The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(41 - 50)


 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.


 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.


 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.


 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 carcass crippled to abide?


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


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


 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.


 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!


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


 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;