Omar Khayyám was a medieval Iranian mathematician, philosopher, scholar, and poet. He was thought to have composed over 1,000 rubáiyát, or quatrains, in his lifetime. Many different scholars have translated selections of Khayyám’s quatrains, but Edward FitzGerald’s translation remains the most beloved.
FitzGerald’s translation is interesting in that it isn’t a literal translation — rather, FitzGerald took significant artistic license in his interpretation. Thus it’s tough to say if we should call this a translation of the Rubáiyát, or poems by FitzGerald based on or inspired by Khayyám’s quatrains.
Whatever we call it, this translation is a bright and lyrical celebration of the joys and beauties of everyday life. FitzGerald’s work has remained popular for hundreds of years precisely because of its uplifting and wonderous quality.
This ebook edition contains the first, second, and fifth editions of FitzGerald’s translations. The first and second editions differ greatly, while the third and fourth editions are very similar to the fifth. This ebook also contains twenty illustrations by Edmund Dulac.