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Edmund Spenser, who was born in London in 1552 and lived at Dublin as clerk to the court of Chancery, there wrote the Faerie Queene, of which the first part was published in 1589 and dedicated to Elizabeth. In this poem he purposed to depict the twelve moral virtues in twelve successive books, each containing twelve cantos, written in stanzas of eight short lines and one long one. But he completed only six books of his poem in the course of six years.

The Faerie Queene is not only an epic but a double allegory, for many of the characters represent both abstract virtues and the noted people of Spenser's time. For instance, the poem opens with a description of the court of Gloriana,—who impersonates Elizabeth and is the champion of Protestantism. As queen of the fairy realm she holds annual festivals, in one of which the young peasant Georgos enters her hall. He kneels before her so humbly yet so courteously that, notwithstanding his rustic garb, she perceives he must be of noble birth. When he, therefore, craves as a boon the next adventure, Gloriana grants his request, on condition that he will serve her afterward for six years. Shortly after, a beautiful lady, garbed in white but enveloped in a black mantle, rides up to court on a snow-white ass, leading a woolly lamb. She is followed by a dwarf, who conducts a war-steed, on which are piled all the arms of a knight. On approaching Gloriana, Una—the personification of Truth—explains that her royal parents are besieged in their capital by a dragon, which has slain all the warriors who have ventured to attack him.

On hearing Una beg for aid, Georgos eagerly steps forward to claim the task. Ill pleased to be given a peasant instead of the knight she was seeking, Una coldly bids Georgos—the personification of Holiness—try on the armor she has brought, adding that, unless it fits him exactly, he need not expect to triumph. But no sooner has the youth donned the armor which the dwarf produces than all recognize with wonder it must have been made for him, and Gloriana publicly dubs him "Knight of the Red Cross," because the armor Una brought bears that device.

Vaulting on his war-steed, Georgos now rides off with Una and the dwarf, and after crossing a wilderness enters a forest, where before long he descries the mouth of a cave, into which he feels impelled to enter. No sooner has he done so than he encounters a dragon,—the personification of Heresy and Error,—which attacks him with fury. A frightful battle ensues, in the course of which the Red Cross Knight is about to be worsted, when Una's encouragements so stimulate him that he slays the monster.

On seeing the exhaustion of her companion, Una realizes he will require rest before undertaking further adventures, and therefore eagerly accepts an invitation tendered by a venerable old hermit who meets them. He leads them to his cell, where, after entertaining them all evening by pious conversation, he dismisses them to seek rest. His guests have no sooner vanished than the hermit, Archimago,—a personification of Hypocrisy,—casts aside his disguise, and summons two demons, one of whom he despatches to Hades to fetch a dream from the cave of Morpheus. This dream is to whisper to the sleeping Red Cross Knight that Una is not as innocent as she seems, while the other demon, transformed into her very semblance, is to delude the knight on awakening into believing his companion beneath contempt. This plot is duly carried out, and the Red Cross Knight shocked by the behavior of the sham Una departs immediately, bidding the dwarf follow him. Riding along in a state of extreme disgust and irritation, the Red Gross Knight soon encounters Sansfoi,—Faithlessness,—accompanied by a lady clad in red, who is Duessa,—a personification of Mary Queen of Scots, and also of falsehood and popery. The two knights immediately run against each other, and, when Georgos has slain his opponent, the lady beseeches him to spare her life, exclaiming her name is Fidessa and that she is only too glad to be saved from the cruel Sansfoi. Deluded by her words and looks, the Red Cross Knight invites her to accompany him, promising to defend her from her foes.

They are riding along together amicably, when the knight plucks a blossoming twig to weave a garland for his companion, and is dismayed to see blood trickle from the broken stem. Questioning the tree from whence the branch was taken, Georgos learns that a knight and his wife have been transformed into plants by Duessa, who does not wish them to escape from her thraldom. During this explanation, Georgos fails to notice that the lady in red trembles for fear her victims may recognize her, nor does he mark her relief when she perceives her present disguise is so effective that no one suspects she worked this baleful transformation.

Riding on once more, the Red Cross Knight and his companion next draw near to a glittering castle, whose stones seem covered with gold. Fidessa, who is familiar with this place, invites the knight to enter there with her; and Georgos, unaware of the fact that this is the stronghold of Pride, not only consents, but pays respectful homage to the mistress of the castle, Queen Lucifera, whose attendants are Idleness, Gluttony, Lechery, Envy, Avarice, and Wrath. It is while sojourning in this castle that the Red Cross Knight one day sees Sansjoi (Joyless) snatch from his dwarf the shield won from Sansfoi. Angered by this deed of violence, Georgos draws his sword, and he would have decided the question of ownership then and there had not Lucifera decreed he and his opponent should settle their quarrel in the lists on the morrow. During the ensuing night, Duessa secretly informs Sansjoi that the Red Cross Knight is his brother's slayer and promises that, should he defeat his opponent, she will belong to him forever. On the morrow, in the midst of much feudal pomp, the chivalrous duel takes place, and—although Duessa, fancying Sansjoi is about to win, loudly cheers him—the Red Cross Knight finally triumphs. Planting his foot upon his foe, Georgos would have ended Sansjoi's life had not Duessa enveloped her protégé in a cloud dense enough to hide him from his conqueror. After vainly seeking some trace of his vanished opponent, the Red Cross Knight is proclaimed victor, and goes back to the castle to nurse the wounds he has received.

Meanwhile Duessa steals into the deserted lists, removes the pall of cloud which envelops Sansjoi, and tenderly confides him to the Queen of Night, who bears him down to Hades, where Aesculapius heals his wounds. His victor, the Red Cross Knight, has not entirely recovered from this duel, when the dwarf rushes into his presence to report that while prowling around the castle he discovered a frightful dungeon, where men and women are imprisoned. When he declares they are sojourning in a wicked place, the Red Cross Knight springs out of bed and, helped by his attendant, hastens away from a spot which now inspires him with unspeakable horror.

They have barely issued from the castle walls before Georgos realizes he has been the victim of some baleful spell, for he now perceives that the building rests on a sand foundation and is tottering to its fall, while the pomp which so dazzled him at first is merely outside show and delusion. He is not aware, however, that Fidessa has beguiled him, since he openly regrets she is not present to escape with him, and he again bewails the fact that Una was not as pure as his fancy painted!

Meanwhile, returning to the castle to rejoin her victim, Duessa finds the Red Cross Knight gone, spurs after him, and on overtaking him gently reproaches him for abandoning her in such a place! Then she entices him to rest by a fountain, whose bewitched waters deprive the drinker of all strength. She herself offers Georgos a draught from this fountain, and, after he has drunk thereof, the giant Orgolio spurs out of the forest and, attacking him with a mighty club, lays him low and bears him off to his dungeon, to torture him the rest of his life. Meantime Duessa humbly follows the giant, promising him her love, while the dwarf, who has watched the encounter from afar, sorrowfully collects his master's armor and, piling it hastily on his steed, rides off in quest of help.

Meanwhile the real Una, on awakening in the hermitage to learn that the Red Cross Knight and the dwarf have gone, rides after them as fast as her little white ass can trot. Of course her attempt to overtake her companions is vain, and after travelling a long distance she dismounts in a forest to rest. Suddenly she is almost paralyzed with fear, for a roaring lion bursts through the thicket to devour her. Still, in fairy-land wild beasts cannot harm kings' daughters, provided they are pure, so the lion—the personification of Courage—not only spares Una, but humbly licks her feet, and accompanies her as watch-dog when she resumes her journey. They two soon reach the house of Superstition, an old woman, whose daughter, Stupidity, loves a robber of churches. When this lover attempts to visit her secretly by night, he is slain by the lion; whereupon the two women angrily banish Una. She is therefore again wandering aimlessly in the forest when Archimago meets her in the guise of the Red Cross Knight, for he wishes her to believe he is her missing champion. On perceiving the lion, however, the magician approaches Una cautiously, but the fair maiden, suspecting no fraud, joyfully runs to meet him, declaring she has missed him terribly.

They two have not proceeded far before they encounter Sansloi,—Lawlessness,—brother of the two knights with whom Georgos recently fought. Anxious to avenge their death, this new-comer boldly charges at the wearer of the Red Cross. Although terrified at the mere thought of an encounter, Archimago is forced to lower his lance in self-defence, but, as he is no expert, he is overthrown at the first blow. Springing down from his steed, Sansloi sets his foot upon his fallen foe and tries to remove his helmet so as to deal him a deadly blow. But no sooner does he behold the crafty lineaments of Archimago in place of those of the Red Cross Knight, than he contemptuously abandons his opponent to recover his senses at leisure, and starts off in pursuit of Una, whose beauty has charmed his lustful eye.

In a vain endeavor to protect his mistress, the lion next loses his life, and Sansloi, plucking the shrieking Una from her ass, flings her across his palfrey and rides off into the forest, followed by the little steed, which is too faithful to forsake its mistress. On arriving in the depths of the forest, Sansloi dismounts, but Una's cries attract a company of fauns and satyrs, whose uncanny faces inspire Sansloi with such terror that he flees, leaving his captive in their power. Notwithstanding their strange appearance, these wild men are essentially chivalrous, for they speedily assure Una no harm shall befall her in their company. In return she instructs them in regard to virtue and truth, until Sir Satyrane appears, who generously volunteers to go with her in search of the Red Cross Knight.

Those two have not ridden far together before they encounter a pilgrim, who reports the Red Cross Knight has just been slain in a combat by a knight who is now quenching his thirst at a neighboring fountain. Following this pilgrim's directions, Sir Satyrane soon overtakes the reported slayer of Georgos, and while they two struggle together, the terrified Una flees into the forest, closely pursued by the pilgrim, Archimago in a new disguise. Meantime the fight continues until Sansloi, severely wounded, beats a retreat, leaving Sir Satyrane too injured to follow Una. She, however, has meantime overtaken her dwarf, and learned from him that the Red Cross Knight is a prisoner of Orgolio. Thereupon she vows' not to rest until she has rescued her companion. She and her dwarf are hastening in the direction in which the giant vanished with his victim, when they meet Prince Arthur,—a personification of Leicester and of Chivalry,—who, although he has never yet seen the Fairy Queen, is so deeply in love with her that he does battle in her name whenever he can. This prince is incased in a magic armor, made by Merlin, and bears a shield fashioned from a single diamond, whose brightness is so dazzling that it has to be kept covered, so as not to blind all beholders.

After courteously greeting Una, the prince, hearing her tale of woe, volunteers to accompany her and free the Red Cross Knight. When they reach the castle of Orgolio,—Spiritual Pride,—Arthur and his squire boldly summon the owner to come out and fight. No answer is at first vouchsafed them, but after a blast from Arthur's magic bugle the gates burst open, and out of the stronghold rushes a seven-headed dragon, bearing on its back the witch Duessa. This monster is closely followed by the giant Orgolio, who engages in fight with Prince Arthur, while the squire, Timias, directs his efforts against the seven-headed beast. Although the prince and his attendant finally overcome these terrible foes, their triumph is due to the fact that in the midst of the fray Prince Arthur's shield is accidentally uncovered and its brightness quells both giant and beast. But no sooner are the fallen pierced with the victors' swords than they shrink to nothing, for they are mere wind-bags, or delusions of Archimago's devising.

On seeing the triumph won by her champions, Una congratulates them, and bids the squire pursue Duessa, who is now trying to escape. Thus enjoined, Timias seizes the witch, and, in obedience to Una's orders, strips her of her fine clothes and sends her forth in her original loathsome shape. Meantime Una and the prince boldly penetrate into the castle, and, passing hurriedly through rooms overflowing with treasures, reach a squalid dungeon, where they discover the Red Cross Knight almost starved to death. Full of compassion they bear him to comfortable quarters, where they proceed to nurse him back to health; and, when he is once more able to ride, he and Una resume their journey. As they proceed, however, Una becoming aware that her champion is not yet strong enough to do battle, conducts him to a house, where the wise old matron Religion, Doctor Patience, and three hand-maidens, Faith, Hope, and Charity, nurse him to such good purpose that Georgos is soon stronger than ever. During his convalescence in this hospitable abode, the Red Cross Knight once wanders to the top of the hill of Contemplation, whence he is vouchsafed a vision of the New Jerusalem, and where he encounters an old man who prophesies that after fulfilling his present quest he will be known as "Saint George of Merry England." Modestly deeming himself unworthy of such distinction, the Red Cross Knight objects that a ploughman's son should not receive such honor, until the aged man informs him he is in reality the son of the British king, stolen from his cradle by a wicked fairy, who, finding him too heavy to carry, dropped him in a field where a farmer discovered and adopted him. Notwithstanding this rustic breeding it was Georgos' noble blood that urged him to seek adventures, and sent him to Gloriana's court, whence he sallied forth on his present quest.

After another brief sojourn in the house of Religion, the Red Cross Knight and Una again set forth, and passing through another wilderness reach a land ravaged and befouled by the dragon which holds Una's parents in durance vile. The lady is just pointing out her distant home to the Red Cross Knight, when she hears the dragon coming, and, bidding her champion fight him bravely, takes refuge in a cave near by. Spurring forward to encounter his opponent, the Red Cross Knight comes face to face with a hideous monster, sheathed in brazen scales and lashing a tail that sweeps over acres at a time. This monster is further provided with redoubtable iron teeth and brazen claws, and breathes forth sulphur and other deadly fumes.

Notwithstanding his opponent's advantages, Georgos boldly attacks him, only to find no weapon can pierce the metal scales. At the end of the first day's fight, the dragon withdraws, confident he will get the better of his foe on the morrow. At the close of the second day, the monster's tail whisks Georgos into a pool, whose waters fortunately prove so healing that this bath washes away every trace of weakness and restores him to health and strength. On the third day's encounter, the Red Cross Knight manages to run his sword into the dragon's mouth, and thus inflicts a deadly wound. Seeing her foe writhing at last in the agonies of death, Una joyfully emerges from her hiding-place, while the watchman on the castle tower loudly proclaims that they are free at last!

The poet vividly describes the relief of Una's parents on being able to emerge from their castle once more, and their joy on embracing the daughter who has effected their rescue. The castle inmates not only load Una with praise, but escort her and her champion back to their abode, where their marriage takes place amid general rejoicings. But, although the Red Cross Knight would fain linger by Una, he remembers his promise to serve Gloriana for six years, and sets out immediately to redress other wrongs.

The next adventure in the Faerie Queene is that of Sir Guyon,—personifying Temperance,—who is escorted everywhere by a black-garbed palmer,—Prudence or Abstinence,—at whose dictation he performs all manner of heroic deeds. Journeying together they soon meet a squire, who reports a lady has just been captured by a wicked knight, who is bearing her away. On hearing of this damsel's peril, Sir Guyon bids her squire lead them in the direction where she vanished, declaring he will save her if possible. He soon encounters a maiden with dishevelled locks and torn garments, who delays him by informing him that she has been illtreated by a knight bearing the device of a red cross. Although loath to believe Georgos can be guilty of an unchivalric deed, Sir Guyon and the palmer promise to call him to account as soon as they overtake him. They no sooner do so, however, than he assures them Archimago in his guise has been ranging through the forest, and that they must have met Duessa. Turning to punish the lying squire who led them astray, Sir Guyon now perceives he has vanished, and humbly begs pardon of the Red Cross Knight. Shortly after, Sir Guyon is startled by loud shrieks, and, hastening in the direction whence they proceed, discovers a wounded lady and a dead knight. Close beside the lady is a young babe, whose innocent hands are dabbling in his parent's blood. On questioning the woman, Sir Guyon learns that her husband has been bewitched by Acrasia,—or Pleasure,—who bore him off to the Bower of Bliss, a place where she detains her captives, feeding them on sweets until their manly courage is gone. On learning her husband had fallen into the power of this enchantress, the lady had sought the Bower of Bliss and by dint of wifely devotion had rescued her spouse. But, even as they left, the witch bestowed upon them a magic cup, in which little suspecting its evil powers, the wife offered water to her husband. No sooner had he drunk than blood gushed from his mouth and he died, whereupon, frantic at having unwittingly slain the man she loved, the lady had dealt herself a mortal wound with his sword.

Scarcely had the sufferer finished this account when she sank back lifeless, so Sir Guyon and the palmer, after burying the parents, vainly tried to remove the blood stains from the infant's hands. Then, unable to care properly for him themselves, they entrusted it to some ladies in a castle near by, bidding them call the babe Ruddy Main, or the Red Handed, and send him to court when he had grown up.

Having thus provided for the orphan, Sir Guyon, whose horse and spear meanwhile have been purloined by Braggadocchio, decides to recover possession of them, and to seek the Bower of Bliss to slay the witch Acrasia, who has caused such grievous harm. On this quest Sir Guyon and the palmer encounter the madman Furor, and then reach a stream which is too deep to ford. While they are seeking some conveyance to bear them across, they perceive a skiff rowed by a fair lady, Phaedria,—or Mirth. At their call she pushes her boat close to them, but no sooner has Sir Guyon sprung aboard than she pushes off, leaving the palmer behind in spite of all entreaties. Although impelled neither by oars nor sails, Phaedria's boat drifts rapidly over the Idle Sea, and Sir Guyon, on questioning its owner, learns they are bound for her magic realm.

They have scarcely touched the sedgy shores of a charming island, when a ruffian, Cymochles,—or Deceit,—bursts out of the thicket to claim the lady. Undaunted by the size of his challenger, Sir Guyon attacks him, and the duel might have proved fatal had not Phaedria cast herself between the champions, begging them not to quarrel in the land of love and delight. Thereupon Sir Guyon hotly informs her he has no desire to slay Deceit or to claim her, and, seeing she cannot make any impression upon him, Phaedria angrily bids him re-enter the boat, which soon bears him to the place which he wished to reach.

Although still mourning the loss of his companion, the palmer, Sir Guyon decides to continue his quest for the Bower of Bliss. While passing through a dense thicket, his attention is attracted by a clank of metal, and peering through the branches he descries an old, dirt-encrusted man, surrounded by mounds of precious stones and coins, which keep dropping through his fingers. This creature is Mammon,—God of Wealth,—who is so busy counting his treasures that at first he pays no heed to Sir Guyon. When questioned, however, he boasts he is more powerful than any potentate in the world, and tries to entice Sir Guyon to enter into his service by promising him much gold. For a moment Sir Guyon wavers, but finally decides not to accept the offer until he has ascertained whether Mammon's riches have been honestly gained. To show whence he draws them, the money-god now conveys Sir Guyon to the bowels of the earth, and there lets him view his minions mining gold, silver, and precious stones, and thus constantly increasing his hoard. But, although sorely tempted, Sir Guyon perceives that Mammon's workmen are oppressed by Care and driven by Force and Fraud, who keep them constantly at work and never allow Sleep to approach them. This discovery makes him decide to have nothing to do with Mammon's treasures, although he is led into a hall where hosts of people are paying homage to the money king's daughter, who, he is told, will be his bride if he will only accept her father's offers. Coldly rejoining that his troth is already plighted, Sir Guyon refuses, only to emerge from this hall into a garden, through whose branches he catches fleeting glimpses of the underworld. In one of its rivers he even beholds Tantalus, undergoing torments from hunger and thirst, in punishment for sins committed while on earth.

After being subjected for three days to all the temptations of the underworld, Sir Guyon is led back to the light of day, where Mammon—who bitterly terms him a fool—abandons him.

The story now returns to the palmer, who, after watching Sir Guyon out of sight, wanders along the stream in quest of a vessel to follow his master. Several days later he manages to cross, only to hear a silvery voice calling for aid. Bursting through the thicket, he discovers Sir Guyon, lying on the ground, watched over by a spirit of such transcendent beauty that the palmer realizes it must be an angel even before he notes its diaphanous wings. This ministering spirit assures the palmer that Sir Guyon will soon recover, adding that although unseen he will continue to watch over him, and will help him to escape from all the dangers along his path. Then the heavenly spirit vanishes, and, while the palmer is bending over the fainting Sir Guyon, he sees two knights draw near, preceded by a page and followed by an old man. These knights are Deceit and his brother, who have been brought hither by the old man Archimago, to slay Sir Guyon whom they hate.

Drawing near, these ruffians thrust the palmer aside, but, while they are stripping the unconscious man of his armor, another knight suddenly draws near and attacks them. One giant, being without a sword, seizes that of Sir Guyon, although Archimago warns him that as it once belonged to his antagonist, it will never harm him.

Prince Arthur, for it is he, now overcomes the ruffians, to whom he generously offers life, provided they will obey him hereafter. But, when they refuse these terms, he ruthlessly slays them, and their spirits flee shrieking "to the land of eternal night."

At this moment Sir Guyon recovers his senses, and is overjoyed to find the palmer beside him and to learn that Prince Arthur, who rescued him from the ruffians, is not far away.

After a brief rest, Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon depart together, the former explaining how anxious he is to do anything in his power for Queen Gloriana, whom he devotedly loves although he has never yet seen her. Conversing together, the two ride on to a castle, where no heed is paid to their request for a night's lodging. They are marvelling at such a discourtesy, when a head is thrust over the battlement and a hoarse voice bids them flee, explaining that the castle has been besieged for seven years past by barbarians lurking in the forest, against whom no knight has ever been able to prevail.

It is while the watchman is thus accounting for his inhospitality, that a rout of hungry barbarians bursts out of the forest and attacks Sir Guyon and Prince Arthur, both of whom fight to such good purpose that they utterly annihilate their assailants. Happy to be delivered from these foes, the inhabitants of the castle then open wide their gates. Our knights spend several days there resting from their labors, and perusing sundry books where they learn the history of all the British kings. Meantime the palmer, who has followed them thither, forges chains and a steel net, with which to capture and hold the witch Acrasia when the right time comes. When he has finished manufacturing these objects, he persuades Sir Guyon to start out once more. Reaching the water again, they board a vessel, which bears them safely past the Magnetic Rock, over the Sea of Gluttony, etc., to an island, whose beauty human imagination cannot conceive.

On landing, the travellers are surprised to encounter strange monsters, and to be enveloped in dense mists, through which they hear the flapping of bat-like wings and catch glimpses of harpy-like creatures. Knowing monsters and mists are mere delusions, Sir Guyon pays little heed to them, and the palmer soon disperses them by a touch from his magic staff. Still bearing the steel net and iron chains, this faithful henchman follows Sir Guyon into the enchanted bower of Acrasia, where he explains to his master that the animals he sees owe their present forms to the enchantress' power, for she always transforms her visitors into beasts!

Through an ivory gate,—on which is carved the story of "The Golden Fleece,"—the adventurers enter a hall, where a porter offers them wine. But Sir Guyon, knowing a drop of it would have a baleful effect upon the drinker, boldly dashes it out of his hand. Then, threading his way through the Bower of Bliss, he reaches its innermost grove, although Phaedria tries to detain him by offering him sundry pleasures. Pressing onward, Sir Guyon finally catches a glimpse of Acrasia herself, reposing upon a bed of flowers, and holding on her lap the head of an innocent youth, who is helpless owing to her spell. Silently signalling to the palmer, Sir Guyon spreads out the steel net, which they fling so deftly over witch and victim that neither can escape. Then Sir Guyon binds Acrasia fast, threatening to kill her unless she removes the spell which she has laid upon her captives. All the beasts on the island are therefore soon restored to their natural forms, and all profess gratitude, save one, whom the palmer grimly bids continue to be a pig, since such is his choice! Having thus happily achieved this quest, Sir Guyon and the palmer leave the island with Acrasia, who is sent under strong guard to the court of the Fairy Queen, where Gloriana is to dispose of her according to her good pleasure.

Britomart, only child of King Ryenee, had from earliest childhood so longed to be a boy that, instead of devoting her time to womanly occupations, she practised manly sports until she became as expert a warrior as any squire in her father's realm.

One day, while wandering in the palace, she discovered in the treasure-room a magic mirror, fashioned by Merlin for her father, wherein one could behold the secrets of the future. Gazing into its crystal depths while wondering whom she should ultimately marry, Britomart suddenly saw a handsome knight, who bore a motto proclaiming that he was Sir Artegall, the Champion of Justice and proud possessor of Achilles' armor. Scarcely had Britomart perceived this much than the vision faded. But the princess left the room, feeling that henceforth she would know no rest until she had met her destined mate. When she confided this vision to her nurse Glauce, the worthy woman suggested that they go and consult Merlin, wearing the garb of men.

Early the next day, therefore, the two visited the magician, who, piercing their disguise, declared he knew who they were, and bade them ride forth as knight and squire to meet the person they sought. Thus encouraged, Britomart, wearing an Amazon's armor and bearing a magic spear, set out on her quest, and met Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon, just after Acrasia had been dispatched to Gloriana's court and while they were in quest of new adventures.

Seeing a warrior approach, Sir Guyon immediately lowered his lance, but to his surprise was unhorsed by Britomart's invincible spear. She was about to dismount to despatch her fallen foe with her sword, when the palmer loudly bade his master crave mercy, seeing it was useless to contend against magic weapons. Hearing this, Sir Guyon surrendered, and he and Prince Arthur humbly offered to escort Britomart, whom they naturally took for a powerful knight.

They had not gone very far when they beheld at a distance a damsel dashing madly through the bushes, casting fearful glances behind her, for she was closely pursued by a grizzly forester. All their chivalric instincts aroused, Prince Arthur and his companions spurred hotly after the distressed damsel, while Britomart and her nurse calmly rode on, until they came to a castle, at whose gates one knight was desperately fighting against six. Seeing this, Britomart boldly rode to the rescue of the oppressed knight, and fought beside him to such good purpose that they defeated their assailants. Then, entering the castle, Britomart and her nurse proceeded to care for their companion, the Red Cross Knight, who had received serious wounds.

Although he had noticed in the midst of the conflict that a golden curl had escaped from Britomart's helmet and fallen over her breast, and had thus discovered her sex, he courteously ignored it until they were about to ride away together, when he respectfully offered to serve as the lady's protector and escort. Thereupon Britomart explained who she was, adding that she was in quest of Sir Artegall, of whom she spoke rather slightingly, because she did not wish her companion to know how deeply she had fallen in love with a stranger. Judging from her tone that she did not approve of Sir Artegall, the Red Cross Knight hotly protested he was the noblest and most courteous knight that had ever lived, which, of course, pleased Britomart.

Meantime, Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon, with their respective attendants, pursued the distressed damsel, riding through thick and thin until they came to cross-roads. Not knowing which path the fugitive had chosen, our heroes decided to part and ride along separate ways. Thus, it was Prince Arthur who first caught a glimpse of the fugitive, who still kept glancing backward as if afraid; but, although he spurred on as fast as possible, he was not able to overtake her, and had to pause at nightfall to rest. On resuming his quest on the morrow, he soon encountered a dwarf, who reported he was the servant of Lady Florimell, who had fled from court five days ago on hearing a rumor that her lover, Marinell, was slain. The poor damsel, while in quest of her lover, had been seen and pursued by an ill-favored forester, and the dwarf feared some harm might have befallen her. To comfort this faithful henchman, Prince Arthur promised to go with him and rescue the unhappy damsel.

Meantime, undaunted by darkness, Florimell had ridden on until her weary steed paused before a hut deep in the woods. There she dismounted and humbly begged the old witch who lived there to give her some food. Moved by the distress of the stranger, the sorceress bade her dry her garments at her fire, and while the lady was sitting there the witch's son, a lazy worthless fellow, suddenly entered. To see Florimell was to love her, so the uncouth rustic immediately began to court her with fruits and flowers which he sought in the forest. Fearing lest he should molest her finally, Florimell escaped from the hut on her palfrey, which she found in the witch's stable.

On awakening on the morrow to find their fair visitor gone, the witch and her son were in such despair that they let loose a wild beast, which they owned, bidding him track the missing girl. Before long, therefore, poor Florimell heard this monster crashing through the forest. Terrified at the thought of falling into its power, she urged her steed toward the sea-shore, in hopes of finding a boat and getting away. On reaching the water, she sprang off her steed, and, seeing a little skiff near by, stepped into it and pushed off, without securing the permission of the fisherman, who was sleeping at the bottom of the boat while his nets were drying on the sand.

Barely were they out of reach when the beast rushed down to the shore, pounced upon Florimell's horse and devoured it. The monster was still occupied thus when Sir Satyrane came riding along. He rashly concluded the beast had devoured the rider too, a fear confirmed by the sight of Florimell's girdle on the sand. Attacking the monster, Sir Satyrane overcame and bound him fast with the girdle, but he hadn't gone far, leading this reluctant captive, when he spied a giantess bearing off an armed squire. In his haste to overtake her and rescue a fellow-man, Sir Satyrane spurred forward so hastily that the girdle slipped off the neck of the beast, which, finding itself free, plunged back into the forest. To attack the giantess, free her captive, and restore him to his senses proved short work for Sir Satyrane, who learned that the youth he had delivered was known as the Squire of Dames, because he constantly rode through the forest freeing damsels in distress.

Together with this companion, Sir Satyrane journeyed on until they encountered Sir Paridell, who told them he was in quest of Florimell, who was wandering alone in the forest. Thereupon Sir Satyrane informed Sir Paridell that the maiden must be dead, exhibiting as proof her girdle and relating under what circumstances it had been found. Then all present took a solemn oath not to rest until they had avenged the lady's death. Riding together these three knights, overtaken by a storm, sought shelter in a neighboring castle, only to be refused admittance. To escape from the downpour, they therefore took refuge with their steeds in a neighboring shed, and were scarcely ensconced there when another stranger rode up seeking shelter too. As there was no room left, the first-comers forbade the stranger to enter, whereupon he challenged them to come forth and fight. Hearing this, Sir Paridell sallied out and began a duel, which was closely watched by his two companions. They, however, decided that the combatants were so exactly matched that it was useless to continue the fight, and suggested that they four join forces to make their way into the castle.

Before the determined attack of these knights and of their followers, Malbecco, owner of the castle, opened his gates, and the strangers proceeded to remove their armor and make themselves at home. While doing so all present were startled to see that one of their number was a woman, for the last-comer, Britomart, had no sooner removed her helmet than her curls fell down over her shoulders!

The next day all left the castle save Sir Paridell, who had been so sorely wounded by Britomart that he was forced to remain there for a while. Before long Britomart and her squire parted from Sir Satyrane and the Squire of Dames, and rode along until they beheld a shield hanging from a branch in the forest. Surprised by such a sight, they investigated, only to find its owner, Sir Scudamore, weeping beside a stream, because his bride, Amoret, had been stolen from him on his wedding day by the magician Busirane, who was trying to force her to marry him. Having heard this tale of woe, Britomart informed Sir Scudamore that instead of shedding vain tears they ought to devise means to rescue the captive lady. Encouraged by these words, Sir Scudamore donned his discarded armor and volunteered to guide Britomart to the magician's castle, explaining on the way that it was surrounded by a wall of fire through which none had been able to pass.

Undaunted by this information, Britomart pressed onward, and on reaching the castle declared her intention to charge through the flames. Although Sir Scudamore bravely tried to accompany her, he was driven back by the fierce heat, but Britomart passed through scatheless, and, entering the castle, found herself in a large room, whence led a door with the inscription "Be bold." After studying these words for a few moments, Britomart opened this door and passed through it into a second chamber, whose walls were lined with silver and gold, where she saw another door above which the same words were written twice. Opening this door also, Britomart entered into a third apartment, sparkling with precious stones, in the centre of which she saw an altar surmounted by a statue of Love. Further investigation revealed also the fact that it boasted another door above which was the inscription "Be bold, but not too bold."

Pondering on the meaning of this warning, Britomart decided not to open it, but to take up her vigil fully armed beside the altar. As the clock struck midnight, the mysterious door flew open, and through its portals came a strange procession of beasts and queer mortals, leading the doleful Amoret, who had a dagger thrust into her heart and stumbled along in mortal pain. Although Britomart would fain have gone to Amoret's rescue, she was rooted to the soil by a spell too powerful to break, and, therefore, remained inactive while the procession circled around the altar, and again vanished behind the door, which closed with an ominous clang. Then only the spell lost its power, and Britomart, springing toward the door, vainly tried to open it. Not being able to do so, she decided to continue mounting guard on this spot in hopes of catching another glimpse of the suffering lady. But only twenty-four hours later the door reopened and the same procession appeared; it was about to vanish a second time when Britomart, by a violent effort, broke the spell and dashed into the next apartment before the door closed.

There, finding the magician Brusirane on the point of binding Amoret fast to a post, she struck him so powerful a blow that he was obliged to recognize he was in her power. Britomart was about to slay him when Amoret reminded her he alone could heal her wound and free the other inmates of the castle from magic thraldom. At the point of her sword, therefore, Britomart compelled the magician to undo his spells, and, when he had pronounced the necessary words, Amoret stood before her as whole and as well as on her wedding-morn when snatched away from her bridegroom. Seeing this, Britomart bade Amoret follow her out of the castle, assuring her that her husband was waiting without and would be overjoyed to see her once more. But, although the rescued lady now gladly followed her deliverer, she was sorely dismayed on reaching the forest to find that Sir Scudamore and Britomart's nurse and squire had gone away, evidently deeming them both lost. To comfort poor Amoret, Britomart suggested that they ride after their companions, a proposal which Amoret gladly accepted.

As Britomart conjectured, Sir Scudamore, deeming it impossible she should survive the heat of the flames which had so sorely scorched him, persuaded the nurse to ride on with him, in hopes of encountering knights who would help him rescue his bride.

They two soon met a couple of warriors, who, on hearing their tale, laughingly assured them they need make no further efforts to rescue Amoret, as she had meantime been saved by a handsome young knight, with whom she was gayly riding through the forest. Incensed by this statement, Sir Scudamore offered to fight both informers, who, laughing at him for being jilted, rode contemptuously away. These two mockers hadn't gone very far, however, before they encountered a beautiful damsel, whom they mistook for the long-lost Florimell, but who was merely an image of her conjured up by the witch to comfort her son when he blubbered over the loss of his fair lady. As many knights were in quest of Florimell, some of them soon encountered the scoffers, who declared they were leading the lady back to court. But a little while later the Squire of Dames found them contending for the possession of the false Florimell, and suggested that they settle their difference at the court of Sir Satyrane, where a tournament had been proclaimed and where Florimell's girdle was to be bestowed by the victor upon the fairest lady present. Hearing this, both knights, anxious to win the girdle, set out for the tournament, where many others had assembled to take part in the knightly games.

Here any number of feats of valor were performed before, on the third day, Sir Artegall entered the lists. To his surprise, however, he was unhorsed by a stranger knight, Britomart, who, little suspecting her opponent was the lover she sought, bore off in triumph the girdle her prowess had won. Then, summoning all the maidens present, she picked out the false Florimell as the greatest beauty and handed her the girdle. But, to the surprise of all present, the lady could not keep the girdle clasped about her waist, and, incensed at the mocking remarks of the bystanders, finally challenged the other ladies present to try it on. Thus it was ascertained that none could wear it save Amoret, evidently the only perfectly faithful lady present.

Having thus disposed of her prize, Britomart rode off with her companion, little suspecting she was turning her back on the very man she was seeking. Meantime Sir Scudamore, encountering Sir Artegall and hearing he had been defeated by the knight who had carried off Amoret, invited him to accompany him and seek revenge. They two soon met Britomart, now riding alone through the forest, for, while she was asleep one day, Amoret had strayed away and gotten lost. Spurring forward to attack the stranger, Sir Scudamore was unhorsed at the first touch of her spear, and, when Sir Artegall rushed forward to rescue him, he too was disarmed. But, in the midst of the fight, Britomart's helmet fell off, so both knights perceived they had been defeated by a woman. Humbly kneeling before her, they begged her pardon, Sir Scudamore realizing with joy that, as his wife had been travelling with a woman, his mad jealousy was without cause!

To justify her mistress, the nurse-squire now explained to both men how Britomart had seen Sir Artegall in the magic mirror, and was in quest of him because fate destined him to be her spouse. Happy at securing such a mate, Sir Artegall expressed deep joy, while Sir Scudamore clamored to know what had become of his wife, and grieved to learn she was lost. To comfort him, however, Britomart promised to help him recover his beloved, before she would consent to marry. Then all four proceeded to a neighboring castle, where Sir Artegall was solemnly betrothed to Britomart, and where they agreed their marriage would take place as soon as Amoret was found.

Meantime Timias, squire of Prince Arthur, seeking to trace the flying damsel, overtook the grim forester, with whom he had a terrible encounter. Sorely wounded in this fight, the poor squire lay in the forest until found by the nymph Belphebe, a twin sister of Amoret, who, in pity for his sufferings, bathed his wounds, laid healing herbs upon them, and did all she could to save his life. To her satisfaction, the wounded squire soon recovered consciousness, so she conveyed him to her bower, where she and her nymphs attended him until his wounds were entirely healed. During this illness Timias fell deeply in love with Belphebe; but, deeming himself of too lowly condition to declare his passion for a lady of high degree, he sorely pined. Thereupon Belphebe renewed her efforts to cure him, until he was strong enough to accompany her into the forest. They were hunting there one day when Timias beheld a damsel fleeing from a misshapen monster, whom he attacked, but against whom he could not prevail, because the monster opposed the lady as a shield to every blow which Timias tried to deal him. It was only by a feint, therefore, that Timias made the monster drop the lady, and he would surely have been slain by his opponent, had not his companion rescued him by a timely arrow. A moment later Belphebe was horrified to see Timias madly kissing the lady the monster had dropped. Without waiting to ascertain why he was doing so, the angry nymph fled, but, had she lingered, she would have discovered that Timias was kissing her own counterpart, for he had rescued her twin sister Amoret, who, after wandering away from the sleeping Britomart, had been seized by the monster from whose cave she had just managed to escape.

Bewildered to see Belphebe—whom he thought he was embracing—rush away, Timias now dropped Amoret to follow his charmer, but, owing to his lack of familiarity with the forest pathways, he soon lost his way. In his grief he built himself a hut and dwelt in the forest, vowing not to go back in quest of Amoret, lest he thereby arouse the jealousy of his beloved. But to beguile his sorrow he carved Belphebe's name on every tree, and was kissing these marks when Prince Arthur, seeing him thus occupied, fancied he had gone mad!

Meantime Timias had also found a dove which had lost its mate, and, realizing that they were both suffering from similar complaints, bound around the bird's neck a ruby heart Belphebe had given him. The dove, flying back to its mistress, enticed her, by fluttering a few paces ahead of her, to the place where Timias was kissing her name carved upon a tree. Convinced of his fidelity by such a proof of devotion, Belphebe reinstated Timias in her favor, and once more ranged the forest with him, hunting all kinds of game, until poor Timias was wounded by the Blatant Beast,—Slander,—a monster from whose jaws he was fortunately rescued by Prince Arthur.

After a partial recovery, Timias rode off with his master, to whom he confided how he had abandoned Amoret in the forest, and from whom he inquired whether any further news had been heard about her. To Timias' satisfaction Arthur assured him she had safely rejoined her husband, who, finding her wounded in the forest, had carried her off to a castle and tenderly nursed her back to health. It was only after witnessing the joyful celebration of the long-postponed wedding festivities of this reunited couple, that Sir Arthur had started off on his recent quest for his squire.

Meantime the real Florimell, cast into the sea by the angry fisherman whose vessel she had entered without permission, was conveyed by sea-nymphs to Proteus' hall, where, after witnessing the nuptials of the Thames and Medway, she learned that her lover, Marinell, was recovering from his wound, thanks to the ministrations of his goddess mother. He had, however, been pining for her, and recovered perfect health and happiness only when they were joined in wedlock.

Sir Artegall, the noble champion of justice, or lord deputy of Ireland, sets forth at Gloriana's behest to defend Irena, or Ireland. He is attended by Talus, an iron man, whose flail is supposed to thresh out falsehood. They two have not proceeded very far before they come across a knight bending over a headless lady. On inquiring of him, they learn that a passing ruffian not only carried off the knight's mate, but left in her stead a dame, whom he beheaded, because she pursued him.

Provided with a description of the armor and accoutrements of the ruffian, the iron page sets out in pursuit of him, and stuns him. Then, having bound him fast, he leads him and his captive back to his master and to the mourning knight. There the ruffian, Sir Sanglier, coldly asserts he has nothing to do with the headless lady, but that the living one belongs to him. Finding it impossible to decide which tells the truth, Sir Artegall decrees that the second lady shall be beheaded also, but, while Sanglier readily agrees to this Solomon-like judgment, the true lover vehemently pleads for the lady's life, declaring he would rather know her safe than be proved right. Fully satisfied now that Sir Sanglier is at fault, Sir Artegall metes out justice and continues his quest.

Before very long he encounters a dwarf who announces that Florimell's wedding will take place three days hence, and suggests that, before appearing there, Sir Artegall defeat a Saracen who mounts guard over a neighboring bridge, despoiling all those who pass, for the benefit of his daughter. Such an undertaking suits Sir Artegall, who not only slays both the giant and his daughter, but razes their castle to the ground. Shortly after, on approaching the sea-shore, Sir Artegall perceives a charlatan provided with scales in which he pretends to weigh all things anew. Thereupon Sir Artegall, by weighing such intangible things as truth and falsehood, right and wrong, demonstrates that the charlatan's scales are false, and, after convicting him of trickery, drowns him in the sea.

The poet now ably describes the wedding of Florimell and Marinell and the tournament celebrated in their honor, which Sir Artegall attends, wearing Braggadocchio's armor as disguise. He helps Marinell win the prize which is to be bestowed upon Florimell, but, when the moment comes to award it, Braggadocchio boldly produces a false Florimell, so exactly like the true one that they cannot be told apart. Sir Artegall, however, ruthlessly exposes the trick, whereupon the false Florimell vanishes, leaving nothing behind her save the wrongfully appropriated girdle, which reverts at last to its legitimate owner. Seeing this, Braggadocchio is about to sneak away, when Sir Guyon suddenly steps forward demanding the return of his stolen steed. Although Braggadocchio boldly asserts the steed he rides is his own, Sir Artegall inquires of each what secret tokens the animal bears, and thus enables Sir Guyon to prove ownership.

Sir Artegall, not long after leaving the marriage hall, journeys to the sea-shore, where he discovers twin brothers quarrelling for the possession of two girls, one of whom is perched upon a huge coffer. Not only does Artegall check this fight, but, on inquiring into its cause, learns how the twin brothers were awarded neighboring islands, and how the storms and the sea have carried off half the land of the one only to add it to the possessions of the other. Thus, one twin has become richer than the other, and the heiress, who had promised to marry the poorer brother, has transferred her affections and possessions to the richer twin. On her way to join him, however, she suffers shipwreck and arrives at his island penniless. But the chest containing her treasures is in due time washed back to the smaller island, where, meantime, the discarded fiancée of the richer brother has taken refuge. As the wealthy twin declared, when the land was mentioned, that "what the sea brought he had a right to keep," Sir Artegall decides he shall now abide by his own words, and that, since the sea conveyed the treasure-chest to his brother, he has no further claim upon it. Having thus settled this dispute, Artegall rides on until he meets a troop of Amazons about to hang an unfortunate man. At his bidding, Talus delivers this victim,—Sir Turpine,—a knight who came hither intending to fight the Amazons. Because the queen of these warrior-women has slain many men, Artegall challenges her to issue from her stronghold and fight with him.

We now have a brilliant description of Radigonde's appearance and of the duel, in which, blinding him by her beauty, she manages to get the better of Artegall. Having done this, she triumphantly bears him off to her castle, after ordering the execution of Sir Turpine and Talus, who contrive to escape. But Sir Artegall, being a prisoner, is reduced to slavery, forced to assume a woman's garb and to spin beside his fellow-captives, for the Amazon queen wishes to starve and humiliate her captives into submission to her will.

Having contrived to escape, Talus informs Britomart that her lover is a prisoner, whereupon she sets out to rescue him, meeting with sundry extraordinary adventures by the way, in which she triumphs, thanks to her magic spear.

While spending a peaceful night in the Temple of Isis, Britomart is finally favored with a vision, inspired by which she challenges Radigonde, who in the midst of the encounter turns to flee. But Britomart pursues her into her stronghold, whence she manages to rescue Artegall and, after setting him free, bids him continue his adventurous quest.

Sir Artegall and his faithful squire soon after see a maiden flee before two knights, but, before they can overtake her, they notice how a new-comer slays one pursuer while the other turns back. Urged by the maiden, Artegall kills the second persecutor, and only then discovers that the knight who first came to her rescue is Arthur. They two, by questioning the maid, learn she is a servant of Mercilla (another personification of Elizabeth), and that her mistress is sorely beset by the Soldan, to whom she has recently gone to carry a message. On her return, the poor maid was pursued by two Saracen knights, who were determined to secure her as a prize. Hearing this, Artegall proposes to assume the armor of one of the dead knights, and thus disguised to convey the maiden back to the Soldan's court. Arthur is to follow under pretence of ransoming the captive, knowing that his offer will be refused so insolently that he will have an excuse to challenge the Soldan. All this comes true, and thanks to his magic shield Arthur triumphs. The Soldan's wife, learning that her husband has succumbed, now proposes to take her revenge by slaying the captive maid, but Artegall defends her and drives the Soldan's wife into the forest, where she is transformed into a tiger!

Arthur and Sir Artegall now gallantly offer to escort the maid home, although she warns them that Guyle lies in wait by the roadside, armed with hooks and a net to catch all travellers who pass his cave. But, thanks to the bravery, strength, and agility of Arthur, Artegall, and Talus, Guyle's might is broken, and the maid triumphantly leads the three victorious champions to Mercilla's castle. After passing through its magnificent halls, they are ushered by Awe and Order into the presence of the queen, whose transcendent beauty and surroundings are described at length. While the queen is seated on her throne, with the English lion at her feet, Duessa (Mary Queen of Scots) is brought before her and is proved guilty of countless crimes; but, although she evidently deserves death, Mercilla, too merciful to condemn her, sets her free.

It is while sojourning at Mercilla's elegant court that Artegall and Arthur see two youths appear to inform the queen that their mother Belge, or Belgium, a widow with seventeen sons, has been deprived of twelve of her offspring by a three-headed monster, Gereones (the personification of Philip the Second of Spain, the ruler of three realms). This monster invariably delivers his captives into the hands of the Inquisition, by which they are sorely persecuted. Hearing this report, Arthur steps forward, offering to defend the widow and her children. Mercilla granting his request without demur, Arthur hurries away, only to find that Beige has been driven out of her last stronghold by a faithless steward (Alba). But, thanks to Arthur's efforts, this steward is summoned forth, defeated in battle, and the lady reinstated in her domain.

Gereones now dauntlessly attacks Arthur, whom the giant Beige secretly instructs to overthrow ah idol in the neighboring church, as that will enable him to triumph without difficulty. While Arthur is thus rescuing Beige, Artegall and Talus have again departed to free Irena from her oppressor Grantorto. On their way to Ireland, they meet a knight, who informs them Irena is doomed to perish unless a champion defeats Grantorto in duel. Thereupon Artegall swears to champion Irena's cause, but, on the way to keep his promise, pauses to rescue a distressed knight (Henry IV. of France), to whom he restores his lady Flourdelis, whom Grantorto is also trying to secure.

Artegall, the champion, reaching the sea-shore, at last finds a ship ready to sail for Ireland, where he lands, although Grantorto has stationed troops along the shore to prevent his doing so. These soldiers are soon scattered by Talus' flail, and Artegall, landing, forces Grantorto to bite the dust. Having thus freed Irena, he replaces her on her throne and restores order in her dominions, before Gloriana summons him back to court.

On the way thither Sir Artegall is beset by the hags Envy and Detraction, who are so angry with him for freeing Irena that they not only attack him themselves, but turn loose upon him the Blatant Beast (Slander). Although Talus begs to annihilate this infamous trio with his dreaded flail, Artegall decrees they shall live, and, heedless of their threats hurries on to report success to his beloved mistress.

Sir Calidore, who, in the poem, impersonates Courtesy (or Sir Philip Sidney), now meets Artegall, declaring the queen has despatched him to track and slay the Blatant Beast,—an offspring of Cerberus and Chimera,—whose bite inflicts a deadly wound. When Artegall reports having recently met that thousand-tongued monster, Calidore spurs off, and soon sees a squire bound to a tree. Pausing to free this captive, he learns that this unfortunate has been illtreated by a neighboring villain, who exacts the hair of every woman and beard of every man passing his castle, because his lady-love wishes a cloak woven of female hair and adorned with a fringe of beards. It was because the captive had vainly tried to rescue a poor lady from this tribute that he had been bound to this tree. On hearing this report, Sir Calidore decides to end such doings forever, and riding up to the castle pounds on its gates until a servant opens them wide. Forcing his way into the castle, Sir Calidore slays all who oppose him, and thus reaches the villain, with whom he fights until he compels him to surrender and promise never to exact such tribute again.

Having settled this affair entirely to his satisfaction, Sir Calidore rides on until he meets a youth on foot, bravely fighting a knight on horseback, while a lady anxiously watches the outcome of the fray. Just as Calidore rides up, the youth strikes down his opponent, a deed of violence justified by the maiden, who explains how the man on horseback was ill treating her when the youth came to her rescue. Charmed by the courage displayed by an unarmed man, Sir Calidore proposes to take the youth as his squire, and learns he is Tristram of Lyonnesse, son of a king, and in quest of adventures.

Accompanied by this squire, who now wears the armor of the slain knight, Sir Calidore journeys on, until he sees a knight sorely wounded by the very man his new squire slew. They two convey this wounded man to a neighboring castle, thereby earning the gratitude of his companion, a lady mourning over his unconscious form.

The castle-owner, father of the distinguished wounded man, is so grateful to his rescuers that he receives them with kindness. But he cannot account for the presence of the lady who explains his son loved her and often met her in the forest. After nursing her lover until he is out of danger, Priscilla expresses a desire to return home, but is at a loss how to account to her parents for her prolonged absence. Sir Calidore, who volunteers to escort her, then suggests that he bear to her father the head of the knight whom Tristram slew, stating this villain was carrying her off when he rescued her. This tale so completely blinds Priscilla's father that he joyfully welcomes his daughter home, expressing great gratitude to her deliverers ere they pass on.

Calidore and his squire have not journeyed far before they perceive a knight and his lady sporting in the shade. So joyful and innocent do they seem that the travellers gladly join them, and, while the men converse together, Lady Serena strays out into a neighboring field to gather flowers. While she is thus occupied the Blatant Beast pounces upon her, and is about to bear her away when her cries startle her companions. They immediately dart to her rescue. Calidore, arriving first, forces the animal to drop poor Serena, then, knowing her husband will attend to her, continues to pursue the fleeing monster.

On reaching his beloved Serena, Sir Calespine finds her so sorely wounded that she requires immediate care. Tenderly placing her on his horse, he supports her fainting form through the forest. During one of their brief halts, he suddenly sees a bear carrying an infant, so rushes after the animal to rescue the child. Only after a prolonged pursuit does he achieve his purpose, and, not knowing how else to dispose of the babe, carries it to a neighboring castle, where the lady gladly adopts it, because she and her husband have vainly awaited an heir. Sir Calespine now discovers he is unable to retrace his steps to his wounded companion, who soon after is found by a gentle savage. This man is trying to take her to some place of safety when overtaken by Arthur and Timias, who, seeing Serena in his company, fancy she is his captive. She, however, hastens to assure them the wild man is more than kind and relates what has occurred. As Serena and Timias have both been poisoned by the bites of the Blatant Beast, Arthur takes them to a hermit, who undertakes to cure them, but finds it a hopeless task.

The learned hermit's healing arts having all proved vain, he finally resorts to prayer to cure his guests, who, when healed, decide to set out together in quest of Sir Calespine and Arthur. The latter has meantime departed with the wild man, hoping to overtake Sir Turpine, who escaped from Radigonde. They track the villain to his castle and, forcing an entrance, fight with him, sparing his life only because the lady of the castle pleads in his behalf.

Sir Turpine now succeeds in persuading two knights to pursue and attack Sir Arthur, but this hero proves too strong to be overcome, and, after disarming both assailants, demands why they have attacked him. When they reveal Turpine's treachery, Arthur regrets having spared his opponent, and decides that having overcome him once by force he will now resort to strategy. He, therefore, lies down, pretending to be asleep, while one of the knights rides back to report his death to Turpine. This plan is duly carried out, and Sir Turpine, coming to gloat upon his fallen foe, is seized by Arthur, who hangs him to a neighboring tree.

Meantime Serena and Timias jog along until they meet a lady and a fool (Disdain and Scorn), who are compelled by Cupid to wander through the world, rescuing as many people as they have made victims. When the fool attempts to seize Timias, Serena, terrified, flees shrieking into the forest.

Before long Sir Artegall manages to overtake his squire, driven by Scorn and Disdain, and immediately frees him. Then, hearing what penalty Cupid has imposed upon the couple, he decides they are sufficiently punished for the wrong they have done and lets them go.

Meanwhile Serena has wandered, until, utterly exhausted, she lies down to rest. While sleeping she is surrounded by savages, who propose to sacrifice her to their god. They are on the point of slaying Serena when Sir Calespine comes to her rescue, unaware at the moment that the lady he is rescuing from their cruel hands is his beloved wife.

Still pursuing the elusive Blatant Beast, Sir Calidore comes to a place where shepherds are holding a feast in honor of Pastorella, the adopted daughter of the farmer Melibee, and beloved of young Coridon, a neighboring shepherd. Coridon fears Sir Calidore will prove a rival for the affections of Pastorella, but Calidore disarms his jealousy by his perfect courtesy, which in time wins Pastorella's love.

One day the lonely Sir Calidore, seeking Pastorella, catches a glimpse of the Graces dancing in the forest to the piping of Colin Clout (a personification of Spenser). Shortly after, Calidore has the good fortune to rescue Pastorella from a tiger, just after Coridon has deserted her through fear.

To reward the bravery of Calidore, who has saved her from death, Pastorella lavishes her smiles upon him, until a brigand raid brings ruin and sorrow into the shepherd village, for the marauders not only carry off the flocks, but drag Pastorella, Coridon, and Melibee off to their underground retreat.

In that hopeless and dark abode the captain of the brigands is beginning to cast lustful glances upon Pastorella, when merchants arrive to purchase their captives as slaves. The captain refuses to part with Pastorella although he is anxious to sell Coridon and Melibee, but the merchants insist upon having the maid, and seeing they cannot obtain her by fair means resolve to employ force. The result is a battle, in the midst of which Coridon escapes, Melibee and the brigand captain are slain, and Pastorella faints and is deemed dead.

Sir Calidore, who has been absent for a while, comes back to find the shepherd village destroyed and Coridon wandering disconsolate among its ruins. From him he learns all that has happened, and, going in quest of Pastorella's remains, discovers she is alive. Then he manages by stratagem not only to rescue her, but to slay merchants and robbers and recover the stolen flocks and also much booty. All the wealth thus obtained is bestowed upon Coridon to indemnify him for the loss of Pastorella, who accompanies her true love Calidore during the rest of his journeys.

Being still in quest of the ever fleeing Blatant Beast, Calidore conducts Pastorella to the castle of Belgard, whose master and mistress are passing sad because they lost their only child in infancy. Wondering how such a loss could have befallen them, Calidore learns that knight and lady, being secretly married, entrusted their child to a handmaiden, ordering her to provide for its safety in some way, as it was impossible they should acknowledge its existence then. The maid, having ascertained that the babe bore on her breast a certain birth-mark, basely abandoned her in the forest, where she was found and adopted by Melibee.

It is during Pastorella's sojourn in this castle that the lady discovers on her breast the birth-mark, which proves she is her long-lost daughter. While Pastorella is thus happy in the company of her parents, Calidore overtakes the Blatant Beast, and leads it safely muzzled through admiring throngs to Gloriana's feet. But, strange to relate, this able queen does not keep the monster securely chained, for it soon breaks bonds, and the poet closes with the statement that it is again ranging through the country, this time tearing poems to pieces!


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