Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam

'Tis all a Chequer-Board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

According to the oracle Wikipedia, today is the birthday of the great 11th century Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer, Omar Khayyam. Above is my extremely battered 1941 American edition of Fitzgerald's translation of Khayyam's famous Rubaiyat. The introduction by American poet Louis Untermeyer claims the poem's philosophy is "a vigorous, free-thinking hedonism, a casual but frank appeal to enjoy the pleasures of life without too much reflection."
Sounds good to me!

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!

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