Friday 8 September 2023

This too shall pass

                                                             This too shall pass

If someone is ‘at sixes and sevens’ they are in a state of confusion or disarray. That’s how we feel at the moment for reasons I won’t bore you with, but it will pass.

‘This too shall pass’ is a Persian proverb whose meaning is quite clear.  It is thought to have its origins in the works of the mediaeval Persian Sufi poets.

It became familiar in the West in the 19th century, thanks to the English poet, Edward FitzGerald  (1809-1883), retelling a Persian fable.



THE Sultan asked Solomon for a Signet motto, that should hold good for Adversity or Prosperity. Solomon gave him,



Edward FitzGerald’s most famous work was his 1859 translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam.

 My mother had a small, leather-bound volume of the poem that had belonged to her brother. I wish I knew what happened to it. She would quote by heart from it:


Book of Verses underneath the Bough,

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness -

 Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!


One of my favourite verses in the Rubáiyát follows. 


Ah Love! Could thou and I with Fate conspire

To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,

Would not we shatter it to bits – and then

Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!


One of the better-known stanzas is the following:


The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy tears wash out a Word of it.   


Abraham Lincoln quoted ‘This too shall pass’ in a speech he made before becoming the 16th President of the United States in 1861.    


  1. I don't know when I let my book get away from me. My school boyfriend gave it to me one year. I loved reading it.

    1. It's so annoying when a favourite book goes astray.

  2. So good to remember these sentiments when we are feeling 'all over the place' isn't it? I've had one of those weeks too and have been telling myself frequently that ' this too shall pass'
    Thanks for the excerpts, it was nice to be reminded of that beautiful poem.
    Alison in Wales x

    1. Thank you, Alison. Hope the cloud passes.
      (By the way, have you got a blog address?)

  3. I do hope that whatever it is does pass very soon.

  4. Thank you, JayCee, I'm sure it will.
    (JC are my initials!)

  5. I love Omar! He keeps showing up in my journal writings. I even did his portrait in watercolors in one journal. I have a very old copy of FitzGerald’s translation. Mary@ Hilltop Post


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