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Rubaiyat of Rumi



The Rubaiyat of Jalal Al-Din Rumi

Select translations into English Verse' by A.J. Arberry, 1949.




Time bringeth swift to end
The rout men keep;
Death's wolf is nigh to rend
These silly sheep.

See, how in pride they go
With lifted head,
Till Fate with a sudden blow
Smiteth them dead.



Thou who lovest, life a crow,
Winter's chill and winter's snow,
Ever exiled from the vale's
Roses red, and nightingales:

Take this moment to thy heart!
When the moment shall depart,
Long thou 'lt seek it as it flies
With a hundred lamps and eyes.



The heavenly rider passed;
The dust rose in the air;
He sped; but the dust he cast
Yet hangeth there.

Straight forward thy vision be,
And gaze not left or night;
His dust is here, and he
In the Infinite.



Who was he that said
The immortal spirit is dead,
Or how dared he say
Hope's sun hath passed away?

An enemy of the sun,
Standing his roof upon,
Bound up both his eyes
And cried: 'Lo, the sun dies!'



'Who lifteth up the spirit,
Say, who is he?'
'Who gave in the beginning
This life to me.

Who hoodeth, life a falcon's,
Awhile mine eyes,
But presently shall loose me
To hunt my prize.'



As salt resolved in the ocean
I was swallowed in God's sea,
Past faith, past unbelieving,
Past doubt, past certainty.

Suddenly in my bosom
A star shone clear and bright;
All the suns of heaven
Vanished in that star's light.



Flowers every night
Blossom in the sky;
Peace in the Infinite;
At peace am I.

Sighs a hundredfold
From my heart arise;
My heart, dark and cold,
Flames with my sighs.



He that is my souls' repose
Round my heart encircling goes,
Round my heart and soul of bliss
He encircling is.

Laughing from my earthy bed
Like a tree I lift my head,
For the Fount of Living mirth
Washes round my earth.



The breeze of the morn
Scatters musk in its train,
Fragrance borne
From my fair love's lane.

Ere the world wastes,
Sleep no more: arise!
The caravan hastes,
The sweet scent dies.



If life be gone, fresh life to you
God offereth,
A life eternal to renew
This life of death.

The Fount of Immorality
In Love is found;
The come, and in this boundless sea
Of Love be drowned.



Happy was I
In the pearl's heart to lie;
Till, lashed by life's hurricane,
Life a tossed wave I ran.

The secret of the sea
I uttered thunderously;
Like a spent cloud on the shore
I slept, and stirred no more.



He set the world aflame,
And laid me on the same;
A hundred tongues of fire
Lapped round my pyre.

And when the blazing tide
Engulfed me, and I sighed,
Upon my mouth in haste
His hand He placed.



Though every way I try
His whim to satisfy,
His every answering word
Is a pointed sword.

See how the blood drips
From His finger-tips;
Why does He find it good
To wash in my blood?



Remembering Thy lip,
The ruby red I kiss;
Having not that to sip,
My lips press this.

Not to Thy far sky
Reaches my stretched hand,
Wherefore kneeling, I
Embrace the land.


I sought a soul in the sea
And found a coral there;
Beneath the foam for me
An ocean was all laid bare.

Into my heart's night
Along a narrow way
I groped; and lo! the light,
An infinite land of day.

'Persian Poems', an Anthology of verse translations edited
by A.J.Arberry, Everyman's Library, 1972



For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.



FURUZANFAR #77





Take someone who doesn't keep score,
who's not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
is his own personality: he's free.




FURUZANFAR #116






Stay in the company of lovers.
Those other kinds of people, they each
want to show you something.
A crow will lead you to an empty barn,
A parrot to sugar.


FURUZANFAR #630


The sufi opens his hands to the universe
and gives away each instant, free.
Unlike someone who begs on the street for money to survive,
a dervish begss to give you his life.




FURUZANFAR #686






For a while we lived with people,
but we saw no sign in them of the faithfullness we wanted.
It's better to hide completely within
as water hides in metal, as fire hides in a rock.



FURUZANFAR #1082




Inside the Great Mystery that is,
we don't really own anything.
What is this competition we feel then,
before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?



FURUZANFAR #1616
The Rumi Collection, Quatrain from Open Secret
(Translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks)
 



 
Last updated: May 9, 2004
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