Omar awakening

Omar Khayyam

Born 1048 May 18 in Nishapur, Persia (Iran): Died: 4 Dec 1131 in the same city.

The same birthday as Querida.

Mathematician, astronomer, and perhaps a poet. His scientific work is attested to in his lifetime, but the poetry attributed to him was collected much later and grew with time. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was freely translated and ordered by Edward Fitzgerald (1809--1883). The resulting work might best be called a collaboration between the Persian Omar and the English Fitzgerald.

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.

  1. Omar Khayyam The St. Andrews Lives of the Mathematicians
  2. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Edward Fitzgerald's reworking of the corpus of Omar Khayyam's quatrains (Rubaiya?). This seems to be the first edition.
  3. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Fitzgerald's final edition, but many see it as only an alternate, not a replacement.


The Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat is an elegant enticement, but no one could treat it as a ``complete system.'' It's a pose, but then we enjoy poses---dressing up as a Persian sceptical hedonist---and learn from them too. There is an ancient pagan pessimism---any achievement is beaten down to dust leaving only a vestige behind. The great monotheistic religions promise an afterlife which can be pictured in more-or-less dreary fashion. Science and technology broke the cycle of perpetual fall of civilizations before rust and barbarian slaughter, but do not teach us how to live. I remember the words of Shelley: ``Die, / If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!'' His point being that we are searchers: to pretend that one has found is to go to rust.

  1. Rubaiyat Fitzgerald's the 1st Edition
  2. Rubaiyat Fitzgerald's the 5th and Final Edition


  1. Omar awakening Omar awakening.
  2. Image 1
  3. Image 2
  4. Image 3 An illustration for his poems.