Rubaiyat of Omar Khayaam: LXI – XC

LXI
For let Philosopher and Doctor preach
Of what they will, and what they will not - each
Is but one Link in an eternal Chain
That none can slip, nor break, nor over-reach.

LXII
And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to it for help - for it
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

LXIII
With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

LXIV
Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

LXV
I tell You this - When, starting from the Goal,
Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Of Heaven'd Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul.

LXVI
The Vine has struck a fiber: which about
If clings my Being - let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

LXVII
And this I know: whether the one True Light,
Kindle to Love, or Wrath - consume me quite,
One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

LXVIII
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!

LXIX
What! from this helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd - 
Sue for a Debt we never did contract;
And cannot answer - Oh the sorry trade!

LXX
Nay, but for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.
LXXI
Oh, Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestin'd Evil round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?

LXXII
Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherever the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give - and take!

LXXIII
Listen again. One Evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.

LXXIV
And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried -
'Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?'

LXXV
Then said another - 'Surely not in vain
My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to common Earth again.'

LXXVI
Another said - 'Why, ne'er a peevish Boy,
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that made the vessel in pure Love
And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy?'

LXXVII
None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
'They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?'

LXXVIII
'Why,' said another. 'Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marred in making - Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well.'

LXXIX
Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
'My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
Methinks I might recover by-and-by!'

LXXX
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The Little Moon look'd in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, 'Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!'

LXXXI
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.

LXXXII
That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air.
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

LXXXIII
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

LXXXIV
Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore - but was I sober when I swore?
And then, and then came Spring and Rose-in-Hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

LXXXV
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honor - well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.

LXXXVI
Alas that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

LXXXVII
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse - If dimly, yet indeed reveal'd
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

LXXXVIII
Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp the sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits - and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

LXXXIX
Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me - in vain!

XC
And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in your Joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one - turn down an empty Glass!

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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