The Sufi in the City(from The Sailing of the Long-Ships: 1902)
When late I watched the arrows of the sleet
Against the windows of the Tavern beat,
I heard a Rose that murmured from her Pot:
‘Why trudge thy fellows yonder in the Street?
‘Before the phantom of False Morning dies,
Choked in the bitter Net that binds the skies,
Their feet, bemired with Yesterday, set out
For the dark alleys where To-morrow lies.
‘Think you, when all their petals they have bruised,
And all the fragrances of Life confused,
That Night with sweeter rest will comfort these
Than us, who still within the Garden mused?
‘Think you the Gold they fight for all day long
Is worth the frugal Peace their clamours wrong?
Their Titles, and the Name they toil to build –
Will they outlast the echoes of our Song?’
O Sons of Omar, what shall be the close
Seek not to know, for no man living knows:
But while within your hands the Wine is set
Drink ye – to Omar and the Dreaming Rose!
Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938)
English poet, novelist and historian