The Rubai that is also known as Rubaiyat in western literature is an Urdu-Persian poetic form. Each Rubai stanza is supposed to be a quatrain, in which lines 1, 2 and 4 all rhyme. Therefore the rhyme sounds as AABA. The general pattern of Rubai is such that the poet uses metaphor and similes in first 3 lines but has to all of a sudden conclude the meaning in the fourth one. This form is very tough to write and thus preferred by experienced poets. The Rubai is a good form to use when you've got something to say; the constraints of the form are not severe enough to prevent you from saying it. To know more about Rubai, continue to read this insightful article on it.
Structure Of Rubai
There is a variation of Rubaiyat known as interlocking Rubaiyat. In this type of Rubai, the third line of each stanza rhymes with lines 1, 2 and 4 of the next. Traditionally in Persia each Rubai was regarded as a poem in its own right. When a collection of them called Rubaiyat was published, they were arranged in a fixed order viz. in alphabetical order of the last letter of the rhyme. The Rubai form is much more lax than traditional forms of Arabic and Persian poetry, which would use a single rhyme all the way through the poem, however long.
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and Omar Khayyam
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is the best example of Rubai form. It is actually a meditation on the meaning of life that concludes that we should eat, drink and be merry. Omar Khayyam lived in twelfth-century Persia, under Islamic law. The ideas in his Rubaiyat as well as his enthusiasm for wine were considered heretical. Therefore Rubaiyat were circulated anonymously, and probably memorized a lot more often than they were written down. Omar Khyyam was born in Nishapur but pursued his education from Samarkand. Later he moved to Bukhara and worked as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers. He authored a most important treaty on algebra which was called Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra. He also very famously contributed to a particular calendar reform. His book of collection of poetries called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was titled this by Edward FitzGerald who translated his poems into English language.
Extracts From The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:
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 Sultan’s turret in a noose of light.
Dreaming when dawn’s left hand was in the sky
I heard a voice within the tavern cry,
“Awake, my little ones, and fill the cup
Before life’s liquor in its cup be dry.”
And, as the cock crew, those who stood before
The tavern shouted—“open then the door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”
Now the new year reviving old desires,
The thoughtful soul to solitude retires,
Where the white hand of moses on the bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the ground suspires.
Iram indeed is gone with all its rose,
And Jamshyd’d sev’n-ring’d cup where no one knows;
But still the vine her ancient ruby yields,
And still a garden by the water blows.
And David’s lips are lock’t; but in divine
High piping pehlevi, with “wine! Wine! Wine!
“Red wine! “---the nightingale cries to the rose
That yellow cheek of hers to incarnadine.
Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring
The winter garment of repentance fling:
The bird of time has but a little way
To fly---and lo! The bird in on the wing.
And look---a thousand blossoms with the day
Woke---and a thousand scatter’d into clay:
And this first summer month that brings the rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.
But come with old Khayyam, and leave the lot
Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot!
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
Or Hatin Tai cry supper---heed them not.
With me along some strip of herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of slave and sultan scarce is known,
And pity Sultan Mahmud on his throne.
Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
A flask of wine, a book of verse---and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness---
And wilderness is paradise enow.
“How sweet is mortal sovranty!”---think some:
Others--- “how blest the paradise to come!”
Ah, take the cash in hand and waive the rest;
Oh, the brave music of a distant drum!”
Look to the rose that blows about us---“Lo,
“Laughing”, she ways, “into the world I blow:
“At once the silken tassel of my purse
“Tear, and its treasure on the garden throw.”
The worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes---or it prospers; and anon,
Like snow upon the desert’s dusty face
Lighting a little hour or two---is gone…”