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Here is a selection of some of the best known verses from FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The text is taken from FitzGerald's first edition of the Rubaiyat.  Click here for the full text of this edition.

This page is under construction.  In the future we hope to have a selection of illustrations for the quatrains and a section of the site where you can show your own favourite quatrains.




AWAKE ! for Morning in the Bowl of Night

Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

And Lo ! the Hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.



Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,

A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness -

And Wilderness is Paradise enow.



Myself when young did eagerly frequent

Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument

About it and about: but evermore

Came out by the same Door as in I went.



'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days

Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:

Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,

And one by one back in the Closet lays.



The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,

But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;

And He that toss'd Thee down into the Field,

He knows about it all - HE knows - HE knows !



The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.



And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot

Some could articulate, while others not:

And suddenly one more impatient cried-

Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot ?



Ah Love ! could thou and I with Fate conspire

To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,

Would not we shatter it to bits - and then

Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire !



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