Archive for Iran

A Gift

Posted in Biographical, Maynooth with tags , , on November 9, 2021 by telescoper

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.