Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 6, Canto 12

By Edmund Spenser

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.