The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(91 - 101)


 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.


 That ev'n 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.


 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.


 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.


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


 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!


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


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


 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-mold it nearer to the Heart's Desire!


 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!


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