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Title: Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - Translated into English Verse
Author: Khayyam, Omar
Language: English
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Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. A Table of Contents has been created for this e-text where none
   existed in the original work.

3. Additional transcriber notes are set out at the end of this e-text
   and include information on punctuation, spelling and word variation.



                RUBÁIYÁT
                   OF
                  OMAR
                 KHAYYÁM


      RENDERED INTO ENGLISH VERSE BY
           _Edward Fitzgerald_

           WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
              _Edmund Dulac_


              [Illustration]

              DE LUXE EDITION


      GARDEN CITY PUBLISHING CO., INC.
          _Garden City, New York_


                   1937
      GARDEN CITY PUBLISHING CO., INC.
                    CL


          RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM
   PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



CONTENTS


BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE
  EDWARD FITZGERALD                                      ix
  OMAR KHAYYÁM                                          xxv

THE FIRST EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION                     39
THE SECOND EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION                    79
THE FIFTH EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION                    136
VARIATIONS IN THE THIRD EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION      190



ILLUSTRATIONS
                                                     FACING
                                                      PAGE

QUATRAIN I p. 41                                    xxxviii
QUATRAIN XI p. 46                                     xxxix
QUATRAIN XXIV p. 52                                      54
QUATRAIN XLII p. 61                                      55
QUATRAIN LXXII p. 76                                     86
QUATRAIN XI p. 86                                        87
QUATRAIN XX p. 90                                       102
QUATRAIN XLIV p. 102                                    103
QUATRAIN LXXII p. 116                                   134
QUATRAIN XIV p. 145                                     135
QUATRAIN XXXVII p. 157                                  150
QUATRAIN XLI p. 159                                     151



BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE

EDWARD FITZGERALD


Edward Fitzgerald, whom the world has already learned, in spite of his
own efforts to remain within the shadow of anonymity, to look upon as
one of the rarest poets of the last century, was born at Bredfield, in
Suffolk, on the 31st March, 1809. He was the third son of John Purcell,
of Kilkenny, in Ireland, who, marrying Miss Mary Frances Fitzgerald,
daughter of John Fitzgerald, of Williamstown, County Waterford, added
that distinguished name to his own patronymic; and the future Omar was
thus doubly of Irish extraction. (Both the families of Purcell and
Fitzgerald claim descent from Norman warriors of the eleventh century.)
This circumstance is thought to have had some influence in attracting
him to the study of Persian poetry, Iran and Erin being almost
convertible terms in the early days of modern ethnology. After some
years of primary education at the grammar school of Bury St. Edmunds, he
entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1826, and there formed
acquaintance with several young men of great abilities, most of whom
rose to distinction before him, but never ceased to regard with
affectionate remembrance the quiet and amiable associate of their
college-days. Amongst them were Alfred Tennyson, James Spedding, William
Bodham Donne, John Mitchell Kemble, and William Makepeace Thackeray;
and their long friendship was touchingly referred to by Tennyson in
dedicating his last poem to the memory of Edward Fitzgerald.
"Euphranor," our author's earliest printed work, affords a curious
picture of his academic life and associations. Its substantial reality
is evident beneath the thin disguise of the symbolical or classical
names which he gives to the personages of the colloquy; and the speeches
which he puts into his own mouth are full of the humorous gravity, and
whimsical and kindly philosophy, which remained his distinguishing
characteristics till the end. This book was first published in 1851; a
second and a third edition were printed some years later; all anonymous,
and each of the latter two differing from its predecessor by changes in
the text which were not indicated on the title-pages.

"Euphranor" furnishes a good many characterizations which would be
useful for any writer treating upon Cambridge society in the third
decade of this century. Kenelm Digby, the author of the "Broadstone of
Honour," had left Cambridge before the time when Euphranor held his
"dialogue," but he is picturesquely recollected as "a grand swarthy
fellow who might have stepped out of the canvas of some knightly
portrait in his father's hall--perhaps the living image of one sleeping
under some cross-legged _effigies_ in the church." In "Euphranor," it is
easy to discover the earliest phase of the unconquerable attachment
which Fitzgerald entertained for his college and his life-long friends,
and which induced him in later days to make frequent visits to
Cambridge, renewing and refreshing the old ties of custom and
friendship. In fact, his disposition was affectionate to a fault, and he
betrayed his consciousness of weakness in that respect by referring
playfully at times to "a certain natural lubricity" which he attributed
to the Irish character, and professed to discover especially in himself.
This amiability of temper endeared him to many friends of totally
dissimilar tastes and qualities; and, by enlarging his sympathies,
enabled him to enjoy the fructifying influence of studies pursued in
communion with scholars more profound than himself, but less gifted with
the power of expression. One of the younger Cambridge men with whom he
became intimate during his periodical pilgrimages to the university, was
Edward B. Cowell, a man of the highest attainment in Oriental learning,
who resembled Fitzgerald himself in the possession of a warm and genial
heart and the most unobtrusive modesty. From Cowell he could easily
learn that the hypothetical affinity between the names of Erin and Iran
belonged to an obsolete stage of etymology; but the attraction of a
far-fetched theory was replaced by the charm of reading Persian poetry
in companionship with his young friend, who was equally competent to
enjoy and to analyze the beauties of a literature that formed a portion
of his regular studies. They read together the poetical remains of
Khayyám--a choice of reading which sufficiently indicates the depth and
range of Mr. Cowell's knowledge. Omar Khayyám, although not quite
forgotten, enjoyed in the history of Persian literature a celebrity
like that of Occleve and Gower in our own. In the many _Tazkirát_
(memoirs or memorials) of Poets, he was mentioned and quoted with
esteem; but his poems, laboring as they did under the original sin of
heresy and atheism, were seldom looked at, and, from lack of demand on
the part of readers, had become rarer than those of most other writers
since the days of Firdausi. European scholars knew little of his works
beyond his Arabic treatise on Algebra, and Mr. Cowell may be said to
have disentombed his poems from oblivion. Now, thanks to the fine taste
of that scholar, and to the transmuting genius of Fitzgerald, no Persian
poet is so well known in the western world as Abu-'l-fat'h 'Omar, son of
Ibrahim the tentmaker of Naishápúr, whose manhood synchronizes with the
Norman conquest of England, and who took for his poetic name
(_takhallus_) the designation of his father's trade (_Khayyám_). The
"Rubá'iyyát" (Quatrains) do not compose a single poem divided into a
certain number of stanzas; there is no continuity of plan in them, and
each stanza is a distinct thought expressed in musical verse. There is
no other element of unity in them than the general tendency of the
Epicurean idea, and the arbitrary divan form by which they are grouped
according to the alphabetical arrangement of the final letters; those in
which the rhymes end in _a_ constituting the first division, those with
_b_ the second, and so on. The peculiar attitude towards religion and
the old questions of fate, immortality, the origin and the destiny of
man, which educated thinkers have assumed in the present age of
Christendom, is found admirably foreshadowed in the fantastic verses of
Khayyám, who was no more of a Mohammedan than many of our best writers
are Christians. His philosophical and Horatian fancies--graced as they
are by the charms of a lyrical expression equal to that of Horace, and a
vivid brilliance of imagination to which the Roman poet could make no
claim--exercised a powerful influence upon Fitzgerald's mind, and
colored his thoughts to such a degree that even when he oversteps the
largest license allowed to a translator, his phrases reproduce the
spirit and manner of his original with a nearer approach to perfection
than would appear possible. It is usually supposed that there is more of
Fitzgerald than of Khayyám in the English "Rubá'iyyát," and that the old
Persian simply afforded themes for the Anglo-Irishman's display of
poetic power; but nothing could be further from the truth. The French
translator, J. B. Nicolas, and the English one, Mr. Whinfield, supply a
closer mechanical reflection of the sense in each separate stanza; but
Mr. Fitzgerald has, in some instances, given a version equally close and
exact; in others, rejointed scattered phrases from more than one stanza
of his original, and thus accomplished a feat of marvelous poetical
transfusion. He frequently turns literally into English the strange
outlandish imagery which Mr. Whinfield thought necessary to replace by
more intelligible banalities, and in this way the magic of his genius
has successfully transplanted into the garden of English poesy exotics
that bloom like native flowers.

One of Mr. Fitzgerald's Woodbridge friends was Bernard Barton, the
Quaker poet, with whom he maintained for many years the most intimate
and cordial intercourse, and whose daughter Lucy he married. He wrote
the memoir of his friend's life which appeared in the posthumous volume
of Barton's poems. The story of his married life was a short one. With
all the overflowing amiability of his nature, there were mingled certain
peculiarities or waywardnesses which were more suitable to the freedom
of celibacy than to the staidness of matrimonial life. A separation took
place by mutual agreement, and Fitzgerald behaved in this circumstance
with the generosity and unselfishness which were apparent in all his
whims no less than in his more deliberate actions. Indeed, his entire
career was marked by an unchanging goodness of heart and a genial
kindliness; and no one could complain of having ever endured hurt or
ill-treatment at his hands. His pleasures were innocent and simple.
Amongst the more delightful, he counted the short coasting trips,
occupying no more than a day or two at a time, which he used to make in
his own yacht from Lowestoft, accompanied only by a crew of two men, and
such a friend as Cowell, with a large pasty and a few bottles of wine to
supply their material wants. It is needless to say that books were also
put into the cabin, and that the symposia of the friends were thus
brightened by communion with the minds of the great departed.
Fitzgerald's enjoyment of gnomic wisdom enshrined in words of exquisite
propriety was evinced by the frequency with which he used to read
Montaigne's essays and Madame de Sévigné's letters, and the various
works from which he extracted and published his collection of wise saws
entitled "Polonius." This taste was allied to a love for what was
classical and correct in literature, by which he was also enabled to
appreciate the prim and formal muse of Crabbe, in whose grandson's house
he died.

His second printed work was the "Polonius," already referred to, which
appeared in 1852. It exemplifies his favorite reading, being a
collection of extracts, sometimes short proverbial phrases, sometimes
longer pieces of characterization or reflection, arranged under abstract
headings. He occasionally quotes Dr. Johnson, for whom he entertains
sincere admiration; but the ponderous and artificial fabric of
Johnsonese did not please him like the language of Bacon, Fuller, Sir
Thomas Browne, Coleridge, whom he cites frequently. A disproportionate
abundance of wise words was drawn from Carlyle; his original views, his
forcible sense, and the friendship with which Fitzgerald regarded him,
having apparently blinded the latter to the ungainly style and
ungraceful mannerisms of the Chelsea sage. (It was Thackeray who first
made them personally acquainted; and Fitzgerald remained always loyal to
his first instincts of affection and admiration.) Polonius also marks
the period of his earliest attention to Persian studies, as he quotes in
it the great Súfi poet, Jalál-ud-dín-Rúmi, whose "Masnavi" has been
translated into English by Mr. Redhouse, but whom Fitzgerald can only
have seen in the original. He, however, spells the name _Jallaladin_,
an incorrect form of which he could not have been guilty at the time
when he produced Omar Khayyám, and which thus betrays that he had not
long been engaged with Irani literature. He was very fond of Montaigne's
essays, and of Pascal's "Pensées"; but his "Polonius" reveals a sort of
dislike and contempt for Voltaire. Amongst the Germans, Jean Paul,
Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt and August Wilhelm von Schlegel attracted
him greatly; but he seems to have read little German, and probably only
quoted translations. His favorite motto was "Plain Living and High
Thinking," and he expresses great reverence for all things manly,
simple, and true. The laws and institutions of England were, in his
eyes, of the highest value and sacredness; and whatever Irish sympathies
he had would never have diverted his affections from the Union to Home
Rule. This is strongly illustrated by some original lines of blank verse
at the end of "Polonius," annexed to his quotation, under "Æsthetics,"
of the words in which Lord Palmerston eulogized Mr. Gladstone for having
devoted his Neapolitan tour to an inspection of the prisons.

Fitzgerald's next printed work was a translation of Six Dramas of
Calderon, published in 1853, which was unfavorably received at the time,
and consequently withdrawn by him from circulation. His name appeared on
the title-page,--a concession to publicity which was so unusual with him
that it must have been made under strong pressure from his friends. The
book is in nervous blank verse, a mode of composition which he handled
with great ease and skill. There is no waste of power in diffuseness
and no employment of unnecessary epithets. It gives the impression of a
work of the Shakespearean age, and reveals a kindred felicity, strength,
and directness of language. It deserves to rank with his best efforts in
poetry, but its ill-success made him feel that the publication of his
name was an unfavorable experiment, and he never again repeated it. His
great modesty, however, would sufficiently account for his shyness. Of
"Omar Khayyám," even after the little book had won its way to general
esteem, he used to say that the suggested addition of his name on the
title would imply an assumption of importance which he considered that
his "transmogrification" of the Persian poet did not possess.

Fitzgerald's conception of a translator's privilege is well set forth in
the prefaces of his versions from Calderon, and the "Agamemnon" of
Æschylus. He maintained that, in the absence of the perfect poet, who
shall re-create in his own language the body and soul of his original,
the best system is that of a paraphrase conserving the spirit of the
author,--a sort of literary metempsychosis. Calderon, Æschylus, and Omar
Khayyám were all treated with equal license, so far as form is
concerned,--the last, perhaps, the most arbitrarily; but the result is
not unsatisfactory as having given us perfect English poems instinct
with the true flavor of their prototypes. The Persian was probably
somewhat more Horatian and less melancholy, the Greek a little less
florid and mystic, the Spaniard more lyrical and fluent, than their
metaphrast has made them; but the essential spirit has not escaped in
transfusion. Only a man of singular gifts could have performed the
achievement, and these works attest Mr. Fitzgerald's right to rank
amongst the finest poets of the century. About the same time as he
printed his Calderon, another set of translations from the same
dramatist was published by the late D. F. MacCarthy, a scholar whose
acquaintance with Castilian literature was much deeper than Mr.
Fitzgerald's, and who also possessed poetical abilities of no mean
order, with a totally different sense of the translator's duty. The
popularity of MacCarthy's versions has been considerable, and as an
equivalent rendering of the original in sense and form his work is
valuable. Spaniards familiar with the English language rate its merit
highly; but there can be little question of the very great superiority
of Mr. Fitzgerald's work as a contribution to English literature. It is
indeed only from this point of view that we should regard all the
literary labors of our author. They are English poetical work of fine
quality, dashed with a pleasant outlandish flavor which heightens their
charm; and it is as English poems, not as translations, that they have
endeared themselves even more to the American English than to the mixed
Britons of England.

It was an occasion of no small moment to Mr. Fitzgerald's fame, and to
the intellectual gratification of many thousands of readers, when he
took his little packet of "Rubá'iyyát" to Mr. Quaritch in the latter
part of the year 1858. It was printed as a small quarto pamphlet,
bearing the publisher's name but not the author's; and although
apparently a complete failure at first,--a failure which Mr. Fitzgerald
regretted less on his own account than on that of his publisher, to whom
he had generously made a present of the book,--received, nevertheless, a
sufficient distribution by being quickly reduced from the price of five
shillings and placed in the box of cheap books marked a penny each. Thus
forced into circulation, the two hundred copies which had been printed
were soon exhausted. Among the buyers were Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
Swinburne, Sir Richard Burton, and William Simpson, the accomplished
artist of the _Illustrated London News_. The influence exercised by the
first three, especially by Rossetti, upon a clique of young men who
later grew to distinction, was sufficient to attract observation to the
singular beauties of the poem anonymously translated from the Persian.
Most readers had no possible opportunity of discovering whether it was a
disguised original or an actual translation;--even Burton enjoyed
probably but little chance of seeing a manuscript of the Persian
"Rubá'iyyát." The Oriental imagery and allusions were too thickly
scattered throughout the verses to favor the notion that they could be
the original work of an Englishman; yet it was shrewdly suspected by
most of the appreciative readers that the "translator" was substantially
the author and creator of the poem. In the refuge of his anonymity,
Fitzgerald derived an innocent gratification from the curiosity that was
aroused on all sides. After the first edition had disappeared, inquiries
for the little book became frequent, and in the year 1868 he gave the
MS. of his second edition to Mr. Quaritch, and the "Rubá'iyyát" came
into circulation once more, but with several alterations and additions
by which the number of stanzas was somewhat increased beyond the
original seventy-five. Most of the changes were, as might have been
expected, improvements; but in some instances the author's taste or
caprice was at fault,--notably in the first _Rubá'iy_. His fastidious
desire to avoid anything that seemed _baroque_ or unnatural or appeared
like plagiarism, may have influenced him; but it was probably because he
had already used the idea in his rendering of Jámí's "Salámán," that he
sacrificed a fine and novel piece of imagery in his first stanza and
replaced it by one of much more ordinary character. If it were from a
dislike to pervert his original too largely, he had no need to be so
scrupulous, since he dealt on the whole with the "Rubá'iyyát" as though
he had the license of absolute authorship, changing, transposing, and
manipulating the substance of the Persian quatrains with a singular
freedom. The vogue of "old Omar" (as he would affectionately call his
work) went on increasing, and American readers took it up with
eagerness. In those days the mere mention of Omar Khayyám between two
strangers meeting fortuitously acted like a sign of freemasonry and
established frequently a bond of friendship. Some curious instances of
this have been related. A remarkable feature of the Omar-cult in the
United States was the circumstance that single individuals bought
numbers of copies for gratuitous distribution before the book was
reprinted in America. Its editions have been relatively numerous, when
we consider how restricted was the circle of readers who could
understand the peculiar beauties of the work. A third edition appeared
in 1872, with some further alterations, and may be regarded as virtually
the author's final revision, for it hardly differs at all from the text
of the fourth edition, which appeared in 1879. This last formed the
first portion of a volume entitled "Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám; and the
Salámán and Absál of Jámí; rendered into English verse." The "Salámán"
(which had already been printed in separate form in 1856) is a poem
chiefly in blank verse, interspersed with various meters (although it is
all in one measure in the original) embodying a love-story of mystic
significance; for Jámí was, unlike Omar Khayyám, a true Súfi, and indeed
differed in other respects, his celebrity as a pious Mussulman doctor
being equal to his fame as a poet. He lived in the fifteenth century, in
a period of literary brilliance and decay; and the rich exuberance of
his poetry, full of far-fetched conceits, involved expressions,
overstrained imagery, and false taste, offers a strong contrast to the
simpler and more forcible language of Khayyám. There is little use of
Arabic in the earlier poet; he preferred the vernacular speech to the
mongrel language which was fashionable among the heirs of the Saracen
conquerors; but Jámí's composition is largely embroidered with Arabic.

Mr. Fitzgerald had from his early days been thrown into contact with the
Crabbe family; the Reverend George Crabbe (the poet's grandson) was an
intimate friend of his, and it was on a visit to Morton Rectory that
Fitzgerald died. As we know that friendship has power to warp the
judgment, we shall not probably be wrong in supposing that his
enthusiastic admiration for Crabbe's poems was not the product of sound,
impartial criticism. He attempted to reintroduce them to the world by
publishing a little volume of "Readings from Crabbe," produced in the
last year of his life, but without success. A different fate awaited his
"Agamemnon: a tragedy taken from Æschylus," which was first printed
privately by him, and afterwards published with alterations in 1876. It
is a very free rendering from the Greek, and full of a poetical beauty
which is but partly assignable to Æschylus. Without attaining to
anything like the celebrity and admiration which have followed Omar
Khayyám, the "Agamemnon" has achieved much more than a _succès
d'estime_. Mr. Fitzgerald's renderings from the Greek were not confined
to this one essay; he also translated the two OEdipus dramas of
Sophocles, but left them unfinished in manuscript till Prof. Eliot
Norton had a sight of them and urged him to complete his work. When this
was done, he had them set in type, but only a very few proofs can have
been struck off, as it seems that, at least in England, no more than one
or two copies were sent out by the author. In a similar way he printed
translations of two of Calderon's plays not included in the published
"Six Dramas"--namely, "La Vida es Sueño," and "El Magico Prodigioso"
(both ranking among the Spaniard's finest work); but they also were
withheld from the public and all but half a dozen friends.

When his old boatman died, he abandoned his nautical exercises and gave
up his yacht forever. During the last few years of his life, he divided
his time between Cambridge, Crabbe's house, and his own home at Little
Grange, near Woodbridge, where he received occasional visits from
friends and relatives. He was one of the most modest men who have
enriched English literature with poetry of distinct and permanent value,
and his best epitaph is found in Tennyson's "Tiresias and other Poems,"
published immediately after our author's quiet exit from life, in 1883,
in the seventy-fifth year of his age.



OMAR KHAYYÁM

_The Astronomer-Poet of Persia_

(BY EDWARD FITZGERALD)


Omar Khayyám was born at Naishápúr in Khorassán in the latter half of
our Eleventh, and died within the First Quarter of our Twelfth Century.
The slender story of his life is curiously twined about that of two
other very considerable Figures in their Time and Country: one of whom
tells the Story of all Three. This was Nizám ul Mulk, Vizyr to Alp
Arslan the Son, and Malik Shah the Grandson, of Toghrul Beg the Tartar,
who had wrested Persia from the feeble Successor of Mahmúd the Great,
and founded that Seljukian Dynasty which finally roused Europe into the
Crusades. This Nizám ul Mulk, in his _Wasiyat_--or _Testament_--which he
wrote and left as a Memorial for future Statesmen--relates the
following, as quoted in the _Calcutta Review_, No. 59, from Mirkhond's
History of the Assassins.

"One of the greatest of the wise men of Khorassán was the Imám Mowaffak
of Naishápúr, a man highly honored and reverenced,--may God rejoice his
soul: his illustrious years exceeded eighty-five, and it was the
universal belief that every boy who read the Koran or studied the
traditions in his presence, would assuredly attain to honor and
happiness. For this cause did my father send me from Tús to Naishápúr
with Abd-us-samad, the doctor of law, that I might employ myself in
study and learning under the guidance of that illustrious teacher.
Towards me he ever turned an eye of favor and kindness, and as his pupil
I felt for him extreme affection and devotion, so that I passed four
years in his service. When I first came there, I found two other pupils
of mine own age newly arrived, Hakim Omar Khayyám, and the ill-fated Ben
Sabbáh. Both were endowed with sharpness of wit and the highest natural
powers; and we three formed a close friendship together. When the Imám
rose from his lectures, they used to join me, and we repeated to each
other the lessons we had heard. Now Omar was a native of Naishápúr,
while Hasan Ben Sabbáh's father was one Ali, a man of austere life and
practice, but heretical in his creed and doctrine. One day Hasan said to
me and to Khayyám, 'It is a universal belief that the pupils of the Imám
Mowaffak will attain to fortune. Now, even if we _all_ do not attain
thereto, without doubt one of us will; what then shall be our mutual
pledge and bond?' We answered, 'Be it what you please.' 'Well,' he said,
let us make a vow, that to whomsoever this fortune falls, he shall share
it equally with the rest, and reserve no pre-eminence for himself.' 'Be
it so,' we both replied, and on those terms we mutually pledged our
words. Years rolled on, and I went from Khorassán to Transoxiana and
wandered to Ghazni and Cabul; and when I returned, I was invested with
office, and rose to be administrator of affairs during the Sultanate of
Sultan Alp Arslan.

"He goes on to state, that years passed by, and both his old
school-friends found him out, and came and claimed a share in his good
fortune, according to the school-day vow. The Vizier was generous and
kept his word. Hasan demanded a place in the government, which the
Sultan granted at the Vizier's request; but discontented with a gradual
rise, he plunged into the maze of intrigue of an oriental court, and,
failing in a base attempt to supplant his benefactor, he was disgraced
and fell. After many mishaps and wanderings, Hasan became the head of
the Persian sect of the _Ismailians_,--a party of fanatics who had long
murmured in obscurity, but rose to an evil eminence under the guidance
of his strong and evil will. In A.D. 1090, he seized the castle of
Alamút, in the province of Rúdbar, which lies in the mountainous tract
south of the Caspian Sea; and it was from this mountain home he obtained
that evil celebrity among the Crusaders as the OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS,
and spread terror through the Mohammedan world; and it is yet disputed
whether the word _Assassin_, which they have left in the language of
modern Europe as their dark memorial, is derived from the _hashish_, or
opiate of hemp-leaves (the Indian _bhang_), with which they maddened
themselves to the sullen pitch of oriental desperation, or from the name
of the founder of the dynasty, whom we have seen in his quiet collegiate
days, at Naishápúr. One of the countless victims of the Assassin's
dagger was Nizám-ul-Mulk himself, the old schoolboy friend.

"Omar Khayyám also came to the Vizier to claim his share; but not to
ask for title or office. 'The greatest boon you can confer on me,' he
said, 'is to let me live in a corner under the shadow of your fortune,
to spread wide the advantages of Science, and pray for your long life
and prosperity.' The Vizier tells us, that when he found Omar was really
sincere in his refusal, he pressed him no further, but granted him a
yearly pension of 1200 _mithkáls_ of gold from the treasury of
Naishápúr.

"At Naishápúr thus lived and died Omar Khayyám, 'busied,' adds the
Vizier, 'in winning knowledge of every kind, and especially in
Astronomy, wherein he attained to a very high pre-eminence. Under the
Sultanate of Malik Shah, he came to Merv, and obtained great praise for
his proficiency in science, and the Sultan showered favors upon him.'

"When the Malik Shah determined to reform the calendar, Omar was one of
the eight learned men employed to do it; the result was the _Jaláli_ era
(so called from _Jalál-ud-din_, one of the King's names)--'a computation
of time,' says Gibbon, 'which surpasses the Julian, and approaches the
accuracy of the Gregorian style.' He is also the author of some
astronomical tables, entitled Zíji-Maliksháhí," and the French have
lately republished and translated an Arabic Treatise of his on Algebra.

"His Takhallus or poetical name (Khayyám) signifies a Tent-maker, and he
is said to have at one time exercised that trade, perhaps before
Nizám-ul-Mulk's generosity raised him to independence. Many Persian
poets similarly derive their names from their occupations; thus we have
Attár, 'a druggist,' Assár, 'an oil presser,' etc. Omar himself alludes
to his name in the following whimsical lines:--

    "'Khayyám, who stitched the tents of science,
    Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned;
    The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
    And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!'

"We have only one more anecdote to give of his Life, and that relates to
the close; it is told in the anonymous preface which is sometimes
prefixed to his poems; it has been printed in the Persian in the
Appendix to Hyde's _Veterum Persarum Religio_, p. 499; and D'Herbelot
alludes to it in his Bibliothèque, under _Khiam_,--

    "It is written in the chronicles of the ancients that this
    King of the Wise, Omar Khayyám, died at Naishápúr in the year
    of the Hegira, 517 (A.D. 1123); in science he was
    unrivaled,--the very paragon of his age. Khwájah Nizámi of
    Samarcand, who was one of his pupils, relates the following
    story: 'I often used to hold conversations with my teacher,
    Omar Khayyám, in a garden; and one day he said to me, "My
    tomb shall be in a spot where the north wind may scatter
    roses over it." I wondered at the words he spake, but I knew
    that his were no idle words. Years after, when I chanced to
    revisit Naishápúr, I went to his final resting-place, and lo!
    it was just outside a garden, and trees laden with fruit
    stretched their boughs over the garden wall, and dropped
    their flowers upon his tomb, so that the stone was hidden
    under them.'"

Thus far--without fear of Trespass--from the _Calcutta Review_. The
writer of it, on reading in India this story of Omar's Grave, was
reminded, he says, of Cicero's account of finding Archimedes' Tomb at
Syracuse, buried in grass and weeds. I think Thorwaldsen desired to have
roses grow over him; a wish religiously fulfilled for him to the present
day, I believe. However, to return to Omar.

Though the Sultan "shower'd Favors upon him," Omar's Epicurean Audacity
of Thought and Speech caused him to be regarded askance in his own Time
and Country. He is said to have been especially hated and dreaded by the
Súfis, whose Practise he ridiculed, and whose Faith amounts to little
more than his own, when stript of the Mysticism and formal recognition
of Islamism under which Omar would not hide. Their Poets, including
Háfiz, who are (with the exception of Firdausi) the most considerable in
Persia, borrowed largely, indeed, of Omar's material, but turning it to
a mystical Use more convenient to Themselves and the People they
addressed; a People quite as quick of Doubt as of Belief; as keen of
Bodily Sense as of Intellectual; and delighting in a cloudy composition
of both, in which they could float luxuriously between Heaven and Earth,
and this World and the next, on the wings of a poetical expression, that
might serve indifferently for either. Omar was too honest of Heart as
well of Head for this. Having failed (however mistakenly) of finding
any Providence but Destiny, and any World but This, he set about making
the most of it; preferring rather to soothe the Soul through the Senses
into Acquiescence with Things as he saw them, than to perplex it with
vain disquietude after what they _might_ be. It has been seen, however,
that his Worldly Ambition was not exorbitant; and he very likely takes a
humorous or perverse pleasure in exalting the gratification of Sense
above that of the Intellect, in which he must have taken great delight,
although it failed to answer the Questions in which he, in common with
all men, was most vitally interested.

For whatever Reason, however, Omar, as before said, has never been
popular in his own Country, and therefore has been but scantily
transmitted abroad. The MSS. of his Poems, mutilated beyond the average
Casualties of Oriental Transcription, are so rare in the East as scarce
to have reached Westward at all, in spite of all the acquisitions of
Arms and Science. There is no copy at the India House, none at the
Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. We know but one in England: No. 140 of
the Ouseley MSS. at the Bodleian, written at Shiráz, A.D. 1460. This
contains but 158 Rubáiyát. One in the Asiatic Society's Library at
Calcutta (of which we have a copy) contains (and yet incomplete) 516,
though swelled to that by all kinds of Repetition and Corruption. So Von
Hammer speaks of _his_ Copy as containing about 200, while Dr. Sprenger
catalogues the Lucknow MSS. at double that number. The Scribes, too, of
the Oxford and Calcutta MSS. seem to do their Work under a sort of
Protest; each beginning with a Tetrastich (whether genuine or not) taken
out of its alphabetical order; the Oxford with one of Apology; the
Calcutta with one of Expostulation, supposed (says a Notice prefixed to
the MS.) to have arisen from a Dream, in which Omar's mother asked about
his future fate. It may be rendered thus:--

    "Oh Thou who burn'st in Heart for those who burn
    In Hell, whose fires thyself shall feed in turn;
      How long be crying, 'Mercy on them, God!'
    Why, who art Thou to teach, and He to learn?"

The Bodleian Quatrain pleads Pantheism by way of Justification.

    "If I myself upon a looser Creed
    Have loosely strung the Jewel of Good deed,
    Let this one thing for my Atonement plead:
    That One for Two I never did misread."

The Reviewer to whom I owe the Particulars of Omar's Life concludes his
Review by comparing him with Lucretius, both as to natural Temper and
Genius, and as acted upon by the Circumstances in which he lived. Both
indeed were men of subtle, strong, and cultivated Intellect, fine
Imagination, and Hearts passionate for Truth and Justice; who justly
revolted from their Country's false Religion, and false, or foolish,
Devotion to it; but who fell short of replacing what they subverted by
such better _Hope_ as others, with no better Revelation to guide them,
had yet made a Law to themselves. Lucretius indeed, with such material
as Epicurus furnished, satisfied himself with the theory of a vast
machine fortuitously constructed and acting by a Law that implied no
Legislator; and so composing himself into a Stoical rather than
Epicurean severity of Attitude, sat down to contemplate the mechanical
Drama of the Universe which he was part Actor in; himself and all about
him (as in his own sublime description of the Roman Theatre) discolored
with the lurid reflex of the Curtain suspended between the Spectator and
the Sun. Omar, more desperate, or more careless of any so complicated
System as resulted in nothing but hopeless Necessity, flung his own
Genius and Learning with a bitter or humorous jest into the general Ruin
which their insufficient glimpses only served to reveal; and, pretending
sensual pleasure, as the serious purpose of Life, only _diverted_
himself with speculative problems of Deity, Destiny, Matter and Spirit,
Good and Evil, and other such questions, easier to start than to run
down, and the pursuit of which becomes a very weary sport at last!

With regard to the present Translation. The original Rubáiyát (as,
missing an Arabic Guttural, these _Tetrastichs_ are more musically
called) are independent Stanzas, consisting each of four Lines of equal
though varied Prosody; sometimes _all_ rhyming, but oftener (as here
imitated) the third line a blank. Somewhat as in the Greek Alcaic, where
the penultimate line seems to lift and suspend the Wave that falls over
in the last. As usual with such kind of Oriental Verse, the Rubáiyát
follow one another according to Alphabetic Rhyme--a strange succession
of Grave and Gay. Those here selected are strung into something of an
Eclogue, with perhaps a less than equal proportion of the "Drink and
make-merry," which (genuine or not) recurs over-frequently in the
Original. Either way, the Result is sad enough: saddest perhaps when
most ostentatiously merry: more apt to move Sorrow than Anger toward the
old Tent-maker, who, after vainly endeavoring to unshackle his Steps
from Destiny, and to catch some authentic Glimpse of To-morrow, fell
back upon To-day (which has outlasted so many To-morrows!) as the only
ground he had got to stand upon, however momentarily slipping from under
his feet.

       #       #       #       #       #

While the second Edition of this version of Omar was preparing, Monsieur
Nicolas, French Consul at Resht, published a very careful and very good
Edition of the Text from a lithograph copy at Teheran, comprising 464
Rubáiyát, with translation and notes of his own.

Mons. Nicolas, whose Edition has reminded me of several things, and
instructed me in others, does not consider Omar to be the material
Epicurean that I have literally taken him for, but a Mystic, shadowing
the Deity under the figure of Wine, Wine-bearer, etc., as Háfiz is
supposed to do; in short, a Súfi Poet like Háfiz and the rest.

I cannot see reason to alter my opinion, formed as it was more than a
dozen years ago when Omar was first shown me by one to whom I am
indebted for all I know of Oriental, and very much of other, literature.
He admired Omar's genius so much that he would gladly have adopted any
such interpretation of his meaning as Mons. Nicolas' if he could. That
he could not, appears by his Paper in the _Calcutta Review_ already so
largely quoted; in which he argues from the Poems themselves, as well as
from what records remain of the Poet's Life.

And if more were needed to disprove Mons. Nicolas' Theory, there is the
Biographical Notice which he himself has drawn up in direct
contradiction to the Interpretation of the Poems given in his Notes.
(See pp. xiii-xiv of his Preface.) Indeed I hardly knew poor Omar was so
far gone till his Apologist informed me. For here we see that, whatever
were the Wine that Háfiz drank and sang, the veritable Juice of the
Grape it was which Omar used, not only when carousing with his friends,
but (says Mons. Nicolas) in order to excite himself to that pitch of
Devotion which others reached by cries and "Hurlemens." And yet,
whenever Wine, Wine-bearer, etc., occur in the text--which is often
enough--Mons. Nicolas carefully annotates "Dieu," "La Divinité," etc.:
so carefully indeed that one is tempted to think that he was
indoctrinated by the Súfi with whom he read the Poems. A Persian would
naturally wish to vindicate a distinguished Countryman; and a Súfi to
enrol him in his own sect, which already comprises all the chief Poets
of Persia.

What historical Authority has Mons. Nicolas to show that Omar gave
himself up "avec passion à l'étude de la philosophie des Soufis?"
(Preface, p. xiii.) The Doctrines of Pantheism, Materialism, Necessity,
etc., were not peculiar to the Súfi; nor to Lucretius before them; nor
to Epicurus before him; probably the very original Irreligion of
Thinking men from the first; and very likely to be the spontaneous
growth of a Philosopher living in an Age of social and political
barbarism, under shadow of one of the Two and Seventy Religions supposed
to divide the world. Von Hammer (according to Sprenger's Oriental
Catalogue) speaks of Omar as "a Free-thinker, and _a great opponent of
Sufism_;" perhaps because, while holding much of their Doctrine, he
would not pretend to any inconsistent severity of morals. Sir W. Ouseley
has written a note to something of the same effect on the fly-leaf of
the Bodleian MS. And in two Rubáiyát of Mons. Nicolas' own Edition Súf
and Súfi are both disparagingly named.

No doubt many of these Quatrains seem unaccountable unless mystically
interpreted; but many more as unaccountable unless literally. Were the
Wine spiritual, for instance, how wash the Body with it when dead! Why
make cups of the dead clay to be filled with--"La Divinité"--by some
succeeding Mystic? Mons. Nicolas himself is puzzled by some "bizarres
and trop Orientals" allusions and images--"d'une sensualité quelquefois
révoltante" indeed--which "les convenances" do not permit him to
translate, but still which the reader cannot but refer to "La Divinité."
No doubt also many of the Quatrains in the Teheran, as in the Calcutta
Copies, are spurious; such _Rubáiyát_ being the common form of Epigram
in Persia. But this, at best, tells as much one way as another; nay,
the Súfi, who may be considered the Scholar and Men of Letters in
Persia, would be far more likely than the careless Epicure to
interpolate what favors his own view of the Poet. I observe that very
few of the more mystical Quatrains are in the Bodleian MS. which must be
one of the oldest, as dated at Shiraz, A.H. 865, A.D. 1460. And this, I
think, especially distinguishes Omar (I cannot help calling him by
his--no, not Christian--familiar name) from all other Persian Poets:
That, whereas with them the Poet is lost in his Song, the Man in
Allegory and Abstraction; we seem to have the Man--the _Bonhomme_--Omar
himself, with all his Humors and Passions, as frankly before us as if we
were really at Table with him, after the Wine had gone round.

I must say that I, for one, never wholly believed in the mysticism of
Háfiz. It does not appear there was any danger in holding and singing
Súfi Pantheism, so long as the Poet made his Salaam to Mohammed at the
beginning and end of his Song. Under such conditions Jeláluddín, Jámí,
Attár, and others sang; using Wine and Beauty indeed as Images to
illustrate, not as a Mask to hide, the Divinity they were celebrating.
Perhaps some Allegory less liable to mistake or abuse had been better
among so inflammable a People: much more so when, as some think with
Háfiz and Omar, the abstract is not only likened to, but identified
with, the sensual Image; hazardous, if not to the Devotee himself, yet
to his weaker Brethren; and worse for the Profane in proportion as the
Devotion of the Initiated grew warmer. And all for what? To be
tantalized with Images of sensual enjoyment which must be renounced if
one would approximate a God, who, according to the Doctrine, _is_
Sensual Matter as well as Spirit, and into whose Universe one expects
unconsciously to merge after Death, without hope of any posthumous
Beatitude in another world to compensate for all one's self-denial in
this. Lucretius' blind Divinity certainly merited, and probably got, as
much self-sacrifice as this of the Súfi; and the burden of Omar's
Song--if not "Let us eat"--is assuredly--"Let us drink, for To-morrow we
die!" And if Háfiz meant quite otherwise by a similar language, he
surely miscalculated when he devoted his Life and Genius to so equivocal
a Psalmody as, from his Day to this, has been said and sung by any
rather than Spiritual Worshipers.

However, as there is some traditional presumption, and certainly the
opinion of some learned men, in favor of Omar's being a Súfi--and even
something of a Saint--those who please may so interpret his Wine and
Cup-bearer. On the other hand, as there is far more historical certainty
of his being a Philosopher, of scientific Insight and Ability far beyond
that of the Age and Country he lived in; of such moderate worldly
Ambition as becomes a Philosopher, and such moderate wants as rarely
satisfy a Debauchee; other readers may be content to believe with me
that, while the Wine Omar celebrates is simply the Juice of the Grape,
he bragged more than he drank of it, in very defiance perhaps of that
Spiritual Wine which left its Votaries sunk in Hypocrisy or Disgust.


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN I p. 41

           [_First Edition of the Translation_]

         Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
         Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
           And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
         The Sultán's Turret in a Noose of Light.]


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XI p. 46

           [_First Edition of the Translation_]

         Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
         A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse--and Thou
           Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
         And Wilderness is Paradise enow.]



[Illustration: RUBÁIYÁT·OF·OMAR·KHAYYÁM]

THE FIRST EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION


    RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM


    I

    Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
      And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
    The Sultán's Turret in a Noose of Light.


    II

    Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
    I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
      "Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
    Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."


    III

    And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
    The Tavern shouted--"Open then the Door!
      You know how little while we have to stay,
    And, once departed, may return no more."


    IV

    Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
    The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
      Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES ON THE BOUGH
    Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.


    V

    Irám indeed is gone with all its Rose,
    And Jamshýd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
      But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
    And still a Garden by the Water blows.


    VI

    And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
    High piping Pehleví, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
      _Red_ Wine!"--the Nightingale cries to the Rose
    That yellow Cheek of hers to incarnadine.


    VII

    Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
    The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
      The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly--and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.


    VIII

    And look--a thousand Blossoms with the Day
    Woke--and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
      And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
    Shall take Jamshýd and Kaikobád away.


    IX

    But come with old Khayyám, and leave the Lot
    Of Kaikobád and Kaikhosrú forgot:
      Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
    Or Hátim Tai cry Supper--heed them not.


    X

    With me along some Strip of Herbage strown
    That just divides the desert from the sown,
      Where name of Slave and Sultán scarce is known,
    And pity Sultán Máhmúd on his Throne.


    XI

    Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse--and Thou
      Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
    And Wilderness is Paradise enow.


    XII

    "How sweet is mortal Sovranty!"--think some:
    Others--"How blest the Paradise to come!"
      Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
    Oh, the brave Music of a _distant_ Drum!


    XIII

    Look to the Rose that blows about us--"Lo,
    Laughing," she says, "into the World I blow:
      At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
    Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."


    XIV

    The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
    Turns Ashes--or it prospers; and anon,
      Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
    Lighting a little Hour or two--is gone.


    XV

    And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
    And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
      Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
    As, buried once, Men want dug up again.


    XVI

    Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
    Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
      How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
    Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.


    XVII

    They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
    The Courts where Jamshýd gloried and drank deep;
      And Bahrám, that great Hunter--the Wild Ass
    Stamps o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.


    XVIII

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
    The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
      That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
    Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.


    XIX

    And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
    Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean--
      Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
    From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!


    XX

    Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
    TO-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears--
      _To-morrow?_--Why, To-morrow I may be
    Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.


    XXI

    Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and the best
    That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
      Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
    And one by one crept silently to Rest.


    XXII

    And we, that now make merry in the Room
    They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
      Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
    Descend, ourselves to make a Couch--for whom?


    XXIII

    Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
      Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End.


    XXIV

    Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
    And those that after a TO-MORROW stare,
      A Muezzín from the Tower of Darkness cries
    "Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There!"


    XXV

    Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
    Of the TWO Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
      Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
    Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.


    XXVI

    Oh, come with old Khayyám, and leave the Wise
    To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
      One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
    The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.


    XXVII

    Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
      About it and about: but evermore
    Came out by the same Door as in I went.


    XXVIII

    With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
    And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
      And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd--
    "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XXIV p. 52

            [_First Edition of the Translation_]

          Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
          And those that after a To-morrow stare,
            A Muezzín from the Tower of Darkness cries,
          "Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There!"]


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XLII p. 61

            [_First Edition of the Translation_]

          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!]


    XXIX

    Into this Universe, and _why_ not knowing,
    Nor _whence_, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
      And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
    I know not _whither_, willy-nilly blowing.


    XXX

    What, without asking, hither hurried _whence?_
    And, without asking, _whither_ hurried hence!
      Another and another Cup to drown
    The Memory of this Impertinence!


    XXXI

    Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
    I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
      And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
    But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.


    XXXII

    There was a Door to which I found no Key:
    There was a Veil past which I could not see:
      Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
    There seem'd--and then no more of THEE and ME.


    XXXIII

    Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
    Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide
      Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
    And--"A blind Understanding!" Heav'n replied.


    XXXIV

    Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
    My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
      And Lip to Lip it murmur'd--"While you live
    Drink!--for once dead you never shall return."


    XXXV

    I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
    Articulation answer'd, once did live,
      And merry-make; and the cold Lip I kiss'd
    How many Kisses might it take--and give!


    XXXVI

    For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
    I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
      And with its all obliterated Tongue
    It murmur'd--"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"


    XXXVII

    Ah, fill the Cup:--what boots it to repeat
    How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
      Unborn TO-MORROW, and dead YESTERDAY
    Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!


    XXXVIII

    One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
    One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste--
      The Stars are setting and the Caravan
    Starts for the Dawn of Nothing--Oh, make haste!


    XXXIX

    How long, how long, in definite Pursuit
    Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
      Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
    Than sadder after none, or bitter, Fruit.


    XL

    You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
    For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
      Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
    And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.


    XLI

    For "IS" and "IS-NOT" though _with_ Rule and Line
    And "UP-AND-DOWN" _without_, I could define,
      I yet in all I only cared to know,
    Was never deep in anything but--Wine.


    XLII

    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!


    XLIII

    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.


    XLIV

    The mighty Mahmúd, the victorious Lord,
    That all the misbelieving and black Horde
      Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
    Scatters and slays with his enchanted Sword.


    XLV

    But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
    The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
      And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
    Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.


    XLVI

    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.


    XLVII

    And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
    End in the Nothing all Things end in--Yes--
      Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
    Thou shalt be--Nothing--Thou shalt not be less.


    XLVIII

    While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
    With old Khayyám the Ruby Vintage drink:
      And when the Angel with his darker Draught
    Draws up to Thee--take that, and do not shrink.


    XLIX

    '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.


    L

    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!


    LI

    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 thy Tears wash out a Word of it.


    LII

    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.


    LIII

    With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man's 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.


    LIV

    I tell Thee this--When, starting from the Goal,
    Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
      Of Heav'n and Parwín and Mushtara they flung,
    In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul.


    LV

    The Vine had struck a Fibre; which about
    If clings my Being--let the Súfi flout;
      Of my Base Metal may be filed a Key,
    That shall unlock the Door he howls without.


    LVI

    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.


    LVII

    Oh, Thou, who didst with Pitfall and with Gin
    Beset the Road I was to wander in,
      Thou wilt not with Predestination round
    Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?


    LVIII

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

       *       *       *       *       *


    KÚZA-NÁMA


    LIX

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


    LX

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


    LXI

    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."


    LXII

    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!"


    LXIII

    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?"


    LXIV

    Said one--"Folks of a surly Tapster tell,
    And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
      They talk of some strict Testing of us--Pish!
    He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."


    LXV

    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!"


    LXVI

    So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
    One spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
      And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother, Brother!
    Hark to the Porter's Shoulder-knot a creaking!"

       *       *       *       *       *


    LXVII

    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.


    LXVIII

    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.


    LXIX

    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.


    LXX

    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.


    LXXI

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


    LXXII

    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!


    LXXIII

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


    LXXIV

    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!


    LXXV

    And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
    Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
      And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
    Where I made one--turn down an empty Glass!


    TAMÁM SHUD



[Illustration: RUBÁIYÁT·OF·OMAR·KHAYYÁM]

THE SECOND EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION


    I

    Wake! For the Sun behind yon Eastern height
    Has chased the Session of the Stars from Night;
      And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
    The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light.


    II

    Before the phantom of False morning died,
    Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
      "When all the Temple is prepared within,
    Why lags the drowsy Worshipper outside?"


    III

    And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
    The Tavern shouted--"Open then the Door!
      You know how little while we have to stay,
    And, once departed, may return no more."


    IV

    Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
    The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
      Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
    Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.


    V

    Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
    And Jamshýd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
      But still a Ruby gushes from the Vine,
    And many a Garden by the Water blows.


    VI

    And David's lips are lockt; but in divine
    High-piping Péhleví, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
      Red Wine!"--the Nightingale cries to the Rose
    That sallow cheek of hers to incarnadine.


    VII

    Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
    Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
      The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.


    VIII

    Whether at Naishápúr or Babylon,
    Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
      The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
    The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.


    IX

    Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
    Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
      And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
    Shall take Jamshýd and Kaikobád away.


    X

    Well, let it take them! What have we to do
    With Kaikobád the Great, or Kaikhosrú?
      Let Rustum cry "To Battle!" as he likes,
    Or Hátim Tai "To Supper"--heed not you.


    XI

    With me along the Strip of Herbage strown
    That just divides the desert from the sown,
      Where name of Slave and Sultán is forgot--
    And Peace to Máhmúd on his golden Throne?


    XII

    Here with a little Bread beneath the Bough,
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse--and Thou
      Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN LXXII p. 76

            [_First Edition of the Translation_]

          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!]


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XI p. 86

            [_Second Edition of the Translation_]

          With me along the Strip of Herbage strown
          That just divides the desert from the sown,
            Where name of Slave and Sultán is forgot--
          And Peace to Máhmúd on his golden Throne?]


    XIII

    Some for the Glories of This World; and some
    Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
      Ah, take the Cash, and let the promise go,
    Nor heed the music of a distant Drum!


    XIV

    Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
    The Thread of present Life away to win--
       What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
    Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!


    XV

    Look to the blowing Rose about us--"Lo,
    Laughing," she says, "into the world I blow:
      At once the silken tassel of my Purse
    Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."


    XVI

    For those who husbanded the Golden grain,
    And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
      Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
    As, buried once, Men want dug up again.


    XVII

    The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
    Turns Ashes--or it prospers; and anon,
      Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face,
    Lighting a little hour or two--was gone.


    XVIII

    Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
    Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
      How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
    Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.


    XIX

    They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
    The Courts where Jamshýd gloried and drank deep:
      And Bahrám, that great Hunter--the Wild Ass
    Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.


    XX

    The Palace that to Heav'n his pillars threw,
    And Kings the forehead on his threshold drew--
      I saw the solitary Ringdove there,
    And "Coo, coo, coo," she cried; and "Coo, coo, coo."


    XXI

    Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
    TO-DAY of past Regret and Future Fears:
      _To-morrow!_--Why, To-morrow I may be
    Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years.


    XXII

    For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
    That from his Vintage rolling Time has prest,
      Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
    And one by one crept silently to rest.


    XXIII

    And we, that now make merry in the Room
    They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom,
      Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
    Descend--ourselves to make a Couch--for whom?


    XXIV

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
    The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
      That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
    Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.


    XXV

    And this delightful Herb whose living Green
    Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean--
      Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
    From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!


    XXVI

    Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
      Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End!


    XXVII

    Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
    And those that after some TO-MORROW stare,
      A Muezzín from the Tower of Darkness cries,
    "Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There."


    XXVIII

    Another Voice, when I am sleeping, cries,
    "The Flower should open with the Morning skies."
      And a retreating Whisper, as I wake--
    "The Flower that once has blown for ever dies."


    XXIX

    Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
    Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
      Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
    Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.


    XXX

    Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
      About it and about: but evermore
    Came out by the same door as in I went.


    XXXI

    With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
    And with my own hand wrought to make it grow;
      And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd--
    "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."


    XXXII

    Into this Universe, and _Why_ not knowing,
    Nor _Whence_, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
      And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
    I know not _Whither_, willy-nilly blowing.


    XXXIII

    What, without asking, hither hurried _Whence?_
    And, without asking, _Whither_ hurried hence!
      Ah! contrite Heav'n endowed us with the Vine
    To drug the memory of that insolence!


    XXXIV

    Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
    I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate;
      And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
    But not the Master-Knot of Human Fate.


    XXXV

    There was the Door to which I found no Key:
    There was the Veil through which I could not see:
      Some little talk awhile of ME and THEE
    There was--and then no more of THEE and ME.


    XXXVI

    Earth could not answer: nor the Seas that mourn
    In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;
      Nor Heaven, with those eternal Signs reveal'd
    And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.


    XXXVII

    Then of the THEE IN ME who works behind
    The Veil of Universe I cried to find
      A Lamp to guide me through the Darkness; and
    Something then said--"An Understanding blind."


    XXXVIII

    Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn
    I lean'd, the Secret Well of Life to learn:
      And Lip to Lip it murmur'd--"While you live,
    Drink!--for, once dead, you never shall return."


    XXXIX

    I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
    Articulation answer'd, once did live,
      And drink; and that impassive Lip I kiss'd,
    How many Kisses might it take--and give!


    XL

    For I remember stopping by the way
    To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
      And with its all-obliterated Tongue
    It murmur'd--"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"


    XLI

    For has not such a Story from of Old
    Down Man's successive generations roll'd
      Of such a clod of saturated Earth
    Cast by the Maker into Human mould?


    XLII

    And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
    On the parcht herbage but may steal below
      To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
    There hidden--far beneath, and long ago.


    XLIII

    As then the Tulip for her wonted sup
    Of Heavenly Vintage lifts her chalice up,
      Do you, twin offspring of the soil, till Heav'n
    To Earth invert you like an empty Cup.


    XLIV

    Do you, within your little hour of Grace,
    The waving Cypress in your Arms enlace,
      Before the Mother back into her arms
    Fold, and dissolve you in a last embrace.


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XX p. 90

            [_Second Edition of the Translation_]

          The Palace that to Heav'n his pillars threw,
          And Kings the forehead on his threshold drew--
            I saw the solitary Ringdove there,
          And "Coo, coo, coo," she cried; and "Coo, coo, coo."]


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XLIV p. 102

            [_Second Edition of the Translation_]

          Do you, within your little hour of Grace,
          The waving Cypress in your Arms enlace,
            Before the Mother back into her arms
          Fold, and dissolve you in a last embrace.]


    XLV

    And if the Cup you drink, the Lip you press,
    End in what All begins and ends in--Yes;
      Imagine then you _are_ what heretofore
    You _were_--hereafter you shall not be less.


    XLVI

    So when at last the Angel of the drink
    Of Darkness finds you by the river-brink,
      And, proffering his Cup, invites your Soul
    Forth to your Lips to quaff it--do not shrink.


    XLVII

    And fear not lest Existence closing _your_
    Account, should lose, or know the type no more;
      The Eternal Sákí from that Bowl has pour'd
    Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.


    XLVIII

    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.


    XLIX

    One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
    One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste--
      The Stars are setting, and the Caravan
    Draws to the Dawn of Nothing--Oh, make haste!


    L

    Would you that spangle of Existence spend
    About THE SECRET--quick about it, Friend!
      A Hair, they say, divides the False and True--
    And upon what, prithee, does Life depend?


    LI

    A Hair, they say, divides the False and True;
    Yes; and a single Alif were the clue--
      Could you but find it, to the Treasure-house,
    And peradventure to THE MASTER too;


    LII

    Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins
    Running, Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
      Taking all shapes from Máh to Máhi; and
    They change and perish all--but He remains;


    LIII

    A moment guess'd--then back behind the Fold
    Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll'd
      Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
    He does Himself contrive, enact, behold.


    LIV

    But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor
    Of Earth, and up to Heav'n's unopening Door,
      You gaze TO-DAY, while You are You--how then
    TO-MORROW, You when shall be You no more?


    LV

    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.


    LVI

    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.


    LVII

    You know, my Friends, how bravely in my House
    For a new Marriage I did make Carouse;
      Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
    And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse


    LVIII

    For "IS" and "IS-NOT" though with Rule and Line,
    And "UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define,
      Of all that one should care to fathom, I
    Was never deep in anything but--Wine.


    LIX

    Ah, but my Computations, People say,
    Have squared the Year to human compass, eh?
      If so, by striking from the Calendar
    Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday.


    LX

    And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
    Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
      Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
    He bid me taste of it; and 'twas--the Grape!


    LXI

    The Grape that can with Logic absolute
    The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
      The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
    Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute:


    LXII

    The mighty Mahmúd, Allah-breathing Lord,
    That all the misbelieving and black Horde
      Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
    Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.


    LXIII

    Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
    Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare?
      A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
    And if a Curse--why, then, Who set it there?


    LXIV

    I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must,
    Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust,
      Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink,
    When the frail Cup is crumbled into Dust!


    LXV

    If but the Vine and Love-abjuring Band
    Are in the Prophet's Paradise to stand,
      Alack, I doubt the Prophet's Paradise
    Were empty as the hollow of one's Hand.


    LXVI

    Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
    One thing at least is certain--_This_ Life flies;
      One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
    The Flower that once is blown for ever dies.


    LXVII

    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.


    LXVIII

    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.


    LXIX

    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!


    LXX

    But that is but a Tent wherein may rest
    A Sultán to the realm of Death addrest;
      The Sultán rises, and the dark Ferrásh
    Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest.


    LXXI

    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 Hell:"


    LXXII

    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 emerged from, shall so soon expire.


    LXXIII

    We are no other than a moving row
    Of visionary Shapes that come and go
      Round with this Sun-illumined Lantern held
    In Midnight by the Master of the Show;


    LXXIV

    Impotent Pieces of the Game He plays
    Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
      Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
    And one by one back in the Closet lays.


    LXXV

    The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
    But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
      And He that toss'd you down into the Field,
    _He_ knows about it all--HE knows--HE knows!


    LXXVI

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.


    LXXVII

    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 overreach.


    LXXVIII

    And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
    Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die,
      Lift not your hands to _It_ for help--for It
    As impotently rolls as you or I.


    LXXIX

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


    LXXX

    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.


    LXXXI

    I tell you this--When, started from the Goal,
    Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
      Of Heav'n Parwín and Mushtarí they flung,
    In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul


    LXXXII

    The Vine had struck a fibre: 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.


    LXXXIII

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


    LXXXIV

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


    LXXXV

    What! from his 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!


    LXXXVI

    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.


    LXXXVII

    Oh, Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
    Beset the Road I was to wander in,
      Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
    Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!


    LXXXVIII

    Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
    And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake:
      For all the Sin the Face of wretched Man
    Is black with--Man's Forgiveness give--and take!

       *       *       *       *       *


    LXXXIX

    As under cover of departing Day
    Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazán away,
      Once more within the Potter's house alone
    I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.


    XC

    And once again there gathered a scarce heard
    Whisper among them; as it were, the stirr'd
      Ashes of some all but extinguisht Tongue,
    Which mine ear kindled into living Word.


    XCI

    Said one among them--"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 shapeless Earth again?"


    XCII

    Another said--"Why, ne'er a peevish Boy
    Would break the Cup from which he drank in Joy;
      Shall He that of His own free Fancy made
    The Vessel, in an after-rage destroy!"


    XCIII

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


    XCIV

    Thus with the Dead as with the Living, _What_?
    And _Why_? so ready, but the _Wherefor_ not,
      One on a sudden peevishly exclaim'd,
    "Which is the Potter, pray, and which the Pot?"


    XCV

    Said one--"Folks of a surly Master tell,
    And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
      They talk of some sharp Trial of us--Pish!
    He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."


    XCVI

    "Well," said another, "Whoso will, let try,
    My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
      But fill me with the old familiar Juice,
    Methinks I might recover by-and-by!"


    XCVII

    So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
    One spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
      And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
    Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

       *       *       *       *       *


    XCVIII

    Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
    And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
      And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
    By some not unfrequented Garden-side.


    XCIX

    Whither resorting from the vernal Heat
    Shall Old Acquaintance Old Acquaintance greet,
      Under the Branch that leans above the Wall
    To shed his Blossom over head and feet.


    C

    Then ev'n my buried Ashes such a snare
    Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air,
      As not a True-believer passing by
    But shall be overtaken unaware.


    CI

    Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
    Have done my credit in Men's eye much wrong:
      Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup
    And sold my Reputation for a Song.


    CII

    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.


    CIII

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


    CIV

    Yet Ah, 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!


    CV

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


    CVI

    Oh, if the World were but to re-create,
    That we might catch ere closed the Book of Fate,
      And make The Writer on a fairer leaf
    Inscribe our names, or quite obliterate!


    CVII

    Better, oh, better, cancel from the Scroll
    Of Universe one luckless Human Soul,
      Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that rolls
    Hoarser with Anguish as the Ages Roll.


    CVIII

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


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN LXXII p. 116

            [_Second Edition of the Translation_]

          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 emerged from, shall so soon expire.]


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XIV p. 145

            [_Fifth Edition of the Translation_]

          Look to the blowing Rose about us--"Lo,
          Laughing," she says, "into the world I blow,
            At once the silken tassel of my Purse
          Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."]


    CIX

    But see! The rising Moon of Heav'n again--
    Looks for us, Sweet-heart, through the quivering Plane:
      How oft hereafter rising will she look
    Among those leaves--for one of us in vain!


    CX

    And when Yourself with silver Foot 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!


    TAMÁM



[Illustration: RUBÁIYÁT·OF·OMAR·KHAYYÁM]

THE FIFTH EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION


    I

    Wake! For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight
    The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
      Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
    The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light.


    II

    Before the phantom of False morning died,
    Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
      "When all the Temple is prepared within,
    Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?"


    III

    And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
    The Tavern shouted--"Open then the Door!
      You know how little while we have to stay,
    And, once departed, may return no more."


    IV

    Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
    The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
      Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
    Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.


    V

    Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
    And Jamshýd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
      But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine,
    And many a Garden by the Water blows.


    VI

    And David's lips are lockt; but in divine
    High-piping Pehleví, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
      Red Wine!"--the Nightingale cries to the Rose
    That sallow cheek of hers t' incarnadine.


    VII

    Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
    Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
      The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.


    VIII

    Whether at Naishápúr or Babylon,
    Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
      The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
    The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.


    IX

    Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
    Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
      And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
    Shall take Jamshýd and Kaikobád away.


    X

    Well, let it take them! What have we to do
    With Kaikobád the Great, or Kaikhosrú?
      Let Zál and Rustum bluster as they will,
    Or Hátim call to Supper--heed not you.


    XI

    With me along the strip of Herbage strown
    That just divides the desert from the sown,
      Where name of Slave and Sultán is forgot--
    And Peace to Mahmúd on his golden Throne!


    XII

    A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
      Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!


    XIII

    Some for the Glories of This World; and some
    Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
      Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
    Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!


    XIV

    Look to the blowing Rose about us--"Lo,
    Laughing," she says, "into the world I blow,
      At once the silken tassel of my Purse
    Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."


    XV

    And those who husbanded the Golden grain,
    And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
      Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
    As, buried once, Men want dug up again.


    XVI

    The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
    Turns Ashes--or it prospers; and anon,
      Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face,
    Lighting a little hour or two--is gone.


    XVII

    Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
    Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
      How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
    Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.


    XVIII

    They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
    The Courts where Jamshýd gloried and drank deep:
      And Bahrám, that great Hunter--the Wild Ass
    Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.


    XIX

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
    The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
      That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
    Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head


    XX

    And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
    Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean--
      Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
    From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!


    XXI

    Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
    TO-DAY of Past Regrets and Future Fears:
      _To-morrow!_--Why, To-morrow I may be
    Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.


    XXII

    For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
    That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
      Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
    And one by one crept silently to rest.


    XXIII

    And we, that now make merry in the Room
    They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom
      Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
    Descend--ourselves to make a Couch--for whom?


    XXIV

    Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
      Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End!


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XXXVII p. 157

            [_Fifth Edition of the Translation_]

          For I remember stopping by the way
          To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
            And with its all-obliterated Tongue
          It murmur'd--"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"]


      [Illustration: QUATRAIN XLI p. 159

            [_Fifth Edition of the Translation_]

          Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
          To-morrow's tangle to the winds resign,
            And lose your fingers in the tresses of
          The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine.]


    XXV

    Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
    And those that after some TO-MORROW stare,
      A Muezzín from the Tower of Darkness cries
    "Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There."


    XXVI

    Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
    Of the Two Worlds so wisely--they are thrust
      Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
    Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.


    XXVII

    Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
      About it and about: but evermore
    Came out by the same door where in I went.


    XXVIII

    With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
    And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
      And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd--
    "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."


    XXIX

    Into this Universe, and _Why_ not knowing
    Nor _Whence_, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
      And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
    I know not _Whither_, willy-nilly blowing.


    XXX

    What, without asking, hither hurried _Whence_?
    And, without asking, _Whither_ hurried hence!
      Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine
    Must drown the memory of that insolence!


    XXXI

    Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
    I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate;
      And many a Knot unravel'd by the Road;
    But not the Master-knot of Human Fate.


    XXXII

    There was the Door to which I found no Key;
    There was the Veil through which I might not see:
      Some little talk awhile of ME and THEE
    There was--and then no more of THEE and ME.


    XXXIII

    Earth could not answer; nor the Seas that mourn
    In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;
      Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal'd
    And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.


    XXXIV

    Then of the THEE in ME who works behind
    The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
      A Lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
    As from Without--"THE ME WITHIN THEE BLIND!"


    XXXV

    Then to the lip of this poor earthen Urn
    I lean'd, the Secret of my Life to learn:
      And Lip to Lip it murmur'd---"While you live
    Drink!--for, once dead, you never shall return."


    XXXVI

    I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
    Articulation answer'd, once did live,
      And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss'd,
    How many Kisses might it take--and give!


    XXXVII

    For I remember stopping by the way
    To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
      And with its all-obliterated Tongue
    It murmur'd--"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"


    XXXVIII

    And has not such a Story from of Old
    Down Man's successive generations roll'd
      Of such a clod of saturated Earth
    Cast by the Maker into Human mould?


    XXXIX

    And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
    For Earth to drink of, but may steal below
      To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
    There hidden--far beneath, and long ago.


    XL

    As then the Tulip for her morning sup
    Of Heav'nly Vintage from the soil looks up,
      Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav'n
    To Earth invert you--like an empty Cup.


    XLI

    Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
    To-morrow's tangle to the winds resign,
      And lose your fingers in the tresses of
    The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine.


    XLII

    And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press
    End in what All begins and ends in--Yes;
      Think then you are TO-DAY what YESTERDAY
    You were--TO-MORROW you shall not be less.


    XLIII

    So when that Angel of the darker Drink
    At last shall find you by the river-brink,
      And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul
    Forth to your Lips to quaff--you shall not shrink.


    XLIV

    Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
    And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
      Were't not a Shame--were't not a Shame for him
    In this clay carcase crippled to abide?


    XLV

    'Tis but a Tent where takes his one day's rest
    A Sultán to the realm of Death addrest;
      The Sultán rises, and the dark Ferrásh
    Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest.


    XLVI

    And fear not lest Existence closing your
    Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
      The Eternal Sákí from that Bowl has pour'd
    Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.


    XLVII

    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 the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast.


    XLVIII

    A Moment's Halt--a momentary taste
    Of BEING from the Well amid the Waste--
      And Lo!--the phantom Caravan has reach'd
    The NOTHING it set out from--Oh, make haste!


    XLIX

    Would you that spangle of Existence spend
    About THE SECRET--quick about it, Friend!
      A Hair perhaps divides the False and True--
    And upon what, prithee, may life depend?


    L

    A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
    Yes; and a single Alif were the clue--
      Could you but find it--to the Treasure-house,
    And peradventure to THE MASTER too;


    LI

    Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins
    Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
      Taking all shapes from Máh to Máhi; and
    They change and perish all--but He remains;


    LII

    A moment guess'd--then back behind the Fold
    Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll'd
      Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
    He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.


    LIII

    But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor
    Of Earth, and up to Heav'n's unopening Door,
      You gaze TO-DAY, while You are You--how then
    TO-MORROW, You when shall be You no more?


    LIV

    Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
    Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
      Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
    Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.


    LV

    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


    LVI

    For "IS" and "IS-NOT" though with Rule and Line
    And "UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define,
      Of all that one should care to fathom, I
    Was never deep in anything but--Wine.


    LVII

    Ah, but my Computations, People say,
    Reduced the Year to better reckoning?--Nay
      'Twas only striking from the Calendar
    Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday.


    LVIII

    And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
    Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
      Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
    He bid me taste of it; and 'twas--the Grape!


    LIX

    The Grape that can with Logic absolute
    The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
      The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
    Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute:


    LX

    The mighty Mahmúd, Allah-breathing Lord,
    That all the misbelieving and black Horde
      Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
    Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.


    LXI

    Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
    Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare?
      A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
    And if a Curse--why, then, Who set it there?


    LXII

    I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must,
    Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust,
      Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink,
    To fill the Cup--when crumbled into Dust!


    LXIII

    Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
    One thing at least is certain--_This_ Life flies;
      One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
    The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.


    LXIV

    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.


    LXV

    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 comrades, and to Sleep return'd.


    LXVI

    I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
    Some letter of that After-life to spell:
      And by and by my Soul return'd to me,
    And answer'd "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:"


    LXVII

    Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
    And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
      Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
    So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.


    LXVIII

    We are no other than a moving row
    Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
      Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
    In Midnight by the Master of the Show;


    LXIX

    But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
    Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
      Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
    And one by one back in the Closet lays.


    LXX

    The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
    But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
      And He that toss'd you down into the Field,
    _He_ knows about it all--HE knows--HE knows!


    LXXI

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.


    LXXII

    And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
    Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die,
      Lift not your hands to _It_ for help--for It
    As impotently moves as you or I.


    LXXIII

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


    LXXIV

    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.


    LXXV

    I tell you this--When, started from the Goal,
    Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
      Of Heav'n Parwín and Mushtarí they flung
    In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul


    LXXVI

    The Vine had struck a fibre: 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.


    LXXVII

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


    LXXVIII

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


    LXXIX

    What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
    Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay'd--
      Sue for a Debt he never did contract,
    And cannot answer--Oh, the sorry trade!


    LXXX

    Oh, Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
    Beset the Road I was to wander in,
      Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
    Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!


    LXXXI

    Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
    And ev'n with Paradist devise the Snake:
      For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
    Is blacken'd--Man's forgiveness give--and take!

       *       *       *       *       *


    LXXXII

    As under cover of departing Day
    Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazán away,
      Once more within the Potter's house alone
    I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.


    LXXXIII

    Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small,
    That stood along the floor and by the wall;
      And some loquacious Vessels were; and some
    Listen'd perhaps, but never talk'd at all.


    LXXXIV

    Said one among them---"Surely not in vain
    My substance of the common Earth was ta'en
      And to this Figure moulded, to be broke,
    Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again."


    LXXXV

    Then said a Second--"Ne'er a peevish Boy
    Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy;
      And He that with his hand the Vessel made
    Will surely not in after Wrath destroy."


    LXXXVI

    After a momentary silence spake
    Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make;
      "They sneer at me for leaning all awry:
    What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"


    LXXXVII

    Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot--
    I think a Súfi pipkin--waxing hot--
      "All this of Pot and Potter--Tell me then,
    Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"


    LXXXVIII

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


    LXXXIX

    "Well," murmur'd one, "Let whoso make or buy,
    My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry:
      But fill me with the old familiar Juice,
    Methinks I might recover by and by."


    XC

    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!"

       *       *       *       *       *


    XCI

    Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
    And wash the Body whence the Life has died,
      And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
    By some not unfrequented Garden-side.


    XCII

    That ev'n my buried Ashes such a snare
    Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air
      As not a True-believer passing by
    But shall be overtaken unaware.


    XCIII

    Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
    Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
      Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup
    And sold my Reputation for a Song.


    XCIV

    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.


    XCV

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


    XCVI

    Yet Ah, 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!


    XCVII

    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!


    XCVIII

    Would but some wingéd Angel ere too late
    Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
      And make the stern Recorder otherwise
    Enregister, or quite obliterate!


    XCIX

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

       *       *       *       *       *


    C

    Yon rising Moon that looks for us again--
    How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
      How oft hereafter rising look for us
    Through this same Garden--and for _one_ in vain!


    CI

    And when like her, oh, Sákí, 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!


    TAMÁM



[Illustration: RUBÁIYÁT·OF·OMAR·KHAYYÁM]

VARIATIONS IN THE THIRD EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION


In the first draught of the Third Edition the first quatrain stood thus:

    Wake! For the Sun before him into Night
    A signal flung that put the Stars to flight;
      And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
    The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light.


The tenth quatrain read thus in the Third Edition:

    Well, let it take them! What have we to do
    With Kaikobád the Great, or Kaikhosrú?
      Let Zál and Rustum thunder as they will,
    Or Hátim Tai "To supper!"--heed not you.


In the first draught of Third Edition the thirty-eighth verse was as
follows:

    For, in your Ear a moment--of the same
    Poor Earth from which that Human whisper came,
      The luckless Mould in which Mankind was cast
    They did compose, and call'd him by the name.


In the final draught of the Third Edition it was changed to read:

    Listen--a moment listen!--Of the same
    Poor Earth from which that Human Whisper came,
      The luckless Mould in which Mankind was cast
    They did compose, and call'd him by the name.


In the first draught of Third Edition quatrain forty ran thus:

    As then the Tulip from her wonted sup
    Of Wine from Heav'n her little Tass lifts ups
      Do you, twin offspring of the soil, till Heav'n
    To Earth invert you like an empty cup.


The first draught of the Third Edition carried quatrain forty-two as
follows:

    And if the Cup, and if the Lip you press,
    End in what All begins and ends in--Yes;
      Imagine then you _are_ what heretofore
    You _were_--hereafter you shall not be less.


Quatrain forty-eight in the first draught of Third Edition read:

    A Moment's Halt--a momentary taste
    Of BEING from the Well amid the Waste--
      Before the starting Caravan has reach'd
    The Nothing it set out from--Oh, make haste!


In the final draught of Third Edition the same stanza ran:

    A Moment's Halt--a momentary taste
    Of BEING from the Well amid the Waste--
      And Lo!--the phantom Caravan has reach'd
    The Nothing it set out from--Oh, make haste!


In the first draught of the Third Edition, there stood the following
quatrain, later deleted:

    Better, oh, better, cancel from the Scroll
    Of Universe one luckless Human Soul,
      Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that rolls
    Hoarser with Anguish as the Ages Roll.


       *       *       *       *       *
Transcriber's Notes:

4. Because the nature of this work is to present and compare the several
   translations, no spelling or end of sentence punctuation corrections
   have been made in the Quatrains. The reader will encounter several
   Quatrains that end without punctuation and the word "Paradist"
   appearing in Quatrain LXXXI in the "Fifth Edition" may be a
   typographical error for "Paradise," but has been retained as printed.


5. Spelling corrections made in Biographical Preface:

   p. xv, "Sufi" to "Súfi" (the great Súfi poet)
   p. xvi, "Schegel" to "Schlegel" (August Wilhelm von Schlegel)
   p. xvi, "strongely" to "strongly" (strongly illustrated by)
   p. xviii, "perfomed" to "performed" (could have performed)


6. Word Variations: ((x) shows number of occurences)

   "Irám" (1) and "Iram" (2)
   "Mahmúd" (5) and "Máhmúd" (3)
   "Péhleví" (1) and "Pehleví" (2)
   "Rubá'iyyát" (6) and "Rubáiyát" (7)
   "Shiráz" (1) and "Shiraz" (1)
   "Sultán" (15) and "Sultan" (4)
   "Worshipers" (1) and "Worshipper" (2)


7. Words in the original work using the [OE] ligature, which has been
   recreated as "OE" in this e-text: OEdipus.





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