The Rubaiyat is a Persian form of several quatrains. Its name derives from the Arabic plural of the word for "quatrain". This, in turn, comes from the Arabic Rubá, meaning "four."
This Persian form of poetry is a series of rhymed quatrains. In each quatrain, all lines rhyme except the third, leading to this pattern:
a - 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a - 4th line rhymes with the first and second
Rubaiyat Poem Example
These are some of the favorite quatrains from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam translated by Edward Fitzgerald:
Wake! For the Sun who scattered into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heaven and Strikes
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
The Winter garment of Repentance fling;
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly - and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
[Stanza 7, 1st edition]
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
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.