Omar Khayyam was born in 1048 in the city of Nishapur in northeastern Iran. He was a Persian scientist, philosopher and poet best known for his influential work of poetry, the Rubaiyat, which was introduced to the west by Edward Fitzgerald’s famous translation into English in the mid 19th century.

Sometimes referred to as the “Astronomer-Poet of Persia”, Khayyam was in many ways a man of many different talents. Although his legacy is mostly characterized by his poetry, during his time he was mostly known as a mathematician and astronomer. One of the notable events and accomplishments of Khayyam’s life was to design the Jalali calendar (in collaboration with other scientists of his time), which is a solar calendar with an accurate 33 year intercalation cycle and a precursor of Iran’s modern calendar.

When Khayyam neared the end of his life, it is thought he lived his last years as a recluse and died in his hometown of Nishapur at the age of 83.

I myself am Heaven and Hell.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXVI, 1120)

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
Omar Khayyam

The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – IV, 1120)

A hair divides what is false and true.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – XLIX, 1120)

Strange – is it not? – that of the myriads who Before us passed the door of Darkness through, Not one returns to tell us of the road Which to discover we must travel too.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXIV, 1120)

Heav’n but the Vision of fulfill’d Desire,
And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXVII, 1120)

There was a door to which I found no key: There was the veil through which I might not see.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – XXXII, 1120)

Ah make the most of what yet we may spend, Before we too into dust descend.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – XXIV, 1120)

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – IX, 1120)

Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why: drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXXIV, 1120)

A book, a woman, and a flask of wine:
The three make heaven for me; it may be thine
Is some sour place of singing cold and bare,
But then, I never said thy heaven was mine.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – XII, 1120)

When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.
Omar Khayyam

Ah, my Belov’ed fill the Cup that clears
Today Past Regrets and Future Fears:
Tomorrow! – Why, Tomorrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – XXI, 1120)

I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d “I Myself am Heav’n and Hell:”
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXVI, 1120)

The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – VIII, 1120)

Yesterday This Day’s Madness did prepare;
Tomorrow’s Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXXIV, 1120)

Living Life Tomorrow’s fate, though thou be wise, Thou canst not tell nor yet surmise; Pass, therefore, not today in vain, For it will never come again.
Omar Khayyam

omar khayyam quote

We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXVIII, 1120)

Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain – This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LXIII, 1120)

Myself when young did eagerly frequent doctor and saint, and heard great argument about it and about: but evermore came out by the same door as in I went.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – XXVII, 1120)

By the help of God and with His precious assistance, I say that Algebra is a scientific art. The objects with which it deals are absolute numbers and measurable quantities which, though themselves unknown, are related to “things” which are known, whereby the determination of the unknown quantities is possible.
Omar Khayyam (Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, 1070)

Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat – LIV, 1120)

Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret, and denied it me?–
Well, well, what matters it! Believe that, too.
“Did God set grapes a-growing, do you think,
And at the same time make it sin to drink?
Give thanks to Him who foreordained it thus –
Surely He loves to hear the glasses clink!”
Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat, 1120)

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