Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
(Bookman Publishing, Taipei, Taiwan, 1987)
Bookman Publishing: 5, Alley 62, Section 4, Roosevelt Road,
Tapei 10764, TAIWAN
This is a free rendering of the Rubaiyat into classical Chinese quatrains, base on the English translation of Edward Fitzgerald.
The classic Chinese quatrain consists of four lines of metered and rhymed verse, a crowning glory of the Tang Dynasty, brought to perfection by Li Po and others.. I made this translation in 1951, when I was 23, and a graduate student in physics.
The first edition was circulated privately in mimeographed form. I remember cutting the characters with a steel stylus over those blue stencils -- a long-obsolete medium.. It was published in book form in 1956 by Chi Ming Books in Taipei, Taiwan. This edition is a reissue, with English original added.
I feel deeply gratified that, over the years, many people have let me know that they had been touched by these lines. I am particularly touched by a nod of approval from Qian Zhongshu, classical scholar, and author of Besieged City, which I regard as the Great Chinese Novel of the WWII era. If my name be remembered a hundreds from now, it would be because of these verses.