Page:Quatrains of Omar Khayyam (tr. Whinfield, 1883).djvu/44

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INTRODUCTION.

writes kasra after ya used as a consonant, as in such words as páy and rúy, but hamza or hamza i maksúr after ya used as a letter of prolongation, as in words like sákí. Blochmann, on the other hand, says the use of hamza in this last case is wrong, because "it reduces the ya to a mere vowel" i.e. prevents it serving as a consonant to support the kasra following. I venture to question this dictum, because it is controverted by Blochmann's own practice (Prosody, p. 95, Example 5), and because there is good MS. authority for the use of hamza in this case. For my part, I believe that it is allowable to mark the izáfat after ya of any kind with kasra or hamza i maksúr indifferently. In the first case, the ya itself serves as a consonant supporting the kasra; in the second, the hamza seems to be substituted for the ya, just as it is substituted for silent he. Availing myself of this option, I always write kasra for the izáfat after ya, whether the ya be a consonant or a letter of prolongation. In the latter case, the long vowel is dissolved in scanning into its component letters ĭ and y, and the y is set free to support the kasra of the izáfat following it.

III.

Omar is a poet who can hardly be translated satisfactorily otherwise than in verse. Prose does well enough for narrative or didactic poetry, where the main things to be reproduced are the matter and substance; but it is plainly contra-indicated in the case of poetry like Omar's, where the matter is little else than "the commonplaces of the lyric ode and the tragic chorus,"