A pilgrimage to the grave of the poet Edward Fitzgerald, the translator (or rather re-presenter) of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám”
|Our empty glass of wine up-turned on Edward Fitzgerald's grave|
This poem was first introduced to me by my grandmother when I was a very small boy (indeed, I still have the copy from which she read to me) and it’s basic philosophy, which Fitzgerald in his introduction to his first edition of the poem) described as being a religious skepticism that owes much to Epicurus and Lucretius is, as readers of this blog will know, one which has had, and continues to have, a powerful influence upon my own thinking.
When I was living in Suffolk nineteen years ago, once every couple of years, I would cycle over to Fitzgerald’s grave, read the poem (or at least a fair few of its verses, and generally in the first version he produced) and, after reading the final verse, drink a glass of Shiraz and turn the glass upside-down on his gravestone just as they/he requested:
And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on The Grass,
And in Thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
Where I made one—turn down an empty Glass!
TAMÁM SHUD. [that is, It is ended]
Well, it’s been, long time since I’ve been able to do this and so it was a joy and pleasure to drink Omar Khayyám and Fitzgerald once again.
O Whistle and I'll Come to You my Lad and, before leaving the town, we dropped into the wonderful Treasure Chest bookshop. Very appropriately I found nestled on the shelves a copy of the second printing of the 1955 Folio edition of the Rubaiyat for just £5. Since I did not have this edition in my modest collection I decided to succumb to temptation and get it. And, lastly, as I have been writing this post, it seemed entirely fitting to do it to the accompaniment of Bantock’s sublime work Omar Khayyám.
I took a few photos of the occasion and include them here at the beginning of this post and below for your pleasure. At the very end I also include a photo of the sublime sunset we saw as we were leaving Felixstowe. It was a perfect end to the day’s joyous pilgrimage . . .
All the photos were taken with my Fuji X100F and are straight out of the camera.
Just click on a photo to enlarge it.
|The view looking north from Fitzerald's grave|
|Looking back at Fitzgerald's grave from the north|
|St Michael's, Boulge from the south-east|
|A lone chair outside the churchyard|
|Sunset over Felixstowe|