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The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam

These selected stanzas from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khavam of Naishapur, by Edward Fitzgerald, provide an example of how a one literary piece can provide a setting for another. As you read these, consider how they relate to Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Mr. Flood's Party."

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.

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness-
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath pressed,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.

What, without asking, hither hurried Whence?
And, without asking, Whither hurried hence!
Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine
Must drown the memory of that insolence!

Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain--This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

YESTERDAY This Day's Madness did prepare;
TOMORROW"S Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why;
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

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© Scott Foll 2000. All rights reserved.