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
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling...
One thing is certain, that Life flies,
One thing is certain and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once is blown for ever dies.
I came like Water and like Wind I go...
While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With Old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink.
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to Thee - take that and do not shrink.
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates and slays...
Ah Love! Could Thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would we not shatter it to bits - and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire?
( From The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam "translated" by Edward Fitzgerald )