Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 251-500 (Whinfield Translation)

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Are you depressed? Then take of bhang one grain,
Of rosy grape-juice take one pint or twain;
Sufis, you say, must not take this or that,
Then go and eat the pebbles off the plain!


I saw a busy potter by the way
Kneading with might and main a lump of clay;
And, lo! the clay cried, "Use me gently, pray;
I was a man myself but yesterday!"


Oh! wine is richer that the realm of Jam,
More fragrant than the food of Miriam;
Sweeter are sighs that drunkards heave at morn
Than strains of Bu Sa'id and Bin Adham.


Deep in the rondure of the heavenly blue,
There is a cup, concealed from mortals' view,
Which all must drink in turn; Oh, sigh not then,
But drink it boldly, when it comes to you!


Though you should live to four, or forty score,
Go hence you must, as all have gone before;
Then, be you king, or beggar of the streets,
They'll rate you all the same, no less, no more.


If you seek Him, abandon child and wife,
Arise, and sever all these ties to life;
All these are bonds to check you on your course.
Arise, and cut these bonds, as with a knife.


O heart! this world is but a fleeting show,
Why should its empty griefs distress thee so?
Bow down, and bear thy fate, the eternal pen
Will not unwrite its roll for thee, I trow!


Whoe'er returned of all that went before,
To tell of that long road they travel o'er?
Leave naught undone of what you have to do,
For when you go, you will return no more.


Dark wheel! how many lovers thou hast slain,
Like Mahmud and Ayaz, O inhumane!
Come, let us drink, thou grantest not two lives;
When one is spent, we find it not again.


Illustrious Prophet! whom all kings obey,
When is our darkness lightened by wine's ray?
On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, and Saturday, both night and day!


O turn away those roguish eyes of thine!
Be still! seek not my peace to undermine!
Thou say'st, "Look not. " I might as well essay
To slant my goblet, and not spill my wine.


In taverns better far commune with Thee,
Than pray in mosques, and fail Thy face to see!
O first and last of all Thy creatures Thou,
'Tis Thine to burn, and Thine to cherish me!


To wise and worthy men your life devote,
But from the worthless keep your walk remote;
Dare to take poison from a sage's hand,
But from a fool refuse an antidote.


I flew here, as a bird from the wild, in aim
Up to a higher nest my course to frame;
But, finding here no guide who knows the way,
Fly out by the same door where through I came.


He binds us in resistless Nature's chain,
And yet bids us our natures to restrain;
Between these counter rules we stand perplexed,
"Hold the jar slant, but all the wine retain.


They go away, and none is seen returning,
To teach that other world's recondite learning;
'Twill not be shown for dull mechanic prayers,
For prayer is naught without true heartfelt yearning.


Go to! Cast dust on those deaf skies, who spurn
Thy orisons and bootless prayers, and learn
To quaff the cup, and hover round the fair;
Of all who go, did ever one return?


Though Khayyam strings no pearls of righteous deeds,
Nor sweeps from off his soul sin's noisome weeds,
Yet will he not despair of heavenly grace,
Seeing that One as two he ne'er misreads.


Again to tavern-haunts do we repair,
And say "Adieu " to the five hours of prayer;
Where'er we see a long-necked flask of wine,
We elongate our necks that wine to share.


We are but chessmen, destined, it is plain,
That great chess-player, Heaven, to entertain;
It moves us on life's chess-board to and fro,
And then in death's dark box shuts up again.


You ask what is this life so frail, so vain,
'Tis long to tell, yet will I make it plain;
'Tis but a breath blown from the vasty deeps,
And then blown back to those same deeps again!


To-day to heights of rapture have I soared,
Yea, and with drunken Maghs pure wine adored;
I am become beside myself, and rest
In that pure temple, "Am not I your Lord?"

My queen (long may she live to vex her slave!)
To-day a token of affection gave,
Darting a kind glance from her eyes, she passed,
And said, "Do good and cast it on the wave!"


I put my lips to the cup, for I did yearn
The hidden cause of length of days to learn;
He leaned his lip to mine, and whispered low,
"Drink! for, once gone, you never will return. "


We lay in the cloak of Naught, asleep and still,
Thou said'st, "Awake! taste the world's good and ill";
Here we are puzzled by Thy strange command,
From slanted jars no single drop to spill.


O Thou! who know'st the secret thoughts of all,
In time of sorest need who aidest all,
Grant me repentance, and accept my plea,
O Thou who dost accept the pleas of all!


I saw a bird perched on the walls of Tus,
Before him lay the skull of Kai Kawus,
And thus he made his moan, "Alas, poor king!
Thy drums are hushed, thy 'larums have rung truce. "


Ask not the chances of the time to be,
And for the past, 'tis vanished, as you see;
This ready-money breath set down as gain,
Future and past concern not you or me.


What launched that golden orb his course to run,
What wrecks his firm foundations, when 'tis done,
No man of science ever weighed with scales,
Nor made assay with touchstone, no, not one!


I pray thee to my counsel lend thine ear,
Cast off this false hypocrisy's veneer;
This life a moment is, the next all time;
Sell not eternity for earthly gear!


Ofttimes I plead my foolishness to Thee,
My heart contracted with perplexity;
I gird me with the Magian zone, and why?
For shame so poor a Mussulman to be.


Khayyam! rejoice that wine you still can pour,
And still the charms of tulip cheeks adore;
You'll soon not be, rejoice then that you are,
Think how 'twould be in case you were no more!


Once, in a potter's shop, a company
Of cups in converse did I chance to see,
And lo! one lifted up his voice, and cried,
"Who made, who sells, who buys this crockery? "


Last night, as I reeled from the tavern door,
I saw a sage, who a great wine-jug bore;
I said, "O Shaikh, have you no shame?" Said he,
"Allah hath boundless mercy in his store. "


Life's fount is wine, Khizir its guardian,
I, like Elias, find it where I can;
'Tis sustenance for heart and spirit too,
Allah himself calls wine "a boon to man."


Though wine is banned, yet drink, forever drink!
By day and night, with strains of music drink!
Where'er thou lightest on a cup of wine,
Spill just one drop, and take the rest and drink!


Although the creeds number some seventy-three,
I hold with none but that of loving Thee;
What matter faith, unfaith, obedience, sin?
Thou'rt all we need, the rest is vanity.


Tell one by one my scanty virtues o'er;
As for my sins, forgive them by the score;
Let not my faults kindle Thy wrath to flame;
By blest Mohammed's tomb, forgive once more!


Grieve not at coming ill, you can't defeat it,
And what far-sighted person goes to meet it?
Cheer up! bear not about a world of grief,
Your fate is fixed, and grieving will not cheat it.


There is a chalice made with wit profound,
With tokens of the Maker's favor crowned;
Yet the world's Potter takes his masterpiece,
And dashes it to pieces on the ground!


In truth wine is a spirit thin as air,
A limpid soul in the cup's earthen ware;
No dull, dense person shall be friend of mine
Save wine-cups, which are dense and also rare.


O wheel of heaven! no ties of bread you feel,
No ties of salt, you flay me like an eel!
A woman's wheel spins clothes for man and wife,
It does more good than you, O heavenly wheel!


Did no fair rose my paradise adorn,
I would make shift to deck it with a thorn;
And if I lacked my prayer-mats, beads, and Shaikh,
Those Christian bells and stoles I would not scorn.


"If heaven deny me peace and fame, " I said,
"Let it be open war and shame instead;
The man who scorns bright wine had best beware,
I'll arm me with a stone, and break his head! "


See! the dawn breaks, and rends night's canopy:
Arise! and drain a morning draught with me!
Away with gloom! full many a dawn will break
Looking for us, and we not here to see!


O you who tremble not at fires of hell,
Nor wash in water of remorse's well,
When winds of death shall quench your vital torch,
Beware lest earth your guilty dust expel.


This world a hollow pageant you should deem;
All wise men know things are not what they seem;
Be of good cheer, and drink, and so shake off
This vain illusion of a baseless dream.


With maids stately as cypresses, and fair
As roses newly plucked, your wine-cups share,
Or e'er Death's blasts shall rend your robe of fiesh
Like yonder rose-leaves, lying scattered there!


Cast off dull care, O melancholy brother!
Woo the sweet daughter of the grape, no other;
The daughter is forbidden, it is true,
But she is nicer than her lawful mother!


My love shone forth, and I was overcome,
My heart was speaking, but my tongue was dumb;
Beside the water-brooks I died of thirst.
Was ever known so strange a martyrdom?


Give me my cup in hand, and sing a glee
In concert with the bulbul's symphony;
Wine would not gurgle as it leaves the flask,
If drinking mute were right for thee and me!


The "Truth " will not be shown to lofty thought,
Nor yet with lavished gold may it be bought;
But, if you yield your life for fifty years,
From words to "states " you may perchance be brought.


I solved all problems, down from Saturn's wreath
Unto this lowly sphere of earth beneath,
And leapt out free from bonds of fraud and lies,
Yea, every knot was loosed, save that of death!


Peace! the eternal "Has been" and "To be"
Pass man's experience, and man's theory;
In joyful seasons naught can vie with wine,
To all these riddles wine supplies the key!


Allah, our Lord, is merciful, though just;
Sinner! despair not, but His mercy trust!
For though to-day you perish in your sins,
To-morrow He'll absolve your crumbling dust.


Your course annoys me, O ye wheeling skies!
Unloose me from your chain of tyrannies!
If none but fools your favors may enjoy,
Then favor me--I am not very wise!


O City Mufti, you go more astray
Than I do, though to wine I do give way;
I drink the blood of grapes, you that of men:
Which of us is the more bloodthirsty, pray?


'Tis well to drink, and leave anxiety
For what is past, and what is yet to be;
Our prisoned spirits, lent us for a day,
A while from season's bondage shall go free!


When Khayyam quittance at Death's hand receives,
And sheds his outworn life, as trees their leaves,
Full gladly will he sift this world away,
'Ere dustmen sift his ashes in their sieves.


This wheel of heaven, which makes us all afraid,
I liken to a lamp's revolving shade,
The sun the candlestick, the earth the shade,
And men the trembling forms thereon portrayed.


Who was it that did mix my clay? Not I.
Who spun my web of silk and wool? Not I.
Who wrote upon my forehead all my good,
And all my evil deeds? In truth not I.


O let us not forecast to-morrow's fears,
But count to-day as gain, my brave compeers!
To-morrow we shall quit this inn, and march
With comrades who have marched seven thousand years.


Ne'er for one moment leave your cup unused!
Wine keeps heart, faith, and reason too, amused;
Had Iblis swallowed but a single drop,
To worship Adam he had ne'er refused!


Come, dance! while we applaud thee, and adore
Thy sweet Narcissus eyes, and grape-juice pour;
A score of cups is no such great affair,
But 'tis enchanting when we reach three score!


I close the door of hope in my own face,
Nor sue for favors from good men, or base;
I have but One to lend a helping hand--
He knows, as well as I, my sorry case.


Ah! by these heavens, that ever circling run,
And by my own base lusts I am undone,
Without the wit to abandon worldly hopes,
And wanting sense the world's allures to shun!


On earth's green carpet many sleepers lie,
And hid beneath it others I descry;
And others, not yet come, or passed away,
People the desert of Non-entity!


Sure of Thy grace, for sins why need I fear?
How can the pilgrim faint whilst Thou art near?
On the last day Thy grace will wash me white,
And make my "black record " to disappear.


Think not I dread from out the world to hie,
And see my disembodied spirit fly;
I tremble not at death, for death is true,
'Tis my ill life that makes me fear to die!


Let us shake off dull reason's incubus,
Our tale of days or years cease to discuss,
And take our jugs, and plenish them with wine,
Or e'er grim potters make their jugs of us!


How much more wilt thou chide, O raw divine,
For that I drink, and am a libertine?
Thou hast thy weary beads, and saintly show,
Leave me my cheerful sweetheart, and my wine!


Against my lusts I ever war, in vain,
I think on my ill deeds with shame and pain;
I trust Thou wilt assoil me of my sins,
But even so, my shame must still remain.


In these twin compasses, O Love, you see
One body with two heads, like you and me,
Which wander round one center, circlewise,
But at the last in one same point agree.


We shall not stay here long, but while we do,
'Tis folly wine and sweethearts to eschew;
Why ask if earth etern or transient be?
Since you must go, it matters not to you.


In reverent sort to mosque I wend my way,
But, by great Allah, it is not to pray;
No! but to steal a prayer-mat! When 'tis worn,
I go again, another to purvey.


No more let fate's annoys our peace consume,
But let us rather rosy wine consume;
The world our murderer is, and wine its blood,
Shall we not then that murderer's blood consume?


For Thee I vow to cast repute away,
And, if I shrink, the penalty to pay;
Though life might satisfy Thy cruelty,
'Twere naught, I'll bear it till the judgment-day!


In Being's rondure de we stray belated,
Our pride of manhood humbled and abated;
Would we were gone! long since have we been wearied
With this world's griefs, and with its pleasures sated.


The world is false, so I'll be false as well,
And with bright wine, and gladness ever dwell!
They say, "May Allah grant thee penitence!"
He grants it not, and, did he, I'd rebel!


When Death shall tread me down upon the plain,
And pluck my feathers, and my life-blood drain,
Then mold me to a cup, and fill with wine;
Haply its scent will make me breathe again.


So far as this world's dealings I have traced,
I find its favors shamefully misplaced;
Allah be praised! I see myself debarred
From all its boons, and wrongfully disgraced.


'Tis dawn! my heart with wine I will recruit,
And dash to bits the glass of good repute;
My long-extending hopes I will renounce,
And grasp long tresses, and the charming lute.


Though I had sinned the sins of all mankind,
I know Thou would'st to mercy be inclined;
Thou sayest, "I will help in time of need."
One needier than I where wilt Thou find?


Am I a wine-bibber? What if I am?
Gueber or infidel? Suppose I am?
Each sect miscalls me, but I heed them not,
I am my own, and, what I am, I am.


All my life long from drink I have not ceased.
And drink I will to-night on Sadr's feast:
And throw my arms about the wine-jar's neck,
And kiss its lip, and clasp it to my breast!


I know what is, and what is not, I know
The lore of things above, and things below;
But all this lore will cheerfully renounce,
If one a higher grade than drink can show.


Though I drink wine, I am no libertine,
Nor am I grasping, save of cups of wine;
I scruple to adore myself, like you;
For this cause to wine-worship I incline.


To confidants like you I dare to say
What mankind really are--molded of clay,
Affliction's clay, and kneaded in distress,
They taste the world awhile, then pass away.


We make the wine-jar's lip our place of prayer,
And drink in lessons of true manhood there,
And pass our lives in taverns, if perchance
The time misspent in mosques we may repair.


Man is the whole creation's summary,
The precious apple of great wisdom's eye;
The circle of existence is a ring,
Whereof the signet is humanity.


With fancies, as with wine, our heads we turn,
Aspire to heaven, and earth's low trammels spurn;
But, when we drop this fleshly clog, 'tis seen
From dust we came, and back to dust return.


If so it be that I did break the fast,
Think not I meant it; no! I thought 'twas past--
That day more weary than a sleepless night--
And blessed breakfast-time had come at last!


I never drank of joy's sweet cordial,
But grief's fell hand infused a drop of gall;
Nor dipped my bread in pleasure's piquant salt,
But briny sorrow made me smart withal!


At dawn to tavern-haunts I wend my way,
And with distraught Salendars pass the day;
O Thou! who know'st things secret, and things known,
Grant me Thy grace, that I may learn to pray!


The world's annoys I rate not at one grain,
So I eat once a day I don't complain;
And, since earth's kitchen yields no solid food,
I pester no man with petitions vain.


Never from worldly toils have I been free,
Never for one short moment glad to be!
I served a long apprenticeship to fate,
But yet of fortune gained no mastery.


One hand with Koran, one with wine-cup dight,
I half incline to wrong, and half to right;
The azure-marbled sky looks down on me,
A sorry Muslim, yet not heathen quite.


Khayyam's respects to Mustafa convey,
And with due reverence ask him to say,
Why it has pleased him to forbid pure wme,
When he allows his people acid whey?


Tell Khayyam, for a master of the schools,
He strangely misinterprets my plain rules:
Where have I said that wine is wrong for all?
'Tis lawful for the wise, but not for fools.


My critics call me a philosopher,
But Allah knows full well they greatly err;
I know not even what I am, much less
Why on this earth I am a sojourner!


The more I die to self, I live the more,
The more abase myself, the higher soar;
And, strange! the more I drink of Being's wine,
More sane I grow and sober than before.


Quoth rose, "I am the Yusuf flower, I swear,
For in my mouth rich golden gems I bear ":
I said, "Show me another proof." Quoth she,
"Behold this blood-stained vesture that I wear! "


I studied with the masters long ago,
And long ago did master all they know;
Here now the end and issue of it all,
From earth I came, and like the wind I go!


Death finds us soiled, though we were pure at birth,
With grief we go, although we came with mirth;
Watered with tears, and burned with fires of woe,
And, casting life to winds, we rest in earth!


To find great Jamshid's world-reflecting bowl
I compassed sea and land, and viewed the whole;
But, when I asked the wary sage, I learned
That bowl was my own body, and my soul!


Me, cruel Queen! you love to captivate,
And from a knight to a poor pawn trarlslate;
You marshal all your force to tire me out,
You take my rooks with yours, and then checkmate!


If Allah wills me not to will aright,
Row can I frame my will to will aright?
Each single act I will must needs be wrong,
Since none but He has power to will aright.


"For once, while roses are in bloom, " I said,
"I'll break the law, and please myself instead,
With blooming youths, and maidens' tulip cheeks
The plain shall blossom like a tulip-bed. "


Think not I am existent of myself,
Or walk this blood-stained pathway of myself;
This being is not I, it is of Him.
Pray what, and where, and whence is this "myself"?


Endure this world without my wine I cannot!
Drag on life's load without my cups I cannot!
I am the slave of that sweet moment, when
They say, "Take one more goblet," and I can not!


You, who both day and night the world pursue,
And thoughts of that dread day of doom eschew,
Bethink you of your latter end; be sure
As time has treated others, so 'twill you!


O man, who are creation's summary,
Getting and spending too much trouble thee!
Arise, and quaff the Etern Cupbearer's wine,
And so from troubles of both worlds be free!


In this eternally revolving zone,
Two lucky species of men are known;
One knows all good and ill that are on earth,
One neither earth's affairs, nor yet his own.


Make light to me the world's oppressive weight,
And hide my failings from the people's hate,
And grant me peace to-day, and on the morrow
Deal with me as Thy mercy may dictate!


Souls that are well informed of this world's state,
Its weal and woe with equal mind await:
For, be it weal we meet, or be it woe,
The weal doth pass, and woe too hath its date.


Lament not fortune's want of constancy,
But up! and seize her favors ere they fee;
If fortune always cleaved to other men,
How could a turn of luck have come to thee?


Chief of old friends! harken to what I say,
Let not heaven's treacherous wheel your heart dismay;
But rest contented in your humble nook,
And watch the games that wheel is wont to play.


Hear now Khayyam's advice, and bear in mind,
Consort with revelers, though they be maligned,
Cast down the gates of abstinence and prayer,
Yea, drink, and even rob, but, oh! be kind!


This world a body is, and God its soul,
And angels are its senses, who control
Its limbs--the creatures, elements, and spheres;
The One is the sole basis of the whole.


Last night that idol who enchants my heart,
With true desire to elevate my heart,
Gave me his cup to drink; when I refused,
He said, "Oh, drink to gratify my heart!"

Would'st thou have fortune bow her neck to thee,
Make it thy care to feed thy soul with glee;
And hold a creed like mine, which is to drain
The cup of wine, not that of misery.


Though you survey, O my enlightened friend,
This world of vanity from end to end,
You will discover there no other good
Than wine and rosy cheeks, you may depend!


Last night upon the river bank we lay,
I with my wine-cup, and a maiden gay,
So bright it shone, like pearl within its shell,
The watchman cried, "Behold the break of day!"


Have you no shame for all the sins you do,
Sins of omission and commission, too?
Suppose you gain the world, you can but leave it,
You can not carry it away with you!


In a lone waste I saw a debauchee,
He had no home, no faith, no heresy,
No God, no truth, no law, no certitude;
Where in this world is man so bold as he?


Some look for truth in creeds, and forms, and rules;
Some grope for doubts or dogmas in the schools;
But from behind the veil a voice proclaims,
"Your road lies neither here nor there, O fools. "


In heaven is seen the bull we name Parwin,
Beneath the earth another lurks unseen;
And thus to wisdom's eyes mankind appear
A drove of asses, two great bulls between!


The people say, "Why not drink somewhat less?
What reasons have you for such great excess? "
First, my Love's face, second, my morning draught;
Can there be clearer reasons, now confess?


Had I the power great Allah to advise,
I'd bid him sweep away this earth and skies,
And build a better, where, unclogged and free,
The clear soul might achieve her high emprise.


This silly sorrow-laden heart of mine
Is ever pining for that love of mine;
When the Cupbearer poured the wine of love,
With my heart's blood he filled this cup of mine!


To drain the cup, to hover round the fair,
Can hypocritic arts with these compare?
If all who love and drink are going wrong,
There's many a wight of heaven may well despair!


'Tis wrong with gloomy thoughts your mirth to drown--
To let grief's millstone weigh your spirits down;
Since none can tell what is to be, 'tis best
With wine and love your heart's desires to crown.


'Tis well in reputation to abide,
'Tis shameful against heaven to rail and chide;
Still, head had better ache with over-drink,
Than be puffed up with Pharisaic pride!


O Lord! pity this prisoned heart, I pray,
Pity this bosom stricken with dismay!
Pardon these hands that ever grasp the cup,
These feet that to the tavern ever stray!


O Lord! from self-conceit deliver me,
Sever from self, and occupy with Thee!
This self is captive to earth's good and ill,
Make me beside myself, and set me free!


Behold the tricks this wheeling dome doth play,
And earth laid bare of old friends torn away!
O live this present moment, which is thine,
Seek not a morrow, mourn not yesterday!


Since all man's business in this world of woe
Is sorrow's pangs to feel, and grief to know,
Happy are they that never come at all,
And they that, having come, the soonest go!


By reason's dictates it is right to live,
But of ourselves we know not how to live,
So Fortune, like a master, rod in hand,
Raps our pates well to teach us how to live!


Nor you nor I can read the etern decree,
To that enigma we can find no key;
They talk of you and me behtnd the veil,
But, if that veil be lifted, where are we?


O Love, forever doth heaven's wheel design
To take away thy precious life, and mine;
Sit we upon this turf, 'twill not be long
'Ere turf shall grow upon my dust, and thine!


When life has Bed, and we rest in the tomb,
They'll place a pair of bricks to mark our tomb;
And, a while after, mold our dust to bricks,
To furnish forth some other person's tomb!


Yon palace, towering to the welkin blue,
Where kings did bow them down, and homage do,
I saw a ringdove on its arches perched,
And thus she made complaint, "Coo, Coo, Coo, Coo!"


We come and go, but for the gain, where is it?
And spin life's woof, but for the warp, where is it?
And many a righteous man has burned to dust
In heaven's blue rondure, but their smoke, where is it?


Life's well-spring lurks within that lip of thine!
Let not the cup's lip touch that lip of thine!
Beshrew me, if I fail to drink his blood,
For who is he, to touch that lip of thine?


Such as I am, Thy power created me,
Thy care hath kept me for a century!
Through all these years I make experiment,
If my sins or Thy mercy greater be.


"Take up thy cup and goblet, Love, " I said,
"Haunt purling river bank, and grassy glade;
Full many a moon-like form has heaven's wheel
Oft into cup, oft into goblet, made!"


We buy new wine and old, our cups to fill,
And sell for two grains this world's good and ill;
Know you where you will go to after death?
Set wine before me, and go where you will!


Was e'er man born who never went astray?
Did ever mortal pass a sinless day?
If I do ill, do not requite with ill!
Evil for evil how can'st Thou repay?


Bring forth that ruby gem of Badakhshan,
That heart's delight, that balm of Turkestan;
They say 'tis wrong for Mussulmans to drink,
But ah! where can we find a Mussulman?


My body's life and strength proceed from Thee!
My soul within and spirit are of Thee!
My being is of Thee, and Thou art mine,
And I am Thine, since I am lost in Thee!


Man, like a ball, hither and thither goes,
As fate's resistless bat directs the blows;
But He, who gives thee up to this rude sport,
He knows what drives thee, yea, He knows, He knows!


O Thou who givest sight to emmet's eyes,
And strength to puny limbs of feeble flies,
To Thee we will ascribe Almighty power,
And not base, unbecoming qualities.


Let not base avarice enslave thy mind,
Nor vain ambition in its trammels bind;
Be sharp as fire, as running water swift,
Not, like earth's dust, the sport of every wind!


'Tis best all other blessings to forego
For wine, that charming Turki maids bestow;
Kalendars' raptures pass all things that are,
From moon on high down into fish below!


Friend! trouble not yourself about your lot,
Let futile care and sorrow be forgot;
Since this life's vesture crumbles into dust,
What matters stain of word or deed, or blot?


O thou who hast done ill, and ill alone,
And thinkest to find mercy at the throne,
Hope not for mercy! for good left undone
Can not be done, nor evil done undone!


Count not to live beyond your sixtieth year,
To walk in jovial courses persevere;
And ere your skull be turned into a cup,
Let wine-cups ever to your hand adhere!


These heavens resemble an inverted cup,
Whereto the wise with awe keep gazing up;
So stoops the bottle o'er his love, the cup,
Feigning to kiss, and gives her blood to sup!


I sweep the tavern threshold with my hair,
For both world's good and ill I take no care;
Should the two worlds roll to my house, like balls,
When drunk, for one small coin I'd sell the pair!


The drop wept for his severance from the sea,
But the sea smiled, for "I am all," said he,
"The Truth is all, nothing exists beside,
That one point circling apes plurality. "


Shall I still sigh for what I have not got,
Or try with cheerfulness to bear my lot?
Fill up my cup! I know not if the breath
I now am drawing is my last, or not!


Yield not to grief, though fortune prove unkind,
Nor call sad thoughts of parted friends to mind;
Devote thy heart to sugary lips, and wine,
Cast not thy precious life unto the wind!


Of mosque and prayer and fast preach not to me,
Rather go drink, were it on charity!
Yea, drink, Khayyam, your dust will soon be made
A jug, or pitcher, or a cup, may be!


Bulbuls, doting on roses, oft complain
How froward breezes rend their veils in twain;
Sit we beneath this rose, which many a time
Has sunk to earth, and sprung from earth again.


Suppose the world goes well with you, what then?
When life's last page is read and turned, what then?
Suppose you live a hundred years of bliss,
Yea, and a hundred years besides, what then?


How is it that of all the leafy tribe,
Cypress and lily men as "free " describe?
This has a dozen tongues, yet holds her peace,
That has a hundred hands which take no bribe.


Cupbearer, bring my wine-cup, let me grasp it!
Bring that delicious darling, let me grasp it!
That pleasing chain which tangles in its coils
Wise men and fools together, let me grasp it!


Alas! my wasted life has gone to wrack!
What with forbidden meats, and lusts, alack!
And leaving undone what 'twas right to do,
And doing wrong, my face is very black!


I could repent of all, but of wine, never!
I could dispense with all, but with wine, never!
If so be I became a Mussulman,
Could I abjure my Magian wine? no, never!


We rest our hopes on Thy free grace alone,
Nor seek by merits for our sins to atone;
Mercy drops where it lists, and estimates
Ill done as undone, good undone as done.


This is the form Thou gavest me of old,
Wherein Thou workest marvels manifold;
Can I aspire to be a better man,
Or other than I issued from Thy mold?


O Lord! to Thee all creatures worship pay,
To Thee both small and great forever pray,
Thou takest woe away, and givest weal,
Give then, or, if it please Thee, take away!


With going to and fro in this sad vale
Thou art grown double, and thy credit stale,
Thy nails are thickened like a horse's hoof,
Thy beard is ragged as an ass's tail.


O unenlightened race of humankind,
Ye are a nothing, built on empty wind!
Yea, a mere nothing, hovering in the abyss,
A void before you, and a void behind!


Each morn I say, "To-night I will repent
Of wine, and tavern-haunts no more frequent ";
But while 'tis spring, and roses are in bloom,
To loose me from my promise, O consent!


Vain study of philosophy eschew!
Rather let tangled curls attract your view;
And shed the bottle's life-blood in your cup,
Or e'er death shed your blood, and feast on you.


O heart! can'st thou the darksome riddle read,
Where wisest men have failed, wilt thou succeed?
Quaff wine, and make thy heaven here below,
Who knows if heaven above will be thy meed?


They that have passed away, and gone before,
Sleep in delusion's dust for evermore;
Go, boy, and fetch some wine, this is the truth,
Their dogmas were but air, and wind their lore!


O heart! when on the Loved One's sweets you feed,
You lose yourself, but find your Self indeed;
And, when you drink of His entrancing cup,
You hasten your escape from quick and dead!


Though I am wont a wine-bibber to be,
Why should the people rail and chide at me?
Would that all evil actions made men drunk,
For then no sober people should I see!


Child of four elements and sevenfold heaven,
Who fume and sweat because of these eleven,
Drink! I have told you seventy times and seven,
Once gone, nor hell will send you back, nor heaven.


With many a snare Thou dost beset my way,
And threatenest, if I fall therein, to slay;
Thy rule resistless sways the world, yet Thou
Imputest sin, when I do but obey!


To Thee, whose essence baffles human thought,
Our sins and righteous deeds alike seem naught;
May Thy grace sober me, though drunk with sins,
And pardon all the ill that I have wrought!


If this life were indeed an empty play,
Each day would be an 'lid of festal day,
And men might conquer all their hearts' desire,
Fearless of after penalties to pay!


O wheel of heaven, you thwart my heart's desire,
And rend to shreds my scanty joy's attire,
The water that I drink you foul with earth,
And turn the very air I breathe to fire!


O soul! could you but doff this flesh and bone,
You'd soar a sprite about the heavenly throne;
Had you no shame to leave your starry home,
And dwell an alien on this earthly zone?


Ah, potter, stay thine hand! with ruthless art
Put not to such base use man's mortal part!
See, thou art mangling on thy cruel wheel
Faridun's fingers, and Kai Khosrau's heart!


O rose! all beauties' charms thou dost excel,
As wine excels the pearl within its shell;
O fortune! thou dost ever show thyself
More strange, although I seem to know thee well!


From this world's kitchen crave not to obtain
Those dainties, seeming real, but really vain,
Which greedy worldlings gorge to their own loss;
Renounce that loss, so loss shall prove thy gain!


Plot not of nights, thy fellows' peace to blight,
So that they cry to God the live-long night;
Nor plume thee on thy wealth and might, which thieves
May steal by night, or death, or fortune's might.


This soul of mine was once Thy cherished bride,
What caused Thee to divorce her from Thy side?
Thou didst not use to treat her thus of yore,
Why then now doom her in the world to abide?


Ah! would there were a place of rest from pain,
Which we, poor pilgrims, might at last attain,
And after many thousand wintry years,
Renew our life, like flowers, and bloom again!


While in love's book I sought an augury;
An ardent youth cried out in ecstasy,
"Who owns a sweetheart beauteous as the moon
Might wish his moments long as years to be!"


Winter is past, and spring-tide has begun,
Soon will the pages of life's book be done!
Well saith the sage, "Life is a poison rank,
And antidote, save grape-juice, there is none. "


Beloved, if thou a reverend Mullah be,
Quit saintly show, and feigned austerity,
And quaff the wine that Murtaza purveys,
And sport with Houris 'neath some shady tree!


Last night I dashed my cup against a stone,
In a mad drunken freak, as I must own,
And lo! the cup cries out in agony,
"You too, like me, shall soon be overthrown."


My heart is weary of hypocrisy,
Cupbearer, bring some wine, I beg of thee!
This hooded cowl and prayer-mat pawn for wine,
Then will I boast me in security.


Audit yourself, your truce account to frame,
See! you go empty, as you empty came;
You say, "I will not drink and peril life,"
But, drink or no, you must die all the same!


Open the door ! O entrance who procurest,
And guide the way, O Thou of guides the surest!
Directors born of men shall not direct me,
Their counsel comes to naught, but Thou endurest!


In slandering and reviling you persist,
Calling me infidel and atheist:
My errors I will not deny, but yet
Does foul abuse become a moralist?


To find a remedy, put up with pain,
Chafe not at woe, and healing thou wilt gain;
Though poor, be ever of a thankful mind,
'Tis the sure method riches to obtain.


Give me a skin of wine, a crust of bread,
A pittance bare, a book of verse to read;
With thee, O love, to share my lowly roof,
I would not take the Sultan's realm instead!


Reason not of the five, nor of the four,
Be their dark problems one, or many score;
We are but earth--Go, minstrel, bring the lute!
We are but air--Bring wine; I ask no more!


Why argue on Yasin and on Barat?
Write me the draft for wine they call Barat!
The day my weariness is drowned in wine
Will seem to me as the great night Barat!


Whilst thou dost wear this fleshy livery,
Step not beyond the bounds of destiny;
Bear up, though very Rustems be thy foes,
And crave no boon from friends like Hatim Tai!


These ruby lips, and wine, and minstrel boys,
And lute, and harp, your dearly cherished toys,
Are mere redundancies, and you are naught,
'Till you renounce the world's delusive joys.


Bow down, heaven's tyranny to undergo,
Quaff wine to face the world, and all its woe;
Your origin and end are both in earth,
But now you are above earth, not below!


You know all secrets of this earthly sphere,
Why then remain a prey to empty fear?
You can not bend things to your will, but yet
Cheer up for the few moments you are here!


Behold, where'er we turn our ravished eyes,
Sweet verdure springs, and crystal Kausars rise;
And plains, once bare as hell, now smile as heaven:
Enjoy this heaven with maids of Paradise!


Never in this false world on friends rely,
(I give this counsel confidentially);
Put up with pain, and seek no antidote;
Endure your grief, and ask no sympathy!


Of wisdom's dictates two are principal,
Surpassing all your lore traditional;
Better to fast than eat of every meat,
Better to live alone than mate with all!


Why unripe grapes are sharp, prithee explain,
And then grow sweet, while wine is sharp again?
When one has carved a block into a lute,
Can he from that same block a pipe obtain?


When dawn doth silver the dark firmament,
Why shrills the bird of dawning his lament?
It is to show in dawn's bright looking-glass
How of thy careless life a night is spent.


Cupbearer, come! from thy full-throated ewer
Pour blood-red wine, the world's despite to cure!
Where can I find another friend like wine,
So genuine, so solacing, so pure?


Though you should sit in sage Aristo's room,
Or rival Csesar on his throne of Rum,
Drain Jemshid's goblet, for your end's the tomb,
Yea, were you Bahram's self, your end's the tomb!


It chanced into a potter's shop I strayed,
He turned his wheel and deftly plied his trade,
And out of monarchs' heads, and beggars' feet,
Fair heads and handles for his pitchers made!


If you have sense, true senselessness attain,
And the Etern Cupbearer's goblet drain;
If not, true senselessness is not for you--
Not every fool true senselessness can gain!


O Love! before you pass death's portal through,
And potters make their jugs of me and you,
Pour from this jug some wine, of headache void,
And fill your cup, and fill my goblet too!


O Love! while yet you can, with tender art,
Lift sorrow's burden from your lover's heart;
Your wealth of graces will not always last,
But slip from your possession, and depart!


Bestir thee, ere death's cup for thee shall flow,
And blows of ruthless fortune lay thee low;
Acquire some substance here, there is none there,
For those who thither empty-handed go!


Who framed the lots of quick and dead but Thou?
Who turns the troublous wheel of heaven but Thou?
Though we are sinful slaves, is it for Thee
To blame us? Who created us but Thou?


O wine, most limpid, pure, and crystalline,
Would I could drench this silly frame of mine
With thee, that passers-by might think 'twas thou,
And cry, "Whence comest thou, fair master wine?"


A Shaikh beheld a harlot, and quoth he,
"You seem a slave to drink and lechery ";
And she made answer, "What I seem I am,
But, Master, are you all you seem to be? "


If, like a ball, earth to my house were borne,
When drunk, I'd rate it at a balrleycorn;
Last night they offered me in pawn for wine,
But the rude vintner laughed that pledge to scorn.


Now in thick clouds Thy face Thou dost immerse,
And now display it in this universe;
Thou the spectator, Thou the spectacle,
Sole to Thyself Thy glories dost rehearse.


Better to make one soul rejoice with glee,
Than plant a desert with a colony;
Rather one freeman bind with chains of love,
Than set a thousand prisoned captives free!


O thou who for thy pleasure dost impart
A pang of sorrow to thy fellow's heart,
Go! mourn thy perished wit, and peace of mind,
Thyself hast slain them, like the fool thou art!


Wherever you can get two maunds of wine,
Set to, and drink it like a libertine;
Whoso acts thus will set his spirit free
From saintly airs like yours, and grief like mine.


So long as I possess two maunds of wine,
Bread of the flower of wheat, and mutton chine,
And you, O Tulip cheek, to share my hut,
Not every Sultan's lot can vie with mine.


They call you wicked, if to fame you're known,
And an intriguer, if you live alone;
Trust me, though you were Khizr or Elias,
'Tis best to know none, and of none be known.


Yes! here am I with wine and feres again!
I did repent, but, ah! 'twas all in vain;
Preach not to me of Noah and his flood,
But pour a flood of wine to drown my pain!


For union with my love I sigh in vain,
The pangs of absence I can scarce sustain,
My grief I dare not tell to any friend;
O trouble strange, sweet passion, bitter pain!


'Tis dawn! I hear the loud Muezzin's call,
And here am I before the vintner's hall;
This is no time of piety. Be still!
And drop your talk and airs devotional!


Angel of joyful foot! the dawn is nigh;
Pour wine, and lift your tuneful voice on high,
Sing how Jemshids and Khosraus bit the dust,
Whelmed by the rolling months, from Tir to Dai!


Frown not at revelers, I beg of thee,
For all thou keepest righteous company;
But drink, for, drink or no, 'tis all the same,
If doomed to hell, no heaven thou'lt ever see.


I wish that Allah would rebuild these skies,
And earth, and that at once, before my eyes,
And either 'rase my name from off his roll,
Or else relieve my dire necessities!


Lord! make thy bounty's cup for me to flow,
And bread unbegged for day by day bestow;
Yea, with thy wine make me beside myself.
No more to feel the headache of my woe!


Omar! of burning heart, perchance to burn
In hell, and feed its bale-fires in thy turn,
Presume not to teach Allah clemency,
For who art thou to teach, or He to learn?


Cheer up! your lot was settled yesterday!
Heedless of all that you might do or say,
Without so much as "By your leave" they fixed
Your lot for all the morrows yesterday!


I never would have come, had I been asked,
I would as lief not go, if I were asked,
And, to be short, I would annihilate
All coming, being, going, were I asked!


Man is a cup, his soul the wine therein,
Flesh is a pipe, spirit the voice within;
O Khayyam, have you fathomed what man is?
A magic lantern with a light therein!


O skyey wheel, all base men you supply
With baths, mills, and canals that run not dry,
While good men have to pawn their goods for bread:
Pray, who would give a fig for such a sky?


A potter at his work I chanced to see,
Pounding some earth and shreds of pottery;
I looked with eyes of insight, and methought
'Twas Adam's dust with which he made so free!


The Saki knows my genus properly,
To all woe's species he holds a key;
Whene'er my mood is sad he brings me wine,
And that makes all the difference to me!


Dame Fortune! all your acts and deeds confess
That you are foul oppression's votaress;
You cherish bad men, and annoy the good;
Is this from dotage, or sheer foolishness?


You, who in carnal lusts your time employ,
Wearing your precious spirit with annoy,
Know that these things you set your heart upon
Sooner or later must the soul destroy!


Hear from the spirit-world this mystery:
Creation is summed up, O man, in thee;
Angel and demon, man and beast art thou,
Yea, thou art all thou dost appear to be!


If popularity you would ensue,
Speak well of Muslim, Christian, and Jew;
So shall you be esteemed of great and small,
And none will venture to speak ill of you.


O wheel of heaven, what have I done to you,
That you should thus annoy me? Tell me true;
To get a drink I have to cringe and stoop,
And for my bread you make me beg and sue.


No longer hug your grief and vain despair,
But in this unjust world be just and fair;
And since the issue of the world is naught,
Think you are naught, and so shake off dull care!

© Omar Khayyám