Rubyait of Omar Khayyam, as Translated by Edward Fitzgerald | Writing Forums
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Rubyait of Omar Khayyam, as Translated by Edward Fitzgerald (1 Viewer)

Beatrice Boyle

Senior Member
This is my all time favorite Poem.

Omar Khayyam was a twelfth century poet, scientist and astronomer, in what was then Persia (now Iran.)

His verses contain such universal truths, that endure to this day!

Some of my favorite lines, not neccesarily in order.

Come, fill the cup and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter garment of repentance fling
The bird of time has but a little way
To flutter - and the bird is on the wing
A book of verses underneath the bough
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness
Oh, wilderness were paradise enow!
Some for the glories of this world; and some
Sigh for the prophet's paradise to come
Ah, take the cash, and let the promise go
Nor heed the music of a distant drum!
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend
Before we too into the dust descend
Dust into Dust, and under dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and - sans End!
When you and I behind the veil are past
Oh but the long long while the world shall last
Which of our coming and departure heeds
As much as ocean of a pebble cast
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the road
Which to discover we must travel too
The movng 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
Ah Love! could you and I with fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire
Would not we shatter it to bits - and then
Re-mould it nearer to the heart's desire!
And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the guests star-scatter'd on the Grass
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one - turn down an empty glass!



I agree that the Rubaiyat is amazing, although the issue of whether it is more Fitzgerald's work than Khayyam's is worth discussing. There's no doubt that it's brilliant poetry though. My inner atheist prefers this one out of them all:

And that inverted bowl we call the sky,
Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die;
Lift not thy hands to it for help, for it
Rolls on as impotently as thou or I.

Beatrice Boyle

Senior Member
Hi Ispollack, welome to the forums! :D

Arguable in all translations (including the bible) one never knows where one started and the other left off! :roll:

Suffice it to say...both were brilliant!

Beatrice Boyle

Senior Member
I agree with you that the writing and imagery are unsurpassed...which drew me to it in the first place many years ago as a young school girl, and didn't delve deeply into the significance of his writing...It was the music and flow of his words that enchanted me.

However, at my vantage point, now that I'm 77 and staring my own mortality in the face...I find myself agreeing with many (not all) of his philosophical musings. For instance: "The Bird is on the wing" rings all too true, much as Robert Herricks To The Virgins..."Gather ye rosebuds while ye may"
and "When you reach the spot where I made one...turn down an empty glass". We all would like to be remembered when we're know we've made an impact!

The lines I quoted at the begining of the article all hold much greater meaning to me now, than when I first read the poem...and I'm you also as you grow older. :wink: