The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Earth could not answer; nor the Seas that mourn
In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;
Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal’d
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.
Then of the THEE IN ME who works behind
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
A lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
As from Without-”THE ME WHITHIN THEE BLIND!”
Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean’d, the Secret of my Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d-”While you live,
“Drink!-for, once dead, you never shall return.”
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer’d, once did live,
And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss’d,
How many Kisses might it take-and give!
For I remember stopping by the way
To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all-obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d-”Gently, Brother, gently, pray!”
And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man’s successive generations roll’d
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the Maker into Human mould?
And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
For Earth to drink of, but may steal below
To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
There hidden-far beneath, and long ago.
As then the Tulip for her morning sup
Of Heav’nly Vintage from the soil looks up,
Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav’n
To Earth invert you-liko an empty Cup.
by Edward FitzGerald