What do you prefer? To sit down in a wine house and investigate yourself and your conscience, or to kneel down in a church or mosque without your soul taking part? I don't even think about whether or not we have a Master and what he will do with us if he exists. Go carefully so your wisdom will not humiliate your neighbour. Master yourself, master yourself. Never give in to rage. if you want to finally conquer peace, smile at the sting of fate and never sting another. Seeing as you do not know what tomorrow holds, strive to be happy today. Drink a jug of wine, sit under the light of the moon and drink, thinking that tomorrow the moon may search for you in vain. Beyond the limits of the Earth, beyond the Infinite, I searched for Heaven and Hell. But a calm voice said to me, “Heaven and Hell are within you. The unreachable world: A speck of dust in space. All the science of man: Words. Towns, beasts and the flowers of seven climates are shadows. Nothingness is the fruit of your constant meditation. Life is nothing more than a monotonous game where you are sure to find two prizes: Pain and death. Happy is the child who dies shortly after birth! Happier still is he who never touches the world. In the fairground you pass through, be sure never to find a friend. Do not look, either, for solid shelter. With brave spirits, accept pain without hoping for a remedy. Smile at disgrace and do not ask anyone for a smile: you will be wasting your time. Impossible to observe the heavens. I have a sendal of tears in my eyes! Light sparks are the fires of Hell in the face of the flames that consume me. Paradise for me is no more than an instant of peace. My birth brought nothing good into the world. My death will diminish neither its splendour nor its greatness. Nobody will ever be able to tell me what I came here for, or why I came or why I will depart. In the vertigo of life the only ones who are happy are those who think they are wise and those who do not try to educate themselves. I bowed before all the secrets of the Cosmos and returned to my loneliness envying all the blind I met on the way. When I die the roses, the cypresses, the wise reds and perfumed wine will have died. There will be no more dawns or dusks, sorrows or joys. The world will have ceased to exist. The world is real, only as real as thought makes it.
From Omar Khayyam (Iran, 1050-1122). Fragment of “Rubaiyat”