by Omar Khayyamtranslated by Edward Fitzgerald
XLI Oh, plagued no more with Human or Divine, To-morrow's tangle to itself resign, And lose your fingers in the tresses of The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine. XLII Waste not your Hour nor in the vain pursuit Of This and That endeavour and dispute; Better be merry with the fruitful Grape Than sadden after none, or bitter, fruit. XLIII You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse I made a Second Marriage in my house; Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed, And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse. XLIV And lately, by the Tavern Door agape, Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape Bearing a Vessel on his shoulder; and He bid me taste of it; and 'twas - the Grape! XLV The Grape that can with Logic absolute The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute; The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute. XLVI Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare Blaspheme the twisted tendril as Snare? A Blessing, we should use it, should we not? And if a Curse - why, then, Who set it there? XLVII But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me The Quarrel of the Universe let be: And, in some corner of the Hubbub couch'd, Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee. XLVIII For in and out, above, about, below, 'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show, Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun, Round which we Phantom Figures come and go. XLIX Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through Not one returns to tell us of the Road, Which to discover we must travel too. L The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd, Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep, They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd. LI Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside, And naked on the Air of Heaven ride, Is't not a shame - is't not a shame for him So long in this Clay suburb to abide? LII But that is but a Tent wherein may rest A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest; The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash Strikes, and prepares it for another guest. LIII I sent my Soul through the Invisible, Some letter of that After-life to spell: And after many days my Soul return'd And said, 'Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Shell.' LIV Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire, And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire, Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, So late emerg'd from, shall soon expire. LV While the Rose blows along the River Brink, With old Khayyam and ruby vintage drink: And when the Angel with his darker Draught Draws up to Thee - take that, and do not shrink. LVI And fear not lest Existence closing your Account, should lose, or know the type no more; The Eternal Saki from the Bowl has pour'd Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour. LVII When You and I behind the Veil are past, Oh but the long long while the World shall last, Which of our Coming and Departure heeds As much as Ocean of a pebble-cast. LVIII 'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays: Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays, And one by one back in the Closet lays. LIX The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes, But Right or Left, as strikes the Player goes; And he that toss'd Thee down into the Field, He knows about it all - He knows - HE knows! LX The Moving Finger writes; and having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all they Tears wash out a Word of it.