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Medieval Sourcebook:
Omar Khayyam:
The Cup, c. 1110

Know'st thou whence the hues are drawn
Which the tulip's leaves adorn?
'Tis that blood has soaked the earth,
Where her beauties had their birth.

Know'st thou why the violet's eyes
Gleam with dewy purple dyes?
'Tis that tears, for love untrue,
Bathed the banks where first she grew.

If no roses bloom for me,
Thorns my only flowers must be:
If no sun shine on my way,
Torches must provide my day.

Let me drink, as drink the wise:
Pardon for our weakness lies
In the cup---for Heaven well knew,
When I first to being sprung
I should love the rosy dew,

And its praise would oft be sung.
'Twere impiety to say
We would cast the cup away,
And be votaries no more,
Since it was ordained before.


From: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VIII: Medieval Persia, p. 16 (Translated by E. H. Whinfield).

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
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