Omar Khayyam and Edward Fitzgerald

From: James E. Agenbroad (
Date: Mon Nov 01 1999 - 09:56:51 EST

                                      Monday, November 1, 1999
I don't know Persian; this is at best tangential to Unicode but I think
I'll try to shed some light on a question raised last week. From "The
nectar of grace: 'Omar Khayyam's life and works" by V.M. Datar (Allahbad:
1941), on page CLIII: "Haron Allen after a careful study of Fitzgerald's
quatrains came to the following conclusion: 'Out of Fitzgeralds's
quatrains forty-nine are fairful and beautiful paraphrases of single
quatrains to be found in the Ousley or Calcutta MSS or both. Forty-four
are traceable to more than one quatrain, any may be termed composite
quatrains. Two are inspired by quatrains found by Fitzgerald only in
Nicolas' Text. Two are reflecting the whole spirit of the original poem.
Two are traceable to the influence of 'Mantiq ut Tair" of Farid ud Din
'Attar. Two quatrains primarilly inspired by 'Omar, were influenced by
the odes of Hafiz."

   And a translation of one of 'Omar's quatrains on page 83 reads:
 "Fate will not correct what once she writes,
    And more than what is doled no grain alights;
  Beware to bleeding heart with sorid cares,
    For cares will cast thy heart in wretched plights."

  IMHO the first line seems close to Fitzgerald's "The moving finger
writes and having writ moves on" (I quote here from fallible memory.) The
numbering of Fitzgerald's much less 'Omar's quatrains is more complex than
I want to explore.

          Jim Agenbroad ( )
     The above are purely personal opinions, not necessarily the official
views of any government or any agency of any.
Phone: 202 707-9612; Fax: 202 707-0955; US mail: I.T.S. Dev.Gp.4, Library
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