Re: The RubAIyat of Omar Khayyam / by Cliff McCormick

"I often wonder what the vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell"

-Omar Khayyam (Rubaiyat)


I highly recommend the "Fitzgerald translations" they are most often sold (now) as a set. There are 5. The first 3 translations are "appreciably different" -- the starkest contrast being between translations 1 & 2 probably; because between the two, there are a few (maybe between 12-4???) verses that aren't reprinted elsewhere. Meaning, in order to read all of the actual "stanzas"/existent verses -- you have to at least read the first 2 translations, and probably the 3rd as well. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th, are largely identical, save for a few tweaks to the verbiage for sake of fidelity to translation/re-working, and almost certainly to elicit the most "ring" from the lines themselves. The translation of Khayyam's work became his life's work. Edward Fitzgerald was born into wealth. Languished in his mind, and in the finer academic institutions of 19th century England. He did not live as his wealth would permit. He stayed largely in cottages and with friends. He was kindly remembered and liked . -- Its a masterwork for both men. If Fitzgerald had not stumbled upon these esoteric texts, and set himself to becoming a master of the language (eventually producing one of (arguably?) the finest English translations of an Arabic text.-- in his time, to even begin the work of translation; understanding the disparate and far flung existent scraps of text such as they were, would require a decade -- If he had not done this, for whatever his reasons, we almost certainly wouldn't even know the work exists. He would work on the Rubaiyat for the majority of his life; producing his five translations. *grin* -- Omar Khayyam -- epic guy; mellow *grin* . Was a philosopher, a poet, a mathematician, an astronomer, a man, and a "tent-maker." He lived about 1,000 years ago in what is today, Iran.