Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 6, Canto 7

By Edmund Spenser

Book 6, Canto 7

  • Just as noble people reveal themselves to be noble through good deeds, bad people reveal themselves to be bad through bad deeds.
  • Turpine is a good example of this. He's plotting revenge against Arthur, even though Arthur has spared his life.
  • Seeing that Arthur has left, Turpine puts on his armor and follows after him, hiding until the moment is right to attack.
  • But, as he is following he comes across two knights. He lies and tells them that he is pursing a knight who had done him and his lady a great discourtesy, and asks for their help.
  • Believing him, they agree.
  • Soon they catch sight of Arthur and call out to him, challenging him and labeling him a traitor.
  • Both knights charge straight for Arthur, one missing and the other being stuck down by Arthur after ineffectually hitting Arthur's shield.
  • The other knight tries to retaliate, but Arthur strikes him down and almost kills him and the knight begs for mercy.
  • Arthur relents and the knight explains how Turpine asked them to help him kill Arthur, so Arthur orders the knight to bring him Turpine or he'll kill his friend.
  • The knight goes and finds Turpine, demanding his reward, but Turpine asks where Arthur and the other knight are.
  • The knight lies and says his friend and Arthur are both dead, so they ride over to see them.
  • They find the friend still on the ground from his injury and close by find Arthur sleeping since he is exhausted from their fight. The savage has gone into the forest for some reason.
  • At first, Turpine believes Arthur is dead, but quickly realizes he's just sleeping.
  • He becomes frightened and the knight then explains what actually went down.
  • Turpine, seeing an opportunity, tries to persuade the knight to attack Arthur in his sleep out of vengeance, but the knight refuses to engage in such a dishonorable tactic.
  • Soon, the savage man comes out of the forest and sees what's going on and gets ready to attack.
  • But Arthur also wakes up and, when he sees Turpine, immediately charges at him. He knocks him to the ground, denounces his villainy, and then hangs him upside down from a tree as an example to others not to engage in bad behavior.
  • But now we need to return to the mysterious lady being led by a fool and a vicious man that Timias and Serena came across.
  • This lady had been a famous and worthy lady in the land of Faerie but grew proud and mean and scorns the love of all.
  • Many men did love her, but her proud ways soon came back to haunt her.
  • Cupid, when he held court one day to see all the lovers in the world, saw that many men were missing and he demanded to know why.
  • Infamy and Despite came and gave testimony that Mirabella, the name of this lady, had killed them (presumably by denying them her love).
  • Cupid orders her brought before the court, and when she proudly refuses to answer, she is found guilty.
  • But, Cupid has some mercy and instead of having her killed her orders her to do penance by wondering the world in poverty until she has saved the same number of people she killed.
  • So, this is the state Timias and Serena find her in, after she's been wondering for two years and has only saved two people. She needs to save twenty-two.
  • Her situation is extra sad because the vicious man yells insults at her while the fool whips her. Neither pays any attention to her requests for mercy.
  • The vicious man was born from Giants, the same giant, Orgoglio (from Book 1) who Arthur killed.
  • He has terrifying eyes, wears no armor but only a jacket and a tall hat and carries a club in his hand.
  • This is Disdain.
  • The fool's name is Scorn, and he laughs at her pain.
  • When Timias sees this, he feels bad for Mirabella and attacks Disdain in order to help her.
  • He and Disdain fight, but sadly Timias slips, giving Disdain and chance to knock him out and tie him up before he can stop him.
  • They then force Timias to come along with them while Scorn whips him.
  • Serena, thinking Timias was dead when Disdain struck him, fled. She has many adventures before she finally reunited with Calepine‚Ķ but first we need to hear more about Mirabella.