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Title: The Sufistic Quatrains of Omar Khayyam

Author: Omar Khayyam

Commentator: Edward Heron-Allen

Editor: Robert Arnot

Translator: Edward FitzGerald

J. B. Nicolas

E. H. Whinfield

Release date: January 6, 2012 [eBook #38511]
Most recently updated: January 8, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Rory OConor and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



front page





Copyright, 1903,


THE TOMB OF OMAR. From an old painting by an unknown artist THE TOMB OF OMAR
From an old painting by an unknown artist


title page



(101 quatrains)
With Edward Heron-Allen's Analysis

(500 quatrains)

(464 quatrains)


Author of "The Vine in Symbolism"



Copyright, 1903,



The Tomb of Omar
From an old painting by an unknown artist.
The Approach To Naishapur
From a painting by I.R. Herbert.
Sufi Mystics Gathered for Meditation
From an old painting by a Pushtu artist.



General Introductionxi
Introduction to the First Edition of Edward Fitzgerald's
Translation of the Quatrains of Omar Khayyam
The Complete Fitzgerald First Edition13
An Analysis of Edward Fitzgerald's Translation (Fifth
Edition), by Edward Heron-Allen
  Explanation of References42
  Analysis of Edward Fitzgerald's Quatrains44
Variations Between the Second, Third and Fourth Editions
of Fitzgerald's Translation
  Stanzas Which Appear in the Second Edition Only122
Comparative Table of Stanzas in the Four Editions Of
The Quatrains of Omar Khayyam Translated by E.H.
Whinfield, M.A.
E.H. Whinfield Translation141
The Quatrains of Omar Khayyam Translated into Prose
from the French Version of Monsieur J.B. Nicolas
Translation of the Nicolas Text279



The earliest reference to Omar Khayyam dates from the middle of the seventh century of the Hijra.[1] Mohammad Shahrazuri, author of a little-used history of learned men, bearing the title of «Nazhet-ul-Arwah,» devotes to Khayyam the following passage:

«'Omar Al-Khayyami was a Nishapuri by birth and extraction. He [may be regarded as] the successor of Abu 'Ali (Avicenna) in the various branches of philosophic learning; but he was a man of reserved character and disliked entertaining (sayyik al-'atan). While he was in Ispahan he perused a certain book seven times and then he knew it by heart. On his return to Nishapur he dictated it [from memory] and on comparing it with the original copy, it was found that the difference between them was but slight. He was averse both to composition and to teaching. He is the author of a handbook on natural science, and of two pamphlets, one entitled ‹Al-Wujud› (or ‹Real Existence›) and the other ‹Al-Kawn w'al Taklif.›[2] He was learned in the law, in classical Arabic, and in history.

«One day Al-Khayyami went to see the Vezir, Abd-ur-Razzak, the Chief of the Koran Readers. Abu-l-Hasan Al-Ghazzali was with this latter [at the time], and the two were discussing the disagreement of the Koran Readers in regard to a certain verse. [As Omar entered] the Vezir said, ‹Here we have the authority,› and proceeded to ask Al-Khayyami [for his opinion] on the matter. ['Omar] enumerated the various readings of the Readers, and explained the grounds ('ilal) for each one.xii He also mentioned the exceptional readings and the arguments in favor of each, and expressed his preference for one view in particular.

«Al-Ghazzali then said: ‹May God add such men as thee to the number of the learned! Of a truth, I did not think any one of the Koran Readers knew the readings by heart to this extent—much less one of the secular philosophers.›

«As for the sciences, he had mastered both mathematics and philosophy. One day ‹the Proof of Islam›, Al-Ghazzali, came to see him and asked him how it came that one could distinguish one of the parts of the sphere which revolve on the axis from the rest, although the sphere was similar in all its parts. Al-Khayyami pronounced his views, beginning with a certain category; but he refrained from entering deeply into the discussion—and such was the wont of this respected Sheykh. [Their conversation was interrupted by] the call to mid-day prayer, whereupon Al-Ghazzali said, ‹Truth has come in, and lying has gone out.› 'Omar arose and went to visit Sultan Sanjar. The latter was [at the time] a mere child, and was suffering from an attack of smallpox. When he came away the Vezir asked him, ‹How did you find the child, and what did you prescribe for him?› 'Omar answered, ‹The child is in a most precarious state.› An Ethiopian slave reported this saying to the Sultan, and when the Sultan recovered he became inimical to 'Omar and did not like him. Melik-Shah treated him as a boon companion; and Shams-ul-Mulk honored him greatly, and made him sit beside him on his throne.

«It is related that ['Omar] was [one day] picking his teeth with a toothpick of gold, and was studying the chapter on metaphysics from [Avicenna's] ‹Book of Healing.› When he reached the section on ‹The One and the Many› he placed the toothpick between the two leaves, arose, performed his prayers and made his last injunctions. He neither ate nor drank anything [that day]; and when he performed the last evening prayer, he bowed himself to the ground and said as he bowed: ‹Oh, God! verily I have known Thee to the extent of myxiii power: forgive me, therefore. Verily my knowledge of Thee is my recommendation to Thee.› And [so saying], he died; may God have pity on him!»

We may look upon Omar as a deeply learned man, following his own convictions, who, tortured with the question of existence, and finding no solution to life in Musulman dogmas, worked out for himself a regular conception of life based on Sufistic Mysticism; a man who, without discarding belief, smiled ironically at the inconsistencies and peculiarities of the Islam of his time, which left many minds dissatisfied in the fourth and fifth centuries, needing as it did vivification. It found this in the person of Ghazzali, who in this movement assigned the proper place to the Mystic element. Omar was a preacher of moral purity and of a contemplative life; one who loved his God and struggled to master the eternal, the good, and the beautiful.

In this manner also is Omar portrayed in the various early biographical notices: a defender of «Greek Science,» famous for his knowledge of the Koran and the Law, and at the same time a «stinging serpent» to the dogmatic; a wit and a mocker, a bitter and implacable enemy of all hypocrisy; a man who, while curing others of the wounds of worldly triviality, impurity, and sinful vanity, himself only with almost his last breath closed the philosophic book on «Healing» and turned with a touching prayer to the One God, the Infinite, whom he had been striving to comprehend with all the strength of his mind and heart. Khayyam's lively protests and his heated words in freedom's cause brought upon him many bitter moments in his life and exposed him to numerous attacks at the hands of the mullahs, especially those of the Shiite community.

Besides these, then as now (apart from hypocrites), persons were not wanting who, failing to understand Omar, regarded him as an unbeliever, atheist, and materialist. But in the course of centuries the people of Persia and India, realizing, perhaps instinctively, the injustice of former reproaches, have taken to publishing and reading Omar Khayyam in collections side by side with Abu-Said,xiv Abd-Allah Ansari, and Attar—that is to say, with Sufi Mystics of the purest water, men whose moral and religious reputations were spotless.

Rightly to understand Omar some knowledge of Sufism and its tenets is necessary. Sufism is a mystical doctrine which had its birth on the Arabian coast, and succeeded in implanting itself there to the point of putting a decisive check upon the orthodox philosophy. The etymology of the name is difficult to find. According to some, it comes from the word suf (wool, a woolen garment) because the first persons to adopt this doctrine clothed themselves in wool.

We can give, as a proof, in support of this etymology, the fact that the Persians call their dervishes Sufis, pechmineh pôch (clothed in wool). The name could also come from the Arabic safou (purity) or the Greek σοφία (wisdom). Again, some Arabic authors call by the name of Soufa an Arabic tribe that separated themselves from the world in the ante-Islamic period, consecrating themselves to the keeping of the temple of Mecca. A man who professed the Mystic principles of tasawouf (the spiritual life) they called a «Sufi.»

The origin of Musulman Mysticism is a question entailing some controversy, for whoever knows the detailed ritual and the dogmatic coldness of the Koran finds it impossible to reconcile Islamic dogma with any idea of Mysticism whatsoever. In vain does one seek to find an example of Mystical teaching in this aphorism attributed to Mahomet: «It is when he prays that the faithful one is nearest God,» as Islamism holds to a definite separation between the Divinity and the world, between the Creator and the thing created. The religious customs that Mahomet instituted and the moral action that he taught served only to merit the good-will of the Divinity; at the utmost he only believed that he would be permitted to see Him face to face.

Whence comes then this Mystical idea which, for so many centuries, has occupied all the minds and absorbed all the intellectual force of the Musulman world? Two different origins can be given for it: the idea of emanationxv from and return to the divine essence whence it came—what we call Neo-platonism. Added to this are Contemplation and Annihilation, which come to it through Persia and the Vedantic school as intermediaries, bringing with it Pantheism, which made its way late into Sufism, and almost solely among the Persians. Also, it could be said that originally Sufism owed its principles to the Alexandrian school.

The Arabs, who studied and translated the greater part of Aristotle, knew Plato only by name; but they came under his influence and received his doctrines, strongly impregnated with the Mysticism of the Kabbala, through the Alexandrians and especially through Philon. To annihilate reason, or at least to subordinate it to feeling; to attack liberty, in order to subject the whole of life to love; and, furthermore, the blind abandoning of self—such is the aim of Sufism, as it is of all Mystic philosophy.

The doctrine of the Sufis has been set forth in a great number of treatises, notably that of Sohrawdi. God alone exists; He is in everything and everything is in Him. All beings emanate from Him, without being really distinct from Him. The world exists for all eternity; the material is only an illusion of the senses. Sufism is the true philosophy of Islamism, «which is the best of religions,» but religions have only a relative importance and serve but to guide us toward the Reality.

God is the author of the acts of the human race; it is He who controls the will of man, which is not free in its action. Like all animals man possesses an original mind, an animal or living mind, a mind instinctive, but he has also a human mind, breathed into him by God, and of the same character as the original and constructive element itself. The concomitant mind comprehends the original element and the human mind; it extends itself over the triple domain: animal, vegetable, and mineral. The soul, which existed before the body, is confined in the body as in a cage; death, then is, the object of the Sufi's desires, since it returns him to the bosom of the Divinity. This metempsychosis permits the soul which has not fulfilledxvi its destiny here below to be purified and worthy of a re-union with God. This spiritual union all can strive for ardently, but all cannot attain, because it is a product of the grace of God.

The Sufi, during his sojourn in the body, is uniquely occupied in meditating upon his unity with God (Wahdanija), the reminiscence of the names of God (Zikr), and the progressive advancement in the tarika or journey of life, up to his unification with God.

What is the Sufi journey, then? Human life has been likened to a voyage, where the traveler is seeking after God. The aim of the voyage is to attain to a knowledge of God, for human existence is a period of banishment for the soul, which cannot return to God until it has passed through many successive stages. The natural state of man is called nasout (humanity); the disciple should observe the law and conform to all the rites of believers. The other stages are: the nature of the angels (malakout), where one follows the way to purity, the possession of power (djabrout), the degree to which knowledge corresponds (m'arifa), and finally, extinction or absorption in the Deity, the degree to which truth corresponds. The voyager agrees to renouncement, which is of two kinds: external and internal. The first is the renouncement of riches and worldly honors; the second is the renouncement of profane desires. And he should especially guard against idolatry, which for some is the adoration of worldly achievement, for others a too assiduous practice of praying and fasting.

To arrive at this aim, the voyager has three necessary aids: attraction (indïïdhah), the act of God which draws all men who have that tendency or inclination to Him; devotion (ibâda), continuing the journey by two roads—towards God and in God, the first limited, the second without limit; finally, elevation (ouroudi). But the voyage cannot be accomplished alone; it is necessary to have a guide or a monitor taken from the second class (ibâda). The believer who, after having been tâlib (an educated man doubting the reality of God) and mourid (desirous of following out his quest), becomes axvii salik (traveler), places himself under the authority of a Sufi guide who teaches him to serve God until, through divine influence, he attains to the ichk (love) stage. Divine love, removing all mundane desires from his heart, causes him to arrive at zouhd (isolation); he then leads a contemplative life, passes through the m'arifa degree, and awaits the direct illumination of wadja (ecstasy).

After having received a revelation of the true nature of God (the hakika stage) he arrives at the wasl stage (union with God); he cannot go further; death alone remains, by which he will arrive at the final degree, absorption in the Divinity. The Zikr are only various forms of devotion invented by the Sufi guides to develop the spiritual life. The conduct of the disciple in the presence of his master is determined by rules which differ little from those imposed upon all dervishes.

Some authors distinguish, in the Sufi voyage, seven stages, corresponding to the degrees in the celestial sphere, in order to have the soul received there after death. But, protest metaphysicians, the soul cannot return to a determined place, since it does not come from a determined place. Celestial intelligence, to which corresponds the degree of intelligence reached by man, will absorb the soul after its separation from the body.

The Sufis attribute a high antiquity to their doctrines. They do not hesitate to refer them to as far back as Abraham; they pretend that one of the founders of their sect was own son-in-law to the prophet Ali, son of Abou-Tâlib. Finally, «there came a pious woman from Jerusalem, by the name of Rabia, whose words recall the Christian Mysticism.»

The first person to take the name of Sufi was Abou-Hachim of Koufa. The first convent or Khanakah was founded in Khorasan by Abou-Said, the Persian, although the prophet had prohibited monkish life in Islam. Another convent was established at Ramia, in Syria, and Saladin founded one in Egypt. Sufism then was divided into two schools: The Persian Bestâmi (a.d. 875) inclined towards Pantheism; Djonaid, of Bagdad, preached a system reconcilable with Musulman dogmatism. One of the mostxviii celebrated doctors of this school was Halladj, burnt alive in a.d. 922. They discoursed upon Sufism under the Kalifs Al-Motazz and Al-Mohtadi, and preached it under Al-Motamid. The principal Sufi writers are: Mohammed Salami an Nichabouri (a.d. 1021), El-Kochairi (a.d. 1072), Ghazli (a.d. 1111), Sohrawdi (a.d. 1234), Ferid-ed-din Attar (a.d. 1230), Djami (a.d. 1492), and Ech-Cha'rani (a.d. 1565).

This Mysticism, so sweet and so full of sentiment, exhales itself in poesy, and is as much stamped with tenderness and resignation as it is overflowing with sensuality and drunkenness. The best and most illustrious of the Persian poets are of this sect: Djelal-ed-din er-Roumi, author of the «Mesnewi», Djami, author of «Salaman ou-Absa», Ferid-ed-din Attar, author of «Mantik-ut-tair»; S'adi, Hafiz de Chiraz, Bayazid-al-Bestami.

Just as Sufis leave the true faith for its semblance, so they also exchange the external features of all things for the internal (the corporeal for the spiritual) and give a spiritual significance to outward forms. They behold objects of a precious nature in their natural character, and for this reason, the greater part of their words have a spiritual and visionary meaning.

For instance, when, like Omar, they mention wine, they mean a knowledge of God, which, extensively considered, is the love of God. Wine, viewed extensively, is also love: love and affection are here the same thing. The wine-shop with them means the murshid i kiamil (spiritual director), for his heart is said to be the depository of the love of God; the wine-cup is the telkin (the pronunciation of the name of God in a declaration of faith as: There is no God but Allah), or it signifies the words which flow from the murshid's mouth respecting divine knowledge, and which, heard by the salik (the Dervish, or one who pursues the true path), intoxicates his soul, and divests his mind (of passions) giving him pure, spiritual delight.

The sweetheart or Beloved means the preceptor, because, when any one sees his beloved he admires her proportions, with a heart full of love. The Dervish beholdsxix the secret knowledge of God which fills the heart of his spiritual preceptor (murshid), and through it receives a similar inspiration, and acquires a full perception of all that he possesses, just as the pupil learns from his master. As the lover delights in the presence of his sweetheart, so the Dervish rejoices in the company of his beloved preceptor. The sweetheart is the object of a worldly affection; but the preceptor commands a spiritual attachment.

The curls or ringlets of the beloved are the grateful praises of the preceptor, tending to bind the affections of the Dervish-pupil; the moles on her face signify that when the pupil, at times, beholds the total absence of all worldly wants on the part of the preceptor, he also abandons all the desires of both worlds—he, perhaps, even goes so far as to desire nothing else in life than his preceptor; the furrows on the brow of the beloved one, which they compare to verses of the Koran, mean the light of the heart of the murshid: they are compared to the verses of the Koran, because the attributes of God, in accordance with the injunction of the Prophet: «Be ye endued with divine qualities,» are possessed by the sheikh (or murshid).

Perhaps I can do no better than to quote one of the foremost authorities on Sufism[3] in regard to Omar's teachings.

«Seldom has a poet suffered from his friends and his foes as has Omar Khayyam. ‹He has been regarded,› says a writer, ‹as a free-thinker, a subverter of faith; an atheist and materialist; a pantheist and a scoffer at Mysticism; an orthodox Musulman; a true philosopher, a keen observer, a man of learning; a bon vivant, a profligate, a dissembler and a hypocrite, and a blasphemer—nay, more, an incarnate negation of positive religion and of all moral beliefs; a gentle nature, more given to the contemplation of things divine than worldly enjoyments; an epicurean sceptic; the Persian Abu-l-Ala, Voltaire, and Heine in one.› The writer has in view the well-known criticisms of Von Hammer, Renan, Ellis, Nicolas, Garcinxx de Tassy, Whinfield, Aug. Muller, etc. He might have added Vedder's curious misunderstanding of the ‹Beloved,› making him a damsel and a playtoy, and the thousand and one small ideas set forth by Omarian Societies.

«All this criticism is curious because it is so completely out of harmony with the facts of Omar's life. It is true that no complete, authentic manuscript of Omar's is known, and equally true that no comprehensive biography is known; but detailed information has come down to us from his contemporaries. From these notes enough can be gathered to show that Omar was a great man indeed, one who clearly and forcibly shows the four sides of a perfect character.

«A perfect character is first and fundamentally powerful. It is based upon the One, be it in idea or in action. Next, it is so simple and direct that all extraneous thoughts and purposes are unknown to it. These two sides condition one another. No power without simplicity and no directness without power. The third side of a great character is love or human feeling; a fullness that seeks to draw all men to the One, and the fourth and last characteristic is harmony or a welding together into One of all these four. The last characteristic is, of course, an impossibility where the others do not exist; nor can the others attain any vividness or fullness without love.

«A perfect character is rare. We see, however, glimpses of it here and there. Omar Khayyam was a type of perfect character. He is full of the One; he knows of nothing but the One; he burns to draw his fellow-men to the One; he belongs nowhere but in the One, in whom he indeed can be said to move, live, and have his being. In the One he attained Wholeness, harmony. Omar's philosophy is that of the Sufis. In that, too, he is consistent. The one is Truth; Truth is the reality of things, Truth burns to draw men to Itself; Truth is the Law or ‹Universe.› His method is Symbolism, viz.: he chooses the transparencies of Nature in order to show his hearers how Truth or Wisdom and Love or Devotion everywhere appear to be the reality behind ‹the magic Shadow-shapesxxi that come and go.› His most prominent symbols are Wine and Love; Roses, Springtime, and Death.

«Omar's ethics are not those of Mohammedanism. He advocates Resignation, to be sure, but not Mohammedan fatalism as popularly understood. His morals spring from his conception of the fullness of the One, and as such they are in harmony with the most universal notions of mankind. In one word, Omar's theology, philosophy, method, and morals are Sufistic, Sufism taken in the highest sense as the unifying notion for Wholeness, Love, Truth, and Power. A study of Sufism will reveal the real Omar—hitherto but little known, if known at all.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

«No one has attempted, so far as I know, to classify the various Sufistic systems. It is not so difficult to do so when a key can be found to them. The best key is that four-foldness which manifests itself in all human character, endeavor, and work. Corresponding to the four-foldness of character delineated above, I shall now take the terms Life, Love, Light, and Law and say that Al-Ghazzali and Jelaladdin represent the first and, as a proof, point to their constant emphasis of will as being the dominant power of existence, and the prominence they give to moral worth. The type of Love, in the form of poetry and feeling, is represented by Hafiz and Jami. The third group is fully and completely filled by Shabistani, the author of ‹Gulshan-i-Raz.› It is Light, and its form is Philosophy, Truth, and Understanding. The last, the fourth, sums up in a measure, the three preceding, and is also a clearly defined group by itself. It is Law, Order, Unity, and Reality. There is more independence in it than in any of the others, because it is the nearest approach known in existence to Wholeness or Unity. It contains the opposites of existence, both cosmic and human, viz.: the protest of the Mystic and also his affirmation, and the new Hope he represents.

«Omar Khayyam belongs to this fourth group. I do not say he alone fills it. But he exhibits that Independence and Protest which is the first and outward characteristicxxii of it. He is also from time to time soaring into the realms of the Truth or Unity, in a way not found in any other Sufi poet or doctor.

«Under the garb of the Mystic's favorite method of Doubt and Protest, the Sufi (Omar) pictures the process of the Awakening of the Soul. That is the purpose of the ‹Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go› in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His pictures are sufficiently transparent for us to see The Reality Behind.

«While so much is claimed for Omar, it must not be forgotten that it has not been said that he is the only perfect Sufi. It is not our intention to say or to intimate that. Omar is great enough when we attribute to him the office of an Awakener; not merely that of a John the Baptist, but the office of one who is himself full of the Awakening he preaches. Such an one is a unique character, and is truly an At-oner, one who heals all wounds and binds up broken limbs.»

I have already stated, if not in actual words, at least by inference, that Khayyam's philosophical and religious opinions were in certain essential points based upon the teaching of the Vedantas. He must have been familiar with the general scope of their philosophy, although attaching himself, as we have seen, to the ranks of the Sufi Mystics. Sufism and Babism are probably the most widely spread doctrines current in modern Persia, and after all are but forms of Vedantic pantheism despoiled of real significance by the effort to accommodate themselves to the creed of Islam. We learn from El Kifti that Khayyam «exhorted to the seeking of the One, the Ruler, by the purification of bodily movements, for the cleansing of the human soul,» an unmistakable exposition of Sufi practices, although based originally upon the customs of the Vedantic sages.

He certainly did not practice asceticism and other quasi-religious forms, which had been grafted upon the austere simplicity of the original Vedantic creed, but he did inculcate the necessity of acquiring «the knowledge of the unity of the soul with God»—the one thing important—whichxxiii can only be achieved by the renouncement of desire, the purification of the soul from the lusts of the world, and the practice of kindliness, goodness, universal sympathy with mankind, and the patience which brings perfect work.

That Omar was a man of many moods is evident. His poetic faculties, acted upon by an intelligence that was profound, and by a wit as cutting as the tulwar of a Persian soldier, swayed him hither and thither upon the sea of daily doubts and fears which are part of man's existence. Yet, in his way, he was a beacon light, not only in the history of Sufi Mysticism, but in the annals of God-seeking. I can find no better yoke-fellow for him than Luther, like whom he was indeed an Apostle of Protest.

Robert Arnot






Omar Khayyam was born at Naishapur in Khorassan in the latter half of our eleventh, and died within the first quarter of our twelfth Century. The slender story of his life is curiously twined about that of two other very considerable figures in their time and country: one of whom tells the story of all three. This was Nizam ul Mulk, Vizyr to Alp Arslan the son, and Malik Shah the grandson, of Toghrul Beg the Tartar, who had wrested Persia from the feeble successor of Mahmud the Great, and founded that Seljukian Dynasty which finally roused Europe into the Crusades. This Nizam ul Mulk, in his «Wasiyat»—or «Testament»—which he wrote and left as a memorial for future statesmen—relates the following, as quoted in the «Calcutta Review,» No. lix., from Mirkhond's «History of the Assassins.»

«‹One of the greatest of the wise men of Khorassan was the Imam Mowaffak of Naishapur, a man highly honoured and reverenced—may God rejoice his soul; his illustrious years exceeded eighty-five, and it was the universal belief that every boy who read the Koran or studied the traditions in his presence, would assuredly attain to honour and happiness. For this cause did my father send me from Tus to Naishapur with Abd-us-samad, the doctor of law, that I might employ myself in study and learning under the guidance of that illustrious teacher. Towards me he ever turned an eye of favour and kindness, and as his pupil I felt for him extreme affection2 and devotion, so that I passed four years in his service. When I first came there, I found two other pupils of mine own age newly arrived, Hakim Omar Khayyam, and the ill-fated Ben Sabbah. Both were endowed with sharpness of wit and the highest natural powers; and we three formed a close friendship together. When the Imam rose from his lectures, they used to join me, and we repeated to each other the lessons we had heard. Now Omar was a native of Naishapur, while Hasan Ben Sabbah's father was one Ali, a man of austere life and practice, but heretical in his creed and doctrine. One day Hasan said to me and to Khayyam, «It is a universal belief that the pupils of the Imam Mowaffak will attain to fortune. Now, even if we all do not attain thereto, without doubt one of us will, what then shall be our mutual pledge and bond?» We answered, «Be it what you please.»—«Well,» he said, «let us make a vow, that to whomsoever this fortune falls, he shall share it equally with the rest, and reserve no pre-eminence for himself.»—«Be it so,» we both replied, and on those terms we mutually pledged our words. Years rolled on, and I went from Khorassan to Transoxiana, and wandered to Ghazni and Cabul; and when I returned, I was invested with office, and rose to be administrator of affairs during the Sultanate of Sultan Alp Arslan.›

«He goes on to state, that years passed by, and both his old school-friends found him out, and came and claimed a share in his good fortune, according to the school-day vow. The Vizier was generous and kept his word. Hasan demanded a place in the government, which the Sultan granted at the Vizier's request; but, discontented with a gradual rise, he plunged into the maze of intrigue of an Oriental court, and, failing in a base attempt to supplant his benefactor, he was disgraced and fell. After many mishaps and wanderings, Hasan became the head of the Persian sect of the Ismailians—a party of fanatics who had long murmured in obscurity, but rose to an evil eminence under the guidance of his strong and evil will. In a.d. 1090, he seized the castle of Alamut, in the province of Rudbar,3 which lies in the mountainous tract south of the Caspian Sea; and it was from this mountain home he obtained that evil celebrity among the Crusaders as the OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS, and spread terror through the Mohammedan world; and it is yet disputed whether the word Assassin, which they have left in the language of modern Europe as their dark memorial, is derived from the hashish, or opiate of hemp-leaves (the Indian bhang), with which they maddened themselves to the sullen pitch of Oriental desperation, or from the name of the founder of the dynasty, whom we have seen in his quiet collegiate days, at Naishapur. One of the countless victims of the Assassin's dagger was Nizam ul Mulk himself, the old school-boy friend.[4]

«Omar Khayyam also came to the Vizier to claim his share; but not to ask for title or office. ‹The greatest boon you can confer on me,› he said, ‹is to let me live in a corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread wide, the advantages of Science, and pray for your long life and prosperity.› The Vizier tells us, that, when he found Omar was really sincere in his refusal, he pressed him no further, but granted him a yearly pension of 1200 mithkals of gold, from the treasury of Naishapur.»

«At Naishapur thus lived and died Omar Khayyam, ‹busied,› adds the Vizier, ‹in winning knowledge of every kind, and especially in Astronomy, wherein he attained to a very high pre-eminence. Under the Sultanate of Malik Shah he came to Merv, and obtained great praise for his proficiency in science, and the Sultan showered favours upon him.›

«When Malik Shah determined to reform the calendar, Omar was one of the eight learned men employed to do it; the result was the Jalali era (so called from Jalal-ud-din one of the king's names)—‹a computation of time,›4 says Gibbon, ‹which surpasses the Julian, and approaches the accuracy of the Gregorian style.› He is also the author of some astronomical tables, entitled ‹Ziji-Malik-skahi,›» and the French have lately republished and translated an Arabic treatise of his on algebra.

«His Takhallus or poetical name (Khayyam) signifies a Tentmaker, and he is said to have at one time exercised that trade, perhaps before Nizam ul Mulk's generosity raised him to independence. Many Persian poets similarly derive their names from their occupations; thus we have Attar, ‹a druggist,› Assar, ‹an oil presser,› etc.[5] Omar himself alludes to his name in the following whimsical lines:—

«‹Khayyam, who stitched the tents of science,
Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned;
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!›

«We have only one more anecdote to give of his life, and that relates to the close; it is told in the anonymous preface which is sometimes prefixed to his poems; it has been printed in the Persian in the appendix to Hyde's ‹Veterum Persarum Religio,› p. 499; and D'Herbelot alludes to it in his Bibliothèque, under Khiam:[6]

«‹It is written in the chronicles of the ancients that this King of the Wise, Omar Khayyam, died at Naishapur in the year of the Hegira 517 (a.d. 1123); in science he was unrivalled,—the very paragon of his age. Khwajah Nizami of Samarcand, who was one of his pupils, relates the following story: «I often used to hold conversations with my teacher Omar Khayyam, in a garden; and one day he said to me, ‹My tomb shall be in a spot where the north wind may scatter roses over it.› I wondered at the words he spake, but I knew that his were no idle5 words.[7] Years after, when I chanced to revisit Naishapur, I went to his final resting-place, and lo! it was just outside a garden, and trees laden with fruit stretched their boughs over the garden wall, and dropped their flowers upon his tomb, so that the stone was hidden under them.»›»

Thus far—without fear of trespass—from the «Calcutta Review.» The writer of it, on reading in India this story of Omar's grave, was reminded, he says, of Cicero's account of finding Archimedes' tomb at Syracuse, buried in grass and weeds. I think Thorwaldsen desired to have roses grow over him; a wish religiously fulfilled for him to the present day, I believe. However, to return to Omar.

Though the Sultan «shower'd favours upon him,» Omar's Epicurean audacity of thought and speech caused him to be regarded askance in his own time and country. He is said to have been especially hated and dreaded by the Sufis, whose practice he ridiculed, and whose faith amounts to little more than his own, when stript of the Mysticism and formal recognition of Islamism under which Omar would not hide. Their poets, including Hafiz, who are (with the exception of Firdausi) the most considerable in Persia, borrowed largely, indeed, of Omar's material, but turning it to a mystical use more convenient to themselves and the people they addressed;6 a people quite as quick of doubt as of belief; as keen of bodily sense as of intellectual; and delighting in a cloudy composition of both, in which they could float luxuriously between heaven and earth, and this world and the next, on the wings of a poetical expression, that might serve indifferently for either Omar was too honest of heart as well as of head for this. Having failed (however mistakenly) of finding any Providence but destiny, and any world but this, he set about making the most of it; preferring rather to soothe the soul through the senses into acquiescence with things as he saw them, than to perplex it with vain disquietude after what they might be. It has been seen, however, that his worldly ambition was not exorbitant; and he very likely takes a humorous or perverse pleasure in exalting the gratification of sense above that of the intellect, in which he must have taken great delight, although it failed to answer the questions in which he, in common with all men, was most vitally interested.

For whatever reason, however, Omar, as before said, has never been popular in his own country, and therefore has been but scantily transmitted abroad. The MSS. of his Poems, mutilated beyond the average casualties of Oriental transcription, are so rare in the East as scarce to have reached westward at all, in spite of all the acquisitions of arms and science. There is no copy at the India House, none at the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. We know but of one in England: No. 140 of the Ouseley MSS. at the Bodleian, written at Shiraz, a.d. 1460. This contains but 158 Rubaiyat. One in the Asiatic Society's Library at Calcutta (of which we have a copy) contains (and yet incomplete) 516, though swelled to that by all kinds of repetition and corruption. So Von Hammer speaks of his copy as containing about 200, while Dr. Sprenger catalogues the Lucknow MS. at double that number.[8] The scribes, too, of the Oxford7 and Calcutta MSS. seem to do their work under a sort of protest; each beginning with a tetrastich (whether genuine or not), taken out of its alphabetical order; the Oxford with one of apology; the Calcutta with one of expostulation, supposed (says a notice prefixed to the MS.) to have arisen from a dream, in which Omar's mother asked about his future fate. It may be rendered thus—

«Oh Thou who burn'st in Heart for those who burn
In Hell, whose fires thyself shall feed in turn;
How long be crying, ‹Mercy on them, God!›
Why, who art Thou to teach, and He to learn?»

The Bodleian quatrain pleads Pantheism by way of Justification.

«If I myself upon a looser Creed
Have loosely strung the Jewel of Good Deed,
Let this one thing for my Atonement plead:
That One for Two I never did mis-read.»

The reviewer,[9] to whom I owe the particulars of Omar's life, concludes his review by comparing him with Lucretius, both as to natural temper and genius, and as acted upon by the circumstances in which he lived. Both indeed were men of subtle, strong, and cultivated intellect, fine imagination, and hearts passionate for truth and justice; who justly revolted from their country's false religion, and false, or foolish, devotion to it, but who fell short of replacing what they subverted by such better hope as others, with no better revelation to guide them, had yet made a law to themselves. Lucretius, indeed, with such material as Epicurus furnished, satisfied himself with the theory of a vast machine fortuitously constructed, and acting by a law that implied no legislator; and so composing himself into a Stoical rather than Epicurean severity of attitude, sat down to contemplate the mechanical drama of the Universe which he was part actor in; himself and all about him (as in his own sublime description of the Roman Theatre) discolored with the lurid8 reflex of the curtain suspended between the spectator and the sun. Omar, more desperate, or more careless of any so complicated system as resulted in nothing but hopeless necessity, flung his own genius and learning with a bitter or humorous jest into the general ruin which their insufficient glimpses only served to reveal; and, pretending sensual pleasure as the serious purpose of life, only diverted himself with speculative problems of Deity, Destiny, Matter and Spirit, Good and Evil, and other such questions, easier to start than to run down, and the pursuit of which becomes a very weary sport at last!

With regard to the present translation. The original Rubaiyat (as, missing an Arabic guttural, these Tetrastichs are more musically called) are independent stanzas, consisting each of four lines of equal, though varied, prosody; sometimes all rhyming, but oftener (as here imitated) the third line a blank. Somewhat as in the Greek alcaic, where the penultimate line seems to lift and suspend the wave that falls over in the last. As usual with such kind of Oriental verse, the Rubaiyat follow one another according to alphabetic rhyme—a strange succession of grave and gay. Those here selected are strung into something of an eclogue, with perhaps a less than equal proportion of the «Drink and make-merry» which (genuine or not) recurs over-frequently in the original. Either way the result is sad enough: saddest perhaps when most ostentatiously merry: more apt to move sorrow than anger toward the old Tentmaker, who, after vainly endeavouring to unshackle his steps from destiny, and to catch some authentic glimpse of To-morrow, fell back upon To-day (which has outlasted so many To-morrows!) as the only ground he had got to stand upon, however momentarily slipping from under his feet.

While the second Edition of this version of Omar was preparing, M. Nicolas, French Consul at Resht, published a very careful and very good edition of the text, from a lithograph copy at Teheran, comprising 464 Rubaiyat, with translation and notes of his own.


M. Nicolas, whose edition has reminded me of several things, and instructed me in others, does not consider Omar to be the material Epicurean that I have literally taken him for, but a Mystic, shadowing the Deity under the figure of wine, wine-bearer, etc., as Hafiz is supposed to do; in short, a Sufi Poet like Hafiz and the rest.

I cannot see reason to alter my opinion, formed as it was more than a dozen years ago[10] when Omar was first shown me by one to whom I am indebted for all I know of Oriental, and very much of other, literature. He admired Omar's genius so much, that he would gladly have adopted any such interpretation of his meaning as M. Nicolas' if he could.[11] That he could not, appears by his paper in the «Calcutta Review» already so largely quoted; in which he argues from the Poems themselves, as well as from what records remain of the Poet's Life.

And if more were needed to disprove M. Nicolas' theory, there is the Biographical Notice which he himself has drawn up in direct contradiction to the interpretation of the Poems given in his notes. Indeed I hardly knew poor Omar was so far gone till his apologist informed me. For here we see that, whatever were the wine that Hafiz drank and sang, the veritable juice of the grape it was which Omar used, not only when carousing with his friends, but (says M. Nicolas) in order to excite himself to that pitch of devotion which others reached by cries and «hurlemens.» And yet, whenever wine, wine-bearer, etc., occur in the text—which is often enough—M. Nicolas carefully annotates «Dieu,» «La Divinité,» etc.: so carefully indeed that one is tempted to think that he was indoctrinated by the Sufi with whom he read the Poems. A Persian would naturally wish to vindicate a distinguished countryman: and a Sufi to enrol him in his own sect, which already comprises all the chief poets in Persia.


What historical authority has M. Nicolas to show that Omar gave himself up «avec passion à l'étude de la philosophie des Soufis»? The doctrines of Pantheism, Materialism, Necessity, etc., were not peculiar to the Sufi; nor to Lucretius before them; nor to Epicurus before him; probably the very original irreligion of thinking men from the first; and very likely to be the spontaneous growth of a philosopher living in an age of social and political barbarism, under shadow of one of the Two-and-Seventy Religions supposed to divide the world. Von Hammer (according to Sprenger's «Oriental Catalogue») speaks of Omar as «a Free-thinker and a great opponent of Sufism»; perhaps because, while holding much of their doctrine, he would not pretend to any inconsistent severity of morals. Sir W. Ouseley has written a note to something of the same effect on the fly-leaf of the Bodleian MS. And in two Rubaiyat of M. Nicolas' own Edition Suf and Sufi are both disparagingly named.

No doubt many of these Quatrains seem unaccountable unless mystically interpreted; but many more as unaccountable unless literally. Were the Wine spiritual, for instance, how wash the Body with it when dead? Why make cups of the dead clay to be filled with—«La Divinité»—by some succeeding Mystic? M. Nicolas himself is puzzled by some «bizarres» and «trop Orientales» allusions and images—«d'une sensualité quelquefois révoltante» indeed—which «les convenances» do not permit him to translate; but still which the reader cannot but refer to «La Divinité».[12] No doubt also many of the11 Quatrains in the Teheran, as in the Calcutta, Copies, are spurious; such Rubaiyat being the common form of epigram in Persia. But this, at best, tells as much one way as another; nay, the Sufi, who may be considered the scholar and man of letters in Persia, would be far more likely than the careless epicure to interpolate what favours his own view of the poet. I observe that very few of the more mystical Quatrains are in the Bodleian MS. which must be one of the oldest, as dated at Shiraz, a.h. 865, a.d. 1460. And this, I think, especially distinguishes Omar (I cannot help calling him by his—no, not Christian—familar name) from all other Persian poets: That, whereas with them the poet is lost in his song, the man in allegory and abstraction, we seem to have the man—the bonhomme—Omar himself, with all his humours and passions, as frankly before us as if we were really at table with him, after the wine had gone round.

I must say that I, for one, never wholly believed in the mysticism of Hafiz. It does not appear there was any danger in holding and singing Sufi Pantheism, so long as the poet made his salaam to Mohammed at the beginning and end of his song. Under such conditions Jelaluddin, Jami, Attar, and others sang; using wine and beauty indeed as images to illustrate, not as a mask to hide, the Divinity they were celebrating. Perhaps some allegory less liable to mistake or abuse had been better among so inflammable a people: much more so when, as some think with Hafiz and Omar, the abstract is not only likened to, but identified with, the sensual Image; hazardous, if not to the devotee himself, yet to his weaker brethren; and worse for the profane in proportion as the devotion of the initiated grew warmer. And all for what? To be tantalized with images of sensual enjoyment which must be renounced if one would approximate a God, who according to the doctrine, is sensual matter as well as spirit, and into whose universe one expects unconsciously to merge after death, without hope of any posthumous beatitude in another world to compensate for all one's self-denial in this. Lucretius'12 blind Divinity certainly merited, and probably got, as much self-sacrifice as this of the Sufi; and the burden of Omar's song—if not «Let us eat»—is assuredly—«Let us drink, for to-morrow we die!» And if Hafiz meant quite otherwise by a similar language, he surely miscalculated when he devoted his life and genius to so equivocal a psalmody as, from his day to this, has been said and sung by any rather than spiritual worshippers.

However, as there is some traditional presumption, and certainly the opinion of some learned men, in favour of Omar's being a Sufi—and even something of a saint—those who please may so interpret his wine and cup-bearer. On the other hand, as there is far more historical certainty of his being a philosopher, of scientific insight and ability far beyond that of the age and country he lived in; of such moderate worldly ambition as becomes a philosopher, and such moderate wants as rarely satisfy a debauchee. Other readers may be content to believe with me that, while the wine Omar celebrates is simply the juice of the grape, he bragged more than he drank of it, in very defiance perhaps of that spiritual wine which left its votaries sunk in hypocrisy or disgust.




[The first Edition of the translation of Omar Khayyam, which appeared in 1859, differs so much from those which followed, that it has been thought better to print it in full, instead of merely attempting to record the differences.]


Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.


Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
«Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry.»


And, as the Cock crew, those who 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.»


Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.


Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
And still a Garden by the Water blows.


And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with «Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!»—the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow Cheek of her's to incarnadine.


Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly—and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.


And look—a thousand Blossoms with the Day
Woke—and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.


But come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot:
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
Or Hatim Tai cry Supper—heed them not.


With me along some Strip of Herbage strown,
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan scarce is known,
And pity Sultan Mahmud on his Throne.


Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.


«How sweet is mortal Sovranty!»—think some:
Others—«How blest the Paradise to come!»
Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!


Look to the Rose that blows about us—«Lo,
Laughing,» she says, «into the World I blow:
At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.»


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 who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.


Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.


They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep;
And Bahram, that great Hunter—the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.


I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.


And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean—
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!


Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears—
To-morrow?—Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.


Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage 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, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?


Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans End!


Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after a To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
«Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There!»


Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
Are scatter'd and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.


Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.


Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.


With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd—
«I came like Water, and like Wind I go.»


Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.


What, without asking, hither hurried whence?
And, without asking, whither hurried hence!
Another and another Cup to drown
The Memory of this Impertinence!


Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.


There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil past which I could not see
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seem'd—and then no more of Thee and Me.


Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
Asking, «What Lamp had Destiny to guide
Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?»
And—«A blind Understanding!» Heav'n replied.


Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd—«While you live
Drink!—for once dead you never shall return.»


I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And merry-make; and the cold Lip I kiss'd
How many Kisses might it take—and give!


For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur'd—«Gently, Brother, gently, pray!»


Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday,
Why fret about them if To-day be sweet!


One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste—
The Stars are setting and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of Nothing—Oh, make haste!


How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.


You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
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» without, I could define,
I yet in all I only cared to know,
Was never deep in anything but—Wine.


And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing 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 subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.


The mighty Mahmud, the victorious Lord,
That all the misbelieving and black Horde
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
Scatters and slays with his enchanted Sword.


But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.


For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.


And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in—Yes—
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be—Nothing—Thou shalt not be less.


While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink:
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to Thee—take that, and do not shrink.


'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.


The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all—He knows—HE knows!


The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.


And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help—for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.


With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man's knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.


I tell Thee this—When, starting from the Goal,
Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtara they flung,
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul


The Vine had struck a Fibre; which about
If clings my Being—let the Sufi 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 glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.


Oh, Thou, who didst with Pitfall and with Gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestination round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?


Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give—and take
       *       *       *       *       *       *       *




Listen again. One evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.


And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried—
«Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?»


Then said another—«Surely not in vain
My substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
That he who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to common Earth again.»


Another said—«Why, ne'er a peevish Boy,
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that made the Vessel in pure Love
And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy!»


None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
A vessel of a more ungainly Make:
«They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?»


Said one—«Folks of a surly Tapster tell,
And daub his Visage with the smoke of Hell;
They talk of some strict Testing of us—Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well.»


Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
«My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
Methinks I might recover by-and-bye!»


So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
One spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, «Brother, Brother!
Hark to the Porter's Shoulder-knot a creaking!»
       *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.


That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.


Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.


Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.


And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour—well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.


Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!


Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits—and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!


Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me—in vain!


And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
Where I made one—turn down an empty Glass!




(Stanza II.) The «False Dawn»; Subhi kazib, a transient Light on the Horizon about an hour before the Subhi sadik, or True Dawn; a well-known Phenomenon in the East.

(IV.) New Year. Beginning with the Vernal Equinox, it must be remembered; and (howsoever the old Solar Year is practically superseded by the clumsy Lunar Year that dates from the Mohammedan Hegira) still commemorated by a Festival that is said to have been appointed by the very Jamshyd whom Omar so often talks of, and whose yearly Calendar he helped to rectify.

«The sudden approach and rapid advance of the Spring,» says Mr. Binning,[13] «are very striking. Before the Snow is well off the Ground, the Trees burst into Blossom, and the Flowers start forth from the Soil. At Now Rooz [their New Year's Day] the Snow was lying in patches on the Hills and in the shaded Valleys, while the Fruit-trees in the Gardens were budding beautifully, and green Plants and Flowers springing up on the Plains on every side—

‹And on old Hyems' Chin and icy Crown
An odorous Chaplet of sweet Summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set›—

Among the Plants newly appeared I recognised some old Acquaintances I had not seen for many a Year: among these, two varieties of the Thistle—a coarse species of Daisy like the ‹Horse-gowan›—red and white Clover—the Dock—the blue Corn-flower—and that vulgar Herb the Dandelion rearing its yellow crest on the Banks of the Water-courses.» The Nightingale was not yet heard, for the Rose was not yet blown; but an almost identical Blackbird and Wood-pecker helped to make up something of a North-country Spring.

«The White Hand of Moses.» Exodus iv. 6; where Moses draws forth his Hand—not, according to the Persians, «leprous as Snow,» —but white, as our May-blossom in Spring perhaps. According to them also the Healing Power of Jesus resided in His Breath.

(V.) Iram, planted by King Shaddad, and now sunk somewhere in the Sands of Arabia. Jamshyd's Seven-ring'd Cup was typical of the 7 Heavens, 7 Planets, 7 Seas, etc., and was a Divining Cup.


(VI.) Pehlevi, the old Heroic Sanskrit of Persia. Hafiz also speaks of the Nightingale's Pehlevi, which did not change with the People's.

I am not sure if the fourth line refers to the Red Rose looking sickly, or to the Yellow Rose that ought to be Red; Red, White, and Yellow Roses all common in Persia. I think that Southey in his «Common-Place Book,» quotes from some Spanish author about the Rose being White till 10 o'clock; «Rosa Perfecta» at 2; and «perfecta incarnada» at 5.

(X.) Rustum, the «Hercules» of Persia, and Zal his Father, whose exploits are among the most celebrated in the Shahnama. Hatim Tai, a well-known type of Oriental generosity.

(XIII.) A Drum—beaten outside a Palace.

(XIV.) That is, the Rose's Golden Centre.

(XVIII.) Persepolis: call'd also Takht.i-JamshydThe Throne of Jamshyd, «King Splendid,» of the mythical Peshdadian Dynasty, and supposed (according to the Shahnama) to have been founded and built by him. Others refer it to the Work of the Genie King, Jan Ibn Jan—who also built the Pyramids—before the time of Adam.

Bahram GurBahram of the Wild Ass—a Sassanian Sovereign—had also his Seven Castles (like the King of Bohemia!) each of a different Colour; each with a Royal Mistress within; each of whom tells him a Story, as told in one of the most famous Poems of Persia, written by Amir Khusraw: all these Seven also figuring (according to Eastern Mysticism) the Seven Heavens; and perhaps the Book itself that Eighth, into which the mystical Seven transcend, and within which they revolve. The Ruins of Three of those Towers are yet shown by the Peasantry; as also the swamp in which Bahram sunk like the Master of Ravenswood while pursuing his Gur.

The Palace that to Heav'n his pillars threw,
And Kings the forehead on his threshold drew—
I saw the solitary Ringdove there,
And «Coo, coo, coo,» she cried; and «Coo, coo, coo.»

This Quatrain Mr. Binning found, among several of Hafiz and others, inscribed by some stray hand among the ruins of Persepolis. The Ringdove's ancient Pehlevi Coo, Coo, Coo, signifies also in Persian, «Where? Where? Where?» In Attar's «Bird-parliament» she is reproved by the Leader of the Birds for sitting still, and for ever harping on that one note of lamentation for her lost Yusuf.

Apropos of Omar's Red Roses in Stanza xix., I am reminded of an old English superstition, that our Anemone Pulsatilla, or purple «Pasque Flower» (which grows plentifully about the Fleam Dyke, near Cambridge), grows only where Danish blood has been spilt.

(XXI.) A thousand years to each Planet.

(XXXI.) Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven.

(XXXII.) Me-and-Thee: some dividual Existence or Personality distinct from the Whole.


(XXXVII.) One of the Persian Poets—Attar, I think—has a pretty story about this. A thirsty Traveller dips his hand into a Spring of Water to drink from. By and by comes another who draws up and drinks from an earthen Bowl, and then departs, leaving his Bowl behind him. The first Traveller takes it up for another draught; but is surprised to find that the same Water which had tasted sweet from his own hand tastes bitter from the earthen Bowl. But a Voice—from Heaven, I think—tells him the clay from which the Bowl is made was once Man; and, into whatever shape renewed, can never lose the bitter flavour of Mortality.

(XXXIX.) The custom of throwing a little Wine on the ground before drinking still continues in Persia, and perhaps generally in the East. Mons. Nicolas considers it «un signe de libéralité, et en même temps un avertissement que le buveur doit vider sa coupe jusqu' à la dernière goutte.» Is it not more likely an ancient Superstition; a Libation to propitiate Earth, or make her an Accomplice in the illicit Revel? Or, perhaps, to divert the Jealous Eye by some sacrifice of superfluity, as with the Ancients of the West? With Omar we see something more is signified; the precious Liquor is not lost, but sinks into the ground to refresh the dust of some poor Wine-worshipper foregone.

Thus Hafiz, copying Omar in so many ways: «When thou drinkest Wine pour a draught on the ground. Wherefore fear the Sin which brings to another Gain?»

(XLIII.) According to one beautiful Oriental Legend, Azrael accomplishes his mission by holding to the nostril an Apple from the Tree of Life.

This and the two following Stanzas would have been withdrawn, as somewhat de trop, from the Text, but for advice which I least like to disregard.

(LI.) Prom Mah to Mahi; from Fish to Moon.

(LVI.) A Jest, of course, at his Studies. A curious mathematical Quatrain of Omar's has been pointed out to me; the more curious because almost exactly parallel'd by some Verses of Bishop Donne's, that are quoted in Izaak Walton's Lives! Here is Omar: «You and I are the image of a pair of compasses; though we have two heads (sc. our feet) we have one body; when we have fixed the centre for our circle, we bring our heads (sc. feet) together at the end.» Dr. Donne:—

If we be two, we two are so
As stiff twin-compasses are two;
Thy Soul, the fixt foot, makes no show
To move, but does if the other do.
And though thine in the centre sit,
Yet when my other far does roam,
Thine leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect as mine comes home.32
Such thou must be to me, who must
Like the other foot obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And me to end where I begun.

(LIX.) The Seventy-two Religions supposed to divide the World, including Islamism, as some think: but others not.

(LX.) Alluding to Sultan Mahmud's Conquest of India and its dark people.

(LXVIII.) Fanusi khiyal, a Magic-lantern still used in India; the cylindrical Interior being painted with various Figures, and so lightly poised and ventilated as to revolve round the lighted Candle within.

(LXX.) A very mysterious Line in the Original:—

O danad O danad O danad O——

breaking off something like our Wood-pigeon's Note, which she is said to take up just where she left off.

(LXXV.) Parwin and Mushtari—The Pleiads and Jupiter.

(LXXXVII.) This Relation of Pot and Potter to Man and his Maker figures far and wide in the Literature of the World, from the time of the Hebrew Prophets to the present; when it may finally take the name of «Pot theism,» by which Mr. Carlyle ridiculed Sterling's «Pantheism.» My Sheikh, whose knowledge flows in from all quarters, writes to me—

«Apropos of old Omar's Pots, did I ever tell you the sentence I found in Bishop Pearson on the Creed? ‹Thus are we wholly at the disposal of His will, and our present and future condition framed and ordered by His free, but wise and just, decrees. Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Rom. ix. 21.) And can that earth-artificer have a freer power over his brother potsherd (both being made of the same metal), than God hath over him, who, by the strange fecundity of His omnipotent power, first made the clay out of nothing, and then him out of that?›»

And again—from a very different quarter—«I had to refer the other day to Aristophanes, and came by chance on a curious Speaking-pot story in the Vespæ, which I had quite forgotten.

Φιλοκλέων.      Ἄκουε, μὴ φεῦγ'· ἐν Συβάρει γυνή ποτε     1. 1435
κατέαξ' ἐχῖνον.

Κατήγορος.      Ταῦτ' ἐγὼ μαρτύρομαι.

Φι.                   Οὑχῖνος οὖν ἔχων τιν' ἐπεμαρτύρατο·
Εἶθ' ἡ Συβαρῖτις εἶπεν, εἰ ναὶ τὰν κόραν
τὴν μαρτυρίαν ταύτην ἐάσας, ἐν τάχει
ἐπίδεσμον ἐπρία, νοῦν ἂν εἶχες πλείονα.

«The Pot calls a bystander to be a witness to his bad treatment. The woman says, ‹If, by Proserpine, instead of all this «testifying»33 (comp. Cuddie and his mother in «Old Mortality!») you would buy yourself a rivet, it would show more sense in you!› The Scholiast explains echinus as ἀγγος τι ἐκ κεράμον.»

One more illustration for the oddity's sake from the «Autobiography of a Cornish Rector,» by the late James Hamley Tregenna. 1871.

«There was one old Fellow in our Company—he was so like a Figure in the ‹Pilgrim's Progress› that Richard always called him the ‹Allegory,› with a long white beard—a rare Appendage in those days—and a Face the colour of which seemed to have been baked in, like the Faces one used to see on Earthenware Jugs. In our Country-dialect Earthenware is called ‹Clome›; so the Boys of the Village used to shout out after him—‹Go back to the Potter, old Clome-face, and get baked over again.› For the ‹Allegory,› though shrewd enough in most things, had the reputation of being saift-baked, i.e., of weak intellect.»

(XC.) At the Close of the Fasting Month, Ramazan (which makes the Musulman unhealthy and unamiable), the first Glimpse of the New Moon (who rules their division of the Year) is looked for with the utmost Anxiety, and hailed with Acclamation. Then it is that the Porter's Knot may be heard—toward the Cellar. Omar has elsewhere a pretty Quatrain about the same Moon—

«Be of Good Cheer—the sullen Month will die,
And a young Moon requite us by and by:
Look how the Old one, meagre, bent, and wan
With Age and Fast, is fainting from the Sky!»





(Fifth Edition)




The object with which this volume has been compiled has been to set at rest, once and for ever, the vexed question of how far Edward FitzGerald's incomparable poem may be regarded as a translation of the Persian originals, how far as an adaptation, and how far as an original work. In the Introduction to my recently published translation of the Ouseley MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and more particularly in the Essay which terminates the second edition of that work, I have dwelt at considerable length upon the history of Edward FitzGerald's poem and the influences of various Oriental works which are traceable in it. As it is doubtful whether the present volume will reach the hands of, or at any rate be critically considered by, any students of the poem who have not already had access to my former work, I do not think that it would be either expedient or useful to repeat in this place the information which is collected there, but a short history of the major portion of Edward FitzGerald's material is necessary, for the purpose of showing why this question of translation, adaptation, or original composition should have been a question open to lengthy argument, and why it has been impossible to set it at rest until the present time, when forty years have elapsed since first Edward FitzGerald's poem attracted the attention of those great scholars and poets who rescued it, as recounted in the threadbare anecdote, from the oblivion of the penny box.

The influence of the Ouseley MS. upon the poem forms the subject of the volume to which I have referred, and, save in so far as it recurs in the parallels which give excuse38 for the present work, may be dismissed, but the doubts which have sprung up as to the extent to which Edward FitzGerald took, as his editor, Mr. Aldis Wright, says, «great liberties with the original,» have arisen in consequence of the vicissitudes which have befallen the rest of the material from which the poet worked during the construction of his first edition. We know that Prof. Cowell made a copy of the Ouseley MS. for Edward FitzGerald just before he went to India in August, 1856. In another letter he says «I got a copy made for him from the one MS. in the Bengal Asiatic Society's Library at Calcutta soon after I arrived in November, 1856. It reached FitzGerald June 14th, 1857, as I learn by a note in his writing. Some time after this I sent him a copy of that rare Calcutta printed edition which I got from my Munshi.» To possess oneself therefore of full information as to what material Edward FitzGerald really worked from in making the original edition of his poem, it was necessary to consult, line by line, and word by word, the Calcutta MS. (noted as No. 1548 in the Bengal Asiatic Society's Library) and the Calcutta printed edition of 1836,—in addition, of course, to the Ouseley MS. Prof. Cowell most generously placed at my disposal his copy of the Calcutta MS., but, as he himself has recorded, the copy was made by an inferior scribe in a hand which is exceedingly difficult to read. I therefore communicated with Mr. A.T. Pringle, Director of Indian Records in the Home Department at Calcutta, himself a keen and critical student of Omar Khayyam, with a view to getting either a photographic reproduction, or a clean copy of this MS. made for me. Careful search and widely spread enquiry brought to light the fact that the MS. was lost, stolen, or strayed, so that Prof. Cowell's copy was the only record left of this portion of Edward FitzGerald's material. This copy I sent out to India, and had copied by a good writer, a copy being made at the same time to replace that which had been stolen.

I next addressed myself to the discovery of «that rare Calcutta printed edition,» of whose existence, after searching in vain every European State library and many others,39 and every library in India of which I could learn, I began to have grave doubts, thinking that Prof. Cowell had inadvertently confused it with an edition lithographed simultaneously at Calcutta and Teheran in 1836. In the summer, however, when I had given up all hope, one of Mr. Pringle's clerks picked up a copy of the long sought book in the Bazar at Calcutta, printed from type at Calcutta in 1836. A circumstance that greatly adds to the interest of this discovery, whilst at the same time it very greatly lessened my labours, lies in the fact that this edition is evidently printed from the lost Calcutta MS. itself, both introduction and quatrains being identical in readings and sequence. A few quatrains, including the repetitions, forming part of the MS. and nearly all those written in the margins of the MS. are omitted, but nearly all of these are added as an appendix to the book, the printer explaining in a short note that they were found in a bayaz (or book of extracts), and were added in that place instead of in their diwan (or alphabetical) order on account of their more than ordinarily antinomian tendency. A very interesting question arises hereon, whether these latter were printed into the book from the margins of the MS. after being purposely or accidentally omitted, or whether they were written on to the margin of the MS. from this book at some date between 1836 and 1856. I think that the former is the more likely explanation, but in the absence of the MS. this question cannot be solved.

I find myself therefore in the interesting position of having the whole of FitzGerald's material before me; and though (so perfectly did Edward FitzGerald identify himself with his author's habit of mind) many other MSS. contain quatrains that closely resemble his marvellous paraphrase, there is nothing written by or attributed to Omar Khayyam which served FitzGerald for inspiration in making his first edition, other than what is to be found in the three, or rather two, texts above referred to. I have spoken already (and at length, in the Terminal Essay to my former volume) of the influences exerted by other Oriental poets upon his work, and especially that of the Mantik ut-tair, or Parliament of Birds of40 Ferid ud din Attar; where it was direct or exclusive I have set it down in the parallels which follow. The result of my observations may be summarised as follows:

Of Edward FitzGerald's quatrains, forty-nine are faithful and beautiful paraphrases of single quatrains to be found in the Ouseley or Calcutta MSS., or both.[14]

Forty-four are traceable to more than one quatrain, and therefore may be termed «composite» quatrains.

Two are inspired by quatrains found by FitzGerald only in Nicolas' text.

Two are quatrains reflecting the whole spirit of the original poem.

Two are traceable exclusively to the influence of the Mantik ut-tair of Ferid ud din Attar.

Two quatrains primarily inspired by Omar were influenced by the Odes of Hafiz.

And three, which appeared only in the first and second editions and were afterwards suppressed by Edward FitzGerald himself, are not—so far as a careful search enables me to judge—attributable to any lines of the original texts. Other authors may have inspired them, but their identification is not useful in this case.

The «fillip,» so to speak, given to FitzGerald's interest in the ruba'iyat, by the publication of Monsieur J.B. Nicolas' text and translation of 464 «Les Quatrains de Khèyam» (Paris, 1867), must not be lost sight of, and may be held responsible for many, if not most of the variations and additions that differentiate the second, third, and fourth editions from the first. This volume, as FitzGerald himself records in his Introduction to the second and subsequent editions, «reminded him of several things and instructed him in others.» Two of FitzGerald's later quatrains at least (Nos. 46 and 98) come from that text, and these I have never seen in any MS. text; and, in seeking the parallels to the present volume, I have collated exactly 5,235 ruba'iyat in the original Persian.41 I have appended to every Persian ruba'i in the following pages, references to the texts in which I have found the same ruba'i, in the identical form, or more or less varied, and it will be observed that, for the most part, the ruba'iyat which inspired FitzGerald are those which have so appealed to the Oriental mind as to be represented in nearly all the MSS. and texts under examination. The Ouseley MS. being the first text that occupied FitzGerald's attention, where his inspirational lines occur both in that MS. and the Calcutta MS., I have given the Ouseley MS. version, noting any important variations to be found in the Calcutta MS. It will be observed that FitzGerald's tendency, after the second edition, was to eliminate quatrains which were merely suggested by the general tone and sentiment of the original poem, and not the reflection or translation of particular and identifiable ruba'iyat. The reader is especially recommended, when studying these parallels, to turn to the corresponding quatrain in the first edition, for FitzGerald often diverged further from the originals in making his subsequent variations—notably, for instance, in the first and forty-eighth quatrains.

With regard to my own translations of the originals in the following pages, I may remark that the excessive baldness of the translation is intentional, for I deemed it better to put before the lovers of FitzGerald's poem the closest and most unpolished English rendering, rather than to attempt to clothe the literal meaning of the originals in graceful phraseology.

I desire to record in this place my most cordial thanks, for the invaluable assistance they have given me in the preparation of this volume, to Mr. A.T. Pringle, Professor E.B. Cowell, and Dr. E. Denison Ross, and to Mr. Aldis Wright, Edward FitzGerald's literary executor, and his publishers Messrs. Macmillan, for their very kind permission to reproduce in this volume the poem which has brought it into existence.




The following are the alternative texts and translations referred to in the following parallels:—

O.—The Ouseley MS. No. 140 in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, dated a.h. 865 (a.d. 1460), containing 158 ruba'iyat. A facsimile and translation with notes, etc., were published by H.S. Nichols, Ltd. (London, 1898).

C.—The Calcutta MS. No. 1548 in the Bengal Asiatic Society's Library at Calcutta, containing 510 ruba'iyat. The original has been lost or stolen, but a copy has been made from the copy made for Edward FitzGerald at the instance of Prof. Cowell.

L.—The Lucknow lithograph. The edition referred to is that of a.h. 1312 (a.d. 1894), containing 770 ruba'iyat.

W.—The text and metrical translation published by E.H. Whinfield (London, Trübner, 1883), containing 500 ruba'iyat.

N.—The text and prose translation published by J.B. Nicolas (Paris, Imprimerie Impériale, 1867), containing 464 ruba'iyat.

S.P.—The text lithographed at St. Petersburg, a.h. 1308 (a.d. 1888), containing 453 ruba'iyat. Almost identical with N.

B.—A collection of poems lithographed at Bombay, a.h. 1297 (a.d. 1880), containing 756 ruba'iyat of Omar. Almost identical with L.

B. ii.—The MS. in the Public Library at Bankipur, dated a.h. 961-2 (a.d. 1553-4), containing 604 ruba'iyat.

P.—The MS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Supplément Persan, No. 823, ff. 92-113. Dated a.h. 934 (a.d. 1527), containing 349 ruba'iyat.

P. ii.—Seven ruba'iyat written upon blank pages of MS. of the Diwan of Emad. Dated a.h. 786 (a.d. 1384). Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Supplément Persan, No. 745. The handwriting is of the end of the 9th or beginning of the 10th century of the Hijrah.


P. iii.—Six ruba'iyat written in a handwriting of the 11th century of the Hijrah, on fol. 104 of a MS. collection of poems. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Supplément Persan, No. 793.

P. iv.—The MS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Supplément Persan, No. 826, ff. 391-394. Dated a.h. 937 (a.d. 1530), containing 76 ruba'iyat.

P. v.—The MS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Ancien Fonds., No. 349, ff. 181-210. Dated a.h. 920 (a.d. 1514), containing 213 ruba'iyat.

T.—The MS. in the Library of the Nawab of Tonk. Apparently copied about a.d. 1840 principally from C., containing 369 ruba'iyat.

E.C.—The quatrains translated by Prof. E.B. Cowell in his article in the «Calcutta Review,» No. 59, March, 1858, p. 149.

De T.—The ten quatrains translated from the Ouseley MS. by Garcin de Tassy in his «Note sur les Ruba'iyat d'Omar Khaïyām.» (Paris, Imprimerie Impériale, 1857.)

V.—The metrical translation by John Payne, published by the Villon Society (London, 1898), containing 845 quatrains.




Wake! For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.

This version of the opening quatrain is gradually evolved through the four editions. The quatrain, which, in the first edition runs:

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

is inspired by C. 134.

The Sun casts the noose of morning upon the roofs,
Kai Khosru of the day, he throws a stone into the bowl:
Drink wine! for the Herald of the Dawn, rising up,
Hurls into the days the cry of «Drink ye!»

Ref.:[15]L. 235, B. 232, C. 134, P. 320, T. 138.—W. 233, V. 242.


It is not surprising that Mr. Aldis Wright, in his editorial note at the end of Messrs. Macmillan's definitive edition (London, 1890), states that «the first stanza is entirely his own,» for, in this precise form the ruba'i is only to be found in the Calcutta MS. and in a recently discovered MS. copied largely from it and belonging to the Nawab of Tonk. The matter rests upon the word «stone» in the second line. The word means «to fling a stone into a cup or pot,» which is the signal for «striking camp» among tribes of nomad Arabs. All the other texts I have seen read wine for stone which has made the translators (Whinfield and Payne) properly render the passage «pours wine into the cup.»


Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
«When all the Temple is prepared within,
«Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?»

The inspiration for this quatrain is to be found in C. 5:

There came one morning a cry from our tavern:
«Ho! our crazy, tavern-haunting profligate[16]
«Arise! that we may fill the measure with wine,
«Ere they fill up our measure (of life).»

Ref.: L. 1, B. 1, C. 5, B. ii. 1, T. 3.—W. 1, N. 1, V. 1.

In FitzGerald's quatrain there is traceable the influence of one of the odes of Hafiz, translated by Prof. Cowell (in «Fraser's Magazine,» September, 1854), which he greatly admired. The lines in question run:

The morning dawns and the cloud has woven a canopy,
The morning draught, my friends, the morning draught!46
It is strange that at such a season
They shut up the wine tavern! Oh, hasten!
Have they still shut up the door of the tavern?
Open, oh thou Keeper of the Gates![17]

The influence of these lines is carried on into the next quatrain.


And, as the Cock crew, those who 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 inspiration for this quatrain is found in four ruba'iyat of the Calcutta MS., viz.: 641, 207 (ll. 3 and 4), 273, 247.

It is the hour for the morning draught, and the cock-crow, O Saki,
Here are we, and the wine, and the street of the vintners, O Saki,
What time is this for devotions? Be silent, O Saki,
Let be the traditions,[18] and drink to the dregs, O Saki.

Ref.: L. 685, B. 676, C. 461, S.P. 448, B. ii. 599.—W. 483, N. 454, V. 737.

Thou must drink wine, and gratify the pleasures of thy heart,
It is clear that so long (and no longer) thou wilt remain in this world.

Ref.: L. 281, B. 277, C. 207.—V. 285.


O Essence of Delight! Arise, it is the dawn!
Softly, softly drink wine, and play the harp
For those who are asleep do not find much,
And none of those who are gone will ever come back.

Ref.: L. 431, B. 427, P. 289, C. 273, B. ii. 307, T. 173, P. v. 163.—N. 235,
V. 469.

It is the dawn! Arise, O strange boy!
Fill up the crystal cup with ruby wine.
For this moment (of existence) that is lent thee in this corner of mortality
Thou may'st seek long, but thou shalt not find it again.

Ref.: L. 402, B. 398, P. 224, S.P. 213, C. 247, B. ii. 282, P. iv. 21.—N. 214, V. 425.


Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

This quatrain is translated from two ruba'iyat in the Ouseley MS., 13 and 80.

Now that there is a possibility of happiness for the world,
Every living heart[19] has yearnings towards the desert,
Upon every bough is the appearance of Moses' hand,
In every breeze is the exhalation of Jesus' breath.[20]

Ref.: P. 194, O. 13.—W. 116.


Now is the time when by the spring breezes[21] the world is adorned,
And in hope of rain it opens its eyes,[22]
The hands of Moses appear like froth upon the bough,
And the breath of Jesus comes forth from the earth.

Ref.: O. 80, L. 272, B. 268, C. 204, S.P. 186, P. 157.—W. 201, N. 186, V. 276.


Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine,
And many a Garden by the Water blows.

This is a very composite quatrain, which cannot be claimed as a translation of all, or the main part of any, of the C. or O. quatrains. All the texts, as indeed all Persian poetry, are filled with references of which we find an echo here. In the authorities at our disposal, Jamshyd is referred to in C. 254. The Ruby in the Wine occurs in O. 39, 87, 149, and in C. 296, 304, 413, and 460. The Garden by the Water occurs in O. 151 (C. 415), and in C. 44 and 417. I have never found any reference to the Garden of Iram in quatrains attributed to Omar Khayyam.[23]


And David's lips are lockt; but in divine
High-piping Pehlevi, with «Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!»—the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That sallow cheek of hers to 'incarnadine.

This quatrain (eliminating the reference to David[24]) is translated from O. 67.


It is a pleasant day, and the weather is neither hot nor cold;
The rain has washed the dust from the faces of the roses;
The nightingale in the Pehlevi tongue[25] to the yellow[26] rose
Cries ever: «Thou must drink wine!»

Ref.: O. 67, L. 291, B. 287, S.P. 153, P. 230.—W. 174, N. 153, V. 294.


Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter—and the Bird is on the Wing.

This is another composite quatrain, and the similarity of its sentiment to that of No. 94 (post) makes it somewhat difficult to allocate the parallels to it. The first two lines come from two quatrains in C. 431 and 460 (ll. 1 and 2).

Every day I resolve to repent in the evening,
Repenting of the brimful goblet, and the cup;
(But) now that the season of roses has come, I cannot grieve,
Give penitence for repentance[27] in the season of roses, O Lord!

Ref.: C. 431, L. 655, B. 647, B. ii. 510.—W. 425, V. 704.

The flowers are blooming, bring wine, O Saki,
Abandon the practices of the zealot, O Saki.

Ref.: C. 460, L. 684, B. 675, B. ii. 540.—V. 736.


The image of the flight of time permeates the whole of the quatrains. The precise image that FitzGerald uses in ll. 3 and 4 I find in the 24th distich of the Mantik ut-tair of Ferid ud din Attar.

The bird of the sky flutters along its appointed path.


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.

This quatrain is taken mainly from O. 47 (C. 123). It does not occur in the first edition, and FitzGerald was evidently «reminded of it» by Nicolas, in whose reading of the text, alone, the town of Naishapur is mentioned instead of Balkh. Balkh and Babylon are constantly interchanged in Persian belles lettres.

Since life passes; what is Baghdad and what is Balkh?
When the cup is full, what matter if it be sweet or bitter?[29]
Drink wine, for often, after thee and me, this moon
Will pass on from the last day of the month to the first, and from the first to the last.

Ref.: O. 47, L. 299, B. 226, C. 123, S.P. 105, P. 51, T. 99.—W. 134, N. 105, E.C. 2, V. 236.

If closer reference for line 3 be required, it may be found in N. 18, ll. 3 and 4.


Whether our Saki holds the neck of the bottle in his hand,
Or the soul of wine oozes over the rim of the cup.

Ref.: L. 35, B. 32, S.P. 18.—W. 21, N. 18, V. 33.

«The leaves of life» recur constantly either as leaves of a tree, or of a book. FitzGerald's inspiration comes from C. 377, ll. 1 and 2. (Vide also sub. No. 9.)

At the moment when I flee from destiny,
And fall like the leaf of the vine, from the branch.

Ref.: C. 377, L. 574, B. 567, S.P. 265, B. ii. 353, T. 249.—W. 309, N. 266, V. 614.


Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

This quatrain owes its origin to three separate ruba'iyat, viz.: O. 135 (ll. 3 and 4) C. 500 (ll. 1 and 2), C. 481 (ll. 3 and 4).

Sit in the shade of the rose, for, by the wind, many roses
Have been scattered to earth and have become dust.

Ref.: O. 135, L. 671, B. 663, S.P. 366, B. ii. 483, T. 277.—W. 414, N. 370, V. 720.

By the coming of Spring and the return of December[30]
The leaves of our life are continually folded.

Ref.: C. 500, L. 745, B. 731, P. 242, S.P. 397, B. ii. 531.—W. 444, N. 402, V. 797.


For it has flung to earth a hundred thousand Jams and Kais,[31]
This coming of the first-summer-month and departing of the month December.

Ref.: C. 481, L. 712, B. 701, S.P. 449, P. 216, B. ii. 603.—W. 484, N. 455, V. 764.


Well, let it take them! What have we to do
With Kaikobad the Great, or Kaikhosru?
Let Zal[32] and Rustum bluster as they will,
Or Hatim call to supper—heed not you.

The first two lines of this quatrain echo two fragments from the MSS. O. 139 (ll. 3 and 4), and C. 57 (ll. 1 and 2).

The cup is a hundred times better than the kingdom of Feridun,[33]
The tile that covers the jar is better than the crown of Kai Khosru.

Ref.: O. 136, L. 650, B. 642, S.P. 378, P. 246, B. ii. 511, P. v. 178.—N. 382, V. 609.

One draught of wine is better than the Empire of Kawus,
And is better than the Throne of Kobad and the Empire of Tus.

Ref.: C. 57, L. 122, B. 119, S.P. 61, P. 297.—W. 64, N. 61, V. 121.


The last two lines are translated from C. 503 (ll. 3 and 4).

Bow not thy neck though Rustum son of Zal be thy foe,
Be not grateful though Hatim Tai befriend thee.[34]

Ref.: C. 503, L. 746, B. 732. S.P. 411, P. 150, B. ii. 552, P. iv. 23.—W. 455, N. 416, V. 798.


With me along the strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot—
And Peace to Mahmud on his golden Throne!


A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

This pair of quatrains must be considered together. They owe their origin to O. 155 and O. 149.

If a loaf of wheaten bread be forthcoming,
A gourd of wine, and a thigh-bone of mutton,
And then, if thou and I be sitting in the wilderness,—
That were a joy not within the power of any Sultan.

Ref.: O. 155, C. 474, L. 697, B. 688, S.P. 442, P. 229, B. ii. 591. T. 292, P. iv. 24, P. v. 109.—W. 479, N. 448, V. 749.

I desire a flask of ruby wine and a book of verses
Just enough to keep me alive,[35] and half a loaf is needful,
And then, that thou and I should sit in the wilderness,
Is better than the kingdom of a Sultan.

Ref.: O. 149, S.P. 408.—W. 452, N. 413, E.C. 13.



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!

The original of this quatrain is found in O. 34.

They say that the Garden of Eden is pleasant with houris:
I say that the juice of the grape is pleasant.
Hold fast this cash and keep thy hand from that credit,
For the noise of drums, brother, is pleasant from afar.

Ref.: O. 34, C. 51, L. 95, B. 91, P. iii. 3, P. 323, P. v. 36.—W. 108, V. 95.

C. 156 is almost identical in sentiment:

They say that there will be heaven and the Fount of Kausar,[36]
That there, there will be pure wine and honey and sugar,
Fill up the wine-cup and place it in my hand,
(For) ready cash is better than a thousand credits.

Ref.: C. 156, L. 297, B. 293, S.P. 169, B. ii. 223, T. 141.—N. 169, V. 300.

C. 288 reproduces the same image, and we have a parallel for ll. 1 and 2 in ll. 1 and 2 of C. 225.

Mankind are fallen from vain imagining into pride,
And are consumed in the search after houris and palaces.[37]

Ref.: C. 225, L. 279, B. 275, S.P. 167, T. 163.—W. 184, N. 167, V. 283.


O. 40 may also be cited for the closeness of its parallel both to this, and to the preceding quatrain:

I know not whether he who fashioned me
Appointed me to dwell in heaven or in dreadful hell,
(But) some food, and an adored one, and wine[38] upon the green bank of a field—
All these three are present cash to me: thine be the promised heaven!

Ref.: O. 40, L. 89, B. 85, C. 107, S.P. 92, T. 84, P. v. 176.—W. 94, N. 92, V. 89.


Look to the blowing Rose about us—«Lo,
Laughing,» she says, «into the world I blow,
At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.»

This quatrain is translated from C. 383

The rose said: I brought a gold-scattering hand,
Laughing, laughing, have I blown into the world,
I snatched the noose-string from off the head of my purse and I am gone!
I flung into the world all the ready money that I had.

Ref.: C. 383 only.


And those who husbanded the Golden grain,
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

The inspiration for this quatrain comes from O. 68.


Ere that fate makes an attack upon thy head
Give orders that they bring thee rose-coloured wine;
Thou art not treasure, O heedless dunce! that thee
They hide in the earth and then dig up again.[39]

Ref.: O. 68, C. 151, L. 277, B. 273, S.P. 156, P. 336, P. v. 11.—W. 175, N. 156, E.C. 31, V. 281.


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.

The inspiration for this quatrain is to be found in C. 266.

O heart! Suppose all this world's affairs were within your power,
And the whole world from end to end as you desire it,
And then, like snow in the desert, upon its surface
Resting for two or three days, understand yourself to be gone!

Ref.: C. 266, L. 420, B. 416, P. 144, B. ii. 260, T. 168.—V 443.


Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.

This quatrain owes its origin to C. 95.


This worn caravanserai which is called the world
Is the resting-place of the piebald horse of night and day;
It is a pavilion which has been abandoned by an hundred Jamshyds;
It is a palace that is the resting-place of an hundred Bahrams.[40]

Ref.: C. 95, L. 203, B. 200, S.P. 67, P. 120, B. ii. 42, T. 79 and 357.—W. 70, N. 67, V. 199.


They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter—the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

The original of this quatrain is C. 99.

In that palace where Bahram grasped the wine-cup;
The foxes whelp, and the lions take their rest;
Bahram who was always catching (gur) wild asses,—
To-day behold that the (gur) grave has caught Bahram.

Ref.: C. 99, L. 210, B. 207, S.P. 69, P. 48 and 139, B. ii. 51, T. 82 and 294, P. iv. 12, P. v. 156.—W. 72, N. 69, V. 205.


I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

The original of this quatrain is found in O. 43.


Everywhere that there has been a rose or tulip bed,
It has come from the redness of the blood of a king;
Every violet shoot that grows from the earth
Is a mole[41] that was (once) upon the cheek of a beauty.

Ref.: O. 43, C. 47, L. 110, B. 106, B. ii. 105, T. 304, P. v. 159.—W. 104, E.C. 4, V. 109.


And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River-lip on which we lean—
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

The original of this quatrain was C. 44.

All verdure that grows upon the margin of a stream,
You may say, grows from the lip of one angel-natured;
Beware not to set foot contemptuously upon the verdure,
For that verdure grows from the clay of one tulip-cheeked.

Ref.: C. 44, L. 62, B. 59, S.P. 59, P. 64, T. 349, P. iv. 20.—W. 62, N. 59, V. 61.


Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears:
To-morrow!—Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years.

This quatrain is translated from C. 348.


Come, O friend! and let us not suffer anguish concerning the morrow.
Let us take advantage of these few ready-money moments,
When, to-morrow, we depart from the face of the earth
We shall be equal with those who went seven thousand years ago.

Ref.: C. 348, L. 546, B. 540, S.P. 268, P. 122, B. ii. 351, T. 233, P. v. 96.—W. 312, N. 269, V. 586.


For 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.

The inspiration for this quatrain is found in C. 185.

All my sympathetic friends have left me,
One by one they have sunk low at the foot of Death.
In the fellowship of souls they were cup-companions,
A turn or two before me they became drunk.

Ref.: C. 185, L. 381, B. 377, P. ii. 4, B. ii. 141.—W. 219, V. 379.


And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend—ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?

The main inspiration of this quatrain comes from C. 388.


Arise, and do not sorrow for this fleeting world,
Be at peace, and pass through the world with happiness.
If the nature of the world were constant
The turn of others would not have descended to you yourself.[42]

Ref.: C. 388, L. 585, B. 578, S.P. 322, P. 159 and 178, B. ii. 430, T. 264, P. iv. 29 and 62.—W. 366, N. 325, V. 632.

Combined with the suggestion contained in this ruba'i, we find the echo of a sentiment that recurs continually in the originals, e.g., C. 82 (ll. 3 and 4) and O. 129 (ll. 3 and 4).

This verdure, which for the present is my pleasure-ground
Until the verdure (springing) from my clay shall become a pleasure-ground—for whom?

Ref.: C. 82, L. 191, B. 188, S.P. 70, P. 305, B. ii. 36, T. 63 and 351.—W. 73, N. 70, V. 187.

Sit upon the greensward, O Idol, for it will not be long
Ere that greensward shall grow from my dust and thine.

Ref.: O. 129, C. 416, L. 634, B. 626, S.P. 345, P. 47, B. ii. 464, P. v. 131—W. 390, N. 348, E.C. 3, V. 683.


Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans End!

The inspiration for this quatrain is found in the following (O. 76 and 35).


Do not allow sorrow to embrace thee,
Nor an idle grief to occupy thy days,
Forsake not the book and the lover's lips and the green bank of the field,
Ere that the earth enfold thee in its bosom.

Ref.: O. 76, C. 173, L. 315, B. 311, P. 189, B. ii. 233, T. 121, P. v. 39.—de T. 9, V. 317.

Drink wine, for thou wilt sleep long beneath the clay
Without an intimate, a friend, a comrade, or a mate.

Ref.: O. 35, C. 80, L. 188, B. 185, P. 284, T. 60.—W. 107, V. 184.


Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries,
«Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.»

The inspiration for this quatrain is in C. 396.

Some are immersed in contemplation of doctrine and faith,
Others stand stupefied between doubt and certainty,
Suddenly a Muezzin, from his lurking place, cries out
«O Fools! the Road[43] is neither here nor there.»

Ref.: C. 396, L. 591, B. 584, S.P. 324, P. iii. 6, P. 65.—W. 376, N. 337, V. 638.


Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so wisely—they are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to scorn
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with dust.

This quatrain is taken from O. 140 and C. 236.


Those, O Saki, who have gone before us,
Have fallen asleep, O Saki, in the dust (or khwab sleep) of self-esteem,
Go thou and drink wine, and hear the truth from me,
Whatever they have said, O Saki, is but wind!

Ref.: O. 140, C. 453, L. 687, B. 678, S.P. 380, P. 260, B. ii. 525, T. 279, P. v. 22.—W 428, N. 384, V. 739.

Those who are the cream of the existence of mankind,
Spur the Burak of their thoughts up to the highest heaven,[44]
In the study of your being, like heaven itself
Their heads are turned, and overset, and spinning.

Ref.: C. 236, L. 326, B. 322, S.P. 120, T. 155, W. 147, N. 120, V. 328.


Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door wherein I went.


With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd—
«I came like Water, and like Wind I go.»

These two quatrains must be considered together. They are inspired by O. 121, C. 281, and O. 72.

For a while, when young, we frequented a teacher,
For a while we were contented with our proficiency;
Behold the end of the discourse:—what happened to us?
We came like water and we went like wind.

Ref.: O. 121, L. 544, B. 538, B. ii. 420, P. v. 99.—W 353, V. 584.


Being (once) a falcon, I flew from the World of mystery,
That from below I might soar to the heights above;
But, not finding there any intimate friend,
I came out by the same door wherein I went.[45]

Ref.: C. 281, L. 429, B. 425, S.P. 224, P. 30, B. ii. 295, T. 184.—W. 264, N. 225, V. 467.

A quatrain that probably contributed to FitzGerald's verse is:

No one has solved the tangled secrets of eternity,
No one has set foot beyond the orbit (of human under-standing),
Since, so far as I can see, from tyro to teacher,
Impotent are the hands of all men born of women.

Ref.: O. 72, C. 176, L. 357, B. 353, S.P. 175, B. ii. 211, P. v. 210—W. 190, N. 175, V. 356.


Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, Willy-nilly blowing.

The inspiration for this quatrain is to be found in the following: C. 235 and O. 20 (ll. 1 and 2).

He first brought me in confusion into existence,
What do I gain from my life save my amazement at it?
We went away against our will, and we know not what was
The purpose of this coming, and going, and being.

Ref.: C. 235, L. 324, B. 320, S.P. 117, T. 153.—W. 145, N. 117, V. 326.


Like water in a great river and like wind in the desert,
Another day passes out of the period of my existence.[46]

Ref.: O. 20, C. 23 and 55, L. 84, B. 80, S.P. 22, P. ii. 2, P. 162, B. ii. 24 and 88, T. 22 and 305, P. v. 140 and 186, W. 26, N. 22 and 42, V. 83.


What, without asking, hither hurried Whence?
And, without asking, Whither hurried hence!
Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine
Must drown the memory of that insolence!

This quatrain owes its origin to two ruba'iyat in O., viz., 21 and 151.

Seeing that my coming was not in my power at the Day of Creation,[47]
And that my undesired departure hence is a purpose fixed (for me),
Get up and gird well thy loins, O nimble cup-bearer,
For I will wash down the misery of the world in wine.

Ref.: O. 21, C. 49, L. 94, B. 90, B. ii. 86, P. v. 123.—W. 110, V. 94.

Had I charge of the matter I would not have come,
And, likewise, could I control my going, how should I have gone?
There could have been nothing better than that in this world
I had neither come, nor gone, nor lived?

Ref.: O. 157, C. 494, L. 732, B. 720, P. 88, B. ii. 590 and 593, P. iv. 17, P. v. 130.—W. 490, E.C. 30, N. 450, V. 785.



Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many a Knot unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate.

This quatrain is translated from C. 314.

From the Nadir of the earthly globe, up to the Zenith of Saturn
I solved all the problems of heaven;
I escaped from the bondage of all trickery and deceit,
All obstacles were removed save only the Bond of Fate.

Ref.: C. 314, L. 491, B. 487, B. ii. 338, T. 215.—W. 303, V. 531.


There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was—and then no more of Thee and Me.

The main inspiration of this quatrain is found in C. 387.

Neither thou nor I know the secret of Eternity,
And neither thou nor I can de-cypher this riddle;
There is a talk behind the Curtain[48] of me and thee
But when the Curtain falls neither thou nor I are there.

Ref.: C. 387, L. 581, B. 574, P. 33, B. ii. 421, T. 260.—W. 389, V. 628.

We also see in the quatrain the influence of O. 29 and C. 193, ll. 1 and 2.


No one can pass behind the Curtain (that veils) the secret,
The mind of no one is cognizant of what is there:[49]

Ref.: O. 29, C. 56, L. 61, B. 58, S.P. 43, P. 63, B. ii. 103, P. v. 188.—W. 47, N. 44, V. 60.

No one can pass behind the Curtain of Fate
No one is master of the Secret of Destiny.

Ref.: C. 193, L. 345, B. 341, S.P. 177, B. ii. 212.—W 192, N. 177, V. 346.


Earth could not answer; nor the seas that mourn
In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;
Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal'd
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.

This is the quatrain (not No. 31 as stated by Mr. Aldis Wright in his Editorial Note) taken by Edward FitzGerald from the Mantik ut-tair of Ferid ud din Attar. The story which inspired it begins at distich No. 972, and is as follows:

An observer of spiritual things approached the sea
And said «O sea, why are you blue?
Why do you wear the robe of mourning?
There is no fire, why do you boil?»
The sea made answer to that good-hearted one,
«I weep for my separation from the Friend,
Since by reason of my impotence I am not worthy of Him,
I have made my robe blue on account of my sorrow for Him.»



Then of the Thee in Me who works behind
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
A lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
As from Without—«The Me within Thee Blind

That Edward FitzGerald was not following any particular ruba'iyat of the original MSS. is clearly indicated by the great variation observable in the forms that this quatrain successively assumed in the first, second and third editions. It suggests an exposition of the Sufi doctrine of the emanation of the mortal Creature from God the Creator, and his reabsorption into God. There is a quatrain in L. (No. 641) and in B. ii. (No. 457) which is akin to it, but FitzGerald was not acquainted with these texts. (It is No. 400 in W.) I have no doubt that FitzGerald's 34th quatrain was suggested to him by two intricate passages in the Mantik ut-tair, commencing respectively at distich 3090 and distich 3735. The first of these may be translated:

«The Creator of the World spoke thus to David from behind the Curtain of the Secret: ‹For everything in the world, good or bad, visible or invisible, thou canst find a substitute, but for Me, thou canst find neither substitute nor equal. Since nothing can be substituted for Me, do not cease to abide in Me. I am thy Soul, destroy not thou thy Soul, I am necessary to thee, O thou my servant. Seek not to exist apart from Me.›»

The second passage reads: «Since long ago, really, I am thee, and thou art Me, we two are but One. Art thou Me, or am I thee? is there any duality in the matter? Either I am thee, or thou art Me, or thou, thou art thyself. Since thou art Me and I am thee for ever, our two bodies are One: Salutation!»



Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean'd, the Secret of my Life to learn;
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd—«While you live,
«Drink!—for, once dead, you never shall return.»

This quatrain is translated from O. 100:

In great desire I pressed my lips to the lip of the jar,
To enquire from it how long life might be attained;
It joined its lip to mine and whispered,
«Drink wine! for to this world thou returnest not.»

Ref.: O. 100, C. 283, L. 446, B. 442, P. 99, B. ii. 303, T. 185, P. v. 193.—W. 274, E.C. 25, V. 482.

C. 489 is a mystic and doctrinal quatrain containing the same injunction.

Drink wine! for I have told you a thousand times
There is no returning for you; when you are gone, you are gone!

Ref.: C. 489, L. 723, B. 712, S.P. 385, B. ii. 526, P. iv. 67, P. v. 104—W. 431, N. 389, V. 775.


I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss'd,
How many Kisses might it take—and give!

The inspiration for this quatrain occurs in O. 9.

This jug was once a plaintive lover, as I am,
And was in pursuit of one of comely face;[50]
This handle that thou seest upon its neck
Is an arm that once lay around the neck of a friend.

Ref.: O. 9, C. 48 and 426, L. 81, B. 77, S.P. 28, P. 108, B. ii. 28, P. v. 142.—W. 32, N. 28, E.C. 5, V. 80.



For I remember stopping by the way
To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay;
And with its all-obliterated Tongue
It murmur'd—«Gently, Brother, gently, pray!»

The original of this quatrain is O. 89.

I saw a potter in the bazaar yesterday,
He was violently pounding some fresh clay,
And that clay said to him in mystic language,
«I was once like thee—so treat me well.»

Ref.: O. 89, C. 261, L. 411, B. 407, S.P. 210, P. 100, B. ii. 274, P. iv. 71, P. v. 198.—W. 252, N. 211, V. 434.


And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man's successive generations roll'd
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the maker into Human mould?

This quatrain, which is in the nature of a reflection upon the three preceding ones, conveys an idea which is constantly recurrent in the ruba'iyat. Edward FitzGerald himself records, in a note, that, in composing this quatrain, he had in mind a very beautiful story in the Mantik ut-tair of the water of a certain well which, ordinarily sweet, became bitter when drawn in a vessel made from clay which once had been a man. For its inclusion in this poem FitzGerald had the support of two (among many) quatrains from C. 475 and 488.

I pondered over the workshop of a potter;
In the shadow of the wheel I saw that the master, with his feet,
Made handles and covers for goblets and jars,
Out of the skulls of kings and the feet of beggars.

Ref.: C. 475, L. 698, B. 689, S.P. 426, P. 103, B. ii. 576.—W. 466, N. 431, V. 750.


I made my way into the (abode of the) potters of the age,
Every moment shewed some new skill with clay;
I saw, though men devoid of vision saw it not,
My ancestors' dust on the hands of every potter.

Ref.: C. 488, L. 721, B. 710, P. 101, B. ii. 543.—W 493, V. 773.


And 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.

This quatrain is taken from ll. 1 and 2 of O. 81

Every draught that the Cup-bearer scatters upon the earth
Quenches the fire of anguish in some burning eye.

Ref.: O. 81, C. 180, L. 367, B. 363, S.P. 188, P. 231, B. ii. 241, P. v. 187.—W. 203, N. 188, V. 366.


As then the Tulip for her morning sup
Of Heav'nly Vintage from the soil looks up,
Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav'n
To Earth invert you—like an empty Cup.

The original of this quatrain is C. 37.

Like a tulip in the spring uplift your cup;
If you get a (happy) opportunity with a moon-faced one,
Drink wine with cheerfulness, for this worn-out sky
Will suddenly invert you to the level of the earth.

Ref.: C. 37, L. 136, B. 133, S.P. 39, B. ii. 84, T. 40 and 311.—W 44, N. 40, V. 135.



Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow's tangle to the winds resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine.

The sentiment of this quatrain is very recurrent. I think that FitzGerald's first inspiration comes from O. 73.

Set limits to thy desire for worldly things and live content,
Sever the bonds of thy dependence upon the good and bad of life,
Take wine in hand and (play with) the curls of a loved one; for quickly
All passeth away—and these few days will not remain.

Ref.: O. 73, C. 179, L. 256, B. 253, S.P. 176.—W. 191, N. 176, V. 262.

Ll. 3 and 4 of O. 118 suggest the quatrain also.

Let us cease to strive after our long delaying hope[51]
And play with long ringlets and the handle of the lute.

Ref.: O. 118, L. 571, B. 564, S.P. 293, B. ii. 391.—W. 332, N. 294, V. 611.

Ll. 1 and 2 of O. 131 are also in point:

Flee from the study of all sciences—'tis better thus,
And twine thy fingers in the curly locks of a loved one—'tis better thus.

Ref.: O. 131, C. 443, L. 670, B. 662, S.P. 356, P. 296, B. ii. 480, T. 276, P. v. 158.—W. 426, N. 359, V. 719.

FitzGerald was probably «reminded of» these by Nicolas whose quatrains 48, 155, and 359 (C. 443) convey the same idea.



And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in what All begins and ends in—Yes;
Think then you are To-day what Yesterday
You were—To-morrow you shall not be less.

The inspiration for this quatrain is contained in the following, O. 102 and C. 412.

Khayyam, if thou art drunk with wine,[52] be happy,
If thou reposest with one tulip-cheeked, be happy,
Since the end of all things is that thou wilt be naught,
Whilst thou art, imagine that thou art not—be happy!

Ref.: O. 102, C. 291, L. 454, B. 450, S.P. 241, P. 202, B. ii. 322, T. 192 and 296, P. iv. 26, P. v. 5.—W. 282, N. 242, V. 493.

Remember not the day that has passed away from thee,
Be not hard upon the morrow that has not come,
Think not about thine own coming or departure,
Drink wine now, and fling not thy life to the winds.

Ref.: C. 412, L. 619, B. 611, P. 116, B. ii. 444, P. v. 121.—V. 666.


So when that Angel of the darker Drink
At last shall find you by the river-brink,
And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul
Forth to your Lips to quaff—you shall not shrink.

This quatrain owes its origin to C. 256.[53]


In the circle of the firmament, whose depths are invisible,
There is a cup which, in due time, they will cause all to drink;
When thy turn comes, do not utter lamentations,
Drink wine gaily for it has come to be thy turn.

Ref.: C. 256, L. 408, B. 404, B. ii. 273.—W. 254, V. 431.


Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
Were't not a Shame—were't not a Shame for him
In this clay carcase crippled to abide?

This quatrain is translated from O. 145.

Oh Soul! if thou canst purify thyself from the dust of the body,
Thou, naked spirit, canst soar in the heavens,
The Empyrean is thy sphere—let it be thy shame,
That thou comest and art a dweller within the confines of earth.[54]

Ref.: O. 145, C. 447, L. 707, B. 697, S.P. 389, P. 111, B. ii. 523.—W. 436, N. 394, E.C. 7, V. 759.


'Tis but a Tent where takes his one day's rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest.

This quatrain is translated from C. no. 110.


Khayyam! thy body surely resembles a tent;
The soul is a Sultan and the halting-place is the perishable world,
The ferrash of fate, preparing for the next halting-place,
Will overthrow this tent when the Sultan has arisen.[55]

Ref.: C. 110, L. 100, B. 96, S.P. 80, B. ii. 95, T. 86, P. v. 172.—W. 82, N. 80, V. 100.


And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour'd
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.

FitzGerald was indebted for this quatrain to N. 137. The original ruba'i is not in O. or C.

Khayyam! although the pavilion of heaven
Has spread its tent and closed the door upon all discussion,
In the goblet of existence, like bubbles of wine
The Eternal Saki brings to light a thousand Khayyams.

Ref.: N. 137,[56] W. 161, V. 397.


When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast.

In this quatrain FitzGerald is «reminded of» O. 26 and 51 by N. 123.


Know this—that from thy soul thou shalt be separated,
Thou shalt pass behind the Curtain of the Secrets of God.

Ref.: O. 26, C. 83, L. 192, B. 189, S.P. 85, B. ii. 110, T. 64, P. v. J 34.—W. 87, N. 85, V. 188.

My coming was of no profit to the heavenly sphere,[57]
And by my departure nothing will be added to its beauty and dignity.

Ref.: O. 51, C. 129, L. 232, B. 229, S.P. 157, P. 55, B. ii. 158, T. 104.—W. 176, N. 157, E.C. 17, V. 239.

Oh! how long we shall be no more, and the world will continue to exist,
It will continue to exist without fame or sign of us,
Long ago we existed not, and (the world) was none the worse for it,
Afterwards, when we have ceased to exist, it will be all the same.

Ref.: N. 123, W. 150, V. 395.


A Moment's Halt—a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amidst the waste—
And Lo!—the phantom Caravan has reach'd
The Nothing it set out from—Oh, make haste!

We must consider here the form in which this quatrain first made its appearance in the edition of 1859:

One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste—
The stars are setting, and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of Nothing—Oh, make haste!

The inspiration for this richly varied quatrain comes from O. 60.


This caravan of life passes by mysteriously;
Mayest thou seize the moment that passes happily!
Cup-bearer, why grieve about the to-morrow of thy patrons?[58]
Give us a cup of wine, for the night wanes.

Ref.: O. 60, C. 135, L. 245, B. 242, P. 223, S.P. 106, B. ii. 146, T. 139.—W. 136, N. 106, V. 251.

Ll. 3 and 4 of C. 368 may also be quoted:

(Man is) a toil-stricken being, fashioned in the clay of affliction,
He tasted of Earth for a time and passed away.

Ref.: C. 368, L. 566, B. 559, S.P. 301, B. ii. 404, T. 242.—W. 338, N. 302, V. 606.


Would you that spangle of Existence spend
About the Secret—quick about it, Friend!
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True—
And upon what, prithee, may life depend?


A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
Yes; and a single Alif were the clue—
Could you but find it—to the Treasure-house,
And peradventure to The Master too;

This pair of quatrains must also be considered together. The idea contained in them is, I think, collected from C. 482 and 19, and from O. 28.

Oh Boy! since thou art learned in all secrets,
Why grieve so much after vain cares?
If things will not shape themselves according to thy desire,
At any rate be happy in this moment of thy existence.

Ref.: C. 482, L. 714, B. 703, S.P. 414, B. ii. 560.—W. 458, N. 419, V. 766.


From the state of infidelity to that of faith is but a breath,
And from a state of doubt to that of certainty is but a breath,
Hold thou dear this one precious moment,
For of the outcome of our being there is but a moment.

Ref.: C. 19, L. 131, B. 127, S.P. 20, B. ii. 22, T. 20.—W. 24, N. 20, V. 130.

My Heart said to me: «I have a longing for inspired knowledge,
Teach me if thou art able,»
I said the Alif. My Heart said: «Say no more.
If One is in the house, one letter is enough.»[59]

Ref.: O. 28.—W. 109.


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;

In this quatrain FitzGerald has made a masterly conversion of C. 72.

That Moon which is by nature skilled in metamorphosis
Is sometimes animal and sometimes vegetable,
Do not imagine that it will become non-existent—away with thought!
It is always possessed of its essence though its qualities cease to be.[60]

Ref.: C. 72, L. 179, B. 176, S.P. 73, B. ii. 31, T. 51.—W. 75, N. 73, V. 175.

C. 40 may also be cited.


Place wine in my hand for my heart is aglow,
And this fleet-footed existence is like quicksilver.
Arise! for the wakefulness of good fortune turns to slumber;
Know thou that the fire of youth is (fugitive) like water.

Ref.: C. 40, L. 63, B. 60, S.P. 54, T. 45.—W. 57, N. 54, V. 62.

«From Mah to Mahi»—i.e., from Moon to Fish is a common Oriental metaphor for universality. See FitzGerald's note on this subject, and the Terminal Essay to my former volume, p. 309.


A moment guess'd—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.

This quatrain is translated from C. 479.

Hidden sometimes thou shewest thy face to none,
Sometimes thou appearest in the forms of created beings,
Thou exhibitest this spectacle to thyself.
Thou art thyself both the real thing seen and the spectator.

Ref.: C. 479, L. 705, B. 695, S.P. 437.—W. 475, N. 443, V. 757.


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?

The original of this quatrain is C. 24.


If the heart understood the secret of existence as it is,
In death it would know all the secrets of God:
If to-day thou knowest nothing, being with thyself,
What wilt thou know to-morrow when thou abandonest thyself?

Ref.: C. 24, L. 78, B. 74, S.P. 49, P. 85, B. ii. 106, T. 25.—W. 52, N. 49. V. 77.


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

The inspiration for this quatrain comes from O. 50 and O. 107:

Those who are the slaves of intellect and hair-splitting,[61]
Have perished in bickerings about existence and non-existence;
Go, thou dunce! and choose (rather) grape juice,
For the ignorant from (eating) dry raisins, have become (like) unripe grapes (themselves).[62]

Ref.: O. 50, L. 262, T. 102, P. v. 164.—W. 216, V. 267.

How long this talk about the eternity to come, and the eternity past?[63]
Now is the time of joy, there is no substitute for wine!
Both theory and practice have passed beyond my ken,
(But) Wine unties the knot of every difficulty.

Ref.: O. 107, C. 312, L. 489, B. 485, B. ii. 341, T. 213, P. v. 207.—W. 304, V. 259.



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.

This quatrain is translated from C. 175.

I will fill a one-maund goblet with wine,
I will enrich myself with two half-maunds of wine:
First I will thrice pronounce the divorce from learning and faith,[64]
And then I will take the daughter of the vine[65] to spouse.

Ref.: C. 175, L. 267, B. 263, P. 288, P. v. 209.—V. 271.


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.

This quatrain is translated from O. 120:

I know the outwardness of existence and non-existence,[66]
I know the inwardness of all that is high and low;
Nevertheless let me be ashamed of[67] my own knowledge
If I recognise any degree higher than drunkenness.

Ref.: O. 120, L. 523, B. 518, S.P. 299, P. 265, B. ii. 409, P. v. 38.—W. 336, N. 300, V. 563.



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

This quatrain owes its inspiration to C. 381 and O. 20, ll. 3 and 4:

My enemies erroneously have called me a philosopher,[68]
God knows I am not what they have called me;
But, as I have come into this nesting place of sorrow,
In the end I am in a still worse plight, for I know not who I am.

Ref.: C. 381, L. 580, B. 573, B. ii. 383, T. 259.—W. 350, V. 619.

Never has grief lingered in my mind concerning two days,[69]
The day that has not yet come, and the day that is past.

Ref.: O. 20, C. 23 and 55, L. 84, S.P. 22, B. 80, P. 162, B. ii. 24 and 88, P. ii. 2, T. 22 and 305, P. v. 140 and 186.—W. 26, N. 22 and 42, V. 83.


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!

This quatrain is a refined version of C. 297.


Yesterday, whilst drunk, I was passing a tavern,
I saw a drunken old man bearing a vessel on his shoulder.
I said, «Old man, does not God make thee ashamed?»
He replied, «God is merciful, go, drink wine!»

Ref.: C. 297, L. 462, B. 458, S.P. 243, P. 278, T. 197.—W. 284, N. 244, V. 501.


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;

This quatrain is translated from O. 77.

Drink wine, that will banish thine abundant woes.
And will banish thought of the Seventy-two Sects;
Avoid not the Alchemist,[70] from whom
Thou takest one draught, and he banishes a thousand calamities.

Ref.: O. 77, C. 165, L. 305, B. 301, S.P. 179, P. 283, T. 112, P. v. 152.—W. 194, V. 308.


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.

This reference to Mahmoud the Ghasnavide, who made war upon the black infidels of Hindostan, comes from an apologue in the Mantik ut-tair of Ferid ud din Attar, (beginning at distich 3117). The last two lines come from O. 81, ll. 3 and 4.


Praise be to God! thou realizest that wine
Is a juice that frees thy heart from a hundred pains.

Ref.: O. 81, C. 180, L. 367, B. 363, S.P. 188, P. 231, B. ii. 241, P. v. 187.—W. 203, N. 188, V. 366.


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?

The inspiration for this quatrain is contained in O. 75.

I drink wine, and everyone drinks who, like me, is worthy of it;
My wine-drinking is but a small thing to Him;
God knew on the Day of Creation, that I should drink wine;
If I do not drink wine God's knowledge would be ignorance.

Ref.: O. 75, C. 202, L. 356, B. 352, S.P. 182, P. 324, B. ii. 234, T. 129, P. v. 181.—W. 197, N. 182, V. 355.


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!

This quatrain is taken from C. 505 and O. 143, ll. 3 and 4.

They say, «Do not drink wine for thou wilt suffer for it,
On the Day of Rewards thou wilt be cast into the fire.»
That is so; but what is worth both the worlds
Is the moment when thou art elated with wine.

Ref.: C. 505, L. 748, B. 734, P. 250, B. ii. 587.—V. 800.


Make thyself a heaven here with wine and cup,
For at that place where heaven is, thou mayst arrive, or mayst not.

Ref.: O. 143, C. 495. L. 733, B. 721, S.P. 379, P. 209, B. ii. 529, P. v. 129.—W. 427, N. 383, V. 786.


Oh 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.

The inspiration for this quatrain comes from O. 35 of which ll. 1 and 2 are quoted as parallel to quatrain No. 24 ante.

Take care that thou tellest not this hidden secret to anyone
The tulips that are withered will never bloom again.

Ref.: O. 35, C. 80, L. 188, B. 185, P. 284, T. 60.—W. 107, V. 184.


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.

This is a constantly recurring image in the ruba'iyat. C. 36 and 270 may be cited:

I have travelled far in a wandering by valley and desert,
It came to pass I wandered in all quarters of the world,
I have not heard from anyone who came from that road,
The road he has travelled, no traveller travels again.

Ref.: C. 36, L. 57, B. 54. T. 39.—W. 129, V. 56.


Of all the travellers upon this long road,
Where is he that has returned, that he may tell us the secret?
Take heed that in this mansion (by way of metaphor)
Thou leavest nothing, for thou wilt not come back.

Ref.: C. 270, L. 424, B. 420, S.P. 216, P. 121, B. ii. 286, P. v. 9.—W. 258, N. 217, V. 462.

C. 211 and 277 contain the same image.


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.

This quatrain is translated from C. 127.

Those who have become oceans of excellence and cultivation,
And from the collection of their perfections have become lights of their fellows,
Have not made a road out of this dark night,
They have told a fable and have gone to sleep.

Ref.: C. 127, L. 261, B. 258, P. 86, T. 101.—W. 209, N. 464, V. 266.


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»:

This quatrain is inspired by O. 15.


Already on the Day of Creation, beyond the heavens, my soul
Searched for the Tablet and Pen, and for heaven and hell,
At last the Teacher said to me with His enlightened judgment,
«Tablet and Pen, and heaven and hell, are within thyself.»[71]

Ref.: O. 15, L. 59, B. 56, P. 114, B. ii. 69, P. v. 79—W. 114, V. 58.


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.

The inspiration for this verse comes from O. 33.

The heavenly vault is a girdle (cast) from my weary body.
Jihun[72] is a water-course worn by my filtered tears,
Hell is a spark from my useless worries,
Paradise is a moment of time when I am tranquil.

Ref.: O. 33, C. 90, L. 199, B. 196, S.P. 90, P. 148, T. 70, P. v. 183.—W. 92, N. 90, V. 195.

FitzGerald's verse was evidently also influenced by distich 1866 of the Mantik ut-tair.

Heaven and hell are reflections, the one of thy goodness, and the other of thy wrath.



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;

This quatrain is translated from O. 108.

This vault of heaven beneath which we stand bewildered,
We know to be a sort of magic-lantern:[73]
Know thou that the sun is the flame and the universe is the lamp,
We are like figures that revolve in it.

Ref.: O. 108, C. 332, L. 505, B. 501, S.P. 266, P. 40, B. ii. 356, P. iv. 34.—W. 310, N. 267, E.C. 28, de T. 10, V. 545.


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.

This quatrain is translated from O. 94.

To speak plain language, and not in parables,
We are the pieces and heaven plays the game,
We are played together in a baby-game upon the chess-board of existence,
And one by one we return to the box of non-existence.

Ref.: O. 94, C. 280, L. 443, B. 439, S.P. 230, P. 31, B. ii. 291, T. 183, P. v. 10.—W. 270, N. 231, E.C. 27, V. 480.



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!

This quatrain is translated from C. 422.

O thou who art driven like a ball by the mallet of Fate,
Go to the right or take the left, but say nothing;[74]
For He who set thee running and galloping
He knows, he knows, he knows, he——.

Ref.: C. 422, L. 633, B. 625, P. 167, B. ii. 462, T. 274.—W. 401, V. 682.


The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

The origin of this quatrain is to be found in O. 31

From the beginning[75] was written what shall be;
Unhaltingly the Pen (writes) and is heedless of good and bad;
On the First Day He appointed everything that must be—
Our grief and our efforts are vain.

Ref.: O. 31, C. 87, L. 195, B. 192, S.P. 31, B. ii. 60, T. 67, P. v. 211.—W. 35, N. 31, V. 191.



And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help—for It
As Impotently moves as you or I.

The inspiration for this quatrain comes from O. 134, ll. 1 and 2, and O. 41.

This heavenly vault is like a bowl fallen upside down,
Under which all the wise have fallen helpless.

Ref.: O. 134, C. 435, L. 657, B. 649, S.P. 360, P. 34, B. ii. 481, P. v. 154.—W. 408, N. 363, V. 706.

The good and the bad that are in man's nature,
The happiness and misery that are predestined for us,
Do not impute them to the heavens, for, in the way of Wisdom,
Those heavens are a thousandfold more helpless than thou art.

Ref.: O. 41, C. 62, L. 80, B. 76, S.P. 95, P. 45.—W. 96, N. 95, V. 79.


With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
And the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

In this quatrain we trace the influence of O. 31 (quoted in the parallel to quatrain No. 71, ante) and of O. 95.


Oh, heart! since, in this world, truth itself is hyperbole,
Why art thou so disquieted with this trouble and abasement?
Resign thy body to destiny and adapt thyself to the times,
For, what the Pen has written, it will not re-write for thy sake.[76]

Ref.: O. 95, L. 430, B. 426, S.P. 215, P. 59, B. ii. 292.—W. 257, N. 216, E.C. 15, V. 468.


Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

The first half of this quatrain comes from O. 152 and the second half from O. 26, ll. 3 and 4.

Be happy! they settled thy business yesterday,
And beyond the reach of all thy longings is yesterday,
Live happily, for without any importunity on thy part yesterday,
They appointed with certainty what thou wilt do to-morrow—yesterday!

Ref.: O. 152, C. 473, L. 702, B. ii. 564, P. v. 196.—W. 489, V. 754.

Be happy!—thou knowest not whence thou hast come:
Drink wine!—thou knowest not whither thou shalt go.

Ref.: O. 26, C. 83, L. 192, B. 189, S.P. 85, B. ii. 110, T. 64, P. v. 34.—W 87, N. 85, V. 188.



I tell you this—When, started from the Goal,
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
Of Heav'n, Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul.

This quatrain is translated from C. 147.

On that day when they saddled the wild horses of the Sun,
And settled the laws of Parwin and Mushtari,[77]
This was the lot decreed for me from the Diwan of Fate:
How can I sin? (my sins) are what Fate allotted me as my portion.

Ref.: C. 147, L. 286, B. 282, S.P. 110.—W. 140, N. 110, V. 289.


The Vine had struck a fibre; which about
If clings my Being—let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

The sentiment of this quatrain is contained in C. 143.

Since Eternity itself was He created me,
From the first he dictated to me the lesson of love,
At that time a small filing of the dust of my heart,
He made into a key of the treasure-house of substance.[78]

Ref.: C. 143, L. 311, B. 307, P. 81, T. 134.—V. 314.



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.

This quatrain is translated from O. 2.

If I talk of the mystery with Thee in a tavern,
It is better than if I make my devotions before the Mihrab[79] without Thee.
O Thou, the first and last of all created beings,
Burn me an Thou wilt, cherish me an Thou wilt.

Ref.: O. 2, C. 272, L. 427, B. 423, S.P. 221, P. 7, B. ii. 294, T. 172.—W. 262, N. 222, V. 465.


What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of everlasting Penalties, if broke!

It is not easy to deal with this and the three following quatrains separately, the sentiments of all four being closely interchangeable and largely identical. To avoid confusion, however, I have attempted the task. There are some scores of ruba'iyat that may be said to have contributed their imageries to the quatrain. The main sources of the first of them seem to be C. 85 and N. 226:

God, when he fashioned the clay of my body,
Knew by my making what would come of it;
(Since) there is no sin of mine without his order
Why should he seek to burn me at the Day of Resurrection?

Ref.: C. 85, L. 194, B. 191, S.P. 99, P. 18, T. 66.—W. 100, N. 99, V. 190.


Thou knowest that abstinence from that (sin) is impossible,
Having (nevertheless) ordered and ordained abstinence from it;
Thus between the order and the prohibition we stand helpless,
We mortals are helpless at the permission to slant
(the cup) but not to spill (its contents).[80]

Ref.: N. 226, L. 442, B. 438, S.P. 225, P. 317, B. ii. 297, T. 180.—W. 265, V. 479.


What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay'd—
Sue for a Debt he never did contract,
And cannot answer—Oh the sorry trade!

This quatrain would seem to be specially inspired by C. 201 and 433, which are so much alike (ll. 2, 3, and 4 are practically identical in both) that one or the other is obviously the addition of a later scribe.

When they mixed the earth of my shaping-mould,
They produced an hundred wonders from me;[81]
I cannot be better than I am,
For this is how I was turned out of the crucible.

Ref.: C. 201, L. 355, B. 351, T. 128.—W. 221, V. 354.


Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!


This quatrain is translated from O. 148.

In a thousand places on the road I walk, Thou placest snares,
Thou say'st «I will catch thee if thou settest foot in them,»
In no smallest thing is the world independent of Thee,
Thou orderest all things, and (yet) callest me rebellious!

Ref.: O. 148, B. ii. 546.—W. 432, N. 390.


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!
       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

This is a very composite quatrain, round which some controversy has raged. Professor Cowell has given the weight of his authority to the statement that «there is no original for the line about the snake.» This is true in so far as that the image does not occur in Omar, but FitzGerald had seen it in an important apologue in the Mantik ut-tair (beginning at distich 3229) in which we read of the presence of the Snake (Iblis) in Paradise, at the moment of the creation of Adam, and in the course of which, Satan himself addresses God thus:

If malediction comes from Thee, there comes also mercy,
The created thing is dependent upon Thee since Destiny is in Thy hands;
If malediction be my lot, I do not fear,
There must be poison, everything is not antidote.

The influence of the following is traceable in the quatrains, C. 115, C. 286, and C. 510:


I am a disobedient slave, where is Thy mercy?
My heart is dark, where is Thy light and clearness?
If, for serving Thee, Thou givest me heaven,
This a reward, but Thy grace and Thy gifts—where are they?

Ref.: C. 115, L. 217, B. 214, S.P. 91, P. 23.—W. 93, N. 91, V. 211.

Oh! Thou who knowest the secrets of the hearts of all,
Protector of all in their hours of helplessness:
Oh, Lord! grant me repentance and accept my excuses,
Oh! Thou who grantest repentance and acceptest the excuses of all.

Ref.: C. 286, L. 449, B. 445, S.P. 235, B. ii. 308, T. 188.—W. 276, N. 236, V. 488.

Professor Cowell attributes FitzGerald's quatrain to the above ruba'i. Vide the Editorial Note previously referred to.

The manager of the affairs of the dead and living art thou,
Thou art the keeper of this unstable heaven;
Though I am wicked, thou art my Master,
Who can sin, seeing that thou art the Creator (of all)?

Ref.: C. 510, L. 700, B. 691, S.P. 431, P. 2, B. ii. 584.—W. 471, N. 436, V. 753.


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.

LXXXVII (post).

FitzGerald constructed these three quatrains from O. 103.

I went last night into the workshop of a potter,
I saw two thousand pots, some speaking, and some silent;
Suddenly one of the pots cried out aggressively:—
«Where are the pot-maker, and the pot-buyer, and the pot-seller?»

Ref.: O. 103, C. 301, L. 470, B. 466, S.P. 242, P. 102, B. ii. 323, T. 202 and 297, P. v. 37.—W. 283, N. 243, E.C. 26, V. 509.

It will be observed that the reading of quatrain 87, l. 4, in the third edition of FitzGerald is close to this original. «Who makes—Who buys—Who sells—Who is the Pot?»

«Hunger stricken Ramazan» is described in C. 198.

They say that the moon of Ramazan[83] shines out again
Henceforth one cannot linger over the wine;
At the end of Sha'ban I will drink so much wine
That during Ramazan I may be found drunk until the festival (arrives).

Ref.: C. 198, L. 352, B. 348, S.P. 172, P. 347, B. ii. 216, T. 125.—W. 188, N. 172, V. 351. See also the quatrain from the «Notes,» p. 155.



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

The sentiment of this quatrain is traceable in C. 293.

There is a cup which wisdom loud acclaims,
And for its beauty gives it a hundred kisses on the brow,
Such a sweet cup, this Potter of the World
Makes, and then shatters it upon the ground.

Ref.: C. 293, L. 456, B. 452, B. ii. 321, T. 194.—W. 290, V. 495.


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.»

The inspiration for this quatrain comes from O. 19.

The elements of a cup which he has put together,
Their breaking up a drinker cannot approve;[84]
All these heads and feet—with his finger-tips,
For love of whom did he make them?—for hate of whom did he break them?

Ref.: O. 19, C. 64, L. 40, S.P. 37, P. ii. 7, P. 95, B. ii. 77, T. 309.—W. 42, N. 38, V. 220.


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?»


This quatrain is a perfect reflection and companion of all these Kuza Nama quatrains, but I have not found a ruba'i in O. or C. which can be pointed out as having directly inspired[85] it. It must, I think, be considered together with No. 88.


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.»

The inspiration for this quatrain, and I think for No. 86, comes from C. 69 and C. 159:

Since the Director set in order the elements of natures,
For what cause does He again disperse them into loss and deficiency?
If they are good, why should He break them?
And if they turn out bad, well, why is there any blame to these forms?

Ref.: C. 69, L. 103, B. 99, P. 94, B. ii. 107.—W. 126, V. 103.


They say that at the resurrection there will be much searching,
And that that excellent Friend will be hasty;
Nothing but good ever came from the Unalloyed Goodness,
Be happy! for the upshot will be all right!

Ref.: C. 159, L. 316, B. 312, S.P. 178, P. 197.—W. 193, N. 178, V. 318.


«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.»

This quatrain is inspired by C. 188 and O. 116:

At that moment when the plant of my existence shall be rooted up,
And its branches scattered in all directions;
If then they make a flagon of my clay,
When they fill it with wine it will live again.

Ref.: C. 188, S.P. 115.—N. 115.

When I am abased beneath the foot of Destiny,
And am rooted up from the hope of life,
Take heed that thou makest nothing but a goblet of my clay,
Haply when it is full of wine I may revive.

Ref.: O. 116, C. 345, L. 539, B. 534, S.P. 289, P. 227, B. ii. 385, T. 230, P. v. 146.—W. 330, N. 290, V. 579.



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 shoulder-knot a-creaking!»
       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

This quatrain which concludes the Kuza Nama is inspired by the concluding quatrain of O. 158.

The month of Ramazan passes and Shawwal comes,
The season of increase, and joy, and storytellers comes;
Now comes that time when «Bottles upon the shoulder!»
They say—for the porters come and are back to back.[86]

Ref.: O. 158.—W. 218.


Ah, with the Grape my fading life provide,
And wash the Body whence the Life has died,
And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
By some not unfrequented Garden-side.

This quatrain owes its inspiration to C. 12.

When I am dead wash me with wine,
Say my funeral service with pure wine,
If thou wishest that thou shouldst see me on the resurrection-day
Thou must seek me in the earth of the tavern threshold.

Ref.: C. 12, L. 13, B. 12, S.P. 7, P. 299, B. ii. 9, T. 12.—W 6, N. 7, V. 11

From a painting by I.R. Herbert

O. 69 may also be quoted:

Take heed to stay me with the wine-cup,
And make this amber[87] face like a ruby;
When I die, wash me with wine,
And out of the wood of the vine make the planks of my coffin.

Ref.: O. 69, C. 158, L. 308, B. 304, S.P. 109, P. 212, B. ii. 199, T. 143, P. v. 153.—W. 139, N. 109, V. 311.


That ev'n my buried Ashes such a snare
Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air
As not a True-believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

This quatrain is translated from C. 16.

I will drink so much wine that this aroma of wine
Shall rise from the earth when I am beneath it;
So that when a drinker shall pass above my body,
He shall become drunk and degraded from the aroma of my potations.

Ref.: C. 16, L. 28, B. 26, S.P. 14, B. ii. 11.—W. 17, N. 14, V. 27.


Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong;
Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

The inspiration for this quatrain comes from C. 170.


When my mood inclined to prayer and fasting,
I said that all my salvation was attained;
Alas! that those Ablutions[88] are destroyed by my pleasures,
And that Fast of mine is annulled by half a draught of wine.

Ref.: C. 170, L. 366, B. 362, S.P. 162, P. 343, B. ii. 207, T. 118.—W. 180, N. 162, V. 365.

The last line is suggested by O. 22.


Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

This quatrain is inspired by C. 431.

Every day I resolve to repent in the evening,
Making repentance of the brimful goblet and cup;
Now that the season of roses[89] has come, I cannot grieve
Give penitence for repentance in the season of roses, O Lord!

Ref.: C. 431, L. 655, B. 647 B. ii. 510.—W. 425, V. 704.


And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour—Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.


The original of this quatrain is O. 62.

Although wine has rent my veil (of reputation),
So long as I have a soul I will not be separated from wine;
I am in perplexity concerning vintners, for they—
What will they buy that is better than what they sell?

Ref.: O. 62, C. 196, L. 350, B. 346, P. 311, B. ii. 167, T. 123, P. iv. 63, P. v. 202.—W. 208, N. 463, E.C. 11, V. 350.


Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

This quatrain is translated from C. 223.

Alas! that the book of youth is folded up?
And that this fresh purple spring is winter-stricken;[90]
That bird of joy, whose name is Youth,
Alas! I know not when it came nor when it went.

Ref.: C. 223, L. 332, B. 328, S.P. 128, B. ii. 155, T. 161.—W. 155, N. 128, V. 334.


Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse—if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd,
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

This quatrain is inspired by C. 509.


Oh! would that there were a place of repose,
Or that we might come to the end of the road;
Would that from the heart of earth, after a hundred thousand years,
We might all hope to blossom again like the verdure.

Ref.: C. 509, L. 768, B. 754, S.P. 395, B. ii. 522.—W. 442, N. 400, V. 820.


Would but some wingéd Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!

This quatrain in its original form in the second edition was closer to the original Persian.

Oh if the World were but to re-create,
That we might catch ere closed the Book of Fate,
And make the Writer on a fairer leaf
Inscribe our names, or quite obliterate!

It owes its inspiration to N 457.

I would that God should entirely alter the world,
And that he should do it now, that I might see him do it;
And either that he should cross my name from the Roll,
Or else raise my condition from want to plenty.[91]

Ref.: N. 457, S.P. 451.—W. 486, V. 841.



Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits—and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!
       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

This quatrain is translated from C. 395.

Had I, like God, control of the heavens,
Would I not do away with the heavens altogether,
Would I not so construct another heaven from the beginning
That, being free, one might attain to the heart's desire?

Ref.: C. 395, L. 594, B. 587, S.P. 337, P. 98, B. ii, 450, T. 268.—W. 379, N. 340, V. 641.


Yon rising moon that looks for us again—
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden—and for one in vain.

This quatrain in its various forms is inspired by O. 5.

Since no one will guarantee thee a to-morrow,
Make thou happy now this lovesick heart;[92]
Drink wine in the moonlight, O Moon, for the moon[93]
Shall seek us long and shall not find us.

Ref.: O. 5, C. 7, L. 5, S.P. 8, P. 219, B. 4, B. ii. 8, T. 6, P. v. 168.—W. 7, N. 8, E.C. 5, V. 4.



And when like her, Oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made One—turn down an empty Glass!

This quatrain is taken from O. 83 and 84.

Friends when ye hold a meeting together,
It behoves ye warmly to remember your friend;
When ye drink wholesome wine together,
And my turn comes, turn (a goblet) upside down.

Ref.: O. 83.—W. 234, V. 459.

Friends, when with consent ye make a tryst together,
And take delight in one another's charms,
When the Cup-bearer takes (round) in his hand the Mugh[94] wine,
Remember a certain helpless one in your benediction.

Ref.: O. 84, L. 290, B. 286, S.P. 191, P. 226, B. ii. 245.—W. 205, N. 192, V. 293.



In addition to the quatrains composing the final form in which we know his poem, there are a few stray quatrains scattered about Edward FitzGerald's Introduction and Notes. There are also two quatrains which appeared in the first edition only, and nine that appeared in the second edition only. I do not think that this work would be complete without an attempt to identify these quatrains in the original texts which inspired them.


Page 4.

Khayyam, who stitched the Tents of Science,
Has fallen in Grief's furnace and been suddenly burned;
The shears of Fate have cut the tent-ropes of his life,
And the Broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!

The quatrain upon p. 4 is a literal translation by Prof. Cowell of O. 22.

Ref.: O. 22, C. 59, L. 74, B. 70, S.P. 81, P. 205, B. ii. 94, T. 307, P. iv. 65, P. v. 195.—W. 83, N. 81, V. 73.

Page 7.

Oh, Thou who burn'st in Heart for those who burn
In Hell, whose fires thyself shall feed in turn;
How long be crying, «Mercy on them, God!»
Why, who art Thou to teach, and He to learn?

The quatrain upon p. 7 is FitzGerald's rendering of C. I.


O, burnt one (born) of the burnt! destined in turn to burn,
And oh, thou! from whom the fires of Hell shall blaze,[96]
How long wilt thou keep saying, «Have mercy upon Omar!»
Wilt thou be a teacher of mercy to God?

Ref.: C. 1, L. 769, B. 755, S.P. 453, P. ii. 1, B. ii. 537, T. 1.—W. 488, N. 459, V. 821.

Page 7.

If I myself upon a looser Creed
Have loosely strung the Jewel of Good deed,
Let this one thing for my Atonement plead.
That One for Two I never did misread.

The quatrain on p. 7 is FitzGerald's rendering of O. 1.

If I have never threaded the pearl[97] of thy service,
And if I have never wiped the dust of sin from my face,
Nevertheless, I am not hopeless of thy mercy,
For the reason that I have never said that One was Two.[98]

Ref.: O. 1, C. 274, L. 423, B. 419, P. 4, S.P. 228, B. ii. 302, P. iv. 8.—W. 268, N. 229, V. 461.




The Palace that to Heav'n his pillars threw,
And Kings the forehead on his threshold drew—
I saw the solitary Ringdove there,
And «Coo, coo, coo!» she cried, and «Coo, coo, coo.»

The quatrain in the note to quatrain No. 18 is translated from C. 419.

That palace that reared its pillars up to heaven,
Kings prostrated themselves upon its threshold;
I saw a dove that, upon its battlements,
Uttered its cry: «Where, where, where, where?»[99]

Ref.: C. 419, L. 627, B. 619, S.P. 347, P. 140, B. ii. 459, P. iv. 13.—W. 392, N. 350, V. 677.


Be of Good Cheer—the sullen Month will die,
And a young Moon requite us by and by:
Look how the Old one, meagre, bent, and wan
With Age and Past, is fainting from the Sky!

The quatrain in the note to quatrain No. 90 is translated from C. 218.

Be happy! for the moon of thy festival will come,
The means of mirth will all be propitious;
This moon has become lean, bent-figured and thin,
Thou may'st say that it will sink under this trouble.

Ref.: C. 218, B. ii. 186.




Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
Asking, «What Lamp had Destiny to guide
«Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?»
And—«A blind Understanding» Heav'n replied.


But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The quarrel of the Universe let be;
And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.


Ah! fill the Cup—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet?
Unborn To-morrow and dead Yesterday.
Why fret about them if To-day be sweet?

In the first edition we find quatrain No. 33, which, like its distant cousin in the fourth edition (No. 34), appears to have no near parallel in the texts. No. 45 is a quatrain in a like predicament, and it may be for this reason that FitzGerald dropped it out of all subsequent editions.

The only other quatrain peculiar to the first edition is No. 37. This would appear to have been inspired by ll. 3 and 4 of O. 20, quoted in the parallels to quatrain No. 57 and by O. 17, ll. 3 and 4.

Nothing thou canst say of yesterday, that is past, is sweet;
Be happy and do not speak of yesterday, for to-day is sweet.

Ref.: O. 17, C. 84, L. 193, B. 190, P. 126, B. ii. 59, T. 65 and 352, P. iv. 68, P. v. 62.—W 112, E.C. 6, V. 189.



The quatrains peculiar to the second edition are as follows:


Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
The Thread of present Life away to win—
What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!

This quatrain is inspired by O. 136.

How long shall I grieve about what I have or have not,
And whether I shall pass this life light-heartedly or not?
Fill up the wine-cup, for I do not know
That I shall breathe out the breath that I am drawing in.

Ref.: O. 136, C. 504 and 427, L. 740, B. 726, S.P. 362, P. 207, B. ii. 484, P. v. 64.—W. 411, N. 366, V. 730.


This was replaced by No. 63 in the fourth and fifth editions, taken from the same original.


Do you, within your little hour of Grace,
The waving Cypress in your Arms enlace,
Before the Mother back into her arms
Fold, and dissolve you in a last embrace.

The sentiment of this quatrain is traceable in C. 189, ll. 1 and 2, and in C. 195.


Be happy! for the time will come
(When) all bodies will be hidden in the earth.

Ref.: C. 189, L. 393, B. 389, S.P. 160, B. ii. 203.—N. 160, V. 390.

My whole mood is in sympathy with rosy cheeks,
My hand is always grasping the wine cup;
I exact from every part (of me) its allotted function,
Ere that those parts (of me) be mingled with the all.

Ref.: C. 195, L. 349, B. 345, S.P. 163, P. 287, B. ii. 206, T. 122.—W. 181, N. 163, V. 349.


If but the Vine and Love-abjuring Band
Are in the Prophet's Paradise to stand,
Alack, I doubt the Prophet's Paradise
Were empty as the hollow of one's Hand.

This quatrain is inspired by O. 127 and by C. 60.

To drink wine and consort with a company of the beautiful
Is better than practising the hypocrisy of the zealot;
If the lover and the drunkard are doomed to hell,
Then no one will see the face of heaven.

Ref.: O. 127, L. 608, B. 601, S.P. 339, P. 330, B. ii. 453, P. v. 151.—W. 381, N. 342, V. 655.

FitzGerald was evidently «reminded of» this by N. 64 which is C. 60.

They say that drunkards will go to hell,
It is a repugnant creed, the heart cannot believe it;
If drunken lovers are doomed to hell,
To-morrow heaven will be bare like the palm of one's hand.

Ref.: C. 60, L. 158, B. 155, S.P. 64, T. 308, P. v. 29.—W. 67, N 64, V. 156.



For let Philosopher and Doctor preach
Of what they will, and what they will not,—each
Is but one Link in an eternal Chain
That none can slip, or break, or over-reach.

For this quatrain I can find neither authority nor inspiration.


Nay, but, for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.

I think the inspiration for this must have been C. 8.

No man is he whom his fellow men spurn,
And (at the same time) for fear of his malice number among the good;
If a drunkard shows reluctance in generosity,
All his fellow drunkards hold him to be a mean fellow.

Ref.: C. 8, L. 3, B. ii. 15, T. 9.—V. 416.


And once again there gather'd a scarce heard
Whisper among them; as it were, the stirr'd
Ashes of some all but extinguisht Tongue,
Which mine ear kindled into living Word.

This was a fourth quatrain evolved out of O. 103. Vide quatrains Nos. 82, 83, and 87 ante.



Whither resorting from the vernal Heat
Shall Old Acquaintance Old Acquaintance greet,
Under the Branch that leans above the Wall
To shed his Blossom over head and feet.

This quatrain, interpolated after No. 91 of the fourth edition (= No. 98 of the second edition), is an elaboration founded upon the story told by Nizam ul-Mulk and recorded by FitzGerald in his Introduction.


Better, oh better, cancel from the Scroll
Of Universe one luckless Human Soul,
Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that rolls
Hoarser with Anguish as the Ages roll.

This quatrain, interpolated after the quatrain which became No. XCVIII. in the fourth edition, was no doubt inspired by N. 457 (q.v. sub No. 98 ante) and by O. 54.

What the Pen has written never changes,
And grieving only results in deep affliction;
Even through all thy life thou weepest tears of blood,
Not one drop becomes increased beyond what it is.

Ref.: O. 54, B. ii. 144.




I. In ed. 2:

Wake! For the Sun behind yon Eastern height
Has chased the Session of the Stars from Night;
And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.

In the first draft of ed. 3 the first and second lines stood thus

Wake! For the Sun before him into Night
A Signal flung that put the Stars to flight.

II. In ed. 2:

Why lags the drowsy Worshipper outside?

V. In edd. 2 and 3:

But still a Ruby gushes from the Vine.

IX. In edd. 2 and 3:

Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say.

X. In ed. 2:

Let Rustum cry «To Battle!» as he likes,
Or Hatim Tai «To Supper!»—heed not you

In ed. 3:

Let Zal and Rustum thunder as they will.


XII. In ed. 2:

Here with a little Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse—and Thou, etc.

XIII. In ed. 2:

Ah, take the Cash, and let the Promise go,
Nor heed the music of a distant Drum!

XX. In ed. 2:

And this delightful Herb whose living Green.

XXII. In edd. 2 and 3:

That from his Vintage rolling Time has prest.

XXVI. In edd. 2 and 3.

Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust.

XXVII. In ed. 2:

Came out by the same door as in I went.

XXVIII. In edd. 2 and 3.

And with my own hand wrought to make it grow.

XXX. In ed. 2.

Ah, contrite Heav'n endowed us with the Vine
To drug the memory of that insolence!

XXXI. In ed. 2:

And many Knots unravel'd by the Road.

XXXII. In edd. 2 and 3:

There was the Veil through which I could not see.

XXXIII. In ed. 2:

Nor Heav'n, with those eternal Signs reveal'd.

XXXIV. In ed. 2:

Then of the Thee in Me who works behind
The Veil of Universe I cried to find
A Lamp to guide me through the darkness; and
Something then said—«An Understanding blind.»

XXXV. In ed. 2:

I lean'd, the secret Well of Life to learn.


XXXVI. In ed. 2:

And drink; and that impassive Lip I kiss'd.

XXXVIII. In ed. 2 the only difference is «For» instead of «And» in the first line; but in the first draft of ed. 3 the stanza appeared thus:

For, in your Ear a moment—of the same
Poor Earth from which that Human Whisper came,
The luckless Mould in which Mankind was cast
They did compose, and call'd him by the name.

In ed. 3 the first line was altered to—

Listen—a moment listen!—Of the same, etc.

XXXIX. In ed. 2:

On the parcht herbage but may steal below.

XL. In ed. 2:

As then the Tulip for her wonted sup
Of Heavenly Vintage lifts her chalice up,
Do you, twin offspring of the soil, till Heav'n
To Earth invert you like an empty Cup.

In the first draft of ed. 3 the stanza is the same as in edd. 3 and 4, except that the second line is—

Of Wine from Heav'n her little Tass lifts up.

XLI. In ed. 2 and the first draft of ed. 3:

Oh, plagued no more with Human or Divine
To-morrow's tangle to itself resign.

XLII. In ed. 2:

And if the Cup you drink, the Lip you press,
End in what All begins and ends in—Yes;
Imagine then you are what heretofore
You were—hereafter you shall not be less.

The first draft of ed. 3 agrees with edd. 3 and 4, except that the first line is—

And if the Cup, and if the Lip you press.


XLIII. In ed. 2:

So when at last the Angel of the drink
Of Darkness finds you by the river-brink,
And, proffering his Cup, invites your Soul
Forth to your Lips to quaff it—do not shrink.

In the first draft of ed. 3 the only change made was from «proffering» to «offering,» but in ed. 3 the stanza assumed the form in which it also appeared in ed. 4. The change from «the Angel» to «that Angel» was made in MS. by FitzGerald in a copy of ed. 4.

XLIV. In ed. 2:

Is't not a shame—is't not a shame for him
So long in this Clay suburb to abide!

XLV. In ed. 2:

But that is but a Tent wherein may rest.

XLVI. In ed. 2:

And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, should lose, or know the type no more.

XLVII. In ed. 2:

As much as Ocean of a pebble-cast.

In ed. 3:

As the Sev'n Seas should heed a pebble-cast.

XLVIII. In ed. 2:

One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste—
The Stars are setting, and the Caravan
Draws to the Dawn of Nothing—Oh make haste.

In the first draft of ed. 3 the third line originally stood:

Before the starting Caravan has reach'd

the rest of the stanza being as in edd. 3 and 4.



XLIX. In ed. 2:

A Hair, they say, divides the False and True.

The change from «does» to «may» in the last line was made by FitzGerald in MS.

L. In ed. 2:

A Hair, they say, divides the False and True.

LII. In edd. 2 and 3:

He does Himself contrive, enact, behold.

LIII. In the first draft of ed. 3:

To-morrow, when You shall be You no more.

LIV. In ed. 2:

Better be merry with the fruitful Grape.

LV. In ed. 2:

You know, my Friends, how bravely in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse.

LVII. In ed. 2:

Have squared the Year to Human Compass, eh?
If so, by striking from the Calendar.

LXII. In ed. 2

When the frail Cup is crumbled into Dust!

LXIII. In ed. 2:

The Flower that once is blown for ever dies.

LXV. In edd. 2 and 3:

They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd.

LXVI. In ed. 2:

And after many days my Soul return'd
And said, «Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Hell.»

LXVII. In ed. 2:

And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire.

LXVIII. In ed. 2:

Of visionary Shapes that come and go
Round with this Sun-illumin'd Lantern held.

LXIX. In ed. 2:

Impotent Pieces of the Game He plays.

LXX. In ed. 2:

But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes.


LXXII. In ed. 2 and the first draft of ed. 3:

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky.

In edd. 2 and 3:

As impotently rolls as you or I.

LXXIX. In ed. 2:

Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd.

LXXXI. In ed. 2:

For all the Sin the Face of wretched Man
Is black with—Man's Forgiveness give—and take!

LXXXIII. In ed. 2:

And once again there gather'd a scarce heard
Whisper among them; as it were, the stirr'd
Ashes of some all but extinguisht Tongue
Which mine ear kindled into living Word.

LXXXIV. In ed. 2:

My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to shapeless Earth again?

LXXXV. In ed. 2

Another said—«Why, ne'er a peevish Boy
Would break the Cup from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that of His own free Fancy made
The Vessel, in an after-rage destroy!»

LXXXVI. In ed. 2:

None answer'd this, but after silence spake.

LXXXVII. In ed. 2:

Thus with the Dead as with the Living, What?
And Why? so ready, but the Wherefor not,
One on a sudden peevishly exclaim'd,
«Which is the Potter, pray, and which the Pot?»


LXXXVIII. In ed. 2:

Said one—«Folks of a surly Master tell,
And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
They talk of some sharp Trial of us—Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well.»

In the first draft of ed. 3. the stanza begins:

«Why,» said another, «Dismal people tell
Of an old Savage who will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots,» etc.

LXXXIX. In ed. 2:

«Well,» said another, «Whoso will, let try.»

XC. In ed. 2:

One spied the little Crescent all were seeking.

XCI. In ed. 2:

And wash my Body whence the Life has died.

XCIII. In ed. 2:

Have done my credit in Men's eye much wrong.

XCV. In ed. 2:

One half so precious as the ware they sell.

XCVII. In ed. 2:

Toward which the fainting Traveller might spring.

XCVIII. In ed. 2:

Oh if the World were but to re-create,
That we might catch ere closed the Book of Fate,
And make The Writer on a fairer leaf
Inscribe our names, or quite obliterate!

XCIX. In ed. 2:

Ah Love! could you and I with Fate conspire.

C. In ed. 2:

But see! The rising Moon of Heav'n again
Looks for us, Sweet-heart, through the quivering Plane:
How oft hereafter rising will she look
Among those leaves—for one of us in vain!


CI. In ed. 2:

And when Yourself with silver Foot shall pass.

In the first draft of ed. 3 «Foot» is changed to «step.»

In ed. 3:

And in your blissful errand reach the spot.


XIV. Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
The Thread of present Life away to win—
What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!

XX. (This stanza is quoted in the note to stanza XVIII.
in the third and fourth editions.)

XXVIII. Another Voice, when I am sleeping, cries,
«The Flower should open with the Morning skies.»
And a retreating Whisper, as I wake—
«The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.»

XLIV. Do you, within your little hour of Grace,
The waving Cypress in your Arms enlace,
Before the Mother back into her arms
Fold, and dissolve you in a last embrace.

LXV. If but the Vine and Love-abjuring Band
Are in the Prophet's Paradise to stand,
Alack, I doubt the Prophet's Paradise
Were empty as the hollow of one's Hand.

LXXVII. For let Philosopher and Doctor preach
Of what they will, and what they will not—each
Is but one Link in an eternal Chain
123That none can slip, or break, or over-reach.

LXXXVI. Nay, but, for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace,
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.

XC. And once again there gather'd a scarce heard
Whisper among them; as it were, the stirr'd
Ashes of some all but extinguisht Tongue,
Which mine ear kindled into living Word.

(In the third and fourth editions stanza LXXXIII. takes the place of this.)

XCIX. Whither resorting from the vernal Heat
Shall Old Acquaintance Old Acquaintance greet,
Under the Branch that leans above the Wall
To shed his Blossom over head and feet.

(This was retained in the first draft of ed. 3.)

CVII. Better, oh better, cancel from the Scroll
Of Universe one luckless Human Soul,
Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that rolls
Hoarser with Anguish as the Ages Roll.




Ed. 1Ed. 2Edd. 3 and 4
Note on


It must be admitted that FitzGerald took great liberties with the original in his version of Omar Khayyam. The first stanza is entirely his own, and in stanza XXXI. of the fourth edition (XXXVI. in the second) he has introduced two lines from Attar. (See «Letters,» p. 251.) In stanza LXXXI. (fourth edition), writes Professor Cowell, «There is no original for the line about the snake: I have looked for it in vain in Nicolas; but I have always supposed that the last line is FitzGerald's mistaken version of Quatr. 236 in Nicolas's ed. which runs thus:

«O thou who knowest the secrets of every one's mind,
Who graspest every one's hand in the hour of weakness,
O God, give me repentance and accept my excuses,
O thou who givest repentance and acceptest the excuses of every one.

«FitzGerald mistook the meaning of giving and accepting as used here, and so invented his last line out of his own mistake. I wrote to him about it when I was in Calcutta; but he never cared to alter it.»





Omar is a poet who can hardly be translated satisfactorily otherwise than in verse. Prose does well enough for narrative or didactic poetry, where the main things to be reproduced are the matter and substance, but it is plainly contra-indicated in the case of poetry like Omar's, where the matter is little else than «the commonplaces of the lyric ode and the tragic chorus,» and where nearly the whole charm consists in the style and the manner, the grace of the expression and the melody of the versification. A literal prose version of such poetry must needs be unsatisfactory, because it studiously ignores the chief points in which the attractiveness of the original consists, and deliberately renounces all attempt to reproduce them.

In deciding on the form to be taken by a new translation of Omar, the fact of the existence of a previous verse translation of universally acknowledged merit ought not, of course, to be left out of account. The successor of a translator like Mr. Fitzgerald, who ventures to write verse, and especially verse of the metre which he has handled with such success, cannot help feeling at almost every step that he is provoking comparisons very much to his own disadvantage. But I do not think this consideration ought to deter him from using the vehicle which everything else indicates as the proper one.

As regards metre, there is no doubt that the quatrain of ten-syllable lines which has been tried by Hammer, Bicknell, and others, and has been raised by Mr. Fitzgerald almost to the rank of a recognised English metre, is the best representative of the Ruba'i. It fairly satisfies Conington's canon, viz., that there ought to be some degree of metrical conformity between the measure of the original and the translation, for though it does not132 exactly correspond with the Ruba'i, it very clearly suggests it. In particular, it copies what is perhaps the most marked feature of the Ruba'i,—the interlinking of the four lines by the repetition in the fourth line of the rhyme of the first and second. Mr Swinburne's modification of this metre, in which the rhyme is carried on from one quatrain to the next, is not applicable to poems like Omar's, all of which are isolated in sense from the context. Alexandrines would, of course, correspond more nearly than decasyllables with Ruba'i lines in number of syllables, and they have been extensively used by Bodenstedt and other German translators of the metre but, whatever may be the case in German, they are apt to read very heavily in English, even when constructed by skilful verse-makers, and an inferior workman can hardly hope to manage them with anything like success. The shorter length of the decasyllable line is not altogether a disadvantage to the translator. Owing to the large number of monosyllables in English, it is generally adequate to hold the contents of a Persian line a syllable or two longer; and a line erring, if at all, on the side of brevity, has at any rate the advantage of obliging the translator to eschew modern diffuseness, and of making him try to copy the «classical parsimony,» the archaic terseness and condensation of the original.

The poet Cowper has a remark on translation from Latin which is eminently true also of translation from Persian. He says, «That is epigrammatic and witty in Latin which would be perfectly insipid in English.... If a Latin poem is neat, elegant, and musical, it is enough, but English readers are not so easily satisfied.» Much of Omar's matter, when literally translated, seems very trite and commonplace, many of the «conceits,» of which he is so fond, very frigid, and even his peculiar grotesque humour often loses its savour in an English replica. The translator is often tempted to elevate a too grovelling sentiment, to «sharpen a point» here and there, to trick out a commonplace with some borrowed modern embellishment. But this temptation is one to be resisted as far as possible. According to the Hadis, «The business of a133 messenger is simply to deliver his message,» and he must not shrink from displaying the naked truth. A translator who writes in verse must of course claim the liberty of altering the form of the expression over and over again, but the substituted expressions ought to be in keeping with the author's style, and on the same plane of sentiment as his. It is beyond the province of a translator to attempt the task of «painting the lily.» But it is easier to lay down correct principles of translation than to observe them unswervingly in one's practice.

As regards subject matter, Omar's quatrains may be classed under the following six heads:—

I. Shikayat i rozgar—Complaints of «the wheel of heaven,» or fate, of the world's injustice, of the loss of friends, of man's limited faculties and destinies.

II. Hajw—Satires on the hypocrisy of the «unco' guid,» the impiety of the pious, the ignorance of the learned, and the untowardness of his own generation.

III. Firakiya and Wisaliya—Love-poems on the sorrows of separation and the joys of reunion with the Beloved, earthly or spiritual.

IV. Bahariya—Poems in praise of spring, gardens, and flowers.

V. Kufriya—Irreligious and antinomian utterances, charging the sins of the creature to the account of the Creator, scoffing at the Prophet's Paradise and Hell, singing the praises of wine and pleasure—preaching ad nauseam, «eat and drink (especially drink), for to-morrow ye die.»

VI. Munajat—Addresses to the Deity, now in the ordinary language of devotion, bewailing sins and imploring pardon, now in Mystic phraseology, craving deliverance from «self,» and union with the «Truth» (Al Hakk), or Deity, as conceived by the Mystics.

The «complaints» may obviously be connected with the known facts of the poet's life, by supposing them to have been prompted by the persecution to which he was subjected on account of his opinions. His remarks on the Houris and other sacred subjects raised such a feeling against him that at one time his life was in danger,134 and the wonder is that he escaped at all in a city like Naishapur, where the odium theologicum raged so fiercely as to occasion a sanguinary civil war. In the year 489 a.h., as we learn from Ibn Al Athir,[101] the orthodox banded themselves together under the leadership of Abul Kasim and Muhammad, the chiefs of the Hanefites and the Shafeites, in order to exterminate the Kerramians or Anthropomorphist heretics, and succeeded in putting many of them to death, and destroying all their establishments. It may be also that after the death of his patron, Nizam ul Mulk, Omar lost his stipend and was reduced to poverty.

The satires probably owed their origin to the same cause. Rien soulage comme la rhetorique, and if Omar could not relieve his feelings by open abuse of his persecutors, he made up for it by the bitterness of his verses. The bitterness of his strictures on them was no doubt fully equalled by the rancour of their attacks upon him.

The love-poems are samples of a class of compositions much commoner in later poets than in Omar. Most of them probably bear a mystical meaning, for I doubt if Omar was a person very susceptible of the tender passion. He speaks with appreciation of «tulip cheeks» and «cypress forms,» but apparently recognises no attractions of a higher order in his fair friends.

The poems in praise of scenery again offer a strong contrast to modern treatment of the same theme. The only aspects of nature noticed by Omar are such as affect the senses agreeably—the bright flowers, the song of the nightingale, the grassy bank of the stream, and the shady garden associated in his mind with his convivial parties. The geographer translated by Sir W. Ouseley says of Naishapur, «The city is watered by a subterranean canal, which is conveyed to the fields and gardens, and there is a considerable stream that waters the city and the villages about it—this stream is named Saka. In all the provinces of Khorassan there is not any city larger than Naishapur, nor any blessed with a more pure and temperate air. » No135 doubt it was some of these gardens that called forth Omar's encomiums.

But it is in the Kufriya, or antinomian quatrains, and in the Munajat, or pious aspirations, that the most remarkable and characteristic features of Omar's poetry are exhibited. The glaring contrast between these two classes of his poetry has led his readers to take very opposite views of him, according as they looked at one or the other side of the shield. European critics, like his contemporaries, mostly consider him an infidel and a voluptuary «of like mind with Sardanapalus.» On the other hand, the Sufis have contrived to affix mystical and devotional meanings even to his most Epicurean quatrains; and this method of interpretation is nowadays as universally accepted in Persia and India as the Mystical interpretation of the Canticles is in Europe. But neither of these views can be accepted in its entirety. Even if the Sufi symbolism had been definitely formulated as early as Omar's time, which is very doubtful, common sense would forbid us to force a devotional meaning on the palpably Epicurean quatrains; and, on the other hand, unless we are prepared to throw over the authority of all the manuscripts, including the most ancient ones, we must reckon with the obviously Mystical and devotional quatrains. The essential contradiction in the tone and temper of these two sections of Omar's poetry cannot be glossed over, but calls imperatively for explanation.

His poems were obviously not all written at one period of his life, but from time to time, just as circumstances and mood suggested, and under the influence of the thoughts, passions, and desires which happened to be uppermost at the moment. It may be that the irreligious and Epicurean quatrains were written in youth, and the Munajat in his riper years. But this hypothesis seems to be disproved by Sharastani's account of him, which is quite silent as to any such conversion or change of sentiment on his part, and also by the fact that he describes himself from first to last as a «Dipsychus» in grain, a halter between two opinions, and an «Acrates,» or back-slider, in his practice.


If his poems be considered not in the abstract, but in the light of history, taking into account his mental pedigree and his intellectual surroundings, a more plausible explanation of his inconsistencies readily presents itself. In his youth, as we know, he sat at the feet of the Suni theologian Imam Muaffik, and he was then no doubt thoroughly indoctrinated with the great Semitic conception of the One God, or, to use the expressive term of Muhammadan theology, «the Only Real Agent» (Fa' il i Hakiki). To minds dominated by the overwhelming sense of Almighty Power, everywhere present and working, there seems no room for Nature, or human will, or chance, or any other Ahriman whatsoever, to take the responsibility of all the evils in the world, the storms and the earthquakes, the Borgias and the Catilines. The «Only Real Agent» has to answer for all. In the most ancient document of Semitic religious speculation now extant, the Book of Job, we find expostulations of the boldest character addressed to the Deity for permitting a righteous man to be stricken with unmerited misfortunes, though the writer ultimately concludes in a spirit of pious agnosticism and resignation to the inscrutable dispensations of Providence. In the Book of Ecclesiastes again, the same problems are handled, but in a somewhat different temper. The «weary king Ecclesiast» remarks that there is one event to all, to him that sacrificeth and him that sacrificeth not—that injustice and wrong seem eternally triumphant, that God has made things crooked, and none can make them straight; and concludes now in favour of a sober «carpe diem» philosophy, now in favour of a devout «fear of the Lord.» Of course the manner in which the serious Hebrew handles these matters is very different from the levity and flippancy of the volatile Persian, but it can hardly be denied that the Ecclesiast and Omar resemble one another in the double and contradictory nature of their practical conclusions.

No sooner was Islam established than the same problem of the existence of evil in the handiwork of the Almighty Author and Governor of all began to trouble the Moslem theologians, and by their elaboration of the doctrine of137 Predestination they managed to aggravate its difficulties.

One of the chief «roots» of their discussions was how to reconcile the Divine justice and benevolence with the Divine prescience,—the predestination of some vessels to honour, and others to dishonour,—the pre-ordainment of all things by a kind of mechanical necessity (Jabr), leaving no possibility of the occurrence of any events except those which actually do occur. The consideration of one corollary of a similar doctrine moved the pious and gentle Cowper to use language of indignant dissent; and there is high theological authority for the view that it is calculated «to thrust some into desperation,» but to stimulate the piety of others. Omar is constantly dwelling on this doctrine, and he seems to be affected by it in the double way here mentioned.

Other influences which acted on Omar must not be left out of account. Born as he was in Khorassan, «the focus of Persian culture,» he was no doubt familiar with speculations of the Moslem philosophers, Alkindi, Alfarabi, and Avicenna,[102] the last of whom he may possibly have seen. And though, think he was not himself a Sufi, in the sense of being affiliated to any Sufi order, he can hardly have been unaffected by the mysticism of which his predecessor in Ruba'i writing, Abu Sa'id bin Abul Khair, his patron Nizam ul Mulk, and his distinguished countryman Imam Ghazali were all strong adherents. His philosophical studies would naturally stimulate his sceptical and irreligious dispositions, while his Mystic leanings would operate mainly in the contrary direction.

If this explanation of the inconsistencies in his poetry be correct, it is obvious that the parallel often sought to be traced between him and Lucretius has no existence. Whatever he was, he was not an Atheist. To him, as to other Muhammadans of his time, to deny the existence of the Deity would seem to be tantamount to denying the existence of the world and of himself. And the conception of «laws of nature» was also one quite foreign to his138 habits of thought. As Deutsch says, «To a Shemite, Nature is simply what has been begotten, and is ruled absolutely by One Absolute Power.»

Hammer compares him to Voltaire, but in reality he is a Voltaire and something more. He has much of Voltaire's flippancy and irreverence. His treatment of the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, for instance, which Muhammad took from Christianity, and travestied by the embellishments he added to it, is altogether in Voltaire's manner. And his insistence on the all importance of kindness and charity recalls the better side of Voltaire's character, viz., his kindness to Calas, and the other victims of ecclesiastical persecution. But Omar also possessed, what Voltaire did not, strong religious emotions, which at times overrode his rationalism, and found expression in those devotional and Mystical quatrains, which offer such a strong contrast to the rest of his poetry.




The text has been framed from a comparison of the following authorities:—

I. The Bodleian manuscript, No. 140 of the Ouseley Collection,
containing 158 quatrains.

II. The Calcutta Asiatic Society's manuscript, No. 1548, containing
516 quatrains.

III. The India Office manuscript, No. 2420, ff. 212 to 267, containing
512 quatrains.

IV. The Calcutta edition of 1252 a.h., containing 438 quatrains,
with an appendix of 54 more, which the editor says he found in a
Bayaz, or common-place book, after the others had been printed.

V. The Paris edition of M. Nicolas, containing 464 quatrains.

VI. The Lucknow lithographed edition, containing 763 quatrains.

VII. A fragment of an edition begun by the late Mr. Blochmann,
containing only 62 quatrains.




At dawn a cry through all the tavern shrilled,
«Arise my brethren of the revellers' guild,
That I may fill our measure, full of wine
Or e'er the measure of our days be filled.»

1. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Bl. considers this quatrain Mystical.


Who was it brought thee here at nightfall, who?
Forth from the harem in this manner, who?
To him who in thy absence burns as fire,
And trembles like hot air, who was it, who?

2. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Bl. says the omission of the copulative wa in line 4 of the original is characteristic of Khayyam. In line 4 I follow Blochmann's rendering. It may mean, «when the wind blows.»


'Tis but a day we sojourn here below,
And all the gain we get is grief and woe,
And then, leaving life's riddles all unsolved,
And burdened with regrets, we have to go.

3. N.



Khaja! grant one request, and only one,
Wish me God-speed, and get your preaching done;
I walk aright, 'tis you who see awry;
Go! heal your purblind eyes, leave me alone.

4. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Arise! and come, and of thy courtesy
Resolve my weary heart's perplexity,
And fill my goblet, so that I may drink,
Or e'er they make their goblets out of me.

5. Bl. C. L. N A. I. J. The heart is supposed to be the seat of reason. «Or ever» and «or e'er» are both found in Elizabethan English. Abbot, Shakespearian Grammar, p. 89.


When I am dead, with wine my body lave,
For obit chant a bacchanalian stave,
And, if you need me at the day of doom,
Beneath the tavern threshold seek my grave.

6. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Since no one can assure thee of the morrow,
Rejoice thy heart to-day, and banish sorrow
With moonbright wine, fair moon, for heaven's moon.
Will look for us in vain on many a morrow.

7. Bl. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Line 2 is in metre 14.



Let lovers all distraught and frenzied be,
And flown with wine, and reprobates, like me;
When sober, I find everything amiss,
But in my cups cry, «Let what will be, be.»

8. Bl. L. N. Line 3 is in metre 13.


In Allah's name, say, wherefore set the wise
Their hearts upon this house of vanities?
Whene'er they think to rest them from their toils,
Death takes them by the hand, and says, «Arise.»

9. Bl. C. L. N. A. I.


Men say the Koran holds all heavenly lore,
But on its pages seldom care to pore;
The lucid lines engraven on the bowl,—
That is the text they dwell on evermore.

10. Bl. L. N. A. B. I. J. Lines were engraven on the bowl to measure out the draughts. Bl.


Blame not the drunkards, you who wine eschew,
Had I but grace, I would abstain like you,
And mark me, vaunting zealot, you commit
A hundredfold worse sins than drunkards do.

11. Bl. C. L. N. A. I.



What though 'tis fair to view, this form of man,
I know not why the heavenly Artisan
Hath set these tulip cheeks and cypress forms
To deck the mournful halls of earth's divan.

12. Bl. C. L. N. A. I.


My fire gives forth no smoke-cloud here below,
My stock-in-trade no profit here below,
And you, who call me tavern-haunter, know
There is indeed no tavern here below

13. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. The anacoluthon in line 3, and the missing rhyme before the burden, in line 4, are characteristic of Khayyam. Bl.


Thus spake an idol to his worshipper,
«Why dost thou worship this dead stone, fair sir?
'Tis because He who gazeth through thine eyes,
Doth some part of His charms on it confer.»

14. L. Meaning, all is of God, even idols.


Whate'er thou doest, never grieve thy brother,
Nor kindle fumes of wrath his peace to smother;
Dost thou desire to taste eternal bliss,
Vex thine own heart, but never vex another!

15. L. b. Line 1 is in metre 14.



O Thou! to please whose love and wrath as well,
Allah created heaven and likewise hell;
Thou hast thy court in heaven, and I have naught,
Why not admit me in thy courts to dwell?

16. Bl. L. The person addressed is the prophet Muhammad. The Sufis were fond of dwelling on the opposition between the beautiful and the terrible attributes of Deity.


So many cups of wine will I consume,
Its bouquet shall exhale from out my tomb,
And every one that passes by shall halt,
And reel and stagger with that mighty fume.

17. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Young wooer, charm all hearts with lover's art,
Glad winner, lead thy paragon apart!
A hundred Ka'bas equal not one heart,
Seek not the Ka'ba, rather seek a heart!

18. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Line 2, «In the presence seize the perfect heart.»


What time, my cup in hand, its draughts I drain,
And with rapt heart unconsciousness attain,
Behold what wondrous miracles are wrought,
Songs flow as water from my burning brain.

19. L. N.



To-day is but a breathing space, quaff wine!
Thou wilt not see again this life of thine;
So, as the world becomes the spoil of time,
Offer thyself to be the spoil of wine!

20. L. N.


'Tis we who to wine's yoke our necks incline,
And risk our lives to gain the smiles of wine;
The henchman grasps the flagon by its throat
And squeezes out the lifeblood of the vine.

21. L. N. Line 3 is in metre 19.


Here in this tavern haunt I make my lair,
Pawning for wine, heart, soul, and all I wear,
Without a hope of bliss, or fear of bale,
Rapt above water, earth, and fire, and air.

22. Bl. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


Quoth fish to duck, «Twill be a sad affair,
If this brook leaves its channel dry and bare»;
To whom the duck, «When I am dead and roasted
The brook may run with wine for aught I care.»

23. L. Meaning, «Après nous le déluge».



From doubt to clear assurance is a breath,
A breath from infidelity to faith;
O precious breath! enjoy it while you may,
'Tis all that life can give, and then comes death.

24. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Ah! wheel of heaven to tyranny inclined,
'Twas e'er your wont to show yourself unkind;
And, cruel earth, if they should cleave your breast,
What store of buried jewels they would find!

25. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. «Wheel of heaven,» i.e., destiny, fortune. Sir Thomas Browne talks of the «wheel of things.»


My life lasts but a day or two, and fast
Sweeps by, like torrent stream or desert blast,
Howbeit, of two days I take no heed,—
The day to come, and that already past.

26. Bl. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


That pearl is from a mine unknown to thee,
That ruby bears a stamp thou canst not see
The tale of love some other tongue must tell,
All our conjectures are mere phantasy.

27. Meaning, real love of God differs from the popular idea of it. Bl.



Now with its joyful prime my age is rife,
I quaff enchanting wine, and list to fife;
Chide not at wine for all its bitter taste,
Its bitterness sorts well with human life!

28. Bl. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


O soul! whose lot it is to bleed with pain,
And daily change of fortune to sustain,
Into this body wherefore didst thou come,
Seeing thou must at last go forth again?

29. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J.


To-day is thine to spend, but not to-morrow,
Counting on morrows breedeth naught but sorrow;
Oh! squander not this breath that heaven hath lent thee,
Nor make too sure another breath to borrow!

30. Bl. C. N. A. B. I.


'Tis labour lost thus to all doors to crawl,
Take thy good fortune, and thy bad withal;
Know for a surety each must play his game,
As from heaven's dice-box fate's dice chance to fall.

31. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Naksh, the dots on dice.



This jug did once, like me, love's sorrows taste,
And bonds of beauty's tresses once embraced,
This handle, which you see upon its side,
Has many a time twined round a slender waist!

32. Bl. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


Days changed to nights, ere you were born, or I,
And on its business ever rolled the sky;
See you tread gently on this dust—perchance
'Twas once the apple of some beauty's eye.

33. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Pagodas, just as mosques, are homes of prayer,
'Tis prayer that church-bells chime unto the air,
Yea, Church and Ka'ba, Rosary and Cross
Are all but divers tongues of world-wide prayer.

34. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Meaning, forms of faith are indifferent.


'Twas writ at first, whatever was to be,
By pen, unheeding bliss or misery,
Yea, writ upon the tablet once for all,
To murmur or resist is vanity.

35. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Meaning, fate is heartless and resistless.



There is a mystery I know full well,
Which to all, good and bad, I cannot tell;
My words are dark, but I cannot unfold
The secrets of the «station» where I dwell.

36. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Hale, a state of ecstasy.


No base or light-weight coins pass current here,
Of such a broom has swept our dwelling clear
Forth from the tavern comes a sage and cries,
«Drink! for ye all must sleep through ages drear»

37. Bl. L. N. Meaning, Mullahs' fables will not go down with us.


With outward seeming we can cheat mankind,
But to God's will we can but be resigned,
The deepest wiles my cunning e'er devised,
To balk resistless fate no way could find.

38. L. N. Meaning, weakness of human rule compared to the strength of Divine decrees.


Is a friend faithless? spurn him as a foe;
Upon trustworthy foes respect bestow;
Hold healing poison for an antidote,
And baneful sweets for deadly eisel know.

39. L. N. These gnomical epigrams are not common in Khayyam.



No heart is there but bleeds when torn from Thee,
No sight so clear but craves Thy face to see;
And though perchance Thou carest not for them,
No soul is there but pines with care for Thee.

40. C. L. N. A. I. J. Jigar, the liver, was considered to be the seat of love.


Sobriety doth dry up all delight,
And drunkenness doth drown my sense outright;
There is a middle state, it is my life,
Not altogether drunk, nor sober quite.

41. C. N. I. Masti o: scan mastiyo. The Epicurean golden mean. See Ecclesiastes, vii, 16, 17.


Behold these cups! Can He who deigned to make them,
In wanton freak let ruin overtake them,
So many shapely feet and hands and heads,—
What love drives Him to make, what wrath to break them?

42. C. N. A. B. I. J. Pryalae, a cup. So Job, «Thy hands have made me, yet thou dost destroy me.»


Death's terrors spring from baseless phantasy,
Death yields the tree of immortality;
Since 'Isa breathed new life into my soul,
Eternal death has washed its hands of me!

43. L. N. Meaning, the Sufi doctrine of Baka ba'd ul fana. See Gulshan i Raz, p. 31.152


Like tulips in the Spring your cups lift up,
And, with a tulip-cheeked companion, sup
With joy your wine, or e'er this azure wheel
With some unlooked-for blast upset your cup.

44. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Facts will not change to humour man's caprice,
So vaunt not human powers, but hold your peace;
Here must we stay, weighed down with grief for this,
That we were born so late, so soon decease.

45. C. L. N. A. I. J. Meaning, the futility of striving against predestination. Ank, for anki. Bl., Prosody 13.


Khayyam! why weep you that your life is bad?
What boots it thus to mourn? Rather be glad.
He that sins not can make no claim to mercy,
Mercy was made for sinners—be not sad.

46. C. L. N. A. B. I. See note on No. 130


All mortal ken is bounded by the veil,
To see beyond man's sight is all too frail;
Yea! earth's dark bosom is his only home;—
Alas! 'twere long to tell the doleful tale.

47. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.



This faithless world, my home, I have surveyed,
Yea, and with all my wit deep question made,
But found no moon with face so bright as thine,
No cypress in such stateliness arrayed.

48. L. N.


In synagogue and cloister, mosque and school,
Hell's terrors and heaven's lures men's bosoms rule,
But they who master Allah's mysteries,
Sow not this empty chaff their hearts to fool.

49. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Meaning, souls re-absorbed in the Divine essence have no concern with the material heaven and hell.


You see the world, but all you see is naught,
And all you say, and all you hear is naught,
Naught the four quarters of the mighty earth,
The secrets treasured in your chamber naught.

50. L. N. Meaning, all is illusion (Maya).


I dreamt a sage said, «Wherefore life consume
In sleep? Can sleep make pleasure's roses bloom?
For gather not with death's twin-brother sleep,
Thou wilt have sleep enough within thy tomb!»

51. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. So Homer, Kasignetos thanatoio.



If the heart knew life's secrets here below,
At death 'twould know God's secrets too, I trow;
But, if you know naught here, while still yourself,
To-morrow, stripped of self, what can you know?

52. C. L. N. A. I. In line 2 scan Ilahi. Bl., Prosody, p. 7.


On that dread day, when wrath shall rend the sky,
And darkness dim the bright stars' galaxy,
I'll seize the Loved One by His skirt, and cry,
«Why hast Thou doomed these guiltless ones to die?»

53. C. L. N. A. I. J. See Koran, lxxxii. 1. Note the alif i wasls in lines 1 and 2. In line 4 scan kata lat, transposing the last vowel. Bl., Prosody, p. ii.


To knaves Thy secret we must not confide,
To comprehend it is to fools denied,
See then to what hard case Thou doomest men,
Our hopes from one and all perforce we hide.

54. C. L. N. A. B. I. There is a variation of this, beginning Asrar i jahan.


Cupbearer! what though fate's blows here betide us,
And a safe resting-place be here denied us,
So long as the bright wine-cup stands between us,
We have the very Truth at hand to guide us.

55. C. L. N. A. I. In line 3 scan mayast. Bl., Prosody, p. 13, and note tashdid on hakk dropped. Ibid, p. iv.



Long time in wine and rose I took delight,
But then my business never went aright;
Since wine could not accomplish my desire,
I have abandoned and forsworn it quite.

56. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Bring wine! my heart with dancing spirits teems,
Wake! fortune's waking is as fleeting dreams;
Quicksilver-like our days are swift of foot,
And youthful fire subsides as torrent streams.

57. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 3 scan bedariyi.


Love's devotees, not Moslems here you see,
Not Solomons, but ants of low degree;
Here are but faces wan and tattered rags,
No store of Cairene cloth or silk have we.

58. L. N. For the story of Solomon and the ants, see Koran, xxvii., 18. Kasab, linen made in Egypt.


My law it is in pleasure's paths to stray,
My creed to shun the theologic fray;
I wedded Luck, and offered her a dower,
She said, «I want none, so thy heart be gay.»

59. C. L. N. A. I. J.



From mosque an outcast, and to church a foe,
Allah! of what clay didst thou form me so?
Like sceptic monk, or ugly courtesan,
No hopes have I above, no joys below.

60. C. L. N. A. I. J. Ummed has the tashdid ob metrum. Bl., Prosody 9. Line 2 is in metre 17. Gil i mara for gil i man ra, Vullers, pp. 173 and 193.


Men's lusts, like house-dogs, still the house distress
With clamour, barking for mere wantonness;
Foxes are they, and sleep the sleep of hares;
Crafty as wolves, as tigers pitiless.

61. C. L. N. A. I. J. «Sleep of hares,» deceit.


Yon turf, fringing the margent of the stream,
As down upon a cherub's lip might seem,
Or growth from dust of buried tulip cheeks;
Tread not that turf with scorn, or light esteem!

62. C. L. N. A. I. J. Juyiy: the ya of juy is hamzated because followed by another ya. Vullers, p. 24.


Hearts with the light of love illumined well,
Whether in mosque or synagogue they dwell,
Have their names written in the book of love,
Unvexed by hopes of heaven or fears of hell.

63. C. L. N. A. I. J. Compare Hafiz, Ode 79: «Wherever love is, there is the light of the Beloved's face.»



One draught of wine outweighs the realm of Tus,
Throne of Kobad and crown of Kai Kawus;
Sweeter are sighs that lovers heave at morn,
Than all the groanings zealot breasts produce.

64. C. L. N. A. I. J. Kawus is the old spelling.


Though Moslems for my sins condemn and chide me,
Like heathens to my idol I confide me;
Yea, when I perish of a drunken bout,
I'll call on wine, whatever doom betide me.

65. L. N.


In drinking thus it is not my design
To riot, or transgress the law divine,
No! to attain unconsciousness of self
Is the sole cause I drink me drunk with wine.

66. C. L. N. A. I. J. Perhaps a hit at the orthodox Sufis.


Drunkards are doomed to hell, so men declare,
Believe it not, 'tis but a foolish scare;
Heaven will be empty as this hand of mine,
If none who love good drink find entrance there.

67. C. L. N. A. I. J. Line 4 is in metre 17.



'Tis wrong, according to the strict Koran,
To drink in Rajah, likewise in Sha'ban,
God and the Prophet claim those months as theirs;
Was Ramazan then made for thirsty man?

68. C. L. N. A. I. J. The point, of course, is that Ramazan is the Mahammadan Lent.


Now Ramazan is come, no wine must flow,
Our simple pastimes we must now forego,
The wine we have in store we must not drink,
Nor on our mistresses one kiss bestow.

69. L. N. Does Sada mean the winter feast?


What is the world? A caravanserai,
A pied pavilion of night and day;
A feast whereat a thousand Jamshids sat,
A couch whereon a thousand Bahrams lay.

70. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Wamanda, «leavings.»


Now that your roses bloom with flowers of bliss,
To grasp your goblets be not so remiss,
Drink while you may! Time is a treacherous foe,
You may not see another day like this.

71. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Bar bar «blooming, on the branch,» i.e., you are still young. Bl.



Here in this palace, where Bahram held sway,
The wild roes drop their young, and tigers stray;
And that great hunter king—ah! well-a-day!
Now to the hunter death is fallen a prey.

72. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Daro: see Bl., Pros. 11.


Down fall the tears from skies enwrapt in gloom,
Without this drink, the flowers could never bloom!
As now these flowerets yield delight to me,
So shall my dust yield flowers,—God knows for whom.

73. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 4 ta is the «ta i tajahul,» meaning, «I do not know whether,» «perhaps.» Bl.


To-day is Friday, as the Moslem says,
Drink then from bowls served up in quick relays;
Suppose on common days you drink one bowl,
To-day drink two, for 'tis the prince of days.

74. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Friday is the day «of assembly,» or Sabbath.


The very wine a myriad forms sustains,
And to take shapes of plants and creatures deigns
But deem not that its essence ever dies,
Its forms may perish, but its self remains.

75. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. On this Bl. notes «The Arabic form hayawan is required by the metre.» And Suwar is the Arabic plural, used as a singular. Bl., Prosody 5. Wine means the divine «NoumenonGulshan i Raz, 825.



'Tis naught but smoke this people's fire doth bear,
For my well-being not a soul doth care;
With hands fate makes me lift up in despair,
I grasp men's skirts, but find no succour there.

76. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Scan tayifa.


This bosom friend, on whom you so rely,
Seems to clear wisdom's eyes an enemy;
Choose not your friends from this rude multitude,
Their converse is a plague 'tis best to fly.

77. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. The MSS. transpose the lines.


O foolish one! this moulded earth is naught,
This particoloured vault of heaven is naught;
Our sojourn in this seat of life and death
Is but one breath, and what is that but naught?

78. Bl. L. N. Shakl i mujassam, «the earth.» Bl.


Some wine, a Houri (Houris if there be),
A green bank by a stream, with minstrelsy;—
Toil not to find a better Paradise
If other Paradise indeed there be!

79. Bl. C. L. N. A. I. J. Dozakh i farsuda, «an old hell,» i.e., vain things which create a hell for you. Bl.



To the wine-house I saw the sage repair,
Bearing a wine-cup, and a mat for prayer;
I said, «O Shaikh, what does this conduct mean?»
Said he, «Go drink! the world is naught but air.»

80. N.


The Bulbul to the garden winged his way,
Viewed lily cups, and roses smiling gay,
Cried in ecstatic notes, «O live your life,
You never will re-live this fleeting day.»

81. N. The MSS. have a variation of this beginning, Bulbul chu. Jam . ra. See Bl., Prosody, p. 12.


Thy body is a tent, where harbourage
The Sultan spirit takes for one brief age;
When he departs, comes the tent-pitcher death,
Strikes it, and onward moves, another stage.

82. C. L. N. A. I. J. Manzil, in line 2, «lodging»; in line 3, «stage» Khimaye, a «tent.»


Khayyam, who long time stitched the tents of learning,
Has fallen into a furnace, and lies burning,
Death's shears have cut his thread of life asunder,
Fate's brokers sell him off with scorn and spurning.

83. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.



In the sweet spring a grassy bank I sought,
And thither wine, and a fair Houri brought;
And, though the people called me graceless dog,
Gave not to Paradise another thought!

84. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Batar, a contraction. See Bl., Prosody, p. 10.


Sweet is rose-ruddy wine in goblets gay,
And sweet are lute and harp and roundelay;
But for the zealot who ignores the cup,
'Tis sweet when he is twenty leagues away!

85. N. The MSS. have a variation of this. Note Khush.


Life, void of wine, and minstrels with their lutes,
And the soft murmurs of Irakian flutes,
Were nothing worth: I scan the world and see:
Save pleasure, life yields only bitter fruits.

86. L. N. See an answer to this in No. 97.


Make haste! soon must you quit this life below,
And pass the veil, and Allah's secrets know,
Make haste to take your pleasure while you may,
You wot not whence you come, nor whither go.

87. C. L. N. A. I. In line 3 scan nidaniyaz.



Depart we must! what boots it then to be,
To walk in vain desires continually?
Nay, but if heaven vouchsafe no place of rest,
What power to cease our wanderings have we?

88. N. In line 3 scan jayiga. Bl., Prosody, p. 15.


To chant wine's praises is my daily task,
I live encompassed by cup, bowl and flask;
Zealot! if reason be thy guide, then know
That guide of me doth ofttimes guidance ask.

89. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 1 scan maddahiyi; and compare Horace,

«Edocet artes;
Fecundi calices quem non fecere disertum.»


O men of morals! why do ye defame,
And thus misjudge me? I am not to blame.
Save weakness for the grape, and female charms,
What sins of mine can any of ye name?

90. C. L. N. A. I. J. This change of persons is called Iltifat. Gladwin, Persian Rhetoric, p. 56.


Who treads in passion's footsteps here below,
A helpless pauper will depart, I trow;
Remember who you are, and whence you come.
Consider what you do, and whither go.

91. C. L. N. A. I. Khabarat: see Bl., Prosody, p. v.



Skies like a zone our weary lives enclose,
And from our tear-stained eyes a Jihun flows;
Hell is a fire enkindled of our griefs;
Heaven but a moment's peace, stolen from our woes.

92. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. This balanced arrangement of similes is called Tirsi'a. Gladwin, p. 5.


I drown in sin—show me Thy clemency!
My soul is dark—make me Thy light to see!
A heaven that must be earned by painful works,
I call a wage, not a gift fair and free.

93. C. L. N. A. I. J. Arabic words like raza, drop the hamza in Persian, except with the izafat: (Bl., Prosody 14). For this hamza, ya is often used, as here.


Did He who made me fashion me for hell,
Or destine me for heaven? I cannot tell.
Yet will I not renounce cup, lute and love,
Nor earthly cash for heavenly credit sell.

94. C. L. N. A. B. I. In line 4 the izafat is dropped after silent he. Bl., Prosody, p. 15.


From right and left the censors came and stood,
Saying, «Renounce this wine, this foe of good»;
But if wine be the foe of holy faith,
By Allah, right it is to drink its blood!

95. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. See Koran, ii. 187.



The good and evil with man's nature blent,
The weal and woe that heaven's decrees have sent,—
Impute them not to motions of the skies,—
Skies than thyself ten times more impotent.

96. C. L. N. A. I. J. Fate is merely the decree of Allah. For the distinction between kaza and kadar, see Pocock, «Specimen Historiae Arabum,» p. 207.


Against death's arrows what are buckles worth?
What all the pomps and riches of the earth?
When I survey the world, I see no good
But goodness, all beside is nothing worth.

97. N. Possibly written on the margin by some pious reader as an answer to No. 86.


Weak souls, who from the world cannot refrain,
Hold life-long fellowship with rule and pain;
Hearts free from worldly cares have store of bliss,
All others seeds of bitter woe contain.

98. L. N. Tajrid, see Gulshan i Raz, p. 8, n.


He, in whose bosom wisdom's seed is sown,
To waste a single day was never known;
Either he strives to work great Allah's will,
Or else exalts the cup, and works his own.

99. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Tarabe, query, takhme? giving a line in metre 23.



When Allah mixed my clay, He knew full well
My future acts, and could each one foretell;
Without His will no act of mine was wrought;
Is it then just to punish me in hell?

100. C. L. N. A. I. Of the Moslem theory of predestination, Khayyam might truly say, «Ten thousand mortals, drowned in endless woe, for doing what they were compelled to do


Ye, who cease not to drink on common days,
Do not on Friday quit your drinking ways;
Adopt my creed, and count all days the same,
Be worshippers of God, and not of days.

101. L. N. In line 3 scan yakist.


If grace be grace, and Allah gracious be,
Adam from Paradise why banished He?
Grace to poor sinners shown is grace indeed;
In grace hard earned by works no grace I see.

102. N. The tashdid of rabb is dropped. Bl., Prosody, p. iv.


Dame Fortune's smiles are full of guile, beware!
Her scimitar is sharp to smite, take care!
If e'er she drop a sweetmeat in thy mouth,
'Tis poisonous,—to swallow it forbear!

103. C. L. A. B. I. Hush contracted from hosh.



Where'er you see a rose or tulip bed,
Know that a mighty monarch's blood was shed
And where the violet rears her purple tuft,
Be sure a black-moled girl hath laid her head.

104. B. L. The MSS. have a variation of this, beginning Har khisht ki.


Wine is a melting ruby, cup its mine;
Cup is the body, and the soul is wine;
These crystal goblets smile with ruddy wine
Like tears, that blood of wounded hearts enshrine.

105. L. B.


Drink wine! 'tis life etern, and travail's meed,
Fruitage of youth, and balm of age's need:
'Tis the glad time of roses, wine and friends;
Rejoice thy spirit—that is life indeed.

106. L. B. There being no izafat after yaran, sar i mast must agree with hangam.


Drink wine! long must you sleep within the tomb,
Without a friend, or wife to cheer your gloom;
Hear what I say, and tell it not again,
«Never again can withered tulips bloom.»

107. C. A. B. I. J. This recalls the chorus in the «Oedipus Coloneus.»



They preach how sweet those Houri brides will be,
But I say wine is sweeter—taste and see!
Hold fast this cash, and let that credit go,
And shun the din of empty drums like me.

108. C. L. A. B. I. J. Sin, «nuptials.» Like me, i.e., as I do.


Once and again my soul did me implore,
To teach her, if I might, the heavenly lore;
I bade her learn the Alif well by heart.
Who knows that letter well need learn no more.

109. B. Alif Kafat, the One (God) is enough. Probably a quotation. Hafiz (Ode 416) uses the same expression: «He who knows the One knows all.»


I came not hither of my own free will,
And go against my wish, a puppet still;
Cupbearer! gird thy loins, and fetch some wine;
To purge the world's despite, my goblet fill.

110. C. L. A. B. I. J. 'Azme, ya i tankir, or tans ifi?


How long must I make bricks upon the sea?
Beshrew this vain task of idolatry;
Call not Khayyam a denizen of hell;
One while in heaven, and one in hell is he.

111. C. L. A. B. I. J. Andar-ba, Bl., Prosody 12.



Sweet is the breath of Spring to rose's face,
And thy sweet face adds charm to this fair place;
To-day is sweet, but yesterday is sad,
And sad all mention of its parted grace.

112. C. L. A. B. I. J. Khūsh is pronounced khash or khŭsh. Bl., Prosody, p. 12. Guyi is generally written with hamza and ya, but in some MSS. fatha is substituted for the hamza [?].


To-night pour wine, and sing a dulcet air,
And I upon thy lips will hang, O fair;
Yea, pour some wine as rosy as thy cheeks,
My mind is troubled like thy ruffled hair.

113. B. Roziyyi.


Pen, tablet, heaven and hell I looked to see
Above the skies, from all eternity;
At last the master sage instructed me,
«Pen, tablet, heaven and hell are all in thee.»

114. Allah writes his decrees with the «pen» on the «tablet.» Koran, lxviii. l. See Gulshan i Raz, 1, n.


The fruit of certitude he cannot pluck,
The path that leads thereto who never struck,
Nor ever shook the bough with strenuous hand;
To-day is lost; hope for to-morrow's luck.

115. L. B. Lit. «Consider to-morrow your first day.»



Now spring-tide showers its foison on the land,
And lively hearts wend forth, a joyous band,
For 'Isa's breath wakes the dead earth to life,
And trees gleam white with flowers, like Musa's hand.

116. B. Alluding to the life-giving breath of Jesus, and the white hand of Moses. (Exodus, IV. 6.) Bakhushi dastrase (ya i tankir), «an aid to joy,» i.e., Spring.


Alas for that cold heart, which never glows
With love, nor e'er that charming madness knows;
The days misspent with no redeeming love;—
No days are wasted half as much as those!

117. Bl. L. B.


The zephyrs waft thy fragrance, and it takes
My heart, and me, his master, he forsakes;
Careless of me he pants and leaps to thee,
And thee his pattern and ensample makes!

118. Bl. C. L. A. I. J. Also ascribed to Abu Sa'id bin Abul Khair. C. writes buyi with two yas, and hamza on the first. The second ya seems to be ya i batni or tausifi, though that is usual only before adjectives. Bl., Prosody, p. 11.


Drink wine! and then as Mahmud thou wilt reign,
And hear a music passing David's strain:
Think not of past or future, seize to-day,
Then all thy life will not be lived in vain.

119. Bl. C. L. A. I. J.



Ten Powers, and nine spheres, eight heavens made He,
And planets seven, of six sides, as we see,
Five senses, and four elements, three souls,
Two worlds, but only one, O man, like thee.

120. L. A summary of the Muhammadan doctrine of «Emanations.» See Gulshan i Raz, p. 21. Three souls, i.e., vegetive, animal and human, as in Aristotle's De Anima. Akhtaram (?), also in Cambridge MS.


Jewry hath seen a thousand prophets die,
Sinai a thousand Musas mount the sky;
How many Cæsars Rome's proud forum crossed!
'Neath Kasra's dome how many monarchs lie!

121. L. J. Time is long and life short.


Gold breeds not wit, but to wit lacking bread
Earth's flowery carpet seems a dungeon bed;
'Tis his full purse that makes the rose to smile,
While empty-handed violets hang the head.

122. L. Alluding to the golden stamens of the rose. I supply tihi from the Cambridge MS.


Heaven's wheel has made full many a heart to moan,
And many a budding rose to earth has thrown;
Plume thee not on thy youth and lusty strength,
Full many a bud is blasted ere 'tis blown.

123. L.



What lord is fit to rule but «Truth»? Not one.
What beings disobey His rule? Not one.
All things that are, are such as He decrees;
And naught is there beside beneath the sun.

124. C. L. A. I. «The Truth» is a Sufi name for the Deity.


That azure coloured vault and golden tray
Have turned, and will turn yet for many a day;
And just so we, impelled by turns of fate,—
Come here but for a while, then pass away.

125. Bl. L. Guzasht, «It is all over with us.» Bl. «Golden tray,» the Sun.


The Master did himself these vessels frame,
Why should he cast them out to scorn and shame?
If he has made them well, why should he break them?
Yea, though he marred them, they are not to blame.

126. C. L. A. I. J. In line 4 suwar is an Arabic plural used as a singular. Bl., Prosody, p. 5.


Kindness to friends and foes 'tis well to show,
No kindly heart can prove unkind, I trow:
Harshness will alienate a bosom friend,
And kindness reconcile a deadly foe.

127. L. In line 2 scan neykiyash.



To lovers true, what matters dark or fair?
Or if the loved one silk or sackcloth wear,
Or lie on down or dust, or rise to heaven?
Yea, though she sink to hell, he'll seek her there.

128. L. Probably Mystical.


Full many a hill and vale I journeyed o'er;
Yea, journeyed through the world's wide quarters four,
But never heard of pilgrim who returned;
When once they go, they go to come no more.

129. C. L. N. (in part) A. I. J.


Wine-houses flourish through this thirst of mine,
Loads of remorse weigh down this back of mine;
Yet, if I sinned not, what would mercy do?
Mercy depends upon these sins of mine.

130. C. Bl. L. A. I. J. Bl. quotes similar sentiments from Nizami and Hafiz. Mercy is God's highest attribute, and sin is required to call it forth.


Thy being is the being of Another,
Thy passion is the passion of Another.
Cover thy head, and think, and thou wilt see,
Thy hand is but the cover of Another.

131. Bl. Meaning God is the Fa'il i hakiki, the only real Agent.



From learning to the cup your bridle turn;
All lore of world to come, save Kausar, spurn;
Your turban pawn for wine, or keep a shred
To bind your brow, and all the remnant burn.

132. N. Kausar, the river of wine in Paradise.


See! from the world what profit have I gained?
What fruitage of my life in hand retained?
What use is Jamshid's goblet, once 'tis crushed?
What pleasure's torch, when once its light has waned?

133. L. N. Tarf bar bastan,«to reap advantage.»


When life is spent, what's Balkh or Nishapore?
What sweet or bitter, when the cup runs o'er?
Come drink! full many a moon will wax and wane
In times to come, when we are here no more.

134. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


O fair! whose cheeks checkmate red eglantine,
And draw the game with those fair maids of Chin,
You played one glance against the king of Babil
And took his pawns, and knights, and rooks, and queen.

135. L. B.



Life's caravan is hastening on its way;
Brood not on troubles of the coming day,
But fill the wine-cup, ere sweet night be gone,
And snatch a pleasant moment, while you may.

136. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. The «rinds» loved a dark night. Bl.


He, who the world's foundations erst did lay,
Doth bruise full many a bosom day by day,
And many a ruby lip and musky tress
Doth coffin in the earth, and shroud with clay.

137. C. L. N. A. I. J. So Job, «Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands?»


Be not beguiled by world's insidious wiles;
O foolish ones, ye know her tricks and guiles;
Your precious life-time cast not to the winds;
Haste to seek wine, and court a sweetheart's smile.

138. N.


Comrades! I pray you, physic me with wine,
Make this wan amber face like rubies shine,
And, if I die, use wine to wash my corpse,
And frame my coffin out of planks of vine!

139. C. L. N. A. B. I. Kahraba, «amber,» literally «attractor of straw.»



When Allah yoked the courses of the sun,
And launched the Pleiades their race to run,
My lot was fixed in fate's high chancery;
Then why blame me for wrong that fate has done?

140. C. L. N. A. I. J. Also ascribed to Afzul Kashi.


Ah! seasoned wine oft falls to rawest fools,
And clumsiest workmen own the finest tools;
And Turki maids, fit to delight men's hearts,
Lavish their smiles on beardless boys in school!

141. N. So Hafiz, «If that Turki maid of Shiraz,» etc.


Whilom, ere youth's conceit had waned, methought
Answers to all life's problems I had wrought;
But now, grown old and wise, too late I see
My life is spent, and all my lore is naught.

142. N. C. A. and I. give another version of this.


They who of prayer-mats make such great display
Are fools to bear hypocrisy's hard sway;
Strange! under cover of this saintly show
They live like heathen, and their faith betray.

143. C. L. N A. I. In line 2, note the arrangement of the prepositions. There is a proverb, «The Devil lives in Mecca and Medinah.»



To him who would his sins extenuate,
Let pious men this verse reiterate,
«To call God's prescience the cause of sin
In wisdom's purview is but folly's prate.»

144. L. N. Sahl, of «no account.»


He brought me hither, and I felt surprise,
From life I gather but a dark surmise,
I go against my will;—thus, why I come,
Why live, why go, are all dark mysteries.

145. C. L. N. A.


When I recall my grievous sins to mind,
Fire burns my breast, and tears my vision blind;
Yet, when a slave repents, is it not meet
His lord should pardon, and again be kind?

146. L. N. In line 2, az sar guzarad means «drops from the eyes,» and in line 4, «remits the penalty.» This change of meaning is called Tajnis.


They at whose lore the whole world stands amazed,
Whose high thoughts, like Borak, to heaven are raised,
Strive to know Thee in vain, and like heaven's wheel
Their heads are turning, and their brains are dazed.

147. C. L. N. A. Borak, or Burak, the steed on which Muhammad made his famous nocturnal ascent to heaven.



Allah hath promised wine in Paradise,
Why then should wine on earth be deemed a vice?
An Arab in his cups cut Hamzah's girths,—
For that sole cause was drink declared a vice.

148. L. N. Nicolas says this refers to an event which occurred to Hamzah, a relation of Muhammad.


Now of old joys naught but the name is left,
Of all old friends but wine we are bereft,
And that wine new, but still cleave to the cup,
For save the cup, what single joy is left?

149. L. N. B.


The world will last long after Khayyam's fame
Has passed away, yea, and his very name;
Aforetime we were not, and none did heed.
When we are dead and gone, 'twill be the same.

150. N.


The sages who have compassed sea and land,
Their secret to search out, and understand,—
My mind misgives me if they ever solve
The scheme on which this universe is planned.

151. C. L. N. A. I.



Ah! wealth takes wings, and leaves our hands all bare,
And death's rough hands delight our hearts to tear;
And from the nether world none e'er escapes,
To bring us news of the poor pilgrims there.

152. C. L. N. A. I.


'Tis passing strange, those titled noblemen
Find their own lives a burden sore, but when
They meet with poorer men, not slaves to sense,
They scarcely deign to reckon them as men.

153. C. L. N. A. I.


The wheel on high, still busied with despite,
Will ne'er unloose a wretch from his sad plight;
But when it lights upon a smitten heart,
Straightway essays another blow to smite.

154. C. L. N. A. I. Vullers, Section 207.


Now is the volume of my youth outworn,
And all my spring-tide blossoms rent and torn.
Ah, bird of youth! I marked not when you came,
Nor when you fled, and left me thus forlorn.

155. C. L. N. A. I.



These fools, by dint of ignorance most crass,
Think they in wisdom all mankind surpass;
And glibly do they damn as infidel,
Whoever is not, like themselves, an ass.

156. N. So Job, «Ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.» Probably addressed to the 'Ulama.


Still be the wine-house thronged with its glad choir,
And Pharisaic skirts burnt up with fire,
Still be those tattered frocks and azure robes
Trod under feet of revellers in the mire.

157. C. L. N. A. J. Hafiz (Ode V.) speaks of the blue robes of certain Dervishes as a mark of hypocrisy.


Why toil ye to ensure illusions vain,
And good or evil of the world attain?
Ye rise like Zamzam, or the fount of life,
And, like them, in earth's bosom sink again.

158. C. L. N. A. I.


Till the Friend pours his wine to glad my heart,
No kisses to my face will heaven impart
They say, «Repent in time»; but how repent,
Ere Allah's grace hath softened my hard heart?

159. C. L. N. A. I. Meaning, man is powerless to mend his ways without Divine grace.



When I am dead, take me and grind me small,
So that I be a caution unto all,
And knead me into clay with wine, and then
Use me to stop the wine-jar's mouth withal.

160. C. L. N. A. I. J.


What though the sky with its blue canopy
Doth close us in so that we cannot see,
In the etern Cupbearer's wine methinks,
There float a myriad bubbles like to me.

161. N.


Take heart! Long in the weary tomb you'll lie,
While stars keep countless watches in the sky,
And see your ashes moulded into bricks,
To build another's house and turrets high.

162. L. N. C. A. and I. split this into two. In line 1 note izafat dropped after silent he.


Glad hearts, who seek not notoriety,
Nor flaunt in gold and silken bravery,
Haunt not this ruined earth like gloomy owls,
But wing their way, Simurgh-like, to the sky.

163. C. L. N. A. I.



Wine's power is known to wine-bibbers alone,
To narrow heads and hearts 'tis never shown;
I blame not them who never felt its force,
For, till they feel it, how can it be known.

164. C. N. A. I. J.


Needs must the tavern-hunter bathe in wine,
For none can make a tarnished name to shine;
Go! bring me wine, for none can now restore
Its pristine sheen to this soiled veil of mine.

165. C. L. N. A. B. I. In line 3 scan masturiyi dissolving the letter of prolongation ya.


I wasted life in hope, yet gathered not
In all my life of happiness one jot;
Now my fear is that life may not endure.
Till I have taken vengeance on my lot!

166. C. L. N. A. I. Rozgare, «some time.» In line 3 note the madd of An dropped. Bl., Prosody, p. 11.


Be very wary in the soul's domain,
And on the world's affairs your lips refrain;
Be, as it were, sans tongue, sans ear, sans eye,
While tongue, and ears, and eyes you still retain.

167. L. N.



Let him rejoice who has a loaf of bread,
A little nest wherein to lay his head,
Is slave to none, and no man slaves for him,—
In truth his lot is wondrous well bested.

168. C. L. N. A.


What adds my service to Thy majesty?
Or how can sin of mine dishonour Thee?
O pardon, then, and punish not, I know
Thou'rt slow to wrath, and prone to clemency.

169. C. L. N. A. I.


Hands, such as mine, that handle bowls of wine,
'Twere shame to book and pulpit to confine;
Zealot! thou'rt dry, and I am moist with drink,
Yea, far too moist to catch that fire of thine!

170. L. N. I follow Nicolas in taking mani as a possessive pronoun, «mine,» though such a word is not mentioned in any grammar or dictionary. It occurs again in No. 478.


Whoso aspires to gain a rose-cheeked fair,
Sharp pricks from fortune's thorns must learn to bear.
See! till this comb was cleft by cruel cuts,
It never dared to touch my lady's hair.

171. C. L. N. A. I. Lyttleton expresses a similar sentiment.



For ever may my hands on wine be stayed.
And my heart pant for some fair Houri maid!
They say, «May Allah aid thee to repent!»
Repent I could not, e'en with Allah's aid!

172. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Note the conjunctive pronoun separated from its noun.


Soon shall I go, by time and fate deplored,
Of all my precious pearls not one is bored;
Alas! there die with me a thousand truths
To which these fools fit audience ne'er accord.

173. C. L. N. A. I.


To-day how sweetly breathes the temperate air,
The rains have newly laved the parched parterre;
And Bulbuls cry in notes of ecstasy,
«Thou too, O pallid rose, our wine must share!»

174. L. N. B.


Ere you succumb to shocks of mortal pain,
The rosy grape-juice from your wine-cup drain.
You are not gold, that, hidden in the earth,
Your friends should care to dig you up again!

175. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Note the old form of the imperative.



My coming brought no profit to the sky,
Nor does my going swell its majesty;
Coming and going put me to a stand,
Ear never heard their wherefore nor their why.

176. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Voltaire has some similar lines in his poem on the Lisbon earthquake.


The heavenly Sage, whose wit exceeds compare,
Counteth each vein, and numbereth every hair;
Men you may cheat by hypocritic arts,
But how cheat Him to whom all hearts are bare?

177. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Ah! wine lends wings to many a weary wight,
And beauty spots to ladies' faces bright;
All Ramazan I have not drunk a drop,
Thrice welcome, then, O Bairam's blessed night!

178. Bairam, the feast on the 1st Shawwal, after Ramazan. In line 2 Khirad seems wrong, the rhyme would suggest Kharo?


All night in deep bewilderment I fret,
With tear-drops big as pearls my breast is wet;
I cannot fill my cranium with wine,
How can it hold wine, when 'tis thus upset?

179. C. L. N. A. I. Note tashdid of durr dropped.



To prayer and fasting when my heart inclined,
All my desire I surely hoped to find;
Alas! my purity is stained with wine,
My prayers are wasted like a breath of wind.

180. C. L. N. A. I. In line 2 scan Kulliyam. In line 4 note izafat dropped after silent he.


I worship rose-red cheeks with heart and soul,
I suffer not my hand to quit the bowl,
I make each part of me his function do,
Or e'er my parts be swallowed in the Whole.

181. C. L. N. A. I. Line 4 alludes to reabsorption in the Divine essence. Note juzwiyam, and tashdid of kull dropped.


This worldly love of yours is counterfeit,
And, like a half-spent blaze, lacks light and heat;
True love is his, who for days, months and years,
Rests not, nor sleeps, nor craves for drink or meat.

182. L. N. B. Line 3 is in metre 17.


Why spend life in vainglorious essay
All Being and Not-being to survey?
Since Death is ever pressing at your heels,
'Tis best to drink or dream your life away.

183. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 2 scan payi. Being, i.e., the Deity, the only real existence, and Not-being, the nonentity in which His attributes are reflected.



Some hanker after that vain phantasy
Of Houris, feigned in Paradise to be,
But, when the veil is lifted, they will find
How far they are from Thee, how far from Thee!

184. C. L. N. A. I.


In Paradise, they tell us, Houris dwell,
And fountains run with wine and oxymel:
If these be lawful in the world to come,
Surely 'tis right to love them here as well.

185. C. L. N. A. I. J.


A draught of wine would make a mountain dance,
Base is the churl who looks at wine askance;
Wine is a soul our bodies to inspire,
A truce to this vain talk of temperance!

186. C. L. N. A. I.


Oft doth my soul her prisoned state bemoan,
Her earth-born co-mate she would fain disown,
And quit, did not the stirrup of the law
Upbear her foot from dashing on the stone.

187. N. Meaning, «I would make away with myself, were it not for the Almighty's canon 'gainst self-slaughter.»



The moon of Ramazan is risen, see!
Alas, our wine must henceforth banished be;
Well! on Sha'ban's last day I'll drink enough
To keep me drunk till Bairam's jubilee.

188. C. L. N. A. I. Note wa omitted in line 2. Also ascribed to Jalal 'Asad Bardi.


From life we draw now wine, now dregs to drink,
Now flaunt in silk, and now in tatters shrink;
Such changes wisdom holds of slight account
To those who stand on death's appalling brink!

189. N.


What sage the eternal tangle e'er unravelled,
Or one short step beyond his nature travelled?
From pupils to the masters turn your eyes,
And see, each mother's son alike is gravelled.

190. C. L. N. A. B. I. In line 1 note ra put after the genitive, following its noun. 'Ijz. ... «impotence is in the hand of each.» «Beyond his nature,» i.e., beyond the limit of his own thought.


Crave not of worldly sweets to take your fill,
Nor wait on turns of fortune, good or ill;
Be of light heart, as are the skies above,
They roll a round or two, and then lie still.

191. C. L. N. A. B. I. The skies have their allotted term like you, yet do not distress themselves.



What eye can pierce the veil of God's decrees,
Or read the riddle of earth's destinies?
Pondered have I for years threescore and ten,
But still am baffled by these mysteries.

192. C. L. N. A. I. So Job, «The thunder of his power who can understand?»


They say, when the last trump shall sound its knell,
Our Friend will sternly judge, and doom to hell.
Can aught but good from perfect goodness come?
Compose your trembling hearts, 'twill all be well.

193. C. L. N. A. I. J. Juzi, (?) juz az.


Drink wine to root up metaphysic weeds,
And tangle of the two-and-seventy creeds;
Do not forswear that wondrous alchemy,
'Twill turn to gold, and cure a thousand needs.

194. C. L. N. A. B. I. Muhammad said, «My people shall be divided into seventy-three sects, all of which, save one, shall have their portion in the fire.» Pocock, Specimen 210.


Though drink is wrong, take care with whom you drink,
And who you are that drink, and what you drink;
And drink at will, for, these three points observed,
Who but the very wise can ever drink?

195. C. L. N. A. B. I. A hit at the casuistry on the subject of wine.



To drain a gallon beaker I design,
Yea, two great beakers, brimmed with richest wine;
Old faith and reason thrice will I divorce,
Then take to wife the daughter of the vine.

196. C. N. A. I. A triple divorce is irrevocable. Koran, ii. 230.


True I drink wine, like every man of sense,
For I know Allah will not take offence;
Before time was, He knew that I should drink,
And who am I to thwart His prescience?

197. C. L. N. A. B. I.


Rich men, who take to drink, the world defy
With shameless riot, and as beggars die;
Place in my ruby pipe some emerald hemp,
'Twill do as well to blind care's serpent eye.

198. C. L. N. A. I. Scan af'ayi. The emerald is supposed to have the virtue of blinding serpents.


These fools have never burnt the midnight oil
In deep research, nor do they ever toil
To step beyond themselves, but dress them fine,
And plot of credit others to despoil.

199. C. L. N, A. I. Shame chand Vullers (p. 253) takes this ya to be ya i tankir; and Lumsden (ii. 269) says the presence of this letter, between a noun and its attribute, dispenses with the izafat (?). But why not add the izafat, and scan Shamiyi?



When false dawn streaks the east with cold, grey line,
Pour in your cups the pure blood of the vine;
The truth, they say, tastes bitter in the mouth,
This is a token that the «Truth» is wine.

200. C. L. N. A. I. J. False dawn, the faint light before sunrise.


Now is the time earth decks her greenest bowers,
And trees, like Musa's hand, grow white with flowers!
As 'twere at 'Isa's breath the plants revive,
While clouds brim o'er, like tearful eyes, with showers.

201. C. L. N. A. B. I. Musa and 'Isa are often written without the alif i maksur. Bl., Prosody 3.


O burden not thyself with drudgery,
Lord of white silver and red gold to be;
But feast with friends, ere this warm breath of thine
Be chilled in death, and earthworms feast on thee.

202. N.


The showers of grape-juice, which cupbearers pour,
Quench fires of grief in many a sad heart's core
Praise be to Allah, who hath sent this balm
To heal sore hearts, and spirits' health restore!

203. C. L. N. A. B. I. In line 1 some MSS. reads bakhak. Didayi garm, «eyes of anguish.» Scan garm atishi (Alif i wasl).



Can alien Pharisees Thy kindness tell,
Like us, Thy intimates, who nigh Thee dwell?
Thou say'st, «All sinners will I burn with fire.»
Say that to strangers, we know Thee too well.

204. N.


O comrades dear, when hither ye repair
In times to come, communion sweet to share,
While the cupbearer pours your old Magh wine,
Call poor Khayyam to mind, and breathe a prayer.

205. L. N. B. Mayi. The second ya is the ya i batni.


For me heaven's sphere no music ever made,
Nor yet with soothing voice my fears allayed;
If e'er I found brief respite from my woes,
Back to woe's thrall I was at once betrayed.

206. C. L. N. A. I.


Sooner with half a loaf contented be,
And water from a broken crock, like me,
Than lord it over one poor fellow-man,
Or to another bow the vassal knee.

207. C. L. N. A. I. In line 2 note izafat dropped after silent he, Kam az Khude, «one less than yourself.» Vullers, p. 254.



While Moon and Venus in the sky shall dwell,
None shall see aught red grape-juice to excel:
O foolish publicans, what can you buy
One half so precious as the goods you sell?

208. C. L. N. A. B. I.


They who by genius, and by power of brain,
The rank of man's enlighteners attain,
Not even they emerge from this dark night,
But tell their dreams, and fall asleep again.

209. C. L. N. A. I. J. Fisanaye, ya i tankir.


At dawn, when dews bedeck the tulip's face,
And violets their heavy heads abase,
I love to see the roses' folded buds,
With petals closed against the wind's disgrace.

210. L. B.


Like as the skies rain down sweet jessamine,
And sprinkle all the meads with eglantine,
Right so, from out this jug of violet hue,
I pour in lily cups this rosy wine.

211. B. Here read mayi, with one ya, and kasra, because the metre requires a word of only two consonants, and two short vowels, of the wazn mafa.



Ah! thou hast snared this head, though white as snow,
Which oft has vowed the wine-cup to forego;
And wrecked the mansion long resolve did build,
And rent the vesture penitence did sew!

212. B. Nabid is often written nabiz, probably a survival from the time when dals were dotted. Bl., Prosody 17.


I am not one whom Death doth much dismay,
Life's terrors all Death's terrors far outweigh;
This life, that Heaven hath lent me for a while,
I will pay back, when it is time to pay.

213. C. L. A. B. I. B. reads nim for bim in line 2.


The stars, who dwell on heaven's exalted stage,
Baffle the wise diviners of our age;
Take heed, hold fast the rope of mother wit.
These augurs all distrust their own presage.

214. L. B. A hit at the astrologers.


The people who the heavenly world adorn,
Who come each night, and go away each morn,
Now on Heaven's skirt, and now in earth's deep pouch,
While Allah lives, shall aye anew be born!

215. L. B. Earth's pouch, i.e., «beneath the earth.» Rezaye. L. reads didaye. Both readings are probably wrong.



Slaves of vain wisdom and philosophy,
Who toil at Being and Nonentity,
Parching your brains till they are like dry grapes,
Be wise in time, and drink grape-juice, like me!

216. B. The vanity of learning.


Sense, seeking happiness, bids us pursue
All present joys, and present griefs eschew;
She says, we are not as the meadow grass,
Which, when they mow it down, springs up anew.

217. C. L. A. B. I. J. Goyid, from goyidan. Ya i maksur followed by another ya is in Persian words always hamzated (Lumsden, i. 29; Vullers, p. 24); and this hamza i maksur is pronounced ye. Ibrahim, Grammar, p. 24.


Now Ramazan is past, Shawwal comes back,
And feast and song and joy no more we lack;
The wine-skin carriers throng the streets and cry,
«Here comes the porter with his precious pack.»

218. B. I incline to read pusht bast for pusht pusht, which I do not understand.


My comrades all are gone; Death, deadly foe,
Has caught them one by one, and trampled low;
They shared life's feast, and drank its wine with me,
But lost their heads, and dropped a while ago.

219. C. L. A. I. Quoted by Badauni, ii. 159.



Those hypocrites, all know so well, who lurk
In streets to beg their bread, and will not work,
Claim to be saints, like Shibli and Junaid,
No Shiblis are they, though well known in Karkh!

220. C. L. A. I. L. Reads bakahna namad, but the line will not scan with that reading. Line 4 is in metre 9. A saint called Ma'ruf i Karkhi, «the famed one of Karkh,» is mentioned in the Nafahat ul Uns. Karkh was a suburb of Bagdad.


When the great Founder moulded me of old,
He mixed much baser metal with my gold;
Better or fairer I can never be
Than I first issued from his heavenly mould.

221. C. L. A. I.


The joyous souls who quaff potations deep,
And saints who in the mosques sad vigils keep,
Are lost at sea alike, and find no shore,
ONE only wakes, all others are asleep.

222. L. B. One, i.e., the Deity.


Not-being's water served to mix my clay,
And on my heart grief's fire doth ever prey,
And blown am I like wind about the world,
And last my crumbling earth is swept away.

223. L. This introduction of the four elements in one quatrain is called Mutazadd. Gladwin, p. 60.



Small gains to learning on this earth accrue,
They pluck life's fruitage, learning who eschew;
Take pattern by the fools who learning shun,
And then perchance shall fortune smile on you.

224. C. L. A. I. Bu contracted from buzad


When the fair soul this mansion doth vacate,
Each element assumes its primal state,
And all the silken furniture of life
Is then dismantled by the blows of fate.

225. C. L. A. I. Abresham tab', like Hatim tab'.


These people string their beads of learned lumber,
And tell of Allah stories without number;
Yet never solve the riddle of the skies,
But wag the chin, and get them back to slumber.

226. Possibly a hit at the Mutakallamin, or scholastic theologians.


These folk are asses, laden with conceit,
And glittering drums, that empty sounds repeat,
And humble slaves are they of name and fame,
Acquire a name, and, lo! they kiss thy feet.

227. C. L. A. I. Ba afsos is an epithet, like ba khabar, and hence kharan, the noun qualified by it, takes the izafat. Lumsden, ii. 259. Pur mash'ala, «full of glitter»; compare pur mae in No. 179.



On the dread day of final scrutiny
Thou wilt be rated by thy quality;
Get wisdom and fair qualities to-day,
For, as thou art, requited wilt thou be.

228. C. L. A. I.


Many fine heads, like bowls, the Brazier made,
And thus his own similitude portrayed;
He set one upside down above our heads,
Which keeps us all continually afraid.

229. C. L. A. I. «One upside down,» i.e., the sky. Kansa is also spelled kasa.


My true condition I may thus explain
In two short verses which the whole contain:
«From love to Thee I now lay down my life,
In hope Thy love will raise me up again.»

230. C. L. A. I. Scan wakiayi. Here hamza stands for ya i tankir.


The heart, like tapers, takes at beauty's eyes
A flame, and lives by that whereby it dies;
And beauty is a flame where hearts, like moths,
Offer themselves a burning sacrifice.

231. L. Metre Ramal, No. 50. In line 3 the first syllable is short. See Bl., Prosody, p. 43. In this form the metre is like Horace's «Miserarum est,» etc.



To please the righteous life itself I sell,
And, though they tread me down, never rebel;
Men say, «Inform us what and where is hell?»
Ill company will make this earth a hell.

232. C. L. A. I. Also ascribed to Hafiz.


The sun doth smite the roofs with Orient ray
And, Khosrau like, his wine-red sheen display;
Arise, and drink! the herald of the dawn
Uplifts his voice, and cries, «Oh, drink to-day!»

233. C. L. A. I. J.


Comrades! when e'er you meet together here,
Recall your friend to mind, and drop a tear;
And when the circling wine-cups reach his seat,
Pray turn one upside down his dust to cheer.

234. B. A variation of No. 205.


That grace and favour at the first, what meant it?
That lavishing of joy and peace, what meant it?
But now thy purpose is to grieve my heart;
What did I do to cause this change? What meant it?

235. B. So Job, «He multiplieth my wounds without cause.»



These hypocrites who build on saintly show,
Treating the body as the spirit's foe,
If they will shut their mouths with lime, like jars,
My jar of grape-juice I will then forego.

236. L. B. B. reads arra, of which I can make no sense. Bar fark niham, «I will put aside»; bar fark (line 4), «on their mouths.»


Many have come, and run their eager race,
Striving for pleasures, luxuries, or place,
And quaffed their wine, and now all silent lie,
Enfolded in their parent earth's embrace.

237. C. L. A. I.


Then, when the good reap fruits of labours past,
My hapless lot with drunkards will be cast;
If good, may I be numbered with the first,
If bad, find grace and mercy with the last.

238. C. L. A. I.


Of happy turns of fortune take your fill,
Seek pleasure's couch, or wine-cup, as you will;
Allah regards not if you sin, or saint it,
So take your pleasure, be it good or ill.

239. C. L. N. A. I. J. Alluding to the Hadis, «These are in heaven, and Allah regards not their sins, and those in hell, and Allah regards not their good works.» See Gulshan i' Raz, p. 55.



Heaven multiplies our sorrows day by day,
And grants no joys it does not take away;
If those unborn could know the ills we bear,
What think you, would they rather come or stay?

240. C. L. N. A. I. J. This recalls Byron's «Stanzas for Music.»


Why ponder thus the future to foresee,
And jade thy brain to vain perplexity?
Cast off thy care, leave Allah's plans to him,
He formed them all without consulting thee.

241. C. L. N. A. I. J.


The tenants of the tombs to dust decay,
Nescient of self, and all beside are they;
Their sundered atoms float about the world,
Like mirage clouds, until the judgment day.

242. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 4 some MSS. read sharab and change the order of the lines.


O soul! lay up all earthly goods in store,
Thy mead with pleasure's flowerets spangle o'er;
And know 'tis all as dew, that decks the flowers
For one short night, and then is seen no more!

243. C. L. N. A. I. J. There are several variations of this.



Heed not the Sunna, nor the law divine;
If to the poor his portion you assign,
And never injure one, nor yet abuse,
I guarantee you heaven, and now some wine!

244. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. See Koran, ii. 172: «There is no piety in turning your faces to the east or west, but he is pious who believeth in God ... and disburseth his wealth to the needy,» etc.


Vexed by this wheel of things, that pets the base,
My sorrow-laden life drags on apace;
Like rosebud, from the storm I wrap me close,
And blood-spots on my heart, like tulip, trace.

245. N.


Youth is the time to pay court to the vine,
To quaff the cup, with revellers to recline;
A flood of water once laid waste the earth,
Hence learn to lay you waste with floods of wine.

246. C. N. A. I. J.


The world is baffled in its search for Thee,
Wealth cannot find Thee, no, nor poverty;
Thou'rt very near us, but our ears are deaf,
Our eyes are blinded that we may not see!

247. N. So Hafiz, Ode 355 (Brockhaus): «How can our eyes behold Thee as Thou art?»



Take care you never hold a drinking-bout
With an ill-tempered, ill-conditioned lout;
He'll make a vile disturbance all night long,
And vile apologies next day, no doubt.

248. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 3 scan badmastiyo and in line 4 Khwahiyash.


The starry aspects are not all benign;
Why toil then after vain desires, and pine
To lade thyself with load of fortune's boons,
Only to drop it with this life of thine?

249. C. L. N. A. I. J.


O comrades! here is filtered wine, come drink!
Pledge all your charming sweethearts as you drink;
'Tis the grape's blood, and this is what it says,
«To you I dedicate my life-blood! drink!»

250. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Are you depressed? Then take of bhang one grain,
Of rosy grape-juice take one pint or twain;
Sufis, you say, must not take this or that,
Then go and eat the pebbles off the plain!

251. N. In line 1 and 2 scan yakjawaki and manaki, ak being the diminutive, and ya the ya i tankir, displacing the izafat: Lumsden, ii, 269. Bhang, a narcotic, made from hemp.



I saw a busy potter by the way
Kneading with might and main a lump of clay;
And, lo! the clay cried, «Use me gently, pray;
I was a man myself but yesterday!»

252. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Hal, ecstasy.


Oh! wine is richer that the realm of Jam,
More fragrant than the food of Miriam;
Sweeter are sighs that drunkards heave at morn
Than strains of Bu Sa'id and Bin Adham.

253. C. L. N. A. I. J. Abu Sa'id Abu'l Khair and Ibrahim Bin Adham are both mentioned in the Nafahat ul Uns. «Miriam's food.» See Koran, xix. 24. Note izafat dropped after silent he.


Deep in the rondure of the heavenly blue,
There is a cup, concealed from mortals' view,
Which all must drink in turn; Oh, sigh not then,
But drink it boldly, when it comes to you!

254. C. L. A. I. J. Jawr, a «bumper.»


Though you should live to four, or forty score,
Go hence you must, as all have gone before;
Then, be you king, or beggar of the streets,
They'll rate you all the same, no less, no more.

255. L.



If you seek Him, abandon child and wife,
Arise, and sever all these ties to life;
All these are bonds to check you on your course.
Arise, and cut these bonds, as with a knife.

256. L. B. So Gulshan i Raz, l. 944.


O heart! this world is but a fleeting show,
Why should its empty griefs distress thee so?
Bow down, and bear thy fate, the eternal pen
Will not unwrite its roll for thee, I trow!

257. L. N. B. The «pen» is that with which Allah writes his decrees.


Who e'er returned of all that went before,
To tell of that long road they travel o'er?
Leave naught undone of what you have to do,
For when you go, you will return no more.

258. C. N. L. A. I. J. Amadaye, ya i tankir.


Dark wheel! how many lovers thou hast slain,
Like Mahmud and Ayaz, O inhumane!
Come, let us drink, thou grantest not two lives,
When one is spent, we find it not again.

259. L. N. Mahmud, the celebrated king of Ghazni, and Ayaz his favourite. Scan wayaz (alif i wasl).



Illustrious Prophet! whom all kings obey,
When is our darkness lightened by wine's ray?
On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, and Saturday, both night and day!

260. C. L. N. A. I. J. The jim in panjshamba is dropped in scanning. See Bl., Prosody, p. 10. In line 4 note silent he in shauba scanned long as well as short.


O turn away those roguish eyes of thine!
Be still! seek not my peace to undermine!
Thou say'st, «Look not.» I might as well essay
To slant my goblet, and not spill my wine.

261. N. Line 4, a proverb denoting an impossibility.


In taverns better far commune with Thee,
Than pray in mosques, and fail Thy face to see!
O first and last of all Thy creatures Thou,
'Tis Thine to burn, and Thine to cherish me!

262. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. This is clearly an address to the Deity.


To wise and worthy men your life devote,
But from the worthless keep your walk remote;
Dare to take poison from a sage's hand,
But from a fool refuse an antidote.

263. L. N. Line 2 is in metre 17.



I flew here, as a bird from the wild, in aim
Up to a higher nest my course to frame,
But, finding here no guide who knows the way,
Fly out by the same door where through I came.

264. C. L. N. A. I. J.


He binds us in resistless Nature's chain,
And yet bids us our natures to restrain;
Between these counter rules we stand perplexed,
«Hold the jar slant, but all the wine retain.»

265. L. N. In line 3 scan nahyash. So Lord Brooke in «Mustapha»; Ward's English Poets, i. 370.


They go away, and none is seen returning,
To teach that other world's recondite learning;
'Twill not be shown for dull mechanic prayers,
For prayer is naught without true heartfelt yearning.

266. C. L. N. A. I. The formal prayers of Moslems are rather ascriptions of praise, and repetitions of texts, than petitions.


Go to! Cast dust on those deaf skies, who spurn
Thy orisons and bootless prayers, and learn
To quaff the cup, and hover round the fair;
Of all who go, did ever one return?

267. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. An answer to the last.



Though Khayyam strings no pearls of righteous deeds,
Nor sweeps from off his soul sin's noisome weeds,
Yet will he not despair of heavenly grace,
Seeing that ONE as two he ne'er misreads.

268. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Tauhid, or Unitarianism, is the central doctrine of Islam. So Hafiz, Ode 465.


Again to tavern haunts do we repair,
And say «Adieu» to the five hours of prayer;
Where'er we see a long-necked flask of wine,
We elongate our necks that wine to share.

269. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Takbir, or tekbir the formula «Allah akbar,» in saying which the mind should be abstracted from worldly thoughts; hence «renunciation.» See Nicolas.


We are but chessmen, destined, it is plain,
That great chess-player, Heaven, to entertain;
It moves us on life's chess-board to and fro,
And then in death's dark box shuts up again.

270. L. N. B. Hakikati, see Bl., Prosody 3.


You ask what is this life so frail, so vain,
'Tis long to tell, yet will I make it plain;
'Tis but a breath blown from the vasty deeps,
And then blown back to those same deeps again!

271. C. L. N. A. I. J. Some MSS. read naksh. Deeps, i.e., the ocean of Not-being.



To-day to heights of rapture have I soared,
Yea, and with drunken Maghs pure wine adored;
I am become beside myself, and rest
In that pure temple, «Am not I your Lord?»

272. C. L. N. A. I. J. Alasto birabbikum, Allah's words to Adam's sons: Koran vii. 171. So in Hafiz, Ode 43 (Brockhaus).


My queen (long may she live to vex her slave!)
To-day a token of affection gave,
Darting a kind glance from her eyes, she passed,
And said, «Do good and cast it on the wave!»

273. L. N. Meaning, hope not for a return to your love. Nekuyey, «a good act,» ya conjunctive and ya i tankir, Vullers, p. 250.


I put my lips to the cup, for I did yearn
The hidden cause of length of days to learn;
He leaned his lip to mine, and whispered low,
«Drink! for, once gone, you never will return.»

274. C. L. A. B. I. J. Some MSS. give line 4 differently.


We lay in the cloak of Naught, asleep and still,
Thou said'st, «Awake! taste the world's good and ill»;
Here we are puzzled by Thy strange command,
From slanted jars no single drop to spill.

275. L. Naught, i.e., Not-being. See note to No. 183.



O Thou! who know'st the secret thoughts of all,
In time of sorest need who aidest all,
Grant me repentance, and accept my plea,
O Thou who dost accept the pleas of all!

276. C. L. N. A. I. J. Note tashdid on rabb dropped.


I saw a bird perched on the walls of Tus,
Before him lay the skull of Kai Kawus,
And thus he made his moan, «Alas, poor king!
Thy drums are hushed, thy 'larums have rung truce.»

277. C. L. N. A. Tus was near Nishapur.


Ask not the chances of the time to be,
And for the past, 'tis vanished, as you see;
This ready-money breath set down as gain,
Future and past concern not you or me.

278. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 1 note izafat dropped after silent he. Compare Horace's Ode to Leuconoe.


What launched that golden orb his course to run,
What wrecks his firm foundations, when 'tis done,
No man of science ever weighed with scales,
Nor made assay with touchstone, no, not one!

279. L. The vanity of science.

From an old painting by a Pushtu artist



I pray thee to my counsel lend thine ear,
Cast off this false hypocrisy's veneer;
This life a moment is, the next all time,
Sell not eternity for earthly gear!

280. C. L. N. A. B. I. Note ra separated from its noun, as before. Vullers, p. 173.


Ofttimes I plead my foolishness to Thee,
My heart contracted with perplexity;
I gird me with the Magian zone, and why?
For shame so poor a Musulman to be.

281. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 1 scan nadaniyi, dissolving the long ya.


Khayyam! rejoice that wine you still can pour,
And still the charms of tulip cheeks adore;
You'll soon not be, rejoice then that you are,
Think how 'twould be in case you were no more!

282. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


Once, in a potter's shop, a company
Of cups in converse did I chance to see,
And lo! one lifted up his voice, and cried,
«Who made, who sells, who buys this crockery?»

283. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Men's speculations.



Last night, as I reeled from the tavern door,
I saw a sage, who a great wine-jug bore;
I said, «O Shaikh, have you no shame?» Said he,
«Allah hath boundless mercy in his store.»

284. C. L. N. A. I. J. Sar mast, a compound, hence izafat omitted. Saboyey, hamza (for conjunctive ya) followed by ya i tankir. See Lumsden, ii. 269.


Life's fount is wine, Khizir its guardian,
I, like Elias, find it where I can,
'Tis sustenance for heart and spirit too,
Allah himself calls wine «a boon to man.»

285. C. L. N. A. I. J. Koran, ii. 216. Elias discovered the water of life.


Though wine is banned, yet drink, for ever drink!
By day and night, with strains of music drink!
Where'er thou lightest on a cup of wine,
Spill just one drop, and take the rest and drink!

286. C. L. N. A. I. J. To spill a drop is a sign of liberality.—Nicolas.


Although the creeds number some seventy-three,
I hold with none but that of loving Thee;
What matter faith, unfaith, obedience, sin?
Thou'rt all we need, the rest is vanity.

287. N. See note on Quatrain 194. Forms of faith are indifferent. See Gulshan i Raz, p. 83.



Tell one by one my scanty virtues o'er;
As for my sins, forgive them by the score;
Let not my faults kindle Thy wrath to flame;
By blest Muhammad's tomb, forgive once more!

288. L. N. B. Rasul-ullah: the construction being Arabic, izafat is needed. Lumsden, ii. p. 251. Also ascribed to Zahir ud-din Faryabi.


Grieve not at coming ill, you can't defeat it,
And what far-sighted person goes to meet it?
Cheer up! bear not about a world of grief,
Your fate is fixed, and grieving will not cheat it.

289. L. Line 2 is a question.


There is a chalice made with wit profound,
With tokens of the Maker's favour crowned;
Yet the world's Potter takes his masterpiece,
And dashes it to pieces on the ground!

290. C. L. A. I. J. So Job, «Is it good unto Thee that Thou shouldest despise the labour of Thine hands?»


In truth wine is a spirit thin as air,
A limpid soul in the cup's earthen ware;
No dull, dense person shall be friend of mine
Save wine-cups, which are dense and also rare.

291. L. N. B. Layik . man izafat omitted because of the intervening words. Lumsden, ii. 250.



O wheel of heaven! no ties of bread you feel,
No ties of salt, you flay me like an eel!
A woman's wheel spins clothes for man and wife,
It does more good than you, O heavenly wheel!

292. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Did no fair rose my paradise adorn,
I would make shift to deck it with a thorn;
And if I lacked my prayer-mats, beads, and Shaikh,
'Those Christian bells and stoles I would not scorn.

293. C. L. N. A. I. (under Te). Line 2 is omitted in the translation. So Pope, «For forms and creeds let graceless zealots fight.»


«If heaven deny me peace and fame,» I said,
«Let it be open war and shame instead;
The man who scorns bright wine had best beware,
I'll arm me with a stone, and break his head!»

294. C. L. N. A. I. J.


See! the dawn breaks, and rends night's canopy:
Arise! and drain a morning draught with me!
Away with gloom! full many a dawn will break
Looking for us, and we not here to see!

295. C. L. N A. I. J. Bisyar, «frequently.»



O you who tremble not at fires of hell,
Nor wash in water of remorse's well,
When winds of death shall quench your vital torch,
Beware lest earth your guilty dust expel.

296. L. Possibly written by some pious reader as an answer to Khayyam's scoffs. See note on Quatrain 223.


This world a hollow pageant you should deem;
All wise men know things are not what they seem;
Be of good cheer, and drink, and so shake off
This vain illusion of a baseless dream.

297. L. N. All earthly existence is «Maya»


With maids stately as cypresses, and fair
As roses newly plucked, your wine-cups share,
Or e'er Death's blasts shall rend your robe of flesh
Like yonder rose leaves, lying scattered there!

298. C. L. N. I. J. The Lucknow commentator says daman i gul means the maid's cheek.


Cast off dull care, O melancholy brother!
Woo the sweet daughter of the grape, no other;
The daughter is forbidden, it is true,
But she is nicer than her lawful mother!

299. N. «Daughter of the grape,» i.e., wine, a translation of an Arabic phrase.



My love shone forth, and I was overcome,
My heart was speaking, but my tongue was dumb;
Beside the water-brooks I died of thirst.
Was ever known so strange a martyrdom?

300. N. Dil rubaye, «that well-known charmer.» Lumsden, ii. 142. Pur sukhan. See note on No. 227.


Give me my cup in hand, and sing a glee
In concert with the bulbul's symphony;
Wine would not gurgle as it leaves the flask,
If drinking mute were right for thee and me!

301. C. L. N. A. I. J.


The «Truth» will not be shown to lofty thought,
Nor yet with lavished gold may it be bought;
But, if you yield your life for fifty years,
From words to «states» you may perchance be brought.

302. L. Line 3, literally, «Unless you dig up your soul, and eat blood for fifty years.» «States» of ecstatic union with the «Truth,» or Deity of the Mystics.


I solved all problems, down from Saturn's wreath
Unto this lowly sphere of earth beneath,
And leapt out free from bonds of fraud and lies,
Yea, every knot was loosed, save that of death!

303. C. L. A. I. J.



Peace! the eternal «Has been» and «To be»
Pass man's experience, and man's theory;
In joyful seasons naught can vie with wine,
To all these riddles wine supplies the key!

304. C. L. A. B. I. J.


Allah, our Lord, is merciful, though just;
Sinner! despair not, but His mercy trust!
For though to-day you perish in your sins,
To-morrow He'll absolve your crumbling dust.

305. C. L. N. A. I. J. A very Voltairean quatrain.


Your course annoys me, O ye wheeling skies!
Unloose me from your chain of tyrannies!
If none but fools your favours may enjoy,
Then favour me,—I am not very wise!

306. C. L. N. A. I. J.


O City Mufti, you go more astray
Than I do, though to wine I do give way;
I drink the blood of grapes, you that of men:
Which of us is the more bloodthirsty, pray?

307. C. L. N. A. I. J. Alluding to the selling of justice by Muftis.



'Tis well to drink, and leave anxiety
For what is past, and what is yet to be;
Our prisoned spirits, lent us for a day,
A while from season's bondage shall go free!

308. C. L. N. A. I. J. 'Ariyati rawan, «this borrowed soul.»


When Khayyam quittance at Death's hand receives,
And sheds his outworn life, as trees their leaves,
Full gladly will he sift this world away,
Ere dustmen sift his ashes in their sieves.

309. C. L. N. A. I. J.


This wheel of heaven, which makes us all afraid,
I liken to a lamp's revolving shade,
The sun the candlestick, the earth the shade,
And men the trembling forms thereon portrayed.

310. C. L. N. A. B. I. Fanus i khiyal, a magic or Chinese lantern.


Who was it that did mix my clay? Not I.
Who spun my web of silk and wool? Not I.
Who wrote upon my forehead all my good,
And all my evil deeds? In truth not I.

311. C. L. N. A. I. In line 2 rhyme shows the word to be rishtai, not rushtai.



O let us not forecast to-morrow's fears,
But count to-day as gain, my brave compeers!
To-morrow we shall quit this inn, and march
With comrades who have marched seven thousand years.

312. C. L. N. A. I. J. Badauni (ii. 337) says the creation of Adam was 7000 years before his time. Compare Hafiz, Ruba'i 10.


Ne'er for one moment leave your cup unused!
Wine keeps heart, faith, and reason too, amused;
Had Iblis swallowed but a single drop,
To worship Adam he had ne'er refused!

313. C. L. (in part) N. A. I. J. See Koran, ii. 31.


Come, dance! while we applaud thee, and adore
Thy sweet Narcissus eyes, and grape-juice pour;
A score of cups is no such great affair,
But 'tis enchanting when we reach three score!

314. N. Narcissus eyes, i.e., languid.


I close the door of hope in my own face,
Nor sue for favours from good men, or base;
I have but ONE to lend a helping hand,
He knows, as well as I, my sorry case.

315. C. L. N. A. I. J. A «Haliya» quatrain, lamenting his own condition.



Ah! by these heavens, that ever circling run,
And by my own base lusts I am undone,
Without the wit to abandon worldly hopes,
And wanting sense the world's allures to shun!

316. C. L. N. A. I. J.


On earth's green carpet many sleepers lie,
And hid beneath it others I descry,
And others, not yet come, or passed away,
People the desert of Nonentity!

317. C. L. N. A. I. J. The sleepers on the earth are those sunk in the sleep of superstition and ignorance.


Sure of Thy grace, for sins why need I fear?
How can the pilgrim faint whilst Thou art near?
On the last day Thy grace will wash me white,
And make my «black record» to disappear.

318. C. L. N. A. I. J. Lumsden, ii, 72. See Koran, xiii. 47.


Think not I dread from out the world to hie,
And see my disembodied spirit fly;
I tremble not at death, for death is true,
'Tis my ill life that makes me fear to die!

319. C. L. N. A. I. J. «Death is true,» i.e. a certainty. So Sir Philip Sidney (after M. Aurelius), «Since Nature's works be good, and death doth serve as Nature's work, why should we fear to die?»



Let us shake off dull reason's incubus,
Our tale of days or years cease to discuss,
And take our jugs, and plenish them with wine,
Or e'er grim potters make their jugs of us!

320. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


How much more wilt thou chide, O raw divine,
For that I drink, and am a libertine?
Thou hast thy weary beads, and saintly show,
Leave me my cheerful sweetheart, and my wine!

321. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Against my lusts I ever war, in vain,
I think on my ill deeds with shame and pain;
I trust Thou wilt assoil me of my sins,
But even so, my shame must still remain.

322. C. L. N. A. B. I.


In these twin compasses, O Love, you see
One body with two heads, like you and me,
Which wander round one centre, circlewise.
But at the last in one same point agree.

323. C. L. N. A. I. Mr. Fitzgerald quotes a similar figure used by the poet Donne, for which see Ward's «English Poets,» i. 562. The two heads are the points of the compasses.



We shall not stay here long, but while we do,
'Tis folly wine and sweethearts to eschew;
Why ask if earth etern or transient be?
Since you must go, it matters not to you.

324. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


In reverent sort to mosque I wend my way,
But, by great Allah, it is not to pray;
No! but to steal a prayer-mat! When 'tis worn,
I go again, another to purvey.

325. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. To «steal a prayer-mat» is to pray to be seen of men.—Nicolas. A satire on some hypocrite, perhaps himself.


No more let fate's annoys our peace consume,
But let us rather rosy wine consume,
The world our murderer is, and wine its blood,
Shall we not then that murderer's blood consume?

326. L. N. See Koran, ii. 187.


For Thee I vow to cast repute away,
And, if I shrink, the penalty to pay;
Though life might satisfy Thy cruelty,
'Twere naught, I'll bear it till the judgment-day!

327. C. L. N. A. B. I.



In Being's rondure do we stray belated,
Our pride of manhood humbled and abated;
Would we were gone! long since have we been wearied
With this world's griefs, and with its pleasures sated.

328. L. N.


The world is false, so I'll be false as well,
And with bright wine, and gladness ever dwell!
They say, «May Allah grant thee penitence!»
He grants it not, and, did he, I'd rebel!

329. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. A pun in the original.


When Death shall tread me down upon the plain,
And pluck my feathers, and my life-blood drain,
Then mould me to a cup, and fill with wine,
Haply its scent will make me breathe again.

330. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


So far as this world's dealings I have traced,
I find its favours shamefully misplaced;
Allah be praised! I see myself debarred
From all its boons, and wrongfully disgraced.

331. C. L. N. A. I. Alam hama, etc., «states entirely gratuitous.» Write baran without a madd. Bl., Prosody, p. 11. Compare Shakespeare, Sonnet 66.



'Tis dawn! my heart with wine I will recruit,
And dash to bits the glass of good repute;
My long-extending hopes I will renounce,
And grasp long tresses, and the charming lute.

332. L. N. B.


Though I had sinned the sins of all mankind,
I know Thou would'st to mercy be inclined;
Thou sayest, «I will help in time of need»
One needier than I where wilt Thou find?

333. C. L. N. A. I. J. The waw in 'afw is a consonant, and therefore takes kasra for the izafat, without the intervention of conjunctive ya.


Am I a wine-bibber? What if I am?
Gueber or infidel? Suppose I am?
Each sect miscalls me, but I heed them not,
I am my own, and, what I am, I am.

334. C. L. N. A. I. J. Zan i khud for azan i khud, «my own property.»


All my life long from drink I have not ceased,
And drink I will to-night on Kadr's feast;
And throw my arms about the wine-jar's neck,
And kiss its lip, and clasp it to my breast!

335. C. L. N. A. I. J. Kadr the night of power. Koran, xcvi. 1.



I know what is, and what is not, I know
The lore of things above, and things below;
But all this lore will cheerfully renounce,
If one a higher grade than drink can show.

336. L. N. B. Line 1, Being and Not-being, «Grade,» i.e., of learning.


Though I drink wine, I am no libertine,
Nor am I grasping, save of cups of wine;
I scruple to adore myself, like you;
For this cause to wine-worship I incline.

337. C. L. N. A. I. J. A hit at the vain and covetous Mollas. Also ascribed to Anwari.


To confidants like you I dare to say
What mankind really are—moulded of clay,
Affliction's clay, and kneaded in distress,
They taste the world awhile, then pass away.

338. C. L. N. A. I. J. Note the archaic form.


We make the wine-jar's lip our place of prayer,
And drink in lessons of true manhood there,
And pass our lives in taverns, if perchance
The time mis-spent in mosques we may repair.

339. L. N. This quatrain is probably Mystical.



Man is the whole creation's summary,
The precious apple of great wisdom's eye;
The circle of existence is a ring,
Whereof the signet is humanity.

340. C. L. N. A. I. Man is the microcosm. See Gulshan i Raz, p. 15. «The captain jewel of the carcanet.»


With fancies, as with wine, our heads we turn,
Aspire to heaven, and earth's low trammels spurn;
But, when we drop this fleshly clog, 'tis seen
From dust we came, and back to dust return.

341. L. N.


If so it be that I did break the fast,
Think not I meant it; no! I thought 'twas past;—
That day more weary than a sleepless night,—
And blesséd breakfast-time had come at last!

342. L. N. Roza khwardan, «to avoid fasting.» In line 2, for bekhabar read bakhabar.


I never drank of joy's sweet cordial,
But grief's fell hand infused a drop of gall;
Nor dipped my bread in pleasure's piquant salt,
But briny sorrow made me smart withal!

343. C. L. N. A. I. Line 4, literally, «eat a roast of my own liver.»



At dawn to tavern haunts I wend my way,
And with distraught Kalendars pass the day;
O Thou! who know'st things secret, and things known,
Grant me Thy grace, that I may learn to pray!

344. C. L. N. A. I. J. Khafiyyat means «manifest,» as well as «concealed.» Lucknow commentator.


The world's annoys I rate not at one grain,
So I eat once a day I don't complain;
And, since earth's kitchen yields no solid food,
I pester no man with petitions vain.

345. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 3 the Alif in az is not treated as an Alif i wasl. Bl., Pros. 10.


Never from worldly toils have I been free,
Never for one short moment glad to be!
I served a long apprenticeship to fate,
But yet of fortune gained no mastery.

346. C. L. N. A. I. J. Ek dam zadan, «For one moment.»


One hand with Koran, one with wine-cup dight,
I half incline to wrong, and half to right;
The azure-marbled sky looks down on me
A sorry Moslem, yet not heathen quite.

347. C. L. N. A. I. J. Khayyam here describes himself as akrates rather than akolastos, «Video meliora proboque,» etc.



Khayyam's respects to Mustafa convey,
And with due reverence ask him to say,
Why it has pleased him to forbid pure wine,
When he allows his people acid whey?

348 and 349. L. These two quatrains are also found in Whalley's Morababad edition. Mustafa, i.e., Muhammad. So Avicenna. See Renan, Averroes, 171.


Tell Khayyam, for a master of the schools,
He strangely misinterprets my plain rules:
Where have I said that wine is wrong for all?
'Tis lawful for the wise, but not for fools.


My critics call me a philosopher,
But Allah knows full well they greatly err;
I know not even what I am, much less
Why on this earth I am a sojourner!

350. C. L. A. I. J. Filsafat meant the Greek philosophy as cultivated by Persian rationalists, in opposition to theology. Renan, Averroes, p. 91.


The more I die to self, I live the more,
The more abase myself, the higher soar;
And, strange! the more I drink of Being's wine,
More sane I grow and sober than before.

351. L. Clearly Mystical.



Quoth rose, «I am the Yusuf flower, I swear,
For in my mouth rich golden gems I bear»:
I said, «Show me another proof.» Quoth she,
«Behold this blood-stained vesture that I wear!»

352. B. L. Yusuf is the type of manly beauty. The yellow stamens are compared to his teeth. So Jami, in Yusuf wa Zulaikha.


I studied with the masters long ago,
And long ago did master all they know;
Here now the end and issue of it all,
From earth I came, and like the wind I go!

353. L. B. Mr. Fitzgerald compares the dying exclamation of Nizam ul-Mulk, «I am going in the hands of the wind!» Mantik ut Tair, 1. 4620.


Death finds us soiled, though we were pure at birth,
With grief we go, although we came with mirth;
Watered with tears, and burned with fires of woe,
And, casting life to winds, we rest in earth!

354. C. L. A. I. J.


To find great Jamshid's world-reflecting bowl
I compassed sea and land, and viewed the whole;
But, when I asked the wary sage, I learned
That bowl was my own body, and my soul!

355. L. King Jamshid's cup, which reflected the whole world, is the Holy Grail of Persian poetry. Meaning «man is the microcosm.» See note on No. 340. In line 2 scan naghnudem.



Me, cruel Queen! you love to captivate,
And from a knight to a poor pawn translate,
You marshal all your force to tire me out,
You take my rooks with yours, and then checkmate!

356. C. L. A. I. J. The pun on rukh, «cheek,» and rukh, «castle,» is untranslatable.


If Allah wills me not to will aright,
How can I frame my will to will aright?
Each single act I will must needs be wrong,
Since none but He has power to will aright.

357. C. L. A. I. J.


«For once, while roses are in bloom,» I said,
«I'll break the law, and please myself instead,
With blooming youths, and maidens' tulip cheeks
The plain shall blossom like a tulip-bed.»

358. L. N. Rozi, ya i batni, or tankir (?).


Think not I am existent of myself,
Or walk this blood-stained pathway of myself;
This being is not I, it is of Him.
Pray what, and where, and whence is this «myself»?

359. C. L. A. I. J. In line 3 I omit wa after Lu bud. Meaning, Man's real existence is not of himself, but of the «Truth,» the universal Noumenon.



Endure this world without my wine I cannot!
Drag on life's load without my cups I cannot!
I am the slave of that sweet moment, when
They say, «Take one more goblet,» and I cannot!

360. C. L. N. A. I. J.


You, who both day and night the world pursue,
And thoughts of that dread day of doom eschew,
Bethink you of your latter end; be sure
As time has treated others, so 'twill you!

361. C. L. N. A. I.


O man, who art creation's summary,
Getting and spending too much trouble thee!
Arise, and quaff the Etern Cupbearer's wine,
And so from troubles of both worlds be free!

362. C. L. N. A. I. J. So Wordsworth, «The world is too much with us,» etc. The Sufis rejected talab ud dunya, «worldliness,» and talab nl ukharat, «other-worldliness,» for talab nl maula, «disinterested godliness.» So Madame Guyon taught «Holy Indifference.»


In this eternally revolving zone,
Two lucky species of men are known;
One knows all good and ill that are on earth,
One neither earth's affairs, nor yet his own.

363. C. L. N. A. I. J. Taman, «entirely.» The two classes seem to be practical men and mystics.



Make light to me the world's oppressive weight,
And hide my failings from the people's hate,
And grant me peace to-day, and on the morrow
Deal with me as Thy mercy may dictate!

364. C. L. N A. I. J. In line 4 scan anchaz.


Souls that are well informed of this world's state,
Its weal and woe with equal mind await:
For, be it weal we meet, or be it woe,
The weal doth pass, and woe too hath its date.

365. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. 'Twill all be one a hundred years hence.


Lament not fortune's want of constancy,
But up! and seize her favours ere they flee;
If fortune always cleaved to other men,
How could a turn of luck have come to thee?

366. C. L. N. A. I. J. This was a saying of Kisra Parviz to his Sultana. Bicknell's Hafiz, p. 73.


Chief of old friends! hearken to what I say,
Let not heaven's treacherous wheel your heart dismay;
But rest contented in your humble nook,
And watch the games that wheel is wont to play.

367. C. L. N. A. I. J.



Hear now Khayyam's advice, and bear in mind,
Consort with revellers, though they be maligned,
Cast down the gates of abstinence and prayer,
Yea, drink, and even rob, but, oh! be kind!

368. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. A rather violent extension of the doctrine, Mercy is better than sacrifice.


This world a body is, and God its soul,
And angels are its senses, who control
Its limbs—the creatures, elements, and spheres;
The ONE is the sole basis of the whole.

369. L. N. So Pope, «All are but parts,» etc.


Last night that idol who enchants my heart,
With true desire to elevate my heart,
Gave me his cup to drink; when I refused,
He said, «Oh, drink to gratify my heart!»

370. N.


Would'st thou have fortune bow her neck to thee,
Make it thy care to feed thy soul with glee;
And hold a creed like mine, which is to drain
The cup of wine, not that of misery.

371. So the Ecclesiast, «There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat, and drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labour.»



Though you survey O my enlightened friend,
This world of vanity from end to end,
You will discover there no other good
Than wine and rosy cheeks, you may depend!

372. N. Note izafat dropped after sahib. Bl., Prosody, p. 14.


Last night upon the river bank we lay,
I with my wine-cup, and a maiden gay,
So bright it shone, like pearl within its shell,
The watchman cried, «Behold the break of day!»

373. N. Nigare. Here ya may be ya i tankir, the izafat being dispensed with (Lumsden, ii. 269) [?], or perhaps ya i tausifi before the «sifat» marvzum.


Have you no shame for all the sins you do,
Sins of omission and commission too?
Suppose you gain the world, you can but leave it,
You cannot carry it away with you!

374. C. L. N. A. I. J.


In a lone waste I saw a debauchee,
He had no home, no faith, no heresy,
No God, no truth, no law, no certitude;
Where in this world is man so bold as he?

375. L. N. A beshara' or antinomian Sufi.



Some look for truth in creeds, and forms, and rules;
Some grope for doubts or dogmas in the schools;
But from behind the veil a voice proclaims,
«Your road lies neither here nor there, O fools.»

376. C. L. N. A. I. Truth, hidden from theologians and philosophers, is revealed to mystics. See Gulshan i Raz, p. 11.


In heaven is seen the bull we name Parwin,
Beneath the earth another lurks unseen;
And thus to wisdom's eyes mankind appear
A drove of asses, two great bulls between!

377. L. N. The bulls are the constellation Taurus, and that which supports the earth.


The people say, «Why not drink somewhat less?
What reasons have you for such great excess?»
First, my Love's face, second, my morning draught;
Can there be clearer reasons, now confess?

378. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Had I the power great Allah to advise,
I'd bid him sweep away this earth and skies,
And build a better, where, unclogged and free,
The clear soul might achieve her high emprise.

379. C. L. N. A. I. J. This recalls the celebrated speech of Alphonso X., king of Castile.



This silly sorrow-laden heart of mine
Is ever pining for that Love of mine;
When the Cupbearer poured the wine of love,
With my heart's blood he filled this cup of mine!

380. C. L. N. A. I. Meaning, «the wine of life, or existence, poured by the Deity into all beings at creation.» See Gulshan i Raz, p. 80.


To drain the cup, to hover round the fair,
Can hypocritic arts with these compare?
If all who love and drink are going wrong,
There's many a wight of heaven may well despair!

381. L. N. B.


'Tis wrong with gloomy thoughts your mirth to drown,—
To let grief's millstone weigh your spirits down;
Since none can tell what is to be, 'tis best
With wine and love your heart's desires to crown.

382. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


'Tis well in reputation to abide,
'Tis shameful against heaven to rail and chide;
Still, head had better ache with over drink,
Than be puffed up with Pharisaic pride!

383. C. L. N. A. I. J. Compare «Tartufe,» i. 6.



O Lord! pity this prisoned heart, I pray,
Pity this bosom stricken with dismay!
Pardon these hands that ever grasp the cup,
These feet that to the tavern ever stray!

384. N.


O Lord! from self-conceit deliver me,
Sever from self, and occupy with Thee!
This self is captive to earth's good and ill,
Make me beside myself, and set me free!

385. C. L. N. A. I. J. A Mystic's prayer.


Behold the tricks this wheeling dome doth play,
And earth laid bare of old friends torn away!
O live this present moment, which is thine,
Seek not a morrow, mourn not yesterday!

386. L. B. An odd expression.


Since all man's business in this world of woe
Is sorrow's pangs to feel, and grief to know,
Happy are they that never come at all,
And they that, having come, the soonest go!

387. C. L. A. B. I. J. Compare the chorus in the «Œdipus Coloneus.»



By reason's dictates it is right to live,
But of ourselves we know not how to live,
So Fortune, like a master, rod in hand,
Raps our pates well to teach us how to live!

388. L. Fortune's buffets.


Nor you nor I can read the etern decree,
To that enigma we can find no key;
They talk of you and me behind the veil,
But, if that veil be lifted, where are we?

389. C. L. A. I. J. Meaning, We are part of the «veil» of phenomena, which hides the Divine Noumenon. If that be swept away what becomes of us?


O Love, for ever doth heaven's wheel design
To take away thy precious life, and mine;
Sit we upon this turf, 'twill not be long
Ere turf shall grow upon my dust, and thine!

390. L. N. B.


When life has fled, and we rest in the tomb,
They'll place a pair of bricks to mark our tomb;
And, a while after, mould our dust to bricks,
To furnish forth some other person's tomb!

391. L. N. A. I.



Yon palace, towering to the welkin blue,
Where kings did bow them down, and homage do,
I saw a ringdove on its arches perched,
And thus she made complaint, «Coo, Coo, Coo, Coo!»

392. C. L. N. A. I. J. Mr. Binning found this quatrain inscribed on the ruins of Persepolis—Fitzgerald. Coo (Ku) means «Where are they?»


We come and go, but for the gain, where is it?
And spin life's woof, but for the warp, where is it?
And many a righteous man has burned to dust
In heaven's blue rondure, but their smoke, where is it?

393. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. So Ecclesiastes, «There is no remembrance of the wise, more than of the fool.» «Smoke,» i.e., trace.


Life's well-spring lurks within that lip of thine!
Let not the cup's lip touch that lip of thine!
Beshrew me, if I fail to drink his blood,
For who is he, to touch that lip of thine?

394. C. L. N. A. I. J. To a sweetheart.


Such as I am, Thy power created me,
Thy care hath kept me for a century!
Through all these years I make experiment,
If my sins or Thy mercy greater be.

395. C. L. N. A. I. J. God's long-suffering.



«Take up thy cup and goblet, Love,» I said,
«Haunt purling river bank, and grassy glade;
Full many a moon-like form has heaven's weel
Oft into cup, oft into goblet, made!»

396. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.


We buy new wine and old, our cups to fill,
And sell for two grains this world's good and ill;
Know you where you will go to after death?
Set wine before me, and go where you will!

397. L. N. and J. give lines 1 and 2 differently.


Was e'er man born who never went astray?
Did ever mortal pass a sinless day?
If I do ill, do not requite with ill!
Evil for evil how can'st Thou repay?

398. L. N. Line 3 and 4 are paraphrased somewhat freely.


Bring forth that ruby gem of Badakhshan,
That heart's delight, that balm of Turkistan;
They say 'tis wrong for Musulmen to drink,
But ah! where can we find a Musulman?

399. C. L. N. A. I. J.



My body's life and strength proceed from Thee!
My soul within and spirit are of Thee!
My being is of Thee, and Thou art mine,
And I am Thine, since I am lost in Thee!

400. L. «In him we live and move, and have our being.»


Man, like a ball, hither and thither goes,
As fate's resistless bat directs the blows;
But He, who gives thee up to this rude sport,
He knows what drives thee, yea, He knows, He knows!

401. C. L. A. I. J. Line 4 is in metre 22, consisting of ten syllables, all long.


O Thou who givest sight to emmet's eyes,
And strength to puny limbs of feeble flies,
To Thee we will ascribe Almighty power,
And not base, unbecoming qualities.

402. L. An echo of the Asharian's discussions on the Divine attributes.


Let not base avarice enslave thy mind,
Nor vain ambition in its trammels bind;
Be sharp as fire, as running water swift,
Not, like earth's dust, the sport of every wind!

403. L. C. A. I. J.



'Tis best all other blessings to forego
For wine, that charming Turki maids bestow;
Kalendars' raptures pass all things that are,
From moon on high down into fish below!

404. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. For mah L. reads hahk probably a Sufi gloss. Kalendars, bibulous Sufis. Fish, that whereon the earth was said to rest.


Friend! trouble not yourself about your lot,
Let futile care and sorrow be forgot;
Since this life's vesture crumbles into dust,
What matters stain of word or deed, or blot?

405. L. N.


O thou who hast done ill, and ill alone,
And thinkest to find mercy at the throne,
Hope not for mercy! for good left undone
Cannot be done, nor evil done undone!

406. N. A. I. This quatrain is by Abu Sa'id Abu'l Khair; and is an answer to No. 420, which is attributed to Avicenna.


Count not to live beyond your sixtieth year,
To walk in jovial courses persevere;
And ere your skull be turned into a cup,
Let wine-cups ever to your hand adhere!

407. L. N. B.



These heavens resemble an inverted cup,
Whereto the wise with awe keep gazing up;
So stoops the bottle o'er his love, the cup,
Feigning to kiss, and gives her blood to sup!

408. C. L. N. A. B. I. Blood, an emblem of hate.


I sweep the tavern threshold with my hair,
For both world's good and ill I take no care;
Should the two worlds roll to my house, like balls,
When drunk, for one small coin I'd sell the pair!

409. L. N. B.


The drop wept for his severance from the sea,
But the sea smiled, for «I am all,» said he,
«The Truth is all, nothing exists beside,
That one point circling apes plurality.»

410. N. This is in Ramal metre, No. 50. Compare Gulshan i Raz, line 710.


Shall I still sigh for what I have not got,
Or try with cheerfulness to bear my lot?
Fill up my cup! I know not if the breath
I now am drawing is my last, or not!

411. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Some MSS. place this quatrain under Radif ya.



Yield not to grief, though fortune prove unkind,
Nor call sad thoughts of parted friends to mind;
Devote thy heart to sugary lips, and wine,
Cast not thy precious life unto the wind!

412. L. N. B.


Of mosque and prayer and fast preach not to me,
Rather go drink, were it on charity!
Yea, drink, Khayyam, your dust will soon be made
A jug, or pitcher, or a cup, may be!

413. N. «Imperial Cæsar, dead, and turned to clay Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.»


Bulbuls, doting on roses, oft complain
How forward breezes rend their veils in twain;
Sit we beneath this rose, which many a time
Has sunk to earth, and sprung from earth again.

414. L. N. B. So Moschus on the mallows.


Suppose the world goes well with you, what then?
When life's last page is read and turned, what then?
Suppose you live a hundred years of bliss,
Yea, and a hundred years besides, what then?

415. C. L. N A. I. J. See Vullers, p. 100.



How is it that of all the leafy tribe,
Cypress and lily men as «free» describe?
This has a dozen tongues, yet holds her peace,
That has a hundred hands which take no bribe.

416. L. N. Sa'di in the Gulistan, Book viii., gives another explanation of this expression. «Tongues, stamens, and hands, branches.»


Cupbearer, bring my wine-cup, let me grasp it!
Bring that delicious darling, let me grasp it!
That pleasing chain which tangles in its coils
Wise men and fools together, let me grasp it!

417. L. N. Bipechand seems a plural of dignity.


Alas! my wasted life has gone to wrack!
What with forbidden meats, and lusts, alack!
And leaving undone what 'twas right to do,
And doing wrong, my face is very black!

418. C. L. N. A. I. These whimsical outbursts of self-reproach in the midst of antinomian utterances are characteristic of Khayyam.


I could repent of all, but of wine, never!
I could dispense with all, but with wine, never!
If so be I became a Musulman,
Could I abjure my Magian wine? no, never!

419. L. N. The Magians sold wine.



We rest our hopes on Thy free grace alone,
Nor seek by merits for our sins to atone;
Mercy drops where it lists, and estimates
Ill done as undone, good undone as done.

420. L. N. A. I. This quatrain is also ascribed to the celebrated philosopher Avicenna. See No. 406.


This is the form Thou gavest me of old,
Wherein Thou workest marvels manifold;
Can I aspire to be a better man,
Or other than I issued from Thy mould?

421. C. L. N. A. I. This is a variation of No. 221.


O Lord! to Thee all creatures worship pay,
To Thee both small and great for ever pray,
Thou takest woe away, and givest weal,
Give then, or, if it please Thee, take away!

422. L. Scan bandagita, omitting fatha before te. Vullers, p. 197.


With going to and fro in this sad vale
Thou art grown double, and thy credit stale,
Thy nails are thickened like a horse's hoof,
Thy beard is ragged as an ass's tail.

423. C. L. A. I. J. A description of old age.



O unenlightened race of humankind,
Ye are a nothing, built on empty wind!
Yea, a mere nothing, hovering in the abyss,
A void before you, and a void behind!

424. C. L. A. I. J. The technical name for existence between two non-existences is Takwin. Bl. Ain i Akbari, p. 198. Compare the term «nunc stans,» applied to Time by the Schoolmen.


Each morn I say, «To-night I will repent
Of wine, and tavern haunts no more frequent»;
But while 'tis spring, and roses are in bloom,
To loose me from my promise, O consent!

425. C. L. A. I. J.


Vain study of philosophy eschew!
Rather let tangled curls attract your view;
And shed the bottle's life-blood in your cup,
Or e'er death shed your blood, and feast on you.

426. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Bigorezi bi, «better that you should eschew.»


O heart! can'st thou the darksome riddle read,
Where wisest men have failed, wilt thou succeed?
Quaff wine, and make thy heaven here below,
Who knows if heaven above will be thy meed?

427. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.



They that have passed away, and gone before,
Sleep in delusion's dust for evermore;
Go, boy, and fetch some wine, this is the truth,
Their dogmas were but air, and wind their lore!

428. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. So Ecclesiastes, «I gave my heart to know wisdom ... and perceived that this also is vanity.»


O heart! when on the Loved One's sweets you feed,
You lose yourself, but find your Self indeed;
And, when you drink of His entrancing cup,
You hasten your escape from quick and dead!

429. C. L. N. A. I. J. Die to self, to live in God, your true self. See Max Müller, Hibbert Lectures, p. 375.


Though I am wont a wine-bibber to be,
Why should the people rail and chide at me?
Would that all evil actions made men drunk,
For then no sober people should I see!

430. C. N. A. I. J.


Child of four elements and sevenfold heaven,
Who fume and sweat because of these eleven,
Drink! I have told you seventy times and seven,
Once gone, nor hell will send you back, nor heaven.

431. C. L. N. A. I. J.



With many a snare Thou dost beset my way,
And threatenest, if I fall therein, to slay;
Thy rule resistless sways the world, yet Thou
Imputest sin, when I do but obey!

432. B. N. Allah is the Fa'il i hakiki, the only real agent, according to the Sufi view, Hukmi tu Kuni, «Thou givest thy order.»


To Thee, whose essence baffles human thought,
Our sins and righteous deeds alike seem naught,
May Thy grace sober me, though drunk with sins,
And pardon all the ill that I have wrought!

433. L. N.


If this life were indeed an empty play,
Each day would be an 'lid of festal day,
And men might conquer all their hearts' desire,
Fearless of after penalties to pay!

434. N. N takes taklid in the sense of «authority,» but I think it alludes to Koran, xxix. 64. See Gulshan i Raz, p. 50.


O wheel of heaven, you thwart my heart's desire,
And rend to shreds my scanty joy's attire,
The water that I drink you foul with earth,
And turn the very air I breathe to fire!

435. C. L. N. A. I.



O soul! could you but doff this flesh and bone,
You'd soar a sprite about the heavenly throne;
Had you no shame to leave your starry home,
And dwell an alien on this earthly zone?

436. C. L. N. B. A. I.


Ah, potter, stay thine hand' with ruthless art
Put not to such base use man's mortal part!
See, thou art mangling on thy cruel wheel
Faridun's fingers, and Kai Khosrau's heart!

437. C. L. N. A. I. Faridun and Kai Khosrau were ancient kings of Persia. Kai Khosrau is usually identified with Cyrus.


O rose! all beauties' charms thou dost excel,
As wine excels the pearl within its shell;
O fortune! thou dost ever show thyself
More strange, although I seem to know thee well!

438. N. Mimani, You resemble.


From this world's kitchen crave not to obtain
Those dainties, seeming real, but really vain,
Which greedy worldlings gorge to their own loss;
Renounce that loss, so loss shall prove thy gain!

439. L. N. B.



Plot not of nights, thy fellows' peace to blight,
So that they cry to God the live-long night;
Nor plume thee on thy wealth and might, which thieves
May steal by night, or death, or fortune's might.

440. N. Ta bar nikashand, «Let us abstain from oppressing people, so that they may not heave a sigh, saying, O Lord.»


This soul of mine was once Thy cherished bride,
What caused Thee to divorce her from Thy side?
Thou didst not use to treat her thus of yore,
Why then now doom her in the world to abide?

441. L. N.


Ah! would there were a place of rest from pain,
Which we, poor pilgrims, might at last attain,
And after many thousand wintry years,
Renew our life, like flowers, and bloom again!

442. C. N. A. I. J.


While in love's book I sought an augury;
An ardent youth cried out in ecstasy,
«Who owns a sweetheart beauteous as the moon,
Might wish his moments long as years to be!»

443. C. L. N. A. I. Compare the «sortes Virgilianæ.» Line 4 is freely paraphrased.



Winter is past, and spring-tide has begun,
Soon will the pages of life's book be done!
Well saith the sage, «Life is a poison rank,
And antidote, save grape-juice, there is none.»

444. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Beloved, if thou a reverend Molla be,
Quit saintly show, and feigned austerity,
And quaff the wine that Murtaza purveys,
And sport with Houris 'neath some shady tree!

445. N. Note the change from the imperative to the aorist. In line 4 scan Murtazasha. Murtaza (Ali) is the celestial cupbearer.


Last night I dashed my cup against a stone,
In a mad drunken freak, as I must own,
And lo! the cup cries out in agony,
«You too, like me, shall soon be overthrown.»

446. C. L. N. A. B. I. Saboyiy, ya i batni, joined to the noun by euphonic or conjunctive ya.


My heart is weary of hypocrisy,
Cupbearer, bring some wine, I beg of thee!
This hooded cowl and prayer-mat pawn for wine,
Then will I boast me in security.

447. N.



Audit yourself, your truce account to frame,
See! you go empty, as you empty came;
You say, «I will not drink and peril life,»
But, drink or no, you must die all the same!

448. C. L. N. A. I.


Open the door! O entrance who procurest,
And guide the way, O Thou of guides the surest!
Directors born of men shall not direct me,
Their counsel comes to naught, but Thou endurest!


In slandering and reviling you persist,
Calling me infidel and atheist:
My errors I will not deny, but yet
Does foul abuse become a moralist?

450. C. L. N. A. I. In line 1 scan goyi-yaz, Bl., Prosody, p. 10. The tashdid of mukin is dropped.


To find a remedy, put up with pain,
Chafe not at woe, and healing thou wilt gain;
Though poor, be ever of a thankful mind,
'Tis the sure method riches to obtain.

451. L. N. Dawayiy. The first ya is the conjunctive ya (Vullers, p. 16), the second ya i tankir.



Give me a skin of wine, a crust of bread
A pittance bare, a book of verse to read;
With thee, O love, to share my lowly roof,
I would not take the Sultan's realm instead!

452. N. B. Tange, the izafat is displaced by ya i tankir, according to Lumsden, ii. 269.


Reason not of the five, nor of the four,
Be their dark problems one, or many score;
We are but earth, go, minstrel, bring the lute,
We are but air, bring wine, I ask no more!

453. N. C. L. A. I. J. give only the first line of this. Five senses, four elements.


Why argue on Yasin and on Barat?
Write me the draft for wine they call Barat!
The day my weariness is drowned in wine
Will seem to me as the great night Barat!

454. C. L. N. A. I. J. Yasin is the 64th, and Barat the 9th, chapter of the Koran. Barat, the «night of power.»


Whilst thou dost wear this fleshy livery,
Step not beyond the bounds of destiny;
Bear up, though very Rustums be thy foes,
And crave no boon from friends like Hatim Tai!

455. C. L. N. A. I. J.



These ruby lips, and wine, and minstrel boys,
And lute, and harp, your dearly cherished toys,
Are mere redundancies, and you are naught,
Till you renounce the world's delusive joys.

456. L. N. Hashw, mere «stuffing,» leather and prunella.


Bow down, heaven's tyranny to undergo,
Quaff wine to face the world, and all its woe;
Your origin and end are both in earth,
But now you are above earth, not below!

457. C. L. N. A. I. J.


You know all secrets of this earthly sphere,
Why then remain a prey to empty fear?
You cannot bend things to your will, but yet
Cheer up for the few moments you are here!

458. C. L. N. A. I. J. Scan chim wakifiyay.


Behold, where'er we turn our ravished eyes,
Sweet verdure springs, and crystal Kausars rise;
And plains, once bare as hell, now smile as heaven:
Enjoy this heaven with maids of Paradise!

459. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.



Never in this false world on friends rely
(I give this counsel confidentially),
Put up with pain, and seek no antidote,
Endure your grief, and ask no sympathy!

460. N.


Of wisdom's dictates two are principal,
Surpassing all your lore traditional;
Better to fast than eat of every meat,
Better to live alone than mate with all!

461. N. Hadis i na goyayiy. The unwritten revelations, or traditions, opposed to Qur'an (Koran), the «reading.» So sruti is opposed to smriti.


Why unripe grapes are sharp, prithee explain,
And then grow sweet, while wine is sharp again?
When one has carved a block into a lute,
Can he from that same block a pipe obtain?

462. L. N.


When dawn doth silver the dark firmament,
Why shrills the bird of dawning his lament?
It is to show in dawn's bright looking-glass
How of thy careless life a night is spent.

463. C. L. N. A. I. J. So Job, «Hast spread the sky as a molten looking-glass.»



Cupbearer, come! from thy full-throated ewer
Pour blood-red wine, the world's despite to cure!
Where can I find another friend like wine,
So genuine, so solacing, so pure?

464. C. L. N. A. I. J.


Though you should sit in sage Aristo's room,
Or rival Cæsar on his throne of Rūm,
Drain Jemshid's goblet, for your end's the tomb,
Yea, were you Bahram's self, your end's the tomb!

465. N. Jamhur, a name of Buzurjimihr, Wazir of Nushirwan. Faghfur, the Chinese emperor.


It chanced into a potter's shop I strayed,
He turned his wheel and deftly plied his trade,
And out of monarchs' heads, and beggars' feet,
Fair heads and handles for his pitchers made!

466. C. N. L. A. I. J. Paya, «the treadle.»


If you have sense, true senselessness attain,
And the Etern Cupbearer's goblet drain,
If not, true senselessness is not for you,
Not every fool true senselessness can gain!

467. L. N. Meaning, the «truly Mystical darkness of ignorance.» See Gulshan i Raz, p. 13.



O Love! before you pass death's portal through,
And potters make their jugs of me and you,
Pour from this jug some wine, of headache void,
And fill your cup, and fill my goblet too!

468. C. L. N. A. I. J. Headache, in allusion to the wine of Paradise, Koran, lvi. 17.


O Love! while yet you can, with tender art,
Lift sorrow's burden from your lover's heart;
Your wealth of graces will not always last,
But slip from your possession, and depart!

469. C. L. N. A. I. J. Some MSS. read zinhar for zihar, either will scan.


Bestir thee, ere death's cup for thee shall flow,
And blows of ruthless fortune lay thee low;
Acquire some substance here, there is none there,
For those who thither empty-handed go!

470. L. N. Line 2 is in metre 4. Meaning, «Work while it is day.»


Who framed the lots of quick and dead but Thou?
Who turns the troublous wheel of heaven but Thou?
Though we are sinful slaves, is it for Thee
To blame us? Who created us but Thou?

471. L. N. A. I.



O wine, most limpid, pure, and crystalline,
Would I could drench this silly frame of mine
With thee, that passers by might think 'twas thou,
And cry, «Whence comest thou, fair master wine?»

472. L. N.


A Shaikh beheld a harlot, and quoth he,
«You seem a slave to drink and lechery»;
And she made answer, «What I seem I am,
But, Master, are you all you seem to be?»

473. L. N. The technical name of quatrains like this is suwal o jawab, or muraja'at. Gladwin, Persian Rhetoric, p. 40.


If, like a ball, earth to my house were borne,
When drunk, I'd rate it at a barley-corn;
Last night they offered me in pawn for wine,
But the rude vintner laughed that pledge to scorn.

474. C. L. N. A. I. J. Note the yas i tankir in Kuye, juye, and giraye.


Now in thick clouds Thy face Thou dost immerse,
And now display it in this universe;
Thou the spectator, Thou the spectacle,
Sole to Thyself Thy glories dost rehearse.

475. C. L. N. A. I. J. Compare the Vulgate, «ludens in orbe terrarum,» and Gulshan i Raz, p. 14.



Better to make one soul rejoice with glee,
Than plant a desert with a colony;
Rather one freeman bind with chains of love,
Than set a thousand prisoned captives free!

476. L.N.


O thou who for thy pleasure dost impart
A pang of sorrow to thy fellow's heart,
Go! mourn thy perished wit, and peace of mind,
Thyself hast slain them, like the fool thou art!

477. C. L. N A. I. J.


Wherever you can get two maunds of wine,
Set to, and drink it like a libertine;
Whoso acts thus will set his spirit free
From saintly airs like yours, and grief like mine.

478. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Chu mane, «of one like me.» So in No. 170 (the note which is wrong). Vullers, p. 254. Literally, «mustaches and beards.»


So long as I possess two maunds of wine,
Bread of the flower of wheat, and mutton chine,
And you, O Tulip cheek, to share my hut,
Not every Sultan's lot can vie with mine.

479. C. L. N. A. B. I.



They call you wicked, if to fame you're known,
And an intriguer, if you live alone,
Trust me, though you were Khizr or Elias,
'Tis best to know none, and of none be known.

480. C. N. I.


Yes! here am I with wine and feres again!
I did repent, but, ah! 'twas all in vain;
Preach not to me of Noah and his flood,
But pour a flood of wine to drown my pain!

481. C. L. N. A. I. J. Tauba i Nassuh, a repentance not to be repented of. Nicolas. In line 2 note the izafat dropped after silent he.


For union with my love I sigh in vain,
The pangs of absence I can scarce sustain,
My grief I dare not tell to any friend;
O trouble strange, sweet passion, bitter pain!

482. N. These quatrains are called firakiya, and are rare in Khayyam.


'Tis dawn! I hear the loud Muezzin's call,
And here am I before the vintner's hall;
This is no time of piety. Be still!
And drop your talk and airs devotional!

483. C. L. N. A. I. J.



Angel of joyful foot! the dawn is nigh;
Pour wine, and lift your tuneful voice on high,
Sing how Jemshids and Khosraus bit the dust,
Whelmed by the rolling months, from Tir to Dai!

484. C. L. N. A. I. Tir and Dai, April and December.


Frown not at revellers, I beg of thee,
For all thou keepest righteous company;
But drink, for, drink or no, 'tis all the same,
If doomed to hell, no heaven thou'lt ever see.

485. C. L. N. A. I. J. Koran, xvi. 38: «Some of them there were, whom Allah guided, and there were others doomed to err.»


I wish that Allah would rebuild these skies,
And earth, and that at once, before my eyes,
And either raze my name from off his roll,
Or else relieve my dire necessities!

486. N. This rather sins against Horace's canon, «Nec Deus intersit,» etc.


Lord! make thy bounty's cup for me to flow,
And bread unbegged for day by day bestow;
Yea, with thy wine make me beside myself.
No more to feel the headache of my woe!

487. C. L. N. A. I. J.



Omar! of burning heart, perchance to burn
In hell, and feed its bale-fires in thy turn,
Presume not to teach Allah clemency,
For who art thou to teach, or He to learn?

488. C. L. N. A. I. J. The Persian preface states that, after his death, Omar appeared to his mother in a dream, and repeated this quatrain to her. For the last line I am indebted to Mr. Fitzgerald.


Cheer up! your lot was settled yesterday!
Heedless of all that you might do or say,
Without so much as «By your leave» they fixed
Your lot for all the morrows yesterday!

489. C. L. A. B. I. Predestination.


I never would have come, had I been asked,
I would as lief not go, if I were asked,
And, to be short, I would annihilate
All coming, being, going, were I asked!

490. C. L. N. (in part) A. B. I. J. So the Ecclesiast, «Therefore I hated life,» etc.


Man is a cup, his soul the wine therein,
Flesh is a pipe, spirit the voice within;
O Khayyam, have you fathomed what man is?
A magic lantern with a light therein!


O skyey wheel, all base men you supply
With baths, mills, and canals that run not dry,
While good men have to pawn their goods for bread:
Pray, who would give a fig for such a sky?

492. B. L. In line 3 I read nih and for nihand, which will not scan. Line 4 is slightly paraphrased.


A potter at his work I chanced to see,
Pounding some earth and shreds of pottery;
I looked with eyes of insight, and methought
'Twas Adam's dust with which he made so free!

493. C. L. A. I. J. Note the arrangement of the prepositions bar . . bazer. Bl., Prosody, xiii.


The Saki knows my genus properly,
To all woe's species he holds a key,
Whene'er my mood is sad, he brings me wine,
And that makes all the difference to me!

494. C. L. A. I. A play on terms of Logic.


Dame Fortune! all your acts and deeds confess
That you are foul oppression's votaress;
You cherish bad men, and annoy the good;
Is this from dotage, or sheer foolishness?

495. C. L. A. I. J. Mu'takif, a devotee.



You, who in carnal lusts your time employ,
Wearing your precious spirit with annoy,
Know that these things you set your heart upon
Sooner or later must the soul destroy!


Hear from the spirit world this mystery:
Creation is summed up, O man, in thee;
Angel and demon, man and beast art thou,
Yea, thou art all thou dost appear to be!

497. L. Man, the microcosm. Line 2 is one syllable short.


If popularity you would ensue,
Speak well of Moslem, Christian, and Jew;
So shall you be esteemed of great and small,
And none will venture to speak ill of you.

498. L.


O wheel of heaven, what have I done to you,
That you should thus annoy me? Tell me true;
To get a drink I have to cringe and stoop,
And for my bread you make me beg and sue.

499. L. Abruy, «honour.»



No longer hug your grief and vain despair,
But in this unjust world be just and fair;
And since the issue of the world is naught,
Think you are naught, and so shake off dull care!

500. L. B. In line 3 scan nesatiyast.






This grand old poet, who flourished in the 11th century and who brought into Khorasan the delights of the Court of the Seldjoukides, still, in our day, continues to charm with the pleasures of the palace of the Kadjars at Teheran. But the difficulty, on the one hand, of translating a writer so essentially abstract in his philosophic thought, so Mystically foreign in his figurative expressions (too often presented in the form of a repulsive materialism), and on the other, the embarrassment I could foresee in the correcting of proofs at so great a distance from Paris, and above all the feeling of my incapacity for undertaking so great a work, always prevented my publishing anything up to the present time.

On my last journey to Paris, I met some friends eager for something new in the way of Oriental literature, among whom I am pleased to mention Madam Blanchecotte, moralist and poet, known through her many witty and impassioned publications. After having listened to the brief quotations which I was able to cite to them from the quatrains of the poet with whom we are now occupied, they so strongly urged me to publish a complete translation, and put so much emphasis on their demand and so much kindness in their offers of service, that I decided to conform to their desires in editing this work to-day.

I should, however, still have considered it beyond my powers, without the co-operation of Hassan-Ali-Khan, minister plenipotentiary from Persia at the Court of the Tuileries, who put himself out to aid me with his profound erudition and valuable advice.

The history of Khayyam, bound to that of two persons who played a great rôle in the annals of the country,270 is, I believe, of sufficient interest to warrant my telling it here as it has been transmitted to us by the Persian historians.

Khayyam, born in a village situated near Nishapur, in Khorasan, went to complete his studies at the celebrated medresseh of that city, towards the end of the year 1042 of the Christian era. Accounts tell us that this college had acquired at that time the reputation of producing pupils of rare distinction, from among whom men of talent and remarkable skill often sprung up and rapidly attained to the highest positions in the empire.

Abdul-Kassem and Hassan-Sebbah, fellow-students with Khayyam, were the two comrades to whom he was especially attached, notwithstanding a divergence of character and opinion which would seem to indicate in him another choice. One day Khayyam asked his two friends, in a jesting manner, if a compact entered into among them, and based upon absolute necessity, for that one of the three whom Fortune most favored to come to the aid of the other two, heaping benefits upon them, would appear to them a childish thing. «No, no,» answered they, «the idea is excellent and we will adopt it with all eagerness.» Immediately the three friends clasped hands and vowed that when the time came they would be faithful to their agreement. This pact but stimulated the emulation of the three young people. They applied themselves to their studies with more ardor even than was demanded of them, since in accordance with the tradition of the college, the high places belong to those who merit them.

Khayyam, of a sweet and modest nature, was rather given to the contemplation of divine things than to the pleasures of worldly life. This tendency and the kind of study he cultivated made of him a Mystic poet, a philosopher at once skeptical and fatalistic, a Sufi—in a word, what most Oriental poets are.

Abdul-Kassem, on the contrary, ambitious and positive in the full acceptation of the word, anxious to come into power, applied himself principally to the study of the history of his country, which presented to him numerous271 examples of celebrated men who, by their merit and courage, had come into the highest offices, and where, besides, he found excellent lessons in all branches of administration. He became an illustrious statesman. As for Hassan-Sebbah, as ambitious as his fellow-student Abdul-Kassem, but less skilful, and more violent than he in the application of means, artful and jealous of the superiority of his comrades, he followed somewhere nearly the same studies, holding ever to the purpose of serving himself by the ruin of all those who dared to oppose his advancement in the career he had chosen. He also became celebrated, as will be shown farther on in this preface, through the cruelties he committed and the blood he spilled.

Their studies ended, the three friends left college and separated to return to their own homes, where they remained a certain length of time without renown. Abdul-Kassem, however, was not long in making himself advantageously known at the Court of Alp-Arslan, the second king of the dynasty of the Seldjoukides, through divers writings on the subject of administration, and soon became the private secretary of that monarch, then under-secretary of State, and finally Prime Minister.

Alp-Arslan, in putting this skilful administrator at the head of affairs in his empire, conferred upon him the honorary title of Nizam-el-Moulk, «Regulator of the Empire,» a title which, among the Persians, replaces the name of the person to whom it is granted. The historians of that time write in eulogy of this great man and, attributing to his virtues and his ability the success and prosperity of Alp-Arslan's reign, hold in profound admiration the discernment of that monarch, who knew how to attach to himself a minister endowed with so much skill in directing the affairs of his vast Principalities, which attained, under his administration, the highest degree of glory of which the Persian annals make mention.

It was towards that epoch, where Nizam-el-Moulk (for henceforth it is by this title that we shall designate him) had arrived at the apogee of his power, that his272 two friends came to recall to him the contract concluded amongst them. «What do you demand of me?» he said to them.

«I only ask,» responded Khayyam, «that I may enjoy the revenues of my native village. I am a Sufi and not ambitious; if you accede to my request, I could, under my paternal roof, far from the inseparable fetters of the things of this world, cultivate poesy, which delights my soul, and peaceably contemplate the works of the Creator, which is acceptable to my mind.»

«As for me,» said Hassan-Sebbah, «I ask a place at Court.»

The minister granted everything: the young poet returned to his village, of which he became chief, and Hassan-Sebbah took his place at Court, where, crafty courtier that he was, he was not long in getting into the good graces of the monarch. But, although he had already acquired the highest distinction possible, thanks to the effective aid of Nizam-el-Moulk, his envious and zealous mind could not accommodate itself to the kind of submission in which he found himself, face to face with his benefactor. He immediately went to work to overturn and supplant him.

To this end, he commenced to insinuate to Alp-Arslan that the royal finances were not in good state, the minister having neglected the collecting of taxes, and not having rendered an account upon this important subject for three years. The Prince gave ear to these treacherous criticisms, and immediately Nizam-el-Moulk was sent for to Court, where Alp-Arslan asked him, in presence of all the great dignitaries, called together for this purpose, for a complete account of uncollected taxes and a definite statement of all finances of State. Nizam-el-Moulk excused himself as best he could for the delay of which his Majesty complained, on the ground of certain circumstances beyond his control, and promised to occupy himself seriously with the question, with the aim of being able to present a complete accounting in six months' time. The Prince appeared satisfied and allowed the minister to retire. But he had scarcely passed the sill of the palace273 door when Hassan-Sebbah, approaching the King remarked that if anything were needed to prove the incapacity of the minister in a matter of this kind, it was to be found precisely in the extraordinary delay that he asked for putting the finances of the Empire in order. This observation struck the Prince, who asked the courtier making it if he wished to take charge of this work, and if he would engage to have it finished in a shorter space of time. Upon the affirmative response of the artful Hassan, who only asked for forty days for the accomplishment of the task, an order was given to Nizam-el-Moulk to put the archives of the finances immediately at his disposition, the moustofis (writings of the Chief Justice) and all the details of the management. Hassan, delighted at finding himself so suddenly at the head of the most important branch of the administration, already considered the complete ruin of Nizam-el-Moulk as assured. The latter, on his side, perceived, but a little too late, the imprudence he had been guilty of in placing in so high a position a man whom he ought to have known, and concerning whom he should have been on his guard. However, he did not despair of frustrating, scheme against scheme, the well-advanced projects of his ambitious antagonist. Knowing by experience how corruptible the men of his time were, and recognizing, too, the proverbial greediness and weakness of character of the confidant of Hassan-Sebbah to whom the latter believed it possible to trust the work that he had undertaken upon the order of Alp-Arslan, he did not hesitate to furnish to one of his favorites, upon whose faithfulness he knew he could count, sums large enough to be irresistible in the carrying out of the plan which he had conceived.

The favorite of the minister, a safe man, accustomed to this kind of service, so skilfully used this money that he was not long in winning the good graces of Hassan's weak and interested confidant, and was thus able to furnish to his master all the information which he awaited with impatience, and of which he could make good use when the right moment was come. That moment was the274 expiration of the forty days which Hassan-Sebbah had demanded.

On the appointed day all was ready, and Hassan seemed to triumph; but Nizam-el-Moulk had on that very day when the voluminous record which his adversary had prepared was to be put before the King in official audience, given his favorite some final instructions which should throw Hassan into confusion. This faithful and adroit servitor went to find the confidant, whose confidence he had gained by means of gifts, and begged him to show him the wonderful statement which Nizam-el-Moulk had declared could not be finished in less than six months, and his master had had the skill to complete in forty days. Hassan's confidant was occupied at this moment, and besides, suspected nothing; he turned over to his friend the defter—the bundle of detached leaflets which formed the record. He, putting to good use the distraction of the confidant, detached the defter and, in the twinkling of an eye, confounded the order of the leaves, as his master had recommended to him. Then, placing the defter on the carpet, he launched forth into pompous eulogy upon the skill of Hassan-Sebbah and of his worthy acolyte who had so actively participated in this eminent work. Some hours afterward Alp-Arslan received in grand audience his ministers and officers of the Empire, to assist at the solemn presentation of the financial accounting of Hassan-Sebbah.

Nizam-el-Moulk humbly kept himself in one corner of the audience hall, awaiting the result of his stratagem. Upon the signal of Alp-Arslan, Hassan-Sebbah deposited at the monarch's feet a fhrist, a little book (an index), by means of which the Prince could call, in the order of the provinces, for the leaflets contained in the defter, which Hassan-Sebbah took from the hands of his trusted helper. At the first call, Hassan sought in vain the desired leaflet. He was haunted by treachery and was troubled; the rumor that this incident provoked in the hall, the presence of the King who was irritated at finding such disorder in a compilation of this importance, added to Hassan's confusion, and he was immediately275 forced to retire, after a severe reprimand on the part of Alp-Arslan. Nizam-el-Moulk was avenged; he respectfully approached the King and made the observation to him that it was hardly to be expected that there would be much regularity in so serious a work, done in such haste by incapable people.

After this check, Hassan never again appeared at Court. History tells us that he went on a voyage to Syria, where he adopted the dogmas of the Ishmaelite sect, dogmas that he resolved to import into Persia, adding to them other novelties more in accordance with the opinions of the Sufis, then very numerous in the kingdom, with the aim of forming an army and becoming thus a terror to his enemies. He did, in fact, return to Persia, but concealed himself carefully, in order to escape the notice of Nizam-el-Moulk, whose sentiments towards him he suspected. He went back to his native city, Rhei, after having lived for some time at Ispahan, where, emboldened by the facility with which he made new recruits and aided by his neophytes, he formed no less a project than that of making the sovereign himself tremble on his throne. At Rhei he drew around him some malcontents, who did not hesitate to adopt the dogmas that he taught them, and who declared themselves ready to second him in his designs. He then resolved to go, with a limited number of his disciples, and fortify himself in the mountain of Alamout, near the city of Kazbin, where he commenced to make raids on the surrounding country, by means of which he provided for the needs of the moment and prepared an equipment for his little troop, which soon began to be formidable.

It was about this time that Alp-Arslan died, leaving his vast estates to his son, Malek-Chah, whom he strongly recommended to confide the administration to Nizam-el-Moulk, his faithful and pious minister. But this minister did not long enjoy these new favors. Malek-Chah, having had the weakness to lend his ear to the calumnious reports of his enemies, took away from him his turban and his inkstand, insignia of the high functions which he had so nobly fulfilled. This disgrace, facilitating a particular276 vengeance, caused the death of the great statesman. They found him one morning, stretched out under his tent in the royal camp, assassinated by a satellite of Hassan-Sebbah. Before he expired, according to the story of the chronicle, he had time to write a piece of verse to Malek-Chah, in which he recommended to his benevolence his twelve sons, to whom, he said, he bequeathed his old and loyal services.

Hassan-Sebbah did not the less continue his bloody excursions, respecting neither rank nor sex, cutting the throats of all that came under his hand, without pity. Malek-Chah, frightened, was obliged to send troops to put an end to these expeditions, which made trouble and confusion in the whole extent of the Empire. But Hassan's followers increased daily, and soon this chief saw himself strong enough to repulse the royal troops in a vigorous attack, and compel them to beat a retreat. After this success, Hassan put no limit to his exploits, and acquired such renown that nothing appeared to be able to resist him.

The death of Malek-Chah took place unexpectedly soon after that of Nizam-el-Moulk, and Hassan, hastening to profit by some experiments of the celebrated Sultan Sandjar, Malek-Chah's successor, there were incessant wars in the different branches of the House of Seldjoukides, wars which prolonged themselves until the death of Tougroul III., or from forty to forty-five years. Sultan Sandjar, rightly disturbed at the progress of Hassan's invasion, resolved to entirely destroy a band of brigands in his territory, whose depredations and murders had spread terror in all the provinces. To this end, he re-organized an army with which he marched in person against the aggressors; but, arrived at a certain distance from Mount Alamout, he saw one morning, upon waking, a dagger sunk in the earth near the bolster of his bed, whose blade pierced a note addressed to him, where he read, with fright, these words:

«O Sandjar! know that if I had not wished to respect your days, the hand which sunk this dagger in the earth could as well have sunk it in your heart.»


It is said that the Sultan was so overcome by the reading of this note, which revealed to him the marvellous power of Hassan-Sebbah over his trusty followers, that he relinquished for the time being his plan of attack.

But let us return to Khayyam, who, remaining a stranger to all these alternatives of wars, intrigues, and revolts with which this epoch was so filled, lived tranquilly in his native village, giving himself up to a passionate study of the philosophy of the Sufis. Surrounded by numerous friends he sought with them, in study and entertainment, that ecstatic contemplation which others believe that they find in uttering cries and screams until the voice is gone, as the crying dervishes do; or in the circular movements that are practiced with frenzy until vertigo ensues, as by the whirling dervishes; or finally, in the atrocious tortures which the Hindoos inflict upon themselves, until they lose consciousness. The Persian historians state that Khayyam loved especially to converse and drink with his friends, in the moonlight on a terrace before his house, seated upon a carpet, surrounded by singers and musicians, with a cup-bearer, who, cup in hand, presented it in turn to the joyous guests. We believe we cannot better terminate this rapid biographical and historic sketch than in adding to the life and works of our poet two very characteristic quotations.

During one of these evenings of which we are speaking, there suddenly came a gust of wind which extinguished the candles and overturned the pitcher of wine that was imprudently placed too near the edge of the terrace. The pitcher was broken and the wine spilled. Immediately Khayyam, irritated, improvised this impious quatrain, addressed to the All-Powerful:

«Thou hast broken my pitcher of wine, my God! Thus hast Thou shut upon me the gate of joy, O Lord! It is I who drink, and it is Thou who committest the disorder of drunkenness! Oh! (would that my mouth were filled with earth!) couldst Thou be drunk, my Lord?»

The poet, after having pronounced this, casting his eyes upon a mirror, perceived that his face was black as278 coal. It was a punishment from heaven. Then he made this other quatrain, not less audacious than the first, and which expresses in an absolute manner, the repulsion of the poet for the doctrine of future punishment written in the Koran, and preached so ardently by the mullahs. The Sufis consider this doctrine not only in direct opposition to their own, but as unworthy the pity and clemency of the Divinity. Here is the quatrain:

«What man here below has not sinned, can you say? And how could he have lived, had he not committed sin, can you tell? So, if I do wrong and you punish me wrongly, what is the difference which exists between you and me, I ask?»

But let us come to the complete thought of the poet which deduces itself so energetically and with so much unity through the fantasy or the mysticism of his quatrains.

J.B. Nicolas.

Note.—The Translator being unfortunately familiar with at least seven translations and paraphrases of Omar, has found it by no means easy to expunge from memory the various renderings of the text. This «sponging out» was necessary in order that a faithful presentation of Nicolas' version of Omar should be made. With this comment, he leaves the translation to be judged on its possible merit, adding only this—that, declining metre (Fitzgerald's own domain), he has sought to clothe the prose in verbal sonance which should not disguise or mar the inherent music of the Omarian brook. Fidelity to the text, however, has been the first consideration.





One morning, coming from the tavern I heard a voice
which said: Come, joyous drinkers, youthful fools, arise,
and fill with me a cup of wine, ere Fate shall come to
fill the cup of our existence.


O Thou who in the universe art the object chosen
of my heart! Thou who art more dear than the soul
which gives me life, than the eyes which give me light!
O Idol, though in life there be no thing more precious
than this life, Thou art indeed a hundred times more
precious than that life.


Who led thee here this night, thus given up to wine?
Who, indeed, raising the veil which hid thee, has been
able to lead thee here? Who, finally, brought thee as
rapidly as the wind which fans the fire that still burned
in thy absence?


We meet but chagrin and misfortune in this world,
which serves us as a tent for the time. Alas! No problem
of creation has been solved for us, and behold! we
leave it with hearts full of regret at knowing naught
about it.


O Khadja, give us lawfully a single one of our desires;
reserve thy breath and lead us into the way of God.
Surely we walk aright, it is thou that seest crosswise;
heal, then, thine eyes and leave us here in peace.


Come, come, arise, and, for the healing of my heart,
one problem solve for me: yet quickly bring me a pitcher
of wine, and let us drink before they make pitchers out
of our own dust.


When I am dead, wash me with the juice of the vine;
in place of prayer, sing above my tomb the praise of
the cup and the wine, and, if you would find me again
at the day of doom, seek me in the dust of the tavern


Since no one has ever been able to answer thee from
one day to the next, hasten to glad thy heart filled with
sadness. Drink, O adorable Moon! drink from thy silver
cup, for long shalt thou turn in the firmament without
finding us here again.


Would that the lover [the true believer] were intoxicated
the whole year, mad, absorbed with wine, covered
with dishonor! For, when we have sound reason, chagrin
assails us on all sides; but when we are in wine, well,
let come what will!


In Heaven's name! with what hope does the sage attach
his heart to the illusory treasures of this palace of misfortune?
Oh! that the One who gave me the name of
drunkard would recant his error, for how can he see the
tavern's sign from his exalted abode.


The Koran, which is but a name for The Sublime
Word, is, however, read only from time to time and not
with constancy; while ever on the brim of the cup
is found a verse full of light which one can read always
and everywhere.


Thou that drinkest not wine shouldst not for this reason
blame the drunkard, for I am ready to renounce God,
myself, should He order me to renounce wine. Thou
glorifiest thyself for not drinking wine, but such glory
but ill befits those who commit acts a hundredfold more
reprehensible than drunkenness.


Though my body be beautiful, and the perfume it exhales
agreeable, though the color of my face rival that
of the tulip, and my figure be supple as the cypress,
it has not been demonstrated why my celestial author
placed me upon this earth.


I would drink so much wine that the odor should come
out of the earth when I have been returned to it, and
that drinkers who wish to visit my tomb may fall
senseless from the sole effect of this odor.


In the region of hope, form as many friends as you
can; in the time of existence, bind yourself to a perfect
friend, for, know well that a hundred Kaabas, made
of earth and water, are not worth one heart. Leave,
then, thy Kaabas and rather seek a heart.


When I take in my hand a cup of wine and, in the
joy of my soul, become intoxicate, then, in that state of
fire which devours me, I see a hundred miracles grow
real, and words, clear as the most limpid water, come to
explain the mystery of all things.


Since the duration of a day is only two stages, make
haste to drink wine, the limpid wine; for know well
that you near the end of your vanishing existence. And,
since you know that this world drags all to decay,
be wise, and, also, day and night be drenched in wine.


We who give ourselves up to the will of wine offer
with joy our souls in holocaust to the laughing lips of
the juice divine. Oh! rapturous sight! Our cup-bearer
holds in one hand the neck of the flask and in the other
the cup overflowing, as if inviting us to receive the
purest of the blood!


Yes, we, seated in the midst of this treasure in ruins,
surrounded by wine and dancers, have put in pawn [in
order to procure them] all that we possess: soul, heart,
goods—everything but the cup. We are thus freed from
hope of pardon and fear of punishment. We are beyond
the air, the earth, and fire and water.


The distance which separates incredulity from faith is
but a breath,—that which separates doubt from certainty
is equally but a breath. Let us, then, pass this precious
space of a breath gaily, for our life also is only separated
[from death] by the space of a breath.


O Wheel of Destiny! destruction comes of thy implacable
hate. Tyranny for thee is an act of predilection
which thou hast committed from the commencement of
centuries; and thou, also, O Earth, if one search in thy
bosom, what inappreciable treasures will he not find there!


My turn of existence has slipped around in a few days.
It has passed as passes the wind over the desert. Then,
while remains to me a breath of life, two days shall
be for which I never need be troubled, the day which
has not come and that which now has passed.


This priceless ruby comes from a mine of its own, this
rare pearl is pregnant with a character its own; our
different dogmas on this matter are erroneous, since the
enigma of perfect love is explained in a language of its
own [and that is not conveyed to us].


Since to-day is my turn for youth, I intend to pass it
in drinking wine, for that is my pleasure. Begin not to
talk of its bitterness, to speak ill of this delicious juice,
for it is agreeable, and is only bitter because it enforces
the bitterness of my life.


O my poor heart! Since thy lot is to be bruised to
death by chagrin, since nature wills that thou be wounded
each day with some new torment, tell me, O my soul,
why stay you in my body, since you must finally leave
it some day?


Thou canst not count to-day on seeing the day after
to-morrow; even to think of this to-morrow would be the
part of folly; if thy heart is awakened, lose not in inaction
this instant of life [which remains to thee] and for
the duration of which I see no warranty.


It is not necessary to knock at every door unless there
be a reason for it. It is better to accommodate oneself
to the good and the bad here below, for hereafter we
can only enjoy the number of moves which destiny presents
upon the chessboard of this terrestrial ball.


This jug [earthen vessel] has been, like me, a loving
and unhappy creature; it has sighed for a lock of some
young beauty's hair; this handle that you see attached to
its neck was an amorous arm passed about the neck of
some girl.


Before your time or mine, there were many twilights,
many dawns, and it is not without reason that the movement
of rotation is enforced upon the heavens. Be careful
as you place your foot upon this dust, for it has,
without doubt, formed the eyes of someone young and fair.


The temple of idols and the Kaaba are places of
adoration; the chime of the bells is but a hymn chanted to
the praise of the All-Powerful. The mehrab [Mohammedan
pulpit], the church, the chapel, the cross are, in truth,
but different stations for rendering homage to the Deity.


Existing things were already predestined upon the
tablet of creation. The brush [of the universe] did not
paint good and bad. With destiny God imprinted whatever
should be so imprinted, and the efforts that we
make in these directions are wholly lost.


I can but vaguely tell my secret to the bad or to the
good. I cannot elaborate or explain my thought, which
is essentially brief. I see a place of which I can only
trace a description; I possess a secret which I cannot unveil.


False money is not current among us. The broom has
rid our joyous dwelling of it completely. An old man,
returning from the tavern, said to me: Drink wine, my
friend, for other lives shall follow yours in your long


In the face of the decrees of Providence, nothing avails
but resignation. Among men nothing avails but seeming
and hypocrisy. I have employed every ruse, the strongest
that the human mind can invent, but destiny has always
overturned my projects.


If a stranger shows you fidelity, consider him as a kinsman;
but if a kinsman endeavors to betray you, regard
him as an enemy. If poison cures you, consider it an
antidote, and if the antidote does not agree with you,
regard it as a poison.


Except Thy absence there is nothing of worth that can
bruise to the quick; he cannot be acute who is not taken
with Thy subtle charms, and, although there exist in
Thy mind no care for any one, there is none who may
not be preoccupied with Thee.


As long as I am not drunk, my happiness is incomplete.
When I am overcome with wine, ignorance replaces
my reason. But there exists an intermediary state
between drunkenness and sound reason. Oh! with what
happiness do I enslave myself to such a state, since in it
there is life!


Who will believe that He who fashioned the cup could
think of destroying it? All these beautiful heads, all
these beautiful arms, all these dainty hands, are by what
love created and by what hate destroyed?


It is the effect of thy ignorance which makes thee fear
death and abhor annihilation, for it is evident that from
this annihilation shoots up a branch of immortality.
Since my soul has been revived by the breath of Jesus,
eternal death has fled far from me.


Imitate the tulip which flowers at New-year's; take, like
her, a cup in thy hand and, if the occasion presents itself,
drink, drink of wine in happiness with some fair girl
whose cheeks are tinted with the color of this flower, for
this blue wheel [dome], like a breath of wind, can suddenly
overturn thee.


Since things are not allowed to come to pass as we desire,
to what purpose are our designs and our efforts?
We are constantly tormenting ourselves, speaking to ourselves
with sighs of regret. Ah! we have arrived too late;
too soon will it be necessary for us to depart!


Since the celestial wheel and that of destiny have never
been favorable, what matters it whether we are able to
count seven heavens or believe that there are eight?
There are [I repeat it] two days for which I need not
care; the day which has not come and that which now
is gone.


O Khayyam! why so much sorrow for a sin committed?
What comfort more or less do you find in this self-torment?
He who has not sinned cannot enjoy the sweetness
of pardon. It is for sin that pardon must exist; in
that event why entertain a fear?


No one has access to the secrets of God behind the
mysterious curtain; no one [even in mind] can penetrate
there; we have no other dwelling than the earthly
mind. Oh, regret! for this also is an enigma not less
difficult to comprehend.


Long time have I delved in this inconstant world, this
momentary shelter; and in my searches have employed
all faculties with which I am endowed. Ah, well! and I
have found the moon to pale before the light of Thy
visage, that the cypress is deformed beside Thy beauteous


In the mosque, in the medresseh [school annexed to
the mosque], in the church, and in the synagogue, they
have a horror of Hell and seek for Paradise, but the seed
of such disquiet never germinates in the hearts of those
who penetrate the secrets of the All-Powerful.


You have traveled over the world! Ah, well! all that
you have seen is nothing; all that you have seen and all
that you have heard are equally nothing. You have gone
from one end of the universe to the other, all that is
nothing; you have summed it all up in one corner of your
room, all that is nothing, still nothing.


One night I saw in thought a sage who said to me:
Sleep, O my friend, has never caused the rose of happiness
to bloom for anyone; why lend yourself to aught so
similar to death? Rather drink wine, for you will sleep
enough when buried in the earth.


Had the human heart an exact knowledge of the secrets
of life, it would also know, at the point of death,
the secrets of God. If to-day, when you are with yourself,
you know nothing, what will you know to-morrow
when you shall be separated from yourself?


The day when the heavens shall be confounded, when
the stars shall be obscured, I will stop Thee upon Thy
way, O Idol! and, taking Thee by the hem of Thy robe,
will ask of Thee why Thou hast robbed me of life [after
giving it to me].


We should tell no secrets to the vilely indiscreet; from
the nightingale, even, should we conceal them. Consider,
then, the torment you inflict on human souls by forcing
them to disrobe thus before the gaze of all.


O Cupbearer! since time is here, ready to break down
you and me, this world for neither you nor me can be a
place of permanence. But, equally, be well convinced
that while this jug of wine is here 'twixt you and me,
our God is in our hands.


Long time, indeed, with cup in hand, I walked among
the flowers; nevertheless none of my projects has been
realized in this world. But, although wine has not led
me to the goal of my desires, I will not stray from its
path, for when one follows a road he cannot retrogress.


Put a cup of wine in my hand, for my heart is inflamed,
and my life slips away as quicksilver. Arise,
then, for the favors of fortune are only a dream; arise,
for the fire of thy youth is running away like the water
of a torrent.


We are the idolaters of love, but the Musulman differs
from us; we are like the pitiful ant, but Salomon is our
foe. Our visages should aye be paled with love, and our
apparel in rags, and yet the mart for silken stuffs is here


To drink wine and rejoice is my gospel of life. To
be as indifferent to heresy as to religion is my creed. I
asked the bride of the human race [the world] what her
dowry was, and she answered: My dowry consists in the
joy of my heart.


I am worthy neither of Hell nor a celestial abode; God
knows from what clay he has moulded me. Heretical as
a dervish and foul as a lost woman, I have neither
wealth, nor fortune, nor hope of Paradise.


Thy passion, man, resembles in all things a house dog
which never leaves his kennel. It has the slyness of the
fox, it lies low like a hare, and to the rage of the tiger
adds the voracity of a wolf.


How beautiful they are, these different greens which
mingle on the edge of a brook! One thinks they must
have had their birth upon the lips of one divinely fair.
Place not thy foot upon them with disdain; they spring
from dust which, once a face, was tinted with the colors
of a rose.


Each heart that God illumines with the light of
love, as it frequents the mosque or synagogue, inscribes
its name upon the book of love, and is set free from
fear of Hell while it awaits the joys of Paradise.


A cup of wine is better than the kingdom of Kawous,
and preferable to Kobad's throne or to the realm of
Thous. The sighs to which, at dawn, a lover is the prey
are sweeter than the groans of praying hypocrites.


Though sin hath made me ugly and forlorn, not without
hope am I like some idolater relying on his temple
gods. So, on the morn I die of yesternight's carouse,
give me some wine and call the one Beloved, for Hell
and Paradise are one to me.


If I drink wine 'tis not for mere desire; nor for the
rousing of the mob or insult to the Faith. No, 'tis for a
passing knowledge of relief from self. No other motive
could enwreath the cup.


Men claim fore-knowledge, predicating Hell or Heaven.
How plain their fault! How asinine their faith! For
know that if all lovers of the fair and of the cup deserve
a Hell, then Paradise will be a void.


In Cheeban [a month] I must not embrace the vine; in
Redjeb I am consecrate to Him. By right these sixty
suns to Allah and his Prophet are assigned: let Ramazan
in mercy bring the cooling cup again.


Now Ramazan has come, the vintage passed, and
pledging of the cup and simple customs are afar. Yet
full the wine pots are, and still untouched, and houris wait
for us in fond suspense.


This rolling hostelry we call the world, where light and
darkness alternate, is but the ruin of a Jamshid's entertainment
of a hundred Kings, or e'en a faint memento
of a host of hunters like to Bahram's self.


To-day when fortune's rose is burgeoning, fill high the
cup. Drink deep, O friend, drink deep, for time is not
thy friend or ever willingly repeats a day like this.


This palace where great Bahram loved to drink now
herds the young gazelle, and in it lions sleep. Where
Bahram snared the swift wild ass, the snare of Time has
in its turn snared him.


The clouds expand and weep upon the earth. No
longer can we live without the amaranthine cup. The
tender green glads weary eyes to-day, but oh! that emerald
verdure growing from our dust, whose sight will it


To-day, which we call Adine [Wednesday], leave
the tiny cup and drink wine from a bowl. If other days
you drank but one fair bowl, to-day drink two, for Adine
ranks its fellow days, save one.


O heart! since this world makes you sad, since souls
so pure must leave the tenement of clay, go, sit upon
the verdure of the field sometimes, ere verdure springs
in turn from your own dust.


This wine, which by its nature hath a multitude of
forms, which now is animal and now is plant, can never
cease to be, for its imperishable self ordains a lasting
life though forms may disappear.


No smoke ascends above my holocaust of crime: could
man ask more? This hand, which man's injustice raises
to my head, no comfort brings, even though it touch the
hem of saintly robes.


The one on whom you surely most rely, will be your
enemy, if but you cleanse the eyes that are within. Far
better, for the short time which remains, to count but
little on our friends. The talk of men to-day is but a
broken reed.


O heedless man! this veil of flesh is naught; this nine-fold
vault of brilliant heaven is naught. Then give thyself
to joy in this disordered place [the world], for life is
but an instant wed to it, and that is equally naught.


Now bring me dancers, wine, and a houri with charming,
ravishing features—if houris there be. Or find a
beautiful brook within a green ravine, if such there be.
Ask nothing better; think no more of Hell's hot penalties,
for, verily, none is, nor any Paradise more fair than
that I sing, if Paradise there be.


Came an old man from out the tavern drunk, his
prayer-rug on his shoulders and a bowl of wine in
hand. I said to him: Aged man! what meaneth this?
He answered me: Drink wine, my friend, for this world
is naught but wind.


A nightingale, inebriate [with love of the rose], within
a garden saw the roses laughing with a cup of wine. To
me he came and whispered in my ear, in tones appropriate
to the circumstance: Be on thy guard, my friend; one
cannot hold the life that slips away.


Naught is thy body but a tent, Khayyam, thy soul is
its inhabitant, and its last, long home annihilation is.
When thy soul leaves the tent, the slaves arise and
strike it ere they pitch it for the oncoming soul.


Khayyam, who sewed the tents of philosophic lore, is
suddenly engulfed within the crucible of grief, and there
is burned. The shears of Fate have cut the thread of
his existence; the Auctioneer of Life has sold him for
a song.


In springtime let me sit upon the edge of a broad
field with one fair girl, and wine in plenty if wine is at
hand. Though this may culpable be thought, I should
be worse than any dog did I not dream of Paradise.


Rose-colored wine in crystal cups delights. It charms
when sipped to lutes' melodious airs or to the plaintive
throbbing of the harp. The devotee who knows not of
the joy that is in wine is charming [to himself] or
when a thousand miles between us yawn.


The time we pass in this world has no worth without
the wine-cup and the wine. It also needs the swelling
sound of Irak's flute. Incessant watching of things here
below has told me that in pleasure and in joy alone are
worth: the rest is naught.


Be on thy guard, my friend, for soon thou wilt be
separate from thy soul; thou then shalt go behind the
curtain of God's secrecy. Drink, for thou knowest not
whence thou here hast come; make haste, for thou art
ignorant where thou shalt go.


Since we must die, why do we live? Why agonize to
reach a problematic bliss? Since, for some unknown
cause, we may not here remain, why not concern ourselves
about the future pilgrimage? Why disregard our


Occasion makes me sing the praise of wine when I surround
myself with men and things I love. O Devotee!
canst thou be happy here below knowing that wisdom is
your Lord? Then know, at least, that wisdom is my


The world will ever count me as depraved. Natheless
I am not guilty, Men of Holiness! Look on yourselves
and question what you are. Ye say I contravene the
Koran's law. Yet I have only known the sins of drunkenness,
debauchery and leasing.


Free yourselves from your own passions and insatiate
greed and lo! you shall go out poor as a mendicant.
Look, rather, unto what you are, whence you have come,
and learn what you are doing and where bound.


The universe is but a point in our poor round of life;
the Djeihoun [Oxus] but a feeble trace of tears and
blood; Hell but a spark of useless worry which we give
ourselves, and Paradise an instant of repose, which here
below we rarely catch.


A slave in dire revolt am I: where is Thy will? Black
with all sin my heart: where is Thy light and Thy control?
If Thou giv'st Paradise to our obedience alone
[to Thy laws], it is a debt of which Thou quit'st
Thyself and in such case we need Thy pity and benevolence.


I know not at all whether He who created me belongs
to a delicious Paradise or a detestable Hell. [But I do
know] that a cup of wine, a charming girl and a zither
at the edge of a green field are three things which I enjoy
at present, and that you will find them in the promise
that is made you of a future Paradise.


I drink wine, and those who are opposed to it come
from the left and from the right to ask me to abstain
from it, because, say they, wine is an enemy of religion.
But, for that very reason I would drink it, now that I
hold myself an adversary of faith, because we are permitted
by God to drink the blood of an enemy.


The light of the moon has cut the black robe of night:
drink then of wine, for one finds not often moments so
precious. Yes, abandon thyself to joy, for this same
moon will shine over the surface of the earth a long time
[after our day].


Impute not to the wheel of the heavens all the good
and all the bad which are in man, all the joys and sorrows
which come to us by destiny; for this wheel, friend, is
a thousand times more embarrassed than thou, in the path
of love [divine].


There is no shield which is proof against an arrow
hurled by Destiny. Grandeur, money, gold all go for
nothing. The more I consider the things of this world,
the more I see that the only good is good, all else is


A heart which does not contain in itself complete abstinence
[from things here below] is to be pitied, for it is
at all times the prey of regret. It is only the heart free
from care that can be joyous; all that exists beyond this
is but a subject of torment.


He who has had the intelligence to sow joy in his
heart has not lost a single day in sorrow; he has employed
his faculties in seeking the will of God, or has procured
repose for his soul by taking a cup of wine.


When God fashioned the clay of my body, he knew
what would be the result of my acts. It is not without
His orders that I have committed the sins of which I am
guilty; in that case, why should I burn in hell-fire at
the last day?


If thou hast drunk wine every consecutive day of the
week, take care not to deprive thyself of it on Wednesday,
for, according to our religion, there is no difference
between this day and Saturday. Be an adorer of the All-Powerful
and not an adorer of days.


O my God! Thou art merciful, and mercy is kindness.
Why then has the first sinner been thrown out of
the terrestrial Paradise? If Thou pardonest me when
I obey Thee, it is not mercy. Mercy is present only
when Thou pardonest me as the sinner that I am.


Leave knowledge and take the cup in thy hand. Disturb
thyself not about Paradise or Hell, but seek rather
the Koocer [the celestial river of wine]. Sell thy silken
turban to buy wine and have no more fear. Rid thyself
of that head-dress and envelop thy head in a simple woolen
band [emblem of Sufism].


Tell me, friend, have I acquired riches in this world?
No. Have I given myself up to time as it was slipping
away? No. I am the torch of joy; but that torch once
extinguished, I am nothing. I am the cup of Djem [the
royal cup], but that cup once broken, I am no longer


Where are the dancers? Where is the wine? Quick!
that I may do honor to the gourd! Happy the heart
who remembers his morning cup! Oh! there are three
things in this world which are dear to me: a head lost in
wine, an amorous girl, and the noise of the dawn.


Since life so soon slips away, what matters it whether
it be sweet or bitter? Since the soul must pass through
the lips, what matters whether it be at Nishapur or at
Balkh? Drink then of wine, for after thee and me, the
moon will long pass on from its last quarter to its first,
and from the first to last.


This caravan of life passes in curious guise! Be on thy
guard, my friend, for it is joy that thus escapes! Disturb
not thyself with the sorrow which to-morrow waits
our friends, and bring me my cup quickly, for the night
fast slips away!


He who has made the foundations of the world, the
wheel of the heavens, how He has crucified the heart of
man with affliction! How many ruby-colored lips has He
buried in this little globe of earth! How many locks of
hair perfumed with musk has He hidden in the bosom of
the dust!


O careless men! be not duped by this world, since
you know its pursuits. Throw not to the wind your
precious lives; hasten to seek a friend [God], and quickly
drink of wine.


O my companions! pour me some wine and thus
change my face, from yellow as amber, to the color of
the ruby. When I am dead, lave me in wine, and of
the wood of the vine make my coffin and bier.


The day when the celestial war-horse of the golden
stars was saddled, when the planet Jupiter and the
Pleiades were created, from that day the Divan [Chief
Justice] of destiny fixed our lot. In what respect, then,
are we guilty, since such is the part that was made
for us?


Oh! what damage may the vessels filled to flowing do,
and how incomplete are they who possess riches! The
eyes of beautiful Turkish women are a feast to the heart,
yet they are simple learners from the slaves who own


It is necessary that our existence be effaced from the
book of life, that we expire in the arms of death. O
charming cupbearer, go, gaily bring me wine since my
poor earth to earth must come.


At this moment, when my heart is not yet deprived of
life, it seems to me that there are few problems that I
have not solved. However, when I call intelligence to
my aid, when I examine myself with care, I perceive
that my existence has slipped away and that I have still
defined nothing.


Those who adore the seddjadeh [prayer-rug] are asses,
since they throw themselves, with full consent, into the
charge of devotees and hypocrites. What is most singular
about them is that they, under a mantle of piety,
preach Islamism and are, in reality, worse than idolaters.


When the tree of my existence shall be cut down, when
my members shall be dispersed, let them make pitchers
of my dust and fill these pitchers with wine; then shall
my dust be revived [through the wine contained in


O Thou, God, before whom sin is without consequence,
tell him who possesses intelligence to proclaim this important
point: that in the eyes of a philosopher it is an
absolute absurdity to make divine fore-knowledge in league
with sin.


In the first place, my being was given me without my
consent, which makes my own existence a lasting problem
to me. Then, we leave this world with regret, and without
having accomplished the aim of our coming, of our
stay, or our departure.


When my sins come back to mind, the fire which then
burned in my heart makes my boldness stream forth;
for everywhere is it established that when a slave repents,
a generous master pardons him.


These potters who constantly plunge their fingers into
the clay, who employ all their mind, all their intelligence,
all their faculties to mould it, even to the crushing of
it with their feet and striking with their hands, of what
think they? It is the same clay as the human body that
they are treating thus.


Those who, through knowledge, are the cream of the
world; who, with intelligence scan the heights of the
heavens, they also, like the firmament, have their heads
turned in their search for divine knowledge, and are
taken with vertigo and dimness of sight.


God has promised us wine in Paradise. In that case
why should He prohibit it in this world? One day an
Arab in a state of drunkenness cut the hams of Hamzah's
camel with his sword. It is only for him that our
Prophet makes wine illicit.


Since at this moment there only remains to you the
memory of pleasure passed away; since for a perfect friend
you have only a cup of wine; finally, since that is all you
own, rejoice at least in this possession and let the cup
not slip from your hands.


Oh! for the time when we shall be no more and the
world shall still be here! There will remain no fame or
trace of us. The world was not unfinished when we
came; naught will be changed when we have gone
from it.


Those whose feet have trodden the world, who have
run over it for the sake of appropriating the riches of
the two hemispheres to themselves, they are not the
ones, I believe, who have ever been able to explain the
true state, the real situation of things here below.


O regret! The capital [of life] has slipped from our
hands. Alas! many hearts have been through death
drowned in blood, and no one returns from the other
world that I may ask him news of the travelers who
have gone.


These numerous great lords, so proud of their titles,
are so gnawed by cares and sorrows that existence to
them is a burden. And most ridiculous it is that they
deign not to call by the name of men those who, unlike to
them, are not slaves to their passions.


This lofty Wheel, whose trade it is to tyrannize, has
never loosed for man the knot of any difficulty. Wherever
it has seen an ulcerated heart, there has it come to add
wound unto wound.


Alas! the period of adolescence reaches home. The
springtime of our pleasures slips away! That bird of
gaiety which is called youth, alas! I know not when it
came nor when it flew away!


In the midst of this whirlpool of the world, hasten to
gather some fruit. Seat thyself upon the throne of gaiety
and bring the cup to thy lips. God is indifferent both
to creed and sin; enjoy then here below, what pleases


Do you see those two or three imbeciles who hold the
world in their hands, and who, in their candid ignorance,
believe themselves the wisest in the universe? Do not
disturb yourself for, in their high content, they deem
all heretics who are not asses [like themselves].


Would that the tavern could always be animated by
the presence of drinkers, that fire would reach the hem
of the holy robe of devotees, that their monk's frock might
be torn to tatters and their blue woolen garment be trampled
under the feet of the drinkers.


How long wilt thou be a dupe to colors and perfumes?
When wilt thou cease to seek out good and bad?
Thou mightest be the source of Zemzem, thou mightest
even be the water of life since thou wouldst not know how
to escape entering the bosom of the earth.


Renounce not the drinking of wine if you have any,
for a hundred repentances follow one such resolution.
The roses scatter their blossoms, the nightingales fill the
air with their song, and would it be reasonable to renounce
drinking in a moment like this?


As long as the friend [God] will pour for me the wine
which rejoices my soul, as long as the heavens have
not deposited a hundred kisses upon my head and feet,
whatever they may do, when the moment comes, to induce
me to renounce drinking, how can I renounce it,
God not having ordered me to?


Whoever has constancy will not renounce drinking wine,
for wine has within itself the virtue of the water of life.
If any one renounce it during the month of Ramazan, let
him at least abstain from engagement in prayer.


When I am dead, smooth to the level of the soil the
dust of my tomb, that I may thus be an example to other
men. Then, mix with wine the earth of my body and
make of it—a cover for a wine-jar.


O Khayyam! although the Wheel of the Heavens has,
in setting up his tent, closed the door to discussions, [it
is evident, nevertheless,] that the cupbearer of eternity
[God] has produced, in the form of globules of wine in
the cup of creation, a thousand other Khayyams like


Give thyself to gaiety, for sorrow will be infinite. The
stars will continue movement in the firmament, and the
bricks which will be made of thy body will serve to construct
palaces for others.


Pass joyously thy life, for many other travelers will file
through this world; the soul will cry after the body from
which it will be separated, and the head, the seat of
the passions, will be trampled under the potter's feet.


Happy the heart of him who has passed unknown,
who has not been clothed in a robe of ceremony, nor in
luxurious garments, nor in stuffs of great price, who,
like the simourg, is lifted into the skies to the place of
his delight as the owl sits among the ruins of this world.


Drinkers alone know how to appreciate the language
of the roses and of wine, and not the feeble in heart or
the poor in spirit. Those who have no idea of what is
occult, to them ignorance is pardonable, for drunkards
alone can understand what belongs to such an order of
of things.


Once in the tavern, one can make his ablutions only
with wine. There, when a name is soiled, it cannot be
restored. Bring, then, some wine, since the veil of our
shame is torn in such a manner that it cannot be repaired.


Pierced with a vain hope, I have thrown to the wind
a part of my existence, and that without having known
here below a day of happiness. That which I fear now
is that time will prevent me from seizing the opportunity
to make amends for the past.


Alas! my heart has not been able to find any remedy
[for its grief], my soul has arrived at the edge of my
lips [death], without having attained the object of its love.
Alas! my life has passed in ignorance, and the enigma
of this love has not been explained.


In the regions of the soul, it is necessary to walk with
discernment; upon the things of this world, it is well to
be silent. While we have our eyes, our tongues, and our
ears, we should be without eyes, without tongues, and
without ears.


In this world, he who commands a loaf of bread and
who can cover his body with any garment whatsoever,
he who is neither master nor servant, tell him to live
content, for he has a sweet existence.


One should not plant in his heart the tree of sadness.
On the contrary, he should ever peruse the book of joy.
One should drink wine, and follow the trend of his own
heart, for behold, the length of time remaining to you in
this world is quickly measured.


Has Thy empire gained in splendor by my obeisance,
O God? Or have my sins retrenched in any degree Thy
immensity? Pardon, O God, and do not punish, for I
know well that Thou punishest late and pardonest early.


It would be troublesome if my hand, accustomed to
seize the cup, took the Koran and depended upon Mohammedan
diet. With you it is different; you are a dry
devotee, while I am a depraved one, moist [through drink],
and the only fire I know is kindled by wine.


Upon earth, no one presses to his heart a charmer with
cheeks of the tints of a rose without the time comes
that he feels the sting of the thorn. See the comb: before
it could caress the perfumed hair of the beauty, it
had to be cut into many teeth.


Would that I had constantly in my hand the juice of
the vine! Would that my love for these beautiful idols,
that are like houris, might never leave my heart! They
say to me: God has ordered you to renounce these things.
Oh! should He give me such a command, I would not
obey it. Far be the thought!


Behold, I must go, and life is saddened by my going; for,
out of a hundred precious pearls but one have I pierced.
Alas! thanks to the ignorance of men, a hundred thousand
things of deepest import yet remain unheard.


To-day the season smiles; 'tis neither hot nor cold. The
clouds have washed away the dust which dimmed the
roses; and nightingales seem whispering to the yellow
flowers that wine is balm for all.


The day when I shall know myself no more, and when
they will speak of me as of a fable, then I desire [do
I dare say it?] that my clay be made into a jar for wine
and destined to service at the tavern.


Drink thou of wine before thy name shall vanish from
this world, for, when this nectar enters thy heart, sorrow
disappears. Unbind strand by strand the hair of thy
charming idol, before the jointure of thy frame itself is


O idol! ere sorrow comes to assail thee, order rose-colored
wine. Thou art not gold, O imbecile! to believe
that after burial in the earth, you can be drawn from it


This world has not derived any advantage from my
coming here below. Its glory and its dignity are equally
unaffected by my departure. My two ears have never
heard any one say why I have come, or why I am forced
to go again.


All thy secrets are known to the wisdom of Heaven
[God]· He knows them hair by hair and vein by vein.
I admit that by power of hypocrisy you may be able
to deceive men, but what will you do before Him who
knows your misdeeds one by one in every detail?


Wine gives wings to those attacked by melancholy;
wine is a mole of beauty upon the cheek of intelligence,
we have not drunk of it during the Ramazan which
has passed, but now the eve of [the month of] Burak
hath arrived and we shall make amends.


Live in joy, for the time is coming when all the creatures
that you see will disappear under the earth; drink,
drink of wine, and never abandon yourself to the sorrow
of this world. Those who come after you only too soon
become a prey to it.


There is not a night when my mind is not in a state of
stupefaction. There is not one when my breast is not
inundated with pearls that flow from my eyes. The disquiet
which possesses me keeps the bowl of my head from
filling itself with wine, can a bowl overturned ever be


When my nature has seemed disposed to fasting and
prayer, I have a moment's hope that I am going to attain
the aim of my desires; but alas! a breath of wind has
sufficed to destroy the efficacy of my ablutions, and a
mouthful of wine has annihilated my fast.


All my being is attracted by the sight of beautiful,
rose-colored faces; my hand is aye ready to seize a cup
of wine. Oh, I wish to enjoy for its part what belongs
to each of my members, ere these same members are
lost in the Whole.


A worldly love knows not how to produce reflection.
It is like a fire half extinguished which no longer gives
heat. A true love should know neither tranquillity, nor
repose, nor nourishment, nor sleep for months and years,
day nor night.


How long wilt thou pass thy life in adoring thyself, and
seeking the cause of annihilation of thy being? Drink
wine, for a life that is followed by death is better spent
in sleep or drunkenness.


To-morrow I shall have surmounted the mountain
which separates us, and with indescribable happiness
take the cup in my hand. My mistress longs for me,
the day is bright; if I do not hasten to enjoy myself
in such a moment, when shall I find enjoyment?


There are people who through outrageous presumption
are sunk in pride; and others who abandon themselves
to the houris of celestial palaces. When the curtain is
raised, we shall see that they have fallen far, far, far,
from Thee [O God]!


We are assured that there is a Paradise for us peopled
with houris, and that we shall find there limpid wine and
honey. It must then be permitted us to love women and
wine here below, for is not this our end and aim?


They pretend that there exists a Paradise where there
are houris, where the Koocer flows, where there is limpid
wine, honey and sugar. Oh! fill quickly a cup of wine
and put it in my hand, for one present joy is worth more
than a thousand promised for the future.


Even a mountain would dance for joy if you soaked it
in wine. Poor is the fool who scorns the cup. You dare
order me to renounce the juice of the vine! Know then
that wine is a soul which helps to bring man to perfection.


From time to time my heart finds itself much straitened
in its cage. Shameful is it to be mixed with water
and clay. I have often thought of destroying this prison,
but my foot would come in contact with a stone and slip
on the stirrup of the Koran's law.


They say that the moon of Ramazan [month of fasting]
is about to appear and that wine must no longer be
thought of. It is well; but let me during the remainder
of Cheeban [the month preceding] drink such
a quantity of it that I may remain drunk up to the day
of the fast.


Cease, if ye are my friends, all vain discourse, and,
to relieve my mental pains pour out the wine. And
when to dust my frame returns, the self-same dust
collect and make it brick to stop some crevice in the
tavern wall.


The beverage of our existence is sometimes limpid,
sometimes muddy. Our garments are at one time of
coarse wool, at another of finest fabric. All this is insignificant
to a clear mind; but is it insignificant to die?


No one has penetrated the secrets of the Principle
[First Cause]. No one has taken a step outside himself.
I look about and see only insufficiency from pupil to
master, insufficiency in all that the mother brings forth.


Restrain thy envy of the things of this world if thou
wishest to be happy; break the bonds which enchain
thee to the good and the bad here below; live contented,
for the periodic movement of the heavens takes its course,
and this life will not be of long duration.


No one has had access behind the curtain of destiny;
no one has knowledge of the secrets of Providence. For
seventy-two years I have reflected day and night, I have
learned nothing anywhere, and the enigma remains unexplained.


They say that at the last day there will be judgments,
and that our dear Friend [God] will be in anger. But
from pure goodness only goodness emanates. Be then
without fear, for finally you will see that He is full of


Drink wine, since it is that which will put an end to
the disquiet of thy heart; it will deliver thee from thy
meditations upon the seventy-two sects of the globe. Do
not abstain from this alchemy for, if thou drinkest but a
men [a measure] of it, it will destroy for thee a thousand


Wine has been prohibited, perhaps, but it is only prohibited
according to the person who drinks it, according
to the quantity drunk, and according to the individual
with whom we drink it. These points once observed,
who would drink it if not the wise?


For myself, I should pour some wine into a cup that
would contain a pint. I should be content with two
cups; but first I should divorce myself thrice from religion
and reason, and then espouse the daughter of the


Yes, I drink wine, and whoever like me is far-seeing
will find that this act is insignificant in the eyes of the
Divinity. From all eternity God has known that I would
drink wine. If I did not drink it, His prescience would
be pure ignorance.


The drinker, if he is rich, ruins himself. The disorder
of his drunkenness provokes scandal in the world. For
this I should put an emerald in the bowl of my ruby pipe,
effectually to blind the serpent of my grief.


There are some ignorant beings who have never passed
a night in quest of truth, who have never taken a step
outside themselves, who show themselves clothed in the
garments of great lords and who are pleased to slander
those whose conduct is irreproachable.


When the azure of dawn shows itself, have the sparkling
cup in thine hand. They say that truth is bitter in the
mouth of mortals. That is a plausible reason for wine
being truth itself.


This is the moment when the verdure begins to ornament
the world, when, like the hand of Moses, the buds begin
to show themselves upon the branches; when, revivified,
as if by the breath of Jesus, the plants spring forth from
the earth; when finally the clouds begin to ope their
eyes and weep.


Keep from the trouble and vexation of aiming to acquire
white silver or yellow gold. Eat with thy friend,
ere thy warm breath be cooled, for after thee come enemies
who will eat thee.


Each mouthful of wine which the cupbearer pours into
the cup helps to extinguish the fire of anger in thy burning
eyes. Has it not been said, O great God, that wine
is an elixir which drives from the heart a hundred sorrows
that oppress it?


When the violet has tinted her cheeks, when the
zephyr has made the roses bloom, then he who is wise in
company with the fact will drink wine until he can dash
the cup against a stone [showing emptiness].


The devotee knows not how to appreciate as well as
we Thy divine pity. A stranger can never know Thee
as perfectly as a friend. [They pretend] that Thou hast
said: If you commit sin, I will send you into Hell. Go
now—tell that to one who knows Thee not.


A cup of wine is worth the empire of the universe;
the brick which covers the jar is worth a thousand lives.
The napkin with which one wipes lips moistened with
wine is indeed worth a thousand turbans.


O Friends! meet together [after my death]. Once reunited,
rejoice in being together and, when the cupbearer
takes in his hand a cup of old wine, remember poor
Khayyam and drink to his memory.


Not a single time has the Wheel of Heaven been propitious
to me, never for one instant has it allowed me
to hear a sweet voice, not a day has it given me a
second of happiness but that very day it has plunged
me into an abyss of grief.


A cup of wine is worth a hundred hearts, a hundred
creeds, a mouthful of this juice divine is worth the Empire
of China. What is there, truly, on the earth preferable
to wine? It is a bitter that is a hundred times
sweeter than life.


The Wheel of Heaven only multiplies our griefs! It
places nothing here below that it does not soon bear
away. Oh! if those who have not yet come knew
the suffering this world inflicts, they would guard themselves
well from coming here.


Drink, drink this wine which gives eternal life; drink,
for it is the source of youthful joy; it burns like fire,
but, like life's essence, drives away your care. Then


O Friend, to what good art thou preoccupied with
being? Why trouble thus thy heart, thy soul with idle
thoughts? Live happily, pass thy time joyously, for you
were not asked your opinion about the making of things
as they are.


The inhabitants of the tomb are returned to earth in
dust; the atoms [of which they are composed] are scattered
here and there, separated one from the other.
Alas! what is this drink in which the human race is
soaked and which holds it thus in dizzy ignorance of all
things, even to the day of doom?


O heart! act as if all the good things of this world
belonged to you; imagine that this house is provided
with everything, that it is richly furnished, and live joyously
in this domain of disorder. Realize that thou restest
here for two or three days, and that thereafter thou
shalt rise and go away.


The dogmas of religion admit only that which places
you under obligation to the Divinity. That morsel of
bread that you have, refuse not to others; keep from
speaking evil; render evil to no one, and it is I who
promise you a future life: bring wine.


Dragged through the rapid course of time, which accords
its favors only to the least worthy, my life is passed
in a gulf of grief and sorrow. In this garden of being,
my heart is hard as is the green bud of a rose; and like
a tulip, it is dipped in blood.


What belongs to youth is wine, the limpid juice of the
vine and the society of beauty; and since water once
brought ruin to this world by annihilating it, it is our
part to drown ourselves in wine, to pass our life in
drunkenness complete.


Bring wine from this ruby vessel and pour it into a
simple crystal cup; bring that thing habitual and dear
to every noble man. Since you know that all beings are
but dust, and that a two-day tempest makes them disappear,
bring wine.


O Thou, the quest of whom holds all in dizziness and
distress, the dervish and the rich are equally void of
means of reaching Thee. Thy name is in the speech
of all, but all are deaf; Thou art present to the eyes of
all, but all are blind.


In company with one dear friend, how pleasing to me
is a cup of wine. When I become the prey of care, it
is fitting that my eyes should be filled with tears. Oh!
this abject world has nothing lasting for us, and best it
is to dwell inebriate.


Keep thyself from drinking wine in the company of a
boorish, violent character, having no mind or self-control,
for such a man knows only how to cause unpleasantness.
For the time, thou wouldst have to undergo the disorder
of his drunkenness, his vociferations, his folly. And the
next day, his prayers for excuse and pardon would come
to weary thy head.


Since you only possess what God has given you, torment
not yourself to obtain the object of your covetousness.
Keep from burdening the heart too much, for the
final drama consists in leaving all and passing beyond.


O my soul! drink this limpid nectar which has not
been stirred; drink it in memory of the charming idols
which ravish the heart. Wine is the blood of the vine,
my friend, and the vine says to thee: Drink of me,
since I render it lawful to you.


In the season of flowers, drink rose-colored wine; drink
to the plaintive sounds of the lute, to the melodious noise
of the harp. As for me, I drink and rejoice in it; may
it be salutary to me! If you do not drink, why not be
willing that I should? Go, then, and eat pebbles!


Art thou sad? Take a piece of hasheesh as large as a
grain of barley, or drink a small measure of rose-colored
wine. Then you will become a Sufi. But, if you will
not drink of this or partake of that, nothing remains for
you but to eat pebbles; go, eat some pebbles!


But yesterday, I saw a potter in a bazaar treading
most vigorously the clay he was molding. The clay
seemed to say to him: I also have been like thee; treat
me, then, with less harshness.


If thou drinkest wine, drink it with intelligent people,
drink it in company with thy ravishing idols, with smiles
upon their lips and their cheeks tinted with the colors of
the tulip. Drink not too much or speak boastingly of
it; make it not a refrain, but drink a little from time
to time in quietude.


Wine should be drunk in the company of slender creatures
who ravish the heart with the color of their cheeks.
Art thou bitten by the serpent of grief, friend—drink, then,
of this antidote. I myself drink of it and plume myself
on the strength of it; would that it might be propitious!
If you drink it not, why not be willing that I should?
Go, eat some earth.


Here is the Dawn; arise, O beardless youth, and quickly
fill this crystal cup with ruby wine, for [later], you could
seek long time ere finding such a moment of existence as
is lent us in this world of nothingness.


'Twixt wine and Jemshid's throne, give me the wine;
the bouquet of the cup is sweeter than the Virgin's
heaven-sent fruits. The morning sigh of one inebriate
the bygone night is more melodious than the longdrawn
lamentations of Adhem or Bou-Saïd.


O my heart! since the foundation, even, of the things
of this world is only a fiction, why do you venture thus
in an infinite gulf of sorrow? Trust yourself to destiny,
endure the evil, for the lot which the heavenly brush
has traced for you will not be effaced.


Of all those who have taken the long road, who is there
now returned of whom I may ask news? O friend! beware
of putting any hope whatever in this sordid world,
for, know well that thou here shalt ne'er return.


Since each of these nights and each of these days cuts
off a part of thy existence, allow not the nights or the
days to cover thee with dust. Pass them gaily, for how
long, alas! shalt thou be absent, while the nights and
days will still be here!


This wheel of heaven which tells its secrets to no man,
has killed a thousand Mahmouds [Sultans] and a thousand
Ayaz [favorites]; drink wine, for the life of none
shall ever be restored. Alas! not one of all those who
left the world can again return!


O Thou who rulest the whole universe! knowest Thou
what are the days when wine rejoices the soul? They
are: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday and Saturday, all day long.


O Being, exquisite in thy enticing and coquettish charm!
be seated: rise no more and thus appease the fire of a
thousand torments. Thou enjoinest me not to look upon
Thee; but it is as if Thou shouldst order me to incline
the cup and forbid me spilling its contents.


Better to be with Thee in the tavern, and there tell
Thee my secret thoughts, than to go without Thee and
make a prayer in the mosque. Yea, O Creator of all
that was and all that is! such is my faith, whether Thou
burnest me, or accordest me Thy favor.


Consort with honest and intelligent men. Flee a thousand
miles away from the ignorant. If a man of mind
give thee poison, drink it; if an ignorant one present
thee an antidote, pour it upon the ground.


The clouds are still spread out above the roses and
seem to cover them as with a veil. The desire for wine
is not yet satiated in my heart. Then go not to rest, it is
not yet the hour. O my soul, drink of the wine; drink,
for the sun is still upon the horizon.


Like unto a sparrow-hawk, I am flying away from this
world of mysteries, hoping to lift myself to a higher
world; but, fallen, here below, and finding no one worthy
to share my secret thoughts, I go out through the door
by which I entered.


Thou hast put in us an irresistible passion [which is
equivalent to an order from Thee], and, on the other
hand, forbiddest us to give way to it. Poor human
beings are in extreme embarrassment between this order
and this prohibition, for it is as if Thou commandest me
to upset the cup but refrain from spilling the contents.


They are gone, these transients, and no one of them
has returned to tell the secrets concealed behind the curtain.
O devotee! it is by humility that spiritual affairs
take favorable turn and not by prayer, for, what is
prayer without sincerity and humility?


Throw dust upon the vault of heaven and drink some
wine; seek out the fair, for where see you a subject for
pardon, a subject for prayer, since, of all those who
have gone away, no one has returned?


Although on my necklace of duty I have never strung
the pearl of submission, as is Thy due, although never
in my heart have I swept the dust from Thy steps, I
have never despaired reaching the sill of Thy throne of
pity, for never have I importuned Thee with my troubles.


Let us recommence the course of our pleasures and
say the tekbir [farewell] to the five prayers. Everywhere,
where the flask is present, you will see, like the neck of
the flask itself, our necks stretching out towards the cup.


Here below, we are only the puppets with which the
Wheel of Heaven is amused. This is a truth and not a
metaphor. We are in fact the playthings upon this human
checkerboard, which finally we leave to enter one
by one the coffin of annihilation.


You ask me what is this phantasmagoria of things here
below. To tell you the whole truth regarding it would
be too long: it is a fantastic image which comes out of
a vast sea, and which re-enters, later, the same vast sea.


To-day we are lost in love, we are in deep distress,
and finally inebriate, within the temple of our idols
render to the cult of wine its due. To-day, entirely separate
from our being, we shall have attained the step of
the eternal throne.


My well-beloved [would that her life might last as long
as my sorrows!] has commenced to be amiable to me
again. She cast in my eyes a sweet and furtive look
and disappeared, saying without doubt to herself: Do
good and cast it on the waters.


Here is the Dawn! Rise Thou, O Source of all Delight!
Drink sweetly of the wine and let us listen to the harmonies
of the harp, for the life of those who sleep will
not be long, and of those who are no more, not one will
e'er return.


O Thou, who knowest the secrets hidden most deeply
at the bottom of the heart of each, Thou who raisest with
Thy hand all those who fall in distress, give me the power
of renunciation and accept my excuses, O God!—Thou
who givest this power to all, who acceptest the excuses
of all!


I saw on the walls of the city of Thous a bird hovering
before the skull of Kai-Kawous. The bird said to
the skull: Alas! what has become of the noise of thy
glory and the sound of the clarion?


Raise no question of the vicissitudes of this world, nor
of affairs of the future. Consider what a prize we have
in the present moment, and disturb not thyself with the
past or question me about the future.


Let not the fear of future things yellow thy cheeks; let
not present affairs make thee tremble with fright; rejoice,
in this world of annihilation, at the portion of pleasure
which comes to you, and wait not for that which the
kindness of heaven may withhold.


If you will listen to me, I will give you some advice:
[Here it is] For the love of God put not on the mantle
of hypocrisy. Eternity is for all time, and this world
is but an instant. Then sell not for an instant the empire
of eternity.


How long can I hold you by my ignorance? My own
annihilation oppresses my heart. Straightway I gird my
loins with the ephod of the priests. Do you know why?
Because it is the fashion of the Musulman, and I am one.


O Khayyam! when intoxicate, be happy; when seated
near a beauty, joyous be. Since the end of things in this
world is annihilation, pretend that you are not, but
since you are, give yourself up to pleasure.


Yesterday, I visited the workshop of a potter; there I
saw two thousand pitchers, some speaking, others silent.
Each one of these seemed to say to me: Where is the
potter? Where is the buyer of pitchers? Where the


Yesterday, while passing drunk before an inn, I met an
old man overcome with wine and carrying a gourd of
wine upon his back. I said to him: O aged man! have
you no fear of God? He answered me: Pity comes from
Him; go, drink some wine.


How long will lack of success in thy enterprises grieve
thee? Torment is the portion of those who think of the
future. Live then, in joy, grieve not thy heart with the
cares of this world, and know that wine increases not at
all the bitterness of pain.


Wine, which the wise man knows how to appreciate,
is for me the water of life and I its prophet am. It is
balm for the heart, an elixir which fortifies the soul.
Has God Himself not said: The benefits of the human
race are found in wine.


Although wine be prohibited, drink it without ceasing,
drink it in the evening and in the morning, drink it to
the noise of songs and to the sound of the harp. When
you can, procure that which sparkles like the ruby, throw
a drop on the earth and drink all the rest.


Diversity of creed divides the human race into about
seventy-two sects. Amongst all these dogmas, I have
chosen that of Thy love. What signify these words:
Impiety, Islamism, creed, sin? My true aim is to seek
Thee. Far be from me all these vain, indifferent pretexts.


Enumerate my good qualities one by one; my faults,
pass by in tens. Pardon each sin committed for the love
of God. Fan not the fire of hatred by the breath of
passion, pardon, rather, in memory of the tomb of the
Prophet of God [Mohammed].


In truth, wine is a limpid spirit in the cup; in the body
of the flask, it is a transparent soul. No annoying person
is worthy of my society. It is only the cup of wine
which can figure there, for that is at once a solid and a
diaphanous body.


O Wheel of Heaven! Thou art complete in Thy ingratitude.
Thou keepest me constantly bare [naked]
like a fish. The weaver's loom weaves clothes for human
beings; more charitable is it than Thou, O Wheel of


O Khayyam! Time is ashamed of him who allows his
heart to be saddened by vicissitudes below; drink, then,
to the sound of the harp, drink some wine from the
crystal, before the crystal broken be upon a stone.


If the rose is not our portion, do not the thorns remain?
If light divine does not reach us, is there not the fire [of
hell]? If we have not the clerical mantle, or that of
the temple, or the pontifical, do not the bells, the church,
and the ephod remain to us?


If the Wheel of Heaven refuses me peace, am I not
ready for war? If I have not an honorable reputation,
have I not shame for myself? Here is the cup full of
wine the color of rubies; he who will not drink of it, has
he not his head and a stone?


See Dawn appears. Already has it rent the veil of
night. Arise, then, and empty the morning cup. Why
this sadness? Drink, O my heart! drink, for these dawns
will succeed each other with face turned towards us,
when we shall have ours turned towards the earth.


All that this world contains are but images and flourishes
of fiction. Ill-advised is he who does not comprehend
his place in the number of these images. Repose,
thou, friend, drink a cup of wine, give thyself up to joy
and thus be delivered from all these vain figures, from
these impossible reflections [which come to assail thy


When you are in the company of a beauty with cypress-like
figure and a color fresher than the newly-culled
rose, put not far from thee the flowers of the field, nor
let the cup escape from thy hand; [do this] before the
north-wind of death, like a gale which disperses the
leaves of the roses, tears in tatters the envelope of thy


How long these cries, these groans against the things
of this world? Rise, rather, and pass gaily every instant.
When the universe shall be re-dressed in green from end
to end, drink wine in a ruby cup, full to the brim.


Give not vain thoughts free access to thy mind. Drink
wine throughout the year, and always cups filled to the
brim. Pursue the daughter of the vine and aye rejoice,
for it is better to enjoy the daughter without leave of
law than know the mother with her full consent.


My love is at the apogee of its flame. The beauty
of the one who captivates my soul [the Divinity] is complete.
My heart speaks, but my tongue remains mute,
refusing to express my sentiments. Great God! Has one
ever seen aught more strange? I am devoured by thirst,
and before me flows a fresh and limpid draught!


Take a cup of wine in thy hand, then mingle thy voice
with that of the nightingale, for, if it were meet to drink
this juice of the vine without accompaniment of harmonious
sound, the wine itself would make no noise in
slipping out of the flask.


Guard thyself from ever despairing for a crime committed,
and be mindful of the clemency of thy Creator,
the pity of the Master; for, should'st thou die to-day, in
a state of complete drunkenness, to-morrow he would
pardon thy decaying dust for all.


O Wheel of Heaven, thy circular course does not satisfy
me. Deliver me from it, for I am unworthy of thy
chain. If thy good pleasure consists in according thy
favors only to the poor in mind, to idiots, I am neither
intelligent enough or wise enough [to be confounded
by it].


O mufti [grand judge] of the city! I am more a worker
than art thou. Drunk as I am, I own more intelligence
than thou; for thou, thou drinkest the blood of human
beings and I that of the vine. Be just and tell me
which is the more sanguinary of the two?


That which is wisest is to seek joy in our hearts in
a cup of wine; and not preoccupy ourselves too much
with the present or the past; and, finally, were it only
for an instant, to free from the shackles of reason that
soul which has been loaned us and which groans in its


The moment I shall fly from death, when, like the
dry leaves, the particles of my body shall detach themselves
from the centers of life, oh, then! with what joy
shall I pass across the universe, as through a sieve,
before the mason comes to sift my own dust.


That vault of heaven, under which we reel, we might,
in thought, liken to a lantern. The universe is the lantern.
The sun represents the light, and we, like the
images with which the lantern is ornamented, dwell there
in stupefaction.


Thou hast formed me of earth and of water, what can
I do? Whether I be wool or silk, it is Thou that hast
woven, and what can I do? The good that I do, the
evil that I am guilty of, were alike predestined by Thee;
what can I do?


O friend, come to me, and let us take no thought
of to-day nor to-morrow, but consider our short instant
of existence as spoils. To-morrow, when we shall have
abandoned this old tent [the world], we shall be the
companions of those who left it seven thousand years


Never for a moment be deprived of wine, for it is wine
that gives reflection to intelligence, to the heart of man
and to religion. If the devil had tasted it for one instant,
he would have adored Adam and have made before
him thousands of genuflections.


Arise, dance, and we shall clap our hands. Drink to
the presence of beauties with the languorous eyes of the
narcissus. Happiness is not very great when one has
emptied but a score of cups; it is strangely complete
when one arrives at the sixtieth.


I have shut upon myself the door of avarice, and am
thus free from obligation to those who are men and those
who do not merit the name. Since there exists but one
friend [God] toward whom I can extend my hand, I am
what I am, and that concerns only Him and me.


I am constantly saddened by the motion of this Wheel
of the Heavens. I am in revolt against my vile nature.
I have neither enough knowledge to hide myself and not
return to the world, nor intelligence enough to live there
without preoccupying myself with it.


How many people that I see upon the surface of the
earth are plunged in sleep [superstition]! How many I
perceive that are already buried in its depths! When I
throw my eyes over this desert of Not-being, how many
people I see who have not yet come—how many who
have already departed!


Thy pity being promised me, I have no fear of sin.
With the provision that Thou possessest, I have no disquiet
about the journey. Thy benevolence renders my
visage white and of the black book I have no fear.


Be not led to believe that I fear the world, or that I
have fear of dying, or of seeing my soul go its way.
Death being a truth, I have no fear of it. What I fear
is that I have not lived well.


How long shall we be slaves to reason and to every
day? What matters it whether we remain a hundred
years in this world, or whether we dwell here but a day?
Go, bring some wine in a bowl before we are transformed
into pitchers in the workshop of some potter.


How long will you blame us, O ignorant man of God!
We are the patrons of the tavern, we are constantly overcome
with wine. You are given up entirely to your
chaplet, to your hypocrisy, and your infernal machinations.
We, cup in hand and always near the object of our love,
live in accordance with our desires.


Let us sell the diadem of Khan, the crown of Kai, let
us sell it and buy the sound of a flute let us sell the
turban and the silken cassock, yea, for a cup of wine let
us sell the chaplet which in itself contains naught but


That day when the juice of the vine does not ferment
in my head, the universe could offer me an antidote which
would be a poison to me. Yea, sorrow over the things
of this world is a poison, and its antidote is wine. I will
take the antidote then that I may have no fear of the


How long shall we blush at the injustice of others?
How long shall we burn in the fire of this insipid world?
Arise, banish from thee the sorrow of the world, if thou
art a man; to-day is a feast; come, drink rose-colored


I am in continual war with my passions, but what can
I do? The memory of my deeds causes me a thousand
regrets, but what can I do? I admit that in Thy clemency
Thou mayest pardon my faults, but the shame of
knowing that Thou knowest what I have done, that shame
will remain, and what can I do?


O my soul! we two form together the parallel of a compass.
Although we have two points, we make but one
body. Actually, we turn upon the same point and describe
a circle, but the day will come finally, when these two
points shall be united.


Since this world is not a place of permanent sojourn for
us, it would be an enormous error to deprive ourselves
of wine and abstain from the favors of our well-beloved.
Oh, peaceable man! how long these discussions upon the
creation or upon the eternity of the world? When I no
longer am, what will it matter to me whether it be ancient
or modern.


Although it may be through duty that I present myself
at the mosque, it certainly is not for the purpose of
making a prayer. One day I stole a sedjaddeh [prayer-rug].
The sedjaddeh is worn out; I have returned
again, and still again.


Be not cast down by the troubles which we call vicissitudes
here below. Let us occupy ourselves only in
drinking pure wine, limpid wine, the color of a rose.
Wine, friend, is the blood of the world. The world is
our murderer; how shall we resist drinking the blood of
the heart of him who spills ours?


For the love which I bring thee, I am ready to undergo
all sorts of blame, and if I violate my vow, I submit
to the penalty. Oh! had I to endure until the last day
the torment that thou causest me, that space of time
would still seem too short.


We have arrived too late in this circle of being, and
have descended below human dignity. Oh! since life is
not passed in accordance with our vows, it is better
that it should be finished, for we are glutted with it!


Since the world is perishable, I would devise some
scheme for it; I would think only of joy, or only of the
limpid wine. They say to me: Would God might make
thee renounce it! Nay, would that He might not give
such command, for if He gave it, I would not obey!


When, with bowed head, I have fallen at the feet of
death; when this destroying angel shall have made me
like a bird robbed of its plumage, then of my dust make
nothing other than a flask, for the perfume of the wine
that it contains might revive me for an instant.


When I examine closely the things of this world, what
I see is that human beings in general appropriate to themselves,
without merit on their part, the good it contains.
As for me, O God All-Powerful! I meet only
the reverse of my desires in all that falls under my eyes!


It is I who am the chief of habitual patrons of the
tavern; it is I who am plunged in rebellion against the
law, it is I who, during the long nights, soaked in pure
wine, cry out to God the griefs of my heart imbrued with


How grow the nights without which we could not
close our eyes, and before which a cruel fate comes first
to sadden us! Arise, and let us breathe an instant ere
the breath of the morning stirs, for, very long, alas!
will this Dawn breathe when we no longer breathe!


Come, see the Dawn, and, with a full cup of rose-colored
wine in hand, let us breathe for an instant. As
for honor, reputation, that fragile crystal, let us break it
against a stone. Renounce insatiable desires, and stroke
the silken tresses of the fair and list the harmonies of the


In this world, where each breath we breathe leads to
a new sorrow, it is better never to breathe an instant
without a cup of wine in hand. When the breath of
Aurora makes itself felt, arise and, time after time, empty
the cup, for [as I have told you] this Dawn will breathe
for long, long years when we no longer breathe.


Should I commit all the sins of the universe, still Thy
pity, I dare believe, would extend its hand to me. Hast
Thou not promised to put off the day when I should be
a prey to my infirmities? [Accomplish Thy promise and
for that] exact not a state more frightful than that in
which Thou seest me at this moment.


If I am drunk with old wine, ah, well! I am. If I am
an infidel, fire worshipper or idolater, ah, well! that I am.
Each group of individuals forms some idea on my account.
But what matters it? I belong to myself and I
am what I am.


From the time since I am, I have not been for an instant
without drunkenness. This night is that of Kidr
and I this night am drunk; my lips are glued to that of
the cup and, leaning my breast against the jar, I have
held the neck of the flask in my hand until day.


I am constantly attracted by the sight of limpid wine,
my ears are ever attentive to the melodious sounds of
the flute and of the rubab [viol]. Oh, if the potter make
a pitcher of my dust, would that that pitcher might constantly
be full of wine!


I understand all that annihilation and being apparently
mean; I know the foundation of lofty thought. Ah, well!
may all this knowledge be annihilated in me if I recognize
in man a higher state than that of drunkenness!


I indeed drink wine, but I commit no disorder. I
stretch out my hand, but it is only to seize the cup.
Would you know why I am an adorer of wine? It is
because I do not wish to imitate you and be an adorer
of myself.


Are you discreet enough for me to tell you in a few
words what man has been from the beginning? A miserable
creature, moulded in the clay of chagrin. He has,
for a few years, eaten his morsel here below, and then
has raised his foot and gone away.


It is the rim of the wine-jar which we have chosen for
our place of prayer; it is in making use of wine that we
are rendered worthy of the name of man; it is in the
tavern that we get back the time lost in the mosque.


It is we who are the true aim of universal creation; it
is we who, in the eyes of wisdom, are the essence of divine
regard. The circle of this world is like a ring and,
without doubt, we are the jeweled signet of it.


Drunkenness has transported us from our own misery
here below to untold joys; from our humble condition, it
has raised our heads to the skies. Nevertheless, behold
us finally freed from our thraldom to the body! Behold
us returned again to the earth, whence we came!


If I have eaten during the days of Ramazan, do not
believe I did it through inadvertence. The fatiguing
hardships of the fast have so turned about my days and
nights [the one for the other] that I have always believed
in eating the morning repast.


We have constantly heads overcome with wine; the
presence of wine alone animates our society. Then
leave off thy counsel, O ignorant penitent! [you see
that] we are the adorers of wine, and that the lips of
the object of our love are turned to our desires.


This is the season of roses. Oh! I would now give
rein to one of my desires. I would commit an act which
infringes on the law of the Koran. Yea, for some days,
in company of the fair with velvet and bright tinted cheeks
spreading rose-colored wine over the green turf, I would
transform the plain into a field of tulips.


When in this world joy seizes us, when it gives to our
complexion the brilliant lustre of the courser of the firmament
[the sun], then I love to be in a green prairie
in the midst of beauties with velvet cheeks, and partake
with them of this sweet green hasheesh ere going again
myself under this earth covered with green sod.


Never have we tasted in happiness a drop of water
without the hand of grief appearing to present to us its
bitter beverage. Never have we dipped a piece of bread
in salt without the salt returning to re-open half-healed
wounds of the heart.


Take care, take good care of making noise in a tavern!
Pass the time there, but avoid all agitation. Sell the
turban, sell the book [the Koran] to buy wine. Finally,
let us pass through the medresseh [school of the mosques],
but let us not stop there.


Every day, at dawn, I go to the tavern. There I give
myself to the company of kalendar hypocrites. O Thou,
who art the master of secrets most concealed, give me
faith, if Thou wishest me to apply myself to prayer.


To the cares of this world, let us not accord as much
value, even, as to a grain of barley; oh! let us be happy!
If we have something for breakfast, we may have nothing
for dinner; oh! let us be happy! Although nothing
well cooked comes to us from the kitchen, let us not address
our troublesome prayers to any one; oh! let us be


Not a single day do I feel myself free from the troublesome
bonds of this world; not for a single instant do I
breathe contented with my being. I have long served
an apprenticeship to human vicissitudes, and I have not
yet become master, either in that which concerns this
world, or in what has to do with the other.


We, in one hand, take the Koran; with the other we
seize the cup: sometimes you see us carried away with
that which is lawful, sometimes with what is prohibited.
We, then, beneath this azure vault, are not completely
infidel, or absolutely Musulman.


Present a salutation on my account to Mostapha, and
afterward say to him with all the deference due: O
Lord Hachemite! why, in accordance with the law of the
Koran, is the sharp doug [whey] lawful, yet pure wine


Present a salutation on my part to Khayyam, and then
say to him: O Khayyam! you are an ignorant man. When
have I said that wine was prohibited? It is lawful for
intelligent men; it is prohibited only to the ignorant.


O thou that lusteth night and day for the goods of
this world, dost thou not reflect upon the terrible day?
Take into consideration thy last breath, come back to
self, and see how time deals with others.


O thou who art the summing up of the universal creation,
cease for an instant to occupy thyself with gain or
loss; take a cup of wine from the hand of the etern
cupbearer, and free thyself thus altogether from the cares
of this world and from those of the other!


If you know to what to cling upon this walk around
a circle without end, you must recognize two classes
of men: those who understand perfectly its good and its
bad side, and those who have no notion either of themselves
or of things here below.


Render light to my heart the weight of the vicissitudes
of this world. Conceal from mortals my reprehensible actions.
Render me happy to-day, and to-morrow make me
what thou deemest worthy of Thy pity.


For him who makes account of human ills, joy, sorrow,
pain are all identical. The good and the bad of
this world must one day end. What matters it whether
all be torment or pleasure for us?


Now that the nightingale has made its voice heard,
think no longer of anything, but seize the ruby cup of
wine from the hand of the drinkers; arise, come, for the
rose blossoms are breathing out joy; avenge thyself,
avenge thyself for two or three days for the torments
thou hast endured.


Notice this cup made of clay; it is possessed of a
soul! They say a jasmine produces the flowers of the
Judas-tree. But what do I say? The shining purity of
wine is a cause of my error? Oh, no [it is not wine], it is
diaphanous water shot with a liquid fire.


Arise, leave the cares of this world which are fleeting;
be joyous, pass gaily this life of a moment, for if the
favors of heaven had been constant to others, this turn
of joy would not have come to you.


Listen to me, O thou who hast not seen old friends
[of experience]! Vex not thyself with this Wheel of
Heaven which has neither surface nor foundation: content
thyself with what thou hast and, as a peaceable spectator,
observe here below the various games to which men are


Employ all thy efforts to be agreeable to drinkers,
and follow the good counsel of Khayyam. O friend!
demolish the bases of prayer and of fasting, drink wine,
steal if you will, but do good.


Justice is the soul of the universe, the universe is the
body. The angels are the wit of the body, the heavens
the elements, the creatures in it are the members; behold
here the eternal unity. The rest is only trumpery.


Yesterday evening, in the tavern, the object of my
heart that ravishes my soul [God] presented me a cup
with a ravishing air of sincerity and a desire to please
me, inviting me to drink. No, said I to him, I will
not drink. Drink, he answered me, for the love of my


Do you wish the universe to submit itself to your will?
Occupy yourself without ceasing in fortifying your soul.
Share my mood, which consists in drinking wine and
never taking to myself the cares of things here below.


The sages who have well considered this world of
dust, this sojourn of inconstancy from one end to the
other, see nothing in it agreeable but wine in ruby
cups and beautiful countenances.


Thanks to the iniquity of this Wheel of Heaven which
resembles a mirror, thanks to the periodic motion of
time which accords its favors only to the most abject,
my cheeks, hollowed like a cup, are bathed in tears; but,
like a flask, my heart is full of blood.


Yesterday [before day], in company with a charming
friend and a cup of rose-colored wine, I was seated on
the border of a brook. Before me stood the cup, that
shell, of which the pearl [contained in the cup] shed
such a brilliant light that the herald of the sun, awaking
with a start, announced the Dawn.


Forget the day which has been cut off from thy existence;
disturb not thyself about to-morrow, which has not
yet come; rest not upon that which is or that which
is no more; live happily one instant and throw not thy
life to the winds.


Art not ashamed to give thyself to corruption?—to
neglect thus both what is commanded and what is forbidden?
Even if you succeed in appropriating all the
goods of the earth to yourself, what can you do with
them except to abandon them in your turn?


I have seen a man betake himself to sterile soil. He
was neither a heretic nor a Musulman; he had neither
riches nor religion, nor God, nor truth, nor law, nor certitude.
Who in this world or in the other would have
so much courage?


One host of men is pondering upon belief, or on the
faith; others are hovering between doubt and certainty.
But suddenly behind the veil there's one will cry: O
ignorant ones! the way that you seek is neither here
nor there!


There hangs in the heavens a bull called Parwin
[Pleiades], and another bull is underneath the earth. To
the eyes of intelligence or those who live in certainty,
I show a herd of asses placed between two beeves.


Some said to me: Drink less of wine. What reason
have you for not giving it up? The reason that I give
is first the face of my friend [God] and secondly the
morning cup. Be just and tell me, Is it possible to give
a more luminous reason?


If I possessed in the heavens the power which God
exercises there, I would destroy the people of this world,
and others I would make in my own way, so that man,
freed [from the bonds of superstition], could attain here
below the desires of his heart.


My poor heart, full of grief and folly, has not been
able to free itself from drunkenness where passion for
my well-beloved has plunged it. Oh! the day when the
wine of this love was distributed, my portion was, without
doubt, drawn from the blood of my heart!


To drink wine and seek beautiful faces is wiser than
to practise hypocrisy and apparent devotion. It is evident
that if there exist a Hell for lovers and drinkers,
no one would wish for Paradise.


Scorn the words of coquettish women, but accept limpid
wine from the hand of those whose mien is irreproachable.
You know that all those who have made their appearance
in this world are partly of one kind and partly
of the other, and it is not given to any to see a single
one that may come back.


It is not necessary to soften and disgrace a joyous heart
by sorrow, to break under the stones of torment our
moments of delight. As no one is able to tell what is
to be, what is necessary is some wine, a beloved mistress
[the Divinity], and repose according to our desires.


Yes, it is beautiful to enjoy good fame; it is shameful
to complain of the injustice of heaven; it is better to
become drunk with the juice of the grape, than to be
puffed up with false devotion.


O God! be pitiful to my poor imprisoned heart; show
pity to my bosom, susceptible to so much sorrow; pardon
my feet which lead me to the tavern; pardon my hand
which seizes the cup!


O God! deliver me from calculating, more or less, upon
the things of this world; make me preoccupied with Thee,
and free me from myself. While I have my sound reason
good and bad are known to me; render me drunk and
free me from this knowledge of good and bad.


This Wheel of Heaven runs after my death and thine,
my friend· it conspires against my soul and thine.
Come, seat thyself upon the turf, for, indeed, small time
remains to us before new turf shall germinate from my
dust and from thine.


When we shall have lost my soul and thine, they will
place bricks upon thy tomb and mine. Then, in order
to cover other tombs with bricks, they will throw my dust
and thine into the kiln of the brick-maker.


In this castle which by its splendor rivals the heavens,
this castle to which sovereigns succeeded with delight, we
have seen a turtledove seated on the ruined battlements
crying: Kou, kou, kou, kou [Where? Where?].


What advantage has our coming into this world produced?
What advantage will result from our departure?
What remains to us of the heap of hopes that we have
conceived. Where is the smoke of all the pure men who
under the celestial fire have been consumed and become


O Thou whose lips secrete the water of life, permit
not those of the cup to come and kiss them! [Oh, if
Thou shouldst permit it], may I lose the name of man
if I am not soaked in the blood of the flask, for what is
it, this cup, to dare to touch its lips to Thine?


I am such as Thy power has made me. I have lived a
hundred years filled with Thy benevolence and benefits.
I would like still a hundred years to commit sin and to
see if the sum of my faults outweighed Thy pity.


Now take thy cup, carry away the gourd, O Charm of
my Heart! and go, explore the plains, the borders of
the brooks, for indeed idols, like to the moon in the light
of their beautiful countenances, have a hundred times
been transformed into cups, a hundred times have they
become gourds.


It is we who buy old wine and new wine, and it is we
who sell the world for two grains of barley. Know where
you will go after death? Bring me some wine and go
where you will.


Who is the man who here below has not committed
sin; can you say? Had he not committed it, could he
have lived, can you tell? If, because I do evil, you
punish me for evil, what then is the difference between
you and me, can you say?


Oh! where is that one whose lips are of rubies, where
that precious stone of Bedekhchan? Where is that wine
full of perfume which gives repose to the soul? They
say that the religion of Islam prohibits it; drink, friend,
and have no fear, for where do you see Islam?


Best is it to abstain from all that is not joyful; and
best it is to receive the cup from the hands of odalisques
shut up in the palaces of the princes; but best of all is
drunkenness, indifference to the Kalendars, forgetfulness
of self. A mouthful of wine, finally, is worth more
than all that exists in the space between Mah and


For thee, that which is best is to flee from the seeking
of knowledge and devotion; to finger the tresses of
thy ravishing friend; to pour into the cup the blood
of the vine ere time has spilled thine own.


O friend! be in repose amidst human vicissitudes; disturb
not thyself in vain because of the march of time.
When the envelope of thy being shall be torn in tatters,
what matters what thou hast done, what thou hast said,
or how defiled thou mayest be?


O thou who hast not done good, but who hast done
evil, and who hast afterward sought refuge in the Divinity,
guard thyself from relying upon pardon; for he who
has done nothing resembles no more him who has sinned
than he who has sinned resembles him who has done


Count upon life not longer than the sixtieth year.
Place thy foot in no direction without being overcome
with wine. As long as thy skull hath not been made a
pitcher, go always on thy way, nor take the wine-gourd
from thy shoulder or the wine-cup from thy hand.


This firmament is a porringer overturned upon our
heads. Wise men, thereat, humble and unpresumptuous
are. But see the friendship which obtains between the
cup and the flask. Lip against lip are they, and twixt
them ever flows the blood.


I have swept the sill of the tavern with my hair. Yes,
I have given up reflecting upon the good and the bad
in this world and the next. I saw them, like two bowls,
rolling in a ditch, when I was sleeping overcome with
wine, and I no more occupied myself with them than if
I had seen a grain of barley rolling along.


The drop of water began to weep on being separated
from the ocean. The ocean began to laugh, saying to
it: It is we who are all; in truth, there is no other God
beside us, and if we are separated, it is only by a simple
point almost invisible.


How long shall I trouble myself with the care of knowing
whether I possess or do not possess—if I ought or
ought not to pass life gaily? Fill ever the cup of wine,
O cupbearer! for I do not know whether I shall breathe
out this breath that I am actually breathing or not.


Become not a prey to sorrow in this world of iniquity;
recall not to thy soul the memory of those who are no
longer here; give up thy heart only to a friend with sweet
lips and fairy-like in form and never be deprived of
wine, or throw life to the winds.


How long will you speak to me of the mosque, of
prayer and fasting? Go rather to the tavern and intoxicate
yourself, and even for that ask alms. O Khayyam!
drink wine, drink; for this earth of which thou
art composed will be made into cups, bowls, and pitchers.


So in this palace of brief being, you ought, O wise man,
to give yourself up to rose-colored wine. Then each
atom of your dust that the wind carries away will fall
on the sill of the tavern, all saturate with wine.


Note how the zephyrs have made the roses bloom!
Note how their fragrant beauty glads the nightingale!
Go, then, repose in the shadow of these flowers, for
very speedily they depart from the earth and very often
ne'er return again.


Behold us re-united in the midst of lovers; behold us
freed from the pain which time inflicts; having emptied
the cup of His love, behold us all free, all tranquil, all
o'ercome with wine.


Suppose that you have lived in this world in accordance
with your desires; ah, well! after that? Think to
yourself that the end of your days has arrived; ah, well!
after that? Admitting that you have lived for a hundred
years surrounded by all that your heart could desire,
imagine in your turn, that you have another hundred
years to live; ah, well! after that?


Do you know how the cypress and the lily have acquired
the name for freedom which they enjoy among men?
It is because one has ten tongues but remains mute, and
the other possesses a hundred hands and keeps them all


O cupbearer! put into my hand some of that delicious
wine, some of that juice attractive as a charming idol,
some of that nectar, in short, which like a chain whose
links, turning and returning upon each other, hold fools
and sages alike in sweet captivity.


O regret! that life should be passed in pure loss! How
lawless all our eating and how defiled our bodies! I
have the blame, O God! of not having done what Thou
hast commanded. What will come to me for having done
what Thou hast not commanded?


Fret not thyself on account of the inconstancy of
this world; seek wine and draw near to thy caressing
mistress, for, thou seest that he whom his mother brought
forth to-day to-morrow disappears from the earth—to-morrow
returns to annihilation.


I can renounce all else, but wine never; for I have the
means of making amends for all else, but of wine, never.
O God! could one like me become a Musulman and renounce
old wine? Never.


We are all lovers, all drunkards, all adorers of wine.
We are all united in the tavern, having banished far
from us all that is good, all that is evil, all reflection
and revery. Oh! expect not intelligence or reason of us,
for we are all overcome with wine.


It is we who have confidence in the divine goodness,
who have shaken off the ideas of obedience and sin; for
where Thy benevolence exists, O God, he who has done
nothing is equal to him who has done something.


Thou hast imprinted on our being, O God, such singular
phantasma of inconsequence, and hast made to rise such
strange phenomena. Myself cannot be better than I am,
for Thou hast taken me as I am from out creation's


We have violated all the vows that we have made; we
have closed upon us the door of what is called good and
what is called bad. Then blame me not if you see me
committing senseless deeds, for we are drunk with the
wine of love, and all are drunk as we.


A mouthful of old wine is of more worth than a new
empire. The wise man will reject all that is not wine.
A cup of this nectar is a hundred times preferable to
the kingdom of Feridoun. The lid which covers the wine-jar
is more precious than the diadem of Kai-Khosrou.


O my heart! thou canst not penetrate the enigmatical
secrets of the heavens; thou canst never reach the culminating
point to which intrepid sages have attained.
Be content, then, to organize a Paradise here below, in
making daily use of cup and wine, for wilt thou ever reach
that future Paradise? Thou never wilt.


Those who are gone before us, O cupbearer! are imbedded
in the dust of pride. Go, drink wine; go, listen
to the truth that I tell you: All those who have gone
ahead are but as the wind; know it well, O cupbearer!


From afar has appeared a filthy shape. It is said that
its body was covered with a shirt made of the smoke
of Hell. It was neither a man nor a woman. It has
broken our flask and spilled upon the earth the ruby wine
it contained, glorifying itself at having done a deed worthy
of a man.


O my heart! when thou art admitted to sit at the banquet
of this idol [the Divinity], it is after thou hast gone
out of thyself in order to re-enter thyself again. When
thou hast tasted a mouthful of the wine of annihilation,
thou art entirely separate from those that are and from
those that are no more.


Yes, I have found myself in close acquaintance with
wine, with drunkenness. But why does the world blame
me for it? Oh! would to God that all which is illegal
might produce drunkenness! For then never here below
should I have seen a shadow of sound reason.


Thou hast broken my pitcher of wine, my God! Thou
hast shut upon me the portals of joy, my God! Thou
hast poured upon earth my limpid wine, my God! Oh!
[would that my mouth were filled with earth!] couldst
Thou have been drunk, my God?


O thou who art the result of the four [elements] and
the seven [heavens], I see you in perplexity amongst
these four and seven. Drink wine, for, as I have said
to you more than four times, you will return no more;
once departed, you are gone indeed.


On one hand, Thou hast raised a hundred ambushes
about us; on the other, Thou sayest to us: If ye put
foot there, ye shall be caught by death. It is Thou who
spreadest snares, and whoever falls there, Thou bringest
to a stand! Thou givest him to death and callest him


O Thou whose mysterious essence is impenetrable to
intelligence, Thou who carest no more for our obedience
than our faults, I am drunk with sin, but the confidence
that I have in Thee renders it right for me. Know
Thou, that I count upon Thy pity.


If this world's things were only based on show, oh!
then each day would be a feast. Oh! were it not for
these vain threats, each could attain below the aim of his
desires, without a fear.


O Wheel of Heaven! thou fillest constantly my heart
with woe. Thou killest in me the germ of joy, with
water ladening the air which, would breathe, and changest
into mud the water that I drink.


O my heart! if thou free thyself from the grief inherent
in matter, thou shalt become a soul in all its purity; thou
shalt mount to the heavens, thy residence shall be the
firmament. Oh! how thou shouldst suffer from shame
at inhabiting the earth!


O potter! be attentive, if thou possessest sound reason!
How long wilt thou abase man in moulding his clay? It
is the finger of Feridoun, the hand of Kai-Khosrou which
you thus put upon your wheel.


O rose! thou art the face of some young ravishing
fair! O wine! thou art the ruby whose brightness joys
my soul! O fateful fortune! each instant thou appearest
more strange to me, and nevertheless I seem to know


From the cookery of this world, thou only absorbest
the smoke. How long, plunged in the search for being
and annihilation, wilt thou be the prey of sorrow? This
world contains only loss for those who attach themselves
to it. Now disregard this loss, and all for thee will
benefit become.


As for us, let us not try to torment men in their
sleep; let us refrain from making them utter at midnight
the lamentable cry O my God! O my God! [as others
do]. Rest not upon riches or beauty, for the one will
take wings in the night, and the other, in the night also,
will be ravished.


If from the commencement Thou hadst wished to make
me known to myself, why later, hast Thou separated me
from this myself? If from the first day Thy intention
was to abandon me, why hast Thou thrown me, all
amazed, into the midst of the world?


Oh! would to God that there existed some place of repose—that
the road we follow had some settled end!
Would God that, after a hundred thousand years, we
could conceive the hope of one new birth of heart upon
the earth as the green turf is born again!


While I was drawing a horoscope in the book of love,
suddenly, from the burning heart of a wise man came
these words. Happy is he who entertains in his dwelling
a friend as beautiful as the moon, and who has in prospect
a night as long as a year!


The constant sequence of springtime and autumn makes
the leaves of our existence disappear. Drink wine, my
friend, for sages have well said that grief in this world
is a poison and its antidote is wine.


O my heart! drink of wine, drink of it in a garden
and enjoy the presence of thy friend [the Divinity]; renounce
hypocrisy and show. Is it the doctrine of Ahmed
you follow? In that case, draw from the fountain-head
a cup of wine into the bowl which Ali, in his round of
cupbearing, shall serve.


But yesterday, at eve, I broke a china cup against a
stone. I was drunk when committing this senseless act.
This cup seemed to say to me: «I have been like thee;
thou wilt, in thy turn, be like me.»


The flowers are in blossom, O cupbearer! bring wine.
Leave thy acts of worship, O cupbearer! Ere the angel
of death put a watch upon us, come, and with a cup of
ruby wine in hand, let us rejoice while yet there are
some days with the sweet presence of the friend [the


Arise, get off thy bed, O cupbearer! and pour the
limpid wine. Before they yet make pitchers of our
skulls, pour out some wine from pitcher into bowl, O


This hypocrisy [which I everywhere see], O cupbearer!
crushes my heart with weariness. Arise, and gaily bring
me wine, O cupbearer! and to procure it, put in pawn
the prayer-rug and the turban. Perhaps my arguments
will then rest upon a solid basis.


Examine thyself, if thou art intelligent, and observe
what thou hast brought in the beginning and what thou
wilt carry away at the end. Thou sayest that thou dost
not drink because one must die. Whether thou drinkest
friend, or dost not drink, thou needs must die.


Open the door, for it is only Thou who canst open it;
show me the way, for it is only Thou who canst show a
way of safety. I will give my hand to none of those who
wish to lead me, for all are perishable, and only Thou


All that you tell me emanates from hatred [O mullah]!
You never cease to treat me as an atheist, a man
without religion. I am convinced of that which I am,
and I avow it; and should I be right, is it for you to
lecture me thus?


Resign yourself to grief if you would find a remedy,
and do not complain of your suffering if you would cure
it. In poverty, be thankful to Providence, if you wish
some day to have riches for your portion.


I have seen a wise man in the house of a drunken man
at evening. I asked him if he could give me some news
of the absent. He answered me: Drink wine, friend, for
many like you have gone out but have never returned.


I seek a flask of ruby wine, a book of verse, a momentary
peace in life and bread enough. And if with
these, my friend, in some lone spot with thee I could
repose, 'twould be a happiness above a Sultan's regal joy.


How long these arguments upon the five and the four,
O cupbearer? In comprehending one, O cupbearer! it is
difficult to grasp a hundred thousand. We are all of earth,
O cupbearer! strike the harp: we are all as the wind,
bring the wine, O cupbearer!


How long will you speak of Yassin and Berat, O cupbearer?
Give me a treatise upon the tavern, O cupbearer!
The day that it is closed will be for me the night of
Berat, O cupbearer!


While you have in your body bones, veins, and nerves,
place not your foot outside the limits of your destiny.
Yield never to your enemy, be that enemy Rustum,
son of Zal; accept nothing which puts you under obligation
to a friend, be that friend Hatim-tai.


You may indeed be taken with lips tinted with the
color of the ruby, you may indeed appreciate the cup of
wine, you may indeed call for the noise of the drum, the
sound of the harp and of the flute, but these are only
trifles. God is my witness, while you do not break the
bonds of this dark world, you nothing are.


Bestir yourself, since you are under this tyrannic vault;
drink wine, since you are in this world, a seat of woe.
And, from beginning to the end, being only earth, act
like a man who is upon the earth, and not as if thou
wert beneath the earth.


Since you all secrets know, my friend, why be a prey
to so many vain torments? Suppose things do not fall
in touch with your desires, you can at least be gay while
you still breathe.


Everywhere I cast my eyes I believe I see the sod of
Paradise and the brook of Koocer. They say the field
outside of Hell is transformed into a celestial sojourn.
Rest then in that celestial place near some celestial fair.


Follow no other way than that which the Kalendar
follows; seek no other place than the tavern; occupy
yourself only with wine, song and the friend [the Divinity];
place in your hand a cup of wine, upon your back
a gourd; drink, O dear object of my heart! drink and
speak not of foolish things.


Do you wish life to rest upon a rock? Do you wish
life for some time free to be from grief? Dwell for one
instant without drinking wine, then at each breath you'll
find a new attraction in existence.


In this world, this house of pilferers, it is useless to
count upon a friend. Listen to the counsel I give you,
and confide it to no one. Bear your suffering and seek
no remedy here, be happy in your sorrows and try not to
divide them with another.


There are two things which are the foundation of wisdom
and which ought to be put among the number of the
most important unproclaimed revelations. Not to eat of
anything which eats of other things, and to keep oneself
unsullied by all that lives.


How is it that at the commencement of springtime the
verjuice of the vine is sharp? And afterwards, how
does it become so sweet? And then how do we find
the wine so bitter? If one makes viols of a piece of
wood by means of a curvèd knife, who would say on
seeing it that a flute could be fashioned by the same


Know you why, at the break of day, the early-rising
cock makes its voice heard each moment? It is to tell
you, through the mirror of the morning, that one more
night has slipped away from your existence, and that
you are still in ignorance.


Give me some of this ruby wine, tinted like the tulip.
Pour from the neck of the flask the pure blood it contains,
for, to-day I can see, outside this cup of wine, no
friend whose inner man is pure.


Pour me, O cupbearer! some wine colored like the
flowers of the Judas-tree, pour, O cupbearer! for grief
comes to oppress my soul; pour for me the nectar, for
it is possible that in making me a stranger to myself, it
will free me one instant from the vicissitudes of this


Thy cup, O my cupbearer! contains liquid rubies; give
some to my soul, O cupbearer! Let it reflect that precious
stone; put in my hand, O cupbearer, this incomparable
cup, for through this I will give new life unto my soul.


In philosophy, if you are an Aristotle or a Bouzourdj-mehr;
in power, if you are some Roman emperor or some
potentate of China, drink ever, drink wine from the cup
of Djem, for the end of all is the tomb. Oh! though you
are Bahram himself, the coffin is your last sojourn.


I entered the studio of a potter. I watched him work
at his wheel, actively occupied in moulding the necks
and handles of pitchers, forming some of them like the
heads of kings, others like the feet of beggars.


Go, choose bliss, if you are wise, and finally you may
be able to drink wine from the hand of the drinkers of
eternity, but you are one of the ignorant and joy is not
in you, it is not given to every ignorant one to taste
the sweets that ignorance gives.


O idol, while you are on your journey through this
world, draw from the fountain-head into the pitcher, draw
this salutary wine and, ere the potter makes another
pitcher of my dust and thine, fill out a cup, drink it
and pass me one.


Be attentive, friend, and while thou still art able, lighten
the grief of a loving heart, for this kingdom of grace
that now thou hast will not last always, but, like so many
others thou shalt unexpectedly be called.


Before you are made drunk by the cup of death, before
the revolutions of time are full behind you, endeavor
to make a foundation here below, for you will profit
nothing by going away empty-handed.


It is Thou who disposest of the lot of the living and
of the dead. It is Thou who governest this unruly Wheel
of the Heavens. Although I am bad, I am only Thy
slave, Thou art my master. Who then is guilty here
below? Art Thou not the Creator of all?


O my King! how can such a man as I, finding himself
in the season of roses, in the midst of joyous society,
surrounded by wine, by dancers, remain a passive spectator?
Oh! to find oneself in a garden with a flask of
wine and a lute are things preferable to Paradise with
its houris and its Koocer.


See the clearness of the light, the sparkle of the wine
and of the moon, O cupbearer! See the ravishing
beauty of the rose's face, like a shining ruby, O cupbearer!
Recall nothing of what belongs to the earth
to this heart that burns like fire, throw it not to the
wind, but bring wine, O cupbearer!


O limpid wine, wine full of sheen! Fool that I am, I'd
drink thee in such quantity, that all perceiving me from
far would my identity confound with thine, and say to
me: O master wine! tell me, whence do you come?


Be welcome, Thou, who art the repose of my soul!
Thou art here, and nevertheless I cannot believe my
eyes. Oh! for the love of God, and not for the love
of my heart, drink, drink of wine, drink to the point
when I can doubt that it is Thou.


A Sheikh said to a prostitute: You are in wine.
Each instant you are taken in the toils of law. She
answered him: O Sheikh, I am all that you say; but
are you what you seem to be?


[I have already said] the entire world, like a bowl,
was rolling in a hollow which, when I slept dead drunk,
I noticed no more than if I saw a grain of barley rolling
along. Yesterday, at evening, I put myself in pawn at
the tavern for a cup of wine. The wine merchant never
ceased to say: O excellent security that here I hold.


Sometimes Thou art concealed, showing Thyself to
none; sometimes Thou revealest Thyself in all things
created. It is for Thyself, without doubt, and for Thy
pleasure that Thou hast produced these marvellous effects,
for Thou art at once the maker of the spectacle we see
and Thine own beholder.


Should you come to people the whole earth, that action
would not make a saddened soul rejoice. It would be
more to thy advantage to enslave a free man, through
thy gentleness, than to give freedom to a thousand slaves.


They tell you not to drink, that otherwise you shall
become a prey to torment, and that in the day of
reckoning you will burn as fire. That may be, but the
day in which wine makes you joyous is more precious
than the goods of this world and those of the next.


If your own satisfaction consists in casting grief into a
heart free from all care, you could, friend, make mourning
with your wisdom during your whole life. Go, be
unhappy, then, for you are a person strangely ignorant.


Each time you can procure two mens of wine, drink
them, in every circumstance, in all society wherever you
may be; for he who does is freed from scornful looks
or gestures of disdain.


With a loaf of wheaten bread, two mens of wine and
meat in plenty, and seated in some desert spot with
some young beauty decked with cheeks tinted with the
tulip's blush, man hath a joy not given to any Sultan to


If in a city you acquire renown, you are thought to
be the most wicked of men; if you retire into a corner,
they regard you as a conspirator. What then is best,
were you Elias or Saint Jude, is to live in the way of
knowing none, and being known by none.


If I were free and were allowed to use my will, if I
were free from the torments of destiny and unembarrassed
by any sentiment of the good and bad in this
world where disorder resides, oh! I would prefer not
to have lived here, not to have existed, than to be
forced to go away!


Drink wine, my friend, for see it makes the perspiration
flow upon the cheeks of the beauties of Rhei, the
most beautiful creatures in the world! Oh! how long
shall I repeat it to you? Yes, I have broken the
bonds of all my vows. Is it not better to break the
bonds of a thousand vows than to break a pitcher of


We have some wine, O cupbearer! Let us rejoice in
the presence of the well-beloved [the Divinity] and in
the noise of the morning. Expect not on our part the
renunciation of Nessouh, O cupbearer! How long shall
I speak to you of the story of Noe, O cupbearer?
Bring, bring me happily the repose of my soul [the
wine], O cupbearer!


I see neither the means of joining myself to Thee,
nor the possibility of living for the space of a breath
separated from Thee. I have not the courage to drive
out the torments I endure. Oh! how difficult my plight,
how strange my grief, how exquisite my pain!


Now is the time to drink the morning wine; the noise
makes itself heard, O cupbearer! Now we are ready, O
cupbearer! here is the wine, behold the tavern. Could a
moment like this be for prayer? Silence, O cupbearer!
Leave thy discourse upon tradition and upon devotion;
drink, O cupbearer!


Here is the noise of the morning, O idol, whose coming
brings happiness! Chant the refrain and bring the wine;
for [you know it], the constant sequence of these months
of Tir and Di have overturned upon the earth a thousand
potentates like Djem, a hundred thousand like to Kai.


Guard thyself from being coarse in the eyes of all
drinkers, guard thyself from acquiring a bad reputation
before the sages, and drink wine; for, whether you drink
or not, if you belong to the fire of Hell, you would not
know how to enter Paradise.


I wish that God would reconstruct the world, I wish
that He would actually reconstruct it and that I might see
Him at the work. I wish that He would blot my name
from the register of life, or that out of His mysterious
treasure, He would swell the joys of my existence.


O God! open to me the door of Thy benefits. Make
me come to my fortune finally, that I may not be beholden
to Thy creatures. Oh! render me drunk with
wine, to the point where, freed from all knowledge,
the torments of my head may disappear.


O thou who hast been burned and burned again, and
now deservest life anew! thou who art worthy only of adding
fuel to the fire of Hell! how long wilt thou pray the
Divinity to pardon Omar? What relation exists between
thee and God? What audacity drives thee to ask Him to
exercise His pity?


As for me, without limpid wine I cannot live; my body
is a burden which I cannot carry without drinking of the
juice of the vine. Oh! might I be the slave of that
delicious moment when the cupbearer said to me: Another
cup! and that I had no longer strength to take it!


There remains to me still a breath of life, thanks to
the care of the cupbearer. But discord reigns still among
men. I know that there only remains to me about a men
of wine from last evening, but I am ignorant of the
space of time that is still left me to live.


Take a man who possesses bread sufficient to live upon
for two days, who can draw a drop of fresh water into
a cracked pitcher, why should such a man be commanded
by another who is of no more worth, or why should he
serve one who should be his equal?


Since the day when Venus and the moon appeared in
the sky, no one has seen anything here below preferable
to ruby wine. I am truly astonished at the wine-merchants,
for how can they buy anything superior to
that which they sell?


For those endowed with knowledge and virtue, who
through their wisdom have become as torches to their
disciples, even those have not progressed beyond this
night profound. They have left some fables and returned
to death's long sleep.


[1] About 1272 a.d.

[2] This title is hard to determine without any acquaintance with the contents of the pamphlet.

[3] C.H.A. Bjerregaard in «The Sufi Omar». J.F. Taylor & Co., N.Y., 1902.

[4] Some of Omar's Rubaiyat warn us of the danger of greatness, the instability of fortune, and while advocating charity to all men, recommending us to be too intimate with none. Attar makes Nizam ul Mulk use the very words of his friend Omar [Rub. xxviii.], «When Nizam ul Mulk was in the Agony (of Death) he said, ‹Oh God! I am passing away in the hand of the Wind.›»

[5] Though all these, like our Smiths, Archers, Millers, Fletchers, etc., may simply regain the surname of an hereditary calling.

[6] «Philosophe Musulman qui a vêcu en Odeur de Sainteté dans sa Religion, vers la Fin du premier et le Commencement du second Siècle,» no part of which, except the «Philosophe» can apply to our Khayyam.

[7] The Rashness of the Words, according to D'Herbelot, consisted in being so opposed to those in the Koran: «No Man knows where he shall die.»—This story of Omar reminds me of another so naturally—and when one remembers how wide of his humble mark the noble sailor aimed—so pathetically told by Captain Cook—not by Doctor Hawkesworth—in his Second Voyage (i. 374). When leaving Ulietea, «Oreo's last request was for me to return. When he saw he could not obtain that promise, he asked the name of my Marai (burying-place). As strange a question as this was, I hesitated not a moment to tell him ‹Stepney›; the parish in which I live when in London. I was made to repeat it several times over till they could pronounce it; and then ‹Stepney Marai no Toote› was echoed through an hundred mouths at once. I afterwards found the same question had been put to Mr. Forster by a man on shore; but he gave a different, and indeed more proper answer, by saying, ‹No man who used the sea could say where he should be buried.›»

[8] «Since this paper was written» (adds the Reviewer in a note), «we have met with a Copy of a very rare Edition, printed at Calcutta in 1836. This contains 438 Tetrastichs, with an Appendix containing 54 others not found in some MSS.»

[9] Professor Cowell.

[10] This was written in 1868.

[11] Perhaps he would have edited the Poems himself some years ago. He may now as little approve of my version on one side, as of M. Nicolas' theory on the other.

[12] A note to Quatrain 234 admits that, however clear the mystical meaning of such Images must be to Europeans, they are not quoted without «rougissant» even by laymen in Persia—«Quant aux termes de tendresse qui commencent ce quatrain, comme tant d'autres dans ce recueil, nos lecteurs, habitués maintenant à l'étrangeté des expressions si souvent employées par Khèyam pour rendre ses pensées sur l'amour divin, et à la singularité de ses images trop orientales, d'une sensualité quelquefois révoltante, n'auront pas de peine à se persuader qu'il s'agit de la Divinité, bien que cette conviction soit vivement discutée par les moullahs musulmans et même par beaucoup de laïques, qui rougissent véritablement d'une pareille licence de leur compatriote à l'égard des choses spirituelles.»

[13] Two Years' Travel in Persia, etc., i. 165.

[14] The precise degree to which FitzGerald himself deemed it expedient to adhere to his original may be gathered by referring to quatrains of his which he has himself declared to be renderings of particular and isolated ruba'iyat.

[15] These references are to other MSS. and printed texts and translations in which the cited quatrain is represented. I say advisedly «represented,» as the different texts differ a good deal. Often when a quatrain is repeated in the same text, variations may be found in it. The general scope of these variations may be appreciated by a glance at the notes to my translation of the Ouseley MS. (O.). I do not propose to deal with them here, excepting where there are important differences between the Calcutta MS. (C.) and the Ouseley, both of which were before Edward FitzGerald and between which he had to choose.

[16] i.e., the Saki, or Cupbearer, or Drawer (generally a comely youth), to whom a large proportion of Omar's ruba'iyat are addressed.

[17] Many parallels between these translations of Hafiz and FitzGerald's ruba'iyat may be found in the Terminal Essay to my former work.

[18] The sunnat, or Traditions of Muhammad, supplementing the Qur'an, and held in almost equal reverence.

[19] Zendha deli-ra means the heart alive, or initiated in the spiritual sense, as opposed to the mere pleasure-seekers of the world.

[20] See FitzGerald's notes to this quatrain.

[21] C. reads «verdure.»

[22] C. reads «In the eyes of the clouds the veils are parted.»

[23] See the Terminal Essay above referred to.

[24] The sweet voice of David recurs continually in Persian poetry. We find it in C. 89 et passim.

[25] Pehlevi was the language of the ancient Persians of pre-Muhammadan times. FitzGerald's description of it as «old heroic Sanskrit» is erroneous.

[26] Yellow is the colour indicative in Persian literature of sickness or misery, corresponding to our word «sallow.»

[27] i.e., «Permit us to regret our repentance.»

[28] Numbers of quatrains distinguished by the asterisk indicate that the quatrains were not in FitzGerald's first edition, but made their appearance in the second or subsequent editions. FitzGerald may therefore have been «reminded of» them by (and in some instances took them direct from) the text and translation of Nicolas, referred to as N

[29] C. reads «Since life passes, what is sweet and what is bitter?»

[30] Dai is the month that ushers in the winter quarter of the Muhammadan year.

[31] i.e., Jamshyd the «Roi soleil» of early Persian history, and the Kaianian dynasty—Kai Kobad, Kai Kawus, Kai Khosru, etc.

[32] It will be observed that the introduction of Zal in this line was made by FitzGerald in the third edition for metrical effect. The versions in the first edition «Let Rustum lay about him as he will,» and in the second «Let Rustum cry ‹to battle› as he likes» are closer to the phrase in the original «Rustum son of Zal.»

[33] Feridun was the sixth king of the Paish-dadian dynasty. Jamish is evidently an error for Jam-ist. Vide the MS.

[34] See FitzGerald's note to this quatrain.

[35] Literally «a stopper of the last breath.»

[36] Kausar, in Persian mythology, is the head-stream of the Muhammadan Paradise, whence all other rivers are supposed to flow. A whole chapter of the Qur'an is devoted to this miraculous stream, whose Saki is Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad.

[37] This Persian here is a quotation from a famous verse in the Qur'an, XXV. 11, «Blessed is He who, if He pleaseth, will make for thee a better provision than this, namely, gardens under which rivers flow, and he will provide thee palaces.»—E.B.C.

[38] C. reads for «food» and «wine,» «goblet» and «lute,» whence we get «thou beside me singing in the wilderness.»

[39] These two lines refer to the practice in the East of burying treasure to hide it when a night attack (line 1) of dacoits or robbers is anticipated.

[40] See FitzGerald's note upon this hero, and the following quatrain.

[41] Moles or «beauty spots» are very highly esteemed in the East.

[42] i.e., If life were eternal, you could not take the place of others who have died before you. L. 2, lit.: «let the world pass, etc.»

[43] i.e., the Mystic Road or Way of Salvation.

[44] Burak was the winged mule of Muhammad on which he is said to have journeyed from Jerusalem to heaven.

[45] This is a very difficult quatrain to translate. The mystic soaring of the soul in search of enlightenment is compared to the flight of a falcon. In l. 3, lit.: «any partner of the secret.»

[46] C. reads these two lines:—

These two or three days of the period of my existence pass by
They pass as passes the wind in the desert.

[47] Compare FitzGerald's «First Morning of Creation» in q. 73.

[48] i.e., the Curtain that Veils the Mysteries of God, a constantly recurring image in Persian literature.

[49] C. reads «of this juggling about of the soul.» E.B.C. suggests «of this chess-opening.»

[50] C. reads «And was enslaved by the curly head of a sweetheart.»

[51] i.e., «Let us cease striving to earn salvation.»

[52] C. reads «with love.»

[53] FitzGerald records in his note to this quatrain that had it not been for the advice of Prof. Cowell, this and the two following quatrains would have been withdrawn after the Second Edition. It is impossible to conceive why, for they are singularly fine and exceptionally «authorized.»

[54] FitzGerald's rendering in the 1st edition (Introduction), «in this clay suburb» is a more literal rendering.

[55] i.e., The ferrash of fate, preparing for the next halting-place, destroys this tent (body) when the Sultan (soul) arises.

[56] I do not know the origin of N.'s text, but I have never seen this quatrain in any other MS. The same remark applies to N. 123, cited under No. 47.

[57] C. reads «From my creation the Age derived no advantage.»

[58] Harifan; literally, «companions,» « fellow-workers.»

[59] i.e., The One God. Compare Hafiz (Ode 416), «He who knows the One, knows all.»

[60] Prof. Cowell's translation. V. appends a note, «Apparently the Essence of Life, the Ding an Sich of Kant, and the Wille of Schopenhauer, the Platonic Idea, the abiding type of the perishable individuality; possibly, however, the Vedantic ‹self› is meant.» For the word mah = moon at the commencement of the quatrain, some of the texts read badeh = wine.

[61] Literally, «discernment.»

[62] The obscurity of the meaning here baffles satisfactory translation. Prof. Cowell says: I would rather take it as a sarcasm, «Those fools with their unripe grapes become (in their own eyes) pure wine.»

[63] Azal in Persian dogma is eternity without beginning, i.e., «from all time,» as opposed to abad, eternity without end, i.e., «to all eternity.»

[64] In the East a man may divorce his wife twice and take her back again, but the third time it is irrevocable—unless (curiously enough) she has been married to someone else in the meantime.

[65] i.e., Wine, a recurrent Persian metaphor. Comp.: Arabic «bint-ul-kerm

[66] Zahir = exoteric, as opposed to batin = esoteric, in line 2.

[67] C. reads «I am weary.»

[68] The opening lines of FitzGerald's quatrain refer to Omar's reformation of the calendar, and institution of the Jalali era, which Gibbon describes as «a computation of time which surpassed the Julian, and approached the accuracy of the Gregorian style.» («Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,» Gibbing's edition, 1890, vol. iv., p. 180.)

[69] C. reads «So long as I live, I will not grieve for two days.»

[70] i.e., Wine.

[71] The Lauh u Kalam are the Tablet and Pen whereon and wherewith the Divine decrees of what should be from all time were written. Compare Koran, ch. lxviii, 1. «By the Pen and what they write, O Muhammad! thou art not distracted.»

[72] The river Oxus.

[73] The editor of the «Calcutta Review» appends the following note at the foot of Prof. Cowell's article (E.C.), «These lanthorns are very common in Calcutta. They are made of a tall cylinder with figures of men and animals cut out of paper and pasted on it. The cylinder, which is very light, is suspended on an axis, round which it easily turns. A hole is cut near the bottom, and the part cut out is fixed at an angle to the cylinder so as to form a vane. When a small lamp or candle is placed inside, a current of air is produced which keeps the cylinder slowly revolving.»

[74] This refers to the game of Polo. In the First and Second Editions for «Here or There» we read «Right or Left» as in the original.

[75] C. reads «Upon the Tablet.»

[76] Literally, «For the Pen once gone comes not back.»

[77] See FitzGerald's note on this quatrain.

[78] i.e., Of reality as opposed to the dream existence of the present. (E.B.C.)

[79] The Mihrab is the spot in a Mosque indicating the precise direction of Mecca towards which all Muhammadans turn in prayer.

[80] This metaphor recurs frequently in the ruba'iyat. Compare W. 261 (N. 221) and W. 275 (L. 428).

[81] i.e., «it was quite problematical how I might turn out.»

[82] Here begins the section devoted especially to the talking pots in the workshop of the potter—it ends at quatrain No. 90. In the first edition this section was entitled Kuza-nama = the «Pot-book» or «Book of Pots.» It may be observed that the quatrains in this section are not so closely rendered from recognisable originals as the other quatrains composing FitzGerald's poem. This may be accounted for by the fact that the comparison between the human form—the Personal Ego—and a pot made of earth by the Supreme Potter (if one may be allowed the phrase) is constantly recurrent in all ruba'iyat attributed to Omar Khayyam. The section is therefore to a great extent a poetical reflection upon this phase of the philosophy of the ruba'iyat. The use FitzGerald has made of O. 103 cannot fail to amaze the student. Vide his own Note to quatrain 89.

[83] Ramazan (or Ramadan) is the ninth month of the Muhammadan year, which is observed as a month of fasting and penance, during which rigid Moslems may neither eat, drink, wash, nor caress their wives, excepting so far as is necessary to support life. Sha'ban is the month immediately preceding it. Shawwal is the month that follows it, which begins with the great feast of Bairam, the festival referred to in line 4.

[84] A very obscure distich to translate. The sense is here, however.

[85] Compare Romans ch. ix. v. 21. «Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour.»

[86] i.e., Helping one another to raise their loads. Prof. Denison Ross suggests that this refers to the cry of the porters and muleteers in the narrow streets of Persian cities. «Pusht! Pusht!» i.e., «Mind your backs!»

[87] Kah-ruba means literally «attracting straws»; hence «amber,» the ἢλεκτρον of the Greeks. Here it is used in the descriptive sense to mean «yellow.»

[88] Wuzu, the ceremonial Ablution enjoined upon Muhammadans to put them into a state of grace before prayer.

[89] Wakt-i-gul = the season of roses, a common synonym for Spring.

[90] Literally «has become Dai,» the first winter-month; translated «December,» sub quatrain No. 9.

[91] Lit.: «Or from the invisible world increase my daily provision.»

[92] C. reads «this heart full of melancholy (or passion).»

[93] It will be observed that this quatrain in the first edition came a good deal closer to the original than this.

[94] Maghanah means anything connected with the Maghs or Magians (i.e., the Guebres or Fire-worshippers), and came to be a synonym for age, superiority, excellence, in which sense it is used here. S. Rousseau has a very interesting note upon the history of this word at p. 176 of his «Flowers of Persian Literature» (London, 1801).

[95] Meaning FitzGerald's Introduction. See Page 1.

[96] Prof. Cowell says: «I am not sure, but I fancy this hard verse really is: ‹O thou who art burned (in sorrow) for one burnt (in hell)—thyself being doomed to be burnt.› If this is correct (which is most probable) the accuracy of FitzGerald's translation is remarkable.»

[97] The phrase gauhar suftan = «to thread pearls» is used in Persian to mean «to write verses» or «to tell a story.» Omar uses it here referring to the generally antinomian tendency of his ruba'iyat.

[98] In this line Omar claims consideration on the ground that he has never questioned the Unity of God. Tawhid kerdan = to acknowledge One God. Muhammadanism is essentially Unitarian. FitzGerald appears to have missed the meaning here, reversing the doctrine, unless he means «I never misread One as Two.»

[99] L. 1. lit. «rubbed its side with heaven.» This is the quatrain that R.B.M. Binning found written upon a stone in the ruins of Persepolis (A Journal of Two Years' Travel in Persia, Ceylon, etc., London, 1857, Vol. ii. p. 20). FitzGerald quotes it in a letter to Prof. Cowell, under date 13th January, 1859. (Letters and Literary Remains of Edward FitzGerald, London, 1889. Macmillan, 3 vols., and 1894, 2 vols.) The word ku in Persian signifies «Where?»

[100] The fifth edition is identical with the fourth.

[101] See Defrémery, «Recherches sur le règne de Barkiárok,» p. 51.

[102] Avicenna died in 428 a.h.