Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam

(1048 – 1131) Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet, renowned in his own country and time for his scientific achievements but chiefly known to English-speaking readers through the translation of a collection of his robāʿīyāt (“quatrains”) in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

 

 

In Praise of Wine

“Morn’s first rays are glimmering,

From the skies the stars are creeping;

Rouse, for shame the goblet bring,

All too long thou liest sleeping:

Open those narcissus eyes,

Wake-be happy-and be wise!


Why, ungrateful man, repine,

When this cup is bright with wine?

All my life I’ve sought in vain,

Knowledge and content to gain;

All that Nature could unfold

Have I in her page unrolled;

All of glorious and grand

I have sought to understand.

‘Twas in youth my early thought,

Riper years no wisdom brought,

Life is ebbing, sure though slow,

And I feel I nothing know.


Bring the bowl! at least in this

Dwells no shadowed distant bliss;

See! I clasp the cup whose power

Yields more wisdom in an hour

Than whole years of study give,

Vainly seeking how to live.

Wine dispenses into air

Selfish thoughts, and selfish care.

Dost thou know why wine I prize?

He who drinks all ill defies:

And can awhile throw off the thrall

Of self, the God we worship-all!”