Awake, awake! The Sun begins to rise
And gives to all a glimpse of Paradise
Forsake the arms of Sleep, and come with me
To know the bliss that Life to sloth denies!

Awake, awake, and not a sluggard lie!
The flower that slumbered 'neath the jewelled sky
Is blithe in bloom and dew to greet the light
And owls and bats and such to shadows hie

I sometimes in my garden, flanked by friends
Outstay the night, and, when the moonglow ends
Behold come out the living things but man
Rejoicing while the King of Day ascends

Arise! for Morning through the dome of Night
Has flung the shafts that put the Stars to flight
And, lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's turret in a noose of light

Astir! for he who drove to their dismay
The Moon and Stars out of the Field of Day
And with his glance chased Night with them, has filled
The world with his rejuvenating ray

The desert Spring adorns with fragrant flowers
The soaring larks pour forth their song in showers
But you, O thriftless dreamer! are inert
Unmindful how you waste your precious powers

Drowsing when dawn's mirage was in the sky
I heard the Voice within the tavern cry
"To me! my little ones, and fill the cup
Before the stream of life in you runs dry"

And, while the cock crew, those that stood before
The tavern shouted: "Open, then, the door!
You know how little while we have to stay
And, once departed, may return no more"

The mystic Voice of life, resounding, says:
"The boughs have burgeoned 'neath the morning rays"
And whispers warning: "Ah, make haste! for you
Do not renew, like vines, your youthful days"

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend
Before we also into dust descend
Dust unto dust, forever under dust
With never lute nor song nor love, nor end

This is the season when the heart's desire
Takes wing, and lovers to unite aspire
And gentle Zephyr is a sigh of love
And every star a spark from love on fire

Iram indeed has gone with all its rose
And Jamshyd's sev'n-ring'd cup where no one knows
But still the ruby kindles in the vine
And still a garden by the water glows

And David's lips are locked, but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine, red wine!"
The nightingale invites the love-sick rose
To make its pallid cheeks incarnadine

Ah, countless roses summer brings, they say
Yes! but where went the rose of yesterday?
And this spring-month that wakens Earth to life
Shall waft the sleeping dust of death away

One day we sit upon the soil, and lie
In it the next, the broken-hearted by
Who thought they could display their sweets yet keep
Them from the thirsty hungry charnel fly

Be wary, friend! for in this world of strife
Our path with pitfalls to the end is rife
And only they that follow Nature's lead
Shall reach in joy and peace the goal of Life

Be prudent, pilgrim! for the way you wend
Is perilous, and bolts of chance descend
Be mindful who you are, and whence you came
And whither go, and how you aim to end

Whether at Naishapur or Babylon
Whether the cup with sweet or bitter run
The wine of life keeps oozing drop by drop
The leaves of life keep falling, one by one

So, come with me! for what have we to do
With Kaikobad the Great or Kaikosru?
Nor one as strong as Zal or Rustum fear
Nor let a lavish Hatim hinder you

And we in some oasis yet unsown
Will seek a shelter for ourselves alone
Where neither slave nor tyrant ventures near
And peace to Mahmud on his golden throne

We there will build for us an ample nest
Secure from envy and the tiresome guest
And, loving each the other to the end
Shall be by Nature's bounty daily blest

The souls whose centre ever is the heart
Of Love, fear never Death's unerring dart
For total lovers know that love survives
And grows should either from this life depart

Alas! though all know well that each must die
They hope and crave for Death to pass them by
Ev'n in their worst decay. Ah! death comes best
When yet the tide of love and zest runs high

To Death the lamps are like a blackened wall
Dead yesterdays have gone beyond recall
Today is live, so live it if you can!
Tomorrow may content you or appall

Much time is lost comparing proved with new
Ideals are oft the foes of good and true
Ah, live! Ah, live! Wait not what might be best
Take now the pearl of rapture offered you

To me the past and future vainly call
And you alone can hold my heart in thrall
The present is my Heav'n if spent with you
For you, Beloved, are my all -- my all

To prove my love for you I would forgo
Riches and health, and suffer every woe
Entirely I am yours, and all my care
Is that your joy should ever greater grow

Your hot enthralling glance would make all wan
With love's desire a King of Babylon
And, since the placid Moon hath looked upon
Your peerless face, her self-content is gone

The Queen of Sheba would the whole world through
Have sought a spell to make herself be you
King Solomon have left his wives and loves
To be to only you forever true

Your fair cool cheeks outlive the eglantine
Your eyes are violets, your brow divine
Your voice enraptures larks and nightingales
In port and grace a Goddess you enshrine

With rubies, pearls, and gold-emblazoned dress
And musk your painted rivals court success
But you, disdaining every artifice
Have triumphed with your naked loveliness

Your mouth is richer than the nectar-flower
Your hair is softer than the summer-shower
Your fragrance, form, and grace are Nature's pride
And Beauty's self is your increasing dower

Your sympathy is balm when Sorrow stings
The strange caress of your long lashes brings
Me night to Heav'n, your whisper thrills me while
The nightingale her love-lorn lyric sings

A book of verse, a bough beneath the Blue
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and you
Beside me singing in the wilderness
Oh! wilderness were Paradise anew

The longings, sighs and moans by lovers breathed
The fallen angels had to us bequeathed
The stars are sparkling to the lilt of Love
In Love's glad glory Sun and Moon are wreathed

Whoever deeply loves is 'neath the sway
Of Love's compulsive moods by night and day
Ah! only they that love can duly prize
The Sun's flushed face, the Moon's serene display

Pretended love is like a painted flame
Giving nor light nor heat, and it makes game
Of honour and romance, and mostly ends
Its crooked course in bitterness and blame

The love-pretenders wallow in the sloughs
Of sordid ruse, and sigh their perjured vows
And solemnly betray because their souls
Are steeped in lust, whose fumes to frenzy rouse

With savage strength and fury faithless lust
Defiles the innocent, and tramples trust
But love, which conquers vaunting lust, is true
Unselfish, yielding, generous and just

One, then, should never let another bind
One's heart with loathsome chains, nor cloud one's mind
With lust in guise of love, for love is free
And truly sees, but slavish lust is blind

The gentlest hand could make you rue its weight
And candid love could turn to gloomy hate
Clasp, therefore, friendship's hand and welcome love
But never let your vigilance abate

"Be loved and love!" is Nature's law. Then, why
When Fate has willed that you be mine and I
Be yours, should we rebel and try to thwart
The urge that Nature bids us satisfy?

Although a compass at its base divides
It at its head in unity abides
So we, when parted, yet are one because
In us true love, which sunders not, resides

O Chosen of my heart, to me more dear
Than life! why toss my soul 'twixt hope and fear?
While you are ripe and in your prime fulfil
My wish and make us each contented here

When first your star-glance took me by surprise
And lit my heart, and filled me with surmise
My love, though I thought eyelids could debar
Sped straight to you from my enchanted eyes

At that grand moment all my soul's design
Was formed to win you, hold you ever mine
That you and I be two in one till death
Oh, love me, flesh and mind, with me combine!

And then my outer life and inner life
Whate'er my plight or state, in peace or strife
Will be for me ecstatic joy each day
With you as firend and loved and loving wife

Our union in souls' orgastic kiss
Shall waft us far away from doubt's abyss
And ravish us to spheres sublime of bliss
Ah! Only Fable boasts to better this

We are the dupes of myth when we upbraid
Ourselves because we love, for we were made
For loving, all the sweets of living are
For those that love. Be joyful, unafraid

Our souls should not be wastes of sordid woe
But gardens where the blooms of gladness blow
So, stifle not your heart, lest thwarted love
In vengeance, cause your reason's overthrow

Since you nor made nor battered humankind
Let not yourself be uselessly inclined
To shape them on your heart, as if it were
An anvil, with the hammer of your mind

With calm each sect and coterie decline
No matter what their vogue and vaunted sign
Your spirit sanely free from make-believe
And gather grapes of truth from Nature's vine

Moslems repeat their cleansing rites and pray'r
Because from them escaped a puff of air
The Christians must forgo the Eucharist
Because they gulped a drop or crumb aware

Ah, go, a liege of love, of wine, of song
With truth and honour, mirth and wit along
The ways of friendliness, and take delight
In Nature's gifts, and have no foe but wrong

A garden be your realm, wherein there are
Choice flowering plants and birds from near and far
And, when the blooms and songsters all depart
Imagine that they go to greet a star!

Good friend, the rod of strength, the sheath of joy
Are precious treasures that we should employ
All self-frustration, self-inflicted pain
Are worthless dross in souls of base alloy

The mystics claim that sorrow is divine
But I will not for any cause repine
For I am sure that in ourselves there is
For every ill the secret anodyne

Adam and Eve, how poignant must have been
Your first embraces in the Garden scene
A vengeful feast was that forbidden fruit
Why else are we constrained such griefs to glean?

The nightingale in sadness crooned this strain
"An hour of bliss may breed a life of pain"
A screen of tears hides Heav'n from me. Hell's flames
Are but the sparks from fires that eat my brain

Yet, though Good Fortune may precede a fall
Why spurn her when on you she deigns to call?
A special boon is such a grace, ev'n if
It leave an aftertaste far worse than gall

Pursue your path with Pleasure hand-in-hand
The while your steps approach the doubtful land
I dream that friends now dead all laugh and sing
Perhaps at last they live and understand

It would be folly, freely choosing pain
To throw away the present joy to gain
What future for ourselves? who knows not if
Although now breathing, we may breathe again

Some for the glories of this world, and some
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come
Ah, take the cash and let the credit go
Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum!

Hark to the blowing rose about us! "Lo!
Laughing" she says, "into the world I blow
Enjoy my beauty, take me if you will
Or let my riches with the breezes go"

If in the Prophet's Paradise may stand
Only the wine-and-love-abjuring band
That promised Realm of Happiness must be
As gloomy as a gaunt and sunless land

Because they say that after death the prize
Is wine and song and love that satisfies
Accept such blessings gladly while on Earth
And thus prepare yourself for Paradise

The worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes, or it prospers, and anon
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face
Lighting a little hour or two, is gone

And those that husbanded the golden grain
And those that flung it to the wind like rain
To no such precious treasure ever turn
As, buried once, men want dug up again

All futile hopes, regrets, and gnawing care
Deprive today of peace, and breed despair
And they that flinch for fear a blow be struck
Allure it, and are stricken unaware

Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup that clears
Today of vain remorse and phantom fears
Tomorrow? Why tomorrow I myself
May be with yesterday's forgotten years

Think, in this battered caravanserai
Whose portals are alternate night and day
How Sultan after Sultan with his pomp
Abode his destined hour and went his way

On seeing ruins where, before, in view
Were fanes whose towers soared the heavens to
I asked a pilgrim, "There ruled who?" And, lo!
A widowed ring-dove echoed me: "Who, who?"

They say the lion and the lizard keep
The courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep
And over that great hunter Bahram's head
The wild ass stamps, but cannot break his sleep

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The rose as where heroic lovers bled
That every hyacinth the garden wears
Has sprung from where once lay a loved one's head

And that its velvet robe the tulip dyes
In tears that fell from Love's imploring eyes
That drowsy poppies sip the drug of dreams
From dew distilled of lovers' vows and sighs

And this reviving herb, whose tender green
Graces the river-lip on which we lean
Ah, lean upon it lightly, for who knows
From what once luscious lip it springs unseen

Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his vintage rolling time hath prest
Have drunk their cup a round or two before
And one by one crept silently to rest

And we that now make merry in the room
They left, which summer dresses in new bloom
Must underneath the couch of earth descend
Ourselves to be, perhaps, a couch. For whom?

With fervour live your fleeting span of light
For soon enough shall come eternal night
And then your soul shall go, beyond recall
And who knows whither? on her final flight

We are the devotees of love and wine
Our mystic eyes from eager faces shine
Our hearts beat strong with life, our minds are free
Because our souls are steeped in truth divine

Alike to those that for today take care
And those that after some tomorrow stare
Muezzins from the Tower of Darkness cry
"Fools, your reward is neither here nor there!"

And they that burn in heart for who may burn
In hell, whose fire themselves may feed in turn
Why do they wail: "O Allah, pity them!"
Why! who are they to teach, and He to learn?

Yes! why as dismal as a doomsday knell
Do bigots take upon themselves to quell
Our song, insult our guests, upset our Wine
And claim they buttress Virtue's citadel?

For they, who thus condemn our merriment
And claim that we because of it are sent
To hell, are spawn of sin and have no call
To judge in Allah's name our day's content

The wanton barters publicly the bowl
Of lust for sage or fool to drug the soul
The prudes, who fain would wither her with scorn
Oft play behind the scenes the wanton's role

We puny human creatures are a blend
Of water, earth, and air, and fire, and tend
As being each both wolf and lamb, to prey
Upon ourselves, and one another rend

The few are leaders, most are too obscure
The few are champions, most are too demure
The few are sacred, most are too profane
But all of us have feelings called impure

Are myths that prophets say are facts divine
Better than dreams in sleep or dreams in Wine?
Must we give heed to scowling hypocrites
Who feign that life's delights are swill for swine?

It seems that in each place for prating prayer
Is fostered futile hope or dread despair
But phantom fears do not assault the soul
That knows eternal Love is everywhere

A lifetime I have sinned, and surely know
That Love forgives me still as long ago
Another lifetime I would sin to prove
That Love will ever full forgiveness show

Oh threats of hell and hopes of Paradise
One thing is certain in this life of lies
One thing, the rest is mainly mere surmise
The flower that once has blown forever dies

Await for Paradise till I am dead?
Nay! here I can, whene'er by Fancy led
Beneath the Sedrah by the Kouser mate
With fluxless houris, nor be surfeited

A valley with a river running through
And wild flowers dancing, drunk with honey-dew
And larks aloft and lithe gazelles at play
Oh! that were more than Eden if with you

The birds outpour impassioned rhapsodies
The mating blooms inebriate the breeze
Clouds spread their cooling sails. Ah, live with zest!
For brief are shade and scent and harmonies

The thought of after-death disturbs not those
That would enjoy the gifts this life bestows
Come touch the lute, and sing, and love, and leave
The dead to rise, or in the dust repose

The revelations of the saint and seer
And wizard, who lay claim to light our sphere
Are fables all that they, aroused from sleep
Recount, and then forever disappear

Strange, is it not? that, of the countless throng
That through the Door of Darkness passed along
Not one returns to tell us where they went
Or whether any way is right or wrong?

Time watches in each era passing by
Impostors give the law, and prophesy
And warring fiends make man's trim world a waste
And saviours as forsaken losers die

And still the motley caravan fogs past
The few are feasting while the many fast
Tomorrow's slave, who yesterday was free
Today is in the role of tyrant cast

Virtue is trodden down, and vice enthroned
Courage is chained and cowardice condoned
And what, before, by most was counted wise
Is now by most as foolishness disowned

Yet Truth survives, and only Truth can give
The law of right, and set us free to live
In love and peace, and so I wryly smile
When falsehood masks in Truth's prerogative

The lie that some mistake for truth appears
Quite plain to those that know the hidden spheres
In quest of Wisdom, then, 'tis best for us
To seal our lips and hearken to the seers

The fosterers of falsehood dread the flash
Of Truth, it yet could be unwise and rash
To proffer undiluted truth, for they
That feed on lies treat simple fact as trash

Since countless years ago a cryptic tribe
Who scorn the law and live on lie and bribe
Have roamed the world, and duped and biased us
Why bear we them and to their frauds subscribe?

Why! famous saints and sages, who discussed
Commandingly the rights and wrongs, are thrust
Like broken idols down, their lore is scorned
Their code disowned, their mouths are stopped with dust

Ah! eagerly when you I, too, had bent
Mine ear to subtle specious argument
In halls of saint and sage, and yet came out
No more enlightened than when in I went

With them the seed of wisdom did I sow
And night and day I toiled to make it grow
And this was all the harvest that I reaped
"I came like water, and like wind I go"

I used to think that I was sage and rare
Yet in any field was but a tare
A droplet shaped in common pots, a grain
Of salt in seas, a puff of smoke in air

To spheres unseen I sent my soul to spell
Some letter of that After-Life, and, well
My soul came back, and said that all she learned
Is that within herself is heav'n and hell

Heav'n is fruition of the soul's desire
And hell is woe that sets the soul on fire
And shows the darkness out of which she came
And into which she shall so soon expire

Up from Earth's centre through the seventh gate
I rose, and on the throne of Saturn sate
And many knots unravelled by the road
But ne'er 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
And Voices talked of us and Him, but none
Unlocked the door or raised the veil for me

Land could not answer nor the seas that mourn
In flowing purple of their Lord forlorn
Nor boundles space with all its signs revealed
Or in the cloak of sombre clouds withdrawn

Not earth, nor air, nor water gave the clue
To teach the soul to know the false and true
But Heav'n's revealing fire would blaze, methought
And end the night that covers me, and you

Therefore with faith to awful Heav'n I cried
Asking: "What lamp has Destiny to guide
Her little children stumbling in the dark?"
"Only a sightless instinct" Heav'n replied

Then to the Force in me that works behind
The veil of sense I turned my groping mind
And heard these solemn words: "You never here
Will know the Truth, so, be to me resigned"

And last I leaned to this poor earthen urn
The secret meaning of my life to learn
And lip to lip it whispered: "While you live
Drink! for, once dead, you never shall return"

Poor urn, which spoke those accents fugitive
I think that formerly it too did live
And drink, and that its passive mouth I kiss
Did countless burning kisses take and give

For, in the market-place, one fasting-day
I watched the potter thumping his wet clay
And with its all obliterated tongue
It murmured: "Gently brother, gently, pray!"

"Myself was once like you, and, till I died
Was steering mid the rocks of greed and pride
The handles that you mould upon me were
My hands that fondled once my loving bride"

And later, when with the departing day
Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away
I sat alone within the potter's house
Surrounded by the serried shapes of clay

Shapes of all sorts and uses, great and small
For Sultan, for his harem, for the thrall
Mute shapes all resting, happy that no more
Were hagglers there to maul and bid and brawl

And once again among them there was heard
A whisper, as it were a force was stirred
By tongues not yet by death forever stilled
Which mine ear kindled into living word

And one was saying: "Was it near in vain
My substance, which in common earth had lain
Was deftly shaped? for soon it will be smashed
And trampled into common earth again"

Another said: "Not ev'n a peevish boy
Would break the bowl from which he drank in joy
And He, who made the vessel lovingly
Will He His work in after-wrath destroy?"

None answered this but, after silence, spake
A lowly vessel of ungainly make
"They swear at me for leaning all awry
What! did the hand, then, of the Potter shake?"

"Why" said another, "some there are that tell
Of One that threatens He will toss to hell
The luckless pots He marred in making. Pah!
He is the Merciful, and all is well"

And then to each of that loquacious lot
There cried a sufi pipkin, waxing hot
"All this of pot and potter! Tell me then
Who is the potter, pray, and who the pot?"

"Well" answered one, "a potter once was I
And now my clay with long neglect is dry
But fill me with the old familiar juice
Methinks I might recover by and by"

And, while the vessels one by one were speaking
In looked the new-born Moon that all were seeking
So each one jogged another: "Brother, brother
Now for the porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

The porter, then, as from the bulging skin
The wine was gurgling, cried above the din
"Why nods the needy worshipper outside
While Pleasure's Temple is prepared within?"

And hath not such a story from of old
Down man's successive generations rolled
Of clay, like that from which those murmurs came
Cast by the Maker into human mould?

So, when at Ramazan in cellars deep
The wine lies hid, and love must secret keep
The tryst, and some, to foil fanatic hate
Frequent the mosque (and in its shadow sleep)

Be of good cheer, the sullen month will die
The old Moon fainting falter from the sky
All meagre, bent and wan with gloom and fast
And soon a new Moon gladden every eye

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of Spring
The winter-garment of repentence fling
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly, and lo! the Bird is on the wing

Indeed the idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this world much wrong
Have drowned my glory in a shallow cup
And sold my reputation for a song

When once a brutal wind my wine had spilled
I said: "O Allah! You my bliss have killed!
For You lurched in and overturned my cup
'Tis You, perhaps, are drunk and evil-willed"

And, as it seemed He gave my face a smack
I said: "Some mortals master wrath's attack
And You! who punish me for hasty words
Have You a failing that some mortals lack?"

But I was drunk and bold, yet soon was sad
Would I were never staidly sane or mad
And ne'er outstripped, or lagged behind, the Age
And ne'er were over-good or over-bad

Still, though the cup has played the Infidel
And robbed me of my Robe of Honour, well
I wonder often what the vintners buy
One half so precious as the wine they sell

Oh! I repent my churlish self-display
When I misuse that liquid gem, and bay
The Moon with ribaldry and witless din
And spoil with vain regret the after-day

Indeed I vowed repentance oft before
And was I ever sober when I swore?
But Youth and Spring, who came with roses decked
My threadbare penitence to pieces tore

Alas! that spring should vanish with the rose
That youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close
The nightingale that in the brances sang
Ah! whence and whither flown again, who knows?

Would but the fountain of the desert yield
One glimpse, if dimly yet indeed revealed
To which the fainting traveller might spring
As springs the trampled herbage of the field

A moment's halt, a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste
The Sun is setting. Lo! the caravan
Draws near the Night of Nothing. O make haste

Make haste to live in full the little time
That Fate allots you ere you pass your prime
Or Earth, from whom you issued, take you back
And breed some other creatures in your slime

Quick, quick! In waiting I am older now
And Day goads on my heart and thoughts, his brow
Will lower and darken when his eyelid, Night
Droops down. This bubble life all tints endow

But, like the full-blown rose by winds laid bare
The bubble at a shock returns to air
The Sun hath seen such bubbles burst as would
If we but dreamed them, madden with despair

Ah fill the cup! What boots it to repeat
How time is slipping underneath our feet?
Doubtful tomorrow, bungled yesterday
Why fret for them if your today be sweet?

Like tulips, then, which for their morning sup
Of heav'nly vintage from the soil look up
Lift up your head and look for Life till Heav'n
To Earth invert you, like an empty cup

And fear not lest Existence, closing your
Account and mine should see the like no more
Eternal Saki from the bowl has poured
By billions drops like us, and yet shall pour

When you and I behind the Veil are past
Oh, what a long long while the world shall last
The World our coming and departure heeds
No more than Ocean heeds a pebble-cast

The dead rest? Let them rest! The living are
Too often weights that stop our rising far
Do not depend on any mortal thing
If you would travel with the Guiding Star

The Guiding-Star is Truth, impartial, right
Compassionate and sure, and they that plight
Themselves to Truth shall know Eternal Light
But falsehood's friends are lost in lightless night

Although against you all the world might rage
And death confront you, spurn dishonour's wage
And never deal with those that seek your doom
And rather starve than cringe in any cave

It is a sorry lack of finer sense
To place in others boundless confidence
To count too much on them would undermine
The strength you need to be your own defence

Forget you were forgotten yesterday
Nor wait upon tomorrow's yea or nay
Be loth to voice your bliss or anguish lest
The latter swell, the former shrink away

Not even to a shade should you disclose
The secret no one else but Allah knows
And only with the true be intimate
For friendship in the false is but a pose

Alas! the human rulers of the Earth
Have seldom more to vaunt than might or birth
And, fed on flatt'ry served by sycophants
Are prone to flout the truth and stifle worth

A Prince unjust is seed that breeds disdain
A vicious Prince a weed that spoils good grain
A wilful Prince a steed the curb must tame
A witless Prince a reed that breaks with strain

A Chief or King or Queen or President
That o'er the world could wield sole government
As if divine, would yet be at the beck
Of his or her unruly clownish vent

The despots boast because they herd their slaves
And through their labour cram their treasure-caves
The just rejoice to guide a free man's will
By love, and give what everybody craves

The Victors that in greed on others trod
May be forsaken by their Battle-God
They should not flaunt their might, for on their backs
The erstwhile serfs will ply revenge's rod

Unwise are they that light the fires of hate
For words and whims, and then repent too late
And though they tell you that revenge is sweet
Befriend your foe and Peace will grace your state

Ah, gently let the needy take a seat
To share with you your store of wine and wheat
And you will thus, in giving others joy
Nobly your own increase and make more sweet

In you is neither fear nor cringing bent
And yet I counsel you: "Till life be spent
So act to all your guests as if you are
Their slave; and dread to cause them discontent"

If ever callously you send despair
To pierce a trusting heart that knew no care
Rest not until you cure the ill, and bring
Delight to dwell where sorrow made its lair

Because its purse is filled with gold the rose
Uplifts its head; in want dejected grows
The violet. Ah! even Beauty wilts
Unless for her the Fount of Fortune flows

Yet they that have sufficient for to-day
And bartered not their souls or pride to pay
For it, though counted poor, are rich because
Their peace depends on no one's yea or nay

And they that crush their grapes and grind their corn
On land they own, and there from morn to morn
Enslaving no one, live secure and free
Are on the breast of Fortune fondly borne

Contented is the heart that pays no heed
To hate, and lives for Truth, devoid of greed
And thus is free from shameful servitude
To any man or any man-made creed

Perplext no more with human or divine
To-morrow's tangle I to Fate resign
And lose my fingers in your tresses, O
My cypress-slender minister of wine!

And, if the wines we drink, the lips we press
Begin and end, like all, in nothingness
Know, then, we ever are as heretofore
We were, hereafter we shall not be less

So, when the Angel by the river-brink
Finds us at last, and, offering the Drink
Of Darkness, summons to our lips our soul
To quaff it, we shall not in terror shrink

Why, if the soul by casting dust aside
Can freely on the air of Heaven ride
Would it not be a crime for her so long
In this clay carcase 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 mute ferrash
Strikes, and prepares, it for another guest

Would you that bubble of Existence spend
About the secret? Quick about it friend!
A hair, perhaps, divideth false from true
Nor can we tell on what our lots depend

A hair, perhaps, divideth false from true
Yea! and a signle cipher were the clue
Could we but find it, to the Treasure-House
And, peradventure, to the Master too

Whose secret presence through Creation's veins
Slipping quicksilver-like eludes our pains
And takes all shapes, from Mah to Mahi, yet
They change and perish all, but He remains

A moment guessed, then fades behind the Fold
Of Darkness that is round the drama roll'd
Which for the pastime of Eternity
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold

For, let professor, preacher, doctor screech
Of what they will and what they will not. Each
When called, must play the part by Him assigned
And all must learn what only He can teach

And that inverted bowl we call the sky
Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die
Lift not your hands to it for help, for it
As impotently moves as you or I

And, if in vain down on the stubborn floor
Of Earth and up to Heaven's fast-shut door
You gaze today while you are you, how then
Tomorrow when you shall be you no more

How long, how long, in stupid, vain pursuit
Of this and that endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the friendly grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter fruit

For I, who spent my day and night to sew
The tent of Wisdom, burned in fires of woe
And Truth stripped off the veil of make-believe
And Nature's broker priced my learning low

My heart said "Head, what have you taught me yet"
My head said "A begins the alphabet"
My heart replied "You also said that one
Begins the sum to which no end is set"

They call me coward when I serve the throne
And traitor when I wend my way alone
Ah, ev'n were one a saint it would be well,
It seems, to hide one's light, and be unknown

The more I lived I better understood
That ever what is natural is good
For sect and caste and make-believe befoul
The stream of universal humanhood

Whilst to and fro in doubt I swung aghast
Life's bounties wildly to the winds I cast
And ne'er enjoyed one hour of full content
Ah, would that mortals could repair the past

And so all doctrines gladly I forgot
And peace came only when I cut the knot
Of doubt and knew that all our theories
Can neither recreate nor change our lot

Therefore, my friend, I made with brave carouse
A fertile second marriage in my house
Divorced old barren Reason from my bed
And took the daughter of the vine to spouse

For, though "Is not" and "Is" 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

Ha! But my computations, people say
Reduced the World to better reck'ning? Nay,
'Twas only striking from the calendar
Unborn Tomorrow, buried Yesterday

I tell you this, when, started from the goal
Over the flaming back of heaven's foal
The Pleiades and Jupiter they flung
In my predestinged plot of dust and soul

The Vine had struck a fibre, which about
If clings my being, let the bigot flout
Of my base metal may be filed a key
That shall unlock the door he howls without

And this I know: whether the one True Light
Kindle to love or wrath-consume me quite
One flash of it within the tavern caught
Better than in the temple lost outright

For lately by the tavern door agape
Came shining through the dusk an angel-shape
That on the shoulder bore an amphora
And bid me taste, and lo, it was the Grape

The Grape that can with logic absolute
The two-and-seventy jarring sects confute
The Sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
Can life's base metal into gold transmute

The mighty Mahmud, overwhelming lord
Who all the misbelieving louring horde
Of fears and sorrows that infest the soul
Scatters before him with his whirlwind sword

Must I, then, spurn that nectar in disgust
Scared by some after-reck'ning, given trust
Or lured by hope of some diviner drink
When life's frail cup is crumbled into dust?

Why, if the Grape is Allah's gift, who dare
Blaspheme the teeming cluster as a snare?
A blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a curse, why, then who set it there?

For us He baits a trap at every turn
Our lusts, if we resist, will deeper burn
Does He command us shun the odour, sight
Sound, taste and touch for which He makes us yearn?

If He has made our senses, and enchains
Our thoughts to love, and heats and swells our veins
And bids us sow and grow the seed, can He
Damn us if we react as He ordains?

Can He with crafty pitfall, hidden gin
Beset the way we are to wander in
Can He predestine us to evil so
And justly still impute our fall to sin?

Ah, "He is bountiful and gives" they say
"The strength we need to bear our load each day"
Yet who but slaves would cring to One that had
Coerced our race to live that wretched way?

So, leave the wits to wrangle and discuss
And solve these problems if they can, and thus
We, in our corner of the hubbub, shall
Make game of what is making game of us

The wheel that dauntless Destiny has twirled
Across the crust of this bewild'ring world
Reveals our role and cue, and we, on time
Into the tears and ribaldry are hurled

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

But helpless pieces of the game He plays
Upon this chequer-board of nights and days
Hither and thither moves and mates and slays
And each one in the crypt of Nothing lays

The ball no question makes of where it goes
But blindly speeds with any player's blows
And He who tossed us down upon the field
He knows about it all, He knows, HE knows

The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ
Moves on, nor sultan, prophet, saint nor wit
Can lure it back to cancel any Word
Nor streams of tears wash out a stroke of it

With Earth's first clay He did the last man's knead
In it of ev'ry harvest sowed the seed
Yea, the first morning of Creation wrote
The reck'ning that the final Dawn shall read

Yesterday this day's madness did prepare
Tomorrow's triumph, silence or despair
Drink, for we know not whence we came nor why
Drink, for we know not why we go nor where

Into this Universe, and why not knowing
Nor whence, like water willy-nilly flowing
And out of it, like wind along the waste
We know not whither, willy-nilly blowing

What? We, unasked, are hurried hither, whence?
And, still unasked are hurried whither hence?
Ah, drown injustice in the cup, nor praise
This wretched state of human impotence

Nay, I for dread of some malignant face
Will not eat dirt and call injustice grace
There's no true Seeker but would bar to me
His fellowship, were I to prove so base

What? He from senseless Nothing can provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure under pain
Of everlasting Penalties if broke

What? From the hapless creatures be repaid
Pure gold for what was lent him dross-allayed
Sue for a debt he never did contract
And cannot answer, O the knavish trade

Let Allah, then, if He of clay could make
Our kind, and set in Paradise the snake
For all the sin that stains the human face
Requite our griefs and our forgiveness take

If I myself upon a careless creed
Have loosely strung the jewel of good deed
Let this at least be credited to me
That one for two I never did misread

Like other myst'ries in our boundless space
Infinity is one I do not face
They bruise the soul and mar the ease of man
I joy in work with which my wits keep pace

O help me, friend, to foil rebuffs of Chance
Until the end with love my life enhance
Forgive my faults, remember how we soared
To peaks of light in our ecstatic trance

I tried to see behind the Veil again
And heard the Voice intoning this refrain
"If you are neither loved nor are in love
You counter Nature's course, and live in vain"

Ah, when the Sun's hot sighs tight buds unclose
And larks sing long, and bees be-tongue the rose
'Tis only he and she deserve to breathe
That rise impassioned after Love's repose

If ever you, Beloved, were to fly
So far that I to you could ne'er be nigh
I too, like stricken birds that pine alone
Would flutter into solitude to die

How total was our loving from the start
Although we sometimes grieved each other's heart
Our harmony was not complete, and yet
We found scant Peace if we remained apart

In vain, while Love the passions would express
I strove to break the spell of their caress
Alas to no one dared I plead my plight
What bitter happiness, what sweet distress

It seems that spiteful Envy sprouts a thorn
To mar the bliss of any creature born
Alas whenever Fortune favoured me
Chagrin soon loomed to make my soul forlorn

If babes unborn could know what grief and gloom
We each endure in Earth's forbidding room
Could they but hear the tales that we can tell
They would desire to end within the womb

"Let's quit the quest for Wisdom's Golden Fleece"
Some say, "And then our miseries will cease
And Fortune smile" Perhaps, for shameless frauds
And dolts so often prosper here in peace

Would but some winged Angel, ere too late
Delay the yet unfolded scroll of Fate
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate

Allah outdid Himself creating fear
And grief. And roll by roll His winds shall veer
The scrolls of Fate, and souls shall stain each roll
With tears, in dread of what awaits them here

'Twere better far to cancel from the scroll
Of Universe each luckless human soul
Than drop by drop to feed the flood that grows
Hoarser with anguish as the ages roll

Has Hell by anyone been visited?
Let them reply that are on fancies fed!
And I shall calmly go my simple way
Not others mock, but give to them their head

My Love! could you and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire
Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
Remould it nearer to the Heart's Desire?

The Heart desires that want and warfare end
That Wisdom guide, and place on worth depend
That Love be Ruler, Beauty's youth endure
And humankind be ev'ry creature's friend

Ah you who are my Light and never wane
Yon waxing Moon that finds us once again
Will rise and look for you and me some night
Through this same garden, but for me in vain

So when my Loved One, you like her shall pass
Among the guests star-scattered on the grass
Pause with the Wine of Joy where I was wont
To be, and there spill out a brimming glass

There's 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

Ah, with the Grape my fading life supply
And with the Grape embalm me when I die
And wrap me in a shroud of vine-leaf, then
In some frequented garden let me lie

Where ev'n my buried body such a snare
Of vintage shall fling up into the air
As not a Saint or Seeker passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware

And there resorting from the midday heat
Surviving friends shall one another greet
And rest upon the green beneath the boughs
Whose leaves and petals cushion my retreat

And they, whose inner life gives them release
Because its truth can neither change nor cease
Will deeply think beside me there, and know
I trust, a full, enduring sense of peace

Ah! when at last I mingle into clay
Knead it with wine, and mould a cup and say
Once this was Omar, Bard of Love and Truth
He lived with zest, and died without dismay