Subsidiary SourcebooksAfricanEastern AsianGlobalIndianJewishIslamicLesbian/GayScienceWomen

Special ResourcesByzantiumMedieval WebMedieval NYC
Medieval MusicSaints' Lives
Ancient Law
Medieval Law
Film: Ancient
Film: Medieval
Film: Modern
Film: Saints

About IHSPIHSP 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