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From the Ruba'iyat

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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 02:28 PM
Original message
From the Ruba'iyat
I love the Ruba'iyat. Good old Omar wrote a lot about the futility of life, and dying. Rather a morose man, but beautiful poet.

Here's a verse set (compacted from a few separate verses, in case any of you pros want to question why it has four lines, etc.) that speaks to me rather a lot (not for anything specifically right now, it has spoken to me for some time, as I, too, contemplate the meaning of life and why we're here and what it's all about).

God began my creation with constraint,
By giving me life God only added confusion;
We depart reluctantly still not knowing
The aim of birth, existence, departure.

If my coming here were my will, I would not have come.
Nothing could be better than not to have come, not to be, not to go.
Convivial friends have all gone,
Death has trampled them down one after another.


Discuss. Interested in hearing your thoughts on these somewhat hopeless and fatalistic verses.
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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. How Strange
Edited on Sun Jul-20-03 02:49 PM by Nicholas_J
I open DU, but first put a CD in hte drive to listen to a spoken word DC scored by Alan Hovhaness, with Michael York reading the Rubaiyat...A birtday present to myself today.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Ah - I have that CD!
Edited on Sun Jul-20-03 02:57 PM by Rabrrrrrr
Wonderful. Though not as normally inspired Hovhannes as I had hoped from it, it's still quite good. :-)

and yes, an odd synchronicity!
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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I collect Rubaiyat's
It started with a 1917 pocket copy with just flat pieces of leather and two leather bound studs holding the pages together. THe leather is dried and sort of cracking, but it is my oldest copy.
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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. You really have to understand sufi ideas
To understand the Rubaiyat.

only fatalistic in the idea that all eartly life is dismal compared to life in the present of the friend(Allah is sufi terms).

That he departed reluctantly from the presence of Allah,and would not have done so willingly.
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Droopy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. Whoever wrote that needs to be on an anti-depressant
If the author were to become an atheist, he wouldn't have to struggle with such questions.

But then, maybe this is a valid part of the religious experience. I bet a lot of religious people go through a soul searching period where they question God. The author speaks of death and the seeming futility of life. Why did God put us here only to take us away? Why does life have to be so painful sometimes? Is it all a test? He also speaks of free will saying that if he had a choice he would not have chosen this life. Is he implying that there is no such thing as free will?

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Astarho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. To be honest
I am not that familiar with Omar Khayyam, moreso with Rumi and Nisami and Hafiz is one of my favorite poets. But he was a master and this verse does echo my own thoughts much of the time.

Life ultimately has no purpose, we have to make our own. If I had the choice I would not have come here either, this world is chaotic, brutal and unfair. People say the world (nature, life etc.) is cruel, but I think they are wrong. The world is not cruel, but indifferent. Impermanance is the way of life, so enjoy the moment.

Just some of my really disorganized thoughts.
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Ramsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
7. I've never known anyone who ever heard of this poem
Much less quoted it or collected it. So for all you buffs, you might be interested in my book. I inherited an incredibly beautfiul version of the Rubaiyiat of Omar Khayyam, translation by Edward Fitzgerald in the 1850's, who apparently did a rather bold interpretation of the work.

My book was published in 1947, and has a lengthy introduction of both the poems, a biography of the translator and four different editions (versions) of the poem with scholarly discussion of the various quatrains left in, removed or altered, all accompanied by some incredible illustrations by one Robert Stewart Sherriffs.

I could not find the quatrains you quoted in my version, perhaps speaking to Fitzgeralds particular liberties with the text. But my versions are beautiful nonetheless. I am posting one of the illustrations for your interest.




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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. wow!
Quite an image!

And quite a book to have. Something to keep in the library and bring out when you have boorish, uneducated people over...

Perhaps between the freedom of this guy's translation, and my own mix-and-match collusion and elision of the texts, you WON'T find my quoted verses in there, except as individual lines... and of course, always depends on who does the translating, and whether they try to keep the meter and rhyme or go for a more literal translation (the kind I prefer - I find rhyming English translations of The Inferno to be intolerable).

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