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The quatrains of Omar Kheyyam of Nishapour. Now first completely done into English verse from the Persian, in accordance with the original forms, with a biographical and critical introduction by John Payne. London, [s.n.], 1898.

Quatrains from Payne's translation that correspond with the Bodleian Ms.


4 [5]
Since none for the morrow thy warrant will be,
Give thy sorrowful soul for the present to glee;
Drink wine in the moonlight, O Moon, for the moon
Will shine yet full often nor find thee and me.

 

20 [6]
The Koran, though The Word Sublime folk style it.
But here and there they read and once-a-while it:
Upon the cup-marge there 's a bright verse written,
All-where-and-when folk read, though some revile it.

 

28 [7]
e in this ruined corner, with wine and wanton met,
Hope, heart and soul and substance in pawn for wine we've set;
No hopes of mercy lure us nor fears of judgment fret;
Of earth, air, fire and water we're quit and all their let.

 

57 [39]
Rubies in flow, O wine, thou art; the flask the mine is;
The bowl thy body is; ay, and the soul its wine is:
That cup, which all a-laugh with water of the vine is,
A tear of crystal is, wherein heart's blood ashine is.

 

58 [15]
My soul in the sphere's script from all etemity
Tablet and Pen' and Hell and Heaven sought to see,
Until the Teacher said: "Of very certainty,
Tablet and Pen and Hell and Heaven are all in thee."

 

60 [29]
For none behind the veil of myst'ries way is;
None in the secret of the world's array is:
Save in earth's breast, for us no place of stay is;
Give ear, for no light matter this I say is.

 

79 [41]
The good and the bad that in mortal estate is,
The glad and the sad that in Fortune and Fate is,
Charge not to the Sphere, for, according to reason,
The Sphere in a thousandfold worse than thy strait is.

 

80 [9]
This pitcher, like me, a lover distraught hath it hath been,
In the bond of a loveling's tress-tip caught hath been;
This handle thou see'st on its neck was e'en a hand
Which erst on the neck of a loved one oft hath been.

 

81 [23]
Why, Kheyyam, for sin this mourning and misgiving?
Marry, where's the good, more or less, of grieving?
'T is because of sin that forgiveness cometh;
If there were no sin, there were no forgiving.

 

89 [40]
No whit I know, not I, if He who mixed my clay
Made me for Hell or Heaven; but, be that as it may,
Give me but wine and wench and lute in hand to-day,
By the stream-side, and pocket thyself Heav'n's promise-to-pay.

 

94 [21]
Since hither, willy nilly, I came the other day
And hence must soon be going, without my yea or nay,
Up, cupbearer! thy middle come gird without delay;
The world and all its troubles with wine I 'll wash away.

 

97 [36]
Drain the goblet, for life everlasting this wine is;
The elixir of youth, sure, the juice of the vine is:
'T is the time of the rose and the jolly Spring showers:
Be blithe, while this life for a moment yet thine is.

 

105 [32]
The torch of the rose in the midst of the blossomed meads is lit;
With a brace of black-eyed girls by the stream come let us sit:
Round with the cup! for the drinkers of wine in the morningtide
Of mosque and temple reck not, of synagogue are quit.

 

109 [43]
Each tulip abloom in the meadows that seen is
From the blood of some prince or some sultan its sheen is;
Each violet, that springs from the heart of the greensward,
A mole from the cheek of some fair that hath been is.

 

177 [24]
In temple and mosque-school, in convent and cell,
Are seekers of Heaven and fearers of Hell;
But none that conceiveth God's myst'ries aright
E'er suffered that seed' in his bosom to swell.

 

184 [35]
Drink wine, for God wot thou shalt slumber under the clay,
Sans playmate or friend or comrade, many a day.
Beware lest this hidden secret to any thou say.
"No tulip withered again shall blossom aye."

 

188 [26]
Bethink thee that soulless and bare thou shalt go;
The veil of God's mysteries to tear thou shalt go:
Drink wine, for thou knowest not whence thou hast come;
Live blithe, for thou knowest not where thou shalt go.

 

189 [17]
On the rose's cheek the dew of the newborn year is fair;
On the green of the sward a face full of heartis cheer is fair:
Of yesterday that is past though thou say,"It was foul," live blithe;
Of yesterday speak thou not; to-day, that is here, is fair.

 

191 [31]
Whatever betides on the Tablet of Destiny writ is;
Of good and of evil thenceforward the Pen Divine quit is:
In Fate foreordained whatsoever behoveth It 'stablished:
Our stress and our strife and our thought-taking vain every whit is.

 

195 [33]
A semblant the Sphere of this life on the wane of ours is;
And Oxus a trace of these eyes still a-rain of ours is:
Hell a spark of the fire of this fretting in vain of ours is
And Heaven but a breath of some time without pain of ours is.

 

196 [27]
In a dream of the night quoth a sage me unto:
"Rose of gladness for mortal from sleep never blew;
A thing, then, to dealh that akin is why do?
Up, for under the earth thou shalt slumber thy due!

 

208 [18]
How long shall I make bricks upon the surging sea?
l'm weary of the folk and their idolatry:
The silver-breasted Magian maids for me to-night!
Give me but wine and wench: what's Heaven or Heil to me!

 

236 [47]
At Balkh or at Baghdad what matters? Die we must.
The cup full, what skills sweet or bitter, pain or lust?
Drink wine, for many a moon will pass from full to new
And new to full again, when thou and I are dust.

 

237 [47]
Since life still passeth by, what matters sweet or sour?
When the soul 's at the lip, what 's Balkh? what 's Nishapour?
Drink wine, for, after me and thee, full many a moon
Upon the world, from new to full, its light wil! pour.

 

239 [51]
The bringing me hither profited nought to the Sphere,
Nor its glory 's increased by the hearing me off from here.
Nay, for what is my bringing hither and carrying hence
From any that liveth my ears could never hear.

 

251 [60]
This caravan of Life, since swift of flight it passeth,
Enjoy the moment's space when in delight it passeth:
Why fret thyself for friends and their to-morrow's troubles,
Skinker? Come, fill the cup, for see the night, it passeth.

 

267 [50]
Those who the bondmen and lieges of reason and wit are
Concerned with the care of To-be and To-be-not no whit are:
Like those who are wise, choose the juice of the grape, for the
know-nots,
Ill-grape-like, dry up, or e'er for the winepress they fit are.

 

274 [58]
What things in these colours of earth and of skies are
Indwelling, enigmas in prudent men's eyes are:
Look thou lose not the end of the clew of discretion,
For head still a-whirl with this puzzle the wise are.

 

275 [82]
Each dawn, when the face of the tulip the dew takes,
The violet's stature to bending in two takes:
So, if sorrow the skirts of the soul draw together,
My spirit from sorrow advantage anew takes.

 

276 [80]
'T is the time when with verdure the world THEY adorn;
The white hand of Moses' thrusts forth from the thorn;
From the face of the earth Jesus-breathed ones are born
And there open out eyes in the clouds of the morn.

 

281 [68]
Ere fate on thee fall like a thief in the gloom.
Call for wine of the hue of the rose in full bloom.
Art thou gold, O thou heedless know-nothing, that thee
They should bury and after dig up from earth's womb?

 

290 [48]
Those who of sheer old wine unmingled drinkers deep are,
And those who still a-nights in the e prayer-niche watch-a-keep are,
Not one is on dry land ; i' the water all a-heap are;
But one of them 's awake, whilst t' others all asleep are.

 

294 [67]
Right pleasant, nor hot neither cold, is the day;
The rain fro rom the rose-bed the dust 's washed away:
To the yellow-cheeked rose, hark! the bulbul doth say,
With the tongue of our case, "Come, drink wine and be gay!"

 

300 [34]
They say that Heaven and Kauthir and Hour exist indeed,
That there is honeyed wine for the piëtist indeed;
Fill up the winecup, skinker; for better far for me
Than twenty birds in bush is one in fist indeed.

 

356 [72]
The crux of the secrets of heaven solved hath none yet;
Nor eke withoutside of his nature foot hath one set:
When I look, from beginner to master, I see, with regret,
In all bom of woman's but weakness and hindrance and let.

 

357 [52]
From the Book of Life effaced needs must we be;
By the hand of Doom laid waste needs must we be:
Skinker, thou moonface, our heart's delight, give wine,
For dust in the dust abased needs must we be.

 

433 [91]
The canon heed not nor the rules of observance Divine;
Beset not thy fellows with slander or evil design
And grudge not to any the morsel to give that is thine:
On these terms I warrant thee heaven; and meanwhile bring wine.

 

434 [89]
A potter I saw in the market yesterday
With many a buffet belabour a lump of clay.
The which, with the tongue of the case, "Thy like I've been;
Have some regard for me, prithee!" to him did say.

 

454 [13]
Now the world for the Spring once more apt to delight is,
To the meads each one's heart turns that livesome of spright is:
Each tree-bough with blossom as Moses' hand white is;
Each breath a new Jesus-breathed one come to light is.

 

458 [158]
Ramazan-time is gone at last and see, Shewwál cometh!
The season of pleasance and song and festival cometh!
The time is at hand once more when, with water-skin shouldered,
They cry out "Aid! aid! The carrier (make way all) cometh!"

 

465 [2]
In the tavern with Thee better secrets to say
Than without Thee it were in the prayer-niche to pray!
O Thou, of all creatures the First and the Last,
At Thy pleasure, caress or consume me away!

 

480 [94]
We 're the pieces Heaven moves on the chessboard of space
(No metaphor this, but the truth of the case);
Each awhile on Life's board plays his game and returns
In the box of nonentity back to his place.

 

493 [102]
Kheyyam, if drunken with wine thou art, be blithe:
With a tulip-cheeked fair if recline thou art, be blithe:
Since the issue of all things is death, imagine, whilst yet
Thou livest, that dead, by this sign, thou art; be blithe.

 

507 [101]
Thee a counsel I'll give, an if thou wilt hearken to me:
For God's sake, don not the wede of hypocrisy:
This life's but a breath and the next life for ever will be:
Sell not for a breath the realm of eternity.

 

508 [105]
My merits note, one by one: my faults by the score, forgive;
For the love of God, each sin, that was sinned heretofore, forgive!
The fire of despite with the wind of passion enkindle not;
By the dust of the Prophet, our sins, I say once more, forgive!

 

509 [103]
Last night, in the shop of a potter I was, and there
An hundred score pots, all voiceful, though silent, were:
Each one, with the tongue of the case, to us did say,
"Where's the maker of pots and the buyer and seller, where?"

 

543 [109]
At war with myself and my passions aye-what shall I do?
For my actions o'ertaken with grief and dismay-what shall I do?
Grant e'en that my sins, of Thy mercy, to me Thou forgive,
Of my shame that Thou saw'st my transgressions, say-what shall I do?

 

584 [121]
To-day that no dolour from Fate malign drink we,
Together once more of the juice of the vine drink we;
For the Angel of Doom, in the hour of our passing hence,
Will grant us no quarter whilst somewhat of wine drink we.

 

611 [118]
'T is the dawning: our lips to the rose-coloured wine still we clap;
'Gainst the stones this frail flask of repute, good and ill, we clap:
From our overlong hoping the hand we'll withdraw and instead
On the skirt of the harp and the loveling's long tress will we clap.

 

664 [123]
Communion with any save topers forswear do thou;
Lay waste the foundations of fasting and prayer do thou.
In fine, from Kheyyam hearken thou this sage counsel, O friend:
Drink, rob, an thou wilt, but what's righteous and fair do thou!

 

739 [140]
Those who forewent us the way of the dead, O skinker,
In the dust of delusion to sleep laid the head, O skinker!
Come, drain thou the winecup and hearken this truth from me:
Wind, nothing but wind, is all that they said, O skinker!

 

759 [145]
O heart, if clean from the body's lust thou be,
A spirit in Heaven, unbodied, must thou be;
The empyrean's thy country and shame on thee
That the native become of this realm of dust thou be!

 

785 [157]
If coming rested with me, come had I? No, forsooth.
Were going hence at my will, how should I go, forsooth?
Were it not best of all that into this ruinous world
Come had I neither gone nor been evermo', forsooth?

 

822 [148]
An hundred thousand snares my path within Thou settest
And "Thee,'' quoth Thou, "I'll slay, if foot therein thou settest."
'T is Thou that sett'st the snares; and whoso in them falleth
Thou slay'st and on his name the brand of sin Thou settest!

 

829 [149]
A gugglet of wine and a book of poesy,
The haf of a loaf of bread and a penny fee,
And I in a nook of some ruin seated with thee,
Were better than king on a kingdom's throne to be.

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