Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
Edward FitzGerald was born near Woodbridge in 1809 and lived most of his life in the area. He rented rooms above a gunsmith’s shop on Market Hill just a few doors up from The Bull from 1860 to 1873 – presumably for easy access to The Bull as his main residence was Farlingaye Hall in Haskerton at the time.
Edward was a regular at The Bull and a good friend of the landlord, John Grout. He often hosted his friends from the world of art and literary at The Bull Inn as well – the so called ‘Woodbridge Wits’ included Bernhard Barton (famous Quaker poet), Thomas Churchyard (landscape painter) and George Crabbe (Reverend and poet). Famous friends that stayed at The Bull include the Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Edward FitzGerald has been frequently referred to as the ‘Bard of Suffolk’, by far his most famous work was the translation of the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. The book achieved cult status in the late 19th and early 20th century. So much so, the London Omar Khayyam Club was founded on October 13, 1892 – apart from a few years during the first world war, the club met at least once every year until recently. There are now many clubs around the world including the Omar Khayaam Club of America which was founded on 31st March 1900.
The annual dinner was held around the 31st March (Edward FitzGerald’s birthday) at The Saville Club. It was custom to hold summer dinners outside London and these were often at The Bull and several menus still exist.
The UK version of the Omar Khayyam Club seems to have declined in recent years as there appears to be no record of meetings, dinners or updates to the website for some time. As a result, we aim to resurrect The Omar Khayyam Club at the home of Edward FitzGerald at The Bull where he wiled away his time with his literary friends and artists It is our aim to host an an annual dinner on the Saturday on or immediately preceding the 31st March. If you are interested in becoming a member, please email me.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.”