Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Edward FitzGerald
Illustrated by William Morris

William Morris’s exquisitely transcribed and illuminated 1872 version of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is reproduced in complete facsimile in this new Folio Society edition.


The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám holds a unique place in English literature. A sensation of the Victorian age, it remains one of the best-loved poems in English. It was born of an encounter between two minds across seven centuries, when the reclusive Victorian scholar Edward FitzGerald translated a set of verses attributed to the 12th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyám.

Each quatrain is a meditation on the fleeting nature of life. Man is compared, variously, to a bubble poured out with wine, a piece on a chess board and a clay pot created by a fickle maker. Filled with the lush opulence of the East as romanticised by the Pre-Raphaelites, the Rubáiyát advocated the pleasures of earthly life – wine, love, song – over the uncertain promise of heaven.

Bound in blocked cloth based on the 1872 original binding

32 pages

Printed in colour and gold ink throughout

Blocked cloth slipcase

˝ x 4¾˝

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