ای کاش که جای آرمیدن بودی
یا این ره دور را رسیدن بودی
کاش از پسِ صد هزار سال از دل خاک
چون سبزه امید بردمیدن بودی
Dashti, quatrain 18, p. 247
ey kaash ke jaa-ye aaramidan budi
yaa in rah-e dur raa rasidan budi
kaash az pas-e sad hazaar saal az del-e khaak
chon sabze omid bardamidan budi
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse--if dimly, yet indeed reveal'd,
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!
FitzGerald, XCVII, 4th ed (not in 1st ed)
Ah, would there were a place wherein to rest--
An end at last to long road manifest--
That aft' a hundred thousand years, a hope
To spring as springs the herbage from earth's breast!
Saidi, quatrain 124
If I could find a place to rest...
Or a stop to this weary road,
If hope would blossom ever
like flowers from the deep earth's core.
Translation & Discussion of the quatrain:
1. Wish there were place for resting ... ای کاش که/ey kaash ke is followed by the past tense of the verb with the conditional marker ی/i > budi. 2. Or were there ending for this long road ... the continuation of the hope expressed in the first line. 3. Were there after a hundred thousand years out of the heart of the earth - how to address such a staggering number of years? The speaker may believe it will take "forever," 10 times the ultimate 10,000 years for hope to spring forth again (10,000 years as "the upper limit of the decimal series," Annemarie Schimmel, The Mystery of Numbers, Oxford, 1993, 278). Other editors, compilers, translators, such as Forughi-Ghani (163), Hedaayat (22), Whinfield (442) and the roba‘i likely consulted by FitzGerald (Heron-Allen, 141-3) read in the 3rd line, از پی/ az pey-e (صد ). There is no substantial difference in meaning from az pas-e sad hazaar saal. In rendering از دل خاک/az del-e khaak I am reminded of Yeat's "from the deep heart's core" from his "Lake Isle of Innisfree". 4. Like greenery, hope were breathing/springing up/blossoming ...
FitzGerald includes his stanza above in the last six stanzas of his poem as the day-traveler/speaker winds down in resignation and acceptance that this life will not be a paradise on earth, a garden paradise or "civilized" civilization (see Michael Hillmann's analysis, especially pages 56-60 in Iranian Culture). To counter the criticism that FitzGerald does not render Khayyaam accurately yet catches the spirit of Khayyaam's quatrain, this very stanza does both. It is to my mind a marvelous rendition and close to the letter of the Khayyaam-poem.