I dislike summaries although I know that for some they are invaluable. Rather than hold my nose and generate my own summary, I refer you to the many internet sites dedicated to The Faerie Queene that include very nice summaries. Here are a couple. Let me know if you find others.
Since the original web site of this summary is now defunct, I will list it again here for general use.
— No longer online.]
Down below is a summary of The Faerie Queen, an allegorical epic written by the sixteenth-century poet Edmund Spenser. I made this summary in 1992 when I was writing my dissertation. SinceThe Faerie Queen is one of the longest poems in the English language, a summary is useful for anyone who is working on it. Thus, I bestow it on the WWW. The summary is accurate , but do note that the spelling of the characters’ names sometimes shifts around — e.g. Artegall to Arthegall to Arthegal.
Book I Canto i. The Redcrosse Knight, Una, and a dwarf are riding along a plain till rain forces them into a wood; they become somewhat lost and happen upon Error whom the Redcrosse Knight defeats after a struggle. They find their way out of the forest and then happen upon an aged sire who is really Archimago (Anti-Christ or the Pope). He tricks them back to his home where he causes the Redcrosse knight to have a lustful dream about Una; he then creates a false Una who comes to the Redcrosse Knight’s bed, tries to seduce him without success, and angers him.
Book I Canto ii. Archimago changes one spirit into a squire and puts him and the falls Una into bed then calls the Redcrosse Knight to show him the seeming unchastity of Una. The Redcrosse knight is so upset he abandons Una at dawn. He then haps upon Sansfoy and his lady who calls herself Fidessa, but who is really Duessa. (Duessa is the Roman Catholic church, the Great Whore of Babylon). The Redcrosse knight defeats Sansfoy in battle and takes up with Duessa. She tells him she had a fiance, a “prince so meek” (Christ), but he died before they married. The Redcrosse knight and Duessa come across two enchanted trees one of which tells the Redcrosse Knight how Duessa caused him to abandon his lady. When the enchanted knight finally realized Duessa’s corruption he tried to escape but Duessa transformed him into a tree as she had already done to his love. The Redcrosse Knight, unaware that the woman he is with is Duessa, and Duessa leave the trees when Duessa pretends to faint.
Book I Canto iii. Una continues to search for the Redcrosse Knight. She encounters a lion which willingly submits to her because is senses her goodness. Una and the lion find the House of Abessa and Corceca and the lion forces entrance so Una may sleep there for the night. (Corceca, as she endlessly does her rosary, represents the blind superstition of Roman Catholicism; Abessa embodies the abbeys and monasteries which rob the church.) Kirkrapine demands entrance into the house, but is slain by the lion when he enters. Una leaves in the morning and encounters Archimago who is now disguised as the Redcrosse Knight. Una, deceived, travels with Archimago till they chance to meet Sansloy. Sansloy attacks Archimago, thinking him to be the Redcrosse knight. He only realizes it is his friend Archimago when he removes his helmet to cut off his head. He releases Archimago, kills the lion, and forces Una to come with him.
Book I Canto iv. Duessa leads the Redcrosse Knight to the House of Pride where Lucifera unlawfully rules by “policy” and by virtue of her shiny beauty which amaze her court. Lucifera’s counsellors – the seven deadly sins – ride through in procession. Sansjoy comes to avenge the Redcrosse Knight for killing Sansfoy. Lucifera orders them to battle out their grievance the next morning. That night Duessa comes to Sansjoy and warns him of the Redcrosse Knight’s charmed shield and armour.
Book I Canto v. The Redcrosse Knight and Sansjoy battle. Just when the Redcrosse Knight seems about to win, a dark cloud hides and saves the wounded Sansjoy. Duessa goes and pleads with Night to help save Sansjoy from his wounds. Night and Duessa take him to Hell where Aesculapius – doomed there because he brought a man back from death – heals Sansjoy. Duessa returns to the House of Pride, while Sansjoy convalesces in Hell, and finds that the Redcrosse knight has left the House of Pride because his “wary dwarf” warned him of the dungeon full of individuals who fell be pride.
Book I canto vi. Una, having been abducted by Sansloy, is taken by him into a forest where he tries to ravish her. Her cries summon some fawns and satyrs and Sansloy is frightened away. The Satyrs worship Una’s beauty and keep her with them. Satyrane, a half human satyr knight, happens into the forest and becomes devoted to Una. Una escapes the adoring satyrs with the aid of Satyrane. The meet a Pilgrim – really Archimago – who tells them the Redcrosse knight is dead and then leads them to his supposed killer who is Sansloy. Sansloy and Satyrane battle, Una flees in fright and is pursued by Archimago.
Book I canto vii. Duessa leaves the House of Pride and finds the Redcrosse Knight. They “pour out in looseness on the grassy ground” and the Redcrosse Knight also drinks from a charmed spring which weakens him physically and morally. While disarmed and weakened a giant, Orgoglio, comes along, conquers the Redcrosse Knight, puts him in a dungeon, and makes Duessa his willing dear. The Redcrosse Knight’s dwarf gathers his arms, finds Una, and tells her what has happened. Una meets Arthur who vows to help the Redcrosse Knight.
Book I canto viii. Arthur, Arthur’s squire, Una, and the Redcrosse Knight’s dwarf come to Orgoglio’s castle. Arthur opens its doors with a trumpet blast. Orgoglio and Duessa on the many-headed beast come out and battle Arthur and his squire. Arthur wounds them with force and then subdues them by unveiling his charmed shield. Arthur enters the castle, unsuccessfully questions Ignorance, then finds the Redcrosse Knight who is debilitated and despairing. They try to cheer the Redcrosse Knight and the disrobe Duessa who is revealed to be hideous.
Book I canto ix. Una and the Redcrosse Knight ask Arthur his history. Arthur says he does not know because, as an infant, he was given to Merlin to be raised. Arthur tells how the Faerie Queene appeared to him as he slept and he has sought her since. Arthur parts from Una and the Redcrosse Knight. They meet Trevisan who tells how he and a friend met Despair who tried to persuade tem to suicide. The Redcrosse Knight demands to meet this Despair to avenge him but Despair nearly convinces the Redcrosse Knight to kill himself. He is saved by Una who snatches the knife from his hand and pulls him from Despair who – foiled – tries unsuccessfully to kill himself.
Book I canto x. Una, realizing that the Redcrosse Knight is feeble and faint takes him the House of Holiness to recover. The House of Holiness is managed by Caelia, who has three daughters: Fidelia, Speranza, Charissa. The Redcrosse Knight is restored under the guidance of Fidelia, Esperanza, Patience, Amendment, Penaunce, Remorse, Repentance, Charissa, and Mercie. She then takes him to the hospital of the House of Holiness where the seven bead-men reside. From this she takes him to Contemplation who resides on a hill. Contemplation shows him the New Jerusalem and tells him he is really English and will become St. George. The Redcrosse Knight, after seeing New Jerusalem wants to leave this world – but Contemplation tells him he has work to do her. Now restored, the Redcrosse Knight gets ready to undertake his quest again.
Book I canto xi. Una and the Redcrosse Knight approach her parents’ castle which is terrorized by the dragon. In the course of their battle the Redcrosse Knight is mortally wounded twice. The first time he falls into the well of life and revives the next day; the second time he falls near the tree of life and revives the next day. Finally, having wounded the dragon five times in three days, the Redcrosse Knight kills the dragon.
Book I canto xii. The folk pour out to look fearfully at the dead dragon. The Redcrosse Knight and Una enter the palace with her mother and father. Her father, the king, promises his land and Una to the Redcrosse Knight. The Redcrosse Knight says he must first serve the Faerie Queene for six years. The king is about to formally betroth them when a messenger (the disguised Archimago) enters and reads a letter from Duessa who claims the Redcrosse Knight is already betrothed to her. The Redcrosse Knight and Una explain his previous errors and Duessa’s present deception and have Archimago enchained (but he later escapes). The two are betrothed, then The Redcrosse Knight returns to the Faerie Queene to serve her for six years.
Book II Proem. The speaker defends the existence of Faerie land by referring to the, till recently, unheard of Peru and Virginia. He also says the Elizabeth may behold her own glory in this work and in a mirror.
Book II canto i. Archimago has escape his captors. He encounters Guyon with his Palmer, and – disguised as a squire – laments the ravishing of his lady. Guyon has him take him to the lady (Duessa) who confirms Archimago’s story. They lead Guyon to the knight – the Redcrosse Knight – who is supposed to have committed the crime. Guyon begins an attack on the Redcrosse Knight even though he knows of his good reputation, but halts just before they clash. They part on good terms and Guyon happens upon Amavia just after she has stabbed herself. Amavia tells how Acrasia beguiled Amavia’s lover – Mordant – in the Bower of Bliss by getting him to wallow in concupiscence. Amavia rescued him, but Acrasia cursed them so that Mordant would die the moment that they “linked”. He does die so Amavia stabs herself in grief. She died in Guyon’s arms. They bury the two and take their surviving child with them.
Book II canto ii. Guyon tries to clean the hands of the child he calls Ruddymane but the blood will not wash off. He does not know why, but the Palmer says it is because the fountain’s water is guiltless and thus does not want to be sullied by guilty blood. Guyon discovers his horse is missing and so they walk to the castle of Medina, Perissa, and Elissa. Here Guyon tries to stop a battle between Sansloy and Huddibras but all three begin to battle. Medina conciliates them and all dine. Guyon tells them how the Palmer came to Gloriana’s court to seek help against Acrasia and Guyon was chosen to go.
Book II canto iii. Guyon leaves the castle of Medina and leaves Ruddymane with Medina. Braggadochio, who stole Guyon’s horse and spear, frightens Trompart into being his squire. They meet Archimago who asks him to avenge Guyon and the Redcrosse Knight for having supposedly slain Amavia and Mordant. Braggadochio brags that he will. Archimago tells him he will need a sword and vanishes to steal Arthur’s sword. They are frightened by his disappearance and hide in a bush. Belphoebe happens along and discovers Braggadochio and Trompart. As she speaks against the vanity of courtly life Braggadochio tries to ravish her but she easily rebuffs him and leaves.
Book II canto iv. Guyon and the Palmer happen to meet Furor and Occasion as they abuse and beat Coradin. Guyon tries to stop furor and grows wrathful and he fights. The Palmer warns him to first bind Occasion and then subdue Furor which Guyon does. Coradin tells his history: he killed his best friend and his own lady after his friend tricked him into thinking his lady was faithless. Coradin was also trying to catch and kill his friend’s lady when Occasion and Furor found him and began to terrorize him. After Coradin tells this story Atin runs up and scornfully warns Guyon to leave this place because his lord, Pyrocheles, is approaching. Atin becomes indignant when he sees that Guyon has bound Furor and Occasion because Pyrocheles was looking for them. Atin throws a dart at Guyon and leaves.
Book II canto v. Guyon is attacked by Pyrocheles. They wound each other, and Pyrocheles becomes so wrathful he loses his reason and fights wildly. Guyon waits for Pyrocheles to tire then defeats him but spares his life, gives him advice, and allows him to release Furor and Occasion. Furor attacks Pyrocheles but when Guyon moves to help him the Palmer advises him not to. Guyon leaves, ignoring the taunts of occasion. Meanwhile, Atin has gone to find Cymocheles in the Bower of Bliss. Cymocheles, at Atin’s urging, rouses himself to help his brother avenge Guyon.
Book II canto vi. Cymocheles, seeking Guyon, is taken across a river by Phaedria in her boat – she does not allow Atin to come. Cymocheles forgets his purpose because of Phaedria’s diverting talk and allows himself to be lulled asleep by her one they get to the idle island. Phaedria returns and picks up Guyon in her boat – the Palmer is not allowed to come. She takes Guyon to the island against his will. Cymocheles awakes and attacks Guyon. Phaedria gets them to stop because she loves ease, not conflict, and takes Guyon back. Atin sees Guyon as he leaves the boat and insults him but Guyon leaves. Then Pyrocheles runs up, tormented by inner flames, and runs into the river. Atin tries to pull him out. Archimago comes along and helps to save and recover him.
Book II canto vii. Guyon, having been parted from the Palmer, happens upon Mammon as he counts his wealth. Mammon tries to flee, but Guyon stops him to question him. Mammon tries to tempt him several times in the course of their meeting with wealth, honour, and his daughter. They descend into Mammon’s cave where Guyon views sufferers such as Tantalus and Pilate. Guyon asks to leave as he is fatigued because the descent has lasted three days. Mammon takes him out but as soon as he is out Guyon collapses from exhaustion.
Book II canto viii. The Palmer finds the unconscious Guyon who has been guarded by an angel. The angle leaves and the Pyrocheles, Cymocheles, Archimago, and Atin come along. They try to disarm Guyon whom they think is dead. Arthur comes along and first tries to reason with them. They attack Arthur – Pyrocheles uses Guyon’s shield and Cymocheles uses Arthur’s sword. Arthur wounds them both then his spear breaks and his is wounded. The Palmer gives him Guyon’s sword and his kills Cymocheles. He then gets the upper hand on Pyrocheles and offers to forgive him. Pyrocheles refuses and Arthur kills him. Guyon awakes and thanks Arthur.
Book II canto ix. Arthur asks Guyon about the image of Gloriana on his shield. Guyon tells him about her and Arthur says he has been seeking her for a long time. They approach the Castle of Alma and are attacked while outside of it by “idle shades”. They drive these shades away and are admitted. Alma, the castle’s owner, first gives them a tour of the physiological functions of her castle and then of the rational soul where they see Fantasy, reason, and Memory. In Memory each knight discovers the history of his ancestors.
Book II canto x. Spenser invokes the muses as he prepares to present the chronicle of English kings which Arthur is reading. The English chronicle begins with the time when giants dwelled in England. Then Brutus destroyed the giants and his line ruled England till it dwindled out and Donwallo took over. The chronicle continues with the long war against the Romans described, and continues to Uther Pendragaon where the chronicle breaks off (because Arthur himself is the next king). The Faerie chronicle which Guyon reads is next presented and begins with Elfe and ends with Gloriana. Alma interrupts the two knights for supper.
Book II Canto xi. Guyon leaves the House of Alma in search of Acrasia and the Bower of Bliss. The sins and vices attack the castle and Arthur goes forth to fight them. They are led by Maleger who is aided by two hags named Impotence and Impatience. Arthur tries to catch Maleger but he is too fast as he rides a tiger, so Arthur catches Impotence and tries to bind her. As he does this Impatience comes and overthrows him so that Maleger can come and nearly kill him. Only the intervention of Arthur’s squire saves Arthur and allows him to catch hold of Maleger. Arthur kills Maleger with his mace but he revives. Arthur the stabs and crushes Maleger but he again revives. Finally, he crushes him again and having remembered that Maleger gained his might from his mother Earth, casts him into a standing lake where he stays dead. The two hags kill themselves and Arthur returns to the castle where Alma doctors him.
Book II canto xii. Guyon and the Palmer have been travelling with the boatman for two days. They pass between the Gulf of Greediness and the Rock of Vile Reproach. They pass the wandering islands. Phaedria tries to induce them to stop for a while but they scorn her. They pass between the Whirlpool of Decay and the Quicksand of Unthriftyhed. Sea monsters approach, but the Palmer forces them back with his staff. They pass the doleful maid and Guyon wants to stop to help her till the Palmer advises him not to mis-spend his pity. They enter the mermaids bay where fog surrounds them and birds attack them. They arrive at land and land monsters charge them until the Palmer makes them vanish with his staff. They pass Idleness and Excess and Guyon rejects them both. The Bower, where art and nature strive (with art winning) is described. They see two naked damsels and Guyon is tempted until the Palmer castigates him. They find Acrasia and one of her lovers and net them. Guyon destroys the Bower and releases the lover. The Palmer changes back into human form some of the men who were transformed into animals; one of them, Grille, wants to remain a hog.
Book III proem. The speaker announces his intention to write of Chastity, a virtue embodied in Elizabeth. He asks that some of Raleigh’s skill – he wrote Ocean to Cynthea for Elizabeth – be lent him. He says one can see Elizabeth represented in Gloriana and Belphoebe.
Book III canto i. Guyon and Arthur rest for a while at the House of Alma then leave to seek deeds of arms. They encounter a knight (Britomart) and a squire (Glauce). Guyon and Britomart joust, Guyon is unhorsed and made wrathful until calmed by the Palmer and Arthur. They all travel together in good humour till they see a fleeing woman (Florimell) being chased by a foster. Guyon and Arthur ride after Florimell, Arthur’s squire (Timias) rides after the foster, and Britomart continues on. She happens upon the Castle Joyous where six knights are attacking a single knight because he will not admit their lady is worthiest. Britomart aids the lone knight, who happens to be the Redcrosse Knight, and the defeat the six knights. They are invited into the castle where the Lady (Malecasta) banquets them and tries to woo Britomart whom everyone thinks is male. Britomart is too naive to suspect Malecasta’s lewd suggestions. When they depart for bed Malecasta slips in which Britomart. Britomart leaps out, threatens her with sword, and the other knights rush in. Britomart is seen to be a woman and one of the knights wounds her side with an arrow. Britomart and the Redcrosse knight defeat them and leave the next morning.
Book III canto ii. The speaker asserts that throughout history men have ignored the feats of women in martial affairs, and that there are many examples of great female warriors and counsellors. The Redcrosse Knight asks Britomart why she is in these parts and she tells him that she is seeking “revenge” against a knight named Arthegall who has done her “foule dishonour” (that is, he has smitten her heart). The Redcrosse Knight, to Britomart’s secret delight, verbally defends Arthegall. The speaker relates how Britomart first fell in love with Arthegall: she saw him in a magic mirror made by Merlin. At first she did not realize she had fallen love, but she soon grew restless. Her nurse (Glauce) asked her the trouble and Britomart explained that she was in love with an image she had seen in a magic mirror. Glauce tried to dispel Britomart’s love with some rather silly spells but they failed to work; Britomart only became more restless and weak and wasted.
Book III canto iii. The speaker praises love because it motivates one to perform noble deeds; he announces that he is going to relate the ancestry from Britomart to Elizabeth: Britomart and Glauce journeyed to the cave at which Merlin resides (at present, the speaker tells us, a horrible noise comes from the cave because just before he died Merlin commanded his slave elves to build a wall until he permitted them to cease – Merlin died before he told them to stop and they yet continue to build the wall). Merlin knew the purpose of Britomart and Glauce’s journey but he still asked them to state it which they tried without success to conceal and offered instead a false purpose. Merlin castigated them for trying to deceive him, then told them that providence caused Britomart to view Arthegall’s image. He then related how Britomart and Arthegall will continue the line of descent which ends in Elizabeth. He relates this genealogy. They left Merlin, returned home, and after deciding to find Arthegall by disguising themselves as a knight and squire, take the appropriate armour and arms. They then travelled to faery land where, as related in Canto ii, they met the Redcrosse Knight. Having finished her relation, Britomart and the Redcrosse Knight part as friends.
Book III canto iv. The speaker wonders where antique glory has gone; he asserts that Britomart surpasses the classical female warriors. After separating from the Redcrosse Knight, Britomart travels till she comes to the sea-coast where she perceives the stormy waves to be like her own emotional state and hopes that soon things will calm down for her. she encounters Marinell who demands that she turn back. she refuses, they joust, and she runs him through. Marinell’s pas is related: his father was a man, his mother a nymph. He grew to be a great knight but his mother worried about him so she asked Proteus to prophesize his future. Proteus said that he would suffer ill only from a woman. Marinell’s mother assumed this meant woman’s love and convinced him to avoid woman’s love. Ironically, it is not woman’s love but woman’s prowess which fells Marinell. Marinell’s mother senses his wounding and comes to him with her entourage. They take him below the sea to Tryphon who will try to cure him. The narrative now returns to Arthur who is still well intentionally pursuing Florimell. Night falls and forces Arthur to end his pursuit; Arthur curses the night and rises the next morning in a foul humour.
Book III canto v. The speaker again praises the power of love to make men noble and gentle. Arthur, having lost track of Glorimell, meets a dwarf who tells him he is seeking Florimell who fled the court of Faery when she heard the news of Marinell’s wounding – she loves Marinell, but he does not love her. (Here a contradiction in the narrative is apparent: in Canto i Britomart, Arthur, and Guyon met the fleeing Florimell and not till Canto iv does Britomart wound Marinell. Here, in Canto v, the order of these events is reversed). Arthur promises the dwarf he will find and aid Florimell. The narrative now turns to Timias who pursued the foster. The foster eludes Timias and gets his two brothers to attack him while he crosses a ford. Timias kills all three brothers but is badly wounded in the thigh. He faints, but Belphoebe (who we met in Book II with Braggadochio) finds him and doctors him. Timias’ thigh wound heals but he languishes because he falls in love with Belphoebe and is too conscious of his own lack of merit to tell her. The speaker concludes the canto by praising Belphoebe’s chastity and advises all beautiful individuals to augment their beauty with this virtue.
Book III canto vi. The speaker explains how Belphoebe can be so gentle and civil when she resides in a savage forest: her mother, Chrysogonee, conceived Belphoebe and her twin Amoretta when she slept on a bank and was impregnated by sun-beams. As her pregnancy became apparent, Chrysogonee withdrew to the forest to hide her pregnancy. One day she became tired and fell asleep and gave birth to her twins. Meanwhile, it happened that Venus was out looking for her son Cupid who had run away. She searched court, city, and country without success. Finally, she decided to search the forest where Diana and her nymphs resided. At first Diana is angered and disgusted with Venus but after entreaties she agrees to help search for Cupid. As they are looking they happen upon Chrysogonee and her newly-born twins. While Chrysogonee sleeps, Venus takes Amoretta to be “upbrought in goodly womanhed” and Diana takes Belphoebe to be “upbrought in perfect maydenhed”. Amoretta is raised in the Garden of Adonis which is described at length: it is “the first seminarie of all things”. Amoretta, now grown, loves only Scudamore but is abused by an enemy. Before we learn of this, however, the speaker will tell us what happened to Florimell after Arthur lost track of her.
Book III canto vii. After Arthur lost track of Florimell she continued to ride till her horse tired; she then ran till she happened upon a witch’s house where the witch and her brutish son gave her refuge because they were amazed by her beauty. The son falls in lust with Florimell and gives her rustic, brute presents. After some time, sensing danger, Florimell leaves in the early morning. When the witch and her son discover she is gon the witch sends a monstrous beast in pursuit of her. Florimell escapes the beast only be jumping from her exhausted horse and leaping into a boat at the sea-shore. The beast kills her horse and is found eating it by Satyrane who knows of Florimell and of her absence. Satyrane attacks the beast but is only able to quell it by casting aside his sword and grappling it. He ties Florimell’s golden girdle, which she lost in her flight, around its neck. He then sees a giantess with a squire in her lap being chased by a knight. Satyrane attacks the giantess, who releases the squire, but Satyrane is incapacitated and captured by the giantess. He is released by her when the other knight starts to chase her again. Satyrane revives, helps the squire who had been captured, and learns form the squire who the giantess and knight are (the knight is actually a woman who is chaste and can therefore conquer the giantess). The squire then tells his own history: his lady first demanded him to seduce as man women as he could in one year (300) and then, outraged, demanded that he get as many refusals. So far, after three years, he has only found three refusals. Satyrane laughs, then discovers the beast he bound has escaped.
Book III canto viii. The witch’s beast returns with Florimell’s girdle. This causes the witch to believe that Florimell has been killed and she joyfully tells her son this. The son, however, is thrown into a rage by this news and threatens to kill his mother. To save herself she creates a false-Florimell out of snow and wire. The son is pleased but he soon loses the false-Florimell to Braggadochio. In turn, Braggadochio loses her to Ferraugh who woos her. Meanwhile, the real Florimell is floating on the sea in the boat she jumped into to escape the beast. The fisherman in the boat awakes and tries to ravish her. She is only saved when Proteus rises from the sea, takes Florimell, and punishes the fisherman. Proteus takes Florimell to his bower where he woos her with temptations then with threats. When she refuses to submit to him he puts her in a dungeon. Meanwhile, Satyrane and the Squire of Dames happen to meet Paridell who is out looking for Florimell. Satyrane tells him that he fears Florimell has been killed by the beast but offers to aid in the search anyway. They intend to begin the next morning and travel to a castle to spend the night but are denied entrance.
Book III canto ix. The speaker apologizes because he is about to describe an example of “loose incontinence”. The owner of the castle is Malbecco an old, jealous, and impotent miser. He will not let the knights enter because he fears on of them will seduce his wife, Hellenore. First they politely demand entrance but when refused they angrily demand entrance. They are again refuse, however, and when a storm rises they are forced to shelter in a pig shed. Britomart happens along and, being denied entrance to the castle, seeks shelter in the pig shed. Satyrane, Paridell, and the Squire of Dames will not let her in, however, as there is no room. Britomart challenges Paridell, they joust, both are knocked off their horses, and they are about to continue the battle till Satyrane reconciles them. They agree to unite against Malbecco and threaten to burn the castle. When Malbecco hears of this he fearfully lets them in. They disarm and the other knights are surprised and delighted to discover Britomart is a woman. They have supper and all the while Paridell slyly woos the incontinent Hellenore. Paridell then tells his lineage: he is descended from Paris of Troy. Britomart is very interested as she is descended from Trojans. She asks Paridell to tell her of Aeneas and the founding of Rome, and she adds that Troynouvaunt (London) was also founded by Trojans. Paridell confirms this. Finally, to Malbecco’s relief, they go to bed though Paridell and Hellenore continue to flirt.
Book III canto x. Britomart and Satyrane leave Malbecco’s castle while Paridell remains, claiming he is too sore to leave yet. Paridell woos Hellenore and convinces her to leave with him. she agrees and creates a diversion by setting fire to Malbecco’s money. After he puts out the fire Malbecco decides to search for Paridell and Hellenore to get his wife back. He sees a pair whom he mistakes to be Paridell and Hellenore: it turns out to be Braggadochio and Trompart. They tell Malbecco they will find Hellenore for him but are really only after the wealth Malbecco has brought with him. They happen upon Paridell, who has abandoned Hellenore, and he tells them she is somewhere in the forest. Braggadochio pretends he is about to chase Paridell after Paridell leaves but Malbecco asks him to find Hellenore instead. They enter the forest but Braggadochio and Trompart flee when they hear satyrs playing the bagpipes. Malbecco creeps forward and sees his wife dancing with satyrs. Night falls and Hellenore copulates nine times with one satyr while Malbecco watches. He sneaks up and wakes her but she refuses to go with him. He runs away, discovers that Braggadochio and Trompart have stolen his wealth, and in a fit of despair tries to jump off a cliff. He is so consume with fretting, however, that he merely floats to the bottom where he finds and moves into a cave. Eventually he forgets who he is and becomes Jealousy itself.
Book III canto xi. The speaker curses jealousy as the worst vice. Satyrane and Britomart, having left Malbecco’s castle, encounter a man being pursued by a giant – a giant who is the brother of the giantess who pursued the Squire of Dames. They chase the giant into a forest where they become separated. Britomart happens upon Scudamore as he lies languishing and despairing by a fountain. He tells her he is distraught because his beloved – Amoret – is held captive by Busirane and Scudamore can do nothing about him. Britomart cheers him though he despairs easily and tells him she will help him. They travel to the House of Busirane which is guarded by a gate of flame. After considering, Britomart attempts to walk through it and the flames part for her. Scudamore then willfully tries to follow but is forced back by the flames. Britomart enters a room which is covered by a tapestry depicting the love affairs of the Gods (this demonstrates the power of Cupid). The room also contains a statue of Cupid. she seen another door with “Be Bold” written over it and enters it. This room has beaten gold images of figures involved in the follies and monstrous actions of false love. It also contains the relics of conquerors who seem to have destroyed themselves because of love. This room has “Be Bold” written all over it. Night falls and she waits in the room.
Book III canto xii. At midnight as Britomart watches a masque of Cupid proceeds out of the door which has “Be not too Bold” written on it. The masque is introduced in mime by Ease and accompanied by minstrels. The first pairs are Fancy and Desire, Doubt and Danger, Fear and Hope, Disemblance and Suspect, Griefe and Fury, Displeasure and Pleasaunce. They are followed by Amoret who is led by Despight and Cruelty and whose heart is drawn forth and laid in a basin. Then Cupid himself follows and many other figures. The masque ends with Death. The masquers proceed back through the door and it slams shut after them. Britomart resolves to wait till next midnight and follow the masquers into the room. She does so and finds Amoret chained to a pillar and being tormented and charmed by Busirane. Busirane runs to try to kill Amoret but Britomart stops him. He wounds Britomart slightly in the breast but she incapacitates him and forces him to undo his spells over Amoret. He does so, Amoret thanks Britomart, and Britomart binds Busirane. They exit the house and find the burning gates are quenched, but Scudamore and Glauce are gone – they left for help because they feared a mishap befell Britomart inside the house. [In the 1590 version they exit the house and Amoret and Scudamore are happily united.]
Book IV Proem. Spenser defends himself from charges made against the 1590 edition that his depictions of love lead youth to folly. He answers that people who make such charges are incapable of love and that he is not writing for them. He asserts that he is writing for his queen and entreats Cupid to further soften her heart so that she reads work often.
Book IV Canto i. The speaker tells us how Busirane kidnapped Amoret at the wedding feast of her marriage to Scudamore. Amoret and Britomart travel together though Amoret is torn between showing gratitude to Britomart (who she believes is male) and keeping a virtuous aloofness. They go to a castle for shelter one night where it is the custom that all knights must have a lady or else sleep outside. One knight challenges Britomart for Amoret and Britomart defeats him. she likes the knight, however, and to prevent him from having to sleep outside first claims, as she is a knight, possession of Amoret and then claims, as she is a woman, the knight she has defeated. The knight is grateful and Amoret is relieved to discover Britomart is a woman. They leave the castle the next morning and happen upon Blandamour and Paridell with Duessa and the foul Ate. Paridell refuses to joust Britomart because he was once defeated by her outside Malbecco’s castle, but Blandamour jousts her and is sorely beaten (he discarded Duessa to Paridell before he jousted with Britomart and thus has no lady now). Britomart and Amoret leave, and Blandamour, Paridell, Duessa, and Ate travel onwards. They meet Scudamore and Glauce who are looking for Britomart and Amoret. Paridell jousts Scudamore and is defeated. However, Ate and Duessa tell Scudamore that they saw Britomart wooing and sleeping with Amoret. Scudamore is enraged by Britomart’s supposed breaking of trust and nearly kills Glauce as vengeance.
Book IV Canto ii. The speaker curses discord and praises those God-like men who can resolve it into concord; the speaker also claims that in this canto he will finish Chaucer’s incomplete Squires Tale. Paridell, Blandamour, Duessa, and Ate meet Ferraugh who still has the false Florimell. Paridell refuses to fight Ferraugh so Blandamour charges him and defeats him. He takes the false Florimell, who he believes to be the real Florimell, and woos her. Paridell, angered by Glandamour’s good fortune, becomes jealous and, spurred on by Ate, demands that Blandamour share the false Florimell. Blandamour refuses and they fight on and on until the squire of Dames, who knows them, comes along. He reconciles them by telling them that they should unite to prevent a great number of other knights from taking their “Florimell”. He tells them how Satyrane claimed Florimell’s girdle as his own until other knights complained they had a claim to it as well. To settle the conflict Satyrane has planned a tourney at which the most fair woman will get Florimell’s girdle and the prowest knight will get this fairest woman. The Squire of Dames urges Paridell and Blandamour to go to this tourney with their “Florimell” because she will surely win the girdle and they will win her. They agree and all of them travel together. They meet the knights of friendship, Cambell and Triamond and their wives. The speaker presents the history of Cambell and Triamond: Cambell had a sister so desirable that it caused discord among her suitors. Cambell decided to settle the conflict by battling the three prowest suitors; the winner of those three would get the sister, Canacee. The three who were chosen as prowest were three brothers, Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond. The speaker tells us that previously their mother, a fay, entreated the three Parcae to allow the soul of the first killed brother to pass into the next brother, and both of these souls to move into the third when the second brother died. The Parcae agree to this.
Book IV, Canto iii. The Speaker continues the history of Cambell and Triamond: the day is set for Cambell to battle Priamond, Dyamond, and Triamond. First Cambell and Priamond battle. Cambell’s wounds are instantly healed by the virtue of his magic ring so he manages to defeat and kill Priamond. Priamond’s spirit migrates into Dyamond whom Cambell next battles. Dyamond is also killed by having his head severed and both his spirit and Priamond’s migrate to Triamond. Triamond and Cambell battle and both receive lethal blows. Cambell revives because of his ring, Triamond revives twice because each time he loses a brother’s spirit, not his own. They continue to fight wearily till suddenly Cambina, sister to Triamond, Dyamond, and Priamond, arrives. She implores them to reconcile, but they do so only when she uses her magic rod and cup of nepenthe. They throw down their weapons and embrace. Canacee enters the field and thanks Cambina. Cambell marries Triamond’s sister Cambina, and Triamond marries Cambell’s sister Canacee.
Book IV Canto iv. The speaker returns to the description of the meeting between Blandamore, Paridell, Duessa, Ate, False Florimell, and Cambell and Triamond. Blandamour angers Triamond and Cambell with taunts but Cambina prevents and argument and all ride together to Satyrane’s tournament. They meet Braggadochio on the way who tells Blandamour that the (false) Florimell is his. Blandamour offers to battle Braggadochio with the winner taking the false Florimell and the loser taking the ugly Ate but Braggadochio rejects the offer. They arrive at the tournament just as Satyrane is displaying the girdle. Satyrane, who leads the Knights of Maidenhead, achieves a tie in his first battle. Ferramont, also a Maidenhead, wins for a while but is eventually defeated by Triamond. Then Satyrane defeats Triamond and the Maidenheads thus win the first day. The next day Cambell disguises himself as Triamond who is too wounded to battle and defeats Satyrane. All of Satyrane’s friends then attack and capture Cambell. When Triamond hears of this he dons Cambell’s armour and comes to Cambell’s rescue. Together they beat off everyone and are declared joint winners of the second day. Thus, the Knights of Friendship win the second day. On the third day Satyrane wins constantly till a Salvage Knight (Arthegall) appears and defeats Satyrane’s band of Maidenheads until Britomart comes forth and defeats him. Britomart thus wins the third day for the Maidenheads.
Book IV Canto v. The speaker describes the ladies’ contest for Florimell’s girdle with originally belonged to Venus. It is decided that Britomart, who won the tournament overall, will receive the winner of the beauty contest. Each knight presents his lady: Paridell shows Duessa, Britomart shows Amoret, Blandamour shows the false Florimell, etc. The judges decide that the false Florimell is fairest and give her the girdle; however, as soon as she puts it on it falls off because it will not remain on the unchaste. The same thing happens when all the other ladies put on the girdle which causes the knights to laugh and snicker. Only Amoret is able to wear the girdle, but the false Florimell snatches it from her. Despite her inability to wear the girdle the judges award the false Florimell to Britomart. Britomart, though, refuses the false Florimell. They then award the false Florimell to Arthegall but he has left already, angry to be beaten by Britomart. The knights begin to argue about who gets the false Florimell; Satyrane suggest they let the false Florimell choose for herself and she chooses Braggadochio. Braggadochio senses that the other knights are still disgruntled and sneaks off with the false Florimell that night. Britomart and Amoret leave the tournament because it is degenerating into discord. (Britomart did not recognize Arthegall because he was disguised as the Salvage Knight.) Meanwhile, Scudamore and Glauce travel on, with Glauce trying unsuccessfully to convince Scudamore that Britomart has not cheated him of Amoret. They stop for the night at the House of Care where Scudamore is kept awake and miserable by the clanging and pinching of blacksmiths. He rises the next morning tired and anguished.
Book IV Canto vi. Scudamore leaves the House of Care and is charged by Arthegall who momentarily thinks he is Britomart. When he realizes his mistake, however, he ceases his attack, apologises to Scudamore, and explains why he is waiting to ambush a knight. When Scudamore realizes that the knight Arthegall is after is Britomart because she beat him at the tourney he excitedly tells Arthegall that he too has a grudge against Britomart for having apparently stolen Amoret from him. They agree to aid one another in their vengeance against Britomart. Soon they happen upon her and Scudamore charges her and is unhorsed; then Arthegall charges her and is unhorsed. Arthegall then battles her on foot with sword. He forces her to abandon her horse but his blows, though they are powerful, do not wound her. Finally Arthegall shears away Britomart’s visor, sees her face, and is so struck by her beauty that the drops his sword and begs pardon for his affront. Scudamore also sees that Britomart is female and realizes his mistake in thinking she stole Amoret from him. Arthegall and Scudamore raise their visors and Britomart recognizes Arthegall as her destined lover. Britomart tries to hide her feelings for love, but finds it difficult. Glauce then advises them and resolves the tensions. Scudamore questions Britomart of Amoret’s whereabouts and she tells him that one day in a forest she slept and woke to find Amoret gone. Scudamore is troubled till Britomart promises to help find her for him. They then go together to a resting place where Arthegall woos Britomart and they become engaged. Before they marry, though, Arthegall must leave to finish his quest. He promises to return, and Britomart sadly allows him to go, though not before travelling with him for a time. She returns, then, to Scudamore to help him find Amoret.
Book IV Canto vii. The speaker laments that Cupid devises such ordeals for the speaker’s heroines like Florimell, Britomart, and now Amoret. After Britomart and Amoret left the tourney they travelled till they reached a forest where they stopped to rest. Britomart fell asleep and while she slept Amoret wandered into the forest and was abducted by a salvage man. He took her to his cave where Amoret learns from another abducted maid that the salvage man intends to rape and then eat them. The other maid has so far escaped being raped only because a third woman, an old hag, satisfies the salvage man’s lust every time he comes in. As the other woman, whose name is Amelia, tells Amoret how she came to be abducted by the salvage man – she eloped with a humble squire but was abducted before she met him at the assigned place – enters the cave by moving a huge stone. In fear, Amoret dashes past him and runs with him in pursuit. Fortunately, though, Belphoebe, Timias, and her train are out hunting and Timias sees the Salvage man chasing Amoret. He intervenes and battles the salvage man but is hampered by the fact that the salvage man shields himself with Amoret. Timias finally forces the salvage man to forego Amoret and as he battles him Belphoebe comes along. The salvage man sees her and flees to his cave but is shot dead by an arrow by Belphoebe before he reaches it. Belphoebe returns to Amoret and Timias and finds Timias kissing her tears. Angry and hurt she runs away from Timias who pursues her and tries to explain but to no avail. Giving up in despair, he finds a solitary place and abandons himself to melancholy. After a time Arthur, his master, happens upon him but does not recognize him because he is so changed by grief. Timias seems unable to communicate with Arthur and so finally Arthur, though he pities Timias and suspects he was once someone noble, leaves him for time to cure.
Book IV Canto viii. Timias continues to languish in the forest; a turtle dove takes pity on him and sings doleful tunes for him. One day Timias happens to tie a jewel he received from Belphoebe around its neck. It flies away, finds Belphoebe, and lures her back to Timias. She does not recognize Timias because of his wasted appearance until he speaks and tells her only she can restore him. She realizes it is Timias, relents her anger, and he lives happily with her unmindful of being separated from Arthur. Meanwhile, Arthur happens upon Amoret and Amelia who are living wretchedly in the forest. Arthur offers to help them and takes them with him. They rest one night at the cottage of Sclaunder who grudgingly lets them stay and verbally abuses them as they leave the next morning. They then see a squire on a horse holding dwarf and fleeing from a man on a dromedary. Arthur intervenes and beheads the man (Corflambo) on the dromedary whose eyes shoot out deadly beams that set one’s heart aflame. The squire then tells Arthur who Corflambo was and why he was chasing him: a certain squire was out to meet the lady he intended to elope with (it turns out, of course, that the lady is Amelia who has already told Amoret how she was to elope with a squire but was abducted by the salvage man before they met) but was abducted by Corflambo and thrown into a dungeon. Corflambo’s sister happened to view this squire, named Amyas, and told him she would free him if he agreed to be her paramour. Amyas grudgingly agreed but remained distant and aloof to her because he loved Amelia. Eventually Amyas’ friend Placidas (the squire who is relating this tale) heard of Amyas’ plight and came to Corflambo’s castle to aid his friend. There, because he looked wondrously like Amyas, he was mistaken for Amyas and also put into captivity. He went in Amyas’ stead to Corflambo’s sister and, because he was more amorous with her, achieved a greater degree of freedom. One day he was out with the dwarf and decided the only way he could free himself and Amyas would be to kidnap the dwarf who held the keys. He did so and was pursued by Corflambo till Arthur intervened. Amelia comes up, recognizes her squire’s friend, and he tells her the same story.
Book IV Canto ix. The squire having told his story, Arthur resolves to free Amyas from Corflambo’s Dungeon. He props Corflambo’s dead body on a horse, sets the squire in front of Corflambo, and forces the dwarf to lead them to the castle. The castle gate-keeper, looking out and believing his master has returned, lets them in and Arthur takes control of the castle. Amelia is reunited with Amyas, but suddenly noticing the astonishing resemblance between him and Placidas, begins to wonder which one she loves. Arthur frees Corflambo;s sister and gets her to reform and leaves with Amoret after uniting Amelia with Amyas and Corflambo’s sister with Placidas. While Arthur and Amoret are looking for Scudamore they happen upon Druon, Claribell, Blandamour, and Paridell who are alternately fighting among themselves and with Britomart and Scudamore. Arthur tries to resolve the conflict but they start to battle him. He fights back, forces them to submit, and with the help of Britomart and Scudamore brings everyone to accord. Britomart clears herself of the blame the first four knights lay against her. Scudamore complains of the fact that he has still not found Amoret. (Amoret, of course, is all this time with Arthur and presumable he presents her at this time). The other knights, who are now behaving pleasantly, ask Scudamore to relate his story of how he lost Amoret in the first place.
Book IV Canto x. Scudamore tells the story of how he won Amoret after first lamenting that since he fell in love he has not joyed a single hour. He tells how as a fresh, young knight he heard of a renowned prize and determined to win ti. He travelled to the temple of Venus which was on an island whose only approach was across a bridge. On a plain before the bridge a shield was placed on an altar. When Scudamore rapped the shield twenty knights came out one by one, all of whom Scudamore defeated. He took the shield and crossed the bridge, passing on the way Doubt, Delay, the Gate of Good Desert, Daunger. He stepped onto the island itself which, he says, was like paradise in its natural abundance. He approached the magnificent temple of Venus, passing between, with Concord’s assistance, Love and Hate. hen entered the inner temple which was full of a hundred altars and in the middle of which was a statue of Venus herself on an altar. it was covered with a veil to his Venus’ male and female sexual organs. One of the worshippers of Venus, unable to contain himself, broke forth with a speech praising Venus’ pacifying powers and prayed he partake of them. Scudamore then saw at the statue’s foot a circle of Damsels: Womanhood, Curtesy, Cheerfulness, Silence and Obedience, Modestie, and Shamefasteness. In the middle of them sat Amoret and so Scudamore, drawing on all his courage, boldly reached forth and pulled Amoret from the circle. Womanhood rebukes him for being overbold but Scudamore responds by saying a servant of Venus (like Amoret) should not remained secluded all he life and then displays the shield he has one and which gives him the right, apparently, to take her. Further, Scudamore says, the statue of Venus seemed to be approving his bold action when he looked at it. Amoret pleaded with Scudamore to be released but he would not. They exited the temple and crossed the bridge, passing the same figures as when Scudamore entered.
Book IV Canto xi. The speaker laments that he has so long left Florimell languishing in the Dungeon of Proteus. He describes the impenetrableness of the dungeon. Meanwhile, Marinell’s mother has unsuccessfully tried to heal Marinell and as a last resort she takes him to the sea-God Tryphon; Tryphon heals him. It fortunes that a feast is about to take place celebrating the marriage of the two rivers the Thames and the Medway. The procession is described starting with Neptune and his progeny; his progeny includes world famous rivers, English and Irish rivers (including the Thames and Medway), and Nymphs. The speaker concludes by telling us that among the nymphs was Marinell’s mother Cymodoce.
Book IV Canto xii. Marinell, because he is half mortal, is not allowed to attend the wedding banquet so he passes the time by wandering by a cliff. While near it he hears the voice of Florimell lamenting her misery and attributing it to the hardness of Marinell. When he hears this Marinell’s heart is softened and he desires to release and marry Florimell. However, he is unable to save he by force and dare not approach either his mother or Proteus. Hence, he languishes after he returns to Faery land and becomes deathly weak in his despair. His mother calls Tryphon back, thinking Marinell’s wound from Britomart is not full healed, but Tryphon assures her that is not the problem. She then asks Apollo to examine her son who concludes that he is in love. She asks Marinell who he loves, thinking and hoping it is some nymph, not a mortal, and he tells her it is Florimell. Disappointed, she nonetheless goes to Neptune and entreats that eh force Proteus to release Florimell. He does, she gets Florimell and brings him to Marinell, and he immediately begins to revive. Florimell, of course, is also overjoyed.
Book V Proem. The speaker laments that when he compares the present age with the former Golden age he is struck by the corruption of the present age: vice and virtue have become reversed and the physical universe seems to be decaying. He praises the justice which existed during Saturn’s reign, and says that justice is the virtue which most resembles God. He asks his sovereign Goddess (Elizabeth) to pardon his boldness in writing of justice when she embodies it so well.
Book V Canto i. The speaker qualifies his former praise of the golden age and says that even then some injustice existed; however, great men, such as Arthegall, arose to fight it. Arthegall, we learn, was taken by Astrae when he was small and raised in the discipline of justice; before leaving earth for heaven after Arthegall was grown, Astrae gave Arthegall a sword which could cut through anything. Arthegall is now on a quest given him by Gloriana to aid Irena who is oppressed by Grantorto. One day he and his iron man Talus are travelling when they come upon a squire weeping by a beheaded lady. The squire tells Arthegall he was approached by a knight who demanded he and the squire trade ladies; the squire refused but the knight forced his compliance and when the knight’s first lady protested he cut her head off. Arthegall sends Talus to find this knight; Talus finds, binds, and brings back this knight. The knight denies any guilt and challenges the squire to prove his accusations by battle; the squire, knowing he would lose such a battle, withdraws his charge. Arthegall, however, suspects the knight is guilty and asks them to abide by his decision; they agree. He tells them they will split both the dead and the live lady equally. The knight agrees, but the squire – to save his lady – denies that she is his. By these responses Arthegall knows the squire is innocent and the knight guilty. He therefore gives the lady to the squire and forces the knight to carry the dead lady’s head. The squire is so pleased with Arthegall he offers to be his servant, but Arthegall will not consent to this.
Book V Canto ii. Arthegall and Talus continue on when they chance upon a dwarf (the same dwarf who told Arthur of Florimell’s flight) who tells him Florimell and Marinell are to marry in three days. Arthegall says he too will gladly attend the wedding. The dwarf then tells him of a sarazin who keeps a bridge and will let no one over without hurting or extorting them. Arthegall has the dwarf take him to this sarazin, named Pollente, whom he jousts with. They fall off the bridge and battle in the water. After much struggle Arthegall manages to behead Pollente. He then enters the castle where Pollente’s daughter, Munera, lives and, because she is an extorter, allows Talus to sever he hands and feet and then throw her in the stream. Arthegall then reforms the wicked customs of the bridge. Travelling again they come upon a giant with a set of scales. The Giant boasts he can weigh anything and claims he will redistribute all things so that all things are equal. The populace like this because they expect is will benefit them. Arthegall tells him he need not redistribute things because nothing, really, has changed from its original rightness. The giant responds that it is obvious that some parts of nature (like the sea) are taking over other parts (like the land). Arthegall tells him that these things are merely changing form, not substance, in accordance with God’s will; besides, he says, the giant does not have the ability to weigh trifles, let alone great things. To show him, Arthegall tells the giant to weigh a word; when he tries, it flies out of the pan. Arthegall then tells him to try to weigh wrong with right; the giant tries, but no amount of wrong can cause the pan of right to rise. Arthegall then has the giant weigh two wrongs (that is, two extremes) and it is apparent that right is in the middle. Enraged, the giant willfully casts right aside. For this action, Talus pushes him off a cliff and drowns him. The populace are angry with this because they expected benefit from the giant; they threaten Arthegall who is not allowed to battle his social inferiors and yet he is loathe to flee. Talus approaches them and when they attack him and Arthegall he disperses them by wildly striking at them.
Book V Canto iii. The wedding festivities of Florimell and Marinell take place. Among them, Marinell and six knights will battle others to maintain that Florimell is the fairest lady. On both the first and second day Marinell is found to be the best knight. On the second day, though, it chances that Marinell is made captive those he battles. As he is led away Arthegall comes along, learns what has happened, and while using Braggadochio’s shield – he met Braggadochio along the way – rescues Marinell from his opponents. The crowd decides that the knight who rescued Marinell should be proclaimed the best knight and when the call for him Braggadochio, not Arthegall, steps forth. Braggadochio then says he battled so bravely not for Marinell’s Florimell, but for his own “Florimell” whom he now presents. The populace, when they see the false Florimell, think she is even more fair than the real Florimell and this disturbs Marinell and Florimell. Arthegall sees this disorder and steps forth to denounce Braggadochio and admits that he himself is the one who rescued Marinell. He then has the false Florimell stand next to the real one and the false one vanishes leaving only the girdle. Arthegall puts the girdle on Florimell and its stays on. Guyon then steps forth to claim Braggadochio’s horse as his own (Braggadochio took it stole it from him in Book II). Guyon proves the horse is his, and Arthegall awards it to him. Braggadochio rebukes Arthegall who, angered, is only prevented from slaying Braggadochio by Guyon. Talus then disgraces and punishes both Braggadochio and Trompart and soon the knights and ladies are laughing about how they were deceived by Braggadochio.
Book V Canto iv. The speaker notes that justice must be given the power to execute its judgements. Arthegall and Talus leave the wedding festivities and encounter two brothers who are arguing over a chest. One brother, Bracidas, explains that their father gave each an island but Bracidas’ island has been eroded and its soil has floated over to make Amidas’ island bigger. Because of this, Bracidas’ fiancé has left him for Amidas, and Amidas has rejected his first fiancé. This rejected fiancé, Lucy, was so distraught that she cast herself into the ocean. Luckily, she bumped into this chest and was able to use it to float to the shore of Bracidas’ little island. Amidas claims the chest, which is full of treasure, was his new fiancé’s dowery which was lost at sea; he therefore claims as his what Bracidas claims as his. Arthegall offers to judge and they agree to abide by his decision. He decides that just as the soil which floated from Bracidas’ island to Amidas’ island is now rightfully Amidas’, so the treasure is now Amidas’ because the sea brought it too. Bracidas likes this ruling, but Amidas does not. Arthegall and Talus travel further and find a knight bound and about to be hung by many women. Arthegall gets Talus to disperse the women and then asks the knight, Terpine, what happened. Terpine tells him that an Amazon, Radigund, has declared war on men because Bellodant would not love her. She captured Terpine, like she has many other men, and gave him the choice of wearing a dress and spinning or being hung. Arthegall vows to defeat Radigund. Terpine takes him to the castle where they battle Radigund and her women. Night falls without either side winning and so they withdraw. Radigund decides that rather than risk all her women she will challenge Arthegall to single fight the next morning. Whoever loses must submit to the law of the other. Messengers take this challenge to Arthegall and he agrees.
Book V Canto v. Arthegall and Radigund arm for battle. They fight fiercely and Arthegall shears away her shield and knocks her on the head. He unlaces her helmet to strike off her head, but is prevented when he sees her beauty. He throws aside his sword and Radigund revives and begins to strike him. Only when he throws down his shield does she accept his surrender. the amazons hang Terpine, allow Talus to escape, and force Arthegall to wear women’s clothes and spin. After a time Radigund falls in love with Arthegall. At first she is too proud to give in to her love but eventually she calls a trusty maid, Clarinda, to her and asks her to go to the enslaved Arthegall and convince him to love Radigund. Clarinda goes to Arthegall and tells him she will try to engineer his freedom by entreating Radigund for him. However, she herself falls in love with Arthegall. Hence, she slyly tells Radigund that Arthegall is refusing Radigund’s offers of love, and she tells Arthegall that Radigund is rejecting his entreaties to be freed.
Book V Canto vi. While Arthegall is enslaved to Radigund, Britomart is home worrying about what has happened to him. One day, as she is looking out the window, she sees Talus approaching. She runs down to him, demands the news, and he tells her Arthegall is in bondage to a woman. Before he can explain further, Britomart – who thinks the bondage is of love – locks herself in a room and laments her folly and his unfaithfulness. She calms down somewhat and asks Talus for further details. He tells her and she resolves to go and avenge herself on Radigund. As they travel they come upon an apparently pleasant knight who, because night is falling, asks them to stay the night at his castle. They agree. Britomart reject her host’s suggestion that disarm before she goes to her rest and stays awake all night both to lament and to be wary. Around the first cock-crow Britomart’s bed suddenly opens like a trap door but fortunately she is not laying on it. Moments later two knights and a rout or rascals come to her door, but are beaten away by Talus. Britomart is enraged by this attack and sits awake all night vowing to get revenge in the morning. We learn from the speaker that the lord of the castle is Dolan and he is plotting against Britomart because he believes that she is Arthegall who killed one of his sons (he thinks she is Arthegall because he knows Talus is always with Arthegall). Britomart rises that morning to avenge herself but everyone has fled the castle. They leave the castle and as they approach the very bridge on which Arthegall defeated Pollente she spies the other two sons of Dolan. She restrains Talus from attacking them and battles and kills them herself.
Book V Canto vii. The speaker praises the virtue of justice and cites Osyris as an example of the just man. His wife, Isis, represented equity and to the Temple of Isis Britomart and Talus come to spend the night. Talus, however, is not allowed into the temple. Britomart enters and sees a statue of Isis with her foot on a crocodile. The temple is also full of the priests of Isis who are not allowed to drink wine as it leads to rebellion. Britomart sleeps under the statue of Isis and dreams that the crocodile comes alive and threatens the Goddess. The Goddess subdues the crocodile and it becomes meek and then impregnates the Goddess. She gives birth to a lion which conquers all other beats. Britomart awakes and tells her troubling dream to a priest. He tells her that the crocodile represents Arthegall, Isis represents Britomart, and the lion their son whom they will conceive. Grateful for the interpretation, Britomart leaves and comes to Radigund’s castle. Radigund and Britomart battle, Britomart is wounded in the shoulder, and finally Britomart beheads Radigund. Talus enters the castle and wreaks carnage on the Amazon women inside. Britomart finds Arthegall dressed, like other, in women’s clothing. she is shamed by the sight, and it is not quite clear whether her suspicions that Arthegall has been unfaithful are confirmed or refuted. She finds Arthegall some armour, arms him, and the rest in the castle. during this time Britomart rules as a princess and reforms the Amazon society so that women are restored to proper subjection to men. Finally, Arthegall leaves to complete his quest against Grantorto. Britomart lets him leave because she knows that his success in this quest is important to restore his ego. After residing further at the Amazon castle she finally leaves to help keep her mind off the absent Arthegall.
Book V Canto viii. Arthegall is travelling along when he spies a damsel being chased by two knights who are being chased by one knight. Arthegall tries to intervene but when one of the two knights charges him he knocks him off his horse and his neck is broken by the fall. Arthegall then tries to find the other of the two knights but first finds the third knight who has already killed the second knight. In the heat of the moment Arthegall and the other knight battle until the damsel points out that they are on the same side. Arthegall and the other knight, who is Arthur, ask each other forgiveness and then ask the damsel why she was being chased. She explains she was sent as a messenger from her noble queen, Mercilla, to a pagan lord and his queen, Adicia, to entreat peace. The damsel, Samient, was rudely ejected from the pagan’s castle and chased by the two knights. Arthegall and Arthur decide they will avenge that pagan lord and his wife. Arthegall dresses himself in the armour of one of the pagan knights, pretends to have captured Samient, and is freely let into the castle. Meanwhile, Arthur challenges the pagan lord who fiercely comes out in a chariot. Arthur is wounded in the side by a dart and is only able to defeat the pagan lord when unveils his shield; the light dazzles the chariot’s horses and they run so frantically that it is overturned and the pagan lord is torn to bits on it. The pagan’s wife sees her husband’s defeat and runs down to kill Samient, not realizing that the knight who brought her in is Arthegall. Arthegall prevents her from killing Samient or herself but she is so frantic that she is transformed into a tiger. Arthegall then defeats all the knights in the castle and opens the gates for Arthur.
Book V Canto ix. Arthegall and Arthur prepare to leave the pagan castle and continue on their quest. Samient, however, entreats them to come and see her lady, Mercilla, and they agree. First, however, they resolve to defeat a wicked villain, Malengin, who lives close by and pillages the surrounding country. they go to his cave and ask Samient to sit outside nearby and cry as if she were lost or in trouble. Then, when Malengin leaves his cave to take advantage of Samient, Arthegall pursues him while Arthur prevents him from entering into his cave. Malengin flees over dangerous cliffs and so Arthegall sends Talus after him. Malengin tries to escape by transforming into a fox, then a bush, then a bird. Talus knocks him from the air with a stone, though; while he is still a bird Talus hands Malengin to Arthegall. When Arthegall has him in his hand he turns into a hedgehog and pricks Arthegall so Arthegall lets him go. He changes into a snake, but Talus pursues him and crushes him with his flail. Samient then takes them to Mercilla’s castle. they enter, pass through a hall of people who are amazed at the knights, pass by a man whose tongue is nailed to a wall because he is a slanderous poet, and finally come before Mercilla. She is surrounded by little angels who uphold her cloth of state, there is a rusty sword at her feet, and also at her feet are many fair virgins and an enchained lion. The knights humble themselves before her and she is pleased by them. she then allows them to watch her try a case of law. Zele brings forth Duessa and, along with others like Authority and Kingdom’s Care, charges her with crimes. Then Pity and Nobility come forth and defend her. Arthur is moved pity her by this defence until Zele furthers his charges and all deem her guilty. Arthegall has remained convinced of her guilt all through this. They call on Mercilla for a judgement; she pities Duessa’s plight and weeps for her.
Book V Canto x. Mercilla so pities Duessa that she is reluctant to condemn her; at last, however, she is forced to demand her death. Arthegall and Arthur stay a while longer at Mercilla’s castle and while they are there two youths arrive who have come to ask Mercilla to give their mother aid. Their mother is Belge (that is, the low countries) and they are threatened by a tyrant who has already defeated their neighbours. The tyrant, Geroneo (Spain), came to Belge after he noble husband died and offered her protection. Belge gladly agreed but eventually Geroneo’s protection became tyranny. Arthur begs Mercilla to let him fight Geroneo for Belge and she agrees. He sets off with the sons and soon comes upon Belge who is frightened by Arthur till she sees he is with her sons. Arthur comforts her and they go to the city which was formerly Belge’s city but is now the centre of Geroneo’s power. Arthur challenges the seneshcall whom Geroneo has set to guard a castle and they battle. Arthur kills the seneshcall and then kill one of three knights who issue from the castle. The other two flee, but Arthur catches and kills them. Arthur enters the castle but everyone has fled. He returns to Belge and she honours him.
Book V Canto xi. Geryoneo hears of Arthur’s defeat over his seneshcall and comes with his troops to the castle Arthur is resting in. Arthur immediately comes down and battles Geryoneo but is disadvantaged by the fact that Geryoneo has three bodies and six arms. Arthur manages to cut off a few of his arms and then manages to strike through all three of the enraged Geryoneo’s bodies. Belge sees Arthur’s victory, runs down to thank him, and entreats him to complete his victory by destroying the beast which resides under an idol which Geryoneo set up in a church. Arthur eagerly agrees, goes to the church, and kills the beast (which is Roman Catholicism). He then smashes the idol and after resting Belge for a while leaves to fulfill his original quest. Meanwhile, Arthegall has also left the Castle of Mercilla and he chances upon Sergis, the knight who brought Irene to Gloriana’s court to seek aid. Arthegall asks Sergis what state Irene is in and Sergis replies that she is captured by Grantorto because she went to meet Arthegall at the appointed place and time but he did not show up (he was prevented because he was then enslaved to Radigund). Grantorto intends to kill Irene in ten days unless a knight appears to defend her. They set out to find Grantorto but first they come upon a knight who is being attacked by a rout of commoners while a lady stands wretchedly by. They watch as the attacked knight throws away his shield and then they come to his aid. They disperse the rout and ask the knight who hie is. He says he is Burbon (king of France) and that the lady if Flourdelis (France) who was his beloved till Grantorto enticed her away. Grantorto had set these commoners on Burbon to kidnap Flourdelis from him. Arthegall asks Burbon why he abandoned his shield (of Protestant faith) and Burbon replies that he did it to placate his enemies and that he can retrieve it any time. Arthegall rebukes him for such a faithless act and then rebukes the lady, Flourdelis, when she rejects Burbon’s offer of love. she is abashed and silently allows Burbon to set her on his horse and bear her away. Talus continues to scatter the rout till Arthegall call him and they continue their search for Grantorto.
Book V Canto xii. The speaker cites Burbon, Geryoneo, and Grantorto as examples of ambitious minds who commit outrage to satisfy their personal desires to gain power. Arthegall travels to the coast to take a ship to Irene’s commonwealth where he will battle Grantorto. They arrive and are met by hosts of men who forbid them to land. Talus wades through the water to shore and disperses them with his flail. Grantorto hears of Arthegall’s arrival and comes with troops to battle him. Talus again attacks them till Arthegall orders him to cease and calls for a truce. He sends a messenger who tells Grantorto that Arthegall wants to avoid a slaughter by challenging Grantorto to single fight. Grantorto gladly agrees and the next morning is chosen as the time. Morning comes and the captive Irene is woeful till she sees Arthegall for this was to have been the day of her execution. Arthegall and the giant-like Grantorto battle. Grantorto’s axe becomes wedged in Arthegall’s shield so Arthegall casts it away and then manages to kill Grantorto. The people rejoice that Grantorto is dead, and Arthegall and Talus begin (like Earl Grey) to reform the commonwealth but they are called back to Faery Court before they can complete the reformation. As they return they meet with Envy and Detraction and the Blatant Beast who abuse them verbally and Envy’s serpent stings Arthegall. Talus offers to chastize them but Arthegall restrains him and rides on to Faery Court, ignoring their taunts and slanders.
Book VI Proem. The speaker tells us that faery land is so pleasant that it makes him forget the difficulties involved in writing the poem, or rather in being infused with it. He entreats the muses to reveal to him the sacred source of virtue and asserts that the fairest virtue is courtesy. He first says that the present age has only feigned courtesy in comparison with antiquity, but then praises Elizabeth and her court for being a pattern of courtesy.
Book VI Canto i. Amongst all the knights and ladies of Faery court none is so courteous as Calidore. Calidore is beginning a quest when he chances upon Arthegall returning to Faery court after having defeated Grantorto. Arthegall tells Calidore of his completed quest and Calidore tells Arthegall that his quest is to subdue the Blatant Beast. Arthegall tells Calidore he encountered such a beast on Irene’s island. Calidore thanks him for the tip and they part. Calidore has not travelled long when he discovers a squire bound to a tree. He releases him and the squire tells him that nearby a lady named Briana has a castle; she has a Seneshcall who shaves the beards of knights and heads of ladies who pass by because the knight she loves, Crudor, has told her he will not love her till she has made him a mantle lined with human hair. That Seneshcall bound the squire and is now chasing the squire’s lady. They hear a shriek and see the seneshcall dragging the lady. Calidore pursues the seneshcall, Maleffort, and finally kills him just inside the castle gate. He comes to Briana, who verbally abuses him, but remains patient. She sends a dwarf to get Crudor to battle Calidor. The dwarf returns the next morning with Crudor’s helmet as a pledge that he will arrive soon. He arrives and Calidore battles him. They knock each other off their horses, but Crudor is made unconscious. Calidore waits till he revives before they battle on foot. Calidore gets the upper hand and Crudor begs for his life. Calidore gives it him on condition that he reform and marry Briana. He agrees. Briana comes down and Calidore explains the agreement to her. She is overjoyed and reforms. She offers her castle to Calidore but he gives it to the squire and lady he rescued as recompense for their troubles. Calidore rests at the castle then returns to his quest.
Book VI Canto ii. The speaker considers how both nature and nurture contribute to one being courteous; Calidore has both. Calidore is travelling along and sees a young man on foot battling an armed knight on horse. Beside them is a disarrayed lady. Calidore approaches to see if he can settle the conflict but before he arrives the youth has slain the knight. He asks the youth how it has come about that he has broken the law of arms by fighting with a higher rank. The youth explains he waw the knight riding on horse, forcing his lady to walk behind and to submit to his proddings with his spear. The youth objected to the knight and when the knight struck him with his spear the youth threw a dart at him and killed him. Calidore asks the disarrayed lady if she can confirm this explanation and she does. Satisfied, Calidore praises the youth and asks the lady how she came to be abused by the knight. She tells him how she and her now dead knight were travelling together on horse back when they chanced upon a disarmed knight and his lady joying in a covert. The horsed knight lusted after the lady in the covert, pushed his own lady off the horse, and severely wounded the disarmed knight. In the meantime, the lady he lusted after had hid among the trees and the lusty knight could not find her. Enraged, he forced his own lady to walk beside the horse. They then encountered the youth. Calidore further praises the youth, and he asks him his history. The youth tells him he is the son of a king forced to flee because his father died and a wicked uncle seized the throne. He has spent seven years in the forest. The youth, named Tristram, entreats Calidore to make him a squire; he does, and asks Tristram to take the disarrayed lady to her destination. They part, and Calidore comes upon the wounded knight and lady in the covert. He realizes who they are, tells the lady the wicked knight is dead, and together they carry the wounded knight to a castle for aid.
Book VI Canto iii. Calidore and the lady, Priscilla, carry Aladine to a castle which happens to be owned by Aladine’s father. The father is grateful, and Calidore tries to cheer them both. That night Priscilla stays awake beside Aladine, worried both about his wounds and about her reputation. The next morning Aladine awakes much better and he asks Calidore, when he come to visit him, if he will attend Priscilla back to her father’s castle. Calidore agrees and saves Priscilla’s reputation aby telling her father he saved her from the knight the youth killed – as proof he has brought the wicked knight’s head. The father is grateful to Calidore who continues on after a short stay. Calidore accidentally interrupts a knight and lady as they joy in a covert; Calidore apologizes, the other knight – Calepine – forgives him, and they talk of adventures. Meanwhile the lady wanders into the forest to amuse herself and is seized aby the Blatant Beast. Calidore and Calepine hear her shrieks and pursue her. The Beast throws her down, Calepine stops to aid her and Calidore continues to pursue the beast. Calepine walks with his wounded lady, Serena, on his horse as he looks for aid. He comes to a river too deep for him to walk across safely and entreats a nearby knight for help. The knight, Turpine, scorns him and the enraged Calepine manages to cross the river by wading while holding Serena on the Horse. He challenges Turpine to battle, but he ignores him and rides off. They come to a castle and plead to be given shelter but the porter refuses. Calepine asks him to ask his lord, who turns out to be Turpine, but Turpine refuses. Calepine and Serena are forced to sleep under a tree and the next morning start off to seek aid. They are approached by a knight, Turpine again, who proceeds to attack the horseless Calepine. Calepine receives a wound, and Turpine continues to assail him.
Book VI Canto iv. Turpine continues to attack Calepine but is spied by a salvage man who, for the first time in his life, is moved to pity. He attacks Turpine and eventually forces him to a shameful retreat. He returns to Calepine and Serena, shows them he means to help them, and takes them to his habitat, a mossy glade. He cures Calepine’s wounds with herbs, but cannot cure Serena’s bite from the Blatant Beast. One day Calepine is out for some air when he sees a bear running away with a crying child in its mouth. Calepine is disarmed so he can chase the bear quickly on foot. He catches up with it, forces it to put the infant down, and thrusts a stone into its mouth; he then chokes it to death. he picks up the unharmed child, but realizes he is lost. After much wandering he finds his way out of the forest and hears a woman lamenting. The woman, Matilde, explains that she and her husband, Bruin, are without children and need one so that when they die their lands will not fall into the hands of an evil giant. She also tells Calepine that is has been said of Bruin that he should “be gotten, not begotten” of a son. Calepine suggests that she take the child he has saved and raise it as her own. She does, and convinces Bruin the child is his own. Calepine is glad to have placed the child in safe hands, but is distraught because he still does not know the whereabouts of Serena. He vows he will never sleep in a bed till he finds her or learns she is safe.
Book VI Canto v. The speaker comments on how gentle blood always reveals itself in courteous manners, and says that the salvage man is born of noble blood and by some bad chance came to the savage plight he is in. The salvage man realizes Calepine is missing and, fearing ill-chance, goes to look for him. He cannot find him and returns to convey this news to Serena. Serena is distraught when she understands Calepine has been lost and laments. Finally she decides to leave the forest and the salvage man faithfully accompanies her wearing the armour which Calepine left behind but without Calepine’s sword which Calepine hid. They are spied aby Arthur and Timias who approach them. The speaker then tells us how Arthur and Timias were reunited: one day recently Timias, restored to himself because Belphoebe loves him, was out hunting when he saw the Blatant Beast who had been put there by three enemies of Timias: Despetto, Defetto, and Decetto. Timias begins to pursue the Blatant Beast (which bites him) and chases it a long time till Timias is exhausted. Then, the three enemies ambush the exhausted Timias and though he fights valiantly he begins to succumb; suddenly, though, Arthur rides forth, the three enemies flee, and Arthur and Timias embrace. They ride together till they happened upon Serena and the Salvage Man. Timias and the Salvage man almost begin to fight because Timias assumes the Salvage man has killed the knight whose arms he has. Serena begs Arthur to prevent the battle, explains her plight, and begs them to forgive the Salvage Man. Reconciled, they ride to a good Hermit’s hut and rest the night there, though Timias and Serena are grieved by their wounds from the Blatant Beast. The next morning Arthur is required to leave because of his affairs and takes with him the Salvage Man, who is now devoted to Arthur. Timias and Serena remain with the hermit because of their wounds from the Blatant Beast.
Book VI Canto vi. Timias and Serena continue to suffer from the wound of the Blatant Beast until the hermit, a former knight who has withdrawn from society, counsels them that they must heal themselves by removing the cause of the wound – that is, by restraining their wills and subduing desire. They follow his advice, are soon healed, and leave the hermit. They encounter a maiden named Mirabella and a fool, but the speaker will not tell us more of them until he describes Arthur’s encounter with Turpine. Arthur approaches Turpine’s castle (he has been told of Turpine by Serena)and by chance the gate is open. He enters, pretends to the groom that he needs aid, and the groom treats him rudely and lays hold on him. The Salvage Man enters just at this moment and seizes and tears up the groom. When the other people of the castle are alerted by this noise they come running and attack Arthur and the Salvage Man, but are rebuffed and slaughtered by them. Turpine sees this, and – enraged – attacks Arthur with forty men. Arthur separates himself from the forty attackers and pursues Turpine Alone. Turpine flees, and Arthur pursues him to Blandina’s chamber where he knocks him senseless. Arthur is about to kill him but Blandina begs for her husband’s life. Arthur grants it, rebukes Turpine for his discourtesy, his cowardice, and his nasty custom of disarming and disrobing knights and ladies who pass his castle. Arthur then realizes he has forgotten the Salvage Man among the forty knights and fears he might be killed. He goes down and finds the Salvage Man unharmed and surrounded by many he has killed. Arthur stops him, they return to the chamber, and the Salvage Man nearly kills Turpine whom he recognizes as the man who harmed Calepine. Arthur and the Salvage Man rest in the castle all night and Blandina pacifies Arthur with false courtesy and feigned apologies. Meanwhile, Turpine plots revenge against Arthur. The next morning Arthur leaves.
Book VI Canto vii. Turpine seeks revenge against Arthur and pursues him when he leaves the castle. He chances upon two naive young knights and tells them that Arthur has abused him and offers to reward them if they attack Arthur. They eagerly agree and, catching up with Arthur, charge him. Arthur kills one and unhorses the other who begs his life and tells Arthur of Turpine’s plot against his life. Arthur makes the knight promise to bring Turpine to him; the knight returns to Turpine and tells him that Arthur killed his fellow and he killed Arthur. Turpine follows him to view Arthur’s body. Arthur has disarmed and is sleeping under a tree while the Salvage Man roams in the forest. Turpine realizes that Arthur is not dead and quietly tries to convince the knight to kill him now. The knight refuses. The Salvage Man returns, brandishes a tree and this sound wakes Arthur who seizes Turpine and punishes him by hanging him by the heels. The speaker then returns to the story of Mirabella, the woman briefly introduced in the previous canto. Mirabella was once a beautiful woman who proudly scorned all her suitors and drove some to melancholic death. Cupid noticed this unusual fatality rate among his servants and ordered Mirabella arrested. As punishment, Cupid ordered that she travel until she saved as many lovers as she had undone. She undid twenty-two and thus far, after two years of travelling, she has saved only two: a carle named Disdain and a fool named Scorne who travel with her and treat he wretchedly. When Timias and Serena encounter them Timias strikes the giant-like Disdain but then falls victim to him. Disdain binds him and leads him along. When Serena sees Timias’ defeat she flees in fear.
Book VI Canto viii. The speaker advises women not to be proud and scornful lest they suffer Mirabella’s fate. Mirabella, the bound Timias, Scorn, and Disdain, continue to travel. Mirabell begins to pity Timias because he is enslaved because of her. Arthur and Enias (Enias is the now worthy knight who previously attacked Arthur on Turpine’s urging) spy this motley group. Enias asks Arthur to allow him the privilege of battling the giant-like Disdain. Arthur agrees, but Enias is conquered by Disdain. Arthur breaks Disdain’s leg, causing him to fall, and is about to kill him when Mirabella entreats him to spare him as her life if bound up with Disdain’s. Arthur spares Disdain, asks Mirabella her history, and Mirabella explains why she is being punished. She also explains that the leaky bottle she carries is for her tears of contrition, and the torn bag she has is for her repentance; she must fill them both. Arthur frees Timias, whom he has not recognized till now, and the Salvage Man attacks the fool Scorn who is oppressing Enias, until Arthur commands him to cease. Arthur asks Mirabella if she wishes to be freed from Disdain and Scorn but she gratefully refuses as it is her assigned punishment. Then Arthur, Timias, Enias, and the Salvage Man travel together till duty calls Arthur away. The speaker now tells what happened to Serena when she fled after Timias was conquered by Disdain: in a wild desert she is seized by a nation of salvage men who strip her and prepare to sacrifice her to their god on an altar before they eat her. Just as the salvage men begin to play their bagpipes and just as the priest raises his knife above Serena, Calepine – who was sleeping nearby – awakes because of the noise, dashes to Serena, kills the priest, and saves her. Calepine tries to cheer Serena, whom he does not recognize due to darkness, but she does not speak as she is so ashamed of her plight and nakedness. The next morning, though, she makes known to him that she is Serena.
Book VI Canto ix. The speaker returns to the story of Calidore, conscious that he has neglected him for quite a time. While the speaker related other events Calidore had many adventures as he pursued the Blatant Beast and has now travelled from Court to city, to town, to country, to field. He chanced upon some shepherds as they played in a field and he ask them if they have seen the Blatant Beast; they have not, but offer him water and food which he accepts. He then spies Pastorella whom all the shepherds are adoring and falls in love with her. Coridon loves Pastorella most of all, but she loves none of the Shepherds. Pastorella, we learn, is thought to be the daughter of Melibee, a shepherd, but actually he found her as an infant. Melibee asks Calidore back to his home which Calidore gladly accepts because he will be close to Pastorella. Melibee tells Calidore that he spent ten years at court where he saw its folly and now praises the simplicity of shepherds’ life. Calidore is entranced with his description and with Pastorella’s beauty and asks to stay and rest for a while. He offers money to Melibee as remuneration for his stay but Melibee rejects the money and tells him to stay if he wants. Calidore begins to woo Pastorella as a knight with courtly manners but Pastorella is not interested. Calidore than decides to assume the identity of a shepherd and has better success with Pastorella. This angers Coridon. One day the shepherds are merry-making. The shepherds honour Calidore because he is best liked by Pastorella, but Calidore transfers all the tokens to Coridon. This seems to please Coridon. Calidore also gives the oaken laurel to Coridon after Calidore defeats him in a wrestling match. These courteous actions endear Calidore to the shepherds. Strange fortunes, however, the speaker hints, are ahead for Calidore.
Book VI Canto x. The speaker implicitly criticizes Calidore for having neglected his pursuit of the Blatant Beast; but, he says, who can blame him considering Pastorella’s charm? One day Calidore is out ranging the field when he came to a hill place in an open plain. The hill is encompassed with trees which bud summer and winter. The place is called Acidale and Venus reportedly resorts to it. Here Calidore spies a troop of dancing, naked women. They are dancing around three graces who in turn are circle about a single woman. Calidore secretly views them for a while and then resolves to find out who they are. When he approaches, though, they all disappear except the piper, Colin Clout, who laments that Calidore interrupted them and caused them to vanish. Calidore apologizes, perhaps somewhat lamely, and asks Colin who the women were. Colin tells him they were all Venus’ graces, and the three chief graces were those circled in the middle. The graces give all the gifts of civility to man. The woman surrounded by the three chief graces was a country lass so worthy that she has been made another grace. Calidore and Colin continue to talk until Calidore returns to Pastorella. Calidore continues to woo Pastorella and anger Coridon. One day all three are out gathering strawberries when a tiger charges Pastorella. Coridon flees, but Calidore kills it with a shepherd’s hook. After this Pastorella gives her love to Calidore, and rejects the cowardly Coridon. One day Calidore returns from hunting and discovers that a lawless people called the Brigants have attacked and made captive the shepherds. Among those abducted are Pastorella and Coridon. The Brigants dwell on an Island and can only be approached by hidden caves. The Brigants intend to sell the shepherds as slaves. While in their captivity, Pastorella laments and wastes away.
Book VI Canto xi. Pastorella is seen by the captain of the Brigants and he falls in love with her. He tries to move her to love him with words, gifts, and threats but she refuses. Eventually, though, she sees that he will not desist and shows him some favour. When he becomes more amorous, though, she avoids him by feigning sickness. Some merchants chance to arrive who want to buy the shepherds; the Brigants agree, but conflict arises when they want to buy the wretched but still beautiful Pastorella and the captain refuses. They fall to battling, the captain against his own men who want to sell Pastorella, and they against the merchants. They kill all the shepherds but Coridon escapes and Pastorella is only wounded in the arm. The battle ends and when the Brigants realize Pastorella is still alive the put her into the charge of a cruel man who withholds her food and medical attention. Calidore returns to the shepherds’ dwelling and finds them all gone with signs of spoil. He rages, then meets Coridon who has just returned. Coridon tells him that only he escaped and the he thinks Pastorella is dead. Calidore rages again, threatens death to himself, then calms down and gets Coridon to lead him to the Brigants. There, they manage to get themselves hired as shepherds for their stolen sheep. That night Calidore breaks into the Brigant’s cave and kills Pastorella’s guard. He finds her alive and they rejoice. He then battles the other Brigants till he kills many of them and forces the rest to flee. He comforts Pastorella, gives the sheep and stolen goods to Coridon, and takes Pastorella with him.
Book VI Canto xii. The speaker defends his, and Calidore’s, meandering narrative by saying that all the delays which kept him from the Blatant Beast served to illustrate Calidore’s courtesy to all. Calidore intends to resume his quest against the Blatant Beast and accordingly takes Pastorella to a nearby castle where Bellamoure and Claribell live. The speaker tells us how many years ago Bellamoure and Claribell fell in love and were secretly married. When Claribell’s father discovered this he was enraged because he wanted Claribell to marry the Prince of Picteland. He threw them into separate prisons, but Bellamoure nonetheless snuck over occasionally and they conceived a child. When the child was born, Claribell, fearing her father’s further wrath, had her handmaid take the child elsewhere. The handmaid took the child to a field, left it after noting a particular birthmark on its breast, and it was found and raised by a shepherd. Eventually Bellamoure and Claribell were freed and united after her father died. Calidore leaves the castle to find the Blatant Beast as he knows he has been remiss. Claribell’s handmaid care for Pastorella and one day she happens to see that Pastorella has a birthmark on her breast. She runs to Claribell, tells her that Pastorella is her lost daughter, and Claribell and Bellamoure are reunited with their child. Calidore searches for the Blatant Beast and finds it has ransacked monasteries and churches. He catches up with the beast, battles it, subdues it by pressing it under his shield, and muzzles it. He then leads it through faery land and people are amazed by it. The Blatant Beast remained subdued till long after when it escaped and no one has or can recapture it. It now ranges through the world and afflicts both the innocent and guilty, including poets. The speaker knows his own verse may also suffer from it, and entreats his verse to strive to please.
Book VII “Cantos of Mutability” “Under the legend of Constancy” Canto vi. Mutability decides she deserves more rule and dominion than the mere earth. She climbs to the circle of the moon where she demands Cynthia to give up her throne. They struggle, the moon ceases to move and Mercury brings this to the attention of Jove who sends him to see what the trouble is. Mercury discovers the struggle and demands Mutability to cease. She refuses, Mercury returns to Jove, and Jove hold counsel with his court. As they do this, Cynthia bursts in upon them and boldly asserts that she should rightfully rule heaven. Jove boldly responds, is about to dash her to hell, but her beauty withholds him. He offers to let Mutability entreat for favour, but she demands that her case be heard by the highest God, Nature. Jove agrees. The speaker now “shifts” from epic to pastoral and tells the story of how Faunus bribed Molanna (a nymph of Cynthia/Diana) to tell him when Diana bathed naked. She tells him but he is so delighted by the sight that he laughs and Diana hears him. She punishes both Faunus and Molanna and then she leaves both the river which Molanna was nymph of and Arlo Hill.
Book VII Canto vii. All the Gods are gathered on Arlo Hill around Nature who is on a higher hill and whose face is veiled. Mutability speaks and first argues that all the Earth is subject to her because its elements – earth, air, fire, water – are in continual change. She then has Nature call forth the seasons, the months, Day and Night, the Hours, and Life and Death who file past in procession. Jove then argues that although the earth is changed by time, the gods control time itself. Mutability then argues that the gods themselves are subject to mutability and rests her case. Nature considers, then decides that although all things change, they eventually change into their perfect and immutable state from which they began. All things, therefore, rule over Mutability, not she over them. Nature advises Mutability to cease to aspire.
Book VII Canto viii “canto unperfite”. The speaker agrees with Nature’s decision that mutability was not fit to rule heaven, but believes she does rule earth. He therefore fervently desires the time Nature spoke of when all things shall changeless be. He wants the vision to become real.