Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 6, Canto 5

By Edmund Spenser

Book 6, Canto 5

  • According to our narrator, you can always tell that someone's of noble blood through their good deeds.
  • Take this savage man, for example. Even though he was raised in a savage way, he's clearly got some noble blood in him, which would explain his compassion.
  • When Calepine doesn't return for a long time, the savage man decides to go out and look for him but has no luck.
  • When Serena realizes that Calepine may be lost (or worse, dead) she becomes very upset and the savage man tries to help her and tries to mend her wounds.
  • Finally, Serena decides to go and seek Calepine and the savage joins her, wearing the armor that Calepine had left.
  • As they travel, Serena's horse requires attention and so the savage man puts down the armor temporarily to help her.
  • As he's busy tending to that, two knights approach, no other than Arthur and his squire Timias.
  • Now Timias, as you may remember, had finally gotten his love Belphoebe to forgive him (this was back in Book 4, Canto 8) and was living happily with her, ignoring the slanders of the world, until three villains in particular sought to overtake him: Despetto, wise and strong; Decetto, wise but not strong; and Defetto, neither wise nor strong.
  • They tried various methods to injure him, but nothing worked, so they finally decided to use the Blatant Beast to coax Timias away from Belphoebe.
  • The plan worked; Timias immediately began to chase the monster as soon as he saw it.
  • But the monster was formidable and bit Timias and then forced him to flee straight into an ambush set by the three villains.
  • They began fiercely attacking him, but Timias was able to hold them off for a while. As he began to tire and weaken until he heard a horse riding toward him.
  • Soon, a knight appeared and the three villains fled because the knight turns out to be Arthur, who was delighted to see his old squire.
  • Arthur asked where Timias has been, but Timias didn't answer, so the two just ride on and talk of other things until they come upon the savage man and Serena.
  • Thinking the savage man has killed a knight and captured Serena, they attempt to take his armor, which angers the savage man. He attacks them.
  • But Serena begs everyone to stop and explains her situation.
  • She says that she is looking for her lost love Calepine and that this savage man saved them and took care of her, and she asks them to be kind toward him.
  • So they all ride off together to look for aid, since both Serena and Timias carry wounds from the Blatant Beast.
  • As they travel, Serena tells them about Turpine and his various villainies and Arthur vows to later avenge her and Calepine.
  • Finally, they come to a Hermitage (a hangout for hermits), where a hermit is praying, and he invites them in when he sees them coming.
  • This hermit is a former knight, who became a hermit when he was sick of fighting.
  • The hermit offers them a simple but delicious meal and place to rest, although neither Serena nor Timias are able to do so because of their wounds.
  • In the morning, they are too ill to travel, so Arthur leaves them with the hermit and heads out with the savage, who is impressed by Arthur's majesty.