Ode 384

HEAVENS! do you think this is a time to choose
To give the good wine up?
Just at the very moment when the rose
In every garden blows!
How can I so unseasonably refuse
The Spring's own cup?

Nay—call the minstrel! So with lyre and reed,
Roses and girls, and girls, and song and song,
I may at length my hoarded virtue use,
Ah! hoarded up too long!
For I am sick to death of all the schools,
And now at last, at last, that I am freed
Awhile from wisdom's fools,
Ah! full advantage of it will I take,
And my deep thirst for beauty and for wine
For once, at least, I 'll slake.

Talk to me not about the Book of Sin,
For, friend, to tell the truth,
That is the book I would be written in—
It is so full of youth.

And, mark me, friend! When on the Judgment Day
The black book and the white
Are angel-opened there, in Allah's sight,
For all to read what 's writ;
Just watch how lonely the white book will be!
But the black book, wherein is writ my name,—
My name, my shame, my fame,—
With busy readers all besieged you 'll see,
Yea, almost thumbed away—
So interesting it.

And as for this, my fatal love of wine,
Believe me, friend, it is no fault of mine—
'T is fate, just fate; and surely you don't think
I fear a God that destined me to drink?
This life of HAFIZ was the gift of God—
To God some day I 'll give it back again;
Ah! have no fear! when HAFIZ meets his God,
I know HE will not call it lived in vain.