It’s More Than “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” You Know

Khayyam.

Khayyam. (Photo credit: vasta)

I saw this Daily Prompt from Daily Post a few days ago for the challenge, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…”  I know the suggestions are for us to post something about DINNER.  But as I looked at the prompt, I could not help but be pulled back in time to when I was barely 14 years old and I had this paper to write.  We were given the liberty to choose an accepted literary piece to analyze, get to know the author, the style, the theme, the SHE (Significant Human Experience).

Some of my friends chose T.S. Eliot and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.  Another friend chose George Orwell and his dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.  I decided on Omar Khayyam and The Rubaiyat, as translated in English by Edward Fitzgerald in 1859. It is a series of quatrains (stanzas in a poem that are composed of four rhymed and/or metered lines from the poetic traditions of Ancient Greece, Rome, China, etc.)

Front cover of 'Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' tran...

Front cover of ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’ translated by Edward Fitzgerald, illustrated by Willy Pogány (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know what you’re thinking. Couldn’t she have chosen something more conventional?  Well, I found the guy’s poetry compelling.  I made a case for it with my Literature teacher and she bought it. And so went my quest for getting into Mr. Khayyam’s head, which meant going into Edward Fitzgerald too, as his translator.  All in all, it was fun. And yes, I did ace it!

And no!  It’s not all about eating, drinking and being merry. There is far more when you deign to scratch beyond the surface of his poetry.  I can’t believe that after decades, I can still recite some of my favorite verses from memory!  One of them is the third to the last verse:

LXXXVIII.

Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire

To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,

Would not we shatter it to bits —

and then

Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

Other favorites that came to mind are:

XXII.

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears

To-day of past Regrets and future Fears —

To-morrow? — Why, To-morrow I may be

Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.

XXV.
Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend,

Before we too into the Dust descend;

Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie;

Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End!

LX.

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.

There is more, if you’re so inclined for creative poetry.  Check him out if you have a chance, even to just enjoy the lovely lyrical lines.  He’s still pretty awesome in my books!

P.S. I know some of you might say that “Eat, drink, and be merry” might have originated from the book of the Corinthians (or is it Ecclesiastes?) in the Bible. I guess, the line has been used more than once!  The complete line is really, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.”  Pretty hedonistic, huh?

 

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13 Responses to It’s More Than “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” You Know

  1. Pingback: Comfort Food | The Silver Leaf Journal

  2. rarasaur says:

    I love the Rubaiyat! 🙂 I’ve never heard of SHE before– what a cool acronym! 😀

    Like

  3. Just started my own love for his poetry and I really find it equally as compelling.

    Like

  4. vastlycurious.com says:

    I like that you are NON-conventional! Very nicely done!

    Like

  5. auntyuta says:

    It’s remarkable you can still recall all these lines. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Like

  6. Lucid Gypsy says:

    This as really interesting, I ‘ve heard of it but never read any so thank you .

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  7. I love it. Very deep for a 14 year old. Very beautiful sentiment. Makes me want to stop and dwell on that kind of stop the world feeling of love.

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