Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

Omar Khayyam - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne


Great Omar, here to-night we drain a bowl
Unto thy long-since transmigrated soul,
Ours all unworthy in thy place to sit,
Ours still to read in life's enchanted scroll.

For us like thee a little hour to stay,
For us like thee a little hour of play,
A little hour for wine and love and song,
And we too turn the glass and take our way.

So many years your tomb the roses strew,
Yet not one penny wiser we than you,
The doubts that wearied you are with us still,
And, Heaven be thanked! your wine is with us too.

For, have the years a better message brought
To match the simple wisdom that you taught:
Love, wine and verse, and just a little bread--
For these to live and count the rest as nought?

Therefore, Great Omar, here our homage deep
We drain to thee, though all too fast asleep
In Death's intoxication art thou sunk
To know the solemn revels that we keep.

Oh, had we, best-loved Poet, but the power
From our own lives to pluck one golden hour,
And give it unto thee in thy great need,
How would we welcome thee to this bright bower!

O life that is so warm, 'twas Omar's too;
O wine that is so red, he drank of you:
Yet life and wine must all be put away,
And we go sleep with Omar--yea, 'tis true.

And when in some great city yet to be
The sacred wine is spilt for you and me,
To those great fames that we have yet to build,
We'll know as little of it all as he.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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