Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fitzgerald's Omar Part 3

[Edward Fitzgerald to Edward Byles Cowell]

To E. B. Cowell.

Jan. 3/59.

My Dear Cowell,

. . . .I am almost ashamed to write to you, so much have I forsaken Persian, and even all good books of late. There is no one now to 'prick the sides of my intent'; vaulting ambition having long failed to do so! I took my Omar from Fraser [? Parker], as I saw he didn't care for it; and also I want to enlarge it to near as much again, of such matter as he would not dare to put in Fraser. If I print it, I shall do the impudence of quoting your account of Omar, and your apology for his free thinking: it is not wholly my apology, but you introduced him to me, and your excuse extends to that which you have not ventured to quote, and I do. I like your apology extremely also, allowing its point of view. I doubt you will repent of ever having showed me the book. I should like well to have the lithograph copy of Omar which you tell of in your note. My translation has its merit: but it misses a main one in Omar, which I will leave you to find out. The Latin versions, if they were corrected into decent Latin, would be very much better. . . .

I have forgotten to write out for you a little quatrain which Binning found written in Persepolis; the Persian tourists having the same propensity as English to write their names and sentiments on their national monuments.

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

No comments: