The genre of rubai was extremely popular in Eastern literature, but it was Khayyam who gave him an artistically perfect form. Ancient copyists arbitrarily connected the poems of Khayyam with the quatrains of other poets. So there was confusion, as a result of which he was attributed about two thousand poems. But only for a hundred of them the experts firmly recognized the authorship of Khayyam.
What allowed the scientists to separate the Khayyam works from the rubai of other poets? The hand of the master, which transformed every quatrain into an elegant poem, which was distinguished by a special meaningful content and special artistic performance. For Khayyam’s shirt, a unique combination of the power of the senses with the boldness of thought, the scale of the posed philosophical questions is characteristic of the poetic language, perfected as a razor, as aphorism. As an example of these properties of Khayyam’s lyric poetry, one can quote a famous quatrain, in which,
with almost posterior accuracy of expression, the poet defends the value of human dignity:
It is better to fall into poverty, starve or steal,
Than in the number of dishwashers despicable to get.
Better to bite the bones than to be deceived by sweets
At the table of scoundrels having power.
But, perhaps, the most significant “indicator” of the belonging of certain Rubai Khayyamu is their thematically-sense correspondence to the poet’s worldview – a peculiar, ambiguous, acutely responsive to the paradoxes of life.
With a superficial glance it seems that this worldview is colored by the mood of joyful acceptance of the world:
To grow in the soul the escape of despondency is a crime,
Until the whole book of pleasure is read.
Catch the same joy and greedily drink wine:
Life is short, alas! Its moments fly!
Under the impression of such poems, an inexperienced reader may have an idea of the author as a cheerful “merry fellow” singing wine, love, beauty of youth. But with a more attentive acquaintance with
the poetry of Khayyam, this view dissipates, and the reader opens up in its creator a deep philosopher, meditating on the most important questions of being. What is the meaning of fast human life? What is death? Why did the Creator create man mortal, and the world imperfect? Why do unjust laws reign in life? What does a person need to feel happy? What are the possibilities of the human mind? What is wisdom? On such questions, as on the giant pegs, the artistic world of Khayyam is based.
Not all of them were found answers. If, say, talking about the true values of human life, Khayyam confidently advises to learn to separate genuine jewelry from cheap fakes, then, where it comes to establishing the universe or about the mysterious forces that govern the destinies of people, he bitterly admits that human reason is not under the power to unravel the main puzzles of being:
Even the brightest in the world minds
Could not disperse the surrounding darkness.
Told us a few fairy tales for the night –
And went, wise, sleep, like us
With the same irony, the “learned man of the century” also spoke of himself:
I for knowledge have erected a secret hall,
There are few secrets that my mind could not comprehend.
Only I know one thing: I do not know anything!
Here is my reflection on the final result.
However, one should not think that Khayyam reconciled himself to this state of affairs. On the contrary, his passionate inquiries, ironic remarks, or inspired calls to capture sweet moments of fleeting existence were imbued with a spirit of protest against the world order, incomprehensible even to the “brightest minds”, condemning man to suffering and death. This spirit of protest was nourished by the humanistic faith inherent in Khayyam, a person worthy of – according to the right of the highest creation of God – a happy destiny. One of the most inspired, most aphoristic hymns to the man who ever formed on earth, sounds rubai, in which Khayyam proclaims:
We are the goal and the peak of the Universe,
We are the best beauty of the vale of perishable things;
If the world’s circle is a ring,
In it, without a doubt, we are a precious stone.