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Three
Edward FitzGerald
(b. Mar. 31, 1809 - d. June 14, 1883)

Born in Suffolk to Mary Fitzgerald and John Percell of Kilkenny. His father owned estates in England and Ireland.
Edward was educated at the King Edward Grammar School at Bury St.Edmunds and Cambridge and lived privately on a cottage on his father’s estate at Boulge, and later at Woodbridge.
FitzGerald was unusually shy and had settled into the tranquillity of a wealthy man, when he took up the study of Persian with a friend, Edward Cowell. Thus, he stumbled on Omar Khayyam.

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam (continued)
by Edward FitzGerald

57
Ah, by my Computations, People say,
Reduce the Year to better reckoning? - Nay,
'Twas only striking from the Calendar
Unborn To-morrow and dead Yesterday.

58
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas - the Grape!

59
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute;

60
The mighty Mahmud, Allah-breathing Lord,
That all the misbelieving and black Horde
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.

61
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare?
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a Curse - why, then, Who set it there?

62
I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must,
Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust,
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink,
To fill the Cup - when crumbled into Dust!

63
Of threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain - This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

64
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.
65
The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd,
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep
They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd.

66
I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return'd to me,
And answer'd I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:

67
Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.

68
We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
In Midnight by the Master of the Show;

69
But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

70
The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss'd you down into the Field,
He knows about it all - HE knows - HE knows!

71
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

72
And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help - for It
As impotently moves as you or I.
73
With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
And the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

74
YESTERDAY This Day's Madness did prepare;
TO-MORROW's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you not know whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

75
I tell you this - When, started from the Goal,
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul.

76
The Vine had struck a fiber: which about
It clings my Being - let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

77
And this I know: whether the one True Light
Kindle to Love, or Wrath consume me quite,
One Flash of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

78
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!

79
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay'd -
Sue for a Debt he never did contract,
And cannot answer - Oh the sorry trade!

80
Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!

81
Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake:
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd - Man's forgiveness give - and take!

82
As under cover of departing Day
Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away,
Once more within the Potter's house alone
I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.

83
Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small,
That stood along the floor and by the wall;
And some loquacious Vessels were; and some
Listen'd perhaps, but never talk'd at all.

84
Said one among them - Surely not in vain
My substance of the common Earth was ta'en
And to this Figure molded, to be broke,
Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again.

85
Then said a Second - Ne'er a peevish Boy
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy;
And He that with his hand the Vessel made
Will surely not in after Wrath destroy.

86
After a momentary silence spake
Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make;
They sneer at me for leaning all awry:
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?

87
Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot -
I think a Sufi pipkin - waxing hot -
All this of Pot and Potter - Tell me then,
Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?

88
Why, said another, Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marr'd in making - Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well.

89
Well, murmured one, Let whoso make or buy,
My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry:
But fill me with the old familiar Juice,
Methinks I might recover by and by.

90
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The little Moon look'd in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter's shoulders' knot a-creaking!

91
Ah, with the Grape my fading life provide,
And wash the Body whence the Life has died,
And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
By some not unfrequented Garden-side.

92
That ev'n buried Ashes such a snare
Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air
As not a True-believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

93
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup,
And sold my reputation for a Song.

94
Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore - but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

95
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honor - Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.

96
Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows!
97
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse - if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd,
To which the fainting Traveler might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

98
Would but some winged Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!

99
Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits - and then
Re-mold it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

100
Yon rising Moon that looks for us again -
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden - and for one in vain!

101
And when like her, oh Saki, 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!
TAMAM.

The Rubáiyát Part One - - The Rubáiyát Part Two

For more Poetry Click the Poetry Index.

 

Thu, Jul 9, 2015
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Pádraic Pearse, who played a prominent part in the 1916 rebellion, declared Ireland a Republic from the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin. He was executed, along with the other leaders, for his part in the Rising. But he was a gentle warrior at heart. These five stories show us that Pearse was a man of deep understanding with immense human awareness of the way of life of the average person. He analyses the sorrows and joys of the Irish people of his time, and writes of the tragedies of life and death from which they could never escape.
Review from Mercier Press
Click for Stories of P. Pearse.


Field Work
Seamus Heaney


After Bridget finished her recent article about After the Harvest (Putting out the Hare...) we were prompted to look for other references to Harvest Knots. We weren't too surprised to find a poem by Seamus Heaney from his book Field Work.


1000 Years of Irish Poetry: The Gaelic and Anglo Irish Poets from Pagan Times to the Present
by Kathleen Hoagland

Interested in Irish Poetry?Here's the easy way to collect them all (well, almost all, anyway).
Malachy McCourt says in his introduction, "With the republication of this book, the Irish recover under their roof of stars all the great poets and writers who have been falsely claimed by the saxon crown and its minions - even our reprobates."
Amazon states this is out of stock. They still have used copies for almost nothing (except shipping - chuckle). If you would like a new edition, it was available at Powell's. We can't promise it's still there. Click here for Powell's 1000 Years.
Click here for used at Amazon.


 

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