The Moving Finger writes, and having writ, Moves on

A couple of days ago I used a tongue-in-cheek version of the above title, and now  people are coming to my blog in search of the quote. So here it is, along with several other well-known quatrains from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

The Moving Finger writes, and having writ,

Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit

     Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,

Nor all your tears wash out a Word of it.


Here with a little bread beneath the Bough,

A Flask of Wine, A Book of Verse—and Thou

     Beside me singing in the Wilderness—

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!


Into this Universe and Why not knowing

Nor whence, like Water, willy-nilly flowing;

     And out of it, as wind along the Waste,

I know not whither, willy-nilly flowing.


Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit

Of This and That endeavor and dispute;

     Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape

Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.


Heaven but the Vision of fulfilled Desire,

And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,

     Cast in the Darkness into which ourselves,

So late emerged from shall so soon expire.


Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire

To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things Entire,

     Would not we shatter it to bits—and then

Re-mold it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!


Oh, Thou, who Men of baser Earth didst make,

And ev’n with Paradise devise the Snake:

     For all the Sin the Face of Wretched Man

Is black with—Man’s forgiveness give—and take!

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3 Responses to “The Moving Finger writes, and having writ, Moves on”

  1. Charlotte Loines Says:

    Do you have the complete poem The Moving Finger Writes. I would love to have it. Thank you so much.

  2. Arlene Says:

    Thanks for nice blog, I stumbled on it looking for The Moving Finger…. as a piece n my own blog, so hope you dn’t mind I copied the verse. ta

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