11 Responses

  1. Does this mean not to worry or fret over things as life is too short?

    • No. The belief is that everything decided by God in pre-eternity and can not be changed. Man’s free will is a projection of, entangled with, the Will of God. Man is only responsible for his own free will and it does not matter what happens before and after and besides him.

  2. Loving these. I assume you are working from the same Persian source as Whinfield but doing new translations? They are great.

  3. Nice.

    The Whinfield translation has its own qualities of course.

    Quoth fish to duck, “‘Twill be a sad affair,
    If this brook leaves its channel dry and bare ;”
    To whom the duck, “When I am dead and
    The brook may run with wine for aught I

    Unfortunately I am not a persian speaker. Which of the translations is a more strictly faithful rendering of Khayyam?

    • they aren’t very different except in diction. Since he was insisting on rhythm and rhyme, he couldn’t be as literal as I am being. We read one word differently in this verse

  4. My understanding of the literal meaning:

    The fish said to the duck, in agitation,
    If the water leaves its channel, will it return?
    The duck said, when you and I have become kababs,
    After my death let it be a river or wine.

      • Well, if you go by Whinfields’s text, it is stated as “شراب” meaning wine. Mirage in Farsi is “سراب”. Khayyam compares corpses washed away by the sea (river) to kabob washed down by wine.

        • The fish is asking if there is life after death (will water return.) Khayyam is very clever, although he believes that the superficial answer is yes, but he answers correctly that it doesn’t matter. Water(river) is life and mirage(wine perhaps) is nothingness.

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