چون چرخ به کام یک خردمند نگشت
تو خواه فلک هفتشمر خواهی هشت
چون باید مرد و آرزوها همه هِشت
چه مور خورد به گور و چه گرگ به دشت
Dashti, quatrain 46, p. 252
chon charkh be kaam-e kheradmand nagasht
to khaah falak haftshemar khaahi hasht
chon baayad mord o aarezuhaa hame hesht
che mur khorad be gur o che gorg be dasht
The Sphere of Heaven turns not for the wise,
Whether you reckon the skies seven or eight.
The craving body must die, so let it go
To the ant in the grave, or to the desert wolf.
L.P Elwell-Sutton, In Search of Omar Khayyam, quatrain 46, p. 195
The sky revolves to please itself
not to the whims of the wise,
so number the spheres seven or eight,
your choice in celestial size.
All of us die,
our hopes left behind,
and plans perish too,
eaten by ants if we lie in our graves,
by wolves if we die in the field.
Translation & Discussion of the quatrain: 1. Since the sky/universe/wheel (literally) has not turned to the desire of the wise -- the "wise" are the knowledge-managers who lose "the trail of wisdom" as in the quatrain below (quoted in full under quatrains 34 and 46 in this weblog):
The heavenly spheres which in this domain reside,
Have bewildered the wise, thinking far and wide;
Behold and don't lose the trail of wisdom,
For the price of wisdom is to reel to every side.
Mehdi Aminrazavi, 188 (the quatrain is Dashti's, no. 7, p. 245)
In our quatrain, chon charkh, etc., the wise may well forget their mortality, the same mortality that even the famous and powerful could not escape.
2. Choose the spheres (falak) the seven-number or choose the eight(-number); haftshemar is a compound adjective "being the seven-number". More simply "whether you number the spheres seven or eight". Let the pundits choose one scheme or the other! The reference is to the heavenly spheres conjectured by Ptolemy in his he megale syntaxis (Almagest, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almagest ). The Wikipedia article is a good reference. Briefly, there are seven spheres, which house moon, sun and five planets. The order is Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. The reference to eight spheres is the allowance of an eighth sphere for fixed stars, stars which rise and set but appear to keep their same positions. I don't know whether this eighth sphere is ptolemaic or a later addition but the Wiki article attributes eight to Ptolemy 3. Since we all must die/it is necessary to die and (it is necessary to) leave hopes/wishes entirely (hame) behind. The verb heshtan means here "to dismiss" or "leave aside" and we have an elegant word-play with hasht in the second mesraa‘. Whether the ant eats us in the grave or the wolf on the plain