Quatrains of Omar Khayyam (tr. Whinfield, 1883)/Quatrains 401-500
Man, like a ball, hither and thither goes,
As fate's resistless bat directs the blows;
But He, who gives thee up to this rude sport,
He knows what drives thee, yea, He knows, He knows!
401. C. L. A. I. J. Line 4 is in metre 22, consistiug of ten syllables, all long. The alifs after each dánad are treated as ordinary consonants. Bl., Prosody, p. 10.
O Thou who givest sight to emmet's eyes,
And strength to puny limhs of feeble flies,
To Thee we will ascribe Almighty power,
And not base unbecoming qualities.
402. L. An echo of the Asharians' discussions on the Divine attributes.
Let not base avarice enslave thy mind,
Nor vain ambition in its trammels bind;
Be sharp as fire, as running water swift.
Not, like earth's dust, the sport of every wind!
403. L. C. A. I. J.
'Tis best all other blessings to forego
For wine, that charming Turki maids bestow;
Kalandars' raptures pass all things that are,
From moon on high down unto fish below!
404. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. For mai L. reads hakk, probably a Sufi gloss. In line 4 scan mastiyy-ŏ. Bl., Prosody, p. 11. Kalandars, bibulous Sufis.
Friend! trouble not yourself about your lot,
Let futile care and sorrow be forgot;
Since this life's vesture crumbles into dust.
What matters stain of word or deed, or blot?
405. L. N.
O thou who hast done ill, and ill alone,
And thinkest to find mercy at the throne,
Hope not for mercy! for good left undone
Cannot be done, nor evil done undone!
Count not to live beyond your sixtieth year,
To walk in jovial courses persevere;
And ere your skull be turned into a cup.
Let wine-cups ever to your hand adhere!
407. L. N. B.
These heavens resemble an inverted cup,
Whereto the wise with awe keep gazing up;
So stoops the bottle o'er his love, the cup,
Feigning to kiss, and gives her blood to sup!
408. C. L. N. A. B. I. Blood, an emblem of hate.
I sweep the tavern threshold with my hair,
For both worlds' good and ill I take no care;
Should the two worlds roll to my house, like balls,
When drunk, for one small coin I'd sell the pair 1
409. L. N. B. In lines 3 and 4 note Gúi, kúy and jăi, scanned as trochee, monosyllable, and iambus respectively. Bl., Prosody, p. 12.
The drop wept for his severance from the sea,
But the sea smiled, for "I am all," said he,
"The Truth is all, nothing exists beside,
That one point circling apes plurality."
410. N. This is in Ramal metre, No. 50. Compare Gulshan i Ráz, line 710.
Shall I still sigh for what I have not got,
Or try with cheerfulness to bear my lot?
Fill up my cup! I know not if the breath
I now am drawing is my last, or not!
411. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Some MSS. place this quatrain under Radif Ya.
Yield not to grief, though fortune prove unkind,
No call sad thoughts of parted friends to mind;
Devote thy heart to sugary lips, and wine,
Cast not thy precious life unto the wind!
412. L. N. B.
Of mosque and prayer and fast preach not to me,
Rather go drink, were it on charity!
Yea, drink, Khayyam, your dust will soon be made
A jug, or pitcher, or a cup, may be!
413. N. "Imperial Caesar, dead, and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away."
Bulbuls, doting on roses, oft complain
How froward breezes rend their veils in twain;
Sit we beneath this rose, which many a time
Has sunk to earth, and sprung from earth again.
414. L. N. B. So Moschus on the mallows.
Suppose the world goes well with you, what then?
When life's last page is read and turned, what then?
Suppose you live a hundred years of bliss,
Yea, and a hundred years besides, what then?
415. C. L. N. A. I. J. Ránda, see Vullers, p. 100.
How is it that of all the leafy tribe.
Cypress and lily men as " free " describe?
This has a dozen tongues, yet holds her peace,
That has a hundred hands which take no bribe.
416. L. N. Sa'di in the Gulistan, Book viii., gives another explanation of this expression. "Tongues, stamens, and hands, branches."
Cupbearer! bring my wine-cup, let me grasp it!
Bring that delicious darling, let me grasp it!
That pleasing chain which tangles in its coils
Wise men and fools together, let me grasp it I
417. L. N. Bipéchand seems a plural of dignity.
Alas! my wasted life has gone to wrack!
What with forbidden meats, and lusts, alack!
And leaving undone what 'twas right to do,
And doing wrong, my face is very black!
418. C. L. N. A. I. Harám, the predicate of lakma. These whimsical outbursts of self-reproach in the midst of antinomian utterances are characteristic of Khayyam.
I could repent of all, but of wine, never!
I could dispense with all, but with wine, never!
If so be I became a Musulman,
Could I abjure my Magian wine? no, never!
419. L. N. The Magians sold wine.
We rest our hopes on Thy free grace alone,
Nor seek by merits for our sins to atone;
Mercy drops where it lists, and estimates
Ill done as undone, good undone as done.
This is the form Thou gavest me of old,
Wherein Thou workest marvels manifold;
Can I aspire to be a better man,
Or other than I issued from Thy mould?
421. C. L. N. A. I. This is a variation of No. 221.
Lord! to Thee all creatures worship pay,
To Thee both small and great for ever pray,
Thou takest woe away, and givest weal,
Give then, or, if it please Thee, take away!
422. L. Scan bandagíta, omitting fatha before te. Vullers, p. 197.
With going to and fro in this sad vale
Thou art grown double, and thy credit stale,
Thy nails are thickened like a horse's hoof,
Thy beard is ragged as an ass's tail.
423. C. L. A. I. J. A description of old age.
O unenlightened race of humankind,
Ye are a nothing, built on empty wind!
Yea, a mere nothing, hovering in the abyss,
A void before you, and a void behind!
424. C. L. A. I. J. The technical name for existence between two non-existences is Takwín. Bl. Ain i Akbari, p. 198. Compare the term "nunc slans," applied to Time by the Schoolmen.
Each morn I say, "To-night I will repent
Of wine, and tavern haunts no more frequent;"
But while 'tis spring, and roses are in bloom,
To loose me from my promise, O consent!
425. C. L. A. I. J.
Vain study of philosophy eschew!
Rather let tangled curls attract your view;
And shed the bottle's life-blood in your cup,
Or e'er death shed your blood, and feast on you.
426. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Bigorézí bi, "better that you should eschew."
O heart! can'st thou the darksome riddle read,
Where wisest men have failed, wilt thou succeed?
Quaff wine, and make thy heaven here below,
Who knows if heaven above will be thy meed?
427. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.
They that have passed away, and gone before,
Sleep in delusion's dust for evermore;
Go, boy, and fetch some wine, this is the truth,
Their dogmas were but air, and wind their lore!
428. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. So Ecclesiastes, "I gave my heart to know wisdom . . . . and perceived that this also is vanity."
O heart! when on the Loved One's sweets you feed,
You lose yourself, yet find your Self indeed;
And, when you drink of His entrancing cup,
You hasten your escape from quick and dead!
429. C. L. N. A. I. J. Die to self, to live in God, your true self. See Max Müller, Hibbert Lectures, p. 375.
Though I am wont a wine-bibber to be,
Why should the people rail and chide at me?
Would that all evil actions made men drunk,
For then no sober people should I see!
430. C. N. A. I. J.
Child of four elements and sevenfold heaven.
Who fume and sweat because of these eleven,
Drink! I have told you seventy times and seven,
Once gone, nor hell will send you back, nor heaven.
431. C. L. N. A. I. J.
With many a snare Thou dost beset my way,
And threatenest, if I fall therein, to slay;
Thy rule resistless sways the world, yet Thou
Imputest sin, when I do but obey!
432. B. N. Allah is the Fá'il i hakíkí, the only real agent, according to the Sufi view. Hukmi tu kuní, "Thou givest thy order," Should we read hukmé?
To Thee, whose essence baffles human thought,
Our sins and righteous deeds alike seem naught;
May Thy grace sober me, though drunk with sins.
And pardon all the ill that I have wrought!
433. L. N.
If this life were indeed an empty play.
Each day would be an 'Id or festal day,
And men might conquer all their hearts desire,
Tearless of after penalties to pay!
434. N. N. takes taklíd in the sense of "authority," but I think it alludes to Koran, xxix. 64. See Gulshan i Ráz, p. 50.
O wheel of heaven, you thwart my heart's desire,
And rend to shreds my scanty joy's attire,
The water that I drink you foul with earth,
And turn the very air I breathe to fire!
435. C. L. N. A. I.
O soul! could you but doff this flesh and bone,
You'd soar a sprite about the heavenly throne;
Had you no shame to leave your starry home,
And dwell an alien on this earthy zone?
436. C. L. N. B. A. I.
Ah, potter, stay thine hand! with ruthless art
Put not to such base use man's mortal part!
See, thou art mangling on thy cruel wheel
Farídun's fingers, and Kai Khosrau's heart!
437. C. L. N. A. I. Farídun and Kai Khosrau were ancient kings of Persia. Kai Khosrau is usually identified with Cyrus.
O rose! all beauties' charms thou dost excel,
As wine excels the pearl within its shell;
O fortune! thou dost ever show thyself
More strange, although I seem to know thee well!
438. N. Mimání, You resemble.
From this world's kitchen crave not to obtain
Those dainties, seeming real, but really vain,
Which greedy worldlings gorge to their own loss;
Renounce that loss, so loss shall prove thy gain!
439. L. N. B.
Plot not of nights, thy fellows' peace to blight.
So that they cry to God the live-long night;
Nor plume thee on thy wealth and might, which thieves
May steal by night, or death, or fortune's might.
440. N. Tá bar nikashand "Let us abstain from oppressing people, so that they may not heave a sigh, saying, O Lord."
This soul of mine was once Thy cherished bride,
What caused Thee to divorce her from Thy side?
Thou didst not nse to treat her thus of yore,
Why then now doom her in the world to abide?
441. L. N.
Ah! would there were a place of rest from pain,
Which we, poor pilgrims, might at last attain,
And after many thousand wintry years,
Renew our life, like flowers, and bloom again!
442. C. N. A. I. J. In line 2, for basar some MSS. read rawe and some rahe.
While in love's book I sought an augury;
An ardent youth cried out in ecstacy,
"Who owns a sweetheart beauteous as the moon,
Might wish his moments long as years to be!"
443. C. L. N. A. I. Compare the "sortes Virgilianœ." Line 4 is freely paraphrased. In line 4, scan máhīyyŏ. Bl., Prosody, p. 11.
Winter is past, and spring-tide has begun,
Soon will the pages of life's book be done!
Well saith the sage, "Life is a poison rank,
And antidote, save grape-juice, there is none."
444. C. L. N. A. I. J.
Beloved, if thou a reverend Molla be.
Quit saintly show, and feigned austerity,
And quaff the wine that Murtaza purveys.
And sport with Houris 'neath some shady tree!
445. N. Note the change from the imperative to the aorist. In line 4 scan Murtăzáshă. Murtaza (Ali) is the celestial cupbearer.
Last night I dashed my cup against a stone.
In a mad drunken freak, as I must own,
And lo! the cup cries out in agony,
"You too, like me, shall soon be overthrown."
446. C. L. N. A. B. I. Sabóyĭy, yá i batní, joined to the noun by euphonic or conjunctive yá.
My heart is weary of hypocrisy,
Cupbearer, bring some wine, I beg of thee!
This hooded cowl and prayer-mat pawn for wine,
Then will I boast me in security.
Audit yourself, your true account to frame,
See! you go empty, as you empty came;
You say, "I will not drink and peril life,"
But, drink or no, you must die all the same!
448. C. L. N. A. I. In line 2, scan áwardĭyŏ.
Open the door! entrance who procurest,
And guide the way, Thou of guides thesurest!
Directors born of men shall not direct me,
Their counsel comes to naught, but Thou endurest!
449. C. L. N. A. I. J. In line 4, scan fánĭyand, dissolving the letter of prolongation, yá.
In slandering and reviling you persist.
Calling me infidel and atheist:
My errors I will not deny, but yet
Does foul abuse become a moralist?
450. C. L. N. A. I. In line 1, scan gōyī-yaz, Bl., Prosody, p. 10. The tashdíd of mukirr is dropped.
To find a remedy, put up with pain,
Chafe not at woe, and healing thou wilt gain;
Though poor, be ever of a thankful mind,
'Tis the sure method riches to obtain.
451. L. N. Dawáyiy. The first ya is the conjunctive ya (Vullers, p. 16), the second, yá i tankír.
Give me a skin of wine, a crust of bread,
A pittance bare, a book of verse to read;
With thee, love, to share my lowly roof,
I would not take the Sultan's realm instead!
452. N. B. Tangé, the izáfat is displaced by yá i tankír, according to Lumsden, ii. 269. [Sed quœre].
Reason not of the five, nor of the four,
Be their dark problems one, or many score;
We are but earth, go, minstrel, bring the lute,
We are but air, bring wine, I ask no more!
453. N. C. L. A. I. J. give only the first line of this. Five senses, four elements.
Why argue on Yásin and on Barát?
Write me the draft for wine they call Barát!
The day my weariness is drowned in wine
Will seem to me as the great night Barát!
454. C. L. N. A. I. J. Yasín is the 64th, and Barát the 9th, chapter of the Koran. Barát, the "night of power."
Whilst thou dost wear this fleshly livery,
Step not beyond the bounds of destiny;
Bear up, though very Rustams be thy foes,
And crave no boon from friends like Hatim Tai!
455. C. L. N. A. I. J.
These ruby lips, and wine, and minstrel boys,
And lute, and harp, your dearly cherished toys,
Are mere redundancies, and you are naught.
Till you renounce the world's delusive joys.
456. L. N. Hashw, mere "stuffing," "leather or prunello."
Bow down, heaven's tyranny to undergo,
Quaff wine to face the world, and all its woe;
Your origin and end are both in earth,
But now you are above earth, not below!
457. C. L. N. A. I. J.
You know all secrets of this earthly sphere,
Why then remain a prey to empty fear?
You cannot bend things to your will, but yet
Cheer up for the few moments you are here!
458. C. L. N. A. I. J. Scan chún wákĭfĭyāy.
Behold, where'er we turn our ravished eyes,
Sweet verdure springs, and crystal Kausars rise;
And plains, once bare as hell, now smile as heaven:
Enjoy this heaven with maids of Paradise!
459. C. L. N. A. B. I. J.
Never in this false world on friends rely,
(I give this counsel confidentially,)
Put up with pain, and seek no antidote,
Endure your grief, and ask no sympathy!
Of wisdom's dictates two are principal,
Surpassing all your lore traditional;
Better to fast than eat of every meat.
Better to live alone than mate with all!
461. N. Hadís i ná góyáyíy. The unwritten revelations, or traditions, opposed to Qur'an (Koran), the "reading." So srúti is opposed to smriti.
Why unripe grapes are sharp, prithee explain,
And then grow sweet, while wine is sharp again?
When one has carved a block into a lute,
Can he from that same block a pipe obtain?
462. L. N.
When dawn doth silver the dark firmament,
Why shrills the bird of dawning his lament?
It is to show in dawn's bright looking-glass
How of thy careless life a night is spent.
463. C. L. N. A. I. J. So Job, "Hast spread the sky as a molten looking-glass."
Cupbearer, come! from thy full-throated ewer
Pour blood-red wine, the world's despite to cure!
Where can I find another friend like wine,
So genuine, so solacing, so pure?
464. C. L. N. A. I. J.
Though you should sit in sage Aristo's room,
Or rival Cæsar on his throne of Rúm,
Drain Jamshed's goblet, for your end's the tomb,
Yea, were you Bahram's self, your end's the tomb!
465. N. Jamhúr, a name of Buzurjimihr, Wazír of Nushirwán. Faghfúr, the Chinese emperor. In line 1 scan Aristŭwŭ, dissolving the long u.
It chanced into a potter's shop I strayed.
He turned his wheel and deftly plied his trade,
And out of monarchs' heads, and beggars' feet,
Fair heads and handles for his pitchers made!
If you have sense, true senselessness attain,
And the Etern Cupbearer's goblet drain;
If not, true senselessness is not for you,
Not every fool true senselessness can gain!
O Love! before you pass death's portal through,
And potters make their jugs of me and you,
Pour from this jug some wine, of headache void,
And fill your cup, and fill my goblet too!
468. C. L. N. A. I. J. Headache, in allusion to the wine of Paradise, Koran, lvi. 17.
Love! while yet you can, with tender art,
Lift sorrow's burden from your lover's heart;
Your wealth of graces will not always last,
But slip from your possession, and depart!
469. C. L. N. A. I. J. Some MSS. read zinhár for zínhár, either will scan.
Bestir thee, ere death's cup for thee shall flow.
And blows of ruthless fortune lay thee low;
Acquire some substance here, there is none there,
For those who thither empty-handed go!
470. L. N. Line 2 is in metre 4. Meaning, "Work while it is day."
Who framed the lots of quick and dead but Thou?
Who turns the troublous wheel of heaven but Thou?
Though we are sinful slaves, is it for Thee
To blame us? Who created us but Thou?
471. L. N. A. I.
O wine, most limpid, pure, and crystalline,
Would I could drench this silly frame of mine
With thee, that passers by might think 'twas thou,
And cry, "Whence comest thou, fair master wine?"
472. L. N.
A Shaikh beheld a harlot, and quoth he,
"You seem a slave to drink and lechery;"
And she made answer, "What I seem I am,
But, Master, are you all you seem to be?"
473. L. N. The technical name of quatrains like this is suwál o jawáb, or murája'at. Gladwin, Persian Rhetoric, p. 40.
If, like a ball, earth to my house were borne,
When drunk, I'd rate it at a barley-corn;
Last night they offered me in pawn for wine.
But the rude vintner laughed that pledge to scorn.
474. C. L. N. A. I. J. Note the yás i tankír in kuyé, juyé, and girnyé.
Now in thick clouds Thy face Thou dost immerse,
And now display it in this universe;
Thou the spectator, Thou the spectacle,
Sole to Thyself Thy glories dost rehearse,
475. C. L. N. A. I. J. Compare the Vulgate, "ludens in orbe terrarum," and Gulshan i Ráz, p. 11.
Better to make one soul rejoice with glee,
Than plant a desert with a colony;
Rather one freeman bind with chains of love,
Than set a thousand prisoned captives free!
476. L. N.
O thou who for thy pleasure dost impart
A pang of sorrow to thy fellow's heart,
Go! mourn, thy perished wit, and peace of mind,
Thyself hast slain them, like the fool thou art!
477. C. L. N. A. I. J.
Wherever you can get two maunds of wine,
Set to, and drink it like a libertine;
Whoso acts thus will set his spirit free
From saintly airs like yours, and grief like mine.
478. C. L. N. A. B. I. J. Chu mané, "of one like me." So in No. 170, (the note to which is wrong.)
So long as I possess two maunds of wine,
Bread of the flower of wheat, and mutton chine,
And you, O Tulip cheeks, to share my hut,
Not every Sultan's lot can vie with mine.
479. C. L. N. A. B. I.
They call you wicked, if to fame you're known,
And an intriguer, if you live alone;
Trust me, though you were Khizer or Elias,
'Tis best to know none, and of none be known.
480. C. N. I.
Yes! here am I with wine and feres again!
I did repent, but, ah! 'twas all in vain;
Preach not to me of Noah and his flood,
But pour a flood of wine to drown my pain!
481. C. L. N. A. I. J. Tánba i Nassúh, a repentance not to be repented of. Nicolas. In line 2, note the izáfat dropped after silent he.
For union with my love I sigh in vain,
The pangs of absence I can scarce sustain,
My grief I dare not tell to any friend;
trouble strange, sweet passion, bitter pain!
482. N. These quatrains are called firákíya, and are rare in Khayyám.
'Tis dawn! I hear the loud Muezzin's call,
And here am I before the vintner's hall;
This is no time for piety. Be still!
And drop your talk and airs devotional!
483. C. L. N. A. I. J.
Angel of joyful foot! the dawn is nigh;
Pour wine, and lift your tuneful voice on high,
Sing how Jamsheds and Khosraus bit the dust,
Whelmed by the rolling months, from Tir to Dai!
484. C. L. N. A. I. Tir and Dai, April and December.
Frown not at revellers, I beg of thee,
For all thou keepest righteous company;
But drink, for, drink or no, 'tis all the same,
If doomed to hell, no heaven thou'lt ever see.
485. C. L. N. A. I. J. Koran, xvi. 38: "Some of them there were, whom Allah guided, and there were others doomed to err."
I wish that Allah would rebuild these skies,
And earth, and that at once, before my eyes,
And either raze my name from off his roll,
Or else relieve my dire necessities!
486. N. This rather sins against Horace's canon, "Nec Deus intersit," &c.
Lord! make thy bounty's cup for me to flow,
And bread unbegged for day by day bestow;
Yea, with thy wine make me beside myself.
No more to feel the headache of my woe!
487. C. L. N. A. I. J.
Omar! of burning heart, perchance to burn
In hell, and feed its bale-fires in thy turn.
Presume not to teach Allah clemency,
For who art thou to teach, or he to learn?
488. C .L. N. A. I. J. The Persian preface states that, after his death, Omar appeared to his mother in a dream, and repeated this quatrain to her. For the last line I am indebted to Mr. Fitzgerald.
Cheer up! your lot was settled yesterday!
Heedless of all that you might do or say,
Without so much as "By your leave" they fixed
Your lot for all the morrows yesterday!
489. C. L. A. B. I. Predestination.
I never would have come, had I been asked,
I would as lief not go, if I were asked,
And, to be short, I would annihilate
All coming, being, going, were I asked!
490. C. L. N. (in part) A. B. I. J. So the Ecclesiast, "Therefore I hated life," &c.
Man is a cup, his soul the wine therein.
Flesh is a pipe, spirit the voice within;
O Khayyam, have you fathomed what man is?
A magic lantern with a light therein!
491. C. A. I. Note mé (for mai) rhyming with we; We is Turanian (Bl., Prosody, xvii.), and probably me, pronounced with the Imála (ibid, p. v.), is the same.
O skyey wheel, all base men you supply
With baths, mills, and canals that run not dry,
While good men have to pawn their goods for bread:
Pray, who would give a fig for such a sky?
492. B. L. In line 3, I read níh and for nĭhand, which will not scan. Line 4 is slightly paraphrased.
A potter at his work I chanced to see,
Pounding some earth and shreds of pottery;
I looked with eyes of insight, and methought
'Twas Adam's dust with which he made so free!
493. C. L. A. I. J. Note the arrangement of the prepositions bar . . . . bazér. Bl., Prosody, xiii.
The Sáki knows my genus properly,
To all woe's species he holds a key;
Whene'er my mood is sad, he brings me wine,
And that makes all the difference to me!
494. C. L. A. I. A play on terms of Logic.
Dame Fortune! all your acts and deeds confess
That you are foul oppression's votaress;
You cherish bad men, and annoy the good;
Is this from dotage, or sheer foolishness?
495. C. L. A. I. J. Mu'takif, a devotee.
You, who in carnal lusts your time employ,
Wearing your precious spirit with annoy,
Know that these things you set your heart upon
Sooner or later must the soul destroy!
496. L. In line 4, L. writes árĭzúyī with two yas, the second being reflexed under the first. Bl. (Prosody p. 12) approves this method. The second yá is the yá i batni, after conjunctive ya.
Hear from the spirit world this mystery:
Creation is summed up, man, in thee;
Angel and demon, man and beast art thou.
Yea, thou art all thou dost appear to be!
497. L. Man, the microcosm. Line 2 is one syllable short. Should we read Sŭkhăné?
If popularity you would ensue,
Speak well of Moslem, Christian, and Jew;
So shall you be esteemed of great and small,
And none will venture to speak ill of you.
O wheel of heaven, what have I done to you,
That you should thus annoy me? Tell me true;
To get a drink I have to cringe and stoop,
And for my bread you make me beg and sue.
499. L. Abrúy, 'honour.'
No longer hug your grief and vain despair,
But in this unjust world be just and fair;
And since the issue of the world is naught,
Think you are naught, and so shake off dull care!
500. L. B. In line 3 scan nésătĭyast.