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THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM




DAWN LIBATION

Let us,waking, clap our hands,
Stamping on the head of Sorrow,
Let us, ere the sun comes up,
Drink another loving cup
Unmindful of Tomorrow:
For endless summer dawns will break
When we have lost the will to wake.


THE ROSETREE

The faint delightful breeze, which wakes at dawn,
Across the garden steals: he is the flirt
Who mocks the Nightingale's adoring voice
And tears the petals of the Rose's skirt.
The Rosetree spills her petals in the dust,
And nothing of her fragrant harvest saves;
And yet this Rose, a plaything of the breeze,
Will bloom each year when we are in our graves.


IN EARLY SPRING

A cool grey cloud of early Spring
Has bathed the tulip's cheek:
Come swiftly to the Taver-let
The Vine its message speak;
Or else we may remember that
The grass on which we tread
Will soon be springing from our dust,
When you and I are dead.


SPRING

Saki, the roses and the meadow are become exceeding joyous;
enjoy (the moment), for another week has gone to dust:
drink wine, and gather roses, for even whilst thou art looking,
the roses have turned to dust and the meadow too has become bare.


A PERSIAN IDYLL

If we were seated in a desert place,
Where I alone might gaze upon your face,
These simple victuals would our needs suffice:
A thigh of mutton in a dish of rice;
A loaf of bread of finest wheaten flour;
A flagon tall from which cool wine to pour...
There, in the day's long leisurely decline,
No Sultan's pleasures could compare with mine.


THE GRASS

The tender grass beside a stream,
Beheld in vision or a dream,
Becomes, for those who marvels seek,
The down upon an angel's cheek;
So when with unconcern you pass,
Tread not disdainfully the grass,
Which springs from tulip-beauties who,
Now dust, were once as fair as you.


THE DUST OF LOVERS

The wheel of Fate is crooked. It destroys
Such innocent young sould as yours and mine:
So, joyously sit down upon the grass
And while away this hour in drinking wine.
Alas! the herbage which delights our eyes,
On which you now recline your lovely head,
Is rooted in the dust of lovers-and
Will spring from ours one day when we are dead.


IN THE MEADOW

How blessed if our love had proved
As you and I had planned-
Red wine to drink, a silken tress
Enfolded in my hand_
As in the meadow grass we lay
Till love's brief hour had sped,
While starry armies marched and wheeled
Unheeded overhead.


alternate translation

In (his) palm the ruby wine, and the darling's tress in (his) hand,
-on the margin of the meadow let (such a one) take (his) seat with good fortune;
let him drink wine, and think naught about the revolution of the sky,
until he becomes intoxicated with the wine of joy.


BLISS

As in the scroll of life I sought
A recipe for bliss,
A mystic voice cried out "The way
To ecstacy is this:
Enfold your moon-white Love within
Your arms sans hope of fear,
And love her with such tenderness
That one night seems a year."


LIP TO LIP

I pressed my lip upon the Winejar's lip
And questioned how long life I might attain;
Then lip to lip it whispering replied:
"Drink wine-this world thou shalt not see again."


MURDER AND DIVORCE

Tonight my Sorrow I intend to slay-
My weapon the already crimsoned wine;
Then Faith and Reason triply I'll divorce
And take as wife the Daughter of the Vine.


THE EARTHENWARE BOWL

The day when Death's dark majesty
Before my bed shall stand,
While I lie ready to be plucked
By his rapacious hand,
Let someone fashion from my dust
A bowl-naught else will do-
That, plenished with good wine, I may
Once more carouse with you.