Whose secret Presence through Creation's veins
-like eludes your pains;
Taking all shapes from Mah
They change and perish all--but He remains;
A moment guessed--then back behind the Fold
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll'd
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.
But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor
, and up to Heav'n's unopening Door,
You gaze TODAY, while You are You--how then
TOMORROW, when You shall be You no more?
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That
endeavor and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.
For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line
And "UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define,
Of all that one should care to fathom, I
Was never deep in anything but--Wine.
Ah, by my Computations, People say,
Reduced the Year to better reckoning?--Nay,
'Twas only striking from the Calendar
Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday.
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas--the Grape
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The sovereign Alchemist
that in a trice
Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute;
The mighty Mahmúd
That all the misbelieving and black Horde
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.
51. From Mah to Mahi; from Fish to Moon.
56. A Jest, of course, at his Studies. A curious mathematical Quatrain
of Omar's has been pointed out to me; the more curious because almost exactly parallel'd by some Verses of Doctor Donne
's, that are quoted in Izaak Walton
's Lives! Here is Omar: "You and I are the image of a pair of compasses; though we have two heads (sc. our feet) we have one body; when we have fixed the centre for our circle, we bring our heads (sc. feet) together at the end." Dr. Donne:
If we be two, we two are so As stiff twin-compasses are two; Thy Soul, the fixt foot, makes no show To move, but does if the other do.
And though thine in the centre sit, Yet when my other far does roam, Thine leans and hearkens after it, And rows erect as mine comes home.
Such thou must be to me, who must Like the other foot obliquely run; Thy firmness makes my circle just, And me to end where I begun.
59. The Seventy-two Religions supposed to divide the World, including Islam
ism, as some think: but others not.
60. Alluding to Sultan
Mahmud's Conquest of India
and its dark people.