A Gift

It is with a sense of relief bordering on joy that I can report that after many weeks of delay because of visa issues the last of our temporary lecturers has finally arrived in Maynooth. He has been teaching online for half the semester but at least he can do the second half in person.

He also gave me a wonderful gift in the form of a sumptuously illustrated multi-lingual edition of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám:

Here is a glimpse inside:

I am familiar with Edward Fitzgerald‘s famous English translation of these quatrains with an AABA rhyming scheme by the Astronomer-Poet of Persia but skimming the volume I see that the translations into other languages are rather different. It must be difficult to find three rhyming endings for each quatrain without stretching the original meaning, so some of the translations don’t attempt this. Here is the German translation (not by Fitzgerald) in the book of one of the most well-known verses:

Es schreibt die Hand und schreibt
Weder dein Witz noch all dein Glaubensmut
Euft sie zurück, daß sie ein Wort nur tilgt –
Kein Tüttelchen löscht deiner Tränen Flut.

3 Responses to “A Gift”

  1. Interesting to hear about the gift. Wonder if its a cultural thing? When I was a Head of School some new staff turned up with gifts for me, but I refused as I said that I believed it would not be appropriate for me to accept these.

    • telescoper Says:

      I don’t think it’s inappropriate to accept a gift from another member of staff or a visitor. It would certainly be inappropriate to accept a gift from a student though.

  2. A visitor is different, I think, and I’ve received several presents from visitors. (And used to bring bottles of whiskey and Mars bars when I visited some long-term collaborators in the US). However I meant new staff where I had chaired the appointment panel as Head of School, so was ultimately responsible for their appointment. Didn’t think it was appropriate to accept gifts from them.

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