Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 4, Canto 7

By Edmund Spenser

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.