The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(51 - 60)


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


 A moment guessed - 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.


 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, when You shall be You no more?


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


 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.


 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.


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


 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!


 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;


 The mighty Mahmud, 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.