Heron-Allen - 1898
The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyám. Being a facsimile of the manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, with a transcript into modern Persian characters. Translated, with an introduction and notes, and a bibliography and some sidelights upon Edward FitzGerald's poem by Edward Heron-Allen. Second edition carefully revised and considerably enlarged. London, Nichols, 1898.
Heron-Allen's translation of the Bodleian Ms.
If I have never threaded the pearl 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.
If I talk of the mystery with Thee in a tavern,
it is better than if I make my devotions before the Mihrab
O Thou, the first and last of all created beings!
burn me an Thou wilt, or cherish me an Thou wilt.
So far as in thee lies, reproach not drunkards,
lay thou aside pretence and imposture;
if, henceforth, thou desirest rest from this life of thine,
do not for a moment shun humble folk.
So far as in thee lies, cause no pain to anyone,
nor cause anyone to suffer from thy wrath;
if thou hast a desire for eternal peace,
fret thyself always and harass no one.
Since no one will guarantee thee a to-morrow,
make thou happy now this love-sick heart;
drink wine in the moonlight, O Moon, for the moon
shall seek us long and shall not find us.
The Qur'an, which men call the Supreme Word,
they read at intervals but not continually,
but on the lines upon the goblet a text is engraved
which they read at all times and in all places.
Here are we; and so is the wine, and the drinking bench;
and the ruined furnace;
careless of hopes of mercy, and of fears of punishment;
our souls, and our hearts, and our goblets, and our garments
full of the lees of wine,
independent of earth and air, and fire and water.
In this life it is best that thou shouldst make but few friends;
distant intercourse with one's fellow men is good;
that person upon whom thou leanest entirely,
when thou examinest him closely, he is thine enemy.
This jug was once a plaintive lover as I am,
and was in pursuit of one of comely face;
this handle that thou seest upon its neck
is an arm that once lay around the neck of a friend.
Ah, woe to that heart in which there is no passion,
which is not spell-bound by the love of a heart-cheerer!
the day that thou spendest without love,
there is no day more useless to thee than that day.
To-day being the season of my youth,
I desire wine, for thence comes my happiness;
reproach me not, even though acrid it is pleasant;
it is acrid in that it represents my life.
Thou hast no power to-day over the morrow,
and anxiety about the morrow brings thee only melancholy;
waste not thou this moment if thy heart be not mad,
for the value of the remainder of this life is not manifest.
Now that there is a possibility of happiness for the world,
every living heart has yearnings towards the desert,
upon every bough is the appearance of Moses' hand,
in every breeze is the exhalation of Jesus' breath.
For him for whom the fruit ot the branch of truth has not grown,
the reason is that he is not firm in the Road.
Every one has feebly shaken with his hand the bough of
Know that to-day is like yesterday, and that to-morrow is like
the First Day of Creation.
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."
Arise and give me wine-what time is this for words?
for to-night thy little mouth fills all my needs;
give me wine, rose-coloured as thy cheeks,
for this penitence of mine is as full of tangles as thy curls.
The spring breeze blows sweetly upon the face of the rose,
in the shade of the garden plot a darling's face is sweet;
nothing thou canst say of yesterday that is past, is sweet,
be happy and do not speak of yesterday, for to-day is sweet.
How long shall I throw bricks upon the surface of the sea?
I am disgusted with the idol-worshippers of the pagoda.
Khayyám! who can say that he will be a denizen of hell,
who ever went to hell, and who ever came from heaven?
The elements of a cup which he has put together,
their breaking up a drinker cannot approve,
all these heads and delicate feet—with his finger-tips,
for love of whom did he make them?—for hate of whom did he break
Like water in a great river and like wind in the desert,
another day passes out of the period of my existence;
grief has never lingered in my mind—concerning two days,
the day that has not yet come and the day that is past.
Seeing that my coming was not for me the Day of Creation,
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.
Khayyám, who stitched at the tents of wisdom,
fell into the furnace of sorrow and was suddenly burnt;
the shears of doom cut the tent-rope of his existence,
and the broker of hope sold him for a mere song.
Khayyám, why mourn thus for thy sins?
from grieving thus what advantage, more or less, dost thou gain?
Mercy was never for him who sins not,
mercy is granted for sins—why then grieve?
In cell, and college, and monastery, and synagogue
are those who fear hell and those who seek after heaven;
he who has knowledge of the secrets of God
sows none of such seed in his heart of hearts.
If in the season of spring a being, houri-shaped,
gives me on the green bank of a field a goblet full of wine,
(though to everyone this saying may seem uncouth)
a dog is better than I am if thenceforth I pronounce the name of
Know this—that from thy soul thou shalt be separated,
thou shalt pass behind the curtain of the secrets of God.
Be happy—thou knowest not whence thou hast come:
drink wine—thou knowest not whither thou shalt go.
I fell asleep, and wisdom said to me: —
"Never from sleep has the rose of happiness blossomed for
why do a thing that is the mate of death?
Drink wine, for thou must sleep for ages."
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."
No one can pass behind the curtain that veils the secret,
the mind of no one is cognizant of what is there;
save in the heart of earth we have no haven.
Drink wine, for to such talk there is no end.
The mystery must be kept hidden from all the ignoble,
and the secrets must be withheld from fools.
Consider thine actions towards thy fellow men:
our hopes must be concealed from all mankind.
From the beginning 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.
In the spring, on the bank of the river and on the edge of the field,
with a few companions and a playmate houri-shaped,
bring forth the cup, for those that drink the morning draught
are independent of the mosque and free from the synagogue.
The heavenly vault is the girdle of my weary body,
Jihun 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.
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 let that credit go,
for the noise of drums, brother, is pleasant from afar.
Drink wine, for thou wilt sleep long beneath the clay
without an intimate, a friend, a comrade, or wife;
take care that thou tell'st not this hidden secret to anyone: —
The tulips that are withered will never bloom again.
Drink wine, for this is life eternal,
this is thy gain firom the days of thy youth;
a season of roses, and wine, and drunken companions —
be happy for a moment for this is life!
Give me wine which is a salve for my wounded heart,
it is the boon companion of those who have trafficked in love;
to my mind the dregs of a single draught are better
than the vault of heaven which is the hollow of the world's
I drink wine, and my enemies from left and right
say: — "Do not drink wine, for it is the foe of religion."
When I knew that wine was the foe of religion,
I said: —"By Allah! let me drink the foe's blood, for that is
Wine is a melted ruby and the cup is the mine thereof;
the cup is a body and its wine is the soul thereof;
that crystal cup that is bubbling over with wine
is a tear in which the heart's blood is hidden.
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, upon the green bank of a
all these three are cash to me: thine be the credit-heaven!
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.
Whosoever has engrafted the leaf of love upon his heart,
not one day of his life has been wasted;
either he strives to meet with God's approbation,
or he chooses bodily comfort and raises the wine-cup.
Everywhere that there has been a rose or tulip-bed,
there has been spilled the crimson blood of a king;
every violet shoot that grows from the earth
is a mole that was once upon the cheek of a beauty.
Be prudent, for the means of life are uncertain;
take heed, for the sword of destiny is keen.
If fortune place almond-sweets in thy very mouth,
beware! swallow them not, for poison is mingled therein.
One jar of wine and a lover's lips, on the bank of the sown field —
these have robbed me of cash, and thee of the credit.
Some are pledged to heaven or hell,
but who ever went to hell, and who ever came from heaven?
O thou, whose cheek is moulded upon the model of the wild rose,
whose face is cast in the mould of Chinese idols,
yesterday thy amorous glance gave to the Shah of Babylon
the moves of the Knight, the Castle, the Bishop, the Pawn,
and the Queen.
Since life passes; what is Baghdad and what is Balkh?
When the cup is full, what matter if it be sweet or bitter?
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.
Of those who draw the pure date wine
and those who spend the night in prayer,
not one is on the dry land, all are in the water.
One is awake: the others are asleep.
This intellect that haunts the path of happiness
keeps saying to thee a hundred times a day: —
"Understand in this single moment of thine existence, that thou art
like those herbs which when they gather them spring up again."
Those who are the slaves of intellect and hair-splitting,
have perished in bickerings about existence and non-existence;
go, thou ignorant one, and choose rather grape-juice,
for the ignorant from eating dry raisins have become like unripe
My coming was of no profit to the heavenly sphere,
and by my departure naught will be added to its beauty and dignity;
neither from anyone have my two ears heard
what is the object of this my coming and going.
We must be effaced in the way of love,
we must be destroyed in the talons of destiny ;
O sweet-faced Cup-bearer, sit thou not idle,
give to me water, for dust I must become.
Now that nothing but the mere name of our happiness remains,
the only old friend that remains is new wine;
withhold not the merry hand from the wine-cup
to-day that nothing but the cup remains within our reach.
What the Pen has written never changes,
and grieving only results in deep affliction;
even though, all thy life, thou sufferest anguish,
not one drop becomes increased beyond what it is.
O heart, for a while seek not the company of the frail ones;
cease for a while to be engrossed with the commerce of love.
Frequent the thresholds of the darvlshes -
perhaps thou mayest be accepted for awhile by the accepted people.
Those who adorn the Heavens for a fragment of time,
come, and go, and come again as time goes on;
in the skirt of Heaven, and in the pocket of earth,
are creatures who, while God dies not, will yet be born.
Those whose beliefs are founded upon hypocrisy,
come and draw a distinction between the body and the soul;
I will put the wine jar on my head, if, when I have done so,
they place a comb upon my head, as if I were a cock.
The bodies which people this heavenly vault,
puzzled the learned.
Beware lest thou losest the end of the string of wisdom,
for even the controllers themselves become giddy.
I am not the man to dread my non-existence,
for that half seems pleasanter to me than this half;
this is a life which God has lent me,
I will surrender it when the time of surrender comes.
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?
give us a cup of wine, for the night wanes.
Being old, my love for thee led my head into a snare;
if not, how comes it that my hand holds the cup of date-wine?
My sweetheart has destroyed the penitence born of reason,
and the passing seasons have torn the garment that patience
Although wine has rent my veil,
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?
So much generosity and kindness at the beginning, why was it?
and that maintenance of me with delights and blandishments, why was
Now Thine only endeavour is to afflict my heart;
after all, what wrong have I done—once more, why was it?
In my mind may there be desire for idols houri-like,
in my hand may there be, all the year round, the juice of the grape;
they say to me, "May God give thee repentance!"
He himself will not give it; I will none of it; let it be far off!
In the tavern thou canst not perform the Ablution save with wine,
and thou canst not purify a tarnished reputation;
be happy, for this veil of temperance of ours
is so torn that it cannot be repaired.
I saw upon the terrace of a house a man, alone,
who trampled upon the clay, holding it in contempt;
that clay said to him in mystic language: —
"Be still, for like me thou wilt be much trampled upon."
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 to the yellow rose
cries ever:—"Thou must drink wine!"
Ere that fate makes assault 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.
Take heed to stay me with the wine-cup,
and make this amber 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.
O Shah! destiny appointed thee to sovereignty,
and saddled for thee the horse of empire;
when thy golden-hoofed charger moved,
setting foot upon the clay, the earth became gilded.
A love that is imaginary has no value;
like a fire half-dead, it gives no heat.
A true lover, throughout the month, and year, and night, and day,
takes neither rest, nor peace, nor food, nor sleep.
No one has solved the tangled secrets of eternity,
no one has set foot beyond the orbit,
since, so far as I can see, from tyro to teacher,
impotent are the hands of all men born of woman.
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 how many of these days remain?
The heavens rain down blossoms from the clouds,
thou mayest say that they shed blossoms into the garden;
in a lily-like cup I pour rosy wine,
as the violet clouds pour down jessamine.
I drink wine, and every one 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 was ignorance.
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
ere that the earth enfold thee in its bosom.
Drink wine, that will banish thy abundant woes,
and will banish thought of the Seventy-two Sects;
avoid not the alchemist, for, from him,
thou takest one draught, and he banishes a thousand calamities.
Even though wine is forbidden, for all that it depends upon who
and then in what quantity, and also with whom he drinks it;
these three conditions being as they should be; say!
who drinks wine if a wise man does not do so?
Drink wine, for thy body becomes atoms in the earth,
thine earth, after that, becomes goblets and jars;
be thou heedless of hell and heaven,
why should a wise man be deceived about such things?
Now is the time when by the spring-breezes the world is adorned,
and in hope of rain it opens its eyes,
the hands of Moses appear like froth upon the bough,
the breath of Jesus comes forth from the earth.
Every draught that the Cup-bearer scatters upon the earth
quenches the fire of anguish in some afflicted eye.
Praise be to God! thou realizest that wine
is a juice that frees thy heart from a hundred pains.
Every morning the dew bedecks the faces of the tulips,
the crests of the violets in the garden are bent downward;
verily, most pleasing to me is the rosebud
which gathers its skirts close around itself.
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.
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 wine,
remember a certain helpless one in your benediction.
One cup of wine is worth a hundred hearts and religions,
one draught of wine is worth the empire of China,
saving ruby wine there is not, on the face of earth,
any acrid thing that is worth a thousand sweet souls.
If thou desirest Him, be separated from wife and children,
bravely move thine abode from thy relations and friends;
whatever is, is an hindrance on the road for thee,
how canst thou journey with these hindrances? — remove them!
Bring me that ruby in a clear glass,
bring me that companion and intimate of all excellent people:
since thou knowest that the duration of this earthly world
is a wind that quickly passes by,—bring me wine.
Arise ! bring physic to this oppressed heart,
bring that musk-scented and rose-coloured wine;
if thou desirest the elements of sorrow's antidote,
bring ruby wine and the silk stringed lute.
I saw a potter in the bazaar yesterday,
he was violently pounding the fresh clay,
and that clay said to him, in mystic language,
"I was once like thee—so treat me well."
Drink of that wine that is eternal life,
it is the stock-in-trade of youthful pleasure, drink!
it burns like fire, but sorrows
it makes like the water of life—drink!
Follow not the Traditions, and leave alone the Commands,
withhold not from anyone the morsel that thou possessest:
neither slander, nor afflict the heart of anyone,
I guarantee you the world beyond—bring wine!
Wine is rose-red, and the cup is filled with the water of roses,
in the crystal casket is a pure ruby, — maybe,
a melted ruby is in the water, — maybe,
moonlight is the veil of the sun, — maybe.
Every vow we make, we break again,
we shut once more upon ourselves the door of fame and fair repute;
blame me not if I act as a fool,
for once more am I drunken with the wine of love.
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 chessboard of
and one by one we return to the box of non-existence.
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.
On the face of the rose there is still a cloud-shadow,
in my nature and heart there is still a desire for wine;
sleep not, what right hast thou to sleep yet?
give me wine, sweetheart, for it is still daylight.
Go! throw dust upon the face of the heavens,
drink wine, and consort with the fair of face;
what time is this for worship ? and what time is this for
since, of all those that have departed, not one has returned?
Fill the cup! for the day breaks white like snow,
learn colour from the wine that is ruby;
take two fragrant aloe logs, and brighten the assembly,
make one into a lute, and burn the other.
We have returned to our wonted debauch,
we have renounced—the Five Prayers!
wherever the goblet is, there thou mayst see us,
our necks stretched out like that of the bottle.
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."
I will give thee counsel if thou wilt give ear to me,
for the sake of God do not wear the garment of hypocrisy,
the hereafter will fill all hours, and the world is but a moment,
do not sell the kingdom of eternity for the sake of one moment.
Khayyam, if thou art drunk with wine, 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 !
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
Of this spirit, that they call pure wine,
they say :—" It is a remedy for a ruined heart";
set quickly before me two or three heavily filled cups,
why do they call a good water "wicked water"?
Regard my virtues one by one, and forgive my crimes ten by ten,
pardon every crime that is past, the reckoning is with God!
let not the wind and air fan the flame of thy rancour,
by Muhammad's tomb! forgive me.
Verily wine in the goblet is a delicate spirit,
in the body of the jar, a delicate soul reposes,
nothing heavy is worthy to be the friend of wine
save the wine-cup, for that is, at the same time, heavy and
Where is the limit to eternity to come, and where to eternity past?
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.
This vault of heaven, beneath which we stand bewildered,
we know to be a sort of magic-lantern:
know thou that the sun is the lamp-flame and the universe is the
we are like figures that revolve in it.
I do not always prevail over my nature, — but what can I do ?
and I suffer for my actions, — but what can I do ?
I verily believe that Thou wilt generously pardon me
on account of my shame that Thou hast seen what I have done, — but
what can I do?
Let me arise and seek pure wine,
make thou the colour of my cheek like that of the jujube fruit,
as for this meddling intellect, a fist-full of wine
will I throw in its face, to make it sleep.
How long shall we continue slaves to every-day problems?
what matter whether we live one year, or one day, in this world?
pour out a cup of wine, before that we
become pots in the workshop of the potters.
Since our abode in this monastery is not permanent
without the Cup-bearer and the beloved, it is painful to support
how long of ancient creeds or new, O philosopher?
when I have left it what matter if the world be old or new?
In loving Thee I incur reproaches for a hundred sins,
and if I fail in this obligation I pay a penalty:
if my life remain faithful to Thy cruelty,
please God, I shall have less than that to bear till the Judgment
The world being fleeting, I practise naught but artifice,
I hold only with cheerfulness and sparkling wine;
they say to me: — " May God grant thee penitence."
He himself does not give it, and if He gives it, I will none of it.
Although I have come with an air of supplication to the mosque,
by Allah ! I have not come to pray;
I came one day and stole a prayer-mat -
that sin wears out, and I come again and again.
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.
My heart does not distinguish between the bait and the trap,
one counsel urges it towards the mosque, another towards the cup;
nevertheless the wine-cup, and the loved one, and I continually
are better, cooked, in a tavern, than raw, in a monastery.
It is morning: let us for a moment inhale rose-coloured wine,
and shatter against a stone this vessel of reputation and honour;
let us cease to strive after what has long been our hope,
and play with long ringlets and the handle of the lute.
We have preferred a corner and two loaves to the world,
and we have put away greed of its estate and magnificence;
we have bought poverty with our heart and soul —
in poverty we have discerned great riches.
I know the outwardness of existence and of non-existence,
I know the inwardness of all that is high and low;
nevertheless let me be modest about my own knowledge
if I recognise any degree higher than drunkenness.
For a while, when young, we frequented a teacher,
for a while we were contented with our proficiency;
behold the foundation of the discourse:—what happened to us?
we came in like water and we depart like wind.
To him who understands the mysteries of the world,
the joy and sorrow of the world is all the same;
since the good and the bad of the world will come to an end;
what matter, since it must end? an thou wilt, be all pain, or,
an thou wilt, all remedy.
So far as in thee lies, follow the example of the profligate,
destroy the foundations of prayer and fasting:
hear thou the Word of Truth from Omar Khayyám,
"Drink wine, rob on the highway, and be benevolent."
Since the harvest for the human race, in this wilderness,
is naught but to suffer affliction or to give up the ghost,
light-hearted is he who passes quickly from this world,
and he who never came into the world is at rest.
Darvísh! rend from thy body the figured veil,
rather than sacrifice thy body for the sake of that veil;
go and throw upon thy shoulders the old rug of poverty —
beneath that rug thou art equal to a sultan.
Behold the evil conduct of this vault of heaven,
behold the world — empty by the passing away of friends;
as far as thou art able live for thyself for one moment,
look not for to-morrow, seek not yesterday, behold the present!
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.
One cannot consume one's happy heart with sorrow,
nor consume the pleasure of one's life upon the touchstone;
no one is to be found who knows what is to be;
wine, and a loved one, and to repose according to one's desire, —
these things are necessary.
This heavenly vault, for the sake of my destruction and thine,
wages war upon my pure soul and thine;
sit upon the green sward, O my Idol ! for it will not be long
ere that green sward shall grow from my dust and thine.
What profits it, our coming and going?
and where is the woof for the warp of the stuff of our life?
How many delicate bodies the world
burns away to dust! and where is the smoke of them?
Flee from the study of all sciences—'tis better thus,
and twine thy fingers in the curly locks of a loved one—'tis
ere that fate shall spill thy blood;
pour thou the blood of the bottle into the cup—'tis better thus.
Ah! I have brushed the tavern doorway with my moustaches,
I have bidden farewell to the good and evil of both worlds;
though both the worlds should fall like balls in my street,
seek me,—ye will find me sleeping like a drunkard.
From everything save wine abstinence is best,
and that wine is best when served by drunken beauties in a pavilion,
drinking, and Kalendarism, and erring, are best,
one draught of wine from Mah to Mahi is best.
This heavenly vault is like a bowl, fallen upside down,
under which all the wise have fallen captive,
choose thou the manner of friendship of the goblet and the jar,
they are lip to lip, and blood has fallen between them.
See, the skirt of the rose has been torn by the breeze,
the nightingale rejoices in the beauty of the rose;
sit in the shade of the rose, for, by the wind, many roses
have been scattered to earth and have become dust.
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 this breath that I am drawing in.
Submit not to the sorrow of this iniquitous world,
remind us not of sorrow for those who have passed away,
give thine heart only to one jasmine-bosomed and fairy-born,
be not without wine, and cast not thy life to the winds.
Though thy life pass sixty years, do not give up;
wherever thou directest thy steps, walk not save when drunk;
before they make the hollow of thy skull into a jar,
lower not the jar from thy shoulder, neither relinquish the cup.
One draught of old wine is better than a new kingdom,
avoid any way save that of wine—'tis better so;
the cup is a hundred times better than the kingdom of Feridun,
the tile that covers the jar is better than the crown of Kal-
Those, O Saki, who have gone before us,
have fallen asleep, O Saki, in the dust of self-esteem;
go thou and drink wine, and hear the truth from me,
whatever they have said, O Saki, is but wind.
Thou hast broken my jug of wine, O Lord;
Thou hast shut upon me the door of happiness, O Lord;
thou hast spilled my pure wine upon the earth;
may I perish! but thou art strange, O Lord!
O heaven! thou givest something to every base creature,
thou suppliest baths, and millstreams, and canals;
the pure man plays hazard for his night's provisions:
wouldst thou give a fig for such a heaven?
O heart! at the mysterious secret thou arrivest not,
at the conceits of the ingenious philosophers thou arrivest not;
make thyself a heaven here with wine and cup,
for at that place where heaven is, thou mayst arrive, or mayst not.
Thou eatest always smoke from the kitchen of the world;
how long wilt thou suffer miseries concerning what is or is not?
thou desirest not a stock in trade, for its source weakens,
and who will consume the capital, seeing that thou consumest
all the profit?
O 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.
I smote the glass wine-cup upon a stone last night,
my head was turned that I did so base a thing;
the cup said to me in mystic language,
"I was like thee, and thou also wilt be like me."
Grasp the wine-cup and the flagon, O heart's desire!
pleasantly, pleasantly, and cheerfully, wander in the garden
by the river brink;
many are the excellent folk whom malicious heaven
has made a hundred times into cups, and a hundred times into flagons.
In a thousand places on the road I walk. Thou placest snares,
Thou sayest, "I will catch thee if thou placest step in them";
in no smallest thing is the world independent of Thee,
Thou orderest all things, and callest me rebellious.
I desire a little ruby wine and a book of verses,
just enough to keep me alive and half a loaf is needful;
and then, that I and thou, should sit in a desolate place
is better than the kingdom of a sultan.
Do not give way so much to vain grief,—live happily,
and, in the way of injustice, set thou an example of justice,
since the final end of this world is nothingness;
suppose thyself to be nothing, and be free.
Gaze as I may on all sides,
in the garden flows a stream from the river Kausar,
the desert becomes like heaven, thou mayst say hell has disappeared,
sit thou then in heaven with one heavenly-faced.
Be happy! they settled thy reward 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, —
Pour out the red wine of pure tulip colour,
draw the pure blood from the throat of the jar,
for to-day, beside the wine-cup, there is not, for me,
one friend who possesses a pure heart.
To the ear of my heart Heaven whispered secretly: —
"The commands that are decreed thou mayst learn from me:
had I a hand in my own revolutions,
I would have saved myself from giddiness."
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 would be a joy to which no sultan can set bounds.
If henceforth two measures of wine come to thy hand,
drink thou wine in every assembly and congregation,
for He who made the world does not occupy Himself
about moustaches like thine, or a beard like mine.
Had I charge of the matter I would not have come,
and likewise could I control my going, where should I go?
were it not better than that, that in this world
I had neither come, nor gone, nor lived?
The month of Ramazan passes and Shawwal comes,
the season of increase, and joy, and story-tellers comes;
now comes that time when "Bottles upon the shoulder!"
they say, — for the porters come and are back to back.