Wake! for the sun, the shepherd of the sky
Has penned the stars within their fold on high
And, shaking darkness from his mighty limbs
Scatters the daylight from his burning eye

In Heaven's blue bowl the wine of morning brims
A little cloud, a rose-leaf, in it swims
The thirsty earth drinks morning from a bowl
Whose sides are space and crusted stars its rims

Yea, tis the morn! and like a morning star
The Sultan's palace glitters from afar
No false mirage of morning, phantom-fair
But blue-eyed day throned on his diamond car

Awake! my soul, and haste betimes to drink
This sun that rises all too soon shall sink
Come, come, O vintner, ope thy drowsy door!
We die of thirst upon the fountain's brink

Poor homeless men that have no other home
Unto the wine-shop early are we come
Since darkling dawn have we been waiting here
Waiting and waiting for the day to come

For some have love, some gold, and some have fame
But we have nothing, least of all a name
Nothing but wine, yet ah! how much to say
Nothing but wine, yet happy all the same

Youth, like a magic bird, has flown away
He sang a little morning-hour in May
Sang to the Rose, his love, that too is gone
Whither is more than you or I can say

O have you deemed, who looked on us with scorn
Poor drunkards, dreaming-drunk from morn to morn
Our raiment stained, our reputation gone
That all our heart is grape or barley-corn

Within the haunted wine-cup more than wine
It is that makes a mortal man divine
We seek a drink more deadly and more strange
Than ever grew on any earthly vine

The wine-cup is the little silver well
Where Truth, if Truth there be, doth ever dwell
Death too is there, and Death who would not seek?
And Love that in itself is Heaven and Hell

The wine-cup is a wistful magic glass
Wherin all day old faces smile and pass
Dead lips press ours upon its scented brim
Old voices whisper many a sweet 'alas!'

And sometimes in the nodding afternoon
When all is listening-still and half-a-swoon
Sudden one lifts a shining startled face
Hark! 'tis the magic bird, the magic tune

Drunkards! so be it, yet if all were wise
All would be drunk like us, with dreaming eyes
Poor sober world, so doleful all the day
Leave mosque and mart, and join our Paradise

There are no sorrows wine cannot allay
There are no sins wine cannot wash away
There are no riddles wine knows not to read
There are no debts wine is too poor to pay

Who brought thee last night lovely to my side?
Who drew thy warm veil cunningly aside?
Who snatched thee back again so soon, so soon?
Who set this hell-fire burning in my side?

Like a dead man within thine arms I lay
Entranced beyond the bounds of night and day
O cruel breath of the dissevering dawn
That bids me fly who would forever stay

Yea, it is truly Khayyam that you see
These are his dancing-girls, and drunk is he
Throned in the tavern, fear below his feet
As wisely happy as a man may be

To win this wisdom he hath given up
All worldly goods, his very drinking-cup
Hath to the tavern-master humbly sold
Do thou the same, and join the wise who sup

Only a breath divides belief from doubt
'Tis muttered breath that makes a man devout
Yea, death from life only a breath divides
O haste to drink before that breath is out

Once in the tavern you have reached the end
No more to fear from enemy, or friend
No more to hope, no more to do or say
Nothing to pray for, nothing to pretend

Art thou aweary, friend, in all thy bones?
Drink wine, red wine, and so forget thy groans
Wine is unlawful, sayst thou? then say I
Who loves not wine had best, I think, eat stones

Life is so short, yet sleeps thy lovely head
Why make so soon a death-bed of thy bed?
O love, awake! thy beauty wastes away
Thou shalt sleep on and on when thou art dead

This is no way my learned life to use!
Tell me a better, then, that I may choose
Shall I for some remote imagined gain
My precious little hour of living lose?

Shall I, with such a little hoard to spend
Waste it to such unprofitable end?
Do as you please who think another way
For me the wine-cup and a pretty friend

Lost to a world in which I crave no part
I sit alone and listen to my heart
Pleased with my little corner of the earth
Glad that I came, not sorry to depart

And to my solitude sometimes I bring
A gracious shape to sit with me and sing
Losing, to find, myself in her deep eyes
Ah! then I ask no other earthly thing

Good friends, beware! the only life we know
Flies from us like an arrow from the bow
The caravan of life is moving by
Quick! to your places in the passing show

While still thy body's breath is warm and sweet
Follow thy pleasures with determined feet
Ere death, the coldest lover in the world
Catches thee up with footsteps still more fleet

Set not thy heart on any good or gain
Life means but pleasure, or it means but pain
When Time lets slip a little perfect hour
O take it, for it may not come again

Each day a leaf falls withered from the tree
Whose leaves make up the life of thee and me
The leaves are counted and the last is there
Ready to fall before thy destiny

I pray you, gentle Saki, of your grace
Carry the wine-jar to some pleasant place
Where, in a green and rose-hung sanctuary
I'll gaze all day on my beloved's face

For spring is here, with all his ancient fires
Quick with old dreams, and thrilled with new desires
Vowed to repent, yet sure to sin again
O leave repentance to your withered sires!

O listen, love, how all the builders sing
O sap! O song! O green world blossoming
White as the hand of Moses blooms the thorn
Sweet as the breath of Jesus comes the spring

Spring, with the cuckoo-sob deep in his throat
O'er all the land his thrilling whispers float
Old Earth believes his ancient lies once more
And runs to meet him in a golden coat

And many a lovely girl that long hath lain
Beneath the grass, out in the sun and rain
Lifts up a daisied head to hear him sing
Hearkens a little, smiles, and sleeps again

Yes, love, this very ground you lightly tread
Who knows, is pillow to some maiden's head
Ah! tread upon it lightly, lest you wake
The sacred slumber of the happy dead

Strange is the riddle of this life of ours
Who knows the meaning of the heavenly powers?
Great Caesar's wounds bleed yearly in the rose
And flower-like ladies turn again to flowers

The grave of beauty is its cradle too
And new is old, and old is ever new
Little grows great, and great grows small again
And I today, perchance tomorrow You

What long-dead face makes here the grass so green?
On what earth-buried bosom do we lean?
Ah! love, when we in turn are grass and flowers
By what kind eyes to come shall we be seen?

Like us, will they have pity on the dead
Blessing the green that hides love's sleeping head
And, meanwhile, like such ancient folk as we
Wine-drench the meadow to a tulip-bed

O love, how green the world, how blue the sky
And we are living, living, you and I!
Ah, when the sun shines and our love is near
'Tis good to live, and very hard to die

Beautiful wheel of blue above my head
Will you be turning still when I am dead?
Were you still turning long before I came?
O bitter thought to take with me to bed

Like to the intertwisted melody
Of harp and lute shall our true wedding be
And such a marriage of fair music make
That none shall separate the Thee from Me

Once in a garden this advice I heard
It was the Nightingale, the Rose's bird
He left the Rose, to hurry in my ear
"It is our only chance, you take my word"

Sweet cup of life no power shall fill again
Thy juice goes singing through each gladdened vain
Drink, drink, my love, two mouths upon the brim
Ah! drink, drink, drink, each little drop and drain

For, have you thought how short a time is ours?
Only a little longer than the flowers
Here in the meadow just a summer's day
Only today, tomorrow -- other flowers

The stream of life runs ah! so swiftly by
A gleaming race 'twixt bank and bank we fly
Faces alight and little trailing songs
Then plunge into the gulf, and so good-bye

The bird of life is singing on the bough
His two eternal notes of 'I and Thou"
O! hearken well, for soon the song sings through
And, would we hear it, we must hear it now

The bird of life is singing in the sun
Short is his song, nor only just begun
A call, a trill, a rapture then, so soon
A silence, and the song is done, is done

Yea! what is man that deems himself divine?
Man is a flagon, and his soul the wine
Man is a reed, his soul the sound therein
Man is a lantern, and his soul the shine

Would you be happy, hearken, then, the way
Heed not tomorrow, heed not yesterday
The magic words of life are Here and Now
O fools, that after some tomorrow stray!

Were I a Sultan, say what greater bliss
Were mine to summon to my side than this
Dear gleaming face, far brighter than the moon!
O Love! and this immortalizing kiss

Men talk of heaven, there is no heaven but here
Men talk of hell, there is no hell but here
Men of hereafters talk, and future lives
O love, there is no other life, but here

Gay little moon, that hath not understood
She claps her hands, and calls the red wine good
O careless and beloved, if she knew
This wine she fancies is my true heart's blood

Nor idle I who speak it, nor profane
This playful wisdom growing out of pain
How any midnights whitened into morn
Before the seeker knew he sought in vain

You want to know the Secret, so did I
Low in the dust I sought it, and on high
Sought it in awful flight from star to star
The Sultan's watchman of the starry sky

Up, up, where Parwin's hoofs stamp heaven's floor
My soul went knocking at each starry door
Till on the stilly top of heaven's stair
Clear-eyed I looked, and laughed, and climbed no more

Of all my seeking this is all my gain:
No agony of any mortal brain
Shall wrest the secret of the life of man
The Search has taught me that the Search is vain

Yet sometimes on a sudden all seems clear
Hush! hush! my soul, the Secret draweth near
Make silence ready for the speech divine
If Heaven should speak, and there be none to hear

Yea! sometimes on the instant all seems plain
The simple sun could tell us, or the rain
The world, caught dreaming with a look of heaven
Seems on a sudden tip-toe to explain

Like to a maid who exquisitely turns
A promising face to him who, waiting, burns
In hell to hear her answer, so the world
Tricks all, and hints what no man ever learns

Look not above, there is no answer there
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer
Near is as near to God as any Far
And Here is just the same deceit as There

But here are wine and beautiful young girls
Be wise and hide your sorrows in their curls
Dive as you will in life's mysterious sea
You shall not bring up any better pearls

Allah, perchance, the secret word might spell
If Allah be, he keeps his secret well
What He hath hidden, who shall hope to find?
Shall God His secret to a maggot tell?

So since with all passion and my skill
The world's mysterious meaning mocks me still
Shall I not piously believe that I
Am kept in darkness by the heavenly will?

Though the green world were wrapped in flaming hell
Though sun and stars from out their stations fell
Still, merciless Beloved, would I stand
Firm in your path and ask you "Is it well?"

The Koran! well, come put me to the test
Lovely old book in hideous error drest
Believe me, I can quote the Koran too
The unbeliever knows his Koran best

And do you think that unto such as you
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
God gave the Secret, and denied it me?
Well, well, what matters it? believe that too

Old Khayyam, say you, is a debauchee
If only you were half so good as he
He sins no sins but gentle drunkenness
Great-hearted mirth and kind adultery

But yours the cold heart, and the murderous tongue
The wintry soul that hates to hear a song
The close-shut fist, the mean and measuring eye
And all the little poisoned ways of wrong

So I be written in the Book of Love
I have no care about that book above
Erase my name, or write it, as you please
So I be written in the Book of Love

What care I, love, for what the Sufis say?
The Sufis are but drunk another way
So you be drunk, it matters not the means
So you be drunk, and glorify your clay

Drunken myself, and with a merry mind
An old man passed me, all in vine-leaves twined
I said, "Old man, hast thou forgotten God?"
"Go drink yourself" he said, "for God is kind"

"Did God set grapes a-growing, do you think
And at the same time make it sin to drink?
Give thanks to Him who foreordained it thus
Surely He loves to hear the glasses clink"

From God's own hand this earthly vessel came
He shaped it thus, be it for fame or shame
If it be fair, to God be all the praise
If it be foul, to God alone the blame

To me there is much comfort in the thought
That all our agonies can alter nought
Our lives are written to their latest word
We but repeat a lesson He hath taught

Our wildest wrong is part of His great Right
Our weakness is the shadow of His might
Our sins are His, forgiven long ago
To make His mercy more exceeding bright

When first the stars were made and planets seven
Already was it told of me in Heaven
That God had chosen me to sing His Vine
And in my dust had thrown the vinous leaven

If 'tis a sin to drink the yellow wine
The sin is surely His, not thine or mine
Fated to drink, how dare I disobey
And bring to nought the prophecy divine

So in the tavern pass I all my days
And sing and drink, and give to God the praise
Ready, at any summons of His hand
To do His bidding in still harder ways

O my beloved, may your glad tomorrow
Stretch out before you, endless as my sorrows
Haste not away, I have but wine and you
Yea! life is nought unless from you it borrows

Eternal torment some sour wits foretell
For those who follow wine and love too well
Fear not, for God were left alone in Heaven
If all the lovely lovers burnt in hell

He who believes in hell and knows Thy grace
Shall surely find in hell his resting-place
Keep for the mosque these fables of Thy wrath
No man believes them who hath seen Thy face

I cannot think that the Beloved Friend
Who made the world so fair, should choose to rend
This lovely curtain of the night and day
Nor break, unless some day He means to mend

Yea! I believe that He who made the skies
Is wonderfully good, and very wise
Beloved Master! Hast thou never seen
The tears of pity gather in His eyes?

I am not lawless, though I break Thy law
Drunken am I with very love and awe
'Twas ever thus with veritable seers
Too drunk with joy to tell us what they saw

In my left hand I hold the Koran tight
And grasp the wine-cup firmly in my right
Thus do I stand beneath the eye of heaven
Not quite a saint, nor yet a sinner quite

I break one law, another law to keep
The laws of death and hate I scorn to keep
The law of Love that is the law of Life
That is the only law I dare to keep

Sanction, O God, some little pleasant thing
Nor set our every joy with snare and sting
I would not break Thy law, yet must I still
Unto my innocent transgressions cling

Lo! Nature's law and God's, two angry fires
Each the allegiance of my soul requires
Strange God that made, unmake me what I am
Or reconcile the law to my desires

Who set this wine-cup in my willing way?
Who made this woman of enchanted clay?
When gods decree such difficult commands
They should give too the power to obey

'Tis but a fiat of impossible good
A dream of high fantastic rectitude
'Tis not for man, that lordly animal
While of its ancient colour runs his blood

If I were God, and this poor world were mine
O thou shouldst see on what a fair design
I would rebuild it like a dream for thee
Nor shouldst thou ever blush to call it thine

If I were God, the very stars and flowers
Should be more fair, and all the sterns and sours
Change to a music sweet as rivers flowing
If I were God, and this poor world were ours

If I were God, I would not wait the years
To solve the mystery of human tears
And, unambiguous, I would speak my will
Nor hint it darkly to the dreaming seers

If I were God! this I, a poor old man
Whose heaven is wine, whose hell is Ramadan
Poor dizzy head within a reeling world
Poor trembling hand, the steadfast heavens to span

What though thy body like a moon be fair
Tulips thy cheeks, and like a bower thy hair
Strange that the builder of the heavens should deign
To paint thy little phantom on the air

'Tis a strange world we came to, You and I
Whence no man knows, and surely none knows why
Why we remain, a harder question still
And still another, whither when we die?

Into this life of cruel wonder sent
Without a word to tell us what it meant
Sent back again without a reason why
Birth, life, and death, 'twas all astonishment

Some say we came God's purpose to fulfil
'Faith a poor purpose then, if so you will
Sport for the heavenly huntsman, others say
Sorry the sport, methinks, and poor the skill

What purpose think you has the Saki there
Pouring those shining motes of wine and air?
A bubble's life, can it be nought to him?
A million bubbles, he must surely care

Passionate particles of dust and sun
Run your brief race, nor ask why it is run
We are but shadow-pictures, voices, dreams
Perchance they make and break us, just for fun

Be not too proud, my little haughty moon
Nor to my love deny so small a boon
My heart is heavy, love can make it light
Fair as a flower, and faded just as soon

Vain little breath of sweet rose-coloured dust
For such as thou Death hath a fearful lust
See, where he tears the rose's veil aside
Kisses and shatters her with one wild gust

'Tis a great fuss, all this of Thee and Me
Important folk are we, to Thee and Me
Yet what if we mean nothing after all
And what if Heaven cares nought for Thee and Me

All those who in their graves unheeded lie
Were just as pompous once as You and I
Complacent spake their little arrogant names
And wagged their heads, and never thought to die

A beauty sleeps beneath yon quiet grass
Who dreamed her face the world might not surpass
Strength is her neighbour, but he boasts no more
And over them the wind cries out, "Alas!"

Would you seek beauty, seek it underground
Would you find strength, the strong are underground
And would you next year seek my love and me
Who knows but you must seek us, underground

O heart, my heart, the world is weary-wise
My only resting-place is your deep eyes
O wrap me warm in their illusive love
For well I know that they are also lies

Sometimes as, cup in hand among the flowers
I think on all my witty wasted hours
I see that wine has been a fable too
Yes! even wine, so false a world is ours

Yet were it vain some other way to try
Of all our lying wine is least a lie
All earthly roads wind nowhere in the end
What matters then what road we travel by?

Traveller in many lands, that too is nought
And thou art rich and wise, alas! 'tis nought
But, poor and foolish, thou hast stayed at home
Believe me, friend, that that is also nought

O weary man upon a weary earth
What is this toil that we call living worth?
This dreary agitation of the dust
And all this strange mistake of mortal birth

Would we were sure of some oasis blest
Where, the long journey over, we might rest
O just to sleep a hundred thousand years
Tired head, tired heart, within the earth's dark breast

At the pale gate of birth an angel stands
Singing a lying song of lovely lands
Sweet as a bird each worn and weary lie
The soul believes and takes the angel's hands

Would that some voice that knew the whole deceit
Far off in space the unborn soul might greet
Hot-foot for Earth, with lying fancies fired
And thunder all the terror and the cheat

Let us make haste, perchance for us to warn
The eager soul that clamours to be born
To turn aside all that tremendous doom
Of fated generations still unborn

Sometimes it is my fancy to suppose
The rose thy face, to like thy face it glows
O woman made of roses out and in
Sometimes I only take thee for a rose

Write it in wine upon a rose-leaved scroll
All wisdom I found hidden in the bowl
All answers to all questions saving one
Which is the body, and which is the soul

Poised for an instant in The Master's hand
Body and soul like to a compass stand
The body turning round the central soul
He makes a little circle in the sand

This sounding world is but a dream that cries
In fancy's ears and lives in fancy's eyes
Death lays his finger on the darkening soul
And all the glowing shadow fades and flies

Shall death, that shuts the ear and locks the brain
Teach us what eager life hath sought in vain?
Yet have I heard, so wild is human guess
This dullard death shall make life's meaning plain

When this mysterious self shall leave behind
The subtle painted clay that keeps it blind
The ransomed essence wantons in the beam
That seeks in vain the dark embodied mind

Yet if the soul should with the body die
A flame that flickers when the oil runs dry
Still but the heart that drives the strange machine
And what remains of this you once called "I"?

The soul is but the senses catching fire
Marvellous music of the body's lyre
The angel senses are the silver strings
Stirred by the breath of some unknown desire

White as the moon and as the cypress slim
O how my jealous heart doth envy him
Who calls thee his to love by sun and star
Rules o'er thine heart and owns each little limb

Mysterious mother substance, who are they
That flout the Earth that made them? Who are they
That waste their wonder on the fabulous soul?
I can but choose to marvel at the clay

This clay, this dream-sown sod, this chemic earth
This wizard dust, wherein all shapes of birth
Soft flowers, great beasts, and huge pathetic kings
Small seeds of wonder, fill a needle's girth

This clay, this haunted house of sight and sound
Strange sunny rooms that airily resound
With phantom music played for phantom feet
And hark! a rat is gnawing underground

This clay, so strong of heart, of sense so fine
Surely such clay is more than half divine
'Tis only fools speak evil of the clay
The very stars are made of clay like mine

Yet mark yon potter! see the rascal twirl
On one base wheel the dust of prince and churl
Plebeian potter, 'tis a king's right hand
And this was once a violet-breathing girl

'Tis the fair stuff of which the flowers are made
'Tis beauty's very substance sore decayed
The brows of ivory, the breasts of myrrh
And lo! this fellow turns it to a trade

Thus spake I to a potter on a day
Bidding his careless wheel a moment stay
"Be pitiful, O potter, nor forget
Potters and pots alike are made of clay"

And as I spake I heard a whisper steal
A sad low laughter, from the potter's wheel
Behold! it was my father's sacred dust
For which unwittingly I made appeal

Almighty Potter, on whose wheel of blue
The world is fashioned and is broken too
Why to the race of men is heaven so dire?
In what, O wheel, have I offended you?

Fair wheel of heaven silvered with many a star
Whose sickly arrows strike us from afar
Never a purpose to my soul was dear
But heaven crashed down my little dream to mar

Never a bird within my sad heart sings
But heaven a flaming stone of thunder flings
O valiant wheel! O most courageous heaven
And leaves me lonely with the broken wings

Great wheel that pauses not for all our cries
How fair to look on are your morning skies!
'Tis but at night I fear your placid blue
So very evil are your silver eyes

Mine is a passion that can never change
It is so sorrowful and sweet and strange
That even from the very nightingale
I must conceal it, 'tis so very strange

For lo! I love a woman this strange way:
To be as dead without her, yet to stay
A stubborn exile from felicity
Far from her side until the Judgment Day

Yet, 'tis but children curse that wheel above
Which just as helpless as a man doth move
Yea! hath less mind and motion of its own
About the business of the heavenly love

Nor are those sightless stars a whit more wise
Impotent silver dots upon the dice
The lords of heaven each night and morning throw
In some tremendous hazard of the skies

Nay! think no more, but grip the slender waist
Of her whose kisses leave no bitter taste
Reason's a hag, and love a painted jade
Come, daughter of the vine, dear and disgraced

'Tis a wild wife, but sweet, my saintly brother
Nor in this sour world know I such another
Sweet but forbidden, yet who would not prefer
The wanton daughter to the lawful mother?

Sweet but forbidden, forbidden because 'tis sweet
For salt and sour is mortal's proper meat
Let but a grain of honey fall therein
And straight the surly leech forbids us eat

Strange in this wicked world how hard to find
A fellow-soul to honest sin inclined
Sinners at home are always saints abroad
The rose must never dare to speak its mind

If only one dare tell the lovely things
The nightingale unto the red rose sings
"See! I am Yusuf's flower" the red rose cries
And wide and warm her sanguine bodice flings

O ignorant world that brutishly denies
Free speech unto the exquisitely wise
A thousand pearls, yet only one is threaded
Alas! for noble truth that hourly dies

Strange in a world so wonderfully planned
The thick-wit fool should always rule the land
Ah, well the cup must solve that riddle too
'Tis more than we shall ever understand

But shall the jocund wise be sent to school
For ever to the narrow-minded fool
The evil-smelling saint outlaw the rose
The joyless make for joy a joyless rule?

Why should it be that those who merit least
Must always be the masters of the feast
The fool's purse fat, the wise man's ever lean
And Beauty's self the harlot of the Beast?

'Tis written clear within the Book of Fate
The little always shall oppress the great
Who most deserves be slave to those who least
And only fools and rascals go in state

O Love, why say so oft, "the world! the world!"
Have we not put it by, the world! the world!
That cruel thief of all our dearest joys
Hath it not all but murdered us, the world!

At what strange prices are we bought and sold
All is not golden that is bought with gold
The foolish costliness of worthless things
O for the scorn to tell it, stern and bold

Yes is it well the vain world never knows
True riches from their counterfeited shows
For what would happen if the vine were dear
And men must sell a world to buy a rose

Allah is good! he blinds the rich man's eyes
That he the weary and worthless buys
Gaining great store of all uncomely things
And leaves the lovely for the poor and wise

I would not change the song the flute-girl sings
For all the diadems of weary kings
His joys the Sultan shares with all the world
His cares he keeps, a chain of glittering rings

Have I not wine, and love to drink with me
A garden and a gracious company
Of sweet-faced dancers, and the rising moon?
This is the happy half of sovereignty

If in this shadowland of life thou hast
Found one true heart to love thee, hold it fast
Love it again, give all to keep it thine
For love like nothing in the world can last

Long have I sought, but seldom found a lover
To love aright is to be nought but lover
He who would love, yet eat and rest him too
Is still an animal, and not a lover

For love is a great sleepless, foodless fire
Love never moves his eyes from his desire
Were love to sleep, awaking, love were gone
And what gross sustenance should love require?

Moon of my night, and art thou really here
My happy eyes dare not believe thee here
O love, love, love, come let us drink for joy
Until again I doubt that thou art here

Nay, ask me not about the Four-and-Five
Is it not strange enough to be alive?
I am so busy with that daring thought
How should I care about the Four-and-Five?

Expect not simple Khayyam to make plain
The riddles of your little prying brain
Who stops to marvel at the simplest flower
Wonders with nought but wonder may explain

Who knows the meaning of a grain of sand
Knows the whole meaning of the sea and land
And simple One by thousands multiplied
Is no more difficult to understand

How strange is man, that hath forgot so soon
The daily wonder of the sun and moon
And his deep heart on childish riddles breaks
And fancies idle as a summer noon

And what should pious Khayyam have to do
With all your screaming sects seventy and two?
Sin, Faith, and Islam, these are only words
And my desire, beloved friend, is You

You to the mosque, with howling hymn and prayer
I to the temple of the vine, repair
The one true God in divers ways to seek
I find him here, but do you find him there?

Allah, that numbers all my whitening hairs
Knows, without telling, all my little cares
Grateful is Allah, he will not forget
I have not wearied Him with endless prayers

If the abodes of bliss be seven or eight
What shall it profit my forlorn estate?
Reach me but wine to numb me where I lie
Heart-broken, stretched upon the wheel of fate

Khayyam, who long at learning's tents hath sewn
Bids thee leave How and Why and Whence alone
Iram's soft lute, with sorrow in its strings
Will tell thee all that ever can be known

Of all the wise wisest is he who knows
What saith the wine as in the cup it flows
And he alone is learned who can read
The little scented pages of the rose

This little rose, frail shape of summer's breath
How often hath she journeyed down to death
The mighty tarried, but this rose returned
Think then how strange must be the words she saith

Sweet rose that in the darksome earth hath been
O tell me, have you there my true love seen?
That was herself so fair a rose, until
Death touched her brow and changed her to a queen

Forgetful unforgotten, I have found
No face again like thine, nor thy profound
Sad eyes again, nor heard in all the world
As thy blest voice again so sweet a sound

O sufi, dervish, subtle calendar
How very thirsty all your questions are!
I cannot answer them unless I lean
Upon the perfumed lip of yonder jar

So great a brightness is the soul of wine
That even in the darkness it will shine
And cocks will crow, mistaking for the dawn
The apparition of its light divine

Well might a world without it so forlorn
Mistake the glorious wine-cup for the morn
'Tis the true morning, there is none beside
Wine was the happy morning I was born

If I the faithful vine should e'er foresake
I think the nightingale's sad heart would break
The rose throw down her petals in despair
It were so strange a sacrifice to make

When, with wild joys and sorrows broken quite
I face the morning of the endless night
Still shall I call for wine, and still for thee
And Pleasure close the eyes she once kept bright

Not all the fancies of the devotee
Shall make fair pleasure aught but fair for me
These things are good, this woman and this wine
Shall I exchange them for -- hypocrisy?

Wrong not thyself, believing God to please
Nor think to serve him Him by such lies as these
Break not for fashion an eternal law
Nor change true pleasures for false pieties

Sunday is good for drinking, Monday too
Nor yet on Tuesday put the wine from you
Wednesday drink deep, Thursday nor Friday fail
On Saturday is nothing else to do

The sixtieth cup makes me so wise with wine
A thousand riddles clear as crystal shine
And much I wonder what it can have been
That used to puzzle this poor head of mine

Yet with the morn, the wine-deserted brain
Sees all its riddles trooping back again
Say, am I sober when I see nought clear?
And am I drunk when I see all things plain?

When I am drunk the sky of life is clear
And I gaze into it without a fear
As I grow sober horribly I dread
The shadows of my vultures drawing near

And, as I drink, up through my brain there grows
The thornless image of a magic rose
Whereto comes singing sweet a nightingale
The wine-rose fades, and the brown wine-bird goes

But O may never dawn that last sad hour
When wine shall fail of its accustomed power
And I shall look with dull forgetful eyes
An old dead man, on maidens in their flower

Then were it time indeed to say good-bye
To the green Earth and the old happy sky
Bury me quick, a garrulous old corpse
There is no more of Khayyam left to die

"Where are the fair old faces gone a-hiding?
Where is the far-off place of their abiding?"
I asked teh wise, and thus the wise to me:
"Drink, they are gone, and there is never a tiding"

Comes Ramadan, the pleasant days are done
And pious breath obscures the very sun
Soon must the wine mope lonely in the jar
And lovely women weary to be won

This shall I do, and so preserve the fast:
Tonight I drink so deep that I shall last
Sunk in the strong oblivion of wine
Till the whole forty evil days be passed

Yet think not wine is wisdom for the fool
'Tis but the wise should follow wisdom's rule
The sot, the brawler, and the ugly-tongued
Believe not these of gentle Khayyam's school

This tavern-wisdom was not made for all
The congregation of the great is small
Drink not with every wine-flown Hatim Tai
Nor lift thy cup to every noisy call

The Book of Joy is such a book as mine
A book of rose-leaves smelling all of wine
Beware the honey of its simple page
It hath o'ertaken stronger heads than thine

True wine has many meanings more than wine
True wine will even warn us against wine
Any intoxication of the soul
Yea! or the senses, is the angel Wine

If only this green world might last for ever
And love be love, and wine be wine for ever
Eternal Rose of the Eternal Spring
Would that mine eyes might burn on thee for ever

In all those star-cold heavens shall we find
Another home, so safe, so green and kind?
O gentle Earth, methinks my heart will break
At the mere thought of leaving you behind

If only somewhere at the journey's end
Friend might again behold the face of friend
Very forgetful of us grow the dead
That never yet a word or whisper send

Night with a sudden splendour opens wide
Her purple robe, and bares her silver side
The moon, her bosom, fills the world with light
Only thy breast is lovelier, my bride

With twilight dew each rose's face is wet
Morning was grey upon them when we met
Still must I drink, and still must drink with thee
'Tis many laughing hours to bed-time yet

O love, before death comes to make our bed
Drink wine, red wine, red as the rose is red
Our bodies are not gold that we should hope
For men to dig us up when we are dead

Ah, when at last the shrouded Saki, Death
Brings me a cup so sweet it takes my breath
Shall I not bid him welcome like his brother?
Life I have feared not, shall I then fear death?

Nor yet shall fail the efficacious Vine
Wash me as white as silver in old wine
And for my coffin fragrant timbers take
Of tendrilled wood, then plant a rose, and dine

This is my heart's desire when all is over
To be the wine-cup of some dreaming lover
Into his wine, a far-off sweetness, steal
And, who can tell?, the wine might me recover

O Saki, when at last is run my race
Will you remember my accustomed place
When through the garden all the summer night
The moon goes seeking my forgotten face?

This is the thought the dead man thinks upon
Warm in the sun the old kind world spins on
Trellised with vines and roses as of old
And no one says, "Where is old Khayyam gone?"

O friends, forget not, as you laugh and play
Some that were laughing with you yesterday
Spare from your rose some petals for their graves
Sprinkle some wine upon their parching clay

For even this dust that blows along the street
Once whispered to its love that life was sweet
Ruddy with wine it was, with roses crowned
And now you spurn it with your eager feet

There is no better piety than this:
To set aside a little of your bliss
To feign for Death a living portion still
In all the little joys that Death must miss

How wonderfully has the day gone by
If only when the stars come we could die
And morning find us gathered to our dreams
Two happy solemn faces and the sky