The quatrains of Omar Khayyám. The Persian text with an English verse translation by E.H. Whinfield. London, Trübner & Co., 1883.

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

Whinfield's translation

Heron-Allen's translation


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


To-day is thine to spend, but not to-morrow,
Counting on morrows breedeth naught but sorrow;
Oh I squander not this breath that heaven hath lent thee.
Nor make too sure another breath to borrow.


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.


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.


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. 


'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.


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.


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?


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 them? 


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.


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?


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! 't were long to tell the doleful tale.


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.


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.


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.


I dreamt a sage said, "Wherefore life consume
In sleep? Can sleep make pleasure's roses bloom?
Forgather not with death's twin-brother sleep,
Thou wilt have sleep enough within thy tomb!"


I fell asleep, and wisdom said to me: —
"Never from sleep has the rose of happiness blossomed for anyone;
why do a thing that is the mate of death?
Drink wine, for thou must sleep for ages."


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


Khayyám, 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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


Did He who made me fashion me for hell,
Or destine me for heaven? I can not tell.
Yet will I not renounce cup, lute, and love,
Nor earthly cash for heavenly credit sell.


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 field—
all these three are cash to me: thine be the credit-heaven! 


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!


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 lawful."


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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!


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."


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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."


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.


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. 


How long must I make bricks upon the sea?
Beshrew this vain task of idolatry;
Call not Khayyám a denizen of hell;
One while in heaven, and one in hell is he.


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? 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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." 


The fruit of certitude he can not 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.


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 truth.
Know that to-day is like yesterday, and that to-morrow is like the First Day of Creation.


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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.


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.


O fair! whose cheeks checkmate red eglantine,
And draw the game with those fair maids of Chín;
You played one glance against the king of Babil
And took his pawns, and knights, and rooks, and queen.


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. 


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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?


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. 


Needs must the tavern-haunter 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.


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. 


Forever 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!


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!


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!"


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 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!


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


What sage the eternal tangle e'er unraveled,
Or one short step beyond his nature traveled?
From pupils to the masters turn your eyes,
And see, each mother's son alike is graveled.


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.


Crave not of worldly sweets to take your fill,
Nor wait on turn of fortune, good or ill;
Be of light heart, as are the skies above,
They roll a round or two, and then lie still.


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? 


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.


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.


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?


Even though wine is forbidden, for all that it depends upon who drinks it,
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?


True I drink wine, like every man of sense,
For I know Allah will not take offense;
Before time was, He know that I should drink,
And who am I to thwart His prescience?


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. 


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.


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. 


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!


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. 


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 Khayyám to mind, and breathe a prayer.


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. 


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?


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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 sewed. 


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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!


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. 


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!


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 grapes themselves. 


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.


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 not
like those herbs which when they gather them spring up again." 


Now Ramazán is past, Shawwál 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."


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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. 


That grace and favor 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?


So much generosity and kindness at the beginning, why was it?
and that maintenance of me with delights and blandishments, why was it?
Now Thine only endeavour is to afflict my heart;
after all, what wrong have I done—once more, why was it? 


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.


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. 


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!


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! 


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!"


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." 


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!


If I talk of the mystery with Thee in a tavern,
it is better than if I make my devotions before the Mihrab without Thee.
O Thou, the first and last of all created beings!
burn me an Thou wilt, or cherish me an Thou wilt. 


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?


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 supplication?
since, of all those that have departed, not one has returned? 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 existence,
and one by one we return to the box of non-existence. 


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."


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 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!


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! 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!


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 ! 


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?"


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?" 


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 Mohammed's tomb, forgive once more!


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. 


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.


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 delicate.


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!


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 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.


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 lamp,
we are like figures that revolve in it.


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!


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.


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.


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? 


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.


Since our abode in this monastery is not permanent
without the Cup-bearer and the beloved, it is painful to support life;
how long of ancient creeds or new, O philosopher?
when I have left it what matter if the world be old or new?


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.


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. 


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!


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 Day.


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!


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. 


When Death shall tread me down upon the plain,
And pluck my feathers, and my life-blood drain,
Then mold me to a cup, and fill with wine;
Haply its scent will make me breathe 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. 


'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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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.


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.


Hear now Khayyám's advice, and bear in mind,
Consort with revelers, though they be maligned,
Cast down the gates of abstinence and prayer,
Yea, drink, and even rob, but, oh! be kind!


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." 


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!


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. 


'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.


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. 


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!


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! 


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!


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. 


O Love, forever 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!


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. 


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?


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? 


'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!


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. 


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!


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. 


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!


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. 


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!


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. 


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!


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.


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!


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. 


Bulbuls, doting on roses, oft complain
How froward breezes rend their veils in twain;
Sit we beneath this rose, which many a time
Has sunk to earth, and sprung from earth again.


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. 


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.


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,
ere that fate shall spill thy blood;
pour thou the blood of the bottle into the cup—'tis better thus. 


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?


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. 


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!


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. 


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!


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.


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?


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.


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!


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? 


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."


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." 


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!


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. 


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!


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. 


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?


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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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!


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, — yesterday!


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!


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? 


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?


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?


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!


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.

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