Trans. Edward FitzGerald (1859) | –
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand Of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter–and the Bird is on the Wing.
Ah, my Belov’ed fill the Cup that clears
To-day Past Regrets and Future Fears:
To-morrow!–Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.
Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
“Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.”
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.”
Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow’s tangle to the winds resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress–slender Minister of Wine.
And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press
End in what All begins and ends in–Yes;
Think then you are To-day what Yesterday
You were–To-morrow You shall not be less.
Juan Cole’s new translation of the Rubaiyat into contemporary English will be out in April from Bloomsbury / IB Tauris.