The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
(81 - 90)


 Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
 And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake:
   For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
 Is blacken'd - Man's forgiveness give - and take!



 As under cover of departing Day
 Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away,
   Once more within the Potter's house alone
 I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.


 Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small,
 That stood along the floor and by the wall;
   And some loquacious Vessels were; and some
 Listen'd perhaps, but never talk'd at all.


 Said one among them - "Surely not in vain
 My substance of the common Earth was ta'en
   And to this Figure molded, to be broke,
 Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again."


 Then said a Second - "Ne'er a peevish Boy
 Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy;
   And He that with his hand the Vessel made
 Will surely not in after Wrath destroy."


 After a momentary silence spake
 Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make;
   "They sneer at me for leaning all awry:
 What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"


 Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot--
 I think a Sufi pipkin - waxing hot--
   "All this of Pot and Potter - Tell me then,
 Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"


 "Why," said another, "Some there are who tell
 Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
   The luckless Pots he marr'd in making - Pish!
 He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."


 "Well," murmured one, "Let whoso make or buy,
 My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry:
   But fill me with the old familiar Juice,
 Methinks I might recover by and by."


 So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
 The little Moon look'd in that all were seeking:
   And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
 Now for the Porter's shoulders' knot a-creaking!"