The moral deficiencies contained in the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”

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The moral deficiencies contained in the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”

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J «M» J •




Submitted to the' Faculty of the Sraduata Softool of Arts of St, Joseph's University in ful­ fillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.


John T. Eilcourse



|I S O

UMI Number: EC56965

All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent on the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.

UMI' Dissertation Publishing

UMI EC56965 Copyright 2012 by ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This edition of the work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.

ProQuest ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106- 1346

H03JES fhe translation used in this work is Fitzgerald*s first translation as distinguished from his other four, notably his fifth.

BIOGRAPHY Omar Khayyam—"born about ten hundred fifty A. D.


eleven hundred twenty-three A.D. Born at laishapur in Ehorasssn. Son of Ibrahim, the tent maker# Author of accepted text on Algebra and Astronomy,

Edward Fitzgerald—Bora in England, eighteen hundred and nine.

Died eighteen hundred and

eighty-three. Graduate of frinity College, Cambridge. Translator of Eastern literature. Besides the Rabaiyat, Fitzgerald translated the Agamemnon and the two Oedipus tragedies of Sophoeles. Fitzgerald wrote biographies but they were not generally aeeeptable.


Assuming tliat beauty may cloak perfidity, admitting that occasional lip worship to a somewhat doubtful daity may cotepletely hide the woifeings of agnosticism^ trusting the soft musie of lilting lines to conceal the harsh reality of a false philosophy and permitting the mind of an able and brilliant mathematician to distort a point of view and warp it into a credo of infidelity;

can only demand an examination and

answer reaffirming the moral precepts and the worth of the simple values found in the daily life of eaoh of us. We cannot attack a given object or belief unless we know the origin and nature of the object.

We oannot subject matter

to the brightness of truth until we locate the matter in ques­ tion.

£o judge, we must indiet.

must hand down decisions.

We must try, and finally we

fhese must be fair and impartial,

else the verdict has little meaning.

Again, judgments must

not be made in haste,1 lest the judge be rightfully accused of immature and precipitated judgment.

Following this accepted

method of trial the first point to be considered is the in­ dictment. She Rubaiyat has had a life span of a full eight hundred years.

In these centuries, it has produced what?


figures in round numbers and omitting the past one hundred years it produced nothing.

However,' due to the efforts of one man,

the Bubaiyat bloomed, blossomed and broadcast its seed within the comparatively short span of four generations.

This one

man* Edward Fitzgerald, was a literary stylist, not a philosopher. Here we have the picture of a man, wel,l educated, far travelled and wealthy, dabbling in verse and prosed seeking a vehicle that would carry him into the literary world of celebrities, Fitzgerald was not a young man in the first fall flush of ambition, whose actions might be charged to a mind not yet ready to weigh and measure and calculate possible consequences.

He was mature in

years^ having reached the age of fifty when he stumbled across the works of Omar Khayyam.

Seven hundred years had lain their

heavy fingers upon the oblivion of the1 Hubaiyat.

The Crusades

had beaten their hectic, unswerving paths aoross the cosmopolitan face of Europe.

The Reformation and Renaissance had left their

stamps upon the religion and culture of a continent.

The results

of the audacity of Columbus had become the spawning grounds of new nations and entirely new political concepts. lapoleonTs dream of empire had faded in the blood-red gutters of France and the Victorian age was emerging when Fitzgerald dug into time to unearth a Mohammedan philosophy of annihilation.


we have two ingredients capable of concocting a mental brew un­ palatable to human hope and unreconcilable to human destiny. Omar, the philosopher,' and Fitzgerald, the literary perfect­ ionist.

Either, alone, hardly the breath of a Spring morning,

but when combined, possessing the fall powers of a hurricane of Herculean proportions. And combine they did. and is startling.

The result was

Fitzgerald gave to the world a document, a

theory, a prayer and a song. A document proclaiming the folly of wisdom, and inversely, the wisdom of folly:


a document portending

to prove the impossibility of a tomorrow, a document into whieh yon may read any line your fancy may dictate.

A theory that

man and consequently the human race came from nothing and is hurrying back to nothing. was non-existent.

A prayer to a god that is and always

A prayer that carefally explains the non­

existence of the god to which the prayer is dedicated.

A song

to intrigue the hearts of those who seek escape from reality, a song to turn the heads of those who do not wish ism think and reason, and a song designed to cover all life's unpleasantries with the sugar coating of lilting rhythm, ment.

fhis is the indict­

She Ktibaiyat ean conclusively prove the case against

itself. £o choose a verse of the Knbaiyat at random for analysis might give a general over all picture of the work.

Jhis method

could allow ommission or oversight to influence the verdict. Io analyze each verse in turn presents a more accurate "barometer of the whole. She first verse is merely an introduction and might be the equivalent of any work by a competent Jingle maker,


verse bids you "Good morning" with Just a whiff of an lastern air. The second verse introduces one of the central themes of the poem-—"wine*.

Ehrough much of the remainder of the work

the virtues of wine and the effects of wine are extolled, and it is in this verse that we are advised to "fill the Qup". "Before Life^ Mquor in its Gup be dry." Shis is admittedly the advioe of the occupants of the favera, it is the call to keep a mental disposition buoyed up by in3

toxicants to achieve a blissful state before we no longer have enough of days left to achieve this same blissful end.


rather gives the effect of ending before beginning. The third verse merely takes us out of the tavern, but only as far as the exterior of the door. shout for re-admittance.

There we are bid t©

Admittance must be quickly gained for

we have but little time to drink. An entire lifetime is con­ sidered too short for the pursuit of intoxication. verse we meet the first touch of defeatism.

In this

The line

"And, once departed, may return no more." Khayyam warns us here that after departing this life we can no logger indulge in wine and its abstractions.

That death

prevents our future consumption of wine is Omar's chief warning against the black angel.

What may come after death, is here no

concern of the poet, he has done his part by advising the un­ limited absorption of spirits. In-the fourth verse we find a rather abrupt change of thought.

It is now Spring, ("lew Year"—beginning of the vernal

equinox—March twenty-first). With the coming of Spring, one is to revive old desires and betake himself to s spot where he may concentrate.

This is best accomplished, perhaps, in a field

under a tree of blossoms.

According to the Koran, Moses drew

his hand forth and it became white. In this verse the blossoms are believed to be white because Moses has touched them.


reference in this verse to "Jesus" is from the Persians who believed Jesus' breath had healing powers.

One must take from

this verse that seclusion and thought are desirable ends. can take exception to the moral precepts of these lines. 4


Eli© fifth versa has a slight resemblance to a logical proposition.

The two premises are a matter of legendary lore

and the conclusion while in itself is fairly accurate, the relationship is beyond the powers of even a logical imagination. "Iram," the fabulous city of aneient days, the focal point of original Arabian culture, the city that was considered to be truly an eternal city destined to thrive through all the suc­ ceeding ages of man, had vanished.

Che eternally shifting sands

of the Arabian desert had buried the eternal city of Arabia. Mature and time had supplanted art and culture.


the Persian king, remembered now only as the possessor of a golden divining ©up decorated with seven rings.

To the Persians

these seven rings represented the seven planets, the seven seas and the seven heavens which contained the essence of all life. This magical cup had vanished as completely as



disappearance of both leads to "Hie conclusion that still the grape vines grow and yield, that still the gardens produce grapes carefully matured by sun and rain.

In other words,

irrespective of what comes and goes that pro duet ion of wine is unhalted. David, the Psalmist of the Bible, opens verse six.


is here pictured as standing with lips looted in the cry for wine.

Also in his desire for this nectar he Is using the old

form of the Persian language,

fhis may be charged to poetic

license but the reason for David's plea is somewhat obscure. However, the poet does point out in this same verse that a few drops of wine would do much to freshen up the eolor of yellow or sallow roses, the point being that wine will stimulate and color the life and thoughts of human flowers5

In the seventh verse we have a quatrain that bids human­ ity to drink until all repentance, all sorrow, all justice and all decency has fled,

Eher© is no time* in the short life span

allotted to man, for repentance of pest wrongs*

3?hat oven now

time grows shorter, shorter for repentance and shorter for drinking,

fime is likened to a bird that not only is capable

of flying but is already on the wing and fast disappearing beyond the horizon. Following along we learn that each morning of Spring, thousands of blossoms come into bloom while other thousands wither away. 2ach of us is likened to a blossom. If you are in the morn of birth prepare to make merry and continue to make merry until your morn of withering dawns.

Bach morning

brings much and takes much. £iqgs, nations and cities come with a morning but another morning finds them gone. Perfect preparedness for that last morning is a lifetime of moral insensibility. In the ninth verse, Khayyam bids you leave everything for his sake.

He bids you to forget, history and the knowledge

of the centuries and take up his theory of life.


what is offered by other thinkers, his is the only true ani happy existence for mankind. Ehayyam, in the tenth verse tells you where he is lead­ ing.

It is to a fabled area of lush green grass and trees;

bordered on one side by the desert where men cannot live and where all is hardship;

on the other side ploughed fields of

grain and wheat and the products of agriculture.


These pro­

ducts are the result of max^s work, hard work ana effort; and responsibility whioh oan be avoided by treading only on Khayyam*s strip of nature, mid-way between desert and culti­ vated field.

Also, in this spot the troubles and oares of

kings and conquerors are unknown and you are not to eare* Iven the mightest of rulers will be only an object of pity to you while you are a believer in the Eubaiyat. Terse eleven in some respects stands apart from the rest of the Rubaiyat.

Beyond all doubt it is the most widely

known and most often quoted*

People who know nothing of the

poem or author or translator can quote the stanza without effort,

fhis verse is not to be compared with numerous others

for either depth of feeling or depth of meaning, but due to the popular position it holds it must be given oareful consideration. "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— Ahl

Wilderness is Paradise enow."

She loaf of feread is the physical necessities of life. is the staff of life and is so used in this verse#


The flask

of wine is the stimulation, without which Omar considers life pointless.

It is the mental prod that distinguishes his idea

of man from his idea of clay,

fhe book of verse is the amuse­

ment necessary to take up the slack periods when mental stim»

ulation is weary or wearing off. fhe "Thou" is Khayyam's


bid far the perpetuation of tha raee. In end not justifiable in itself but necessary for the continued consumption of wine. These things in the Wilderness, as described in the previous verse, are the nearest man can or will ever come to paradise. In other words, paradise is here on earth.

That all eternity

begins and ends with eaeh man's birth and death, and earth it­ self is the entire universe, a universe without a god, without a beginning or end, that all there is of all things is here be­ neath our feet if we have but sense enough to recognize them. In twelve Omar, while refusing to condemn life and religion, takes a distinct stand against both and offers adviee regarding both.

To those who think life is a fine and wonderful existence,

Omar advises forgetfulness and the total fulfillment of th© joys of each day and hour.

To those who believe in a future

life, to those who admit the existence of a soul, to those who believe in the divinity of God, Omar rather sharply reminds you that the future is unproven and what seems sweet in thefuture is similar to the music of a distant drum.

You hear it

but you can't see and you haven't possession of it but you do have full possession of the present.

This entire verse

denies the possibility of a future. Terse number thirteen attempts to prove the statements preceding.

The alliteration is carefully and skillfully done.

Life is likened to a rose growing in a garden.

The rose takes

form from the seed, it slowly grows and finally becomes a bud.


This bud, some wonderous morning, bursts forth as a full grown rose, sweet to the smell and pleasing to the eye#

Along comes

the breeze, the petals of the rose are blown into the garden and lol—the rose is gone. This is the" attemped parallel to life. We are born, we grow and we die. 3ven as the rose we are assumed to be finished at death. The hopes that men may cherish, their dreams and their am­ bitions may flourish but in the end all will turn to ashes, nothing that we may sdek is worth the seeking.

The striving

is never worth the goal for the goal can never be reached. Even a lifetime spent in a single honorable pursuit is rewarded witfh a few short hours of sunshine and pleasure.

Then, as

with the snow upon the desert, it is gone forever.

This four­

teenth stanza shows the futility of all human effort that strives for the betterment of self and mankind. The fifteenth chapter compares the spendthrift with the saver.

Those who squander all their golden minutes reap the1

same reward as those who earefully use each hour of allotted time.

The mail who prepares for a hereafter all through life

comes finally to rest beside the grave of he who cared nothing for time or eternity.

This vsrse is another denial of eternity.

The book-keeping columns of debit and credit will here always balance irrespective of the entries credited to either column. As proof of this we are bid to consider and ponder the fate of all kings and sultans who have had their short hour of glory upon this self same earth that we inhabit.

Are any of those

ancient monarchs anything but a memory? They lived as we live



They were and they are not#


By their example let us

They strove for much, they achieved only the forget-

fulness of centuries, their place of resting is only next to our own. These monarehs assembled and built widespread kingdoms. In them they assembled all the wonders of their time#


armies were ever on the march, engaged in the conquering of new territory, material goods.

fhese kings spent a lifetime accumulating They built cities that were to be perpetual

monuments to their greatness. of all peoples.

Their kingdoms were the envy

Yet, today, all are gone.

The wild donkeys

and apes,which ware driven away to make room for these cities, begot their own kind and today their progeny roam the plains once topped by marble palaces and paved courtyards.


beneath the feet of these wild animals lay the* remains of these once mighty conquerors. The eighteenth verse is concerned with the fertility and beauty of flowers in general, roses in particular, on ground containing the remains of a once great man.


believes that roses have the finest color when planted over a buried Oaesar and hyacinths bloom best under identical conditions.

He cautions you on the advisability of picking

or destroying these flowers as yom have no certain knowledge of the contents of the ground from which they springHaving consumed the better part of twenty verses in ex­ tolling the benefits of a wine stimulated existence and having


thoroughly explained the uselessneas of ezistance Omar drops back to wine as tha answer to all prablems.

$q fill the mina

with stimulant is to clear away all past regrets no matter what they may be.

fo but partake sufficiently is to erase all-

doubt of any future fears you may be harboring.

She future

which Omar terms "to-morrow* may find you resting along with the past seven thousand years«

tomorrow you may have taken

your appointed place with the buried Oaesars and other forgot­ ten but once famous men. Here again Omar falls back on the magical seven and allows one thousand years for each of the seven heavens* doming from the far distant past to the immediate past we are warned that many of those we love will have left before our leaving,

fhat the wise among our friends will have had

their fill of the oup of life and each in his own time will have "crept silently to lest." We are to take a page from these, our friends, must walk.

Ehe paths they walked are the paths we

let their way be ours,

fheiat adoration of that

grape should be ours. Our friends having left this mortal sphere we automat­ ically move up to take the vacant places.

We can and must make

merry in tha same rooms they used* and as the years go by we will slowly be drawn to the end. are to be dedicated to the vine.

fhese years, however,

When we have reached the

end of our time here on earth, which is the final but not the bitter end,

we will seek a couch beneath the earth.


The place we leave behind will be taken and the space we occupy beneath the earth will also eventually be taken.

In either

case it matters little as the end has already been reached. ETow that we are told about our mortal end, which is the total end, Omar advises us upon the preparation for meeting that end.

To live each day in a fall measure. To measure

every hour that you may cram sixty seconds of pleasure into its running. The wine, the song and the singer are the occupants of all your hours.

They are the most you can achieve

in life. Mom is useless. After death there is no wine, no song, no singer;

only dust. You are dust, you will descend

to dust and you will lie under dust. In stanze twenty-four Omar reverts to verse fifteen, takes the same thought and with a new dress presents it again. Its gist is that preparation for tomorrow or care for today is worthless. Your reward is not in care nor preparedness, it is still in wine. Any discussion of pro or con in regard to OmarTs phil­ osophy is' foolish.

This is ably stated in vsrse twenty-five.

He catalogues the Saints as foolish Prophets. Their teach­ ings as to the life hereafter are merely eollections of words, that have come and will come to naught. With the Saints, Omar ranks the Sages of pagan lands.

Their knowledge he also

places as valueless. As proof of the fallacy of these men he offers the fact that they are dead. He grinds them into dust and even as dust is scattered by the winds so are the


words of the Saints whirled upward and out of the reach of man, in other words, forgotten, Khayyam "bids you gather close once more while he expounds another truth in the four lines of twenty-six#

You are to

"leave the wise," to disregard the "books representing the accum­ ulated knowledge of centuries, you are to turn your back on all your teachers while Omar explains the one thing that is cer­ tain.

Here we return to the garden. Your life, like that

of tha rose, has but one period of growth and blossom, when the blossom ripens and the wind blows,you, like the rose, are gone. A puff of dust upon the breeze,

lot only is this offered as

fact, but anything otherwise, contradictory or not, is a lie. Omar admits being once a student*

He tells you that once

he attended the councils of "Doctor and Saint."

He listened

to their discussions and their theories, lot only did he lis­ ten but he did so in an extremely eager manner.

We must assume

that he pondered their thoughts and possibly reached conclusions of his own.

He states that he did# but his reasoning seams to be

somewhat far-fetched.

He discounted all this knowledge because

he came out by the same door as in he went. His inability to grasp other ideas but his own left him stranded at the point of his own starting. He further goes on to point out that he took great pains to nourish the seeds of wisdom planted by these learned scholars. He not only allowed them to offer ideas, he eagerly reached for­ ward to grasp them. Having, grasped tham he explored every


possibility of accepting them as his own beliefs,"but his only final understanding was his original one—"I came like Water, and like Wind I go." For this water and wind couplet he offers neither reason nor responsibility. The wind comes from parts unknown, why it comes is a mystery and where it is going is unknown to Omar. On the subject of wind he admits complete lack of knowledge. He terms the whole business—"willy-nilly blowing." Water he places in the same category as wind, only instead of blowing it is flowing. Is a gesture he tosses his own life and be­ liefs in with wind and water. Omar objects to the senseless asking of questions con­ cerning this wind and water affair. He is not interested in the hurryings of either. But lest we be apt to consume time in speculation or energy in wonderment Omar comes forth with the suggestion of a eup of wine.

2?his cup is offered not

merely as a substitute for the thinking process but as an apology. He believes we deserve an apology for the temerity of the wind and water daring to behave in a manner calculated to force a mortal into thinking. Here he terms the wind and water as "Impertinent." In verse thirty-one we are taken to the seventh heaven. Here Omar offers each of the seven as one of the liberal arts. Saturn was lord of the seventh heaven and master and container of all knowledge. Omar, with the help of wine, sat upon the throne of Saturn, and absorbed all his knowledge.


From this

vast aecumulation Omar drew no conclusion. eluded him.

Life and deatli

It might be said that when he returned to earth

he traveled the same road he had used in reaching the seventh heaven.

Therefore,; he had learned nothing.

Despite this the

theory of wine still held valid* While a visitor in this seventh heaven,' Omar came to a huge door having no key and covered in front "by a veil. Voices talked in low tones about Omar and you, this conversation took bat little time, then ceased.

That was all Omar learned.


answers he sought were on the other side of the door but evi­ dently wine was not the key. This puzzled Omar and he questioned the "rolling HeavTn itself." He asked for guidance^ he begged for a sight of destiny. He wanted only to know the road he might take to a better life. From the answer Omar received he concluded that the heaven was no better informed than himself. answer was—"A blind understanding."

The heaven1s

This mueh Omar already

knew, he concluded that again wine was the answer to the "blind understanding." From the heavenly body to the earthen bowl was but a stepo Placing his lips to the rim of the bowl Omar began his education. The bowl murmured the mysteries of life and death to the eager drinker.

The worries and cares were washed aside and the questions

vainly asked in the heavens were now answered by the bowl. The substance of the answers was the word "drink."


Uot merely

to drink at stated time but to drink at all times for time was short and—"once dead you never shall return." After several drinks Omar's attention wandered to the bowl itself rather than the contents.

Omar reasoned that the

bowl possessed the power of speech beoause In some distant past it had lived.

It had not only lived but had "made marry"

with tha grape while in life.

She cold lip of the vessel had

onee been warm and in the wisdom of wine had exchanged num­ erous kisses with others beside


Farther proof of articulation was offered Omar in tha market place where the potters plied their trade.

She clay,

being placed upon a table murmured lightly to the potter. This man not hearing, continued to pound the wet clay in none too gentle a manner,

fhe potter could have had but slight

sympathy for the future container of wine. In verse thirty-seven, Omar admits of repetition.


buries yesterday and denies tomorrow while glorifying today. Ehese ithree time spaces are unimportant while we admit the all engulfing power of the present hour.

Beyond the present

hour there is time, but time "is slipping underneath our feet."

Omar's plea is for the conservation of time, namely

that time within the existing hour. fhe belief in annihilation is broifght forth in the next stanza*

Our life span is likened to a single moment in the

vast waste of annihilation.

We have but a moment to bend

and sip at the well of life." It is hoped that the one sip


will be a hearty draught of wine. Ia thirty-nine, Omar, if not advocating, at least admits of atheism. He expresses the opinion that religion is at best^ hitter, and the only other "belief is atheism.

Here we discover

that the grape is a finer mode of life than the seeking for truth, which if found will be very bitter.

If truth in religion

is not found then we have atheism or in his more favored word— "annihilat ion." the fortieth verse is the denial of reason.

She only .ex­

isting doubt here is whether wine induced the expulsion of reason, or reason having been expelled, there remained only wine. In either case the preliminary set up was a slow process un­ doubtedly assisted by wine. Mathematics was the first love of Omar, he ridicules his earlier studies.

In the next stanza

While history reckons

him as

an able mathematician of his day it unfortunately rates him most­ ly as a poet. Omar writes that rule and reason, order and law were for those incapable of nobler thoughts.

Mathematics might

solve any of the natural physical laws but man would never be satisfied with only physical knowledge, his quest was the answers to life and the purpose and end of life.

3?o these, reason had

nothing to offer, while wine and only wine, held all ths answers. In forty-two, we find several contradictions. nihilist, writes of the soul of man. wine which Omar believes is life.

Ihe angel of death carries

His reference to "angel Shape"

is referring to Azrael, angel of death. separated body from soul at death,


Omar, the

Azrael, the Persian angel,

fhis angel appeared to Omar

and not being interested, at that time, in his soul offered him a howl of wine, therefore guaranteeing Omar longer years of life. The wine offered by Azrael seems to be but a slight bit more potent than usual quality of Omar's beverages. With it he can confront and confuse all of the seventy-two religions which he Relieved to exist. It must be said that the existence of seventy-two religions was a popular belief in Omar's time. This same wine was able to take the dull, drab facts of life^ and transmute them into bright, golden dreams. Each man being an alchemist, whereabouts he might, by using wine as a catalytic agent, change his every day life into an earthly paradise. • We have in verse forty-four all the worries and cares of" mankind, bearing down and slaying men, even as Mahmud overrode and conquered India.

But here Mahraud, in the shape of the gifted

vessel of wine, is able to draw his "enchanted" sword and put care and fear away. The responsibilities of mankind ean and should be driven out of sight and mind by the constant appli­ cation of stimulants. We cannot solve the "quarrel of the Universe", therefore we must keep hands off. Argument and debate come to naught. These mighty quarrels and differences of opinion are but making ridieule of man. Man must, therefore, do the same to them. With Omar and wine we are to turn our backs and minds while seeking a secluded spot in whieh we may drink and laugh at reason and argument. In this manner we are in turn laugh­ ing at that which laughs at us.


The world is a stage. Verse forty-six might have been written by Shakespeare except that Omar preceded him by some four hundred years. However the similarity is striking. What Omar calls a "Magic Shadow-show" Shakespeare calls a "puppet show." Both allot us a brief interval in the spotlight and then oblivion. This verse is one of the few in this work where a theory or philosophy is not expressed, it may be termed merely a poetical presentation of facts. If there are four lines in the Rubaiyat symbolic of the whole, the forty-eighth verse contains these four. Here we have wine, annihilation and atheism ably presented and masterly worded so that only close analysis will bring the meaning to light.

The word "nothing" dominates. Omar begins with nothing

and through the medium of wine ends in nothing.

You were

nothing, while you are existing you are nothing, and when you come to the end you will be nothing.

But he does draw one

bright point, he concedes that, at least, you will not be less than nothing. Azrael then returns to Omar's lines. On his second appearance ha does not bring wine, he brings a "darker Draught." We are advised that in the springtime and summer of life we are to partake of the grape and in later years, along with Omar, we will have no fear of Azrael. A lifetime "of "Ruby Vintage" will fortify body and soul for the appearance of the black angel. Destiny as the master chess player is the divinity that guides the fates of men. It is destiny, and not free-will that makes one man good and the next bad.


Destiny takes us

from nothing at birth, places us on the chess board of life and moves us here and there as it wills. The game being over we are put in the closet. Daring the game the evil that we do, the good we may accomplish are of no blame or credit to us, we are truly the tools of Destiny. This all-knowing wisdom is not that of any deity, but of Destiny. In verse fifty, Khayyam adds both wisdom and lustre to Destiny. He credits Destiny with all our moves, and the only knowledge for the cause and effect of our moves belongs to Destiny. The pronouns used in this verse are all capitalized.

We must

assume Omar at least considered Destiny as one of his major gods. The ability to control and shape men's lives is surely a divine right and the knowledge bearing upon these things must be an eternal perogative. Verse fifty-one is remarkable and like verse eleven is widely quoted.

It contains what in general is considered truth.

In several ways the verse is accurate. Judging history according to these lines we can understand the desire of quoting them. "The Moving Finger writes; Stoves on:

and, having writ,

nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Uor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it." Omar uses "moving finger" as a synonym for Destiny. What is done is done.

All very well said, but the admittance of this

theory excludes all confession and penance. However, if Destiny guides and controls our every thought and act, then we have no need of penance, nor do we have any reason for confession. Destiny and free-will cannot both be to blame.

There being no free-will

Destiny is the eulprit. This Destiny, all knowing and all controlling, receives «.

no power or help from heaven.

The heavens go along as you

and I. We are slaves to Destiny, the heavens are as help­ less as we, therefore Destiny guides the heavens in its own inexplicable way. Further proof that Omar considers . Destiny as a deity* Remaining on the subject of Destiny we come to the time element in fifty-three. Going back to the beginning, Destiny sowed the seed that the last man would reap. Destiny was the creator. All the lives of all men were written, their re­ wards were to be "nothing" even as they themselves were no­ thing.

All this was contained in a "book." This book was

written on the first day and will be read on "the last Dawn of Reckoning." Omar considers this proof of the divine creative power of Destiny. Omar counts man's lot as "predestin'd" both in re­ gard to soul and body.

The grape clings to the vine that

bore it. .Omar attaches himself to the same vine.


Omar and the grape may go through life, each depending on the same sustenance. In verse fifty-five Omar attacks Sufi, the Mohammedan ascetic who had nothing and-wanted nothing. Omai; deep in wine,might possibly (due to the effects of wine) be able to open the door of all the knowledge Sufi sought in vain. Sufi is privileged to laugh at Omar but Sufi never will achieve wisdom* while Omar may.

Ehe tavern as the meeting place of philosophers and sages reigns supreme in Khayyam's meditations,

Ehoge within

the tavern have at least the toy to wisdom, while those with­ out the tavern are merely traveling in the dark.

The eter­

nal truth (Destiny) may show one glimmer of light to an occupant of the tavern,and this one glimmer seen within the tavern—"Better than in the Eemple lost outright."


would close the temple and enlarge the taverns. Stanza fifty-seven is the prayer of the Rubaiyat. is a direct plea to Destiny.


It is a plea not for mercy or

salvation, it is a plea to lessen the blame placed upon man by Destiny.

It is a prayer that Destiny will place but a

light load on Omar's shoulders during hie walk upon earth* He pleads, that as he is predestined, his share of destiny may not make his days unbearable. Omar then reverses his plea and proceeds to forgive Destiny for man's lot. snake.

Destiny created Adam, Eve and the

Man forgives this creation.

Destiny corrupted Adam

and man forgives. Destiny overwhelmed the head and face of man with sin but man forgives. Omar's plea is that Destiny will cheerfully accept man's forgiveness. The Bubaiyat drifts into the potters shop in verse fifty-nine.

Shis verse serves no purpose but to set the

place and time for the succeeding lines.

Bamazan is the

ninth month of the Mohammedan calendar, a time of fasting, fhe "better Moon" is merely the new moon. We now find that the pots in the potter's shop are not

of the same mind as Omar,

fliese earthen pots Inquire as to

the identity of the potter. They would have Omar explain as to who is the potter and who is the pot.

They have doubts as

to creator and created. The pots seem to have remarkable reasoning powers. Un­ doubtedly the pots speak Omar's doubts that he hesitates to write as his own. attack on himself.

The opening in the potter's shop is Omar's The pots questioned the wisdom of a Destiny

that creates them from clay, and then beats them back into clay when their work is done. Omar* himself, in his more thoughtful moments must have doubted the divinity of a Destiny that could create him from dust, and then when his life was over stamp him back into dust.

Destiny failed to offer a

reason for the creation ami existence of men.

The thoughts*

Omar must have had, but. not the courage to expound them. The pots simplify the situation by stating that even a peevish child, finding Joy in drinking fiom a bowl, would hardly destroy it in anger.

Therefore, why would an all-

knowing creator destroy his own handicraft,

fhe pots give

a hint of life to be beyond the all consuming grave. So piece of pottery can give answer to this destroy­ ing motive.

Omar, himself, lacked an adequate answer but

firmly held the suspicion that an answer did exist.


imperfectly made piece of earthenware even goes so far as to question the intent and ability of the creator^ but this doubt is also unanswered. the problem of the divinity of Destiny not being solved,


the pots next ooncem themselves with the question of Hell as punishment,

fhe reward of merit and virtue is not discussed.

Ehe testing of man-kind is mentioned in not too serious a vein.

3Jhe total opinion of the pots is that it is not nec­

essary to pay strict attention to merit* and in the end every­ thing will fee alright.

Just why and how is not explained.

She melancholy attitude of the pottery is dispelled fey the application of wine. In fact, the melancholy, in the first place, was induced fey the absence of wine#

fhe "old familiar

Juice" feeing lacking, the vessels were not fit pieces for human conversation.

Refilling will fering back the old fam­

iliar spirit if the filling is continued indefinitely. fhese clay vessels waiting for the moon in its last quarter which would signify the completion of a month of fasting* were all thrown into frenzies fey the sound of the porter bringing wine from the cellar.

likewise. mortals, after a

long siege of hopeless philosophical thought, welcome the first signs of approaching liquid stimulation,

fhe relation­

ship of clay pot and human dignity is here closely drawn. Omar Is not content to bolster man*s years of life with wine feut he leaves clear directions for the preservation of man's feody fey the aid of wine and its


A joy­

ous old age is achieved by the daily and constant use of wine.

Wine is the crutch that supports the declining years

of human effort. After death wine is used to wash away all unpleasantness and to prepare the body for burial,


grapevine minus the grapes is then used for a winding-sheet#


As a final offering to Bacchus the body is then interred amid the sweet scented, low hanging clustered grapes#

Thus Destiny

is satisfied, eternity is denied and humanity is glorified, fhe life cirele is complete. One might thinks that where annihilation rules* burial would end the epic, hut not where the vine is concerned.


burial in the grape yard is productive of finer things. !Ehis grape arbor will cast a rare and tainted perfume into the air. fhose humans passing by, will be halted by the scented air» and each will pause and each will know that nearby lies one who, in life, sought truth through wine and who, after death, was eonsecrated to the task of growing richer sad more luscious grapes while at the same time scenting the air with the essence of grape. ©rawing into the last stanzas of Omar's work we come across the idea that all of Omar*s friends were not in complete agree­ ment with his ideologies. He admits that his love of wine and his belief

destiny, as the sola power, has not raised his

reputation as a sage, lis contemporaries did not follow his teachings in all oases.

Many viewed him with doubt, lis

honour he has "drown*d in a shallow cup."

At least, we here

find that wine is capable of doing some slight harm.


philosophy preached and practiced by Omar has ruined his rep­ utation. lis song of Destiny has sounded from the Mosque to the tavern, from the seven heavens to the depths of the in­ ferno and his song is scarcely heard, lis reputation is gone and no chorus chants his praises.


The path of life chosen "by Omar was one from which he might have turned.

Often had he sworn to turn aside, but

not being sober when he swore, he held straight to wine and leetiny.

These periods of repentance were interrupted by the

arrival of youth and beauty, and Omar was not one to turn his back on either.

Wine and a winsome smile, wine and no thought

for tomorrow, wine and the darkness of annihilation were all he sought. If Omar has been guilty of error, he reasons that there is one class of men more foolish than himself.

She life that

wine has made for him is blessed beyond that of all men. lis mistakes are but monuments to his beliefs*


if wine is the source of all life, if wine is the purest nectar that man may have, if wine is the answer to each, to every and to all questions, if wine is the quest and goal of all humanity, what can the wine sellers possibly buy "one half so precious as the Qoods they sell!"

A fair and

unanswerable question in the light of Omar's mental odyssey. ©marfs last farewell to youth is sung in verse seventytwo.

The period of manTs youth is likened to the blooming

period of a rose. Bach comes rather quickly, each is dazzling and brilliant but each withers before the brilliancy is pereeived and recognized by many. are sweet.

The rose and youth

Both are in the ascendancy.

Omar considers

youth as achievement in itself and not as a stepping stone


to other years, When youth is gone, and it goes even as the nightingale sings and is lost in the branches of the forest, there is little left but wine and the fond recollections of youth.

With but two verses left Omar visualizes a recon­

struction project with the universe as his objects

With wine

acting as his partner Omar would grasp the entire'scheme of life and Destiny.

He would "shatter it to bits" and then

"remold it nearer'to the Heart's Desire."

He expresses a

distrust as to the perfection of the system as it is.

He has

found it lacking, and not being able to place a finger upon its needs and knowing no method of improvement, he would assume the role of creator by first destroying and then: re­ building, until he had the universe more to his liking. The obstinance of Destiny and the lack of co-operation by fate prevents his re-creation, and on this note he leaves the universe to its own undoing. 3?he moon as a spectator and keeper of time is invited to look down upon the green vineyards of the earth and seek the gardens where Omar once dwelt.

The moon, making the

rounds of joyous celebrations, will search beneath the boughs and along the green bordered streams for Omar and his merry ways.

Long and continued, search will finally convince the

moon that she is searching in vain.

The hereafter will find

no Omar thoughtfully spinning fancies while moonbeams light his shallow cup of wine.


OmarTs farewell.

In the final verse there is a final

gem of advice. In those years to com^ when we also loiter in the gardens "beneath the light of the moon, when we wander amongst the other believers and finally oome to the spot where Omar once held sway, we are to pause, ponder and then "turn down an empty Glass."

This glass is to be turned

down after we have emptied it.

This emptying is the symbol

that makes us akin to the other guests upon the grass and it marks us as true brothers and true followers of Omar's "Wine, Destiny, and Annihilation." Omar Khayyam in life composed about five hundred epi­ grams in the form of quatrains.

She seventy-five contained

in the Rabaiyat are now well known and often quoted.


remainder are little known beyond a small group of scholars. The popularity of this work may, in some respeets, be due to the times.

The yistorian age, coming at the last half

of the past century, placed the Rabaiyat among the all-time works of Literature in the Bnglish language.

The smug

stuffiness of this period was revolting to all who detested sham and hypocrisy.

The false air of righteousness and the

primness of the period were unbearable to those who were free-thinkers.

Social conventions dictated every day activi­

ties and limited the scope of man's efforts.

The standards,

as set for the period, were dull, unimaginative and sought merely to perpetuate themselves.

The literary world was


confined to men who produced work: tailor-made for the era. One book only resembled another, one poem but echoed the one preceding, each playwrite strove to produee drama mora typical of the age than the age itself.

!Dhe English speak­

ing world was over-ripe for the presentation of the novel, bizarre and daring*

On the smug, well entrenched prejudicies

of the times burst the Babaiyato


original appearance

in eighteen hundred and fifty-nine caused little stir. In eighteen hundred and sixty-seven it became the bright star in the literary firmament.

The reading public grasped it

as a tonic for all their ills.

®he young men of the period

considered it their own particular find.

It became.their

credo, their way of life.

It defied every convention they

had been taught was holy,

fhe right of a man to think for

himself in regards to his daily life had never baen quest­ ioned by the young. IPheir fathers set the pattern and they followed. Yet here was a literary work around which they could rally;

a standard of conduct conceived by a free-

thihking genius and tested by time.

Hex® was a dash of the

fabulous Orient coated in terms of an unnamed said hidden desire.

Biach man became a mental Omar and the ability to

quote from the Bubaiyat was the badge of intelligence and that audacity of one who thought for himself.

Here was a

cloak that might be thrown over the ugly reality of every­ day existence, the folds of this cloak were all embracing and all concealing.

Shis work embraced and extolled the


theory of "wine, women and song.w and smart.

It made the slogan popular

This work coaeeale^ behind its lilting lines, the

necessity of thought said the necessity of preparation for a coming eternity.

The young people, while guilty of accepting

this credo, were somewhat the victims of circumstance,' reaching for any straw.

Their elders, those responsible for that

birth and continuance of the Victorian era, are the ones who set the stage for the open-handed reception given to the Rubaiyat.

Bnough to say that here the Rabaiyat was intro­

duced and accepted as a standard work of Bnglish Literature. Its position today, if somewhat less than during the past century, has reached a level.

This level 'is a permanent one*

The Rabaiyat is here to stay. It will remain always as a false hope for the rebellious,' a challegge for the thinker and a song for the dreamer of mystical rhyme. The moral tone of the Rubaiyat is open both to debate and condemnation. Debate on the subject eould be only-interestingly conducted by those not certain of moral values. Condemnation must be the verdict of those who read, weigh and judge. lo doctrine contained in the Rubaiyat is, of necessity, original to the Rubaiyat. All moral depravity goes back into the dimness of ages beyond the recorded history of man. The Rubaiyat is distinctive as the agent that collected licentiousness and compressed all its phases into one effort and presented that effort to the


tuna of plausible and acceptable musie.

To deny that the

Rubaiyat has eharm is to deny a verdict long since proven. It is the lyrical eharm of any of its verses that leads you to read the following stanzas. It is the charm and magical lilt given to each line that first lulls suspicion and paves the way for further easy reading.

The sound sways

your emotions, long before the meaning begins to creep into your consciousness*

The phrasing an? the ready reference to

simple things seem powerless on their own.

The frequent re­

ference to Oriental musing is rather intriguing. hints of an earthly paradise are not startling. the first reading is a pleasant one.

The first All in all

It is apt to leave one

with an exhilarated sense of discovery.

Throughout its

passages one finds a quotation here and there that is vaguely remembered.

Scholars have compared passages to choruses in

Greek dramas. Other scholars likened several verses to the hopelessness of Job. all, curiosity.

The primary reading produces, above

The intellectual side of man cannot be sat­

isfied until curiosity itself is satisfied; reading is necessary. importance.

therefore a second

It is this second reading that holds

The reader throws down the book in disgust or

places it in position for future study.

If this study is

lengthy and complete, true values are set. It is the half \

read, half understandings that are damaging.


most people are prone to do just this, and in just this we find the source of moral corruption.


It is useless folly to speculate upon the condition of the world should Omar^ concepts be fulfilled#

It is enough

to point out where they differ from what humanity has long cherished and honored as decency in human behavior.


vision of generation after generation of intoxicated human beings can bring to mind only an inarticulate saga of chaos, Barbarianism itself would be a cultured accomplishment when compared to this state of chaos.

If we are civilized and

"civilitas successit barbarum,** therefore a teaching, that but returns us several thousand years into the past, must be rejected.

Intoxication may provide suitable material

for the writing of lyrical songs and poetry,but it makes a poor ration for daily usage. Annihilation, and the forces and theories behind it, can be more forcefully denied than the principle of wine# Atheism is but a denial of human reasoning ability and human existence.

For many, the denial of God must come more

easily than the acknowledgement of Him. deny Sod is to ask many things.

£o ask a man to

It is to ask him to deny

his own existence, his own birth and all his hopes. Atheism requires a man to ignore his soul, in fact, to deny that his soul ever existed.

Atheism promotes the

theory of our coming from nothing and going to nothing. It admits of no agent promoting birth and allows of no planned universe.

It explains nothing regarding the or­

ganization of heavenly bodies and it denies the Being 38

it cannot conceive.

Atheism can voice a doubt on any given

subject regarding the formation of the human race. Atheism sets "Reason" as its own god and then denies the existence of reason.

Atheism believes in nothing and offers nothing.

Annihilation is the spawn of Atheism, other is of no concern.

Which is mother to the

Either promises nothing.


is certainly not the mark of a just and merciful deity. Destruction is the work of Atheism.

2?he modern day followers

of Annihilationism, who believe death is all complete for the wicked, and only the good live after death, will deny Atheism, but will also deny the mercy and justice of §od.

3?hey, them­

selves, can believe in their own theory, only as long as they are on the lists of the wicked.

Setting off these lists they

must tura elsewhere for religion# deny all religion,

Atheism and Annihilation

fhey thus deny the guiding force that has

created our world as we know it,

They deny every concept of

goodness, of honour and of faith that has led us from the pagan, cave-dwelling days of the stone man through all the centuries of premeditated human evil, until we have reached the spot on which we stand today,

The warm, hope giving faith of

Catholicism is denied by Atheism,

3?he frank, eye for an eye

doctrine of the Hebrews that has come down through ages of persecution and wanderings is clearly denied by Atheism, All otheV religions, irrespective of their several gods, are all. dumped into the pit of the unknown. thing and we end with nothing.


We begin with no­

Destiny Is the inevitable necessity. A oarefa.ll reading of the Hubaiyat brings to light the intermingling of death and destiny.

In this work either word is interchangeable,

lither word includes the complete absorption of the other. The powers conferred upon Destiny by Khayyam are greater •fjhan those of any pagan god.

These powers, on the whole#

tend towards the punishment of assumed evil, the destruction of things not in keeping with the will of Destiny and the almost complete ignoring of the individual.

Destiny must be

considered as being a negative faith or religion. Justice is emphasized, mercy is forgotten.

Righteousness is set

upon a clay pedestal* while virtue finds no place at all in Destiny's temple.

Destiny begins, in Omar's belief, in the

dust of the earth and ends in the dust of the grave.


Destiny's realm there is no soul. If man has no soul then truly he must be but dust.

Omar and Destiny both deny a

life to be beyond the grave. will not admit?

What is this soul that Destiny

Is it not our assurance of a life beyond

this life, is it not our guarantee of immortality and is it not our salvation and eternity?

Is not a religion without

a soul as a world without life, a home without love, a fire without heat and a god without divinity? soul what does



If man has no

What but man's soul could be the force

that lifts man above all other forms of life?

If we, like

Destiny, could rob man of his soul#what would wine, atheism and annihilation matter? place upon himself?

Of what value might man himself


The Destiny that denies the soul

denies itself,

What it attempts to deny or ignore, only

in turn,proves the denying agents own non-existence.


has bat certified the ease against himself. Christian principles and Christian doctrines cannot he destroyed by any such efforts as the Bubaiyat.

fhe harm

is not in the attack upon the institution ©f Christianity "but rather upon the individual members of that institution. Bach century^ including the present onef has produced men and "isms" and doctrines designed to wipe from the face of the earth every trace of Catholic faith and dogma.


separate century has written its own black pages in the annals of history. Sach period has spawned these haters of Catholicism and where are they today?

More important",

where are their teachings and their doctrines? churches they established still flourishing?

Are the

Are th#

conquests made by their armies still controlled by their heirs?

Are the royal houses, established by hatred of tha

Catholic-Church, still standing and thriving?

Has any

religion or dynasty, created in opposition to [email protected]»managed to survive these past thousand years?

Can anyone deny that

the next thousand years will find the Catholic Church con­ stantly growing and embracing more and more of mankind with­ in the folds of its mantle of mercy and its promise of eternity?

If mass movements and emperors cannot shake the

position of the Church, it is reasonable to assume that a short, work of a half fozgotten poet will hardly achieve


that end.

But let us not underestimate the power of even

the smallest or weakest of adversaries. Any word or collect­ ion of words that leads to the downfall of but one man is a stem and formidable adversary. So temples may ever be erected to the Rubaiyat or its doetrines,J but its teachings may prosper without temples.

Its lines can comfortably be

carried in a pocket and its theories comfortably absorbed in but a few unthinking minutes. Its verse is easily memorized^ and what is easily memorized is easily quoted. Bach stanza is generally a complete thought. Pages and passages need not be learned in order to be familiar with the thme. As one verse gently echoes the thoughts of all others^ each is dangerous in turn. To the student, aocusitomed to study, there may be superficial pleasure in the Hubaiyat. unreality,

fo the scholar there is a damning sense of She student pictures the pleasures and sen­

suality so romantically portrayed by the Persian;


scholar reads without dreaming, and clearly sees the eold naked impossibilities of a doctrine founded upon atheism and leading to annihilation. scholars?

Would that we were all

If the realities could be plainly matifced for

all men, if we could pierce the veneer and get down to the wood beneath, if the face and not the mask were visible how simple would evaluation become.

In no

society is the threat to the individual considered as grave as the threat to the society itself. For this


reason we? are often apt to laugh off what appear to be trifles.

Oan the doctrine of Omar be ridiculed?

Can any

belief that turns men, eYen one man, away from Sod be con­ sidered as harmless? demnation?

Is not the Kabaiyat worthy of con­

Has it not condemned itself?

Admitting the danger of Khayyam's works is mandatory# Seeking a defense against his philosophy is rather a difficult undertaking.

If Omar was a fad, recently

adopted by an age group or national group, we could allow it to dissipate itself into its self-made limbo. If it was a doctrine taught by professors across the desks of class rooms, we might answer it in like turn with truth. If it was a secret society preaching these beliefs we might treat it as a hatred that in time would be forgotten.

If it was a religion with churches

and ministers, we might attack its precepts and teach­ ings.

But the Bubaiyat is none of these things#


is, on the surface, literature. It is as literature that it is first welcomed.

At one time it was but

Persian literature. Later it became an English classic. Since it found popularity among English tongues it has been translated into French, Seaman,' Italian, Danish and Hungarian.

It is of the utmost importance that it

be treated primarily as literature^ as good literature. It is likely to attract readers as long as the English language shall prosper.

The literature of Shakespeare


has been the target of every worki:pg critie since the in­ troduction of the printed word.

These, critics have added

only lustre to Shakespeare's crown and he stands un­ matched today.

The Rubaiyat was old, very old, before a

Shakespearian passage found its way to a stage.


Rubaiyat eannot be touched by literary criticism because in that field it is without fault. In the field of morality it is vulnerable, but it must be a planned and studied assault,

This assault can­

not be launched by fanfare* as that would serve only the purpose of calling the work to the attention of those who otherwise might nfver stumble across it.

An attack

upon a literary work usually will arouse public cur­ iosity.

Ouriosity can often be turned into interest.

The Hubaiyat, as classroom material, is too deep a work for casual attention, and classroom time is too limited to devote the necessary hours required in rebuttal.

The teaching of basic OhristiBn principles

to all students would be the first link in the armor of scholastic truth necessary to combat agnosticism. The building of 8 stronger and firmer faith in young man and women would do much to erase the casual but powerful phrases of the Rubaiyat. A complete under­ standing of 'the simple values of life and a deep appreciation for the divine seheme of t hings will effectively offset the Persian damage.


Clear think­

ing will outshine tha muddled mental process of a mind eontrolled by intoxicants.

Ehe inclusion in libraries of copies

of the Rubaiyat, wherein sufficient explanations are given in order that even the casual reader may have a guiding hand in the trackless wastes of pagan verse. When the Rubaiyat is discovered by a student it should be pointed out that the work is one of literature and not of philosophy,. work of rhyme and not of reason.

It is a

®hese methods of offsetting:

the influence of the Rubaiyat may not be sufficient.

It is

doubtful that they will be. However, the first step in any reformation is the acknowledgement that danger exists.


student being fore-warned can be prepared. Keeping copies of the Rubaiyat out of younger hands would be an excellent method of control but, unfortunately, this cannot be done. The Rubaiyat is available to all at any library or book­ stall.

In a stranger but typical modem manned the articles

of doubtful value find tha greatest circulation. A faith that is strong and a faith that is being ever strengthened is the greatest shield against any and all dangers and pitfalls.

The principles of Catholicism have

stood and will stand through the ages.

The Divine

Mysteries are as fresh and wonderful today as they were in the days of the founding of Saint Peter's.

In the

century when Omar formulated his doctrine of Destiny the Catholic Shurch had had one thousand years of teaching the doctrines of Christ.

When the centuries of tha de­

cline of Persian art and literature were past the Catholic



Church was fresh and moving forward with new rigor. Daring any period that the historian may oare to mention, we find the Oat ho lie Church ever growing and striding forward with undiminished strength and vigor.

When all forms of religion

have groan old and followers are dropping away, the Oat ho lie Shurch will still "be young and attracting followers under the banner of Christ# In some yet untaiown generation there will rise an­ other Omar. He will b« as gifted as the eleventh century poet, he will bring forth a doctrine capable of arresting the attention of the world*

Shis doctrine will flourish

for a time and then be forgotten.

After him will oome

others bent upon fostering the brain-ehildren of an intoxicated intellect,

fhese men will all be brilliant.

All of them might have left their imprints upon the face of time had they chosen a truer path. If their works live for a century,' or ten times that length of time, it will all be as nothing*

5?he Catholic Ohureh will

witness all their beginnings, and when their end comes* the Catholic Church will watch their passing and still Her upward march will be unimpeded. Omar and the gods of Omar have had and will have their day.

3?heir power

and influence have been widespread, fheir mosques art numerous^ but not as numerous as in past generations. Already the blot of time is beginning to cover Omar's achievements.

His total oblivion is in the future,


the far distant future.

Uo man would ©are to say that the

Rubaiyat will be unknown a hundred or a thousand years from now'j; but all men will agree that the day will dawn, when the rising sun will be unable to seek out any memory of the Persian.

On the^ other hand, where today is the man who

can foresee even a slight decline in the influence of the Oatholie Ohurch?

Shis wave of Oommunism, strong as it may

be, is but another obstacle upon the road of the Ohuroh. Ind as insignificant as the Rubaiyat may seem to be, it will surely outlive Oommunism and all that Oommunism ad­ vocates. force.

Oommunism is both a doctrine and. a material

A material foroe has little life beyond its own

hey-day, and once fallen^ quickly drags down with it the doctrine that once gave it life.

3?he Rubaiyat is a

doctrine alone and, as with all doctrines, dies a slow and lingering death.

In fact, it seems to die many times

before it is fit for burial.

Within the memory of men

who walk the earth today will come the time when Oommunism will be forgotten and the Rubaiyat still on the list of best sellers. Oan anything be small or large except by comparison? Is a great work of art, great only when placed side by side with other works or is it great when standing alone? Is the Rubaiyat a menaee in itself or does it fade into insigni­ ficance when compared to the other evils we are forced to face today?

Is it worthy of attention when we are beset

by other powerful "isms?" Has the test of time proven the Rubaiyat to be a major obstacle to valid moral thought?


Qan we afford to ignore it while we marshall strength to fight on other fronts?

If we have not now the time to oppose the

smaller evil^ when will the time be at our disposal? one period of eonfliot followed by another?

Is not

Oan we afford to

divide our efforts in order to fight each evil according to its merits?

Perhaps we may#

Against all the evils we are fight­

ing will we not have the help and assistance that we have had sinee that Black Friday on Mount Calvary?

Was the might of

pagan Home less then than the Kremlin is today?

The Soman age

has long passed and the Moscow influence will follow, (Ehe pagan deities and pagan doctrines have long since vanished, even as the doctrine of Destiny by Omar will vanish.

Down through

these periods the Divine Creator has been our guardian. will continue to guide our steps.


A constant and continued

appeal to His Goodness, His Mercy and His love is all that man needs to clear away ,the mists and dispel the darkness.


old truths and simple faith are all the weapons needed.


strong belief in God is the shield through whieh no doubt may ever pass. 37he idea that this generation is the first to criticize the Rubaiyat is a fallacy.

Since Fitzgerald first published

his first edition scholars have been questioning the validity of the philosophy contained in the Eubaiyat.

Michael Keraey,

noted author and literary critic of the period, in eighteen hundred and eighty-seven questioned the originality of Omarfs


ideas and thoughts. He expressed the opinion that Omar was not a Mohammedan. (Phis opinion has been held by numerous other reviewers.

Mr. Keraey believed that many of the

"educated thinkers" of his day had adopted QmarTs concepts of "religion, fate and immortality."

Mr* Eerney ventured the

opinion that Omar was more; Persian than Mohammedan, and his Rubaiyat» when translated, contained more of Fitzgerald*s ideas than his own. Alfred, Lord fennyson gloried in the poetic value and beauty of the Rubaiyat.

He placed it high on the list of

gems of the English language.

As for th® ideas contained

in the lubaiyat, he held small regard.

Tennyson named the

Rubaiyat—"golden Eastern lay" while,; at the same time, calling Omar—"that large infidel." Mward B« Oowell, considered by many to be the most learned scholar of the Victorian Age in matters relating to the Orient^ first brought Ehayyam to Fitzgerald's attention.

Oowell was an avid translator but not a poet.

It was his effort that brought the Rubaiyat back from the graved even as it was Fitzgerald's genius that made the work famous*

Oowell, while interested in the Rubaiyat

from a translators viewpoint^ was loud in his denunci­ ations of the theories found in the various stanzas* One may wonder if Oowell ever regretted his discovery of Khayyam. Fitzgerald, who deified Omar, had much to say regard­


ing the philosophy of the Bubaiyat.

His criticism as well as his

defense of the Bubaiyat is best exemplified in his famous debate with Monsieur licholas.

Monsieur licholas, at the time of the

debate was French Consul at Besht•

He had travelled extensive­

ly and while at leheran became interested in the Bubaiyat. He translated and published an excellent edition of four huzw dred and sixty-four Bubaiyat.

He justified Omar by attempting

to prove the Bubaiyat as a work greatly misunderstood. Nicholas believed Omar to be a mystic who shrouded his deity under the figure of "wine." licholas pointed out that all Persian poets used the same tacties, and that only through trans­ lation did Omar beeome somewhat of a villian. licholas through­ out the debate steadily maintained that Omar's quatrains could: only be mystically interpreted.

At the same time licholas,

himself, seemed puzzled by Omar's allusions and images, and thought that, however clear .Omar might seem to Europeans, the Persians, themselves, would have trouble in understanding. "Quant aux termes de tendresse qui commeneent ce quatrain, comme tant d'autres dans ce recueil, nos lecteurs, habitue's maintenant a lfetrangete des expressions si souvent employes /



par Kheyam pour rendre ses pensees sur lramour divin, et a * / la singularite de ses images trop orientales, d'une sensualite

auelquefbis revoltante^ n*auront pas de peine a se persuader qu'il sfagit de la Divinite, bien que eette conviction soit




vivement discutee par les moullahs musulmans at mama par beaucoup de laiques, qui rougissent ve'ritablement d'une paraille licence de leur compatriote a l'egard des choses spirituelles.n Mcmsiaur Moholas was, by far, the finer Christian of the two.

Fitzgerald^ perhaps blinded by the poet*3 greed for

lyrical thought, accepted Omar's words for their face value* He believed in Omar and consequently glorified him.

It is to

be doubted that Fitzgerald considered all of Omar's ideas to be original.

In hie debate with Monsieur licholas he

(Fitzgerald) denied that Omajr was the originator of Pantheism, Materialism or lecessity.

He places the existence of these

"isms" beyond the days of Lucretius and Spicurus.

He believes

they were born back in an "Age of social and political barbarism, under shadow of one of the !Fwo and Seventy Religions.n In anothsr place Fitzgerald terms the Rubaiyat the "Irraligion of thinking men." Fitzgerald was willing to concede that he, or any other critie or scholar, could be mistaken concerning the Rubaiyat, but Omar himself could never be in error. Fitzgerald apparently absorbed all of Omar's teachings. Had Fitzgerald the power to create thought in equality to his ability to translate, he would have outdistanced Omar.


gerald admits the existence of dubious philosophy in the Rubaiyat. He terms it—"hazardous, if not to the Devotee himself, yet to his weaker Brethren." Fitzgerald held all


religion in low repute.

He questioned the benefits of a world

hereafter that did not compensate for sacrifices made in this world - "without hope of any posthumous Beatitude in another world to -compensate for all one's self-denial in this". He likened religion to "Spiritual Wine" and closed his defense of the Rubaiyat by prefering the wine of Omar- "in very defiance perhaps of that Spiritual Wine which left its Yotaries sunk in Hypocrisy or Disgust".

Whether Fitzgerald had lost his

faith in God before or after his Oriental translations is questionable; his utter acceptance of Persian morals, as pic­ tured by Omar, evidently became his personal credo, and no evidence exists that would dispel the notion of Fitzgerald clinging to that credo until his "to-morrows" had become his "yesterdays"• There have been numerous theories advanced as to Fitz­ gerald's reluctance to publish all the stanzas of the Hubaiyat in his first edition.

We know, beyond any doubt, that

he had many more than the printed seventy-five. quent editions prove the point.

His subse­

Fitzgerald must have real­

ized before the first printing that he had translated, and was about to foster upon the English speaking world, a doc­ ument of dynamic proportions.

How long he pondered and

hesitated is a matter of idle conjecture.

Perhaps he in­

tended to publish all verses in the first edition but with­ drew many, believing the Victorian Age might completely dis­ own him. A short review of these omitted stanzas will ex­


plain his withholding of them. Yerse XXXlll of Fitzgerald*s fourth and fifth editions denies the power of Heaven to know the answers to even the simple questions asked "by Omar.

The "eternal Signs" reveal

nothing and all their power is hidden, either by day or by night.

We need not look to heaven for assitance as it is.


Fitzgerald has expressed this same thought pre­

viously, but this is his first direst denial of any eternal power# In verse XXXV111 of the third edition man is admittedly east from an earthen moli^* but the moulder is several persons or things.

The word "They" is used as the creator and we

must take it as meaning Omar1s usual "Destiny and lothing." In stanza XL of the- fifth edition Omar draws the picture of a tulip opening its petals and lifting them towards the i •

heavens," waiting for the morning dew.

Omar then asks if you

"devoutly" lift your arms, in imitation of the tulip, towards heaven^ expecting heaven to answer your plea.

Shis is all

useless^ because in th& end, heaven "inverts" you towards the earth^ even as you invert an empty eup.

This is but another

denial of the existence of a power above those known on earth. The four lines of verse E? of the second edition again attack problems that ere either "Human" or "Divine."

Both are

evidently settled by themselves or some other equally un­


known agent. Into this catagory Omar places all of tomorrow"s problems. Here, as in many of his verses, Omar, offers wine as the substitute for everything. From the preface to the first edition we find the stanza. Oh, if my Soul can fling his Dust aside, And naked on the Air of Heaven ride, Is't not a Shame, is"t not Shame for Him So long in this Glay Suburb to abide! This verse is seldom found in any widely circulated edi­ tions of the Rubaiyat and is not generally known. Its ab­ sence. is somewhat unexplainable as it is in perfect keeping with the rest of the lines. Fitzgerald, using it as a pre­ face, bemoans the very fact that we live. At the same time he slightly ridicules the idea of our having a soul, and also the ability of the soul to transmit itself to a world other than our own.

This preface would cause many a reader,

browsing through the book, to pause and consider;


perhaps excite enough interest to make the reader desir­ ous of finishing the entire work. In other verses not used in the first edition Omar refers to heaven as having an "unopening Door," he fur­ ther calls eternity a "Pastime," later he terms the juice of wine as "the growth of God.T' In another stansa the Rubaiyat questions the fact; that of all who have died before us, not one has returned to tell us of the road


we must travel#

The "Revelations of Devout and, Learn'd" are

all "Stories" that wake from sleep, speak their piece and then retrun to sleep. Another time Omar sent his soul through the "Invisible" seeking greener fields of an "After-life;n


later his soul returned with the announcement that "Myself am Heav'n and Hell." This is strangely reminiscent of Dante's— "There is no hell, nor am I out of it; I, myself, am hell.** Beyond this we find that heaven is but a "Vision of fulfill'd Desire" and that hell is the "Shadow of a Soul on fire." Per­ haps both ISSXU. and LXSXV of the second edition present a dogma fully equipped with every essence of argument loved by Omar and his cult.

These two verses offer this theory in

debate-We were taken from "senseless Hothing" and fashioned into a "concious Something" for the purpose of resenting the yoke of "unpermitted Pleasure" under pain of "Everlasting Penalties" if we break the yoke. God is helpless, and why does He expect us to repay Him in pure gold when He created us from a mixture of mud, and why should we be held responsible for a debt(life) we did not contract. If there should be, in those ages yet unborn, another philosopher of the same ealiber as Omar, may the efforts of both his mind and pen be buried before they attain any sueh prominence as our Persian poet has achieved. Bach period of recorded time has produced philosophies that have failed to


survive the searching inquiries of later day scholars;


eaoh generation believes wholly in itself and in its own ideals; Mankind# in its entirety, would do well to examine the Christian Ideal, and having examined, might appraise.

We would then be

blessed with one creed; and humanity's blind groping and wild searching for peace of mind and soul would be ended;

an end for

which man has longed since the beginning of civilization, an end that man will someday attain, not through his own efforts but through the guidance and love of Divine Providence;

then wi,ll

birth and death, life and destiny, soul and immortality be clear, open pages wherein all may read and understand.