Study Guide

The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene Summary

Book 1

Newly knighted and ready to prove his stuff, Redcrosse, the hero of this book, is embarking on his first adventure: to help a princess named Una get rid of a pesky dragon that is totally bothering her parents and kingdom. So, she, Redcrosse, and her dwarf-assistant all head out to her home.

But before they get very far, they get lost in a forest and wander into the cave of a monster named Error who Redcrosse—just barely—defeats. After this riveting beginning, they soon come across a man they think is an old hermit, but turns out to actually be a powerful and sneaky magician named Archimago.

Not suspecting his malicious motives, the group goes back to his house with him for some much needed R & R. But sadly, that's the last thing they get… since Archimago uses his magic to construct a false version of Una, one who makes some uncomfortable sexual advances toward Redcrosse that provoke him to pack up and leave without her.

The real Una, meanwhile, wakes up stunned and hurt to find her knight Redcrosse gone.

As Redcrosse makes his way, he comes upon a knight named Sans Foy with a lady. Redcrosse kills Sans Foy and takes up with the lady, not realizing she's a crafty witch named Duessa. The two of them stop by some trees for a rest, but quickly discover that these trees are actually people—most notably a guy named Fraudubio—who have been transformed by a curse performed by that same Duessa (but no one except Duessa makes this connection).

Meanwhile, poor Una is wandering alone looking for Redcrosse and she looks so pure and sad that a lion joins up with her to be her protector. Aww. She and the lion spend an uncomfortable evening in the house of two wicked women and a thief (who the lion kills) and then run into Archimago disguised as Redcrosse.

However, before much happens, they are interrupted by Sans Loy—the brother of Sans Foy—who's seeking vengeance for the death of his brother. Archimago manages to elude him, but he snatches Una away.

Back to Redcrosse. He and Duessa arrive at a luxurious spot called the House of Pride and meet its mistress, Lucifera, who puts on a pretty disturbing performance involving the Seven Deadly Sins. Lucifera then puts on a tournament, and Redcrosse fights Sans Joy (you guessed it, the other brother of Sans Foy) and almost kills him until Duessa protects him (it turns out they have a bit of thing going on the side) by taking him to be healed in the house of Night. When she returns, she finds Redcrosse has left.

Una, in the meantime, is rescued from the clutches of Sans Loy by some friendly satyrs and soon comes across the knight Satyrane who helps Una look for Redcrosse. They find Archimago, who lies and tells them that Redcrosse is dead, which devastates Una. As she grieves, a very unhappy Sans Loy catches up with them and fights with Satyrane.

Duessa, who's been looking all over for Redcrosse, finally finds him and the two share a very intimate moment. This moment is followed by the attack of the giant Orgoglio, who defeats Redcrosse because Redcrosse is depleted from his intimate encounter. Orgoglio throws Redcrosse into prison and starts dating Duessa.

Now Una hears that Redcrosse isn't dead but thrown into prison and very fortunately runs into Arthur, who agrees to help her rescue him. They head off to the castle of Orgoglio where Arthur fights him, wins, and frees Redcrosse (who's feeling pretty bummed). Arthur then captures Duessa and reveals her for who she really is. Arthur then tells Redcrosse and Una a little bit about himself and his love for Gloriana, and then heads off on his own way.

Redcrosse hasn't recovered from his ordeal yet and is lead by another despairing knight, Trevison, to the cave of Despair where Redcrosse is almost talked into committing suicide. But Una saves him in the nick of time. Realizing that Redcrosse needs some serious help, Una takes him to the House of Holiness, where Redcrosse recovers and learns about true religious belief.

Rejuvenated, Redcrosse and Una finally arrive at Una's kingdom and Redcrosse fights the dragon. The dragon almost kills Redcrosse twice, but each time Redcrosse manages to rally. Victorious, Redcrosse slays the dragon.

In celebration, Una and Redcrosse are engaged, but the festivities are interrupted by a message from Duessa claiming that she's already engaged to Redcrosse. Redcrosse explains that she tricked him and the messenger is revealed to be Archimago. Everyone is relieved to hear of Redcrosse's innocence, but Redcrosse soon must leave to fulfill his duty to the Faerie Queene. 

Other Books:

Heads up, Shmoopers: The Faerie Queen ain't brief. It's a big ol' doorstop of a read, and we feel like we'd be cheating you out of major plot points if we try to condense it down too much. So for the other books full of Faerie Queenerific goodness, we're going give you the basic-basics. Check out the Detailed Chapter Summaries for a more in-depth look.

Book 2

Book 2, the book of Temperance, follows the hero Guyon and his guide the Palmer on their quest to avenge the death of Amavia and Verdant by finding and destroying the Bower of Bliss and its creator, the witch Acrasia.

As per usual in Faerie Land, they get sidetracked. This time, it's by encounters with Braggadochio, Furor and Occaision, Phaedria, and the house of Mammon. But after a refreshing visit to the house of Alma, things get back on track and off they head to one infamous Bower.

Book 3

Book 3, on Chastity, features our favorite lady-knight Britomart on her quest to find her one true love, Arthegall. Disguised as a man along with her trusty nurse, Glauce, Britomart roams the land of Faerie knocking every knight she meets off their horse and finally agreeing to help Scudamore save his beloved Amoret, who is a prisoner in the house of Busirane.

Book 4

Probably the oddest book in the whole poem, the fourth book on Friendship doesn't really have a single protagonist. We spend a little bit of time with the friends Triamond and Cambell, and their wives Canacee and Cambina, but we also spend a good deal of time with Britomart and Arthegall, both the real and the False Florimell, and the reculsive Marinell. This book is definitely something of a hodge-podge.

Book 5

Returning to the more conventional structure of centering a book around a single knight, Book 5 features the exploits of Arthegall, knight of justice, and his rather alarming robot sidekick, Talus. Yeah, you read that right. They wander the land of Faerie enacting justice and punishment until Arthegall is embarrassingly captured by the queen of the Amazons, Radigund, and freed by his love, Britomart. Arthegall does finally succeed at the end of the book in killing the giant Grantorto, although he ends the book being chased by a new threat, the Blatant Beast.

Book 6

Picking up right where Book 5 left off, Book 6 follows Calidore, a knight of courtesy, on his quest to stop the Blatant Beast. He too gets sidetracked along the way, making friends with Calepine and Serena—who we spend a lot of time with—and then taking some time out with the shepherds to live a pastoral existence. After winning the hand of Pastorella, he finally completes his quest and captures the Blatant Beast.

  • Book 1, Proem

    • Book 1 has the lengthy title "On Holiness, The first Booke of the Faerie Queene, contayning The Legend of the Knight of the Red Crosse, or Holinesse".
    • Reader, meet Spenser, who introduces himself as a poet by describing his own authorial journey. Before, he was writing all about shepherds—i.e. pastorals—but now he's moving up and onto bigger things.
    • Brain bite! Pastoral? Just think pastures. Pastoral is a literary mode or genre that involves shepherds and shepherdesses hanging around singing about love and (sometimes) taking care of sheep. It was very popular during the Renaissance, and Spenser wrote a very famous series of Pastoral poems called The Shepherds Calendar.
    • Now what's Spenser writing about? Knights and battles and love.
    • Spenser's a little nervous about beginning such a major task—he's not sure he's up for it—but knights deserve to be sung about, so he's going to try.
    • Spenser calls upon a "holy virgin"—possibly the Classical muse Clio—to help him out with this big job. He asks her to reveal to him some "antique scrolls" which contain some nifty tales about knights and King Arthur.
    • Brain bite! King Arthur. Kind of a big deal. Does Sword in the Stone ring any bells? He's a legendary king of England who is associated with all that Medieval jazz like knights-in-shinning-armor, damsels-in-distress, The Round Table, jousts, chivalry, etc. We think you get the idea, but if you're looking for more, Sir Thomas Malory made him famous about 100 years before Spenser.
    • Spenser is still nervous, and asks the holy virgin to give him some poetic and moral support too.
    • He then asks Cupid, the son of Venus, to behave himself, and mentions that Cupid once made Arthur fall in love, although he doesn't explain this any further.
    • He needs Cupid to behave because he needs his help too, along with his mother's, to bring the god Mars to him, since Mars can get kind of violent and worked up—he is the god of war after all—but finds love a fun post-battle activity.
    • He finally then asks for the help and blessing of another bright "goddess", Queen Elizabeth I, to make Spenser up the task of writing a glorious poem about her and the ancestors of her throne.
    • Brain bite! Elizabeth I was one of the most famous and important monarchs to ever rule over England. She is often called "the great" and, just like we're seeing in this poem, inspired a huge number of artists and poets to produce some of England's greatest works of art.
  • Book 1, Canto 1

    • We meet a young and gentle knight riding through a plain. He's wearing armor that has clearly seen action, but he must have just acquired the armor since he himself is inexperienced.
    • He seems like a good-humored kind of guy, definitely ready for some fighting.
    • On the breastplate of his armor, and on his shield, a bloody cross is painted, out of respect and adoration for Jesus and his crucifixion. (Hint: this also tells us this guy is probably the Mr. Redcrosse Knight named in the title.)
    • Redcrosse is a very faithful and loyal knight, devoted to Jesus Christ, but he also seems a bit sad.
    • We learn that he's about to begin an exciting adventure given to him by Queen Gloriana, the queen of Faerie land, but also a reference to Elizabeth I.
    • He really, really wants to impress the queen and keeps hoping something exciting will happen so that he can prove his worth.
    • The quest he's been sent on is to slay a fearsome dragon.
    • Riding next to him, on a white donkey, is a lovely lady, also very white but whose face is hidden under a black veil. She looks deeply sad, and by her side walks a milk-white lamb.
    • The lady is just as virtuous as the lamb, and she's from a formerly great and powerful royal family.
    • But, sadly, that family has been ruined by the terror of one scary dragon, and it's to help her and her family out that Redcrosse has taken up this quest.
    • Pulling up the rear is a dwarf, who's going kind of slowly, which makes sense since the poor guy is in charge of carrying all her stuff.
    • As they walk, it gets very cloudy and suddenly breaks into a terrible storm.
    • The rain falls so severely that they all realize they need to find cover.
    • As luck would have it, a nice shady grove happens to be nearby. They think it might be a good place to rest since it's very, very dark and full of windy paths leading into the forest (hint: this does not actually sound like a good place to rest).
    • In they go, and happily they can hear some birds chirping, who must also be hiding from the storm. The birds certainly are happy about how many wonderful trees there are here: Pine; Cedar; Elm; Poplar; Oak, Laurel, Fir, Willow, Birch, Myrrh, Beech, Ash, Olive, Plantane, Holme, Maple (so, pretty much every tree ever).
    • They wander around this tree-filled area until the storm passes, but, surprise-surprise, they've gotten lost; there are just so many different ways to go, they begin to doubt themselves and become completely confused.
    • Finally, they just choose the one that looks most used and figure that's a good sign.
    • Soon, they get to a cave in the thickest part of the forest and Redcrosse dismounts to investigate.
    • The lady warns him to be careful, reminding them that they have no idea where they are and that danger can lurk anywhere, sometimes emerging without any prior notice. Good warning.
    • Redcrosse says it would be cowardly not to investigate, and besides, he's a good person, and good people prevail even through darkness.
    • Not really, says the lady. In fact, she actually now knows where they are (terrible timing!) and it's such a bad place she would rather have Redcrosse be a bit cowardly than face it.
    • But it's too late! She goes on to explain that they have arrived in "Errours den" and that Errour is a horrible monster. The dwarf recommends they leave immediately. We agree.
    • But Redcrosse doesn't listen and in he goes into the cave and sees the monster: half-serpent, half-woman.
    • Her tail is huge, and full of knots and stingers, and takes up most of the cave. She has thousands of little monster babies, also weirdly shaped, who were feeding off her but after seeing Redcrosse, jump into her mouth.
    • Weird.
    • Errour is not happy to see Redcrosse, and rushes toward him but is momentarily put off by the shine of his armor, since she hates light.
    • Redcrosse takes advantage of this and attacks her, forcing her not to leave, and strikes her shoulder.
    • She's momentarily dazed by the blow, but then becomes even angrier, rushes on top of Redcrosse and wraps him up with her tail.
    • The lady, seeing that things are not going well, urges Redcrosse to strangle the monster before the monster strangles him.
    • Redcrosse manages to free one of his arms and grabs the monster by the throat, which loosens her hold on him, but also causes her to vomit out disgusting poison, that not only smells horrible but is also filled with books, papers, frogs, and toads.
    • This vomit is just like when the Nile River in Egypt inundates, and out of its slush a bunch of weird creatures are born.
    • Brain bite! The Nile is the major river in Egypt and every year it inundates, or overflows, onto its banks providing much-needed irrigation for the soil. While there is certainly diverse wildlife near the Nile, there aren't any strange monsters.
    • The smell of the poisonous vomit is so bad that Redcrosse loses his strength. Seeing this, the monster then unleashes all her little offspring on him. They're annoying, but don't really seem able to hurt him.
    • Redcrosse feels just like a shepherd, who, when the sun sets, gets attacked by gnats. They don't hurt, but they sure are annoying and hard to get rid of.
    • Redcrosse is now really angry, and afraid not so much of dying but of the shame of not winning, so he vows to win and rushes at her with god-like strength... and cuts off her head.
    • Her children freak out when she dies and run over and start drinking her blood, "making her death their life" (I.i.25).
    • Redcrosse is pretty grossed out by this and watches as each little monster, after drinking up his mother, actually bursts apart and dies.
    • Redcrosse thinks they deserve their death and is happy that these gross little enemies killed themselves without any help from him.
    • The lady sees Redcrosse's victory and congratulates him, saying that he has shown himself to be worthy of armor and that he has won a great victory—she hopes many other great victories are in his future.
    • They then find their way out of the forest by sticking to one path and following it to the end, and continue on their journey looking for adventures.
    • After a long time, they come across an old man with bare feet, a long grey beard, and a book hanging from his belt.
    • He seems extremely sad, perhaps repenting for something he's done.
    • Redcrosse greets him and asks if he knows any super cool adventures in the area that he could begin.
    • The old man, pretty reasonably, asks Redcrosse why in the world an old hermit (who doesn't know anything about the world but just sits and repents) would know something like that.
    • However, he can tell them all about an evil man who has done terrible things to the country they're in. Redcrosse responds that he would love to hear about someone like that, since that's the kind of person who knights just live to kill.
    • The old man responds that this evil person lives in a far away wilderness that no living soul goes to.
    • The lady interjects and reminds Redcrosse that he's pretty worn out from his last adventure and that he might want to rest that night before embarking on another fight.
    • The old man chimes in and agrees with the lady, and Redcrosse is convinced. They all spend the night with the old man.
    • The old man lives in a hermitage (a secluded holy place), far away from anyone else, with an adjoining chapel where he frequently prays.
    • Even though the old man's house isn't the most happening spot, they all enjoy resting and hearing the stories the old man tells.
    • Night falls and they all sleep very heavily… maybe too heavily. The old man turns out to be a magician and casts spells on them to give them nightmares. Bummer.
    • He casts spells that call up the wife of the god of the dead, other terrible magicians, and evil spirits from the underworld, one of whom he sends off to carry a message, another to stay with him and help with his evil mischief.
    • The messenger spirit heads straight for Morpheus, god of sleep, who lives deep in the earth.
    • Even though the gates to Morpheus's house are locked, the spirit easily goes in and finds Morpheus. But he's fast asleep, lulled by soft noises from his cave, completely oblivious to the spirit's presence.
    • The spirit tries everything to wake him up, finally mentioning the dreaded name of Hecate, a fearful witch, which at once rouses the sleeping Morpheus.
    • The spirit explains that he has been sent by a magician named Archimago (the old man) and that Archimago wants Morpheus to give Redcrosse, the lady, and the dwarf false dreams.
    • Morpheus agrees and finds a strange dream to give the spirit. The spirit then takes the dream back with him to Archimago.
    • Meanwhile, Archimago has been busy. He's turned the second spirit into a woman who looks exactly like the lady, who we only now find out is named Una.
    • When the spirit returns with the dream, Archimago sends it to Redcrosse and teaches the second spirit to imitate Una perfectly.
    • Redcrosse ends up being cursed with sexually charged dreams of Una, which, once he wakes up, seems to be true since someone who looks like Una (the second spirit in disguise) is lying seductively next to him.
    • At this, he gets very upset, since Redcrosse thought she was a pure and shy virgin… sadly, this was a typical expectation men had of women in Spenser's time.
    • He decides to test her, since she's behaving so out-of-character. She pleads with him, explaining that he can't blame her for loving him, since God has made her do it. And if she can't be with him, she'd rather die.
    • Surely, she says, he must understand that she has trusted herself to him and worries about him.
    • Redcrosse, for some reason, doesn't seem to quite get it, and asks her again why she's bothering him.
    • She bluntly explains (again) that she loves him and it's been keeping her awake all night long.
    • Redcrosse, who has never heard a lie before, is becoming a bit more convinced.
    • He apologizes that he's causes her pain and responds, somewhat noncommittally, that her love is very important to him and reminds her that he's promised to never leave her.
    • The spirit, defeated by Redcrosse's conciliatory response, leaves him alone for the time being.
    • Redcrosse, still uneasy about Una's behavior, finally falls again into a trouble, and sexualized, sleep. But soon his dreams leave him in peace, realizing they aren't working their evil magic.
  • Book 1: Canto 2

    • Once morning is approaching, the various evil spirits go back to Archimago and explain their failures. Archimago, angry, returns to his magic books.
    • He decides to make one of his other spirits look like a young knight, and has the spirit that looks like Una get in bed with him.
    • Archimago then wakes Redcrosse up and claims that Una is in a compromising situation with some young upstart knight.
    • Shocked and angered, Redcrosse follows the magician who shows him what he thinks is Una indeed sleeping with someone else.
    • Redcrosse is extremely jealous and would have killed the young "man" if the magician hadn't stopped him.
    • So, Redcrosse returns to bed, is unable to sleep, and finally, once morning comes, leaves with the dwarf immediately.
    • Soon after, the real Una wakes up and, astounded to find Redcrosse and her dwarf gone, waits until she realizes they must have gone, and tries to follow them on her donkey.
    • Unfortunately, she can only go very slowly (poor donkey!) and Archimago watches with delight as the companions end up separated from each other.
    • But evil Archimago is not satisfied with this, and plots further ways to harm Una… since, apparently, he hates her.
    • He decides he needs to disguise himself—since that's pretty easy for him being a magician and all—as Redcrosse.
    • He does such a good job that even though he's a cowardly magician, he looks just like the knight.
    • Meanwhile, the real Redcrosse, who we now learn is St. George, is simply wandering, trying not to think about Una or his own jealousy.
    • As he's wandering, he runs into a Saracen (someone Islamic) who is traveling with a beautiful and well-dressed woman in red.
    • She's flirting with her companion until she sees Redcrosse coming and asks her knight to challenge him as a sign of his affection.
    • When they see each other, they rush at one another with violence and are both amazed at the strength of the other, just like two rams in a violent fight.
    • The two continue to fight hand-to-hand, but still neither wins, and the Saracen curses Redcrosse's red cross, which the Saracen believes is protecting him.
    • He lunges at Redcrosse, cutting away some of his protective armor, which in turn makes Redcrosse so filled with virtuous anger that he kills the Saracen.
    • The lady in red takes off, but Redcrosse overtakes her and once she's caught, she begs him for mercy.
    • He assures her she has nothing to fear and asks to know who she is.
    • Crying, she tells him that she's the daughter of an Emperor and that she was engaged to a wonderful prince.
    • Unfortunately this prince died and she's been wandering ever since, full of sorrow.
    • She accidentally met the Saracen, who she says forced her to accompany him but that they never slept together. He's one of three no-good brothers: his name is Sans foy, the eldest, the youngest is named Sans joy, and the middle brother is named Sans loy.
    • Her name is Fidessa and she begs Redcrosse to take pity on her.
    • Redcrosse, who's been more busy checking out her beauty rather than listening to her story, assures her she is safe and promises to protect her, and so off they go together.
    • They had been traveling a while, and the afternoon was hot so when they come across a couple of shady—maybe too shady—trees they decide to stop for a rest.
    • They sit and chitchat. Redcrosse thinks she's so pretty he makes her a little crown of branches.
    • But all of a sudden, the tree starts speaking—go figure—and begs them not to hurt him.
    • He urges them to leave this place immediately, warning them that the same horrible thing that happened to him and his lady could happen to them.
    • Stunned for a moment, Redcrosse asks who this ghost is. The tree-person responds that he is in fact a man named Fradubio who has been turned into a tree by a witch.
    • Redcrosse urges Fradubio to tell his story, since telling a story can often be a source of comfort.
    • Fradubio explains the witch is named Duessa and that he met her while he was traveling with his own ladylove.
    • Duessa was traveling with another knight, who fought with Fradubio over whose lady was better, and once Fradubio killed him, Duessa came under his protection.
    • Fradubio was at a complete loss as to which of these two ladies was more beautiful and Duessa, determined to win, cast a spell over his lady, Fralissa, to make her look ugly.
    • Fradubio, being a real stand-up guy, immediately got rid of Fralissa.
    • Fradubio and Duessa spend some quality time together until one night, Fradubio sees Duessa not in-disguise but as she really is and realizes she's a horrible monster/old woman. He tries to run away, but Duessa catches him and turns him into a tree where Fralissa has been trapped all along.
    • Redcrosse wants to know how he can help poor Fradubio, but Fradubio says that the only way to lift the spell is for him to be "bathed in a living well" (running water) (I.ii.43).
    • As it turns out, Fidessa, Redcrosse's new companion, is actually Duessa in another disguise and she's heard Fradubio's whole story.
    • In order to distract Redcrosse, she pretends to be dead, so that he ends up trying to revive her. When she wakes up, they're both so relieved that they make out.
  • Book 1: Canto 3

    • For the first time, the narrator personally opens this canto, expressing his sadness for Una and what will befall her. Sniff!
    • We hear that Una, traveling alone, decides one night to rest by a forest and is almost attacked by a vicious lion, who suddenly, upon seeing Una's beautiful face, becomes all cute and tender and sweet. Awww.
    • This makes Una sad, though, since the lion reminds her of Redcrosse.
    • Finally, she resolves to continue on her search for Redcrosse and the faithful lion becomes her companion and protector.
    • After traveling for a long time, she comes across a girl carrying water, who, when she sees Una's lion, runs screaming to her house where she and her blind mother, a devout Catholic, try to lock themselves in.
    • But the lion tears down the door, allowing Una to rest in their house, where she tries to get some sleep, still missing her dear Redcrosse.
    • In the middle of the night, a criminal comes knocking on their door. We learn the criminal is the boyfriend of the daughter, named Abessa, of the blind woman, named Corceca.
    • Too afraid of the lion to open the door, the criminal becomes enraged and knocks the door down.
    • Not such a hot idea, since the lion attacks him, kills him, and tears him up into itty, bitty pieces. Ouch.
    • Una takes off, wandering, we're told, just like Odysseus, but is soon overtaken by Abessa and Corceca who are furious over the death of the criminal, named Kirkapine.
    • Brain bite! Odysseus? Wandering was pretty much his thing, since he was doomed not to reach his home, Ithaca, or his wife Penelope, for ten years after fighting in the Trojan War. Total bummer.
    • The two women unsuccessfully try to curse Una, and finally give up.
    • On their way home, Abessa and Corceca bump into none other than the evil Archimago, who has disguised himself as Redcrosse in order to find Una.
    • The two women tell Archimago all about how terrible Una is, and he sneakily follows her.
    • When Una suddenly sees what she thinks is the banner of Redcrosse, she's overjoyed and rides to him, asking him where he's been and telling him how happy she is to finally see him.
    • Archimago, pretending to be Redcrosse, says he would never leave her and that he had only left to go on a quest that is now over.
    • The two go on, chatting about what's been happening to them, when suddenly they see the fearsome Sansloy approaching, the brother of Sansfoy who the real Redcrosse killed.
    • Sansfoy, seeing who he thinks is Redcrosse, charges to attack and Archimago, even though he's terrified, prepares to fight back.
    • Sansloy easily knocks Archimago off his horse and is about to kill him until Una begs for mercy.
    • Sansloy doesn't care, and lifts Archimago's helmet to look him in the face before he kills him.
    • But instead of seeing Redcrosse, Sansloy is amazed to the see the old face of Archimago, whom Sansloy is friends with.
    • Confused, he apologizes to Archimago while Una, realizing with horror that she's been tricked, is caught by Sansloy.
    • Her trusty lion, seeing this, attacks Sansloy, but sadly, Sansloy is powerful and kills the poor lion.
    • Una, without anyone to protect her, is taken away by Sansloy, who ignores her many pleas for mercy, although her loyal donkey tries to follow.
  • Book 1: Canto 4

    • Meanwhile, the real Redcrosse hasn't been a very loyal knight himself, since he so easily gave up Una and has now taken up with the sorceress Duessa (who he thinks is a princess named Fidessa).
    • The two finally come upon an amazing building, packed with crowds of people. It seems to be beautifully built and magnificent, but when you look closely it's a little unstable and even cheap, hiding old material with new paint.
    • They come into the main entry hall, where they pass a useless doorman named Malvenu, who lets everyone in.
    • In this hall is another huge crowd of people waiting to see the lady who owns this incredible building.
    • All around the hall they see riches beyond anything they've seen before and sitting on an incredible throne is a beautiful woman, who shines so brightly she looks like the sun.
    • She always looks up toward heaven, never down at earth, and at her feet is a terrifying dragon. In her hand is a mirror that she is constantly looking at herself in.
    • Her name is Lucifera, and she's the daughter of Pluto, god of the underworld, and his wife Proserpina, although she likes to tell everyone she's the daughter of Jove a.k.a. Jupiter, 'cause she thinks that sounds fancy.
    • She's made herself a queen, even though she isn't royal by birth and doesn't actually own any territory.
    • Instead, she just steals it from other people and rules with cunning and takes advice from six shady wizards.
    • Since Redcrosse and Duessa appear to be nobility, Lucifera's servant, named Vanity, takes them to the front of the line where they kneel at the foot of the throne and explain that they've come to see her awesome kingdom.
    • Lucifera disdainfully acknowledges their presence, while the rest of her court come up to them flatteringly; it turns out that they all know Duessa already, but say nothing yet.
    • Redcrosse isn't very impressed, since everyone seems way too into themselves.
    • Lucifera suddenly decides to go for a ride in her carriage, which is no ordinary carriage.
    • In addition to being beautiful and covered and gold, it is pulled by six strange beasts on which her six advisors ride:
    • Idleness, who rides a donkey, carries a lot of religious-looking objects, but he can't be bothered to actually use them because he's stricken with a constant high fever.
    • Gluttony, who rides a pig and is extremely fat, is constantly eating and drinking, is totally useless, and suffers from edema.
    • Lechery, who rides a goat, is gross and dirty but is always running after different women. He tricks people into thinking he's a catch because he knows how to flirt and he suffers from some kind of sexually transmitted disease.
    • Avarice, who rides a camel, has tons of gold with him but is dressed very poorly and is very thin from not eating. He suffers from gout, i.e. inflammatory arthritis.
    • Envy, who rides a wolf, hides a horrible serpent in his stomach and spends all of time wanting what other people have and being happy when bad things happen to them. He spews poison and is constantly badmouthing poets and their writing (we're guessing this is a touchy subject for Spenser...).
    • Wrath, who rides a lion, is constantly angry, is covered in blood, and carries all kinds of weapons with him. Wherever he goes, violence follows.
    • So, this is Lucifera's lovely team, who were all watched-over by Satan, who whips them constantly.
    • The carriage goes around for a little bit outside, with Duessa right up near Lucifera, but Redcrosse stays back, and then returns to the palace.
    • When everyone returns, they see a knight has arrived, Sansjoy, the other brother of Sansloy. As you've probably guessed, he's not a happy camper.
    • When he sees that Redcrosse has his brother's shield, he goes ballistic, and the two start fighting until Lucifera orders them to stop and wait until tomorrow.
    • Sansjoy explains to Lucifera how Redcrosse killed his brother and stole his lady, so the two agree to fight the next day.
    • The whole court feasts that night and once everyone is in bed, Duessa secretly goes to Sansjoy and tells him that she's been traveling with Redcrosse against her will and pledges her loyalty to Sansjoy.
    • She cautions him not to fight with Redcrosse until the next day, since, she claims, his armor is magical, but Sansjoy doesn't care and tells her to wait until tomorrow when he'll kill Redcrosse and then marry her.
  • Book 1, Canto 5

    • Meanwhile, Redcrosse is psyching himself up for his battle with Sansjoy and as soon as it's morning, he gets ready and heads into the main hall, where everyone, including musicians and poets, is eagerly awaiting the battle.
    • Then Sansjoy comes in, looking fierce, and the two drink and eat, taking an oath to observe the rules of fighting.
    • Lucifera comes out and takes her seat, as does Duessa, and the fight begins.
    • The two men are both very strong, and each causes significant damage to the other, but as soon as Sansjoy catches sight of his brother's shield, he is filled with rage, taunts Redcrosse and then overpowers him.
    • It looks as if the fight is over when suddenly Duessa calls out encouragement to Redcrosse, who regains his strength, overpowers Sansjoy, and is about to kill him when, out of nowhere, he is enveloped in a dark cloud.
    • Duessa runs to Redcrosse and tells him this means he's won, but Redcrosse is skeptical and continues to look for Sansjoy (who is actually just hidden) but gives up once the trumpet sounds signal his victory.
    • Redcrosse then presents himself to the Queen, who commends his victory, and he is taken back to palace where his wounds are tended to and he is able to rest.
    • Meanwhile, Duessa, who is very upset, leaves the palace during the night, and leaving Sansjoy trapped in the black mist, goes to visit Night herself.
    • Duessa tells her that her nephews—the Sans-foy/loy/joy brothers are in peril—some dead, some almost dead, and that Night needs to intervene and save them
    • Night agrees, but asks why Duessa cares about them.
    • Duessa, in response, reveals who she really is and the two have a kind of touching reunion.
    • The two head off into the night in a dark wagon and collect Sansjoy and bring him to the Underworld of all places so that he can recover from his injuries in safety.
    • On the way they see the river Acheron, the river leading into the Underworld, the guardian dog Cerberus, and many of the dead being punished. When the dead see living people entering their realm they're pretty amazed.
    • The two take Sansjoy to a deep, dark cave where Aesculapius, god of medicine, sits atoning for his crimes against Hippolytus.
    • (And in case you aren't familiar with Hippolytus, Spenser offers us this handy recap:)
    • Hippolytus was a young, handsome hunter who, despite having a lot of women adore him, refuses to marry.
    • Awkwardly enough, one of those adoring women is his own stepmother, who, unsurprisingly, he refuses to sleep with.
    • She's none too happy about this, and in revenge, invents lies about him that she tells his father.
    • His father, furious at what he thinks his son did, has two sea-monsters instantly kill him.
    • The stepmother, full of guilt at orchestrating Hippolytus' death, kills herself and admits her guilt.
    • The poor father, who now feels pretty awful about having his son eaten by sea monsters, collects all the pieces of his son's body and takes them to one Aesculapius, who brings him back to life.
    • Jupiter, however, is not happy about this, since he doesn't want people going around never dying; as punishment, he sends Aesculapius immediately down to the underworld.
    • So, this is the guy that Duessa and Night bring Sansjoy to, but, understandably, he is a bit hesitant to use his medical arts considering his whole thrown-into-the-underworld situation.
    • But Duessa suggests that Jupiter can't really punish him anymore than he already has, which convinces Aesculapius to help them out. Satisfied, Night heads home.
    • Duessa returns to the palace of Lucifera, also called Pride, and finds that, even though his wounds are not yet healed, Redcrosse has left after hearing about captives that the dwarf had found.
    • These prisoners were all people who had foolishly pledged themselves to Avarice, and were now held captive. All of them are famous and powerful rulers, men and women, from antiquity to the present.
    • Redcrosse vowed to save them and left the palace of Pride early in order to avoid being seen.
    • Leaving was a grim task, since the palace is surrounded by piles of dead bodies. Ick.
  • Book 1, Canto 6

    • Redcrosse is relieved to have escaped the fate of those dead men, but as he goes on his way, he remains sad that had to leave Duessa behind and that Una let him down.
    • Speaking of Una (who, of course, hadn't actually done anything wrong), she's stuck with the horrible Archimago, who has decided he wants to sleep with her.
    • He first tries to flatter and beg Una, which totally fails, and finally becomes physically aggressive and tries to rape her.
    • Terrified, she starts to scream, and luckily, a nearby group of dancing fauns (wood-dwelling half-goat, half-men creatures) and satyrs hear her cries and run to the rescue, scaring away both Sansloy and Archimago.
    • Now, fauns and satyrs aren't particularly known for being gentlemanly to ladies in distress. However, when this bunch sees just how scared and beautiful Una is, they feel really bad for her and show her that they mean her no harm.
    • Una is wary at first (she doesn't have the best track-record when it comes to trusting people) but finally sees that they mean well and they take her, dancing and singing, to their leader, Sylvanus.
    • At first, Sylvanus wonders what in the world is making them so happy, but as soon as he sees the beautiful Una, he's amazed at her beauty.
    • All the woodland people worship her as goddess, and even Sylvanus wonders how she can be mortal.
    • She's so beautiful he begins to think about his old lover, Cyparissus, who accidentally shot his favorite deer and spent the rest of his life inconsolable.
    • Wood-dwelling nymphs also come to see her beauty, but become jealous and flee.
    • Delighted to finally be safe, Una puts up with this fawning (heh, heh: it's funny because they're fauns) for a time, although she puts her foot down when they try to actually worship her, and so they go off and worship her donkey. Go figure.
    • As it happened, a virtuous and noble knight comes into the forest. He's the son of a satyr and a lady named Thyamis.
    • Thyamis had been engaged to a man named Therion, who preferred roaming the wild to being with her and so, one day as she was following him, she was captured by a satyr and soon had a child, who was left to be raised in the forest by the satyr.
    • The son became very strong and powerful and was even able to tame and terrify wild beasts, which frightened his mother when she came to visit.
    • This young man's name was Satyrane and he became a great knight, famed for his courage throughout Faerie Land, and every so often he would come back to the forest to fight the wild beasts.
    • So it's Satyrane who comes into the forest and is amazed when he sees the beautiful Una teaching the satyrs.
    • He decides she is the best woman he has ever seen, and vows to stay with her.
    • She is comforted by his company, but really misses Redcrosse and so Satyrane helps her escape from the satyrs and the forest.
    • As they are traveling, they finally catch sight of someone who might have news and, even though this person seems to being trying to avoid them, they catch up to him.
    • He is clearly someone who has traveled, and although he doesn't know anything about adventures, he does know that a knight named Redcrosse is dead.
    • Una is horrified and almost dies from the news, but rallies, and asks the Pilgrim to explain.
    • He says that he had come across two knights fighting and that the other knight had killed Redcrosse.
    • Una can't believe Redcrosse could have been defeated so easily. Satyrane finds out where the knight who killed him might be and heads in that direction.
    • Una is too grief-stricken to follow as quickly.
    • Satyrane finds the knight who he believes killed Redcrosse, and it's actually Sansloy. Satyrane challenges him to fight.
    • Sansloy responds that he didn't kill Redcrosse, but the two fight viciously anyway (because, why not?) until Una finally finds them.
    • When Sansloy sees Una, who he remembers and thinks is cute, he tries to pursue her but Satyrane stops him.
    • Una, terrified, runs away.
    • The Pilgrim watches with delight… because (gasp!) the Pigrim is actually Archimago in disguise. He chases after poor Una while the two knights are distracted fighting one another.
  • Book 1, Canto 7

    • Meanwhile, Duessa, master of deceit, returns to the palace of Lucifera and is surprised to find Redcrosse gone.
    • She goes after him, still in the disguise of Fidessa, and soon finds him resting by a fountain listening to the birds sing.
    • She chides him for leaving her and soon they're friends again and both continue to relax by the fountain.
    • Now, this was no ordinary fountain (of course...). It was the dwelling place of a nymph who had displeased the goddess Diana by getting too tired when they were out hunting. Disdainful of the nymph's laziness, Diana cursed the fountain so that whoever drank the water would immediately become tired and lethargic.
    • So, sure enough, Redcrosse takes a nice big gulp of water and immediately becomes lazy and cowardly, content to just sit and chat with Duessa.
    • Suddenly, they hear a horrible noise, and before Redcrosse has time to get his armor, a huge giant emerges from the forest.
    • This arrogant giant, the son of Mother Earth and Aeolus, god of the wind, rushes at Redcrosse with a tree for a spear.
    • Redcrosse, totally unable to fight, manages to avoid the first blow and before landing a second, Duessa begs the giant for mercy, promising they'll both become his servants.
    • The giant, named Orgoglio, likes this plan and willingly accepts Duessa as his mate and throws Redcrosse into the dungeon.
    • Duessa and Orgoglio get along swimmingly, and they decide to adopt a pet monster with seven heads and huge tail that Duessa can ride.
    • Meanwhile, the dwarf, who saw everything that happened, gathers his master's abandoned armor and heads off to find help.
    • Before long, he runs across Una (who is running away from Sansloy, who is running from Satyrane).
    • As soon as she sees the dwarf, Una knows something is wrong, and she falls to ground in sorrow as the dwarf tried his best to comfort and revive her.
    • She is momentarily restored, wishes she were dead, faints three more times and finally asks the dwarf to actually tell her what happened.
    • He tells her everything and the more she hears, the worse she feels since she loves Redcrosse so much.
    • After feeling sad for a while, Una finally resolves to search for Redcrosse high and low.
    • After traveling for a bit, they come across an incredible knight, decked out in the most beautiful and elaborate armor she's ever seen: a tremendous helmet, a dragon crest, a shield—hidden by a veil made of pure diamond. His young squire rides behind him.
    • Even though we're told this knight doesn't do any magic himself, he's known to have a companion, Merlin, who is a famous wizard and who helps him out. (Hint: this might be ringing some bells? Merlin? Wizard-sidekick to a certain King Arthur?
    • We learn that this amazing knight, i.e. Arthur (although he isn't named) was taken to Faerieland after his death in England.
    • As soon as Arthur and Una begin speaking, Arthur can tell that Una is deeply sad and asks her what's wrong.
    • Una doesn't think she can even speak she's so distressed, but Arthur persuades her and she tells her story: she's the daughter of a king and queen whose kingdom is being harassed by a horrible dragon that no knight has been able to conquer.
    • After she went to Queen Gloriana, the queen of Faerieland, for help, she found a young, virtuous knight who agreed to try and help her.
    • This knight, Redcrosse, turned out to be amazing, but now has disappeared. She explains that he was tricked by a magician into believing she, Una, was unfaithful, and that he left her and took up with the wicked Duessa.
    • Duessa than turned him over to a horrible giant, who is keeping him prisoner in a dungeon.
    • Arthur, hearing this sad story, comforts Una and pledges to find and rescue Redcrosse.
  • Book 1, Canto 8

    • Poor Redcrosse. It's hard being a virtuous man in a tough world. Good thing the lovely Una and the brave Arthur are out searching for him.
    • Soon, they come to the giant's castle and Arthur takes out a magical horn that once blown, opens every door in the castle.
    • The giant, perturbed by this noise, comes out and begins to fight with Arthur, who proves more than his match, and the giant finds himself sprawled out on the ground in no time.
    • Duessa, horrified by what she sees, rushes into the fight, but is stopped by Arthur's young squire.
    • In return, Duessa casts a spell on the squire that causes him to lose his strength and sends her pet seven-headed beast to attack him.
    • When Arthur sees this, he rushes to save his squire, and severely injures the seven-headed beast. However, the giant has meanwhile revived himself and attacks Arthur. The giant is even more vicious and angry than before.
    • Just before he strikes, however, the veil falls from his shield and the most incredible, beautiful, and powerful light bursts forth that blinds the beast and knocks all the strength out of the giant.
    • Seeing this, Arthur cuts off the giant's leg and kills him. Duessa then tries to flee, but the squire prevents her.
    • Una, relieved at the outcome of the fight, thanks both Arthur and his squire for helping her and promises to help them in return. She urges them not to let Duessa go, but first, to find poor Redcrosse.
    • Arthur immediately goes in search of him and comes across a strange old man named Ignaro, who is blind and always looking behind him instead of forward. He's the father of the giant and is now the keeper of the keys to the castle.
    • Arthur asks him over and over again where the prisoners are, but the old man never knows the answer and finally Arthur just grabs the keys for himself and begins opening various doors.
    • He finds many rooms filled with treasure and with the blood of sacrilegious sacrifices, but no sign of Redcrosse.
    • Finally, he comes to an iron door that none of the keys open and he calls out and hears someone inside respond piteously, explaining he's been a prisoner for a long time.
    • Hearing this, Arthur bursts open the door and enters into the cell. Even though the cell turns out to be a deep, dark pit, Arthur manages to get him out.
    • Poor Redcrosse can barely tolerate the pain of the sun, since he's so unused to it, and he looks terribly pale and thin.
    • Una can barely contain her delight at seeing him, though she feels sad that he is in such bad shape. She wails about all the bad things that have happened to him.
    • Arthur tells her not to worry, that they can learn from these bad experiences, and that they need to decide what to do with Duessa.
    • Una says killing her would be too vindictive, but that they should take her magical robes and send her away.
    • They do that, plus some, and strip her completely naked so that they can see her "misshaped parts" (I.vii.46)—not the nicest bunch, here—and that even though she tricks men into believing she's beautiful, she is actually old, ugly and monstrous.
    • Una points out that now they are seeing the true Duessa and the true nature of lying.
    • Duessa flees to hide herself from the world while the knights, Una, the dwarf, and the squire stay in the giant's castle to rest.
  • Book 1, Canto 9

    • It's a sign of the world's universal harmony that Arthur was so willing to help Redcrosse out.
    • Now that they've rested, they decide that they need to press on, but before they set out, Una asks Arthur to tell them who he is and where he comes from.
    • He replies that he can't, since he doesn't know who his true parents are, but that he was first raised by a man named Timon, who teaches him virtue and manners, and by the wizard Merlin, who tutored him but refuses to disclose his identity, only saying he's of royal birth.
    • Una then asks him why he is in Faerieland, and also calls him Arthur, the first time he has been named (it's unclear how she knows that is his name).
    • Arthur says he doesn't know that either, since it's hard to know God's will, but reveals that he has a special secret wound that constantly bleeds, and that he imagines must be somehow connected to his purpose here.
    • Una asks about this wound. Arthur says she's raising a painful topic, but he'll tell her anyway.
    • Arthur describes how, as a young man, he wasn't at all interested in love and thought it was a big waste of time.
    • But one day when he stopped to take a nap in the forest, he dreamed of a beautiful woman lying near him.
    • They have a wonderful conversation and even though he isn't sure about how much you can trust a dream, he'll never forget that woman, who called herself the Queen of Faeries, and he's been looking for her ever since.
    • He becomes sad talking about her so Una jumps in to say how lucky the Queen is to have such a great knight.
    • Redcrosse then speaks in praise of Una and says his love for her will match's Arthur's love for the queen.
    • Since the day is beginning, it's time for everyone to go their separate ways, but first, Redcrosse and Arthur pledge their friendship to one another through an exchange of gifts: Arthur gives Redcrosse a potion that can heal any wound and Redcrosse gives Arthur a beautiful book that can save the reader's soul.
    • So the two part, Arthur to find the Queen and Redcrosse to fight the dragon.
    • But before Redcrosse and Una go too far, Una wants to make sure he is able to rest and regain his strength.
    • As they're traveling, they come across a knight on a winged horse clearly running away from something; he's disheveled, missing some of his armor, and has a noose around his neck. Yiiikes.
    • Redcrosse goes up to the terrified knight and tries to find out what's going on but the knight says nothing and stares at him in horror until finally he croaks out that Redcrosse should leave immediately since something is following him.
    • The mysterious knight tries to run, but Redcrosse stops him and demands to know more.
    • Finally, the knight pulls himself together, makes sure he really is out of harm's way, and tells his story.
    • He was traveling with another knight named Sir Terwin, who has the bad luck of being in love with a haughty lady who loved to lead him on.
    • One day, as the two knights were traveling, they came across a horrible villain named Despair (hint: don't trust anyone named Despair), who, once he learned of their broken hearts, told them such depressing things that they lost all hope entirely.
    • Despair then encouraged them to kill themselves, giving Sir Terwin a knife and our narrator a rope. Poor Sir Terwin did kill himself. Our narrator knight simply ran away in fear.
    • Redcrosse can't understand how someone could do so much damage just by speaking, but the knight—named Sir Trevisan—explains that he has magical abilities.
    • Redcrosse therefore vows to find this villain, test his own strength, and kill him; Sir Trevisan agrees to take him back to the place where they met him, but is not going to be sticking around.
    • They finally arrive at the place where Despair inhabits, a terrible, dark cave around which nothing grows.
    • They enter the cave and find that man there, looking disheveled and dirty, sitting in the blood of the recently dead Sir Terwin.
    • Disgusted, Redcrosse charges over and accuses Despair of being a villain.
    • Despair isn't particularly concerned, but begins to ask Redcrosse why he's so upset when Sir Terwin is really in better place? He describes to Redcrosse how long and hard and painful life is and that it really would be better to die sooner rather than wait around and die later.
    • Wouldn't it be better, he goes on, to make sure you don't sin anymore than you already have *cough cough Duessa*?
    • As Redcrosse listens to Despair and is reminded of all his faults and mistakes, he becomes increasingly convinced that Despair is right.
    • Despair then shows him horrible depressing pictures of ghosts being tormented in the underworld and Redcrosse resolves to kill himself.
    • Despair brings him a knife and just before Redcrosse actually does the deed, Una comes rushing to his rescue, grabbing the knife out of his hand and yelling at him for being so weak and silly.
    • Despair, seeing he's failed to persuade Redcrosse, hangs himself, even though he can't actually die until the end of the world.
  • Book 1, Canto 10

    • It's often true that people who are physically strong find themselves most vulnerable when they're up against spiritual and psychological enemies.
    • Take Redcrosse. He clearly struggled with the spiritual tests of Despair, not to mention that he was actually physically weakened from his long imprisonment in Orgoglio's castle.
    • Una therefore sets out to have him taken care of and heads to the house of Caelia, known for being a place of rest, wisdom, and virtue.
    • Caelia had three daughters: Sperenza, Fidelia (both engaged to be married, though still virgins), and Charissa, who is already married with many children.
    • So Una and Redcrosse arrive at this house and are let in by an old porter named Humilita, who takes them to a beautiful open courtyard where they see a happy guest named Zele and are received by a squire named Reverence who takes them to Caelia.
    • Caelia is delighted to see Una, whom she knows to be of heavenly descent, and praises her virtues while welcoming her and asking her what she needs.
    • She says she's surprised to see a knight there too, since knights are rarely good enough to find this special place.
    • Una explains that they have come to see her and Caelia welcomes them both.
    • As they're discussing other things, two of Caelia's beautiful daughters come in: Fidelia, dressed in white and carrying a cup of gold and a sacred book, and Sperenza, wearing blue and carrying an anchor.
    • They greet Una and Redcrosse and all talk happily. Una asks where their other sister, Charissa, is: she finds out Charissa has just had another child and is resting.
    • Caelia finally says that they must be tired and want to rest. She has them escorted to their lodging by a servant named Obedience.
    • After they've rested, Una asks Fidelia if she will take Redcrosse as a student, so he can learn wisdom and Christian morality from her.
    • She agrees and Redcrosse learns so much from Fidelia about God, and sin, and virtue that Redcrosse starts to feel depressed about how bad a person he was.
    • Good thing Sperenza is around to cheer him up, although not before Una comes across him in his depressed state and becomes worried.
    • Una goes to Caelia with her worries, and Caelia tells her to calm down and recommends that Redcrosse go see a man named Patience.
    • Patience proves very useful in alleviating much of Redcrosse's suffering, but the deep infection of sin that still torments him hasn't yet been removed.
    • So Redcrosse becomes extremely penitent, wearing nothing but coarse, black clothing, and is visited by Penitence, Remorse, and Repentance, all of whom temporarily cause Redcrosse pain, but only before they heal him.
    • Una pities poor Redcrosse, but knew that this was for the best and soon enough Redcrosse, better than ever, sees Una and pledges a new, truer love between them.
    • Una and Redcrosse then visit Charissa, who has now recovered from childbirth and who is incredibly beautiful, maternal, and full of love.
    • Una asks Charissa if she too will teach Redcrosse about virtue, and she happily agrees.
    • She teaches him about love and the right path to God and enlists the help of another woman, Mercy, who teaches him that no matter what he does, mercy should always be his goal.
    • Mercy then takes Redcrosse to a kind of hospital, where seven "Bead-men" (i.e. nurses or attendants) spend their time helping those there and doing good deeds.
    • The seven attendants are: the Guardian, who entertains and lodges everyone who comes; the Lamer, who gives food and drink to those who need it; one in charge of distributing clothing; one to help prisoners and pay their ransoms; one to comfort those near death; one to give the dead a proper burial, and finally, one to take care of the orphans of anyone who has died.
    • The guardian welcomes them to the hospital and Redcrosse stays there for a while both resting himself and helping out in order to learn about Christian charity and good deeds.
    • After the hospital, they head to a hill with a little chapel where a man, named Contemplation, is praying night and day. He is blessed with many visions of god.
    • Even though he's a bit irritated that they've interrupted his praying, he greets them and asks them why they are there.
    • Mercy answers that she is there to show Redcrosse the way to heaven and needs the old man to help take him there.
    • The old man agrees, remarking how lucky Redcrosse is, and takes him to a glorious mountain, famous for both spiritual and poetic reasons, and there points out an incredible city, the city of God, that is too incredible even for Spenser to describe to us.
    • The old man explains that this city is Jerusalem and that in it God's chosen people dwell.
    • Redcrosse is amazed and says that it completely outdoes every other city he's ever seen.
    • The old man agrees, although he says that Cleopolis, the city of the Faerie Queene, is the nicest non-city-of-God out there.
    • The old man concludes by saying that Redcrosse is now ready to help Una and become a great hero, but after he does all these things, he should come back here and seek this path to holiness. If he does, he'll become known as Saint George, the patron saint of England.
    • Redcrosse says he's too unworthy to receive such a great honor and wishes he could just stay with the old man here and skip the whole fighting thing, but the old man reminds him that he made a promise to Una to assist her.
    • Redcrosse agrees, but also wants to know why he'll play such a special part in English history.
    • The old man explains that he is descended from ancient English blood (the Saxons) and that as a baby, he was snatched by faeries, taken to Faerieland, and there was raised by a farmer.
    • Redcrosse thanks the old man for everything and returns to Una, who is delighted to see how well he is doing and so the two, finally, leave Caelia's house to go on their way.
  • Book 1, Canto 11

    • It's now about time for Una to think about her parents, who are captured by the dragon. She tells Redcrosse that they are now near her home and he needs to be ready for battle.
    • She points to a tower in the distance, where her parents are, and all of sudden they hear and see the terrible dragon, who, seeing them, gets ready for a fight.
    • Redcrosse sends Una away to watch from a hill and our narrator interrupts to call upon his muse for help in telling this particularly important and bloody part of the story.
    • Back to the action, the massive dragon is approaching fast, half-flying, half-running.
    • He's covered in impenetrable scales, has wings as large as a ship's sails, has a humongous, pointy tail, fearful, gruesome jaws that still are full of the blood and entrails of his former victims, and blazing, fire-filled eyes.
    • So yeah—yikes!
    • Redcrosse gets a little bit concerned as this beast heads straight for him, and after being knocked over once, manages to hit the dragon but not penetrate him.
    • His hit is strong enough, however, to make the dragon upset and the dragon flies up into the air with great force and carries Redcrosse and his horse far away.
    • Once Redcrosse is finally able to get free, he is able to wound the dragon under the neck, a wound that gushes so much blood, the land around them is partially flooded.
    • The dragon then uses his tail to trap the horse and Redcrosse tries to wound the dragon again, but without success.
    • The dragon becomes so angry about being continually hit that he releases a huge breath of fire that burns Redcrosse right through his armor.
    • Poor Redcrosse is so exhausted and injured he wants to die, but, in a moment of great good luck, Redcrosse finds himself near a magical fountain called the "Well Of Life," which can bring people back from the dead and heal the injured.
    • The dragon throws Redcrosse into this well and leaves him there over night, believing that he, the dragon, has now won.
    • Una, terrified, prays all night long for help.
    • In the morning, Una wakes up and looks to see how Redcrosse is doing.
    • She's amazed and delighted to see him rise from the fountain good-as-new, totally healed and stronger than ever.
    • The dragon is understandably perplexed and concerned by this development, and Redcrosse, just to prove his newfound strength, deals the dragon a painful blow to his skull—something that has never been done before.
    • The dragon is furious and stabs Redcrosse with his poisonous tail right in the shoulder.
    • Although the wound is severe, Redcrosse, focusing on his pledge to Una and angered at the dragon's success, slices off his tail.
    • The dragon in return grabs Redcrosse's shield, which Redcrosse doesn't want to lose but can't pull away from the dragon.
    • Finally, he cuts the dragon's joint in two, even though the dragon's paw remains holding on to the shield.
    • The dragon then lights up the whole sky with fire and black smoke, like a volcano, and Redcrosse has to retreat a bit to avoid the heat.
    • He then falls backward, which ends up saving him through God's mercy (even though he's super embarrassed about tripping), because he falls into another life-saving stream.
    • This guy is super-lucky.
    • This stream actually runs from the tree of life, a tree that God planted in Eden that is mentioned in the book of Genesis.
    • Since night is falling, and since the dragon can't come near this holy space, the two take another timeout.
    • Una, seeing Redcrosse fall again, runs to him and applies the healing balm Arthur gave him to his wounded body.
    • When morning comes, Redcrosse wakes up right-as-rain, which yet again perturbs the frustrated dragon.
    • The dragon rushes at Redcrosse with his jaw open, hoping for breakfast, only to have Redcrosse stab him right in the mouth and kill him.
    • The dragon falls to the ground with a huge thump and both Redcrosse and Una can hardly believe it has truly happened.
    • As soon as Una realizes the dragon truly is dead, she thanks her knight and prays to God.
  • Book 1, Canto 12

    • Our narrator tells us that this part of his story is ending and that Una is getting close to the end of her journey.
    • Early that same morning, a watchman sees the dragon fall and die and runs to tell the king and queen what he has seen.
    • The king rushes to see if the watchman is right. Seeing that he is, the whole kingdom begins to rejoice.
    • The king and queen, and many nobles of the court, all proceed down to Redcrosse and bow before him in thanks.
    • There is a great celebration around them, with dancing and music, and the women crown Una with leaves.
    • Many people approach the dead dragon with a mixture of fear and curiosity, and some said that parts of him are still alive so mothers tried to keep their children away from him.
    • Meanwhile, the king talks with Redcrosse, thanks him for his service, and offers gifts.
    • When he sees his daughter, he embraces her and they all head back to the palace in one big, joyful procession.
    • They all share a large feast and afterward ask Redcrosse to tell the story of his adventures.
    • Redcrosse agrees and they all listen with amazement and pity at everything he went through.
    • The king then tells Redcrosse he's suffered much and now it's time for him to relax.
    • Redcrosse, however, can't relax since he's promised the Faerie Queene six more years of service.
    • The king is disappointed, but tells Redcrosse that once those six years are past, he should come back and marry Una and take over his realm.
    • The king calls Una into the hall, who enters looking incredible since she is no longer wearing black and a veil now that the dragon is slain.
    • She's about to speak when she's suddenly interrupted by a messenger who runs into the hall with news.
    • The messenger carries a letter which says that Redcrosse shouldn't marry Una because he has already promised himself to another woman.
    • The king is stunned to hear this and finally asks Redcrosse to explain himself.
    • Redcrosse answers that he was tricked by a witch, Duessa, who was pretending to be someone else and whose magic was just too strong for him.
    • Una too comes forward and vouches for Redcrosse's story, saying that not only is this letter part of her mischief, but that this messenger is actually Archimago in disguise.
    • Sure enough Archimago-as-messenger tries to run, but is captured and thrown into a deep, dark, well-guarded dungeon.
    • Once this is all resolved, the king goes ahead and has his daughter engaged to Redcrosse. Then there is great rejoicing in the whole kingdom.
    • Redcrosse stays with Una for a while, but eventually has to leave to finish serving the Faerie Queene.
    • And so, the narrator tells us that this voyage is ending and that he'll rest awhile before beginning another.
  • Book 2: Proem

    • This book is called "The Second Book of the Faerie Queene contayning The Legend of Sir Guyon, or Of Temperance." Say that five times fast.
    • Addressing Queen Elizabeth I, again (get used to it), the narrator worries that people will accuse him of inventing all his stories about Faerie Land.
    • But, people are discovering new worlds all the time, like Peru and America, that were hidden from human knowledge for centuries before, so who can say for certain Faerie Land doesn't exist?
    • Brain bite! When Spenser is writing The Faerie Queene in the 1590s, Europe and England are at the height of New World discovery and colonization. So when Spenser talks about new worlds, he's being pretty literal since places no one has imagined existed were being discovered regularly.
    • Even though Faerie Land is far away and yet to be discovered, the narrator also urges the queen to think about it as a reflection on herself and her kingdom. And with that begins the story of Sir Guyon.
  • Book 2, Canto 1

    • The evil magician Archimago, his plans to ruin Redcrosse and take Una for himself now foiled, manages to escape from the dungeon in which he was thrown and goes to look for new ways to cause mischief.
    • As he's plotting and scheming away, he comes across a knight, handsome and honest-looking, but also formidable and traveling with an old pilgrim (someone traveling for religious reasons), here called a Palmer.
    • Archimago thinks these two look just perfect for his evil plans and so he quickly concocts a story to feed to the unsuspecting knight.
    • He pretends to know of a woman who has just been raped and the knight, horrified, immediately agrees to avenge this wrong.
    • Archimago takes the knight to a woman who is crying and wearing torn clothing and she is so upset at first she won't say anything.
    • Finally, however, after Archimago prods her, she describes her rapist as a knight riding a grey horse and wearing a silver shield with a bloody cross on it (this guy should be sounding very familiar...).
    • The knight is surprised, because he's heard a lot of good things about Redcrosse, who he says he actually saw knighted.
    • But, if Redcrosse has done the things the lady says he has, this knight will bring him to justice.
    • The lady is very happy, but not for the reasons she's just given.
    • She is, in fact, the evil witch Duessa, whom Archimago has found hiding in the wilderness after Arthur defeated Orgoglio.
    • Because he lives to ruin knights and make them behave badly, Archimago restored Duessa to her former position so that together they could wreak havoc.
    • So, Archimago takes the duped knight to where Redcrosse is resting and the knight is about to charge him and attack, and Redcrosse is too, when suddenly, upon seeing the cross on Redcrosse's shield, the knight reconsiders.
    • Instead, he begs Redcrosse to forgive him for almost attacking him and Redcrosse, recognizing the voice of Sir Guyon (named for the first time), also apologizes, acknowledging the holiness of the image of the Faerie Queene painted on Guyon's shield.
    • So the two old friends put down their weapons and greet each other properly.
    • Then, understandably, Redcrosse asks why Sir Guyon tried to attack him and Guyon explains that he was misled into thinking Redcrosse had violated a lady.
    • As they're talking, the Palmer comes over and recognizes Redcrosse and blesses him and his future deeds.
    • Redcrosse, in reply, praises God and wishes Guyon good luck on his journeys and the two then pledge good will toward one another and Guyon goes off with the Palmer.
    • Guyon and the Palmer travel for a long time and Guyon performs many feats of bravery that make him famous all over the world.
    • One day, when the two are resting by a forest, they hear a voice crying.
    • The voice belongs to a woman with a baby, who says she has nothing left to live for and who is worried about her baby, but thinks the child would be better off without such poor parents.
    • Guyon then hears a terrible scream and finds the woman covered with blood, with a knife in her body, with a baby in her lap, also covered in blood. Next to both of them lies a knight, dead.
    • Guyon is at first frozen with horror at the scene, but then quickly takes the knife out of the woman and, feeling that she still has a pulse, tends to her wounds.
    • He then asks her what has happened to her and she, slowly regaining consciousness, is at first unable to speak, but continues to faint.
    • Finally, she asks Redcrosse to just let her die, and Redcrosse responds that he just wants to know what happened to her.
    • So, she tells her story: the knight dead beside them is Sir Mordant, her husband, who left her, Amavia, when she was pregnant to go search for adventures.
    • He happened to come across the evil enchantress Acrasia, who lives on a magic island called the Bower of Bliss where she tempts men into living luxuriously and immorally.
    • Mordant was tempted and captured by Acrasia and so Amavia decides to search for him herself, disguised as a pilgrim.
    • While she's searching for him, she gives birth to their child, who she then takes with her.
    • When she finally finds him, he's so far gone he doesn't even recognize her, but after she weans him off of the dangerous potions and drugs he's been given, the two escape.
    • But not before Acrasia casts a curse on him. Sure enough, he falls dead during their escape.
    • As soon as the lady relates this part of the story, she becomes overwhelmed by grief and dies.
    • Guyon is extremely sad to see this and feels defeated by the idea that death comes to everyone.
    • But the Palmer urges Guyon to be moderate with his emotions and to leave it up to God to bury her.
    • Guyon disagrees, however, and the two bury Amavia and Mordant and Guyon swears an oath of vengeance on their graves to find and punish Acrasia.
  • Book 2, Canto 2

    • After burying Amavia and Mordant, Guyon takes up the baby, expresses sadness that the poor thing doesn't understand what's happening, and then tries to wash the blood off of the baby's hands.
    • However, the blood doesn't come off, leaving Guyon very perplexed. The Palmer begins to explain that every fountain in the forest is different, has a different power and a different origin: some flow straight from Mother Earth and are sacred for that reason and some are just regular, old water that something special has happened to.
    • The rock out of which this water flows, says the Palmer, used to be a nymph who was changed into a rock by the goddess Diana so that she could avoid being raped by a lusty faun.
    • The Palmer then explains that the blood won't wash off the baby's hand because it is meant to be a symbol of his mother's innocence.
    • Convinced, Guyon gives the baby to the Palmer and goes to find his horse so that they can head out.
    • His horse, however, is gone for reasons we never learn and Guyon is forced to go by foot.
    • Soon, they come to a great castle where three half-sisters live (one father, three different mothers), constantly fighting about who should control what parts of the castle: the eldest and youngest usually fighting against the middle sister.
    • When Guyon arrives, he is very well received by the middle sister. She's named Medina, and is the best of the three sisters since she's modest, courteous, and serious.
    • While she takes Guyon up to a room to rest, the other two sisters hear about this visitor while they are entertaining their boyfriends.
    • The eldest sister's boyfriend is named Sir Huddibras, and he's a big, burly, strong and rash knight.
    • The youngest sister's boyfriend is none other than the notorious Sansloy, who we met in Book I, and who tried to snatch Una.
    • He, as we know, is lusty, arrogant, and unruly.
    • Because these knights are both arrogant and quick to anger, they spend most of their time fighting each other to prove they are the best.
    • However, as soon as they hear about this other knight arriving, they turn their attention to him.
    • Well, for a moment. They soon start bickering again, which Guyon hears and runs to resolve.
    • But as soon as they both see Guyon, they start attacking and him and he defends himself expertly in response.
    • Medina rushes in and begs them to stop fighting. At first they ignore her but soon begin to listen to her.
    • She begs them to give up their bloodlust and anger and to instead embrace concord and peace.
    • Her words finally have an effect and the knights put down their weapons and agree to a truce.
    • Medina then invites them to relax and dine with her so that they can all calm down.
    • Everyone goes with Medina, but the two other sisters are not happy about it.
    • Elissa, the eldest sister, makes fun of the meal and refuses to enjoy anything while the youngest sister, Perissa, goes completely overboard and enjoys everything a bit too much.
    • Sansloy enjoys Perissa's overindulgence while Huddibras moodily envies their joviality.
    • But Medina, through her moderation and good sense, keeps everyone in check and after the meal, she asks Guyon to tell them who he is and why he has come there.
    • Guyon replies that he a knight for the Faerie Queene, the most wonderful and awesome queen ever, and that he was sent by her to help the Palmer defeat an evil fairy and at that very moment on a mission to punish the wicked Acrasia.
    • Medina asks Guyon to tell them about that, and so Guyon relates the sad story of Mordant and Amavia until night falls and they all go to bed.
  • Book 2, Canto 3

    • When morning comes, Guyon says goodbye to Medina and leaves her to care for Amavia's baby, who he calls Ruddymane (poor kid!) and goes on his way to find Acrasia on foot.
    • Meanwhile, we learn that Guyon's horse was stolen by a vain and mischievous man named Braggadochio.
    • As soon as Braggadochio gets this horse, he pretends to be a terrifying and violent knight, and intimidates a man he find resting a field.
    • The man, terrified, begs for mercy and soon Braggadochio makes him his servant.
    • This servant, however, named Trompart, soon proves more cunning than he appears and easily figures out that he can manipulate Braggadochio by constantly flattering him.
    • The two soon come across our old friend Archimago, who, seeing how grand a knight Braggadochio seems to be, assumes he must know Redcrosse and Guyon.
    • Archimago asks Trompart who that knight is, and Trompart answers that he's a fearsome knight vowing to get revenge on those who stole his sword (apparently, Braggadochio only has a spear he stole from Guyon, no sword).
    • Archimago, as usual, decides to trick Braggadochio and goes to him pretending that Redcrosse and Guyon have done him great wrong and must be punished.
    • Braggadochio vows to do that, although Archimago recommends he find a sword before taking them on.
    • Braggadochio laughs at this, insisting it's not necessary, and invents various past situations in which he defeated knights while being out-numbered.
    • Archimago still thinks this guy needs a sword, and so he tells him that Arthur, a very famous knight, also has a very famous and powerful sword and that he, Archimago, is going to get it for him. And then, Archimago disappears.
    • Braggadochio and Trompart are now rather alarmed and run off terror when the magician disappears so unexpectedly.
    • They find themselves cowering in fear in a forest when all of sudden they see a beautiful lady dressed as a hunter.
    • She isn't just beautiful—she's radiant, with sunlight seeming to stream from her eyes, beautiful blond hair, and an incredible golden bow.
    • Trompart is amazed to see this woman, who, when she sees him, asks if he's seen a wounded deer run by.
    • Trompart admits that he hasn't and before she can respond, she almost kills Braggadochio (who is hiding in a bush) thinking he's a wild animal.
    • Trompart stops her just in time, explaining it's actually his lord, a "great" knight, and Braggadochio slowly emerges, dazzled by this woman's appearance.
    • She greets him, praising his knighthood, and he invents some more amazing deeds he's done before asking her why she's in the forest instead of enjoying herself and gaining honors at court.
    • She replies that court is the worst place to find true honor; true honor is found by doing honest labor in the woods, in crafts, or in fighting.
    • Before she can finish, Braggadochio decides she's pretty good looking and tries to grab her for himself.
    • Bad idea. She threatens him with her spear and then rushes off.
    • Braggadochio, again amazed, is a bit irritated that she wouldn't sleep with him, but Trompart advises him to forget about her and not stir up trouble... she might have even been a goddess, he thinks.
    • Braggadochio simply replies that even if she was, he wasn't afraid. They decide to head off in search of other things.
  • Book 2, Canto 4

    • Even though our narrator thinks that the nobility are born better at riding horses than lower classes (a pretty dubious claim), the fact is that Sir Guyon is currently horse-less.
    • Regardless, the Palmer is still Guyon's companion and helps him avoid strong, emotional reactions.
    • As the two are walking along, they see something very strange approaching ahead: a madman dragging a young man by his hair. Following them is a horrible old woman, mostly lame, with hair growing entirely in front of her face.
    • As they walk, she hurls insults at the young man being dragged.
    • Guyon is quite distressed to see this and quickly knocks the old woman away and starts to fight with the madman.
    • The madmen doesn't fight normally, but rather goes bezerk, punching and grabbing practically at random, sometimes even hurting himself in the process.
    • Guyon takes him on, but soon finds himself on the ground, which makes him furious. He is about to kill the man with his sword when the Palmer intervenes.
    • He tells Guyon that his sword won't do any good against this kind of enemy, and says that the man is called Furo—and is constantly troubling knights—and the old woman is his mother and is called Occasion.
    • The Palmer advises Guyon to first subdue the mother and than worry about Furor, since Furor only knows what to do because his mother tells him.
    • So Guyon grabs Occasion and stops her tongue and ties her hands and then goes after Furor, who he eventually tackles to the ground and binds in hundreds of iron chains.
    • That taken care of, he turns his attention to the poor man whom Furor has been dragging and tends his wounds.
    • Once the man is feeling better, Guyon asks who he is and what happened to him and the man tells his story:
    • He tells him that all his troubles are due to his so-called best friend Philemon. The two practically grew up together and when the man had the good fortune to fall in love with a great lady, and to get consent from her parents to marry her, Philemon seemed genuinely happy for him.
    • One day, however, Philemon told him that he suspected his fiancée, Claribell, was not loyal to him. When our narrator demands proof, Philemon arranges to seduce the handmaiden of the fiancée, named Pyrene, and pretend that it's Claribell (apparently, it was, um, super dark outside) while our heartbroken narrator watches (if this is sounding veeery familiar, you're not going crazy, this story is one of many sources for Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing).
    • Furious, the narrator finds Claribell and kills her, after which, Pyrene confesses that it was her, not Claribell, that he actually saw.
    • Grief stricken, the man poisons his friend Philemon and then tries to kill Pyrene. But while he was looking for her, he got mixed up with Furor and Occasion.
    • Guyon hears all this and he and the Palmer recommend that the man from now on be guided by temperance (moderation) when making choices, since extreme emotions like anger and jealousy are enemies of love.
    • But Guyon wants to know the man's name, and he responds that it's Phaon, from the house of Coradin.
    • But suddenly, while Phaon is answering, they see a squire running toward them carrying an impressive shield with fire painted on that looks like it belongs to an impressive knight.
    • Guyon asks the squire what he's doing and he answers, haughtily, that this place belongs to his lord, a great and powerful knight named Pyrocles, brother of Cymochles, grandsons of Night and from immortal blood.
    • He says that Pyrocles loves war and battle and blood and that he, Atin, is his squire.
    • He explains that he's been sent by Pyrocles to find Occasion since Pyrocles is looking for a reason for a good fight.
    • The Palmer says that's a terrible idea, no one should look for an occasion to fight, and Guyon tells the squire to relay that to his master.
    • The squire is not happy about this message, accuses Guyon of being a coward, and throws a dart at him for good measure.
    • But the dart just rebounds off of Guyon's armor and Atin runs off.
  • Book 2, Canto 5

    • Pyrocles may not know it, but without temperance, he'll never be happy.
    • Sure enough, Pyrocles makes an appearance, riding proudly toward them with blood-red armor.
    • He doesn't bother to even greet Guyon, but tries to strike him straight away. He misses, and Guyon in return wounds his horse so he's forced to fight him on the ground.
    • Pyrocles, angry, insults Guyon and deals him a heavy blow, but one that barely affects Guyon.
    • Guyon returns to the blow and the two fight fiercely, Pyrocles constantly trying to hit Guyon, but Guyon always ducking out of the way.
    • Soon, Pyrocles tires himself out, and Guyon seizes the opportunity to sink Pyrocles to his knees and to almost kill him, until Pyrocles begs him for mercy.
    • Guyon concedes and tells Pyrocles he'll let him live as long as he is obedient to Guyon.
    • Pyrocles grudgingly agrees, but is still embarrassed to have lost, and Guyon advises him to not be embarrassed and to try and free him of this obsession with war and violence.
    • Pyrocles than asks why Guyon has an old woman and a man tied up then, and Guyon says that they'll cause a lot of trouble if they're freed, but Pyrocles can do whatever he wants with them.
    • So Pyrocles runs over and immediately frees Occasion, who starts egging Pyrocles on to fight again with Guyon. Soon Furor is free and starts attacking Pyrocles.
    • Occasion tries to rile up Guyon, but he's now impervious.
    • Soon, Pyrocles is in such bad shape since he's being attacked by Furor that he calls to Guyon for help.
    • Guyon wants to help, but the Palmer counsels him against intervening, saying that Pyrocles deserves the punishment he gets for seeking out trouble.
    • Guyon obeys and the two head off, while Atin, thinking his master is dead, runs off to inform Pyrocles' brother, Cymochles.
    • Cymochles is another terrifying knight, obsessed with fighting and violence, and his girlfriend is none other than Acrasia, the keeper of the Bower of Bliss.
    • It's in the Bower of Bliss that Atin finds Cymochles, who is indulging in pleasures since he's not currently fighting.
    • The Bower of Bliss is a very appealing place: full of leafy trees, soft winds, gentle brooks, and beautiful meadows.
    • He finds Cymochles in a dark bower, filled with flowers, being tended on by women catering to his every whim.
    • Seeing this, Atin is disgusted, and mocks Cymochles for being weak and tells him to man up and come to the defense of poor Pyrocles.
    • Cymochles, embarrassed, jumps up and gets ready for battle, vowing to avenge his brother.
  • Book 2, Canto 6

    • The narrator observes again that continence (self-restraint) can be hard to remember when you're feeling an extreme emotion like grief.
    • But luckily, Guyon doesn't have this problem.
    • Anyway, Cymochles, who does have this problem, comes across a woman all alone in a little boat, laughing to herself and apparently having a great time.
    • Cymochles calls to her, and she lets him on, although not Atin.
    • Off they go, her ship apparently directing itself, and the girl continues to have a good time, telling Cymochles made-up stories, laughing, putting flowers in hair, and so on.
    • Cymochles thinks she's great, totally forgets his vow to avenge his brother, and wants to find out who she is and what she's doing.
    • She's shocked he doesn't know her, since they both serve Acrasia. She's Phaedria.
    • She tells him that this is her lake, the Idle Lake, and that she spends her time going around it.
    • Soon, they come to an idyllic island, filled with beautiful trees and flowers and soon enough Cymochles falls asleep in Phaedria's lap.
    • As he sleeps, Phaedria whispers into his ear that he has nothing to worry about and the he shouldn't bother himself with all trials and challenges of the world.
    • Phaedria leaves him sleeping there, drugged, and returns to her boat and to the lake.
    • Who should she find has made his way there too but Guyon, who also needs a way across.
    • She happily picks him up, but refuses to take the Palmer, and before Guyon can object, her little boat has taken off.
    • As they go, she resumes her laughing and story telling, but Guyon isn't in to it.
    • Soon, they get to the island, and Guyon is irritated because he didn't want to go there.
    • But Phaedria explains that no one can control the wind or the sea and that Guyon might as well rest here while he waits for another ship.
    • Guyon, not happy, but unsure of what else he can do, agrees, and even though he does find the delights of both the island and Phaedria tempting, he resists.
    • By this time, Cymochles has woken up and berates himself for having gotten distracted on his mission of revenge.
    • As he heads back to the river, he comes across Guyon and Phaedria and he immediately attacks Guyon, assuming that he's after Phaedria.
    • The two fight fiercely, each strong from anger and frustration, until Phaedria intervenes and begs them to stop fighting for her sake.
    • She tells them that they should redirect their passion and energy away from violence towards romance.
    • Both knights finally do put down their swords and Guyon asks to leave, which Phaedria grants since she can tell her charms don't work on him.
    • Once Guyon returns to the shore, Atin sees him, and begins accusing of him of doing terrible deeds.
    • Guyon moves on, not letting Atin's accusations get to him, while Atin stays waiting for Cymochles and Cymochles stays with Phaedria.
    • While Atin is waiting, he sees a knight running recklessly toward the lake and then suddenly throws himself in it.
    • Atin goes to investigate only to find his master, Pyrocles, screaming that he's burning and nothing is easing it.
    • Atin, worried that Pyrocles will drown, jumps in to save him but the water is so muddy and heavy that soon both Atin and Pyrocles are in danger of drowning.
    • As they struggle, Archimago happens to come by them and asks what's going on.
    • Pyrocles screams that Furor is burning him. Atin asks for help so that they don't drown.
    • Archimago agrees to help them and casts a magic spell to relieve Pyrocles from the flames of Furor.

  • Book 2, Canto 7

    • Guyon, now traveling without the trusty Palmer after they were separated at the Idle Lake, finds himself in an empty wilderness with nobody else around.
    • Finally, he finds a dirty, greasy man, sitting in a cave wearing an iron jacket covered by a golden one and surrounded by piles and piles of gold.
    • As soon as he sees Guyon he immediately starts trying to hide his gold, but Guyon stops him and asks who he is and why he has all the gold.
    • The man responds that Guyon is foolish to come there since he is Mammon, the great god of riches and money. He controls the wealth that men fight over.
    • Mammon says, however, that if Guyon agrees to work for him, all this money and more can be his.
    • Guyon refuses, saying he's a knight and is interested in glory, not money.
    • But Mammon persists, reminding Guyon that wealth can be a way to attain glory.
    • But Guyon again refuses, listing the many evil things in the world for which money is responsible.
    • Mammon then asks Guyon why so many people care about money, and Guyon answers that it's because they lack temperance.
    • Guyon describes how back in the day people lived very happily without money and it's only a recent development that people obsess over wealth.
    • But Mammon points out that Guyon lives in this modern world, and money is a necessary evil. He tells Guyon that, in fact, he can just take a small amount of the gold, whatever he thinks he needs, and that's it.
    • But Guyon says he won't take anything unless he knows exactly where it's come from and that it's been fairly acquired.
    • Mammon tells him not to worry: his dealings and profits are hidden and have been completely under his control.
    • Guyon can't imagine how Mammon could hide so much wealth and so Mammon offers to show him.
    • So the two go deep, deep down into the cave until they arrive practically at the gates of the underworld, where terrible beings like Revenge and Pain stand guard.
    • Just before the gates of hell stands the House of Riches, guarded day and night by Care, who lets them both pass.
    • Inside the house is a fiend who watches Guyon, waiting for him to take something from the house, since it's against the laws of the underworld to take anything.
    • The house is cavernous and dark, and on the ceiling Arachne weaves a web.
    • Brain bite! Arachne is actually a famous figure from Classical mythology that gets turned into a spider by the goddess Athena. An association with the underworld, however, is Spenser's invention.
    • On the bright side the walls and floors are made entirely of gold, although it's a bit dusty.
    • Everywhere are huge, locked cases of treasure and on the floor skulls and bones of men are scattered.
    • Soon, they get to a massive iron door that opens up to reveals the most spectacular collection of riches Guyon has ever seen.
    • Mammon tells Guyon that here in this room is what everyone in the world dreams about, but Guyon says he has a different dream, of being a brave knight and going on worthy adventures.
    • Mammon is furious that Guyon hasn't given in to his temptations, so he decides to try another strategy by showing him the actual room, a kind of massive forge, where all the world's riches are created.
    • But nope, Guyon is not impressed.
    • Next, Mammon shows him the giant monster Disdain, who wields a massive club, and the two almost fight until Mammon pacifies them both.
    • They then enter the room of the giant, which is a huge temple filled with all kinds of people. There is a beautiful woman (though she's basically just wearing a ton of makeup) seated high above them in a throne looking incredibly regal.
    • This woman is Ambition, the daughter of Mammon, and she holds a great gold chain that everyone is trying to get ahold of so that they can rise up—it's a competitive business since everyone is also trying to make other people fall down.
    • Guyon asks Mammon who this person is and what she's doing. He tells Guyon, explaining that she is the source of all honor and dignity in the world. Um, really? Really, Mammon?
    • He explains that she used to be called Philotime, but she was thrown down into hell by the gods for being envious.
    • Anyway, Mammon thinks she would make a great wife for Guyon!
    • But, surprise surprise: Guyon is again not interested, protesting that he couldn't possibly marry an immortal goddess and that he is also in love with another woman.
    • Mammon is not a happy camper, but refrains from getting angry and instead leads Guyon to a garden filled with a rather depressing group of trees, which turns out to be the Garden of Persephone.
    • In the middle is growing an incredible huge tree with golden fruit hanging from it. These are not good apples: this is a famously bad tree in Classical mythology that appears in the myth of Hercules and the myth of Atalanta.
    • Guyon climbs the tree to get a better look at the underworld and sees all kinds of souls being tormented, including Tantalus and Pontius Pilate, notorious Roman judge who sentenced Jesus to death in the New Testament.
    • Guyon spends a long time looking at these unfortunate souls until Mammon slyly suggests that he might want to try one of those delicious looking apples hanging on the tree, and maybe even take a seat and relax—watching people being tortured is exhausting, amiright?
    • But, good ol' Guyon knows that is a terrible idea and instead says that it's time for him to head home.
    • Disappointed, Mammon leads him back to the upper world, and Guyon faints from exhaustion and hunger.
  • Book 2, Canto 8

    • Our narrator wonders whether heaven really does care at all about human life... but don't worry, he quickly realizes that heaven definitely does.
    • Specifically: angels. Angels spend all their time coming down to earth and Faerie Land to make sure things are A-okay.
    • Now, while Guyon was down with Mammon, the Palmer had been looking all over for him. Now, all of a sudden, he hears a voice calling for him to come over quickly.
    • The Palmer follows the voice and is amazed to find Guyon, in a faint, with a strange (but lovely and sweet) young man beside him.
    • The man speaks to the Palmer and tells him that he has been sent by God to tell the Palmer that he must watch over and protect Guyon, no matter what, and make sure he heals quickly.
    • After he says this, a pair of wings appear and he's gone before the Palmer can reply.
    • The Palmer is stunned for a few moments but then immediately checks to see if Guyon has a pulse.
    • Luckily, he does. Unluckily, the Palmer sees Pyrocles, Cymochles, Atin, and Archimago coming in the distance.
    • As soon as Pyrocles spots them, he assumes Guyon is dead, and mocks the Palmer for protecting his dead body.
    • The Palmer replies that it's against the rules of knighthood to defile a corpse, especially the corpse of such an impressive knight.
    • Cymochles points out that he clearly wasn't that impressive if he's dead. Foolproof logic?
    • Pyrocles then gets upset, since he was looking forward to killing Guyon. To make himself feel better, he decides to just take all of Guyon's armor.
    • The Palmer pleads with them again, saying that taking people's armor is against the rules of knighthood. No shocker: they don't care and continue with their armor-removal.
    • All of a sudden, however, another illustrious knight appears with his squire and the Palmer informs Pyrocles and Cymochles that they better get ready to fight, because the knight is Arthur. Dum dum dum.
    • They start to get ready for battle, when Pyrocles realizes he is without a sword.
    • Archimago, as it turns out, has a sword, but he explains to Pyrocles that he can't lend it to him because the sword is actually Arthur's, crafted by the wizard Merlin, and has such powerful magic that it cannot be used against its rightful owner.
    • Pyrocles doesn't care and he's sure that he can still do some damage with it, so he takes it from Archimago.
    • Arthur approaches and greets the two knights, who simply growl back, and then, seeing Guyon on the ground, Arthur asks the Palmer what has happened.
    • The Palmer replies that Guyon has died and that these two knights were going to defile his corpse.
    • Arthur agrees that that would be an outrageous thing to do and asks the two knights to pardon Guyon and leave him alone.
    • Cymochles refuses and Arthur again asks them to reconsider, saying that doing such a thing would bring dishonor to both of them.
    • Pyrocles now responds, again refuses, and charges at Arthur with Arthur's sword.
    • The sword does indeed save Arthur from being killed, but still deals him a startling blow.
    • This very much angers Arthur, and he severely wounds Pyrocles.
    • Cymochles then in response hits Arthur so hard he falls off his horse.
    • Even though Arthur is now at a serious disadvantage, he holds off both Pyrocles and Cymochles until, seeing an advantage, stabs Cymochles in the thigh.
    • Pyrocles is now even angrier and rushes with great force toward Arthur and breaks his sword in two and stabs him in the side.
    • Though wounded, Arthur stands his ground and the Palmer rushes to him giving him Guyon's sword.
    • His confidence returned, Arthur begins to fight more fiercely than before, even though he is caught off guard by the fact that Pyrocles is using Guyon's shield, which has the Faerie Queene's face painted on it, and which makes Arthur not want to strike it.
    • Nonetheless, when Cymochles rushes at Arthur, Arthur stabs him in the head and kills him.
    • Pyrocles is appalled and rushes at Arthur too, only to find himself forced to the ground.
    • Arthur, however, offers him mercy but Pyrocles refuses it and so Arthur cuts off his head.
    • At this, Guyon finally wakes up and is at first alarmed to see he has neither sword nor shield.
    • But as soon as he sees the Palmer, and hears about what happened, he's very relieved and runs to Arthur to thank him and to pledge his loyalty to him.
    • Arthur says that isn't necessary, since all knights should be bound by an oath of loyalty.
    • While all this has been going on, Archimago and Atin have fled.
  • Book 2, Canto 9

    • Our narrator observes that while the human body is one of the greatest gifts of God, it can become monstrous when it falls into corruption.
    • After Pyrocles and Cymochles were defeated, and all armor had been returned to its rightful owner, Arthur asked Guyon why he has the picture of a lady on his shield.
    • Guyon responds that if Arthur is taken with that image, wait until he sees her in person—she's just that glorious, wise, and virtuous.
    • He explains that it is the image of the Faerie Queene, his lady and the most renowned queen in the world.
    • Arthur responds that it must be wonderful to be a knight for such an incredible queen.
    • Guyon assures Arthur that if he wanted to be a knight for the queen, he would most certainly be welcome.
    • Arthur then reveals that it's in order to serve her that he's been wandering for seven years, but that he still hasn't been able to find her.
    • Guyon says that it never does seem to be easy to find what you're looking for and says he wishes he could take Arthur there himself, but he has another task to see to.
    • Arthur asks what task that is and Guyon tells him all about Acrasia and her evil deeds.
    • By that time, it is already night, and so when they catch sight of a castle, they head toward it hoping to be able to rest.
    • However, the gates are locked, seemingly to prevent them from entering, so Arthur's squire blows his magic horn (that same one used at Orgoglio's castle) and finally a watchman tells them to leave as quickly as possible because the castle has been under attack for seven years.
    • Suddenly, out of the rocks and caves a huge number of dangerous-looking people emerge armed with knifes and clubs.
    • But even though they are out-numbered, after a few surges Arthur and Guyon defeat the attackers and return to the gate of the castle.
    • When the lady of the castle hears of their brave deeds, she welcomes them in and entertains them lavishly.
    • The lady's name is Alma, and she is beautiful, just, and pleasant and has yet never married even though many men have sought her hand.
    • After they have relaxed and rested, the knights want a tour of the castle.
    • Alma agrees and shows them what a marvelous place it is: completely proportional, composed of the absolute best materials, built by the most skilled craftsmen, and with an excellent porter who lets nothing poorly thought-out leave the castle.
    • Inside the castle is a great hall run by a steward named Diet and a marshal named Appetite.
    • Excuse us, but hahahahaha. Those are some spit-take worthy names.
    • There is a very well-designed kitchen, with a huge furnace and bellows, run by a cook named Concoction (snort!) and an assistant named Digestion (wahahahaha!), and, of course, a place in which the kitchen waste is dumped.
    • The two knights are amazed at this incredible castle and then follow Alma to a parlor room where many various ladies with a whole variety of personalities are sitting, and where little Cupid is playing.
    • As soon as Alma and the knights enter, the ladies all stop what they're doing and greet them.
    • Soon, Arthur ends up talking with one of the ladies, who is very pretty but rather sad and solemn, and wearing a purple dress.
    • Arthur asks her why she's so sad and she replies that Arthur is sad too, and that even though she is pensive, she also desires glory and fame, which she suspects Arthur does as well.
    • Arthur is deeply affected by what she says and asks her name, which she says is Praysdesire.
    • This book does not have subtle names.
    • Meanwhile, Guyon ends up talking with another lady, also very pretty, but quite modest and shy and she often blushes quite obviously.
    • Guyon therefore asks her what was wrong and if he is making her uncomfortable.
    • But she doesn't answer him. She only blushes more, and Alma has to come over and explain to Guyon that she is Shamefastnesse (a fear of shame), which is a quality that Guyon also has.
    • Guyon, obligingly, blushes at this and in this way both knights spend an enjoyable time with their mutual ladies.
    • Soon, however, Alma takes them to another part of the castle, at the top of a tall tower, where two bright beacons light the sky.
    • The tower is filled with many rooms, but there are three that are most important, and in each of them lives a wise sage: one who can tell the future, one who knows about the present, and one who knows about the past.
    • The first, called Phantastes, lived in a colorful, though disorganized room, in which there are all kinds of shapes and forms of things, including fantastical beings like witches, centaurs as well as normal things likes lions and children.
    • The room is also filled with flies that contain all kinds of random dreams, thoughts, and opinions. These flies buzz around the man as he sits, looking almost mad.
    • Alma takes them to the next room, which is painted with pictures of states, laws, judgments, the arts, and philosophy.
    • An old man sits there who contemplates all these aspects of life and has grown very wise.
    • The third room is rather decrepit, and the old man, mostly blind, sits there holding all the memories of ages past in his mind.
    • Around him are scrolls and books full of ancient history, but they're all tattered by the ravages of time. He has a little boy who helps him retrieve all these various documents whenever he wants to look at them. The boy's name is Anamnestes and the old man's name is Eumnestes.
    • As they look around at the books, Arthur happens to find a book on the history of Britain, and Guyon find one on the history of Faerie Land. They are both so excited to read their books that they beg Alma to let them stay and read, which she happily allows them to do.
  • Book 2, Canto 10

    • Since Guyon and Arthur are busily reading about history, our narrator decides that we could use a history lesson too. This is a lesson about the ancestors of the Britain—aka Queen Elizabeth I—and our narrator invites us to read along with Arthur.
    • Now, the narrator wants us to prepare ourselves for just how important this topic. He's going to need all his poetic skillz to relate it.
    • He explains that Arthur is the ancestor of the Queen and that Arthur's ancestors themselves go way back.
    • Back in the day, Britain was a total wilderness that a few wanderers had discovered, but they lived in constant fear of neighboring giants and monsters, apparently the offspring of a Roman emperor's daughter.
    • The land remained chaotic until a Roman nobleman, Brutus, conquered it and made himself king.
    • The monsters continued to be an issue, but three heroes emerge victorious and divide up Britain between themselves: Corineus takes Cornwall, Debons takes Debonshire, and Canute takes Cantium.
    • Brutus then rules Britain happily ever after and leaves it and its surrounding territories to his three sons: Locrine takes Britain itself, Albanact takes Scotland, and Camber takes Wales.
    • Things go along peacefully until the Huns (a fierce tribe of warriors from Asia) attack, whom Locrine expertly defeats.
    • Unfortunately, this victory goes to Locrine's head and he begins living an overly luxurious life, even cheating on his wife, Guendolene (the daughter of Corineus) with a lady named Estrild.
    • Well, Guendolene doesn't put up with it and defeats Locrine in battle, puts him in jail, and kills both Estrild and her daughter by Locrine, Sabina.
    • She then rules in Locrine's place until their son, Madan, comes of age and then she hands over the kingdom to him.
    • Madan and his son, Memprise, end up being pretty lousy kings, but Memprise's son, Ebranck, turns out to be pretty solid.
    • This guy has fifty-two children, twenty of which are sons, and briefly manages to invade Germany until France kicks them out.
    • One of his sons, Brutus the Second, takes over and manages to conquer parts of France, and his son, Leill, takes a more peaceful tone and builds some cool castles.
    • The next two kings, Huddibras and Bladud, continue this peaceful vibe and Bladud, being a learned type, brings arts and sciences to some of Britain's rougher parts (for example, the amazing hot baths at Bath which are still around today).
    • His son is the infamous Leyr. Yep, that King Lear. Spenser's version is actually a source for Shakespeare. Lear had no sons and wanted to divide his kingdom between his daughters equally.
    • However, when he got old and grumpy, he demanded that his daughters prove their love for him, which the eldest Gonorill did, and then the youngest, Regan, also. But the middle daughter, Cordeill, said she loves him just as she should and had nothing to prove.
    • Well, this did not make Leyr happy so he cut her out of her inheritance and she went off with her husband to France.
    • Leyr then decided to retire with his daughter Gonorill, who got sick of him and then with Regan, who got sick of him too.
    • Finally, he had no one to turn too but Cordeill, who took him in happily and led a war against Gonorill and Regan for the throne.
    • She defeated them and restored the throne to Leyr who then left it all to her when he died.
    • However, the children of Gonorill and Regan then rose up against Cordeill for the throne and they captured her, threw her in prison, and she eventually hanged herself.
    • The children of Gonorill and Regan—Cundah and Morgan—began to fight over the throne, and Cundah eventually defeated Morgan.
    • Their son continues the bloodshed, but after him is a short time of peace, until the sons of the king Gorbogud—Ferrex and Porrex—throw him in prison.
    • Not surprisingly, they begin to squabble over the throne and Porrex kills Ferrex, but then their mother, Wyden, kills Porrex. This ain't a happy family, folks.
    • With their death, the line of Brutus ended and Britain descended into chaos until one leader, named Donwallo, brought peace, unity, and laws to Britain.
    • His sons, Brennus and Belinus, conquer Rome, Greece, France, and Germany. The son of Belinus, Gurgunt, continues in his father's footsteps, conquering Norway and Denmark and establishing some Spaniards in Ireland as his subjects.
    • Next Guitheline reigns with his wife, Martia, who brings in good laws and is followed by various kings until the sons of Morindus reign: Gorboman, then Archigald, who is deposed for being haughty, then Elidure, who puts Archigald back on the throne until he dies, but then has his throne seized by Peridure and Vigent.
    • No wonder they call it a Game of Thrones: this nonsense is like musical chairs.
    • Elidure is then imprisoned for a long time, but finally regains the throne and ushers in many generations of kings.
    • One of these is Hely, whose eldest son reigns after him and builds fortifications around London.
    • He leaves the throne to his sons, Androgeus and Tenantius, and put their uncle in charge since they are too young.
    • It's during their reign that Julius Caesar and the Romans attack and eventually defeat Britain because Androgeus betrays his people out of anger that his uncle was allowed to rule.
    • Even though Rome takes control of Britain, it's not without a good fight; Caesar faces their hero, Nennius, in single combat and although Nennius dies, Caesar's sword is stuck to his shield and so is buried with him near London.
    • Our narrator also informs us that Arthur will one day stand up to Roman rule.
    • Tenantius takes over ruling Britain, and during his son's reign we learn that Jesus is born.
    • The Roman emperor Claudius attacks Britain again, killing the king, but Arvirage takes over and repels them and even marries the Roman emperor Vespasian's daughter, Genuissa, who convinces her husband to no longer make war against Rome.
    • After this there is a time of peace that ends with king Lucius, who brings Christianity to Britain.
    • After his death, since he leaves no heirs, chaos ensues and the warrior-queen Bunduca (also called Boadicea (yeah, we think it sounds like "bodacious" too)) challenges Rome and almost wins, but ultimately kills herself. Oops.
    • After her, more turmoil continues, as many kings of Britain unsuccessfully attempt to defeat Rome.
    • Finally, Rome sends Constantius to deal with the British king Coyll, and Coyll agrees to give his daughter, the beautiful and musically talented Helena, to Constantius as a wife.
    • She and Constantius have a son, the famous emperor Constantine, who is the first Christian emperor of Rome.
    • Meanwhile, Octavius becomes king of Britain, and gives his daughter to a Roman, Maximilian, who becomes emperor but is killed.
    • Soon, Britain descends again into chaos, overtaken by the warring tribes of Huns and Picts, and the whole Roman Empire dissolves for four hundred years until order is established under a second Constantine, who extends Britain's boundaries.
    • The sons he leaves were all young so their uncle, Vortigere, takes over and sends the children to Brittany while he sends for aid from Germany. But he's betrayed by those Germans, and barely escapes alive.
    • Meanwhile, the children of Constantine have grown up. Their names are Ambrose and Uther, and they want their kingdom back.
    • They kill Vortigere and his German henchmen and Ambrose takes over and rules in peace and is then succeeded by his brother Uther—
    • But wait! Arthur's book has cut off right here, unfinished for some mysterious reason.
    • Arthur is very moved by reading the history of his people but meanwhile, Guyon has been reading about the history of Faerie Land and is still distracted doing that.
    • Our narrator says that he doesn't have time to include a full history of that too (phew!), but he'll give us a taste.
    • The history of Faerie Land tells how Prometheus created man, but was severely punished for this. The man he created he called "Elfe" meaning "quick."
    • This first Elfe king finds a lovely lady he calls Fay, hence Faeries, and they begin a great lineage of great Elves who control huge parts of the world like India and America.
    • Their line goes on for many, many generations and kills all kinds of goblins, monsters, and giants.
    • Finally, we come to Elficeos, whose youngest son Oberon leaves his power to Tananquill, aka the Faerie Queene, the greatest sovereign yet to reign.
    • Arthur and Guyon are completely absorbed in their texts, but Alma realizes how late it is and, reluctantly, they follow her to dinner.
  • Book 2, Canto 11

    • Our narrator wonders why we let extremes ruin the natural moderation of our bodies, since being healthy is so important.
    • Anyway, Guyon is up early, ready to find the Bower of Bliss, and heads off down the river with the Palmer.
    • However, back at Alma's castle, trouble is stirring: those pesky villains who had been attacking her castle earlier are back and in even greater numbers.
    • They begin to relentlessly lay siege to the castle, some trying to batter the main door open, others trying to hurt the castle's five fortifications: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch.
    • As they continue to try and gain entrance, and are repelled by Alma's guards, Alma becomes increasingly concerned at how extensive this attack is.
    • Arthur, seeing her concern, offers to fight these villains for her and puts on his armor and heads out to face them.
    • When the attackers see him, they shower him with arrows but Arthur repels them all with his shield while injuring others with his sword and treading on some with his horse.
    • The captain of these villains is a scary character: he rides a tiger, and looks almost deathly pale, and carries a bow and arrow.
    • His name is Maleger and two fearsome women ride near him: Impotence and Impatience.
    • Maleger and Arthur begin to fight, and soon Arthur is chasing Malegar who shoots at Arthur while riding backwards on his swift tiger.
    • Arthur decides it's not worth it to chase Malegar but instead will let him use up all his arrows.
    • However, Arthur then sees that one of the women has been collecting Malegar's used arrows and bringing them back to him, so Arthur immediately ties her up.
    • Her sister, the other woman, seeing this, comes to help her sister and suddenly, they both have Arthur on the ground with Malegar about to kill him.
    • Luckily, Arthur's trusty squire intervenes by taking both of the women off of Arthur.
    • This leaves Arthur free to attack Malegar, which he does with renewed vigor, and he is able to pull him off his tiger.
    • Arthur then deals the Malegar a heavy blow, but he rallies quickly and throws a massive stone at Arthur.
    • Arthur avoids it and stabs Malegar in the chest—however, no blood rushes out and Malegar is uninjured.
    • Arthur is astonished and starts to fear that some magic is at work.
    • He decides to put down his sword and his shield and crush Malegar with his bare hands, but no luck.
    • Then Arthur realizes Malegar must be getting his life force from the Earth, and so Arthur grabs him, squeezes the life out of him, and then drowns him in a lake.
    • This does the trick, and the two women kill themselves.
    • Arthur, exhausted and wounded from the fight, faints and his squire takes him back to the Castle where Alma tends to him.
  • Book 2, Canto 12

    • Back to Guyon, who is on his way to facing a pretty serious challenge in the Bower of Bliss.
    • He and the Palmer, along with a Ferryman, have been sailing for two days and on the third day they hear a rather alarming roar.
    • The Boatman advises the Palmer to steer a steady course since they have to avoid the Gulf of Greediness on one side, where ships are swallowed up, and the Magnes on the other, which is a cliff that draws ships to it and then crushes them. No biggie.
    • They proceed ahead, seeing both the horrible mouth of the Gulf of Greediness and the bleak and treacherous rocks of Magnes, also called the Rock of Vile Reproach.
    • Once they pass safely, the Palmer remarks that they've seen examples of how dangerous luxury and indulgence can be.
    • Soon, they see Islands ahead, and Guyon says they ought to steer toward them, thinking he's seen land.
    • But the Ferryman explains that those are actually the Wandering Islands, not actually tied to land, and anyone who steps on them will never be able to leave.
    • On one of the islands they spot Phaedria, who follows them in her boat trying to be flirtatious, but the Palmer sends her away and they pass through the Wandering Islands without other problems.
    • The Ferryman then warns them that they're coming up to a dangerous section full of mermaids who will try and tempt them, but even before that is some hidden quicksand.
    • They pass the hidden quicksand of Unthriftiness, where they see a ship full of riches stuck fast, and then they see a dangerous whirlpool, the Whirlpool of Decay.
    • This is the worst cruise ever.
    • But the Ferryman does a good job navigating and they make it through, only to suddenly come upon some horrible sea monsters. Oops.
    • But the Palmer urges them to remain calm and hitting the sea with his staff, causes them all to flee in fear.
    • Next they see a woman crying for help, whom Guyon wants to go and aid but the Palmer tells him not to listen to her, that she is just luring him with her cries for help.
    • Now, they come to mermaids, who sing to Guyon to come rest with them, and again, Guyon wants to go to them, but the Palmer advises against it.
    • They finally spot land when all of a sudden a thick fog covers the ship and they are attacked by violent birds.
    • But the birds are not able to make them turn away from their course and soon the weather clears and they reach land.
    • Guyon arms himself and he and the Palmer head off.
    • They begin to hear the roaring of beasts and suddenly see a huge number heading toward them, hungry.
    • But the Palmer repels them with his staff, a magic staff made from the same wood as Mercury's Caduceus.
    • They now arrive at the Bower of Bliss itself, and boy, it is a pretty nice spot full of the most beautiful imitations of nature.
    • There's a wall surrounding the bower and a gate, decorated with the story of Jason and Medea, that's pretty vividly depicted, but they don't spend a lot of time on it.
    • Instead, they see someone sitting on the porch, called Genius, who might be mistaken for a good and wise spirit (Genius means "spirit" in Latin) but is actually one of destruction and falsehood.
    • He entices Guyon to enter, but Guyon throws down the Genius' bowl of wine and breaks his staff.
    • Once inside the Bower, it is really amazing: beautiful plains, flowers, no bad weather. It might be the most beautiful garden ever.
    • But Guyon doesn't let the beauty go to his head and heads to the next gate, which is made entirely of grape branches that tempt visitors with their delicious fruit—some of the grapes are even golden.
    • Nearby stands a lady, named Excess (a bit immodestly dressed), who is crushing grapes into a golden goblet and making wine.
    • She offers it to Guyon, who throws it to the ground and breaks it, which upsets Excess but Guyon pays no attention to her and continues on his way.
    • He comes to yet another incredibly beautiful place, so beautiful it almost looks as if Nature and Art were competing.
    • At the center is a huge fountain, decorated with pictures of young boy playing.
    • In the fountain are two women, completely naked, bathing, playing, and wrestling with each other and Guyon finds himself getting very distracted by them.
    • They continue to catch his attention, and beckon him to come to them, but the Palmer sternly intervenes and they head straight for the center of the Bower of Bliss.
    • They begin to hear the most incredible, unique, and beautiful music they have ever heard and they follow its source to Acrasia herself.
    • Acrasia has a new lover whom she has lulled to sleep and whom she is now sucking the soul out of while someone sings a seductive song.
    • The Palmer and Guyon silently make their way forward toward Acrasia, who they see is lying practically naked on a bed of roses while her lover, clearly a former knight, lies helplessly with his arms and shield hung up away from him.
    • Suddenly, the Palmer and Guyon jump out and catch Acrasia and her lover in a net, that, we're told, the Palmer has made earlier for just this purpose.
    • Acrasia and her lover try their best to escape, but it's impossible, and they put Acrasia in chains and let her lover, named Verdant, go free, but with some advice.
    • Then Guyon, furious, destroys the Bower of Bliss, leveling every garden and breaking every object until it looks super ugly.
    • They take Acrasia and Verdant out of the Bower, and are again attacked by the wild beasts, but the Palmer pacifies those bad boys again.
    • Guyon asks what those beasts are and the Palmer replies that they used to be men and were transformed by Acrasia.
    • Guyon feels bad for the men and so the Palmer uses his staff to change them back.
    • However, they are barely men when they change back. Some are even angry that they've been changed and that Acrasia is a captive.
    • The Palmer says that it's a shame to see men want to be beasts, but they can't do anything about it, and so they go their way.
  • Book 3, Proem

    • This bad boy is called: The Thirde Booke of the Faerie Queene. Contayning The Legend of Britomartis, or, Chastity.
    • Our narrator is going to tell us about chastity now, although he doesn't necessarily have to turn to Faerie Land to look for it, since his queen embodies it.
    • However, he's concerned that no art form, including poetry, is really capable of depicting this virtue but he's going to try anyway and hopes that, at the least, the queen herself will be mirrored in his work, perhaps in the character of Belphoebe.
  • Book 3, Canto 1

    • Having rested at the house of Alma after many exhausting adventures, and having sent Acrasia to the court of the Faerie Queene, Arthur and Guyon are now refreshed and ready for more excitement.
    • They travel a long time and have many adventures until one day they see a knight riding with a lion on his shield accompanied by an old man acting as his squire.
    • Guyon charges the knight with his spear but is in for a surprise, since this knight knocks Guyon completely off his horse.
    • Guyon is mortified since this is the first time this has ever happened, although Guyon doesn't realize that the other knight's spear is enchanted.
    • We also learn, although Guyon doesn't, that the other knight is a woman named Britomart who is in Faerie Land looking for her love (whose face she saw in Merlin's looking glass).
    • Now, Guyon, furious at being unseated, wants his revenge but the Palmer calms him down and advises him against it.
    • So the knights instead reconcile themselves to one another and all of them head off together in an admirable show of honor and restraint.
    • Soon, they come to a spooky-looking forest filled with dangerous beasts.
    • As they ride through the forest, a woman dressed in gold riding a bright white horse charges out fleeing; behind her follows a kind of mountain man, bleeding, trying to catch her.
    • The knights are appalled to see this and Guyon and Arthur at once rush after the man.
    • But Britomart, unaffected by the allure of a beautiful woman, instead follows on her own way until she comes to a great castle.
    • In front of the castle she sees six knights fighting against one, and the one, thought badly wounded, is still holding his ground.
    • Britomart rushes to his defense, telling the other knights to cease, but they ignore her and continue to attack.
    • Britomart then directly intervenes, forcing the knights to stop and demanding an explanation.
    • The knight being attacked explains that these knights are trying to force him to love someone other than his lady, who it becomes clear, is Una. This makes the knight our man Redcrosse.
    • Britomart responds that forcing something like that is completely unacceptable, to which one of the six knights responds that the lady of the castle is incredibly beautiful and has a rule that whatever knight comes to the castle must serve her forever or, if he already has a lady, prove his lady is better than the lady of the castle by fighting.
    • Britomart says she has a love, but not a lady, and then attacks the other knights not for the sake of her love but out of anger at what's been done to Redcrosse.
    • Sure enough, Britomart knocks over three of them, Redcrosse knocks over one more, and the remaining two beg for mercy.
    • Britomart explains to them that truth has won and that Redcrosse should be left to love his lady in peace.
    • They agree and everyone heads into the castle, called the Castle Joyous, to celebrate and relax.
    • The castle is incredibly richly decorated, and they're taken to an inner chamber covered in tapestries that tell the story of Venus and Adonis.
    • In general, the whole place has a kind of romantic, even sexual, vibe.
    • Soon, they come to the Lady of Delight, who runs the castle, lying in a great bed looking a bit immodest and she sends them all off to have a good time.
    • Redcrosse and the other six knights disarm, but Britomart refuses, lifting only her helmet and revealing her gender and her great beauty.
    • The six knights, it turns out, are all brothers and are particularly trained in showing ladies a good time: Gardante, Parlante, Iocante, Basciante, Bacchante, and Noctante.
    • And while they all think Britomart is very attractive, her abilities with a sword keep them from trying anything.
    • Meanwhile, the Lady of Delight has developed quite a crush on Britomart, unaware, for some reason, that she's a woman.
    • The Lady of Delight is, in fact, quite taken over by these feelings of lust and the narrator warns other young ladies to avoid becoming like her.
    • The Lady threw a sumptuous dinner, the whole time making eyes at Britomart, trying to get her alone, and finally trying to get her to take off her armor.
    • When these tactics failed, she fell to the ground begging Britomart to have pity on her but that she is just so totally in love with her.
    • Britomart, who is inexperienced in the realm of love, feels bad for the Lady and plays along, making conversation so as not to be rude.
    • Finally, everyone heads off to bed (most of them with someone else), and Britomart and Malecasta (we finally learns the Lady of Delight's name) go their separate ways.
    • But Malecasta, who can't stand it anymore, sneaks into Britomart's room and bed.
    • However, as soon as Britomart wakes up and feels someone next to her she jumps out of bed and grabs her sword.
    • Malecasta screamed in fright and then faints, waking up the whole house.
    • Her knights are wary of taking Britomart on after what happened that day. But one, Gardante, shoots her with a bow and arrow, only lightly grazing her.
    • She then angrily attacks them and is soon joined by Redcrosse and the two of them scare off everyone quickly.
    • Britomart then puts on her armor and heads out of there pronto.
  • Book 3, Canto 2

    • Before we get back to Britomart, our narrator wants to praise women, whom he feels get neglected far too often.
    • In fact, women used to be warriors all the time until men got jealous and made women subservient to them.
    • So, Spenser wants to give props to Britomart and, especially, to his queen.
    • Meanwhile, Britomart and Redcrosse are traveling along. To pass the time Redcrosse asks her why she's come to Faerie Land and why, though she's a woman, she chooses to ride as a knight.
    • She takes a little while to answer. She's clearly quite emotional, but begins her story:
    • She was raised to be a knight ever since she was little, since she's never enjoyed domestic work.
    • She's originally from Britain and is here in Faerie Land to look for adventures and to seek praise and fame.
    • She says she's also here to find a knight named Arthegall, who, she claims, has dishonored her.
    • She hesitates for a moment, feeling bad she's lied (Arthegall has not actually dishonored her), but Redcrosse jumps in and says she must be confused since a knight a honorable as Arthegall could never have dishonored a lady.
    • He goes on to praise Arthegall further and to further doubt what Britomart claims.
    • Hearing all this, Britomart is secretly very pleased since she actually loves Arthegall and is happy to hear how respected he is.
    • But wanting to hear more about Arthegall, Britomart continues the deception and insists that Arthegall behaved quite un-chivalrously to her and that she's going to get her revenge.
    • Redcrosse cautions her against this, saying that wrath rarely leads to good things and that Arthegall will prove to be a pretty formidable opponent; not only is he a good fighter but he's hard to track down since he wanders all over the place doing good deeds.
    • Britomart is again happy to hear this, but still pretends otherwise.
    • She says she still wants to seek him out and asks what he looks like and what armor he wears so that she might recognize him.
    • Redcrosse describes him, but it's not really necessary, since Britomart memorized his appearance completely when she saw his face in a magic mirror.
    • The mirror has its own fascinating history.
    • It was crafted by the magician Merlin and it can show where anyone is, anytime, not matter what: no one can hide from this mirror and many ancient kings and figures have consulted it.
    • So this is the mirror Merlin gave king Rycene, Britomart's father, and one day Britomart finds the mirror.
    • At first, she is transfixed looking at herself and her beauty but soon she begins to wonder who her husband will be.
    • Suddenly, a handsome knight appears wearing majestic armor that apparently used to belong to Achilles, with a hound on his shield.
    • At first, Britomart isn't overly preoccupied with his image, but soon she begins to feel the pangs of love.
    • She's unsure of what she's feeling—she can't sleep—but one night her nurse, Glauce, notices her restlessness.
    • She asks her what's wrong, saying she's noticed her not only being distracted at night, but also during the day.
    • The nurse suspects that Britomart is in love and hopes the man she's in love with is worthy of her.
    • The nurse tells Britomart that she can tell her anything and embraces her to make her feel better.
    • Britomart says she doesn't think it's worth telling the nurse, since then they'll both suffer but Glauce insists that there's a remedy for everything.
    • Britomart in turn insists that her problem is unique and impossible to help and the two go back and forth until Britomart finally says that she doesn't love a real man at all, but the image of one she saw in her father's mirror.
    • Glauce tells her to relax, and that she was worried Britomart was in love with someone really inappropriate; this guy, whoever he is, is probably good.
    • Britomart isn't particularly comforted and worries she'll still live out her days pining for someone she doesn't even know.
    • But the nurse suggests that they can use magic to identify him and this does give Britomart some hope.
    • The next day the two of them head to church, but are both distracted. As soon as they get home the nurse makes a potion for Britomart.
    • But the potion doesn't help Britomart at all, and the nurse begins to become desperate.
  • Book 3, Canto 3

    • Our narrator first begins by praising the God of love. Not base, sexual love, but pure, virtuous love.
    • He praises how love can make knights do good deeds and he especially praises the power of love in Britomart, who searches the wide world for Arthegall.
    • The narrator then calls on his muse, Clio, to help him sing about the ancestors of his queen.
    • Meanwhile, Glauce is searching for a way to help Britomart and finally decides they should go to the man who built the mirror, Merlin.
    • So the two of them disguise themselves as lowly servants and sneak off to Merlin's cave.
    • Merlin's cave is not the most pleasant place since lots of little demons are constantly screeching and making noise.
    • The reason they do this, so they say, is that Merlin ordered them to build a wall but was in the meantime summoned by the Lady of the Lake, who he loved, and then tricked and trapped.
    • Because of his magic, however, these little demons have to continue building for the rest of eternity. How Merlin escaped being trapped is unclear.
    • Regardless, Merlin is probably the most powerful wizard who ever lived and might not even have mortal parents.
    • Anyway, they get to Merlin's cave and are at first nervous to enter, since it's a little creepy, but Britomart finally enters in.
    • Merlin, who knew they were coming, is busy writing magical things and asks them what they need.
    • Glauce apologizes for bothering him and explains that Britomart is seriously ill and Glauce just doesn't know how to help her.
    • Merlin knows she isn't revealing the full extent of Britomart's situation so he tells her she should just take Britomart to a doctor.
    • The nurse responds that they've tried that and it's just not enough to help with Britomart's exact problem.
    • Merlin finally reveals that he knows why they've come and the nurse begs him then to help.
    • Merlin then turns to Britomart and tells her not to worry, that even though it's painful now, it is the beginning of something good.
    • He explains that she's going to begin a great and renowned line of kings and heroes and that the mirror didn't just show her just "some guy" but her husband destined by God, who is a great and worthy knight.
    • But the nurse reminds Merlin that they still need to find this guy.
    • Merlin understands and says that his name is Arthegall and that he was stolen away to Faerie Land when he was a baby and was raised there but he's actually from Earth.
    • Britomart will bring Arthegall back to his home where they will both defend it from attacking Muslims and they will then have a child, although Arthegall will be killed before the child is born. Bummer.
    • Their nephew, Constantius, will reign followed by their grandson, Vortipore, who will lose his kingdom but his son Malgo will get it back, who Merlin describes as being extremely handsome.
    • His son, Careticus, will reign for a bit but will then be defeated by Gormond, who will temporarily drive out Christianity.
    • He will be followed by the brutal Etheldred who will finally be defeated by Cadwan.
    • He will be followed by Cadwallin, who definitely ends the line of Etheldred by killing his children and grandchildren.
    • However, he encounters a major rebuff by "the good king Oswald" (III.iii.38), known for bringing crosses onto the battlefield.
    • Eventually, Cadwallin defeats him, but after his death, Britain is no longer ruled by other Britons but under the control of foreign leaders: the Saxons.
    • Britomart is concerned to hear this and asks Merlin if Britain will always be ruled by foreigners.
    • Merlin assures her that it is only temporary and that even during this dark time, there were great Briton men.
    • Besides, the Saxons don't have it that easy since they're eventually defeated by the Normans (this would be William the Conqueror) and finally, Briton regains control of the throne (this would be Henry VII).
    • Henry the VII will bring peace and unity to Britain, creating what we now call the United Kingdom, and later a great queen will rule Britain, who will reign in glory and in peace (and this is Queen Elizabeth I).
    • Merlin looks a bit strange after delivering this triple shot of history and needs a moment to calm down, which he does.
    • The two women than head out, feeling much better, and the nurse begins to plan their next move.
    • She thinks they ought to dress up as knights to avoid being seen sneaking away. Since there's a war going on, they'd blend right in.
    • She tells Britomart about a Virgin Knight she heard about recently, called Angela who, though defeated by Britomart's father, fought valiantly.
    • Britomart is inspired by this example and decides to takes her nurse's advice.
    • By extraordinary good luck, Britomart is able to snag Angela's armor and a magic spear, both on their way to the castle's hall to be hung up.
    • The nurse dresses up as her squire and the two go off and head straight for Faerie Land.
  • Book 3, Canto 4

    • Our narrator laments that there are no more heroic women in the world for poets to write about and wonders why they all seem to be in the past.
    • But even those famous historical women can't compare to Britomart.
    • We're back in the present day now, with Britomart chilling with Redcrosse.
    • Now Britomart and Redcrosse had been enjoyably chatting for a while and became fast friends.
    • But soon, Redcrosse has to go on his own way to seek adventure while Britomart goes on her way, so the two parted on good terms.
    • As Britomart went along she kept thinking about Arthegall and the more she thought about him, the worse her pain from love grew.
    • Finally, she decided to take a break and, stopping by a cliff near the sea, began to lament.
    • She sees herself and her own trouble reflected in the violence of the waves and asks the god of the sea to bring calmer winds her way.
    • She felt deeply sad until her nurse comforts her, reminding her of Merlin's prophecy.
    • Soon, she sees a knight riding toward her fast and so she puts on her helmet and prepares to charge him.
    • The knight warns her to get out of his way or else she'll suffer death like others who haven't listened.
    • Britomart doesn't care and tells him he should be warned and then goes ahead and charges him.
    • She wounds the knight (who we learn is named Marinell) badly in the side and then leaves him on the beach, ignoring the sparkling jewels lying all over the shore.
    • However, Marinell's mother Cymoent hears of her son's plight.
    • Cymoent is a nymph who raised Marinell, whose father is named Dumarin, with her by the sea and he challenged anyone who came to that strand of beach to duel with him.
    • No one has yet defeated him and he's feared throughout Faerie Land and was given great wealth by his grandfather, a sea-god. Hence all the precious jewels scattered on the shore, which is called the Rich Strond.
    • Concerned that her son's belligerent attitude will get him killed, she goes to Proteus, who can tell the future.
    • He tells her that she needs to keep him away from women since a strange virgin will grievously harm him or even kill him.
    • Even though it was hard for him (and for some ladies), Marinell steers clear of women.
    • But, naturally, he isn't actually able to escape his fate since neither he nor his mother was on the lookout for a lady-knight.
    • So when Cymoent hears this news she suspects what has happened and faints in horror.
    • Her sisters soon revive her and she speeds over to Marinell with the help of Neptune, god of the sea, who pities her.
    • She comes to the shore and seeing her son lying looking dead she becomes very sad, mourning his wasted potential and Proteus' false prophesies.
    • Finally, as they begin to clean the body, another water nymph named Liagore realizes he still has a pulse, relieving Cymoent immensely.
    • She takes him home and curses whoever injured him.
    • But Britomart seems unaffected by these curses and is riding along as well as can be.
    • Soon, however, our old friend Archimago sees her and chases after her; he's just left off following Guyon and Arthur who are busy pursuing the beautiful woman they saw fleeing in the forest (III.i.15-18).
    • This mysterious woman is too fast for them, however, and they soon split up to cover more ground.
    • Timias, Arthur's squire, is the only one left going after the man that was chasing the woman in the first place.
    • So, with the three men going the separate ways, it ends up falling to Arthur to actually find the path she takes.
    • Even though, as he speeds up to catch her, he keep assuring her he means no harm, the woman continues to flee from him at top speed.
    • Soon, it's nighttime and Arthur becomes discouraged that he still hasn't been able to catch up to her.
    • When he loses all sign of her, he decides to stop and sleep, but gets little rest and has uneasy dreams in which he wishes the Faerie Queene were that lady he was chasing.
    • He then blames Night, who he calls a "nourse of woe" (III.iv.55) and wonders why God even needed Night to exist, since it brings nothing good.
    • He wishes daytime would come soon and when it finally does arrive, Arthur sets off looking tired and feeling sluggish.
  • Book 3, Canto 5

    • Our narrator observes how differently love affects different people: some it inspires to great deeds, others is makes lustful and base.
    • Arthur is in the first camp and is determined to find the mystery woman.
    • As he's looking, he comes across a dwarf who's running quickly and looking agitated.
    • Arthur finds out that the dwarf is looking for the lady he serves, who turns about to be the same woman Arthur is searching for. What luck, eh?
    • Arthur explains that he saved her from a forester but has not been able to find her.
    • He then asks the dwarf who she is and the dwarf answers that she is a beautiful virgin named Florimell.
    • She's in love with Marinell, but he won't return her love since he's been warned that a woman will be his downfall (remember Britomart's encounter with Marinell?)
    • However, she heard that Marinell was injured and has fled the Faerie Queene's court to find and help him.
    • Arthur and the dwarf then resolve to search for her together.
    • Arthur then realizes he's lost track of his squire, who has been chasing the forester that was chasing Florimell.
    • Timias, Arthur's squire, had done a number on the forester who went home to his brothers ashamed at what had happened and angry.
    • After telling his brothers how Timias had defeated him, the three brothers vowed to go after Timias and avenge their brother.
    • They lay in wait for Timias in the forest and as soon as they see him approach, the forester jumps our, challenges him, and shoots him with an arrow.
    • No luck, though, since Timias isn't injured and a violent battle ensues.
    • Timias attacks one brother, gets stabbed in the thigh, but eventually kills the brother.
    • Then, Timias attacks and kills the forester who chased Florimell and finally kills the last brother, who tried to flee after seeing both his brothers so easily killed.
    • But Timias' wound on his thigh is severe and after defeating the last brother, he falls down in a faint.
    • Luckily for Timias, Belphoebe, who has recently defeated Braggadochio, comes across the wounded Timias while she is chasing a wild beast.
    • Afraid at first that he might be dead, she realizes he's barely alive and rushes into the forest to seek herbs that might help him. She knows a lot about herbs because she was raised by nymphs.
    • She makes an herb-paste, applies it to his wound, wraps it in a scarf and in this way saves his life. Right on.
    • Timias awakes and thinks Belphoebe is an angel sent by God to help him.
    • Belphoebe explains that she's just a mortal worried about his recovery and soon her handmaidens, who were also hunting, come upon her and are amazed to see her tending Timias.
    • They find his horse and take him back with them to their house, which is cozy and simple and tucked in a lovely glade in the forest.
    • There, Belphoebe continues to tend Timias until he recovers, but in the meantime, poor Timias has fallen completely in love with Belphoebe.
    • He tries to talk himself out of it, worrying about his own lower status as well as not wanting to be disrespectful to her. In short, the poor guy's just generally a mess.
    • His love torments him so much that he begins to look ill again, which frightens Belphoebe who thinks his wound might have suddenly gotten worse.
    • She gives him more and more medicine but nothing helps him since his wound is of a different sort… it's in his heart.
    • Belphoebe is extremely protective of her virginity, and our narrator closes the canto by praising how well she cares for it and how wonderful that care makes her.
    • He especially praises her ability to be both chaste and courteous, a combination that, ironically, makes her that much more sexually appealing.
  • Book 3, Canto 6

    • You might wonder how Belphoebe could be both courteous and chaste considering she grew up in the forest nowhere near the refined education available at court.
    • But, our narrator tells us that she had these qualities innately within her because she was infused with grace and loveliness from Nature herself.
    • Do not take this as a free pass to go camping forever, Shmoopers. It only works if your mom is a fairy.
    • Belphoebe's mother was a fairy named Chrysogonee, who had Belphoebe and her twin sister, Amoretta.
    • Chrysogonee conceived Belphoebe and Amoretta in an unusual way.
    • After taking a bath, she lay down for a nap and became pregnant through the sun's beams shinning down on her.
    • The narrator reminds us not to be too skeptical, since the ability of the Nile river to overflow and produce life shows just how powerful natural forces, especially the Sun, can be.
    • Chrysogonee, concerned about what had just happened to her, fled into the forest to have children.
    • Meanwhile, the goddess Venus was roaming about looking for her son, Cupid, who had run away.
    • She looks in the courts, in the cities, and then in the country but having no luck, she decides to look even more thoroughly in the forest, particularly where the goddess Diana and her posse hang out.
    • When she finds Diana she asks if they've seen her son, Cupid, and Diana is at first scornful of Venus and makes fun of her request, insisting that she doesn't know where Cupid is since she doesn't even like him.
    • This upsets Venus, and Diana begins to feel bad, and finally has her handmaidens go off to look for him.
    • As they're looking, they come across Chrysogonee, who has just given birth to the twins in her sleep.
    • The handmaidens decide to take the twins and one is given to Diana to raise (Belphoebe) and other is given to Venus to raise (Amoret).
    • Venus raises Amoret in a lovely, paradise called the Garden of Adonis, which is filled with the most beautiful flowers and plants and where human beings both begin and end their life.
    • Some stay there one thousand years before being returned to Earth in new bodies, in what is kind of like a process of reincarnation.
    • This garden requires no gardener for things to flourish and every kind of animal is present there, and is transferred down to Earth if it needs to be replenished.
    • All matter begins in the garden and, from there, transforms into many different shapes.
    • The only bad thing in this garden is Time, who comes around once in a while while and ends the life of various living creatures.
    • With the exception of Time, however, this garden is pretty much the best place ever since it's always spring.
    • Right in the middle of the garden is a secret bower—but made by nature, not by art a la the Bower of Bliss—and there lies Venus' lover, Adonis, who she keeps hidden from the world and all to herself.
    • Even though Adonis is technically a mortal, his presence in the garden has made him capable of constantly adapting. He's therefore pretty much immortal.
    • So he's able to enjoy relaxing in this garden with Venus without having to worry about death. It's a pretty sweet gig.
    • And after Cupid finishes bothering people down on Earth, he comes home to the Garden to hang out with Adonis and with his wife, Psyche.
    • Cupid and Psyche also have a child named Pleasure.
    • Anyway, it's to this pretty amazing garden that Venus has brought Amoret, whom she raises alongside Pleasure.
    • Amoret grows up to be the perfect embodiment of womanhood (beautiful, charming, etc.) and ends up at the court of the Faerie Queene where she falls in love with Sir Scudamore and, for his sake, endures some pretty bad stuff. Stay tuned for that whole drama.
    • But, our narrator imagines that we're pretty ready to go back to Florimell and find out what happened to her.
  • Book 3, Canto 7

    • Back to Florimell, who is still running away from Arthur and is terrified of everything.
    • She rides without stopping for a long time, but finally, her horse is exhausted and can't continue.
    • Stuck on foot, she wanders around until she spots a cottage in a forest. She hopes to find shelter there.
    • When she enters the cottage she finds that a witch lives there. The witch is angry that Florimell has burst in on her unannounced, but soon softens when she sees how distraught Florimell is.
    • She lets Florimell rest there and as Florimell tidies herself up the witch begins to wonder if Florimell is even human or if she's a goddess.
    • While Florimell rests, the witch's son comes home and is amazed to see this beautiful woman with his mother.
    • His mother, astounded and unable to speak, offers him no explanation, but Florimell explains and the son begins to lust after her.
    • He tries to woo her by bringing her little animals from the forest, but as soon as the time is right, Florimell decides to secretly leave now that her horse has also recovered.
    • When the witch and her son wake up to find that Florimell is gone, they become very upset, and the son is so distressed that his mother begins to worry that he might become ill.
    • The witch first tries to give him potions and medicines, but when nothing works, she turns to darker means.
    • She called forth a horrible monster, one that almost looks like a hyena, and sends her after Florimell.
    • When Florimell sees this terrifying monster chasing her, she immediately jumps on her horse and flees as fast as possible.
    • But the horse doesn't seem to be able to out-run the monster and since Florimell is quickly approaching the ocean, she panics and starts to run on her feet, planning on drowning herself in the ocean rather than be eaten by the monster.
    • Luckily, there was an old poor man with a boat on the shore. Florimell jumps in the boat and escapes the monster.
    • Sadly, though, the monster kills her horse, just to be mean.
    • But just as the monster's finishing munching, Satyrane (who we met in Book 1, Canto 6) comes along and seeing the monster eating Florimell's horse. He believes the monster has done something horrible to her.
    • Satyrane had fallen in love with Florimell and he earlier had found her girdle (kind of like a belt) lying in the forest.
    • Satyrane attacks the beast but finds it difficult to defeat him since he is impervious to his weapons, and seems to grow even stronger.
    • Finally, Satyrane throws away his weapons and attacks him with the sheer force of his bare hands and eventually subdues him, tying him up with Florimell's girdle.
    • As he drags the monster along, he suddenly sees a giantess who is riding a horse carrying a tied-up squire. She is being chased by a knight.
    • Satyrane then leaves the monster and chases after the giantess, who prepares to fight him.
    • Satyrane throws a spear at her, but with little effect, because she knocks him out and grabs him.
    • The knight who was initially pursuing her sees this and goes after her, forcing her to drop Satyrane.
    • Satyrane then wakes up, angry that his enterprise didn't go particularly well, and heads over to release the squire that the giantess had been originally carrying.
    • The squire is clearly an attractive fellow, and Satyrane asks who he is and who the giantess is.
    • The squire answers that she is named Argante, and she is the incestuous daughter of a Titan, Typhoeus, and Mother Earth and that she and her twin brother Ollyphant actually had sexual intercourse while still in their mother's womb and had a child themselves, Thopas. Yup.
    • Since their birth was so filled with perversity and lust, this is how she and her brother live their lives.
    • Argante essentially wanders the world capturing men and raping them. The squire is very happy to have avoided that fate, especially since he's made an unusual promise to another woman named Columbell.
    • The squire doesn't reveal his name but says to call him The Squire of Dames.
    • The knight pursuing Argante, the squire reveals, is no other than Britomart.
    • But Satyrane wants to hear more about this unusual promise and so the squire explains that his love, Columbell, told him that to deserve her she had to prove herself to him by spending an entire year doing "good deeds" for women. Yeah these, uh, "good deeds" have a pretty blatant sexual connotation here.
    • When he comes back and tells her he "helped" three hundred women (whoa) she isn't actually pleased, and punishes him by sending him back out to find an equal number of women who will refuse his "help."
    • Unfortunately, that's not going so well for him, since so far, he's only found three, and he's been roaming around for three years.
    • Satyrane wants to know who those three ladies were, and the squire responds that one was a prostitute, one was a nun, and one was a genuinely chaste girl in a cottage.
    • He is sad, he says, that so few women seem to be genuinely chaste and he'll be doomed to never win his lady's favor.
    • Well, that's a bummer, says Satyrane and heads off back to the monster, who has already freed himself from Florimell's girdle and is off telling the witch and her son what had happened.
  • Book 3, Canto 8

    • Our narrator admits that sometimes it's hard to tell the story of Florimell because it's just so sad.
    • But, tell it he must and we return to the Witch. The monster has just returned with Florimell's girdle.
    • Thinking this means that Florimell is dead, the witch happily shows the girdle to her son.
    • But her son, who was in love with Florimell, is horrified and goes crazy with the thought that Florimell is dead.
    • The witch, hiding herself from his anger in her magical cave, comes up with the shocking idea of crafting a Florimell look-alike that's so accurate, even Nature is jealous.
    • She makes her body out of snow, the eyes of lamps, golden wire for hair, and uses one of her magic spirits to give it life.
    • Since, apparently, Florimell left some of her clothes at the witch's house, she uses these to dress her and make her essentially indistinguishable from the real Florimell.
    • The witch brings this duplicate to her son, who is delighted.
    • One day, the son and the false-Florimell take a walk outside and run into the ever-irritating Braggadochio.
    • Braggadochio is shocked to see such a beautiful woman with such a loser and easily defeats the witch's son, who's a total coward, and carries off the false-Florimell for himself, quite pleased with this accomplishment.
    • As he's trying to convince her to love him, they come across a big and intimidating knight who demands to have Florimell for himself.
    • Braggadochio, terrified, pretends that he's willing to fight him for her but actually turns tail and runs easily allowing the knight to scoop up the false-Florimell and ride off with her.
    • Meanwhile, the real Florimell is stuck in a boat in the middle of the ocean.
    • When the old man in the boat wakes up, Florimell asks him to steer them back to land, but he, amazed at waking up to find a beautiful woman in his boat, tries to assault her, soon becoming quite violent.
    • Florimell, terrified, begs heaven for help and laments that no chivalrous knights are nearby to help her.
    • But heaven hears her pleas and sends Proteus, the shepherd of the sea, to her aid.
    • He beats the old man with his staff and endeavors to comfort Florimell, who's afraid that this new arrival is just another villain.
    • Finally, he convinces her that she can trust him and gently carries her to his home—a massive, oceanic cave—while violently throwing the old man away onto the shore.
    • He and his sea-nymph, Panope, try to entertain Florimell, and Proteus tries to woo her, but Florimell isn't interested.
    • Proteus begins to step up his attempts, tempting her and even changing shape to look like a Fairy Knight (since that's who she says she does love)—it helps that Proteus is a shape-shifter.
    • However, when none of this has any effect on Florimell, Proteus begins to get angry and uses threats to try and persuade her to sleep with him.
    • Florimell, of course, is impervious to his threats and our narrator laments that he has to leave this admirable young lady in such a perilous situation while he explains what happened to Satyrane.
    • So Satyrane has finished chatting with the Squire of Dames when they see an impressive-looking knight in the distance.
    • When Satyrane gets closer he sees that it's Paridell and asks him what he's up to and what's going on at the Faerie Court.
    • Paridell says things aren't great since Marinell is dead and Florimell is missing. Paridell explains that he and all the other knights of Faerie Land are on a mission to find her.
    • Satyrane informs Paridell that he's pretty sure Florimell is dead, which upsets Paridell greatly and he demands to know why Satyrane thinks this.
    • Satyrane explains he saw her horse being eaten by a monster and that he found her girdle in the forest.
    • Paridell agrees that the signs are not good, but he and the two other knights agree to keep looking.
    • However, the Squire of Dames suggests they find somewhere to rest since it's getting dark and so they head to a nearby castle.
    • The castle, however, won't open to the knights and the Squire then begins to explain why that is… but we'll have to wait until next canto to find out.
  • Book 3, Canto 9

    • Our narrator apologizes for having begun the canto with a story about a loose-living lady (Malecasta), but explains that sometimes hearing about bad things can make good things look even better.
    • Anyway, back to our knights and the locked castle. The Squire explains that a crabby old man lives there who has no knowledge or interest in manners or hospitality, and is obsessed with hoarding his treasure.
    • He has a much younger, very beautiful, and very flirtatious wife but he keeps her hidden in his house since he's always jealous.
    • Satyrane thinks this man, named Malbecco, is silly for thinking he can keep his wife, named Hellenore, locked up forever since women who want to cheat always find a way.
    • Paridell agrees that he's foolish, especially for making himself essentially a captive too, and says they should just storm the castle instead of chatting outside.
    • Satyrane suggests that they ask first and then use force after, so Paridell goes up to the gate and requests to be let in.
    • Entrance is denied, since the guards claim that only the master of the house has they keys and he is asleep.
    • Their bad luck continues when a storm begins and they are forced to cram into a little hut for shelter.
    • After they leave, another knight comes to the castle seeking shelter and is also denied. He too then heads to the hut where he encounters the other knights.
    • Grumpy at having not been allowed into the castle, and at now not being able to enter the hut, the knight begins to complain bitterly.
    • Paridell can't take this and fights with the knight, only to be knocked out.
    • The Squire is then about to challenge the knight next until Satyrane intervenes and makes peace.
    • Then all of them turn their attention to getting into the castle and punishing Malbecco and decide that the best course of action is to burn down the gates of the castle.
    • When Malbecco sees that they are in earnest, he freaks and lets them in, blaming his servants for not admitting them sooner.
    • Malbecco gives them what they need, out of fear not hospitality, but the knights welcome any respite and remove their armor.
    • The strange knight, who fought with Paridell, removes her armor and reveals herself to be none other than the stunning Britomart.
    • The other knights are amazed, not only at her beauty but also at her incredible fighting skills.
    • Paridell is a little upset to have been unseated by a woman, but Britomart is so lovely and charming that he gets over it.
    • When it's time for supper, the knights all demand to see Malbecco's wife, the lady of the house, who Malbecco tries to excuse because of ill-health, exhaustion, etc. but none of these excuses fly and finally he summons her.
    • She arrives, looking very nice, and everyone sits down dinner, exchanging rather meaningful glances since Malbecco is jealous of everyone.
    • But Malbecco doesn't have a very good view of Paridell, who ends up making eyes at Hellenore the whole evening. She makes eyes right back, and they continue their flirting through a dinner game.
    • After dinner, Hellenore asks everyone to tell an adventurous story and Paridell obliges by telling a story about the fall of Troy.
    • Troy, which is now just a name, was once upon a time a mighty city until one of its princes, named Paris, decided to steal a beautiful queen of Greece, one Helen.
    • For her sake many women lost their lovers who sailed over with the Greeks to Troy to fight for Helen's return.
    • Paridell reveals that he's in fact a descendant of Paris, who had a son named Parius with a shepherdess named Oenone.
    • Parius fled Troy after the Greeks destroyed it and went to the island of Paros, which he left to his son Paridas, from whom Paridell descends.
    • Britomart, who had just recently found out she (and all Britons) is descended from the Trojans, is deeply affected by Paridell's story and feels great anger at the Greeks for destroying Troy.
    • Finally, she laments that such a wonderful city was destroyed and remarks that it shows how quickly things can decay and die.
    • But, since she's so moved by Paridell's story, she wants to continue it and talk about another prince, Aeneas, who escaped the destruction.
    • Aeneas, the son of a king and of the goddess Venus, flees Troy with his crew and wanders the sea for a long time before he finally lands on the shores of Italy.
    • There he fights with the king Latinus until finally they reach an agreement and Aeneas marries his daughter.
    • From there, he begins a line of great kings starting with his son Iulus and going all the way until Romulus, who founds Rome.
    • Rome, Britomart proclaims, is a second Troy, but she predicts even a third Troy, called Troynovant (literally "New Troy") that will appear on the mighty banks of the Thames. If this is sounding suspiciously like London, you're on the right track.
    • Brutus founds this city, with two gates facing west and north, and a great bridge.
    • Paridell interrupts Britomart and apologies for forgetting another part of the story.
    • He explains that Brutus accidentally killed his father, Silvius, with a wayward arrow. He flees to present-day Britain, where after defeating the Giants who live there, takes it under his control.
    • There he founds both the city of Troynovant and Lincoln, cities fairer than any other city in the world except for Cleopolis.
    • Seeing how they are descended from the same line, Paridell also apologies to Britomart for attacking her earlier.
    • This whole time, Hellenore has hung on every word Paridell utters, and the two have made unspoken signs to each other.
    • But since it's very late, and Malbecco has been rather bored, they all finally head to bed.
  • Book 3, Canto 10

    • As soon as the sun rises, Britomart and Satyrane head out, but Paridell stays behind complaining he's been hurt from battling Britomart the day before.
    • Malbecco is not happy about this, since he hates hosting people, and is always worried about losing his money, his wife, or his life.
    • Even though Malbecco keeps a sharp eye on his wife, Paridell is experienced enough in these things that he finds a way to secretly woo Hellenore and use every trick in the book to get her to run away with him.
    • Eventually, he persuades her to do it and one night she takes some of Malbecco's money and then burns all the rest.
    • Malbecco, horrified to see his money burns run to stop it. Also, as soon as Hellenore gets to Paridell, she begins screaming to her husband that Paridell is carrying her away.
    • Caught between his two loves—money and his wife—Malbecco doesn't know what to do but finally chooses his money over his wife and runs to save it.
    • This gives Paridell and Hellenore an easy way out of the castle.
    • As soon as the fire is contained, Malbecco regrets having let his wife go and is consumed by anger and jealousy.
    • He finally decides to just go look for her himself, and, taking some of his money and burying the rest he goes off searching.
    • He has no luck, but one day comes across two people he thinks might be them, only to realize too late that it's actually Braggadochio and Trompart. Ugh. These guys.
    • Braggadochio thunders at Malbecco, demanding to know why he isn't a knight, and Malbecco responds that he's just a poor pilgrim looking for his wife who was rudely taken from him by a knight.
    • If Braggadochio would intervene and return his wife to him he would be doing him a solid.
    • As a bonus, Malbecco shows him some gold to make him even more interested.
    • Braggadochio at first reacts badly to this, pooh-poohing both Malbecco and his gold.
    • But finally, after some coaxing from Trompart, Braggodochio relents and agrees to help him out, making Malbecco extremely happy.
    • So, the three of them travel together for a while supposedly looking for his wife, but in reality Braggadochio and Trompart are just thinking of a way to get hold of his gold.
    • However, it turns out that they do run across Paridell, who was alone… since he had ditched Hellenore after sleeping with her. What a dirtbag!
    • Apparently, she wandered a long time until meeting some satyrs and she becomes a wife to all of them. Happy ending for Hellenore?
    • Anyway, Malbecco asks Paridell where his wife is and Paridell responds that he doesn't know and that she wandered off into the forest.
    • Paridell then rides off. Rather than chasing after him, Malbecco recommends heading into the forest to find Hellenore.
    • Trompart sneakily reminds Malbecco that the forest is filled with dangers and monsters and so Malbecco buries his treasure and heads fearfully into the forest with them.
    • Pretty much immediately, they all hear some scary noises and run off terrified.
    • Malbecco hides in a bush and from there sees Hellenore dancing with the satyrs, but does nothing about it since he's too afraid.
    • Finally, night falls and Malbecco hides himself amongst the satyrs looking for Hellenore. He sees her with another satyr.
    • He goes up to her, wakes her up, admonishes her for leaving him, and then begs her to return with him.
    • But she refuses and when the sun rises, the satyrs see him and chase him away.
    • Malbecco then returns to where he hid the treasure, only to find it gone (Trompart had taken it). He totally loses it and begins to run aimlessly around until he throws himself off a cliff.
    • Instead of dying from the fall, Malbecco is transformed into a monster with claws and he takes up residence in a dismal cave where he spends his days quite unhappily known now as Jealousy, not as Malbecco.
    • Pretty fitting name, we think.
  • Book 3, Canto 11

    • Our narrator laments that jealousy exists in the world and wishes that everyone would just focus on love, just like Britomart does.
    • Speaking of Britomart, she and Satyrane come upon a young man fleeing from the giant Ollyphant, brother of Argante.
    • Just as Argante was filled with extreme feminine lust, her brother is filled with extreme manly brutishness.
    • Britomart and Satyrane decide to help the young man and begin chasing the giant, who runs very quickly away from them because his legs are super-long.
    • He's particularly afraid of Britomart, since she represents chastity, a virtue he can't be near.
    • Britomart follows Ollyphant into a forest and soon comes upon a man lying near a fountain with his armor strewn around him.
    • Britomart doesn't want to bother him, but hears him suddenly groan and then express anger with heaven for allowing his love, Amoret, to be captured by a wicked man named Busirane, who tortures Amoret by piercing her chest with a piece of steel since she won't love him.
    • After he says this, the man, whose name is Scudamore, becomes so distressed he seems to be near death, so Britomart rushes to him to comfort him.
    • He first mistakes her for a goddess, but she begins to speak to him, reminding him that virtue is still an effective fight against evil.
    • She then offers to help him. He responds despairingly that it's impossible, Busirane has his ladylove locked in a magic dungeon, tormenting her.
    • Britomart is even more moved to hear this and vows to save Amoret or die trying.
    • He's amazed at Britomart's goodness, but says that it would be better for both of them if he just died.
    • But Britomart won't take no for an answer and finally persuades him to get up, get dressed, and head out to look for Amoret.
    • Finally, they come to an unpleasant-looking castle with a sulphuric fire burning in front of it.
    • Britomart is discouraged, since she can't figure out a way to get past this fire.
    • Scudamore agrees and suggests again that they should just head back to the forest and complain some more.
    • Britomart, unsurprisingly, disagrees and thinks it would be shameful to just give up without trying a little bit harder.
    • So, she charges through the flame with her shield and passes safely.
    • Scudamore, amazed, wants to do the same and charges forward with less caution and care.
    • He, however, is unable to pass and begins complaining again that he isn't able to make it through.
    • But Britomart, who did pass through, heads into the castle and finds herself in a room covered in tapestries depicting scenes of rape in such vivid detail that they almost seem to be alive. Ugh.
    • Britomart spends a very long time looking at them, and we hear great detail about the stories they depict.
    • At the end of the room is an altar with a statue of Cupid blindfolded and under his feet is written "Unto the Victor of the Gods this be" (III.xi.49). We're told that people come to the alter and idolatrously worship this statue.
    • Above the door to the next room is written the words "Be Bold," and even though she has a lot of difficulty understanding what that means, she walks "boldly" though the door (III.ix.50).
    • The next room is even nicer than that room, since it's covered all in gold and carved with the shapes of monsters.
    • In it are displayed spoils from war: spears, shields, and swords.
    • Britomart is again amazed at what she sees and spends a long time contemplating it, as well as why she hasn't run into a single person yet.
    • She also notices that in this room too the works "Be Bold" are again written and she doesn't understand what it means.
    • Finally, coming to the door at the end of the room, she sees that above it is written the words "Be not too bold."
    • So Britomart waits there by that door not meeting anyone but also not comfortable enough to remove her armor lest danger strike.
  • Book 3, Canto 12

    • Finally, late at night, Britomart hears the sounds of a trumpet, as if some battle was beginning or won.
    • Then, a huge storm brews and earthquake shakes the room and the smoke of fire and sulfur pour into the room; but Britomart doesn't move.
    • Then a huge gust of wind rushes through the house slamming every other door shut but actually opening the doors Britomart is waiting in front of.
    • It reveals a man dressed as if he's performing in a play, who introduces the performance through a series of mimes. On his staff is written the name Ease.
    • Then wonderful music starts, music that is so beautiful it's hard to stop listening, and a series of characters come on stage: Fancy, a young man dressed in feathers; Desire, older and able to create sparks with his hands; Doubt, looking feeble and concerned; Danger, dressed in rags with a deformed face; Fear, wearing armor but still extremely timid; Grief, looking downcast; Fury, almost naked and angrily tearing off her clothes; Displeasure, looking sad; Pleasure, looking happy.
    • After this interesting bunch follows a beautiful woman being led by Despite and Cruelty.
    • She looks like death, but has a certain majesty. Her bare chest has a huge knife sticking out of it.
    • As if that wasn't horrible enough, her heart has been taken out of her chest and is lying in a silver bow; this is poor Amoret.
    • After Amoret comes the blinded Cupid, who rides on a lion, and occasionally takes off his blindfold to look at Amoret.
    • He is followed by a huge horde of horrible monsters and the whole parade marches around the room and then returns through the doors that slam shut behind them.
    • Britomart, who has watched all of this from her hiding spot, runs to the doors but finds them locked.
    • She decides to wait another day. When the parade comes out again, she will rush through the doors.
    • So, she waits a whole other day looking again at the decorations in the two rooms.
    • Finally, night falls, the doors burst open, and Britomart rushes in.
    • But instead of seeing the members of the parade around her, she sees no one—they've all disappeared.
    • Instead, she sees Amoret chained to a pillar and in front her Busirane making "strange characters" (III.xii.31) with his pen dipped in her blood. He's trying to make her love him.
    • When he sees Britomart enter the room, he knocks over his magic books, jumps up, and almost stabs Amoret, but Britomart stops him.
    • He instead stabs Britomart, but not deeply, and Britomart attacks him so violently that he almost dies.
    • However Amoret asks Britomart not to kill him, since he is the only person who can free her from her torment.
    • So Britomart offers Busirane life if he agrees to free Amoret and so he begins casting spells to reverse her suffering.
    • Suddenly, a great earthquake begins and then Amoret's chain unties, the steel comes out of her breast, and her heart returns into her chest, which heals as if it had never been wounded.
    • When Amoret realizes she is free, she thanks Britomart heartily and Britomart tells her that her love Scudamore has been very worried about her.
    • Amoret then chains Busirane in the same she chains he used on her and the three of them head out.
    • Instead of walking through the rooms as they expected, however, the rooms disappear and turn into old, regular ones.
    • Okay, now there are two ending to this story. It's a sort of weird Choose Your Own Adventure-type thing, because Spenser wrote one ending in 1590, and one in 1596.
    • Here's the 1590 ending:
    • Scudamore is overjoyed to see Amoret and the two of them embrace so closely that they look like Hermaphroditus, who was a man and a woman joined together.
    • Britomart is even a little jealous of them.
    • And here's the 1596 ending:
    • Amoret and Britomart leave the house of Busirane feeling quite victorious.
    • However, they are saddened to see that both Scudamore and Britomart's squire (aka, her nurse Glauce) have left the scene.
    • Although Amoret is bummed, she is hopeful that she'll find him soon.
    • It turns out that both Scudamore and Glauce gave up on Britomart since she was inside so long, and left to find some other way to free Amoret.
  • Book 4, Proem

    • This little guy goes by the name of "The Fourth Booke of the Faerie Queene. Containing the Legend of Cambel and Telamond, or of Friendship."
    • Our narrator, sounding a wee bit defensive, says that some readers of his poem found the topic of love objectionable, and that it would be better if it focused on virtue exclusively.
    • To this, our narrator says that if you feel this way, you clearly don't know anything about love, since true love is the root of all honor and virtue. Oh, snap, Spenser. You tell 'em.
    • If you look back at history, pretty much everything good that happened was the result of love.
    • Anyway, he's not worried about such boring nay-sayers, he's only interested in the Queen and how great and chaste she is, and he really hopes that she takes the time to read his poems.
  • Book 4, Canto 1

    • While a lot of stories have been written about the fate of lovers, there's none sadder than the stories of Amoret and Florimell.
    • In fact, our narrator sometimes wishes they'd had never been written about (!).
    • Scudamore won the heart of Amoret by fighting twenty knights.
    • But even though they soon were married, Busirane steals her away on the very night of her wedding and keeps her captive for seven months.
    • But, luckily, in the last book, Britomart came to the rescue and now the two of them are traveling together, which causes Amoret a bit of discomfort because she doesn't want Britomart, who is disguised as a man, to try anything romantic or sexual with her.
    • She knows that it's her duty to be faithful to Scudamore alone, which she proved she understands pretty clearly by enduring torture at the hands of Busirane for refusing to sleep with him.
    • But, Britomart, unsurprisingly, doesn't make any moves and soon they come to a castle where the tradition is that any knight unattached to a lady can compete for her company.
    • One knight, seeing how beautiful Amoret is, decides he wants to compete for her.
    • Britomart is not happy about this and says that Amoret belongs to her and so he must defeat her first.
    • Britomart easily unseats the young knight, but feels bad that because he lost to her, he must now sleep outside the castle doors (another odd tradition).
    • So, Britomart proposes that she "won" the knight in the same way that he would have won Amoret, and Britomart wants him to stay inside.
    • After this, Britomart takes off her helmet and reveals her gender and beauty to everyone.
    • The knight is amazed and overwhelmed by her and her generosity while Amoret is relieved.
    • Feeling safe, Amoret joins Britomart in bed and the two become very close, possibly even in a sexual way.
    • As soon as it's morning, the two head out searching for knowledge of their former companions and finally come across two knights each with what looked like beautiful ladies.
    • One of the ladies is Duessa, a witch who is famously able to change her appearance, and other is named Ate.
    • Ate, called the "mother of debate" (IV.i.19), is the source of disagreement and conflict between people.
    • She lives next to Hell, in a cave that is easy to enter but not to exit, and it is decorated with many historical objects commemorating discord, some famous, some not.
    • Outside her house is covered with weeds, literally grown from the "seeds of discord," that she planted.
    • These seeds also indirectly nourish her, since they cause people to fight and allow her (it's unclear exactly how) to drink their blood.
    • She's extremely ugly, with a tongue divided in two, deformed ears, and unequal feet and hands.
    • She's so invested in being evil that she challenges God himself and his desire for peace on earth.
    • Anyway, this is the other lady riding with Duessa and the two knights, and she's been able to disguise herself as beautiful in order to work her mischief.
    • The knights who travel with them are Blandamour, an impressive knight but a flirt, and Paridell, also a flirt and who we've met before.
    • When they catch sight of Britomart riding with Amoret, Blandamour jokes that Paridell should go after the beautiful Amoret.
    • At first, Paridell thinks this is a great idea, but when he recognizes Britomart, who defeated him earlier, he becomes much more hesitant and claims that it would be foolish to put himself in danger again for something as flighty as love.
    • Blandamour decides that he'll go after Amoret then, but only ends up being knocked off his horse while Britomart and Amoret ride off.
    • He rallies, but deep down he still loves and wants Amoret, which makes the appearance of Scudamore, her husband, coming toward them a very unwelcome sight (though it's not entirely clear why Blandamour knows that Scudamore and Amoret are together).
    • Blandamour asks Paridell to fight with him against the knight, and Paridell agrees.
    • Paridell and Scudamore rush at each other with such force that they are both knocked off their horses.
    • Scudamore quickly recovers but Paridell is seriously injured, causing Blandamour to swear that he'll take vengeance on Scudamore.
    • But Duessa here intervenes, asking the knights to stop fighting over love and telling Scudamore that his love, Amoret, has run off with another knight.
    • Here, the narrator briefly interjects to let us know how silly these knights are who are fooled by Duessa and Ate and who fall in and out of love so quickly.
    • Now that that's established, we return to Scudamore is understandably upset to hear what Duessa is saying about Amoret.
    • But Duessa swears she saw this infidelity with her own eyes and describes a knight with spears broken in his shield kiss, embrace, and sleep with Amoret for many nights.
    • Scudamore looks completely heartbroken, which makes Glauce quite concerned and Blandamour quite pleased.
    • He taunts Scudamore who becomes so enraged he almost kills Glauce and insults her and Britomart for their untrustworthiness.
    • Glauce tries to calm him down, but to no avail.
  • Book 4, Canto 2

    • Our narrator describes famous mythological and biblical incidents of great wrath and says that even though Glauce continued to try and make Scudamore more relaxed, Paridell and Blandamour were trying to rile him up.
    • They went on in this unpleasant way until they came across a knight and a lady.
    • The knight was named Sir Ferraugh, who had stolen the False Florimell from Braggadochio and it was she who was now riding with him.
    • Blandamour immediately becomes obsessed with the False Florimell and tries to get Paridell to attack Ferraugh.
    • But Paridell isn't interested, so Blandamour attacks himself and easily defeats Ferraugh.
    • Now that Blandamour has been successful, Paridell becomes jealous of the False Florimell, who Blandamour flirts with.
    • She flirts back, and is an expert at it, making Blandamour believe he's the luckiest man alive, when he's actually deceived.
    • But meanwhile, Paridell's jealousy grows and Ate sees an opportunity to stir up trouble by slyly reminding Paridell that he much worthier of Florimell's love than Blandamour.
    • Paridell finally challenges Blandamour, claiming that the terms of their friendship require that they share everything equally, including their women.
    • Blandamour isn't convinced by this and the two fight, unseating one another.
    • They look to Florimell to pass a judgment as to who is the victor, and when she can't seem to choose, they continue their fight with swords.
    • They fight savagely as their ladies egg them on instead of trying to keep the peace.
    • They probably would have continued fighting like this forever if the Squire of Dames hadn't shown up, who knew the two men already, and pleaded with them to cease fighting.
    • Although they were reluctant to stop fighting, they finally cease momentarily to explain to the Squire of Dames that they are fighting over the love of Florimell.
    • The Squire, thinking of the real Florimell, replies that many men are seeking her love but she's somewhere far away.
    • Confused, the men show Paridell that she's sitting right in front of them and Paridell is overjoyed to see her and to see that she's safe.
    • He criticizes the knights for fighting in her presence, but Blandamour gets angry and insists that she belongs to him and he'll fight for her.
    • Paridell informs Blandamour that many men seem to think she belongs to them, chiefly Satyrane, who is in possession of her girdle, and is currently holding tournaments for all men who seek it.
    • But since Blandamour is actually in Florimell's company, the squire says Blandamour should have it.
    • This idea calms everyone down, and Blandamour and Paridell decide to become friends again, although it's just a superficial friendship concealing lingering resentment.
    • All the knights head out to obtain Florimell's girdle until they come across two knights deep in conversation followed by two beautiful women.
    • The Squire rides up to them and finds out they are Cambell and Triamond with their respective ladies, Cambine and Canacee.
    • Our narrator interrupts the narrative to tell us that these two knights are heroes from a story by the famous English poet Geoffrey Chaucer: "The Squire's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales.
    • Brain bite! Geoffrey Chaucer was a later medieval poet often considered to be the first greater writer in English. By modeling himself on Chaucer and continuing his story, Spenser clearly wants in on the "greatest writers in English" category.
    • The narrator goes on to lament that time destroys so many texts and then asks for Chaucer's pardon and permission in writing this continuation of his story.
    • Turning back to the narrative, we learn that Cambel and Canacee are siblings and that Canacee is knowledgeable about nature and natural remedies, in addition to being modest and beautiful.
    • She refuses all her suitors, however, which only increases the desire of many men to be with her, and so her brother, Cambell, fearing this will cause some serious problems, has come up with a plan.
    • He gathers all the men seeking her hand and tells them to choose three of the best of them; Cambell would fight with all three and the victor will marry his sister.
    • He feels pretty confident about his fighting ability since his sister gave him a magic ring that helps him heal quickly, and, since many of the other knights also know about this ring, they are reluctant to fight him.
    • Among the suitors are three triplet brothers, Priamond, Dyamond, and Triamond, sons of a women named Agape.
    • Priamond was strong but not stout and fought on foot, Dyamond was stout but not strong and fought both on foot and horseback with an ax, while Triamond was both stout and strong and liked to fight on horseback.
    • These three bothers were extremely close, almost like one person divided in three, and their mother Agape was a fairy who had the power to make people do her bidding.
    • She was raped on day in the forest by a knight and that's how she came to bear her three sons.
    • She raised them with her in the forest, but seeing that they were inclined toward knighthood, she began to fear that they would die too early and so she went to the Fates to find out what would happen to them.
    • She found the Fates sitting in a cave: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. They were all spinning the threads of life.
    • When Agape told them why she was there, Atropos told her that she wasn't allowed to know such things.
    • But Agape pleaded, and Clotho finally gave in.
    • When Agape saw how short and thin their threads were, she begged them to make them longer, but they replied that that was not in their power.
    • As a comprise, she asks them then to give the life of whoever dies first to the next and then his life to the next after that, and they agree.
    • Agape returned home and did not tell her sons about what she had seen, but just told them to stay close to one another.
    • They did, so close that they even fell in love with the same woman, Canacee, which brought them all to Cambell's tournament.
  • Book 4, Canto 3

    • Our narrator wonders why people prolong their life unnecessarily and extend their misery.
    • He doesn't understand why Agape tried to give her sons such long life, although he admits that they do seem to live very happily.
    • These three sons prepare to battle Cambell for the love of Canacee. When the terrible day arrives, great stands are set out for the observers, for the judges of the battle, and for Canacee.
    • Cambell enters the arena first, and then come the three brothers.
    • First, Cambell and Priamond fight on foot with swords, each injuring the other seriously, until finally Cambell stabs Priamond with a wooden shaft and kills him.
    • But his ghost doesn't head to the afterlife like it's supposed to; instead, just as their mother had wished, it enters into the other brother and gives him extra life.
    • Although Dyamond is grieved that his brother has died, he channels his anger toward his fight with Cambell.
    • They fight brutally with axes, equally matched, until Dyamond almost kills Cambell but misses him and Cambell then cuts off his head.
    • And, just like had happened before, Dyamond's ghost leaves his body and enters the body of the last brother, Triamond.
    • Now Triamond goes to attack Cambell, filled with both anger and the strength of his two brothers, and the two fight for a long time.
    • Although Triamond fights with great force, he soon weakens under the force of Cambell, whose magic ring allows him to heal quickly, and Cambell strikes him down with what looks like a deadly blow.
    • But, Triamond has three lives to use, and he only loses one, and suddenly rises up again full of new force and strength, much to the shock of Cambell and those watching.
    • They continue fighting until they both seriously wound each other, so badly that everyone watching believes the fight is over and both men are dead.
    • But, sure enough, they both recover quickly and continue fighting even more fiercely.
    • But suddenly, the fight in interrupted by an amazing sight: a gorgeous chariot driven by horses carrying a beautiful lady rides into the battle.
    • It is the sister of Triamond, named Cambina, a powerful and magic fairy like her mother who carries a caduceus (a rod encircled by snakes, often associated with doctors) in one hand and a goblet filled with a drink of eternal happiness called Nepenthe in the other.
    • She comes down and greets her brother and Cambell, who she begins to love, and is distressed when she sees them start fighting again.
    • She jumps in between them and begs them to stop fighting and to be peaceful.
    • When they ignore her, she uses her magic to prevent them from fighting and gives them each a drink from her magical chalice.
    • Suddenly, the two men lose all their feelings of anger and violence and became best friends immediately.
    • Canacee is overjoyed to see this and runs down to thank Cambina and they become BFFs.
    • And, just in case you weren't sure about how close they were, Triamond marries Canacee and Cambell married Cambina.

  • Book 4, Canto 4

    • Our narrator observes how quickly enemies can become friends and friends can become enemies.
    • Since we've just heard about the quarrel and friendship between Triamond and Cambell, it's time to turn to Scudamore and Paridell, who, if you remember, we left having just run into Triamond, Cambell, Canacee and Cambina on the road.
    • After finding out who they are, Blandamour tries to stir up trouble by insulting Triamond and Cambell.
    • But Cambina quickly steps in and keeps the peace and everyone talks about the big tournament coming up for Florimell's girdle which will crown the greatest knight and the most beautiful lady.
    • They all decide to go and, on the way, Paridell spots Braggadochio heading toward them.
    • When he sees the False Florimell, who was taken from him by Ferraugh and now travels with Blandamour, he claims that she belongs to him.
    • Blandamour replies that he'll fight Braggadochio for her, and whoever loses is stuck with Ate.
    • Braggadochio, never actually keen for a fight, starts making excuses and everyone makes fun of him and calls him a coward.
    • But Cambell steps in and chastises them for stirring up trouble, reminding them that they need to save their energy for the tournament.
    • Everyone agrees, and soon they arrive and are amazed at all the brave knights and beautiful ladies who are gathered there.
    • Soon Satyrane appears, carrying the girdle of Florimell, which he hangs up for all to see. Then he begins to fight against a knight called Bruncheual.
    • They fight fiercely, and soon a knight called Ferramont joins to help Satyrane. Blandamour jumps in against him.
    • Next Paridell joins too, but Braggadochio, unsurprisingly, does not.
    • Instead, Triamond rides into the fight and badly injures Ferramont.
    • Three knights, Sir Devon, Sir Douglas, and Sir Palimord all try to bring down Triamond but are all unsuccessful.
    • Quickly after, however, Satyrane awakens from his faint and seeing his side beaten, he jumps up and viciously stabs Triamond in the side. He quietly leaves the battlefield, wounded.
    • By that time, it's getting late, so the fighting is postponed until the morning with everyone agreeing that Satyrane has taken the day.
    • The next morning, Satyrane comes out again to fight and while Triamond is unable to oppose him, Cambell takes his place.
    • The two fight fiercely, and when Satyrane falls off of his horse, Cambell seizes the opportunity to attack him.
    • But before he has a chance, he is suddenly surrounded by a great number of soldiers fighting for Satyrane who begin to attack him when he is massively outnumbered. Not cool.
    • When Triamond gets word of this, he jumps up, forgetting his injury, and runs to help his friend.
    • With great bravery he is able to knock down all the other knights and save Cambell.
    • Night then falls, temporarily ending the fighting, and everyone agrees the day belongs to Cambell and Triamond, but Cambell says it really belongs just to Triamond. Cute!
    • The final day of the tournament comes, and everyone appreciates what a formidable knight Satyrane is.
    • But suddenly, a strange knight covered in leaves and weeds appears and strikes down Sir Sangliere and Sir Brianor, and seven other knights.
    • Everyone wonders who this knight might be, and it turns out that it's Arthegall, the knight who Britomart loves but who we haven't met until just now.
    • No one there knows his name, however, so he's simply called the Salvage Knight.
    • Arthegall proceeds to soundly defeat Satyrane and his men and he's just about to bask in the glory of his victory when another strange knight appears and knocks him completely over.
    • Shocked by this, both Cambell and Triamond charge this strange knight too, but also get themselves knocked over.
    • Who is this strange and powerful knight? None other than Britomart, whose powerful spear and fighting skills win the Tournament.
  • Book 4, Canto 5

    • Our narrator tells us how knights and their brave acts of chivalry are always accompanied by lovely and virtuous women, so now it's time to turn from the competition of knights to the competitions of ladies to see who will win the girdle of Florimell.
    • The girdle is magical and will make its owner both virtuous and a good wife; but it can only be worn by a virtuous woman.
    • It used to belong to the goddess Venus, made by her husband Vulcan to prevent her from being unfaithful.
    • But one day when Venus went off to visit her lover, Mars, she left the girdle behind and Florimell, who was at the time being raised there by the Graces (three lovely, nature-dwelling goddesses), snagged it.
    • Anyway, it's clearly a special girdle so it's understandable that so many women would desire to have it.
    • Before they judge the beauty of the women, they first established that the three best knights were Satyrane, Triamond, and Britomart, and Britomart was voted the very best of all.
    • The last made Arthegall angry, since he was still bitter about being knocked off his horse, and he vowed vengeance.
    • But meanwhile, it was time for the contest of beauty and each knight brought their lady: Cambell with Cambina, Triamond with Canacee, Paridell with Duessa, Ferramont with a lady named Lucida, Britomart with Amoret, and finally, Blandamour with the False Florimell, who pretty much stopped the show.
    • After everyone agrees that she is most beautiful—possibly because fake things can look more beautiful than real ones—they decide to award her the girdle.
    • However, no one could fasten it to her, and she is extremely angry and embarrassed.
    • Soon many other women try to wear it, but it would not stay fixed to any of them, and the Squire of Dames began to laugh at how few virtuous women there actually appeared to be.
    • But finally Amoret came up and fastened the girdle with no problem, which made all the other women jealous, especially the False Florimell, who snatched it and kept trying to get it on.
    • Regardless of whether she could wear it, she had been voted the most beautiful, and was thus awarded to Britomart, who had been voted best knight.
    • But Britomart was uninterested in taking Florimell. She liked Amoret, and didn't really find Florimell as pretty as everyone else did.
    • So, Florimell went next to Arthegall, but he wasn't there, and then to Triamond, who stuck with his wife Canacee, and finally, to Satyrane, who was pleased to have her (as he thought) back.
    • But Blandamour was not happy about this, nor was Paridell, nor Braggadochio and soon all the knights were complaining bitterly, driven to conflict by the sneaky Ate.
    • Satyrane finally was fed up and offered this solution: Florimell would be put in the middle of all the knights and the one whom she chose to go to would be the one to win her.
    • They all agree and in the end Florimell chooses, of all of them, Braggadochio.
    • This makes everyone extremely upset, but Braggadochio doesn't care and sneaks off in the night with the False Florimell while the other knights pursue them.
    • Meanwhile, Britomart decides to leave with Amoret to seek Arthegall, not realizing she's made him her enemy.
    • Even though Britomart is sad without Arthegall, she is happy to have Amoret as her companion, who is also hoping to find Scudamore.
    • Scudamore is still tortured by jealousy, believing, despite Glauce's insistence, that Britomart has taken Amoret as her own.
    • The two are traveling in search of them and one night are caught in a terrible storm and must seek shelter.
    • They come to a cave under a hill. It's not very welcoming, but better than nothing and inside find a blacksmith working. He's wearing tattered rags, and is filthy.
    • His name is Care and he makes metal wedges that disturb people's thoughts with the help of six servants. One of his servants is a huge, terrifying giant.
    • Scudamore tries to find out what everyone is up to, but when no one answers him, he gives up and tries to go to sleep.
    • This, however, proves difficult with the constant noise and clamor of the blacksmiths, some who even come up and wake him as soon as he starts to doze, driving poor Scudamore crazy.
    • Finally, when he actually gets to sleep, he is tormented by bad dreams in which the blacksmith Care comes over and burns with his iron tongs.
    • Scudamore awakes in pain, only to find no one there, and eventually he and Glauce leave the cave to continue their search.
  • Book 4, Canto 6

    • Poor Scudamore has been seriously wounded by Care, but not the kind of wound any old medicine will fix, this wound is deep and self-consuming.
    • While Scudamore is riding, tending this wound and feeling sad, he sees a knight coming and they almost charge each other.
    • But the knight quickly asks his pardon, saying he never wanted to charge Sir Scudamore.
    • Scudamore, amazed that this knight knows who he is, asks for the knight's identity.
    • The knight says he can't reveal his name right now, but he's known as the Salvage Knight (and we know that he's Arthegall).
    • Scudamore then wants to know what Arthegall is doing in the forest and Arthegall explains that he's been shamed recently by a knight and describes the armor that this knight carries.
    • When Scudamore hears Arthegall describe Britomart (who he believes stole his wife Amoret) he tells him that this knight has slighted him also and the two vow to help each other find him.
    • As luck with have it, at the very moment, Britomart comes riding toward them and Scudamore asks to take the first go.
    • He heads for her, but she instantly throws him from his saddle, and the same happens to Arthegall when he too tries to charge her.
    • Arthegall leaps up and attacks her and her horse fiercely, finally forcing her to fight on foot, which she does with as much skill and awe as she fought on horseback.
    • She injures him, which only riles him up more, and our narrator points out the sad irony that Britomart is actually hurting the person she loves the most.
    • They continue fighting until finally Arthegall deals an almost deadly blow that knocks Britomart's helmet off and reveals her stunning beauty.
    • Arthegall is completely overcome, drops his swords, and begs her pardon.
    • She, however, is still angry over his latest blow and wants to continue fighting.
    • Scudamore, who had seen all that had happened, is also struck with wonder at her beauty and falls on his knees in shock.
    • But Glauce knows exactly what's going on and is relieved and tells the knights to reveal themselves to Britomart.
    • They do, and when Britomart sees Arthegall's face, she is completely stunned, made motionless, and can't do anything since she recognizes his face from the mirror in her father's house.
    • Scudamore, meanwhile, has put two and two together and realized that Duessa had dishonored Amoret by pretending that she had run off with this knight.
    • Scudamore calls to Arthegall and tells him he's glad that they are reconciled, and when Britomart hears Arthegall's name, she again goes into a kind of fit.
    • Glauce steps in and apologizes for Britomart's odd behavior and encourages Britomart and Arthegall to put aside their anger in favor of love.
    • Arthegall does this, though not too quickly and with no impure thoughts.
    • But Scudamore, anxious for any word of Amoret, finally interrupts and asks where she is.
    • Britomart answers that she doesn't know, that the two of them had been very close and Britomart had saved her from many troubles until one day she woke up to find her completely gone.
    • Scudamore is horrified to hear this, and become paralyzed with grief until Britomart assures him that she'll help him find her.
    • This encourages him and they all follow Arthegall to a castle where they can rest and recover.
    • There, Arthegall begins his courtship of Britomart, who does indeed love him, and the two become engaged.
    • Unfortunately, Arthegall still has a quest he has to fulfill and must leave Britomart, which makes her very sad, but they finally part ways, with Britomart, Scudamore, and Glauce returning to the last known whereabouts of Amoret.
  • Book 4, Canto 7

    • The narrator addresses the god of Love, and describes how he has captured so many people: Florimell, Britomart, and even Amoret, who we're going to hear about now.
    • After the tournament, Amoret and Britomart traveled together and one day decided to take rest in a forest.
    • Britomart falls asleep immediately, but Amoret decides to take a little walk and is suddenly grabbed by a savage man, with a huge nose, huge, hanging ears, and weeds all over his body.
    • He carries her off to the farthest place in the forest where no one can hear her cry and leaves her there terrified.
    • She suddenly hears someone else crying and asks who it is.
    • The voice responds that she is a prisoner of a horrible man who rapes his victims, eats them, and kills them; she says that she's seen that happen to seven women so far. Eeew.
    • Amoret is very distressed to hear this and asks the other prisoner who she is.
    • The prisoner responds that she was the daughter of a lord but had the bad luck of falling in love with a lowly squire, a marriage that her father strictly forbade.
    • She and the squire devised to run away together and chose a particular spot in the forest to meet one night.
    • Unfortunately, instead of meeting the squire, she met this savage man, and is now a prisoner here, and says that her name is Aemylia.
    • Amoret pities Aemylia, but asks how she has managed to save her virginity this far.
    • Aemylia replies that every time the man comes to rape her, this old woman here lets him have sex with her instead.
    • As the two women continue to bewail their terrible situation, the savage man arrives and when Amoret sees him, she takes off as quickly as possibly, running through the forest as fast as she can.
    • As it turns out, Belphoebe is also in this forest, still being pursued by Arthur's squire, Timias, who when he sees the savage man catch up to Amoret and grab her, rushes to her aid.
    • The savage man and Timias fight, but the savage man gains the advantage by using Amoret, who he's carrying, as a block, so that Timias is afraid to hurt her.
    • But finally, Timias seriously injures the savage man, forcing him to drop Amoret, and begins to repel him.
    • Meanwhile, Belphoebe has heard all the clamor and runs over to assist, scaring off the savage man with the threat of her bow.
    • He flees, and she pursues, finally chasing him all the way into his evil den and shoots him in the neck and kills him.
    • Belphoebe than finds his prisoners, Aemylia and the old lady, and takes them back with her to Amoret and Timias.
    • Timias is holding Amoret in his arms, kissing her wounds, and when Belphoebe sees this, she is furious, since she thought Timias was true to her.
    • Saying only "Is this the faith..." (IV.vii.36), Belphoebe turns and runs away.
    • Timias immediately begins to follow her, but every time he gets close to her, she threatens him with her arrows.
    • Finally, when he sees it is no use, he returns to the forest to a cabin and becomes a hermit, talking to no one, wearing no armor, and only doing penance for being unfaithful to his lady.
    • One day Arthur, his old master, comes through that forest and meets Timias, but doesn't recognize him since he's changed so much.
    • Timias doesn't speak to him, although Arthur suspects he must have previously been a knight.
    • Arthur does notice that all the trees around the cabin have the name Belphoebe engraved in them, but Arthur doesn't know who that is.
    • Finally, unable to learn anything from Timias, Arthur departs and leaves Timias to himself.
  • Book 4, Canto 8

    • Our narrator remarks how true it is that the worst offense is to offend someone mighty.
    • Poor Timias is feeling that right now, after having angered that great Belphoebe; he is currently doing penance alone and impoverished in a forest.
    • One day, a turtledove happens to fly by and sees Timias being sad.
    • Since the turtledove has also recently lost her love, she joins him in singing a sad song.
    • They soon became companions: she comforted him with singing, and he gives her some of his food.
    • He decides to tie a jewel Belphoebe had given him to the bird's neck, but is dismayed to see her then fly off with it.
    • The bird, however, flies straight to Belphoebe, and begins singing her song.
    • When Belphoebe sees the jewel on the bird's neck, she attempts to take it, but the bird always moves a little out of reach, so that Belphoebe follows the bird all the way to Timias.
    • She doesn't recognize him, but pities his sad situation.
    • Timias, when he sees her, rushes to her and weeps at her feet.
    • Belphoebe is surprised, and asks the man what has caused his misery.
    • Finally, he answers her and says that it is her who has caused his misery by sending him from her.
    • When she hears this, she softens and welcomes him back into her good graces and the two live in happiness this way for a long time.
    • But Arthur, his Lord, has been looking for him but can't find him anywhere.
    • While riding through that same forest one day, Arthur happens to come upon Amoret and Aemylia, both near death after their horrendous encounter with the savage man.
    • He restores them both with a magic potion he has and asks them what happened to them.
    • They answer that they were taken prisoner by a terrible man but were saved by a brave Virgin.
    • He wants to know who that Virgin was, but since neither of the ladies can tell him, they move on.
    • Soon they come to a cabin where they stop in anticipation of nightfall.
    • But inside they find a dreadful old witch, surrounded by filth, who often vomited bile and bitterness. Ick.
    • This woman was called Sclaunder, and she existed solely to bring a bad reputation to good people and to slander their good name.
    • Instead of using language to actually understand the true nature of things, she used it to deceive and conceal.
    • Unsurprisingly, this woman was not a particularly welcoming host, but yelled at them the entire night for staying there without her permission.
    • But they were patient and needed a place to stay, and so ignored her.
    • Our narrator pauses the story to say that he knows some readers will object to these two women staying with a man all night.
    • But, he reminds us, back in the day, things were simpler and better, so any kind of sexual misconduct didn't even cross their minds!
    • But these days, everything has gone downhill: beauty decays, chastity gives way to lust. There are very few truly good people. Kids these days, eh?
    • Anyway, when morning comes, the trio takes off, but Sclaunder follows them calling them thieves, whores, and other mean names.
    • Finally, Sclaunder can't keep up with them and they ride away until they come to a squire and a dwarf fleeing from a terrifying, gigantic man riding a dromedary (a camel with two humps).
    • This man has enchanted eyes that can dazzle anyone who looks at him and he is viciously chasing the squire.
    • When the squires sees Arthur, he calls to him for help, and Arthur lets down Amoret and Aemylia and rushes to the squire's aid, who has just been knocked off his horse.
    • Arthur and the man fight fiercely, but ultimately Arthur cuts off his head.
    • When the squire sees this, he is overjoyed, but the dwarf, the servant of the man, wails and cries in anguish.
    • The squire explains that the man was the son of a giant who conquered nations not through war but through the magical power of his eyes.
    • The man's name is Corflambo, and he has daughter, Poeana, who would be incredibly beautiful if only she were also virtuous.
    • He then goes on to tell the story of a squire who loved a woman well above his station and decided to run away with her.
    • But the night that he was supposed to meet his love, named Aemylia, he instead met Corflambo, who took this squire to be his prisoner.
    • One day Poeana came to see the prisoners and took a liking to this squire, offering him his freedom if he wooed her.
    • Even though he loves another, he sees that this is the only way out, so he pretends to love her, but coldly.
    • For this reason, he's given certain privileges to walk about the garden freely, but always under the watch of the dwarf we just met.
    • Well, when the speaker found out about the plight of this squire, who was his good friend, he attempts to help him.
    • Now, our speaker and his friend looked almost identical, so when our speaker hides himself near the prison, the dwarf finds him and thinks he's the prisoner who has escaped.
    • So he's thrown back in prison, where he finds his friend, tormented by the prospect of having to be unfaithful to Aemylia.
    • But our speaker comes up with a plan for them to switch places so that he'll go seduce Poeana in place of his friend, relieving his guilt about being unfaithful.
    • The plan works great (since our speaker is much better at flirting with the ladies because he's single) and one day, since he's been given even greater liberties than his friend had before, he snatches the dwarf and flees and is soon pursued by Corflambo.
    • After he tells this story, Amoret and Aemylia come over to the two men and when Aemylia recognizes her lover's best friend, named Placidas, she runs to embrace him and asks if her lover, named Amyas, still lives.
    • Placidas tells her that he does and that he still loves her and he tells her his story.
  • Book 4, Canto 9

    • Our narrator reflects on the powerful nature of both love and friendship to overcome hardships and to stand up to evil.
    • Now Arthur is trying to think of a way to free Amyas from the prison of Poeana.
    • He takes the decapitated body of Corflambo and props it up again on the dromedary, attaching the head, and makes it look as though he's bringing back to Placidas as his prisoner.
    • In this way, they are admitted to the house of Poeana who is singing a magical melody about her lover.
    • Arthur, enchanted by her music for a moment almost is seduced, but quickly comes to himself and seizes her.
    • She quickly realizes she's been trapped and that her father is actually dead and she begins to cry for help.
    • Arthur forces the dwarf to open the prison and Amyas is freed and rushes into the arms of both Aemylia and Placidas.
    • Poeana watches in bitter jealousy, but is also amazed, as everyone is, at how similarly Amyas and Placidas look; in fact, Poeana even begins to doubt which one she initially loved.
    • Arthur and others then ransack the castle, taking the treasure hoarded there (it's okay—it was stolen from others) and then decide to rest.
    • Arthur frees Poeana, who is still upset about her father's death and the loss of her love.
    • But Arthur suavely calms her down and eventually convinces Placidas to take her as his wife, and to thus rule over her father's land happily ever after.
    • So Arthur leaves the happy couples and heads out with Amoret, who is again afraid, unnecessarily, that Arthur might defile her honor.
    • As they ride, they come across six knights left over from tournament, four of whom are fighting: Blandamour, Paridell, Claribell, and Duron.
    • We learn that Duron rejects love completely, Claribell loves excessively, Blandamour loves inconsistently, and Paridell loves lustfully.
    • The other knights watching them are Britomart and Scudamore, who are puzzled at how ferociously these knights are fighting.
    • They are fighting over the lover of Florimell, and constantly change sides and opponents in this ongoing conflict.
    • But when they see Britomart and Scudamore, and remember that Britomart won Florimell initially, they turn and attack both of them.
    • Although Britomart attempts to talk with them, they ignore her and continue to attack.
    • When Arthur sees this, he immediately intervenes, first trying to make peace them and then joining the fight to force them to listen.
    • They explain to him that Britomart unfairly won their love at a tournament, but Britomart corrects them and says she didn't actually claim Florimell.
    • Arthur chastises them and says that they're behaving un-chivalrously and that you should always let a lady choose who she loves.
    • Britomart then replies how sad she is that she has lost Amoret, to which Scudamore jumps in and says he's the one who's really sad since she belonged to him (the fact that Amoret is with Arthur seems to be lost on everyone) and since loving her has been such a trial.
    • Claribell than asks Scudamore to recount how he came to love Amoret while they all go on their way.
  • Book 4, Canto 10

    • Scudamore begins his story by remarking on how true it is that love is more pain than joy, although it also makes you completely steadfast and unconcerned about the pain you feel.
    • He then describes how when he was young, he decided he needed to go on a great adventure to prove his worth.
    • He goes to the temple of Venus, a beautiful island, but heavily guarded by towering castles and twenty knights.
    • In the field in front of the temple stands a pillar holding a great shield, the shield of Love. Many knights seek this shield, for it promises the hand of the fair Amoret.
    • Scudamore decides he wants this shield and this lady and so raps loudly on the shield calling forth a knight who attacks him.
    • He easily unseats the knight, and the nineteen others after him, and proceeds to the outer gate, which is locked fast.
    • He finally spies someone looking through a crevice, the porter of the castle named Doubt, who has a face on both sides of head like the god Janus.
    • He lets Scudamore in, but quickly his associate Delay comes out, hoping to detain him with chit-chat.
    • Scudamore isn't interested and heads to the next gate, the Gate of Good Desert, which is open but guarded by a huge giant named Danger.
    • These names. Wow.
    • Most knights who see Danger either run the other direction immediately, or try to avoid him by sneaking under the gate.
    • But Scudamore decides to face him directly, armed with the shield of Love, and when the giant sees this, he actually just lets him through.
    • Scudamore looks back quickly to make sure everything if all right, and sees that the back of Danger is filled with Hatred, Murder, Treason, and all other sorts of bad things.
    • Finally, he comes to the island itself, which looks incredibly beautiful, filled with every kind of tree, brook, flower—almost like a second paradise—and lovely walks and paths.
    • Along these paths walk many lovers together, talking only of their true love, and in another part of the island walk friends together, who also talk of their bonds of friendship.
    • Even though Scudamore is overwhelmed by the happiness he sees between these people, he presses on in search of his love and finally comes to the Temple of Venus itself, so incredibly magnificent it puts all other temples ever built to shame.
    • Standing on the porch of the temple is a woman named Concord, older and elegant and the mother of Friendship and Peace, flanked by two brothers, Love and Hate, who she keeps at perfect harmony with each other.
    • It is Concord who keeps the universe in order and every element in its proper place.
    • She invites Scudamore in, between her and Love (Hate won't let him pass) and he enters the inner temple, which is filled with incense and smoke.
    • Hundreds of altars stand around the room, with many lovers offering prayers for their love, and in the middle stands a statue of Venus herself.
    • The statue is incredible, made of precious stone beyond what we know on earth, her feet and legs are bound together by a snake and she is covered in a veil, possibly to conceal the fact that she is a hermaphrodite, both her own mother and father.
    • Little cupids fly all around her and although her temple is filled with the prayers and complains of many, many lovers, one hymn in particular can be heard above anything else.
    • The hymn praises her beauty and her power over nature and on-going cycle of life and love.
    • Amidst all this, Scudamore offers his own prayer for his love of Amoret and while he speaks he notices a group of beautiful damsels sitting at the feet of the statue.
    • One is older and in charge, named Womanhood, one always looks nervously at the ground and is named Shamefastness, one is happy and in good spirits, named Cheerfulness, one sober and sad named Modesty, one obedient and polite named Courtesy, and two that sit linked together are named Silence and Obedience.
    • Huh. Paging Mary Wollstonecraft: there's a feminist emergency.
    • Sitting the lap of Womanhood was the lovely Amoret.
    • Scudamore immediately falls in love with her, but feels bad intruding on their peace and seclusion.
    • But, he decides to be bold and goes to Amoret and takes her by the hand.
    • Womanhood criticizes his boldness until he shows her the shield he won and then he leads Amoret out, noting that the statue of Venus smiles on him with approval, even though Amoret asks him to let her go.
  • Book 4, Canto 11

    • Our narrator laments that he's left Florimell, the real Florimell, so long in pain as the captive of Proteus, deep in a dark dungeon away from the whole world, pressured by him to give him her love.
    • She endured all this for her love for Marinell, who didn't return her love at all because he had promised to never love any woman.
    • Marinell is meanwhile languishing from the serious wound he received from Britomart and his mother searches everywhere for a cure.
    • Finally, she asks Typhon, the surgeon of the sea-world, to help her son and he is able to bring Marinell back to full health.
    • But his mother keeps Marinell with her against his will since she is so terrified that another injury will befall him.
    • But one day there is a great banquet of all the sea gods to honor the marriage of Thames and Medway (two major rivers in England). They decide to have the wedding reception in Proteus' house.
    • A huge number of guests attend including Neptune, the god of the seas, and his queen Amphitrite. There's also Triton, many famous Greek and Roman sea gods, many Oceans, many Rivers in England and Ireland, and many sea nymphs and finally, the mother of Marinell, Cymodoce herself.
  • Book 4, Canto 12

    • Our narrator observes that there were so many guests at Proteus' house that he just doesn't have time to list them all.
    • Cymodoce, the mother of Marinell, does attend, but Marinell cannot because his father is mortal, so he hangs out outside of Proteus' house anxiously pacing.
    • Suddenly, he hears the sad voice of Florimell from deep inside a cave telling her miserable fate and story to no one in particular.
    • The voice complains about her imprisonment and the unrelenting nature of her captor, and begs the gods to send her love, Marinell, to her rescue.
    • Marinell is suddenly struck with pity, and soon love, hearing this, not something typical for him, and he wants to help her but can't find a way of getting to her.
    • He wonders if he should ask Proteus, fight with Proteus, or just secretly steal her away, but even the latter option seems impossible.
    • Despairing he begins to chastise himself for not loving her, and when he sees that the banquet is over, he is even more distressed at having to leave her imprisoned.
    • And soon he is overcome with love-sickness, and loses all his former energy and becomes lethargic and pale.
    • His mother becomes concerned and wonders if Typhon didn't heal him as thoroughly as he had seemed to, but it becomes clear that something else that she can't identify is plaguing him.
    • Desperate, she finally goes to the god Apollo who tells her that Marinell is obviously in love.
    • This is not the news that Cymodoce wants to hear, and she at first scolds Marinell for falling in love when he wasn't supposed to.
    • But soon, she begs him to just tell her who it is that he wants, and figures that he must be in love with a nymph, which, technically, isn't a woman, so the prophesy that a woman will harm him might not apply.
    • But no luck, he tells her it's Florimell, who is definitely a woman, and Cymodoce goes back to panicking.
    • Finally, however, she decides that Marinell will die if she doesn't find a way to bring Florimell to him.
    • She knows that Florimell is Proteus' prisoner, and instead of taking it with him, she goes right to the top: Neptune.
    • She begs him to help her against a tyrant who has put her son's life in jeopardy, but Neptune wants her to be more specific, so she explains that Proteus is holding Florimell captive, and that Marinell loves Florimell.
    • Neptune agrees to release her, and Cymodoce heads straight to Proteus to deliver Neptune's command.
    • Proteus isn't happy about it, but he doesn't want to anger Neptune, so he hands her over to Cymodoce.
    • Cymodoce takes her straight to Marinell, who starts to recover the instant he sees her, and she too is filled with joy to see him.
  • Book 5, Proem

    • This book is called "The Fifth Booke of the Faerie Queene, contayning The Legend of Artegall, or Of Justice." This is the second-to-last book, everybody: the finish line is approaching.
    • Our narrator laments how bad the present time is compared to the past.
    • Back in the day there was a golden age, but now, it's an age of stone.
    • So, don't blame him if he writes a poem in an old style since old is better.
    • Everything is topsy-turvy now, what was bad is now considered good, and vice-versa—even the stars and constellations are out of order.
    • But long ago, people really valued what mattered, like justice for instance, which is one of the most importance virtues around, especially for good leaders.
    • So, with justice in mind, our narrator begins the story of Artegall.
    • We have the sneaking suspicion that Spencer fondly remembers when you could get a can of Coke for twenty-five cents, and when music just sounded better.
  • Book 5, Canto 1

    • So, back when everything was sooo much better, justice prevailed through the hard work of heroes.
    • Artegall is one of these heroes, and he's been called on by the Faerie Queene to help a lady named Eirena free her land from the cruel power of a tyrant called Grantorto.
    • Artegall is the perfect champion for this quest since he's been educated from a young age in the ways of justice.
    • When he was just a child, Astrea, the daughter of Jupiter and Themis, saw how fair Artegall played and took him with her and taught him all about distinguishing between right and wrong.
    • She even had him practice making just pronouncements on animals.
    • Once Artegall grew up and became renowned for his just ways, Astrea gave him a mighty sword called Chrysaor.
    • When the world begins to go down hill, Astrea decides to leaves and head to heaven since she has no interest in remaining amongst such corruption.
    • But before she goes, she leaves Artegall with a robot sidekick named Talus, who is in charge of executing just pronouncements and carries a menacing scythe-type weapon called a flale.
    • So Artegall and Talus head out with Eirena to deal with the tyrant Grantorto.
    • Along they way, they come across a sad sight: a squire weeping over the headless body of a lady.
    • Artegall demands to know what has happened, and the tearful squire replies that he and another lady were riding together when they came across a knight with this lady here.
    • The knight for some reason wanted to trade ladies, and when the squire refused, the knight seized the squire's lady and left his.
    • But the knight's lady didn't want to be left and ran after the knight begging him to take her.
    • Instead, he cut off her head and rode off.
    • Artegall asks to know which direction the knight went and how he would recognize him and the squire responds by showing him the way and saying he carries a shield with a broken sword and bloody field on the front.
    • Artegall immediately sends Talus after him, who finds the knight quickly, knocks him out, and brings him, and the lady, to Artegall.
    • The knight, named Sanglier, claims that the squire was the one who killed the lady, but Artegall doesn't believe him.
    • So, Artegall sets himself as arbiter of the situation and says that since both men claim the living lady, he'll just cut her in half and they each take part.
    • Sanglier is fine with this plan, but the squire is horrified and says he'd rather have Sanglier take her than have any harm come to her.
    • Shades of King Solomon, everybody.
    • This proves that the squire is the one with the real right to the lady, and so Sanglier is punished by having to carry the head of the lady he killed with him everywhere.
    • The squire is thankful to Artegall, and asks to be his squire, but Artegall declines and they part ways.
  • Book 5, Canto 2

    • Nothing is more important to a knight than the chance to help the weak, and Artegall is a knight who is particularly good at this.
    • As he's going along, Artegall comes across a dwarf hurrying and Artegall stops him to ask for news.
    • The dwarf turns out to be named Dony and is the dwarf of Florimell. He has been looking for her for a long time.
    • The dwarf tells Artegall that Florimell has finally been found and going to marry Marinell.
    • Artegall is happy to hear this and asks when the wedding will be since he'd like to attend.
    • The dwarf says it will be in three days, and he's on his way there himself, but is having difficulty getting there since a Saracen is guarding a bridge and kills anyone who tries to pass.
    • The dwarf explains that he is a powerful knight made even more powerful by the magic of his daughter.
    • His name is Pollente, and he accumulates power by intimidation and violence, killing many knights on this bridge, or sending them tumbling to their deaths, and then stealing all their possessions.
    • His daughter's name is Munera, and she is very beautiful and has golden hands and silver feet.
    • After hearing all this, Artegall is determined to face that knight and they all head to the bridge.
    • As they approach the bridge and Pollente, a man comes up to them demanding that they pay a toll. Artegall kills him.
    • Artegall and Pollente then charge at one another, and Pollente opens the trap door into the river, which Artegall sees and so they both fall into the river below together, continuing to fight.
    • They fight for a long time, pulled by the course of the river, until finally Artegall gains the upper hand and cuts off Pollente's head. He displays it on a pole as a warning to others.
    • Then they head to the castle where his daughter Munera lives and since it's heavily guarded, Artegall sends in Talus, who begins to break down its fortifications with his weapon.
    • When Munera sees this, she tries to stop him with stones, spells, and even tempts him with money, but nothing works.
    • Finally, he breaks down the castle door and they storm in and, after looking for a while, finds Munera hiding.
    • Although she begs for mercy, and Artegall feels a little sorry for her, Talus doesn't care and chops off her golden hands and silver feet.
    • He then takes her and drowns her in a muddy river, burns all of her stolen goods, and knocks down her castle. Dang.
    • Having erased any sign that the castle was ever there, and returned the bridge to its normal function, they go on their way.
    • Soon they come to the sea and near it see a great crowd of people gathered in front of a giant.
    • The giant holds a scale in his hand and claims that he's going to redistribute the natural resources of the world so that land, sea, air, and earth all have an equal share.
    • Many "vulgar" people flock to his teachings hoping that his message of equality will help them out.
    • Artegall hears what the giant is saying and is upset at how he is misleading the people.
    • He therefore jumps in and says that while equality might sound like a nice idea, it's actually terrible since everything naturally has a certain position to hold and a certain role to play.
    • But the giant replies that he's crazy and that it's clear that the sea is bothering the land and the mountains are too heavy—he's going to fix everything by making it all level.
    • But Artegall responds that he is judging things with his eyes and he doesn't see how everything is organized.
    • Moreover, God is responsible for the ways things are and must have a plan, even if we can't immediately see it or understand it.
    • The measurements of nature are outside of our knowledge.
    • The giant is displeased to hear all of this and challenges Artegall to weigh right and wrong in his scales.
    • But when the words are placed to be weighed, they fly out, and the giant claims that words are problematically light.
    • The giant wants to try again, but every method he tries to weigh right and wrong fails since they can't actually be weighed against each other since right has nothing at all to do with wrong.
    • Finally, Artegall counsels the giant to try weighing similar things against one another so as to understand which is worse, and sure enough, this experiment is successful.
    • But the giant isn't interested in such subtle judgments, and would rather deal only in extremes.
    • When Talus realized this, he knocks the giant into the ocean where he drowns and his body is shattered on sharp rocks.
    • After the crowd sees this, they lose control and begin to run around causing trouble and rebelling against authority.
    • When Artegall sees this, he doesn't want to get too involved himself, so he sends Talus to see what their problem is.
    • But the people just become violent, so Talus attacks them all, killing them like flies with his massive weapon, and then he and Artegall leave.
  • Book 5, Canto 3

    • Just like the sun comes out after a storm, so too do good things eventually happen after bad.
    • This is true of Florimell, who after suffering a long time is now happily married.
    • It was a glorious event, with many illustrious guests, but our narrator doesn't think it's his job to describe it.
    • So, skipping the ceremony and the feast, we go right to the tournament where Marinell and six other knights first challenge everyone to fight over the perfection of Florimell.
    • And after many fights with many different knights, Marinell emerges triumphant, and the same thing happens again the second day.
    • But, on the third day, even though Marinell fights very bravely, he is so outnumbered that he ends up being taken prisoner.
    • But at the moment, who should arrive but Artegall with Braggadochio, his squire Trompart, and the False Florimell.
    • Artegall had run into Braggadochio and the false Florimell on his way, and when he saw who he thought was Florimell with another man right before she was supposed to be getting married to Marinell, he was very upset and insisted that they come with him to Marinell.
    • Anyway, when Artegall sees Marinell so outnumbered, he rushes in to help and frees him.
    • This whole time, Braggadochio has been concealing the False Florimell.
    • After the tournament, the judges all assemble and the real Florimell comes out to greet the champions.
    • In Artegall's place, however, steps forward Braggadochio, who has taken Artegall's shield.
    • Apparently confusing the crowd, they name him the champion and the real Florimell comes forward to congratulate him.
    • But Braggadochio rudely says that he didn't fight for her but instead for his lady, and he suddenly reveals the False Florimell who has been wearing a veil.
    • The crowd is astounded and doesn't know what to make of these two identical women and can't decide which one is real.
    • Marinell in particular is astounded and even begins to think the False Florimell might be the real one.
    • Artegall is horrified to see what is happening and what Braggadochio is claiming with his shield.
    • So, he steps in and explains that it wasn't actually Braggadochio who fought and saved Marinell, but himself and he further surmises that the false Florimell is exactly that, a replica of the real thing.
    • He decides they ought to be put side by side and the real one judged.
    • But as soon as the two Florimells are placed side by side, the fake one vanishes into dust, leaving nothing but the girdle.
    • Everyone is amazed to see this happening, and Braggadochio is in complete shock.
    • Artegall picks up the girdle and returns it to its rightful owner, the true Florimell, around whose waist it fits perfectly since she is chaste and virtuous.
    • While everyone is preoccupied with Florimell, suddenly Sir Guyon comes out of the crowd to attack Braggadochio and reclaim his horse that Braggadochio had stolen back in Book II.
    • Before the two can fight, however, Artegall intervenes and asks what is going on.
    • Guyon explains that Braggadochio stole his horse while he was helping a poor dying woman and her baby (Ruddymane and Amavia).
    • Artegall then asks if Guyon can identify any unique mark on the horse to prove that it is Guyon's, and Guyon describes a mark located in the horse's mouth.
    • But anyone who tries to get the horse to open his mouth fails, until finally, Guyon tries, calling the horse by his name, and the horse opens his mouth freely.
    • Artegall now knows for certain that the horse belongs to Guyon and turns to punish Braggadochio.
    • But Guyon stops him, saying it's a waste, and instead Talus punishes Braggadochio, breaking all his knightly armor, marks his face, and generally exposes him outwardly as the coward he is inwardly.
  • Book 5, Canto 4

    • Anyone who wants to deal out justice needs to be prepared to actually act on it with might and power, just like Artegall, who's an excellent example of a just knight.
    • Artegall has just left the wedding of Florimell and Marinell with Talus when they come across two brothers arguing with two ladies by their side attempting to pacify them.
    • Before them was a chest clearly very worn and battered.
    • Artegall stops them fighting to ascertain the cause of the quarrel and the eldest brother answers.
    • He says that he and his brother bother inherited two islands from their father, but through processes of erosion and such his island has become very small while his brother's island has become very big.
    • This caused further problems because his intended bride, Philtera, left him for his brother when she realized that the brother had more wealth.
    • This then caused the younger brother's intended bride, Lucy, to try and commit suicide by throwing herself in the ocean.
    • However, she begins to regret this choice and luckily finds this chest floating in the ocean. She grabs hold of it and is washed up on the shore of the elder brother.
    • He saves her and the two decide to get married, happily discovering that inside the chest is tons of treasure.
    • Now, however, Philtera is claiming that the chest and treasure actually belong to her since she brought that chest over with her as her dowry but her ship was wrecked on the way.
    • The elder brother doesn't know if he can trust her and is determined to defend this one good thing he has.
    • The younger brother jumps in and insists that the chest does belong to his wife and that he can prove it.
    • Artegall responds that he is happy to step in as an arbiter.
    • First, he asks the younger brother, Amidas, what right he has to his brother's land, and Amidas replies that the sea gave him that land.
    • Then, Artegall asks the older brother, Bracidas, what right he has to the treasure and Bracidas replies that the sea gave him that treasure.
    • Artegall replies that they are both correct and, because of that, things should be sorted out fairly.
    • Even though Amidas and Philtera are not particularly pleased with the verdict, they seem to accept it and Artegall goes on his way having yet again dispensed justice.
    • Along the way, he comes across a group of warlike women, heavily armed, who are gathered around a man who is about to be hanged. They're taunting him.
    • Artegall interrupts and demands to know what's going on, but quickly perceives that the women aren't interested in talking, only in fighting.
    • However, Artegall doesn't want to have to fight women himself—he thinks this would be shameful—so he sends good old Talus to attack them and send them home defeated.
    • Then Talus and Artegall release the man whom Artegall actually knows to be Sir Turpine and he asks him how he came to find himself in such a shameful situation.
    • Turpine is quite embarrassed, but at Artegall's urging, tells his story.
    • He says that, like all knights, he was interested in seeking glory and heard about a cruel Amazon woman who had recently been spurned by a knight she loved, Sir Bellodant.
    • She takes her anger out on all other men, forcing them to give up their armor and weapons and dress like women and do women's work.
    • And if they resist this, she has them hanged… which is exactly what was happening to Turpine.
    • Artegall wants to know who this Amazon is and where she is.
    • Turpine says that her name is Radigund and that she is a powerful princess and queen of the Amazons.
    • Artegall vows to find her and revenge the shame she has brought to male knights, encouraging Turpine to join him and no longer feel shame himself.
    • Turpine immediately agrees, looking more confidant already, and takes Artegall to the Amazon capital city of Radegone.
    • As soon as the city guards spot them, they call Radigund, who orders them to be let into the city so she can face them.
    • First, they are attacked by arrows, and afterwards, when Radigund sees Turpine (who she had just captured), she grows even angrier, knocking him to the ground and stepping on him in a gesture of dominance.
    • When Artegall sees this, he rushes to his aid and deals Radigund a painful blow.
    • However, she soon recovers and they all fight for the rest of the day, although the Amazons do their best to avoid Talus who seems unstoppable.
    • They cease fighting that evening, since everyone is tired, but Radigund is plagued by anger and concern and finally decides to face Artegall in single combat.
    • She sends her trusted maid, Clarin, to deliver the message and when Artegall hears it, he agrees and gets to bed to make sure he's fresh for his fight the next day.
  • Book 5, Canto 5

    • The next day, Radigund prepares for the fight, dressing in a beautiful set of armor with silver and blue ribbons and heading to the meeting place looking very grand.
    • Artegall too comes out prepared to fight and they both enter the ring, hear the trumpet sound, and begin to fight.
    • The fight fiercely, both becoming angrier and angrier and delivering deadlier and deadlier blows.
    • Radigund wounds Artegall in the thigh, but Artegall forces her to drop her shield and is almost about to kill her when, after removing her helmet, he sees her beautiful face. He can't bring himself to hurt her and instead throws down his sword in horror.
    • Radigund, seeing an opportunity, leaps up and continues to attack him until he is forced to admit defeat and agree to be her servant.
    • Poor Turpine doesn't fare so well and is executed by Radigund; Talus, however, no one can force to do anything.
    • Radigund takes Artegall with her into her household and forces him to wear women's clothing and do women's chores.
    • While there, he meets many other famous knights who have been similarly captured, and gets to work doing women's chores.
    • While there, Radigund begins to develop quite a crush on Artegall, which is a problem since she's too proud to admit it.
    • Finally, however, it becomes too much to bear and she pours her heart out to her handmaid Clarin. She explains that she also feels guilty that Artegall suffers because he spared her life.
    • Clarin agrees to help her and to try and gain Artegall's good will, and Radigund gives Clarin a ring to show her trust.
    • So Clarin sets to work being kind to Artegall, who is surprised that one of the handmaidens is being kind to him.
    • They discuss Artegall's bad situation, which he says it is his duty to endure, but Clarin wonders why he hasn't tried to gain favor with Radigund.
    • He says he would if he could, but he never sees her, and while they talk, Clarin starts to develop a crush on Artegall too.
    • So, when Radigund asks for an update on the Artegall situation, Clarin replies that he's completely, 100% uninterested and would rather die than talk to Radigund.
    • This is very upsetting to Radigund, and she orders Clarin to double her efforts, both being more persuasive with him and denying him other luxuries so that he is wearier.
    • Clarin pretends to obey, but actually goes to Artegall and tells him that Radigund will under no circumstances let him free.
    • She claims that she will keep trying, but actually just wants to make sure he stays there.
    • While Artegall is grateful for her help, he is never untrue to his love Britomart.
  • Book 5, Canto 6

    • Even though some readers might think it's shameful that Artegall has been captured by women, our narrator wants us to know that it isn't and that he behaved himself perfectly.
    • But poor Britomart, in the meantime, was getting very anxious about her lover because he hasn't returned.
    • Sometimes she worried he was dead, other times she became jealous and convinced that he had left her for another woman.
    • Finally, she resolves to look for him, and after searching far and wide eventually runs into Talus.
    • Talus informs her that Artegall has been captured by an Amazon, and immediately Britomart assumes he's lying and that Artegall has willingly sought her out.
    • She bewails her lover's infidelity and vows revenge, moping and complaining in her bedroom.
    • After having a fit, she returns to Talus to find out more details and resolves to go and find Artegall herself.
    • As she and Talus head to find him, they come across a rather old knight, whom Britomart wasn't particularly interested in talking to, but who invites them to stay with him that night.
    • They spend a pleasant enough evening and Britomart heads to bed, refusing, however, to remove her armor (which irks her host—not a good sign).
    • Neither Britomart nor Talus get much sleep, but Britomart lies awake feeling guilty for having doubted her beloved.
    • When morning comes, however, she's in for a surprise when her bed turns out to be a trap that causes her to fall into a cellar below.
    • Suspecting treachery, she prepares to face an enemy and sure enough she hears armed soldiers coming toward her.
    • Sure enough, they are attacked, but Talus is able to easily fight them off.
    • Britomart, however, remains stuck in the cellar waiting, the intended target of the treachery.
    • Their host, it turns out, is named Dolon and is a bad knight who takes pleasure in shaming other knights.
    • He has three sons, the eldest of which, named Guizor, was killed by Artegall and now Dolon seeks revenge.
    • The next day Britomart leaves her cellar to seek out her host and take revenge, but can't find anyone anywhere in the house.
    • She decides then to leave but comes to the perilous bridge where Artegall has fought Pollente. She notices the two knights guarding it but charges right through—killing both of them—and continues on her journey.
  • Book 5, Canto 7

    • Justice really is the most revered and important virtue around; it's no surprise that back in the day in ancient Egypt they worshipped justice in the form of the god Osiris.
    • His wife, Isis, was also worshipped as the manifestation of Equity (or equality) and we're about to hear all about her since Britomart has just arrived at Isis' temple. Talus is not allowed in.
    • She is greeted by many priests of Isis and marvels at the beautiful architecture.
    • When she sees the statue of Isis, made of shimmering silver depicting the goddess with one foot on a crocodile, Britomart immediately bows down to her and takes off her armor so that she might sleep in the sanctuary.
    • The priests of Isis only sleep on the hard ground in order to show their devotion and are complete vegetarians because they believe animal blood makes you crazy.
    • Britomart, exhausted, quickly falls asleep and has an amazing vision.
    • At first, she seems to be one of the priests of Isis, but quickly, her outfit turns into something more regal, more queen-like.
    • Then, a big storm comes into the temple and almost sets everything on fire.
    • Isis' crocodile, however, intervenes and consumes the storm, but all of a sudden threatens to consume Britomart herself until Isis steps in to prevent that.
    • The crocodile then becomes very meek toward her, and actually seduces her, and she gives birth to a baby lion that then rules over everything. Don't ask.
    • All of a sudden, Britomart wakes up and wonders what in the world her dream meant.
    • As soon as the sun comes up, she heads out of the sanctuary where the priests are busy at work.
    • The priests clearly see that Britomart has something on her mind, so one of them asks her what's up.
    • She begins to tell him her dream. The priest is amazed to hear what she describes.
    • He immediately realizes that she is actually a woman disguised as a knight and explains that the crocodile is Artegall who will eventually marry Britomart and together they will have a child, the lion, who will rule over all.
    • Britomart is very relieved to hear this, rewards the priests of Isis handsomely, and then heads out again for the land of the Amazons.
    • When she finally reaches the Amazons, Radigund is pleased to see a knight that needs to be fought and gets ready to do battle with her.
    • The next morning Radigund sounds the trumpet announcing their fight, which Britomart was already prepared for, and, as always, explains the conditions of her victory (the knight must become her life-long servant).
    • The fight begins and the two attack each other viciously, leaving aside any womanly propriety.
    • The both spill a great deal of blood and Radigund almost kills Britomart by severely wounding her shoulder, but Britomart rallies and cuts off Radigund's head.
    • The rest of Radigund's people try and flee, but Talus stops them all and begins to slaughter them.
    • But Britomart becomes horrified by Talus' extreme violence, and orders him to stop before he literally exterminates them.
    • She finally finds Artegall, trapped with other prisoners and forced to wear women's clothes and she is embarrassed to see him this way and almost doesn't recognize him.
    • She immediately takes him away and has him change into some manly armor, and now is happy to see him and to see how he looks.
    • Since Britomart needs time to recover, she stays in that city for a while as princess and reverses the laws that had made women rule. This, we are told, is true justice.
    • She frees all the men and appoints them as magistrates.
    • Once Artegall is recovered, he vows to continue on his initial quest, which makes Britomart sad because they have to part, but she conceals her sadness and eventually leaves the city herself hoping that a change of scenery will ease the pain of Artegall's departure.
  • Book 5, Canto 8

    • Beauty really is one of the most powerful forces in the world and can cause even the best knight to forget himself.
    • But not Artegall, he didn't let Britomart's beauty distract from the quest assigned to him by the Faerie Queene.
    • Riding along, he sees a damsel being chased by two knights who are in turn being chased by another knight.
    • The lady rushes toward Artegall for help and Artegall swiftly kills one of the two knights.
    • Meanwhile, the knight following has killed the other knight.
    • Now, Artegall is this final, third knight prepare to fight to the lady, rushes in and begs them to stop, explaining that they've both killed the real enemies here.
    • Both knights stop and the other knight turns about to be Arthur, who Artegall thinks is awesome.
    • They make amends for almost attacking each other and Artegall asks who those two knights were.
    • Arthur says he has no idea but just saw them chasing this lady, so they call her over to explain the situation.
    • The lady says that she serves the best queen in the whole world, named Mercilla, who is known for being wonderful, merciful, and powerful but her throne is being threatened by an evil and blasphemous man who is always trying to betray and kill her.
    • He has a terrible wife, named Adicia, who counsels him in his bad ways.
    • But the queen wants to resolve things peacefully, and thought it best to establish a friendship with Adicia so she sent this lady, her maid, to deliver this message.
    • But Adicia is no good, and doesn't even abide by the rule of safe treatment of messengers and threw her out of her house and sent these two knights to chase after her.
    • The lady, whose name is Samient, thanks the two knights for helping her and both Artegall and Arthur decide they want to help this good queen by vanquishing the evil Adicia.
    • They devise a plan in which Artegall will dress up as one of these slain knights and bring Samient with him as if she was his prisoner.
    • They arrive at the house of the evil man, referred to as the Souldan (like Sultan) and Adicia, but quickly Arthur shows up and demands Samient be returned to him.
    • Furious, the Souldan prepares to battle Arthur in his elaborate and terrifying chariot, and shortly, they begin to fight.
    • The Souldan manages to wound Arthur and he is continually prevented from getting near the Soultan by his massive chariot and vicious horses.
    • Finally, Arthur decides to unveil his shield—it's been covered this whole time—and the light that emits from it blinds the horses and completely terrifies them, sending them into a crazed and chaotic run which the Soultan cannot control at all.
    • They run across the land and Arthur chases them until he finally catches up to them and finds the Souldan completes torn to shreads, with only his armor left.
    • Arthur takes his armor back to the Souldan's castle and hangs it on the door as a token of this great victory.
    • When Adicia sees this, instead of being sad, she immediately plots revenge and heads straight for Samient in order to kill her.
    • But Artegall stops her, and Adicia goes completely insane, roaming the world in anger and finally turning into a tiger.
    • Then Artegall chases out the rest of their subjects and welcomes Arthur into the castle as hero.
  • Book 5, Canto 9

    • Adicia, now turned into a tiger, is much better off removed from the world of men.
    • And now that the evil Souldan is also out of the picture, Arthur and Artegall spend a little time in his former castle before heading out with Samient to see Queen Mercilla.
    • On the way, they begin to chat about this and that and Samient tells them about a villain named Malengin terrorizing the land. He's very crafty and deceives and robs everyone.
    • He lives deep underground, no one knows how far down, and no one is able to find him.
    • When Artegall and Arthur hear about this man, they want to find his residence so Samient agrees to take them there.
    • At the entrance to his cave, they have Samient go close and wail loudly in order to coax Malengin out.
    • This works, and he emerges. He's very ugly and carrying a large hooked staff and a net.
    • Samient is quite concerned when she sees him and begins to very genuinely call for help.
    • But Malengin begins to try and calm her down and win her over with his deceptive smiles.
    • Once she is distracted, he throws his net around her and takes her to his cave.
    • However, Artegall and Arthur are there blocking the entrance and when he sees them standing there, he panics and run away.
    • Artegall immediately pursues him but Malengin is a tricky one to catch: darting from rock to rock between small passages he turns into a fox, next into a bush, then into a bird.
    • But Artegall knocks the bird down with stones and then grabs Malengin so he won't run away.
    • But Malengin turns into a hedgehog, prickling Artegall (who drops him). But Talus grabs him and throttles him so hard he breaks all his bones. Then he leaves him for dead.
    • They then arrive at the castle of Queen Mercilla, and Artegall and Arthur are amazed at its beauty. They see the queen's giant porter named Awe, who guards the hall. They are ushered in by Order, who commands the hall.
    • Everyone is astonished to see the knights, since there is no war or violence in that hall and therefore they aren't used to seeing armor.
    • When they enter, a sentence has just been passed against a bad poet and his tongue has been nailed to a post. Ugh!
    • Above him hangs a sign that says "Bon Font," but with Bon crossed out and Mal instead written over it—this is the poet's punishment for producing slander against the queen.
    • Finally, they arrive at the great hall of the queen and see her sitting in majesty on a great and high throne looking like an angel on a cloud with a sword at her feet.
    • Around her are a group of virgins, daughters of Jupiter called Litae, who offer help to princes and ask for mercy for suppliants.
    • The queen is also flanked by a lion.
    • The two knights come before her, bow low with great respect, and she recognizes them with grace.
    • As it so happened, the knights have arrived right when the queen is judging an important case.
    • A woman, the infamous Duessa (from Books I-III) has been brought to trial and charged with all kind of infamy, despite that fact that on the outside she looks beautiful and modest.
    • She has been charged by a man named Zele. He has outlined her various offenses: deceiving knights, conspiring with Paridell and Blandamour against Mercilla, and many, many other crimes.
    • Then a man named Kingdoms Care also speaks against her. Then Authority challenged her and the laws of Nations denounced her. Some dude named Religion condemns her and finally Justice charges her with breaking the law
    • In response, Pity comes to plead for her, as does Regard of Womanhead, Danger, Nobility, and Grief.
    • Arthur, being naturally disposed to compassion, began to feel bad for Duessa, but soon Zele returned to attacking her and this time brings the witch Ate with him as an example of her companions, and also brings forth Murder, Sedition, Incontinence, Adultery, and Impiety.
    • After seeing these, Arthur no longer feels bad for her and it is time for Mercilla to give her judgment.
    • While Mercilla understands that Duessa is guilty, she also feels pity for her… and the canto ends on this ambiguous note.
  • Book 5, Canto 10

    • Some people may think that mercy shouldn't be a part of justice, but our narrator disagrees and doesn't think they have to be irreconcilable.
    • All of Mercilla's subjects think she's a very just and merciful queen, and Arthur, Artegall and everyone else is convinced that Duessa is guilty and should be punished (although we never actually hear what that punishment is).
    • After the Duessa trial, Artegall and Arthur stay longer at Mercilla's court enjoying the queen's company.
    • One day young men come to the court to ask for help for their mother, whose land has been invaded by a terrible tyrant.
    • The mother's name is Belgae, and she had been a great lady with seventeen children before this tyrant had killed twelve of them and left only five.
    • This tyrant was a kind of monster with six arms and six legs who was believed to be the son of giant and from a family of purple people.
    • The tyrant was called Geryonco and he fled to Belgae's land after his father had been killed.
    • Since she had recently been widowed, Geryonco convinced Belgae to trust him, since she needed help, and eventually gave him the power to rule.
    • Once he gained power, he became a terrible ruler, giving up her children one by one to a monster and oppressing the land.
    • So her last two sons had come to Mercilla for help, and Arthur asks the queen if he can go with them to help.
    • The queen agrees and Arthur goes off on his quest, leaving Artegall to go off on his own quest himself.
    • Soon Arthur arrives at the land of Belgae, and he finds her hiding from the tyrant alone in the wilderness.
    • She is overjoyed when she sees her two sons coming toward her and thanks Arthur greatly for coming to their aid.
    • Arthur feels bad to see her in this sad state and comforts her and urges her to go somewhere more comfortable.
    • She replies that she has nowhere to go that isn't under the tyrant's power, but Arthur promises that they will find somewhere or he'll force somewhere to take them.
    • They arrive soon at a city that used to be the queen's until it was taken over by the tyrant.
    • He built a luxurious chapel in front of the city's castle dedicated to his idolatrous religious beliefs.
    • Underneath the altar of that chapel lurks a horrendous monster and the chapel is guarded by a fearsome soldier.
    • Although Belgae tries to dissuade him, Arthur rides up the castle and calls upon the guard, who rides up to fight.
    • They begin fighting and Arthur ultimately triumphs, stabbing the solider right through his shield.
    • Three other knights then ride up to challenge him as well, but after Arthur handily dispatches one of them, the other two flee in terror.
    • Arthur follows them and kills them both, finally winning entrance into the castle since none of the other residents are brave enough to face him.
    • And so Arthur triumphantly leads Belgae and her sons into the castle.
  • Book 5, Canto 11

    • Even though sometimes it can seem like evil wins, ultimately, justice always prevails—just like in the case of Belge.
    • When the tyrant Geryonco found out that Belge had found a champion who easily defeated his guard, he's pretty furious.
    • He suits up and heads straight to the castle with many armed guards to confront Arthur.
    • Arthur meets him and when he ascertains for certain that he's the man who has been terrorizing Belge, he immediately begins to attack.
    • Now, fighting Geryonco is a bit tricky on account of his multiple limbs and the force of three bodies in one, so Arthur has to watch his movements very carefully.
    • Arthur is finally able to cut off one of his arms, and when Geryonco tries to repay Arthur by cutting off his head, he misses and just cuts off the head of his horse. Whoops.
    • Arthur again is able to cut off more of his arms, and finally, with the horse of three men, Arthur is able to kill all three of the bodies contained in Geryonco.
    • When Belge and her people see this there is great celebrating and Belge falls to her knees, profusely thanking Arthur for his bravery.
    • However, there is the one little other thing she would also really like some help with… namely the horrible idol and terrifying monster buried beneath it, housed in the chapel in front of the castle.
    • When Arthur hears about this monster, he definitely wants to defeat it too and heads straight for the chapel.
    • He enters and at first finds it empty, but as soon as he knocks on the statue of the idol three times, a terrible beast appears. Third time's the charm.
    • The beast has the head of woman, the body of a dog, claws of a lion, the tail of a dragon, and the wings of an eagle. Dang.
    • In fact, she's quite a bit like the famous Sphinx, who challenges the hero Oedipus to answer a riddle.
    • When she sees Arthur, she is not pleased and immediately goes into attack mode.
    • They fight for a while until Arthur is able to stab her in the belly, releasing her foul intestines and killing her.
    • Belge is very relieved when she sees Arthur emerge from the chapel victorious, and he stays and feasts with her for many days assuring she is securely re-established on her throne, and then takes off.
    • But now we're going to turn back to Artegall and see what's been going on with him.
    • Artegall is finally returning to the very first quest he took on in Canto I, to help out a princess named Eirene deal with a tyrant named Grantorto.
    • As he and Talus are heading there, they come an old knight named Sir Sergis whom they recognize from the court of the Faerie Queene as an aid to Irene.
    • They ask him what's going on and how things are with Irene.
    • Sergis replies that things aren't super great because she has been taken prisoner by Grantorto while she is waiting for Artegall to show up.
    • The tyrant has proclaimed that if no knight comes forward soon as her champion, he'll put her to death.
    • Artegall is sad to hear that Irene has fallen in trouble because of him, although he quickly calls on heaven and says that it really isn't his fault, since he was also taken prisoner.
    • Sergis tells them that she only has ten days left to live and Artegall vows to rescue her before then.
    • They head to find her, but along the way come across a large mass of people. In the midst of them is a knight being attacked and a lady begging for assistance.
    • When they see how brutally the knight is being attacked, they immediately come to his assistance and soon find themselves being attacked by the crowd as well—but Talus pretty quickly takes care of them.
    • The knight comes up to them and thanks them for their help and explains that his name is Burbon and his lady is named Flourdelis.
    • He says that she had pledged her love to him but for some reason has now turned against him and claims to prefer the tyrant Grantorto, who sent this mob to take her.
    • But Artegall is much more concerned about the fact that Burbon has lost his shield and the sign on it, which is a great dishonor to any knight.
    • Embarrassed, Burbon explains that he was dubbed a knight by Redcrosse (remember our hero from way back in Book I?) and that he gave him a nifty shield with the cross of Jesus on it.
    • Lots of people were jealous of this shield, but after enduring so much hardship and losing the love of Fleurdelis, he put his shield away.
    • Artegall says that all that sounds bad, but not bad enough that he should ever have put away his shield—that's just, really dishonorable.
    • Burbon disagrees, and says he'll pick it up again when things get better, which Artegall in turn says is dishonest, but finally Burbon just asks for Artegall's help in defeating some peasants who are fighting against him. Artegall agrees.
    • So they quickly begin fighting these peasants and soon Artegall and Burbon have the advantage, thanks in large part to Talus, who mercilessly kills all of them.
    • Then they find Fleurdelis, who isn't at all happy or excited to see Burbon, and Artegall angrily criticizes her saying she too pretty to be so superficial and that she's been too easily swayed by gifts from Grantorto.
    • The lady is rather embarrassed when Artegall says this and allows herself to be silently escorted away by Burbon.
    • Then Artegall finds Talus and tells him to stop killing so many peasants. They quickly head off to finish their initial quest.
  • Book 5, Canto 12

    • Ambition is a dangerous thing and makes people act dishonorably in a desire to control.
    • Just look at Burbon, Geryonco, and Grantorto—all acting dishonorably because they are obsessed with ruling (it's not entirely clear why this applies so much to Burbon.)
    • Artegall and Talus reach the sea and luckily find a ship ready to go able to take them to Irene's land.
    • As soon as they come close to her shore, however, many soldiers begin attacking them trying to prevent them from landing.
    • But Talus easily deals with the situation by swimming to shore and scaring them off.
    • So now Artegall, Talus, and Sir Sergis head into this kingdom and by the time they reach a little town, word has already reached Grantorto of their arrival.
    • Grantorto sends troops to stop them, but again Talus handily defeats them and Artegall again has to intervene to prevent him from completely massacring them, reminding him that they are here to save Irene.
    • Artegall sends a message to Grantorto to set a time for them to fight in single-handed combat. Grantorto sets it for the next day. These bloody battles are extremely well scheduled.
    • Artegall sets up his tent and prepares for the battle the next day, instructing no one to bother him.
    • Meanwhile, poor Irene thinks she is going to die that day since no one has told her that a champion has arrived.
    • But when she arrives at the plain, she sees Artegall ready to fight for her and is greatly relieved.
    • Grantorto then comes out, carrying a huge ax. He's huge himself, practically a giant, and very ugly.
    • Artegall is not intimidated and the two begin fighting as soon as the trumpet sounds.
    • They fight brutally and Grantorto almost kills Artegall but Artegall protects himself with his shield, actually lodging the shield in Grantorto's skin.
    • Artegall is unable to get the shield out so leaves it there and instead strikes Grantorto hard on the head.
    • Grantorto loses balance and Artegall takes the opportunity to attack him viciously, and soon Grantorto falls to the ground and Artegall kills him.
    • When everyone sees this they are overjoyed that the tyrant is dead and Irene in particularly is incredibly grateful for their help.
    • They then establish Irene securely on her rightful throne and Artegall stays trying to bring justice back to the commonwealth.
    • But before he can finish he is called back to the court of the Faerie Queene, since envious people have accused him and Talus of not administering justice rightly.
    • Along the way back, Artegall and Talus run into two hideous hags, one with wonky eyes, bones sticking out of her face, and feeding on a snake. This hag was named Envie.
    • Anytime she sees someone, she is angry them and resents them. She hates hearing about good news that has happened to anyone. This is no shocker, really: her name is envy.
    • The other hag, instead of inwardly being angry at good news outwardly spreads bad news and bad opinions. She's always inventing bad things to say; her name is Detraction and she lives next door to Envie.
    • Detraction is also ugly, with poison around her mouth that looks like strings and she carries thread for weaving.
    • These two women decided to team up against Artegall to punish him for defeating Grantorto, and they have a beast called the Blatant Beast.
    • When they see Artegall, Envie first runs after him screaming and wailing and throwing raw meat at him.
    • Ha! We want to see this in a movie.
    • Then Detraction begins to yell terrible things to him and lie that he only defeated Grantorto through treachery.
    • Finally, they release the Blatant Beast, who chases Artegall and growls at him with a hundred mouths.
    • But Artegall ignores them, and orders Talus to do the same, and so they go on to the court of the Faerie Queene.
  • Book 6, Proem

    • The last installment in this truly epic epic is called "The Sixthe Booke of the Faerie Queene. Contayning the Legend of S. Calidore, Or of Courtesie."
    • Even though it's long, hard work writing this poem, our narrator doesn't mind because he enjoys being in Faerie Land so much.
    • Poetry in general really is one of the greatest gifts around, and our narrator calls on the aid of the Muses (goddesses of the arts and sciences) to help him write.
    • He needs them to reveal to him the virtue of courtesy, which was so much better back in the day than it is in our present world. As was everything, according to Dr. Nostalgiapants Spenser.
    • Well, with one exception: the Queen herself. The Queen is filled with courtesy.
  • Book 6, Canto 1

    • It's typical, and sensible, for people to associate courtesy with the court, and this is true especially of the Faerie court.
    • Brain bite! As you can see, the word "courtesy" comes from the word for "court"—so the two concepts definitely have a close connection.
    • In the Faerie court, no knight was more courteous than Sir Calidore, who everyone loved for his good looks and good manners.
    • Now, Sir Calidore was off on an important adventure when he bumped into Artegall, our hero from Book 5.
    • The two know each other, so they say hello and Artegall updates Calidore on his latest adventure.
    • Calidore responds that he's happy things went so well but that he's off to pick up where Artegall left off and chase the Blatant Beast.
    • Artegall doesn't know that's the name of the monster he had just faced, so he asks who this monster is.
    • Calidore explains that he destroys men with his vile tongue and torments them cruelly.
    • This sounds familiar to Artegall, who now realizes it's the monster he just saw.
    • Artegall is happy to hear of any news of the beast and the two take off on their separate ways.
    • As Calidore is riding along, he sees a squire tied to a tree yelling for help.
    • Calidore unties him and asks him what has happened and the squire explains that there is a castle nearby which has a terrible custom of shaving the hair of every lady and the beard of every knight who needs passage.
    • Calidore thinks this is a terrible custom and asks the squire why it exists.
    • He tells Calidore that the castle is controlled by a lady named Briana, who loves a knight named Crudor who will only return her love if she makes a blanket out of human hair. Ick.
    • She also employs a nasty guard named Maleffort, who enforces her cruel law and who that very day caught this squire and his lady.
    • While Maleffort went out looking for the lady, he tied the squire to this tree.
    • Suddenly, the two of them hear a terrible scream and realize it's the squire's lady—she's being carried by Maleffort, who is tearing and pulling her hair and her clothing.
    • Calidore immediately runs after Maleffort, calling him a coward, and Maleffort, angered, runs to attack him.
    • But Calidore gains the upper hand and soon Maleffort is fleeing from him back to the castle.
    • But Maleffort only makes it a few steps in before Calidore cuts off his head and also kills the porter.
    • Others in the castle attempt to stop Calidore, but he easily puts them off and finds himself in front of Briana.
    • She criticizes him for killing her porter and her guard, but he responds that it was justified since the castle is behaving in such an immoral way.
    • He instructs her to begin conducting herself and the castle in a much more courteous manner, which will bring her much greater glory than the love of Crudor.
    • But Briana is totally uninterested and mocks Calidore, who replies that he doesn't care at all about being mocked by a lady but wouldn't mind challenging her love, Crudor.
    • She laughs and says that Crudor is a very powerful knight, a comment Calidore ignores and decides to stick around.
    • Briana secretly sends a dwarf to deliver a ring to Crudor, which is a sign between them that she needs assistance.
    • While Briana vents her frustration and anger against Calidore constantly, Calidore relies on his good judgment and stays civil.
    • The next morning the dwarf returns with word that Crudor will challenge Calidore immediately, which improves Briana's mode greatly.
    • Calidore prepares to meet Crudor outside of the castle and as soon as he sees him coming he doesn't even stop to ascertain his identity, but heads straight for him and they both unseat the other.
    • Calidore recovers quickly, but waits to attack Crudor since it would be dishonorable to attack him while he's passed out.
    • Finally, Crudor rises up again and the two begin to fight, a long and bloody fight.
    • Eventually, Calidore sees an advantage, blocks a blow from Crudor and then knocks Crudor hard on the helmet, knocks him down again, and almost kills him until Crudor starts begging for his life.
    • Calidore pauses and then launches into a long lecture about the virtues of courtesy and the wrongness of Crudor's wicked ways.
    • He agrees to spare Crudor's life if he turns his habits toward good, marries Briana immediately, and no longer cuts the hair of knights and ladies trying to pass.
    • Crudor agrees, and calls Briana to him, who is at first not pleased with what she is seeing, but when she hears they are going to be married, suddenly is delighted and feels truly sorry for what she's done.
    • She entertains them lavishly back at the castle and offers the castle to Calidore in thanks for his mercy.
    • But Calidore refuses, and instead gives it to the squire and his lady whom he had freed, and then goes along his way.
  • Book 6, Canto 2

    • Nothing is more important for a knight in love than courtesy.
    • In fact, courtesy is important to every social interaction since it makes people like and respect you more.
    • Calidore is truly a pro at courtesy, so much so that some people even think he's magical.
    • But now he's off again and soon comes across a tall man fighting a knight on horseback, with a lady standing near them in dirtied clothing.
    • Calidore guesses that she's at the root of this quarrel and wants to continue on his way, but suddenly sees the tall man kill the armed knight.
    • Calidore is rather shocked at this, but sees that even though this man is young, he has the marks of a warrior.
    • The man is dressed all in woodland clothing with a hood over his head, golden boots on his feet, and spears in his hands.
    • Calidore comes up to him and asks why the young man, who is not a knight, has killed a knight. That's seriously against the code.
    • The man explains that he wouldn't usually violate the code, but this knight came up to him and started attacking him even though he was barely armed.
    • Calidore admits that attacking someone unarmed is a very un-knightly thing to do and asks for more details about how their quarrel began.
    • The young man describes how as he was hunting in the forest he came across this knight riding on horseback but forcing the lady to keep up with him on foot, and that every time she slowed down, he threatened her with his spear.
    • The man was very upset to see him treating a lady this way so he went up and told him so.
    • The knight responded by telling him to go away and when the young man persisted, the knight started attacking him, until the young man was able to sneak his spear under the knight's armor straight for his heart.
    • Calidore is quite impressed by both the young man's speech and by his aim and once the lady corroborates the young man's story, Calidore expresses his admiration of young man and the man's blamelessness.
    • Calidore then asks the lady why she was in this situation with the knight and she explains that she and him had been riding together earlier when they came upon a lady sitting with a knight in the middle of the forest.
    • This lady was very beautiful and soon her knight begins to desire her and envy her companion.
    • He decides that the lady accompanying him (the woman who is narrating the story now) is blocking his moves, so he sends her off.
    • When she refuses, he pulls her off her horse and then attacks the knight sitting with the lady.
    • This knight is not prepared for a fight, and asks for some time to prepare, but the knight refuses and begins to viciously attack him.
    • Meanwhile, the desired lady rushes off and hides. When the attacking knight notices this, he freaks and starts to look for her.
    • When he can't find her anywhere, he becomes enraged and takes his anger out on his lady, who he makes walk at the edge of his spear for no good reason.
    • After hearing this, Calidore is assured that the knight is better off dead and then turns to once again admire the young man, whom he begins to suspect is of noble blood.
    • Calidore then praises the young man's noble appearance and asks him to reveal his identity.
    • The young man replies that even though it might put him at some risk, Calidore has been so courteous that he'll tell him who he is.
    • He explains that he is a Briton, a son of a king, but through misfortune has lost his country and his crown.
    • His name, he says, is Tristram, and only heir of King Meliogras, who reigned over Cornwall until he died young and the throne went to his brother since Tristram was so young.
    • Brain bite! Tristram, sometimes called Tristan, is a famous hero from English Arthurian legend.
    • Tristram's mother, Queen Emiline, fears for Tristram's safety with this new king and sends him away to the land of Faerie.
    • Tristram says he has spent his youth educating himself and training in the forest, learning all about the natural world, but the one thing he hasn't been able to pursue is his knighthood.
    • So, considering that Calidore has come along, Tristram asks him if he'll make him a squire so he can pursue knightly things.
    • Calidore happily obliges and names Tristram a knight.
    • Tristram asks if he can accompany Calidore on his quest, and Calidore really wishes that he could, but unfortunately he promised the Faerie Queene that he would tackle this quest alone.
    • But, he suggests that Tristram help out this lady who is now all alone.
    • Tristram agrees, takes the armor from the dead knight, and rides off with the lady.
    • Calidore then heads to the place where the lady described her knight's altercation with the knight and the other lady and soon finds the poor knight sorely wounded tended by his grieving lady.
    • He asks the lady to explain what happened, and she tells the same story that Tristram told.
    • Calidore informs her that the knight who did this has been killed and that she should stop grieving and focus on how to help her knight.
    • The lady is comforted by this, but doesn't know how to help her knight, and is too embarrassed to ask Calidore.
    • But Calidore understands what's going on and offers to help himself, giving the knight a healing ointment, and helping to carry him to a nearby castle.
  • Book 6, Canto 3

    • Nothing demonstrates the nature of a person more than their manners, and, according to our narrator, often there is a correlation between good manners and noble blood.
    • A great example of courtesy is how Calidore offered to bring the wounded knight to a nearby castle where they ask an old knight (who owns the castle) to let them stay.
    • The old man used to be a great knight and retains his courteousness to all knights.
    • He's the father of the wounded knight; his name is Aldus and his son's name is Aladine.
    • When he sees his son so injured he is very upset and cries out that morality is weak, but that this is the way life is and we must accept it.
    • He moderates his grief and is able to entertain his guests, although the lady is pretty inconsolable and worrying about her love.
    • She is the daughter of a noble lord who lived nearby who wanted his daughter to marry someone else, but she only loved Aladine, even though he was of slightly lower birth.
    • They had stolen away together to the forest when the other (wicked) knight found them, and she was a bit concerned about how she would account for being in this slightly compromising situation.
    • Calidore and Aldus attempt to distract her during dinner, and once dinner is over Calidore heads to his room and falls asleep straight away.
    • But Priscilla (which is the lady's name) does not sleep but stays by Aladine the whole night long.
    • When Aladine wakes up and sees how sad and worried Priscilla looks, he begins to feel concerned for her and the two begin to consider asking Calidore for help so that they don't get into trouble over their meet-up in the forest.
    • The next morning, Calidore awakes and gets ready to leave but first pays Aladine and Priscilla a visit.
    • Calidore finds Aladine looking much better and Aladine takes this opportunity to explain his situation to Calidore.
    • Calidore feels for them and agrees to Aladine's request that he escort Priscilla home to her father.
    • Along the way, Calidore goes to the body of the knight who attacked them and cuts off his head and brings it with him.
    • Calidore then brings Pricilla to her father and explains that she was attacked by an evil knight whose head he is carrying.
    • Her father is delighted to have her returned to him safely, and thanks Calidore greatly, as does Priscilla, and after spending a little time there, Calidore heads off on own way.
    • As he's going on his way, he comes across a knight intimately cuddling with his lady. They're less than pleased to have been interrupted by Calidore.
    • Calidore is terribly embarrassed and makes all kinds of courteous apologies that finally soften the knight and his lady and they invite him to come and sit with them.
    • They listen to all his adventures, and the lady, named Serena, decides she wants to pick some flowers and wanders off.
    • Suddenly, out of the forest comes the Blatant Beast, and grabs Serena in his mouth and carries her off as she screams to the knights for help.
    • The knights jump up and Calidore catches up to the monster first, forcing him to drop Serena.
    • Since Calidore knows that her knight is not far behind him, Calidore leaves Serena there and pursues the beast.
    • Meanwhile, Sir Calepine, the name of Serena's knight, finds her lying on the ground sorely wounded by the monster's teeth.
    • He gently tends to her and lifts her onto his horse so that they can go in search of aid.
    • They finally see a suitable place across a river, but are unable to cross the river.
    • Soon, he sees a knight and a lady approaching them and greets them and asks for his help and carrying his lady over the river.
    • The knight rudely replies that he won't and advises Calepine to try and carry her himself.
    • The knight's lady is quite upset at his rude reply and tries to help them.
    • Calepine is thankful for her help but is quite angry with the rudeness of the knight and, just to spite him, wades into the river with his spear and Serena.
    • The knight laughs at him as he does this and finally Calepine can't take it anymore and calls him a dishonor to knighthood and challenges him to duel.
    • The knight continues to laugh, and Calepine increases his threats, but the knight ignores him and heads to the castle.
    • Calepine and Serena finally make it over the river and also head to castle since the situation is desperate.
    • But the porter of the castle is very rude and refuses to allow them in.
    • Calepine demands to know who their host is and why he won't let them in.
    • The porter replies that their host is Sir Turpine, a mighty and stern knight who challenges every knight he meets.
    • Calepine wonders why Turpine is so rude if he is so mighty, but tells the porter to go to his master and tell him a knight needs a place to stay and has a wounded lady with him.
    • The porter tells Turpine about the knight, but Turpine still refuses to let them in, ignoring even the pleading of his lady, Blandina.
    • The porter returns to Calepine and reports this, which makes Calepine extremely angry, but there was little he could do except take Serena to a bush and lay her there to rest while he watched over her.
    • The next day, Serena wakes up on the verge of death and Calepine takes her with him as he goes to seek help. Calepine wears armor, just in case.
    • As they are riding along, Calepine sees a knight riding angrily toward him.
    • He quickly figures out that this is the same knight who had treated him so rudely when he was trying to cross the river.
    • Calepine does his best to avoid him, since he is concerned for his lady, but the knight continues to pursue him, claiming Calepine had injured him.
    • Finally, the rude knight overtakes Calepine and injures him severely, stabbing him through the shoulder.
    • What will happen to our man Calepine? Stay tuned for the next canto!
  • Book 6, Canto 4

    • Poor Calepine and Serena are in quite a rough situation: Calepine is being attacked by Turpine and Serena is severely injured from the Blatant Beast.
    • Luckily, "a salvage man" (VI.iv.2—think "savage") hears Serena's shouts and runs over to see Calepine being attacked.
    • Although the savage man has never been particularly compassionate before, he suddenly feels very bad for Calepine and decides to intervene.
    • He doesn't carry any weapons, but instead just lunges at Turpine, who at first succeeds in stabbing the savage man but soon finds himself wrestling him.
    • Once the savage man gains the clear advantage, Turpine takes off but the savage man follows him. He almost catches up to him but can't keep pace with Turpine's horse.
    • So the savage man returns to Calepine and Serena, who are both in a bad way, and Serena fears that this savage man means to do them harm.
    • But, instead, he makes signs showing his good intentions, brings herbs for Calepine's wounds, and gestures for them to follow him to safety.
    • They rest in a grassy knoll, grateful to finally be free from danger, and the savage man does his best to tend to them.
    • Soon Calepine recovers, but Serena does not—her wound isn't just physical, but also psychological—and Calepine heads out into the forest to catch some air.
    • While out and about without his sword or armor, Calepine comes across a bear carrying an infant child in its mouth.
    • Calepine feels badly for the baby and decides to help it. And, although it would have been useful to have his weapons with him, he is able to travel faster without them.
    • He catches up to them and seizes the baby from the bear, which angers the bear and the bear attacks.
    • But Calepine grabs a stone and thrusts it into the bear's mouth, causing the bear to choke, and then he strangles the bear. Yeah, dude. He strangles the freaking bear.
    • He then turns to the baby, picks it up and cleans it, and tries to head back to where he was staying but realizes he's lost.
    • He wanders around for a while until finally he finds a way out of the forest.
    • He hears a woman crying and goes up to her to find out what's wrong.
    • She explains that her name is Matilda and she's the wife of Sir Bruin, the lord of this land who conquered it from a giant named Cormoraunt.
    • Things were great except for the fact that she and Bruin were unable to conceive a child or heir, and Bruin worried his kingdom would fall back into the hands of Cormoraunt.
    • Bruin and Matilda then hear a prophecy that says a child will "be gotten, not begotten" (VI.iv.32) and so they hope that they will find a deserving heir soon.
    • But, much time had past, and no such heir has appeared, so that's why Matilda is crying here.
    • Calepine feels bad for her and decides to give her the baby he just found, explaining that often great knights arise from unknown lineages.
    • Matilda is quite happy at this solution. So is Calepine (who has no idea how to take care of the child).
    • Matilda brings it back to Bruin telling him it's his and they all live happily ever after.
    • Meanwhile, Calepine is pining for Serena and for a place to stay. Even though Matilda had offered to take him in, he vows not to rest until he finds his love.
  • Book 6, Canto 5

    • According to our narrator, you can always tell that someone's of noble blood through their good deeds.
    • Take this savage man, for example. Even though he was raised in a savage way, he's clearly got some noble blood in him, which would explain his compassion.
    • When Calepine doesn't return for a long time, the savage man decides to go out and look for him but has no luck.
    • When Serena realizes that Calepine may be lost (or worse, dead) she becomes very upset and the savage man tries to help her and tries to mend her wounds.
    • Finally, Serena decides to go and seek Calepine and the savage joins her, wearing the armor that Calepine had left.
    • As they travel, Serena's horse requires attention and so the savage man puts down the armor temporarily to help her.
    • As he's busy tending to that, two knights approach, no other than Arthur and his squire Timias.
    • Now Timias, as you may remember, had finally gotten his love Belphoebe to forgive him (this was back in Book 4, Canto 8) and was living happily with her, ignoring the slanders of the world, until three villains in particular sought to overtake him: Despetto, wise and strong; Decetto, wise but not strong; and Defetto, neither wise nor strong.
    • They tried various methods to injure him, but nothing worked, so they finally decided to use the Blatant Beast to coax Timias away from Belphoebe.
    • The plan worked; Timias immediately began to chase the monster as soon as he saw it.
    • But the monster was formidable and bit Timias and then forced him to flee straight into an ambush set by the three villains.
    • They began fiercely attacking him, but Timias was able to hold them off for a while. As he began to tire and weaken until he heard a horse riding toward him.
    • Soon, a knight appeared and the three villains fled because the knight turns out to be Arthur, who was delighted to see his old squire.
    • Arthur asked where Timias has been, but Timias didn't answer, so the two just ride on and talk of other things until they come upon the savage man and Serena.
    • Thinking the savage man has killed a knight and captured Serena, they attempt to take his armor, which angers the savage man. He attacks them.
    • But Serena begs everyone to stop and explains her situation.
    • She says that she is looking for her lost love Calepine and that this savage man saved them and took care of her, and she asks them to be kind toward him.
    • So they all ride off together to look for aid, since both Serena and Timias carry wounds from the Blatant Beast.
    • As they travel, Serena tells them about Turpine and his various villainies and Arthur vows to later avenge her and Calepine.
    • Finally, they come to a Hermitage (a hangout for hermits), where a hermit is praying, and he invites them in when he sees them coming.
    • This hermit is a former knight, who became a hermit when he was sick of fighting.
    • The hermit offers them a simple but delicious meal and place to rest, although neither Serena nor Timias are able to do so because of their wounds.
    • In the morning, they are too ill to travel, so Arthur leaves them with the hermit and heads out with the savage, who is impressed by Arthur's majesty.
  • Book 6, Canto 6

    • No physical wound inflicted by a weapon is as bad as the emotional would inflicted by a bad reputation—those wounds are almost impossible to cure.
    • The wounds inflicted by the Blatant Beast are in this latter category, and the hermit has a tough time tending to them.
    • This hermit, since he is a former knight, knows a lot about the world, and about healing.
    • One day, he sees that the wounds are spreading infection, which now no surgery can heal. Luckily, it seems like discipline and good advice will do the trick.
    • The hermit takes Timias and Serena and gives them a lecture on living better, explaining that only they can help themselves.
    • He encourages them to rely less on their outward senses.
    • He explains how the Blatant Beast has venomous teeth and that he was born of the monster Echidna (a famous monster from Classical mythology), beautiful on top but so hideous on the bottom that the gods hid her from sight.
    • She mated with a cruel Titan named Typhaon and bore the Blatant Beast, who slanders and attacks everyone, whether they deserve it or not.
    • So, traditional medicine won't work against this wound, but instead they need to avoid doing anything bad, restrain themselves from pleasure and desire, and generally detox.
    • And so Serena and Timias closely follow his advice. In no time at all they're better and depart from the hermit.
    • They decide to travel together and soon meet a maid wearing clothes of mourning, riding on a mangy animal lead by a fool and a large, vicious man.
    • But, before we hear what's up with this lady, we need to go back to Arthur and the savage and learn what they've been up to.
    • Arthur and the savage are seeking Turpine, to avenge his cruel treatment of Serena and Calepine.
    • They find the castle and ride straight in. While the savage man takes the horses to the stable, Arthur explains that he's a wandering knight in need of a place to stay.
    • A groom (a kind of assistant) tells Arthur to go away, since the lord of the castle hates knights and won't let them stay.
    • The savage, returning from the stables, sees the groom being rude to Arthur and immediately attacks him.
    • When everyone else sees this, they jump and attack but Arthur keeps them away.
    • The few who do survive Arthur's attack run to Turpine and tell him what has happened.
    • When Turpine hears this, he heads straight there and, seeing so many of people dead, denounces Arthur as a coward and villain and attacks him straight away.
    • They begin to fight fiercely, and when Turpine senses Arthur is winning, he tries to hide himself, but Arthur spots him and pursues him throughout the entire castle.
    • Finally, Arthur catches him in his bedroom, crying to his wife, and Arthur whacks him on the head.
    • His wife screams and hides her husband with her dress, begging Arthur for mercy.
    • Arthur refrains from attacking again, and Turpine slowly revives himself, and Arthur severely lectures him.
    • He calls him a coward, tells him his conduct toward Calepine and Serena was utterly shameful, and says that he'll spare his life but he must never bear the arms of a knight again.
    • Taking his armor, Arthur then worries about what's happened to the savage man, and finds him viciously attacking others people in the castle.
    • Arthur signals for him to stop, takes him up to Turpine and his wife Blandina, and again prevents the savage man from attacking Turpine.
    • They remain at the castle and Blandina entertains them lavishly, seeming to be courteous and kind, but actually up to no good.
    • Her husband is secretly planning his revenge while Arthur sleeps.
    • But Turpine is too frightened to do anything immediately, so Arthur and the savage get up early and head out.
  • Book 6, Canto 7

    • Just as noble people reveal themselves to be noble through good deeds, bad people reveal themselves to be bad through bad deeds.
    • Turpine is a good example of this. He's plotting revenge against Arthur, even though Arthur has spared his life.
    • Seeing that Arthur has left, Turpine puts on his armor and follows after him, hiding until the moment is right to attack.
    • But, as he is following he comes across two knights. He lies and tells them that he is pursing a knight who had done him and his lady a great discourtesy, and asks for their help.
    • Believing him, they agree.
    • Soon they catch sight of Arthur and call out to him, challenging him and labeling him a traitor.
    • Both knights charge straight for Arthur, one missing and the other being stuck down by Arthur after ineffectually hitting Arthur's shield.
    • The other knight tries to retaliate, but Arthur strikes him down and almost kills him and the knight begs for mercy.
    • Arthur relents and the knight explains how Turpine asked them to help him kill Arthur, so Arthur orders the knight to bring him Turpine or he'll kill his friend.
    • The knight goes and finds Turpine, demanding his reward, but Turpine asks where Arthur and the other knight are.
    • The knight lies and says his friend and Arthur are both dead, so they ride over to see them.
    • They find the friend still on the ground from his injury and close by find Arthur sleeping since he is exhausted from their fight. The savage has gone into the forest for some reason.
    • At first, Turpine believes Arthur is dead, but quickly realizes he's just sleeping.
    • He becomes frightened and the knight then explains what actually went down.
    • Turpine, seeing an opportunity, tries to persuade the knight to attack Arthur in his sleep out of vengeance, but the knight refuses to engage in such a dishonorable tactic.
    • Soon, the savage man comes out of the forest and sees what's going on and gets ready to attack.
    • But Arthur also wakes up and, when he sees Turpine, immediately charges at him. He knocks him to the ground, denounces his villainy, and then hangs him upside down from a tree as an example to others not to engage in bad behavior.
    • But now we need to return to the mysterious lady being led by a fool and a vicious man that Timias and Serena came across.
    • This lady had been a famous and worthy lady in the land of Faerie but grew proud and mean and scorns the love of all.
    • Many men did love her, but her proud ways soon came back to haunt her.
    • Cupid, when he held court one day to see all the lovers in the world, saw that many men were missing and he demanded to know why.
    • Infamy and Despite came and gave testimony that Mirabella, the name of this lady, had killed them (presumably by denying them her love).
    • Cupid orders her brought before the court, and when she proudly refuses to answer, she is found guilty.
    • But, Cupid has some mercy and instead of having her killed her orders her to do penance by wondering the world in poverty until she has saved the same number of people she killed.
    • So, this is the state Timias and Serena find her in, after she's been wondering for two years and has only saved two people. She needs to save twenty-two.
    • Her situation is extra sad because the vicious man yells insults at her while the fool whips her. Neither pays any attention to her requests for mercy.
    • The vicious man was born from Giants, the same giant, Orgoglio (from Book 1) who Arthur killed.
    • He has terrifying eyes, wears no armor but only a jacket and a tall hat and carries a club in his hand.
    • This is Disdain.
    • The fool's name is Scorn, and he laughs at her pain.
    • When Timias sees this, he feels bad for Mirabella and attacks Disdain in order to help her.
    • He and Disdain fight, but sadly Timias slips, giving Disdain and chance to knock him out and tie him up before he can stop him.
    • They then force Timias to come along with them while Scorn whips him.
    • Serena, thinking Timias was dead when Disdain struck him, fled. She has many adventures before she finally reunited with Calepine… but first we need to hear more about Mirabella.
  • Book 6, Canto 8

    • Our narrator warns women who have power over men in the realm of love to not abuse that power and become scornful but instead to be as gentle and mild as women ought to be.
    • Mirabella is a good example of what happens to women who scorn men's love. She's now even sadder since Timias has been taken captive trying to help her.
    • As they go along, they run into Arthur and one of the knights he fought earlier, named Enias.
    • When Timias sees Arthur, he's ashamed to be found in such a low, captive state.
    • Enias is disturbed to see what is happening and asks Arthur is he can go fight them in order to stop them tormenting Timias and Mirabella.
    • Arthur agrees and Enias heads straight for them, fighting with Disdain, at first ducking Disdain's fatal blows. But soon, like Timias, he finds himself on the ground about to be tied up.
    • When Arthur sees this, he runs to help Enias, and begins fighting Disdain.
    • Although Disdain's blows are unpredictable, Arthur's skill is clear and he avoids them all, finally avoiding even Disdain's great, final blow by sliding under his legs and hitting his knees.
    • He prepares to cut off Disdain's head, but Mirabella asks him to stop, explaining that their fates are tied.
    • Arthur wants to know more and she tells her story: how she was beautiful but disdained love and only loved herself and so Cupid gave her this fate as punishment.
    • Arthur thinks this punishment is just and then asks why she carries a bottle in front and a pack on her back, when really Disdain should be carrying those.
    • She explains that the bottle is meant to carry the tears of her repentance and the bag carries things she has done in order to repent.
    • So Arthur lets Disdain go and turns to find Timias their captive, and is delighted, though confused, to see his old squire.
    • Meanwhile, the savage man is attacking Scorn for tormenting Enias, until Mirabella's cries cause Arthur to make him stop.
    • Arthur leaves his next move up to Mirabella, offering to either let her go on her way with her punishment or he can help release her.
    • She chooses to fulfill her punishment and departs from everyone.
    • Arthur too, who has an adventure he need to complete, also goes his own way.
    • But now, we need to hear about what happened to poor Serena, who fled from the scene when she thought Disdain had killed Timias.
    • She fled for a long time until danger seemed past and then got off her horse to rest and contemplate her sad situation, blaming Calepine for abandoning her.
    • She finally falls asleep, unknowingly resting near a nation of savages who steal, cause havoc, and—worst of all—are cannibals.
    • When they come across Serena, they can't believe their good luck and, after letting her sleep her fill, decide to sacrifice her to their god.
    • As she sleeps, they each pick their favorite body part and when she wakes they snatch off all her jewels and her clothing.
    • Seeing her naked, they all begin to desire her for themselves, and again note the perfection of her various body parts.
    • But the priest makes sure none of them try to rape her, since that would defile her as a sacrifice, and so they take her to a clearing where they construct an altar.
    • Once it's evening, they prepare to sacrifice her and almost follow through when (ta-da!) Calepine comes galloping in to the rescue. He has been looking for Serena in these very woods.
    • He easily slays many of the savages and releases the woman, although he doesn't find out until daytime that it's Serena.
  • Book 6, Canto 9

    • It's time for our narrator to return to an old theme that he's left unfinished: the fate of Calidore (remember him, super polite guy from the beginning of this book?)
    • Brain bite! Spenser is playing around a bit here. While his old theme does refer to Calidore, it also refers to the Pastoral mode, a type of literature very popular in the Renaissance that involves shepherds and shepherdesses lounging around and singing.
    • We're about to see a lot of in this section of The Faerie Queene. This is an old theme for Spenser since he wrote an earlier collection of pastoral poems called The Shepherd's Calendar.
    • This earlier poetry collection is clearly on Spenser's mind here since he includes a character in this section of The Faerie Queene named Colin Clout,who first appeared in The Shepherd's Calendar.
    • Okay, back to the scene at hand.
    • Poor Calidore has been through a lot. He's been tracking down the Blatant Beast and following him constantly through all kinds of terrain.
    • He finally chases the beast into plain full of shepherds with their flocks and Calidore stops to ask some of them if they've seen the beast running.
    • They assured him they haven't, and hope they never do. They offer Calidore a drink since he is clearly exhausted.
    • As he is drinking and resting, he catches sight of a beautiful shepherdess wearing simple clothes, sitting on a hill with some shepherds singing love song to her.
    • Her name is Pastorella and she is by far the most beautiful woman among the shepherdesses. All the shepherds love her, but a dude named Coridon loves her the most.
    • She, however, doesn't care for Coridon.
    • As Calidore looks at her, he falls completely in love and thinks she would make a wonderful wife for a prince.
    • Even though he is supposed to be chasing the beast, he stays where he was, entranced by Pastorella.
    • Since night is falling, it is time for the shepherds to take their flocks in and Pastorella's father, an old man, ushers her inside.
    • The old man, however, was not her biological father but had found her as an infant.
    • Everyone helps Pastorella bring in the flocks, especially Coridon. Meliboe, Pastorella's father, invites Calidore to stay with them since it's now late.
    • Calidore agrees and joins Meliboe, his wife, and Pastorella at their home, which is simple but comfortable.
    • Calidore is extremely grateful for the kindness and courtesy shown to him and praises the life of the shepherd away from the dangers and torments of the world at large.
    • Meliboe replies that he is indeed very content to live the life nature has given him and says that he envies no one but pities those who let ambition take them away from the good and quite life. When he was young, Meliboe left the life of a shepherd to be a knight, but after ten years realized it was not for him and came back to being a shepherd.
    • Calidore is entranced by both what the old man is saying and by the beauty of his daughter.
    • He replies that he completely agrees and thinks that all other forms of life are a pale shadow compared to this one, and seems so much better than the glory and quests he pursues that he wishes he could become a shepherd too.
    • Meliboe cautions him, however, not to question the life fortune has given him since fortune always knows best.
    • Besides, he says, happiness, sadness, wealth, poverty are all states of mind, things that we can control ourselves.
    • Calidore replies that since those things are under his control, he'd like to remain with a little while not as their grand guest, but as a shepherd like them, sharing their same food and work. He even offers Meliboe some gold to make it worth his while.
    • Meliboe wants nothing to do with the gold, but is fine with Calidore sticking around.
    • So Calidore remains with them for a while, always trying to get into Pastorella's good graces. But he always fails, since she has no knowledge of his courtly, courteous, and knightly ways.
    • She's much more interested in the singing of another shepherd named Colin.
    • When Calidore notices this, he decides he'll have more success if he dresses as a shepherd.
    • And so he does and continues to help Pastorella with her flocks everyday, arousing the jealousy of Coridon.
    • Whenever they are together, Coridon pouts and make faces, while Calidore obliviously tends to Pastorella.
    • Even though Coridon brings Pastorella little sparrows and squirrels and other gifts, she still prefers Calidore. Wow, Coridon. Squirrels are your idea of a romantic gift? Whatever happened to, say, flowers?
    • One day, when the flocks are resting, they decide to have a dance while Colin Clout plays the pipe and Calidore leads. This does not make Coridon happy.
    • But Calidore is courteous enough to let Coridon be the leader and even gives him a garland, which pacifies him somewhat.
    • Another time, Coridon challenges Calidore to a wrestling match to be judged by Pastorella. Even though Coridon is an able wrestler, Calidore is strong and fit and ends up winning, although he courteously gives the winning garland to Coridon.
    • So ultimately Calidore wins over everyone, including Pastorella, and the two seem very happy until something happens that we'll hear about in the next Canto…
  • Book 6, Canto 10

    • Who is following the Blatant Beast now that Calidore is distracted with Pastorella?
    • Love has made him waver from his vow to the Faerie Queene: to follow the beast without delay.
    • He's decided to give up the life of knight, with its pain and courtly duties, in favor of the life of shepherd—and who can blame him? It is much more peaceful and, at times, more genuine.
    • Also, Pastorella is super cute.
    • One day, while Calidore is walking the fields without Pastorella, he comes across a beautiful hill, the most perfect and tranquil place he has ever seen.
    • There are tall trees, birds chirping, a gentle creek, no wild beasts but only nymphs and faeries, and a large plain where people can dance; this place is called Mount Acidale.
    • This Mount was supposedly where Venus hung out with the Graces (three particularly lovely nymphs).
    • As Calidore approaches, he sees and hears ladies dancing to the music of a pipe. He doesn't dare disturb them or make his presence known. Instead, he hides, which is kind of creepy because these ladies are naked.
    • They are dancing in rings, a large ring of women on the outside, a small ring of three in the middle, and a single lady directly in the center.
    • This image then becomes more a vision, and Calidore sees the crown of Ariadne become part of the stars.
    • These women and their dance is so beautiful there isn't enough time to describe it all, but women are really beautiful.
    • The women in the inner ring are the Graces, and they are especially lovely, but woman in the very middle is the beautiful. It's clear that the shepherd is playing his pipes especially for her.
    • That piping shepherd is Colin Clout, and the lady in the middle (whose identity is still a mystery) is referred to as his love.
    • Calidore was astonished at this strange vision and he had no idea if he is seeing something actually there or just a mirage.
    • Suddenly, everyone vanishes except Colin, who is distressed by the end of the dance.
    • Calidore approaches him and comments on how lucky he is to pipe for such a beautiful naked dance.
    • But Colin replies that he isn't lucky at all since once those nymphs depart, there is no way to bring them back again.
    • Calidore is sorry to hear that, and hopes his presence wasn't an issue, but asks for more info about the dance.
    • Colin explains that the woman dancing are Venus' damsels, daughters of the god Jupiter and Eurynome, the daughter of the ocean. The Graces' names are Euphrosyne, Aglaia, and Thalia.
    • The Graces bestow good manners, beauty, and general grace to all people. They are always gentle and naked (since they have nothing to hide), and dance in a particular order.
    • But Colin doesn't know anything about the extra-hawt woman that was dancing in the middle.
    • She's incredibly beautiful, he says, worthy of being a fourth Grace. She's full of chastity, divinity, and sovereignty.
    • He calls her Gloriana and says she is the light of the world, and asks for her pardon in singing to her.
    • After Calidore hears all this from Colin he feels even worse about crashing the party and apologizes again for ruining this vision.
    • They sit and talk here for a while, enjoying each other's company and the beauty of the place, but soon Calidore feels compelled to be near Pastorella, and so leaves.
    • He comes back to Pastorella, whom he is dutifully wooing. But he's always in competition with Coridon, who tries to match every thing Calidore does.
    • One day when they were out picking strawberries a tiger lunges out of the forest, headed straight for Pastorella.
    • Coridon first rushes to help her, but he chickens out. Calidore then comes and, unafraid, rushes to protect her by attacking the tiger with his shepherd's staff and (somehow) cutting off its head and presenting it to Pastorella.
    • From the moment forward, Pastorella really begins to fall for Calidore, which makes Coridon increasingly upset, even though Calidore tries to keep things friendly between them.
    • So finally, Calidore is successful in acquiring the love of Pastorella… until bad luck comes upon them.
    • Brigands (low-life thieves) attack and spoil the shepherd's land, ruining the house of Meliboe and taking everyone, including Pastorella and Coridon, away as captives.
    • The brigands take them secretly to their island. They hide everyone away in caves underground so that no one will find them… they're intending to sell them as slaves.
    • Poor Pastorella thinks she must be in hell.
  • Book 6, Canto 11

    • Love is so wonderful it would just be too good if we were able to enjoy it without disruption.
    • Poor Pastorella is now the captive of the brigands, and their captain takes a liking to her.
    • He tries to win her over by being nice to her, which at first she rebuffs, but soon decides to pretend to like because she fears that otherwise he might try and rape her.
    • Finally, however, he begins to press her and so she must pretend to be sick in order to put him off.
    • While she fakes illness, a group of merchants come looking to buy all the shepherds, which the captain doesn't like, but feels compelled to agree to.
    • So the shepherds are brought out for the merchants to look at. They ask after Pastorella.
    • The captain angrily replies that she is his, and that's she sick anyway. But her beauty attracts the merchants and they refuse to buy any of the shepherds without her being included.
    • The other brigands tell the captain that he should just let her go, but he draws his sword and threatens to kill anyone who tries to take her from him.
    • Soon, an all-out fight begins, and many captives are killed, including Meliboe and his wife.
    • Coridon, however, sneaks out in the chaos.
    • The captain continues to defend Pastorella, keeping her close by his side, and when he is fatally wounded, Pastorella is stabbed in the arm.
    • She falls and is buried by corpses, and later found by the brigands almost on the brink of death.
    • They tend to her so that she regains some strength, but she is then appalled to see that all her family and kin are dead and that she is still a captive, now guarded by a cruel brigand.
    • But we must temporarily leave Pastorella to catch up with Calidore, who is horrified when he returns to Pastorella's house to find it destroyed and everyone gone.
    • Unable to find anyone who can tell him what has happened, he wanders around for a long time until he comes across someone he thinks is a clown but soon realizes is Coridon.
    • He immediately asks where Pastorella is, but Coridon is so distressed with grief he can't answer.
    • Finally, he gasps out that Pastorella is dead, which brings Calidore great grief and he asks Coridon to tell the whole story.
    • Coridon explains that they were captured by brigands and that a fight broke out resulting in the death of Meliboe and his wife and, probably, Pastorella.
    • Calidore is overcome with horror and is unable to do anything until the next day, when he calms down a bit. He resolves to see if there's any chance Pastorella has survived and to either help her or die there with her.
    • After much convincing, since he is a coward, Coridon agrees to show Calidore the hiding place of the brigands and the two go off dressed as shepherds. Thinking ahead, Calidore wears his armor underneath his shepherd gear.
    • Finally, they see the same grooms tending their flocks, which makes Coridon both sad and scared. He urges Calidore to kill the grooms and take the sheep.
    • But instead Calidore wakes the grooms and makes small talk, discovering that the grooms have been hired by the brigands.
    • When night falls, Calidore and Coridon creep into the cave of the brigands and are overjoyed to see Pastorella alive.
    • Calidore sneaks into the chambers of the brigands, opens their heavy doors, kills Pastorella's guard, and calls for her.
    • Immediately, Pastorella knows the voice of Calidore and is overjoyed, and the two are happily reunited with a passionate kiss.
    • By this time the brigands have awoken to the noise and rush in to stop Calidore, but he easily kills many of them.
    • The next day he clears the bodies that block the door, and again fights (and kills) the rest of the brigands.
    • He then grabs Pastorella, takes the brigands' treasure, recovers their old flocks, and heads off.
  • Book 6, Canto 12

    • Just as Calidore has gone off-track in his quest to find the Blatant Beast, our narrator gone off-track in narrating the poem to its proper end.
    • But now, both of them are ready to fulfill their quest.
    • Now that Calidore has safely rescued Pastorella, he takes her to the Castle Belgrade, run by the devoted Sir Bellamour and his ladylove Claribell. Her father wanted her to marry a different dude, but her heart was set on Bellamour.
    • When the father discovered their love, he was furious and threw them in a dungeon, where Claribell soon gave birth to a baby girl who she secretly gave to her handmaiden so that her father wouldn't harm it.
    • The handmaiden took it to a field and abandoned it, noticing a unique purple birthmark, and feeling very sorry for the child.
    • A shepherd heard the baby crying and took it home to his wife where they raised her as their own.
    • Claribell and Bellamour remained in prison until Claribell's father died, at which time they were released and allowed to live happily together until Calidore and Pastorella arrived.
    • The two spend time relaxing there, since Calidore and Bellamour are old friends, but soon Calidore begins to feel ashamed at having left his quest for the Faerie Queene uncompleted.
    • So, he leaves Pastorella in the care of Bellamour and Claribell and goes out in search of the Blatant Beast.
    • Pastorella, while mourning the departure of Calidore, is tended by Claribell's old handmaiden, Melissa.
    • One morning, as Melissa is helping Pastorella dress, she notices a purple birth mark just like Claribell's baby had, and she begins to wonder is Pastorella could be their long lost daughter.
    • Melissa goes to Claribell and tells her that she believes Pastorella is her daughter, and when Claribell is skeptical, Melissa explains that she bears the same mark.
    • Claribell then rushes to Pastorella, pulls open her dress to see the mark, and then embraces her, overjoyed.
    • They compare stories, and everything adds up, and our narrator remarks that nothing is as happy as a mother reunited with her child, especially one as beautiful as Pastorella.
    • Claribell runs and tells Bellamour, who joyfully accepts her as his own.
    • Meanwhile, Calidore is searching everywhere for the Blatant Beast, following him through spoiled and ruined churches and monasteries, until he finally corners him.
    • The beast opens his gaping mouth to reveal thousands of tongues of all different animals, all spreading malicious lies and slanders.
    • But Calidore is unfazed and blocks an attack by the beast, throwing him to the ground, and though the beast tries to escape, Calidore won't let him go.
    • So, the beast then turns to insults, calling Calidore every conceivable bad thing; but again, Calidore doesn't care.
    • Calidore muzzles the creature so that he can no longer spread lies about good knights and ladies.
    • The beast hates his new muzzle, but can do nothing about it, and Calidore takes him through all of Faerie Land where everyone is pretty psyched to see the Blatant Beast tied up.
    • The beast remains chained up and harmless for a long time, until at some point, for some reason, his bonds come loose and he again roams around spreading lies.
    • Though knights try to catch him, none can. And by now the Blatant Beast is so powerful it's probably impossible to muzzle him ever again.
    • Even poets are now victims of his slander. Our narrator imagines that even this poem will be slandered by the Blatant Beast.
    • But the narrator hopes that at least you—the reader—will enjoy his poems.