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.