Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rubaiyat: Quatrain VIII

First Edition: Quatrain VIII

And look--a thousand Blossoms with the Day
Woke--and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.


Second Edition: Quatrain IX

Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.



Fifth Edition: Quatrain IX

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.


One obvious difference among the versions is the numbering. FitzGerald inserted another quatrain in the second edition and left it there for the subsequent editions. Since I'm using the First Edition as the foundation for my comments, I won't discuss the inserted quatrain, if at all, until after I finished the First Edition.

In the third and fourth lines, there is only one minor change: "Month" is capitalized in the First edition, but in lower case for the rest of the editions. The significance of this escapes me, except that it now seems to place more importance on "Summer" than on "month." The focus is on the season rather than the month.



The most significant changes in wording occurs in the first two lines:

First:
And look--a thousand Blossom with the Day
Woke--and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:

Second:
Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?

Fifth:
Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?


The Fifth version seems a refinement of the Second as 'Morning" becomes "Each Morn." I prefer the Fifth over the Second for "Each Morn" seems to flow more smoothly than "Morning" which seems somewhat blunt to me. All three, though, do express the point that while thousands may bloom this morning, just as many die. Life is fleeting and a new generation quickly replaces the old.

The last line of the Second and subsequent editions reminds me of a poem by Francois Villon. I have cut out the second and third stanzas as they are similar to the first one in which he asks about ladies of the past.

THE BALLAD OF DEAD LADIES

by: Fran├žois Villon (1431-1489)

      ELL me now in what hidden way is
      Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
      Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
      Neither of them the fairer woman?
      Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
      Only heard on river and mere,--
      She whose beauty was more than human? . . .
      But where are the snows of yester-year?

      . . .

      Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
      Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
      Save with this much for an overword,--
      But where are the snows of yester-year?
"The Ballad of Dead Ladies" was translated into English by D.G. Rossetti (1828-1882).


The following link will lead you to the complete poem.

http://tinyurl.com/cjbbsz




From the Wikipedia entry:
Jamshed, Jamshid, or Jam is a mythological figure of Greater Iranian culture and tradition.
In tradition and folklore, Jamshid is described as having been the fourth and greatest king of the epigraphically unattested Pishdadian dynasty ( before Kayanian dynasty)

Kaikobad: I couldn't locate anything specific about him? her? Most references were to a composer who lived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If anyone has a specific reference about Kaikobad, I would appreciate seeing it.

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