I read these lines when I was 16........quite an impressionable age !!! I don't think I fully understood what it was about, but like most people rendered mute in the presence of overwhelming beauty, I too was in awe of these simple but deeply intense words. Now nearly two decades later, it is still to these lines that I hasten to adorn the first pages of this site.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
(The Rubaiyat, 11th century)
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam originally written in Farsi was translated into several languages; the most renowned English translation was done by Edward J.Fitzgerald who is said to have taken a few liberties with the translation.
Apparently the literal translation of this quatrain (a stanza of four lines) is as follows:
Signs of destiny have always been
Those hands inscribed both good and mean
What was written, came from the unseen
Though we tried without and worried within.
Well, there is no doubt which one I prefer :) Somehow, Fitzgerald has captured the spirit of those original lines as best understood by him and made it appealing to folks like me.
In the end, the delivery of the lines matter, won't you agree???