Adapted with alterations from the Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883) translations of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám (1048-1131), Persian philosopher and polymath.
It’s a chequerboard of nights and days
Where destiny with men for pieces plays
And here and there moves, and mates, and slays
And one by one back in the closet lays
When I was young I did frequent
Doctor and saint for argument
Around and around forever more
We came and went through the same damn door
And lately through the tavern door agape
Came stealing through the dusk an angel shape
Bearing a casket on his back and he bid me taste
He bid me taste and it was - the grape!
Some we loved and we loved the best
Who nature’s vintage from time has pressed
They drank their cup a round or two
And one by one they crept to rest
So make the most of the time you spend
Before you too into dust descend
Dust to dust and under dust to lie
No wine, no songs, no singing...