Barbados. He was regarded as "indolent" and was removed from the seminary, finding employment in various trades, while trying to become a writer of essays and romantic stories - which were initially not successful. He later became an editor of a small provincial newspaper and he also wrote a number of essays and poems which gained a certain amount of approval. After more than thirty years, his contribution to literature and as a philanthropist and advocate of the abolition of the slave trade, eventually led to him receiving a state pension.

The spiritual character and piety of his writings gained him the designation of the "Christian Poet" - his last work was "Original Hymns, for Public, Private, and Social Devotion." The song here is thus typical of his work. "Friendship, Love, and Truth!" is the motto of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Friendship, Love, and Truth

When "Friendship, Love, and Truth" abound
   Among a band of brothers,
The cup of joy goes gaily round,
   Each shares the bliss of others.
Sweet roses grace the thorny way
   Along this vale of sorrow;
The flowers that shed their leaves to-day
   Shall bloom again to-morrow.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
   Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"

On halcyon wings our moments pass,
   Life's cruel cares beguiling;
Old Time lays down his scythe and glass,
   In gay good-humour smiling:
With ermine beard and forelock gray,
   His reverend part adorning,
He looks like Winter turn'd to May,
   Night soften'd into Morning.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
   Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"

From these delightful fountains flow
   Ambrosial rills of pleasure;
Can man desire, can Heaven bestow,
   A more resplendent treasure?
Adorn'd with gems so richly bright,
   Will form a constellation,
Where every star, with modest light,
   Shall gild its proper station.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
   Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"

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