Quatrain 61 -- FitzGerald I

خورشید کمند صبح بر بام افگند

کیخسرو روز مهره در جام افگند

می خور که منادیِ سحرگه‌خیزان

آوازهٔ اشرابوا در ایّام افگند

  Heron-Allen, 1-2, Calcutta MS 134
          (Heron-Allen wrote منادئ -- modified > منادیِ ) 

khorshid kamand-e sobh bar baam afgand
keykhosrow-e ruz mohre dar jaam afgand
mey khor ke monaadi-ye sahargahkhizaan
aavaaze-ye eshrabu dar ayyaam afgand

 
The sun has thrown the lassoo of dawn over the roof,
The emperor of the day has thrown the bead in the cup:
Drink wine! for the herald of dawn arising
has flung the cry 'Drink!' into the days.

Arberry, The Romance of the Rubáiyát, 192 (& 137)

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sult
án's Turret in a Noose of Light.
FitzGerald, Stanza I, 1st ed.          

(with FitzGerald's note: 'Flinging a Stone into the Cup was the Signal for "To Horse!" in the Desert')

Curiosity over the source of Stanza I caused me to post this quatrain. Four matters of interest have surfaced: First is the very question of "inspiration" for FitzGerald in this stanza.  Second is an informative footnote by Ali Dashti on the Persian quatrain above.  Third is a discussion of this custom of "flinging a stone" or mohre/مهره into a cup: what's involved.  Finally there is a brief note on transcription of the quatrain.

  • Was quatrain C 134/137 the inspiration for FitzGerald's 1st stanza?                                                   (for Arberry it's C 137 and also C 137  for FitzGerald, Terhune 2. 280

The answer is "yes, in part" as viewers will read below. Although the Calcutta MS was apparently the only manuscript available to FitzGerald for this quatrain, there are others which contain this quatrain. Some differ. Dashti, for example, in the fifth edition of دمی با خیام  (dami baa khayyaam) instead of منادی has مؤذن/moazzen (p. 264, quatrain 13). This quatrain is, for Dashti, khayyaamic, but not one that makes the top seventy-five-likely-genuine-quatrain list. Heron-Allen states that the Calcutta MS was the "inspiration" for FitzGerald's rendition; Arberry (p.137) avers that C 137 "is the original of Stanza I." ‌But Arberry notes that in line 4, the copyist had written:

âwâza-yi sh.r.bû w.z aiyâm afkand ... instead of âwâza-yi ishrabû dar aiyâm afkand

Arberry continues, "In the end FitzGerald abandoned the second half of this quatrain and made his Stanza I out of the first half only." Here is also what Arberry has to say about the first beyt: "C 137 is the original of Stanza I, and it is interesting to speculate how differently FitzGerald might have translated this quatrain if the copyist had transcribed it correctly, and if he himself had read it correctly. The phrase Kai-Khusraw-i rûz  ('the Emperor of the Day') beginning the second line was misread as kanjrû-yi  rûz (so FitzGerald annotated the margin of the transcript); FitzGerald then looked into the dictionary and found the word ganjar ('rouge'); so he conjectured the meaning 'Rouged-faced Day', suggesting to him utimately, for his first edition, the lines:

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night/Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight..."

It occurs to me that FitzGerald, having found ganjar -- no such word as kanjrû -- may have thought "homerically" of rosy-fingered dawn! I found ganjar/ganjaar in Steingass where it's defined as 'rouge' (and so in Dehkhoda, loghatnaameh, with attribution to the important 17th century dictionary, farhang-e rashidi). Since FitzGerald looked it up, it would have appeared in Francis Johnson's 1852 dictionary (A Dictionary Persian, Arabic and English).

FitzGerald's correspondence, a letter to Cowell in June of 1857, reveals FitzGerald's struggles with this quatrain especially lines 2 and 4 (Terhune 2.280-281).  It is puzzling from the June 1857 letter, where FitzGerald clearly writes کیخسرو روز, keykhosrow(-e)ruz, why Cowell would not have explained this allusion to him. He may have, but there is no acknowledgment of it.

FitzGerald continues to be troubled by this stanza (he refers to it as "the infernal Stanza I") and asks Cowell in mid-1872 for help with it (Terhune 3.356-357 & 3.360-361). If not specifically this stanza, Cowell must have offered advice on some of the stanzas (Terhune 3.363) which were to be included in the third (1872) edition. It is worth noting, however, that from 1859 until his death, Stanza I is the only stanza FitzGerald turns to Cowell to ask for advice; that is, the only stanza we know of from the Terhune collection. Granted that FitzGerald was perplexed by this quatrain, he likely set his course in the years preceding the 1859 edition; in January, 1864, he writes Cowell (Terhune 2.510) that he is "too lazy to turn Dictionaries over now; and indeed had some while ceased to expect much to turn up from them."

To return to FitzGerald's misread of keykhosrow(-e)ruz.  Did FitzGerald's poetic sense and imagination lead him to stop trying to look further in favor of creating his own material?  Although FitzGerald from his dictionary would have found mohre dar jaam afgand: "x" threw the pebble in the cup, and although this translation suited his note to the Stanza, i.e., flinging a stone in the cup was the signal in desert life to mount up, because he has misread keykhosrow(e)-ruz he is led to create the Stanza in its present form as Arberry rightly notes.  Further, in his letter to Cowell (Terhune 2.280-281), he says that "it would have been pretty if one could construe" 'The Sun throws Day--or Day throws the Sun--into the Cup of Heaven as a Signal for Night's retreat'. And FitzGerald has construed it in this manner in the second and subsequent editions as viewers will see at the very end of this posting.

I think it is evident from this letter and all the editions, including one proof and the two revises, set out in the final section of this post, that he has worked in this fashion on this very idea.

  • Ali Dashti's note on the quatrain, quatrain 13, footnote 1, p. 264:
    رباعی زیباست. استعاره‌های بیت اول آن را                          
    از سبک خیام که به سادگی موصوف است، دور می‌کند؛
    ولی طنز بیت دوم که مؤذن هنگام سحر برای روزه‌گیران
    .‌ندای «اشرابوا» در می‌دهد، لطیف و به خیام نزدیکش می‌کند      

"This is a charming quatrain.  The figurative expressions in the first couplet put it at odds with the style of Khayyaam which is characterized by straightforwardness of expression.  But the satire in the second couplet, when at dawn the muezzin announces to the fasting "Drink!" is witty and right at the core of Khayyaam."

Elwell-Sutton adds this to the note: " the muezzin at daybreak calling on the fasters to drink (by a somewhat irreverent use of a Koranic phrase) ..."  (In Search of Omar Khayyam, 203, footnote 5). 

This "somewhat irreverent use" likely refers to Quran, 2.187. Prescriptions for the Fast during Ramadan are given where fasters may eat and drink (اشربوا/eshrabu) until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread at the dawn.  In our quatrain, the fasters simply fast overnight - while they sleep! 

  • مهره / mohre , and sources for "flinging a stone into the cup " 

There are three excellent articles on source and meaning, with attached comments, in the weblog Omar Khayyam Rubaiyat (OKR): October 15, 2012, December 11, 2012 and March 13, 2013 . It seems from the research presented here that FitzGerald's only written resource for which there is evidence of this custom is his dictionary. That is, his 1852 Johnson (A Dictionary, Persian, Arabic and English) as recorded in his letter to Cowell, June, 1857, Terhune 2.280-281. I am excerpting, in a very compressed fashion, from the weblog articles in these first four paragraphs, except where I bracket my own notes.

FitzGerald also writes to Cowell in the same letter "you must remember how often we have read about the Stone in the Cup, etc."  Although the stone-in-cup custom was mentioned by Heron-Allen and Nicholson, neither give sources for this reference. In addition, the 2012  OKR article mentions Cowell's apparent annotation of his own copy of Richardson's 1829 dictionary (Dictionary of Persian, Arabic and English). Here Cowell refers to the stone's possible twofold use -- dropping a stone in a cup as a signal and 'striking a bell on the elephant's back' also to signal.

Cowell also cross-referenced mohre,  with its several uses, to Vullers' Lexicon Persico-Latinum, two volumes, the second published in 1864, which volume contains the headword مهره. [See the brief article on Vullers in the German Wikipedia with bibliography.] Most of the evidence for Cowell-Vullers is found in the December 11, 2012 post in OKR. By the way, the contributors to the OKR articles searched in vain for attributions of this stone-in-cup practice in various early sources and travel accounts.

 

********* 

At this point, I wondered if the Shahnameh was the literary source.  After all, it is Keykhosrow who has "flung" the mohre, and add to it that Vullers' interest lay in this epic poem.  Vullers' work on the Shahnameh included a collection of exemplary and instructive passages, a chrestomathy, in fact, titled just that: Chrestomathia Schanamiana (1833) and three volumes firdusii libri regum, published in Leiden, 1877-1884. (The third volume was published by students and Samuel Landauer, who had worked with Vullers.)  Vullers' libri regum, his Book of Kings would have interested Cowell because, according to Ehsan Yarshater, this new edition of Vullers was the most notable of the editions of the Shahnameh in the nineteenth century (Ehsan Yarshater's English "Introduction" to volume 1 of Jalal Khaleghi-Motlagh's edition of the Shahnameh - 1988, p. vii).

It may be helpful to turn to the work Cowell had cross-referenced, Vullers' Lexicon Persico-Latinum Etymologicum and his entry: مهره (mohre). In Vullers, especially p. 1242. 2, we see two items of interest to our discussion. First, there is the reference without literary attribution to either throwing a mohre into a cup/jar/urn or possibly the striking of a jar/urn attached to the back of an elephant with a mohre. Secondly, there is this (excerpted) quote from the Persian lexical source, برهان قاطع /borhaan-e qaate‘ compiled and edited in English by Thomas Roebuck in 1818: "they say in the time of the Kayanian dynasty [from Key Qobad to Dara or Darius] that it was the customary practice to attach a fine and strongly made vessel to the flank of an elephant and when the king mounted a finely fashioned mohre was flung into the vessel. It made a mighty sound and everybody then knew it was time for them to mount up."  Again, this explanation is made without reference to a literary work. 

The KeyKhosrow-e ruz in our quatrain may refer to the action taken by KeyKhosrow on a particular campaign day. This custom, however, may be simply legendary. Absent archaeological evidence, we will do well to enjoy the image and not worry ourselves over the execution. Yet what follows is my attempt to worry just a little!

A preliminary search of the Shahnameh does reveal this action of KeyKhosrow (from Khaleghi-Motlagh's edition of the Shahnameh, 3. 19. 376-379):

یکی مهره در جام بر دست شاه       به کیوان رسیده خروش سپاه

چو بر پشت پیل آن شه نامور        زدی مهره در جام و بستی کمر

نبودی به هر پادشاهی روا           نشستن مگر بر درِ پادشا

از آن نامور خسرو سرکشان        چنین بود در پادشایی نشان

yeki mohre dar jaam bar dast-e shaah
be keyvaan raside khorush-e sepaah
cho bar posht-e pil aan shah-e naamvar
zadi mohre dar* jaam o basti kamar
nabudi be har paadshaahi ravaa
neshastan magar bar dar-e paadshaa
az aan naamvar khosrow-e sarkashaan
chonin bud dar paadshaai neshaan

* variant bar (against) in Leningrad MS

The king held a bell-urn, mohre inside,
cheers of his armies reached the skies.
When this worthy king mounted elephant,
he'd strike
mohre on bell and fasten his belt.*
For those in his sway it was thus prescribed
that all would assemble at court-gate side.
Worthy Khosrow, unyielding over this,
'twas custom and way in this realm of his.

*or drop/throw mohre into cup or urn! (discussion below)

And compare this passage, Khaleghi-Motlagh 2.384.79-84, "Revenge for the death of Siawash" -- داستان کین سیاوخش 

 کنارنگ با پهلوان هرکه بود               چو زان گونه آواز رستم شنود

همه برگرفتند یکسر خروش               تو گفتی که میدان برآمد به جوش

از ایران یکی بانگ برشد به ابر           تو گفتی زمین شد کنام هزبر

بزد مهره بر پشت پیلان به جام            سپه تیغ کین برکشید از نیام

برآمد خروشیدن گاودم                       دم نای سرغین و رویینه‌خم

جهان شد پر از کین افراسیاب              به دریا تو گفتی به جوش آمد آب

kanaarang baa pahlavaan harke bud    
cho zaan gune aavaaz-e rostam shenud
hame bargereftand yeksar khorush    
to gofti ke meydaan baraamad be jush               
az iraan yeki baang barshod be abr       
to gofti zamin shod konaam-e hezabr
bezad mohre bar posht-e pilaan be jaam                 
sepah tigh-e kin barkeshid az niyaam  
baraamad khorushidan-e gaavdom     
dam-e naay-e sarghin o ruyinekhom
jahaan shod por az kin-e afraasiyaab          
be daryaa to gofti be jush aamad aab

 
Each leader and his bravest men
when they heard this cry from Rostam,
a shout as one voice all men raised
the field, you'd say, was a fevered rage.
The cry of Iran went high as the sky
on earth, lions in prides seemed ready to vie.
On bells aboard elephants,
mohres were struck
the sword of revenge from sheaths now plucked:
trumpets blared and pipes were shrill,
kettledrums thrummed, Afraasyaab to kill,
the world full-bent on paying a score,
seas seemed to boil, cool waters no more. 

* it appears that the leaders in the first line performed this action as there were a number of elephants (pilaan)

Khaleghi-Motlagh has a note for line 82, "that is, the sound of the bell (zang) signals the army to move"; he also cross- references, 1.271.1528, where Sâm has come to see Rostam.  And Zâl at the approach "strikes the mohre on the bell"

What has started as a pebble in a cup has migrated to the striking of a bell (thought a possibility by Cowell). Khaleghi-Motlagh's note just above has zang/"bell", and this meaning is reinforced by the headword, mohre (14) and its cross-reference to jaam (9) in Anvari's dictionary, farhang-e bozorg-e sokhan, where under mohre the definition is "a tool/device struck on a jaam -- urn/cup". But bell is likely meant. For under jaam, we find a description of the mohre as encased in a frame of sorts.  The mohre then would refer not to a roundish object like ball or stone but to a kind of striking implement to be placed in a jaam, a vessel-shaped bell.  The vessel-bell with mohre inside will be attached to the back/saddle of the elephant. Passages from the Shahnameh, the two preceding lengthy passages with their translations and transcriptions support this conclusion. My renditions reflect this usage.

Yet this notion of bell & mohre is not conclusive!  Dehkhoda, in his encyclopaedia-dictionary, loghatnaameh, in these two lengthy references to Ferdowsi understands mohre dar/bar jaam zadan as throwing the mohre into either a metal vessel or jaam: the verbs rikhtan and afkandan, the latter will be familiar to visitors to this site from our quatrain's keykhosrow-e ruz mohre dar jaam afgand.  We also find in Dehkhoda the reference from borhaan-e qaate‘ with the same "hearsay" evidence we have translated above from Vullers' Lexicon. The borhaan-e qaate‘ is quite likely the chief resource for the dictionaries used by FitzGerald and Cowell. Vullers calls it "the best and most complete as all Persianists would agree". Steingass follows suit, it appears, as he has: muhra dar jâm afgandan "to throw the pebble into the cup (a signal for mounting on horseback)" -- of interest, farhang-e bozorg-e sokhan shows no such use for afk(g)andan.

Evidence then points to the Shahnameh as the source for this "stone/pebble in a bowl" event that FitzGerald has ascribed to a nomadic or desert custom. We see from our two examples from the Shahnameh and Khaleghi's cross-reference to Sâm's visit to Rostam, that this procedure could be both "military" and ceremonial. Perhaps dropping a mohre into a jaam is one method of announcing an event as Dehkhoda seems to understand it. As has been said, it was the case as Cowell and others before and after him thought. Cowell seemed to know that "striking a bell" was an alternative.  In "ball-dropping/throwing" there would not be so much noise -- it wouldn't be like a bell-- and this would seem to have a significance that needed explanation.

Bell-striking is supported by two excellent sources, Khaleghi-Motlagh and the farhang-e bozorg-e sokhan. In the absence of archaeological or other definitive information, it is impossible to know how what appears to be a primitive custom was carried out. But this ceremony, however it was executed, seems meant to inform, announce or prepare for an important happening. It reveals a potential literary source for FitzGerald's elusive note.

  • Two items on the transcription of the quatrain:

A useful reference for the metrics of the quatrain, as mentioned before, is to be found  by selecting  "Prosody" under the Menu for this weblog.

First, Heron-Allen writes منادئ - what did he mean by this, I wondered: a glottal stop and so, monaadaa? Or possibly by ئ he intended monaadaa-ye?  Whinfield writes منادیّ - so, monaadi-ye.

 I asked Connie Bobroff her opinion on this line and she responded: "Concerning line 3, here's my take: I think it had been the custom to write منادئ when منادیِ was really meant." And so I have modified the line to read monaadi-ye (منادیِ)

And second, in line 3, note that sahargahkhizaan (سحرگه‌خیزان) is a compound adjective = "the rising of the time of morning" -- "the herald of dawn arising" as Arberry has it.

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The following are FitzGerald's first and subsequent editions including the 1872 proof and the two 1872 revise stanzas. The source is Decker 119 (Edward FitzGerald, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: A Critical Edition, University Press of Virginia, 1997):  

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And, Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultán's Turret in a noose of Light. (1859, 1st ed.)

Wake! For the Sun behind yon Eastern height
Has chased the Session of the Stars from Night
And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light. (1868, 2nd ed.)

Wake! For the Sun before him into Night
A Signal flung that put the Stars to flight;
And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light. (1872 p)

Wake! For the Sun before him into Night
A Signal launched that put the Stars to flight;
And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light. (1872 r1)

Wake! For the Sun who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light. (1872 r2)

Wake! For the Sun who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light. (1872 3rd ed.)

Wake! For the Sun who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
The Sultán's Turret with a Shaft of Light. (1879 4th ed.)