Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883)

From The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


A book of verse beneath the bough,
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou
        Beside me in the wilderness --
And wilderness is paradise, now.


'Tis all a checquer-board of nights and days
Where destiny, with men for pieces, plays,
        Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one, back in the closet, lays.


The moving finger writes, and having writ
Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
        Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.