Treasure Island

Edward Fitzgerald

(31 March 1809 – 14 June 1883 / Suffolk / England)

From Omar Khayyam


I

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

Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
   Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

Look to the blowing Rose about us--'Lo,
Laughing,' she says, 'into the world I blow,
   At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.'

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.

II

Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
   How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
   And Bahrám, that great Hunter--the wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
   That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean--
   Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
TO-DAY of past Regrets and Future Fears:
   To-morrow!--Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years.

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

And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom,
   Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend--ourselves to make a Couch--for whom?

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
   Dust unto Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End!

III

Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
   And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
By some not unfrequented Garden-side....

Yon rising Moon that looks for us again--
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
   How oft hereafter rising look or us
Through this same Garden--and for one in vain!

And when like her O Sákí, you shall pass
Among the Guests star-scatter'd on the Grass,
   And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made One--turn down an empty Glass!

WITH blackest moss the flower-plots
   Were thickly crusted, one and all:
The rusted nails fell from the knots
   That held the pear to the gable-wall.
The broken sheds look'd sad and strange:
   Unlifted was the clinking latch;
   Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
Upon the lonely moated grange.
   She only said, 'My life is dreary,
   He cometh not,' she said;
   She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,
   I would that I were dead!'

Her tears fell with the dews at even;
   Her tears fell ere the dews were dried;
She could not look on the sweet heaven,
   Either at morn or eventide.
After the flitting of the bats,
   When thickest dark did trance the sky,
   She drew her casement-curtain by,
And glanced athwart the glooming flats.
   She only said, 'The night is dreary,
   He cometh not,' she said;
   She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,
   I would that I were dead!'

Upon the middle of the night,
   Waking she heard the night-fowl crow:
The cock sung out an hour ere light:
   From the dark fen the oxen's low
Came to her: without hope of change,
   In sleep she seem'd to walk forlorn,
   Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn
About the lonely moated grange.
   She only said, 'The day is dreary,
   He cometh not,' she said;
   She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,
   I would that I were dead!'

About a stone-cast from the wall
   A sluice with blacken'd waters slept,
And o'er it many, round and small,
   The cluster'd marish-mosses crept.
Hard by a poplar shook alway,
   All silver-green with gnarled bark:
   For leagues no other tree did mark
The level waste, the rounding gray.
   She only said, 'My life is dreary,
   He cometh not,' she said;
   She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,
   I would that I were dead!'

And ever when the moon was low,
   And the shrill winds were up and away,
In the white curtain, to and fro,
   She saw the gusty shadow sway.
But when the moon was very low,
   And wild winds bound within their cell,
   The shadow of the poplar fell
Upon her bed, across her brow.
   She only said, 'The night is dreary,
   He cometh not,' she said;
   She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,
   I would that I were dead!'

All day within the dreamy house,
   The doors upon their hinges creak'd;
The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse
   Behind the mouldering wainscot shriek'd,
Or from the crevice peer'd about.
   Old faces glimmer'd thro' the doors,
   Old footsteps trod the upper floors,
Old voices call'd her from without.
   She only said, 'My life is dreary,
   He cometh not,' she said;
   She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,'
   I would that I were dead!'

The sparrow's chirrup on the roof,
   The slow clock ticking, and the sound
Which to the wooing wind aloof
   The poplar made, did all confound
Her sense; but most she loathed the hour
   When the thick-moted sunbeam lay
   Athwart the chambers, and the day
Was sloping toward his western bower.
   Then, said she, 'I am very dreary,
   He will not come,' she said;
   She wept, 'I am aweary, aweary,
   O God, that I were dead!'

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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Comments about this poem (From Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald )

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  • Ian Fraser (11/13/2011 4:21:00 PM)

    There appears to be an error here as the second half is 'Mariana at the Moated Grange' by Tennyson. (Report) Reply

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