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.
Omar Khayyam Club
Edward FitzGerald was born just outside Woodbridge in 1809 and lived most of his life in the area. He rented rooms above a gunsmith 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 visitor and a good friend of the landlord at the time, John Grout. He often hosted his friends from the world of art and literary at The Bull Inn - famous friends that were hosted by Edward at The Bull include the Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
The Bull also frequently hosted the so called ‘Woodbridge Wits’ whose chief members included Bernhard Barton (famous Quaker poet), Thomas Churchyard (landscape painter) and George Crabbe (Reverend, writer and son of the same poet with the same name) and you can be sure much inspiration was taken for his work whilst enjoying the local ale.
Edward FitzGerald has been frequently referred to as the ‘Bard of Suffolk’ and 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 club's 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 waned in recent years. As a result, we aim to resurrect The Omar Khayyam Club at The Bull in Woodbridge and the home of Edward FitzGerald where he wiled away his time with his literary friends and fellow 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, or attending the dinner, please contact us - we would love to hear from you.
Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why;
Drink! for you know not why you go,
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
And lately by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape,
Bearing a Vessel on His Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas - the Grape!