Medieval History

Selected Sources Full Text Sources Saints' Lives Law Texts Maps Medieval Films Search Help

Selected Sources Sections Studying History End of Rome Byzantium Islam Roman Church Early Germans Anglo-Saxons Celtic World Carolingians 10 C Collapse Economic Life Crusades Empire & Papacy France England Celtic States Nordic Europe Iberia Italy Eastern Europe Intellectual Life Medieval Church Jewish Life Social History Sex & Gender States & Society Renaissance Reformation Exploration
IHSP Credits

Medieval Sourcebook:
Omar Khayyam:
The Wisdom of the Supreme, c. 1120

All we see-above, around---
Is but built on fairy ground:
All we trust is empty shade
To deceive our reason made.
Tell me not of Paradise,
Or the beams of houris' eyes;
Who the truth of tales can tell,
Cunning priests invent so well?
He who leaves this mortal shore
Quits it to return no more.

In vast life's unbounded tide
They alone content may gain,
Who can good from ill divide,
Or in ignorance abide---
All between is restless pain.
Before thy prescience, power divine,
What is this idle sense of mine?
What all the learning of the schools?
What sages, priests, and pedants?---Fools!

The world is thine, from thee it rose,
By thee it ebbs, by thee it flows.
Hence, worldly lore! By whom is wisdom shown?
The Eternal knows, knows all, and He alone!


From: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VIII: Medieval Persia, p. 14 (Translated by E. H. Whinfield)

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
[email protected]

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 5 June 2023 [CV]