13 November 2007

Rubaiyat

Finally read it. Totally loved it. As I knew I would. It was recommended by a lover of poetry, after all. And I also had the benefit of explanations by the same person. So when I finally hunted it out in the LSR library, and began reading, it was like tracing a memory. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. A book of his Persian quatrains, written in English by Edward FitzGerald. I say written, and not translated, since it can't be denied that he has taken several liberties with the original. Still, they're utterly, movingly beautiful. Here are some of my favorite verses:

Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round Enmesh,
and then impute my Fall to Sin!

***

Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And Ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake:
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man Is blacken'd--
man's forgiveness give--and take.

***

The Moving 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.

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