The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(11 - 20)


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


 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!


 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!


 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."


 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.


 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.


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


 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.


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


 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!