What the hell is a Rubaiyat?

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) was a bit like Leonardo da Vinci was later on: a respected scientific mind (in Khayyam’s case, focusing on math and astronomy), but well respected for artistic works (and in this case, poetry). It’s that art that brings you this particular link, which leads to a collection of English translations of his work, called the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. 

And for what it’s worth, a Rubaiyat is a quatrain. The title just means they have a collection of them.

Friends of mine know I enjoy a spot of writing, a turn of phrase, and a modicum of wit, which is why I’ve been so enamored with Khayyam’s work for the past couple of years. Granted, all the English world ever sees is Edward Fitzgerald’s translations. You can see by the link he went through several rounds of translating, and some of the more memorable verses change significantly over the years. But he spoke frequently of wine, often of love, and occasionally had a few chiding words for the clergy of the day. It’s a good source of inspiration (and a few that might help get you laid). Although there are several well known verses in there, I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorites:

One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste, 
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste—
The Stars are setting and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of Nothing—Oh, make haste! 

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and ‘twas—the Grape! 

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

What the hell is a Rubaiyat?