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G. Milner - 1899

GEORGE MILNER.
TWENTY RUBAIYAT FROM OMAR KHAYYAM. Rendered into English verse chiefly from the literal prose translations of Mr. Edward Heron-Allen.
Taken from: A note on a new aspect of Omar Khayyám, with twenty specimen renderings of the Rubáiyát, by George Milner. In: The Manchester Quarterly, vol. 18, Jan. 1899.
NOTE. The numbers are those of the Rubáiyát, as they appear in the Bodleian M.S. No titles are given in the original.
(Not in Potter)

I. - ORTHODOXY.
If I in pearls of song paid not thy due,
At least, I never from my face withdrew
The dust of sin; so, mercy, Lord, I crave:
For why? I never said that One was Two.

II. - ABNEGATION.
Better in taverns tell my thought to Thee
Than in the mosque, unthinking, bend my knee;
Dread Power! Just as Thou wilt - burn me
Or at Thy side in Heaven let me be.

III. - HUMILITY.
So far as in thee lies, do not deride
The helpless drunkard. Lay pretence aside;
If henceforth in thy life thou seekest rest,
With humble folk content thee to abide.

IV. - TENDERNESS.
As in thee lieth, grieve not any one,
Let thine own anger burn for thee alone;
Would'st thou hereafter find eternal peace,
Fret, if thou wilt, thyself, but harass none.

V. - LIVE FOR TO-DAY.
To-morrow! - Then for thee no moon may shine,
Make happy now this passionate heart of thine;
Next moon may seek us long but find us not,
Drink with thy Moon - drink now the fragrant wine.

VI. - THE KORAN AND THE WINE-CUP.
Men read the Koran slackly now and then -
Say this is best - we'll read once more but when?
Ah, on the Wine-Cup's rim a text is writ
Which they will read again and yet again.

VII.- OBLIVION.
Wine and our drunken bodies - both are clear;
But on the drinking-bench no hope or fear;
Souls, hearts, and garments reek with lees of wine
And earth, air, water are no longer here.

VIII. - FRIENDSHIP.
Make but few friends in life, for that is best;
If some be near, keep far away the rest;
When Wisdom's eye is opened thou may'st find.
He is thy foe who leant upon thy breast.

IX. - THE JUG.
This jug was once a lover such as I,
And with a fair one lip to lip did lie;
This curling handle on its neck, an arm
That round another's neck lay tenderly.

LXVI. - A REJOINDER.
I saw a man who trampled on the clay
Contemptuous; but I heard the trampled say
In mystic language, "Be thou very still,
Thou may'st, like me, be trampled on to-day."

LXXII. - ETERNAL SECRETS.
The eternal secrets are a tangled skein;
Who would unravel them makes labour vain,
Tyro and teacher, simpleton and sage,
Alike in abject impotence remain.

LXXX. - SPRING.
The breeze of Spring is in the world again,
And hope revives with soft-descending rain,
The budding boughs are white as Moses' hand,
And Jesu's perfumed breath floats o'er the plain.

LXXXII. - THE ROSEBUD.
Each morn bedecks the tulip's face with dew,
And tender violets are bent downward too;
But, best of all the rosebud is to me,
Whose closely gathered skirts show nothing through.

LXXXIII. - THE EMPTY GLASS.
Friends, when ye meet the waning day to crown
With mirth and wine, remember I am gone;
And as - poor helpless one! - my turn comes round
For drinking - turn a goblet upside down.

LXXXVI. - "FOLLOW ME."
If thou desirest Him - this shalt thou find –
Wife, child, and friend must all be left behind;
Alone into the wilderness depart,
And every burden from thy back unbind.

LXXXIX. - THE POTTER.
Within the crowded market yesterday
I saw a potter pounding lumps of clay
That said, in mystic tongue "We were as thou,
And thou shalt be as we - deal gently, pray!"

XCIV. - THE CHESS HOARD.
Now I speak plain - not parables alone –
Heaven plays; we are the pieces; naught is known;
We're moved across the Board of Life, then fall
Into the box of Nothing, one by one.

XCVIII. - THE TWO LOGS.
Come, fill the cup, for day breaks white as snow;
Learn colour from the wine in ruby-glow;
Bring me two logs of aloe and make one
Into a lute the other burn below.

CI. - COUNSEL.
I give thee counsel - listen unto me;
For sake of Heaven wear not hypocrisy;
Hereafter ends not; Time is but a day;
For that one day, sell not Eternity.

CIII. - POTS AND POTTER.
Into a potter's shop I went last night,
And saw two thousand pots, to left and right;
Some spoke aloud, some sadly held their peace,
But one, aggressive, cried with all his might –

"Who makes the pots? That's what I want to know;
Who buys us, standing in ignoble row?
Who has the right to sell us? - tell me that;
And when we're sold, where is it that we go?"