The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(61 - 70)

61

 Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
 Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare?
   A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
 And if a Curse - why, then, Who set it there?

62

 I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must,
 Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust,
   Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink,
 To fill the Cup - when crumbled into Dust!

63

 Of threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
 One thing at least is certain - This Life flies;
   One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
 The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

64

 Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
 Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through,
   Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
 Which to discover we must travel too.

65

 The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
 Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd,
   Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep
 They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd.

66

 I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
 Some letter of that After-life to spell:
   And by and by my Soul return'd to me,
 And answer'd "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:"

67

 Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
 And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
   Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
 So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.

68

 We are no other than a moving row
 Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
   Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
 In Midnight by the Master of the Show;

69

 But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
 Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
   Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
 And one by one back in the Closet lays.

70

 The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
 But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
   And He that toss'd you down into the Field,
 He knows about it all - HE knows - HE knows!