Edward FitzGerald Poems

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Edward FitzGerald
Edward Marlborough FitzGerald (31 March 1809 14 June 1883) was an English writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. He was born Edward Marlborough Purcell at Bredfield House in Suffolk. His father, John Purcell, assumed in 1818 the name and arms of his wife's family, the FitzGeralds. This name change occurred shortly after FitzGerald's mother inherited her second fortune. She had previously inherited over a half-million pounds from an aunt, but in 1818 her father died and left her considerably more than that. The FitzGeralds were one of the wealthiest families in England, and they inbred as well: FitzGerald's father boasted of being descended from a FitzGerald, and he married his first cousin. Edward FitzGerald later commented that all of his relatives were mad, and further commented that he was insane as well, but at least aware of the fact. In 1816 the family moved to France, and lived at St Germain and at Paris, but in 1818, after the death of his mother's father, the family had to return to England. In 1821, Edward was sent to school at Bury St Edmunds. In 1826 he went to Trinity College, Cambridge. He became acquainted with William Makepeace Thackeray and William Hepworth Thompson. He had many friends who were members of the Cambridge Apostles, such as Alfred Tennyson, but FitzGerald himself was never invited to join the famous clique. In 1830 FitzGerald left for Paris, but in 1831 was living in a farm-house on the battlefield of Naseby. Needing no employment, FitzGerald lived quietly, moving to his native county of Suffolk, and never again leaving it for more than a week or two. Until 1835 the FitzGeralds lived at Wherstead; from that year until 1853 the poet resided at Boulge, near Woodbridge; until 1860 at Farlingay Hall; until 1873 in the town of Woodbridge; and then until his death at his own house close by, called Little Grange. During most of this time FitzGerald was preoccupied with flowers, music and literature. He allowed friends like Tennyson and Thackeray to surpass him, and for a long time showed no intention of emulating their literary success. In 1851 he published his first book, Euphranor, a Platonic dialogue, born of memories of the old happy life at Cambridge. In 1852 he published Polonius, a collection of "saws and modern instances", some of them his own, the rest borrowed from the less familiar English classics. FitzGerald began the study of Spanish poetry in 1850 at Elmsett and that of Persian at the University of Oxford with Professor Edward Byles Cowell in 1853. In middle life, he married Lucy, the daughter of Bernard Barton, the Quaker poet. The marriage was a disaster, and did not survive even a year.

rubáiyát of omar khayyám
AWAKE! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:... [read poem]
tenebris interlucentem
A linnet who had lost her way
Sang on a blackened bough in Hell,
Till all the ghosts remem... [read poem]
oak and olive
Though I was born a Londoner,
And bred in Gloucestershire,
I walked in Hellas years ag... [read poem]
no coward's song
I am afraid to think about my death,
When it shall be, and whether in great pain
I shall r... [read poem]
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