Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fitzgerald's Omar Part 2

[Edward Fitzgerald to Edward Byles Cowell]

Merton Rectory
September 3/[18]58.

My Dear Cowell,

. . . Now about my studies, which, I think, are likely to dwindle away too. I have not turned to Persian since the spring; but shall one day look back to it: and renew my attack on the 'Seven Castles,' if that be the name. I found the Jami MS. at Rushmere: and there left it for the present: as the other poem will be enough for me for my first onslaught. I believe I will do a little a day, so as not to lose what little knowledge I had. As to my Omar: I gave it to Parker* in January, I think: he saying Fraser **was agreeable to take it. Since then I have heard no more; so as, I suppose, they don't care about it: and may be quite right. Had I thought they would be so long however I would have copied it out and sent it to you: and I will still do so from a rough and imperfect copy I have (though not now at hand) in case they show no signs of printing me. My translation will interest you from its form, and also in many respects in its detail: very unliteral as it is. Many quatrains are mashed together: and something lost, I no doubt, of Omar's simplicity, which is so much a virtue in him. But there it is, such as it is. I purposely said in the very short notice I prefixed to the poem that it was so short because better information might be furnished in another paper, which I thought you would undertake. So it rests.

*J. W. Parker, editor of Fraser's Magazine.
**Hugh Fraser, co-founder of Fraser's Magazine

-from the Letters of Edward Fitzgerald (London: Macmillan and Co., 1901) vol. 2

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