Tristram and Iseult & Sohrab and Rustum

Matthew Arnold (1822 - 1888)

Tristam & Iseult is a narrative poem containing strong romantic and tragic themes: and was first published in 1852 by Matthew Arnold. This poem draws upon the Tristam and Iseult legends: which were popular with contemporary readers.

The poem opens with Tristam upon his deathbed. The monologue of the dying man is shot through with sharp pangs of regret: centering upon his induced passion for Iseult of Ireland - inflamed by his unwittingly imbibing an irresistible love-potion.

Before his decease, Tristram's lawful wife - Iseult of Ireland - arrives in time to share his deathbed. Iseult of Brittany graciously accedes to their request to be buried near each other - in a splendidly-constructed mausoleum back in King Mark's Tyntagel (sic.) in Cornwall.

Iseult of Brittany survives to raise Tristram's children in isolation. She forgives Tristam his adultery, and with delightful pathos is thankful for the short years of happiness that she spent espoused to one of King Arthur's most renowned knights. (Summary by Godsend)

Genre(s): Myths, Legends & Fairy Tales, Poetry

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 1 - Tristram and Iseult Part 1: Tristram Nathan
Play 02 2 - Tristram and Iseult Part 2: Iseult of Ireland Nathan
Play 03 3 - Tristram and Iseult Part 3: Iseult of Brittany Nathan
Play 04 4 - Sohrab and Rustum Nathan