The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(31 - 40)


 Up from Earth's Center 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.


 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.


 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.


 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!"


 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."


 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!


 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!"


 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 mold?


 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.


 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.