The Rubayyat of Omar Khayyam Author:Omar Khayyam, Edward Fitzgerald (translator), Joseph Isom (illustrator) 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! — Nine centuries have passed since Omar Khayyam composed this eloquent lyrical poem, an echo of the doubts, hopes and desires that have stirred men and women in every age and every place. No... more »w renowned as the Persian poet who created the Rubayyat, Omar Khayyam was known in his time as an astronomer and mathematician. He created this famous poem as a personal answer to the great questions of life. The poem extended through more than 750 stanzas, many of which are now permanently lost.
Though partial copies survived the ravages of time, the Rubayyat was virtually unknown outside the Middle East until the 19th century, when the battered manuscripts aroused the interest of Western scholars. But it took the Englishman Edward FitzGerald, a fortunate combination of scholar and poet, to transform the Rubayyat into a worthy English version. Others had attempted literal translations. Only FitzGerald was able to capture the elusive qualities of mystical wonder and beauty which give this work its timeless interest.
Omar Khayyam was never sure if the end of life would mean the end of his soul or the beginning of a new existence. One fact is certain: he attained immortality in a manner he had not expected, for his masterpiece will live among the great works of literature as long as there are those who read, wonder, and enjoy.« less