Life is short
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