From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward FitzGerald
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.
'How sweet is mortal Sovranty!' – think some:
Others: ‘How blest the Paradise to come!’
Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest;
Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!
Look to the Rose that blows about us – 'Lo,
Laughing,' she says, 'into the World I blow:
And at once the silken Tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.'
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes – or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face
Lighting a little hour or two – is gone.
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.
Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.