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More about cartoons

November 23, 2017

In addition to the previous post about OK related cartoons, there is of course the well known cartoon by Max Beerbohm, in his book Poet’s Corner.

Omar Khayyam

On the cover of the Men Only issue of July 1951, there was also an Omar Khayyam cartoon, by Hynes. Omar featured as the so called ‘coverman’, as explained in a one page article by John May. Edward Hynes (1897-1982) was an Irish born cartoonist, illustrator and painter, and he frequently illustrated the covers of the ‘naughty’ magazine.


A completely different story is that of the cartoons and poems by the Dutch artist Lex Metz and poet-lawyer Theo van Raalte, in a weekly series in De Vrije Katheder. This was a magazine that started as a resistance newspaper in 1941, during the German occupation of the Netherlands. In 1946, when the magazine had become a platform for communists and non-communists to establish a new ‘Nederland’, Theo and Lex started what you now may call a column, “In de Nationale Kroeg” (In the National Pub). This was a poem consisting of four quatrains, in which they commented on the actual politic, economic and socio-cultural developments, in an often sarcastic, sometimes sardonic way, but always rather humourous. The point was that the last of the four quatrains was a translation of one of FitzGerald’s rubaiyat translations, to show how old Omar long time ago ridiculed the doctors and the saints and sages and their arguments.
The public however wasn’t aware of the origin of these last quatrains and didn’t understand their meaning. When protests came the column was withdrawn, but this caused a counter protest and the Nationale Kroeg was re-established only a few weeks later. The series lasted until May 1948.


The last quatrain in this issue (December 13, nr. 32, 1946) is a translation of FitzGerald’s quatrain nr. 24 (1859).

D’een maakt zich nijver voor het Heden klaar;
Een ander meent: het Morgen loopt gevaar.
En van de toren van de duisternis
Een muezzin: “Dwazen! Uw loon is hier noch daar.”

Alike for those who for TO-DAY prepare,
And those that after a TO-MORROW stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
“Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There!”

Although the cartoons were not Omar related, the last quatrain certainly was, and it is that combination of artwork, parody and poetry that makes this a unique example of a typical literary genre.
The FitzGerald quatrains as translated by Theo van Raalte, were collected and published in 1992 by the Avalon Pers, together with FitzGerald’s translations, and an introduction by Johan van Schagen.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Simon R Gladdish permalink
    November 24, 2017 4:14 pm

    Dear Sandra & Bill

    I hope that you enjoyed Robert Graves’ and my version of the Rubaiyat. I have just republished my ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (Amazon books) which is a long poem (112 stanzas) about the nature of time and its effects that was heavily influenced by Edward FitzGerald’s magnum opus.

    Warm wishes from Simon R Gladdish

  2. Simon R Gladdish permalink
    November 26, 2017 10:17 am

    Dear Sandra & Bill

    Perhaps I should have made it clearer that my ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ is now available on Amazon Kindle for £1.99 and from Amazon paperbacks for £4.99 Incidentally, I have just become your 144th follower!

    Warm wishes from Simon R Gladdish

  3. November 26, 2017 10:58 am

    Thanks for this interesting contribution Jos. Someone should start collating the information about all these cartoons. There are more examples in the following post by Bob Forrest.


  1. Yet more Rubaiyat-related cartoons | Omar Khayyam Rubaiyat

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