Tao Te Ching

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Rubaiyat

By Omar Khayyám

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
First translated into English by Edward FitzGerald in 1859, the Rubáiyát slowly became popular and has now been published in hundreds of different editions and soon spawned many "Omar Khayyam Clubs.” For the first two years after its publication, not even one copy was sold and it didn’t become popular until scholars like Whitney Stokes discovered it and people like John Ruskin wrote, “I never did – till this day – read anything so glorious.” During his lifetime, Omar Khayyam was known as an astronomer and mathematician, not at all as a poet and the first reference to him in this way was wasn’t until 43 years after he died. It’s likely that the true author—fearing reprisals because of unorthodoxy—used his name as a disguise. In any case, these poems became one of history’s most effective influences in undermining rigid views, dogmatic rules of conduct, and the adulation of self-sacrifice and pain-producing asceticism. During the Victorian era, it led the resistance against the prevalent ideologies of self-control and political correctness.

Quotes from Rubaiyat

“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

Chapters:

Themes: Books Pleasure

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“Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend”

Chapters:

Themes: Money

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“Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And bury me by some sweet Gardenside.”

Chapters:

Themes: Equanimity

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“Alike for those who for today prepare,
And those that after a tomorrow stare,
‘Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.’”

Chapters:

Themes: Materialism

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“And strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

Chapters:

Themes: Egolessness

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“And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean—
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!”

Chapters:

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“Be happy for this moment - this moment is your life.”

Chapters:

Themes: Here and Now

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“How long, how long, in infinite pursuit of this and that endeavor and dispute?”

Chapters:

Themes: Desire

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“How sultan after sultan with all his pump abode his hour or two and quickly went away.”

Chapters:

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“I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence a-pieces tore.”

Chapters:

Themes: Inspiration

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“I value the lover's sighs of happiness and I despise the hypocrite mumbling his prayers.”

Chapters:

Themes: Sex

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“Make the most of what we yet may spend
Before we too into the dust descend”

Chapters:

Themes: Money

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“Some we loved–the loveliest and the best–one by one crept silently to Rest.”

Chapters:

Themes: Death and Dying

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“The bird of time has but a little way to fly—and lo! the bird is on the wing...
Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday.

Chapters:

Themes: Time

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“The thoughtful soul to solitude retires”

Chapters:

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“The Wine of Life keeps dripping drop by drop;
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.”

Chapters:

Themes: Longevity

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“The worldly hope men set their hearts upon, like snow on the desert's dusty face, lighting a little hour or two—is gone.”

Chapters:

Themes: Hope

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“With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labored it to grow”

Chapters:

Themes: Gardening

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Quotes about Rubaiyat (4 quotes)

“The Rubáiyát is the bible of the ‘carpe diem religion’”

G. K. Chesterton 1874 – 1936 CE

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“I never did–till this day–read anything so glorious.”

John Ruskin 1819 – 1900 CE

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“A masterpiece of art and one of my greatest literary loves.”

Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900 CE

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“The Rubáiyát was an unapologetic expression of hedonism, bringing to mind sensuous embraces in jasmine-filled gardens on balmy Arabian nights, accompanied by cups of cool, intoxicating wine. It was a passionate outcry against the unofficial Victorian ideologies of moderation, primness and self-control.”

Roman Krznaric c. 1964
Practical, popular, modern philosopher

Themes: Control

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