Life is short

Malta Independent - - LETTERS -

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, trans­lated into English verse by Ed­ward FitzGer­ald from the orig­i­nal Per­sian, is marked with a sense of ur­gency about the tran­sient na­ture of life.

The first words of this book of po­etry is “Awake!...You know how lit­tle while we have to stay, and, once de­parted, may re­turn no more.”

Omar Khayyam, the as­tronomer poet of Per­sia, was highly scep­ti­cal of an “af­ter-life”.

“Strange, is it not? that of the myr­i­ads who be­fore us pass’d the door of Dark­ness through, not one re­turns to tell us of the Road, which to dis­cover we must travel too.

“The rev­e­la­tions of Devout and Learn’d who rose be­fore us, and as Prophets burn’d, are all but sto­ries, which, awoke from sleep they told their com­rades, and to sleep re­turn’d.

“Oh threats of Hell and hopes of Par­adise! One thing at least is cer­tain – this life flies; one thing is cer­tain and the rest is lies.”

John Guil­lau­mier St Ju­lian’s

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