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Stigand, William [1907]

From: Acanthia. Poems original and edited by William Stigand. London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1907.
Potter 375

Some quatrains of Omar Khayyàm

THOU mad'st me of earth, water and air, Could I help it!
Silk or cotton I must as thou wouldst daily wear, Could I help it!
In my brain all my doings for good and for ill,
You have fully beforehand writ me down there - Could I help it!

Alas! for the heart which lovingly warm, Could not be;
Which cheered and tormented by love's yearning charm, Could not be;
The day when love passing shall leave thee all cold,
A worse day than that for thy soul's deadly harm, Could not be.

For goodly people I would ransom be,
To them right willingly I'd bend the knee,
But wouldst thou have a good foretaste of hell,
Of vulgar men and base seek the society.

My soul and body are at war, that's plain! What can I do?
My deeds mostly give me but shame and pain, What can I do?
And should the Lord have mercy for my sins,
The shame I must ever still bear in my brain. What can I do?

Ye heavens, your wheel gives best things to the vile -
Baths, mills, canals, with gardens by the mile;
While noble fellows pawn their rings for bread,
For you a groat to pay were scarce worth while.

Ye bunglers in a world which is Naught, naught,
Built on a bubble of which mortal sees Naught, naught;
Your lives are sorry dots between two naughts,
And after their nonentities, Naught, naught!