Sohrab and Rustum

Sohrab and Rustum: An Episode is a narrative poem with strong tragic themes first published in 1853 by Matthew Arnold.[1] The poem retells a famous episode from Ferdowsi's Persian epic Shahnameh relating how the great warrior Rustum unknowingly slew his long-lost son Sohrab in single combat. Arnold, who was unable to read the original, relied on summaries of the story in John Malcolm's History of Persia and Sainte-Beuve's review of a French prose translation of Ferdowsi.[2] In Sohrab and Rustum, Arnold attempted to imitate the "grandeur and rapidity" of Homer's style which he was to discuss in his lectures On Translating Homer (1861).[3] The poem consists of 892 lines of blank verse.


  1. Arnold, Matthew Poetical Works Oxford University Press, 1950.
  2. Poetical Works, pp.488–493
  3. Craig W. Kallendorf A Companion to the Classical Tradition (John Wiley & Sons, 2010) p.87
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