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Medieval Sourcebook:
Omar Khayyam:
In Praise of Wine, c. 1100

Morn's first rays are glimmering,
From the skies the stars are creeping;
Rouse, for shame the goblet bring,
All too long thou liest sleeping:
Open those narcissus eyes,
Wake-be happy-and be wise!

Why, ungrateful man, repine,
When this cup is bright with wine?
All my life I've sought in vain,
Knowledge and content to gain;
All that Nature could unfold
Have I in her page unrolled;
All of glorious and grand
I have sought to understand.
'Twas in youth my early thought,
Riper years no wisdom brought,
Life is ebbing, sure though slow,
And I feel I nothing know.

Bring the bowl! at least in this
Dwells no shadowed distant bliss;
See! I clasp the cup whose power
Yields more wisdom in an hour
Than whole years of study give,
Vainly seeking how to live.
Wine dispenses into air
Selfish thoughts, and selfish care.
Dost thou know why wine I prize?
He who drinks all ill defies:
And can awhile throw off the thrall
Of self, the God we worship-all!


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. 15 (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