ASQUITH ON FITZGERALD'S "OMAR"
To admire and delight in Omar, as he is presented to us by Fitzgerald, is one of those subtle bonds of sympathy which are constantly creating new ties of kinship, and new groups of association, among men who are moved by the art which belongs not to one age or country, but to all.......
Why is it that, from the moment the genius of Fitzgerald made him known to all who speak the English language, he has taken rank with the immortals whom no change of taste or fashion can dethrone ? I do not pretend to give a full answer to the question; but there are one or two considerations which are obvious. First, as regards form, apart from the strange fascination of the metre, there is within a narrow compass, in point of actual bulk, a wholeness and completeness in Omar which belongs only to the highest art.
Then, as regards substance, where else in literature has the littleness of man, contrasted with the baffling infinitude of his environment, and the resulting duty of serenity and acquiescence, been more brilliantly painted or more powerfully enforced ? Occasional Addresses by the Rt. Hon. H. H. Asquith (1893-1916), pp. 157-160.