Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15: "The Moving Finger Writes" (Vol. 41, pp. 943-953)

"The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" was first published this day in 1859.

This philosophical poem is arguably the source of more aphorisms than anything else in the English language, such as the one alluded to in the title of today's reading:

"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."

The spot-on observations on life and human nature contained in this poem keep it from being just another example of the usual overwrought poetry of the age.

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