Omar Khayyam and Max Stirner

Translated by Ulrike Hirschhäuser

“Moreover I don´t want to keep this a secret:

My assessment of three Persian geniuses,

which I made on page 205

has shifted in favour of Omar Khajjam

after taking note of his writings in greater detail.

I regard Omar Khajjam as the most genuine of the three.” [1]

- Ludwig Klages, German philosopher and psychologisthe - 

Omar's Rubai: Structural Aspects

Omar´s verse has the form of a Ruba´i, pl. Rubaijat. A Ruba´i only consists of four lines. Each Rubai is an independent poem of its own. One of its typical features is its rhyme scheme: The first, the second and the fourth line end on the same rhyme, whereas the third is rhymeless. The fourth line frequently is the most important as it contains the poet´s message. It stresses an emotion, a concept that the poet only alludes to in the preceding lines. The Persian poet named Saeb once stated, “The last line of a Ruba´i hits your heart.” The first two lines must be considered an unfinished poem, the third line functions as a break to develop a new idea, which is an explosive one. Even though the third line suggests a synthesis, the fourth line may contain something deviating from this synthesis. That´s the essence of the art of making a Ruba´i. The fourth line can be a conclusion, or it may negate everything that is expressed in the preceding lines. It can end on a note suggesting meaninglessness, depression, sadness, though the first two lines express contrasting emotions. The concluding line always comes as a surprise, represents the climax, which completes the poem however contradictory the lines may appear.

[1] Ludwig Klages: Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele  Bonn, p. XI  (The Mind As Soul´s Adversary)



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