Home page | About this website | Sitemap

Johnson, E.A. [1887]

From: The dialogue of the Gulshan-i-Ráz or Mystical Garden of Roses of Mahmoud Shabistari. With selections from the Rubaiyat of Omar-i-Khayám. London: Trübner & Co., 1887.
Potter 332.

Selections from the Rubaïyät of Omar Khayyám

The sun has cast on wall and roof his net of burning light,
The lordly day fills high the cup to speed the parting night;
"Wake!" cries in silver accents the herald of the dawn;
"Arise and drink! the darkness flies - the morning rises bright."

The rosy dawn shines through the tavern door,
And cries, "Wake! slumbering reveller, and pour!
For ere my sands of life be all run out,
I fain would fill my jars with wine once more."

To-morrow rank and fame for none may be,
So for to-day thy weary soul set free;
Drink with me, love, once more beneath the moon;
She oft may shine again, but not on thee and me.

If wine and song there be to give thee soul-entrancing bliss,
If there be spots where verdant fields and purling brooklets kiss,
Ask thou no more from Providence, nor turn thee in despair;
If there be any Paradise for man, 'tis even this.

The ruby lip pours fragrance unto mine,
Thine eye's deel chalice bids me drink thy soul;
As yonder crystal goblet brims with wine,
So in thy tear the heart's full tide doth roll.

What rech we that our sands run out in Balkh or Babylon,
Or bitter be the draught or sweet, so once the draught is done.
Drink them thy wine with me, for many a silver moon
Shall wane and wax when thou and I are gone.

To those who know the truth, what choice of foul or fair
Where lovers rest; though 'twere in Hell, for them 'tis Heaven there.
What recks the Dervish that he wears sackcloth or satin sheen,
Or lovers that beneath their heads be rocks or pillows fair.

O Love! chief record of the realms of truth,
The chiefest couplet in the ode of youth!
Oh, thou who knowest not the world of love,
Learn this, that life is love, and love is ruth.

Though with the rose and rosy wine I dwell,
Yet time to me no tale of joy doth tell;
My days have brought no sign of hope fulfilled;
'Tis past! the phantoms fly, and breaks the spell.

Though sweet the rose, yet sorely wounds the thorn;
Though deep we drink to-night, we rue the morn;
And though a thousand years were granted, say,
Were it not hard to wait the last day's dawn?

As sweeps the plain the hurrying wind, as flows the rippling stream,
So yesterday from out two lives has passed and is a dream;
And while I live, these to my soul shall bring nor hope nor dread,
The morrow that may never come, the yesterday that fled.

Oh, joy in solitude! of these well may the poet sing;
Woe worth the heart that owns no soil wherein that flower may spring;
For when wassail sinks in wailing and traitor friends are gone,
Proudly through vacant hall the sturdy wanderer's step shall ring.

If grief be the companion of thine heart,
Brood not o'er thine own sorrows and their smart;
Behold another's woe, and learn thereby
How small thine own, and comfort thy sad heart.

Oh, swiftly came the winter wind, and swiftly hurried past;
So madly sought my longing soul the rest she found at last;
Now faint and weak as weakness' self, she waits but for the end;
The bowl is broke, the wine remains, but on the ground is cast.

Through the unknown life's first dark day my soul
Did seek the tablet and the pen, and Paradise and Hell
Then read the teacher from his mystic scroll;
Tablet and pen are in thine hand, and so are Heaven and Hell.

Hast seen the world? All thou hast seen is naught,
All thou hast said, thou hast heard or wrought:
Sweep the horizon's verge from pole to pole, 'tis in vain;
Even all thou hast in secret done is naught.

The Architect of heaven's blue dome and Ruler of the wave
In many a grief-laden heart doth deeper plunge the glaive,
And gathers many a silken tress and many a ruby lip
To fill his puppet-show, the world, and his chibouque, the grave.

Though I be formed of water and of clay,
And with the ills of life content for aye,
Ever thou bid'st me shun the joyful cup.
My hand is empty: wherefore bid'st me stay?

Much have I wandered over the vale and plain,
Through many clims, in joy, in grief and pain,
Yet never heard men say "The traveller
Who passed this way, has now returned again".

Lo, blood of men slain by the stroke of doom!
Lo, dust of men strewn on the face of earth!
Oh, take what life may give of youth and mirth;
Full may an opening bud shall never bloom.

Drink! for thou soon shall sleep within the tomb,
Nor friend nor foe shall break the eternal gloom.
Beware! and tell to none this secret dark, -
The faded rose may never hope to bloom.

Fill high the cup though ache the weary brow;
Fill with the wine that doth with life endow,
For life is but a tale by watch-fire told.
Haste thee! the fire burns low - the night grows old!