Saturday, January 21, 2012

Classic Poetry - "XI" by Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam, 1044 - 1123


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.

Omar Khayyam was a significant mathematician and astronomer of the medieval era. He wrote one of the most important early discourses on algebra, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which includes a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle. He is equally well-known for his collected poetry, The Rubaiyat, as translated by the 19th century english poet and writer, Edward FitzGerald.

Quite the romantic, this man of math and science!


  1. N.B. Is the word at the end of the second line not 'thou' - i.e. 'you'? It rhymes with bough...

  2. His love poetry is the essence of beauty. I remember discovering it when I was just a little kid, I found Omar Khayyam's book in my parents' house, and would read it in secret. I'm sure I didn't understand much, but I did know it was beautiful. It was like a whole different world in a small book.

  3. It is beautiful, isn't it? I'm trying to move forward in time with these classic poetry posts, and loving some of the older translated material that I have encountered. Glad you like it, too!

  4. So simple, so beautiful. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Wow, it says so much with so few words. I wish I could write lyrics this meaningful.

  6. a few words provide a picture of the moment.

  7. So often misquoted, yet this original stanza is perfect without alteration.

    Except: should widerness be wilderness?

    1. Yes. And Yes. And fixed. Lordy! Never so many errors in one post. I need a better editor... oh wait! I am my editor! Thanks, Viv and all for your patience.

  8. So lovely........sigh. My dream man! Hee hee. Hey, I finally have something to post on the pantry and it's not up yet!

  9. As vivinfrance says this is often misquoted but it is excellent, good to be reminded of it.

  10. I liked read of Omar! I like his style very much. He says so much with such great brevity. Thank you for posting. Interesting section on the Classics and a place where we may all learn.


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