The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:
1907 Duffield & Company Edition

This is my first Duffield & Company edition. It is in fantastic condition given its age. The pages all have a lovely grapevine decorative box around the text. It seems very basic asides from that.

And I was initially going to post this edition and say it was very boring and plain, but it’s not. There’s a peculiarity in the actual poetry. I happened to take a picture of the final quatrain: Quatrain C (100).

And that is where the problem is. None of the editions have 100 quatrains. I checked the fifth edition text and it has 101. It ends with CI (101).

So I was like: what quatrain is missing? I took a reasoned guess to see if I was right before going through the entire book. I guessed the Quatrain IV as I knew it referenced Jesus, which seemed like something that a publisher from 1907 might pull. See the text of the true Quatrain IV below:

   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.

And bingo. That quatrain is flat out missing from this edition. It proceeds to Quatrain V of the actual text and so everything is offset by one going forward. Fascinating! I’m guessing it was removed for religious sensibilities. I’ve never actually thought to cross reference quatrain counts; I only stumbled upon this because I was going to check what edition of the text it was and then realized the discrepancy. Wild stuff! I wonder if many other editions were ‘censored’ this way too.

I love it when I find a simple Rubaiyat and then something strange jumps out like this.

The Book Itself

I am not sure what the cover letters are supposed to mean. It looks like an R intertwined with an S. The R makes sense…the S I’m confused on. It’s nice, though!

The Poetry

Punchy typography that works well with the page embellishments.