! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
Lo ! the Hunter of the East has caught
Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.
when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."
as the Cock crew, those who stood before
Tavern shouted -'' Open then the Door!
know how little while we have to stay,
once departed, may return no more."
the New Year reviving old Desires,
thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.
indeed is gone with all its Rose,
Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
still a Garden by the Water blows.
David's Lips are lockt ; but in divine
piping Pehlevi, with " Wine ! Wine ! Wine!
Wine ! " - the Nightingale cries to the Rose
yellow Cheek of her's to incarnadine.
fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
Bird of Time has but a little way
fly - and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
look - a thousand Blossoms with the Day
- and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.
come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot:
Rustum lay about him as he will,
Hatim Tai cry Supper - heed them not.
me along some Strip of Herbage strown
just divides the desert from the sown,
name of Slave and Sultan scarce is known,
pity Sultan Mahmud on his Throne.
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with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
me singing in the Wilderness -
Wilderness is Paradise enow.
sweet is mortal Sovranty ! " - think some:
- "How blest the Paradise to come ! "
take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
the brave Music of a distant Drum!
to the Rose that blows about us - " Lo,
she says, "into the World I blow:
once the silken Tassel of my Purse
and its Treasure on the Garden throw."
Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Ashes - or it prospers; and anon,
Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
a little Hour or two - is gone.
those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
buried once, Men want dug up again.
in this batter'd Caravanserai
Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
his Hour or two, and went his way.
say the Lion and the Lizard keep
Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
Bahram, that great Hunter - the Wild Ass
o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.
sometimes think that never blows so red
Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
every Hyacinth the Garden wears
in its Lap from some once lovely Head.
this delightful Herb whose tender Green
the River's Lip on which we lean -
lean upon it lightly ! for who knows
what once lovely Lip it springs unseen !
my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
of past Regrets and future Fears -
? - Why, To-morrow I may be
with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.
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some we loved, the loveliest and best
Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
one by one crept silently to Rest.
we, that now make merry in the Room
left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
rnust we beneath the Couch of Earth
ourselves to make a Couch - for whom?
make the most of what we yet may spend,
we too into the Dust descend;
into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and - sans End !
for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
those that after a TO-MORROW stare,
Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
! your Reward is neither Here nor There!'
all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust
foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.
come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
Flower that once has blown for ever dies.
when young did eagerly frequent
and Saint, and heard great Argument
it and about: but evermore
out by the same Door as in I went.
them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
this was all the Harvest that I reap'd -
came like Water, and like Wind I go."
this Universe, and why not knowing,
whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.
without asking, hither hurried whence?
without asking, whither hurried hence !
and another Cup to drown
Memory of this Impertinence !
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from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.
was a Door to which I found no Key:
was a Veil past which I could not see:
little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
seem'd - and then no more of THEE and ME.
to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
" What Lamp had Destiny to guide
little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
- "A blind Understanding!" Heav'n replied.
to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
Lip to Lip it murmur'd - "While you live
! - for once dead you never shall return."
think the Vessel, that with fugitive
answer'd, once did live,
merry-make; and the cold Lip I kiss'd
many Kisses might it take - and give !
in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
with its all obliterated Tongue
murmur'd - "Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"
fill the Cup: - what boots it to repeat
Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
TO-M0RROW, and dead YESTERDAY,
fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet !
Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
Moment, of the Well of Life to taste -
Stars are setting and the Caravan
for the Dawn of Nothing - Oh, make haste !
long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
This and That endeavour and dispute?
be merry with the fruitful Grape
sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
know, my Friends, how long since in my House
a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
old barren Reason from my Bed,
took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.
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"IS" and "IS-NOT" though with Rule and Line,
"UP-AND-DOWN" without, I could define,
yet in all I only cared to know,
never deep in anything but - Wine.
lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
bid me taste of it; and 'twas - the Grape!.
Grape that can with Logic absolute
Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
leaden Metal into Gold transmute.
mighty Mahmud, the victorious Lord,
all the misbelieving and black Horde
Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul.
and slays with his enchanted Sword.
leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
Quarrel of the Universe let be:
in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
Game of that which makes as much of Thee.
in and out, above, about, below,
nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
which we Phantom Figures come and go.
if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
in the Nothing all Things end in - Yes -
fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
shalt be - Nothing - Thou shalt not be less.
the Rose blows along the River Brink,
old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink:
when the Angel with his darker Draught
up to Thee - take that, and do not shrink.
all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
one by one back in the Closet lays.
Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
He that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
knows about it all - HE knows - HE knows !
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Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
lure it back to cancel half a Line,
all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
crawling coop't we live and die,
not thy hands to It for help - for It
impotently on as Thou or I.
Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man's knead,
then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
the first Morning of Creation wrote
the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
tell Thee this - When, starting from the Goal,
the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Heav'n Parwin and Mushtara they flung,
my predestin’d Plot of Dust and Soul.
Vine had struck a Fibre; which about
clings my Being - let the Sufi flout;
my Base Metal may be filed a Key,
shall unlock the Door he howls without.
this I know: whether the one True Light,
to Love, or Wrath consume me quite,
glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
than in the Temple lost outright.
Thou, who didst - with Pitfall and with Gin
the Road I was to wander in,
wilt not with Predestination round
me, and impute my Fall to Sin?
Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
all the Sin where with the Face of Man
blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give - and take !
again. One evening at the Close
Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
the clay Population round in Rows.
strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
could articulate, while others not:
suddenly one more impatient cried-
is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot ?
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said another - "Surely not in vain
Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
He who subtly wrought me into Shape
stamp me back to common Earth again."
said - "Why ne'er a peevish Boy,
break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
He that made the Vessel in pure Love
Fancy, in an after Rage destroy !"
answer'd this ; but after Silence spake
Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
sneer at me for leaning all awry
! did the Hand then of the Potter shake ?"
one - "Folks of a surly Tapster tell,
daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell;
talk of some strict Testing of us - Pish !
a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."
said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
fill me with the old familiar juice,
I might recover by-and-bye !"
while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
then they jogged each other, "Brother ! Brother !
to the Porter's Shoulder-knot a-creaking !"
with the Grape my fading Life provide,
wash my Body whence the Life has died,
in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
bury me by some sweet Garden-side.
ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
not a True Believer passing by
shall be overtaken unaware.
the Idols I have loved so long
done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong;
drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
sold my Reputation for a Song.
indeed, Repentance oft before
swore - but was I sober when I swore ?
then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.
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much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
robb'd me of my Robe of Honour - well,
often wonder what the Vintners buy
half so precious as the Goods they sell.
that Spring should vanish with the Rose
Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close !
Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
whence, and whither flown again, who knows !
Love ! could thou and I with Fate conspire
grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
not we shatter it to bits - and then
it nearer to the Heart's Desire !
Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
oft hereafter rising shall she look
this same Garden after me - in vain!
when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
I made one - turn down an empty Glass !
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