"Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line And
"UP-AND-DOWN" by Logic I define, Of
all that one should care to fathom, I
was never deep in anything but – Wine.
56 from FitzGerald's The
of Omar Khayyam VWP
Khayyam (1048-1131) was a Persian (Iranian)
astronomer, philosopher, and poet. Khayyam
significant contributions to the development of modern scientific
thought (see Wikipedia entryfor
details). As a poet, his work encompasses some 1000 quatrains
(rubai), popularized first in the West by The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam translated into English Verse by
Edward FitzGerald, first published in 1859. This website draws
from the 5th edition – 1889.
of Omar Khayyam
edition) contains 101 quatrains. The selections
here at vintagewinepoems.com, are comprised of 25 quatrains, which
I have grouped to
“wine poems”. You are strongly encouraged to read the entirety
of Fitzgerald's translation, which is available as a free e-book from
of Omar Khayyam
an extremely popular book, an important footnote in the history of
English poetry and publishing.
It became a popular part of 19th
Century culture, inspiring parodies into the next century (ie., The
Golfer's Rubaiyat (1901)
Rubaiyat of The Huffy Husband (1908)).
in his native Iran, Khayyam is revered poet and scientist, comparable
in stature to Shakespeare and Galileo in the West.
FitzGerald's own acknowledgment, this work is often a paraphrase of
the original. For instance, the source material for FitzGerald reads:
desire a flask of ruby wine and a book of verses Just enough to
keep me alive, and half a loaf is needful, And then, that thou
and I should sit in the wilderness, Is better than the kingdom of
FitzGerald's rendering, we get one of his and Omar's most well-known
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!
such instances, the more accurate description FitzGerald's English
verse might be “inspired by” rather than “a translation of”
the poetry of Omar Khayyam. Translations often cause such
conundrums. Most critics agree that FitzGerald captured the spirit
of Khayyam‘s work, as is evidenced in this comparison.
Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam: A Paraphrase From Several Literal
(1901) by Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947) was inspired by
FitzGerald's work, maintaining its
cadence, rhyme scheme, and structure. Le
Gallienne saw his work as an adjunct to FitzGerald's translation,
focusing on Khayyam quatrains not covered by his predecessor. The
“wine poems” featured here at vintagewinepoems.com are the result
of editorial choices of this writer. A free e-book of Le Gallienne's
work is available from The Internet Archive.