The Thrill of the Chase and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Because I had previously worked with The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam once before, I found it interesting to do so again. While reading Forrest Fenn’s book, I immediately recognized the first quatrain on page 101 of The Thrill of the Chase to be one linked to an unsolved code from 1948. The quatrain is as follows:
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.
The above quatrain has been used to try and break a possible coded message, which consists of five unexplainable lines of letters (shown below). These mysterious lines were lightly written in the back of a copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward FitzGerald. The book was found connected to an unidentified dead man, who was discovered on Somerton Beach in 1948. The similarity between the code’s ‘cancelled out half line’ (notice the similar letters in the fourth line), and the quatrain’s third line, caused investigators to consider there being a connection between the two. Could the quatrain be used as a key for the code?
The article, The Unsolved Code of the Somerton Man, provides more of the circumstances surrounding the story and code. They are totally intriguing and a twisted mess.
The theme of The Rubaiyat, for many, conveys the thought, ‘live life well, full, and with no regrets; for death is inevitable’. A powerful read, and like Mr. Fenn said in his book, they are stories which made him think.
The third quatrain listed in The Thrill of the Chase is not found in the first edition of translations finished by FitzGerald. However, his second edition, from 1868, does include it. Each quatrain is numbered, and for mere fun, I noted which numbers they were. The three included in The Thrill of the Chase are numbers 76, 27, and 67 in FitzGerald’s second edition. These numbers do change in the third edition and beyond.
Although these poems are held dear to Mr. Fenn, I wondered if that was the only reason he chose these particular three quatrains to place in his book. There are many others and they all carry immense meaning. I decided to apply the quatrain’s numbers to letters in Forrest Fenn’s poem.
Interestingly, and most likely coincidentally, the 27th letter is a W. The 67th and 76th are letters A and R. This does spell the word WAR in the correct numerical order. The title of Mr. Fenn’s chapter, in which the quatrains were written, is ‘My War For Me.’ In this section, right after these quatrains, he writes, “Those thoughts have so much to say to me.”
These loose associations got me to question again, if WAR really is coincidental? I don’t know for sure (I lean towards still saying yes, and feel it was just a ‘fun little find’. I like how the Moving Finger put it there). And even if it is intentional, I wouldn’t say I think they are important to the actual finding of the treasure chest. But, if they were intended as a fun find, then it would seem there could be a deeper type of code to break in order to find specifics for Forrest Fenn’s treasure.
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