Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
From Omar Khayyám
By Edward Fitzgerald (1809–1883)
 
I
A BOOK of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
  Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
O, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
 
Some for the Glories of This World; and some        5
Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come;
  Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!
 
Look to the blowing Rose about us—‘Lo,
Laughing,’ she says, ‘into the world I blow,        10
  At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.’
 
And those who husbanded the Golden grain
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain
  Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn’d        15
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.
 
II
Think, in this batter’d Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
  How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.        20
 
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
  And Bahram, that great Hunter—the wild Ass
Stamps o’er his Head, but cannot break his sleep.
 
I sometimes think that never blows so red        25
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
  That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.
 
And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean—        30
  Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!
 
Ah, my Belovèd, fill the Cup that clears
TO-DAY of past Regrets and Future Fears:
  To-morrow!—Why, To-morrow I may be        35
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n thousand Years.
 
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
  Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.        40
 
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom,
  Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend—ourselves to make a Couch—for whom?
 
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,        45
Before we too into the Dust descend;
  Dust unto dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans End!
 
III
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,        50
  And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
By some not unfrequented Garden-side!…
 
Yon rising Moon that looks for us again—
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
  How oft hereafter rising look for us        55
Through this same Garden—and for one in vain!
 
And when like her, O Sáki, you shall pass
Among the Guests star-scatter’d on the Grass,
  And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made One—turn down an empty Glass!        60
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors