“Ah, fill this cup:- what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn, Tomorrow, and dead Yesterday ,
Why fret about them if Today be sweet!”
It is the 37th quatrain from the First Edition of Edward FitzGerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and it is my favorite quatrain from the Rubaiyat.
The Rubaiyat’s message of living in the present was way ahead of its time, considering it was written at a time when many people did things in order to appease a ‘God’ and in hope of afterlife paradise. Now we live in an age where people are finally able to understand their lives and their live their lives with a sense of fulfillment rather than having to look forwards or backwards in time for their meaning.
The most famous quatrain from the Rubaiyat is:
“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to Cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.” (71, Fifth Edition)
This has a similar message but I prefer the previous one because it is less cryptic and therefore easier to understand.