Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 2, Canto 5

By Edmund Spenser

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.