Omar Khayyam Quotes

Omar Khayy, 1048 – 1131

Born: 18 May 1048, Neyshapur, Persia
Died: 4 December 1131, Neyshapur, Persia

The Persian mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyám was born at Neyshapur, Persia on this day in 1048. Neyshapur is located in northeastern Iran at an elevation of 1250 m (4,101 feet) and was one of the principal cities of Islam at the time. Little is known of his early life although his name suggests his family was involved in tent making. He dramatically advanced algebra, solving problems and proving theorems that Europeans didn’t catch up to for half a millennium, and calculated the length of the year to nine digits of precision, much more accurate than the Gregorian calendar that also came a half millennium later. Unbeknownst to his contemporaries, he also wrote several hundred rubaiyat (quatrains) which only found a wide audience in 1859 when Edward Fitzgerald first published an English translation of many of them.

Omar Khayyam quotes:

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!
    Omar Khayyám – XII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

A hair divides what is false and true.
    Omar Khayyam

A moment guess’d — then back behind the Fold
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll’d
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.
    Omar Khayyám – LI The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Ah make the most of what yet we may spend, before we too into dust descend.
    Omar Khayyam

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and ’twas — the Grape!
    Omar Khayyám – LVIII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

And much as Wine has play’d the Infidel,
And robb’d me of my Robe of Honour — Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.
    Omar Khayyám – XCV The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’d we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help — for It
As impotently moves as you or I.
    Omar Khayyám – LXXII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

As far as you can avoid it, do not give grief to anyone. Never inflict your rage on another. If you hope for eternal rest, feel the pain yourself; but don’t hurt others.
    Omar Khayyam

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
    Omar Khayyam

Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?”
    Omar Khayyám – II The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Behold the morning! Rise up, O youth and quickly fill thyself with this rosy wine sparkling from the crystal cup of the dawn!
    Omar Khayyam

By the help of God and with His precious assistance, I say that Algebra is a scientific art. The objects with which it deals are absolute numbers and measurable quantities which, though themselves unknown, are related to “things” which are known, whereby the determination of the unknown quantities is possible.
    Omar Khayyam – Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra (1070)

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time bas but a little way
To flutter — and the Bird is on the Wing.
    Omar Khayyám – VII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Dead yesterdays and unborn tomorrows, why fret about it, if today be sweet?
    Omar Khayyam

Diversity of worship has divided the human race into seventy-two nations. From among all their dogmas, I have selected one, Divine Love.
    Omar Khayyam

Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
    Omar Khayyam

Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why. Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
    Omar Khayyam

For in and out, above, about, below,
‘Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play’d in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.
    Omar Khayyám

He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare, And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.
    Omar Khayyam

I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life spell,
And by and by my Soul returned to me,
And answered I Myself am Heaven and Hell.
    Omar Khayyám – LXVI The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.
    Omar Khayyám – XIX The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
Have drown’d my Glory in a shallow Cup
And sold my Reputation for a Song.
    Omar Khayyám – XCIII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Justice is the soul of the universe.
    Omar Khayyam

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door where in I went.
    Omar Khayyám – XXVII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Not oft near home does genius brightly shine,
No more than precious stones while in the mine.
    Omar Khayyam

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand Of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.
    Omar Khayyám – IV The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires.
    Omar Khayyám

Oh, the brave music of a distant drum!
    Omar Khayyám

Oh, Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!
    Omar Khayyám – LXXX The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

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;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.
    Omar Khayyám – LXIII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

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.
    Omar Khayyám – LXIV The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

The entire world shall be populous with that action which saves one soul from despair.
    Omar Khayyam

The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
Life’s leaden metal into Gold transmute:
    Omar Khayyám – LIX The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
    Omar Khayyám – LXXI The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.
    Omar Khayyam

There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was — and then no more of Thee and Me.
    Omar Khayyám – XXXII The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

Tomorrow’s fate, though thou be wise,
Thou canst not tell, nor yet surmise:
Pass, therefore, not today in vain,
For it will never come again.
    Omar Khayyám

Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
    Omar Khayyám – LIV The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.
    Omar Khayyam

Yon rising Moon that looks for us again —
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden — and for one in vain!
    Omar Khayyám – C The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.
    Omar Khayyám – LV The Rubaiyat (1120) Edward FitzGerald translation, fifth edition (1889)

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