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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Verse: Rubaiyat 51 by Omar Khayyam (1048-1131)

Here are four thought-provoking lines written by mathematician, Omar Khayyam and translated by Edward FitzGerald, 1859. 


Yesterday I read some of the other Rubaiyat (the plural is also Rubaiyat) by Khayyam. As I read the quatrain below in it's context, the poet's meaning seems to be different from what I'd previously thought. Or, more probably, there exists a larger depth of meaning than I'd realized.


To add to the challenge, it's a translation from Persian into English by a man who was not a linguist....and "not known for his fidelity with regard to translation." Of course, that's a challenge for anyone with a rhyme scheme of AABA and FitzGerald is the man who made Khayyam famous in the 1800's...and in this century.


Khayyam left behind over one thousand Rubaiyat, and in his fifth edition (published posthumously) FitzGerald presents 101 of them.


Nevertheless, these 34 words pack a punch, all the way here to us from the year 1099 or so.




Rubaiyat 51 by Omar Khayyam (1048-1131)




The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.





1 comment:

Robin J. Steinweg said...

I'd sure like to hear what went before and comes after!