More than a hundred years have passed since an unknown English poet, named Edward FitzGerald, sent his MS of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám to the Editor of Fraser's Magazine, only to have it returned to him after two years' delay unpublished. Since then no poet has succeeded in communicating, to any comparable degree in English verse, the beauty, wit, and originality which is at once apparent to anyone who can read the Persian poets in their own language.
The author of this book, John Charles Edward Bowen, is a writer who, in the field of Persian literature, has gone on, so to speak, from FitzGerald. For he has presented in English verse a selection from five centuries of Persian poetry, and has added to his renderings a series of fascinating pen portraits of the original poets.
His book contains a frontispiece specially painted for it by Aqa'I Sha'isteh of Shiraz, decorations by a Polish artist with long experience of the Persian scene, and a preface by a distinguished Persian critic, Aqa'is S H Taqizadeh, lately Imperial Iranian Ambassador at the Court of St James's.
This third, revised, edition has been reset and re-made after being unavailable for some years.