The consideration of FitzGerald's--apparently quite inspired--rendering of Khayyam's work turns into a reflection on the act of translation itself (something I'm alway fascinated with) and on the way Western authors have spoken through Eastern alter-egos. To some degree, FitzGerald seems to have well aware of what he was doing. I enjoyed this quote:
...FitzGerald wrote: ‘But at all Cost, a Thing must live: with a transfusion of one’s own worse Life if one can’t retain the Original’s better. Better a live Sparrow than a stuffed Eagle.’
(found via the Literary Saloon).