the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
With Earth’s first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And there of the Last Harvest sow’d the Seed:
And the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
YESTERDAY This Day’s Madness did prepare;
TOMORROW’s Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
I tell you this-When, started from the Goal,
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
Of Heav’n Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul
The Vine had struck a fibre: which about
If clings my Being-let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.
And this I know: whether the one True Light
Kindle to Love, or Wrath-consume me quite,
One Flash of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay’d-
Sue for a Debt he never did contract,
And cannot answer-Oh the sorry trade!
Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!
by Edward FitzGerald