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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Additional Rubáiyát

By Omar Khayyám (1048–1131)

  • [These are verses from earlier editions which Edward Fitzgerald either transformed or dropped in others, and one which he never included in his “Eclogue” scheme; but which seem too beautiful or too quaint not to be given.]

  • I
    Opening Verses of the First Edition

    AWAKE! for Morning in the Bowl of Night

    Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

    And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught

    The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

    Dreaming when Dawn’s Left Hand was in the Sky

    I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,

    “Awake, my little ones, and fill the Cup

    Before Life’s Liquor in its cup be dry.”

    Stanza xxxvii. of the First Edition

    AH, fill the Cup: what boots it to repeat

    How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:

    Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday,

    Why fret about them if To-day be sweet?

    Stanza lxiv. of the First Edition

    SAID one,—“Folks of a surly Tapster tell,

    And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell:

    They talk of some strict Testing of us—Pish!

    He’s a Good Fellow, and ’twill all be well.”

    Stanza xiv. of the Second Edition

    WERE it not Folly, Spider-like to spin

    The Thread of present Life away to win—

    What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall

    Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!

    Stanza lxv. of the Second Edition

    IF but the Vine- and Love-abjuring Band

    Are in the Prophet’s Paradise to stand,

    Alack, I doubt the Prophet’s Paradise

    Were empty as the hollow of one’s Hand.

    Verse given among Fitzgerald’s notes to the ‘Rubáiyát,’ but not included in the body of the text

    BE of Good Cheer: the Sullen Month will die,

    And a young Moon requite us by-and-by:

    Look how the Old one, meagre, bent, and wan

    With Age and Fast, is Fainting from the Sky!