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The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam by Omar Khayyám
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's review
Feb 24, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, favourites
Read from February 14 to 22, 2011

Having loved Edward FitzGerald's free translation of these verses for many years, I wanted to read a more literal translation, which I got with this edition.

Initially, I wasn't taken: the verses were stark and plain for the most part, and there was no real connection between one quatrain and the next. But I persevered and as the memory of FitzGerald receded somewhat, I was able to enjoy the poems on their own terms. The humour and beauty of the "originals" (as close as a non-Persian speaker can get to the originals, anyway) shone through and won me over.

It was fun, too, to recognise some old friends in new clothes.

The translators' fascinating introduction and appendices were worth the price of the book by themselves, enhancing enjoyment of the verses by giving some context.

I guess I still prefer FitzGerald's translation because it's the one I've grown up with, but I will definitely revisit this edition, too.

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Quotes Michael Liked

Omar Khayyám
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Omar Khayyám, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Omar Khayyám
“Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Omar Khayyám, رباعيات خيام

Omar Khayyám
“I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.”
Omar Khayyám, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Reading Progress

02/16/2011 page 30
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