Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 6, Canto 3

By Edmund Spenser

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!