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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 954

Omar Khayyam. (fl. 11th cent.)
    I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
  That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.
          Rubáiyát. Stanza xix.
    A Moment’s Halt—a momentary taste
Of BEING from the Well amid the Waste—
  And, Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach’d
The NOTHING it set out from. Oh, make haste!
          Rubáiyát. Stanza xlviii.
    Heav’n but the Vision of fulfill’d Desire,
And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire.
          Rubáiyát. Stanza lxvii.
    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.
          Rubáiyát. Stanza lxxi.
    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.
          Rubáiyát. Stanza lxxvii.
    And when like her, O Sáki, you shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter’d on the Grass,
  And in your blissful errand reach the spot
Where I made One—turn down an empty Glass.
          Rubáiyát. Stanza ci.
Alfonso X (the Wise). (1221–1284)
    Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe. 1
Note 1.
Carlyle says, in his “History of Frederick the Great,” book ii. chap. vii. that this saying of Alphonso about Ptolemy’s astronomy, “that it seemed a crank machine; that it was pity the Creator had not taken advice,” is still remembered by mankind,—this and no other of his many sayings. [back]