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This article is taken from PN Review 92, Volume 19 Number 6, July - August 1993.

From In A Persian Garden Richard Le Gallienne and Frank Kuppner

Being a radically altered version of that Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam which Richard Le Callienne paraphrased 'from several literal translations' before the Great War; Here now thoroughly revised, edited, rewritten and re-ordered.

The Le Gallienne version of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (from which I worked) contained 261 quatrains in all. Of these I discarded 129, and developed from the remaining 132 the present work of 150 verses. A dozen of these are, on my reckoning, entirely mine, and the same number entirely Le Gallienne's - although, in fact, I took over no quatrains wholly unchanged, feeling it necessary to fingerprint every one, however lightly.

At a rough estimate, some 60 per cent of the present wording comes from the original; some 40 per cent from me. However, of the 601 lines that follow, fewer than 80 will be found, bodily identical, in the earlier version, by whoever might care to look for them; and actual verbal alteration of one degree or other (ranging from the change of a single word to the provision of entirely new lines) occurs in three-quarters of them, quite apart from minutiae of punctuation.

Nor is the present order a passive derivation of the original. Thus, the first ten stanzas of the present version would, in Le Gallienne, have been numbered: 3, 2, 164, 228, 6, 225, 227, 97, 13 and 36. The last ten, for their part, would have run: 119, 119(?), 256, 242, 233, 223, 127, ...


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