Is there an English equivalent of this quatrain from the Russian version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam?

В этом мире глупцов, подлецов, торгашей
Уши, мудрый, заткни, рот надежно зашей,
Веки плотно зажмурь - хоть немного подумай
О сохранности глаз, языка и ушей!

In Russian it sounds as a poem, very rhymed.

Here's an automatic English translation:

In this world of fools, scoundrels, merchants
Ears, wise, shut up, shut your mouth tight,
Close your eyelids - think a little
The safety of eyes, tongue and ears!

Did Edward Fitzgerald translate this quatrain into English? And if he didn't, did anybody else?


1 Answer 1


This quatrain was not translated by Edward Fitzgerald (1859), nor by Richard Le Galliene (1902), but it was translated by E. H. Whinfield (1883):

Be very wary in the soul’s domain,
And on the world’s affairs your lips refrain;
Be, as it were, sans tongue, sans ear, sans eye,
While tongue, and ears, and eyes you still retain.

Edward Henry Whinfield (1883). The Quatrains Of Omar Khayyam, page 112. London: Trübner & Co.

The linked edition (at the Internet Archive) has the Persian text on the next page:

در عالمِ جان بهوش میباید بُود
در کارِ جهان خموش میباید بود
تا چشم و زبان و گوش بر جا باشد
بیچشم و زبان و گوش میباید بُود

Whinfield, page 113.

  • At least it rhymes )) I think it's impossible to reach a similarity in interpretation. I have scanned the original image in ancient Persian and the translation is very far far from any of the interpretations. Actually I wasn't able to understand the translation from Persian, especially considering that it is an ancient Persian.
    – Slava
    Commented Jun 19 at 22:31
  • @Slava Sorry about that—the corresponding Persian text is on the next page (page 113) not the facing page (page 111)! It's the quatrain starting در عالمِ جان بهوش میباید بُود ("in the world of the soul one should be smart"). Commented Jun 22 at 16:01

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