Parodies of Fitzgerald’s Omar Khayyam #3: Of Omar Jr, a tobacco aficionado IV

And I finally come to the point, where I introduce you to that priceless literary pleasure, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Jr. Since the last three posts on this topic were devoted to the introduction of this magnificent parody, I will not presume to test your patience any longer and straightaway go to the quatrains. Enjoy…..   I have however taken the liberty of marking, in bold, some which in my humble opinion, are among the best.          


What though Gorgona at the Portal knocks
And charms the squamiest Serpent in her Locks –
I wear tobacchanalian Wreaths of Smoke
And there are more Perfectos in the box.


Now the New Year, reviving old Desires,
The craving Phoenix rises from its Fires.
Indeed, indeed Repentance oft I swore,
But last Year’s Pledge with this New Year expires.


Mark how Havana’s sensuous-philtred Mead
Dispels the cackling Hag of Night at Need,
And, foggy-aureoled, the Smoke reveals
The Poppy Flowers that blossom from the Weed.


Come, fill the Pipe, and in the Fire of Spring
The Cuban Leaves upon the Embers fling,
That in its Incense I may sermonize
On Woman’s Ways and all that sort of Thing.


While the tired Dog Watch hailed the sea-merged Star
I heard the Voice of Travellers from Afar
Making Lament with many an Ivory Yawn,
“There’s Comfort only in the Smoking Car!”


See, heavenly Zamperina, damselish,
The Day has broken Night’s unwholesome Dish,
The Lark is up betimes to hail the Dawn,
The Early Worm is up to catch the Fish.


Let us infest the Lintel of the Gloam
And chase the Steeds from Morning’s Hippodrome,
And let Aurora’s wastrel Wanderings be
A good Excuse to stay away from Home.


Ah, Love, th’ Invisible Buskin at the Gate
Illumes your Eyes that languored gaze and wait
And in their Incandescence seem to ask
The world-old Question: “Is my Hat On Straight?”


Than Basilisk or Nenuphar more fair,
Your Locks with countless glistening Pendants glare,
Then as the Fountain patters to the brim
A hundred Hairpins tumble from your Hair.


So let them scatter, jangled in Duress.
What reckons Love of Hairpins more or less?
Guard well your Heart and let the Hairpins go –
To lose your Heart were arrant Carelessness.


Acephalous Time to febrous Lengths bestirred
Strips the lush Blossom and outstrips the Bird,
Makes sweet the Wine – I cannot say the Same
Of Women or of Songs that I have heard.


With me along that mezzotinted Zone
Where Hymen Spring is hymning to his Own –
See how grave Mahmud gambols on the Glebe
And hangs the sign TO LET upon his Throne!


A Grand Piano underneath the Bough,
A Gramophone, a Chinese Gong, and Thou
Trying to sing an Anthem off the Key –
Oh, Paradise were Wilderness enow!


Chromatic Catches troll from yonder Hill
Where Bill to Beak the Wren and Whip-poor-Will
In deed and truth beshrew the Beldam Life
Who kisses first and then presents the Bill.


As one who by the Sphinx delays a space
And on her Shoulder finds a Resting Place,
Breathes an awed Question in her stupored Ear.
And lights a Sulphur Match upon her Face,


So unto Venus’ Oracle in turn
I leaned the Secret of my Love to learn.
The Answering Riddle came: “She loves you, yes,
In just Proportion to the Sum you Earn.”


Some by Eolian Aloes borne along
Swound on the Dulcimer’s reverbrant Thong;
But I, who make my Mecca in a Kiss,
Begrudge the Lips that waste their Time in Song.


Some clamour much for kisses, some for Few,
Others deep sup, their Thirstings to renew,
And mumble into Maunderings, but I,
In Kissing, scorn the How Much for the Who.


Svelte Zamperina’s Lips incarnadine,
And languored lifting, fasten unto mine,
Their rubric Message giving Hint and Clew
How frequently a Kiss in Time saves Nine.

To be continued…


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