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Sir Isumbras


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A verse‐romance in 804 lines of 12‐line tail‐rhyme stanzas, from the North‐East Midlands, popular before 1320. Its theme is that of ‘the man tried by fate’ of which the model is St Eustace, of Eastern origin. Isumbras is strong, handsome, and prosperous, but also proud and arrogant. A bird sent by God offers him the choice of suffering in youth or old age, and he chooses the former. He loses his wife, children, and possessions, and suffers for 21 years among the Saracens. At the end of that period an angel tells him that his sins are expiated and he is restored to his family and possessions.

Subjects: Literature.


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