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Augustin S. Macdonald, comp. A Collection of Verse by California Poets. 1914.

By Porter Garnett

Glose upon a Ruba’iy

  • “A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
  • A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
  • Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
  • Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

  • OFT have the footsteps of my Soul been led

    By thee, sweet Omar, far from hum of toil

    To where the Chenar trees their plumage spread

    And tangly vines of wild-grape thickest coil;

    Where distant fields, scarce glimpst in noon content,

    Are lush with verdure quick upon the plough;

    Where trill of Nightingale beneath the Tent

    Of heaven sinks away to soft lament;—

    There have I sat with Thee and conned ere now

    A Book of Verses underneath the Bough.

    When from the city’s raucous din new-freed

    I quaff thy wisdom from the Clearing Cup

    Of Rubaiyat, then, even as I read,

    I seem with Thee, in Persian groves to sup

    On bread of Yezdakhast and Shiraz Wine

    That lifts the net of Care from off the brow.

    These words, that tongue the Spirit of the Vine,

    Break from the Veil, and lo! the Voice is thine:

    Then is my wish—would Fate that wish allow!—

    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou.

    Although I tread the Wilderness of life,

    Thy song can waft me to that careless clime,

    Where enter in nor memories of strife,

    Nor ghosts of woe from out the Gulf of Time.

    There, by thy side, great Omar, would I stray,

    And drink the Juice that has forgot the Press,

    (A Pot, the Potter shaped but Yesterday—

    To-morrow will it be but broken Clay?)

    With only Thee the toilsome road to bless,

    Beside me singing in the Wilderness.

    When thou dost scorn the waste and mourn the Rose,

    That dies upon the world’s too sinful breast,

    In thy disdain a wondrous beauty glows,

    Unfolding visions of a Life more blest.

    Then from thy Naishapur in Khorasan

    I seem to wander, though I know not how,

    Within the glittering gates of Jennistan,

    Supreme Shadukiam I wondering scan:

    Though still I walk the Wilderness, I vow—

    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!