“Omar Khayyám also came to the Vizier to claim his share; but not to ask for title or office. ‘The greatest boon you can confer on me,’ he said, ‘is to let me live in a corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread wide the advantages of Science, and pray for your long life and prosperity.’ The Vizier tells us, that, when he found Omar was really sincere in his refusal, he pressed him no further, but granted him a yearly pension of 1200 mithkáls of gold, from the treasury of Naishápúr.

“At Naishápúr thus lived and died Omar Khayyám, ‘busied,’ adds the Vizier, ‘in winning knowledge of every kind, and especially in Astronomy, wherein he attained to a very high pre-eminence. Under the Sultanate of Malik Shah, he came to Merv, and obtained great praise for his proficiency in science, and the Sultan showered favours upon him.’

“When Malik Shah determined to reform the calendar, Omar was one of the eight learned men employed to do it; the result was the Jaláli era (so called from Jalál-ud-din, one of the king’s names),—‘a computation of time,’ says Gibbon, ‘which surpasses the Julian, and approaches the accuracy of the Gregorian style.’ He is also the author of some astronomical tables entitled Zíji-Maliksháhí, and the French have lately republished and translated an Arabic Treatise of his on Algebra.

“These severer Studies, and his Verses, which, though happily fewer than any Persian Poet’s, and, though perhaps fugitively composed, the Result of no fugitive Emotion or Thought, are probably the Work and Event of his Life, leaving little else to record. Perhaps he liked a little Farming too, so often as he speaks of the ‘Edge of the Tilth’ on which he loved to rest with his Diwán of Verse, his Loaf— and his Wine.

“His Takhallus or poetical name (Khayyám) signifies a Tent-maker, and he is said to have at one time exercised that trade, perhaps before Nizám-ul-Mulk’s generosity raised him to independence. Many Persian poets similarly derive their names from their occupations; thus we have Attár, ‘a druggist,’ Assar, ‘an oil presser,’ etc. (Though all these, like our Smiths, Archers, Millers, Fletchers, etc., may simply retain the Surname of an hereditary calling.) Omar himself alludes to his name in the following whimsical lines:—

“ ‘Khayyám, who stitched the tents of science,

Has fallen in grief’s furnace and been suddenly burned;

The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,

And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!’

“We have only one more anecdote to give of his Life, and that relates to the close; related in the anonymous preface which is sometimes prefixed to his poems; it has been printed in the Persian in the appendix to Hyde’s Veterum Persarum Religio, p. 499; and D’Herbelot alludes to it in his Bibliothèque, under Khiam:—

“ ‘It is written in the chronicles of the ancients that this King of the Wise, Omar Khayyám, died at Naishápúr in the year of the Hegira, 517 (A.D. 1123); in science he was unrivalled,—the very paragon of his age. Khwájah Nizámi of Samarcand, who was one of his pupils, relates the following story: “I often used to hold conversations with my teacher, Omar Khayyám, in a garden; and one day he said to me, ‘My tomb shall be in a spot, where the north wind may scatter roses over it.’ I wondered at the words he spake, but I knew that his were no idle words. Years after, when I chanced to revisit Naishápúr, I went to his final resting-place, and lo! it was just outside a garden, and trees laden with fruit stretched their boughs over the garden wall, and dropped their flowers upon his tomb, so as the stone was hidden under them.” ’ ”

Thus far—without fear of Trespass— from the Calcutta Review.

Though the Sultan “shower’d Favours upon him,” Omar’s Epicurean Audacity of Thought and Speech caused him to be regarded askance in his own Time and Country. He is said to have been especially hated and dreaded by the Súfis, whose Practice he ridiculed, and whose Faith amounts to little more

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