Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
[click to enlarge]

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Rendered into English Verse
by Edward Fitzgerald

“The text of the fourth edition followed by that of the first, with notes showing the extent of his indebtedness to the Persian original.”

Contains a biographical preface; Fitzgerald’s sketch of the life of Omar, and a foreword by Talcott Williams.

From the publishing house of the John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia. Copyright 1898 by Henry T. Coates & Co.

A few of my favorite verses from the first edition:

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

Oh, come with old Khayyám, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d — “While you live Drink! —
for once dead you never shall return.”

And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in — Yes —
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be — Nothing — Thou shalt not be less.

12.4.2010 #2
12.4.2010 #1 (drawing)


Aleksandra said...

"End in the Nothing all Things end in — Yes —
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be — Nothing — Thou shalt not be less." ---

William,this is so ......

it is one of my favorites,this looks beautiful too! Wow! :O)
Is it coincidence,I got "The Prophet and The Art Of Peace " by Kahlil Gibran today,finally,my own book,:O)))) yes,and the translator(it is in Dutch) is my good friend Wilma Paalman,and it is illustrated edition and Im happy as a little child!! :O)
Can not upload the photos now but I will later! Lovely!
Good day to you!

William Michaelian said...

Hello, Aleksandra, and thank you. It’s wonderful to hear about your Dutch Prophet!

Aleksandra said...

And I just have found my little book of Khayyam's Rubaiyat in my language,it was one of the first books I took with me when I moved to Holland! :O)Sweet memories! Thank you for it!

William Michaelian said...

Great news! This is also one of my mother’s favorite books. We have several other editions in the house.

Wine and Words said...

I have attempted to fling the stone...channeled David, though it went not far. And so I cower...ammunition anemic in it's sling.

rahina q.h. said...

watched a programme on BBC last night called the American Dream and the influence of cults and religions in relation to this. in the 1960s i think the hippies had adopted a similar view of life as in this poem... so it seemed in the documentary.
made me think that in artistic endeavours, there is no such luxury. life is too precious and short to spend inebriated. if anything i paint harder and longer hours at the thought of the essence of this poem.... especially the final verse pushes me further... i think i might have been quite lousey at flower power if i had been there;)

Aleksandra said...

One of possible interpretations of this wonderful mind,sounds like bad documentary.

William Michaelian said...

Good morning, Annie.... catch!

Well, Rahina, who’s to say? Sometimes there’s something in the air, or in the moment at hand, in the scent of a flower, that changes everything. The text of this poem, especially the first edition that my mother loves — she no longer remembers it, but she still loves it — is so rooted in our friendship that I’d never care to untangle it, or muddle it, as the documentary seems to have done. Even if it’s right, it’s only partly and temporarily so, which is also part of the poem’s message.

Just so, Aleksandra: the poem was born before us and will outlive us all.

Old 333 said...

Ah, good sh*t. I had read some of that before - thought I hadn't. Thanks for posting, William! You are a service to us all.