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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 1 page 03

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

by Edward FitzGerald


Wake! For the Sun, who scattered into flight
the starry beasts that roam the sky of night,
   sends darkness fleeing with them as he strikes
the sultan's turret with a shaft of light.


Before the phantom of false morning died,
I thought a voice within the tavern cried,
   “When all the temple is prepared within,
why nods the drowsy worshiper outside?”


The cock then crowed, and those who stood before
the tavern shouted, “Open up the door!
   You know how little time we have to stay,
and once departed we return no more.”


The Garden of Eden is lost with all its rose,
King Xerxes’ crown has gone where no one knows,
   yet many a flower by the river grows
and in the vine a deep-down warmth still glows.


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.