Edward FitzGerald (poet)

Science unrolls a greater epic than the Iliad. The present day teems with new discoveries in Fact, which are greater, as regards the soul and prospect of men, than all the disquisitions and quiddities of the Schoolmen.

Edward Marlborough FitzGerald (31 March 180914 June 1883), born Edward Marlborough Purcell, was an English writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

QuotesEdit

  • Having seen how many follow and have followed false religions, and having our reason utterly against many of the principal points of the Bible, we require the most perfect evidence of facts, before we can believe. If you can prove to me that one miracle took place, I will believe that he is a just God who damned us all because a woman ate an apple; and you can't expect greater complaisance than that to be sure.
    • Letter to William Makepeace Thackeray (1831); quoted in The Life of Edward FitzGerald, Translator of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyán (1947) by Alfred McKinley Terhune, p. 57.
  • Science unrolls a greater epic than the Iliad. The present day teems with new discoveries in Fact, which are greater, as regards the soul and prospect of men, than all the disquisitions and quiddities of the Schoolmen. A few fossil bones in clay and limestone have opened a greater vista back into time than the Indian imagination ventured upon for its Gods: and every day turns up something new. This vision of Time must not only wither the poet's hope of immortality, it is in itself more wonderful than all the conceptions of Dante and Milton.
    • Letter to Edward Byles Cowell, quoted in The Life of Edward FitzGerald, Translator of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyán (1947) by Alfred McKinley Terhune, p. 146.
  • Leave well — even 'pretty well' — alone: that is what I learn as I get old.
    • As quoted in Fitzgerald to His Friends: Selected Letters of Edward FitzGerald (1979) edited by Alethea Hayter, p. 178.
  • I am all for the short and merry life.
    • FitzGerald's epitaph, originally a statement in a letter to Frederick Tennyson (31 December 1850); Letters of Edward FitzGerald (1894), p. 261.
  • Whether we wake or we sleep,
    Whether we carol or weep,
    The Sun with his Planets in chime,
    Marketh the going of Time.
    • Chronomoros. In Letters and Literary Remains of Edward FitzGerald (1889), pg. 461.
  • The King in a carriage may ride,
    And the Beggar may crawl at his side;
    But in the general race,
    They are traveling all the same pace.
    • Chronomoros. In Letters and Literary Remains of Edward FitzGerald (1889), pg. 461.

The Rubaiyat of Omar KhayyamEdit

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness — Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
See Omar Khayyám, for more of these quatrains as translated by FitzGerald. These selections are from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Fifth edition (1889) unless otherwise noted.

IX

  • Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
    Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?

XII

  • A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
    • 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.
      • FitzGerald's first edition (1859).

XIII

  • Some for the Glories of This World; and some
    Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
    Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
    Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

LXXI

  • The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

XCIX

  • Ah, Love! could you and I with Him 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!

External linksEdit

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Last modified on 12 April 2014, at 02:09