The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XXXI

Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.

This is the thirty-first quatrain of Fitzgerald Rubaiyat. Before we delve into this quatrain, let's touch upon some ideas that these lines visit. In old world cosmology developed by Greeks from Plato to Ptolemy, the celestial model defined celestial orbits as spheres nested one within the other. These sphere touch the adjacent sphere in either directions. The earth was the centre of the universe and the seven spheres of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn followed in that order. Saturn was the God of Agriculture in Roman mythology and his reign is shown as Golden Age of peace and bounty. More on celestial spheres can be read here.

The poet says I rose from the earth (the centre of the universe) and visited all the other spheres on my way to the last (seventh) sphere Saturn. On the seventh sphere, I besides, the throne of Saturn God, having travelled all the known spheres and seen all things possible over the years of my life. In midst of my journeys, I have untied my knots (mysteries) and unravelled many puzzles. But I have no answer for the problem of human Fate. I have failed to solve the riddle of human birth, death and destiny. The essence is the same as last two quatrains. I have visited the worlds known and worlds unknown. I have untangled many challenges over these years. But all my experiences and wisdom comes to cipher when trying to answer the questions of human condition.

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