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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847. 

By John S. Hart, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of 

c; shek'maIi, printer 
19 Si; James Street. 


The present Essay is an attempt to reproduce, under 
modern forms, some of those agreeable ideas which instructed 
and entertained a former generation. Spenser was once 
regarded as one of the great store-houses of moral and 
intellectual truth. But the fashion of literature changes, 
and the Fairy Queen has now become not unlike a half- 
decayed and unfrequented Cathedral of the olden time. The 
object of the Essayist is to remove something of the repulsive 
gloom that has gathered around this venerable pile, to brush 
away a portion of the dust and cobwebs, and to throw once 
more the cheerful light of heaven upon its untold splendours 
■ — in short, to make this famous shrine, if possible, once more 
a favourite resort, not merely for the lovers of the antique 
and the curious, but for all the genuine votaries of truth and 
goodness. The aim is, in a word, and to drop the metaphor, 
not so much to advance opinions about this great work of 
art, as to show the work itself, to put the reader in posses- 
sion of some of those glorious and ennobling ideas which 


the work contains. These ideas are here presented partly 
in prose, in the language of the Essayist, and partly by ex- 
tracts, in the language of the author, with the spelling mo- 
dernized so far as the rhythm and the rhyme of the verse 
would permit. The extracts are not introduced as mere 
isolated specimens, but are intimately mixed up with the 
tissue of the argument, the whole being woven together into 
one connected and continuous story. By these means, the 
legendary exploits and scenes of Fairy Land are contem- 
plated through a medium that brings their truths home to 
the " business and bosoms" of the men and women of the 
present day. The Essay, in other words, is, as already 
stated, an attempt to reproduce, rather than describe, the 
ideas of which it treats. It does not aspire to the dignity of a 
Critique. Its humbler office is to set forth some of the ma- 
terials from which an intelligent judgment may be formed by 
the reader himself. To the devout lovers of Spenser, the 
method by which this has been attempted, may seem in some 
instances to savour of irreverent familiarity. They will, how- 
ever, regard the offence with less severity, if they shall at the 
same time find in the work anv evidence of its havino- been a 
labour of love, or any probability of its increasing the number 
of admirers and readers of the great original. 




Early Life — Education — Career in the University — Acquaintance with 
Gabriel Harvey — Two Years' Residence in the North of England — 
Love Affair — Return to London — Publication of the Shepherds' Calen- 
dar — Account of this Poem, . . . . . . . .19 


Connexion with Sidney — Leicester House — Proposed Visit to the Conti- 
nent — Correspondence with Harvey — The New Versification — Lost 
Poems — The Dying Pelican — The Dreams — The Stemmata Dud- 
leiana — The Nine English Comedies — The English Poet — Minor 
Poems — The Fairy Queen commenced — Harvey's Opinion of it — 
Harvey — Evidences of Industry — Grants of Land in Ireland— Kilcol- 
man Castle — Raleigh's Visit — Publication of the First Three Books of 
the Fairy Queen, 31 


Return to Ireland — Publication of Miscellaneous Poems — The Ruins of 
Time— The Tears of the Muses— Virgil's Gnat— Mother Hubberd's 


Tale — The Ruins of Rome — Visions of Bellay, Petrarch and Spenser — 
Muiopotmos, or the Fate of the Butterfly, 48 


Spenser again visits London — Publication of the Daphnaida — Account of 

this Poem Colin Clout's Come Home Again — Astrophel and other 

Elegies in honour of Sir Philip Sidney — The Sonnets — Elizabeth — 
Courtship — Marriage — The Epithalamium — Prothalamium — Hymns 
— Anacreontics — View of the State of Ireland — Two Cantos of Muta- 
bility Kilcolman burnt by the Rebels — Spenser's Death and Monu- 
ment, .... ... ... 



The Legend of the Red-Cross Knight, or of Holiness. 

Analysis and Synthesis — The latter Method applied to the Fairy Queen 
— The opening Scene — The Wandering Wood — Adventure with 
Error — Archiinago— The Hermitage — Magic — The False Dream — 
Saint George and Una separated-— Battle of Saint George and Sans- 
foy — Fidessa — The Bleeding Trees — Una and the Lion — Corceca and 
Kirkrapine — Archimago under the Guise of Saint George — Sansloy 
and Una — Saint George in the House of Pride — Battle with Sansjoy — 
Una in Awful Danger — Rescued by the Fauns and Satyrs — Saint 
George made Captive by Orgoglio — Interposition of Prince Arthur — 


Cave of Despair — Argument for Suicide — House of Holiness — Final 
Adventure — Plan of the Poem shown by Synthesis, . . . .115 


The Legend of Sir Guyon, or of Temperance. 

Review of the First Book — Definition of Temperance — The Palmer — 
The Babe with Bloody Hands — The Three Sisters, Elissa, Perissa, and 
Medina — Braggadochio and Trompart — First Appearance of Bel- 
phcebe — Furor and Occasion — Atin and Pyrochles — The Merry 
Mariner — The Idle Lake— Cymochles ferried to the Islet — Sir Guyon 
and Phaedria — Horrible situation of Pyrochles — The Cave of Mam. 
mon — The House of Riches — The Temptation — Intervention of Prince 
Arthur — His Exploit — Sir Guyon and the Palmer embarked for the 
Island— The Gulf of Greediness— The Wandering Islands— The Mon- 
sters of the Deep — The Weeping Maiden — The Bay of the Mermaids 
— The Unclean Birds— The Wild Beasts— They reach the Island— 
The Gardens — The Fair Portress — The Lakelet and the Bathing 
Damsels — The Bower of Bliss — Capture of the Enchantress, Acrasia 
— The Adventure completed — Character of Sir Guyon, . . . 159 


The Legend of Britomart, or of Chastity. 

The Third Book not Periodique — First Appearance of Britomart — The 
Enchanted Spear — Flight of Florimel — Britomart and Guyon at Castle 


Joyous — Britomart's History — Combat with Marinel — Arthur's Pursuit 
ofFlorimel — Night in the Woods — Arthur's History— FlorimeFs His- 
tory Timias and the Forester — Timias and Belphcebe — Characters 

of Belphcebe and Amoret — Florimel in the Witch's Hut — The Witch's 

Son Florimel's Flight and Escape in the Fisherman's Boat — The 

Giantess Argante — The Squire of Dames — The Snowy Florimel — Flo- 
rimel rescued from the Fisherman by Proteus — Elopement of Hellenore 
with Paridel — Scudamour — Amoret in the Enchanted Castle of Busy- 
rane — Rescued by Britomart, 221 


The Legend of Cambel and Triamond, or of Friendship. 

Spenser's Letter to Raleigh explanatory of the Plan of the Poem — Re- 
view — Difficulties of the Subject — Reason why the Third and Fourth 
Books are not Periodique — Adventure of Britomart and Amoret re- 
sumed — Description of Ate — Combat between Britomart and Bland- 
amour — Blandamour wins the Snowy Florimel — Announcement of the 
Tournament of Sir Satyrane — Story of Cambel and Triamond — The 
Tournament — Artegal and Britomart at the Tournament — The Cestus 
of Venus— The Contest for the Palm of Beauty— Gold Pens— The 
Girdle awarded to the Snowy Florimel — Strange conduct of the 
Girdle — Scudamour in the House of Care — Fight between Britomart 
and Artegal — The Disclosure — Amoret carried off by Lust — Attempt 
of Timias to rescue her — Lust slain by Belphoebe — Timias in Doubt- 
ful Circumstances — The Rebuke — Amoret again deserted — Interposi- 
tion of Prince Arthur — The Hut of Slander — Commentator's Episode 
— Castle of Corflambo — Britomart about to be overpowered — Rescued 
by Prince Arthur — Meeting of Amoret and Scudamour — Scudamour's 

COXTENTS. " x i 

Exploit — History of Amoret — The Island and Temple of Venus- 
Character of Scudamour — The Story of Florimel resumed — The Story 
of Marinel — The Great .Meeting of the Submarine Deities in the Hall 
of Proteus — Marinel present as a Spectator — Discovery, Rescue, and 
Espousals of Florimel, 276 


The Legend of Artegal, or of Justice. 

Intimate Connexion between the Third and Fourth Books — The Reasons 
for this — Mission of Artegal — Definition of Justice — Artegal's Educa- 
tion by Astraea — His sword Chrysaor — The Iron Man, Talus — Punish- 
roent of Sangliere — Battle with Pollente — Execution of Munera — The 
Giant Innovation — Nuptials of Florimel — Tournament of Sir Marinel 
— Braggadochio's Imposture — Vanishing of the Snowy Florimel — Deci- 
sion of Artegal between the Brothers, Amidas and Brasidas — Artegal 
and Talus beset by Female Warriors — Radigund — Her Character— 
Her Battle with Artegal — Artegal in Thraldom — Radigund — Love 
Agencies — Poor Clarin — Britomart's Uneasiness at the Absence of 
Artegal — She goes to his Rescue — The House of Dolon — Battle be^ 
tween Britomart and Radigund — King Philip and the Spanish 
Armada — Artegal and Prince Arthur rescue Samient — Arthur's 
Battle with the Soudan — Punishment of Adicia — Synopsis of the 
Whole Book 369 



The Legend of Sik Calidore, or of Courtesy. 

Definition of the Subject — Character and Mission of Sir Calidore — The 
Story of Crudor and Briana — The Swain in Lincoln Green — Calepine 
and Serena — The Blatant Beast — The Savage Man — Mirabclla — Cali- 
dore among the Shepherds — Pastorella — Her Character — Colin's Shep- 
herd's Lass — Conclusion — General Remarks, 463 








Early Life— Education— Career in the University— Acquaintance with 
Gabriel Harvey — Two Years' Residence in the North of England 
— Love Affair — Return to London — Publication of the Shepherds' 
Calendar — Account of this Poem. 

This gifted son of song was born in East Smithfield, 
London, in the year 1553. Of his family and his 
early life, almost nothing is known, and very little is 
even conjectured. There is an illustrious family of 
the name of Spencer in the interior of England, the 
Spencers of Northamptonshire. Our poet seems in 
some of his poems, to lay claim to being connected 
with this ancient family — a claim which, to the 


honour of their good sense, they have never been 
disposed to question. "The nobility of the Spencers," 
says Gibbon, " has been illustrated and enriched by 
the trophies of Marlborough; but I exhort them to 
consider the Fairy Queen as the most precious jewel 
of their coronet." The precise connexion between 
this family and the author of the Fairy Queen, has 
not yet been ascertained, nor is it certainly known 
that any connexion at all existed. 

Our author was evidently born in moderate circum- 
stances. The proof of this is found in the fact that at 
College he was a sizer. This word is used at Cam- 
bridge to denote a class of students who are admitted 
to the privileges of the University on easier pecuniary 
terms than others, and in consideration, formerly at 
least, of performing certain offices of a menial cha- 
racter. The " sizer" at Cambridge corresponds, in 
many important particulars, to the " charity student" 
of our American Colleges. 

Spenser was admitted a sizer of Pembroke Hall, 
Cambridge, in 1569, at the age of sixteen. Little is 
known of his academical career, except that at Col- 
lege he made the acquaintance of Gabriel Harvey, a 
man who exerted an important influence upon the 
poet's future course, and whose name will frequently 
occur in this essay. Harvey was a man of considerable 
learning, and possessed that sort of rough strong sense 
which so often enables its possessor to exert a controlling 
influence over another infinitely his superior in genius. 

There has been a tradition that Spenser was an un- 


successful candidate for a fellowship in Pembroke 
Hall, his competitor being Lancelot Andrews, one of 
the men afterwards employed in making the English 
version of the Bible now in use. More careful inves- 
tigations have shown this statement to be without 

Spenser took his degree of A. B., in due course, 
January, 1573, at the age of twenty; and his degree 
of A. M., in June, 1576, at the age of twenty-three. It 
is noticeable that, although Spenser in his writings re- 
peatedly mentions the University with affectionate re- 
gard, he never either in his letters or his poetry makes 
any mention of Pembroke Hall, the particular College 
to which he belonged. From this it has been inferred 
that he left it on not very good terms, though from 
what cause or with whom, is, like the fact itself, en- 
tirely a matter of conjecture. 

On leaving the University, Spenser went to some 
place in the north of England, where he resided about 
two years ; where exactly, or with whom, or for what 
purpose, is not known. The general traditionary be- 
lief is, that it was a temporary residence with a branch 
of the Spencer family living in Lancashire, perhaps as 
a guest, not impossibly as a private tutor. The only 
things certain about this two years' sojourn in the 
"hill country" of England, are that the youthful poet 
fell in love with some lady whom he celebrates under 
the fictitious name of " Rosalind," -and that on his re- 
turn to London at the end of the two years, he had 
ready for the press a volume of poetry, in the composi- 


tion of which his love affair had doubtless been of no 
disadvantage to him. 

Spenser is reputed to have been induced to return 
to London by the advice and solicitation of his friend 
Gabriel Harvey. This shrewd observer doubtless saw 
in the precincts of the court, both a better prospect of 
his friend's promotion, and a more suitable sphere for 
the exercise of his talents, than in the limited range of 
rural and provincial life. 

In 1579, the year of his return to London, Spenser 
made his first publication, being a poem or a series of 
poems, of the pastoral kind, written during his residence 
in the country. This poem is called the Shepherds' 
Calendar. It is in twelve books, or eclogues, accord- 
ing to the number of months in the year ; viz. : 
eclogue first, for January; eclogue second, for Fe- 
bruary; eclogue third, for March; and so on to 
eclogue twelfth, for December. The subjects of 
these eclogues, and the illustrations are drawn to 
some extent from the season indicated by the month. 
Each eclogue is a separate poem, not connected with 
the others, except that the same characters are found 
frequently recurring. By an eclogue is usually meant 
a poem representing real and generally cultivated and 
city people, under the garb of plain country people, 
particularly of shepherds. Such at least seems to have 
been Spenser's idea of it, and upon this idea he has 
modelled his poem. The shepherds, who bear the 
rustic names of Colin Clout, Cuddie, Thenot, Willie, 
Thomalin, Hobbinol, Palinode, Piers, &c, are de- 


scribed as attending to occupations suited to shepherds, 
cracking jokes, bantering each other about feats of skill 
upon the pipe, or singing the praises of their Phillises 
and Amaryllises. Most of the characters so described, 
represent, however, real persons, the intention of the 
poet being to clothe the feelings of refined and artificial 
life, in the simple and unsophisticated garb of rustic 
manners. Colin Clout is Spenser himself; Hobbinol 
represents Gabriel Harvey ; and so of the others. 

The Shepherds' Calendar was published to a certain 
extent anonymously, the author signing himself merely 
Immerito. It was necessary, therefore, to explain in 
some manner the meaning of the allusions. For this 
purpose, it was introduced to the public with a prefa- 
tory epistle and annotations in various parts, explana- 
tory of the views of the author, written by some 
intimate friend, who signs himself E. K. Who this 
E. K. was, has been a matter of no little speculation. 
He was evidently on terms of the greatest intimacy 
with the author ; was fully acquainted with his views ; 
and indeed speaks in such an authoritative way of the 
author's intentions and plans, as to give some little 
weight certainly to the conjecture of one of the most 
judicious of the poet's biographers. This conjecture 
does not indeed seem to have met with general favour. 
Still it is far from being an impossible supposition. At 
all events, if there is some hardihood in asserting, there 
is some also in denying, that this unknown annotator 
E. K., is none other than Spenser himself. An objec- 
tion to such a supposition may be found in the terms of 


praise with which E. K. sometimes speaks of the new 
poet. But Spenser had no mean opinion of his own 
abilities, and modern literature at least could furnish 
more questionable examples of authors' devices to 
make known their merits as well as their meaning. 

The Shepherds' Calendar is dedicated to Sir Philip 
Sidney. The origin of the friendship between this 
noble person and Spenser, will be the subject of some 
remarks in another chapter. The epistle prefatory by 
E. K., is addressed to Gabriel Harvey, who of course, 
as well as Sidney, was in the secret in regard to the 
unknown annotator. There is besides by this same 
E. K., a general argument or explanation prefixed to 
the whole collection, and a special argument prefixed 
to each eclogue. 

The whole work, including the epistle dedicatory, 
and the arguments and annotations of E. K., is about 
equal, in amount of matter, to eight cantos in the 
Fairy Queen. 

The diction in the Shepherds' Calendar, is evidently 
more ancient than that which was current in the days 
of Queen Elizabeth. Indeed, the author, or his friend 
E. K., admits the fact, and attempts to defend it. 
Spenser in all his poetry has something of this quality, 
but in none so much as in his first publication. In 
maintaining and acting upon this theory, Spenser for- 
got the law of progress inseparable from language. 
Under the influence of this law, Chaucer had become 
in a great measure a sealed book, even in the days of 
Elizabeth, just as the language that prevailed in com- 


mon life in the time of Elizabeth, has become partially 
antiquated now. Consequently language which even 
then w r as intentionally antedated, has now T become to 
a considerable extent unintelligible to the ordinary 
reader. Spenser, indeed, never abandoned the idea 
that some poetical beauty is to be gathered from the 
use of words slightly off the popular lip, as we find 
the diction of all his poems rather older than that of 
his contemporaries; still, after the publication of the 
Calendar, he seems to have modified his views a little, 
and to have used in his subsequent poems language 
not quite so far behind the times. 

In the Shepherds' Calendar, there is a great variety 
of versification, both in regard to the stanza and the 
metre. There is too, what I do not recollect to have 
seen noticed by any of the critics, very frequent and 
decisive evidence of an attempt to recur to the old 
Saxon poetical alliteration in connexion with rhyme. 
The whole poem indeed seems to be of a tentative cha- 
racter, the author trying at the same time both his own 
powers and the temper of the public. Among all the 
varieties of versification introduced into the Calendar, 
it is noticeable, that he has not once used the immortal 
stanza that bears his name. 

To give the reader some more definite idea of this 
poem, the first eclogue is quoted entire. This parti- 
cular eclogue is selected because it is the shortest, and 
the least antiquated, and consequently most readable; 
and also, because it brings clearly to view his love 


affair, which had much to do with his subsequent 



Argument. — In this first Eclogue, Colin Clout, a Shepherd's Boy, complain- 
eth himself of his unfortunate love, being but newly (as seemeth) ena- 
moured of a Country Lass called Rosalind : with which strong affection being 
very sore travailed, he compareth his careful case to the sad season of the 
year, to the frosty ground, to the frozen trees, and to his own winter-beaten 
flock. And lastly, finding himself robbed of all former pleasance and de- 
light, he breaketh his Pipe in pieces, and casteth himself to the ground. 


A Shepherd's Boy, (no better do him call), 
When winter's wasteful spite was almost spent, 
All in a sunshine day, as did befall, 
Led forth his flock, that had been long ypent : 
So faint they waxed, and feeble in the fold, 
That now uneath 1 their feet could them uphold. 

All as the sheep, such was the shepherd's look, 

For pale and wan he was, (alas the while !) 

May seem he loved, or else some care he took ; 

Well could he tune his pipe and frame his style ; 
Then to a hill his fainting flock he led, 
And thus him plained, the while his sheep there fed : 

"Ye gods of love ! that pity lovers' pain, 
(If any gods the pain of lovers pity,) 

1 Uneath, (un-easily,) not easily, scarcely. 


Look from above, where you in joys remain, 
And bow your ears unto my doleful ditty. 

And, Pan ! thou shepherds' god, that once didst love, 

Pity the pains that thou thyself didst prove. 

" Thou barren ground, whom winter's wrath hath wasted, 

Art made a mirror to behold my plight ; 

Whilom thy fresh spring flowered, and after hasted 

Thy summer proud, with daffodillies dight ; 
And now is come thy winter's stormy state, 
Thy mantle marred wherein thou maskedst late. 

" Such rage as winter's reigneth in my heart, 
My life-blood freezing with unkindly cold ; 
Such stormy stours 1 do breed my baleful smart, 
As if my year were waste and waxen old ; 

And yet, alas ! but now my spring begun, 

And yet, alas ! it is already done. 

" You naked trees, whose shady leaves are lost, 
Wherein the birds were wont to build their bower, 
And now are clothed with moss and hoary frost, 
Instead of blossoms, wherewith your buds did flower ; 

I see your tears that from your boughs do rain, 

Whose drops in dreary icicles remain. 

"All so my lustful leaf is dry and sere, 
My timely buds with wailing all are wasted ; 
The blossom which my branch of youth did bear, 
With breathed sighs is blown away and blasted ; 

And from mine eyes the drizzling tears descend, 

As on your boughs the icicles depend. 

1 Stours, fits. 


" Thou feeble flock ! whose fleece is rough and rent, 

Whose knees are weak through fast and evil fare, 

Mayst witness well, by thy ill government, 

Thy master's mind is overcome with care : 

Thou weak, I wan ; thou lean, I quite forlorn : 
With mourning pine I ; you with pining mourn. 

" A thousand sithes 1 I curse that careful hour 
Wherein I longed the neighbour town to see, 
And eke ten thousand sithes I bless the stour 2 
Wherein I saw so fair a sight as she : 

Yet all for nought ; such sight hath bred my bane. 

Ah, God ! that love should breed both joy and pain ! 

" It is not Hobbinol wherefore I plain, 
Albe' my love he seek with daily suit ; 
His clownish gifts and curtsies I disdain, 
His kids, his cracknels, 3 and his early fruit. 

Ah, foolish Hobbinol ! thy gifts be vain ; 

Colin them gives to Rosalind again. 

" I love thilk 4 lass, (alas ! why do I love ?) 

And am forlorn, (alas ! why am I lorn ?) 

She deigns not my good will, but doth reprove, 

And of my rural music holdeth scorn. 

Shepherd's devise she hateth as the snake, 

And laughs the songs that Colin Clout doth make. 

" Wherefore, my Pipe, albe' rude Pan thou please, 
Yet for 5 thou pleasest not where most I would ; 

1 Sithes, times. 2 Slour, (lit. stir) fit, attack, occasion. 3 Cracknels, crackers. 
4 Thilk, this. 5 For, because. 


And thou, unlucky Muse, that wont'st to ease 
My musing mind, yet canst not when thou should ; 
Both Pipe and Muse shall sore the while abye." — 
So broke his oaten pipe, and down did lie. 

By that, the welked 1 Phoebus 'gan avale 2 
His weary wain ; and now the frosty Night 
Her mantle black through heaven 'gan overhale : 3 
Which seen, the pensive Boy, half in despite, 
Arose, and homeward drove his sunned sheep, 
Whose hanging heads did seem his careful case to weep. 

The affair of Rosalind was not a mere poetical fiction 
— something imagined, in order to give point to his 
verses, — but a real and painful history, which affected 
the author seriously and for many years. From the 
manner in which Spenser alludes to the subject in 
different parts of his works, I judge that Rosalind was 
a woman of high consideration for her personal quali- 
ties, and at the same time of high birth ; and that she 
rejected his suit on account of the difference between 
them in the latter respect. Spenser never speaks of 
her in terms of reproach, but on the contrary, even 
after he was in the height of his reputation, reproaches 
himself for presumption in aspiring so high. The 
attention of the curious has been not a little awakened 
to ascertain who she was. The only clue to the sub- 

1 Welked, (lit., revolved) decreased, setting. 2 Avale, (ad, vallis) to fall, and to 
cause to fall, i. e. to lower. 3 Overhale, (overhaul) draw over. 


ject, is that given by E. K., who propounds in regard 
to it the following enigma : 

Rosalind is a feigned name, which being well ordered, 
will bewray the very name of his love and mistress, whom 
by that name he coloureth. 

Leaving the solution of this grave question to those 
more interested or more skilled in such matters, I pro- 
ceed with the narrative. 

Spenser, it is clear, had not yet found his place, 
when he wrote the Calendar. Nature had designed 
him for something different. Pastoral poetry is, in its 
very nature, simple and unaffected. Spenser's genius 
was one suited rather to the description of stately splen- 
dours, abounding almost beyond parallel in the power 
of magnificent adornment. It is not to be wondered 
at, therefore, that in his Shepherds' Calendar, he has 
fallen far behind the exquisite models which he had 
professedly in his eye. At the same time, this poem 
is, in my opinion, of a much higher order of merit 
than some of the critics have been disposed to assign 
to it. It is probably less regarded than it would have 
been, had not the author afterwards so immeasurably 
outstripped himself by his own Fairy Queen. 


Connexion with Sidney — Leicester House — Proposed Visit to the Con- 
tinent — Correspondence with Harvey — The New Versification — 
Lost Poems — The Dying Pelican — The Dreams — The Stemmata 
Dudleiana — The Nine English Comedies — The English Poet — 
Minor Poems — The Fairy Queen commenced — Harvey's Opinion 
of it — Evidences of Industry — Grants of Land in Ireland — Kil- 
colman Castle — Raleigh's Visit — Publication of the First Three 
Books of The Fairy Queen. 

Somewhere about the year 1579, the gallant and 
accomplished Sir Philip Sidney was seated in one of 
the halls of his uncle, the powerful Earl of Leicester, 
A modest stranger presented himself at the portal, and 
without announcing his name sent in by the servant a 
parcel to Sir Philip, containing the manuscript of an 
unpublished poem. Sir Philip commenced reading 
the manuscript, and immediately discovered in it 
marks of genius of the highest order. After reading 
a few stanzas, he turned to his steward and bade him 
give the person that brought those verses fifty pounds, 
but upon reading the next stanza, he ordered the sum 
to be doubled. The steward, surprised at the strange 
conduct of his master, thought it his duty to make 


some delay in executing so sudden and lavish a bounty ; 
but upon reading one stanza more, Sir Philip raised 
his gratuity to two hundred pounds, and commanded 
the steward to give it immediately, lest as he read 
farther, he might be tempted to give away his whole 
estate. The poem was The Fairy Queen, the modest 
stranger was Edmund Spenser. 

Such is the romantic origin of the friendship between 
Sidney and Spenser, as handed down to us by the 
earlier biographers. It seems a pity to disturb a story 
so agreeable. But as it is presumed, the reader desires 
to be instructed rather than amused, it is necessary, 
however ungracious, to add that on careful investigation 
the whole story is found to be without adequate founda- 
tion. Spenser was indebted, for his introduction to 
Leicester House, to instrumentality of a much more 
every-day character, having made the acquaintance of 
Sir Philip simply through the kindness of a common 
friend, Gabriel Harvey. Under the influence, how- 
ever, of warm hearts and kindred tastes, acquaintance 
soon ripened into friendship, and friendship into inti- 
macy ; — and few months elapsed after the first inter- 
view, before the young poet was at home in the hospi- 
table mansion of the most powerful earl in England. 

No nobleman in England enjoyed at that time 
greater personal favour with Queen Elizabeth than the 
Earl of Leicester; and no man in England probably 
combined in a higher degree the qualities of a gallant 
soldier and an elegant scholar, than his accomplished 
nephew, Sir Philip Sidney. It was under the auspices 


of these friends, that Spenser first came into public 
notice ; and all the patronage that at any time he re- 
ceived from the government, emanated from the same 

Spenser's acquaintance with Sidney and Leicester 
commenced probably before the publication of the 
Shepherds' Calendar. This is inferred partly from 
the dedication of the poem to Sir Philip, and partly 
from the terms of intimacy which are found to exist 
so soon after the publication. The Shepherds' Calen- 
dar is dated April 10th, 1579. In the latter part of 
the same year, Spenser seems to have been on the 
point of going on some confidential mission abroad, for 
the Earl of Leicester. This is alluded to in several 
letters, and among others in one to Harvey, dated Oc- 
tober 16th, 1579, at Leicester House : "I was minded," 
says Spenser, " to have sent you some English verses, 
or rhymes, for a farewell ; but by my troth, I have no 
spare time in the world to think on such toys, that you 
know will demand a freer head than mine is presently. 
I beseech you by all your courtesies and graces, let 
me be answered ere I go; which will be (I hope, I 
fear, I think,) the next week, if I can be despatched of 
my Lord. I go thither, as sent by him. and maintained 
most-what of him ; and there am to employ my time, 
my body, my mind to his honour's service. Thus, 
with many super-hearty commendations and recom- 
mendations, to yourself and all my friends with you. I 
end my last farewell, not thinking any more to write 
to you before I go." In some Latin hexameters 


enclosed in the same letter, he speaks of himself as 
" mox in Gallias navigaturi" — about to sail into France 
— and intimates the possibility of his travelling farther 
south and east, not only beyond the Alps, but even 
beyond the Caucasus. This mission or journey was 
probably never performed, as we find him in April, 
1580, a little more than five months later, still in 

In the same year, 1580, a correspondence was pub- 
lished between him and Harvey, consisting of five 
letters, three from Harvey, and two from Spenser, re- 
lating chiefly to a new theory of English versification. 
Sidney, Harvey, Dyer, and Spenser (the last apparently 
against his own opinions and in deference to the 
opinions of his friends,) formed a project for entirely 
remodelling English poetry. The plan was to banish 
rhyme and accentual rhythm, and restore the longs 
and shorts of Latin prosody. The following is a spe- 
cimen of the new fashion. 

Unhappy verse, the witness of my unhappy state, 
Make thyself fluttering wings of thy fast flying 
Thought, and fly forth unto my love wheresoever she be : 

Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else 
Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else 
Playing alone careless on her heavenly virginals. 

If in bed ; tell her that my eyes can take no rest ; 
If at board ; tell her that my month can eat no meat ; 
If at her virginals ; tell her I can bear no mirth. 


Asked why 1 Say, waking love suftereth no sleep ; 
Say, that raging love doth appal the weak stomach ; 
Say, that lamenting love marreth the musical. 

Tell her, that her pleasures were wont to lull me asleep ; 

Tell her, that her beauty was wont to feed mine eyes ; 

Tell her, that her sweet tongue was wont to make me mirth. 

Now do I nightly waste, wanting my kindly rest ; 
Now do I daily starve, wanting my lively food ; 
Now do I always die, wanting my timely mirth. 

And if I waste, who will bewail my heavy chance ? 
And if I starve, who will record my cursed end 1 
And if I die, who will say, this was Immerito 1 

If Spenser was out of place in pastoral poetry, lie 
was still farther from home in such ingenious trinino- 
as this. It was like using the wand of Aladdin, not 
to call up a scene of enchantment, but to mark off a 
chequer-board, or to measure tape ! 

From the correspondence between Harvey and 
Spenser, relative to this subject, and from the annota- 
tions of E. K. in the Shepherds' Calendar, we gather 
much incidental information respecting Spenser's other 
literary labours. Among the pieces thus incidentally 
mentioned, are several not found in any printed copy 
of his works. From the titles of these and the account 
given of them, they do not seem to form a part of any 
of his other poems. The presumption is that they are 
lost. I will enumerate them in order. 

The first work thus mentioned is The Dying Peli- 


can. Nothing is known of this poem except its name, 
and the fact that in April, 1580, it was finished and 
ready for the press. No poem of Spenser's is now 
extant under this name, and no part of any of his poems 
under other names, contains anything relating to this 
subject. Nothing definite is known of its size. Spen- 
ser however speaks of it, not as a mere fugitive piece, 
but as a work of some considerable size and importance. 
Spenser mentions in the same letter to Harvey, April 
10, 15S0, another poem as being finished. He calls it 
The Dreams, and says it is accompanied with annota- 
tions by E. K. ; and he expresses the wish that it may 
be published by itself, in a separate volume, being 
about the size of the Shepherds' Calendar. " I take 
best," says he, u my Dreams should come forth alone, 
being grown by means of the gloss [annotations] (run- 
ning continually in manner of a paraphrase) full as 
great as my Calendar. Therein [in the annotations], 
be some things excellently, and many things wittily, 
discoursed of [by] E. K., and the pictures so singu- 
larly set forth and portrayed, as, if Michael Angelo 
were there, he could, I think, neither amend the best 
nor reprehend the worst. I know you will like them 
passing well." And E. K. himself, in his annotation 
upon eclogue eleventh of the Shepherds' Calendar, 
speaking of nectar and ambrosia, adds, " but I have al- 
ready discoursed [of] that at large in my Commentary 
upon the Dreams of the same author." Harvey also in 
reply, and speaking evidently of contracts with publish- 
ers, rallies Spenser about his " living by Dying Peli- 


cans, and purchasing great lands and lordships with the 
money which his Calendar and Dreams have [afforded] 
and will afford him." From all this, it is manifest, 
that the " Dreams" was a poem of considerable size. 
Nothing nnder this name, or like it under another 
name, appears in his works. It is presumed to be lost. 

Another work mentioned in this correspondence, is 
the Stemmata Dudleiana. This was a work in Latin, 
(whether in prose or verse, it does not appear,) cele- 
brating the ancestry and virtues of his noble patron, 
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Spenser's language 
in regard to this composition, is as follows : " Of my 
Stemmata Dudleiana, and especially of the sundry 
apostrophes therein, addressed you know to whom, 
must more advisement be had than so lightly to send 
them abroad : howbeit, trust me, (though I do never 
very well,) yet, in my own fancy, 1 never did better" 
This work is now lost. Nothing at all is known of its 
size, nor is anything known of its merits, except Spen- 
ser's own opinion just quoted. 

From the same correspondence between Harvey and 
Spenser, we learn that the latter had written Nine 
English Comedies, and that they had been submitted 
in manuscript to Harvey for his opinion. Harvey 
speaks of them as being nearly, if not quite, equal to 
the Comedies of Ariosto. As Spenser had intimated 
that both the Stemmata and the Comedies were not 
yet ready to see the light, needing some farther revi- 
sion, which he could not give them until the comple- 
tion of another work presently to be mentioned, 


Harvey thereupon expresses great impatience at the 
intermption. " Commend me," says he, "to thine 
own good self, and tell thy Dying Pelican, and thy 
Dreams from me, I will now leave dreaming any 
longer of them till with these eyes I see them forth 
indeed." He then goes on to say, " I suppose this 
new poem," (presently to be mentioned,) "will hold 
us as long in suspense for your Nine English Come- 
dies, and your Latin Stemmata Dudleiana ; which two 
shall go for my money, when all is done, especially if 
you would but bestow one seven-night's polishing and 
trimming upon either ; which I pray thee do, for my 
pleasure, if not for their sake or thine own profit." 
Harvey farther adds, " You know it hath been the 
usual practice of the most exquisite and odd [re- 
markable] wits in all nations, and especially in Italy, 
rather to show and advance themselves that way, [by 
writing comedies,] than in any other; as, namely, 
those three discoursing heads, Bibiena, Machiavel, and 
Aretino did, (to let Bembo and Ariosto pass,) with the 
great admiration and wonderment of the whole country ; 
being indeed reputed matchable in all points, both for 
conceit of wit, and eloquent deciphering of matters, 
either with Aristophanes and Menander in Greek, or 
with Plautus and Terence in Latin, or with any other 
in any other tongue." Now, the Latin, Greek, and 
Italian works here referred to, w r ere comedies in the 
strict sense of the term. It is manifest, therefore, that 
the compositions of Spenser under consideration, wore 
not like his other poems in form, but were, as their 


name imports, really dramatic performances. It is 
hardly necessary to add, these Nine Comedies are 

The unknown commentator E. K., in the argument 
to the tenth eclogue of the Shepherds' Calendar, re- 
marks, that this eclogue treats, among other things, 
of the high esteem in which poetry has been held 
among all nations ; " As," says he, " the author hereof 
[of this book,] elsewhere at large discourseth in his 
book called The English Poet, which book being 
lately come to my hands, I mind also by God's grace 
upon further advertisement to publish." It would 
have been a matter of no small interest to see what so 
illustrious a poet had to say of his own art. But, alas, 
this work also is among the lost. 

There are several other poems mentioned by E. K., 
which, there is good reason to believe, were either fugi- 
tive pieces, or they have been embodied under different 
names in his other poems. I will therefore not dwell 
upon them, but merely record their titles, as given by 
E. K. They are, Legends, Court of Cupid, Trans- 
lation of Moschus's Idyllion of Wandering Love, 
Pageants, arid Epithalamion Thamesis. 

This correspondence reveals to us another important 
fact. Harvey, it will be recollected, expresses great 
impatience, because the completion of the Nine Come- 
dies is delayed in consequence of another work pre- 
sently to be named. That work, which was then in 
the hands of Harvey for his judgment, and which he 
evidently regarded as inferior both to the Nine English 


Comedies and the Stemmata Dudleiana, was none 
other than The Fairy Queen. The first notice of 
this great poem is in Spenser's letter of April 10th ? 
1580, so often quoted. It is in these words. " Now," 
writes Spenser, " my Dreams and Dying Pelican being 
fully finished (as I partly signified in my last letters), 
and presently to be imprinted, I will in hand forthwith 
with my Fairy Queen, which I pray you send me 
with all expedition ; and your friendly letters and long- 
expected judgment withal, which let not be short, but 
in all points such as you ordinarily use, and I extra- 
ordinarily desire." To this Harvey replies : " In good 
faith, I had once again nigh forgotten your Fairy 
Queen : howbeit, by good chance I have now sent her 
home at the last, neither in better nor worse case than 
I found her. And must you of necessity have my 
judgment of her indeed ? — To be plain, I am void of 

all judgment, if your Nine Comedies come 

not nearer Ariosto's Comedies, either for the fineness 
of plausible elocution, or the rareness of poetical inven- 
tion, than that Elvish Queen doth to his Orlando 
Furioso ; which, notwithstanding, you will needs seem 
to emulate and hope to overgo, as you flatly professed 
yourself in one of your last letters." Harvey next re- 
marks, parenthetically, that Spenser had given to these 
Comedies the names of the Nine Muses, after the 
example of Herodotus, who in like manner named the 
nine books of his histories. He then says : " If so be, 
the Fairy Queen be fairer in your eyes than the Nine 
Muses, and Hobgoblin run away with the garland from 


Apollo, mark what I say ; — and yet, I will not say that 
[which] I thought ; but there an end for this once, and 
so fare you well, till God, or some good angel, put you 
in a better mind." Such is the first record we find of 
a work wmich by universal consent, ranks with the Iliad, 
the JEneid, the Canterbury Tales, and the Paradise 
Lost, It is impossible of course to divine how much, 
or how little one might have admired the Nine 
English Comedies ; but I confess for one, the regret 
for their loss is rendered more tolerable by the very 
praises which they have received at the hand of him 
who could speak in terms of hesitation and disparage- 
ment of the Fairy Queen ! 

If the expressions in these letters are carefully scan- 
ned, it will appear that this great poem was not at that 
time complete. It is mentioned as something planned 
and in progress, of which a part was written and had 
been sent to Harvey for his opinion. 

The enumeration which has now been made of the 
w^orks which Spenser had in hand at that time, gives 
special significancy to an expression in the Shepherds' 
Calendar. In the proem to that work, the author, 
under the assumed name of Lmmerito, intimates that 
he has other poems either finished or in course of pre- 
paration, the publication of which would depend upon 
the success of his first attempt. " Go, little book," Im- 
merito says, 

" And when thou art past jeopardy, 
Come tell me what was said of me, 
And I will send more after thee" 


Before proceeding with the narrative, let us return 
for a moment to the date when these lines of Immerito 
were penned, and bring together under one view what 
now lies scattered many pages apart. Spenser, then, 
after leaving the University, spent two years some- 
where in the north of England. He returned to Lon- 
don in 1578 ; soon made the acquaintance of Sidney 
and Leicester, under the auspices of Harvey ; became 
to some extent domesticated at Leicester House ; in 

1579, published the Shepherds' Calendar; and in 

1580, had written, and in part ready for press, the fol- 
lowing works : The Dying Pelican, The Dreams, The 
Stemmata Dudleiana, Nine English Comedies, The 
English Poet, several minor poems, and lastly, in 
whole or in part, The Fairy Queen. He had, moreover, 
assisted Harvey and Sidney in a project to introduce 
into the literature a new mode of versification, and 
published a learned correspondence on the subject; 
and all this, at the age of twenty-seven, and within 
four years after leaving the University. Surely his 
brain must have been prolific and his hand indus- 
trious ! 

In August of the year under consideration, 1580, 
Spenser, at the recommendation, as it is supposed, of 
the Earl of Leicester, was appointed secretary to Lord 
Grey, the new Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. The pre- 
cise value or importance of this office is more than I 
have been able to ascertain. It was, however, followed 
by others of the same kind, and from the same quarter. 
In March, 1581, he obtained the additional office of 


clerk to the Irish Court of Chancery, and during the 
same year he received from the Queen the grant of a 
lease of the Abbey of Enniscorthy, and the attached 
castle and manor, in the county of Wexford, in Ire- 
land. The sale of this lease is supposed to have been 
the source of considerable emolument to him. 

Lord Grey, to whom Spenser was secretary, re- 
mained in Ireland exactly two years. His lordship 
returned to England in August, 1582. Spenser is 
supposed to have returned with him, but of this there 
is no positive evidence. For the next four years we 
know little of him. In June, 1586, he obtained from 
the crown the grant of three thousand acres of land in 
the county of Cork, in Ireland, being part of the for- 
feited estates of the Earl of Desmond. For this grant, 
it is supposed, Spenser was indebted to the influence 
of his friend and patron, Sir Philip Sidney. The fact, 
if so, has an interest of a peculiar kind, as it was pro- 
bably his last act of friendship to the poet. The illus- 
trious author of the Arcadia died in October of that 
same year, of wounds received in the memorable battle 
of Zutphen. 

Spenser, by the terms of his grant, was obliged to 
live on the estate. His residence was one not unsuited 
to the purposes of poetry. He occupied for his own 
habitation Kilcolman Castle, one of the ancient strong- 
holds of the Earls of Desmond. This venerable struc- 
ture stood in the midst of a large plain, by the side of 
a lake. The river Mulla ran through his grounds, and 
a chain of mountains skirted the horizon in the distance, 


For four years, from 1586 to 1590, we may imagine 
him retired to this romantic spot, and slowly and 
patiently maturing his immortal work. 

During the last of these years, an event occurred of 
no small moment to the solitary student. This was 
the visit paid to him by that distinguished scholar and 
soldier, Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh seems to have 
been thrown into the poet's neighbourhood for the very 
purpose of supplying the loss of his friend Sidney. 
Sir Walter had obtained from the crown, for his mili- 
tary services in Ireland, twelve thousand acres from 
the estate already mentioned, the forfeited lands of the 
Earl of Desmond. In what manner, or when, the 
acquaintance between Spenser and Raleigh com- 
menced, it is difficult to say. The first account we 
have of their meeting, is at Kilcolman Castle, where in 
1589 Raleigh came to visit his neighbour, the poet. 

It was now ten years since the Fairy Queen, in some 
shape, or at least some part of it, had been submitted 
to Gabriel Harvey for his opinion. What changes or 
additions the author made during these ten years, 
whether or not the whole poem was recast, we have 
no means of determining. All we know is, that the 
same poem, now more nearly complete, was at the visit 
just referred to, submitted to Sir Walter Raleigh for 
his examination and opinion. Raleigh was the very 
impersonation of the chivalry that existed in the golden 
days of Queen Bess — a chivalry which to the noble 
qualities and points of knightly skill found in the days 


of Edward III. and the Black Prince, bore the addi- 
tional plume of intellectual cultivation. Raleigh was 
quite as much a man of letters as a soldier. He was 
ardent and imaginative, and had by nature a strong 
tinge of romance. He had seen strange lands and wild 
adventures. But nothing, it may well be believed, had 
yet occurred in the discursive ranges either of his 
thoughts or of his life, so to lire his imagination — so to 
satisfy and fill his sense of the beautiful, as when, on 
this interesting occasion, the two illustrious friends. 

" The cooly shade 
Of the green alders, by the Mulla's sh 

read together the enchanting scenes of the Fairy 

The opinion of Raleigh as to the merits of the poem. 
it may well be supposed, did not coincide with that of 
Harvey. The poem was not indeed complete. It had 
in its plan, a fault in common with the Canterbury 
Tales, that namely, of being entirely too gigantic in its 
dimensions. The plan of the Fairy Queen contem- 
plated twelve books. Only three of these were now 
completed. Still, such was the high opinion Raleigh 
conceived of the merits of the work, that he urged and 
induced the author to publish immediately the books 
already finished. 

The two friends accordingly soon after proceeded to 
London for this purpose ; and under date of December 


1st, 1589, in the register of the Stationers' Company, 
is found the following brief entry : 

ffitje Jajirge i&ueene, 
s^spoacfr into m Books. 

The publication of course took place soon after, that 
is, early in 1590. It was a small quarto volume, in 
large type, with the following title page : " The Faerie 
Queene. Disposed into xii Books, fashioning xii 
Moral Vertues. London. Printed for William Pon- 
sonbie." The name of the author was not on the title 
page, but was affixed to the dedication, and to a letter 
at the end addressed to Raleigh. The author's initials 
were also affixed to various sonnets which were printed 
with the volume, and which, according to the fashion 
of the time, are supposed to have been sent with pre- 
sentation copies to the distinguished individuals to 
whom they were addressed. 

The dedication in the original edition was in these 
words: "To the most mighty and magnificent Em- 
press, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of 
England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, 
&c. Her most humble servant, Ed. Spenser." In 
a subsequent edition, this dedication was made more 
to the prevailing taste, being expanded into the follow- 
ing : " To the most high, mighty, and magnificent 
Empress, renowned for piety, virtue, and all gracious 
government, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen 


of England, France, and Ireland, and of Virginia, De- 
fender of the Faith, &c. Her most humble servant, 
Edmund Spenser, doth in all humility dedicate, pre- 
sent, and consecrate, these his labours, to live with the 
eternity of Her fame." 

The reception of the Fairy Queen, or rather of the 
three books published in 1590, was enthusiastic. It 
could hardly be otherwise, considering either the in- 
trinsic merits of the poem, or its eminent adaptedness to 
the gay and yet stately solemnities of the age and court 
of Elizabeth. Among other tokens of regard, Spenser 
received from the Queen the substantial one of an 
annual pension of fifty pounds sterling for life. 

In the present essay, the minor poems of Spenser 
are noticed in connexion with the events of his life, at 
the times when they were severally published. But 
the Fairy Queen, beyond the mere history of its pub- 
lication already given, is reserved for separate and 
"special consideration. The exposition of the plan of 
this great poem, constitutes indeed the principal part 
of the present volume. This exposition will be com- 
menced immediately after bringing to a close the notice 
of his life and of his other writings. 


Spenser's Return to Ireland — Publication of Miscellaneous Poems — 
The Ruins of Time — The Tears of the Muses — Virgil's Gnat — 
Mother Hubberd's Tale— The Ruins of Rome — Visions of Bellay, 
Petrarch and Spenser — Muiopotmos, or The Fate of the Butterfly. 

On completing the publication of the first three 
books of the Fairy Queen, Spenser returned to Ireland. 
The immediate fame, however, which he had acquired 
by that publication, caused everything from the same 
source to be in demand. Hence his publisher, in the 
following year, in the absence of the author, collected 
and printed in one volume several minor pieces which 
had been distributed in manuscript among the poet's 
friends. This volume, Spenser's third publication, is 
next to be noticed. 

The account which the publisher gives of it, is as 
follows : " Since my late setting forth of the Fairy 
Queen, finding that it hath found a favourable passage 
amongst you ; I have .... endeavoured, by all good 
means, .... to get into my hands such small poems 
of the same author's as I heard were dispersed abroad 
in sundry hands, and not easy to be come by, by him- 
self; some of them having been diversely embezzled 


and purloined from him, since his departure over sea. 
Of the which I have, by good means, gathered together 
these few parcels present, which I have caused to be 
imprinted all together, for that they all contain like 
matter of argument in them, being all complaints and 
meditations of the world's vanity, very grave and pro- 
fitable." The collection was printed in quarto form, 
dated 1591. Its general title was in these words: 
" Complaints, containing sundry small Poems of the 
world's vanity; by Ed. Sp." This title originated 
with the publisher, and was given for the reason con- 
tained in the paragraph just quoted. The poems, 
however, are never quoted by this general title, but by 
the separate title given by the author to each separate 
piece. By these titles, therefore, they will now be 
severally described. 

The Ruins of Time. The first poem in this col- 
lection is entitled The Ruins of Time. It is dated 
1591 ; and is dedicated to the " Right noble and beau- 
tiful Lady, the Lady Mary, Countess of Pembroke." 

This noble lady was a person of high literary ac- 
complishments, and the sister of his lamented friend 
Sidney. Both Sidney and Leicester were now dead, 
and Spenser had been for some years removed from 
the circle of those friends who had been his early 
and steadfast supporters. One object at least of the 
poem under consideration, was to testify his gratitude 
to this illustrious house for past favours. He seems to 


have been moved to the undertaking by an insinuation 
that he had forgotten his former friends. The tribute 
of affection which he brings is not the less agreeable 
from the fact, that at the time it was offered, his own 
star was in the ascendant, while that of his patrons was 
under a temporary cloud. 

In proceeding to form some idea of the character of 
this poem, the reader is requested to bear in mind, that 
on the banks of the Thames, near the present city of St. 
Albans, were to be seen in the time of Elizabeth, some 
crumbled walls and mounds, supposed to indicate the 
site of the ancient Roman town, Verolamium, Verulam, 
or Verlam. Imagine yourself then, gentle reader, stray- 
ing with the poet along these mounds, while you read 
the following stanzas : 

It chanced me one day beside the shore 

Of silver-streaming Thamesis to be, 
Nigh where the goodly Verlam stood of yore, 

Of which there now remains no memory, 

Nor any little monument to see, 
By which the traveller, that fares that way, 
" This once was she" may warned be to say. 

There, on the other side, I did behold 
A Woman sitting sorrowfully wailing, 

Rending her yellow locks, like wiry gold, 
About her shoulders carelessly down trailing, 
And streams of tears from her fair eyes forth railing :* 

Railing, running. 


In her right hand a broken rod she held, 

Which towards heaven she seemed on high to weld. 1 

Perceiving something supernatural in the appear- 
ance of this female, and curious to know both who she 
was, and what was the cause of her unusual distress, 
the poet addresses her. 

Much was I moved at her piteous plaint, 
And felt my heart nigh riven in my breast, 

With tender ruth to see her sore constraint ; 
That, shedding tears a while, I still did rest, 
And after, did her nam£ of her request. 

Name have I none (quoth she) nor any being, 

Bereft of both by Fate's unjust decreeing. 

I was that city, which the garland wore 

Of Britain's pride, delivered unto me 
By Roman Victors, which it won of yore ; 

Though nought at all but ruins now I be, 

And lie in mine own ashes, as ye see : 
Verlam I was ; — what boots it that I was, 
Since now I am but weeds and wasteful grass 1 

O vain world's glory, and unsteadfast state, 

Of all that lives on face of sinful earth ! 
Which, from their first until their utmost date, 

Taste no one hour of happiness or mirth ; n* 

But like as, at the ingate 2 of their birth, 
They crying creep out of their mother's womb, 
So, wailing back, go to their woful tomb. 

1 Weld, wield, hold up, 2 Ingate,. entrance. 


This woman, the Genius of the ruined town, goes on 
in this tuneful but melancholy strain, through more 
than four hundred lines, to lament the Ruins wrought 
by Time. She passes briefly in review the ancient 
empires — Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, Roman — and 
then dwells with a heavy heart upon her own sorrow- 
ful fortunes. 

To tell the beauty of my buildings fair, 

Adorned with purest gold and precious stone, 

To tell my riches and endowments rare, 

That by my foes are now all spent and gone ; 
To tell my forces, matchable to none ; — 

Were but lost labour, that few would believe, 

And, with rehearsing, would me more aggrieve. 

High towers, fair temples, goodly theatres, 
Strong walls, rich porches, princely palaces, 

Large streets, brave houses, sacred sepulchres, 
Sure gates, sweet gardens, stately galleries, 
Wrought with fair pillars and fine imageries ; 

All those (O pity) now are turned to dust, 

And overgrown with black oblivion's rust. 

The melancholy Genius continues in this way the 
sad recital of her woes, until the old grassy mound 
becomes to the reader a scene of the tenderest interest, 
when by a beautiful transition she passes to the real 
object of the whole poem. 

But why (unhappy wight) do I thus cry, 

And grieve that my remembrance quite is razed 


Out of the knowledge of posterity, 

And all my antique monuments defaced i 
Since I do daily see things highest placed, 

So soon as Fates their vital thread have shorn, 

Forgotten quite as they were never born. 

It is not long, since these two eyes beheld 
A mighty Prince, of most renowned race, 

Whom England high in count of honour held, 
And greatest ones did sue to gain his grace ; 
Of greatest ones he, greatest in his place, 

Sat in the bosom of his soverain, 1 

And Right and Loyal did his word maintain. 

I saw him die, I saw him die as one 

Of the mean people, and brought forth on bier ; 

I saw him die, and no man left to moan 
His doleful fate, that late him loved dear : 
Scarce any left to close his eyelids near ; 

Scarce any left upon his lips to lay 

The sacred sod, or Requiem to say. 

It is hardly necessary to remark that the noble 
prince, whom the sorrowful lady thus celebrates, was 
Spenser's patron, the Earl of Leicester. She goes on : 

He now is dead, and all his glory gone, 
And all his greatness vapoured to nought, 

That as a glass upon the water shone, 

Which vanished quite, so soon as it was sought : 
His name is worn already out of thought, 

Soverain, pronounced as a trisyllable, sov-e-rain. 


Ne any poet seeks him to revive ; 
Yet many poets honoured him alive. 

Ne doth his Colin, careless Colin Clout, 
Care now his idle bagpipe up to raise, 

Ne tell his sorrow to the listening rout 

Of Shepherd grooms, which wont his songs to praise : 
Praise who so list, yet I will him dispraise, 

Until he quit him of this guilty blame : 

Wake, Shepherd Boy ! at length awake for shame. 

Having thus called upon Colin and the other shep- 
herds to join in lamenting their common benefactor, 
she proceeds with her lamentations : 

He died, and after him his brother died, 
His brother Prince, his brother noble peer. 

And thus the woful lady ; goes on to celebrate in 
succession, the virtues and princely deeds of different 
members of this distinguished family, dwelling of 
course with the tenderest affection upon Sidney. 

Most gentle spirit, breathed from above 

Out of the bosom of the Maker's bliss, 
In whom all bounty and all virtuous love 

Appeared in their native properties, 

And did enrich that noble breast of his 
With treasure passing all this worldes 1 worth, 
Worthy of heaven itself, which brought it forth. 

1 World6s, to be pronounced as a dissyllable. It is the old form of the posses- 
sive, for world's. 


His happy spirit, full of power divine 

And influence of all celestial grace, 
Loathing this sinful earth and earthly slime, 

Fled back too soon unto his native place ; 

Too soon for all that did his love embrace. 
Too soon for all this wretched world, whom he 
Robbed of all right and true nobility. 

O noble spirit ! live there, ever blessed, 

The world's late wonder and the heaven's new joy ; 

Live ever there, and leave me here distressed 
With mortal cares and cumbrous world's annoy ! 
But, where thou dost that happiness enjoy, 

Bid me, O bid me quickly come to thee, 

That happy there I may thee always see ! 

Yet, whilst the Fates afford me vital breath, 

I will it spend in speaking of thy praise, 
And sing to thee, until that timely death, 

By heaven's doom do end my earthly days : 

Thereto do thou my humble spirit raise, 
And into me that sacred breath inspire, 
Which thou there breathest perfect and entire. 

The woful lady hopes that the verses which she has 
made to celebrate the different members of this illus- 
trious house, may not be consigned to oblivion. The 
Muse alone has power to confer immortality either 
upon men or their works. And so it is. Leicester, Sid- 
ney, and their compeers, must for ever share the immor- 
tality of this beautiful poem ; and thus they will not be. 


as they otherwise might have been, among the Ruins of 

At the last, the sorrowful lady disappears, and the 
poet falls into a reverie. Under the influence of the 
subjects which have been presented to his excited ima- 
gination, twelve Visions, or phantasms, rise before him 
in rapid succession and as rapidly disappear. Each 
vision is described in a stanza or sonnet of fourteen 
lines, and presents in itself a complete picture. The 
first six visions are various scenes representing the in- 
stability of earthly happiness; the other six are as 
many scenes representing the enduring nature of that 
happiness which is linked with the skies. One of 
each will be sufficient to give the reader an idea of 
the whole. 

Then did I see a pleasant Paradise, 

Full of sweet flowers and daintiest delights, 

Such as on earth man could not more devise, 

With pleasures choice to feed his cheerful sprites :■* 
Not that which Merlin by his magic sleights 

Made for the gentle Squire, to entertain 

His fair Belphoebe, could this garden stain. 

But, oh, short pleasure bought with lasting pain ! 
Why will hereafter any flesh delight 

In earthly bliss, and joy in pleasures vain, 
Since that I saw this garden wasted quite, 
That where it was, scarce seemed any sight I 

5 Sprites, spirits. 


That I, which once that beauty did behold, 
Could not from tears my melting eyes withhold. 

Now for a vision of the other kind. 

Upon that famous river's farther shore, 

There stood a snowy Swan of heavenly hue, 

And gentle kind, as ever fowl afore ; 
A fairer one in all the goodly crew, 
Of white Strimonian brood might no man view : 

There he most sweetly sang the prophecy 

Of his own death in doleful elegy. 

At last, when all his mourning melody 

He ended had, that both the shores resounded, 

Feeling the fit that him forewarned to die, 
With lofty flight above the earth he bounded, 
And out of sight to highest heaven mounted, 

Where now he is become an heavenly sign : 

There now the joy is his, here sorrow mine ! 

Such is an outline of Spenser's poem, called " The 
Ruins of Time." It is not, as the nominal subject 
might lead us to fear, a collection of wise-saws and 
common-place declamation — nor, as we might perhaps 
expect from its real subject, a tissue of empty compli- 
ments ; — but it is the generous outpouring of affection 
from a warm heart touched by the fire of true genius. 
The poem is of moderate size, containing in all six hun- 
dred and eighty-six lines. It is neither elaborate, nor 
highly finished ; yet it does not merit the tone of dispa- 


ragement with which it is sometimes mentioned. It is 
instinct with genius ; it is eminently Spenserian ; it is, 
with all its faults, eminently beautiful. 

The Tears of the Muses. The second poem in 
the collection of 1591, is entitled, The Tears of the 
Muses. This poem consists of the lamentations of 
the Nine Muses over the decay of learning, and the 
neglect with which poets and poetry were treated. 
Spenser's own career, and the brilliant success that 
immediately attended the publication of the Fairy 
Queen, contradict the whole tenor of his poem. 
Though published, therefore, in 1591, there is good 
reason to believe it was written long before. It not 
improbably was among his earliest attempts, composed 
before the author had yet tasted the sweets of public 
applause, and before he had yet found his own rich 
and peculiar vein. It has much in common with all 
mere croaking verses. It deals in generalities, avoid- 
ing, as the croakers usually do, troublesome specifica- 
tion of facts. Its versification, however, is smooth and 
harmonious, and the diction less antiquated than that 
in the Shepherds' Calendar. It consists of one hun- 
dred stanzas of six lines each, making in all six hun- 
dred lines. The plan is perfectly simple and regular. 
First, the poet invokes the Nine Muses to rehearse to 
him the sorrowful complaints which he lately heard 
them making beside the sacred fount of poesy. 


Rehearse to me, ye sacred Sisters nine, 
The golden brood of great Apollo's wit, 

Those piteous plaints and sorrowful sad tine, 1 
Which late ye poured forth as ye did sit 

Beside the silver springs of Helicon, 

Making your music of heartbreaking moan ! 

This introductory invocation runs through nine stanzas. 
By this time the ladies appealed to, vouchsafe to do 
what is asked of them, each Muse in turn making her 
lament through ten stanzas, modelled after the one just 

Virgil's Gnat. The third poem in the collection 
under consideration is entitled, Virgil's Gnat. This is 
a sort of free translation or paraphrase of an ancient 
Latin poem called "Culex," [the Gnat,] and sometimes 
attributed to Virgil. Whatever merit or demerit is to 
be attached to the plot, belongs of course to the author 
of the original poem. The English dress — the versifi- 
cation and diction — is all for which we can fairly hold 
Spenser responsible. As to the verse, Spenser could 
hardly write otherwise than in flowing and harmonious 
numbers. The diction is much like that of the piece 
just criticized. The plan of the poem has some merit, 
and is briefly this. A shepherd once upon a time, 
reclining beneath the shade at noon on a sultry sum- 
mer's day, fell asleep. A horrible and deadly serpent 

1 Tine, distress. 


approached him and was about to inject his poisonous 
fang, when a Gnat, lighting upon the eyelid of the 
sleeper, commenced operations. Wakened by the 
sting of the gnat, the shepherd raised his hand to 
brush away his tormentor, and of course crushed the 
little creature. In so doing he killed his benefactor, 
for the gnat had awakened him just in time to save 
his life from the serpent. The following night, the 
ghost of the murdered gnat haunted his destroyer, and 
made such a terrible ado about the matter, that the 
shepherd finally paid solemn funeral rites, and erected 
a monument, to the mortal remains of his little friend. 
This gave the necessary facility to the passage of his 
ghost over that mournful stream which separates the 
souls of the blessed, from the souls of those who have 
died by violence without enjoying the customary rites 
of sepulture. 

The poem contains some specimens of the descrip- 
tive kind that are highly graphic. The following lines 
may be quoted in illustration. They describe the ser- 
pent approaching his covert, and preparing to attack 
the sleeping shepherd. 

For at his wonted time in that same place 

An huge great serpent, all with speckles pied, 1 

To drench himself in moorish slime did trace, 
There from the boiling heat himself to hide : 

He, passing by with rolling wreathed pace, 

With brandished tongue the empty air did gride, 2 

1 Pied, variegated. a Gride, cut. 


And wrapt his scaly bouts with fell despite, 
That all things seemed appalled at his sight. 

Now, more and more having himself enrolled, 
His glittering breast he lifteth up on high, 

And with proud vaunt his head aloft doth hold ; 
His crest above, spotted with purple dye, 

On every side did shine like scaly gold ; 

And his bright eyes, glancing full dreadfully. 

Did seem to flame out flakes of flashing fire, 

And with stern looks to threaten kindled ire. 

Thus wise, long time he did himself dispace 
There round about, when as at last he spied, 

Lying along before him in that place, 

That flock's grand captain and most trusty guide : 

Eflsoons more fierce in visage, and in pace, 
Throwing his fiery eyes on every side, 

He cometh on, and all things in his way 

Full sternly rends, that might his passage stay. 

Much he disdains, that any one should dare 
To come unto his haunt ; for which intent 

He inly burns, and 'gins straight to prepare 
The weapons, which Nature to him hath lent ; 

Felly he hisseth, and doth fiercely stare, 
And hath his jaws with angry spirits rent, 

That all his tract with bloody drops is stained, 

And all his folds are now in length outstrained. 

On the whole, however, the poem is tedious. It is 
in eight-line stanzas, eighty-six in number, making six 
hundred and eighty-eight lines. The dedication is re- 


markable. It is in these words : " Virgil's Gnat, long 
since dedicated to the most noble and excellent Lord, 
the Earl of Leicester, late deceased." This is followed 
by a dedicatory sonnet, addressed to the same, in which 
the author speaks enigmatically of certain wrongs en- 
dured which he dares not express, but which are known 
to Leicester. 

Wronged yet not daring to express my pain, 

To you (great Lord) the causer of my care, 
In cloudy tears my care I thus complain 

Unto yourself, that only privy are. 

But if that any Oedipus unware 
Shall chance, through power of some divining sprite, 

To read the secret of this riddle rare, 
And know the purport of my evil plight ; 

Let him rest pleased with his own insight, 
Ne farther seek to gloss upon the text : 

. For grief enough it is to grieved wight, 
To feel his fault, and not be farther vexed. 

But what so by myself may not be shown, 

May by this Gnat's complaint be easily known. 

As no Oedipus has yet appeared to resolve the enig- 
ma, we shall be obliged to let it pass on its way to 
oblivion, along with its friend and companion, " Vir- 
gil's Gnat." 

Mother Hubberd's Tale. The fourth poem in 
the collection is entitled Prosopopoia, or Mother Hub- 
berd's Tale. It differs from all the other writings of 


its distinguished author, being his only attempt at 
satire. It is a poem of considerable length, contain- 
ing thirteen hundred and eighty-eight lines, is in the 
ten-syllable rhyming couplet of the Canterbury Tales, 
is written evidently in imitation of Chaucer, and is in 
all respects one of the most valuable of the author's 
minor pieces. Some brief account of it may perhaps 
be found not uninteresting. 

The plan of the poem is this. The author, once 
upon a time, being sick and confined to his house, his 
friends visit him, and endeavour to divert his mind by 
telling a series of amusing stories. Among the rest, 
good Mother Hubberd gives a story in the shape of a 
fable, so far surpassing the others, that, on recovering 
from his sickness, the poet resolves to commit it to 
writing. Hence the name, " Mother Hubberd' s Tale." 

Now for the tale or fable itself. A certain Fox, 
whose name is not given, and a certain Ape, equally 
anonymous, tired of the dull routine of living by labour 
as other foxes and apes do, resolved to try some way of 
living by their wits. To accomplish their purpose the 
better, they resolved furthermore to make the experi- 
ment together. The series of adventures through 
which these worthies passed in carrying out this ex- 
periment, form the groundwork of the poem. 

In describing these adventures, which are in various 
walks of life, the author hits off the vices and follies of 
society with great keenness and discrimination. There 
is, however, no bitterness or malice in these sketches. 


Bitterness indeed formed no part of the author's nature. 
He was a man too opulent in genius to be afraid of 
being considered amiable, one who could afford to be 
moral without the danger of being mistaken for a fool. 
That abounding sense of the beautiful and the good, 
which gave to the world the Fairy Queen — that gene- 
rous outpouring of manly affection which dictated the 
Epithaiamium — sprung from a heart too full of true 
greatness to leave room for the littleness of malice. 
Mother Hubberd's tale of the Fox and the Ape, how- 
ever, shows that there may be alkali where there is no 
gall ; while the wholesome and discriminating manner 
in which the caustic is applied, is in itself convincing 
proof that the prevailing benevolence of the author's 
writings sprung from a softness of the heart, not of the 

But to proceed with the fable. The Fox and the 
Ape, after discussing sundry devices for living by their 
wits, try at length the following. They dress them- 
selves in the apparel of old soldiers, broken down and 
maimed by the wars, and travel about the country beg- 
ging. This gives the author an opportunity of satiri- 
zing the whole class of military mendicants — high and 
low — the beggars for crumbs and old clothes, and the 
aspirants for office and treasury pap. The whole pas- 
sage contains some palpable hits at practices and 
opinions not obsolete since the days of Elizabeth. 

Our friends, Messrs. Fox and Ape, are at length de- 


tected , as other gentlemen of that line of business have 
been both before and since. Obliged to quit that voca- 

Yet would they take no pains to get their living, 
But seek some other way to gain by giving, 
Much like to begging, but much better named ; 
For many beg who are thereof ashamed. 
And now the Fox hath gotten him a gown, 
And th' Ape a cassock sidelong hanging down. 

In short, they try their luck at clerical mendicancy, 
first as two wandering friars, and then as a parish 
priest and clerk. Here in turn the abuses of the church 
pass under review, and receive no small portion of the 
alkali already mentioned. 

The third adventure of the pair is as courtiers. Sir 
Ape, dressed in some outlandish costume, plays the 
part of Monsieur Magnifico resident at Court, while 
Mr. Reynold Fox, his serving-man, devises the " ways 
and means" of keeping up the delusion. Impudence 
and pretension are in all ages the same. The honest 
tradesman of Chestnut Street or Broadway, who has 
sold his goods on the mere credit of a titled name, or a 
moustache a la Turk, may find a profitable, if not a 
pleasing coincidence, in the way in which our friend 
Mr. Reynold supplied the wants of himself and master. 
The finest passages in the whole poem occur in this 
part of it. It contains not only a description of the 
pretender and the sycophant, and of the contemptible 


shifts to which they are perpetually driven, in the at- 
tempt to appear what they are not, but also a descrip- 
tion of the true courtier. In the delineation of this beau- 
tiful character, the author has given us a full-length por- 
trait of his noble and gallant friend Sir Philip Sidney. 
The whole passage is too long for quotation. A few 
lines will show the spirit in which the character is con- 

He stands on terms of honourable mind, 
Ne will be carried with the common wind 
Of Courts' inconstant mutability, 
Ne after every tattling fable fly ; 
But hears and sees the follies of the rest, 
And thereof gathers for himself the best ; 
He will not creep nor crouch with feigned face, 
But walks upright, with comely steadfast pace, 
And unto all doth yield due courtesie ; 
But not with kissed hand below the knee, 
As that same apish crew is wont to do ; 
For he disdains himself to embase thereto. 
He hates foul leasings, 1 and vile flattery, 
Two filthy blots in noble gentrie ; 2 
And loathful idleness he doth detest, 
The canker-worm of every gentle breast. 
The which to banish with fair exercise 
Of knightly feats, he daily doth devise : 
Now managing the mouths of stubborn steeds, 
Now practising the proof of warlike deeds, 

1 Falsehoods. 2 Pronounced by Spenser as a trisyllable, or as if written " gen- 


Now his bright arms assaying, now his spear, 

Now the nigh-aimed ring away to bear. 

At other times he casts to 'sue the chase 

Of swift wild beasts, or run on foot a race. 

Thus when this courtly gentleman with toil 

Himself hath wearied, he doth recoil 

Unto his rest, and there with sweet delight 

Of music's skill revives his toiled sprite. 

Or else, with love's, and ladies' gentle sports, 

The joy of youth, himself he recomforts. 

Or lastly, when his body list to pause, 

His mind unto the muses he withdraws : — ■ 

Sweet lady muses, ladies of delight, 

Delights of life, and ornaments of life i 

With whom he close confers with wise discourse, 

Of nature's works, of heaven's continual course, 

Of foreign lands, of people different, 

Of kingdoms' change, of diverse government, 

Of dreadful battles of renowned knights. 

With [these] he kindleth his ambitious sprites 

To like desire and praise of noble fame, • 

The only upshot whereto he doth aim : 

For all his mind on honour fixed is, 

To which he levels all his purposes, 

And in his Prince's service spends his days, 

Not so much for to gain, or for to raise 

Himself to high degree, as for his grace, 

And in his liking to win worthy place. 

This part of the poem contains also those lines so 
often quoted, descriptive of the misery of a courtier's 


life, and generally supposed to refer to some grievance 
which Spenser had experienced at the hand of Lord 

Full little knowest thou, that hast not tried, 
What hell it is in suing long to bide : 
To lose good days that might be better spent ; 
To waste long nights in pensive discontent ; 
To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow ; 
To feed on hope, to pine on fear and sorrow; 
To have thy Princess' grace, yet want her Peer's ; 
To have thy asking, yet wait many years ; 
To fret thy soul with crosses and with cares ; 
To eat thy heart through comfortless despairs ; 
To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run, 
To spend, to give, to want, to be undone ! 

But all things have an end, and so did the imposture 
of Sir Ape and Mr. Reynold. Being once more ex- 
posed, these gentlemen escape to their native forest. 
There by accident they found the lion, king of beasts, 
asleep upon a bank, with his sceptre, crown, and royal 
mantle lying on the ground beside him. A new 
thought occurs. They contrive to secure the continu- 
ance of sleep to his majesty by laying before his nostrils 
the leaves of a soporiferous plant, and then to steal the 
awful insignia of office. The Fox, who did not like, 
even under these circumstances, to trust himself too 
near to " dangerous majesty," nattered the Ape into the 
belief that his limbs were much more supple, and more 


suited to the performance of so delicate and daring a 
feat. The stealthy and timorous approach of the Ape 
to the sleeping lion, is very graphically described. 

Afraid of every leaf that stirred him by, 

And every stick that underneath did lie, 

Upon his tiptoes nicely he upwent, 

For fear of making noise, and still his ear he lent 

To every sound that under heaven blew ; 

Now went, now stept, now crept, now backward drew. 

For a time at least they succeeded. The Ape, 
dressed in the lion's skin, and bearing the royal crown 
and sceptre, under the guidance of his wily Prime 
Minister, the Fox, undertakes the government of the 
beastly kingdom. The evils experienced by a king- 
dom under the reign of a feeble prince, guided by a 
crafty and corrupt minister, are then satirized in a 
manner indicating not merely skill as a satirist, but, 
knowledge of public affairs and political sagacity. 
There is, however, nothing in the poem itself half so 
severe as the use made of it in the latter part of the 
last century. Some parts of the poem, particularly the 
coalition ministry, formed by Sir Reynold Fox, under 
King Ape, were supposed to tally so well with the 
state of affairs in Great Britain, during a certain part 
of the reign of George III., that the poem was repub- 
lished in 1784, with a political commentary, and a 
special dedication to the existing minister, the Hon. 
Charles James Fox ! 


But to return to our Fox and Ape. The lion woke 
at last. Seeing the imposture that had been practised, 
he gave a roar that sent terror through the hearts of 
the impostors. Their viliany is fully exposed and 
punished, and thus ends Mother Hubberd's Tale. 

Of the character of this poem, it will not be neces- 
sary to say much, after the full analysis which has 
been given of its contents. It is, by general consent, 
one of the best of the author's minor pieces ; and it is 
regarded with the greater interest, as showing more 
than any other, the versatility of his genius. The 
works by which he is chiefly known to the world, are 
characterized by an exuberance of ornament, a certain 
stateliness of style and diction, a solemn pomp and 
grandeur, and a peculiar fervour and earnestness of 
feeling, that seem inconsistent with the ability to excel 
in satire. In Mother Hubberd's Tale, however, he 
exhibits much practical knowledge of men, and the 
motives that govern them, as well as skill in the adap- 
tation of his style to his subject ; being at once easy 
and familiar, without becoming trite or vulgar. He 
does not, indeed, reach that peculiar sly humour, in 
which old Chaucer stands apparently unapproachable ; 
but he often shows a vivacity, terseness, and vigour of 
expression, that remind the reader forcibly of Pope 
and Dryden. He might undoubtedly have excelled 
in this species of writing, and probably would have 
done so, — had he not found for himself "a more excel- 
lent way." 


The Ruins of Rome. The fifth poem in the col- 
lection of 1591, is The Ruins of Rome. It is, like 
Virgil's Gnat, merely a translation. About the 
middle of the sixteenth century, Bellay, a popular 
French poet, one of the seven called the Pleiades, 
published a poem respecting the antiquities of Rome, 
containing a general description of its greatness, and 
a lamentation for its decay. Spenser's poem is a ver- 
sion of this. It consists of thirty-three stanzas, each 
stanza being of sonnet-metre, that is, consisting of four- 
teen ten-syllable lines, making therefore in all, four 
hundred and sixty-two lines. Neither the diction nor 
the versification appears to me to be equal t^ Spenser's 
usual style. There are, however, some stanzas, of 
which no one need be ashamed either for the thought 
or the expression. The following is considered a 
favourable specimen : 

Who list the Roman greatness forth to figure, 
Him needeth not to seek for usage right 
Of line, or lead, or rule, or square, to measure 
Her length, her breadth, her deepness, or her height ; 
But him behoves to view in compass round 
All that the ocean grasps in his long arms ; 
Be it where the yearly star doth scorch the ground, 
Or where cold Boreas blows his bitter storms. 
Rome was th' whole world, and all the world was Rome ; 
And if things named their names do equalize, 
When land and sea ye name, then name ye Rome ; 
And, naming Rome, ye land and sea comprise ; 
For th' ancient plot of Rome, displayed plain, 
The map of all the wide world doth contain. 


This poem was followed by a series of pieces of the 
same character and form, under the title of Visions. 
These were, first, " Visions of the World's Vanity," 
by the author, consisting of twelve stanzas of the son- 
net-metre ; secondly, " Visions of Bellay," being an- 
other translation from the French author just noticed, 
and consisting of fifteen of these sonnet-stanzas ; and 
thirdly, " Visions of Petrarch," being a translation 
from the Italian, and consisting of seven stanzas. The 
three sets of Visions, therefore, are alike as to form, 
Bellay's being modelled after Petrarch's, and Spenser's 
after both. The Ruins of Rome just mentioned, and 
the Vision^ at the close of the Ruins of Time, are also 
in the same form. This method of writing on any 
subject, will be better understood perhaps by dwelling 
a moment upon a single example. The " Visions of 
the World's Vanity," for instance, in the present series, 
consists of twelve stanzas. Each of these stanzas is, 
strictly speaking, a Sonnet. It is in the form appro- 
priate to tha,t species of poem, contains one leading 
thought or picture, is complete in itself, and is uncon- 
nected grammatically with what goes before and after. 
While, however, the stanzas or sonnets are grammati- 
cally disconnected, there is a general bond of union , 
growing out of the sense. While each stanza presents 
a separate, and distinct picture, all the stanzas in any 
particular series are intended to illustrate some one 
leading idea. The idea to be illustrated in the present 
instance is, that the greatest creatures are not beyond 


the reach of annoyance from the least and the feeblest. 
The sentiment is a pretty one. The manner in which 
it is illustrated, will appear from the following speci- 

In summer's day, when Phoebus fairly shone, 
I saw a Bull as white as driven snow, 
With gilden horns embowed like the moon, 
In a fresh flowering meadow lying low : 
Up to his ears the verdant grass did grow, 
And the gay flowers did offer to be eaten ; 
But he with fatness so did overflow, 
That he all wallowed in the weeds down beaten, 
Ne car'd with them his dainty lips to sweeten : 
Till that a Brize, 1 a scorned little creature, 
Through his fair hide his angry sting did threaten, 
And vexed so sore, that all his goodly feature 

And all his plenteous pasture nought him pleased : 
So by the small the great is oft diseased. 3 

Soon after this I saw an Elephant, 
Adorn'd with bells and bosses gorgeously, 
That on his back did bear (as battailant) 3 
A gilden tower, which shone exceedingly ; 
That he himself through foolish vanity, 
Both for his rich attire, and goodly form, 
Was puffed up with passing surquedry, 4 
And shortly 'gan all other beasts to scorn. 
Till that a little Ant, a silly worm, 
Into his nostrils creeping, so him pained, 

1 Brize, gadfly. 2 Diseased (Jis-eased) made uneasy. 3 Battailant, battling, 
4 Surquedry, pride. 


That, casting down his towers, he did deform 
Both borrowed pride, and native beauty stained. 
Let therefore nought, that great is, therein glory, 
Since so small thing his happiness may vary. 

A mighty Lion, lord of all the wood, 

Having his hunger throughly satisfied 

With prey of beasts and spoil of living blood, 

Safe in his dreadless den him thought to hide : 

His sternness was his praise, his strength his pride, 

And all his glory in his cruel claws. 

I saw a Wasp, that fiercely him defied, 

And bade him battle even to his jaws ; 

Sore he him stung, that it the blood forth draws, 

And his proud heart is filled with fretting ire : 

In vain he threats his teeth, his tail, his paws, 

And from his bloody eyes doth sparkle fire ; 

That dead himself he wisheth for despite. 

So weakest may annoy the most of might ! 

The same sentiment is illustrated by the example of 
the Crocodile, dependent upon the little tedula, to 
deliver him from the leeches clinging to his jaws ; the 
Eagle, driven from his lordly nest, by the artifice of a 
miserable beetle; the huge Leviathan, tormented by 
the swordfish ; the Dragon, poisoned by the spider ; the 
stately Cedar, brought to decay by a pitiful worm at 
its root ; and so on, every stanza in the series presenting 
a separate and independent picture, but all illustrating 
one leading idea. 

I have thus endeavoured to give a distinct, if not a 


succinct, account of all the poems except one, contain- 
ed in the collection of 1591. They are (1) The Ruins 
of Time, (2) The Tears of the Muses, (3) Virgil's Gnat, 
(4) Mother Hubberd's Tale, (5) The Ruins of Rome, 
and (6) Visions. These poems had been previously cir- 
culated in manuscript, among the friends of the author, 
but were collected and published in 1591, in conse- 
quence of the favourable reception given to the three 
books of the Fairy Queen, published the year previous. 

There was still one other poem in the collection 
under discussion. This has been reserved for a sepa- 
rate consideration, partly because there is evidence of 
its having been published separately in the year pre- 
vious, and partly because it has in itself some proper- 
ties that seem to entitle it to a distinct notice. Many 
of the minor poems of Spenser have been thrown un- 
deservedly into the shade by the extraordinary excel- 
lence of the Fairy Queen. Among the pieces thus 
almost consigned to oblivion, is the little poem now to 
be noticed. In endeavouring to give the reader some 
definite idea of its character, I shall, as in other cases, 
not attempt a laboured antithesis of its good and bad 
qualities, but simply give extracts from the poem 
itself, with such connecting remarks as seem neces- 
sary to make the extracts intelligible. The reader 
will thus be put in possession, not of a formal judg- 
ment upon the merits of the poem, but of the materials 
necessary to form a judgment of his own. 

The title, Muiopotmos, (Fate of the Butterfly, fwia, 


tforfAos,) is indicative of its subject. The poem relates 
the adventures and the tragical end of the particular 
Fly, who is now about to be introduced to the reader. 
Clarion, the son of Muscaroll, was the fairest but- 
terfly, the noblest and purest-minded youth, that ever 
fluttered in the breeze, or panted in the sunbeam. 

Of all the race of silver- winged Flies 
Which do possess the empire of the air, 

Betwixt the centred earth and azure skies, 
Was none more favourable, nor more fair, 

(Whilst Heaven did favour his felicities,) 
Than Clarion, the eldest son and heir 

Of Muscaroll, and in his father's sight 

Of all alive did seem the fairest wight. 

The fresh young Fly, in whom the kindly fire 

Of lustful youth began to kindle fast, 
Did much disdain to subject his desire 

To loathsome sloth, or hours in ease to waste ; 
But joyed to range abroad in fresh attire, 

Through the wide compass of the airy coast ; 
And, with unwearied wings, each part t' inquire 
Of the wide rule of his renowned sire. 

For he so swift and nimble was of flight, 
That from this lower tract he dared to stie 1 

Up to the clouds, and thence with pinions light 
To mount aloft unto the crystal sky, 

To view the workmanship of heaven's height : 
Whence, down descending, he along would fly 



Upon the streaming rivers, sport to find ; 

And oft would dare to tempt the troublous wind. 

One bright, clear morning in summer, young Clarion, 
bent on an excursion through his father's dominions in 
search of knowledge and pleasure, arrayed himself for 
the purpose in the beautiful apparel appropriate to his 
tribe, and the polished armour adapted equally to adorn 
and defend his princely person. Perhaps, gentle reader, 
you have been accustomed to think of the butterfly as 
a mere insect — very pretty indeed, but very insignifi- 
cant. Little did you know what formidable armour 
rests upon those manly limbs, or how loyal and valo- 
rous a heart that armour encloses. Look, then, at this 
exquisite creature, the princely Clarion, before he sets 
out on his gay excursion, and behold, to your surprise, 
the terror of Mars added to the beauty of Hyperion. 
Observe, in the first place, the impenetrable Breast- 
plate upon his ample chest : 

His breast-plate first, that was of substance pure, 

Before his noble heart he firmly bound, 
That might his life from iron death assure, 

And ward his gentle corpse from cruel wound : 
For it by art was framed to endure 

The bite of baleful steel and bitter stound, 1 
No less than that which Vulcan made to shield 
Achilles' life from fate of Trojan field. 

1 Blow. 


Hercules of old wore upon his shoulders the skin of 
the Nemeean lion which he had slain. The son of 
Muscaroll rejoices in the possession of a trophy equally 

And then about his shoulders broad he threw 
A hairy hide of some wild beast that he 

In savage forest by adventure slew, 
And reft the spoil his ornament to be ; 

Which, spreading all his back with dreadful view, 
Made all, that him so horrible did see, 

Think him Alcides with the Lion's skin, 

When the Nemaean conquest he did win. 

No warrior ever had a firmer Helmet than that 
hard and shining case which covered the head of 

Upon his head, his glistering burganet, 1 

The which was wrought by wonderous device, 

And curiously engraven, he did set : 

The metal was of rare and passing price : 

Not Bilbo steel, nor brass from Corinth fet, 
Nor costly oricalch from strange Phoenice ; 

But such as could both Phoebus' arrows ward, 

And the hailing darts of heaven beating hard. 

Extending far in front of the bristling warrior, were 
his two principal weapons of offence. The Naturalists 

1 Helmet. 


are pleased to call them antenna; Nature meant them 
for Spears. 

Therein two deadly weapons fixed he bore, 

Strongly outlanced towards either side, 
Like two sharp spears, his enemies to gore : 

Like as a warlike brigandine, 1 applied 
To fight, lays forth her threatful pikes before, 

The engines which in them sad death do hide : 
So did this Fly outstretch his fearful horns, 
Yet so as him their terror more adorns. 

Finally, these formidable weapons both of offence 
and defence, are rendered doubly effective by the pro- 
digious power of locomotion which their owner pos- 
sesses. This power he derives from his Wings — those 
" sail-broad vans," intended not less for use than orna- 

Lastly, his shining wings as silver bright, 
Painted with thousand colours passing far 

All painter's skill, he did about him dight : 
Not half so many sundry colours are 

In Iris' bow ; ne heaven doth shine so bright, 
Distinguished with many a twinkling star ; 

Nor Juno's bird, in her eye-spotted train, 

So many goodly colours doth contain. 

In an episode which follows, but which is too long 
to quote, we are informed of the origin of the extraor- 

1 A small vessel. 


dinaiy beauty found in the wings of the butterfly race. 
The substance of this tradition is as follows : 

Once in early spring-time, Dame Venus, walking 
abroad with her nymphs, ordered the flocking damsels 
to seek among the fields fresh flowers wherewith to 
array her queenly forehead. The meek and nimble- 
footed Astery, more active and more tasteful than her 
companions, gathered not only a larger number of 
these sweet " children of the spring" than did they, 
but flowers so far surpassing theirs in hue and fra- 
grance, as to win for her the marked favour of the 
Goddess of beauty. The rival nymphs meanly insinu- 
ated that Astery had help from Master Cupid, who was 
a sly boy, as his mother well knew. Venus believed 
the well-invented lie, and in a sudden fit of jealousy 
executed her revenge. Astery, the meek and gentle 
maid, was transformed into a butterfly ; and all those 
brilliant flowers, which had been the cause of her mishap, 
were painted upon her wings, in memory of her pretended 

Eftsoons 1 that damsel, by her heavenly might, 

She turned into a winged Butterfly, 
In the wide air to make her wandering flight ; 

And all those flowers, with which so plenteously 
Her lap she filled had, that bred her spite, 

She placed in her wings, for memory 
Of her pretended crime, though crime none were : 
Since which that Fly them in her wings doth bear. 

1 Immediately. 


And so, ever since this transformation of the meek- 
eyed Aster y. the Butterfly race have been distin- 
guished for the unsurpassable beauty of their flower- 
painted wings. 

But to return from this episode, Behold then our 
Fly, the gallant and joyous young squire, Clarion. 
the son of Muse ar oil, the beau-ideal of gladness of 
heart, the impersonation of manly strength and beauty. 

" The expectancy and rose of the fair state, 
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form, 
The observed of all observers ;" 

behold him, I say, on this bright summer morning, 
going forth to his adventure, hi all the splendour of a 
youthful hero, with all the gayety of an expectant 


Thus the fresh Clarion, being ready dight, 
Unto his journey did himself address, 

And with good speed began to take his flight, 
Over the fields, in his frank lustiness, 

And all the champaign o'er he soared light ; 
And all the country wide he did possess, 

Feeding upon their pleasures bounteously, 

That none gainsaid, nor none did him envy. 

The woods, the rivers, and the meadows green, 
"V\ ith his air-cutting wings he measured wide, 

Ne did he leave the mountains bare unseen, 
Nor the rank grassy fens' delights untried. 


But none of these, however sweet they been, 

Might please his fancy, nor him cause to abide : 
His choiceful sense with every change doth flit ; 
No common things may please a wavering wit. 

To the gay gardens his unstaid desire 

Him wholly carried, to refresh his sprites : 

There lavish Nature, in her best attire, 

Pours forth sweet odours and alluring sights ; 

And Art, with her contending, doth aspire 
To excel the natural with made delights : 

And all, that fair or pleasant may be found, 

In riotous excess doth there abound. 

There he arriving, round about doth fly, 
From bed to bed, from one to other border ; 

And takes survey, with curious busy eye, 
Of every flower and herb there set in order : 

Now this, now that he tasteth tenderly, 
Yet none of them he rudely doth disorder, 

Ne with his feet their silken leaves deface ; 

But pastures on the pleasures of each place. 

And evermore with most variety, 

And change of sweetness, (for all change is sweet,) 
He casts his glutton sense to satisfy, 

Now sucking of the sap of herb most meet, 
Or of the dew which yet on them does lie, 

Now in the same bathing his tender feet : 
And then he percheth on some branch thereby, 
To weather him, and his moist wings to dry. 

Never surely was there an instance of more abound- 
ing gladfulness, of more princely joyance. 


What more felicity can fall to creature, 

Than to enjoy delight with liberty, 
And to be lord of all the works of Nature, 

To reign in the air from the earth to highest sky, 
To feed on flowers and weeds of glorious feature, 

To take whatever thing doth please the eye ? 
Who rests not pleased with such happiness, 
Well worthy he to taste of wretchedness. 

But who may insure the continuance of earthly 
bliss? The brightest morning is often overclouded 
before night. Perils beset us on every side. Earth, 
air, fire, day, night, the elements, the seasons, every 
thing, within and around us, threatens continually the 
fabric of human happiness. Why then should Cla- 
rion be exempt ? 

The particular danger wmich at this time threatened 
our hero, arose from the malice of a wicked and hate- 
ful Spider, who had his abode in this beautiful garden. 

It fortuned (as Heavens had behight) 

That in this garden, where young Clarion 

Was wont to solace him, a wicked wight 
Had lately built his hateful mansion ; 

And, lurking closely, in await now lay, 

How he might any in his trap betray. 

But when he spied the joyous Butterfly 

In this fair plot dispacing to and fro, 
Fearless of foes and hidden jeopardy, 

Lord ! how he gan for to bestir him tho ;* 



And to his wicked work each part apply ! 

His heart did yearn against his hated foe, 
And bowels so with rankling poison swelled, 
That scarce the skin the strong contagion held. 

The name of this malicious and wily foe is Arag- 
noll. It is a patronymic noun, and means in the 
Fairies' Lexicon, the son of Arachne (Apa^). The 
circumstances lead to another exquisite episode, ex- 
plaining the cause of the special hate that spiders bear 
to butterflies. 

Arachne was once a woman, the most skilful at 
embroidery of all the daughters of earth — so confident 
indeed of her powers, that she presumed to challenge 
to a competition in her art divine Pallas herself, the 
Goddess of wisdom and skill. Pallas did not refuse 
the contest. As a test of their skill, each wrought a 
piece of needle-work embroidery, representing some 
well-known historical event. That of Arachne repre- 
sented the story of Jupiter, in the form of a bull, car- 
rying off Europa. The embroidery is described at 
length. It was so beautiful, so lifelike, so faultless, 
that Pallas, nay Envy herself, could say nought 
against its excellence. Pallas then tried her skill. 
She embroidered a piece representing the debates of 
the Gods respecting the fate of Athens. This picture 
also was exquisite, but still not such as clearly to 
decide the yet doubtful contest. At last, in one part 
of the scene, among the leaves of an olive-tree which 


she had introduced into the picture, she wrought an 
exact likeness of the most beautiful object this side of 
Fairy Land. 

Amongst these leaves she made a Butterfly, 
With excellent device and wondrous sleight, 

Fluttering among the olives wantonly, 

That seemed to live, so like it was in sight : 

The velvet nap which on its wings doth lie, 
The silken down with which his back is dight, 

His broad outstretched horns, his hairy thighs, 

His glorious colours, and his glistering eyes. 

While Pallas was finishing this piece of unmatcha- 
ble workmanship, Arachne looking on ? felt herself 
vanquished ; and she immediately experienced in her 
own person that loathsome change of form, which was 
the appropriate punishment of her presumption. 

Which when Arachne saw, as overlaid, 
And mastered with workmanship so rare, 

She stood aston'ied, ne aught gainsaid ; 
And with fast-fixed eyes on her did stare, 

And by her silence, sign of one dismayed, 
The victory did yield her as her share ; 

Yet did she inly fret and felly burn. 

And all her blood to poisonous rancour turn : 

That shortly from the shape of womanhood, 
Such as she was when Pallas she attempted, 

She grew to hideous shape of drearyhood, 
Pined with grief of folly late repented : 


Eftsoons her white straight legs were altered 

To crooked crawling shanks, of marrow emptied. 
And her fair face to foul and loathsome hue, 
And her fine corpse to a bag of venom grew. 

Henceforth the reader will always more clearly 
understand why Aragnoll, born of the wretched 
Arachne, owed a special grudge to the youthful 
Clarion ; since it was the unmatchable beauty of this 
butterfly race which had been the cause of Arachne's 
defeat and degradation. 

This cursed creature, mindful of that old 
Infested grudge, the which his mother felt, 

So soon as Clarion he did behold, 

His heart with vengeful malice inly swelt ; 

And weaving straight a net with many a fold 
About the cave in which he lurking dwelt, 

With fine small cords about it stretched wide, 

So finely spun, that scarce they could be spied. 

But why prolong the agony? — Clarion, guileless, 
careless, glad-hearted Clarion, is caught of course in 
the net of his wily and hateful foe. " Poor limed soul, 
that struggling to be free, art more engaged !" Arag- 
noll, the grisly tyrant, waiting his time, rushed forth 
from his den, and 

" With fell spite, 
Under the left wing strook his weapon sly 
Into the very heart" 

of Clarion : — and so ends the tale of Muiopotmos, or 
"The Fate of the Butterfly." 


I have quoted so freely from this poem, that it seems 
hardly necessary to characterize in a formal manner 
its merits. The whole conception is one essentially 
beautiful. I know not how it may strike others ; but 
for myself, I would not give one such piece of pure 
glad-heartedness for whole volumes of bitter irony and 
dark imaginings. The rhythm of the verse is as flow- 
ing and joyous as was Clarion himself on that bright 
summer morning, while, for numberless delicate graces 
and beauties of thought and diction, the poem must for 
ever stand among the poetry of Spenser, like its own 
Butterfly among the olive leaves in the embroidery of 
Pallas ! 


Spenser again visits London — Publication of the Daphnaida — Account 
of this Poem — Colin Clout 's come Home again — Astrophel and 
other Elegies in Honour of Sir Philip Sidney — The Sonnets — Eliza- 
beth — Courtship — Marriage — The Epithalamium — Prothalamium 
— Hymns — Anacreontics — View of the State of Ireland — Two 
Cantos of Mutability — Kilcolman burnt by the Rebels — Spenser's 
Death and Monument. 

Spenser came from his residence in Ireland to Lon- 
don with Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1590, for the purpose 
of publishing the first three books of the Fairy Queen. 
This being accomplished, he returned to Ireland. In 
the early part of the following year, 1591, the poems 
noticed in the previous chapter were published in one 
volume in the absence of the author from London. 
At the close of this year, Spenser returned to the city, 
though for what purpose, or how long he remained 
there, is not known. The fact of his being there, is 
evident from the poem next to be mentioned, the Dedi- 
cation of which is dated at London, January 1, 1591-2. 
Of this poem, which was probably written at London 
about the time of its publication, and while the author 


was there on a visit, I now proceed to give some ac- 

Daphnaida. This is an Elegy upon the death of 
the noble Lady Douglas Howard, daughter of Lord 
Howard, and wife of Arthur Gorges, Esq. It is dedi- 
cated to another noble lady, Helena, Marquess of 
Northampton. There is nothing in the history or 
character of any of these personages that adds special 
interest or value to the poem. The parties named, 
particularly Gorges, seem to have been personal friends 
of Spenser. The date of the dedication already given, 
is supposed to mark the time of the composition. The 
date of the publication, is not certainly known, but the 
presumption, and the general opinion is that the Daph- 
naida was published soon after it was written, probably 
in the early part of 1592. 

The poem is a lamentation for the death of the noble 
lady already mentioned, the wife of his friend Gorges. 
Gorges is represented as a shepherd, named Alcyon, 
mourning and disconsolate for the loss of his shepherd- 
ess, Daphne. Hence the title " Daphnaida," verses in 
honour of Daphne. This poem, though relating pro- 
fessedly to the parties named, has nothing in it (with 
one exception) that is special. There was nothing 
peculiar in the character or circumstances either of the 
mourner or the person mourned — nothing to make the 
sentiments uttered suit Alcyon and Daphne, that is 
Gorges and the Lady Douglas Howard, more than any 


other loving husband and wife, separated prematurely 
by death. The poem therefore is not fairly open to 
the criticism sometimes made, namely, that it rehearses 
the sufferings of parties and families in which we of 
the present day feel no interest. It does no such thing. 
With the single exception that Alcyon, in first com- 
municating his loss to his fellow-shepherd, speaks of 
his wife under the fable of a White Lioness, in allusion 
to the lion in the arms of the noble lady's family, 
there is nothing to connect the sentiments of the poem 
with any particular family, country, or time. The 
sentiments themselves, however, are fairly open to 
criticism. There is a tone of exaggeration and ex- 
travagance in the language which makes it rather tire- 
some. Still the Daphnaida is not without its beauties. 
It has many touches of genuine pathos. The follow- 
ing stanzas are among the most pleasing in the poem. 
They represent the grief of Alcyon, when recalling the 
dying words of his wife. 

So oft as I record those piercing words, 

Which yet are deep engraven in my breast ; 

And those last deadly accents, which like swords 
Did wound my heart, and rend my bleeding chest, 

With those sweet sugared speeches do compare, 
The which my soul first conquered and possessed, 

The first beginners of my endless care : 

And when those pallid cheeks and ashy hue, 
In which sad Death his portraiture had writ, 


And when those hollow eyes and deadly view, 
On which the cloud of ghastly Night did sit, 

I match with that sweet smile and cheerful brow, 
Which all the world subdued unto it, 

How happy was I then, and wretched now ! 

How happy was I when I saw her lead 

The shepherds' daughters dancing in a round ! 

How trimly would she trace and softly tread 
The tender grass, with rosy garland crowned ! 

And, when she list advance her heavenly voice, 
Both Nymphs and Muses nigh she made astound, 

And flocks and shepherds caused to rejoice. 

But now, ye shepherd lasses ! who shall lead 
Your wandering troups, or sing your virelays 'I 

Or who shall dight your bowers, since she is dead 
That was the lady of your holy-days i 

Let now your bliss be turned into bale, 

And into plaints convert your joyous plays, 

And with the same fill every hill and dale. 

The poem is throughout in stanzas of the above 
form. There are eighty-one stanzas, making five hun- 
dred and sixty-seven lines. To ring the changes on 
one single sentiment through so long a poem, almost 
necessarily leads to violent and forced expressions. 
The critic will be pardoned, perhaps, who finds in the 
Daphnaida, notwithstanding its many beauties, new- 
illustrations of Shakspeare's phrase, " to tear a passion 
to tatters." The passion of grief is here, if not actually 
torn, certainly worn rather threadbare. 


Colin Clout 's come Home again. Spenser's next 
publication is dated 1595. It was a quarto volume 
containing several poems, of which the first and most 
considerable was entitled Colin Clout 's come Home 
again. This poem is dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh. 
The dedication is dated at Kilcolman Castle, Ireland, 
December 27, 1591. The date of the dedication has 
led to a good deal of discussion. The common opinion 
is, that it is a misprint for. 1594. This, however, is by 
no means certain. I am inclined to think the poem 
was written by Spenser at the time named, and that its 
publication was delayed for reasons best known to the 
publisher or to Raleigh. 

The occasion of this poem is sufficiently explained 
by the contents. Spenser having spent some time in 
London, attending to the publication of his poems, on 
returning to his adopted home in Ireland, wrote this 
poem in commemoration of his journey and of the 
reception which he had met with at Court. The poem 
is of the pastoral kind, and the author again appears 
in the character of the rustic Colin, which he had as- 
sumed in the Shepherd's Calendar fifteen years before. 
He now appears as having just returned among his 
brother shepherds, after an absence of a year or two. 
Hence the title, " Colin Clout 's come home again." 

The poem contains many notices of the friends of 
Spenser at Court, as well as a sketch of his voyage 
from Ireland to London. These notices are valuable in 
eking out the very imperfect materials which we have 


for the life of the author. They are, however, devoid 
of that general interest which would make them attrac- 
tive now. At the same time, in his descriptions of 
Court life, there are passages not a few in which, as in 
Mother Hubberd's Tale, the sentiment is general, and 
is as true and as full of interest now, as when it was 
written. A brief sketch of the poem therefore will be 

Imagine then our friend Colin, once upon a time, 
seated with a company of shepherds and shepherdesses, 
playing upon his oaten pipe. One of them, Hobbinol 
(Gabriel Harvey) tells him how much he was missed 
during his late absence, and how much he had glad- 
dened them by his return, and begs him to entertain 
them with some account of his adventures. 

Colin, my lief, my life, how great a loss 
Had all the shepherds' nation by thy lack ! 
And I, poor swain, of many, greatest cross ! 
That since thy Muse first since thy turning back 
Was heard to sound as she was wont on high, 
Hast made us all so blessed and so blithe. 
Whilst thou wast hence, all dead in dole did lie : 
The woods were heard to wail full many a sithe, 1 
And all their birds with silence to complain : 
The fields with faded flowers did seem to mourn, 
And all their flocks from feeding to refrain : 
The running waters wept for thy return, 

1 Sithe, time. 


And all their fish with languor did lament ; 
But now both woods and fields and floods revive, 
Since thou art come, their cause of merriment, 
That us, late dead, hast made again alive : 
But were it not too painful to repeat 
The passed fortunes, which to thee befell 
In thy late voyage, we thee would entreat, 
Now at thy leisure them to us to tell. 

Colin does what is asked without further solicitation. 
And first, he gives an account of the cause of his leav- 
ing home. He was advised and encouraged to do so 
by the " Shepherd of the Ocean" (Sir Walter Raleigh), 
of whose visit to Kilcolman Castle an account has been 
given in a former chapter. Here is Colin's own ac- 
count of this celebrated visit. 

One day (quoth he) I sat, (as was my trade) 
Under the foot of Mole, that mountain hoar, 
Keeping my sheep amongst the cooly shade 
Of the green alders by the Mulla's shore : 
There a strange shepherd chanced to find me out, 
Whether allured with my pipe's delight, 
Whose pleasing sound yshrilled 1 far about, 
Or thither led by chance, I know not right : 
Whom when I asked from what place he came, 
And how he hight, 3 himself he did yclep 
The Shepherd of the Ocean 3 by name, 
And said he came far from the main-sea deep. 

1 Yshrilled, shrilled. a Hight, was called. 3 Ocean, pronounced by Spenser 
as a trisyllable, O-ce-an. 


He, sitting me beside in that same shade, 

Provoked me to play some pleasant fit ; 

And, when he heard the music which I made, 

He found himself full greatly pleased at it : 

Yet aemuling my pipe, he took in hond 1 

My pipe, before that semuled of many, 

And played thereon; (for well that skill he cond; 2 ) 

Himself as skilful in that art as any. 

He piped, I sung ; and when he sung, I piped ; 

By change of turns, each making other merry ; 

Neither envying other, nor envied, 

So piped we, until we both were weary. 

Several pages are occupied with the rehearsal of what 
took place at this interview. At length, Colin goes on 
to say, that the Shepherd of the Ocean expressed a 
great liking for his poetry, and grieved that his talents 
should be buried here in obscurity, and farther pro- 
posed that they should sail in company to the Court 
of the great Queen Cynthia (Elizabeth). 

When thus our pipes we both had wearied well, 
(Quoth he) and each an end of singing made, 
He 'gan to cast great liking to my lore, 
And great disliking to my luckless lot, 
That banished had myself, like wight forlore, 
Into that waste where I was quite forgot. 
The which to leave thenceforth he counselled me, 
Unmeet for man, in whom was aught regardful, 
And wend with him, his Cynthia to see ; 

1 Hond, hand. 2 Cond, (conned) knew. 


Whose grace was great, and bounty most rewardful. 

Besides her peerless skill in making well, 

And all the ornaments of wondrous wit, 

Such as all womankind did far excel ; 

Such as the world admired and praised it : 

So what with hope of good, and hate of ill, 

He me persuaded forth with him to fare. 

Nought took I with me, but mine oaten quill : 

Small needments else need shepherd to prepare. 

Colin goes on to give a shepherd-like, but highly 
poetical narrative of their voyage, and also of their 
journey to Court after landing. He eulogizes in high 
terms the goodly realm of England, and spares not his 
praises of its maiden Queen. 

Forth on our voyage we by land did pass, 

(Quoth he) as that same shepherd still us guided, 

Until that we to Cynthia's presence came : 

Whose glory greater than my simple thought, 

I found much greater than the former fame ; 

Such greatness I cannot compare to ought : 

But if I her like ought on earth might read, 

I would her liken to a crown of lilies, 

Upon a virgin bride's adorned head, 

With roses dight and golds and daffodillies ; 

Or like the circlet of a turtle true, 

In which all colours of the rainbow be ; 

Or like fair Phebe's garland shining new, 

In which all pure perfection one may see. 


But vain it is to think, by paragon 
Of earthly things, to judge of things divine : 
Her power, her mercy, and her wisdom, none 
Can deem, but who the Godhead can define. 
Why then do I, base shepherd, bold and blind, 

Presume the things so sacred to profane 

More fit it is t' adore, with humble mind, 
The image of the heavens in shape humane. 

One of the shepherd boys wonders how simple 
Colin conld ever gain audience of this mighty Prin- 
cess. Colin replies, that he owed the opportunity to 
his friend the Shepherd of the Ocean ; but, that being 
once introduced to Court, even his unskilled notes 
seemed to give delight, doubtless because her noble 
nature measured their worth not by the standard of 
her own high thoughts, but by his humble condition. 

The Shepherd of the Ocean (quoth he) 
Unto that Goddess' grace me first enhanced, 
And to mine oaten pipe inclined her ear, 
That she thenceforth therein 'gan take delight, 
And it desired at timely hours to hear, 
All were my notes but rude and roughly dight ; 
For not by measure of her own great mind, 
And wondrous worth, she mott 1 my simple song, 
But joyed that country shepherd ought could find 
Worth hearkening to amongst the learned throng. 

One of the shepherds asks if there were no others 

1 Mott (past tense of mete), measured. 



about the Court of Cynthia who could play upon the 
pipe. Thereupon Colin takes occasion to describe, 
under pastoral names, the various poets and men of 
letters then nourishing in England. These notices 
are not devoid of interest. But, in order to make 
them intelligible, more historical illustrations would 
be required than it would be discreet in this place to 
bestow. One of these notices has become especially 
celebrated. It is that in which Spenser is supposed 
to refer to Shakspeare under the name of Aetion. 
The lines are these : — 

And there, though last not least, is Aetion ; 
A gentler shepherd may nowhere be found : 
Whose Muse, full of high thoughts' invention, 
Doth like himself heroically 1 sound. 

One of the shepherdesses interrupts Colin in his 
account of the distinguished poets and men at Court, 
and asks him if he has nothing to say about the beau- 
tiful women. From Colin's reply, it would seem as if 
Spenser still cherished his hopeless passion for the 
unknown Rosalind, celebrated in his Calendar fifteen 
years before. 

Then spake a lovely lass, hight Lucida : 
" Shepherd, enough of shepherds thou hast told, 
Which favour thee, and honour Cynthia : 
But of so many nymphs, which she doth hold 

1 Heroically, in allusion to the poet's name, which was then frequently printed 
Shake-speare (hastivibrans). 


In her retinue, thou hast nothing said ; 

That seems, with none of them thou favour foundest, 

Or art ungrateful to each gentle maid, 

That none of all their due deserts resoundest." 

Ah far be it (quoth Colin Clout) from me, 
That I of gentle maids should ill deserve : 
For that myself I do profess to be 
Vassal to one, whom all my days I serve ; 
The beam of beauty sparkled from above, 
The flower of virtue and pure chastity, 
The blossom of sweet joy and perfect love, 
The pearl of peerless grace and modesty : 
To her my thoughts I daily dedicate, 
To her my heart I nightly martyrize : 
To her my love I lowly do prostrate ; 
To her my life I wholly sacrifice : 
My thought, my heart, my love, my life is she. 

Then thus Melissa said : " Thrice happy maid, 
Whom thou dost so enforce to deify : 
That woods, and hills, and valleys thou hast made 
Her name to echo unto heaven high. 
But say, who else vouchsafed thee of grace 1" 

Melissa's inquiry gives Colin an opportunity to 
make in like manner complimentary notices of all his 
female friends at Court. I omit quotations from these, 
but cannot forbear to give at some length his renewed 
and impassioned eulogy of his queenly benefactor. If 
his language at times seems fulsome, we should re- 
member in the first place the fashion of the time ; and 
secondly, we should not forget how deeply kindness 


sinks into the heart of true genius, and how warmly 
Spenser always speaks of those who had shown him 
kindness, even long after they were dead, and beyond 
the reach of flattery, or the power to serve. 

More eath 1 (quoth he) it is in such a case 
How to begin, than know how to have done. 
For every gift, and every goodly meed, 
Which she on me bestowed demands a day ; 
And every day, in which she did a deed, 
Demands a year it duly to display. 
Her words were like a stream of honey fleeting, 
The which doth softly trickle from the hive : 
Able to melt the hearer's heart unweeting, 
And eke to make the dead again alive. 
Her deeds were like great clusters of ripe grapes, 
Which load the bunches of the fruitful vine ; 
Offering to fall into each mouth that gapes, 
And fill the same with store of timely wine. 
Her looks were like beams of the morning sun, 
Forth looking through the windows of the east, 
When first the fleecy cattle have begun 
Upon the pearled grass to make their feast. 
Her thoughts are like the fume of frankincense, 
Which from a golden censer forth doth rise, 
And throwing forth sweet odours mounts from thence 
In rolling globes up to the vaulted skies. 
There she beholds, with high-aspiring thought, 
The cradle of her own creation, 
Amongst the seats of angels heavenly wrought, 
Much like an angel in all form and fashion. 

1 Eath, easy. 


Colin, (said Cuddy then) thou hast forgot 
Thyself, meseems, too much, to mount so high : 
Such lofty flight base shepherd seemeth not, 
From flocks and fields, to angels and to sky. 

True, (answered he) but her great excellence, 
Lifts me above the measure of my might : 
That, being filled with furious insolence, 
I feel myself like one yrapt in sprite. 
For when I think of her, as oft I ought, 
Then want I words to speak it fitly forth : 
And, when I speak of her what I have thought, 
I cannot think according to her worth. 
Yet will I think of her, yet will I speak, 
So long as life my limbs doth hold together ; 
And, whenas death these vital bands shall break, 
Her name recorded I will leave for ever. 
Her name in every tree I will endoss, 
That, as the trees do grow, her name may grow : 
And in the ground each where will it engross, 
And fill with stones, that all men may it know. 
The speaking woods, and murmuring waters' fall, 
Her name I'll teach in knowen terms to frame : 
And eke my lambs, when for their dams they call, 
I'll teach to call for Cynthia by name. 
And, long while after I am dead and rotten, 
Amongst the shepherds' daughters dancing round, 
My lays made of her shall not be forgotten, 
But sung by them with flowery garlands crowned. 
And ye, whoso ye be, that shall survive, 
Whenas ye hear her memory renewed, 
Be witness of her bounty here alive, 
Which she to Colin her poor shepherd shewed. 


Thestylis, another shepherd, asks Colin why, seeing 
the Court of Cynthia contained so many noble persons,, 
both men and women, and he himself was in so great 
favour, he did not remain. This leads Colin to utter, 
in a didactic form, sentiments similar to those which 
in Mother Hubberd's Tale he had spoken by way of 
satire, respecting the vanity of Court life. The senti- 
ments in this part of the poem are general in their 
application, and expressed with much beauty. In the 
end the shepherdesses think it shame that one who 
entertains such just and noble sentiments, and who 
had been so single-hearted and true in his attachment 
to Rosalind, should be by her so ill repaid, Colin 
makes a reply, remarkable not only for its beauty, but 
as it is the last time he recurs to the subject, 

For she is not like as the other crew 

Of shepherds' daughters which amongst you be, 

But of divine regard and heavenly hue, 

Excelling all that ever ye did see. 

Not then to her that scorned thing so base, 

But to myself the blame that looked so high : 

So high her thoughts as she herself have place, 

And loathe each lowly thing with lofty eye. 

Yet so much grace let her vouchsafe to grant 

To simple swain, since her I may not love : 

Yet that I may her honour paravant, 1 

And praise her worth, though far my wit above. 

1 Paravant t publicly. 


Such grace shall be some guerdon for the grief, 
And long affliction which I have endured : 
Such grace sometimes shall give me some relief, 
And ease of pain which cannot be recured. 
And ye, my fellow-shepherds, which do see 
And hear the languors of my too long dying, 
Unto the world for ever witness be, 
That hers I die, nought to the world denying, 
This simple trophy of her great conquest. — 

This is the last we hear of Rosalind. As to the 
mechanical structure of the poem under consideration, 
it is in the common heroic ten-syllable line. The 
lines however rhyme, not in couplets, but in quatrains. 
There is also one peculiarity in the rhyme that seems 
to be in imitation of Chaucer. A paragraph often ends 
with an unfinished rhyme, that is, with a word the 
rhyme to which must be sought in the next paragraph, 
even where a new subject is begun. An instance of 
this occurs at the close of the passage last quoted. 
The rhyme to " conquest" is in the following para- 
graph, which is not quoted, as it introduces something 
entirely new. 

The poem is of considerable size, containing nine 
hundred and fifty-five lines. A pretty fair opinion of 
its merits and its general character may be formed from 
the passages which have been quoted. These, it is 
hoped, have been such as to give the reader no ground 
of regret that " Colin Clout came home again." 


Astrophel and other Elegies. The quarto vo- 
lume of 1595, containing the poem just noticed, con- 
tained also several other poems. These were a collec- 
tion of elegiac pieces, in honour of the gallant Sir 
Philip Sidney. Only one of them is by Spenser. It 
is entitled " Astrophel, a pastoral elegy upon the death 
of the most noble and valorous knight, Sir Philip 
Sidney," and dedicated to the most beautiful and vir- 
tuous lady, the Countess of Essex. Astrophel is a 
poem of two hundred and sixteen lines, and is a beauti- 
' ful tribute of affection to the memory of his friend. 
This was followed by a second elegy on the same sub- 
ject, of ninety-six lines, entitled " The Doleful Lay of 
Clorinda," and written by Sir Philip's sister, the 
Countess of Pembroke ; a third, in the same strain, of 
one hundred and ninety-five lines, entitled "The 
Mourning Muse of Thestylis," and supposed to be 
written by Lodowick Bryskett, a friend of Spenser's ; 
a fourth, of one hundred and sixty-two lines, by the 
same author, and entitled " A Pastoral Eclogue upon 
the death of Sir Philip Sidney ;" a fifth of two hundred 
and thirty-four lines, written by Matthew Roydon, and 
entitled " An Elegy, or Friend's Passion for his Astro- 
phel ; written upon the death of the Right Honourable 
Sir Philip Sidney, Knight;" a sixth, of sixty lines, by 
an unknown author, entitled " An Epitaph upon the 
Right Honourable Sir Philip Sidney, Knight, &c. ;" 
and a seventh, of forty lines, with the same title, and 
also anonymous. 


This completes my account of the quarto volume of 
1595. From the nature of its contents, it must have 
been at the time of its publication, a volume likely to 
excite a lively interest. 

It was followed the same year by another volume in 
duodecimo, entitled " Amoretti and Epithalamium ; 
written not long since, by Edmund Spenser." Of this 
volume I proceed to give some account. 

The Sonnets. The reader may recollect the closing 
passage of " Colin Clout 's come Home again," and the 
remark then made, that this is the last we hear of 
Rosalind. The reason of his subsequent silence is 
perhaps already conjectured. Although Colin had 
ceased entirely to hope, he might, nevertheless, to the 
end of his days, have continued to admire and cele- 
brate the beautiful ice-palace who had dazzled his 
imagination. But an intervening object is revealed 
to us in the poems now under consideration. The 
author of the Fairy Queen, whose first step on enter- 
ing life was to fall in love, whose first poem was in 
honour of the capricious boy, whose warm imagina- 
tion were enough to melt an iceberg, who had been 
now fifteen years an author, and highly distinguished 
as such, found at last in the zenith of his fame, and at 
the age of forty, his first response from the female 

Unfortunately not much is known respecting the 
woman who made Spenser forget the cold and 


haughty Rosalind. He calls her, in his Sonnets, 
Elizabeth, and uses certain expressions which lead 
to the conjecture that she was the daughter of a 
merchant, belonging to what in England is called the 
middle class of society. We know nothing of this 
portion of his history, except as it is revealed to us in 
his Sonnets. From these it would seem that he made, 
for a time, the acquisition of Elizabeth his sole busi- 
ness. Books and friends were alike neglected, and 
his whole head and heart were filled with the noble 
woman to whom we owe some of his loftiest inspira- 
tions. The period of his courtship was employed in 
writing sonnets to her and of her ; and immediately 
after his marriage, he wrote his immortal Epithala- 
mium in celebration of that joyous event. The 
Sonnets and the Epithalamium compose the volume 
under consideration. 

Without entering into any discussion of the dis- 
puted points relating to the character of the Sonnet, 
and the rank which it ought to hold among the 
various forms of poetry, I am probably safe in pre- 
suming that the Sonnets of Spenser will not be ne- 
glected by any one desirous of tracing the personal 
history of such a man, through one of the most critical 
points in the solution of the great problem of human 
life. These Sonnets bear internal evidences of being 
arranged in chronological order, that is, in the order of 
the time of their composition. Whatever be their 
faults, they bear the strongest evidence, also, of being 


a true impress of the mind of the author. They are 
the fresh coinage of the heart. They are a faithful 
record, from day to day, of the hidden life of a man of 
genius, under circumstances that agitate the secret 
waters of the soul to their lowest depths. I repeat, 
therefore, the Sonnets of Spenser can never be ne- 
glected by any one who desires to know the true cha- 
racter and history of the man. They will not, however, 
prove entertaining except to him who approaches them 
as a student. To seize the varying shades of charac- 
ter as they are here developed, to collect, arrange, 
and group them into one consistent and harmonious 
picture, would of itself require a separate chapter. I 
am obliged therefore to pass them by with merely the 
general remark already made. 

The Sonnets are termed by Spenser " Amoretti," 
and are eighty-eight in number, making in all twelve 
hundred and thirty-two lines. They begin in a very 
desponding tone, which continues through more than 
half of the collection. Towards the close there are 
evident symptoms of the lady's having relented. This 
is followed by various alternations of fear and hope, 
the latter gradually increasing, and growing at length 
into joy and rapture, and finally ending in almost a 
frenzy of delight. Taken as a whole, and in con- 
nexion with their history, the Sonnets are an eloquent 
commentary on the character both of the man that 
penned, and the woman that inspired them. 

Epithalamium. The Epithalamium, or ode in cele- 


bration of his marriage, is a fit sequel to the Sonnets. 
As the Sonnets show the state of his mind while a 
suitor, so the Epithalamium shows his state of mind 
when success had crowned his efforts, and the suit 
was won. 

The Epithalamium is irregular in its versification, 
and in that respect well suited to the varying and almost 
tumultuous emotions which it was intended to express. 
It consists of four hundred and thirty-three lines, not 
entirely uniform either in length or structure, but 
averaging about eighteen lines. Each of these stanzas 
contains a particular scene or act in the history of that 
one eventful day. These scenes commence with the 
rising at early dawn, and go through with the bridal 
array, the procession along the streets, the entrance 
into the church, the nuptial ceremony, the return 
home, and finally the evening banquet. In no poem 
has Spenser shown such ease and beauty in his transi- 
tions. The imagination of the reader passes from 
scene to scene with a graceful movement, hardly in- 
ferior to the changing visions of a dream. I quote only 
one of these scenes, that describing the nuptial cere- 
mony in the church. More extended extracts are not 
deemed necessary, as the poem has lately found its 
way into some of our most popular school books. 

Behold, while she before the altar stands, 
Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks, 
And blesseth her with his two happy hands, 
How the red roses flush up in her cheeks, 


And the pure snow, with goodly vermeil stain, 

Like crimson dyed in grain ; 

That even the angels, which continually 

About the sacred altar do remain, 

Forget their service and about her fly, 

Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair, 

The more they on it stare. 

But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground, 

Are governed with goodly modesty, 

That suffers not a look to glance awiy, 

Which may let in a little thought unsound. 

Why blush you, love, to give to me your hand, 

The pledge of all our band ? 

Sing, ye sweet angels, alleluya sing, 

That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring. 

The Epithalamium is probably the best known of 
all of Spenser's minor poems. It is acknowledged to 
be the noblest spousal verse in the language. To say 
that it is embellished with art, and even instinct with 
genius, is, however, robbing it of its chief glory. It 
is the nobleness of the sentiments which makes its 
great attraction. It is easy, as it is common, to sue 
for favours, and to repine in their absence, and to 
be eloquent in our suits and our complaints; — but 
the surest mark of greatness in human character, is 
the disposition and the ability suitably to appreciate 
what we have — that largeness of heart which can 
take in the full measure of a present happiness-— 
that generous outpouring of affection in Spenser's 
Epithalamium to his wife, which gives meaning and 
propriety to the most extravagant expressions towards 


the Elizabeth of his Sonnets. We admire, not so 
much the poet, as The Man. The only wonder is, 
that such a man con Id have found, among the haugh- 
tiest Peeresses of England, a Rosalind! 

Other Works. After his marriage, nothing is 
known of Spenser until the year 1596, when he went 
to London with three additional books of the Fairy 
Queen. These were printed with a reprint of the 
former three. During the same year appeared also 
his Prothalamium, in connexion with a reprint of his 
Daphnaida. Prothalamium means a song in honour 
of a marriage yet to be, as Epithalamium means one 
in honour of a marriage that is past. The Prothala- 
mium was in reference not to his own marriage, but to 
the expected marriage of two noble ladies of his ac- 
quaintance, the Countesses of Cumberland and War- 
wick. This poem is exquisitely rhythmical and 
graceful, but incomplete in plan, and wanting in that 
noble enthusiasm which characterizes the Epithala- 
mium. During this same year, 1596, he published 
another volume, containing four Hymns, the first two 
in honour of Love and Beauty, written, as he says, in 
the raw conceit of his youth, the other two in honour 
of Heavenly Love and Beauty, written to counteract, 
by their more serious air, any appearance of levity 
which might appertain to the earlier productions. 
These four Hymns are of about equal length. They 
are in seven-line stanzas, and contain in all one hun- 


dred and sixty-nine stanzas, or eleven hundred and 
eighty-three lines. 

There are among his works four short Poems, with- 
out title, in the Anacreontic style, eighty-two lines in 
all, which appear to have been written about this time ; 
also four additional Sonnets to different individuals. 

During this same year, 1596, while in London, he 
wrote, or at least finished, a prose work, entitled " A 
View of the State of Ireland, dialogue-wise, between 
Eudoxus and Irenaeus." This treatise was not pub- 
lished till many years after his death. There were 
also published after his death two unfinished Cantos in 
continuation of the Fairy Queen. They are entitled 
" Mutability," and are supposed to form a part of the 
Legend of Constancy. This completes the list of his 
works, of all of which I have given some distinct ac- 
count, except the Fairy Queen. That is reserved for 
separate consideration. 

The sequel of the poet's life is of a melancholy na- 
ture. The Englishmen, Raleigh, Spenser and others, 
who had been put in possession of the forfeited estates 
of certain rebels among the Irish nobility, were almost 
necessarily unpopular with the conquered peasantry. 
The irritation which existed on this account had 
been gradually increasing, and became at length so 
great that in October, 1598, it broke out into open re- 
bellion. The insurgents, for some cause not well un- 
derstood, perhaps without special cause, appear to have 
been particularly incensed towards Spenser. They 
attacked Kilcolman, and having robbed and plundered 


the castle, set fire to it. Spenser and his wife escaped ; 
but, sad to relate, either in the confusion incidental to 
such a calamity, or from inability to render assistance, 
a new-born infant child was left behind and perished 
in the flames. Having obtained, as it is supposed, 
temporary refuge for his wife and two remaining chil- 
dren, he proceeded to London. There, after three 
months of the most painful anxiety, impoverished and 
broken-hearted, on the 16th of January, 1598, at the 
age of 45, he died at an obscure tavern in King Street. 
Let us hope, for the honour of humanity, that it was 
not literally, as one of his early biographers relates, for 
lack of bread! 

He was buried, at his own request, near the tomb 
of Chaucer, in Westminster Abbey. His funeral was 
at the expense of the Earl of Essex. The pall was 
held by brother poets. Mournful elegies and poems, 
together with the pens that wrote them, were thrown 
into his grave. The Queen, it is said, ordered a 
monument to his memory. It is also said, that this 
act of grace was prevented from being carried into 
effect, by the same penny-wise Councillor who had in- 
tercepted so many other marks of her Majesty's favour. 
It was reserved, however, to woman to show him dead 
the favour for which alive he so long sued in vain. 
Thirty years after his death, the celebrated Ann, 
Countess of Dorset, erected a suitable monument to 
his memory in the venerable Abbey, where his re- 
mains still repose. 






Analysis and Synthesis — The latter Method applied to the Fairy 
Queen — The Opening Scene — The Wandering Wood — Adventure 
with Error — Archimago — The Hermitage — Magic — The False 
Dream — Saint George and Una Separated — Battle of Saint George 
and Sansfoy — Fidessa — The Bleeding Trees — Una and the Lion — 
Corceca and Kirkrapine — Archimago under the Guise of Saint 
George — Sansloy and Una — Saint George in the House of Pride 
— Battle with Sansjoy — Una in Awful Danger — Rescued by the 
Fauns and Satyrs — Saint George made Captive by Orgoglio — 
Interposition of Prince Arthur — Cave of Despair — Argument for 
Suicide — House of Holiness — Final Adventure — Plan of the Poem 
shown by Synthesis. 

There are two ways of unfolding the plan of any 
complex work, the analytical and the synthetical. 
The usual mode is to proceed by analysis. For in- 


stance, in the study of geography, we may begin with 
dividing the earth into land and water. We then 
divide land into continents, continents into countries, 
countries into provinces, provinces into counties, 
parishes or towns, and so on, until we reach in our 
downward subdivision the wards and squares of a 
city, or the separate farms of the country. This is an 
instance of proceeding by analysis. If on the con- 
trary we commence with the farm or ward, and having 
investigated it, connect it with other farms or wards 
similarly investigated, and so proceed upwards and 
outwards in our investigations until we reach, as a re- 
sult, the complex idea with which in the other case 
we commenced, our process is one of synthesis. Ana- 
lysis resolves complex ideas into simple ones. Syn- 
thesis puts together simple ideas to make complex ones. 
The former proceeds from generals to particulars, the 
latter from particulars to generals. In communicating 
to others the result of our study of any work of art, 
we generally and properly take the analytic method. 
But in some cases, there is an advantage in pursuing 
the same method in the exposition of a work of art, 
that the author has pursued in its construction, which 
is always from particulars to generals. Homer does 
not begin the Iliad with the Golden Apple and the 
Councils of the Gods, but with a miserable squabble 
between two of the Greek chiefs, about the possession 
of a female captive. This little incident is interlaced 
with others, scene connects with scene, and events 


with their causes, until finally the whole grand scheme 
stands out in bold relief before the mind of the reader. 
Tn like manner every epic poet dashes at once in medias 
res — begins in the middle — leaving the plan and the 
previous action to be gradually evolved in the pro- 
gress of the story. It is worthy of the experiment to 
follow this method in our exposition of the Fairy 
Queen, not only to give the results of a somewhat 
careful examination of the Poem, but to give them in 
the order in which they were reached ; to give, in fact, 
both the result and the process — or, if I may vary the 
expression — not to give the electric spark, but to be 
the medium of communication by which the genius of 
Spenser may be so conducted as to sparkle at a thou- 
sand distant points. All that is necessary is a good 
electrical condition on the part of the recipient bodies, 
it being a matter of little moment whether the mere 
conductor— so it be metallic— be dull or bright, of 
lead or of brass. 

The reader on opening the first canto of the Fairy 
Queen, is presented with a scene of extraordinary 
beauty. He sees a plain which, however, is not de- 
scribed. The poet's attention, as well as the reader's, 
is attracted by the appearance of the interesting group 
who are crossing it. 

A gentle Knight was pricking on the plain, 
Yclad in mighty arms and silver shield, 


Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain, 
The cruel marks of many a bloody field ; 
Yet arms till that time did he never wield : 
His angry steed did chide his foaming bit, 
As much disdaining to the curb to yield : 
Full jolly knight he seemed, and fair did sit, 
As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit. 

And on his breast a bloody cross he bore, 
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord, 
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore, 
And dead, as living ever, him adored : 
Upon his shield the like was also scored, 
For sovereign hope, which in his help he had. 
Right, faithful, true he was in deed and word ; 
But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad ; 

Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad. l 

A lovely Lady rode hirn fair beside, 

Upon a lowly ass more white than snow ; 
Yet she much whiter ; but the same did hide 
Under a veil, that wimpled was full low ; 
And over all a black stole she did throw : 
As one that inly mourned, so was she sad, 
And heavy sat upon her palfrey slow ; 
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had ; 

And by her in a line a milk-white lamb she lad. 3 

So pure and innocent, as that same lamb, 
She was in life and every virtuous lore ; 
And by descent from royal lineage came 
Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore 

1 Ydrad, dreaded. 2 L a d, led. 


Their sceptres stretched from east to western shore, 
And all the world in their subjection held. 

Behind her far away a Dwarf did lag, 
That lazy seemed, in being ever last, 
Or wearied with bearing of her bag 
Of needments at his back. 

In what part of the world this occurs we are not 
told, nor do we care. The spell is upon us, and we 
see the vision that has been conjured up. It is before 
us — there, where the "gentle knight is pricking on the 
plain." The lady is named Una. She is sorrowful, 
and not without cause. Her father's kingdom lies 
ravaged by a horrible monster. She has come a long 
distance to the Court of Gloriana, Queen of Fairy 
Land, to ask aid. Gloriana has assigned the task of 
aiding her and destroying the monster to this noble 
Knight. The Knight (named St. George) has set out 
on this expedition, and he and the lady, with their 
-strange x attendant, are on their way towards her 
father's dominions, when we first see them " pricking 
on the plain." 

We are led to suppose it is a long way the Knight 
has to go before he will meet his great foe, that dragon 
" horrible and stern" who ravages the fair fields of 
Una's father. Long before he reaches that monster, 
whose destruction is to be his principal achievement, 
he may meet with minor adventures, or mishaps — 
possibly may fall a victim on the way and never 


accomplish the object of his mission. In fact, we 
have hardly time to examine attentively this interest- 
ing and curious group, before an adventure occurs, 
which completely engrosses our attention, and puts an 
end to further speculation. The heavens are overcast, 
and a sudden shower of rain obliges the riders to seek 
shelter in a neighbouring grove — 

Whose lofty trees, yclad with summer's pride, 
Did spread so broad, that heaven's light did hide, 
Not pierceable with power of any star ; 
And all within were paths and alleys wide, 
With footing worn, and leading inward far. 

So dense is the forest, so thick the foliage overhead 
in the tops of the trees, (although free from under- 
wood and easy to ride through,) that the rain scarcely 
penetrated it, and the birds gay and musical, " seemed 
in their song to scorn the cruel sky." Who would 
not love to beguile the way, " until the blustering 
storm is overblown," in wandering through this noble 
forest ? — Look up, and see the shelter-giving trees, so 
straight and high ; — 

The sailing pine ; the cedar proud and tall ; 
The vine-prop elm ; the poplar never dry ; 
The builder oak, sole king of forests all; 
The aspen, good for staves ; the cypress funeral ; 
The laurel, meed of mighty conquerors 
x\nd poets sage ; the fir, that weepeth still ; 
The willow, worn of forlorn paramours ; 
The yew, obedient to the bender's will ; 


The birch for shafts ; the sallow for the mill ; 

The myrrh, sweet-bleeding in the bitter wound ; 

The warlike beech ; the ash for nothing ill ; 

The fruitful olive ; and the platane round ; 

The carver holme ; the maple, seldom inward sound. 

But, it is easier to penetrate the windings of such 
an inviting labyrinth, than to retrace one's steps when 
once entered. No wonder that when the shower was 
past, the inconsiderate wanderers could not recall the 
paths by which they had come. 

Led with delight, they thus beguile the way, 
Until the blustering storm is overblown ; 
When, weening to return whence they did stray, 

» They cannot find that path, which first was shown, 
But wander to and fro in ways unknown, 
Farthest from end then, when they nearest ween, 
That makes them doubt their wits be not their own : 
So many paths, so many turnings seen, 
That, which of them to take, in diverse doubt they been. 

At last resolving forward still to fare, 

Till that some end they find, or in or out, 

That path they take, that beaten seemed most bare, 

And like to lead the labyrinth about ; 

Which when by tract they hunted had throughout, 

At length it brought them to a hollow cave, 

Amid the thickest woods. The Champion stout 

Eftsoons 1 dismounted from his courser brave, 

And to the Dwarf a while his needless spear he gave. 

1 Eftsoons, immediately. 


" Be well aware," quoth then that Lady mild, 
" Lest sudden mischief ye too rash provoke : 
The danger hid, the place unknown and wild, 
Breeds dreadful doubts : oft fire is without smoke, 
And peril without show : therefore your stroke, 
Sir Knight, withhold, till further trial made." 
" Ah, Lady," said he, " shame were to revoke 
The forward footing for an hidden shade : 

Virtue gives herself light through darkness for to wade. 

" Yea but," quoth she, " the peril of this place 
I better wot than you : Though now too late 
To wish you back return with foul disgrace, 
Yet wisdom warns, whilst foot is in the gate, 
To stay the step, ere forced to retrate. 
This is the Wandering Wood, this Error's den, 
A monster vile, whom God and man does hate : 
Therefore I read, beware." " Fly, fly," quoth then 

The fearful Dwarf; " this is no place for living men." 

But, full of fire and greedy hardiment, 

The youthful Knight could not for ought be staid ; 
But forth unto the darksome hole he went, 
And looked in : his glistering armour made 
A little glooming light, much like a shade ; 
By which he saw the ugly monster plain, 
Half like a serpent horribly displayed, 1 
But th' other half did woman's shape retain, 

Most loathsome, filthy, foul, and full of vile disdain. 

And, as she lay upon the dirty ground, 
Her huge long tail her den all overspread, 

1 Displayed (dis, plico), unfolded, not coiled up, stretched out. 


Yet was in knots and many bouts 1 upwound, 
Pointed with mortal sting : Of her there bred 
A thousand young ones, which she daily fed, 
Sucking upon her pois'nous dugs ; each one 
Of sundry shapes, yet all ill-favoured : 
Soon as that uncouth light upon them shone, 
Into her mouth they crept, and sudden all were gone. 

Their dam upstart 3 out of her den effrayed, 3 
And rushed forth, hurling her hideous tail 
About her cursed head ; whose folds displayed 
Were stretched now forth at length without entrail. 4 

The Champion of Truth, nothing daunted by this 
formidable shape, boldly commences the assault, and 
deals her a blow that seems sufficient to put at once 
an end to her existence. But mere force and courage 
are not the only qualities necessary to combat Error. 

Much daunted with that dint her sense was dazed : 
Yet kindling rage herself she gathered round, 
And all at once her beastly body raised 
With doubled forces high above the ground : 
Then, wrapping up her wreathed stern around, 
Lept fierce upon his shield, and her huge train 
All suddenly about his body wound, 
That hand or foot to stir he strove in vain. 

God help the man so wrapt in Error's endless train ! 

i Bouts, circular folds, a Upstart, started up. s Effrayed (affrayed, afraid),, 
alarmed, frightened. * Without entrail, not trailed up, untwisted. 


His Lady, sad to see his sore constraint, 

Cried out, " Now, now, Sir Knight, show what ye be ; 
Add faith unto your force, and be not faint; 
Strangle her, else she sure will strangle thee." 
That when he heard, in great perplexity, 
His gall did grate for grief and high disdain; 
And, knitting all his force, got one hand free, 
Wherewith he gript her gorge with so great pain, 

That soon to loose her wicked bands did her constrain. 

Such is an outline of St. George's first adventure. 
The details are omitted. Error is slain, and her 
miserable brood are destroyed. But the Champion of 
Truth has had a desperate struggle, nor did he finally 
succeed till faith was added to his force, and courage 
was tempered with discretion. Happy is he if he does 
not forget the warning it should give him. 

Having overcome this loathsome beast and found 
their way out of the wood, the party resume their 
journey. Towards night they fall in with an old man 
of venerable aspect, a Hermit to all appearance. 

At length they chanced to meet upon the way 

An aged Sire, in long black weeds yclad, 

His feet all bare, his beard all hoary gray, 

And by his belt his book he hanging had ; 

Sober he seemed, and very sagely sad; 

And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent, 

Simple in show, and void of malice bad ; 

And all the way he prayed, as he went, 
And often knocked his breast, as one that did repent, 


They accept the old man's hospitable invitation, and 
spend the night in his humble cell. 

A little lowly hermitage it was, 

Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side, 

Far from resort of people that did pass 

In travel to and fro : — a little wide 

There was a holy chapel edified, 

Wherein the Hermit duly wont to say 

His holy things each morn and eventide : 

Thereby a crystal stream did gently play, 
Which from a sacred fountain welled forth alway. 

Arrived there, the little house they fill, 

Ne look for entertainment, where none was ; 
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will : 
The noblest mind the best contentment has. 
With fair discourse the evening so they pass ; 
For that old man of pleasing words had store, 
And well could file his tongue, as smooth as glass : 
He told of saints and popes, and evermore 

He strowed an Ave- Mary after and before. 

The reader has no doubt already suspected the cha- 
racter of this pretended Hermit. He is a wicked and 
potent magician, named Archimago. His foul machi- 
nations commence as soon as the travellers are asleep. 

There, when all drowned in deadly sleep he finds, 

He to his study goes ; and there amidst 

His magic books, and arts of sundry kinds, 

He seeks out mighty charms to trouble sleepy minds. 


Then choosing out few words most horrible, 

(Let none them read !) thereof did verses frame ; 

With which, and other spells like terrible, 

He bade awake black Pluto's grisly dame : 

And cursed heaven ; and spake reproachful shame 

Of highest God, the Lord of life and light. 

A bold bad man ! that dared to call by name 

Great Gorgon, prince of darkness and dead night ; 

At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight. 

And forth he called out of deep darkness dread 

Legions of Sprites, the which, like little flies, 

Fluttering about his ever damned head, 

Await whereto their service he applies, 

To aid his friends, or fray his enemies ; 

Of those he chose out two, the falsest two, 

And fittest for to forge true-seeming lies ; 

The one of them he gave a message to, 
The other by himself staid other work to do. 

One of the Spirits thus invoked is sent as a messenger 
to the cave of Morpheus, somewhere in the interior of 
the earth, to procure a Dream. The episode describing 
the house of Morpheus is highly poetical, but must be 
passed over. While the first Spirit is gone to bring a 
Dream, Archimago by his magic arts fashions the 
other into the shape, and appearance of the Lady 
Una, so like that no one by the eye alone could know 
the difference. 

He all this while, with charms and hidden arts, 
Had made a Lady of that other Sprite, 


And framed of liquid air her tender parts, 
So lively, and so like in all men's sight, 
That weaker sense it could have ravished quite : 
The Maker's self, for all his wondrous wit, 
Was nigh beguiled with so goodly sight. 
Her all in white he clad, and over it 
Cast a black stole, most like to seem for Una fit. 

Having thus transformed one Spirit, and received by 
the hands of the other a false Dream, he proceeds with 
his machinations against his victims. By means of 
the false Dream, loose imaginations are conveyed to the 
mind of the sleeping Knight. When the latter awakes. 
the influence of the foul Dream upon his mind is 
seconded by the light conduct of what he supposes to 
be the Lady Una, but which we know to be a false 
and foul Spirit. St. George, though he penetrates not 
the devices of the adversary, is yet proof against his 
assaults. It only grieves him that he is to peril his 
life for so light a dame. 

The night is now nearly spent, and these two 
wicked Spirits, having failed to taint the pure mind of 
the Knight, report their ill success to their master. 
Archimago. Thereupon he tries another scheme, the 
object of which you will learn from the result The 
pretended Una retains her false appearance, and the 
Dream-Spirit is transformed into the shape and ap- 
pearance of a gay young Squire. Archimago, having 
everything in readiness, rushes to the apartment of 
St. George, and wakens him in haste. The Knight. 


under the guidance of this "bold bad man," is con- 
ducted to another apartment, where he sees, as he sup- 
poses, the guilt of the Lady Una — a guilt, which he is 
the more ready to believe because of her light behaviour 
towards himself that same night. He draws his sword 
upon the guilty couple, but is restrained by Archi- 
mago. Disgusted, indignant, the Knight in an evil 
hour determines to desert the Lady, for whose sake he 
had undertaken this dangerous enterprise. At earliest 
dawn, therefore, he calls the Dwarf, and departs with 
the utmost secrecy and speed. 

But the lovely Lady Una, that pure, heavenly- 
minded damsel, who all this eventful night had been 
sleeping with the calm repose of trusting innocence — 
what is to become of her ? 

The royal Virgin shook offdrousyhed : 
And, rising forth out of her baser bower, 
Looked for her Knight, who far away was fled, 
And for her Dwarf, that wont to wait each hour ; — 
Then gan she wail and weep to see that woful stour. 1 

And after him she rode with so much speed, 

As her slow beast could make ; but all in vain : 
For him so far had borne his light-foot steed, 
Pricked with wrath and fiery fierce disdain, 
That him to follow was but fruitless pain : 
Yet she her weary limbs would never rest ; 
But every hill and dale, each wood and plain, 

! Stour, stir, trouble. 


Did search, sore grieved in her gentle breast, 
He so ungently left her, whom she loved best. 

Archimago then has succeeded, so far at least as to 
separate the Lady from her appointed champion. 
Henceforward, for many a weary day, their journeys 
and adventures will be separate. Let us follow first 
the deceived Knight. 

The true Saint George was wandered far away, 
Still flying from his thoughts and jealous fear : 
Will was his guide, and grief led him astray. 
At last him chanced to meet upon the way 
A faithless Saracen, all armed to point, 
In whose great shield was writ with letters gay 
Sansfoy ; full large of limb and every joint 
x He was, and cared not for God or man a point. 

He had a fair companion of his way, 

A goodly Lady clad in scarlet red, 

Purfled with gold and pearl of rich assay' ; 

And like a Persian mitre on her head 

She wore, with crowns and ouches garnished, 

The which her lavish lovers to her gave : 

Her wanton palfrey all was overspread 

With tinsel trappings, woven like a wave, 
Whose bridle rung with golden bells and bosses brave. 

With fair disport, and courting dalliance, 
She entertained her lover all the way : 
But when she saw the Knight his spear advance, 
She soon left off her mirth and wanton play, 


And bade her Knight address him to the fray ; 
His foe was nigh at hand. 

Then follows one of those knightly encounters, in 
the description of which Spenser has such a remark- 
able power. The issue of this, however, is not doubt- 
ful. St. George conquers Sansfoy (without faith), 
the Saracen, and then addresses himself to the richly 
dressed lady, his companion. She declares her name 
to be Fidessa (faithful). She pretends also to be the 
daughter of an emperor, and betrothed to a young 
prince, who had died in the flower of his age, leaving 
her broken-hearted and disconsolate. She was by mis- 
hap carried off by this cruel, faithless Sansfoy. Such 
was her pitiful story. " Pity melts to love." Alas ! 
alas ! for our Knight. The fresh flush of victory, the 
melting of compassion, the supposed faithlessness and 
levity of the woman who of all the world has been 
trusted as pure and true — these are not the circum- 
stances which are apt to lead to a well-considered 
action of the understanding. Fidessa's story ends 

" In this sad plight, friendless, unfortunate, 
Now miserable I Fidessa dwell, 
Craving of you, in pity of my state, 
To do none ill, if please ye not do well." 
He in great passion all this while did dwell, 
More busying his quick eyes, her face to view, 
Then his dull ears, to hear what she did tell ; 
And said, " Fair lady, heart of flint would rue 

The undeserved woes and sorrows, which ye shew. 


Henceforth in safe assurance may ye rest, 
Having both found a new friend you to aid, 
And lost an old foe that did you molest : 
Better new friend than an old foe is said." 
With change of cheer the seeming-simple maid 
Let fall her eyes, as shamefast, to the earth, 
And yielding soft, in that she nought gainsaid. 
So forth they rode, he feigning seemly mirth, 

And she coy looks : so dainty, they say, maketh dearth. 

St. George and his new acquaintance, Fidessa, 
journey forth until high noon, when they seek the 
friendly shelter of two wide-spreading trees. While 
reposing beneath the shade of these trees, the Knight 
thinks to please his companion by making a fresh 
garland for her dainty forehead. For this purpose 
he plucks a bough. Imagine his horror, when the 
wounded tree drops blood, and utters a piercing 
shriek ! The apparent tree is an unfortunate knight, 
Fradubio, and the fellow tree is his lady-love, both 
thus changed through the machinations of a wicked 
sorceress, named Ditessa. The miserable Fradubio 
had been subjected to the power of the hag, and 
changed into the appearance of a tree, (though retain- 
ing the sensations of humanity,) as a penalty for 
having allowed himself to entertain unworthy senti- 
ments of his lady. For this offence he had been im- 
posed upon by the foul hag Duessa, who had made 
herself appear in his eyes as an "angel of light;" but 
chancing upon a time to see her when the charm was 
off, he found out her real character and appearance. 


" A filthy foul old woman I did view, 
That ever to have touched her, I did rue." 

Duessa, at last discovered, and finding she could no 
longer hope to impose upon Fradubio, exerted her 
magic power to change him and his true lady into 
these two trees. The male tree, whose bleeding limbs 
had been torn, ends his tale by exhorting Saint George 
to caution in regard to appearances, and to beware of 
falling by the machinations of this false Duessa,. who 
is still abroad in the world. Saint George listens with 
horror to the words of the bleeding tree, and resolves 
to take its advice and flee from this dangerous place. 
On turning to his companion, the pretended Fidessa, 
he finds her in a swoon. Still unsuspecting, he raises 
her from the ground, and having reassured her spirits 
from her feigned fright, he again sets forward on his 

It is now near the close of the day succeeding 
that eventful night at the Hermitage. Leaving Saint 
George and his companion, whom the reader under- 
stands to be none other than the false Duessa herself, 
to travel for a while together, let us return to the Her- 
mitage and see what became of Una. 

One day, nigh weary of the irksome way, 
From her unhasty beast she did alight ; 
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay 
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight ; 
From her fair head her fillet she undight. 
And laid her stole aside : Her angel's face, 


As the great eye of heaven, shined bright, 
And made a sunshine in the shady place ; 
Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace. 

It fortuned, out of the thickest wood 

A ramping Liox rushed suddenly, 

Hunting full greedy after savage blood : 

Soon as the royal Virgin he did spy, 

With gaping mouth at her ran greedily, 

To have at once devoured her tender corse : 

But to the prey when as he drew more nigh, 

His bloody rage assuaged with remorse, 
And, with the sight amazed, forgot his furious force. 

Instead thereof he kissed her weary feet, 

And licked her lily hands with fawning tongue ; 
As he her wronged innocence did weet. 
how can beauty master the most strong, 
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong ! 
Whose yielded pride and proud submission 1 
Still dreading death, when she had marked long, 
Her heart gan melt in great compassion ; 

And drizzling tears did shed for pure affection ! 

" The lion, lord of every beast in field,'' 
Quoth she, " his princely puissance 2 doth abate, 
And mighty proud to humble weak does yield, 
Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late 

1 Submission, fyc. In these cases, Spenser pronounces the termination ion as a 
dissyllable, submiss-i-on, with the accent on the last. 2 Puissance, pronounced 
by Spenser sometimes as a trisyllable, pu-iss-ance, and sometimes (as here,) as a 
dissyllable with the i silent, puiss-ance. 


Him pricked, in pity of my sad estate : — 
But he, my lion, and my noble lord, 
How does he find in cruel heart to hate 
Her, that him loved, and ever most adored 
As the god of my life ? why hath he me abhorred ?" 

Redounding tears did choke th' end of her plaint, 

Which softly echoed from the neighbour wood ; 

And, sad to see her sorrowful constraint, 

The kingly beast upon her gazing stood ; 

With pity calmed, down fell his angry mood. 

At last, in close heart shutting up her pain, 

Arose the Virgin born of heavenly brood, 

And to her snowy palfrey got again, 
To seek her strayed Champion if she might attain. 

The lion would not leave her desolate, 

But with her went along, as a strong guard 

Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate 

Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard : 

Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward ; 

And, when she waked, he waited diligent, 

With humble service to her will prepared : 

From her fair eyes he took commandement, 

And ever by her looks conceived her intent. 

Towards night Una discovers a cottage inhabited 
by an old woman named Corceca, (superstition,) and 
her daughter Abessa, (ignorance.) Here Una lodges 
for the night, guarded by her noble-hearted companion. 

The day is spent ; and cometh drowsy night, 
When every creature shrouded is in sleep : 


Sad Una down her lavs in weary plight, 
And at her feet the lion watch doth keep : 
Instead of rest, she does lament, and weep, 
For the late loss of her dear-loved Knight, 
And sighs, and groans, and evermore does steep 
Her tender breast in bitter tears all night ; 
All night she thinks too long, and often looks for light. 

During the night, a guilty accomplice of Corceca, a 
bold, blustering fellow, called Kirkrapine, comes to the 
cottage and commences his pranks, but receives his 
quietus from the paw of our honest friend Leo. Power 
is of right the guardian of innocence. The following 
day the noble beast continues to protect the noble 

Now when broad day the world discovered has, 
Up Una rose, up rose the lion eke ; 
And on their former journey forward pass, 
In ways unknown, her wandering Knight to seek, 
With pains far passing that long-wandering Greek, 
That for his love refused deity : 
Such were the labours of this lady meek, 
Still seeking him, that from her still did fly ; 

Then furthest from her hope, when most she weened nigh. 

But now comes her severest trial. During this day 
she sees not far off a noble knight approaching. His 
shield bears the well-remembered emblem, and on a 
nearer approach, she sees it is indeed her own dear 
knight, Saint George. Such at least the lady sup- 


poses him to be, although the reader knows it to be 
the false Archimago, dressed and framed to appear 
like the Red-Cross Knight. The subtle magician, who 
in regard to the person of a lover, can deceive a woman 's 
eyes, will not lack words to deceive her wit. Poor Una ! 
She receives good and sufficient reasons for her lover's 
temporary absence, and she is too, too happy at his 
return, to refuse belief to that which satisfies her heart, 
if not her head. 

His lovely words her seemed due recompense 
Of all her passed pains : one loving hour 
For many years of sorrow can dispense ; 
A dram of sweet is worth a pound of sour. 
She has forgot how many a woful stonr 1 
For him she late endured ; she speaks no more 
Of past : true is, that true love hath no power 
To looken back ; his eyes be fixed before. 

Before her stands her Knight, for whom she toiled so sore. 

Supposing, therefore, that she had in truth found 
her own good knight, she goes on to recount her ad- 
ventures since their separation. But soon a new foe 
appears. Bold and cruel Sansloy, brother of the Sans- 
foy who had been slain, meets and attacks them. The 
encounter is very much like that between Sansfoy and 
the real Saint George, except in its result. The false 
Saint George is unhorsed, and Sansloy is about to 
slay him, when removing the visor, beheld to the 

1 Stour, trouble. 


amazement both of the Saracen and the lady, a 
wrinkled, feeble old man — Archimago, stripped of all 
disguise. Una has hardly time to rejoice at her escape 
from this fearful danger, before a new and more im- 
minent one stares her in the face — that, namely, of 
falling into the hands of this rude and lawless unbe- 
liever ! Sansloy leaves the old magician to die or 
recover, as it might happen, and directs his ill-boding 
attentions to his beauteous prize. Taking her rudely 
from her palfrey, he is attacked by the brave and faith- 
ful lion. But mere honesty and simple-minded cou- ^ 
rage are not always a match for bold and practised 
villany. The glittering Damascus blade drinks the 
heart' s-blood of the noble beast, and the lady is at the 
mercy of an insulting and godless foe. But the 
thought of sin or disloyalty hath not yet entered her 
pure breast, and the reader never for one moment en- 
tertains a doubt about her safety. 

We are far from feeling the same confidence in the 
safe condition of her appointed Champion. The 
thought of sin and falsehood, though injected by foul 
means into his mind, had yet left a taint there. He 
had not indeed yielded to crime ; but he had no longer 
the talisman of innocence to disenchant the foul spirits 
that were seeking to beguile him to his ruin. Let us 
follow him once more. 

Saint George is led by Duessa into scenes suited to 
the designs which she had upon him. They are seen 
to approach a splendid palace, the abode of a royal 


queen, Lucifera, otherwise called Pride, whose gen- 
tleman usher was Vanity. The throne and state of 
Pride are painted with all that splendour of embellish- 
ment in which the genius of Spenser revels. Omitting 
this description, let us follow the fortunes of our 
Champion. While he and Duessa w r ere in attendance 
at the sumptuous and glittering Court of Lucifera, 
once upon a day, among the throng, another Knight, 
a new-comer, appeared, bearing 

A heathenish shield, wherein with letters red, 
Was writ, Sansjoy. 

This blood-thirsty Saracen, a brother of the two 
already celebrated, is enraged beyond bounds when 
he sees among the press the Red-Cross Knight, bearing 
the arms of the conquered Sansfoy. A challenge 
ensues, and the next day a public combat takes place 
in presence of the Queen and Court. The struggle is 
desperate. Sansjoy at length is conquered, but the 
body by the magic arts of Duessa, is secretly spirited 
aw r ay ; and Saint George, though victorious, is sorely 
wounded. Leaving the Red-Cross Knight to recover 
of his wounds under the doubtful attendance of his 
nurse Duessa, in one of the chambers of the House of 
Pride, let us inquire once more after Una. We find 
her indeed, as we left her, at an awful crisis of her 
fate. In the midst of a wild and trackless forest, the 
godless infidel snatches away her veil, and looks with 
unhallowed eye upon her pure face. There is a stage 


in human depravity in which even innocence seems 
only to harden the heart and provoke the beholder to 
outrage. Una utters a piercing shriek. But who is 
there to hear it in that lone and impenetrable forest ? — 
Does thy faith fail thee, gentle reader ? 

Eternal Providence, exceeding thought, 

Where none appears, can make herself a way ! 
A wondrous way it for this Lady wrought, 
From lion's claws to pluck the griped prey. 
Her shrill outcries and shrieks so loud did bray, 
That all the woods and forests did resouncl : 
A troup of Fauns and Satyrs far away 
Within the wood were dancing in a round, 

Whilst old Sylvanus slept in shady arbour sound : 

Who, when they heard that piteous strained voice, 
In haste forsook their rural merriment, 
And ran towards the far-rebounded noise, 
To weet what wight so loudly did lament. 
Unto the place they come incontinent : 
Whom when the raging Saracen espied, 
A rude, misshapen, monstrous rabblement, 
Whose like he never saw, he durst not bide ; 

But got his ready steed, and fast away 'gan ride. 

The wild woodgods, arrived in the place, 
There find the Virgin, doleful, desolate, 
With ruffled raiments, and fair blubbered face, 
As her outrageous foe had left her late ; 
And trembling, yet through fear of former hate : 


All stand amazed at so uncouth sight, 
And 'gin to pity her unhappy state ; 
All stand astonied at her beauty bright, 
In their rude eyes unworthy of so woful plight. 

Una, brought by the Fauns and Satyrs to the cool 
retreat of the aged woodland deity, Sylvanus, is re- 
ceived with great honour. 

The woody nymphs, fair Hamadryades, 
Her to behold do thither run apace '; 
And all the troop of light-foot Naiades 
Flock all about to see her lovely face. 

Long time she abode in this retreat of sylvan beauty, 
and instructed the rude nation in the arts of civi- 
lization. While here, she made the acquaintance 
of Sir Satyrane, a being half satyr and half man, but 
of noble heart and strong arm, under whose protection 
at length she again sallied forth. In this journey they 
meet Sansloy, and another terrible battle ensues, in 
the midst of which, and while the contest is still 
doubtful, the narrative breaks off, and returns to Saint 
George and Duessa. 

The Knight, cured from his wound, but still feeble, 
had his suspicions aroused respecting the safety of 
this place of abode ; he flees therefore from the House 
of Pride, and is found seated by a cooling fountain in 
a pleasant green-wood, his armour on the ground, and 
by him the still specious Duessa. A spell had been 


put upon the waters of this fountain ; whoever thence- 
forth drank of them, became faint and enervated. 
The Knight drank. Relaxed not less in his moral, 
than his physical frame, behold him — 

Poured out in looseness on the grassy ground, 
Both careless of his health and of his fame : 
Till at the last he heard a dreadful sound, 
Which through the wood loud bellowing did rebound, 
That all the earth for terror seemed to shake, 
And trees did tremble. Th' Elf, therewith astound, 
Upstarted lightly from his looser Make, 
And his unready weapons 'gan in hand to take. 

But ere he could his armour on him dight, 

Or get his shield, his monstrous enemy 

With sturdy steps came stalking in his sight, 

An hideous Giant, horrible and high, 

That with his tallness seemed to threat the sky; 

The ground eke groaned under him for dread ; 

His living like saw never living eye, 

Ne durst behold ; his stature did exceed 
The height of three the tallest sons of mortal seed. 

The greatest Earth his uncouth mother was, 
And blustering iEolus his boasted sire. 
# # # # # 

* His stalking steps are staid 
Upon a snaggy oak, which he had torn 
Out of his mother's bowels, and it made 
His mortal mace, w r herewith his foemen he dismayed. 


That, when the Knight he spied, he gan advance 
With huge force and insupportable main, 
And towards him with dreadful fury prance ; 
Who, hapless, and eke hopeless, all in vain 
Did to him pace sad battle to darrain, 
Disarmed, disgraced, and inwardly dismayed ; 
And eke so faint in every joint and vein, 
Through that frail fountain, which him feeble made, 

That scarcely could he wield his bootless single blade. 

The Giant strook so mainly merciless, 

That could have overthrown a stony tower ; 
And, were not heavenly grace that did him bless, 
He had been powdered all, as thin as flour: 
But he was wary of that deadly stour, 
And lightly leapt from underneath the blow : 
Yet so exceeding was the villain's power, 
That with the wind it did him overthrow, 

And all his senses stunned, that still he lay full low. 

Saint George is taken captive by the giant Orgoglio 
(arrogance), and suffers great cruelty during his im- 
prisonment. The whole scene reminds one strongly 
of Doubting Castle and the Giant Despair. Duessa 
becomes the bride of Orgoglio, is dressed in scarlet, 
wears a triple crown, and rides upon a beast having 
seven heads. 

The woful Dwarf, who for a long time has not been 
mentioned, had followed the fortunes of the Red-Cross 
Knight, until his capture by Orgoglio. The Dwarf, 
seeing his master captured, fled. He had not gone far 


before he met with the Lady Una, who had also fled 
during the encounter between Sansloy and her new 
champion, Sir Satyrane. The woful Lady learns from 
the Dwarf all that had happened to the Red-Cross 
Knight, the foul deceptions that had been practised 
upon him, and his present captivity. 

She heard with patience all unto the end ; 
And strove to master sorrowful assay, 
Which greater grew, the more she did contend, 
And almost rent her tender heart in tway ; 
And love fresh coals unto her fire did lay : 
For greater love the greater is the loss. 
Was never Lady loved dearer day 
Than she did love the Knight of the Red-Cross : 

For whose dear sake so many troubles her did toss. 

At last when fervent sorrow slaked was, 
She up arose, resolving him to find 
Alive or dead ; and forward forth doth pass, 
All as the Dwarf the way to her assigned : 
And evermore, in constant careful mind, 
She fed her wound with fresh renewed bale : 
Long tost with storms, and beat with bitter wind, 
High over hills, and low adown the dale, 
She wandered many a wood, and measured many a vale. 

■ftf. , Such is the hopeless state of affairs, when a new and 
illustrious personage appears. This is no less than 
the noble Prince Arthur. This knight excels in 
magnificence all other knights, as far as the Lady Una 
herself would surpass a common country maid. His 


majestic but youthful person, his heroic and knightly 
bearing, his matchless armour, his princely qualities, 
are topics suited to the genius of Spenser. The reader 
finds himself in a perfect blaze of splendour. It is a 
brightness not devoid of heat. The imagination be- 
comes not only dazzled, but warmed. The whole pic- 
ture, indeed, is like one of those magnificent cathedrals 
of the olden time, in which the mind of the devout 
worshipper, faint with the endless multiplicity of ever- 
increasing wonders, finds relief at last in that ultimate 
and only resting-place of human thought, the heavens 
to which the ever-springing Gothic arch doth point. 
I will not spoil Spenser's description of Prince Arthur 
by extracts. It should be read entire, and in its con- 
nexion, or not at all. 

This noble person extricates the parties from their 
difficulties. He assaults the castle of the giant, slays 
Orgoglio, strips the hateful Duessa of her scarlet finery, 
exposes her foul deformities, and releases the captive 
Red-Cross Knight. The adventure of Prince Arthur 
occupies about eight hundred and fifty lines, and forms 
one of the connecting links between the first book and 
those which follow. It is something like the interven- 
tion of a comet within the bounds of our solar system, 
where it lingers awhile, and then flies away into dif- 
ferent and distant systems with which we are not yet 

After Arthur has taken his departure, Saint George 
and Una resume their journey. While travelling to- 


gether, enjoying sweet discourse, they meet something 
well suited to excite in the strongest degree their 
curiosity and their sympathy. 

So as they travelled, lo ! they gan espy 

An armed Knight towards them gallop fast, 
That seemed from some feared foe to fly, 
Or other grisly thing, that him aghast. 1 
Still, as he fled, his eye was backward cast, 
As if his fear still followed him behind : 
Als 2 flew his steed, as he his bands had brast, 3 
And with his winged heels did tread the wind, 

As he had been a foal of Pegasus his kind. 4 

Nigh as he drew, they might perceive his head 
To be unarmed, and curled, uncombed hairs 
Upstaring stiff, dismayed with uncouth dread : 
Nor drop of blood in all his face appears, 
Nor life in limb ; and, to increase his fears, 
In foul reproach of knighthood's fair degree, 
About his neck an hempen rope he wears, 
That with his glistering arms does ill agree : 

But he of rope or arms has now no memory. 

Saint George stops him and asks him to explain the 
cause of his strange flight. 

1 Aghast, (a verb,) terrified. 2 Als, also. 3 Brast, burst. 4 Pegasus his kind, 
for Pegasus's kind. Thus also, John Barnes his book, for John Barnes's book. 
There seems to have been a tendency towards this mode of forming the posses- 
sive, about the time that the old Saxon genitive es (Christes) was substituted for 
the modern 's (Christ's). 



He answered nought at all ; but adding new 

Fear to his first amazement, staring wide 

With stony eyes and heartless hollow hue, 

Astonished stood, as one that had espied 

Infernal Furies with their chains untied. 

Him yet again, and yet again, bespake 

The gentle Knight ; who nought to him replied ; 

But trembling every joint, did inly quake, 
And faltering tongue at last these words seemed forth to shake. 

The Knight, whose name is Trevisan, explains that 
he and another named Terwin were by chance be- 
guiled into the cave of the villain Despair. This 
monster seemed to have the power of instilling deadly 
moral poison into the mind. Having properly infected 
the minds of these two victims, he had lent, with a 
sneer, to the one a rope, and to the other a rusty knife. 
Says Trevisan : 

His subtle tongue, like dropping honey, melt'h 
Into the heart, and searcheth every vein ; 
That ere one be aware, by secret stealth 
His power is reft, and weakness doth remain, 
O never, Sir, desire to try his guileful train. 

The Red-Cross Knight determines at once not to be 
daunted by this miscreant, but to seek and destroy 
him. They go accordingly, against the entreaty of 
Trevisan, to the Cave of Despair. 


Ere long they come, where that same wicked wight 
His dwelling has, low in an hollow cave, 
Far underneath a craggy cliff ypight, 
Dark, doleful, dreary, like a greedy grave, 
That still for carrion carcasses doth crave : 
On top whereof aye dwelt the ghastly owl, 
Shrieking his baleful note, which ever drave 
Far from that haunt all other cheerful fowl ; 

And all about it wandering ghosts did wail and howl : 

And all about old stocks and stubs of trees, 
Whereon nor fruit nor leaf was ever seen, 
Did hang upon the ragged rocky knees ; 
On which had many wretches hanged been, 
Whose carcasses were scattered on the green, 
And thrown about the cliffs. Arrived there, 
That bare-head Knight, for dread and doleful teen, 
Would fain have fled, ne durst approachen near ; 

But th' other forced him stay, and comforted in fear. 

That darksome cave they enter, where they find 
That cursed man, low sitting on the ground, 
Musing full sadly in his sullen mind : 
His greasy locks long growen and unbound, 
Disordered hung about his shoulders round, 
And hid his face ; through which his hollow eyne 
Looked deadly dull, and stared as astound ; 
His raw-bone cheeks, through penury and pine, 

Were shrunk into his jaws, as he did never dine. 

His garment, nought but many ragged clouts, 
W^ith thorns together pinned and patched was, 
The which his naked sides he wrapt abouts : 


And him beside there lay upon the grass 
A dreary corse, whose life away did pass, 
All wallowed in his own yet lukewarm blood, 
That from his wound yet welled fresh, alas ! 
In which a rusty knife fast fixed stood, 
And made an open passage for the gushing flood. 

The dead corse was that of the man whom Despair 
had prompted to kill himself. It was a sight to stir 
the blood even of the coolest. Saint George draws his 
trusty blade to despatch at once this cowardly villain. 
But he has widely mistaken the nature of the danger 
upon which he is entering. Little does that man 
know his weakness, who having once dwelt in the 
House of Pride, or paid his court at the shrine of the 
Senses, or unbuckled his armour beside the enervating 
waters of Ease, meets for the first time this new foe. 
The danger is something of a subtle nature, not to be 
overcome by mere force. You cannot strike that 
which makes no resistance. Despair crouches, but 
reasons; and having once gained audience of the 
understanding, suggests troublesome doubts, and 
sophistical arguments, that gently insinuate them- 
selves into the mind, and shake in the end its steadfast 
faith in virtue and Divine Providence. I need hardly 
ask the reader's attention to the following scene, long 
as it is. I do not recollect to have seen in the whole 
compass of literature, the argument for suicide stated 
with such awful force. 


Which piteous spectacle, approving true 

The woful tale that Trevisan had told, 

Whenas the gentle Red-Cross Knight did view : 

With fiery zeal he burnt in courage bold 

Him to avenge, before his blood were cold ; 

And to the Villain said : " Thou damned wight, 

The author of this fact we here behold, 

What justice can but judge against thee right, 
With thine own blood to price 1 his blood, here shed in sight?" 

" What frantic fit," quoth he, " has thus distraught 

Thee, foolish man, so rash a doom to give 'I 

What justice ever other judgment taught, 

But he should die, who merits not to live ? 

None else to death this man despairing drive 

But his own guilty mind, deserving death. 

Is then unjust to each his due to give ? 

Or let him die that loatheth living breath ? 
Or let him die at ease, that liveth here uneath I 2 

" Who travels by the weary wandering way, 

To come unto his wished home in haste, 

And meets a flood, that doth his passage stay ; 

Is not great grace to help him over past, 

Or free his feet that in the mire stick fast ? 

Most envious man, that grieves at neighbour's good ; 

And fond, that joy est in the wo thou hast ,- 

Why wilt not let him pass, that long hath stood 
Upon the bank, yet wilt thyself not pass the flood '! 

u He there does now enjoy eternal rest 

And happy ease, which thou dost want and crave, 

1 Price, to give the price of, to pay for. s Uneath, uneasily. 


And farther from it daily wanderest : 
What if some little pain the passage have, 
That makes frail flesh to fear the bitter wave ; 
Is not short pain well borne, that brings long ease, 
And lays the soul to sleep in quiet grave ? 
Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, 
Ease after war, death after life, does greatly please." 

The Knight much wondered at his sudden wit, 
And said : " The term of life is limited, 
Ne may a man prolong, nor shorten, it : 
The soldier may not move from watchful stead, 
Nor leave his stand until his captain bid." 
" Who life did limit by Almighty doom," 
Quoth he, " knows best the terms established ; 
And he, that 'points the sentinel his room, 

Doth license him depart at sound of morning drum. 

" Is not His deed, whatever thing is done 
In heaven and earth ? Did not He all create 
To die again ? All ends that was begun : 
Their times in His eternal book of fate 
Are written sure, and have their certain date. 
Who then can strive with strong necessity, 
That holds the world in his still changing state ; 
Or shun the death ordained by destiny ? 

When hour of death is come, let none ask whence, nor why. 

" The longer life, I wot the greater sin ; 
The greater sin, the greater punishment : 
All those great battles, which thou boasts to win 
Through strife, and bloodshed, and avengement, 
Now praised, hereafter dear thou shalt repent ; 


For life must life, and blood must blood, repay. 
Is not enough thy evil life forespent '.' 
For he that once hath missed the right way, 
The farther he doth go, the farther he doth stray. 

" Then do no farther go, no farther stray ; 

But here lie down, and to thy rest betake, 

Th' ill to prevent, that life ensuen may. 

For what hath life, that may it loved make, 

And gives not rather cause it to forsake ? 

Fear, sickness, age, loss, labour, sorrow, strife, 

Pain, hunger, cold that makes the heart to quake ; 

And ever fickle fortune rageth rife ; 
All which, and thousands more, do make a loathsome life. 

" Thou, wretched man, of death hast greatest need, 

If in true balance thou wilt weigh thy state ; 

For never Knight, that dared warlike deed, 

More luckless disaventures did amate : 

Witness the dungeon deep, wherein of late 

Thy life shut up for death so oft did call ; 

And though good luck prolonged hath thy date, 

Yet death then would the like mishaps forestall, 
Into the which hereafter thou mayst happen fall. 

" Why then dost thou, O man of sin, desire 

To draw thy days forth to their last decree '( 

Is not the measure of thy sinful hire 

High heaped up with huge iniquity, 

Against the day of wrath, to burden thee 1 

Is not enough, that to this Lady mild 

Thou falsed hast thy faith with perjury, 

And sold thyself to serve Duessa vile, 
With whom in all abuse thou hast thyself defiled ? 


" Is not He just, that all this doth behold 

From highest heaven, and bears an equal eye? 

Shall He thy sins up in His knowledge fold, 

And guilty be of thine impiety? 

Is not His law, Let every sinner die, 

Die shall all flesh ? What then must needs be done, 

Is it not better to do willingly, 

Than linger till the glass be all outrun ? 
Death is the end of woes. Die soon, O Fairy's Son." 

The Knight was much enmoved with his speech, 

That as a sword's point through his heart did pierce, 

And in his conscience made a secret breach, 

Well knowing true all that he did rehearse, 

And to his fresh remembrance did reverse, 

The ugly view of his deformed crimes ; 

That all his manly powers it did disperse, 

As he were charmed with enchanted rhymes ; 

That oftentimes he quaked, and fainted oftentimes. 

In which amazement when the Miscreant 
Perceived him to waver weak and frail, 
Whilst trembling horror did his conscience daunt, 
And hellish anguish did his soul assail ; 
To drive him to despair, and quite to quail, 
He showed him painted in a table 1 plain 
The damned ghosts, that do in torments wail, 
And thousand fiends, that do them endless pain 

With fire and brimstone, which for ever shall remain. 

The sight whereof so throughly him dismayed, 
That nought but death before his eyes he saw, 

1 Table, (Lat. tabula), picture. 


And ever burning wrath before him laid, 
By righteous sentence of th' Almighty's law. 
Then gan the Villain him to overcraw, 1 
And brought unto him swords, ropes, poison, fire, 
And all that might him to perdition draw ; 
And bade him choose, what death he would desire : 
For death was due to him, that had provoked God's ire. 

But, whenas none of them he saw him take, 
He to him raught 3 a dagger sharp and keen, 
And gave it him in hand : his hand did quake 
And tremble like a leaf of aspen green, 
And troubled blood through his palejace was seen 
To come and go, with tidings from the heart, 
As it a running messenger had been. 
At last, resolved to work his final smart, 

He lifted up his hand, that back again did start. 

Which whenas Una saw, through every vein 
The curdled cold ran to her well of life, 
As in a swoon : but, soon relived again, 
Out of his hand she snatched the cursed knife, 
And threw it to the ground, enraged rife, 
And to him said : " Fie, fie, faint-hearted Knight, 
What meanest thou by this reproachful strife ? 
Is this the battle, which thou vauntst to fight 

With that fire-mouthed Dragon, horrible and bright ? 

" Come ; come away, frail, feeble, fleshly wight, 
Ne let vain words bewitch thy manly heart, 
Ne devilish thoughts dismay thy constant sprite : 

1 Overcraw, (crow over), insult. 2 Raught, reached, handed. 


In heavenly mercies hast thou not a part ? 
Why shouldst thou then despair, that chosen art ? 
Where justice grows, there grows eke greater grace, 
The which doth quench the brand of hellish smart, 
And that accurst handwriting doth deface : 
Arise, Sir Knight ; arise, and leave this cursed place." 

I have quoted thus freely from this Canto, the ninth, 
containing the description of the scene in the Cave of 
Despair, not only because of its great and almost terrific 
power, but because this is the Canto connected with 
that romantic tradition respecting the first interview 
between Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney. 
^A / In the next Canto, Una leads the Red-Cross Knight 
to a scene, in some respects the counterpart of the 
House of Pride. This is the House of Holiness. 
Here he is placed for a time under the superintendence 
of the venerable Matron, Dame Celia, and enjoys 
the assistance and instructions of her three godly 
daughters, Fidelia, Speranza, Charissa, (faith, hope, 
and charity.) The porter is a careful wight, named 
Humility. Among the characters described are Mr. 
Zeal, Squire Reverence, Dr. Patience, Surgeons 
Penance and Remorse, and the hermit Contemplation. 
The reader of Pilgrim's Progress will find in the 
whole Canto many reminiscences. The Red-Cross 
Knight not only rests himself for a while from his 
labours, and is cured of his physical ailments, but is 
carefully instructed in the way of holiness. The 
doctrines and precepts of religion are carefully in- 



stilled into his mind, his thoughts are raised to the 
contemplation of higher objects, even those visions of 
celestial glory which burst upon his eyes as from the 
Hill of Contemplation he sees the far-off city of 
Cleopolis. He is made also to perceive the cause of 
his many mistakes and errors. In short, he becomes 
the model of a Christian hero— " a man of God, 
thoroughly furnished unto every good word and 
work." Thus invigorated and refreshed morally, 
mentally, and physically — " armed with the whole 
armour of God"— he once more sets out upon his 

Those not acquainted by experience with the ex- 
haustless fertility of Spenser's invention, will be sur- 
prised to be told that all which we have passed through 
is the mere scaffolding to the main edifice— the mere 
preparation for the grand action of the book. 

The Lady Una, it will be recollected, had fled to 
the Court of Gloriana, Queen of Fairy Land, to ask 
succour under the following circumstances. Her 
father's kingdom had been ravaged, and her father 
and mother were closely besieged in their own castle, 
by a horrible monster. The old man offered the heir- 
ship of his kingdom, and the hand of his daughter in 
marriage, to any knight who should destroy the horrible 
monster. The daughter went abroad over the earth, 
seeking a champion to rescue her aged parents. 
Coming to the Court of Gloriana, as already related, 
the Queen of Faery assigned the task to the Knight 


of the Red-Cross. The Knight had just set out upon 
this worthy errand, when we first saw him " pricking 
on the plain." Having gone through a variety of pre- 
paratory adventures, having learned equally his power 
and his weakness, having put to the trial both his lady- 
love and the weapons which he bare in her defence, he 
is now ready to enter, and the reader is prepared to see 
him enter, upon his principal adventure. The descrip- 
tion of this adventure, containing the destruction of 
the monster, the release of the parents, and the be- 
trothal of the lady to her chosen and deserving Knight, 
occupy the eleventh and twelfth Cantos. This adven- 
ture surpasses in magnincence~all the previous ones, as 
much as Prince Arthur surpassed the Knight of Saint 
George, or any common Knight. I cannot do justice 
to it without quoting more than would be expedient. 
I leave, therefore, the whole adventure to the reader's 

Thus ends the First Book of the Fairy Queen. From 
the particulars which have been thus given, let us see 
if we cannot form by synthesis some distinct idea of 
the plan of the whole work. The First Book of it, we 
perceive, is a poem by itself. With all its infinity of 
details, it yet contains the unity essential to an Epic 
poem. It has unity of subject, unity of motives, and 
unity of general interest. At the same time, it has 
other relations, and is in itself only a part of a more 
comprehensive unity. The Red-Cross Knight and the 


Lady Una are, so to speak, the Earth and the Moon of 
a planetary system, which revolve around some com- 
mon centre, and which do not the less converge and 
concentre, because their Sun is connected by other ties 
with other systems and a wider circle. The Sun in this 
First Book is Prince Arthur. He does not occupy so 
large a space in the reader's attention as Saint George, 
for the same reason that, to an ignorant man, the Sun 
seems a smaller, though a brighter object than the Earth. 
Yet could an inhabitant of this globe visit successively 
the different planets, and while he saw the Earth gradu- 
ally shrinking to the size of Mars or Jupiter, the Sun 
still maintaining its unrivalled splendour and its enor- 
mous dimensions, he would gradually awaken to the con- 
viction of the grand unity of the Solar System, and the 
controlling influence and importance of its one object, 
The Sun. So the reader of the Second, Third, Fourth, 
and other Books of the Fairy Queen, gradually forgets 
the absorbing interest of the First. Saint George and 
Lady Una become small and indistinct to his imagina- 
tion, while the Princely Arthur continually grows 
upon the mental vision, and becomes at last the mag- 
nificent centre and embodiment of all excellence, of 
which each Book furnishes only some particular variety. 
Such was the noble and stupendous conception of 
Spenser. Let critics censure it as they please, there 
is a princely magnificence in the very idea. 

The First Book, which we have now gone through, 
is entitled " The Legend of the Knight of the Red- 
Cross, or of Holiness." This is its one subject. In 


like manner each of the other books has its own sub- 
ject, as Temperance, Chastity, &c, and its hero ; and 
all are connected by the common hero, Arthur, who 
represents Magnificence. There is likewise a com- 
mon heroine, viz. : Gloriana, the Queen of Fairy 
Land, who represents Glory. To crown the whole, 
Arthur and Gloriana are to be united in marriage, that 
is, Magnificence, or the concentration of all excellence, 
is to be glorified, or meet its reward. 

To return to the First Book (Of the Knight of the 
Red-Cross, or of Holiness). This, like all the other 
Books is divided into twelve Cantos, each Canto being 
more than half as long as a Book in the Paradise Lost. 
A single Book of the Fairy Queen, therefore, is 
more than half the size of Paradise Lost. This will 
give another idea of the gigantic scale upon which 
Spenser planned, when it is recollected that his plan 
contemplated twelve such Books ; and some conception 
may be formed of his Herculean labours, when it is re- 
collected that he actually executed six of these Books. 
I have thus endeavoured to give by Synthesis, 
some general idea of the Fairy Queen, by giving in 
the first place a particular account of one of its ele- 
ments. To make this idea complete, it will be neces- 
sary to discuss in a similar way each of the other 
Books, — or, to resume the figure, to visit in succession 
the other planets of our system, that we may not only 
become acquainted with them and their inhabitants, 
but from them obtain new views of the glorious Cen- 
tral Sun — The Princely Arthur. 



Review of Book I. — Definition of Temperance — The Palmer — The 
Babe with Bloody Hands — The three Sisters, Elissa, Perissa, 
and Medina — Braggadochio and Trompart — First Appearance of 
Belphoebe — Furor and Occasion — Atin and Pyrochles — The 
Merry Mariner — The Idle Lake — Cymochles carried to her Islet — 
Sir Guyon and Phoedria — Horrible End of Pyrochles — The Cave 
of Mammon — The House of Riches — The Temptation — Interven- 
tion of Prince Arthur — His Exploit — Sir Guyon and the Palmer 
embarked for the Island — The Gulf of Greediness — The Wander- 
ing Islands — The Monsters of the Deep — The Weeping Maiden — 
The Bay of the Mermaids — The Unclean Birds — The Wild Beasts 
• — They reach the Island — The Garden — The Fair Portress — The 
Lakelet and the Bathing Damsels — The Bower of Bliss — Capture 
of the Enchantress, Acrasia — The Adventure Completed — Charac- 
ter of Sir Guyon. 

In my account of the previous Book, I attempted to 
give the reader by synthesis some idea of the general 
plan of the whole poem. That is, I gave pretty full 
particulars in regard to one of its leading elements or 
component parts, and from this attempted to construct 
a distinct plan of the whole. This plan will be ren- 


dered still more obvious by quoting in this place a 
part of Spenser's explanatory letter to Raleigh, printed 
originally as an appendix to the first three Books of the 
Fairy Queen. As Spenser did not live to complete 
his grand design, this letter is particularly important 
to a proper understanding of the parts which he did 
finish. We shall have occasion to quote from it still 
more at length hereafter. Only that portion is now 
quoted which relates to the matter immediately in 
hand. Spenser's language is as follows : 

" The method of a poet historical is not such, as of 
an historiographer. For an historiographer discourseth 
of affairs orderly as they were done, accounting as well 
the times as the actions ; but a poet thrusteth into the 

midst, even where it most concerneth him The 

beginning therefore of my History, if it were to be told 
by an historiographer, should be the twelfth Book, 
which is the last ; where [in which Book] I devise 
that the Fairy Queen kept her annual feast twelve 
days ; upon which twelve several days, the occasions 
of the twelve several Adventures happened, which, 
being undertaken by twelve several Knights, are in 
these twelve Books severally handled and discoursed. 
The first was this. In the beginning of the feast, 
there presented himself a tall clownish young man, 
who falling before the Queen of Fairies desired a boon 
(as the manner then was) which during that feast she 
might not refuse; which [boon] was that he might 
have the achievement of any Adventure, which during 


that feast should happen. That being granted, he 
rested him on the floor, unfit through his rusticity for 
a better place. Soon after entered a fair lady in 
mourning weeds, riding on a white ass, with a dwarf 
behind her leading a warlike steed, that bore the arms 
of a Knight, and his spear in the Dwarf's hand. She, 
falling before the Queen of Fairies, complained that 
her father and mother, an ancient King and Queen, 
had been by an huge Dragon many years shut up in 
a brazen Castle, who thence suffered them not to issue : 
and therefore besought the Fairy Queen to assign her 
some one of her Knights to take on him that exploit. 
Presently that clownish person, upstarting, desired 
that Adventure : whereat the Queen much wondering, 
and the Lady much gainsaying, yet he earnestly im- 
portuned his desire. In the end the Lady told him, 
that unless that armour which she brought, would 
serve him (that is, the armour of a Christian man 
specified by St. Paul, v. Ephes.,) [the Breast-plate of 
righteousness, the Shield of faith, the Helmet of sal- 
vation, the Sword of the Spirit,] that he could not 
succeed in that enterprise : which being forthwith put 
upon him with due furnitures thereunto, he seemed the 
goodliest man in all that company, and was well liked 
of the Lady. And eftsoons taking on him Knighthood, 
and mounting on that strange courser, he went forth 
with her on that Adventure : where beonnneth the 
First Book, " A gentle Knight was pricking on the 
plain," &c. 



Commencing at this point, I gave, in my account 
of the First Book, a succession of scenes, contain- 
ing the principal adventures of this Knight, who 
proved to be the famous Saint George, or the Knight 
of the Red-Cross. We saw this valiant Knight 
overcome successively Error, Superstition, Infide- 
lity, Pride, and Despair ; we saw him, when under a 
temporary defeat through the wiles of a subtle adver- 
sary, rescued by the timely interposition of a noble 
and princely benefactor ; we saw his virtuous princi- 
ples confirmed and purified under the auspices of reli- 
gion ; and lastly, we saw his entire success in the 
accomplishment of the task which had been assigned 
him, the accomplishment of which task was the ap- 
pointed means of perfecting him in Holiness. Con- 
necting in thought and comparing the scenes thus 
rapidly sketched, we found the first Book of the Fairy 
Queen shadowing forth a general principle, not inaptly 
symbolized in its title, which is " The Legend of the 
Red-Cross Knight, or of Holiness." The Knight 
who is the embodiment of this principle, was found to 
be aided by another personage, who not only possesses 
this principle, and in a still higher degree than Saint 
George, but possesses equally various other principles 
of human excellence. That idea forms the connecting 
link between the first Book and those which succeed. 
Each of those principles is to be developed in a sepa- 
rate Book, and by the adventures of a separate Knight, 


in company with the common hero, Prince Arthur. 
This latter being the embodiment of all human excel- 
lence, bears the same relation to the Knights, and the 
adventures of each particular Book, that the Sun bears 
to the planets of the solar system, controlling and con- 
centering all, and giving to the whole that unity in 
diversity which is an essential element of beauty in 
the works both of man and of his Maker. 

Let us proceed to enter another enclosure of the 
ample domain of thought now opened to the view. 
The adventures about to be celebrated are those of 
Sir Guy on, or of Temperance. Temperance is here 
used in no narrow or conventional sense. The word 
comes from the Latin temper o, which means to restrain 
or govern one's self. Spenser uses it in the sense of 
universal moderation, and as opposed to excess of 
every description, whether mental or bodily — tempe- 
rance not only in drinks, but in food — temperance not 
only in the indulgence of every kind of bodily appetite, 
but in the exercise even of the desires and affections. 
The man who attains this high excellence must not 
only avoid all sin, which from its very nature is excess, 
but even in the performance of what is right, and in 
the enjoyment of what is permitted, must keep the 
even tenor of his way, and maintain under all circum- 
stances a perfect and calm serenity of purpose. It is 
neither the phlegm of the Stoic, nor the torpor of the 
Brahmin, but the heavenly repose of the beloved dis- 


ciple-— the tranquillity of a mind capable of emotions 
too strong for passion, of feelings too deep for agitation 
— a placid lake, whose pebbly bottom, so clearly 
revealed to the eye of the beholder, argues not the 
shallowness of its waters, nor the absence of disturbing 
causes, but the purity of the crystal element, and the 
height of its embosoming and wind-protecting hills. 

Sir Guyon, in the development and for the cultiva- 
tion of this great principle of Temperance, passes 
through many scenes of an opposite character, which 
would have often led him astray but for the presence 
of a faithful attendant, an aged and holy Palmer 
(reflection). In following Sir Guyon through these 
scenes of temptation, we shall not be without need of 
the same faithful attendant. Let not our imagination 
be beguiled by the warm and too lifelike colouring 
which the poet in some passages gives to the allure- 
ments of the world. Let us, too, constantly and 
soberly reflect, amid the brightest illusions which 
the wand of genius can summon, that in reality there 
is nothing true, nothing bright, nothing calm but 
heaven ! 

Before commencing my exposition of the second 
Book, I will give a single explanation. We find in 
the very beginning that Prince Arthur is not the only 
connecting link between this Book and the first. 
The Red-Cross Knight, Archimago, and Duessa all 
reappear. The same thing is true in the following 
Books. I remark upon the circumstance here, once 


for all, to prevent the necessity of a frequent recur- 
rence to the subject hereafter. The explanation is 
this. The story in each Book is separate. But cha- 
racters and scenes once introduced in previous Books, 
are always supposed to be already known to the 
reader, and are brought in incidentally, wherever 
occasion requires, without any particular explanation 
or description. 

The occasion of Sir Guy on' s adventure was as fol- 
lows : 

While he and his trusty Palmer are travelling 
through the country, they chance to pass along the 
skirt of a deep forest. Their attention is suddenly 
arrested by a most piercing and bitter shriek issuing 
from the thickest of the wood. On listening, they 
hear again the same voice, that of a female, uttering 
to herself the sentiment of despair, and ending with 
these words : 

" Come, then ; come soon ; come, sweetest Death, to me, 
And take away this long-lent loathed light : 
Sharp he thy wounds, but sweet the medicines be, 
That long captived souls from weary thraldom free. 

" But thou, sweet Babe, whom frowning froward fate 
Hath made sad witness of thy father's fall, 
Since heaven thee deigns to hold in living state, 
Long mayst thou live, and better thrive withal 
Than to thy luckless parents did befall ! 


Live thou ! and to thy mother dead attest, 
That clear she died from blemish criminal : 
Thy little hands imbrued in bleeding breast 
Lo ! I for pledges leave ! So give me leave to rest !" 

With that a deadly shriek she forth did throw- 
That through the wood re-echoed again ; 
And after gave a groan so deep and low 
That seemed her lender heart was rent in twain, 
Or thrilled with point of thorough- piercing pain : 

Which when that Warrior heard, dismounting straight 
From his tall steed, he rushed into the thick, 
And soon arrived where that sad Portrait 
Of death and dolour lay, half dead, half quick ; 
In whose white alabaster breast did stick 
A cruel knife that made a grisly wound, 
From which forth gushed a stream of gore-blood thick 
That all her goodly garments stained around, 

And into a deep sanguine dyed the grassy ground. 

Pitiful spectacle of deadly smart, 

Beside a bubbling fountain low she lay, 
Which she increased with her bleeding heart, 
And the clean waves with purple gore did ray : 
Als in her lap a lovely Babe did play 
His cruel sport, instead of sorrow due ; 
For in her streaming blood he did embay 
His little hands, and tender joints imbrue : 

Pitiful spectacle, as ever eye did view ! 

Beside them both, upon the soiled grass 

The dead corse of an armed Knight was spread, 


Whose armour all with blood besprinkled was ; 
His ruddy lips did smile, and rosy red 
Did paint his cheerful cheeks, yet being dead ; 
Seemed to have been a goodly personage, 
Now in his freshest flower of lustyhed, 
Fit to inflame fair Lady with love's rage, 
But that fierce fate did crop the blossom of his age. 

The lady, though mortally wounded by her own 
rash act, is not yet dead. Sir Guyon staunches the 
blood and resuscitates her so far as to enable her to 
give before dying some account of the circumstances 
which led her to self-murder. Her story is this. Her 
spouse was a gallant knight and a loving husband. 
But going forth upon a knightly adventure soon after 
their marriage, he had fallen in with a false En- 
chantress, by whom he had been beguiled. This En- 
chantress was called Acrasia (intemperance). Drunk- 
ards always have good wives. The wretched, forsaken 
wife had wandered forth in search of her false, but 
still loved husband. She found him at length in the 
Bower of Bliss with the painted Enchantress, and by 
her remonstrances and entreaties prevailed on him to 
return to the paths of rectitude and sobriety. The 
Enchantress, vexed at his departure, gave him at part- 
ing a glass of wine, and uttered over it a spell, by 
virtue of which he should die, the moment he " Bac- 
chus with the Nymph does link;" that is, should 
desert his wine (Bacchus), and partake of water 
(Nymph) — a result said sometimes to follow the ab- 


rupt return to cold water, after excessive indulgence 
in alcoholic drinks. The mystic words of the En- 
chantress were lost upon the wife and her restored 
husband until, reaching a fountain, tired and thirsty, 
he stooped to drink, and instantly expired. Then, for 
the first time, did the wretched woman understand the 
import of those mystic words, and the full measure of 
her own wo. Overcome with anguish, and thoughtful 
more of her grief than her duty toward her child, she 
plunged into her bosom the fatal knife, and in that 
condition was found by Sir Guyon. The lady sur- 
vives just long enough to finish her tale, and then ex- 
pires. Sir Guyon, having attended to the burial of 
the wretched woman and her dishonoured husband, 
and resolving in his mind to nurture and educate the 
babe in some suitable way, proceeds with increased 
and burning zeal upon the adventure which has been 
assigned him by Gloriana, the Queen of Fairy Land. 
This adventure is no other than to destroy the wicked 
Enchantress Acrasia, by whose machinations this babe 
had been thus made an orphan. 

On turning to look for his steed, from which he had 
dismounted, behold it is nowhere to be found. Sir 
Guyon, therefore, has to proceed on his adventure 
afoot. What became of the steed, the reader will 
know hereafter. 

Which when Sir Guyon saw, all were he wroth. 
Yet algates must he soft himself appease, 


And fairly fare on foot, however loth : 
His double burden did him sore disease. 1 
So, long they travelled with little ease, 
Till that at last they to a Castle came, 
Built on a rock adjoining to the seas : 
It was an ancient work of antique fame, 
And wondrous strong by nature and by skilful frame. 

Therein three Sisters dwelt of sundry sort, 

The children of one sire by mothers three ; 

Who, dying whilom, did divide this fort 

To them by equal shares in equal fee ; 

But strifeful mind and diverse quality 

Drew them in parts, and each made other's foe ; 

Still did they strive and daily disagree ; 

The eldest did against the youngest go, 
And both against the middest meant to worken wo. 

Where when the Knight arrived, he was right well 

Received, as Knight of so much worth became, 

Of second Sister, who did far excel 

The other two ; Medina was her name, 

A sober sad and comely courteous dame : 

Who rich arrayed, and yet in modest guise, 

In goodly garments that her well became, 

Fair marching forth in honourable wise, 
Him at the threshold met and well did enterprise. 

She led him up into a goodly bower, 

And comely courted with meet modesty ; 
Ne in her speech, ne in her haviour, 2 

1 Disease, make un-easy. 2 Haviour, behaviour, and pronounced as a trisylla- 
ble, hav-i-our. 


Was lightness seen or looser vanity, 
But gracious womanhood, and gravity, 
Above the reason of her youthly years : 
Her golden locks she roundly did uptie 
In braided trammels, that no looser hairs 
Did out of order stray about her dainty ears. 

The oldest of the sisters, Elissa, entertains a lover, 
Sir Hudibras, more noted for his moroseness and ill- 
temper than for his courage. The youngest, Perissa, 
is loved by our old acquaintance, the lawless Sansloy. 
The extreme sisters, (the oldest and the youngest), are 
always at jar with each other, except when for a time 
they unite to oppose the wishes of her — the middle 
sister — who, on occasion, interferes to keep the peace 
and exhort them to keep the golden mean. In like 
manner their lovers, Hudibras and Sansloy, are con- 
stantly bickering and quarrelling, except on the occa- 
sion of a joint attack upon him who shall attempt to 
mediate between them. When Sir Guyon enters this 
castle for entertainment, Medina receives him cour- 
teously, as was meet ; but the other sisters and their 
lovers no sooner hear of his arrival than they hasten 
towards that part of the castle where the stranger is 
reputed to be, with intent immediately, and without 
cause, to assail him. But, even while on their way, 
ere they have crossed the castle-yard, they fall out 
again with each other. 

But, ere they could proceed unto the place 
Where he abode, themselves at discord fell. 


And cruel combat joined in middle space ; 
With horrible assault, and fury fell, 
Thev heaped huge strokes the scorned life to quell, 
That all on uproar from her settled seat 
The house was raised, and all that in did dwell : 
Seemed that loud thunder with amazement great 
Did rend the rattling skies with flames of fouldering 1 heat. 

The noise thereof called forth that stranger Knight, 
To weet what dreadful thing was there in hand ; 
Where whenas two brave Knights in bloody fight 
With deadly rancour he enranged found, 
His sunbroad shield about his wrist he bound, 
And shining blade unsheathed, with which he ran 
Unto that stead, their strife to understand : 
And, at his first arrival, them began 

With goodly means to pacify, well as he can. 

But they, him spying, both with greedy force 

At once upon him ran, and him beset 

With strokes of mortal steel without remorse, 

And on his shield like iron sledges beat. 

As when a bear and tiger, being met 

In cruel fight on Lybic ocean wide, 

Espy a traveller with feet surbet, 2 

Whom they in equal prey hope to divide, 
They stint their strife and him assail on every side. 


But he, not like a weary traveller, 

Their sharp assault right boldly did rebut, 
And suffered not their blows to bite him near, 

1 Fouldering, thundering. 2 Surbet, wearied, bruised. 


But with redoubled buffs them back did put : 
Whose grieved minds, which choler did englut, 
Against themselves turning their wrathful spite, 
Gan with new rage their shields to hew and cut. 
But still, when Guyon came to part their fight, 
With heavy load on him they freshly gan to smite. 

As a tall ship tossed in troublous seas, 

Whom raging winds, threat'ning to make the prey 

Of the rough rocks, do diversly disease, 1 

Meets two contrary billows by the way, 

That her on either side do sore assay, 

And boast to swallow her in greedy grave ; 

She, scorning both their spites, does make wide way, 

And, with her breast breaking the foamy wave, 

Does ride on both their backs, and fair herself doth save : 

So boldly he him bears, and rusheth forth 
Between them both, by conduct of his blade. 
Wondrous great prowess and heroic worth 
He shewed that day, and rare ensample made, 
When two so mighty warriors he dismayed: 
At once he wards and strikes ; he takes and pays ; 
Now forced to yield, now forcing to invade ; 
Before, behind, and round about him lays : 

So double was his pains, so double be his praise. 

Medina rushes in between the combatants, and en- 
deavours to prevent the shedding of blood, for which 
no better reason could be assigned, than can be assigned 
for the thousand murders done in hot blood by those 

1 Disease, make uneasy. 


who have not learned to bridle rage. Her sisters, on 
the contrary, strive still more to embroil the fray. 
Moderate counsels at length prevail, and harmony is 
for a time restored. At the feast which ensues, the dif- 
ferent parties, in the indulgence of the social affections, 
show the same peculiarities wmich marked the exercise 
of their more violent emotions. 

Elissa (so the eldest hight) did deem 

Such entertainment base, ne ought would eat, 

Ne ought would speak, but evermore did seem 

As discontent for want of mirth or meat ; 

No solace could her paramour entreat 

Her once to show, ne court, nor dalliance ; 

But with bent lowering brows, as she would threat, 

She scowled, and frowned with fro ward countenance ; 

Unworthy of fair Ladies' comely governance. 

But young Perissa was of another mind, 

Full of disport, still laughing, loosely light, 

And quite contrary to her sister's kind ; 

No measure in her mood, no rule of right, 

But poured out in pleasure and delight : 

In wine and meats she flowed above the bank, 

And in excess exceeded her own might ; 

In sumptuous tire she joyed herself to prank, 
But of her love too lavish : little have she thank ! 

Fast by her side did sit the bold Sansloy, 
Fit mate for such a mincing!: minion, 


Who in her looseness took exceeding joy ; 
Might not be found a franker franion, 
Of her lewd parts to make companion. 
But Hudibras, more like a malecontent, 
Did see and grieve at his bold fashion ; 
Hardly could he endure his hardiment ; 
Yet still he sat, and inly did himself torment. 

Betwixt them both the fair Medina sat 

With sober grace and goodly carriage : 

With equal measure she did moderate 

The strong extremities of their outrage ; 

That forward pair she ever would assuage, 

When they would strive due reason to exceed ; 

But that same froward twain would accorage, 

And of her plenty add unto their need : 
So kept she them in order, and herself in heed. 

This Medina is the person to whose care the educa- 
tion of the young orphan is entrusted. She and her 
sisters do not again appear in the course of the story, 
and may therefore be dismissed from the thoughts. 

We have now advanced through two Cantos of the 
Book. The third Canto is wholly occupied with an 
episode, relating the adventures of a vain-glorious fool 
named Braggadochio. 

Whether a mind constituted, as was Spenser's, with 
all its solemn and stately imagery, is capable of con- 
ceiving a character in all respects like that of Falstaff, 
is a matter of doubt. The nearest approach to such a 
character in the Fairy Queen, is that now presented 


to the reader. There are undoubtedly points of diffe- 
rence between these two worthies. But the difference 
is more in the circumstances than the men. Had 
Shakspeare given us a picture of Falstaff at the tour- 
nament, I think he would have passed for at least the 
brother of Braggadochio. Shakspeare has given us 
the braggart as he appears in real life. Spenser has 
shown the same character among the dreamy scenes 
of romance. 

Braggadochio' s first appearance in the Fairy Queen 
is where Sir Guy on and the Palmer were burying the 
unfortunate Knight and Lady, the victims of Acrasia. 
Braggadochio had long believed himself capable of 
adorning the ranks of knighthood. All that he lacked 
was a horse. Behold one, fully caparisoned and 
ready to his hand. How certain it is, that Providence 
takes care of the virtuous ! 

He, that brave steed there finding ready dight, 
Purloined both steed and spear, and ran away full light. 

Now gan his heart all swell in jollity, 

And of himself great hope and help conceived, 

That puffed up with smoke of vanity, 

And with self-loved personage deceived, 

He gan to hope of men to be received 

For such, as he him thought, or fain would be : 

But for 1 in Court gay portance he perceived, 

And gallant shew to be in greatest gree, 2 

Eftsoons to Court he cast t' advance his first degree. 

1 For, because. a Gree, favour. 


And by the way he chanced to espy 
One sitting idle on the sunny bank, 
To whom avaunting in great bravery, 
As peacock that his painted plumes doth prank, 
He smote his courser in the trembling flank, 
And to him threatened his heart-thrilling spear : 
The silly man, seeing him ride so rank 
And aim at him, fell flat to ground for fear, 

And crying, " Mercy," loud, his piteous hands gan rear. 

Thereat the Scarecrow waxed wondrous proud, 

Through fortune of his first adventure fair, 

And with big thundering voice reviled him loud ; 

" Vile caitiff, vassal of dread and despair, 

Unworthy of the common breathed air, 

Why livest thou, dead dog, a longer day, 

And dost not unto death thyself prepare 'I 

Die, or thyself my captive yield for aye : 
Great favour I thee grant for answer thus to stay." 

" Hold, dear Lord, hold your dead-doing hand," 
Then loud he cried, " I am your humble thrall." 
" Ah wretch," quoth he, " thy destinies withstand 
My wrathful will, and do for mercy call. 
I give thee life : Therefore prostrated fall, 
And kiss my stirrup ; that thy homage be." 

Trompart, the first-fruits of Braggadochio's prowess, 
becomes his squire and general serving man, and the 
worthy pair travel forth together. 

So forth they pass, a well-consorted pair, 

Till that at length with Archimage they meet : 


Who seeing one, that shone in armour fair, 
On goodly courser thundering with his feet, 
Eftsoons supposed him a person meet 
Of his revenge to make the instrument ; 
For since the Red-Cross Knight he erst did weet 
To be with Guyon knit in one consent, 
The ill which erst to him, he now to Guyon meant. 

Malice is sometimes outwitted by its own instru- 
ments. Archimago, coming close to Trompart, in- 
quires of him, privately, who his master w^as, that rode 
in such a splendid golden saddle, and on such a power- 
ful charger, but armed only with spear, without either 
sword or shield. " Oh," says Trompart, '-he has 
made a vow never to carry sword. His spear alone 
is enough to make a thousand quake." Archimago 
thereupon, supposing he has found one competent to 
avenge him upon the Red-Cross Knight, and upon 
Sir Guyon, approaches the puissant champion with 
lowly obeisance, and tells the story of his w T rongs. 

Therewith all suddenly he seemed enraged, 

And threatened death with dreadful countenance, 

As if their lives had in his hand been gaged ; 

And with stiff force shaking his mortal. lance, 

To let him weet his doughty valiance, * 

Thus said : " Old man, great sure shall be thy meed, 

If, where those Knights for fear of due vengeance 

Do lurk, thou certainly to me aread, 

That I may wreak on them their heinous hateful deed." 


Archimago says, " Certainly, certainly, I will show 
yon where to find them. But, my noble Sir, pardon 
the suggestion, they are two very valiant knights. 
Do not, I beseech you, give them such odds. Pray, 
Sir, before you encounter them, provide yourself with 
a sword.'" 

" Dotard," said he, " let be thy deep advice ; 

Seems that through many years thy wits thee fail, 
And that weak eld hath left thee nothing wise, 
Else never should thy judgment be so frail 
To measure manhood by the sword or mail. 
Is not enough four quarters of a man, 
Withouten sword or shield, an host to quail ? 
Thou little wottest that this right-hand can : 

Speak they, which have beheld the battles which it wan." 

The man was much abashed at his boast ; 
Yet well he wist that whoso would contend 
With either of those Knights on even coast, 
Should need of all his arms him to defend ; 
Yet feared lest his boldness should offend : 
When Braggadochio said : " Once I did swear, 
When with one sword seven Knights I brought to end, 
Thenceforth in battle never sword to bear, 

But it were that which noblest Knight on earth doth wear." 

Tradition differs as to the exact number of men in 
buckram that Falstaff saw, but seven knights slain 
single-handed with one sword, is a pretty respectable 

Braggadochio's vow about wearing a sword is not 


absolute, but conditional. He will not wear one, unless 
it is a sword that has belonged to the noblest knight on 
earth. Having from past experience not quite so great 
a contempt for the prowess of Saint George and Sir 
Guyon as the braggart seems to have, Archimago 
resolves to overcome the scruples of his champion, by 
getting for him a sword which he can wear without 
breaking his vow. He undertakes, in short, to deliver 
to Braggadochio, by to-morrow, the enchanted sword of 
Prince Arthur. 

Braggadochio starts. Enchantment — magic — mys- 
tery — these are fearful things. He looks for the 
little old man, but no old man is there. He looks at 
Trompart. Trompart looks at him. They both 
look at each other. They both, (I am sorry for the 
honour of knighthood to record it,) but, they both 
run away most incontinently. They stop not— 

Till that they come unto a forest green, 

In which they shroud themselves from causeless fear ; 
Yet fear them follows still, where so they been : 
Each trembling leaf and whistling wind they hear, 
As ghastly bug, 1 does greatly them affear : 3 
Yet both do strive their fearfulness to feign. 
At last they heard a horn that shrilled clear 
Throughout the wood that echoed again, 

And made the forest ring, as it would rive in twain. 

That horn — what can it be ? Presently there is 
a rustling noise, as of some one passing through the 

1 Bug, bugbear. 2 Affear, frighten. 


wood. Braggadochio after all is but a mortal. He 
dismounts from his courser, and creeps into the thick- 
est part of the bushes ! But Trompart's curiosity gets 
the better of his terror, and he stops to see what he, 
she, it, or they, might be. 

But Trompart stoutly stayed to taken heed 
Of what might hap. Eftsoon there stepped forth 
A goodly Lady clad in hunter's weed, 
That seemed to be a woman of great worth, 
And by her stately portance born of heavenly birth. 

Her face so fair, as flesh it seemed not, 

But heavenly portrait of bright angel's hue, 
Clear as the sky, withouten blame or blot, 
Through goodly mixture of complexions due; 
And in her cheeks the vermeil red did shew 
Like roses in a bed of lilies shed, 
The which ambrosial odours from them threw, 
And gazer's sense with double pleasure fed, 

Able to heal the sick and to revive the dead. 

In her fair eyes two living lamps did flame, 
Kindled above in th' Heavenly Maker's light, 
And darted fiery beams out of the same, 
So passing piersant, 1 and so wondrous bright, 
In them the blinded god his lustful fire 
To kindle oft assayed, but had no might ; 
For, with dread majesty and awful ire, 

She broke his wanton darts, and quenched base desire. 

1 Piersant, pierciDg. 


Her ivory forehead, full of bounty brave, 
Like a broad table did itself dispread, 
For Love his lofty triumphs to engrave, 
And write the battles of his great godhead : 
All good and honour might therein be read ; 
For there their dwelling was. And when she spake, 
Sweet words, like dropping honey, she did shed ; 
And 'twixt the pearls and rubies softly brake 

A silver sound, that heavenly music seemed to make. 

This heavenly creature, of whoSb elaborate descrip- 
tion I have quoted a small portion, is Belphcebe. She 
is a distinguished personage, and will reappear in 
subsequent Books, but not in this, Suffice it here to 
say of her, she is dressed as a huntress, inquires of 
Trompart respecting a stag that she had wounded. 
points one of her glittering arrows towards a thicket 
in which the leaves stir, supposing some animal lay 
crouching there, when — out crawls our hero ! 

After some conversation and adventure, highly cha- 
racteristic, the brilliant phenomenon departs with the 
speed and grace of one of her own arrows : — the worthy 
couple go their ways, and we go ours. 

And first let us inquire after Sir Guyon, 

It fortuned, forth faring on his way, 
He saw from far, or seemed for to see, 
Some troublous uproar, or contentious fray, 
Whereto he drew in haste it to agree. 1 

1 Agree, (trans.), to make agreed, to reconcile, 


A Madman, or that feigned mad to be, 
Drew by the hair, along upon the ground, 
A handsome Stripling with great cruelty, 
Whom sore he beat, and gored with many a wound, 
That cheeks with tears, and sides with blood, did all abound. 

And him behind a wicked Hag did stalk, 
In ragged robes and filthy disarray ; 
Her other leg was lame, that she no'te 1 walk, 
But on a staff her feeble steps did stay : 
Her locks, tha* loathly were and hoary gray, 
Grew all afore, and loosely hung unrolled ; 
But all behind was bald, and worn away, 
That none thereof could ever taken hold ; 

And eke her face ill-favoured, full of wrinkles old. 

And, ever as she went, her tongue did walk 
In foul reproach and terms of vile despite, 
Provoking him, by her outrageous talk, 
To heap more vengeance on that wretched wight : 
Sometimes she raught 2 him stones, wherewith to smite ; 
Sometimes her staff, though it her one leg were, 
Withouten which she could not go upright ; 
Ne any evil means she did forbear, 

That might him move to wrath, and indignation rear. 

The noble Guyon, moved with great remorse, 
Approaching, first the Hag did thrust away ; 
And after, adding more impetuous force, 
His mighty hands did on the Madman lay, 
And plucked him back ; who, all on fire straightway, 

1 No'te, could not. 3 Raught, reached. 


Against him turning all his fell intent, 
With beastly brutish rage gan him assay, 
And smote, and bit, and kicked, and scratched, and rent, 
And did he wist not what in his avengement. 

And sure he was a man of mickle might, 
Had he had governance it well to guide : 
But, when the frantic fit inflamed his sprite, 
His force was vain, and struck more often wide 
Than at the aimed mark which he had eyed : 
And oft himself he chanced to hurt unwares, 
Whilst reason, blent 1 through passion, nought descried ; 
But, as a blindfold bull, at random fares, 

And where he hits nought knows, and whom he hurts nought 

Sir Guyon, accustomed only to " fair defence and 
goodly managing of arms," is embarrassed by this new 
mode of encounter. Still he does not yield his ground. 
Seizing the villain with a strong gripe, he attempts to 
throw him to the ground by main force. In so doing 
he himself stumbles and falls. Hereupon the villain 
beats him in the face with his fists, the old Hag stand- 
ing by and urging him on. Sir Guyon, recovering 
his footing, draws his sword to despatch at once the 
miscreant, but is restrained by the Palmer, who in- 
forms him of the true nature of his danger and the 
manner in which it is to be met. Rage is not to be 
subdued by mere brute force, nor yet by a direct act of 
volition, but by removing or restraining the exciting 

' Blent, blinded. 


cause. Bind first the old Hag Occasion, and her so?i 
Furor will soon cease to rage. Avoid all those scenes 
or occasions which call into exercise any ungovernable 
passion. If you attempt to check violence by violence, 
you only increase the evil, as rivers when stopped in 
their course, overflow their banks. Such are the 
counsels of the venerable Palmer. 

Therewith Sir Guyon left his first emprise, 
And, turning to that Woman, fast her hent [ 
By the hoar locks that hung before her eyes, 
And to the ground her threw : yet n'ould 2 she stent 3 
Her bitter railing and foul revilement ; 
But still provoked her son to wreak her wrong : 
But natheless he did her still torment, 
And, catching hold of her ungracious tongue, 

Thereon an iron lock did fasten firm and strong. 

Then, whenas use of speech was from her reft, 
With her two crooked hands she signs did make, 
And beckoned him ; the last help she had left : 
But he that last left help away did take, 
And both her hands fast bound unto a stake, 
That she no'te 4 stir. Then gan her son to fly 
Full fast, away, and did her quite forsake : 
But Guyon after him in haste did hie, 

And soon him overtook in sad perplexity. 

With hundred iron chains he did him bind, 

And hundred knots, that did him sore constrain : 

1 Hent, seized. s Would, (ne would), would not. 3 Stent, stint, restrain, 4 No'te, 
could not 


Yet his crreat iron teeth he still did n-rind 
And grimly gnash, threatening revenge in vain : 
His burning eyes, whom bloody streaks did stain, 
Stared full wide, and threw forth sparks of fire; 
And more for rank despite than for great pain, 
Shaked his long locks coloured like copper wire, 
And bit his tawny beard to show his raging ire. 

Having thus secured Furor and Occasion, Sir 
Guyon turned to the young Squire whom they had 
nigh beaten to death. The youth recounts to the 
Knight and Palmer the steps by which he had been 
made the thrall of raging passions. He loved and 
wooed a gentle dame. Assent of parents was gained, 
and the day of their nuptials appointed. A friend, 
who had been his play -fellow from infancy, contrived 
to insinuate doubts of the truth of his lady-love. Not 
stopping to reflect and sift the truth of these base sur- 
mises, passion carried him forward blindly, first to 
murder the innocent lady, then to poison his bosom 
friend, and lastly, to attempt the life of the silly cham- 
ber-maid, whose thoughtless but not guilty frivolities 
had been the unwitting cause of a mutual deception. 
Such is the brief but instructive history of ungoverned 
temper. Reason is blinded by passion, passion leads 
to crime, crime is followed by remorse, and remorse 
by Madness ! 

Sir Guyon has not much time to spend in reflection 
upon this painful recital. Their attention is soon 


attracted by something which will hardly fail to at- 
tract ours. 

Thus as he spake, lo ! far away they spied 
A Varlet, running towards hastily, 
Whose flying feet so fast their way applied, 
That round about a cloud of dust did fly, 
Which, mingled all with sweat, did dim his eye. 
He soon approached, panting, breathless, hot, 
And all so soiled, that none could him descry ; 
His countenance was bold, and bashed not 

For Guyon's looks, but scornful eye-glance at him shot. 

Behind his back he bore a brazen shield, 
On which was drawen fair, in colours fit, 
A flaming fire, in midst of bloody field, 
And round about the wreath this word was writ, 
Burnt I do burn. Right well beseemed it 
To be the shield of some redoubted Knight : 
And in his hand two darts exceeding flit 
And deadly sharp he held, whose heads were dight 

In poison and in blood of malice and despite. 

This varlet is named Atin, and is the squire of a 
knight named Pyrochles. 1 They are in search of 
the old beldam, Occasion, who comes generally soon 
enough unsought. Sir Guy on points to Occasion, 
bound in fetters, as before described. The varlet 
taunts Sir Guy on with lack of courage, " with silly, 
weak old woman thus to fight." His master, Pyro- 

1 Pyrochles, (from the Greek 7rvp fire, and x K<JL £ u or X^Z® *° rusn ) Hotspur (?). 


chles, arriving soon after, never stops to inquire 
whether Sir Guyon is friend or foe, but dashes away, 
as many another hot-head has done. 

Approaching nigh, he never staid to greet, 
Ne chaffer words, proud courage to provoke, 
But pricked so fierce, that underneath his feet 
The smouldering dust did round about him smoke, 
Both horse and man nigh able for to choke ; 
And, fairly couching his steel-headed spear, 
Him first saluted with a sturdy stroke : 
It booted not Sir Guyon, coming near, 

To think such hideous puissance on foot to bear. 

Sir Guyon, being on foot, evades the spear-thrust by 
a dexterous movement of his body, and aims a blow at 
Pyrochles as he passes. This blow glances from the 
helmet of Pyrochles, but mortally wounds his horse. 
Pyrochles is thus brought to his feet, and so the fight 
continues between the two Knights both on foot. I 
need not give the particulars of this battle. Pyrochles 
gradually lashes himself into such a fury that he be- 
comes perfectly reckless. 

He hewed, and lashed, and foined, and thundered blows, 
And every way did seek unto his life ; 
Ne plate, ne mail, could ward so mighty throws, 
But yielded passage to his cruel knife, 
But Guyon, in the heat of all his strife, 
Was wary wise, and closely did await 
Advantage, whilst his foe did rage most rife ; 


Sometimes athwart, sometimes he struck him straight, 
And falsed oft his blows t' illude him with such bait. 

It is not difficult to predict the issue of a contest 
between steady and well-tempered valour, and un- 
governable rage. Pyrochles is soon brought to the 
ground, disarmed, und made to sue for life. This 
being granted, Guy on asks why he had made so un- 
provoked an attack upon a stranger. " It was com- 
plained," said Pyrochles, " that you had used violence 
towards a defenceless old woman, and put her in 
chains ; and, indeed, there she is. I exhort you even 
now, on your manhood, let her go free, and her son too." 
" Is that all?" said Guyon. " If you want them, take 
them, but take care how you let them loose again." 
But your Hotspur is as inconsiderate in his kindness, 
as in his wrath. Let him take the consequence of his 
second folly. No sooner is Occasion unloosed from 
her bonds, than she begins to stir up fresh quarrel. 
Her son, being also released, is instigated by her to 
attack, not Sir Guyon, but his own benefactor and 
deliverer. A fierce battle ensues, in which Furor gets 
the mastery over the fool-hardy Knight, who had re- 
leased them. In the midst of the fray Sir Guyon goes 
off and — leaves the fool to his fate. 

Atin, seeing his master subdued, and foully abused 
by Furor and Occasion, hastens to summon to the 
rescue a brother of Pyrochles — a man of the same 


genus, but of a different species. Cymochles * (wave- 
driven), is one who knows no self-restraining or self- 
compelling power. Agitated by every passing wind 
of passion, he possesses equally the violence and the 
fickleness of the element which is his emblem — now a 
mountain-wave bearing shipwreck upon its crest — now 
a gently undulating stream in which pleasure may 
paddle her gilded boat undisturbed. Such is the 
wavering, fluctuating Cymochles. Atin finds him re- 
posing in a pleasure-garden — 

All carelessly displayed 
In secret shadow from the sunny ray, 
On a sweet bed of lilies softly laid, 
Amidst a flock of damsels fresh and gay, 
That round about him dissolute did play 
Their wanton follies and light merriment. 

From this scene, exhibiting the self-abandonment of 
pleasure, Cymochles is roused by the tale of his bro- 
ther's disaster to another, exhibiting equally the self- 
abandonment of revenge. Burning now with ven- 
geance, ^he and^the busy instigator, Atin, rush forth to 
seek the Knight who had put such dishonour upon 
Pyrochles. The pleasure-garden, in which he was 
revelling, contains the Bower of Bliss, and the En- 
chantress Acrasia, whom Sir Guy on is to destroy. 
Their seat is upon a lovely island. I do not pause to 

1 Cymochles, (Gr. xv/ma. a wave, and £\a£&> to rush, to be impelled), wave- 
driven (?). 


describe this bower and garden now, because we shall 
have to return to them again. Behold then Cymochles, 
roused by a sudden impulse of revenge, at the water's 
edge, seeking some means of conveyance to the main- 
land. A novel spectacle rivets his attention. 

Waiting to pass he saw whereas did swim 
Along the shore, as swift as glance of eye, 
A little Gondola, bedecked trim 
With boughs and arbours woven cunningly, 
That like a little forest seemed outwardly. 

And therein sat a Lady fresh and fair, 
Making sweet solace to herself alone : 
Sometimes she sung as loud as lark in air, 
Sometimes she laughed, that nigh her breath was gone ; 
Yet was there not with her else any one, 
That to her might move cause of merriment : 
Matter of mirth enough, though there were none, 
She could devise ; and thousand ways invent 

To feed her foolish humour, and vain jolliment. 

Which when far off Cymochles heard and saw, 

He loudly called to such as were aboard 

The little bark unto the shore to draw, 

And him to ferry over that deep ford. 

The merry Mariner unto his word 

Soon hearkened, and her painted boat straightway 

Turned to the shore, where that same warlike Lord 

She in received ; but Atin by no way 
She would admit, albe the Knight her much did pray. 

Eftsoons her shallow ship away did slide, 
More swift than swallow shears the liquid sky, 


Withouten oar or pilot it to guide, 
Or winged canvass with the wind to fly : 
Only she turned a pin, and by and by 
It cut away upon the yielding wave, 
(Ne cared she her course for to apply,) 
For it was taught the way which she would have, 
And both from rocks and flats itself could wisely save. 

And all the way the wanton Damsel found 
New mirth her passenger to entertain ; 
For she in pleasant purpose did abound, 
And greatly joyed merry tales to feign, 
Of which a store-house did with her remain ; 
Yet seemed, nothing well they her became : 
For all her words she drowned with laughter vain, 
And wanted grace in uttering of the same, 

That turned all her pleasance to a scoffing game. 

Her light behaviour and loose dalliance 

Gave wondrous great contentment to the Knight, 

That of his way he had no souvenance, 

Nor care of vowed revenge and cruel fight ; 

But to weak wench did yield his martial might. 

So easy was to quench his flamed mind 

With one sweet drop of sensual delight ! 

So easy is t' appease the stormy wind 
Of malice in the calm of pleasant womankind ! 

Cymochles interrogates the gay damsel as to her 
name and condition. She informs him, her name is 
Phsedria (immodest mirth) ; she is servant of the 
enchantress Acrasia (intemperance) ; the waters on 


which they are floating, are named the Idle Lake. 
To the wave-driven Cymochles, the nearest temptation 
is always the strongest. Removed from the immediate 
instigations of Atin, his vengeance melts like snow 
under the sunny influences of mirth and idleness; and 
he is carried unwittingly, not to the mainland, but to 
another island. The island which w T e are about to 
visit is not that which contains Acrasia and the Bower 
of Bliss, but a sweet little islet belonging to the laugh- 
ing, merry Phsedria. 

" In this wide inland sea, that hight by name 
The Idle Lake, my wandering ship I row, 
That knows her port, and thither sails by aim, 
Ne care, ne fear I how the wind do blow, 
Or whether swift I wend, or whether slow : 
Both slow and swift alike do serve my turn ; 
Ne swelling Neptune, ne loud thundering Jove 
Can change my cheer, or make me ever mourn : 

My little boat can safely pass this perilous bourn." 

Whilst thus she talked, and whilst thus she toyed, 
They were far past the passage which he spake, 
And come unto an Island waste and void, 
That floated in the midst of that great Lake; 
There her small gondola her port did make, 
And that gay pair issuing on the shore 
Disburdened her : their way they forward take 
Into the land that lay them fair before, 

Whose pleasance she him showed, and plentiful great store. 


It was a chosen plot of krtile land, 

Amongst wide waves set, like a little nest, 

As if it had by nature's cunning hand 

Been choicely picked out from all the rest, 

And laid forth for ensample of the best : 

Xo dainty flower or herb that grows on ground, 

Xo arboret with painted blossoms dressed 

And smelling sweet, but there it might be found 
To bud out fair, and her sweet smells throw all around. 

No tree, whose branches did not bravely spring ; 

No branch, whereon a fine bird did not sit ; 

No bird, but did her shrill notes sweetly sing ; 

No song, but did contain a lovely dit. 

Trees, branches, birds, and songs, were framed fit 

For to allure frail mind to careless ease. 

Careless the man soon waxed, and his weak wit 

Was overcome of thing that did him please : 
So pleased did his wrathful purpose fair appease. 

Thus when she had his eyes and senses fed 

With false delights, and filled with pleasures vain, 

Into a shady dale she soft him led, 

And laid him down upon a grassy plain ; 

And her sweet self without dread or disdain 

She set beside, laying his head disarmed 

In her loose lap, it softly to sustain, 

Where soon he slumbered fearing not be harmed : 
The whiles with a love-lay she thus him sweetly charmed. 

" Behold, man, that toilsome pains dost take, 

The flowers, the fields, and all that pleasant grows, 
How they themselves do thine ensample make, 


Whiles nothing envious nature them forth throws 
Out of her fruitful lap ; how, no man knows, 
They spring, they bud, they blossom fresh and fair, 
And deck the world with their rich pompous shows ; 
Yet no man for them taketh pains or care, 
Yet no man to them can his careful pains compare. 

" The lily, lady of the flowering field, 
The flower-de-luce, her lovely paramour, 
Bid thee to them thy fruitless labours yield, 
And soon leave off this toilsome weary stour : 
Lo ! lo, how brave she decks her bounteous bower, 
With silken curtains and gold coverlets, 
Therein to shroud her sumptuous belamour ! 
Yet neither spins nor cards, ne cares nor frets, 

But to her mother nature all her care she lets. 

" Why then dost thou, O man, that of them all 
Art Lord, and eke of nature Soverain, 1 
Wilfully make thyself a wretched thrall, 
And waste thy joyous hours in needless pain, 
Seeking for danger and adventures vain ? 
What boots it all to have and nothing use ? 
Who shall him rue that, swimming in the main, 
Will die for thirst, and water doth refuse 1 

Refuse such fruitless toil, and present pleasures choose.' 

By this she had him lulled fast asleep, 

That of no worldly thing he care did take : 
Then she with liquors strong his eyes did steep, 
That nothing should him hastily awake. 

1 Soverain, pronounced as a trisyllable, Sov-e-rain. 


So she him left, and did herself betake 
Unto her boat again, with which she cleft 
The slothful wave of that great greasy Lake. 

Leaving the deluded victim of impulse to sleep in 
his dangerous abode, let us return to Sir Guy on, 
This Knight and his faithful Palmer, in search of the 
island from which Cymochles had been ferried, and of 
the enchantress who ruled it, had now arrived at the 
lake, and were standing on the bank seeking for the 
means of crossing to the island, as Cymochles had 
sought the means of crossing from it. Behold Phsedria 
again plying her painted gondola. Called by Sir 
Guy on, she nears the shore and takes him in, but ab- 
solutely refuses admission to his companion. 

Is Sir Guyon safe, embarked upon the dangerous 
waters of Idleness, under the guidance of unrestrained 
Mirth, and the venerable Palmer left behind ? Reader, 
did not thine own sternness relax, as the laughing Dam- 
sel caroled forth her tuneful argument ? — In following 
Sir Guyon, it may relieve thee to recollect that he 
hath never yet swerved from his integrity ; and indeed, 
after some anxiety as to the result, we find him en- 
tirely proof against the arts which had been success- 
ful with the other Knight. Instead, however, of taking 
him to the island of which he was in search, the merry 
damsel conducts him to her own little islet. By the 
time of their arrival, Cymochles had awaked. A fight 
ensues between the Knights. Sir Guyon having dis- 


armed his antagonist, is prevented from killing him 
by the interposition of Phsedria. The damsel at last, 
wearied of attempting to draw away the mind of Sir 
Guyon from sobriety and honour, is glad to get rid 
of him, and so takes him ashore in her skiff. Atin, 
who had been left standing upon the shore, on seeing 
Sir Guyon, taunts him with bitter jibes. But reproach 
from man is less dangerous than flattery from woman. 
The well-poised mind, which is proof against the 
blandishments of Phsedria, will not be driven from its 
balance by the revilings of Atin. They part, the 
Knight to pursue his adventure, the varlet to wail still 
by the water, when behold a new wonder ! 

Whilst there the Varlet stood, he saw from far 
An armed Knight that towards him fast ran ; 
He ran on foot, as if in luckless war 
His forlorn steed from him the victor won : 
He seemed breathless, heartless, faint, and wan ; 
And all his armour sprinkled was with blood, 
And soiled with dirty gore, that no man can 
Discern the hue thereof: he never stood, 

But bent his hasty course towards the Idle Flood. 

The Varlet saw, when to the Flood he came, 
How without stop or stay he fiercely leaped, 
And deep himself beducked in the same, 
That in the Lake his lofty crest was steeped, 
Ne of his safety seemed care he kept ; 
But with his raging arms he rudely flashed 


The waves about, and all his armour swept, 
That all the blood and filth away was washed ; 
Yet still he beat the water, and the billows dashed. 

Atin drew nigh to weet what it might be ; 

For much he wondered at that uncouth sight : 
Whom should he but his own dear Lord there see, 
His own dear Lord Pyrochles in sad plight, 
Ready to drown himself for fell despite : 
" Harrow now, out and well away !" he cried, 
" What dismal day hath lent this cursed light, 
To see my Lord so deadly damnified ? 

Pyrochles, O Pyrochles, what is thee betide ?" 

" I burn, I burn. I burn," then loud he cried, 

" O how I burn with implacable fire ! 

Yet nought can quench mine inly flaming side, 

Nor sea of liquor cold, nor Lake of mire ; 

Nothing but death can do me to respire." 
# # # # # 

He called : " Pyrochles, what is this I see ? 

What hellish fury hath at erst thee hent I 1 

Furious ever I thee knew to be, « 

Yet never in this strange astonishment." 

" These flames, these flames," he cried, " do me torment !" 

" What flames," quoth he, " when I thee present see 

In danger rather to be drent 2 than brent ?" 3 

" Harrow ! the flames which me consume," said he, 
" Ne can be quenched, within my secret bowels be. 

1 Hent, seized. s Drent, drowned. 3 Brent, burnt. 


" That cursed man, that cruel fiend of hell, 
Furor, oh ! Furor hath me thus bedight : 
His deadly wounds within my liver swell, 
And his hot fire burns in mine entrails bright, 
Kindled through his infernal brand of spite, 
Since late with him I battle vain would boast ; 
Thai now I ween Jove's dreaded thunder-light 
Does scorch not half so sore, nor damned ghost 

In flaming Phlegethon does not so felly roast." 

Such is the miserable consequence of rashly attempt- 
ing to conquer Fury instead of removing Occasion. 
Atin plunges into the water to his master's relief, but 
in vain. An old man at last approaches the shore, 
whom they recognise. It is Archimago. Malice, 
which hath not yet accomplished its end, cannot 
afford to lose its instruments. Archimago, foiled in 
his attempts upon the Red-Cross Knight, needs all his 
auxiliaries in his new war upon Sir Guyon. He finds 
a salve therefore to relieve the miserable Knight. We 
leave the party to plot their schemes of mischief, and 
follow Sir Guyon. 

The ability to resist the allurements of frivolity, and 
the agitations of anger, are not a certain index of uni- 
versal Temperance, that perfect equipoise of the soul 
which we should all seek. How often do we see man 
denying himself all innocent recreation, and steeling 
himself even against the gentle influences of the softer 
sex, not because he possesses superior virtue, but 
because he is blindly delving after gain. We must 


see Sir Guyon, then, under new circumstances before 
we can judge finally of his character. Behold him, 
then, once more wandering alone through a tangled 
and trackless forest. 

At last he came unto a gloomy glade, 

Covered with boughs and shrubs from heaven's light, 

Whereas he sitting found in secret shade 

An uncouth, savage, and uncivil Wight, 

Of grisly hue, and foul ill-favoured sight ; 

His face with smoke was tanned, and eyes were bleared. 

His head and beard with soot were ill bedight, 

His coal-black hands did seem to have been seared 
In smith's fire-spitting forge, and nails like claws appeared. 

His iron coat, all overgrown with rust, 

Was underneath enveloped with gold ; 

Whose glistering gloss, darkened with filthy dust, 

Well yet appeared to have been of old 

A work of rich entail 1 and curious mould, 

Woven with antiques and wild imagery : 

And in his lap a mass of coin he told, 

And turned upside down, to feed his eye 
And covetous desire w T ith his huge treasury. 

And round about him lay on every side 

Great heaps of gold that never could be spent ; 
Of which some were rude ore, not purified 
Of Mulciber's devouring element ; 
Some others were new driven, and distent 

1 Entail, sculpture, carving (It. intaglio). 


Into great ingots and to wedges square ; 

Some in round plates withouten moniment :* 

But most were stamped, and in their metal bare 

The antique shapes of kings and Kesars strange and rare. 

After listening in the first Book to the ingenious 
reasonings of the villain Despair, we are not surprised 
to find Mammon arguing well his case, and putting in 
such strong light the excellence and advantages of 
wealth, that one is almost tempted to think for a 
moment that money is not such a bad thing after all. 
But Guy on is not tempted by the eloquent words of 
the Money-god. Mammon therefore resolves to ex- 
hibit before his eyes the sight of such wealth as no 
mortal had ever before beheld. The descent into the 
interior of the earth to the cave of Mammon, is 
thoroughly Spenserian. The House of Riches is thus 

So soon as Mammon there arrived, the door 
To him did open and afforded way : 
Him followed eke Sir Guyon evermore, 
Ne darkness him, ne danger might dismay. 
Soon as he entered was, the door straightway 
Did shut, and from behind it forth there leaped 
An ugly Fiend, more foul than dismal day ; 
The which with monstrous stalk behind him stepped, 

And ever as he went due watch upon him kept. 

Well hoped he, ere long that hardy Guest, 
If ever covetous hand, or lustful eye, 

1 Moniment, image, stamp (Lat. monimentum). 


Or lips he laid on thing that liked him best, 
Or ever sleep his eye-strings did untie, 
Should be his prey : and therefore still on high 
He over him did hold his cruel claws, 
Threatening with greedy gripe to do him die, 
And rend in pieces with his ravenous paws, 
If ever he transgressed the fatal Stygian laws. 

That House's form within was rude and strong, 

Like an huge cave hewn out of rocky clift, 

From whose rough vault the ragged breaches hung 

Embossed with massy gold of glorious gift, 

And with rich metal loaded every rift, 

That heavy ruin they did seem* to threat ; 

And over them Arachne high did lift 

Her cunning web, and spread her subtle net, 
Enwrapped in foul smoke and clouds more black than jet. 

Both roof, and floor, and walls, were all of gold, 

But overgrown with dust and old decay, 

And hid in darkness, that none could behold 

The hue thereof: for view of cheerful day 

Did never in that House itself display, 

But a faint shadow of uncertain light ; 

Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away ; 

Or as the moon, clothed with cloudy night, 
Does show to him that walks in fear and sad affright. 

In all that room was nothing to be seen 
But huge great iron chests, and coffers strong, 
All barred with double bends, that none could ween 
Them to enforce by violence or wrong ; 
On every side they placed were along. 


But all the ground with skulls was scattered 
And dead men's bones, which round about were flung ; 
Whose lives, it seemed, whilom there were shed, 
And their vile carcasses now left unburied. 

They forward pass ; ne Guyon yet spoke word, 
Till that they came unto an iron door, 
Which to them opened of his own accord, 
And showed of riches such exceeding store 
As eye of man did never see before, 
Ne ever could within one place be found, 
Though all the wealth, which is or was of yore, 
Could gathered be through all the world around, 

And that above were- added to that under ground. 

The charge thereof unto a covetous Sprite 
Commanded was, who thereby did attend, 
And warily awaited day and night, 
From other covetous Fiends it to defend, 
Who it to rob and ransack did intend. 
Then Mammon, turning to that Warrior, said : 
" Lo, here the worldes bliss ! lo, here the end 
To which all men do aim, rich to be made ! 

Such grace now to be happy is before thee laid." 

" Certes," said he, " I n'ill 1 thine offered grace, 
Ne to be made so happy do intend ! 
Another bliss before mine eyes I place, 
Another happiness, another end. 
To them, that list, these base regards I lend : 
But I in arms, and in achievements brave, 
Do rather choose my flitting hours to spend, 

1 PPM, ne will, will not. 


And to be lord of those that riches have, 
Than them to have myself, and be their servile slave. 

Mammon takes Sir Guyon from one apartment to 
another, through ever-varying scenes of splendour, but 
with like success. No variety or amount of untold 
wealth can tempt the steadfast Knight. 

" Suffice it then, thou Money-God," quoth he, 
" That all thine idle offers I refuse, 
All that I need, I have ; what needeth me 
To covet more than I have cause to use ?" 

Money, however, is sometimes sought not for its 
own sake, but as the means of gratifying a kindred 
yet slightly different passion. Money can purchase 
for its possessor power, title, rank, every distinction, 
but that of glory. Even the love of glory in some 
minds is not distinguished from the mere love of 
honour. And Mammon has not only ingots and gems, 
but crowns and diadems, and the insignia of office ; he 
has too, a royal daughter, named Ambition or Philo- 
time, (love of honour). All these are offered to the 
Knight and are in turn rejected. Sir Guyon at last, 
after spending three days amid these scenes of over- 
powering splendour, returns to the upper air, safe but 
exhausted. Overcome by these visions of the lower 
regions, he falls into a swoon and lies upon the ground, 
apparently dead. 

What has become of the faithful Palmer all this 


while ? — Denied a passage in the pleasure-boat of Phse- 
dria, he traversed the shore in various directions until 
he found the means of crossing elsewhere, and found 
at length his master lying, as we just left him, appa- 
rently dead upon the ground. On feeling his pulse, 
he discovered signs of life, and tries to resuscitate him. 
While thus engaged, he is interrupted by the approach 
of two Knights, who prove to be none other than Py- 
rochles and Cymochles, accompanied by Atin and 
old Archimago, who had guided the others hither on 
purpose. The Knights determine to outrage the body 
of their dead foe, and against the stout remonstrances 
of the Palmer are about to strip him of his armour, 
when lo, a new personage appears. This is the noble 
Prince Arthur, who comes to the rescue of Sir Guyon 
in his extremity, as he did to that of Saint George in 
the previous Book. A long and bloody battle ensues, 
in which the brother Knights, Pyrochles and Cymo- 
chles, are slain, Atin and Archimago flee away, and 
Guyon awakens from his swoon. The intervention of 
Prince Arthur is graceful, heroic, brilliant. All his 
movements indicate a being of superior nature, in 
whom honour is instinct, and judgment intuition, 
whose deeds are princely, whose end is glory. 

Had Spenser lived to complete the Fairy Queen, I 
have no doubt that Prince Arthur, from the glimpses 
which we have of him in the Books that exist, would 
have formed by far the most attractive and interesting 
personage in the poem ; and that his several adven- 


tures, scattered through the different Books, would 
have formed one beautiful and connected whole. As 
the matter now stands, however, while the story of 
each particular Knight is comparatively complete, that 
of Arthur is unfinished, and like most unfinished things, 
unsatisfactory. The adventure in which Prince Arthur 
engages in the second Book, occupies the ninth, tenth, 
and eleventh Cantos, or one fourth of the Book. It is, 
furthermore, directly connected with the main subject 
of the Book, being the destruction of Maleger, the 
Captain-General of all the evils that beset the human 
mind through the medium of the bodily senses. The 
subject is not devoid either of interest or instruction. 
But, as much must be omitted, I omit this relating to 
Arthur, as I did his adventure in the first Book, and 
proceed at once to the twelfth Canto, containing the 
final and crowming adventure of Sir Guy on. 

Behold Sir Guy on, then, embarked once more upon 
the waters, in search of that enchanted Island, where 
are the Bower of Bliss and its bewitching occupant, 
the Enchantress Acrasia. Strange and bewildering 
are the scenes through which he is to pass, and he 
hath not this time embarked without his faithful 
Palmer. Let the reader be like minded, who shall 
follow him in this perilous navigation. 

Two days now in that sea he sailed has, 
Ne ever land beheld, ne living wight, 
Ne ought save peril, still as he did pass : 


Then, when appeared the third morrow bright 
Upon the waves to spread her trembling light, 
An hideous roaring far away they heard, 
That all their senses filled with affright ; 
And straight they saw the raging surges reared 
Up to the skies, that them of drowning made afeard. 

Said then the Boatman, " Palmer, steer aright, 
And keep an even course ; for yonder way 
We needs must pass, (God do us well acquit !) 
That is the Gulf of Greediness, they say, 
That deep engorgeth all this worldes prey ; 
Which having swallowed up excessively, 
He soon in vomit up again doth lay, 
And belcheth forth his superfluity, 

That all the seas for fear do seem away to fly. 

" On th' other side an hideous Rock is pight 
Of mighty magnet stone, whose craggy clift 
Depending from on high, dreadful to sight, 
Over the waves his rugged arms doth lift, 
And threat'neth down to throw his ragged rift 
On whoso cometh nigh ; yet nigh it draws 
All passengers, that none from it can shift : 
For, whilst they fly that Gulfs devouring jaws, 

They on the rock are rent, and sunk in helpless waws." J 

Forward they pass, and strongly he them rows, 
Until they nigh unto that Gulf arrive, 
Where stream more violeut and greedy grows : 
Then he with all his puissance doth strive 

1 Waws, woes. 


To strike his oars, and mightily doth drive 
The hollow vessel through the threatful wave ; 
Which, gaping wide to swallow them alive 
In th' huge abyss of his engulfing grave, 
Doth roar at them in vain, and with great terror rave. 

So forth they rowed ; and that Ferryman 

With his stiff oars did brush the sea so strong, 
That the hoar waters from his frigot ran, 
And the light bubbles danced all along, 
Whilst the salt brine out of the billows sprung. 
At last far off they many Islands spy 
On every side floating the floods among : 
Then said the Knight : " Lo ! I the land descry ; 

Therefore, old Sire, thy course thereunto apply." 

The aged Boatman tells them, those green and luxu- 
riant spots, so tempting to the eye, are the Wandering 
Islands, on which whoever sets his foot can never re- 
trace his step, but evermore wandereth about, as do 
the Islands themselves, a useless, purposeless, mise- 
rable sluggard. The man who hath given himself 
over to such a state, hath made shipwreck of his hopes, 
quite as much as he who hath plunged into the gulf 
of greediness, or driven upon the rock of dissipation. 

They to him hearken, as beseemeth meet ; 
And pass on forward : so their way does lie, 
That one of those same Islands, which do fleet 
In the wide sea, they needs must passen by, 
Which seemed so sweet and pleasant to the eye, 


That it would tempt a man to touchen there : 
Upon the bank they sitting did espy 
A dainty Damsel dressing of her hair, 
By whom a little skippet floating did appear. 

She, them espying, loud to them gan call, 
Bidding them nigher draw unto the shore, 
For she had cause to busy them withal ; 
And therewith loudly laughed : but nathemore 
Would they once turn, but kept on as afore : 
Which when she saw, she left her locks undight, 
And running to her boat withouten oar, 
From the departing land it launched light, 

xAnd after them did drive with aR her power and might. 

I think we know this damsel, and need not fear the 
effect of her eloquence upon Sir Guy on. She meets 
no encouragement, and returns to her islet. 

The next peril which our navigators have to en- 
counter is the difficult passage between the quicksand 
of Unthriftyhood, and the whirlpool of Decay. But, 
thanks to the brawny arms of the old Boatman, and 
the steady hand of the Palmer, the light frigot goes 
on in its even course, when a new terror arrests the 

Sudden they see, from midst of all the main, 
The surging waters like a mountain rise, 
And the great sea, puffed up with proud disdain, 
To swell above the measure of his guise, 
As threatening to devour all that his power despise. 


The waves come rolling, and the billows roar 

Outrageously, as they enraged were, 

Or wrathful Neptune did them drive before 

His whirling chariot for exceeding fear ; 

For not one puff of wind there did appear ; 

That all the three thereat waxed much afraid, 

Unweeting what such horror strange did rear. 

Eftsoons they saw an hideous host arrayed 
Of huge sea-monsters, such as living sense dismayed : 

Most ugly shapes and horrible aspects, 

Such as dame Nature's self might fear to see, 

Or shame, that ever should so foul defects 

From her most cunning hand escaped be ; 

All dreadful portraits of deformity : 

Spring-headed Hydras ; and sea-shouldering Whales ; 

Great Whirlpools, which all fishes make to flee ; 

Bright Scolopendras armed with silver scales ; 
Mighty Monoceros with immeasured tails ; 

The dreadful fish, that hath deserved the name 

Of Death, and like him looks in dreadful hue ; 

The grisly Wasserman, that makes his game 

The flying ships with swiftness to pursue ; 

The horrible Sea-Satyr, that doth shew 

His fearful face in time of greatest storm ; 

Huge Ziffius, whom mariners eschew 

No less than rocks, as travellers inform ; 
And greedy Rosmarines with visages deform : 

All these, and thousand thousands many more, 
And more deformed monsters thousand-fold, 


With dreadful noise and hollow rumbling roar 
Came rushing, in the foamy waves enrolled, 
Which seemed to fly for fear them to behold : 
Ne wonder, if these did the Knight appal ; 
For all that here on earth we dreadful hold, 
Be but as bugs 1 to fearen babes withal, 
Compared to the creatures in the sea's entrall. 2 

The Palmer informs him that these monsters are 
but phantoms of the imagination, conjured up by the 
Witch, who was about to be dislodged, and who 
wished to terrify him from his course. Let not the 
after-horrors even of Delirium Tremens cause the poor 
inebriate, intent on reform, to falter in his course, or 
be terrified from his good resolutions. The Palmer, 
lifting his wand, smites the waters. Instantly the 
monsters disappear, and the sea again is calm. 

Sir Guyon sees, not far off upon an island, a seemly 
maiden, lone and desolate, wringing her hands in great 
distress. He is proof against smiles, as Phsedria can 
testify, but not against tears. He bids the Palmer 
steer the boat that way, wishing to alleviate the dis- 
tress of the maiden. But the Palmer tells him it is 
"only womanish fine forgery," and he keeps on his 

They next approach the Bay of the Mermaids. 

And now they nigh approached to the stead 
Whereas those Mermaids dwelt. It was a still 

1 Bugs, bugbears. 3 Entrdl, entrail. 


And calmy bay, on th' one side sheltered 
With the broad shadow of an hoary hill ; 
On th' other side an high rock towered still, 
That 'twixt them both a pleasant port they made, 
And did like an half theatre fulfil : 
There those five Sisters had continual trade, 
And used to bathe themselves in that deceitful shade. 

So now to Guyon as he passed by, 

Their pleasant tunes they sweetly thus applied : 

" O thou fair son of gentle Faery, 

That art in mighty arms most magnified 

Above all Knights that ever battle tried, 

O turn thy rudder hitherward awhile : 

Here may thy storm-beat vessel safely ride ; 

This is the port of rest from troublous toil, 
The world's sweet Inn from pain and wearisome turmoil." 

With that the rolling sea, resounding soft, 

In his big Bass them fitly answered ; 

And on the rock the waves breaking aloft 

A solemn Mean unto them measured ; 

The whilst sweet Zephyrus loudly whistled 

His Treble, a strange kind of harmony ; 

Which Guyon's senses softly tickled, 

That he the Boatman bade row easily, 
And let him hear some part of their rare melody. 

Once more the faithful Palmer interposes, and the 
boat keeps on its steady course. But Pleasure is not 
easily to be dislodged from her wonted seat, There 
are monsters of the air, as well as of the deep. And 


presently a dull, dense vapour overspreads the heavens, 
followed by a flock of innumerable myriads of foul and 
noisome birds, flapping their dirty wings, and uttering 
their discordant screams about and over the luckless 
mariners. But on, on, goes that steady boat. No toil 
can weary, no terror can alarm, no temptation can 
beguile its earnest occupants ; and at last they reach 
the Island, and touch the shore. But no sooner are 
they on terra-flrma, than a countless troop of savage 
beasts beset them. The wand of the Palmer once 
more averts the danger, and these ravenous beasts, (the 
human victims of Acrasia, who had been by her trans- 
formed into beasts,) are disenchanted and restored to 
their right shape and mind. 

Such wondrous power did in that staff appear, 
All monsters to subdue to him that did it bear. 

But there is an end to all things. They come at 
length to the garden and the Bower of Bliss. 

This garden is enclosed around with a fence — not 
such as might prove a means of security, but light and 
fanciful. The gate also is a beautiful piece of carved 
ivory work, representing sundry antique legends. 
The Porter who is stationed at this gate, is a tall and 
comely personage, with long and flowing robes, indi- 
cating the easiness and affability of his disposition. 
Beside him stands a mighty bowl of wine wherewith 
he gratifies the guests as they enter the garden. Sir 

THE FAIR Y Q U E E N. 21 3 

Guy on disdains the pretended courtesy, and over- 
throws the bowl. 

Passing this outer gate. Sir Guy on and the Palmer 
enter an immense enclosure. It is a large and spa- 
cious plain of extraordinary fertility of soil and mild- 
ness of climate. Just as the reader begins to think it 
is the most sweet and beautiful landscape he has ever 
seen, he comes to a second and inner enclosure, con- 
taining the garden itself. Sir Guvon, not daring to 
dwell even in thought upon the beauties around him. 
passes on to the gate which leads to this inner garden, 
This gate or porch, and its portress, must needs detain 
us a moment. 

So fashioned a porch with rare device, 

Arched over head with an embracing vine. 
Whose bunches hanging down seemed to entice 
All passers-by to taste their luscious wine, 
And did themselves into their hands incline, 
As freely offering to be gathered ; 
Some deep empurpled as the hyacine, 
Some as the rubin laughing sweetly red, 

Some like fair emeralds, not yet well ripened : 

And them amongst some were of burnished gold, 
So made by art to beautify the rest, 
Which did themselves amongst the leaves enfold, 
As lurking from the view of covetous guest, 
That the weak boughs with so rich load oppressed 
Did bow adown as overburdened. 
Under that porch a comely Dame did rest 


Clad in fair weeds but foul disordered, 
And garments loose that seemed unmeet for womanhed r 1 

In her left hand a cup of gold she held, 

And with her right the riper fruit did reach, 
Whose sappy liquor, that with fulness swelled, 
Into her cup she scruzed 3 with dainty breach 
Of her fine fingers, without foul empeach, 
That so fair winepress made the wine more sweet ; 
Thereof she used to give to drink to each, 
Whom passing by she happened to meet : 

It was her guise all strangers goodly so to greet. 

So she to Guyon offered it to taste; 

Who, taking it out of her tender hand, 

The cup to ground did violently cast, 

That all in pieces it was broken found, 

And with the liquor stained all the land : 

Whereat Excess exceedingly was wroth, 

Yet no'te 3 the same amend, ne yet withstand, 

But suffered him to pass, all were she loth ; 
Who, nought regarding her displeasure, forward go'th. 

Passing then this portal, they enter the garden 

There the most dainty paradise on ground 
Itself doth offer to his sober eye, 
In which all pleasures plenteously abound, 
And none does other's happiness envy ; 
The painted flowers ; the trees upshooting high ; 

1 Womanhed, womanhood. 2 Scruzed, squeezed, crushed. 3 No'te, could not. 


The dales for shade ; the hills for breathing space ; 
The trembling groves ; the crystal running by ; 
And, that which all fair works doth most aggrace, 
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place. 

And in the midst of all a fountain stood, 
Of richest substance that on earth might be, 
So pure and shiny that the silver flood 
Through every channel running one might see ; 
Most goodly it with curious imagery 
Was over-wrought, and shapes of naked boys, 
Of which some seemed with lively jollity 
To fly about, playing their wanton toys, 

Whilst others did themselves embay in liquid joys. 

And over all, of purest gold was spread 

A trail of ivy in his native hue ; 

For the rich metal was so coloured, 

That wight, who did not well avised it view, 

Would surely deem it to be ivy true : 

Low his lascivious arms adown did creep, 

That themselves dipping in the silver dew 

Their fleecy flowers they fearfully did steep, 
Which drops of crystal seemed for wantonness to weep. 

Infinite streams continually did well 

Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see, 

The which into an ample laver fell, 

And shortly grew to so great quantity ? 

That like a little lake it seemed to be ; 

Whose depth exceeded not three cubits' height, 

That through the waves one might the bottom see, 

All paved beneath with jasper shining bright, 
That seemed the fountain in that sea did sail upright. 


In this little lakelet, surrounded with a thick margin 
of shade trees, are seen two naked damsels bathing. 
Their, gambols in the water are described with a live- 
liness and warmth of colouring surpassing any de- 
scription even in Spenser. 

The Knight slackens his pace. 

On which when gazing him the Palmer saw, 
He much rebuked those wandering eyes of his, 
And counselled well him forward thence did draw. 
Now are they come nigh to the Bower of Bliss, 
Of her fond favourites so named amiss ; 
When thus the Palmer : " Now, Sir, well avise : 
For here the end of all our travel is : 
Here wons Acrasia, whom we must surprise, 

Else she will slip away, and all our drift despise." 

We are now, then, near the centre of the inner gar- 
den, and there, before us, stands the Bower of Bliss. 
Listen ! 

Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound, 
Of all that might delight a dainty ear, 
Such as at once might not on living ground, 
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere : 
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear, 
To read what manner music that might be ; 
For all that pleasing is to living ear 
Was there consorted in one harmony ; 
Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree : 


The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade, 
Their notes unto the voice attempered sweet ; 
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made 
To th' instruments divine respondence meet ; 
The silver-sounding instruments did meet 
With the base murmur of the water's fall ; 
The water's fall with difference discreet, 
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call ; 

The gentle warbling wind low answered to all. 

Within this matchless Bower, from which such 
enchanting music is heard, is the fair Witch herself 
She has with her a new lover, a fair and gentle boy 
whom she has enticed to her bower, and has just laid 
a slumbering in secret shade. Look ! 

And all that while right over him she hung 
With her false eyes fast fixed in his sight, 
As seeking medicine whence she was stung, 
Or greedily depasturing delight ; 
And oft inclining down with kisses light, 
For fear of waking him, his lips bedewed, 
And through his humid eyes did suck his sprite, 
Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd ; 

Wherewith she sighed soft, as if his case she rued. 

The whilst some one did chant this lovely Jay ; 
Ah ! see, whoso fair thing dost fain to see, 
In springing flower the image of thy day ! 
Ah ! see the virgin rose, how sweetly she. 
Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty, 


That fairer seems the less ye see her may ! 
Lo ! see soon after how more bold and free 
Her bared bosom she doth broad display ; 
Lo ! see soon after how she fades and falls away ! 

So passeth, in the passing of a day, 

Of mortal life the leaf the bud, the flower ; 
Ne more doth flourish after first decay, 
That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower 
Of many a lady and many a paramour ! 
Gather therefore the rose whilst yet is prime, 
For soon comes age that will her pride deflower : 
Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time, 

Whilst loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime. 

The Knight and the Palmer, aware that their only 
chance of success lies in a surprise, approach warily 
and silently. Through the openings of the leafy 
Bower, they see the inmates. 

The young man, sleeping by her, seemed to be 

Some goodly swain of honourable place ; 

That certes it great pity was to see 

Him his nobility so foul deface : 

A sweet regard and amiable grace, 

Mixed with manly sternness, did appear, 

Yet sleeping, in his well-proportioned face ; 

And on his tender lips the downy hair 
Did now but freshly spring, and silken blossoms bear. 

His warlike arms, the idle instruments 

Of sleeping praise, were hung upon a tree ; 


And his brave shield, full of old moniments, 
Was foully rased, that none the signs might see ; 
Ne for them, ne for honour cared he ; 
Ne ought that did to his advancement tend , 
But in lewd loves, and wasteful luxury, 
His days, his goods, his body he did spend : 
horrible enchantment, that him so did blend ! 

But let us drop the curtain. The Palmer had 
brought for the purpose a subtle net, which was sud- 
denly thrown over the guilty pair. Once captured, 
Acrasia is bound in chains of adamant. The youth, 
Verdant, is set at liberty, with good advice. 

The noble Elf and careful Palmer drew 

So nigh them, minding nought but lustful game, 

That sudden forth they on them rushed, and threw 

A subtle net, which only for that same 

The skilful Palmer formerly did frame : 

So held them under fast ; the whilst the rest 

Fled all away for fear of fouler shame. 

The fair Enchantress, so unwares oppressed, 

Tried all her arts and all her sleights thence out to wrest ; 

And eke her lover strove ; but all in vain : 
For that same net so cunningly was wound, 
That neither guile nor force might it distrain. 
They took them both, and both them strongly bound 
In captive bands, which there they ready found : 
But her in chains of adamant he tied ; 
For nothing else might keep her safe and sound : 
But Verdant (so he hight) he soon untied, 

And counsel sage instead thereof to him applied. 


But all those pleasant bowers, and palace brave, 

Guyon broke down with rigour pitiless ; 

Ne ought their goodly workmanship might save 

Them from the tempest of his wrathfulness, 

But that their bliss he turned to balefulness ; 

Their groves he felled ; their gardens did deface ; 

Their arbours spoil ; their cabinets suppress ; 

Their banquet-houses burn ; their buildings rase ; 
And, of the fairest late, now made the foulest place. 

Such is the Legend of Sir Guyon, or of Temperance. 
Well hath he approved himself a worthy Knight — one 
in whom the appetites, the passions, and the affections 
are all brought into subjection to reason — who pursues 
the even tenor of his way, unseduced by pleasure, 
unmoved by rage, unbought by gain — in whom tem- 
perance is not tameness, nor composure death — whose 
life is labour, whose end is glory, whose guide is 
reason, whose means are truth — and, finally, who gets 
an easy victory over others, because he hath first 
mastered himself. 



Third Book not Periodique— First appearance of Britomart — The En- 
chanted Spear — Flight of Florimel — Britomart and Guyon at Cas- 
tle Joyous— Britomart's History — Combat with Marinel — Arthur's 
Pursuit of Florimel — Night in the Woods — Arthur's History— 
FlorimePs History — Timias and the Forester — Timias and Bel- 
phasbe — Characters of Belphcebe and Amoret— Florimel in the 
Witch's Hut— The Witch's Son— FlorimePs Flight and Escape in 
the Fisherman's Boat— The Giantess, Argante — The Squire of 
Dames — The Snowy Florimel — Florimel rescued from the Fisher- 
man by Proteus — Elopement of Hellenore with Paridel — Scudamour 
— Amoret in the Enchanted Castle of Busyrane — Rescued by 

The third Book of the Fairy Queen is entitled 
" The Legend of Britomart, or of Chastity." Those 
of my readers who have followed me through the expo- 
sition of the Legend of Temperance, will readily under- 
stand that in like manner, in the illustration of the prin- 
ciple of Chastity, the author does not limit his view to 
a single aspect of the subject, but takes a wide and 
comprehensive survey of a numerous class of affiliated 
virtues and their corresponding vices. I do not purpose 


to follow the author in his delineation of all the protean 
forms of this important element of human character. 
All that I shall attempt will be to delineate particular 
scenes and characters, and to make these sketches in- 
telligible by giving briefly the thread of the whole 

The third Book is at once better and worse than its 
predecessors. It surpasses both the preceding in the 
number and excellence of individual scenes. At the 
same time, it lacks unity of subject and interest, which 
detracts from its merit as a whole. The nominal 
heroine is Britomart. But she shares the interest 
almost equally with several others, both men and 
women. The main action, moreover, is not brought 
to a close in this Book, but is carried forward into the 
fourth Book. If the commentary, therefore, in the 
present chapter, is not entirely periodiq ue, the reader 
is requested not to throw all the blame on the mere 
commentator. Not finding unity in the original, I do 
not feel at liberty to make it ; but shall follow the ex- 
ample of the author, and give a series of pictures, 
where I cannot get a complete story. 

Spenser excels in his female characters. He pos- 
sessed not only the genius requisite for the successful 
delineation of character generally, but in a special 
manner, that goodness of heart, without which there 
can be no proper appreciation of the mystery of 
woman. The woman who is about to appear upon the 
scene, occupies a prominent place in the general plot 


of the poem. She is introduced to the reader under 
the following circumstances. 

After relieving Alma from her besiegers, and cap- 
turing Acrasia in the Bower of Bliss, Prince Arthur 
and Sir Guy on are seen travelling together from 
country to country in search of adventure, when at 
last they meet upon an open plain an armed Knight 
and an aged Squire. The stranger Knight, who bears 
upon his shield a lion passant, begins to address him- 
self immediately for fight, Sir Guyon beseeches the 
Prince to leave that adventure to him. The com- 
batants put their spears in rest, and dash forward 
towards each other. They meet. Each one's spear 
strikes his antagonist, but with different effect. 
Guyon drives so furiously, it seems his spear will rive 
both shield and breast-plate. Still it does not, nor 
does it even move his antagonist from his seat, 
although it makes him stag-o-er somewhat. But 
Guyon himself, ere he is aware, finds himself stand- 
ing on the ground, nigh a spear's length behind his 

Ah ! gentlest Knight, that ever armour bore, 

Let not thee grieve dismounted to have been, 

And brought to ground, that never wast before ; 

'Twas not thy fault, but secret power unseen : 

That spear enchanted was, which laid thee on the green. 

Poor Guyon's mortification would have been indefi- 
nitely increased, had he known that his antagonist 


was a woman. It is indeed the famous female Knight, 
Britomart, the heroine of the third Book, whom 
we now see for the first time. Not knowing, 
however, the true state of the case, Sir Guyon draws 
his sword and comes stoutly forward on foot ready for 
close conflict. But the wary Palmer sees at once the 
danger. — For well he knows, 

" That Death sits on the point of that enchanted spear." 

By his interposition and reasoning therefore, and 
those of the Prince, Sir Guyon is content to put up his 
sword, and is reconciled first with himself, and then 
with the stranger Knight. The two, not only are 
reconciled, but enter into a close alliance, offensive 
and defensive, and travel on together in quest of 

0, goodly usage of those antique times, 
In which the sword was servant unto right; 
When not for malice and contentious crimes, 
But all for praise, .and proof of manly might, 
The martial brood accustomed to fight. 

While Arthur, Guyon, and Britomart are thus tra- 
velling together, they come at length into a wide forest, 
where no sign of living creature is to be seen, save the 
occasional track of the wild boar, the lion, or other 
savage beast. 

But what is that ? 


All suddenly, out of the thickest of the wood, upon 
a milk-white palfrey, alone, a goodly Lady rushes past 
close in front of our party. Her face seems clear as 
crystal, and yet through fear as white as ivory. Her 
garments are wrought of beaten gold. Her steed, all 
shining in his caparisons, flees past so nimbly one can 
scarce give the exquisite creature a leisurely look. 
She bends her eye backward as she flies, and her fair 
golden locks stream loosely in the wind. With good 
reason does she look back so intently, for there, in the 
opposite direction, comes her pursuer — a coarse, 
brawny forester. 

His wearied jade he fiercely forth doth push, 
Through thick and thin, both over bank and bush, 
In hope her to attain by hook or crook, 
That from his gory sides the blood doth gush ; 
Large are his limbs, and terrible his look, 
And in his clownish hand a sharp boar-spear he shook. 

This beautiful and perplexing apparition, who has 
thus crossed our track, is Florimel. Her name, 
(meaning flowers and honey), indicates truly that union 
of sweetness and delicacy which resides in her person. 
It breathes of the freshness at once of Flora and Sylva, 
and those unstudied graces which spring from nature, 
rather than those which result from cultivated and 
artificial life. 

I do not mean to say that Arthur and Guyon thus 



stop to analyse her character. They merely see a 
delicately beautiful woman fleeing from one who evi- 
dently pursues her with ungentle purpose. There is 
in such a case, it may well be believed, no time lost in 
settling questions of precedence. With the quickness 
of instinct, Prince and Knight both spur instantly 
after the beautiful vision, each in the hope to rescue 
her from shame, and to gain for himself the favour of 
so fair a dame. 

Britomart, thus suddenly forsaken of her new friends, 
(who, it seems, know nothing yet of her real character, 
but suppose her to be a veritable Knight), goes forward 
on her way alone, as before, conscious equally of her 
powers, and of the rectitude of her intentions. 

Ne evil thing she feared, ne evil thing she meant. 

She has not wandered far, before she comes to a 
goodly castle, pleasantly situated, with a forest on one 
side and a plain on the other. On this plain, in view 
of the castle, she sees six Knights striving against one. 
This one, however, holds his ground, though wounded 
and almost spent. Still, 

He stoutly dealt his blows, and every way, 
To which he turned in his wrathful stound, 
Made them recoil, and fly from dread decay, 
That none of all the six before him durst assay . 
Like dastard curs, that, having at a bay 


The savage beast embossed in weary chase, 
Dare not adventure on the stubborn prey, 
Xe bite before, but run from place to place, 
To get a snatch, when turned is his face. 

Britomart immediately interferes to demand fair 
play, calling to the six to forbear. They pay no atten- 
tion to the demand, but encircle their adversary with 
fresh assaults. Whereupon Britomart forces her way 
through the ring, and compels them to pause. The 
one Knight then explains, that these six are trying to 
compel him to change his lady-lore, and serve another 
dame ; that rather than thus to wrong the lady whom 
he has chosen, he has resolved to die. 

" For I love one, the truest one on ground, 

For whose dear sake full many a bitter stound 

I have endured, and tasted many a bloody wound." 

The Knight who utters this sentiment is the same 
that on opening the Fairy Queen was first introduced 
to the reader, '-'pricking on the plain," the gentle and 
well-approved Knight of the Red-Cross. I need not 
say whose love it is he refuses to forego. 

Britomart tries to shame the six Knights, not only 
for engaging in so unequal a combat, but for attempt- 
ing to induce a true Knight to give up his lady-love : 

All loss is less, and less the infamy, 

Than loss of love to him that loves but one — 

228 * SPENSER. 

And as to compelling a man to love another against his 



will, such a thing is not written in the code of Cupid. 

Ne may love be compelled by mastery ; 
For, soon as mastary comes, sweet Love anon 
Taketh his nimble wings, and soon away is gone. 

The six Knights then explain, that they are the ser- 
vants and champions of the peerless lady who dwells 
within this castle; and that she has imposed upon 
them, and they have freely accepted this service, to 
compel every Knight who should pass that way, if he 
be without a lady-love, to choose her for his mistress, 
and if he already have one, to desert his own for this. 
The explanation, so far from being satisfactory, deter- 
mines Britomart to espouse fully the cause of Saint 
George. Immediately then the contest is renewed. 
Ere they are well aware, by the aid of that mysterious 
spear, she has unhorsed three of the six, and the Red- 
Cross Knight has unhorsed a fourth, leaving but two 
to two. These two thereupon yield without farther 

The whole company, victors and vanquished, then 
enter the castle, whose hospitable doors are open to 
receive the strangers. This habitation is Castle Joy- 
ous ; the lady to whom it belongs, is Malecasta (in- 
continence) ; the six Knights who serve her, and who 
endeavour to compel the service of others, are Gar- 
dante (ogler), Parlante (prater), Jocante (jester), 
Basciante (kisser), Bacchante (drinker), Noctante 


(reveller). The two stranger Knights are entertained 
with great state and splendour in Castle Joyous. The 
chamber of audience and the other apartments, are 
rilled with gay troops of damsels and squires ; there is 
no lack of banqueting and jolly cheer : 

And all the while sweet Music did divide 
Her looser notes with Lydian harmony : 
And all the while sweet birds thereto applied " 
Their dainty lays and dulcet melody. 

The walls of the apartment are decorated with most 
lifelike embroidery, representing the loves of Venus 
and Adonis. Nothing in short is wanting that may 
affect the senses or the imagination, and incline the 
heart to unmanly softness. The description of these 
luxurious scenes occupies the rest of the first Canto, 
and possesses great warmth of colouring. 

Castle Joyous and its inmates, however, find no 
response in the noble-hearted Red-Cross Knight. The 
man that truly and purely loves one woman, has 
the strongest earthly safeguard against temptation. Be- 
sides, beauty of face and person was meant by nature 
merely as the index of indwelling purity of heart. 
Where this union is found on trial not to exist, disap- 
pointment and disgust are the necessary results. The 
beautiful Malecasta, with a face and person capable of 
ravishing the eye of the beholder, yet by her ungentle 
behaviour, merely disgusts her pure-minded guests ; 


and at early dawn, Britomart and Saint George take 
their leave, as we do now, of Castle Joyous. 

They travel forth together accompanied by their 
squires. The Red-Cross Knight at Castle Joyous had 
accidentally discovered the sex of Britomart. This 
does not, however, prevent their entertaining for each 
other a solid and rational friendship : and Saint George 
has already disclosed his love for Lady Una, a fealty 
which he would no more betray for Britomart than for 
Malecasta. He loves but only one, to whom since that 
first estrangement, he has ever been as true as needle 
to the pole. Sudden acquaintances, however, formed 
in the moment of danger, ripen very rapidly into in- 
timacy. The strangers of yesterday are not only 
sworn friends, but even Britomart has already con- 
fessed to Saint George a secret flame which she would 
not have allowed her own sister to guess. Yes ! She, 
the haughty and imperious dame, whose heart seemed 
cased in steel more hard and stubborn than that which 
enclosed her person, is all the while the victim of a 
romantic passion, and for a Knight too that she has 
never seen. The honest bearing of the Red-Cross 
Knight has been the " open sesame'' to her heart, and 
she has told him her whole story with the simplicity 
of a child. It is too long to quote, but I will give the 

Britomart was the only daughter of her father, the 
King of Wales. Merlin, the great Magician, had 
made for this King a Magic Mirror, in which he could 


see both the distant and the future. No foe could 
ever attack his kingdom unawares, because the King 
always saw them in his mirror long ere they ap- 
proached the border. Britomart had been a sort of 
" Die Vernon" in her time, and had given Dan Cupid 
bold defiance. But happening to stroll one day into 
her father's closet, she took it into her head to look 
into this wondrous mirror, which could bring into the 
field of vision whatever scene the wishes, interests, or 
circumstances of the beholder might happen to sug- 
gest. It is difficult to analyze the subtle essences 
which compose a young maiden's heart. Whether 
Britomart was governed by anything more than mere 
idle curiosity, it is difficult to say. The idea of a 
husband surely had never yet occupied her thoughts. 
But yet, as she gazed in the mirror, there came before 
her, in the distance, the vision of a Knight, of whom 
an elaborate description is given. It was the portrait 
of one whom she had never seen. Upon his shield 
was the name Artegal. That was all she knew or 
could learn of him. 

Thenceforth the feather in her lofty crest, 
Ruffed of Love 'gan lowly to avale ;* 
And her proud portance and her princely gest, 
With which she erst triumphed, now did quail : 
Sad, solemn, sour, and full of fancies frail, 
She waxed ; yet wist she neither how, nor why ; 

1 Avale. sink. 


She wist not, silly Maid, what she did ail, 
Yet wist she was not well at ease perdy ; 
Yet thought it was not love, but some melancholy. 

So soon as Night had with her pallid hue 
Defaced the beauty of the shining sky, 
And reft from men the world's desired view, 
She with her nurse adown to sleep did lie ; 
But sleep full far away from her did fly : 
Instead thereof sad sighs and sorrows deep 
Kept watch and ward about her warily ; 
That nought she did but wail, and often steep 

Her dainty couch with tears which closely she did weep. 

And if that any drop of slumb'ring rest 

Did chance to still into her weary sprite, 

When feeble nature felt herself opprest, 

Straightway with dreams, and with fantastic sight. 

Of dreadful things, the same was put to flight ; 

That oft out of her bed she did astart, 

As one with view of ghastly fiends affright : 

Then gan she to renew her former smart, 
And think of that fair visage written in her heart. 

Henceforth the quiet of her breast was disturbed. 
She was in love with a mere shadow. But shadow 
implies substance, and the shadow of Artegal, seen in 
the mirror, has its representative in a real Artegal 
somewhere, in or out of Fairy Land. At last, under 
the advice of Merlin, whose cave she visits, she 
resolves to go forth, equipped as a Knight, in quest of 
the unknown and noble stranger whom she had seen 


in the mirror. This is the sum of Britomart's story, 
which occupies the second and third Cantos. 

The Red-Cross Knight, to whom she communicated 
it, knew Artegal very well, and gave her such a glow- 
ing description of his person and his noble qualities, 
as filled her with a lively rapture. The friends at 
length are obliged to part, Saint George to go in quest 
of his own adventure, Britomart in quest of Artegal, of 
whom she had now received full information. It is 
not difficult to divine her thoughts as she wandered 
forth alone. 

She all the way- 
Grew pensive through that amorous discourse, 
By which the Red-Cross Knight did erst display 
Her lover's shape and chivalrous array : 
A thousand thoughts she fashioned in her mind, 
And in her feigning fancy did portray 
Him, such as she fittest for love could find, 
Wise, warlike, personable, courteous, and kind. 

Thinking thus of Artegal and wandering along the 
sea-shore, disconsolate and sad, she meets a Knight, 
Sir Marinel, the son of a Sea Nymph, who challenges 
her farther progress. A combat ensues. 

Eftsoons her goodly shield addressing fair, 
That mortal spear she in her hand did take, 
And unto battle did herself prepare. 
The Knight approaching, sternly her bespake : 
" Sir Knight, that dost thy voyage rashly make 


By this forbidden way in my despite, 
Ne dost by others' death ensample take ; 
I read thee soon retire, whilst thou hast might, 
Lest afterwards it be too late to take thy flight." 

Ythrilled with deep disdain of his proud threat, 
She shortly thus : " Fly they, that need to fly ; 
Words fearen babes : I mean not thee entreat 
To pass ; but maugre thee will pass or die :" 
Ne longer stayed for th' other to reply, 
But with sharp spear the rest made dearly known. 
Strongly the strange Knight ran, and sturdily 
Strook her full on the breast, that made her down 

Decline her head, and touch her crouper with her crown. 

But she again him in the shield did smite 
With so fierce fury and great puissance, 
That, through his three-square scutcheon piercing quite, 
And through his mailed hauberque, by mischance 
The wicked steel through his left side did glance : 
Him so transfixed she before her bore 
Beyond his croup, the length of all her lance; 
Till, sadly sousing on the sandy shore, 

He tumbled on an heap, and wallowed in his gore. 

Like as the sacred ox, that careless stands 

With gilden horns and flowery garlands crowned, 
Proud of his dying honour and dear bands, 
Whilst th' altars fume with frankincense around, 
All suddenly with mortal stroke astound, 
Doth grovelling fall, and with his streaming gore 
Distains the pillars and the holy ground, 
And the fair flowers that decked him afore : 

So fell proud Marinel upon the Precious Shore. 


A long and beautiful episode ensues, giving the 
history of Marinel. The story is too long to be in- 
serted here, but will be referred to hereafter. The 
reader will please not forget the circumstance, as upon 
it depends the fate of one of our principal female 

Leaving the corse of Marinel upon the strand, 
leaving also Britomart to pursue her course, and 
wishing her success, let us return and inquire about 
some of the rest of our party. Britomart, it will be 
recollected, had been separated from her companions 
by the apparition of the fleet and beautiful Florimel. 
Arthur and Guyon on that occasion both started in 
pursuit of the damsel ; but Timias, the noble Squire 
of Prince Arthur, pursued the rude forester, whose 
odious and ungentle intentions had so frightened the 
beautiful creature. The forester changed his course, 
which separated the Squire from his Prince; the 
Prince and Guyon in pursuit of Florimel, came to a 
cross-road which separated them, Guyon taking one 
path, Arthur the other. Let us follow the Prince. 

Arthur by chance takes the right path, and at last 
gains sight of the damsel. So thoroughly, however, 
has she been frightened, that she makes no distinction 
between her foe and her deliverer. She continues to 
nee from Arthur, as she had done from the brawny 

Aloud to her he oftentimes did call 

To do away vain doubt and needless dread : 


Full mild to her he spake, and oft let fall 
Many meek words to stay and comfort her withal. 
But nothing might relent 1 her hasty flight : 
So deep the deadly fear of that foul swain 
Was erst impressed in her gentle sprite. 

Nor was it that she supposed herself still pursued 
by the rude forester. She often looked back, and 
knew well the change in her pursuer : 

Yet she no less the Knight feared than that villain rude. 

Poor Florimel ! Thou art not alone in thy apprehen- 
sions. Thou art not the only trembler, whom threat- 
ened outrage from one, hath inspired with an unjust 
fear of all. 

Arthur pursues the fleeting vision in vain. Night 
comes on, and he loses sight of her. He turns loose 
his steed to forage upon the grass and shrubs, and he 
himself, far from human abode, spends the night alone 
in the woods, the overhanging trees his canopy, the 
turf his pillow. Night under any circumstances, but 
especially night alone in the midst of a trackless forest, 
might well dispose to reflection. Arthur, though 
weary, slept not. Both his curiosity and his compas- 
sion had been wrought to the highest pitch by the 
mystery of this fleeting damsel. And then, the 
thoughts of her, brought to his recollection the thought 

1 Relent, retard. 


of another and a brighter, and of the circumstance 
which first sent him forth in quest of adventure. He 
recalls, with as much distinctness as in the night on 
which he first saw it, that vision of loveliness which 
had fired his imagination. Arthur's experience had 
been in some respects like Britomart's. He was the 
son of a King, but at this time ignorant of his lineage. 
He had been taken from his mother immediately after 
birth, and delivered to an old Knight to be reared 
and educated. He had learned from the magician 
Merlin that his lineage was royal, but of what race he 
was not informed. Arthur had no magic mirror to 
look into, but he dreamed a dream, which revealed 
equally well the state of his mind. He too, had been 
a contemner of Cupid. But once, by night, he saw in 
a dream, a vision of glorious beauty that completely 
ravished him with delight. The lady of his dream 
told him, just before melting into thin air, her name 
was Gloriana ; she was the Queen of Fairydom ; and 
her love should be his, if duly sought. On waking, 
he resolved to explore all lands until he could find and 
woo the prototype of the heavenly beauty seen in his 
dream. He has been a year or more engaged in this 
pursuit. And now, while lying alone this night in 
the forest, he recurs to his previous life. The thought 
suggests itself, that possibly Florimel may be the 
Gloriana of his dreams. The reader indeed knows 
better, but Arthur does not, and he is vexed that just 
as he was beginning to gain upon her, night came on, 


and by its darkness stopped farther pursuit. He there- 
upon vents his dislike for this part of the twenty-four 
hours, in no very measured terms. 

" Night ! thou foul mother of annoyance sad, 
Sister of heavy Death, and nurse of Wo, 
Which wast begot in heaven, but for thy bad 
And brutish shape thrust, down to hell below, 
Where, by the grim flood of Cocytus slow, 
Thy dwelling is in Erebus' black house, 
(Black Erebus, thy husband, is the foe 
Of all the gods,) where thou ungracious 

Half of thy days dost lead in horror hideous : 

" What had th' Eternal Maker need of thee 
The world in his continual course to keep, 
That dost all things deface, ne lettest see 
The beauty of his work ? Indeed in sleep 
The slothful body that doth love to steep 
His lustless limbs, and drown his baser mind, 
Doth praise thee oft, and oft from Stygian deep 
Calls thee his goddess, in his error blind, 

And great dame Nature's handmaid cheering every kind. 

" But well I wot that to an heavy heart 
Thou art the root and nurse of bitter cares, 
Breeder of new, renewer of old smarts : 
Instead of rest thou lendest railing 1 tears ; 
Instead of sleep thou sendest troublous fears 
And dreadful visions, in the which alive 
The dreary image of sad Death appears : 

1 Railing, trickling down. 



So from the weary spirit thou dost drive 
Desired rest, and men of happiness deprive. 

" Under thy mantle black there hidden lie 
Light-shunning Theft, and traitorous Intent, 
Abhorred Bloodshed, and vile Felony, 
Shameful Deceit, and Danger imminent, 
Foul Horror, and eke hellish Dreariment : 
All these I wot in thy protection be, 
And light do shun, for fear of being shent : f 
For light ylike is loathed of them and thee ; 

And all, that lewdness love, do hate the light to see. 

Prince Arthur, renewing the pursuit next morning, 
meets a Dwarf, who had been the attendant of Flori- 
mel, and had been separated from her. From the 
Dwarf, Arthur learns Florimel's character and history. 
She was one of the ladies of the Court of Faery, who, 
though loved by many, loved but one, and that one, Sir 
Marinel, did not return her passion. Sir Marinel was 
reputed to be dead, slain by some stranger Knight, and 
left upon the strand. Soon after this news had reached 
the Court, fair Florimel was inquired for, but was no- 
where to be found. It was supposed she had gone in 
search of the corse of the cruel Marinel. The Dwarf 
had been sent in pursuit of her, and met with Arthur. 
The two then pursue the fugitive together. 

When Prince Arthur first started in pursuit of Flo- 
rimel, it will be recollected, his Squire Timias fol- 

Shent, shamed, 


lowed after the rude forester. In this pursuit he 
encountered an adventure of his own, quite as remark- 
able as that of the Prince. This adventure, which 
occupies most of the fifth canto, and all of the sixth, 
cannot be passed over entirely, because it serves to in- 
troduce some of the author's most splendid female 

The Squire, resolving not to let the rude forester 
escape, followed close after him, until they came into 
the very thickest part of a close and entangled forest. 
The forester, who was acquainted with all the windings 
and secret paths, led him near to the abode of his two 
brothers. There all three of these savage, brawny 
fellows assailed the Squire at once. He overcame and 
killed them all, but was grievously wounded himself. 

He lives, but takes small joy of his renown ; 
For of that cruel wound he bled so sore, 
That, from his steed he fell in deadly swoon : 
Yet still the blood forth gushed in so great store, 
That he lay wallowed all in his own gore. 
Now God thee keep ! thou gentlest Squire alive, 
Else shall thy loving Lord thee see no more. 

Fear not for this gentle Squire. Eternal Providence, 
which rescued Una in the time of her deep distress, 
will not let him perish in this unworthy manner. The 
wood in which he is lying is that in which, in the pre- 
vious book, we saw that brilliant phenomenon, the 
huntress Belphcebe. On this day, led beyond her 



companions in the eager pursuit of some wild beast, 
she penetrated into the deepest recesses of the forest, 
and found at last a track marked with blood. 

Shortly she came whereas that woful Squire 
With blood deformed lay in deadly swound ; 
In whose fair eyes, like lamps of quenched fire, 
The crystal humour stood congealed round ; 
His locks, like faded leaves fallen to ground, 
Knotted with blood in bunches rudely ran ; 
And his sweet lips, on which before that stound 
The bud of youth to blossom fair began, 

Spoiled of their rosy red were waxen pale and wan. 

Saw never living eye more heavy sight, 

That could have made a rock of stone to rue, 
Or rive in twain : which when that Lady bright, 
Beside all hope, with melting eyes did view, 
All suddenly abashed she changed hue, 
And with stern horror backward gan to start : 
But, when she better him beheld, she grew 
Full of soft passion and unwonted smart : 

The point of pity pierced through her tender heart. 

Meekly she bowed down, to weet if life 
Yet in his frozen members did remain ; 
And, feeling by his pulse's beating rife 
That the weak soul her seat did yet retain, 
She cast to comfort him with busy pain : 
His double-folded neck she reared upright, 
And rubbed his temples and each trembling vein ; 
His mailed habergeon she did undight, 

And from his head his heavy burganet did light. 


Belphoebe, hastening to gather some medicinal 
herbs, and braising them between two stones, squeezed 
out the juice thereof between her two lily hands into 
his wound, and then bound it up with her scarf. 
Under the influence of her remedies, life began to re- 
turn to its wonted seat ; and, heaving a deep groan, he 
opened at last his eyes. What a picture ! As he had 
been lying upon his back, his eyes on opening were of 
course directed upward. But between him and the 
sky, was an intervening object. The eyes of the 
awakening man rested, not upon the heaven, but upon 
an object equally pure, clear, and bright — a face which, 
even in ordinary circumstances, might well be mis- 
taken for that of an angel ! 

" Mercy ! dear Lord," said he, " what grace is this 
That thou hast showed to me sinful wight, 
To send thine Angel from her bower of bliss 
To comfort me in my distressed plight ! 
Angel, or Goddess do I call thee right ? 
What service may I do unto thee meet, 
That hast from darkness me returned to light, 
And with thy heavenly salves and med'cines sweet 

Hast drest my sinful wounds! I kiss thy blessed feet." 

Belphoebe, blushing, informs hirn that she is neither 
an angel nor a goddess, but simply a maiden, the 
daughter of a wood-nymph, and declines any requital 
for her kindness beyond the consciousness of having 
done it. 


Her maidens, having by this time arrived, assisted 
in conveying the wounded boy to the secret sylvan 
retreat of their mistress. 

Thither they brought that wounded Squire, and laid 

In easy couch his feeble limbs to rest. 

He rested him awhile ; and then the Maid 

His ready wound with better salves new dressed : 

Daily she dressed him, and did the best, 

His grievous hurt to guarish, that she might ; 

That shortly she his dolour hath redressed, 

And his foul sore reduced to fair plight : 
It she reduced, but himself destroyed quite. 

O foolish physic, and unfruitful pain, 

That heals up one, and makes another wound ! 

She his hurt thigh to him recured again, 

But hurt his heart, the which before was sound, 

Through an unwary dart which did rebound 

From her fair eyes and gracious countenance. 

What boots it him from death to be unbound, 

To be captived in endless durance 

Of sorrow and despair without aleggeance ! ' 

Still as his wound did gather, and grow whole, 

So still his heart waxed sore, and health decayed : 

Madness, to save a part, and lose the whole ! 

Still whenas he beheld the heavenly Maid, 

Whilst daily plasters to his wound she laid, 

So still his malady the more increased, 

The whilst her matchless beauty him dismayed. 

1 Aleggeance, alleviation. 


Ah God ! what other could he do at least, 
But love so fair a Lady that his life released ! 

Long while he strove in his courageous breast 
With reason due the passion to subdue, 
And love for to dislodge out of his nest ; 
Still when her excellencies he did view, 
Her sovereign bounty and celestial hue, 
The same to love he strongly was constrained : 
But, when his mean estate he did review, 
He from such hardy boldness was restrained, 

And of his luckless lot and cruel love thus plained : 

" Unthankful wretch," said he, " is this the meed, 
With which her sovereign mercy thou dost quite ? 
Thy life she saved by her gracious deed ; 
But thou dost ween with villanous despite 
To blot her honour and her heavenly light : 
Die ; rather die, than so disloyally 
Deem of her high desert, or seem so light : 
Fair death it is, to shun more shame, to die : 

Die ; rather die, than ever love disloyally. 

" But if, to love, disloyalty it be, 

Shall I then hate her that from deathes door 

Me brought ? — Ah ! far be such reproach from me ! 

What can I less do than her love therefore, 

Since I her due reward cannot restore 1 

Die ; rather die, and dying do her serve ; 

Dying her serve, and living her adore ; 

Thy life she gave, thy life she doth deserve ; 

Die ; rather die, than ever from her service swerve. 


" But, foolish boy, what boots thy service base 

To her, to whom the heavens do serve and sue ? 

Thou, a mean Squire of meek and lowly place ; 

She, heavenly born and of celestial hue. 

How then ! — Of all Love taketh equal view : 

And doth not Highest God vouchsafe to take 

The love and service of the basest crew ? 

If she will not : die meekly for her sake : 
Die ; rather die, than ever so fair love forsake?" 

Thus warred he long time against his will ; 

Till that through weakness he was forced at last 
To yield himself unto the mighty ill, 
Which, as a victor proud, gan ransack fast 
His inward parts, and all his entrails waste, 
That neither blood in face nor life in heart 
It left, but both did quite dry up and blast ; 
As piercing levin, 1 which the inner part 
Of everything consumes and calcineth by art. 

Which seeing fair Belphoebe gan to fear 

Lest that his wound were inly well not healed, 

Or that the wicked steel empoisoned were ; 

Little she weened that love he close concealed. 

Yet still he wasted as the snow congealed 

When the bright sun his beams thereon doth beat : 

Yet never he his heart to her revealed ; 

But rather chose to die for sorrow great, 
Than with dishonourable terms her to entreat. 

She, gracious Lady, yet no pains did spare 
To do him ease, or do him remedy : 

1 Letin, lightning. 


Many restoratives of virtues rare, 
And costly cordials she did apply, 
To mitigate his stubborn malady : 
But that sweet cordial which can restore 
A love-sick heart, she did to him envy ; 
To him, and to all th' unworthy world forlore, 
She did envy that sovereign salve in secret store. 

Belphcebe is Spenser's idea of absolute virginity — 
of a being possessing all womanly perfections, except 
that which is most characteristic — having all the grace 
and delicacy of her sex, without its dependence — not 
like Britomart, unloving because she had not seen the 
right one, or not appearing to others to love because 
she successfully concealed her feelings : — but one, who 
could pity the misfortunes or admire the noble qualities 
of a man, as she would those of a woman ; who did not 
love, because in the composition of her heart there was 
no mixture of that subtle element on which love feeds ; 
whose want of love was not want of feeling, nor the 
result of disappointment, much less of chagrin ; who 
could sympathize with the pains and alleviate the dis- 
tresses of a wounded squire, as she would those of a 
younger brother ; in whose bosom there was no latent, 
undeveloped want ; to whose eyes the magic mirror of 
Merlin would have revealed only a group of sisterly 
nymphs, a medicinal herb, or a wounded deer; in 
whose tender and graceful stalk, (to vary yet once more 
the expression,) neither the germ had been retarded 
by late spring, nor the bud blasted by untimely frost, 


nor the flower already faded and fallen, but its sap, by 
native constitution, contained only that element which 
produces branches and leaves — a plant, flowerless 
indeed, but graceful, unchanging, perennial, green. 
Belphcebe is not a perfect woman. Her imperfection, 
however, is of a kind which makes her more admirable, 
though less interesting. In proportion as she is less 
womanly, she is more angelic. 

Spenser's devout loyalty to his sovereign, the Virgin 
Queen, as well as the native bent of his mind, led him 
to admire beyond bounds such a character as this. 
He has lavished upon it the riches of his genius with 
a most profuse and hearty liberality. The birth of 
Belphcebe is one of his master-pieces. He describes 
this event, in the first place, in a few general terms, 
which seem to be a sort of ottar of roses, the very 
quintessence of poetry. 

Her birth was of the ivomb of morning dew, 
And her conception of the joyous prime ; 
And all her whole creation did her shew, 
Pure and unspotted from all loathly crime 
That is ingenerate in fleshly slime. 

Belphcebe had a twin sister, Amoret. The babes 
had been stolen from their sleeping mother on the day 
of their birth by two of the Goddesses, and educated 
separately according to the tastes of their foster-parents. 
Diana or Phoebe, the Virgin Goddess, the alma mater 
of one, made her as we have just seen her, the peerless 


virgin Beiphoebe. Venus, Goddess of Love, took the 
other babe, the infant Amoret, to the gardens of Adonis, 
and caused her to be trained in all the arts and mys- 
teries of perfect womanhood. By the Amoret of 
Spenser we are to understand one, whose perfections 
and imperfections were the counterpart of her sister's ; 
who was both less angelic and more womanly; who 
was made to love and to be loved ; who found not only 
her happiness, but her honour and her perfection, in a 
feeling of dependence upon another ; the rays of whose 
beauty diffused warmth as well as light ; whose deli- 
cacy was not the angular and facial exactness of the 
diamond, hard, bright, and cutting, but the soft repose 
of a sunbeam upon a bank of violets ; whose love was 
not the playful and sparkling jet d'eau of the wild 
Florimel, nor the deep, concealed fountain of the 
haughty Britomart, but a full, broad, generous stream 
of affection through which poured every energy of her 
soul. Amoret is a being too earnest to be coy, too 
confiding to be jealous. She bestows her love not as 
a boon to another, but as a necessary gratification to 
herself. Her love is twice blessed. It blesseth her that 
gives, and him that takes. Her repose is not inward 
and within herself, but outward upon another. She 
experiences a high gratification in knowing that she is 
loved, but a still higher one in loving. There is in her 
love a fulness, strength, bounty, simplicity, and entire- 
ness, to which the best historical parallel is to be found 


in the other sex — I mean, in the heart of Spenser him- 
self, as poured forth in the Epithalamium to his wife. 

But what became of Timias ? He was left in cir- 
cumstances not very favourable, certainly, to his peace 
of mind. Leaving the gentle Squire still for some 
time in the experience of that blissful pain, let us try 
once more to extricate the fair Florimel from her 
threatened dangers. They are of a real and most 
awful kind. 

Poor trembler ! The heart bleeds to follow her on 
her hard journey. Neither in mind nor in body has 
she been trained to the endurance of such fatigue. 
Britomart has a hardy frame and a vigorous intellect, 
which enable her to join the rude encounter, either of 
wit or of lances, without fear or danger. But it is not 
so with Florimel. With a bodily frame of exquisite 
delicacy, and a mind that knows no escape from 
danger but by flight, behold this child of sensibility 
and fancy, pursuing her dreary track through the 
wilderness. The brawny forester has been diverted 
by the vigilance of Timias. Guyon lost his way at 
the cross-roads. Arthur was often near enough to 
make his voice heard, and she saw clearly his noble 
countenance. But she is in a state of mind incapable 
of distinguishing friend from foe. One, awful idea 
has taken possession of her soul. Under its influence 
she presses on — on — on. At last Arthur, (who the 
reader knows would have poured out his life in her 


defence,) in the midst of approaching night among the 
woods, is lost sight of. Still, she urges forward with 
a perseverance which would have been entirely be- 
yond the capability of her tender physical frame, but 
for the unwonted energy derived from powerful ex- 
citement. All night she continues that sickening 
flight. Her noble beast falls exhausted upon the 
ground, unable to move a foot. Alone, deprived of 
the companionship even of her generous steed, the 
gentle creature now goes forward on foot. She sees 
at length, from the hill-side, a little smoke rising 
through the tops of the trees from an adjoining valley. 
Florimel, though in awful fear, is not in despair. 
Hope still inhabits a small chamber in one corner of 
her heart. The smoke which so gracefully curls from 
the tops of those distant trees, brings a ray of gladness 
even to her forlorn soul. She directs her weary feet 
to the spot whence that sign of human habitation has 

There, in a gloomy hollow glen, she found 
A little cottage, built of sticks and reeds 
In homely wise, and walled with sods around ; 
In which a Witch did dwell, in loathly weeds 
And wilful want, all careless of her needs. 

The Damsel there arriving entered in ; 
Where, sitting on the floor the Hag she found 
Busy (as seemed) about some wicked gin : 
Who, soon as she beheld that sudden stound, 


Lightly upstarted from the dusty ground, 
And with fell look and hollow deadly gaze, 
Stared on her awhile, as one astound, 
Ne had one word to speak for great amaze. 

Poor Florimel ! This was the spot from which that 
hope-inspiring smoke had so gracefully curled into the 
sky ; and it hath led her, not to the abode of rude hos- 
pitality, but to a den of crime, filth, and superhuman 
power. How her heart sinks as she encounters that 
silent gaze. Can it be, that Providence has saved her 
from open violence, only that she may become the prey 
of secret machinations? Even the old hag cannot re- 
sist that imploring look. Some sparks of woman's 
nature survive even in her breast, and she allows the 
forlorn stranger to rest awhile her weary limbs. In the 
absence of floor or seat of any kind in this miserable 
hut, Florimel places her dainty limbs upon the filthy 
ground, and gathers up more closely around her, her 
disordered and torn garments, and her dishevelled 
locks. The old witch, seeing the costly gems that 
glitter from her apparel, and the delicate beauty of her 
person, so far surpassing all that she has ever before 
seen, immediately concludes her guest to be some 
goddess, or other superior being, and changes her 
manner accordingly. 

But let not hope again rise too soon in thy breast, 
gentle one ! The old hag is not the sole occupant of 
the hut. This wicked woman has a wicked son — a 
coarse, ignorant, over-grown cub, who has always been 


too lazy to pursue any regular business — who has no 
thought except to engorge the food provided for him 
by his mother — whose only occupation is to sleep, or 
to stretch himself in the sun on the ground by the hut. 
Idleness, fulness of bread, and the entire absence of 
moral and mental cultivation, have made him a type 
of humanity in its most loathsome condition — brawny 
and brutish, a being capable of the highest human 
crime, with the lowest amount of human motive. 

The rude Carl was absent from the hut when Flori- 
mel first entered. Returning a short time after, and 
seeing a being of such supernatural beauty, and such 
queenly apparel, he is at first, like his mother, struck 
dumb with wonder. 

Florimel, seeing the stupid wonder of these igno- 
rant wretches, and finding them disposed to treat her 
with a rude sort of kindness, the best that they seemed 
to know how, met their civilities in a corresponding 
spirit, and condescended to converse with them, so far 
as she might, in language and on subjects levelled to 
the current of their ideas. Many days she remained 
in this doubtful abode. Relieved at length from his 
first astonishment, and permitted daily to gaze a-near 
upon that ravishing beauty, the witch's son began to 
entertain for Florimel the only emotion, except rage, 
of which his beastly nature was capable. The poor 
panting bird has just begun to recover breath, and to 
be rested from her fatigue, when her quick eyes see but 
too evidently the multiplying symptoms of new danger. 


The noble steed, which had fallen exhausted shortly 
before she reached the hut, had recovered strength 
like herself, and was kept by the witch and her son as 
a part of their prize. Awful danger, which sometimes 
brings upon minds of great delicacy a sort of benumb- 
ing stupor, at others begets an almost superhuman 
activity and keenness. The latter was now the case 
with Florimel ; and early one morning, when the vile 
hag and her uncivil son awoke, they found, to their 
amazement, their guest and the steed both missing. 

The rage of the idle Carl can be more easily ima- 
gined than described. He beat his breast, he scratched 
his face, he tore his hair, he bit out great lumps of 
flesh from his body. In vain did his mother try to 
soothe him. Herbs, charms, tears, talk — all are of no 
avail. At last, all else failing, she betakes herself to 
her wicked arts to bring back Florimel to her son's 
embraces, or to cause her destruction. 

Eftsoons, out of her hidden cave she called 
An hideous beast of horrible aspect, 
That could the stoutest courage have appalled ; 
Monstrous, misshaped, and all his back was specked 
With thousand spots of colours quaint elect ; a 
Thereto, so swift, that it all beasts did pass : 
Like never yet did living eye detect ; 
But likest it to an hyena was, 
That feeds on it-omen's flesh, as others feed on grass / 

1 Quaint elect, oddly chosen. 


The hag, having evoked this fearful monster, whose 
scent after women's blood far surpassed that of the 
greyhound for the hare, sent it forth with orders 
either to bring back the damsel to her frantic son, or 
to devour her scornful beauty. Poor Florimel, who 
had been gone some hours, and began to feel safe from 
pursuit, now sees behind her this ugly monster. 

But her fleet palfrey did so well apply 

His nimble feet to her conceived fear, 

That whilst his breath did strength to him supply, 

From peril free he her away did bear. 

But, alas! the generous beast begins to flag; the 
frightful shape evidently is gaining on them ; and, to 
cut off all hope, and put an end to flight, they begin 
to approach the sea. She leaps with the agility of 
despair from her fainting horse, and continues the 
hopeless flight on foot. But wherefore ? The waves, 
even if she is not overtaken sooner, must be the ter- 
minus of her flight ! 

Will God suffer innocence to perish thus ? Look 
once more, poor trembler, to that quiet cove. There 
heaves a little boat, in which an old fisherman lies 
sound asleep, his nets spread out on the sand to dry. 
Florimel leaps in, pushes off from shore, and sees the 
land-monster not ten leaps behind, raging at the water's 
edge at the victim which has escaped his power. En- 
ter that light shallop, gentle reader, and with this for- 
lorn damsel see the ugly shape upon the shore, deprived 


of his intended victim, turning in fell despite upon the 
noble horse that had saved her life, and tearing him to 
pieces before her eyes. 

Poor, poor Florimel ! We know that man in brute 
strength is capable of mastery over defenceless woman 
— we have read in history the horrors of cities given 
up to a licentious and brutal soldiery. We know, 
alas ! that the trials of Florimel are an over true picture 
of what has often happened in this sad world of wo 
and crime ! 

Behold once more, the gentle lady, in that dancing 
shallop, upon the broad ocean, now far from land, and 
alone, save with her God and that aged fisherman, who 
still sleeps in the bottom of the boat. But our attention 
is suddenly called back to the land. 

Sir Satyrane, who had fought with Sansloy (in the 
First Book) in defence of the Lady Una, now reap- 
pears, riding along the sea-shore. He had known 
Florimel in her happy days at Court. Seeing this 
ugly beast on the shore, the dead horse, marks of blood 
and violence strewn around, and among the rest the 
girdle of the lady, which had accidentally fallen in her 
hasty flight, he conjectures that she has fallen a victim 
to this loathsome monster and been devoured by him. 
A fierce contest ensues, in which Sir Satyrane finally 
conquers the monster, though unable to kill him, and 
binds him with the girdle of Florimel. That delicate 
riband, the emblem of woman's purity, operates as a 
charm upon the loathsome creature, and causes him to 


tremble in every limb, and to follow his captor as a 
submissive thrall. 

Spenser gives no name to this monster, and does not 
explain its allegorical meaning. A conjecture as to its 
meaning is offered for what it is worth. The beastly 
part of man's nature, when seeking its gratification by 
brute force, and by any cause cheated of its victim, 
changes to rage, and seeks to kill what it cannot taint. 
Such, if I err not, has been the secret history of many 
a dark deed of violence and blood. 

Sir Satyrane, riding along the shore, encounters a 
huge Giantess, Argante by name, who equals in dimen- 
sions the giant Orgoglio, mentioned in a former Book. 
She is mounted, and carries in her lap, athwart her sad- 
dle-bow, a young squire, whom she has captured, and 
is carrying off to make her thrall. She is pursued by 
some unknown champion, who is seen in the distance. 
Sir Satyrane, not waiting for him to come up, himself 
attacks the Giantess. But she, dropping the squire, 
gives Satyrane one or two terrible blows, and finally, 
seizing him by the collar, lifts him fairly off the ground, 
and is carrying him away in her lap. Her pursuer, 
having by this time arrived, presses his pursuit so 
hotly, that she is obliged to drop Sir Satyrane and ad- 
dress herself once more to flight, leaving both her vic- 
tims upon the ground. Recovering from his fright, Sir 
Satyrane turns to the squire, from whom we learn the 
nature and history of this Giantess. The details are dis- 
gusting but instructive. Spenser does not explain the 


allegory, but the meaning is sufficiently obvious. That 
beastly element of human nature, which in the male 
sex finds its fitting representative in the shape of the 
old hao-'s son, is in the other sex still more odious and 
revolting ; and finds an appropriate emblem in an over- 
grown, brawny Giantess, who makes men her prey. 

The young squire whom she was carrying away, is 
called the " Squire of Dames." His name, too, is some 
index to his character. His modern representative is 
the fashionable and well-bred Rake, who entertaining- 
of woman opinions that dishonour his manhood, lives 
only to flatter, and flatters only to betray— who calls 
every woman an angel, while he inwardly believes her, 
and endeavours to make her, as base as himself. Such 
a course of life, the poet would teach us, is no less 
dangerous than criminal. The bad principles of our 
nature, like the good ones, grow by indulgence till 
they get beyond control. The miserable end of a life 
of. guilty dissipation, is not inaptly shadowed forth in 
the condition of the Squire of Dames, carried away by 
force in the lap of the brawny Argante to be the thrall 
of her loathsome bower. I only feel sorry, he was re- 
leased by the interposition of Sir Satyrane and her 
unknown pursuer. 

When Sir Satyrane stopped to encounter the 
Giantess, he let go the ugly beast which he had 
captured, and which he was leading. The foul crea- 
ture, finding itself loose, ran away during the contest 
and returned to the hut of the old witch, with Flori- 



mel's girdle around him. The witch seeing- the girdle, 
supposed Florimel was devoured, and ran with triumph 
to her disconsolate son. He, at the sight of it, drew 
the same inference, but instead of rejoicing, became 
more desperate than ever. Thereupon the old hag 
resorted again to her wicked arts, and created a false 
Florimel of snow, so like the true, that it would be 
difficult to distinguish them apart. This false Florimel 
was then apparelled in such garments as the true 
Lady in her hasty flight had left behind, and in the 
true girdle. The various adventures of this false 
Florimel I pass by, and return to the true gentle Lady, 
whom we left alone in the boat on the open sea. 

The fisherman, who had been sleeping in the bot- 
tom of the boat, at length awoke. On opening his 
eyes, between waking and sleeping, he saw before 
him a being of such exquisite beauty as not even in 
dreams had ever before visited his imagination. He 
found himself fully awake, and the vision real and 
personal. He asked her name, her history, and how 
she came there. Florimel evaded the questions by 
pointing to the land, now almost out of sight, and 
besought him to guide the boat towards the shore. 
She had been so absorbed with her late dangers, that 
she had not till that moment thought of the perils of 
the ocean. She now began to fear a watery grave. 

The fisherman, either feeling no danger, or reckless 
of it under the influence of a new thought which had 
taken possession of him, replied carelessly that the 


boat would take care of itself, and fixed his whole 
attention upon her. The fisherman, I said, was an 
old man. Sixty years had written their marks across 
his brow. A skin shrivelled by age and by exposure 
to the weather, coarse untrimmed locks of dirty white, 
and a grisly beard, did not improve a countenance 
and features by nature sufficiently forbidding. But. 
what means the kindling fire in that old man's eyes, 
which glow like two basilisks, as he dwells with un- 
diverted gaze upon her ravishing countenance, and 
her snowy skin ? Does even age afford no protection 
to innocence ? 

The heart sickens at the recital of Florimel's sor- 
rows. Heretofore she had merely feared violence, and 
fled from its approach. Flight now is impossible. The 
hard and sinewy hands of that old bad man are laid 
rudely upon her person. All human help does indeed 
seem hopeless. But help comes often at a time and 
from a quarter that we least expect it. Just as we 
feel ready to join in the shrieks and piteous outcries of 
the outraged sufferer, behold a new wonder ! 

It fortuned, whilst thus she stiffly strove, 
And the wide sea importuned long space 
With shrilling shrieks, Proteus abroad did rove, 
Along the foamy waves driving his finny drove. 

Proteus is shepherd of the seas of yore, 

And hath the charge of Neptune's mighty herd ; 
An aged sire with head all frowy hoar, 


And sprinkled frost upon his dewy beard : 
Who, when those pitiful outcries he heard 
Through all the seas so ruefully resound, 
His chariot swift in haste he hither steered, 
Which with a team of scaly Phocas bound, 
Was drawn upon the waves, that foamed him around ; 

And coming to that fisher's wandering boat, 
That went at will withouten card or sail, 
He therein saw that irksome sight, which smote 
Deep indignation and compassion frail 
Into his heart at once : straight did he hale 1 
The greedy villain from his hoped prey, 
Of which he now did very little fail ; 
And with his staff, that drives his herd astray, 

Him beat so sore, that life and sense did much dismay. 

The whiles the piteous lady up did rise, 
Ruffled and foully raid 2 with filthy soil, 
And blubbered face with tears of her fair eyes ; 
Her heart nigh broken was with weary toil, 
To save herself from that outrageous spoil : 
But when she looked up, to weet what wight 
Had her from so infamous fact assoiled, 
For shame, but more for fear of his grim sight, 

Down in her lap she hid her face, and loudly shright. 3 

Herself not saved yet from danger dread 

She thought, but changed from one to other fear : 

Like as a fearful partridge, that is fled 

From the sharp hawk which her attacked near, 

' Hale, haul. 2 Raid, disfigured. s Shright, shrieked. 


And falls to ground to seek for succour there, 
Whereas the hungry spaniels she does spy 
With greedy jaws her ready for to tear : 
In such distress and sad perplexity 
Was Florimel, when Proteus she did see her by. 

But he endeavoured with speeches mild 

Her to recomfort, and accourage bold, 

Bidding her fear no more her foemen vile, 

Nor doubt himself; and who he was her told : 

Yet all that could not from affright her hold, 

Ne to recomfort her at all prevailed ; 

For her faint heart was with the frozen cold 

Benumbed so inly that her wits nigh failed, 
And all her senses with abashment quite were quailed. 

Her up betwixt his rugged hands he reared, 

And with his froary lips full softly kissed, 

Whilst the cold icicles from his rough beard 

Dropped down upon her ivory breast : 

Yet he himself so busily addressed, 

That her out of astonishment he wrought ; 

And, out of that same fisher's filthy nest 

Removing her, into his chariot brought, 
And there with many gentle terms her fair besought. 

But that old lecher, which with bold assault 
That beauty durst presume to violate, 
He cast to punish for his heinous fault : 
Then took he him yet trembling since of late, 
And tied behind his chariot, to aggrate 1 

1 Aggrate, gratify. 


The Virgin whom he had abused so sore ; 
So dragged him through the waves in scornful state. 
And after cast him up upon the shore ,• 
But Florimel with him unto his bower he bore. 

His bower is in the bottom of the main, 

Under a mighty rock, gainst which do rave 

The roaring billows in their proud disdain, 

That with the angry working of the wave 

Therein is eaten out an hollow cave, 

That seems rough mason's hands with engines keen 

Had long while laboured it to engrave : 

There was his won ; ne living wight was seen 

Save one old nymph, hight Panope, to keep it clean. 

Thither he brought the sorry Florimel, 
And entertained her the best he might, 
(And Panope her entertained eke well,) 
As an immortal might a mortal wight, 
To win his liking unto her delight : 
With flattering words he sweetly wooed her, 
And offered fair gifts t' allure her sight ; 
But she both offers and the offerer 

Despised, and all the fawning of the flatterer. 

Daily he tempted her with this or that, 
And never suffered her to be at rest : 
But evermore she him refused flat, 
And all his feigned kindness did detest ; 
So firmly she had sealed up her breast. 
Sometimes he boasted that a god he hight ;* 

8 Hight, was called. 


But she a mortal creature loved best : 
Then he would make himself a mortal wight ; 
But then she said she loved none but a Fairy Knight. 

Then like a Fairy Knight himself he dressed ; 
For every shape on him he could endue : 
Then like a king he was to her expressed, 
And offered kingdoms unto her in view 
To be his Leman and his Lady true : 
But, when all this he nothing saw prevail, 
With harder means he cast her to subdue, 
And with sharp threats her often did assail ; 

So thinking for to make her stubborn courage quail. 

To dreadful shapes he did himself transform : 
Now like a giant ; now like to a fiend ; 
Then like a centaur ; then like to a storm 
Raging within the waves; thereby he weened 
Her will to win unto his wished end : 
But when with fear, nor favour, nor with all 
He else could do, he saw himself esteemed, 
Down in a dungeon deep he let her fall, 

And threatened there to make her his eternal thrall. 

Again we must leave the poor sufferer to her fate, 
and inquire after other parties. 

Sir Satyrane and the Squire of Dames, after being 
delivered from the power of the Giantess, travelling 
together, meet another Knight. He bears upon his 
shield a burning heart. His name is Paridel. They 
find on inquiry that Paridel was another of the many 
Knights who, on the disappearance of Florimel from 


the Court of Fairy Land, were sent out in quest of 
her. They resolve to make their future search in 
company. Britomart also soon after joins them. 
Towards night, they reach the abode or Castle of an 
inhospitable jealous old churl, named Malbecco. Mal- 
becco was old, ill-favoured, and ill-tempered. His 
wife Hellenore was young, beautiful, and wanton. 
Paridel, the new companion of Sir Satyrane, was of 
the same class as the Squire of Dames, only more 
profligate and unprincipled. Educated, courtly in 
manners, well-dressed, bland and oily in conversation, 
combining entire warmth of manner with entire cold- 
ness of heart, this gentlemanly villain could rob a 
household of its ornament with the same grace with 
which he would pluck a rose from a flower-garden ; 
and afterwards, abandon his victim to her fate with 
precisely the same indifference with which he would 
throw away that rose after an hour's handling, 
as an idle and offensive weed. The account of 
Hellenore's elopement with Paridel, his subsequent 
desertion of her, her final abandonment and life of 
crime, the grief and ruin of her husband, (who with 
all his faults and his disagreeable qualities, really loved 
her,) occupy the whole of the ninth and tenth Cantos. 
The history is an over-true picture of what often 
occurs in high life, so called. Such occurrences are 
not confined to any particular age or nation. They 
are the legitimate fruits of that degrading doctrine 
which makes marriage, a matter of convenience based 


upon pecuniary arrangements and parental diplomacy 
— not that holy affiance whose highest sanction is its 
own nature, a union of heart, growing out of kindred 
tastes, mutual wants, and loving offices — a union 
which needs no higher sanction than the pain which 
its own disruption brings — a union entire, unreserved, 
and inseparable : — for whom God hath thus joined 
together, man cannot put asunder. Not thus were 
Hellenore and Malbecco united. Their history though 
instructive, is not inviting. It is a mere picture of 
sorrow and shame, without containing any one object 
on whom to bestow our pity. There is indeed a kind 
of sorrow which gives pleasure. But it is when we 
weep with others, not when we weep for them. 

The eleventh and twelfth Cantos are occupied with an 
exploit of the Virgin-Knight Britomart. The adventure 
relates to the deliverance of our friend Amoret, of whose 
character as contrasted with that of her twin-sister 
Belphoebe, I attempted to give the reader some idea a 
few pages back. Amoret loved a gentle Knight, Scuda- 
mour. Scudamour returned her love with equal mea- 
sure. But the course of true love never did run smooth. 
On the evening of their nuptials, a vile enchanter, 
Busyrane, found means during the gay festivities, in 
some secret manner, to spirit away the bride. Imagine 
the consternation of the bridal party when, all of a sud- 
den, the bride herself is not to be found. Imagine 
the state of mind of Sir Scudamour, who was in all 
honourable feelings, the exact counterpart of Amoret. 


Hours, days, weeks, months of agony pass by, and 
nothing can be learned of this cruel mystery. At last 
it is discovered that she is closely confined in a castle 
by a grim enchanter. The agony of Scudamour is 
now only doubled by the knowledge that it is beyond 
his power to release her. 

Britomart travelling through the country, finds him 
stretched upon the ground, a perfect picture of despair. 
She arouses him from his stupor of grief, and on in- 
quiring more fully into the cause, determines at once 
to attempt the rescue of Amoret. They find the Castle 
of Busyrane. At its entrance, behold not a gate, but 
a new mode of preventing access. 

There they dismounting drew their weapons bold, 
And stoutly came unto the Castle gate, 
Whereas no gate they found them to withhold, 
Nor ward to wait at morn and evening late ; 
But in the porch, that did them sore amate, 1 
A flaming fire ymixed with smouldery smoke 
And stinking sulphur, that with grisly hate 
And dreadful horror did all entrance choke, 

Enforced them their forward footing to revoke. 

Britomart, for the first time in her life shrunk back. 
Here was indeed a new species of danger. She, how- 
ever, on trial found she could pass through those flames 
unhurt. Scudamour, attempting the same, was cruelly 

1 Amate, daunt. 


burnt, and kept outside. There he must remain in 
anxious expectancy, while Britomart enters alone that 
fearful and mysterious place. After passing the fiery 
threshold, no farther interruption to her progress is 
offered. She wanders from room to room, and from 
hall to hall, through the enchanted chambers. These 
apartments are of curious workmanship and richly 
furnished, but entirely empty. For hours, Britomart 
wanders through them, but cannot find the least sign 
of human life or of living being. If anything can 
appal a stout heart, it is loneliness and silence in such 
a place. Will Britomart quail ? 

The warlike Maid, beholding earnestly 
The goodly ordinance of this rich place, 
Did greatly wonder ; ne could satisfy 
Her greedy eyes with gazing a long space : 
But more she marvelled that no footing's trace 
Nor wight appeared, but wasteful emptiness 
And solemn silence over all that place : 
Strange thing it seemed, that none was to possess 

So rich purveyance, ne them keep with carefulness. 

And, as she looked about, she did behold 
How over that same door was likewise writ, 
Be bold, Be bold, and everywhere, Be bold ; 
That much she mused, yet could not construe it 
By any riddling skill or common wit. 
At last she spied, at that room's upper end, 
Another iron door, on which was writ, 
Be not too bold; whereto though she did bend 

Her earnest mind, yet wist not what it might intend. 


Thus she there waited until eventide, 

Yet living creature none she saw appear. 
And now sad shadows gan the world to hide 
From mortal view, and wrap in darkness drear ; 
Yet n'ould she doff her weary arms, for fear 
Of secret danger, ne let sleep oppress 
Her heavy eyes with nature's burden dear, 
But drew herself aside in sickerness, 1 

And her well-pointed weapons did about her dress. 

Then, whenas cheerless Night ycovered had 
Fair heaven with an universal cloud, 
That every wight dismayed with darkness sad 
In silence and in sleep themselves did shroud, 
She heard a shrilling trumpet sound aloud, 
Sign of nigh battle, or got victory : 
Nought therewith daunted was her courage proud, 
But rather stirred to cruel enmity, 

Expecting ever when some foe she might descry. 

With that, an hideous storm of wind arose, 
With dreadful thunder and lightning atwixt, 
And an earthquake, as if it straight would loose 
The world's foundation from his centre fixed : 
A direful stench of smoke and sulphur mixed 
Ensued, whose noyance filled the fearful stead 
From the fourth hour of night until the sixt ; 
Yet the bold Britoness was nought ydread, 

Though much emmoved, but steadfast persevered. 

All suddenly a stormy whirlwind blew 

Throughout the house, that clapped every door, 

1 Sickerness, safety. 


With which that iron wicket open flew, 
As it with mighty levers had been tore ; 
And forth issued, as on the ready floor 
Of some theatre, a grave personage, 
That in his hand a branch of laurel bore, 
With comely haviour and countenance sage, 
Yclad in costly garments fit for tragic stage. 

The personage who thus" appears, ushers in a 
Masque, which Britomart contemplates in secret, 
The maskers are Fancy, Desire, Doubt, Danger, Fear, 
Hope, Dissemblance, Suspicion, Grief, Fury, &c. 
It was called the Masque of Cupid. It was a pageant, 
raised by the Enchanter to beguile if possible the 
heart of Amoret, and make her cease to pine for 
Scudamour. The reader knows by this time Spen- 
ser's power in such scenes as these. Each of the 
gay maskers is described separately. Here is one. 

The first was Fancy, like a lovely boy 

Of rare aspect and beauty without peer, 

Matchable either to that imp of Troy, 

Whom Jove did love and choose his cup to bear ; 

Or that same dainty lad, which was so dear 

To great Alcides, that, whenas he died, 

He wailed womanlike with many a tear, 

And every wood and every valley wide 
He filled with Hylas' name ; the nymphs eke Hylas cried. 

His garment neither was of silk nor say, 
But painted plumes in goodly order dight, 
Like as the sunburnt Indians do array 


Their tawny bodies in their proudest plight : 
As those same plumes, so seemed he vain and light, 
That by his gait might easily appear ; 
For still he fared as dancing in delight, 
And in his hand a windy fan did bear, 
That in the idle air he moved still here and there. 

Presently we shall see Amoret herself come forth at 
the Enchanter's bidding. The mode by which he 
sought to turn away her love from Scudamour, was to 
present her, on the one hand, with pictures of all sorts of 
pleasure which might be at her command ; and on the 
other hand, to subject her to excruciating pain, from 
which she might at any time be released, by merely 
consenting to transfer her affections from Scudamour. 
There are important truths, which are to be drawn from 
the heart, not from the head. The man who hath not 
himself loved, knows nothing of love's true nature. The 
Enchanter, with all his superhuman subtlety of intel- 
lect, knew not, that woman's love springs not from the 
prospect of pleasure, still less doth it shrink back at the 
prospect of pain. It is not even a barter of love for love. 
Amoret loved Scudamour not because he loved her, but 
because he was lovely in her eyes. He had those quali- 
ties which attracted her admiration. He filled and 
satisfied her sense of the true, the noble, the beautiful, 
the good. He was her beau-ideal of a man. 

But it is time that we see the captive in the En- 
chanted Chamber. 


After all these there marched a most fair Dame, 
Led of two greasy Villains, th' one Despight, 
The other cleped Cruelty by name : 
She, doleful Lady, like a dreary sprite 
Called by strong charms out of eternal night, 
Had Death's own image figured in her face, 
Full of sad signs, fearful to living sight ; 
Yet in that horror shewed a seemly grace, 

And with her feeble feet did move a comely pace. 

Her breast all naked, as net ivory 

Without adorn of gold or silver bright 
Wherewith the craftsman wonts it beautify , 
Of her due honour was despoiled quite ; 
And a wide wound therein (O rueful sight !) 
Entrenched deep with knife accursed keen, 
Yet freshly bleeding forth her fainting sprite, 
(The work of cruel hand) was to be seen, 

That dyed in sanguine red her skin all snowy clean : 

At that wide orifice her trembling heart 
Was drawn forth, and in silver basin laid, 
Quite through transfixed with a deadly dart, 
And in her blood yet steaming fresh embayed. 
And those two Villains (which her steps upstayed, 
When her weak feet could scarcely her sustain. 
And fading vital powers gan to fade,) 
Her forward still with torture did constrain, 

And evermore increased her consuming pain. 

The Maskers and Amoret at length disappear, as 
they had entered, and the iron door is swung to and 
locked by some unseen hand, before Britomart can 


issue from her place of concealment. She lies con- 
cealed, therefore, all night and all next day, resolving 
to bide her time. The following night, she secures an 
entrance into the inner chamber, and at last boldly 
confronts the Enchanter and his victim. The scene 
which follows is one of that awful kind in which 
Spenser delights. 

And, her before, the vile Enchanter sat, 

Figuring strange characters of his art ; 

With living blood he those characters wrat, 1 

Dreadfully dropping from her dying heart, 

Seeming transfixed with a cruel dart ; 

And all perforce to make her him to love. 

Ah ! who can love the worker of her smart ! 

A thousand charms he formerly did prove ; 
Yet thousand charms could not her steadfast heart remove. 

Soon as that Virgin Knight he saw in place, 
His wicked books in haste he overthrew, 
Not caring his long labours to deface ; 
And, fiercely running to that Lady true, 
A murderous knife out of his pocket drew, 
The which he thought for villanous despite, 
In her tormented body to imbrue : 
But the stout Damsel, to him leaping light, 

His cursed hand withheld, and mastered his might. 

From her, to whom his fury first he meant, 
The wicked weapon rashly he did wrest, 

' WraL wrote. 


And, turning to herself his fell intent, 
Unwares it struck into her snowy chest, 
That little drops empurpled her fair breast. 
Exceeding wroth therewith the Virgin grew, 
Albe the wound were nothing deep impressed, 
And fiercely forth her mortal blade she drew, 
To give him the reward for such vile outrage due. 

So mightily she smote him, that to ground 

He fell half dead ; next stroke him should have slain, 

Had not the Lady, which by him stood bound, 

Dernly unto her called to abstain 

From doing him to die ; for else her pain 

Should be remediless : since none but he 

Which wrought it, could the same recure again. 

Therewith she stayed her hand, loth stayed to be ; 

For life she him envied, and longed revenge to see : 

And to him said : " Thou wicked man, whose meed 

For so huge mischief and vile villany 

Is death, or if that ought do death exceed ; 

Be sure that nought may save thee from to die, 

But if that thou this Dame do presently 

Restore unto her health and former state ; 

This do, and live ; else die undoubtedly." 

He, glad of life, that looked for death but late, 
Did yield himself right willing to prolong his date : 

And rising up gan straight to overlook 

Those cursed leaves, his charms back to reverse : 
Full dreadful things out of that baleful book 
He read, and measured many a sad verse, 



That horror gan the Virgin's heart to perse, 1 
And her fair locks up stared stiff on end, 
Hearing him those same bloody lines rehearse ; 
And, all the while he read, she did extend 
Her sword high over him, if ought he did offend. 

Anon she gan perceive the house to quake, 
And all the doors to rattle round about ; 
Yet all that did not her dismayed make, 
Nor slack her threatful hand for danger's doubt, 
But still with steadfast eye and courage stout 
Abode, to weet what end would come of all : 
At last that mighty chain, which round about 
Her tender waist was wound, adown gan fall, 

And that great brazen pillar broke in pieces small. 

The cruel steel, which thrilled her dying heart, 
Fell softly forth, as of his own accord ; 
And the wide wound, which lately did dispart 
Her bleeding breast and riven bowels gored, 
Was closed up, as it had not been sored ; 
And every part to safety full sound, 
As she were never hurt, was soon restored : 
Then, when she felt herself to be unbound 

And perfect whole, prostrate she fell unto the ground. 

The whole spell, in short, is dissolved, and Amoret 
is informed of the safety and constancy of Scudamour. 
That was a moment of rapture which can be appre- 
ciated by all who appreciate her noble nature. They 

1 Perse, pierce. 


hasten to the castle door, .vhere Scudamour was left 
in waiting, and where a joyful meeting is expected. 
Scudamour is not there. By what means he has 
been led away, what further barriers are to be inter- 
posed between them, w T ill hereafter appear. All that 
poor Amoret at this time knows, is that heavy heart- 
ache which too often follows the golden moments of 

According to our fears, the Commentary on the 
Third Book is, like the Book itself, not entirely pe- 



Spenser's Letter to Raleigh — Review — Difficulties of the Subject — 
Reason why the Third and Fourth Books are not Periodique — 
Adventure of Britomart and Amoret resumed — Description of Ate 
— Bland amour wins the Snowy Florimel — Story of Cambel and 
Triamond — The Tournament — Artegal and Britomart at the Tour- 
nament — The Cestus of Venus — The Contest for the Palm of 
Beauty — Gold Pens — The Girdle awarded to the Snowy Florimel 
— Scudamour in the House of Care — Fight between Britomart and 
Artegal — The Disclosure — Amoret carried off by Lust — Attempt 
of Timias to rescue Her — Lust slain by Belphoebe — Timias in 
Doubtful Circumstances — The Rebuke — Amoret again Deserted — 
Interposition of Prince Arthur — The Hut of Slander — Commenta- 
tor's Episode — Castle of Corflambo — Britomart rescued by Prince 
Arthur — Meeting of Amoret and Scudamour — Scudamour's Ex- 
ploit — The Island and Temple of Venus — Character of Scuda- 
mour — The Story of Florimel resumed — The Story of Marinel — 
The Great Meeting of Submarine Deities in the Hall of Proteus — 
Discovery, Rescue, and Espousals of Florimel. 

When Spenser, in 1590, published the first three 
Books of the Fairy Queen, he appended to them a 
letter explanatory of the plan of the poem. This letter 


has become especially important, inasmuch as the 
poem was never completed. I quoted a part of this 
letter in a former Book. From the knowledge of the 
poem which the reader has already obtained, he will 
be prepared to read with intelligence and interest the 
further extracts which are now to be given. 

" The end of all the Book is to fashion a gentleman 
or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline : 
winch for that I conceived should be most plausible 
and pleasing, being coloured with an historical fiction. 
the most part of men delight to read, rather for variety 
of matter than for the profit of the ensample. I chose 
the history of King Arthur, as most fit for the excel- 
lency of his person, being made famous by many men's 
former works, and also farthest from the danger of envy 
and suspicion of the present time. .... I labour to 
portray in Arthur, before he was King, the image of a 
brave Knight,, perfected in the twelve private Moral 
Virtues, as Aristotle hath devised ; the which is the 
purpose of these first twelve Books ; which, if I find 
to be well accepted. I may be perhaps encouraged to 
frame the other part of Politic Virtues in his person. 
after that he came to be King. To some I know this 
method will seem displeasant. which had rather have 
good discipline delivered plainly in way of precepts. 
or sermoned at large, as trier use. than thus cloudilr 
enwrapped in allegorical devices. But such, meseems. 
should be satisfied with the use of these days, seeing 


all things accounted by their shows, and nothing es- 
teemed of that is not delightful and pleasing to common 
sense. For this cause is Xenophon preferred before 
Plato, for that the one, in the exquisite depth of his judg- 
ment, formed a commonwealth such as it should be ; but 
the other, in the person of Cyrus and the Persians, 
fashioned a government such as might best be; so 
much more profitable and gracious is doctrine by en- 
sample than by rule. So have I laboured to do in the 
person of Arthur, whom I conceive, after his long 
education by Timon, (to whom he was by Merlin 
delivered to be brought up,) to have seen in a dream 
or vision the Fairy Queen, with whose excellent 
beauty ravished, he awaking resolved to seek her out ; 
and so being by Merlin armed, and by Timon tho- 
roughly instructed, he went to seek her forth in Fairy 
Land. In the Fairy Queen, I mean Glory in my gene- 
ral intention ; but in my particular, I conceive the most 
excellent and glorious person of our sovereign, The 
Queen And yet in some places else, I do other- 
wise shadow her. For considering she beareth two 
persons, the one of a most royal Queen, .... the 
other of a most virtuous and beautiful lady, this 
latter part in some places I do express in Belphoebe. 

So in the person of Prince Arthur, I set forth 

Magnificence in particular ; which virtue, for that . . 
it is the perfection of all the rest, and containeth in it 
them all, therefore in the whole course I mention the 


deeds of Arthur applicable to that Virtue which I write 
of in that Book. But of the twelve other Virtues, I 
make twelve other Knights the patrons, for the more 
variety of the history The beginning, there- 
fore, of my history, if it were to be told by an historio- 
grapher, should be the twelfth Book, which is the 
last; where I devise that the Fairy Queen kept her 
annual feast twelve days, upon which several days the 
occasion of the twelve several Adventures happened." 

We have no means of knowing certainly what were 
the twelve moral, much less, the twelve political virtues 
which Spenser had in his mind in sketching this bold 
outline. Of the six beautiful and generous concep- 
tions with which he has enriched the great stores of 
human thought, we have already examined three. 
The first Book of the Fairy Queen, has been found to 
treat of Holiness, that is, of human excellence in rela- 
tion to matters of faith and religion. The second 
Book treats of Temperance, or of moderation in regard 
to the whole of man's action and being, moral, mental, 
and physical. The third Book treats of Chastity, or 
universal purity of thought, motive, affection, and con- 
dition, with illustrations of this high virtue in a great 
variety of affiliated and yet distinct characters, male 
and female, bad and good. 

The subject has not been without its difficulties. 
To analyze with discretion the workings of the human 
heart in these great departments of moral action ; to 


catch the spirit and meaning of the concrete and 
poetical symbols of the author ; to extract from the 
flower of poesy and present in marketable form, the 
honey which it contains ; to present to the imagina- 
tion such pictures as should tend to cultivate and ele- 
vate the taste and enkindle in the heart a love for the 
good, the beautiful, and the true ; to give so much of 
the story as to make the characters and pictures in- 
telligible to all classes of readers, without taking from 
the poem the zest of novelty to those who may have 
the leisure and the inclination to read it for them- 
selves, and without wearying those who have read it 
already ; to penetrate the instructive mysteries of Bel- 
phcebe and Amoret, and Britomart, and Florimel ; this, 
let it be said, has required something beyond mere 
verbal criticism, or historical and grammatical illustra- 
tion. It has been necessary rather to abstract the 
mind from the piles of erudition with which the sub- 
ject is loaded, and to read the poem, as the Christian 
should read his Bible, with a perpetual appeal to the 
silent expositor within. It has been necessary to turn 
the thoughts continually inward, and to draw from the 
very penetralia of consciousness that which was in- 
tended to sink equally deep. If the instruction thus 
intended has not entirely missed its aim, if any hitherto 
undeveloped germ of thought or taste has been quick- 
ened into life, if any spring of emotion has been set 
free, if any subtle chord heretofore quiescent has been 
touched and caused to vibrate, if (to resume a former 


figure) the genius of Spenser has been so conducted 
as to excite in any good degree the dormant electricity 
of others, the labour bestowed upon the attempt has 
not been entirely in vain. 

One more brief explanation seems to be necessary 
before entering upon the subject of the Fourth Book. 
If the reader will recur to his recollections, he will 
understand what is meant, when it is said, that the 
first and second Books of the Fairy Queen are com- 
paratively periodique. Each of these Books contains 
in itself a complete period — a story that is brought to 
a conclusion. The same will be found to be true to 
some extent of the fifth and sixth Books. The third 
and fourth, on the contrary, are intimately blended 
together. New characters indeed are introduced into 
the fourth Book. But all the leading characters of 
the third are continued, and that, not incidentally, but 
as exercising a pervading influence. The author 
seldom stops to explain the motives of his procedure. 
Perhaps, however, the ingenuous reader may find in 
the peculiarity of the third and fourth Books, which 
has been mentioned, something better than an occa- 
sion for flippant censure. The peculiarity mentioned, 
would seem indeed to spring naturally out of the 
intimate and necessary connexion of the virtues illus- 
trated in these two Books. The subject of the third 
Book is the Legend of Britomart, or of Chastity. 
That of the fourth Book is the Legend of Cambel and 
Triamond, or of Friendship. And, surely, he who is 


pure and true towards others in all the relations which 
result from the difference of the sexes, has towards 
those of the same sex, or towards any, where the con- 
sideration of sex cannot arise, all those qualities and 
principles which lead to friendship. He, on the con- 
trary, who is untrue and recreant in these important 
relations, the trifler, the rake, the ruffian, the wanton, 
the slave of guilty passion in any of its multiplied 
forms, is unfit for the offices, unworthy of the trust, 
incapable of the privileges of true friendship. We are 
not, therefore, surprised nor discontent in reading the 
beautiful Legend of Cambel and Triamond, at finding 
many of our old acquaintances mingling in the new 
scenes. Britomart and Amoret are found as true and 
confiding to each other, in the relation of friendship, 
as each of them is to her chosen Knight in the bonds 
of a holier affection; and, on the other hand, the 
heartless treason of Paridel and the Squire of Dames 
towards the gentler sex, is found to result from a prin- 
ciple which is capable of additional illustration from 
their treachery to each other. 

The previous Book, it will be recollected, ends with 
the disappearance of Scudamour from the gate of the 
enchanted castle, just as Britomart succeeds in re- 
leasing Amoret and bringing her out. The fourth 
Book begins precisely where the third leaves off. 
Britomart and Amoret travel forth together in search 
of Scudamour. 

In this adventure, the first difficulty arose from the 


supposed sex of Britomart, who still appeared to 
Amoret as a Knight, being clad in armour and ap- 
pearing in all respects as a man. It did not then suit 
the purposes of Britomart to make her real condition 
known to her fair companion. Hence there was, as 
there often is, a painful struggle between the sense of 
delicacy and the sentiment of gratitude. The Lady 
Una, it is true, travelled thus through the country 
with the Red-Cross Knight, But that was by official 
appointment, and there was a promised affiance, in 
case of success, rendering it proper for one party to 
give and the other to receive, protection. Between 
Amoret and her present conductor, there existed no 
such relations. There was indeed no acquaintance 
beyond that of the present day. And yet, to manifest 
distrust or suspicion, would have the appearance of 
base ingratitude towards her noble benefactor. Hence 
the difficulty. 

For Amoret right fearful was and faint 
Lest she with blame her honour should attaint, 
That every word did tremble as she spake, 
And every look was coy and wondrous quaint, 
And every limb that touched her did quake ; 
Yet could she not but courteous countenance to her make. 

Britomart, however, took a suitable occasion to dis- 
close to her companion her real sex and the cause of 
her wandering forth in this strange manner. The 
two ladies thereupon beguiled the way, discoursing of 


their loves. In fact, the first night after the disclosure, 
neither of them, according to the most authentic tradi- 
tion, slept a wink. How far their experience w T as sin- 
gular in this respect, can be judged by some of the 
readers of this book better than by the Expositor. 

[There] all that night they of their loves did treat, 
And hard adventures, twixt themselves alone, 
That each the other gan with passion great 
And grieful pity privately bemoan. 

Travelling thus together, in the enjoyment of the 
fullest confidence and friendship, they meet a party 
consisting of two Knights and two Ladies. One 
Knight, Paridel, and one Lady, Duessa, are old ac- 
quaintances. The other Knight, Blandamour, (flatter- 
ing lover, or one who makes love by flattery), is a 
stranger ; but his character is sufficiently indicated by 
his name and his company. He is of the same genus 
with his friend Paridel, only with a larger stock of 
impudence. The other Lady, Ate (mischief or dis- 
cord), is particularly described. As in the case of the 
other virtues, Spenser illustrates Friendship not only 
by examples of concord and amity, but by those of hate 
and discord. Ate bears the same relation to friendship, 
that Atin did to temperance. As Atin exasperated, 
and stirred up to violence, so Ate ever excites discord 
and ill-will. Her appearance is thus described. 


Her face most foul and fUhy was to see, 
With squinted eyes contrary ways intended, 
And loathly mouth, unmeet a mouth to be, 
That nought but gall and venom comprehended, 
And wicked words that God and man offended : 
Her lying tongue was in two parts divided, 
And both the parts did speak, and both contended ; 
And as her tongue, so was her heart discided, 1 

That never thought one thing, but doubly still was guided. 

Als, as she double spake, so heard she double, 
With matchless 2 ears deformed and distort, 
Filled with false rumours and seditious trouble, 
Bred in assemblies of the vulgar sort, 
That still are led with every light report : 
And as her ears, so eke her feet were odd, 
And much unlike ; th' one long, the other short, 
And both misplaced ; that when th' one forward yode, 

The other back retired and contrary trode. 

Likewise unequal were her handes twain ; 
That one did reach, the other pushed away ; 
That one did make, the other marred again, 
And sought to bring all things unto decay ; 
For all her study was, and all her thought, 
How she might overthrow the things that Concord wrought. 

These four, Blandamour, Paridel, Duessa, and Ate, 
are the persons met by Britomart and Amoret. 

As the parties approach each other, Blandamour 

1 Discided, cut or slit in two. 2 Matchless, ears that did not match, one being 
unlike the other. 


tells Paridel, this is a fine opportunity to win a beau- 
tiful dame by the overthrow of the stranger Knight. 
But Paridel recognises that mysterious spear, and has 
too vivid a recollection of the unceremonious manner 
in which he had been unhorsed before, to try its virtue 
a second time. Blandamour, not being equally in- 
formed thereupon, determines to win the strange lady 
himself. But he soon tastes his folly, being unhorsed 
and dashed to the ground in a way that gives the 
reader no small satisfaction. Britomart and Amoret 
then pass on, quitting the party without leave-taking, 
as they had encountered it without salutation. They 
take leave also of the reader, as we have now to follow 
the fortunes of this graceless quartet. 

The reader is less disappointed than vexed to find, 
that Britomart and Amoret had hardly gone out of 
sight, before the object of their long search makes his 
appearance. The company, in short, fall in with 
Scudamour. Scudamour and Paridel tilt, and Pari- 
del is unhorsed. Duessa laughs at them all for con- 
tending about their lady-loves, when the affianced 
bride of any one of them, she says, would prove false 
on the first occasion. Scudamour listens to such an 
imputation with profound disdain, but Ate tells him, 
not to be so scornful and so sure ; and goes on to re- 
late, that she had lately seen the boasted Amoret and 
a strange Knight travelling about the country together, 
and gives such circumstantial proof of their intimacy, 


as leaves no doubt on the mind of the unhappy Scuda- 
mour of the truth of her tale. 

During this conversation, another Knight approaches, 
Sir Ferraugh, accompanied by a lady whom we have 
heard of before, the Snowy Florimel. Blandamour, 
whose love for the sex was like that of the modern for 
his newspaper, the latest arrival being the only ground 
of choice, immediately tilts with Sir Ferraugh for the 
beautiful Snowy Florimel, and wins her. Great is 
his rejoicing over his supposed prize. Her exceeding 
beauty and her winning ways, (for the witch had well 
instructed her to counterfeit the true Florimel,) give 
Blandamour such joy and delight that at length Pari- 
del becomes envious. Ate is not wanting, but fans 
the names of discord between the companions, until it 
breaks out into open quarrel, and Blandamour and 
Paridel fight for her. The contest is long and severe. 
It is interrupted, however, by the arrival of the Squire 
of Dames. This young man informs them of a great 
feat of arms that is about to be celebrated. The dis- 
tinguished Knight, Sir Satyrane, it is reported, has 
found by the sea-shore the girdle of Florimel, who is 
currently believed to have been devoured by some 
monster. Paridel sees that this report is unfounded, 
for there is the beautiful lady herself. Still, he thinks 
it behoves Blandamour, as a true Knight, to enter the 
lists with Sir Satyrane, and establish in honourable 
combat his right to the beauteous prize. 


Glad man was he to see that joyous sight, 
For none alive but joyed in Florimel, 
And lowly to her louting thus behight : 
" Fairest of fair, that fairness dost excel, 
This happy day I have to greet you well, 
[n which you safe I see, whom thousand late 
Misdoubted lost through mischief that befell ; 
Long may you live in health and happy state !" 

She little answered him, but lightly did aggrate. 

Then, turning to those Knights, he gan anew : 
" And you, Sir Blandamour, and Paridel, 
That for this Lady present in your view 
Have raised this cruel war and outrage fell, 
Certes, meseems, be not advised well ; 
But rather ought in friendship for her sake 
To join your force, their forces to repel 
That seek perforce her from you both to take, 

And of your gotten spoil their own triumph to make." 

Thereat Sir Blandamour, with countenance stern 
All full of wrath, thus fiercely him bespake : 
" Aread, thou Squire, that I the man may learn, 
That dare from me think Florimel to take !" 
" Not one," quoth he, " but many do partake 
Herein ; as thus : It lately so befell, 
That Satyrane a Girdle did uptake 
Well known to appertain to Florimel, 

Which for her sake he wore, as him beseemed well, 

" But, whenas she herself was lost and gone, 
Full many Knights, that loved her like dear, 
Thereat did greatly grudge, that he alone 


That lost fair Lady's ornament should wear, 
And gan therefore close spite to him to bear ; 
Which he to shun, and stop vile envy's sting, 
Hath lately caused to be proclaimed each where 
A solemn feast, with public tourneying, 
To which all Knights with them their Ladies are to bring : 

" And of them all she, that is fairest found, 
Shall have that golden Girdle for reward ; 
And of those Knights, who is most stout on ground, 
Shall to that fairest Lady be preferred. 
Since therefore she herself is now your ward, 
To you that ornament of hers pertains, 
Against all those that challenge it, to guard, 
And save her honour with your venturous pains ; 

That shall you win more glory than ye here find gains." 

The whole company thereupon resolve to repair to 
the place appointed for this grand tournament, and to 
stand by each other in firm alliance in this and all 
other contests. 

So, well accorded, forth they rode together 

In friendly sort, that lasted but a while ; 

And of all old dislikes they made fair weather : 

Yet all was forged and spread with golden foil, 

That under it hid hate and hollow guile. 

Ne, certes, can that friendship long endure, 

However gay and goodly be the style, 

That doth ill cause or evil end enure ; 
For virtue is the band that bindeth hearts most sure. 

290 SPENSfiR. 

These parties, viz., Blandamour, Paridel, and the 
Squire of Dames; Ate, Duessa, and Snowy Florimel, 
with their attendants, while travelling thus together, 
sometimes in closest amity, and again fiercely dis- 
cordant, see in the distance two Knights and two 
Ladies of a very different character. These were no 
other than Cambel and Triamond, the heroes of the 
Book, with their lady-loves, Cambina and Canace. 

More than a Canto and a half are occupied with the 
description of these persons, and the origin of the 
romantic friendship that existed between them. The 
story is taken in part from Chaucer, by whom it was 
begun, but not finished. Spenser commences the 
legend with a tribute of affectionate reverence to 
Chaucer, whom he terms, in that oft-quoted phrase, 

" The well of English undefikd, 
On Fame's eternal bead-roll worthy to be filed" 

I am obliged reluctantly to omit the whole of this 
beautiful legend. It can be omitted the more safely, 
as it is of the nature of an episode, not being necessary 
to the connexion of the story, though it is necessary to 
a proper appreciation of the heroes, Cambel and Tria- 
mond. The reader will have, therefore, to imagine 
them two most accomplished and redoubted Knights, 
bound together by an affection which, had either of 
them been of the opposite sex, would have been love ; 
but which, as between two of the same sex — two men 
or two women — is friendship; an affection, founded 


simply upon the admiraton of noble qualities which 
each sees in the other, and the attachment which the 
heart always makes to the objects of its admiration. 
The heart that hath any goodness of its own, neces- 
sarily cleaves to goodness seen in others. Not to do so, 
is as unnatural and impossible as for the birds to resist 
the genial influences of spring. 

Cambina, the sister of Triamond, was Lady-love to 
Cambel; Canace, sister of Cambel, was Lady-love 
to Triamond : and the Ladies were bound to each 
other by a golden chain of friendship, as pure, as 
bright, as strong, as that which bound together their 
martial lords. 

These four, thus closely linked in the ties of love 
and amity, are overtaken on the road by the six before 
described, Blandamour, Paridel, and the Squire of 
Dames, Duessa, Ate, and Snowy Florimel. Blanda- 
mour, under the instigations of Ate, is disposed to pick 
a quarrel with the strangers. 

But fair Cambina, with persuasions mild, 
Did mitigate the fierceness of their mode, 
That for the present they were reconciled, 
And gan to treat of deeds of arms abroad, 
And strange adventures, all the way they rode : 
Among the which they told, as then befell, 
Of that great Tourney which was blazed abroad, 
For that rich Girdle of fair Florimel, 

The prize of her which did in beauty most excel. 


From every part of the country, as we travel along, 
we find detached parties going up to attend this grand 
Tournament. The object of this noted feat of arms 
has been already explained. Sir Satyrane, of all the 
Knights that had gone out in search of Florimel, 
was the only one who had discovered any trace of 
her. He had found her Girdle upon the sea-shore 
under circumstances which led universally to the 
belief that she had been devoured by a monster. 
This Girdle he kept as a precious relic, both for its 
sumptuous materials and rare workmanship, and for 
its reminiscences of the beautiful and romantic woman 
to whom it had belonged. The fortune of Sir Saty- 
rane, in becoming possessed of this precious and 
beautiful memorial, made him the object of envy — 
a circumstance not uncommon in the history of any 
man, who happens to possess the evidences of regard 
from the other sex. Sir Satyrane determined not to 
owe to fortune, what he felt himself able to win by 
valour. He proposed therefore to hold a grand tourna- 
ment, in which he would maintain his right to the 
Girdle against all comers. It was to this great gather- 
ing of chivalry, that the different parties of Knights 
and Ladies whom we have met, and many others 
whose description I have omitted, were all tending. 

At length, upon the appointed day, 
Unto the place of Tournament they came; 
Where they before them found in fresh array 
Many a brave Knight and many a dainty Dame, 
Assembled for to get the honour of that game. 


Then first of all forth Sir Satyrane, 
Bearing that precious relic in an ark 
Of gold, that bad eyes might it not profane ; 
Which drawing softly forth out of the dark, 
He open showed, that all men it might mark ; 
A gorgeous Girdle, curiously embossed 
With pearl and precious stone, worth many a mark ; 
Yet did the workmanship far pass the cost : 

It was the same which lately Florimel had lost. 

The same aloft he hung in open view, 
To be the prize of beauty and of might ; 
The which, eftsoons discovered, to it drew 
The eyes of all, allured with close delight, 
And hearts quite robbed with so glorious sight, 
That all men threw out vows and wishes vain. 
Thrice happy Lady, and thrice happy Knight, 
Them seemed that could so goodly riches gain, 

So worthy of the peril, worthy of the pain. 

Then took the bold Sir Satyrane in hand 

An huge great spear, such as he wont to wield, 
And, vancing forth from all the other band 
Of Knights, addressed his maiden-headed shield, 
Showing himself all ready for the field ; 
Gainst whom there singled from the other side 
A Paynim Knight that well in arms was skilled, 
And had in many a battle oft been tried, 

Hight Bruncheval the Bold, who fiercely forth did ride. 

This famous Tournament occupies one whole Canto, 
replete with action and brilliant description. Spenser 
possesses a remarkable power of diversifying these 


contests. I cannot pretend to follow the narrative of 
the tournament, which lasted for three days. I will 
give a bare outline of the action, merely to make 
the general story intelligible. 

The first day, after much hard fighting in which 
many Knights were engaged, Sir Satyrane was pro- 
nounced victor, and his most difficult opponent, Tria- 
mond, was taken off the field wounded. 

The second day, Sir Satyrane again took the field 
against all comers. But in all that press of Knights 
was nowhere to be seen that redoubted champion. 

Unable he new battle to darrain, 
Through grievance of his late received wound. 

Cambel resolved to maintain the reputation of his 
wounded friend. Keeping secret his friend's case, 
and keeping from his friend his own intentions, he 
secretly procured the armour of Triamond, and dress- 
ing himself therein, presented himself for battle, to all 
appearance Triamond himself. His plan was, if he 
succeeded, to keep his own secret, and let the honour 
of the exploit redound to his friend ; if he failed, by 
opening his visor, bring the disgrace upon himself. 

Which Cambel seeing, though he could not salve, 
Ne done undoe, yet, for to salve his name 
And purchase honour in his friend's behalf, 
This goodly counterfeasance he did frame : 


The shield and arms, .veil known to be the same 
Which Triamond had worn, unwares to wight 
And to his friend unwist, for doubt of blame 
If he misdid, he on himself did dight, 
That none could him discern ; and so went forth to fight. 

There Satyrane lord of the field he found, 

Triumphing in great joy and jollity ; 

Gainst whom none afre was to stand on ground ; 

That much he gan his glory to envy, 

And cast t'avenge his friend's indignity : 

A mighty spear eftsoons at him he bent ; 

Who, seeing him come on so furiously, 

Met him midway with equal hardiment, 
That forcibly to ground they both together went. 

They up again themselves can lightly rear, 

And to their tried swords themselves betake ; 

With which they wrought such wondrous marvels there, 

That all the rest it did amazed make, 

Ne any dared their peril to partake ; 

Now cuffing close, now chasing to and fro, 

Now hurtling round advantage for to take : 

As two wild boars together grappling go, 
Chafing and foaming choler each against his foe. 

After a good deal of skilful tourneying, Sir Satyrane 
is unhorsed. Cambel dismounts to seize and bear off 
the arms of the fallen foe. But before he can succeed 
in this attempt, he is surrounded by a host of Knights, 
the adherents of Sir Satyrane, and taken captive. 
Triamond, in his tent, hearing of the capture of his 


friend, forgets his own wounds, and rises from his 
couch, resolving to make a rescue. But on looking, 
behold his armour is nowhere to be found ! Then is 
the friendly and disinterested plot of Cambel first made 
known to him. Resolving not to be behindhand in 
generosity, and totally unmindful of his wounds, he 
dights himself in the armour of Cambel and rushes 
into the arena. 

Into the thickest of that knightly press 

He thrust and smote down all that was between, 
Carried with fervent zeal ; ne did he cease, 
Til! that he came where he had Cambel seen 
Like captive thrall two other Knights atween : 
There he amongst them cruel havoc makes, 
That they, which lead him, soon enforced been 
To let him loose to save their proper stakes ; 

Who, being freed, from one a weapon fiercely takes i 

With that he drives at them with dreadful might, 

Both in remembrance of his friend's late harm. 

And in revengement of his own despite : 

So both together give a new alarm, 

As if but now the battle waxed warm. 

As when two greedy wolves do break by force 

Into an herd, far from the husband farm, 

They spoil and ravin without all remorse : 
So did these two through all the field their foes enforce. 

Fiercely they followed on their bold emprise, 
Till trumpet's sound did warn them all to rest : 
Then all with one consent did yield the prize 
To Triamond and Cambel as the best : 


But Triamond to CamM it released, 
And Cambel it to Triamond transferred ; 
Each labouring t' advance the other's gest, 
And make his praise before his own preferred : 
So that the doom was to another day deferred. 

The last day came ; when all those Knights again 
Assembled were their deeds of arms to show. 
Full many deeds that day were shewed plain : 
But Satyrane, bove all the other crew, 
His wondrous worth declared in all men's view ; 
For from the first he to the last endured : 
And though some while Fortune from him withdrew, 
Yet evermore his honour he recured, 

And with unwearied power his party still assured. 

Ne was there Knight that ever thought of arms, 
But that his utmost prowess there made known : 
That by their many wounds and careless harms, 
By shivered spears and swords all understrown, 
By scattered shields, was easy to be shown. 
There might ye see loose steeds at random run, 
Whose luckless riders late were overthrown ; 
And Squires make haste to help their Lords fordone : 

But still the Knights of Maidenhead the better won. 

At last, just before the close of the third day, when 
Sir Satyrane and the Knights of his party were be- 
ginning to congratulate themselves upon their success, 
a strange Knight appears, whence no one can tell, 
This Knight is clad in uncouth armour, and by his 
whole appearance creates a great sensation. His dis- 


guise is so complete as to prevent his being recognised, 
although it is evident from his carriage that he is a 
Knight of distinguished name. The reader is let into 
the secret as to his real name and character. It is 
Artegal, the hero of the fifth Book. This is his first 
appearance, although he has been for some time 
known to the reader, as the one for whom Britomart 
was secretly pining, and of whom she was in search. 
Britomart, indeed, had seen him (or his spirit) once in 
the magic mirror of her father. Though thus made 
known to the reader, and having a name well known 
in ail parts of Fairy Land, he is not recognised by the 
spectators, but is simply called the Savage Knight. 

Till that there entered on the other side 

A stranger knight, from whence no man could read, 

In quaint disguise, full hard to be descried : 

For all his armour was like savage weed 

With woody moss bedight, and all his steed 

With oaken leaves attrapped, that seemed fit 

For savage wight, and thereto well agreed 

His word, 1 which on his ragged shield was writ, 

Salvagesse sans finesse? showing secret wit. 

He, at his first incoming, charged his spear 
At him that first appeared in his sight ; 
That was to weet the stout Sir Sangliere, 
Who well was known to be a valiant Knight, 
Approved oft in many a perilous fight : 

1 His word, the motto on his shield. 3 Salvagesse sans finesse", wildness with- 
out art. Finesse must here be pronounced as a trisyllable, fi-ness-e. 


Him at the first encou .ter down he smote, 
And over-bore beyond his crouper quite ; 
And after him another Knight, that bote 1 
Sir Brianor, so sore that none him life behote. 2 

Then, ere his hand he reared, he overthrew 
Seven Knights one after other as they came : 
And, when his spear was burst, his sword he drew. 
The instrument of wrath, and with the same 
Fared like a lion in his bloody game, 
Hewing and slashing shields and helmets bright. 
And beating down whatever nigh him came, 
That every one gan shun his dreadful sight 

Xo less than death itself, in dangerous affright. 

Thus was Sir Satyrane with all his band, 
By his sole manhood and achievement stout 
Dismayed, that none of them in field durst stand, 
But beaten were and chased all about. 

But the day is not yet closed. Behold still a new 
Knight, who, entering the field, unhorses first the 
victorious Artegal, then Cambel, then Triamond, then 
Bland amour. 

Full many others at him likewise ran ; 
But all of them likewise dismounted were : 
Ne certes wonder ; — for no power of man 
Could bide the force of that enchanted spear ! 

1 Hole, bight, was called. 2 Behote, assured. 


We have seen this spear before. It is, it can be, no 
other than that of Britomart, the Knight of the Heben 
Spear, who wins the day, and is accordingly declared 

But this famous tournament has a counterpart quite 
as exciting and beautiful, as that which we have 
already seen. To it I now call the reader's attention. 

The Cestus of Venus among the ancients was the 
emblem of whatever in woman constitutes personal 
charms, the countless graces, namely, of voice, ges- 
ture, attitude, person, face, and manner. Spenser, 
who never introduces the classical mythology but to 
improve it, and who has no admiration for brilliant 
qualities apart from moral purity, gives to this beauti- 
ful myth a higher and nobler meaning — a meaning 
worthy of the man that wrote the Epithalamium. 

It was a part of the terms of the tournament of Sir 
Satyrane, that after the contest of valour among the 
Knights, there should be a contest of Beauty among 
the Ladies ; that the Lady who should be adjudged 
most beautiful, should be entitled to the Girdle of Flo- 
rimel ; and that, lastly, both Lady and Girdle should 
be awarded to the Knight who had by his valour won 
the meed of arms. The Knight of the Heben Spear 
had won the victory of arms, and was therefore entitled 
to the Girdle and to the Lady who by superior beauty 
should win it. The competitors for the prize of beauty, 
therefore, are now to be unveiled in the presence of 
this gay assemblage. 


First Cambel removes the veil from fair Cambina, 
disclosing a face of such heavenly purity as to steal 
away the hearts of all beholders. Next Triamond 
uncovers the face of the brilliant Canace, whose beauty 
bright, " Did daze the eyes of all with its exceeding 
light." Paridel next brings forth the hateful Duessa, 
now appearing indeed like an angel of light, under 
the influence of whose forged beauty the hearts of 
men are affected with a strange seductive influence. 
Ferramont also produces the bright and shining 

And after these, an hundred Ladies moe 
Appear in place, the which each other do outgo. 

To describe the exquisite beauty of all these excel- 
lent ladies, the poet says, one would need a Pen of 
Gold, hardly dreaming, I suppose, that in the progress 
of invention, the day would come, when even the dull 
prose of an unpretending commentary on his immortal 
verses, would be written with such an instrument. 

All which whoso dare think for to enchase, 

Him needeth sure a Golden Pen T ween, 

To tell the feature of each goodly face. 

For, since the day that they created been, 

So many heavenly faces were not seen 

Assembled in one place : ne he that thought 

For Chian folk to portrait Beauty's queen, 

By view of all the fairest to him brought, 
So many fair did see, as here he might have sought. 


At last, the most redoubted Britoness 
Her lovely Amoret did open show ; 
Whose face discovered, plainly did express 
The heavenly portrait of bright angel's hue. 
Well weened all, which her that time did view, 
That she should surely bear the bell away ; 
Till Blandamour, who thought he had the true 
And very Florimel, did her display : 

The sight of whom once seen did all the rest dismay. 

For all afore that seemed fair and bright, 
Now base and contemptible did appear, 
Compared to her that shone as Phoebe's light 
Amongst the lesser stars in evening clear. 
All that her saw with wonder ravished were, 
And weened no mortal creature she should be, 
But some celestial shape that flesh did bear : 
Yet all were glad there Florimel to see ; 

Yet thought that Florimel was not so fair as she. 

As guileful goldsmith, that bv secret skill 
W T ith golden foil doth finely overspread 
Some baser metal, which commend he will 
Unto the vulgar for good gold instead, 
He much more goodly gloss thereon doth shed 
To hide his falsehood, than if it were true : 
So hard this Idol was to be aread, 
That Florimel herself in all men's view 

She seemed to pass : so forged things do fairest shew. 

Then was that Golden Belt by doom of all 
Granted to her, as to the Fairest Dame. 
Which being brought, about her middle small 


They thought to gird, as best it her became ; 
But by no means they could it thereto frame : 
For, ever as they fastened it, it loosed 
And fell away, as feeling secret blame. 
Full oft about her waist she it enclosed ; 
And it as oft was from about her waist disclosed : 

That all men wondered at the uncouth sight, 

And each one thought, as to their fancies came ; 

But she herself did think it done for spite, 

And touched was with secret wrath and shame 

Therewith, as thing devised her to defame. 

Then many other ladies likewise tried 

About their tender loins to knit the same ; 

But it would not on none of them abide, 
But when they thought it fast, eftsoons it was untied. 

Which when that scornful Squire of Dames did view, 

He loudly gan to laugh, and thus to jest : 

" Alas for pity that so fair a crew, 

As like cannot be seen from east to west, 

Cannot find one this girdle to invest ! 

Fy on the man that did it first invent, 

To shame us all with this, Ungirt unblest ! 

Let never Lady to his love assent, 
That hath this day so many so unmanly shent." 1 

Thereat all Knights gan laugh, and Ladies lower : 
Till that at last the gentle Amoret 
Likewise assayed to prove that Girdle's power ; 
And, having it about her middle set, 

1 Shent, shamed, 


Did find it fit withouten breach or let ; 
Whereat the rest gan greatly to envy : 
But Florimel exceedingly did fret, 
And, snatching from her hand half angrily 
The Belt again, about her body gan it tie . 

Yet nathemore would it her body fit ; 

Yet natheless to her, as her due right, 

It yielded was by them that judged it ; 

And she herself adjudged to the Knight 

That bore the heben spear, as won in fight. 

But Britomart would not thereto assent, 

Ne her own Arnoret forego so light 

For that strange Dame, whose beauty's wonderment 
She less esteemed than th' other's virtuous government. 

I need not say how much the classic myth is im- 
proved by Spenser's magic wand. 

That Girdle gave the virtue of Chaste Love, 
And Wifehood True, to all that did it bear; 
But whosoever contrary doth prove, 
Might not the same about her middle wear, 
But it would loose, or else asunder tear. 

The company are puzzled of course at the strange 
conduct of the Girdle ; but having no suspicion that 
the Snowy Florimel is not the real lady, they joy 
greatly at her safe return, adjudge the Girdle to her as 
the most beautiful, and assign both herself and the 
Girdle to the Knight of the Heben Spear. Women's 
instincts are keen. Britomart' s, especially, seemed not 


inferior in point to that of her redoubted spear. She 
wants not the gay lady, notwithstanding her peerless 
beauty, but taking the virtuous Amoret, continues her 
journey in quest of the Knights Artegal and Scuda- 
mour. Little did they suspect how near they had 
both been to the object of their wishes. Little did 
Britomart know that she had unhorsed in the tourna- 
ment the very man thajt she was seeking, and that he 
— but I anticipate. 

Scudamour, wretched, restless, wandering abroad 
through the country, comes by chance to a hut in the 
woods, called the House of Care. The description of 
this abode, and of the night which Scudamour spent 
in it, seems to me not much inferior to the celebrated 
Cave of Despair in the first Book. It is commended 
to the special notice of any, who, after reading this 
commentary, shall read the poem itself. Such pas- 
sages lose much of their beauty in being detached 
from their connexion. I will, however, quote a few 

So as they travelled, the drooping Night, 

Covered with cloudy storm and bitter shower, 
That dreadful seemed to every living wight, 
Upon them fell, before her timely hour ; 
That forced them to seek some covert bower, 
Where they might hide their heads in quiet rest, 
And shrowd their persons from that stormy stower. 
Not far away, not meet for any guest, 

They spied a little cottage, like some poor man's nest. 


Under a steep hill's side it placed was, 

There where the mouldered earth had caved the bank ; 

And fast beside, a little brook did pass 

Of muddy water, that like puddle stank, 

By which few crooked fallows grew in rank : 

Whereto approaching nigh, they heard the sound 

Of many iron hammers beating rank, 

And answering their weary turns around, 

That seemed some blacksmith dwelt in that desert ground. 

There entering in, they found the goodman self 
Full busily unto his work ybent ; 
Who was to weet a wretched wearish 1 elf, 
With hollow eyes and rawbone cheeks forespent, 
As if he had in prison long been pent : 
Full black and grisly did his face appear, 
Besmeared with smoke that nigh his eyesight blent ; 2 
With rugged beard, and hoary shagged hair, 

The which he never wont to comb, or comely shear. 

Rude was his garment, and to rags all rent, 
Ne better had he, ne for better cared : 
With blistered hands amongst the cinders brent, 3 
And fingers filthy, with long nails unpared, 
Right fit to rend the food on which he fared. 
His name was Care ; a Blacksmith by his trade, 
That neither day nor night from working spared, 
But to small purpose iron wedges made ; 

Those be Unquiet Thoughts that careful minds invade. 

In which his work he had six servants pressed, 
About the anvil standing evermore 

1 Wearish, feeble. s Blent, blinded. 3 Brent, burnt. 


With huge great hammers, that did never rest 
From heaping strokes which thereon soused sore : 
All six strong grooms, but one than other more : 
lor by degrees they all were disagreed ; 
So likewise did the hammers which they bore. 
Like bells, in greatness orderly succeed, 
That he, which was the last, the first did far exceed. 

He like a monstrous giant seemed in sight, 

Far passing Bronteus or Pyracmon great, 

The which in Lipari do day and night 

Frame thunderbolts for Jove's avengeful threat. 

So dreadfully he did the anvil beat, 

That seemed to dust he shortly would it drive ; 

So huge his hammer, and so fierce his heat. 

That seemed a rock of diamond it could rive 
And rend asunder quite, if he thereto list strive. 

Sir Scudamour there entering much admired 
The manner of their work and weary pain : 
And, having long beheld, at last inquired 
The cause and end thereof: but all in vain : 
For they for nought would from their work refrain, 
Ne let his speeches come unto their ear. 
And eke the breathful bellows blew amain, 
Like to the northern wind, that none could hear ; 

Those Pensiveness did move : and Sighs the bellows were. 

Which when that Warrior saw, he said no more. 

But in his armour laid him down to rest : 

To rest he laid him down upon the floor. 
There lay Sir Scudamour long while expecting 

When gentle sleep his weary eyes would close ; 


Oft changing sides, and oft new place electing, 
Where better seemed he might himself repose ; 
And oft in wrath he thence again uprose ; 
And oft in wrath he laid him down again. 
But, wheresoe'er he did himself dispose, 
He by no means could wished ease obtain : 
So every place seemed painful, and each changing vain. 

And evermore, when he to sleep did think, 
The hammers' sound his senses did molest ; 
And evermore, when he began to wink, 
The bellows' noise disturbed his quiet rest, 
Ne suffered sleep to settle in his breast. 
And all the night the dogs did bark and howl 
About the house, at scent of stranger guest : 
And now the crowing cock, and now the owl 

Loud shrieking, him afflicted to the very soul. 

And, if by fortune any little nap 

Upon his heavy eyelids chanced to fall, 
Eftsoons one of those villains him did rap 
Upon his head-piece with his iron mall ; 
That he was soon awaked therewithal, 
And lightly started up as one affrayed, 1 
Or as if one him suddenly did call : 
So oftentimes he out of sleep abrayed, 3 

And then lay musing long on that him ill apayed. 3 

So long he mused, and so long he lay, 

That at the last his weary sprite, oppressed 
With fleshly weakness, which no creature may 
Long time resist, gave place to kindly rest, 

1 Affrayed, disturbed. 2 Abrayed, started. 3 iZZ apayed, disturbed. 


That all his senses did full soon arrest : 
Yet, in his soundest sleep, his daily fear 
His idle brain gan busily molest, 
And made him dream those two disloyal were : 
The things, that day most minds, at night do most appear. 

With that the wicked Carl, the Master-smith, 
A pair of red-hot iron tongs did take 
Out of the burning cinders, and therewith 
Under his side him nipped ; that, forced to wake, 
He felt his heart for very pain to quake, 
And started up avenged for to be 
On him the which his quiet slumber brake : 
Yet, looking round about him, none could see ; 

Yet did the smart remain, though he himself did flee. 

In such disquiet and heart-fretting pain, 

He all that night, that too long night, did pass. 

And now the day out of the ocean main 

Began to peep above this earthly mass, 

With pearly dew sprinkling the morning grass : 

Then up he rose like heavy lump of lead, 

That in his face, as in a looking glass, 

The signs of anguish one might plainly read, 

And guess the man to be dismayed with jealous dread. 

The House of Care is not obsolete. Alas ! the alle- 
gory needs no exposition. Happy the man, happy 
the woman, who hath spent only one night in that 
comfortless abode. 


The morning after that wearisome night, Scuda- 
mour meets an acquaintance, Sir Artegal. Artegal, it 
will be recollected, has no knowledge of Britomart, 
much less of her romantic passion for himself. He is 
a Knight greatly celebrated in Fairy Land for his 
probity and his valour, and is traversing the country 
in the discharge of a duty assigned him by Gloriana. 
What this adventure is, will more clearly appear in 
the following Book, of which he is the hero. His 
appearance at the tournament of Satyrane was merely 
incidental. When met by Scudamour, he was still 
smarting with vexation at his unaccountable defeat. 
On describing to Scudamour, who was not at the 
tournament, the arms of the unknown Knight, by 
whom he was overthrown, Scudamour recognises him 
at once to be the Knight who is reported as having 
eloped in so unhandsome a manner with Amoret 
Scudamour and Artegal therefore resolve to seek in 
company, and suitably to punish this strange Knight 
They are not long in finding the object of their wishes. 
That same day, Britomart is seen approaching in the 
distance. Scudamour, as being the one most deeply 
injured, claims the honour of beginning the attack 
He makes the onset. Horse and rider roll together in 
the dust. Artegal then attacks. 

But Artegal, beholding his mischance, 
New matter added to his former fire ; 


And, eft 1 aventering 2 his steel-headed lance. 
Against her rode, full of despiteous ire, 
That nought but spoil and vengeance did require : 
But to himself his felonous intent 
Returning disappointed his desire, 
Whiles unawares his saddle he forwent, 
And found himself on ground in great amazement. 

Artegal, though unhorsed, is not stunned, as was 
Scudamour. On the contrary, his blood is now up, 
and he continues the right on foot, with all the fierce- 
ness of despair. 

Lightly he started up out of that stound, 
And snatching forth his direful deadly blade 
Did leap to her, as doth an eager hound 
Thrust to an hind within some covert glade, 
Whom without peril he cannot invade : 
With such fell greediness he her assailed, 
That though she mounted were, yet he her made 
To give him ground, (so much his force prevailed,) 

And shun his mighty strokes, gainst which no arms availed. 

So, as they coursed here and there, it chanced 
That, in her wheeling round, behind her crest 
So sorely he her struck, that thence it glanced 
Adown her back, the which it fairly blest 3 
From foul mischance ; ne did it ever rest, 
Till on her horse's hinder parts it fell ; 
Where biting deep so deadly it impressed, 

1 Eft, eftsoons, quickly. a Aventering, advancing. 3 Blest, preserved. 


That quite it chined his back behind the sell, 1 
And to alight on foot her algates 3 did compel : 

Like as the lightning-brand from riven sky, 
Thrown out by angry Jove in his vengeance, 
With dreadful force falls on some steeple high ; 
Which battering down, it on the church doth glance, 
And tears it all with terrible mischance. 

Britomart's horse, then, is wounded, and she is 
obliged, laying aside her enchanted spear, to dismount 
and fight on foot, hand to hand. 

Yet she, no whit dismayed, her steed forsook ; 
And, casting from her that enchanted lance, 
Unto her sword and shield her soon betook ; 
And therewithal at him right furiously she strook. 

So furiously she strook in her first heat, 

Whiles with long fight on foot he breathless was, 
That she him forced backward to retreat, 
And yield unto her weapon way to pass : 
Whose raging rigour neither steel nor brass 
Could stay, but to the tender flesh it went, 
And poured the purple blood forth on the grass ; 
That all his mail yrived, and plates yrent, 

Showed all his body bare unto the cruel dent. 

At length, whenas he saw her hasty heat 
Abate, and panting breath begin to fail, 

* Sell, saddle. 2 Algates, (all gates,) at all events. 


He through long sufferr*ice growing now more great, 
Rose in his strength, and gan her fresh assail, 
Heaping huge strokes as thick as shower of hail, 
And lashing dreadfully at every part, 
As if he thought her soul to disentrail. 
Ah ! cruel hand, and thrice more cruel heart, 
That workst such wreck on her to whom thou dearest art ! 

What iron courage ever could endure 

To work such outrage on so fair a creature ! 

And in his madness think with hands impure 

To spoil so goodly workmanship of nature, 

The Maker's self resembling in her feature ! 

Certes some hellish fury or some fiend 

This mischief framed, for their first love's defeature, 

To bathe their hands in blood of dearest friend, 

Thereby to make their loves' beginning their lives' end. 

Thus long they traced and traversed to and fro, 
Sometimes pursuing and sometimes pursued, 
Still as advantage they espied thereto : 
But toward th' end Sir Artegal renewed 
His strength still more, but she still more decrewed. 1 
At last his luckless hand he heaved on high, 
Having his forces all in one accrewed, 3 
And therewith struck at her so hideously, 

That seemed nought but death must be her destiny. 

The wicked stroke upon her helmet chanced, 
And with the force, which in itself it bore, 

1 Decrewed, decreased. 2 Accrewed, increased. 


Her ventail 1 sheared away, and thence forth glanced 
Adown in vain, ne harmed her any more. 
With that, her angel's face, unseen afore, 
Like to the ruddy morn appeared in sight, 
Dewed with silver drops through sweating sore ; 
But somewhat redder than beseem'd aright, 
Through toilsome heat and labour of her weary fight: 

And round about the same her yellow hair, 

Having through stirring loosed their wonted band, 

Like to a golden border did appear, 

Framed in goldsmith^ forge with cunning hand : 

Yet goldsmith's cunning could not understand 

To frame such subtle wire, so shiny clear ; 

For it did glisten like the golden sand, 

The which Pactolus with his waters sheer 3 

Throws forth upon the rivage round about him near. 

And as his hand he up again did rear, 

Thinking to work on her his utmost wrack, 
His powerless arm benumbed with secret fear 
From his revengeful purpose shrunk aback, 
And cruel sword out of his fingers slack 
Fell down to ground, as if the steel had sense 
And felt some ruth, or sense his hand did lack, 
Or both of them did think obedience 

To do to so divine a Beauty's excellence. 

And he himself, long gazing thereupon, 
At last fell humbly down upon his knee, 

1 Ventail, the front of the helmet, the part which lifts up. 9 Sheer, clear. 


And of his wonder mad - ' religion, 
Weening some heavenly goddess he did see, 
Or else unweeting what it else might be ; 
And pardon her besought his error frail, 
That had done outrage in so high degree : 
Whilst trembling horror did his sense assail, 
And made each member quake, and manly heart to quail. 

Britomart, however, is for continuing the fight. She 
tells him to be done with such nonsense, and prepare 
himself again for battle. 

Natheless she, full of wrath for that late stroke, 
All that long while upheld her wrathful hand, 
With fell intent on him to been ywroke ; l 
And, looking stern, still over him did stand, 
Threatening to strike unless he would withstand ; 
And bade him rise, or surely he should die. 
But, die or live, for nought he would upstand ; 
But her of pardon prayed more earnestly, 

Or wreak on him her will for so great injury. 

Which whenas Scudamour, who now abrayed, 2 

Beheld, whereas he stood not far aside, 

He was therewith right wondrously dismayed ; 

And drawing nigh, whenas he plain descried 

That peerless pattern of dame Nature's pride 

And heavenly image of perfection, 

He blest himself as one sore terrified ; 

And, turning fear to faint devotion, 
Did worship her as some celestial vision. 

1 Ywroke, wreaked, avenged. 2 Abrayed, wakened, roused from the stupor 
caused by his fall. 


Artegal had by this time raised his visor. Behold 
the features which she had seen in the magic mirror. 
Her courage instantly droops, her uplifted hand falls 
by her side. But shall she really yield ? Again she 
rallies her drooping forces, and almost believes herself 
angry. It is all in vain. Unable any longer to lift 
her sword against him, she arms her tongue, and 
thinks to scold. She can get no farther than a very 
pretty quiescent little pout. Every hard word falters 
on her tongue ; every naughty frown contends with a 
dimple ; even her eagle's glance fast melts into a lov- 
ing repose, as she gazes with unchecked look upon the 
noble countenance, the majestic features, the lion-like 
face, which for many a long month had formed the 
staple of her day-dreams, the food of her inmost soul ! 

Scudamour is of course immediately undeceived on 
learning the real character of Britomart — but what 
had become of Amoret ? 

But Scudamour, whose heart twixt doubtful fear 
And feeble hope hung all this while suspense, 
Desiring of his Amoret to hear 
Some gladful news and sure intelligence, 
Her thus bespake : " But, Sir, without offence 
Mote I request you tidings of my Love, 
My Amoret, since you her freed from thence 
Where she, captived long, great woes did prove ; 

That where ye left I may her seek, as doth behove." 

To whom thus Britomart : " Certes, Sir Knight, 
What is of her become, or whether reft, 


I cannot unto you aread aright. 
For from that time I from enchanter's theft 
Her freed, in which ye her all hopeless left, 
I her preserved from peril and from fear, 
And evermore from villany her kept : 
Xe ever was there wight to me more dear 
Than she, ne unto whom I more true love did bear : 

" Till on a day, as through a desert wild 

We travelled, both weary of the way 

We did alight, and sat in shadow mild ; 

Where fearless I to sleep me down did lay s 

But, whenas I did out of sleep abray, 

I found her not where I her left whylere, 

But thought she wandered was, or gone astray : 

I called her loud, I sought her far and near ; 
But nowhere could her find, nor tidings of her hear.'' 

When Scudamour those heavy tidings heard, 
His heart was thrilled with point of deadly fear, 
Ne in his face or blood or life appeared : 
But senseless stood, like to a mazed steer 
That vet of mortal stroke the stound doth bear, 

Thus, then, a short time before the meeting of Arte- 
gal and Britomart, she and Amoret had been very 
strangely and suddenly separated. The adventure 
which caused this separation, is one not only very 
striking to the imagination, but if I mistake not, 
highly discriminative. The proper comprehension of 
its import may be regarded as a test of the reader's 


real understanding of the closely affiliated and yet 
nicely distinct characters of Amoret and Florimel. 

One day while they were riding through a forest, 
Britomart, as just related, fatigued with the journey 
and with warlike exercises, proposed that they should 
alight and rest their weary limbs awhile. The re- 
sult was natural. The warlike Maid soon fell asleep. 
While Britomart was thus sleeping at noonday in 
the shady wood, Amoret, not equally fatigued, strolled 
about for amusement. Suddenly, there was a noise 
of somebody, or something, rushing out of a thicket 
behind ; and ere she could turn even to see the 
cause, it, or he, had seized her, raising her forcibly 
from the ground, and was carrying her at a rapid 
rate through the woods. Britomart slept too soundly 
to hear the shrieks of the surprised Amoret. Hence 
the catastrophe. Unguarded beauty, innocent but 
thoughtless, is in the hands of the monster Lust. 

The description of this ugly creature is such as to 
excite equally disgust and alarm. He is a being, 
human in shape, but a span higher ; with no co- 
vering but a coat of hair, growing like that of the 
beasts over every part of his body ; with enormous 
teeth, and tushes like those of the wild boar; the 
nether lip, unlike that of man or beast, hanging 
down like a pouch, to contain the relics of his present 
meal for future mastication ; his projecting upper lip 
and nose like the snout of the basest of animals, 
and dripping with the blood of recent victims ; wide, 


flapping ears, like those of the elephant, hanging 
down his dirty sides ; his only weapon a young 
oak sapling, covered with sharp knotty snags, hard- 
ened, and pointed by being thrust into the fire; 
and finally, the Savage himself, nurtured from in- 
fancy on the milk of wolves and tigers, and living 
only on the unsodden flesh of beasts and men. Such 
is Lust, when viewed through the medium of its conse- 
quences : — superhuman in power, remorseless in havoc, 
loathsome in aspect. But crime is not always seen 
through the medium of its consequences. Even 
Amoret saw not that which carried her so rapidly 
away. The victims of this terrible passion seldom 
know at first the true nature of the impulse that 
hurries them from honour and safety. They forget, 
that the price of innocence is eternal vigilance. The 
heart, once remitting its vigil, is often assailed by foes 
within the camp, and with a degree of force that would 
not have been supposed to exist. The struggle which 
ensues between principle and passion, is the penalty 
for overlooking and neglecting duly to guard against 
those latent sparks of evil which exist in every human 
breast. Terrible was the penalty inflicted upon the 
gentle and virtuous Amoret. The ugly creature 
seized her in his arms, and bore her at a rapid rate 
through the wood, the briers and bushes the while 
tearing her delicate drapery, and scratching her tender 
limbs ; — and threw her, at last, far from human abode 


and succour, into his loathsome cave, there to await 
her fate among other miserable victims. 

Spenser does not explain this part of his poem. I 
am not entirely confident that the explanation sug- 
gested, is the true one. Still, it is obvious, that the 
trial of Amoret, was intended to be different from 
those of Florimel; — that the raging violence which 
now threatens its victim, is not from without as in 
the case of Florimel, but from within — a danger 
springing from a highly susceptible and generous 
nature, and revealing its full power to herself, for 
the first time, in a moment of unsuspecting and un- 
guarded confidence. 

Dropping speculation, however, let us resume the 

He stayed not, but in his arms her bearing 
Ran, till he came to th' end of all his way, 
Unto his cave far from all people's hearing, 
And there he threw her in, nought feeling, ne nought fearing. 

For she (dear Lady) all the way was dead, 

Whilst he in arms her bore ; but, when she felt 
Herself down soused, she waked out of dread 
Straight into grief, that her dear heart nigh swelt, 
And eft gan into tender tears to melt. 
Then when she looked about, and nothing found 
But darkness and dread horror where she dwelt, 
She almost fell again into a swound ; 

Ne wist whether above she were or under ground. 


With that she heard some one close by her side 
Sighing and sobbing sore, as if the pain 
Her tender heart in pieces would divide : 
Which she long listening, softly asked again 
What mister wight it was that so did plain ? 
To whom thus answered was : " Ah ! wretched wight, 
That seeks to know another's grief in vain, 
Unweeting of thine own like hapless plight : 

Self to forget to mind another is o'ersight !" 

" Ah me !'■ said she, " where am I, or with whom ? 
Among the living, or among the dead ? 
What shall of me unhappy Maid become ? 
Shall death be th' end, or ought else worse, aread 1" 
" Unhappy Maid," then answered she, " whose dread 
Untried is less than when thou shalt it try : 
Death is to him, that wretched life doth lead, 
Both grace and gain ; but he in hell doth lie, 

That lives a loathed life, and wishing cannot die. 

" This dismal day hath thee a captive made, 
And vassal to the vilest wretch alive ; 
Whose cursed usage and ungodly trade 
The heavens abhor, and into darkness drive : 
For on the spoil of women he doth live. 

The miserable woman then goes on to recount her 
own sufferings in this cave, and her horrible anticipa- 

" Now twenty days, by which the sons of men 

Divide their works, have passed through heaven sheen, 



Since I was brought into this doleful den ; 
During which space these sorry eyes have seen 
Seven women by him slain and eaten clean : 
And now no more for him but I alone, 
And this old woman, here remaining been, 
Till thou earnest hither to augment our moan ; 
And of us three to-morrow he will sure eat one" 

"Ah! dreadful tidings which thou dost declare," 
Quoth she, " of all that ever hath been known ! 
Full many great calamities and rare 
This feeble breast endured hath, but none 
Equal to this, wherever I have gone. 
But what are you, whom like unlucky lot 
Hath linked with me in the same chain at one ?" 
" To tell," quoth she, " that which ye see, needs not ; 

A woful wretched maid, of God and man forgot ! 

" But what I was, it irks me to rehearse : 

Daughter unto a Lord of high degree ; 

That joyed in happy peace, till Fates perverse 

With guileful love did secretly agree 

To overthrow my state and dignity. 

It was my lot to love a gentle swain, 

Yet was he but a squire of low degree ; 

Yet was he meet, unless my eye did feign, 
By any Lady's side for leman to have lain. 

" But, for his meanness and disparagement, 
My sire, who me too dearly well did love, 
Unto my choice by no means would assent, 
But often did my folly foul reprove : 


Yet nothing could my § .ed mind remove, 
But, whether willed or nilled friend or foe, 
I me resolved the utmost end to prove ; 
And, rather than my love abandon so, 
Both sire and friends and all for ever to forego. 

" Thenceforth I sought by secret means to work 

Time to my will, and from his wrathful sight 

To hide the intent which in my heart did lurk, 

Till I thereto had all things ready dight. 

So on a day, unweeting unto w T ight, 

I with that Squire agreed away to flit, 

And in a privy place, betwixt us hight, 

Within a grove appointed him to meet ; 
To which I boldly came upon my feeble feet. 

" But ah ! unhappy hour me thither brought : 
For in that place where I him thought to find, 
There was I found, contrary to my thought, 
Of this accursed Carl of hellish kind, 
The shame of men, and plague of womankind ,- 
Who trussing me, as eagle doth his prey, 
Me hither brought with him as swift as wind, 
Where yet untouched till this present day, 

I rest his wretched thrall, the sad iEmylia." 

Thus of their evils as they did discourse, 
And each did other much bewail and moan ; 
Lo ! where the Villain's self, their sorrows source, 
Came to the cave ; and rolling thence the stone, 
Which wont to stop the mouth thereof, that none 
Might issue forth, came rudely rushing in, 
And, spreading over all the floor alone, 


Gan dight himself unto his wonted sin ; 
Which ended, then his bloody banquet should begin. 

Which whenas fearful Amoret perceived, 

She stayed not th' utmost end thereof to try, 

But, like a ghastly gelt whose wits are reaved, 

Ran forth in haste with hideous outcry, 

For horror of his shameful villany : 

But after her full lightly he uprose, 

And her pursued as fast as she did fly : 

Full fast she flies, and far afore him goes, 
Ne feels the thorns and thickets prick her tender toes. 

Nor hedge, nor ditch, nor hill, nor dale she stays, 
But over-leaps them all, like roebuck light, 
And through the thickest makes her nighest ways ; 
And evermore, when with regardful sight 
She looking back espies that grisly wight 
Approaching nigh, she gins to mend her pace, 
And makes her fear a spur to haste her flight ; 
More swift than Myrrh' or Daphne in her race, 

Or any of the Thracian Nymphs in savage chase. 

The Villain at length recaptures Amoret, but is in- 
terrupted on his return by the interposition of one 
whom the reader instantly recognises. It is our friend 

This young gentleman, whom we left in a very 
doubtful condition, had now recovered entirely from 
his bodily wounds. He believed also that his heart 
was whole and sound. The awful brow of the peer- 
less but unapproachable Belphoebe, served at once to 


fill him with reverence, ana to keep in abeyance every 
emotion of a tenderer nature. We are all prone to 
believe ourselves incapable of that of which we are not 
actually guilty. The boy, under the restraining and 
chilling influence of this brilliant icicle, really believed 
himself no longer capable of anything more than a 
very platonic affection for a beautiful young woman. 
In this pleasant state of mind, pursuing the game 
alone through the forest, he sees the flight and recap- 
ture of Amoret, just mentioned. 

[But] that same gentle Squire arrived in place, 
Where this same cursed Caitiff did appear 
Pursuing that fair Lady full of fear : 
And now he her quite overtaken had ; 
And now he her away with him did bear 
Under his arm, as seeming wondrous glad, 
That by his grinning laughter mote far off be read. 

Which dreary sight the gentle Squire espying, 
Doth haste to cross him by the nearest way, 
Led with that woful Lady's piteous crying, 
And him assails with all the might he may : 
Yet will not he the lovely spoil down lay, 
But with his craggy club in his right hand 
Defends himself, and saves his gotten prey : 
Yet had it been right hard him to withstand, 

But that he was full light and nimble on the land. 

Thereto the Villain used craft in fight : 

For, ever when the Squire his javelin shook, 


He held the Lady forth before him right, 
And with her body, as a buckler, broke 
The puissance of his intended stroke : 
And if it chanced, (as needs it must in fight,) 
Whilst he on him was greedy to be wroke, 
That any little blow on her did light, 
Then would he laugh aloud, and gather great delight. 

Which subtle sleight did him encumber much, 

And made him oft, when he would strike, forbear ; 

For hardly could he come the Carl to touch, » 

But that he her must hurt, or hazard near : 

Yet he his hand so carefully did bear, 

That at the last he did himself attain, 

And therein left the pike-head of his spear : 

A stream of coal-black blood thence gushed amain, 

That all her silken garments did with blood bestain. 

With that he threw her rudely on the floor, 
And, laying both his hands upon his glave, 
With dreadful strokes let drive at him so sore, 
That forced him fly aback, himself to save : 
Yet he therewith so felly still did rave, 
That scarce the Squire his hand could once uprear, 
But, for advantage, ground unto him gave, 
Tracing and traversing, now here, now there ; 

For bootless thing it was to think such blows to bear. 

The Squire, then, with all his force and skill, is 
not able to effect a rescue. This was reserved for 
Belphoebe herself, the symbol of Chastity, who next 



appears. At her approach the impure monster instantly 
slunk back towards his den. 

Whilst thus in battle they embusied were, 
Belphcebe, ranging in her forest wide, 
The hideous noise of their- huge strokes did hear. 
And drew thereto, making her ear her guide : 
Whom when that Thief approaching nigh espied 
With bow in hand and arrows ready bent. 
He by his former combat would not bide. 
But flew away with ghastly dreariment, 

Well knowing her to be his death's sole instrument. 

Whom seeing fly, she speedily pursued 

With winged feet, as nimble as the wind, 

And ever in her bow she ready shewed 

The arrow to his deadly mark designed : 

As when Latona's daughter, cruel kind, 

In vengement of her mother's great disgrace, 

With fell despite her cruel arrows tined 

Gainst woful Xiobe's unhappy race, 
That all the Gods did moan her miserable case. 

So well she sped her, and so far she ventered, 
That, ere unto his hellish den he raught, 
Even as he ready was there to have entered, 
She sent an arrow- forth with mighty draught, 
That in the very door him overcaught, 
And, in his nape arriving, through it thrilled 
His greedy throat, therewith in two distraught. 
That all his vital spirits thereby spilled, 

And all his hairy breast with gory blood was filled. 


Whom when on ground she grovelling saw to roll, 
She ran in haste his life to have bereft ; 
But, ere she could him reach, the sinful soul 
Having his carrion corse quite senseless left 
Was fled to hell, surcharged with spoil and theft : 
Yet over him she there long gazing stood, 
And oft admired his monstrous shape, and oft 
His mighty limbs, whilst all with filthy blood 

The place there overflown seemed like a sudden flood. 

Thenceforth she passed into his dreadful den, 

Where nought but darksome dreariness she found, 

Ne creature saw, but hearkened now and then 

Some little whispering, and soft-groaning sound. 

With that she asked, what ghosts there under ground 

Lay hid in horror of eternal night ; 

And bade them, if so be they were not bound, 

To come and show themselves before the light, 

Now freed from fear and danger of that dismal Wight. 

Then forth the sad iEmylia issued, 

Yet trembling every joint through former fear ; 
And after her the hag, there with her mewed, 
A foul and loathsome creature, did appear ; 
A leman fit for such a lover dear : 
That moved Belphoebe her no less to hate, 
Than for to rue the other's heavy cheer ; 
Of whom she gan inquire of her estate ; 

Who all to her at large, as happened, did relate. 

The monster, fleeing from Belphoebe, left Amo- 
ret, bruised and wounded, upon the ground. Timias, 
leaving the pursuit of the monster to Belphoebe, ap- 


plied himself immediately to recover Amoret from her 
swoon. He raised her head gently from the earth — 

From her fair eyes wiping the dewy wet 
Which softly stilled, and kissing them atween, 
And handling soft the hurts which she did get. 

Poor Timias ! An hour since, no one could have 
made him believe that there was left in his heart 
any care but to hunt the deer and track the forest, 
Under the tutelage of Belphoebe and her nymphs, he 
had schooled himself, he supposed, into being a real 
pupil of their cheerless philosophy. But Amoret was 
no ordinary woman ; and Timias, apart from his ex- 
traordinary circumstances, was but an ordinary man ; 
and, in much less time than has been occupied in the 
narrative, resolution was melting like wax beneath the 
sunny rays of beauty and loveliness. 

How unfortunate ! At this critical, and certainly 
somewhat doubtful posture of affairs, the peerless 
virgin, Belphoebe, returning from killing the monster, 
found her convert trying to resuscitate the beautiful 
lady from her swoon by what had much more the ap- 
pearance of caresses than of surgery, A single glance 
of Belphcebe's practised eye read the whole story. 
Her first impulse was to transfix them both on the 
spot. Changing her mind, she came stealthily very 
near to the busy young gentleman, before he disco- 
vered her approach — ■ 

" Is this the faith?" she said — and said no more, 
But turned her face, and fled away for evermore, 


In vain did he try to explain his conduct. Not a 
word would she listen to. He attempted to follow. A 
keen arrow from her quiver forced him to retreat. 
Brooding over his loss of the favour of his benefactress, 
he resolved to retire from all haunt of men or beasts, 
and devote himself to the life of a solitary. There he 
fell into a settled melancholy. 

At last, when long he followed had in vain, 
Yet found no ease of grief nor hope of grace, 
Unto those woods he turned back again, 
Full of sad anguish and in heavy case : 
And, finding there fit solitary place 
For woful wight, chose out a gloomy glade, 
Where hardly eye mote see bright heaven's face 
For mossy trees, which covered all with shade 

And sad melancholy ; there he his cabin made. 

His wonted warlike weapons all he broke 
And threw away, with vow to use no more, 
Ne thenceforth ever strike in battle stroke, 
Ne ever word to speak to woman more ; 
But in that wilderness, of men forlore 
And of the wicked world forgotten quite, 
His hard mishap in dolour to deplore, 
And waste his wretched days in woful plight : 

So on himself to wreak his folly's own despite. 

And eke his garment, to be thereto meet, 
He wilfully did cut and shape anew ; 
And his fair locks, that wont with ointment sweet 
To be embalmed, and sweat out dainty dew, 


He let to grow and grisly to concrew, 1 
Uncombed, uncurled, and carelessly unshed ; 
That in short time his face they overgrew, 
And over all his shoulders did dispread, 
That who he whilom was, uneath was to be read. 

There he continued in this careful plight, 
Wretchedly wearing out his youthly years, 
Through wilful penury consumed quite, 
That like a pined ghost he soon appears : 
For other food than that wild forest bears, 
Ne other drink there did he ever taste 
Than running water tempered with his tears, 
The more his weakened body so to waste : 

That out of all men's knowledge he was worn at last. 

So complete was the Squire's disguise, that even 
his own Lord, Prince Arthur, who accidentally passed 
that way, did not recognise him. 

For on a day, by fortune as it fell, 

His own dear Lord, Prince Arthur, came that way, 

Seeking adventures where he mote hear tell ; 

And, as he through the wandering wood did stray, 

Having espied his cabin far away, 

He to it drew, to weet who there did won ; 

Weening therein some holy hermit lay, 

That did resort of sinful people shun ; 
Or else some woodman shrouded there from scorching sun. 

Arriving there he found this wretched man 
Spending his days in dolour and despair, 

i oncrew, (Lat. concresco), to grow together, become matted. 


And, through long fasting, waxen pale and wan, 
All overgrown with rude and rugged hair ; 
That albeit his own dear Squire he were, 
Yet he him knew not, ne avised at all ; 
But like strange wight, whom he had seen no where, 
Saluting him, gan into speech to fall, 
And pity much his plight, that lived like outcast thrall. 

But to his speech he answered no whit, 

But stood still mute, as if he had been dumb, 
Ne sign of sense did show, ne common wit, 
As one with grief and anguish overcome ; 
And unto everything did answer mum : 
And ever, when the Prince unto him spake, 
He louted lowly, as did him become, 
And humble homage did unto him make ; 

Midst sorrow showing joyous semblance for his sake. 

At which his uncouth guise and usage quaint 

The Prince did wonder much, yet could not guess 
The cause of that his sorrowful constraint ; 
Yet weened, by secret signs of manliness 
Which close appeared in that rude brutishness, 
That he whilom some gentle swain had been, 
Trained up in feats of arms, and knightliness ; 
Which he observed, by that he him had seen 

To wield his naked sword and try the edges keen ; 

And eke by that he saw on every tree 
How he the name of One engraven had, 
Which likely was his liefest Love to be, 
From whom he now so sorely was bestead ; 


Which was by him Bel^hoibe rightly road : 
Yet who was that Belphoebe he ne wist ; 
Yet saw he often how he waxed glad 
When he it heard, and how the ground he kissed 
Wherein it written was, and how himself he blessed. 

Then, when he long had marked his demeanour, 
And saw that all he said and did was vain, 
Ne ought mote make him change his wonted tenor, 
Ne ought mote cease to mitigate his pain ; 
He left him there in languor to remain, 
Till time for him should remedy provide, 
And him restore to former grace again : 

# # # * # 

Perhaps there is not in the whole Fairy Queen a 
more beautiful episode than that of the Dove, which 
visited Timias in his banishment. The extracts which 
follow, will explain themselves. 

[Thus then] it fell to this unhappy Boy, 
Whose tender heart the fair Belphoebe had 
With one stern look so daunted, that no joy 
In all his life, which afterwards he led, 
He ever tasted ; but with penance sad 
And pensive sorrow pined and wore away, 
Ne ever laughed, ne once showed countenance glad ; 
But always wept and wailed night and day, 

As blasted blossom through heat doth languish and decay : 

Till on a day, as in his wonted wise 

His dole he made, there chanced a turtle Dove 


To come, where he his dolours did devise, 
That likewise late had lost her dearest love, 
Which loss her made like passion also prove : 
Who, seeing his sad plight, her tender heart 
With dear compassion deeply did enmove, 
That she gan moan his undeserved smart, 
And with her doleful accent bear with him a part. 

She sitting by him, as on ground he lay, 
Her mournful notes full piteously did frame, 
And thereof made a lamentable lay, 
So sensibly compiled that in the same 
Him seemed oft he heard his own right name. 
With that he forth would pour so plenteous tears, 
And beat his breast unworthy of such blame, 
And knock his head, and rend his rugged hairs, 

That could have pierced the hearts of tigers and of bears. 

Thus, long this gentle bird to him did use 
Withouten dread of peril to repair 
Unto his won, and with her mournful muse 
Him to recomfort in his greatest care, 
That much did ease his mourning and misfare : 
And every day, for guerdon of her song, 
He part of his small feast to her would share ; 
That, at the last, of all his wo and wrong 

Companion she became, and so continued long. 

Upon a day, as she him sate beside, 

By chance he certain moniments forth drew, 
Which yet with him as relics did abide 
Of all the bounty which Belphoebe threw 


On him, whilst goodly grace she did him shew ; 
Amongst the rest a jewel rich he found, 
That was a ruby of right perfect hue, 
Shaped like a heart yet bleeding of the wound, 
And with a little golden chain about it bound. 

The same he took, and with a riband new, 

In which his Lady's colours were, did bind 

About the turtle's neck, that with the view 

Did greatly solace his engrieved mind. 

All unawares the bird, when she did find 

Herself so decked, her nimble wings displayed, 

And flew away as lightly as the wind : 

Which sudden accident him much dismayed ; 
And, looking after long, did mark which way she strayed. 

But whenas long he looked had in vain, 

Yet saw her forward still to make her flight, 

His weary eye returned to him again, 

Full of discomfort and disquiet plight, 

That both his jewel he had lost so light, 

And eke his dear companion of his care. 

But that sweet bird departing flew forthright, 

Through the wide region of the wasteful air, 
Until she came where wonned his Belphoebe fair. 

There found she her (as then it did betide) 
Sitting in covert shade of arbours sweet, 
After late weary toil which she had tried 
In savage chase, to rest as seemed her meet. 
There she, alighting, fell before her feet, 
And gan to her her mournful plaint to make, 
As was her wont, thinking to let her weet 


The great tormenting grief that for her sake 
Her gentle Squire through her displeasure did partake. 

She, her beholding with attentive eye, 

At length did mark about her purple breast 

That precious jewel, which she formerly 

Had known right well with coloured ribands dressed 

Therewith she rose in haste, and her addressed 

With ready hand it to have reft away : 

But the swift bird obeyed not her behest, 

But swerved aside, and there again did stay ; 

She followed her, and thought again it to assay. 

And ever, when she nigh approached, the dove 
Would flit a little forward, and then stay 
Till she drew near, and then again remove : 
So tempting her still to pursue the prey, 
And still from her escaping soft away : 
Till that at length into that forest wide 
She drew her far, and led with slow delay : 
In the end she her unto that place did guide, 

Whereas that woful man in languor did abide. 

Eftsoons she flew unto his fearless hand, 
And there a piteous ditty now devised, 
As if she would have made him understand 
His sorrow's cause, to be of her despised : 
Whom when she saw in wretched weeds disguised, 
With hairy glib' deformed, and meagre face, 
Like ghost late risen from his grave agrized, 2 
She knew him not, but pitied much his case, 

And wished it were in her to do him any grace. 

1 Glib, mustachio. 2 Agrized, disfigured. 


He, her beholding, at her feet down fell 

And kissed the ground on which her sole did tread, 
And washed the same with water which did well 
From his moist eyes, and like two streams proceed ; 
Yet spake no word, whereby she might aread 
What mister wight he was, or what he meant ; 
But, as one daunted with her presence dread. 
Only few rueful looks unto her sent, 

As messengers of his true meaning and intent. 

At length, then, the unfortunate Squire recovers the 
favour of his Mistress, and is once more admitted to 
her service. This remarkable episode, detailing the 
temporary alienation of Belphcehe from Timias. his 
self-imposed banishment, and subsequent reconcilia- 
tion, is universally interpreted as containing an allu- 
sion to a veil-known historical event. Sir Walter 
Raleigh, while professing the most chivalrous and dis- 
interested attachment to the person of his sovereign, 
the Virgin Queen, was unfortunately detected in a 
criminal intrigue with one of her maids of honour ! 

Let us return to the narrative. Amoret. abandoned 
to her fate both by Timias and Belphcebe. awoke at 
length from her swoon, Her deliverers had disap- 
peared, but she was not alone. Another damsel. 
jEmylia. it will be recollected, had been the com- 
panion of her distress in the Cave of Lust. The two 
ladies muse awhile upon their forlorn situation, when 
a stranger appears, travelling through the wood, a 
Knight of noble aspect and gentle mien. The reader 



soon recognises him as the mighty deliverer who has 
already appeared in so many cases of emergency. It 
is indeed Prince Arthur. The very announcement 
relieves the mind and gives assurance that the day of 
deliverance cannot be far off. Prince Arthur puts 
both of the ladies upon his horse, and walks on foot 
by their side. Thus they travel together. At night, 
they stop at a hut, the abode of a miserable old bel- 
dame, named Slander. 

So when that forest they had passed well, 
A little cottage far away they spied, 
To which they drew ere night upon them fell ; 
And, entering in, found none therein abide, 
But one old woman sitting there beside 
Upon the ground in ragged rude attire, 
With filthy locks about her scattered wide, 
Gnawing her nails for fellness and for ire, 

And thereout sucking venom to her parts entire. 

A foul and loathly creature sure in sight, 

And in conditions to be loathed no less : 

For she was stuffed with rancour and despite 

Up to the throat, that oft with bitterness 

It forth would break and gush in great excess, 

Pouring out streams of poison and of gall 

Gainst all that truth or virtue do profess ; 

Whom she with leasings lewdly did miscall 
And wickedly backbite : her name men Slander call. 

Her nature is, all goodness to abuse, 

And causeless crimes continually to frame, 


With which she guiltless persons may accuse. 
And steal away the crown of their good name . 
Xe ever Knight so bold, ne ever Dame 
So chaste and loyal lived, but she would strive 
With forged cause them falsely to defame ; 
Xe ever thing so well was done alive, 
But she with blame would blot, and of due praise deprive. 

Her words were not. as common words are meant. 
T' express the meaning of the inward mind, 
But noisome breath, and poisonous spirit sent 
From inward parts, with cankered malice lined, 
And breathed forth with blast of bitter wind ; 
Which passing through the ears would pierce the heart, 
And Wound the soul itself with grief unkind : 
For, like the stings of asps that kill with smart. 

Her spiteful words did prick and wound the inner part. 

The Prince and the two beautiful Ladies spend the 
night at the hut of this miserable old woman. Passing 
forward on their journey in the morning, she follows 
them with foul aspersions and reproaches. "While the 
generous reader is filled with pity for the sorrowful 
dames, and admiration for the heroic prince, this vile 
woman sees in then condition nothing but grounds for 
doubt and foul surmise, and entertains for them no 
feelings but those of the basest suspicion. So true it 
is, that 

— ;: They who credit crime, are they who feel 
Their own hearts weak to unresisted sin : 


Memory, not judgment, prompts the thoughts which steal 

O'er minds like these, an easy faith to win ; 

And tales of broken truth are still believed 

Most readily by those who have themselves deceived." 1 

The bee sucks its honey from the same shrub which 
the viper turns into venom. In moral, as in material 
vision, the colour of objects depends far more upon the 
organ of vision and the intervening medium, than upon 
anything inherent in the objects themselves. I have no 
sort of respect for that species of talent which bases its 
reputation entirely upon the ability to find fault. To 
discover and appreciate what is good, is a far more dif- 
ficult task than to detect what is evil. The two states 
of mind differ, as wisdom differs from cunning. The 
one sees only evil : the other sees both evil and good. 
The man who would be thought to possess a profound 
insight into human nature, because he can suggest a 
base motive for every appearance of goodness, draws 
not only his premises from a bad heart, but his logic 
from a narrow head. The charity which " hopeth all 
things," and which finds something good in all things, 
is not a surer index of moral, than of intellectual great- 
ness. In woman, especially, the disposition to see only 
the dark shades in the picture of human character, is 
odious in the extreme, and is fitly represented by the 
foul old woman already in part described. Nothing is 
all dark. There cannot be a picture without its bright 

1 Mrs?. Norton. 


spots ; and the steady contemplation of what is bright 
in others, has a reflex influence upon the beholder. It 
reproduces what it reflects. Nay, it seems to leave an 
impress even upon the countenance. The features, 
from having a dark and sinister aspect, become open, 
serene, and sunny. A countenance so impressed, has 
neither the vacant stare of the idiot, nor the crafty, 
penetrating look of the basilisk, but the clear, placid 
aspect of truth and goodness. The woman who hath 
such a face, is beautiful. She has a beauty which 
varies not with the features, which changes not with 
years. It is beauty of expression. It is the only kind 
of beauty which can be relied upon for a permanent 
influence with the other sex. But let us return to the 
old hag, Slander. 

Soon as they thence departed were afore, 
That shameful Hag, the slander of her sex, 
Them followed fast, and them reviled sore, 
Him calling thief, .... that much did vex 
His noble heart : thereto she did annex 
False crimes and facts, such as they never meant, 
That those two ladies much ashamed did wax : 
The more did she pursue her lewd intent, 

And railed and raged, till she had all her poison spent. 

At last, when they were passed out of sight, 
Yet she did not her spiteful speech forbear, 
But after them did bark, and still backbite, 
Though there were none her hateful words to hear ; 


Like as a cur doth felly bite and tear 
The stone which passed stranger at him threw ; 
So she, them seeing past the reach of ear, 
Against the stones and trees did rail anew, 
Till she had dulled the sting, which in her tongue's end grew. 

Prince Arthur and the sorrowful Ladies continue to 
travel as before, he on foot and they two upon his horse. 
At length they spy a Squire and a Dwarf, fleeing as 
for life, and after them, in close pursuit, a pagan giant, 
named Corflambo, (inflaming the heart). Arthur 
slays this pagan, and releases the captives found in 
his castle, among whom is the lover of iEmylia. 
We omit the particulars of the destruction of Cor- 
flambo. The most remarkable thing about this Giant, 
was the radiance of fire and light from his eyes, 
which had the power of consuming all who withstood 
him. There are persons, both men and women, who 
exert a powerful and mysterious influence by their 
eyes ; who have the power, by a look, to enkindle in 
the hearts of others the undeveloped sparks of evil. 

Corflambo seems to have been meant by Spenser as 
the personification of this principle. In his object, he 
is not unlike the ruffian who carried off Amoret. It 
is in the means they differ, just as a self-suggested im- 
pulse arising from causes within the heart, differs 
from the same impulse, set in motion by influences 
darted into the mind from without. 

Arthur having destroyed Corflambo, abode some 


time at his castle, among other things to restore his 
own strength and that of Amoret, who had not jet re- 
covered entirely from the bruises and hard treatment 
which she had received in the forest. While at the 
castle, some of the minor characters, whose names I 
have purposely suppressed, are married. The justice, 
discretion, delicacy, and kind consideration of the 
wants of all, displayed in the arrangements of Prince 
Arthur at the castle of Corfiambo, maintain in the 
reader's mind the high idea conceived of him at his 
first appearance. He is everywhere noble and princely. 
The castle of Corfiambo was w T ell furnished with the 
means of hospitable entertainment, which were likely 
to be put in requisition under the auspices of its pre- 
sent victor. Leaving the party to enjoy a few days 
of needed repose in these comfortable quarters, let us 
turn our attention to a different scene. 

Behold upon a plain a company of Knights with 
ladies, squires and attendants. The Knights are some 
of those who had been at the tournament of Sir Saty- 
rane and had failed to win the Girdle. Four of these, 
Druon, Claribel, Blandamour, and Paridel, instigated 
by Duessa and Ate, are quarrelling among themselves, 
about the award. Two others are standing by as 
spectators. They are Britomart and Scud amour. On 
their attempting to mediate between the combatants, 
thereupon the four first named, cease quarrelling with 
each other, and commence an attack upon the pacifi- 


cators. This attack is the more furious, for the re- 
membrance of the defeat which Britomart had given 
them at the tournament. Here, then, upon this solitary 
plain, with none at hand to see fair play, they resolve 
to wreak their vengeance. 

Full oftentimes did Britomart assay 

To speak to them, and some emparlance move ; 
But they for nought their cruel hands would stay, 
Ne lend an ear to ought that might behove. 
As when an eager mastiff once doth prove 
The taste of blood of some engored beast, 
No words may rate, nor rigour him remove 
From greedy hold of that his bloody feast : 

So, little did they hearken to her sweet beheast. 

Whether the enchantment had vanished from the 
point of that Heben Spear, since the confession by 
Britomart of her love to Artegal, is more than I feel 
at liberty to say. I only know, she and Scudamour 
are hard beset, and the reader is not loth to see in the 
distance a noble Knight approaching. His armour 
and his bearing cannot be mistaken. Prince Arthur 
again appears; and Britomart and Scudamour are 

But there is a state of the mind in which even dan- 
ger is a relief, and deliverance from it is regarded as a 
misfortune. What boots it to Scudamour, whether 
slain by his enemies or courted by his friends ? All 


his sources of joy were contained in one loved object, 
and she seems never more about to bless his eyes. 

" For from the first that I her love professed, 

Unto this hour, this present luckless hour, 

I never joyed happiness nor rest : 

But thus turmoiled from one to other stour, 

I waste my life, and do my days devour 

In wretched anguish and incessant wo, 

Passing the measure of my feeble power ; 

That, living thus a wretch, and loving so, 
I neither can my love, ne yet my life forego." 

But cheer up. noble Scudamour ! Xot in vain hast 
thou endured these long months of anguish and sepa- 
ration. Prince Arthur, when he appeared, came not 
unattended. There was methought beside him. a 
lady, closely veiled. Lift the veil, gentle reader, and 
show to the astonished Scudamour. his long lost bride, 
his Amoret ' 

I pause a moment in the story to give a word of 
explanation. It is unfortunate for the character of this 
noble poem, that it is evidently incomplete in this 
particular part. When Spenser published the first 
three Books by themselves, he brought Amoret and 
Scudamour together immediately after the release of 
the former from the castle of Busvrane. In continuing 
the poem, he omitted the stanzas describing the meet- 
ing, with which the third Book originally closed, and 
protracted the agony and the separation through the 


greater part of the fourth Book. Whether he intended 
to insert the omitted stanzas at the place where the 
meeting now takes place, or to supply something else 
to the same purport, is not known. This part of the 
story, however, (not as I have given it, but as it is in 
Spenser,) contains an evident hiatus, the reader being 
left in doubt whether Scudamour and Amoret actually 
do meet. The close of the ninth Canto seems to assert 
that they do not, while the beginning of the tenth 
Canto, as well as the whole structure of the poem, im- 
plies that they do. Indeed, Spenser's great defect as 
an artist consists in his not sufficiently dovetailing 
together the different parts of his story. The most 
ordinary novelette of the present day is composed with 
more skill in this respect than the Fairy Queen. This 
peculiarity has been kept in view in the present work. 
The writer has endeavoured, by the omission of epi- 
sodes and by various other contrivances, (which those 
who are familiar with the poem will readily under- 
stand,) to draw with a bold pencil the outlines of the 
story. Having these deeply engraven upon the mind, 
the reader may give himself up without danger of 
confusion, to the unrestrained enjoyment of those single 
scenes and separate pictures, in which Spenser sur- 
passes all other poets. I return to the story. 

Scudamour, possessed at last of his bride, is called 
upon to explain to the company by what means he 
first won for himself a woman who had been sought 


by so many distinguished Knights. His name, Scuda- 
mour, (scutum a shield, and amor love,) is indicative, 
in part, of the exploit which had been crowned with 
such brilliant success. The birth of Amoret has been 
before hinted at. She was the twin sister of Bel- 
phoebe. Taken, like her, in infancy from her mother, 
and nurtured entirely by her foster-mother, Venus, she 
became in time the perfect model of female loveliness. 
Venus offered her in marriage as a prize to any Knight 
who could win her by the performance of a feat pre- 
sently to be named. Such a prize was not likely to 
be overlooked by the gay cavaliers of Fairydom. Great 
were the heart-burnings, many were the attempts, 
many the failures. Among others, Scudamour, now 
arrived at manhood, having just put on his maiden 
and untried arms, resolved to make a trial. His reso- 
lution was at once bold and modest ; — bold almost to 
presumption as to its object, yet eminently modest and 
winning in its manner. 

" What time the fame of this renowned prize 
Flew first abroad, and all men's ears possessed ; 
I, having arms then taken, gan avise 
To win me honour by some noble gest, 
And purchase me some place amongst the best. 
I boldly thought, (so young men's thoughts are bold,) 
That this same brave emprise for me did rest, 
And that both Shield, and She whom I behold, 

Might be my lucky lot ; since all by lot we hold. 


The place where this notable adventure was to be 
performed, was the Temple of Venus. The island in 
which this temple was situated, abounded in all sorts 
of delights, and was by nature utterly inaccessible ex- 
cept at one point. At that point was a massive bridge, 
extending from the mainland to the island. The en- 
trance to the bridge was protected by a castle of great 
strength, guarded by twenty tried and valiant Knights. 
Whoever would win Amoret, must enter the temple ; 
to enter the temple, he must first reach the island ; to 
reach the island, he must cross the bridge ; to cross the 
bridge, he must first pass the tower, and overcome 
successively in single combat every one of those 
twenty chosen Knights. So closely entrenched is wo- 
man's heart. So impenetrable are her defences, except to 
him who hath the " Open Sesame" thereto. 

Let us return to the geography of this rare place. 
On the mainland, in front of the castle which guarded 
the bridge, was an open plain. In the midst of this 
plain stood a marble pillar. On this pillar hung a 
shield. It was the Shield of Love (Scutum, amor). 
Under the shield were written these words : 

" Blessed the man that well can use this bliss : 
Whose ever be the Shield, fair Amoret be his." 

To win this shield, then, this is the difficulty. 
" Hie labor, hoc opus est." The main difficulty in 


taking the fortress of woman's heart is with the out- 
works. Only carry these, only win her confidence, 
and all the rest is as easy as the " House that Jack 
built." This is the shield, that guards the bridge, 
that leads to the island, that upholds the temple, that 
contains in it, not the peerless Belphcebe — no awful 
brow or life-threatening weapons — no feeling averse to 
what is after all the natural state of woman— but, on 
the contrary, a frame of mind, if I may be excused the 
expression, " more ready to give than to receive." 
But, once more, to return to the story. Scudamour 
shall tell it in his own modest way. 

" Before that Castle was an open plain, 
And in the midst thereof a pillar placed ; 
On which this Shield, of many sought in vain, 
The Shield of Love, whose guerdon me hath graced, 
Was hanged on high with golden ribands laced ; 
And in the marble stone was written this, 
With golden letters goodly well enchased : 
Blessed the man that well can use this bliss ; 

Whose ever be the Shield, fair Amoret be his. 

" Which when I read, my heart did inly yearn, 
And pant with hope of that adventure's hap : 
Ne stayed further news thereof to learn, 
But with my spear upon the Shield did rap, 
That all the Castle ringed with the clap. 
Straight forth issued a Knight all armed to proof, 
And bravely mounted to his most mishap : 


Who, staying nought to question from aloof, 
Ran fierce at me, that fire glanced from his horse's hoof. 

" Whom boldly I encountered (as I could), 
And by good fortune shortly him unseated. 
Eftsoons outsprung two more of equal mould ; 
But I them both with equal hap defeated : 
So all the twenty I likewise entreated, 
And left them groaning there upon the plain. 
Then, pressing to the pillar, I repeated 
The read thereof for guerdon of my pain, 

And, taking down the Shield, with me did it retain. 

" So forth without impediment I passed, 

Till to the bridge's utter gate I came ; 

The which I found sure locked and chained fast. 

I knocked, but no man answered me by name ; 

I called, but no man answered to my claim : 

Yet I persevered still to knock and call ; 

Till at the last I spied within the same 

Where one stood peeping through a crevice small, 
To whom I called aloud, half angry therewithal. 

" That was to weet the porter of the place, 
Unto whose trust the charge thereof was lent : 
His name was Doubt, that had a double face, 
Th' one forward looking, th' other backward bent, 
Therein resembling Janus ancient, 
Which hath in charge the ingate of the year : 
And evermore his eyes about him went, 
As if some proved peril he did fear, 

Or did misdoubt some ill whose cause did not appear. 


" On th' one side he, on th' other sate Delay, 

Behind the gate, that none her might espy ; 

Whose manner was, all passengers to stay 

And entertain with her occasions sly ; 

Through which some lost great hope unheedily, 

Which never they recover might again ; 

And others, quite excluded forth, did lie 

Long languishing there in unpitied pain, 
And seeking often entrance afterwards in vain. 

" Me whenas he had privily espied, 

Bearing the Shield which I had conquered late, 
He kenned it straight, and to me opened wide : 
So in I passed, and straight he closed the gate. 
But being in, Delay in close await 
Caught hold on me, and thought my steps to stay, 
Feigning full many a fond excuse to prate, 
And time to steal, the treasure of man's day, 

Whose smallest minute lost no riches render may. 

" But by no means my way I would forslow 

For ought that ever she could do or say ; 

But from my lofty steed dismounting low 

Passed forth on foot, beholding all the way 

The goodly works, and stones of rich assay, 

Cast into sundry shapes by wondrous skill, 

That like on earth nowhere I reckon may ; 

And underneath, the river rolling still 
With murmur soft, that seemed to serve the workman's will. 

" Thence forth I passed to the second gate, 
The Gate of Good Desert, whose goodly pride 


And costly frame were long here to relate ; 
The same to all stood always open wide ; 
But in the porch did evermore abide 
An hideous Giant, dreadful to behold, 
That stopped the entrance with his spacious stride, 
And with the terror of his countenance bold 
Full many did affray, that else fain enter would : 

" His name was Danger, dreaded over all ; 
Who day and night did watch and duly ward 
From fearful coward's entrance to forestall 
And faint-heart fools, whom show of peril hard 
Could terrify from fortune's fair award : 
For oftentimes faint hearts, at first espial 
Of his grim face, were from approaching scared: 
Unworthy they of grace, whom one denial 

Excludes from fairest hope withouten further trial. 

" Yet many doughty warriors, often tried 
In greater perils to be stout and bold, 
Durst not the sternness of his look abide : 
But, soon as they his countenance did behold, 
Began to faint, and feel their courage cold. 
Again, some other, that in hard assays 
Were cowards known, and little count did hold, 
Either through gifts, or guile, or such like ways, 

Crept in by stooping low, or stealing of the kays. 1 

" But I, though meanest man of many more, 
Yet much disdaining unto him to lout, 

1 Kays, keys. 


Or creep between his legs, so in to go, 
Resolved him to assault with manhood stout, 
And either beat him in or drive him out. 
Eftsoons, advancing that enchanted Shield, 
With all my might I gan to lay about : 
Which when he saw, the glaive 1 which he did wield 
He gan forthwith t'avale, 2 and way unto me yield. 

" So, as I entered, I did backward look, 

For fear of harm that might lie hidden there ; 
And lo ! his hindparts, whereof heed I took, 
Much more deformed, fearful, ugly were, 
Than all his former parts did erst appear : 
For Hatred, Murder, Treason, and Despite, 
With many more lay in ambushment there, 
Awaiting to entrap the wareless wight 

Which did not them prevent with vigilant foresight. 

Scudamour, whose valour in action is equalled only 
by his modesty in speaking of it, having thus stoutly 
won his way across the bridge, finds himself upon an 
island as beautiful and enchanting as that which con- 
tained the Bower of Bliss. The theme is inviting, but 
we must imitate our hero, and hasten on. The reader 
will have, therefore, to imagine the island as enriched 
with whatever in nature or art could make it attractive ; 
its beauties and adornments true and real, not forced 
and delusory like those of the Bower of Bliss ; and itself 
fitted up not for the revels of a wicked enchantress, 
but for the protection and honour of virtuous Woman- 

1 Glaive, sword. 2 Avale, lower, let fall. 


hood. The island in short was the spot chosen by 
Venus for the abode of Amoret 

" Thus having past all peril, I was come 

Within the compass of that Island's space ; 

The which did seem, unto my simple doom, 

The only pleasant and delightful place 

That ever trodden was of footing's trace : 

For all that Nature by her mother-wit 

Could frame in earth, and form of substance base, 

Was there ; and all that Nature did omit, 
Art, playing second Nature's part, supplied it. 

" No tree, that is of count, in greenwood grows, 
From lowest juniper to cedar tall ; 
No flower in field, that dainty odour throws, 
And decks his branch with blossoms over all, 
But there was planted, or grew natural : 
Nor sense of man so coy and curious nice, 
But there might find to please itself withal ; 
Nor heart could wish for any quaint device, 

But there it present was, and did frail sense entice. 

Wandering through the groves and among the 
shady arbours of this blissful Island, Scudamour 
noticed innumerable pairs of accepted lovers, discours- 
ing of their loves as they sat or walked, without re- 
straint or without unwelcome interruptions from third 

Lovers were not the only occupants of these happy 
abodes. There was a kindred but yet different band 
here to be seen. Particular attention is invited to 


this group, both as it shows the expansiveness of the 
author's ideas, and as it illustrates a remark already 
made, in regard to the natural connexion between the 
third and fourth Books of the Fairy Queen. 

" But, far away from these, another sort 
Of lovers linked in true heart's consent ; 
Which loved not as these for like intent, 
But on chaste virtue grounded their desire, 
Far from all fraud or feigned blandishment ; 
Which, in their spirits kindling zealous fire, 
Brave thoughts and noble deeds did evermore aspire. 

" Such were great Hercules, and Hyllus dear ; 

True Jonathan, and David trusty tried ; 

Stout Theseus, and Pirithous his fere; 1 

Pylades, and Orestes by his side ; 

Mild Titus, and Gesippus without pride ; 

Damon, and Pythias, whom death could not sever : 

A' I these, and all that ever had been tied 

In bands of friendship, there did live for ever ; 
Whose lives although decayed, yet loves decayed never." 

From these stanzas it will be perceived, that Spen- 
ser placed Friendship, as well as Love, under the pro- 
tection of Venus. They are indeed generically the 
same, only with a specific difference. Love is friend- 
ship, and something more. Spenser, too, it will be 
noticed, has improved upon the classical idea of Venus 
herself, quite as much as he did upon that of her 

1 Fere, (frere,) companion. 


girdle. Spenser's Venus is not the Cyprian queen of 
Ovid and Horace, but a being perfectly pure from 
moral taint ; — Amoret herself, deified. 

But true love never forgets its errand. It is no 
more to be withheld from its object by gayety and 
splendour, than by terror and peril. Scudamour is as 
earnest and straightforward in his purpose, as he is 
modest and courageous. The Island with all its de- 
lights is nothing compared with the Temple which 
it contains, and that Temple itself nothing to him 
compared with its lovely occupant. 

" Yet all those sights, and all that else I saw, 
Might not my steps withhold but that forthright 
Unto that purposed place I did me draw, 
Whereas my Love was lodged day and night, 
The Temple of great Venus, that is hight 
The Queen of Beauty, and of Love the mother, 
There worshipped of every living wight ; 
Whose goodly workmanship far passed all other 

That ever were on earth, all were they set together." 

Not stopping to describe this gorgeous edifice, let 
us approach at once the awful threshold. Observe as 
we enter, how appropriate are the objects, how elo- 
quent the allegory ! 

" I, much admiring that so goodly frame, 

Unto the porch approached, which open stood ; 
But therein sat an amiable Dame, 
That seemed to be of very sober mood, 


And in her semblant t howed great womanhood : 
Strange was her tire ; for on her head a crown 
She wore, much like unto a Danisk hood. 
Powdered with pearl and stone ; and all her gown 
Enwoven was with gold, that raught full low adown. 

" On either side of her two young men stood, 
Both strongly armed, as fearing one another ; 
Yet were they brethren both of half the blood, 
Begotten by two fathers of one mother, 
Though of contrary natures each to other : 
The one of them hight Love, the other Hate : 
Hate was the elder, Love the younger brother ; 
Yet was the younger stronger in his state 

Than th' elder, and him mastered still in all debate. 

" Nathless that Dame so well them tempered both, 

That she them forced hand to join in hand, 

Albe that Hatred was thereto full loth, 

And turned his face away, as he did stand, 

Unwilling to behold that lovely band : 

Yet she was of such grace and virtuous might, 

That her commandment he could not withstand, 

But bit his lip for felonous despite, 
And gnashed his iron tusks at that displeasing sight. 

" Concord she cleped was in common read, 
Mother of blessed Peace and Friendship true ; 
They both her twins, both born of heavenly seed, 
And she herself likewise divinely grew ; 
The which right well her works divine did shew : 
For strength and wealth and happiness she lends, 
And strife and war and anger does subdue ; 


Of little much, of foes she maketh friends, 
And to afflicted minds sweet rest and quiet sends. 

Arrived at length within the inmost temple, let us 
survey the spot. The lofty roof rests upon a hundred 
marble pillars, each hung with crowns, chains, gar- 
lands, and other votive offerings. The whole area is 
strewed with fresh flowers, the whole air breathes of 
odours and incense rising from its hundred altars. 
Beside each altar is a huge brazen vessel wherein the 
votary may bathe in joy and amorous desire ; and each 
altar and vessel is committed to a special attendant, a 
ministering youth of the gentler sex : — 

" For all the priests are Damsels in soft linen dight." 

In the midst of all these, stands one altar pre-eminent 
in size, beauty, and glory of appearance. By it stands 
the image of great Venus herself. 

In the description of Venus and her rites, Spenser 
has followed chiefly the Egyptian mythology. I pass 
this part of the description, and proceed to that more 
immediately connected with the fate of our hero. 
Scudamour, while urging his suit before the image of 
Venus, espied not far off a group that strongly attracted 
his attention. 

" Whilst thus I spake, behold ! with happy eye 
I spied where at the Idol's feet apart 
A bevy of fair Damsels close did lie, 
Waiting whenas the anthem should be sung on high. 


" The first of them did soem of riper years 
And graver countenance than all the rest ; 
Yet all the rest were eke her equal peers, 
Yet unto her obeyed all the best : 
Her name was Womanhood ; that she expressed 
By her sad semblant and demeanour wise : 
For steadfast still her eyes did fixed rest, 
Ne rove at random, after gazer's guise, 

Whose luring baits ofttimes do heedless hearts entice. 

" And next to her sat goodly Shamefastness, 
Ne ever durst her eyes from ground uprear, 
Ne ever once did look up from her dess, 1 
As if some blame of evil she did fear, 
That in her cheeks made roses oft appear : 
And her against sweet Cheerfulness was placed, 
Whose eyes, like twinkling stars in evening clear, 
Were decked with smiles that all sad humours chased, 

And darted forth delights the which her goodly graced. 

" And next to her sate sober Modesty, 

Holding her hand upon her gentle heart ; 

And her against sate comely Courtesy, 

That unto every person knew her part : 

And her before was seated overthwart 

Soft Silence and submiss Obedience, 

Both linked together never to dispart ; 

Both gifts of God not gotten but from thence ; 
Both garlands of his Saints against their foes' offence." 

Who, but the author of the Fairy Queen, would 
have imagined such a scene and such companions for 

1 Dess, desk. 


the votary of Venus ? Yet, is not the picture true to 
nature ? Does it not find a prompt response in every 
mind ? Was I not right in saying, Spenser has im- 
proved the classic myth respecting Venus herself, 
quite as much as that respecting her Girdle ? 

But perhaps, with Scudamour, the reader's heart 
begins to throb with expectation. Look again at that 
pure and sisterly group. 

" Thus sat they all around in seemly rate : 
And in the midst of them a goodly Maid 
(Even in the lap of Womanhood) there sat, 
The which was all in lily white arrayed, 
With silver streams amongst the linen strayed ; 
Like to the Morn, when first her shining face 
Hath to the gloomy world itself bewrayed : 
That same was fairest Amoeet in place, 

Shining with beauty's light and heavenly virtue's grace. 

" Whom soon as I beheld, my heart gan throb 
And wade in doubt what best were to be done : 
For sacrilege me seemed the church to rob ; 
And folly seemed to leave the thing undone, 
Which with so strong attempt I had begun. 
Then, shaking off all doubt and shamefast fear, 
Which Lady's love I heard had never won 
Mongst men of worth, I to her stepped near, 

And by the lily hand her laboured up to rear. 

" Thereat that, foremost Matron me did blame, 
And sharp rebuke for being over-bold ; 
Saying it was to Knight unseemly shame, 
Upon a recluse Virgin to lay hold, 


That unto Venus' services was sold. 
To whom I thus : Nay, but it fitteth best 
For Cupid's man with Venus' maid to hold ; 
# # # * 

" With that my Shield I forth to her did show, 
Which all that while I closely had concealed : 
At sight thereof she was with terror quelled, 
And said no more : but I, which all that while, 
The pledge of faith, her hand engaged held, 

For no intreaty would forego so glorious spoil. 

" And evermore upon the goddess' face 
Mine eye was fixed, for fear of her offence : 
Whom when I saw with amiable grace 
To laugh on me, and favour my pretence, 
I was emboldened with more confidence ; 
And nought for niceness nor for envy sparing, 
In presence of them all forth led her thence, 
All looking on, and like astonished staring, 

Yet to lay hand on her not one of all them daring, 

" She often prayed, and often me besought, 
Sometime with tender tears to let her go, 
Sometime with witching smiles : but yet, for nought 
That ever she to me could say or do, 
Could she her wished freedom from me woo ; 
But forth I led her through the Temple gate, 
By which I hardly past with much ado : 
Thus safely with my Love I thence did wend." 

So ended he his Tale ; where I this Canto end. 

The Canto thus concluded is the tenth. I need 
not say, I consider it highly beautiful. I have quoted 


from it thus freely not only for its beautiful imagery, 
and its melodious versification, but because it developes 
in so agreeable and satisfactory a manner the character 
of Scudamour. As the accepted lover of Amoret, the 
reader feels all along, that Scudamour ought to be a 
noble and worthy Knight. But it is not until we hear 
from his own mouth, this modest account of his ex- 
ploits, that we understand and appreciate his real 
worth. His character has in it nothing to dazzle or 
astonish. It does not strike suddenly the imagination, 
but wins upon us by degrees, gaining successively 
our confidence, our sympathy, our admiration, our un- 
reserved affection. He has not the thoughtful and 
solemn heroism of the Red-Cross Knight; nor yet 
the faultless, but somewhat insipid composure of Sir 
Guy on ; he is at a still farther remove from the cruel 
levity of Paridel, and Blandamour. In his joys and 
his sorrows, his achievements and his perfections, his 
friendships and his love, he comes more within the 
pale of human sympathies, than any of the male cha- 
racters in the Fairy Queen. He is indeed Spenser's 
idea of perfect Manhood, without superhuman endow- 
ments or any extraordinary mission : — one to whom the 
heart goes out with a warm and inspiring confidence — a 
man, having the masculine ability, the strength, moral 
and physical, which secures to him the entire respect 
of his own sex, while, to the woman of his choice, he 
gives a love deep, earnest, abiding, and unreserved, — 


the counterpart and correlative of Amoret's love for 

No one, I am sure, who read the third Book, has 
forgotten poor Florimel. The author, at the end of 
the third Book, left her imprisoned by Proteus in a 
dismal submarine cave. There she has lain ever since. 
Every few Cantos, the author stops to shed a tear over 
her condition, but declares his entire inability to do 
anything for her relief. The eleventh Canto of the 
fourth Book opens with the following stanzas : 

But ah ! for pity that I have thus Jong 

Left a fair Lady languishing in pain ! 

Now well away ! that I have done such wrong, 

To let fair Florimel in bands remain, 

In bands of love, and in sad thraldom's chain ; 

From which unless some heavenly power her free 

By miracle, not yet appearing plain, 

She longer yet is like captived to be ; 
That even to think thereof it inly pities me. 

Here need you to remember, how erewhile 

Unlovely Proteus, missing to his mind 

That Virgin's love to win by wit or wile, 

Her threw into a dungeon deep and blind, 

And there in chains her cruelly did bind, 

In hope thereby her to his bent to draw : 

For, whenas neither gifts nor graces kind 

Her constant mind could move at all he saw, 
He thought her to compel by cruelty and awe. 


Deep in the bottom of an huge great rock 

The dungeon was, in which her bound he left, 

That neither iron bars, nor brazen lock, 

Did need to guard from force or secret theft 

Of all her lovers which would her have reft : 

For walled it was with waves, which raged and roared 

As they the cliff in pieces would have cleft ; 

Besides, ten thousand monsters, foul abhorred 

Did wait about it, gaping grisly, all begored. 

And in the midst thereof did Horror dwell, 

And darkness dread that never viewed day, 

Like to the baleful house of lowest hell, 

In which old Styx her aged bones alway 

(Old Styx the grandame of the gods) doth lay. 

There did this luckless maid seven months abide, 

Ne ever evening saw, ne morning's ray, 

Ne ever from the day the night descried, 
But thought it all one night, that did no hours divide. 

And all this was for love of Marinel, 

Who her despised (ah ! who would her despise !) 
And women's love did from his heart expel, 
And all those joys that weak mankind entice. 

The story of Marinel, which has not been given, is 
necessary to the proper comprehension of that of Flo- 
rimel. It is long, but I will endeavour to compress 
the substance of it into a few paragraphs. 

Marinel was the son of the sea-nymph Cymoent, by 
an earthly sire. Educated by his mother with great 


care, Marinel became a noble and accomplished Knight, 
and attracted much attention by his feats of arms. His 
mother became at length apprehensive for his safety, 
in consequence of the reckless daring with which he 
pursued his adventures. Under the influence of this 
fear, she consulted a diviner, and was told that her son 
would indeed meet with his ruin, but it would be at 
the hand of a woman. Interpreting this to mean that 
he would fall in love with some woman, and so get into 
difficulty, she trained him to regard the sex with ap- 
prehension and doubt, to avoid in fact woman's so- 
ciety. Young, handsome, accomplished, intelligent, 
and graceful, Marinel was naturally the object of 
admiration among the ladies attendant upon the Court 
of Fairy ; perhaps not the less so from the fact of his 
indifference and reserve. 

The prediction respecting the fate of Marinel had 
its fulfilment, but in a way very different from that 
which his mother expected. He fell, as has been be- 
fore described, by the hand of Britomart, wounded not 
with the arrows of Cupid, or the glances of a bright 
eye, but literally with the point of that enchanted 
spear. His mother, the sea-nymph Cymoent, mourned 
excessively over his death, and having transported his 
body to her watery bower, deep in the bottom of the 
sea, succeeded, by the help of remedies known only to 
the sea-gods and goddesses, in restoring him to life 
and health. 

Other poets have made us familiar with scenes 


imagined to exist below the surface of the earth. It 
was left to the genius of Spenser to people the lower 
parts of the mighty deep with human sympathies. 
The descent into these submarine regions, and the 
great gathering of the gods and goddesses in the hall 
of Proteus, to witness the marriage of the Medway 
and the Thames, occupy a good deal of space in the 
poem. The whole of this episode, however, is omitted, 
except that which relates to our own party. Cymoent 
went, among the other marine lords and ladies, to this 
famous marriage, taking with her her son Marinel, 
now restored from his wounds. Being earth-begotten, 
he could not partake of the banquet, but remained a 
mere "looker-on in Vienna." 

Great was the crowd of distinguished sea-gentry that 
thronged on this occasion the hall of Proteus, leagues 
below the surface of the ocean. Tired at length of 
looking at their strange faces, Marinel determined to 
take a stroll around the premises, and view the curious 
architectural arrangements of the great sea-prince. 

He had not wandered far, when he heard a human 
voice issuing from the narrow opening of a rock. The 
sound was rendered faint by distance, but seemed to 
come from some lonely being, confined far away under 
the cliff, beyond the reach of succour or of intercourse. 
The voice, though faint by distance, was distinct. It 
was the voice of a human being, yes, it was the voice 
of a female. She was bewailing to herself her deso- 
late and hard condition. As she was proceeding with 


her plaint, his heart, never before touched with what 
he had been taught to regard as a weakness, began to 
be seized with a new and strange commotion. He 
heard this female in that distant inner chamber, re- 
counting to herself the story of her woes, all endured 
because she refused to become the bride of an immor- 
tal, whose bride she refused to be, because she loved a 
mortal — and that mortal knew not of her love, and if 
he did, would not care, for it was the cruel, scornful 
Knight, Sir Marinel ! She ends her wail thus : — 

" Ye gods of seas, if any gods at all 

Have care of right, or ruth of wretch's wrong, 

By one or other way me woful thrall 

Deliver hence out of this dungeon strong, 

In which I daily dying am too long : 

And if ye deem me death for loving one 

That loves not me, then do it not prolong, 

But let me die and end my days at one, 
And let him live unloved, or love himself alone. 

" But if that life ye unto me decree, 

Then let me live, as Lovers ought to do, 

And of my life's dear Love beloved be : 

And, if he should through pride your doom undo, 

Do you by duress him compel thereto, 

And in this prison put him here with me ; 

One prison fittest is to hold us two : 

So had I rather to be thrall than free ; 
Such thraldom or such freedom let it surely be. 

" But, O vain judgment, and conditions vain, 
The which the prisoner points unto the free ! 


The whiles I him condemn, and deem his pain, 
He where he lists goes loose, and laughs at me : 
So ever loose, so ever happy be ! 
But whereso loose or happy that thou art, 
Know, Marinel, that all this is for thee !" 

How the blood tingles in the Knight's veins, as he 
hears this unconscious confession from the most beau- 
tiful woman in Fairy Land ! He had not, in truth, 
been a real contemner of the sex. His heart had been 
merely pre-occupied with martial and knightly achieve- 
ments, to the exclusion of the thought of woman. But 
henceforth, one all-excluding idea held possession of his 
breast ; and he rested not night or day, until, by the 
intercession of Cymoent, and the all-powerful interpo- 
sition of great Neptune himself, he gained the release, 
and became by sweet compact, the affianced lover of 
the beautiful, the persecuted, the astonished, the too, 
too happy Florimel ! 



Intimate Connexion between the Third and Fourth Books— The 
Reasons for this — Mission of Artegal — Definition of Justice— 
Artegal's Education by Astrsea — His Sword, Chrysaor- — The Iron 
Man, Talus— Punishment of Sangliere — Battle with Pollente— Ex- 
ecution of Munera — The Giant Innovation — Nuptials of Florimel 
— Tournament of Sir Marinel — Braggadochio's Imposture — Va- 
nishing of the Snowy Florimel — Decision of Artegal between the 
Brothers, Amidas and Brasidas- — Artegal and Talus beset by 
Female Warriors — Radigund — Her Character— Her Battle with 
Artegal — Artegal in Thraldom — Radigund in Love — Love Agen- 
cies — Poor Clarin — Britomart's Uneasiness at the Absence of Ar- 
tegal — She goes to his Rescue — The House of Dolon — The 
Temple of Isis — Battle between Britomart and Radigund — King 
Philip and the Spanish Armada— Artegal and Prince Arthur 
rescue Samient- — Arthur's Battle with the Soudan— Punishment of 
Adicia — Synopsis of the Whole Book. 

The Fairy Queen is about three times the length 
of Paradise Lost. It is divided into six Books, and 
each Book into twelve Cantos. Each of the six Books 
was intended to be, and to some extent is, a separate 



poem, having a distinct subject, hero, and heroine, a 
beginning, middle, and end. The first Book is in- 
tended to illustrate Holiness ; the second, Temperance ; 
the third, Chastity ; the fourth, Friendship ; the fifth, 
Justice ; and the sixth, Courtesy. 

I have now gone through a somewhat detailed ac- 
count of the contents of the first four of these Books. 
It remains, that I attempt to unfold in like manner 
the two remaining Legends. Before doing so, I will 
make one remark both in explanation and defence of 
the author. 

The reader cannot have failed to perceive, that the 
third and fourth Books, the Legends of Chastity and 
Friendship, are greatly wanting in separate unity. 
They run into each other, and blend together, as one 
Book. Britomart, Florimel, Amoret, Belphcebe, Timias, 
Scudamour, Satyrane, and Marinel, who are the lead- 
ing characters of these two Books, are quite as much 
connected with one as the other. They are the several 
strands of a cord which continues unbroken through- 
out. The painful interest which is awakened for 
Florimel in the very first Canto of the third Book, 
meets with no alleviation or relief, until the very last 
Canto of the fourth Book. This peculiarity of the third 
and fourth Books has been made the ground of critical 
objection. The author, it is said, professes in the third 
Book to give the adventure of Britomart, treating of 
Chastity; and in the fourth Book, the adventure of 
Cambel and Triamond, treating of Friendship. But 


these two topics and ad" entures do not stand out 
clearly and definitely to the imagination, as do those 
of Saint George and Sir Guyon, in the first and second 
Books. In other words, the third and fourth Books 
are wanting in separate unity. Such is the charge. 

Admitting the fact, I deny the fault, The illustra- 
tion of the principle of Chastity with its affiliated vir- 
tues and vices, necessarily involves a development of 
the passion of Love. Love and Friendship are bound 
together in a bundle of relations and affinities too inti- 
mate and tender to be rudely sundered at the mere 
dictum of a Procrustean criticism. It is, I contend, in 
accordance with, the constitution of nature, and the 
established order of things, that Spenser has thus 
mixed up in one general action the development of 
these two principles. For, who would trust as a friend, 
the betrayer of female virtue ? or who is likely to be 
true in friendship, if not the man who loves and 
honours his wife ? Who would entrust the honour of 
his sister or his daughter, to him who has been recreant 
to the laws of friendship? Or who would trust his 
own happiness to a woman who, in the relation of 
friendship, was cold, fickle, or insincere? Who does 
not see that domestic happiness can be wounded only 
through the sides of friendship ?■ — that love is in truth 
friendship, only a thousand times more of it ? 

It is, therefore, I repeat, entirely in accordance with 
nature that these two Legends are thus intimately 
blended. So far from its being a blemish, I regard it 


rather as a beauty. The fault, if there is one, lies, I 
apprehend, merely in the author's sketch of his plan 
in the letter to Raleigh, not in his execution of the 
poem itself. The plan, as sketched, has the unmeaning 
completeness of the chequer-board, or of the multi- 
plication table. The actual poem has all the graceful 
irregularities incident to a narrative of human inte- 
rests, or the development of human passions. 

That the view of this subject which I have taken is 
the right one, will be farther obvious, I think, when 
we have gone through the following Books. All 
virtues are indeed to some extent connected. But 
between none of them does there exist such an inti- 
mate connexion as that which exists between the two 
already named. Hence, in leaving these two, and 
passing to the illustration of Justice, the author re- 
sumes the manner of which he had given examples in 
the first and second Books. The Legend of Artegal, 
or of Justice, contains an action and interest almost 
complete in itself — not indeed isolated, for Britomart 
reappears and plays an important part — but quite as 
periodique as the Legend of Sir Guyon, or the Legend 
of the Red-Cross Knight. The same remark will be 
found applicable to the sixth Book, or the Legend of 

With these prefatory remarks I proceed to introduce 
the reader to a new circle of acquaintances. Among 
them we shall receive, I trust, both entertainment and 
advantage, and form some lasting friendships : and, that 


we may not at first fee 1 ourselves entirely among 
strangers, several of our old friends will accompany us. 
We shall have the company of Britomart especially, as 
it was meet, since the adventure to be related is that 
of her now recognised and accepted lover, Sir Artegal. 

Artegal, it will be recollected, was in pursuit of this 
adventure at the time of his remarkable meeting with 
Britomart. After the recognition, and the vows of 
affiance which succeeded, Artegal was bound, by the 
laws of chivalry, and in obedience to the behests of 
Gloriana, to pursue to its completion the adventure 
which had been assigned to him. The appearance of 
Artegal in the fourth Book, and the fact of his being- 
the affianced lover of Britomart, have already made 
him partially known to the reader, and prepared the 
mind to receive with eagerness that more explicit state- 
ment of his character and mission with which the fifth 
Book begins. 

The particular adventure upon which Sir Artegal 
had been sent was this. Grantorto, an unrighteous 
and powerful tyrant, had wrested from the distressed 
Lady Irena her patrimonial possessions. Irena going 
to the Court of Gloriana for relief, the latter gave it in 
charge to Artegal to destroy the monster and reinstate 
the lady in her possessions. The battle itself between 
Artegal and Grantorto is in the twelfth Canto. All 
the preceding Cantos are occupied with preliminary 
and incidental adventures which Artegal meets on his 
way. These adventures are all strictly subsidiary to 


the main object of the Book, which is to exhibit some 
of the various forms and modifications of justice and 
injustice abroad in the world. The reader cannot fail 
to perceive how very similar is the plan of the story 
to those of the Red-Cross Knight, and of Sir Guyon. 
There is in each case one main adventure occurring 
in the twelfth Canto, with numerous intervening and 
subsidiary adventures occupying the previous Cantos. 

Justice, like Temperance, is used by Spenser in a 
very comprehensive sense. It is the " suura cuique tri- 
buere" of the great Roman moralist— that general prin- 
ciple which has for its object, in all the multiplied rela- 
tions of life, to secure to each his own. Justice has 
various names, according to the varying character of 
these relations. Justice between man and man, becomes 
Probity, Integrity, Honesty. Political Justice is that 
which exists in the administration of the affairs of state. 
Judicial Justice consists in ascertaining and declaring 
by public authority the rights of individuals. Retri- 
butive Justice deals out rewards and punishments to 
those who have rights either to defend or to be defend- 
ed. In like manner, Injustice assumes the various 
forms of Dishonesty, Bribery, Fraud, Oppression, &c. 

There is indeed no form of human action, in which 
woman's influence is not felt. In the administration 
of Justice, however, whether public or private, civil or 
international, in meting out retribution to oppressors, 
or giving relief to the oppressed, it will be readily per- 
ceived, that she has a much less direct agency than in 


those departments of human action which grow out of 
the use or abuse of the social affections. We need not 
be disappointed, therefore, if we find in the Legend of 
Justice a less prodigal array of splendid female cha- 
racters, than in some other Books of the Fairy Queen. 
The first Canto begins with an account of Sir Arte- 
gal, showing his special fitness for the mission which 
had been assigned him. In early times — the golden 
age — before men had given themselves up to wicked- 
ness, Astej3a, the goddess of Justice, dwelt among men. 
It was from the lips of this divine instructress that 
Artegal had received from infancy those lessons of 
wisdom and right which had guided him in manhood. 
She had seen him when a boy playing among his 
companions, and was so pleased with the nobleness of 
his countenance, that she enticed him away, and took 
him to a cave. There, free from the influences of a 
corrupting world, and under her sole tutelage, the boy 
was trained in all the mysteries of that science whose 
end is "to give to each his own." 

For Artegal in Justice was upbrought 

Even from the cradle of his infancy, 

And all the depth of rightful doom was taught 

By fair Astrjsa, with great industry, 

Whilst here on earth she lived mortally : 

For, till the world from his perfection fell 

Into all filth and foul iniquity, 

Astreea here mongst earthly men did dwell, 
And in the rules of justice them instructed well. 


Whiles through the world she walked in this sort, 
Upon a day she found this gentle child. 
Amongst his peers playing his childish sport ; 
Whom seeing fit, and with no crime defiled, 
She did allure with gifts and speeches mild 
To wend with her : so thence him far she brought 
Into a cave from company exiled, 
In which she nursed him, till years he raught ; 

And all the discipline of justice there him taught. 

There she him taught to weigh both right and wrong 

In equal balance with due recompense, 

And equity to measure out along 

According to the line of conscience, 

Whenso it needs with rigour to dispense : 

Of all the which, for want there of mankind, 

She caused him to make experience 

Upon wild beasts, which she in woods did find, 
With wrongful power oppressing others of their kind. 

Thus she him trained, and thus she him taught 
In all the skill of deeming wrong and right, 
Until the ripeness of man's years he raught ; 
That even wild beasts did fear his awful sight, 
And men admired his overruling might ; 
Ne any lived on ground that durst withstand 
His dreadful hest, much less him match in fight, 
Or bide the horror of his wreakful hand, 

Whenso he list in wrath lift up his steely brand : 

The man who from childhood has been instructed 
in the principles, and trained to the habit of rectitude, 
possesses a powerful weapon for the conflict of the 


world. Astrsea in like m?uner armed her pupil, now 
arrived at manhood, with a weapon of marvellous 
temper and no less remarkable history, — the golden- 
hilted sword Chrysaor, the same with which Jupiter 
had overthrown the rebellious Titans, and which since 
that time had been laid up among the royal armoury 
in Jove's eternal house. Astrsea, taking it thence by 
stealth, gave it to her pupil on parting, before sending 
him out into the world. The name " Chrysaor" was 
burnished in letters of gold upon the side of the blade, 
while the edge was formed of a mysterious compound 
of steel and diamond. 

For of most perfect metal it was made, 

Tempered with adamant amongst the same, 
And garnished all with gold upon the blade 
In goodly wise, whereof it took his name, 
And was of no less virtue than of fame : 
For there no substance was so firm and hard, 
But it would pierce or cleave whereso it came ; 
Ne any armour could his dint out-ward ; 

But wheresoever it did light, it throughly sheared. 

Having thus armed and instructed her pupil, and 
being wearied at length with the increasing wicked- 
ness of men, Astrsea returned to the heavens from 
which she came. There the " Virgin" may now 
nightly be seen, the sixth of those twelve glittering 
jewels which adorn the girdle of the heavens. 


Now when the world with sin gan to abound, 
Astrosa loathing longer here to space 1 
Mongst wicked men, in whom no truth she found, 
Returned to heaven, whence she derived her race ; 
Where she hath now an everlasting place 
Mongst those twelve Signs, which nightly we do see 
The heaven's bright-shining baldrick 2 to enchase ; 
And is the Virgin, sixth in her degree, 

And next herself her righteous balance hanging be. 

Astrsea not only furnished Artegal with a sword, but 
left with him a stern and faithful attendant, the same 
who had accompanied her in her own wanderings 
through the world. 

But when she parted hence she left her groom, 

An Iron Man, which did on her attend 

Always to execute her steadfast doom, 

And willed him with Artegal to wend, 

And do whatever thing he did intend : 

His name was Talus, made of iron mouldy 

Immoveable, resistless, without end : 

Who in his hand an iron flail did hold, 
With which he threshed out falsehood, and did truth unfold. 

Talus will be easily recognised, as representing 
retaliatory or retributive Justice, the stern executor of 
the law's behests. He attends Artegal as closely as 
the Palmer attended Sir Guyon, only in a different 
capacity. He is the strong arm by which, in matters 

1 Space, roam. 2 Baldrick, belt, girdle, the Zodiac. 


of right and wrong, the de -isions of the understanding 
are carried into effect. Punitive or Vindicatory Justice 
is often presented to the imagination as something ex- 
ceedingly forbidding and repulsive. But there is in 
Talus a sturdy, straightforward honesty of purpose, 
which wins imperceptibly upon the reader notwith- 
standing the natural rigour of his character and office. 
Even his iron flail, with which he threshes offenders, 
comes in for a share of our affection. 

But it is time to begin the story. Suppose then, 
Artegal and Talus on their way in quest of the Tyrant 
Grantorto, whom they were to subdue. They had 
not proceeded far, when their attention was called to a 
Squire sitting by the wayside in great distress. 

To whom as they approached, they espied 

A sorry sight as ever seen with eye, 

An headless Lady lying him beside 

In her own blood all wallowed wofully, 

That her gay clothes did in discolour dye. 

Much was he moved at that rueful sight ; 

And flamed with zeal of vengeance inwardly, 

He asked, who had that Dame so foully dight, 
Or whether his own hand, or whether other wight ? 

" Ah ! wo is me, and well away," quoth he, 
Bursting forth tears like springs out of a bank, 
" That ever I this dismal day did see ! 
Full far was I from thinking such a prank ; 
Yet little loss it were, and mickle thank, 


If I should grant that I have done the same, 
That I might drink the cup whereof she drank ; 
But that I should die guilty of the blame, 
The which another did, who now is fled with shame." 

This Squire is not without a prototype. There 
have always been in the world men of upright conduct 
and fair intentions, but too feeble to cope successfully 
with the strong-handed villany which is abroad in 
society. The Squire's reply to Sir Artegal explains 
sufficiently the state of things. 

" Who was it then," said Artegal, " that wrought ? 
And why 'I Do it declare unto me true." 
" A Knight," said he, " if Knight he may be thought, 
That did his hand in Lady's blood imbrue, 
And for no cause, but as I shall you show. 
This day as I in solace sat hereby 
With a fair Love, whose loss I now do rue, 
There came this Knight, having in company 

This luckless Lady which now here doth headless lie. 

" He, whether mine seemed fairer in his eye, 
Or that he waxed weary of his own, 

Would change with me ; but I did it deny, 
So did the Ladies both, as may be known : 
But he, whose spirit was with pride upblown, 
Would not so rest contented with his right ; 
But, having from his courser her down thrown, 
From me reft mine away by lawless might, 
And on his steed her set to bear her out of si&ht. 


" Which when his Lady saw, she followed fast, 
And on him catching hold gan loud to cry, 
Not so to leave her nor away to cast, 
But rather of his hand besought to die : 
With that his sword he drew all wrathfully, 
And at one stroke cropped off her head with scorn, 
In that same place whereas it now doth lie. 
So he my Love away with him hath borne, 

And left me here both his and mine own Love to mourn." 

Thus it has been in all ages. Mere physical 
strength, unrestrained by conscience, becomes at once 
wilful and cruel, and needs the frequent interposition 
of avenging Justice. 

Artegal, stopping to attend the Squire, sent forward 
his Iron Page in quest of the offender. Talus soon 
overtook Sangliere, (that was the name of the wretch). 
and ordered him to halt, Sangliere, indignant at re- 
ceiving such an order, told the Lady to dismount from 
behind him, and turning his steed, rushed upon the 
uncivil groom with his whole force. His onset had 
about as much effect upon that iron man, as a pebble 
from the brook thrown against a granite boulder. 
One blow from that resistless flail lays the insolent 
oppressor sprawling in the dust, On waking from the 
shock, Sangliere finds himself in the iron grip of one 
with whom resistance is evidently unavailing. 

Forced, therefore, to return and to confront the 
Squire whom he has wronged, and the Lady whom 
he has murdered, Sangliere boldly denies the whole 


story. He declares it to be a fiction throughout, in- 
vented by the feeble Squire to hide his own guilt ; and 
offers to fight in single combat in proof of his assertion. 
Here, then, is a difficulty for which Talus alone is not 
sufficient. His office is merely executive, not judicial. 
Let us see whether Artegal has profited by the in- 
structions of Astrsea. 

When to the place they came where Artegal 
By that same careful Squire did then abide, 
He gently gan him to demand of all 
That did betwixt him and that Squire betide : 
Who with stern countenance and indignant pride 
Did answer, that of all he guiltless stood, 
And his accuser thereupon defied ; 
For neither he did shed that Lady's blood, 

Nor took away his Love, but his own proper good. 

Well did the Squire perceive himself too weak 
To answer his defiance in the field, 
And rather chose his challenge off to break 
Than to approve his right with spear and shield, 
And rather guilty chose himself to yield. 
But Artegal by signs perceiving plain 
That he it was not which that Lady killed, 
But that strange Knight, the fairer Love to gain, 

Did cast about by sleight the truth thereout to strain ; 

And said : " Now sure this doubtful cause's right 
Can hardly but by sacrament be tried, 
Or else by ordeal, or by bloody fight ; 
That ill perhaps might fall to either side : 


But if ye please that I your cause decide, 
Perhaps I may all further quarrel end, 
So ye will swear my judgment to abide." 
Thereto they both did frankly condescend, 
And to his doom with listful ears did both attend. 

" Since then," said he, " ye both the dead deny, 
And both the living Lady claim your right, 
Let both the dead and living equally 
Divided be betwixt you here in sight, 
And each of either take his share aright. 
But look, who does dissent from this my read, 
He for a twelve months' day shall in despite 
Bear for his penance that same Lady's head ; 

To witness to the world that she by him is dead." 

Well pleased with that doom was Sangliere, 
And offered straight the Lady to be slain : 
But that same Squire to whom she was more dear, 
Whenas he saw she should be cut in twain, 
Did yield she rather should with him remain 
Alive, than to himself be shared dead : 
And, rather than his Love should suffer pain, 
He chose with shame to bear that. Lady's head : 

True love despiseth shame when life is called in dread. 

Artegal's decision was like King Solomon's before 
him. The living lady was restored to the feeble 
Squire, and the cruel oppressor was obliged for a 
whole year to wear upon his arms, as a badge of 
shame, the bloody head of the lady whom he had mur- 


Whom when so willing Artegal perceived : 

" Not so, thou Squire," he said, " but thine I deem 
The living Lady, which from thee he reaved : 
For worthy thou of her dost rightly seem. 
And you, Sir Knight, that love so light esteem, 
As that ye would for little leave the same, 
Take here your own that doth you best beseem, 
And with it bear the burden of defame ; 

Your own dead Lady's head, to tell abroad your shame." 

But Sangliere disdained much his doom, 

And sternly gan repine at his behest ; 

Ne would for ought obey, as did become, 

To bear that Lady's head before his breast ; 

Until that Talus had his pride repressed, 

And forced him, maulgre, 1 it up to rear. 

Who, when he saw it bootless to resist, 

He took it up, and thence with him did bear ; 
As rated spaniel takes his burden up for fear. 

Much did that Squire Sir Artegal adore 

For his great justice held in high regard ; 

And as his Squire him offered evermore 

To serve, for want of other meet reward, 

And wend with him on his adventure hard : 

But he thereto would by no means consent ; 

But leaving him forth on his journey fared : 

Ne wight with him but only Talus went ; 
They two enough t' encounter an whole regiment. 

Artegal and Talus would not be without employ- 
ment in the 19th century. How numberless, how 

1 Maulgre, whether he would or not. 


atrocious are the impositions every day practised. 
How many persons are allowed to have their own way, 
not because they have the right on their side, but simply 
because they are stronger or more unscrupulous than 
their neighbours — because no conscience restrains 
them from enforcing their claims at the point of the 
pistol, the dirk, or the bowie knife ! 

Nought is more honourable to a Knight, 
Ne better doth beseem brave Chivalry, 
Than to defend the feeble in their right, 
And wrong redress in such as wend awry : 
Whilom those great heroes got thereby 
Their greatest glory for their rightful deeds, 
And place deserved with the gods on high : 
Herein the noblesse of this Knight exceeds, 

Who now to perils great for justice' sake proceeds. 

Artegal and Talus resume their journey. They 
soon after meet with a dwarf. This was the favourite 
attendant of Florimel. From him they learn the re- 
covery and the approaching spousals of that lady 
Artegal is greatly rejoiced at the intelligence, says he 
will, if possible, be present at the nuptials, and asks 
when it is to take place. 

" Within three days," quoth he, " as I do hear, 
It will be at the Castle of the strand ; 
What time, if nought me let, I will be there 
To do her service so as I am bound. 
But in my way a little here beyond 


A cursed cruel Saracen doth won, 
That keeps a bridge's passage by strong hand, 
And many errant knights hath there fordone ; 
That makes all men for fear that passage for to shun." 

" What mister wight," quoth he, " and how far hence 
Is he, that doth to travellers such harms ?" 
" He is," said he, " a man of great defence ; 
Expert in battle and in deeds of arms ; 
And more emboldened by the wicked charms, 
With which his Daughter doth him still support ; 
Having great lordships got and goodly farms 
Through strong oppression of his power extort ; 

By which he still them holds, and keeps with strong effort. 

" And daily he his wrongs encreaseth more ; 
For never w T ight he lets to pass that way, 
Over his bridge, albe he rich or poor, 
But he him makes his passage-penny pay : 
Else he doth hold him back or beat away. 
Thereto he hath a Groom of evil guise, 
Whose scalp is bare, that bondage doth bewray, 
Which polls and pills the poor in piteous wise ; 

But he himself upon the rich doth tyrannize. 

" His name is hight Pollente, rightly so, 
For that he is so puissant and strong, 
That with his power he all doth overgo, 
And makes them subject to his mighty wrong ; 
And some by sleight he eke doth underfong : 
For on a bridge he custometh to fight, 
Which is but narrow, but exceeding long ; 
And in the same are many trap-falls pight, 

Through which the rider down doth fall through oversight. 


" And underneath the same a river flows, 

That is both swift and dangerous deep withal ; 

Into the which whomso he overthrows, 

All destitute of help doth headlong fall ; 

But he himself through practise usual 

Leaps forth into the flood, and there assays 

His foe confused through his sudden fall, 

That horse and man he equally dismays, 
And either both them drowns, or traitorously slays. 

" Then doth he take the spoil of them at will, 
And to his Daughter brings, that dwells thereby : 
Who all that comes doth take, and therewith fill 
The coffers of her wicked treasury; 
Which she with wrongs hath heaped up so high 
That many princes she in wealth exceeds, 
And purchased all the country lying nigh 
With the revenue of her plenteous meeds : 

Her name is Munera, agreeing with her deeds. 

" Thereto she is full fair, and rich attired, 
With golden hands and silver feet beside, 
That many lords have her to wife desired ; 
But she them all despiseth for great pride." 

Sangliere was a mere compound of wilfulness and 
cruelty, possessed of brute force. Pollente is a charac- 
ter somewhat different ; — equally lawless, perhaps, but 
less impulsive ; entirely unscrupulous as to means, but 
acting from design, and that design having reference 
not so much to blood as money. The principle of the 
oppressor is in all ages the same. Might makes right. 


This is the doctrine. It may be written as effectually 
in ink by the extortionate money-lender, who exacts 
from an enfeebled creditor unrighteous interest, as it is 
in blood by the highway robber, who cuts your throat 
that he may help himself to your purse ! 

Artegal resolves of course to destroy Pollente, and 
break up his wicked custom of extorting money from 

" Now by my life," said he, " and God to guide, 
None other way will I this day betake, 
But by that bridge whereas he doth abide : 
Therefore me thither lead." No more he spake, 
But thitherward forthright his ready way did make. 

Unto the place he came within a while, 
Where on the bridge he ready armed saw 
The Saracen, awaiting for some spoil : 
Who as they to the passage gan to draw, 
A Villain to them came with skull all raw, 
That passage-money did of them require, 
According to the custom of their law : 
To whom he answered wroth, " Lo there thy hire ;" 

And with that word him struck, that straight he did expire. 

This Carl with the sore head seems to represent the 
little dirty ways by which men of property sometimes 
grind the face of the poor. 

One who has gone through the adventures of the 
first four Books of the Fairy Queen, would suppose it 


impossible to devise anything new in the shape of 
knightly encounter. Let us see. 

The Pagan, Pollente, seeing his man thus uncere- 
moniously dealt with, immediately addressed himself 
to fight. Artegal was not lacking. They advanced to 
meet upon the bridge. But just where they should 
have met was the trap door mentioned by the Dwarf, 
and down they went into the current, horses and riders. 
Pollente and his horse were trained to it, and leaped 
advisedly. It was expected that Artegal, like hun- 
dreds of others before him, would fall headlong. Not 
so, however. The Dwarf had warned him of the 
danger, and he too leaped without losing his seat. 

There being both together in the flood, 

They at each other tyrannously flew ; 

Ne ought the water cooled their hot blood, 

But rather in them kindled choler new : 

But there the Paynim, who that use well knew 

To fight in water, great advantage had, 

That oftentimes him nigh he overthrew : 

And eke the courser whereupon he rad 
Could swim like to a fish whiles he his back bestrad. 

Finding his horse not equal to that of Pollente in 
this new kind of combat, Artegal determined to close 
upon his foe. Seizing him, therefore, by his iron 
collar, he strove to drag him from his horse. Dreadful 
was the turmoil which then ensued. 


As when a Dolphin and a Seal are met 
In the wide champaign of the ocean plain, 
With cruel chafe their courages they whet, 
The masterdom of each by force to gain, 
And dreadful battle twixt them do darrain ; 
They snuff, they snort, they bounce, they rage, they roar, 
That all the sea, disturbed with their train, 
Doth fry with foam above the surges hoar : 

Such was betwixt these two this troublesome uproar. 

So Artegal at length him forced forsake 

His horse's back for dread of being drowned, 

And to his handy swimming him betake. 

Eftsoons himself he from his hold unbound, 

And then no odds at all in him he found ; 

For Artegal in swimming skilful was, 

And durst the depth of any water sound. 

So ought each Knight, that use of peril has, 
In swimming be expert, through water's force to pass. 

The contest seemed at one time doubtful. Both 
were expert swimmers, both skilful in the use of arms. 
But Artegal in the end began to prevail. Pollente, 
finding himself failing, made towards shore. 

But Artegal pursued him still so near 
With bright Chrysaor in his cruel hand, 
That, as his head he gan a little rear 
Above the brink to tread upon the land, 
He smote it off, that tumbling on the strand 
It bit the earth for very fell despite, 
And gnashed with his teeth, as if he banned 
High God, whose goodness he despaired quite, 

Or cursed the hand which did that vengeance on him dight. 


That done, unto the Castle he did wend, 

In which the Paynim's Daughter did abide, 

Guarded of many which did her defend : 

Of whom he entrance sought, but was denied, 

And with reproachful blasphemy defied, 

Beaten with stones down from the battlement, 

That he was forced to withdraw aside ; 

And bade his servant Talus to invent 
Which way he enter might without endangerment. 

Eftsoons his page drew to the Castle gate, 
And with his iron flail at it let fly, 
That all the warders it did sore amate, 
The which erewhile spake so reproachfully, 
And made them stoop, that looked erst so high. 
Yet still he beat and bounced upon the door, 
And thundered strokes thereon so hideously, 
That all the piece 1 he shaked from the floor, 

And filled all the house with fear and great uproar. 

With noise whereof the Lady forth appeared 
Upon the Castle wall ; and when she saw 
The dangerous state in which she stood, she feared 
The sad effect of her near overthrow ; 
And gan entreat that Iron Man below 
To cease his outrage, and him fair besought ; 
Since neither force of stones which they did throw, 
Nor power of charms, which she against him wrought, 

Might otherwise prevail, or make him cease for ought. 

But, whenas she saw him yet to proceed 

Unmoved with prayers or with piteous thought, 

1 Piece, castle. 


She meant him to corrupt with goodly meed ; 
And caused great sacks with endless riches fraught 
Unto the battlement to be upbrought, 
And poured forth over the Castle wall, 
That she might win some time, though dearly bought, 
Whilst he to gathering of the gold did fall ; 
But he was nothing moved nor tempted therewithal : 

But still continued his assault the more, 

And laid on load with his huge iron flail, 

That at the length he has yrent the door, 

And made way for his Master to assail : 

Who being entered, nought did then avail 

For wight against his power themselves to rear : 

Each one did fly ; their hearts began to fail ; 

And hid themselves in corners here and there ; 
And eke their Dame half dead did hide herself for fear. 

The scene which follows is one, the poetical pro- 
priety of which has been very much questioned. It 
may be in keeping with Talus. It is not what the 
gentle reader expects of Spenser. After some hesita- 
tion, I have concluded to give it. 

After long search in the castle, the beautiful Munera 
was found by the inexorable Talus : 

Long they her sought, yet nowhere could they find her, 
That sure they weened she was escaped away : 
But Talus, that could like a lime-hound wind her, 
And all things secret wisely could bewray, 
At length found out whereas she hidden lay 


Under an heap of gold i thence he her drew 
By the fair locks, and foully did array 
Withouten pity of her goodly hue, 
That Artegal himself her seemless plight did rue. 

Yet for no pity would he change the course 
Of justice, which in Talus' hand did lie ; 
Who rudely haled her forth without remorse, 
Still holding up her suppliant hands on high, 
And kneeling at his feet submissively : 
But he her suppliant hands, those hands of gold, 
And eke her feet, those feet of silver try, 1 
Which sought unrighteousness, and justice sold, 

Chopped off, and nailed on high, that all might them behold, 

Herself then took he by the slender waist 

In vain loud crying, and into the flood 

Over the Castle wall adown her cast, 

And there her drowned in the dirty mud : 

But the stream washed away her guilty blood. 

Thereafter all that mucky pelf he took, 

The spoil of people's evil-gotten good, 

The which her sire had scraped by hook and crook, 
And burning all to ashes poured it down the brook. 

And lastly all that Castle quite he rased, 
Even from the sole of his foundation, 
And all the hewen stones thereof defaced, 
That there might be no hope of reparation, 
Nor memory thereof to any nation. 
All which when Talus throughly had performed, 
Sir Artegal undid the evil fashion, 

1 Try, tried. 


And wicked customs of that bridge reformed : 
Which done, unto his former journey he returned. 

This cruel execution of a beautiful woman for a 
crime against property, has in it something worse than 
mere bad taste. It was obviously intended to recon- 
cile the public mind to the bloody scenes that had been 
enacted at Fotheringay Castle — to justify Elizabeth 
before the world for the barbarities inflicted upon the 
beautiful Queen of Scots. 

To return to Artegal. He has now mastered and 
punished Sangliere and Pollente. Cruelty and extor- 
tion, however, are only two out of many modes of 
violating human rights. The adventure which next 
occurs will require perhaps some preface. 

There are many things in society which we could 
wish otherwise. Property centered in the hands of a 
few, enormous private estates, monopolies, entails, 
primogenitures, hereditary and exclusive political pri- 
vileges, — how often do we hear people exclaiming 
against these as social evils requiring immediate re- 
moval. Englishmen declaim against our domestic 
institutions, Americans declaim against the English 
factory system. Republicans are for dethroning 
tyrants, the monarchist longs to rid the earth of dema- 
gogues. Bonaparte wrested whole provinces from his 
neighbours, because any one by merely looking at the 
map can see that the Rhine is the natural boundary of 
France. There is always abroad in the world a dis- 


position to political quackeiy, arranging the affairs of 
nations and societies according to certain preconceived 
notions of what ought to be, instead of carefully taking 
cognizance of what is — laying plans for the govern- 
ment of human affairs, as if the actors in the scene 
were merely the pawns of the chess-board, or as if the 
institutions of society were to be constructed anew, 
without reference to established laws or vested rights. 
Such I take to be the spirit of the very remarkable 
adventure which follows. 

While travelling abroad, they came one day to the 
sea-shore. There upon a plain, they saw an immense 
concourse of people, listening with eager credulity to 
the speculations of the philosopher whom I now in- 

There they beheld a mighty Giant stand 
Upon a rock, and holding forth on high 
An huge great pair of balance in his hand, 
With which he boasted in his surquedr y, 1 
That all the world he would weigh equally, 
If ought he had the same to counterpoise : 
For want whereof he weighed vanity, 
And filled his balance full of idle toys : 

Yet was admired much of fools, women, and boys. 

He said that he would all the earth uptake 
And all the sea, divided each from either : 
So would he of the fire one balance make, 
And one of th' air, without or wind or weather : 

1 Surquedry, pride. 


Then would he balance heaven and hell together, 
And all that did within them all contain ; 
Of all whose weight he would not miss a feather : 
And look what surplus did of each remain, 
He would to his own part restore the same again. 

For why, he said, they all unequal were, 

And had encroached upon others' share ; 

Like as the sea (which plain he shewed there) 

Had worn the earth ; so did the fire the air ; 

So all the rest did others' parts impair : 

And so were realms and nations run awry. 

All which he undertook for to repair, 

In sort as they were formed anciently ; 
And all things would reduce unto equality. 

Therefore the vulgar did about him flock, 

And cluster thick unto his leasings vain ; 

Like foolish flies about an honey-crock ; 

In hope by him great benefit to gain, 

And uncontrolled freedom to obtain. 

All which when Artegal did see and hear, 

How he misled the simple people's train, 

In sdainful wise he drew unto him near, 
And thus unto him spake without regard or fear. 

Artegal argues the matter with the Giant, and 
charges him with presumption in thus undertaking to 
set all things right, and saying so positively how 
things should or should not be. Artegal furthermore 
thinks, that mere change is always perilous, and ex- 
horts the innovator to beware how he turns things to 


chaos, lest he may not be aMe to reduce them again to 

" Thou that presumest to weigh the world anew, 
And all things to an equal to restore, 
Instead of right meseems great wrong dost shew, 
And far above thy force's pitch to soar : 
For, ere thou limit what is less or more 
In everything, thou oughtest first to know 
What was the poise of every part of yore : 
And look then, how much it doth overflow 

Or fail thereof, so much is more than just to trow. 

" For at the first they all created were 

In goodly measure by their Maker's might ; 
And weighed out in balances so near, 
That not a dram was missing of their right : 
The earth was in the middle centre pight, 
In which it doth immovable abide, 
Hemmed in with waters like a wall in sight, 
And they with air, that not a drop can slide : 

All which the heavens contain, and in their courses guide. 

" Such heavenly justice doth among them reign, 
That every one do know their certain bound ; 
In which they do these many years remain, 
And mongst them all no change hath yet been found : 
But if thou now shouldst weigh them new in pound, 
We are not sure they would so long remain : 
All change is perilous, and all chance unsound. 
Therefore leave off to weigh them all again, 

Till we may be assured they shall their course retain." 


" Thou foolish elf," said then the Giant wroth, 
" Seest not how badly all things present be, 
And each estate quite out of order go'th ? 
The sea itself dost thou not plainly see 
Encroach upon the land there under thee 1 
And th' earth itself how daily it's increased 
By all that dying to it turned be 1 
Were it not good that wrong were then surceased, 

And from the most that some were given to the least 1 

" Therefore I will throw down these mountains high, 
And make them level with the lowly plain, 
These towering rocks, which reach unto the sky, 
[ will thrust down into the deepest main, 
And, as they were, them equalize again. 
Tyrants, that make men subject to their law, 
I will suppress, that they no more may reign ; 
And lordlings curb that commons overawe ; 

And all the wealth of rich men to the poor will draw." 

Artegal again argues the matter at considerable 

" Of things unseen how canst thou deem aright," 

Then answered the righteous Artegal, 

" Since thou misdeemst so much of things in sight 1 

What though the sea with waves continual 

Do eat the earth, it is no more at all ; 

Ne is the earth the less, or loseth ought : 

For whatsoever from one place doth fall 

Is with the tide unto another brought : 
For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought. 


" Likewise the earth is not augmented more 
By all that dying into it do fade ; 
For of the earth they formed were of yore : 
However gay their blossom or their blade 
Do flourish now, they into dust shall vade. 1 
What wrong then is it, if that when they die, 
They turn to that whereof they first were made 1 
All in the power of their great Maker lie : 

All creatures must obey the voice of the Most High. 

" They live, they die, like as He doth ordain, 

Ne ever any asketh reason why. 

The hills do not the lowly dales disdain ; 

The dales do not the lofty hills envy. 

He maketh kings to sit in sovereignty ; 

He maketh subjects to their power obey ; 

He pulleth down, He setteth up on high ; 

He gives to this, from that He takes away : 
For all we have is His : what He list do, He may. 

" Whatever thing is done, by Him is done, 
Ne any may His mighty will withstand ; 
Ne any may His sovereign power shun, 
Ne loose that He hath bound with steadfast band : 
In vain therefore dost thou now take in hand 
To call to count, or weigh His works anew, 
Whose counsel's depth thou canst not understand ; 
Since of things subject to thy daily view 

Thou dost not know the causes nor their courses due." 

To put the proud boaster's scales to the test, Artegal 
proposes various practical problems. 

1 Fade, (Lat. vado,) go. 

400 SPENSER. • 

"For take thy balance, if thou be so wise, 

And weigh the wind that under heaven doth blow ; 
Or weigh the light that in the east doth rise ; 
Or weigh the thought that from man's mind doth flow 
But if the weight of these thou canst not show, 
Weigh but one word which from thy lips doth fall : 
For how canst thou those greater secrets know, 
That dost not know the least thing of them all 1 

111 can he rule the great that cannot reach the small." 

Therewith the Giant much abashed said 

That he of little things made reckoning light ; 

Yet the least word that ever could be laid 

Within his balance he could weigh aright. 

" Which is," said he, " more heavy then in weight, 

The right or wrong, the false or else the true V 9 

He answered that he would try it straight : 

So he the words into his balance threw ; 

But straight the winged words out of his balance flew. 

Wroth waxed he then, and said that words were light, 
Ne would within his balance well abide : 
But he could justly weigh the wrong or right. 
" Well then," said Artegal, " let it be tried : 
First in one balance set the true aside." 
He did so first, and then the false he laid 
In th' other scale ; but still it down did slide, 
And by no means could in the weight be stayed : 

For by no means the false will with the truth be weighed, 

" Now take the right likewise," said Artegal, 

" And counterpoise the same with so much wrong." 
So first the right he put into one scale ; 


And then the Giant stro e with puissance strong 
To fill the other scale with so much wrong : 
But all the wrongs that he therein could lay 
Might not it poise ; yet did he labour long, 
And sweat, and chafed, and proved every way : 
Yet all the wrongs could not a little right down weigh. 

Which when he saw, he greatly grew in rage, 
And almost would his balances have broken : 
But Artegal him fairly gan assuage, 
And said, " Be not upon thy balance wroken ;* 
For they do nought but right or wrong betoken ; 
But in the mind the doom of right must be : 
And so likewise of words, the which be spoken, 
The ear must be the balance, to decree 

And judge, whether with truth or falsehood they agree. 

" But set the truth and set the right aside, 

For they with wrong or falsehood will not fare, 

And put two wrongs together to be tried, 

Or else two falses, of each equal share, 

And then together do them both compare : 

For truth is one, and right is ever one." 

So did he ; and then plain it did appear, 

Whether of them the greater were at one : 
But right sat in the middest of the beam alone. 

But he the right from thence did thrust away ; 
For it was not the right which he did seek ; 
But rather strove extremities to weigh, 
Th' one to diminish, th' other for to eke : 
For of the mean he greatly did misleek. 2 

1 Wroken, wreaked, avenged. 2 Misleek, dislike. 


So impotent is your political visionary in regard to 
any real, practical question of right or wrong, weal 
or wo. 

Our friend Talus, seeing by this time the drift of 
Sir Artegal's argument, and apprehending at length 
the impudent assumption of the Giant, drew near and 
deliberately thrust the boaster over the precipice into 
the sea. 

Whom when so lewdly minded Talus found, 
Approaching nigh unto him cheek by cheek, 
He shouldered him from off the higher ground, 
And down the rock him throwing, in the sea him drowned. 

Like as a ship, whom cruel tempest drives 
Upon a rock with horrible dismay, 
Her shattered ribs in thousand pieces rives, 
And spoiling all her gears and goodly ray, 
Does make herself misfortune's piteous prey, 
So down the cliff the wretched Giant tumbled ; 
His battered balances in pieces lay, 
His timbered bones all broken rudely rumbled : 

So was the high-aspiring with huge ruin humbled. 

That when the people, which had there about 

Long waited, saw his sudden desolation, 

They gan to gather in tumultuous rout, 

And mutining to stir up civil faction 

For certain loss of so great expectation : 

For well they hoped to have got great good, 

And wondrous riches by his innovation : 

Therefore resolving to revenge his blood 
They rose in arms, and all in battle order stood. 


Which lawless multitude him coming to 
In warlike wise when Artegal did view, 
He much was troubled, ne wist what to do : 
For loth he was his noble hands t' embrue 
In the base blood of such a rascal crew ; 
And otherwise, if that he should retire, 
He feared least they with shame would him pursue : 
Therefore he Talus to them sent t' inquire 

The cause of their array, and truce for to desire. 

But soon as they nigh him approaching spied, 
They gan with all their weapons him assay, 
And rudely struck at him on every side ; 
Yet nought they could him hurt, ne ought dismay : 
But when at them he with his flail gan lay, 
He like a swarm of flies them overthrew : 
Ne any of them durst come in his way, 
But here and there before his presence flew, 

And hid themselves in holes and bushes from his view. 

Thus have the miserable down-trodden serfs of 
Poland been made to bleed for the ill-advised attempts 
of visionary leaders — thus in our own streets have the 
innocent been justly shot down like dogs, for the crimes 
of political mountebanks ! 

The festive hall and the gay assembly, no less than 
the field of battle and of civil turmoil, furnish occasion 
for the display of equity. Man has his rights even in 
a ball-room. To withhold or invade the rights grow- 
ing out of the laws of etiquette, interferes often quite 
as seriously with the happiness of another as a viola- 


tion of the rights of property or of person. Wounded 
pride is more difficult to bear than a wounded head, 
and a curl of the lip may give greater pain than a blow 
from the sabre. A man may be honest in business, 
prompt in the redress of public grievances, an upright 
judge, a fearless magistrate, a brave soldier, and yet in 
the interchange of the minor offices of life, may be in- 
different to the principle which has for its object, in 
all circumstances, to give to each its own. 

If, therefore, I have succeeded in making the reader 
at all interested in Sir Artegal and Talus, he will hot 
be unwilling to follow them to the scene of their next 
adventure. There is an additional reason why we 
shall take pleasure in accompanying them. The 
festival which they are about to attend, is no other 
than the nuptials of the sweet Florimel. 

We left this lady at the close of the last Book, just 
at the moment of her final and happy deliverance by 

After long storms and tempests over-blown 
The sun at length his joyous face doth clear : 
So whenas fortune all her spite hath shown, 
Some blissful hours at last must needs appear ; 
Else should afflicted wights ofttimes despair. 
So comes it now to Florimel by turn, 
After long sorrows suffered whilere, 
In which captived she many months did mourn, 

To taste of joy, and to wont pleasures to return : 


Who being freed from Proteus' cruel band 

By Marinel, was unto him affied, 

And by him brought again to Fairy Land ; 

Where he her spoused, and made his joyous bride. 

The time and place was blazed far and wide, 

And solemn feasts and jousts ordained therefor ; 

To which they did resort from every side 

Of Lords and Ladies infinite great store ; 
Ne any Knight was absent that brave courage bore. 

To tell the glory of the feast that day, 
The goodly service, the deviceful sights, 
The bridegroom's state, the bride's most rich array, 
The pride of Ladies, and the worth of Knights, 
The royal banquets, and the rare delights, 
Were work fit for an herald, not for me : 
But for so much as to my lot here lights, 
That with this present treatise doth agree, 

True virtue to advance, shall here recounted be. 

After the feasting and entertainment of various 
kinds, Sir Marinel and six brave Knights with him, 
held a gay tournament in honour of the bride, like 
that held by Sir Satyrane in the previous Book. The 
outline of the tourneying will be found in the follow- 
ing stanzas. 

When all men had with full satiety 
Of meats and drinks their appetites sufficed, 
To deeds of arms and proofs of chivalry 
They gan themselves address, full rich aguised, 
As each one had his furnitures devised. 


And first of all issued Sir Marinel, 
And with him six Knights more, which enterprised 
To challenge all in right of Florimel, 
And to maintain that she all others did excel. 

The first of them was hight Sir Orimont, 
A noble Knight, and tried in hard assays : 
The second had to name Sir Belisont, 
But second unto none in prowess' praise : 
The third was Brunei, famous in his days : 
The fourth Ecastor, of exceeding might : 
The fifth Armeddan, skilled in lovely lays : 
The sixth was Lansac, a redoubted Knight : 

All six well seen in arms, and proved in many a fight. 

And them against came all that list to joust, 
From every coast and country under sun : 
None was debarred, but all had leave that lust. 
The trumpets sound ; then all together run. 
Full many deeds of arms that day were done ; 
And many Knights unhorsed, and many wounded, 
As fortune fell ; yet little lost or won : 
But all that day the greatest praise redounded 

To Marinel, whose name the heralds loud resounded. 

The second day, so soon as morrow light 
Appeared in heaven, into the field they came, 
And there all day continued cruel fight, 
With diverse fortune fit for such a game, 
In which all strove with peril to win fame ; 
Yet whether side was victor n'ote be guessed : 
But at the last the trumpets did proclaim 
That Marinel that day deserved best. 

So they disparted were, and all men went to rest. 


The third day came, that . hould due trial lend 
Of all the rest ; and then this warlike crew 
Together met, of all to make an end. 
There Marinel great deeds of arms did shew ; 
And through the thickest like a lion flew, 
Rashing off helms, and riving plates asunder ; 
That every one his danger did eschew : 
So terribly his dreadful strokes did thunder, 

That all men stood amazed, and at his might did wonder. 

But what on earth can always happy stand ? 

The greater prowess greater perils find. 

So far he passed amongst his enemies' band, 

That they have him enclosed so behind, 

As by no means he can himself outwind : 

And now perforce they have him prisoner taken ; 

And now they do with captive bands him bind ; 

And now they lead him hence, of all forsaken, 
Unless some succour had in time him overtaken. 

There is one prominent character in the Fairy 
Queen, which I have contrived in a great measure to 
dodge. I find it necessary, however, to the explication 
of the story at this point to bring him forward, and for 
this purpose to make a few words of explanation. 
Braggadochio is an impudent braggart, like Jack 
FalstafT in everything but his wit. He appears in 
one of the earliest scenes in the poem, where he steals 
the horse and spear of Sir Guy on. At the tournament 
of Sir Satyrane, by a singular chance, the Snowy Flo- 
rimel was awarded to him. He appears frequently 
and experiences a variety of adventures. The full de- 



velopment of his character would require a long series 
of extracts. I believe, however, I have stated all the 
circumstances necessary to understand what is about 
to follow. 

On the occasion of the present tournament, Brag- 
gadochio came among others, bringing with him the 
Snowy Florimel. Sir Artegal, hearing in the tilt-yard 
the ill luck which had just befallen Sir Marinel, re- 
solved to rescue him; and to make his civility the 
more graceful, determined to conceal his name. For 
this purpose he borrowed privately the shield of Brag- 
gadochio, whom he had met incidentally a little before, 
and whose real character he did not know. 

It fortuned, whilst they were thus ill beset, 
Sir Artegal into the tilt-yard came, 
With Braggadochio, whom he lately met 
Upon the way with that his Snowy Dame ; 
Where, when he understood by common fame 
What evil hap to Marinel betid, 
He much was moved at so unworthy shame, 
And straight that Boaster prayed, with whom he rid, 

To change his shield with him, to be the better hid. 

Thus equipped, Artegal entered the lists, and after 
much hard fighting succeeded in rescuing Marinel. 
The third day closed, the trumpets sounded, Marinel 
and the stranger Knight are proclaimed masters of the 
field, and the bride, in whose honour they tilted, is 
adjudged to be the most beautiful of Dames. 


All the gay concourse repair to the Hall, where in 
open sight the beauteous bride, fair Florimel, appears 
to greet with smiles and thanks the brave Knights 
who had tilted in her behalf, and especially to bestow 
the garland upon the stranger Knight who had behaved 
so gallantly, and had been so regardful of the feelings 
both of the bride and groom. But Artegal, having 
achieved the rescue, had contrived to slip away among 
the crowd, and restore the borrowed shield to Bragga- 
dochio, who kept himself, as usual, at a very discreet 
distance from the actual conflict. 

Which when he had performed, then back again 
To Braggadochio did his shield restore : 
Who all this while behind him did remain, 
Keeping there close with him in precious store 
That his false Ladie, as ye heard afore. 

The trumpets sounded, the bride holds up the gar- 
land, but no one comes forward to claim it. Knowing 
that it had been won by his shield at least, if not by 
his arm, Braggadochio boldly steps forward — but, 
reader, you shall see this remarkable scene. 

Then did the trumpets sound, and judges rose, 
And all these Knights, which that day armour bore, 
Came to the open hall to listen whose 
The honour of the prize should be adjudged by those. 

And thither also came in open sight 
Fair Florimel into the common hall, 


To greet his guerdon unto every Knight, 
And best to him to whom the best should fall. 
Then for that stranger Knight they loud did call, 
To whom that day they should the garland yield ; 
Who came not forth : but for Sir Artegal 
Came Braggadochio, and did show his shield, 
Which bore the sun broad blazed in a golden field. 

The sight whereof did all with gladness fill : 
So unto him they did addeem the prize 
Of all that triumph. Then the trumpets shrill 
Don Braggadochio's name resounded thrice : 
So courage lent a cloak to cowardice : 
And then to him came fairest Florimel, 
And goodly gan to greet his brave emprise, 
And thousand thanks him yield, that had so well 

Approved that day that she all others did excel. 

To whom the Boaster, that all Knights did blot, 
With proud disdain did scornful answer make, 
That what he did that day, he did it not 
For her, but for his own dear Lady's sake, 
Whom on his peril he did undertake 
Both her and eke all others to excel : 
And further did uncomely speeches crack. 
Much did his words the gentle Lady quell, 

And turned aside for shame to hear what he did tell. 

Then forth he brought his Snowy Florimel, 
Whom Trompart had in keeping there beside, 
Covered from people's gazement with a veil : 
Whom when discovered they had throughly eyed, 


With great amazement '.hey were stupefied; 
And said, that surely Florimel it was, 
Or if it were not Florimel so tried, 
That Florimel herself she then did pass. 
So feeble skill of perfect things the vulgar has. 

Which whenas Marinel beheld likewise, 

He was therewith exceedingly dismayed ; 

Ne wist he what to think, or to devise : 

But, like as one whom fiends had made afraid, 

He long astonished stood, ne ought he said, 

Ne ought he did, but with fast fixed eyes 

He gazed still upon that Snowy Maid ; 

Whom ever as he did the more avise, 
The more to be true Florimel he did surmise. 

All which when Artegal, who all this while 

Stood in the press close covered, well had viewed, 
And saw that Boaster's pride and graceless guile, 
He could no longer bear, but forth issued, 
And unto all himself there open shewed, 
And to the Boaster said : " Thou losel base, 
That hast with borrowed plumes thyself endued, 
And others' worth with leasings dost deface, 

When they are all restored thou shalt rest in disgrace. 

" That shield, which thou dost bear, was it indeed 
Which this day's honour saved to Marinel : 
But not that arm, nor thou the man I read, 
Which didst that service unto Florimel : 
For proof shew forth thy sword, and let it tell 
What strokes, what dreadful stour, it stirred this day : 
Or show the wounds which unto thee befell ; 


Or show the sweat with which thou diddest sway 
So sharp a battle, that so many did dismay. 

" But this the sword that wrought those cruel stounds, 
And this the arm the which that shield did bear, 
And these the signs," (so showed forth his wounds,) 
" By which that glory gotten doth appear. 
As for this Lady, which he sheweth here, 
Is not (I wager) Florimel at all ; 
But some fair franion, 1 fit for such a fere, 3 
That by misfortune in his hand did fall." 

For proof whereof he bade them Florimel forth call. 

So forth the noble Lady was ybrought, 

Adorned with honour and all comely grace : 

Whereto her bashful shamefastness ywrought 

A great increase in her fair blushing face ; 

As roses did with lilies interlace : 

For of those words, the which that Boaster threw, 

She inly yet conceived great disgrace : 

Whom whenas all the people such did view, 

They shouted loud, and signs of gladness all did shew. 

Then did he set her by that snowy one, 
Like the true saint beside the image set; 
Of both their beauties to make paragon 
And trial, whether should the honour get. 
Straightway, so soon as both together met, 
Th' Enchanted Damsel vanished into nought : 
Her snowy substance melted as with heat, 
Ne of that goodly hue remained ought, 

But th' empty Girdle which about her waist was wrought. 

1 Franion, lewd woman. 2 Fere, companion. 


As ivhen the daughter of Thaumantes r fair 

Hath in a watery cloud displayed, wide 

Her goodly bow, ivhich paints the liquid air ; 

Titat ail men wonder at her colours pride ; 

All suddenly, ere one can look aside, 

The glorious picture vanisheth away, 

Ne any token doth thereof abide : 

So did this Lady^s goodly form decay, 
And into nothing go, ere one could it bewray. 

Braggadochio, chagrined at his exposure and at the 
wonderful disappearance of his Snowy Florimel, was 
about to withdraw from the scene. He meets with a 
new interruption. Among the other Knights who 
honoured the nuptials of Florimel, was our old friend 
Sir Guyon. His attention being particularly called 
to the braggart Knight, by the events just described, 
behold his own good steed, Brigadore, which he had 
not seen this many a month. Sir Guyon immediately 
claims the horse. Braggadochio refuses to give him up. 
Sir Guyon challenges the thief to combat. Braggado- 
chio declines. Great is the tumult and the "hurly- 
burly" throughout the hall Again Sir Artegal inter- 
poses to the settlement of the difficulty and the 
adjustment of their rights. He was satisfied, indeed, 
of the true state of the case from what he had already 
seen. But he has learned to avoid not only evil, but 
the appearance of evil. Commanding silence, there- 
fore, he asked Sir Guyon to state the facts relative to 
the disappearance of the horse. 

1 Daughter of Thaumantes, Iris, the rainbow. 


Who all that piteous story, which befell 
About that woful Couple which were slain, 
And their young Bloody Babe to him gan tell ; 
With whom whiles he did in the wood remain, 
His horse purloined was by subtle train ; 
For which he challenged the Thief to fight : 
But he for nought could him thereto constrain ; 
For as the death he hated such despite, 

And rather had to lose than try in arms his right. 

Which Artegal well hearing, (though no more 
By law of arms there need one's right to try, 
As was the wont of warlike Knights of yore, 
Than that his foe should him the field deny,) 
Yet further right by tokens to descry, 
He asked, what privy tokens he did bear. 
" If that," said Guyon, " may you satisfy, 
Within his mouth a black spot doth appear, 
Shaped like a horse's shoe, who list to seek it there." 

Whereof to make due trial one did take 

The horse in hand within his mouth to look : 
But with his heels so sorely he him struck, 
That all his ribs he quite in pieces broke, 
That never word from that day forth he spoke. 
Another, that would seem to have more wit, 
Him by the bright embroidered headstall took : 
But by the shoulder him so sore he bit, 

That he him maimed quite, and all his shoulder split. 

Ne he his mouth would open unto wight, 
Until that Guyon's self unto him spake, 
And called " Brigadore," (so was he hight,) 
Whose voice so soon as he did undertake, 
Eftsoons he stood as still as any stake, 


And suffered all his secret mark to see ; 
And, whenas he him named, for joy he brake 
His bands, and followed him with gladful glee, 
And frisked, and flung aloft, and louted low on knee. 

Braggadochio, however, made a great ado, and re- 
viled Sir Artegal with terms of reproach. Artegal 
merely hands the braggart over to Talus, him with 
the iron flail. 

Talus by the back the boaster hent, 
And drawing him out of the open hall, 
Upon him did inflict this punishment : 
First he his beard did shave, and foully shent ; 
Then from him reft his shield, and it reversed, 
And blotted out his arms with falsehood blent ; 
And himself baffled, and his arms unhersed ; 
And broke his sword in twain, and all his armour spersed. 

Relieved thus of these base intruders by the dis- 
creet intervention of Artegal, the gay company con- 
tinued, in that good old Hall, many days to make 
merry and rejoice — not the least joyous in the company 
being the beautiful bride, the honoured, the loved, the 
happy Florim.el. 

Some of the most difficult and perplexing cases of 
equity in regard to the rights of property, are those 
which grow out of the marriage relation. A part at 
least of the difficulty in the adventure which next 
ensues, is to be traced to this fruitful source both of 
weal and wo. 


Artegal was not indisposed to enjoy the gay fes- 
tivities of the Court of Florimel. But he had been 
sent on a grave and important mission, which must be 
accomplished before he could return to make Brito- 
mart his bride. Bidding adieu, therefore, to the com- 
pany, Artegal and Talus proceed on their journey. 
When next seen by the reader, they are travelling by 
the sea-shore. They are interrupted in their progress 
by falling in with a company, consisting of two bro- 
thers, Amidas and Brasidas, and their two ladies, 
Philtera and Lucy- The two brothers are fighting, as 
if in mortal combat, over a chest, which lies on the 
ground between them. Artegal stops the fight, and 
inquires of them the reason of their contention. Bra- 
sidas, the elder, thereupon gives the following story. 

Their father was the owner of the two beautiful 
islands in sight. These islands were originally equal 
in size and value. On dying, he left one island to each 
son. The island left to Brasidas, the elder, was gradu- 
ally washed by the sea, and the earth thus washed from 
his island was borne by the tide and deposited upon 
the bank of the other island opposite. By this means 
the island of the elder brother continually decreased, 
while that of the younger brother continually increased 
in size, until the one became a mere speck in the ocean, 
the other an ample domain. There were also two 
maidens, Philtera, a rich heiress, espoused to the elder 
brother, and Lucy, a maiden with no dowry save the 
noble endowment of virtue. She was espoused to the 


younger brother. Increasing wealth and elevation in 
rank not unfrequently, and not always for the better, 
change our views in regard to the conjugal union. The 
now wealthy younger brother despised and deserted the 
simple maiden who once was esteemed suited to make 
him happy ; while the heiress, despising a lover whose 
diminished acres seemed no longer capable of main- 
taining a suitable rank, left him and eloped with his 
more fortunate brother. The simple-minded Lucy, 
deserted and disconsolate, threw herself into the sea. 
In her struggles with the waves, she seized accident- 
ally a chest which was floating by. Seceding from 
her rash resolution of self-destruction, she availed her- 
self of the floating chest to reach again the land, and 
was carried to the shore of the unfortunate elder bro- 
ther. The elder brother receives her graciously. 
Common sufferings, mutual wants, and accordant dis- 
positions, are not long in producing their natural re- 
sults. The unfortunate but sympathizing couple 
become affianced. On examining the chest, which 
was thrown up with Lucy, it was found to contain 
valuable treasures sufficient to make them both 
wealthy. This is the chest over which the two bro- 
thers were fighting. The younger brother asserts that 
the chest and its treasure had belonged to his bride, 
the heiress, having been lost overboard during her 
voyage ; and he now claims it in her name. Such is 
the claim set up by the younger brother. The elder 
brother, however, refuses to give it up. 



Though my land he first did win away, 

And then my love, (though now it little skill,) 

Yet my good luck [the chest and Lucy] he shall not likewise prey, 

But I will it defend whilst ever that I may. 

They both, however, agree to leave the matter to 
the decision of Sir Artegal. 

Then Artegal thus to the younger said : 
" Now tell me, Amidas, if that ye may, 
Your brother's land the which the sea hath laid 
Unto your part, and plucked from his away, 
By what good right do you withhold this day ?" 
" What other right," quoth he, " should you esteem, 
But that the sea it to my share did lay ?" 
" Your right is good," said he, " and so I deem, 

That what the sea unto you sent your own should seem." 

Then turning to the elder thus he said : 

" Now, Brasidas, let this likewise be shown ; 

Your brother's treasure, which from him is strayed, 

Being the dowry of his wife well known, 

By what right do you claim to be your own ?" 

" What other right," quoth he, " should you esteem, 

But that the sea hath it unto me thrown ?" 

" Your right is good," said he, " and so I deem, 

That what the sea unto you sent your own should seem. 

" For equal right in equal things doth stand : 
For what the mighty sea hath once possessed, 
And plucked quite from all possessors' hand, 
Whether by rage of waves that never rest, 


Or else by wreck that wi etches hath distressed, 
He may dispose by his imperial might, 
As thing at random left, to whom he list. 
So, Amidas, the land was yours first hight ; 
And so the treasure yours is, Brasidas, by right." 

Perhaps the most difficult species of injustice for a 
man to resist or redress, is where the aggressor is a 
woman. His feeling of veneration for the sex comes 
into direct conflict with his sense of justice. The 
struggle which ensues, in such a case, is neither light 
nor imaginary. There are, it may be, few who are 
called upon to encounter this difficulty in the precise 
form in which it met Sir Artegal. At the same time, I 
believe, there are among men equally few who have not 
been obliged to encounter the difficulty in some shape. 
What this difficulty is, may be defined more precisely 
after narrating the exploits which next ensue. The 
woman who will be the principal actor in those ex- 
ploits, will attract no small share of attention, and will 
call for the exercise, on the part of the reader, of some 
little power of discrimination. She is indeed a riddle, 
but not without a meaning, nor without a representa- 
tative in modern society. 

Artegal and Talus, proceeding on their journey, 
spied far off a vast rout of people, whom on a near 
approach they perceived to be women in armour, 

And in the midst of them he saw a Knight, 

With both his hands behind him pinioned hard, 


And round about his neck an halter tight, 
And ready for the gallow tree prepared : 
His face was covered, and his head was bared, 
That who he was uneath was to descry ; 
And with full heavy heart with them he fared, 
Grieved to the soul, and groaning inwardly, 
That he of Women's hands so base a death should die. 

These merciless executioners, rejoicing over the fate 
of their victim, and insulting his misfortune, were in- 
terrupted in their proceedings by Artegal, who sus- 
pected foul play, and determined to make a rescue. 
Thereupon he found himself instantly beset with a 
countless swarm of foes, who seemed to think their 
busy hands would soon demolish the stranger Knight. 

But he was soon aware of their ill mind, 

And drawing back deceived their intent : 

Yet, though himself did shame on womankind 

His mighty hand to shend, he Talus sent 

To wreck on them their folly's hardiment : 

Who with few souces of his iron flail 

Dispersed all their troup incontinent, 

And sent them home to tell a piteous tale 
Of their vain prowess turned to their proper bale. 

Having thus cleared the ground, they released the 
prisoner, and on uncovering his face, found him to be 
Sir Turpin, a Knight well known to Artegal. Sir 
Turpin told his story, of which I will quote the pith. 

" Being desirous (as all Knights are wont) 
Through hard adventure deeds of arms to try, 


And after fame and honour for to hunt, 
I heard report that far abroad did fly, 
That a proud Amazon did late defy- 
All the brave Knights that hold of Maidenhead, 
And unto them wrought all the viliany 
That she could forge in her malicious head, 
Which some hath put to shame, and many done be dead. 

" The cause, they say, of this her cruel hate, 

Is for the sake of Bellodant the bold, 

To whom she bore most fervent love of late, 

And wooed him by all the ways she could : 

But, when she saw at last that he ne would 

For ought or nought be won unto her will, 

She turned her love to hatred manifold, 

And for his sake vowed to do all the ill 
Which she could do to Knights ; which now she doth fulfil. 

" For all those Knights, the which by force or guile 
She doth subdue, she foully doth entreat : 
First, she doth them of warlike arms despoil, 
And clothe in women's weeds ; and then with threat 
Doth them compel to work, to earn their meat, 
To spin, to card, to sew, to wash, to wring ; 
Ne doth she give them other thing to eat 
But bread and water or like feeble thing ; 

Them to disable from revenge adventuring. 

" But if through stout disdain of manly mind 
Any her proud observance will withstand, 
Upon that gibbet, which is there behind, 
She causeth them be hanged up out of hand ; 


In which condition I right now did stand : 
For, being overcome by her in fight, 
And put to that base service of her band, 
I rather chose to die in life's despite, 
Than lead that shameful life, unworthy of a Knight." 

This fierce Amazon is the woman whose character 
the reader is to solve. Her name is Radigund. She 
has some points in common with Britomart, if it be 
permitted to say that a woman so bad as Radigund, is 
like a woman so good as she of the " heben spear." 
There is in both a fearless self-reliance, a force and 
earnestness of character, a masculine energy of pur- 
pose, an entire ability to join in the rude encounter of 
life, of which there are few examples in any age or 
either sex. 

But likeness is not identity. The points of differ- 
ence between Britomart and Radigund are far greater 
than the points of similarity. Especially do they 
differ in the governing motive by which their energy 
is directed. The object of Britomart is to protect her- 
self — to maintain her own independence, and that of 
her sex. Radigund's object is the contemptible ambi- 
tion of lording it over the other sex. The effect of 
this difference in the governing motive, shows itself in 
their whole characters. The one is a being refined, 
pure, serene. The other becomes coarse, turbulent, 
and base. The virgin snow just fallen upon the 
frosty ground, might be the emblem of the one. The 
emblem of the other would be that same snow in a 


thaw, sullied with the warm breath of the south wind, 
unsightly and unsafe. Britomart's energy is that of a 
deep, rapid stream fed by springs; — so clear is its 
current, you can hardly believe in its rapidity and its 
force, till you attempt to resist its progress. Radigund 
is a mountain torrent, swelled by heavy rains ; — violent 
and resistless, but turbid and devastating. Each of 
these women finds herself, unexpectedly, vulnerable. 
But this discovery in the case of Britomart leads to 
the development of the crowning virtue of her charac- 
ter, a noble affection for Artegal, which is equally 
worthy of its object and its subject, of him and of her. 
Radigund's wound, on the contrary, becomes a fester- 
ing sore, irritating and unclean. 

I have spoken of Radigund as coarse. Let not the 
expression be misinterpreted. It is moral, not physi- 
cal coarseness that is intended. She is represented 
as having youth, beauty, elegance of manners and 
appearance, and whatever else is necessary to make 
her a gentlewoman — except gentleness of purpose. 
Hers is a coarseness not of brawn and bone, not even 
of intellect, but of heart — a vulgar thirst for revenge, 
and a paltry love of rule, not compatible with her true 
dignity as a woman. 

Radigund represents a class of characters, rather 
than any single character. I know not that I can 
point to any one entire correlative in modern society. 
Some of her features may be seen in the miserable jilt, 
who trifles with the most serious interests this side of 


the grave, for the paltriest of all possible gratifications. 
A still more striking development of Radigund in 
modern society, may be seen in the domestic tyrant, 
whose aim is to govern her husband, who, in common 
parlance, loves to " wear the" — garment which I sup- 
pose must not be named. 

But it is time to put an end to dissertation and 
proceed with the story. 

Artegal had no sooner heard of this daring Amazon, 
than he determined to attack her and put an end to her 
impositions. Turpin consents to be the guide to her 
town, and to accompany him in the expedition. The 
watchmen on the wall report to those within, the 
approach of a Knight with two attendants, evidently 
coming with hostile intent. Great is the bustle which 
ensues. Myriads of female warriors, like swarms of 
bees whose hive has been disturbed, crowd together in 
the streets and market-places. The gates are barred 
and the entrance blocked up. But Radigund, confi- 
dent in numbers, as well as in herself, and thinking 
scorn to be dependent on bolt and bar for safety against 
so few, ordered the gate to be opened, and to let the 
intruders advance, if they saw fit. 

Soon as the gates were open to them set, 

They pressed forward, entrance to have made : 
But in the middle way they were ymet 
With a sharp shower of arrows, which them stayed, 
And better bad advise, ere they essayed 


Unknowen peril of bole Women's pride. 
Then all that rout upon them rudely laid, 
And heaped strokes so fast on every side, 
And arrows hailed so thick, that they could not abide. 

But Radigund herself, when she espied 
Sir Turpin, from her direful doom acquit, 
So cruel dole amongst her Maids divide, 
T' avenge that shame they did on him commit, 
All suddenly inflamed with furious fit, 
Like a fell lioness at him she flew, 
And on his head-piece him so fiercely smit, 
That to the ground him quite she overthrew, 

Dismayed so with the stroke that he no colours knew. 

Soon as she saw him on the ground to grovel, 
She lightly to him leapt ; and, in his neck 
Her proud foot setting, at his head did level, 
Weening at once her wrath on him to wreak, 
And his contempt that did her judgment break : 
As when a bear hath seized her cruel claws 
Upon the carcass of some beast too weak, 
Proudly stands over, and awhile doth pause 
To hear the piteous beast pleading her plaintive cause. 

As she thus pauses with uplifted weapon to drink 
in the sweet luxury of conscious triumph before deal- 
ing the deadly blow, she receives herself a sudden 
blow from Artegal which sends her reeling towards 
the ground. Instantly, swarming myriads of warlike 
maids interposed between Artegal and Radigund and 
prevented their coming into close combat. There 


was another of our party, however, who had plenty of 

And every while that mighty Iron Man 

With his strange weapon, never wont in war, 
Them sorely vexed, and coursed, and overran, 
And broke their bows, and did their shooting mar, 
That none of all the many once did dare 
Him to assault, nor once approach him nigh, 
But like a sort of sheep dispersed far, 
For dread of their devouring enemy, 

Through all the fields and valleys did before him fly. 

Night comes on at length, and Radigund sounds a 
retreat. She and her troops retire within the walls. 
Artegal pitches his pavilion on the plain outside. 
Talus keeps guard at the tent door. 

Great was the agitation that night inside of the 
town. Never before had the fierce Amazon received 
so bold a rebuff. Raging with vexation, she deter- 
mined at length to challenge the stranger Knight on the 
following day to single combat. At dead of night, 
therefore, the trusty maid, Clarinda, was summoned 
to the presence chamber, and made the bearer of the 
following message. 

" Go, Damsel, quickly do thyself address 
To do the message which I shall express : 
Go thou unto that stranger Fairy Knight, 
Who yesterday drove us to such distress ; 
Tell, that to-morrow I with him will fight, 
And try in equal field whether hath greater might. 


" But these conditions do to him propound ; 

That, if I vanquish him, he shall obey 

My law, and ever to my lore be bound ; 

And so will I, if me he vanquish may ; 

Whatever he shall like to do or say : 

Go straight, and take with thee to witness it, 

Six of thy fellows of the best array, 

And bear with you both wine and juncats fit, 
And bid him eat : henceforth he oft shall hungry sit." 

I omit the formalities which ensued, and the busy 
note of preparation the next morning, and proceed at 
once to the combat. 

So forth she came out of the city gate, 
With stately port and proud magnificence, 
Guarded with many Damsels that did wait 
Upon her person for her sure defence, 
Playing on shaums and trumpets, that from hence 
Their sound did reach unto the heaven's height : 
So forth into the field she marched thence, 
Where was a rich pavilion ready pight 1 

Her to receive, till time they should begin the fight. 

Then forth came Artegal out of his tent, 

All armed to point, and first the lists did enter : 

Soon after eke came she with full intent 

And countenance fierce, as having fully bent her 

That battles utmost trial to a 

The lists were closed fast, to bar the rout 

From rudely pressing on the middle centre ; 

1 Pight, pitched. 


Which in great heaps them circled all about, 
Waiting how fortune would resolve that dangerous doubt. 

The trumpets sounded, and the field began ; 

With bitter strokes it both began and ended. 

She at the first encounter on him ran 

With furious rage, as if she had intended 

Out of his breast the very heart have rended : 

But he, that had like tempests often tried, 

From that first flaw himself right well defended. 

The more she raged, the more he did abide ; 
She hewed, she foined, she lashed, she laid on every side. 

Artegal, who was wary as well as brave, acted for 
some time on the defensive. When from the violence 
of her assault, her strength began to fail, he returned 
her blows with interest. Finding her skilful at ward- 
ing off his blows, he tried the temper of her shield and 
sheared off the full half of it by one successful hit with 
his good sword Chrysaor. Not long after, by a similar 
manoeuvre, he pared away the other half, leaving her 
without protection. A third blow full upon her hel- 
met, brought her senseless to the ground. But you 
must see this. 

Having her thus disarmed of her shield, 
Upon her helmet he again her strook, 
That down she fell upon the grassy field 
In senseless swoon, as if her life forsook, 
And pangs of death her spirit overtook : 
Whom when he saw before his feet prostrated, 
He to her leaped with deadly dreadful look, 


And her sunshiny helme* soon unlaced, 
Thinking at once both head and helmet to have rased. 

But, whenas he discovered had her face, 

He saw, (his senses' strange astonishment, ) 

A miracle of nature's goodly grace 

In her fair visage void of ornament, 

But bathed in blood and sweat together ment ;* 

Which, in the rudeness of that evil plight, 

Bewrayed the signs of feature excellent : 

Like as the moon, in foggy winter's night, 
Doth seem to be herself, though darkened be her light. 

At sight thereof his cruel minded heart 
Empierced was with pitiful regard, 
That his sharp sword he threw from him apart, 
Cursing his hand that had that visage marred : 
No hand so cruel, nor no heart so hard, 
But ruth of Beauty will it mollify. 

Did I not say there would be difficulty ? Artegal 
has appeared to us thus far the very mirror of uncom- 
promising justice ; and justice demands the punish- 
ment of a cruel and wicked offender. But he is a 
Man, and he cannot strike a woman. He bears not the 
flail of Talus, but a sword whose temper is as ethereal 
as his own. He cannot, he does not use it, to mar the 
beauty of those delicate features. He dashes away the 
ruthless weapon, as though it had been guilty of a 
crime, and gazes with equal wonder, pity, and remorse, 
on that beautiful face. 

1 Ment, mingled- 


The moment is critical. Radigund, recovering from 
her swoon, which was merely temporary, sees the 
Knight unarmed, and off his guard. Unexpectedly, 
springing from the ground, and renewing the attack, 
she wins an easy victory, and compels the Knight to 
surrender at discretion. 

As for the rest of our party, on the surrender of Arte- 
gal, Turpin is seized and the barbarous punishment 
from which he had been rescued is carried into execu- 
tion. He is hanged. The third gentleman may speak 
for himself — 

But, when they thought on Talus hands to lay, 
He with his iron flail amongst them thundered, 
That they were fain to let him scape away, 
Glad from his company to be so sundered ; 
Whose presence all their troops so much encumbered, 
That th' heaps of those which he did wound and slay, 
Besides the rest dismayed, might not be numbered : 
Yet all that while he would not once assay 

To rescue his own Lord, but thought it just t' obey. 

Talus was prevented from interfering to rescue 
Artegal by the principles which they both professed. 
Artegal had accepted most improper terms in commenc- 
ing the combat. He had no right to engage as he did, 
in case of his not succeeding, to become her thrall. 
Still, having made so inconsiderate a promise, and 
having surrendered at discretion in open field, he felt 
bound by the law of honour not to avail himself of the 


flail of Talus, but to submit in good faith to the condi- 
tions, which, however harsh and unrighteous, he had yet 
voluntarily accepted. He is not the only man who, 
from a sense of honour, and rather than break an im- 
prudent engagement into which he had been inveigled, 
has compromised his own peace and happiness, because 
the party to whom his word is pledged, is a woman ! 

Radigund, causing Artegal to be stripped of all his 
armour, clad him in woman's weeds, covering the front 
of his person, not with a cuirass, but an ignoble 
" apron white." Thus clad, she took him into a long 
hall, hung around on all sides with the shields of 
Knights whom she had similarly conquered. 

There entered in he round about him saw 

Many brave Knights whose names right well he knew. 

There bound t' obey that Amazon's proud law, 

Spinning and carding all in comely row, 

That his big heart loathed so uncomely view : 

But they were forced through penury and pine, 

To do those works to them appointed due : 

For nought was given them to sup or dine, 

But what their hands could earn by twisting linen twine. 

Amongst them all she placed him most low, 
And in his hand a distaff to him gave, 
That he thereon should spin both flax and tow ; 
A sordid office for a mind so brave : 
So hard it is to be a Woman's slave ! 
Yet he it took in his own self's despite, 
And thereto did himself right well behave 


Her to obey, since he his faith had plight 
Her vassal to become, if she him won in fight. 

Such is the cruelty of womenkind, 

When they have shaken off the shamefast band, 

With which wise nature did them strongly bind 

T' obey the hests of man's well-ruling hand, 

That then all rule and reason they withstand 

To purchase a licentious liberty : 

But virtuous women wisely understand, 

That they were born to base humility, 

Unless the heavens them lift to lawful sovereignty. 

Thus there long while continued Artegal, 

Serving proud Radigund with true subjection : 
However it his noble heart did gall 
T' obey a Woman's tyrannous direction, 
That might have had of life or death election : 
But, having chosen, now he might not change. 

I said that Radigund, like Britomart, unexpectedly 
found herself not invulnerable. Here then the plot 
thickens. The most menial offices become ennobling, 
when performed from noble motives. There is some- 
thing striking in Sir Artegal' s nice sense of honour, in 
these extraordinary circumstances. The reader will 
not be surprised, therefore, at finding the Amazon be- 
ginning to entertain a secret liking to the strange 
Knight, on whom she is inflicting these indignities. 
Much as she may try to conceal it from herself, Radi- 
gund is in love with Artegal. 


But concealing the tender passion, is only to hide 
a fire by covering it with a cloak or other combusti- 
ble material. Not only does the fire eat its way out, 
but its heat becomes intense in proportion to the 
amount of combustibles in which it has been enve- 
loped. Unable at length any longer either to conceal 
or control her passion, Radigund summoned to her 
aid the trusty Clarinda, and committed to her the 
delicate task of love-making. 

The plan was this. Clarinda was gradually to win 
the Knight's confidence, and then to suggest to him 
in such way as circumstances might open, the idea of 
aspiring to the hand and heart of his proud victor. 
Nothing in his position w T ould warrant such an idea, 
It would seem like madness. And yet, to be success- 
ful, the idea must seem to arise from himself, or to 
grow in some way out of his circumstances. Such a 
suggestion coming from her, even indirectly, would 
not only be exceedingly mortifying to her pride, but 
be likely to defeat its own end. No woman must seem 
to make advances. Hence the difficulty. How can 
Artegal, plying his distaff amongst the herd of other 
drudges, be induced to think of such a thing, to think 
it possible, and to venture upon it ? It can only be by 
suggestions, springing up apparently incidentally in 
the course of confidential conversation about various 
other topics. It requires, therefore, the interposition 
of a third party, entrusted with the secret, and with a 
plenipotentiary commission. And who so trusty, who 



so supple, who so discreet, as the well-tried maid, 
Clarinda ? To Clarinda, therefore, a full confession is 
made, and the signet ring is given, which would put 
at her command every ward and bolt in the Castle. 
Directions are added, not to spare any means necessary 
to the accomplishment of the object, which was to 
secure for her mistress the affections of Artegal. Her 
commission ends with these words : 

" Say and do all that may thereto prevail ; 

Leave nought unpromised that may him persuade, 
Life, freedom, grace, and gifts of great avail, 
With which the gods themselves are milder made : 
Thereto add art, even women's witty trade, 
The art of mighty words that men can charm ; 
With which in case thou canst him not invade, 
Let him feel hardness of thy heavy arm : 

Who will not stoop with good shall be made stoop with harm. 

" Some of his diet do from him withdraw ; 
For I him find to be too proudly fed: 
Give him more labour, and with straighter law, 
That he with work may be for wearied : 
Let him lodge hard, and lie in strawen bed, 
That may pull down the courage of his pride ; 
And lay upon him, for his greater dread, 
Cold iron chains with which let him be tied ; 

And let, whatever he desires, be him denied. 

Love-agencies are proverbially unsafe. These con- 
fidential interviews and secret conversations, require 


certainly more discretion Iban most people have to 
boast of; and in nine cases out of ten, ere either party 
is aware of it, the agent is found speaking one word 
for his principal and two for himself. I do not mean 
to say that Artegal fell in love with the maid instead 
of the mistress. On the contrary, I affirm, he main- 
tained the most unimpeachable indifference to both. 
But Clarin, poor Clarin, ere their first conversation 
was over, was herself the greatest obstacle to the suc- 
cess of her mission. Hence a still farther complication 
of this already tangled web. Every relaxation in the 
rigour of his servitude, every addition to his comfort, 
is made to appear to Artegal to emanate from Clarinda. 
On the other hand, to every inquiry of Radigund 
respecting the effect of the treatment, the mind of the 
prisoner is represented as proud and unbending. 

Therefore unto her Mistress most unkind 
She daily told, her love he did defy : 
And him she told, her Dame his freedom did deny. 
Yet thus much friendship she to him did show, 
That his scarce diet somewhat was amended, 
And his work lessened, that his love might grow : 
Yet to her Dame him still she discommended, 
That she with him might be the more offended. 
Thus he long while in thraldom there remained, 
Of both beloved well, but little friended ; 

But in this position of affairs we shall have to leave 
the parties for some time, and direct our attention to 


When Artegal and Britomart separated, after their 
recognition and affiance, three months was fixed as the 
time necessary for the accomplishment of his exploit. 
That time was now past, and yet he did not return, 
nor was there any news of him. It is not without 
some degree of curiosity that we inquire what will be 
the conduct of the Warrior Maid under these circum- 
stances. Britomart, if we have read her aright, holds 
a middle place in the scale of character, between Bel- 
phcebe and Amoret — eagle-eyed, energetic, and self- 
relying, and yet a real true-hearted woman ; — the oak 
and the ivy combined in one person ; — a being trem- 
blingly alive to the most transient and zephyr-like emo- 
tions, and yet firmly rooted and grounded in principle. 

Sometime she feared lest some hard mishap 
Had him misfallen in his adventurous quest : 
Sometime lest his false foe did him entrap 
In traitorous train, or had unwares oppressed ; 
But most she did her troubled mind molest, 
And secretly afflict with jealous fear, 
Lest some new Love had him from her possessed ; 
Yet loath she was, since she no ill did hear, 

To think of him so ill ; yet could she not forbear. 

One while she blamed herself; another while 
She him condemned as trustless and untrue : 
And then, her grief with error to beguile, 
She feigned to count the time again anew, 
As if before she had not counted true : 
For days, but hours ; for months that passed were, 
She told but weeks, to make them seem more few : 


Yet, when she reckoned .hern still drawing near, 
Each hour did seem a month, and every month a year. 

But, whenas yet she saw him not return, 

She thought to send some one to seek him out ; 
But none she found so fit to serve that turn, 
As her own self, to ease herself of doubt. 
Now she devised, amongst the warlike rout 
Of errant Knights, to seek her errant Knight ; 
And then again resolved to hunt him out 
Amongst loose Ladies lapped in delight : 

And then both Knights envied, and Ladies eke did spite. 

One day the restless Maid stood by the open win- 
dow, looking towards the west, (for it was in that 
direction Artegal had gone,) " sending forth her winged 
thoughts more swift than wind, to bear unto her love 
the message of her mind." Behold at last some one 
approaching in the distance. As he becomes more 
distinctly visible, her eager eye recognises him. 
It is the Iron Man. It is Talus. Why comes he 
alone? Why in such haste? What news does he 
bring ? How her heart beats ! She cannot await his 
arrival, but runs to meet him. 

Even in the door him meeting, she begun : 

" And where is he thy Lord, and how far hence ? 
Declare at once : and hath he lost or won ?" 
The Iron Man, albe he wanted sense 
And sorrow's feeling, yet, with conscience 
Of his ill news, did inly chill and quake, 
And stood still mute, as one in great suspense ; 


As if that by his silence he would make 
Her rather read his meaning than himself it speak. 

Till she again thus said : " Talus, be bold, 
And tell whatever it be, good or bad, 
That from thy tongue thy heart's intent doth hold." 
To whom he thus at length : " The tidings sad, 
That I would hide, will needs I see be read. 
My Lord (your Love) by hard mishap doth lie 
In wretched bondage, wofully bestead." 
" Ah me," quoth she, " what wicked destiny ! 

And is he vanquished by his tyrant enemy ?" 

" Not by that Tyrant, his intended foe ; 
But by a Tyranness" he then replied, 
" That him captived hath in hapless wo." 
" Cease, thou bad newsman ; badly dost thou hide 
Thy Master's shame, in harlot's bondage tied ; 
The rest myself too readily can spell." 
With that in rage she turned from him aside, 
Forcing in vain the rest to her to tell ; 

And to her chamber went like solitary cell. 

There she began to make her mournful plaint 
Against her Knight for being so untrue ; 
And him to touch with falsehood's foul attaint, 
That all his other honour overthrew. 
Oft did she blame herself, and often rue, 
For yielding to a stranger's love so light, 
Whose life and manners strange she never knew ; 
And evermore she did him sharply twit 

For breach of faith to her, which he had firmly plight. 


And then she in her wrathful will did cast 

How to revenge that blot of honour blent, 

To fight with him, and goodly die her last : 

And then again she did herself torment, 

Inflicting on herself his punishment. 

Awhile she walked, and chafed ; awhile she threw 

Herself upon her bed, and did lament : 

Yet did she not lament with loud alew, 1 
As women wont, but with deep sighs and singulfs* few. 

Recovering somewhat from the first burst of grief, 
Britomart returns to Talus to inquire more into the 
particulars of her supposed disgrace. 

I have shown you the Ivy, shattered by the blast 
and yet clinging to its fastenings. Look now at the 
Oak, breasting the storm. How her eye kindles, how 
her frame dilates, how her heart beats, as the Iron 
Man proceeds with his narrative, and the truth flashes 
upon her, that Artegal is only unfortunate. That 
admits of remedy. She does not stop to answer. She 
scarcely waits for Talus to finish his story. Instantly, 
she dons her armour, mounts her steed, and bids the 
Iron Man lead the way. 

Behold then Britomart and Talus, journeying to the 
rescue of Artegal. Towards night they met an aged 
man, Dolon (guile) by name, who invited them to 
spend the night at his house. The scene at Dolon's 
hut, is in some respects the counterpart of that in the 
Hermitage of Archimago. The murder of sleeping 

1 Alew (Gr. a \a\ri), howling, lamentation. 2 Singulfs (Lat. singultus), sobs. 


travellers has in all ag-es of the world been but too 
common a form of injustice. I have not time to give 
the whole occurrences at the hut of Dolon. I will just 
lift the veil on two scenes, and leave the rest to the 
reader's imagination. First, see Britomart, after she 
has retired to her chamber. 

There all that night remained Britomart, 
Restless, recomfortless, with heart deep-grieved, 
Not suffering the least twinkling sleep to start 
Into her eye, which th' heart might have relieved ; 
But if the least appeared, her eyes she straight reprieved. 1 

" Ye guilty eyes," said she, " the which with guile 
My heart at first betrayed, will ye betray 
My life now too, for which a little while 
Ye will not watch 1 false watches, wellaway ! 
I wot when ye did watch both night and day 
Unto your loss ; and now needs will ye sleep ? 
Now ye have made my heart to wake alway, 
Now will ye sleep 1 ah ! wake, and rather weep 

To think of your night's want, that should ye waking keep." 

Thus did she watch, and wear the weary night 

In wailful plaints, that none was to appease ; 

Now walking soft, now sitting still upright, 

As sundry change her seemed best to ease. 

Ne less did Talus suffer sleep to seize 

His eyelids sad, but watch continually, 

Lying without her door in great disease ; 

Like to a spaniel waiting carefully 
Lest any should betray his Lady treacherously. 

1 Reprieved, reproved. 


Let us now lift the veil apon this same chamber a 
few hours later. 

What time the native belman of the night, 
The bird that warned Peter of his fall, 
First rings his silver bell t' each sleepy wight, 
That should their minds up to devotion call, 
She heard a wondrous noise below the hall : 
All suddenly the bed, where she should lie, 
By a false trap was let adown to fall 
Into a lower room, and by and by 

The loft was raised again, that no man could it spy. 

With sight whereof she was dismayed right sore, 
Perceiving well the treason which was meant : 
Yet stirred not at all for doubt of more, 
But kept her place with courage confident, 
Waiting what would ensue of that event. 
It was not long before she heard the sound 
Of armed men coming with close intent 
Towards her chamber ; at which dreadful stound 

She quickly caught her sword, and shield about her bound. 

With that there came unto her chamber door 
Two Knights all armed ready for to fight ; 
And after them full many other more, 
A rascal rout, with weapons rudely dight : 
W T hom soon as Talus spied by glimpse of night, 
He started up, there where on ground he lay, 
And in his hand his thresher ready keight. 1 
They, seeing that, let drive at him straightway, 

And round about him press in riotous array. 

1 Keight^ caught. 


But, soon as he began to lay about 

With his rude iron flail, they gan to fly, 

Both armed Knights and eke unarmed rout : 

Yet Talus after them apace did ply, 

Wherever in the dark he could them spy ; 

That here and there like scattered sheep they lay. 

Then back returning where his Dame did lie, 

He to her told the story of that fray, 
And all that treason there intended did bewray. 

The following day, Britomart came to the temple of 
Isis. In Egyptian mythology, Osiris represents Justice, 
while his wife Isis is the symbol of Equity, a modifi- 
cation or branch of the former. Spenser displays a new 
species of lore in the Canto which follows, unveiling 
the mysterious symbols of the religion of the Nile. 
There is a stern, cold grandeur in the Egyptian 
mythos, well suited to the serious and truthful charac- 
ter of Britomart. I must, however, omit the descrip- 
tion of this temple and of the Goddess. Britomart, 
admitted to the shrine, prostrated herself upon the 
naked ground, (for that is the only floor to the temple 
of Isis,) and offered her humble, silent prayer. It was 
now night. Mysterious indications were given, that 
her prayer was accepted. The relief of mind which 
this afforded, the fatigue of her journey, the loss of 
sleep the previous night, produced their natural effect 
upon her frame. 

There did the warlike Maid herself repose, 
Under the wing of Isis all that night ; 


And with sweet rest hei heavy eyes did close, 
After that long day's toil and weary plight : 
Where whilst her earthly parts with soft delight 
Of senseless sleep did deeply drowned lie, 
There did appear unto her heavenly sprite 
A wondrous vision, which did close imply 
The course of all her fortune and posterity. 

I omit the vision of Britomart, and the other occur- 
rences at the temple of Isis, and proceed with Brito- 
mart and Talus to the city of Radigund. 

It is not doing justice to Britomart to omit her battle 
with the Amazon. The reader, however, has already 
seen too much of her prowess, and knows too well the 
justice of her cause, to doubt of the result, A stanza 
or two will be sufficient to show the spirit with which 
these two female Knights entered upon the contest. 
" When Greek meets Greek" ? 

The trumpets sound, and they together run 

With greedy rage, and with their faulchions smote ; 
Ne either sought the other's strokes to shun, 
But through great fury both their skill forgot, 
And practick use in arms ; ne spared not 
Their dainty parts, which nature had created 
So fair and tender without stain or spot 
For other uses than they them translated ; 

Which they now hacked and hewed as if such use they hated. 

As when a tiger and a lioness 

Are met at spoiling of some hungry prey, 


Both challenge it with equal greediness : 
But first the tiger claws thereon did lay ; 
And therefore, loath to loose her right away, 
Doth in defence thereof full stoutly stand : 
To which the lion strongly doth gainsay, 
That she to hunt the beast first took in hand ; 
And therefore ought it have wherever she it found. 

The Tiger may rage and rend, but still the Lion is 
lord of the forest ; and so it proved on this occasion. 
The fierce proud Radigund is slain. The city is then 
captured, the prison broken open, and Britomart and 
Artegal are once more happy in each other's confl- 
dence and company. 

The reader may suppose perhaps that the felicity 
thus dearly won, is not again to be disturbed. But 
Artegal's adventures thus far are merely preparatory. 
He undertook a special mission, the release of the 
Lady Irena from the cruelties of Grantorto, in other 
words the establishment of peace and righteousness by 
the overthrow of unrighteousness and oppression. This 
task is not accomplished until the close of the twelfth 
Canto. We have now only just finished the seventh. 

Artegal was indeed under a temptation of no ordinary 
kind. Few, even in the days of Fairyhood, would have 
hesitated to forego the final achievement, and to take 
the cup of happiness now placed within reach. 

Nought under heaven so strongly doth allure 
The sense of man, and all his mind possess, 


As Beauty's lovely bait, that doth procure 
Great warriors oft their rigour to repress, 
And mighty hands forget their manliness ; 
Drawn with the power of an heart-robbing eye, 
And wrapped in fetters of a golden tress, 
That can with melting pleasance mollify 
Their hardened hearts enured to blood and cruelty. 

So whilom learned that mighty Jewish swain, 
Each of whose locks did match a man in might, 
To lay his spoils before his Leman's train : 
So also did that great Oetean Knight 
For his Love's sake his lion's skin undight ; 
And so did warlike Antony neglect 
The world's whole rule for Cleopatra's sight. 
Such wondrous power hath women's fair aspect 

To captive men, and make them all the world reject. 

But Spenser's heroes are men of duty not of pleasure, 
Artegal would have been unworthy of the noble Brito- 
mart, had he even for her sake shrunk from the path 
of duty and peril. No woman whose love is worth 
possessing, will love her husband the less for being true 
to the principles of his manhood. 

" Man was made 
To rule the storm, not languish in the shade : 
Action 's his sphere." 

He hath something to do in this stirring world. So 
at least thought Artegal ; and he resisted successfully 
the most powerful temptation which a virtuous man is 


ever called upon to encounter— -the temptation, I mean, 
to abandon known duty and the requirements of his 
station, for the heavenly solace of lawful and wedded 

Yet could it not stern Artegal retain, 

Nor hold from suit of his avowed quest, 

Which he had underta'en to Gloriane ; 

But left his Love (albe her strong request) 

Fair Britomart in languor and unrest, 

And rode himself upon his first intent : 

Ne day nor night did ever idly rest ; 

Ne wight but only Talus with him went, 
The true guide of his way and virtuous government. 

If we were called upon to say what one idea was 
uppermost in the English mind at the time Spenser 
wrote the Fairy Queen, the answer would most likely 
be, "the Spanish Armada." I hardly know an in- 
stance, in authentic history, in which a whole nation 
seems to have been so completely possessed with one 
predominant and engrossing idea. The nation was 
roused by the apprehension of this invasion, not only 
as it threatened the subversion of their political inde- 
pendence, but as it endangered their newly acquired 
religious liberties. It was regarded as a contest not 
merely between Englishmen and Spaniards, but be- 
tween Protestants and Catholics. Elizabeth, equally 
from principle and policy, ever strove to make herself 
distinctly known as a Protestant Princess. Nothing, 


therefore, could be more natural than for Spenser to 
conceive of Philip as an unrighteous and cruel Sultan ; 
and the Church by whom, according to the English 
theory, he was influenced to commit these cruelties, as 
an unprincipled and unrelenting Sultana, — a woman 
who exercised absolute sway over her husband and his 
kingdom, and who controlled the energies of both in 
the execution of her wicked designs. The crimes 
against humanity and public faith, committed by this 
bad woman, through the agency of her proud and 
powerful consort, required correction at the hands of 

Such I take to be the meaning of the incidents 
which occupy the eighth Canto of the Legend of Ar- 
tegal. At the same time, the allegory is more veiled 
than is Spenser's wont. It may be, that the author 
intended, while thus giving expression to his feelings 
as an Englishman and a loyal subject of Queen Eliza- 
beth, at the same time to draw his pictures in such 
general terms, as should make them applicable to men 
of all ages and all nations. And surely, there is no 
age or nation, where bad faith, and cruelty in the exer- 
cise of national powder, are not likely to bring national 
punishment and misfortune. 

Whether, therefore, we take the eighth Canto in a 
special or a general sense, we will find it one full of 
meaning ; and, laying all allegory aside, and regarding 
the Canto as a mere tale, we will find it full of interest, 
and in a very high degree poetical. 


Artegal and Talus saw a damsel flying upon a pal- 
frey, pursued by two Knights. These Knights them- 
selves were pursued by a third Knight, who seemed 
straining to overtake and arrest them, before the com- 
mission of the bloody deed on which they were evi- 
dently bent. At length the third or hindermost 
Knight was seen to gain on the other two, so far at 
least as to compel one of them to stop his pursuit and 
address himself to self-defence. The other Knight, 
however, continued to press the pursuit, and seemed 
likely to gain his cruel end. But the flying damsel, 
seeing Artegal crossing the plain, changed her course, 
and made directly towards him, evidently with the 
design to throw herself on him for protection. Artegal 
thereupon put spear in rest, and placed himself full 
in front of the approaching Knight. Cruelty never 
rages so fiercely as when balked of its victim at the 
very moment of expected success. The stranger 
Knight slackened not his course, but directing his 
spear towards Artegal, rushed forward with all the 
violence of physical momentum goaded by madness. 
Terrible, terrible was the shock. But Artegal was a 
firm rider. If he had been once unseated, it was by 
an " enchanted spear." He now maintained his firm 
seat, while the wicked foeman was carried by the force 
of the encounter full two spears' length behind his 
horse. Nor was that the best, The wretch in his 
fall came accidentally with his head downwards and 
broke his neck, and instantly expired. 


A similar issue resulted to the contest on the other side 
of the plain. Both of the murderous Knights in short 
were slain at the same moment, and lay upon the 
ground. The surviving Knights were Artegal and this 
other hindmost Knight, whoever he may be, who was 
first seen trying to arrest the pursuit. But Artegal and 
the strange Knight having each been exclusively en- 
gaged with his own adventure, did not see of course 
what took place on the part of the plain distant from 
himself. Each, therefore, on looking up, made a 
serious mistake. Artegal supposed the Knight now 
coming towards him to be the other marauder. The 
stranger Knight made a similar mistake in regard to 
Artegal. Behold then another shock of encountering 
Knights, if possible, more tremendous than the first. 
The strange Knight sits as firmly as Artegal, Nei- 
ther is unhorsed, but the spears of both are shivered 
like reeds. They draw their swords, and are about to 
engage in close conflict. But the Lady sees the terri- 
ble- mistake, rushes between and explains — and so we 
may breathe more freely. 

But who is this strange Knight ? His visor is 
now lowered. Look upon him, I will not describe 
his features, nor tell you just now his name. But 
Artegal, the moment he saw the nobleness, the 
delicate and almost girlish fairness of that princely 
visage, felt his heart knit to him at once, as was that 
of David to Jonathan. He approached the youthful 
and majestic stranger, with a warm affection not un- 



mixed with reverence. Neither had ever before 
seen the other. But the deed in which each was 
seen engaged, was the best and truest card of intro- 
duction. The courtesies which were interchanged, 
the kindly greetings, and the vows of amity and per- 
petual friendship which ensued, were such as might 
be expected from the noble Artegal and the Princely 

They next turned to the Lady, to whom, and to 
whose cause they were equally strangers, and inquired 
who she was, and why she had been thus cruelly pur- 
sued. In hearing her story, you will not forget the 
historical allusions already given. 

" Then wot ye well, that I 
Do serve a Queen that not far hence doth won, 
A Princess of great power and majesty. 
Famous through all the world, and honoured far and nigh. 

" Her name Mercilla most men use to call ; 

That is a Maiden Queen of high renown, 

For her great bounty knowen over all 

And sovereign grace, with which her royal crown 

She doth support, and strongly beateth down 

The malice of her foes, which her envy 

And at her happiness do fret and frown : 

Yet she herself the more doth magnify. 
And even to her foes her mercies multiply. 

" Mongst many which malign her happy state. 
There is a mighty man, which wons hereby, 


That with most fell despite and deadly hate 
Seeks to subvert her crown and dignity, 
And all his power doth thereunto apply : 
And her good Knights, (of which so brave a band 
Serves her as any Princess under sky,) 
He either spoils, if they against him stand, 
Or to his part allures, and bribeth under hand. 

" Ne him sufficeth all the wrong and ill, 

Which he unto her people does each day ; 

But that he seeks by traitorous trains to spill 

Her person, and her sacred self to slay : 

That, O ye Heavens, defend ! and turn away 

From her unto the miscreant himself; 

That neither hath religion nor fay, 1 

But makes his God of his ungodly pelf, 
And Idols serves : so let his Idols serve the Elf! 

" To all which cruel tyranny, they say, 

He is provoked, and stirred up day and night 

By his bad wife that hight Adicia ; 

Who counsels him, through confidence of might, 

To break all bonds of law and rules of right : 

For she herself professeth mortal foe 

To Justice, and against her still doth fight, 

Working, to all that love her, deadly wo, 

And making all her Knights and people to do so." 

From what follows, Spenser would seem to assert 
that Elizabeth, before engaging in sanguinary war with 
the Spanish Monarch, tried first the effect of negotia- 

1 Fay, faith, 


tion — and commenced the negotiation by an embassy 
not to Philip, but to Philip's master, the Church — 
that the embassage so far from securing its desired 
effect, had not even secured to its agents the protection 
accorded among all civilized nations to diplomatic 
agents. A public ambassador, or a messenger with a 
flag of truce, or an offer of peace, has in all ages been 
held sacred. There is therefore nice poetical propriety 
in Mer cilia's sending a Lady instead of a Knight to 
treat with Adicia. The sanctity of person accorded to 
woman by the common consent of all mankind, is a fit 
emblem of the personal security guarantied to the 
public negotiator. Wo worth the wretch who shall lay 
violent hands on either. But let us proceed with the 
Lady's story. 

" Which my liege Lady seeing, thought it best 

With that his wife in friendly wise to deal, 

For stint of strife and stablishment of rest 

Both to herself and to her common-weal, 

And all forepast displeasures to repeal. 

So me in message unto her she sent, 

To treat with her, by way of interdeal, 

Of final peace and fair atonement 
Which might concluded be by mutual consent. 

44 All times have wont safe passage to afford 
To Messengers that come for causes just : 
But this proud Dame, disdaining all accord, 
Not only into bitter terms forth burst, 
Reviling me and railing as she lust, 


But lastly, to make pro.<f of utmost shame, 
Me like a dog she out of doors did thrust, 
Miscalling me by many a bitter name, 
That never did her ill, ne once deserved blame. 

" And lastly, that no shame might wanting be, 
When I was gone, soon after me she sent 
These two false Knights, whom there ye lying see, 
To be by them dishonoured and shent : 
But, thanked be God, and your good hardiment ! 
They have the price of their own folly paid." 

Artegal and Arthur resolved to inflict exemplary 
punishment upon the Soudan and his wicked wife. 
They found it necessary to the accomplishment of this 
undertaking to resort to stratagem. Artegal therefore 
arrayed himself in the armour of one of the dead pagan 
Knights, and taking with him the Lady, Samient, 
went to the city of the Soudan. 

Where soon as his proud wife of her had sight, 
Forth of her window as she looking lay, 
She weened straight it was her Paynim Knight, 
Which brought that Damsel as his purchased prey ; 
And sent to him a Page that might direct his way : 
Who, bringing them to their appointed place, 
Offered his service to disarm the Knight ; 
But he refusing him to let unlace, 
For doubt to be discovered by his sight, 
Kept himself still in his strange armour dight. 

Artegal being thus without suspicion admitted 


within the palace to act as occasion might require, 
behold Prince Arthur arrives outside the walls, and 
sends to the Soudan a bold defiance to single combat. 

Wherewith the Soudan all with fury fraught, 
Swearing and banning most blasphemously, 
Commanded straight his armour to be brought ; 
And, mounting straight upon a chariot high, 
(With iron wheels and hooks armed dreadfully, 
And drawn of cruel steeds which he had fed 
With flesh of men, whom through fell tyranny 
He slaughtered had, and ere they were half dead 

Their bodies to his beasts for provender did spread.) 

So forth he came all in a coat of plate 

Burnished with bloody rust ; whiles on the Green 

The Briton Prince him ready did await 

In glistering arms right goodly well beseen, 

That shone as bright as doth the heaven sheen ; 

And by his stirrup Talus did attend, 

Playing his Page's part, as he had been 

Before directed by his Lord ; to th' end 

He should his flail to final execution bend. 

Here, then, is the most serious and trying contest in 
which the noble Prince has yet been engaged. Those 
scythes with which this curious chariot is armed, 
render it impossible for him to approach near enough 
to do harm, either by sword or spear. He cannot reach 
his antagonist. That antagonist too has in the chariot 
abundance of javelins and other missiles capable of 


annoying, and by good lu§k, of slaying a foe at a dis- 
tance. Even the horses that draw this formidable 
vehicle, by being long accustomed to feed on human 
flesh, have acquired a degree of ferocity fully equal to 
that of their ferocious driver. Arthur's horse takes 
fright at their strange and fierce looks. 

But the bold Child that peril well espying, 

If he too rashly to his chariot drew, 

Gave way unto his horses speedy flying, 

And their resistless rigour did eschew : 

Yet, as he passed by, the Pagan threw 

A shivering dart with so impetuous force, 

That, had he not it shunned with heedful view, 

It had himself transfixed or his horse, 
Or made them both one mass withouten more remorse. 

Oft drew the Prince unto his chariot nigh, 
In hope some stroke to fasten on him near ; 
But he was mounted in his seat so high, 
And his wing-footed coursers him did bear 
So fast away, that, ere his ready spear 
He could advance, he far was gone and past : 
Yet still he him did follow everywhere, 
And followed was of him likewise full fast, 

So long as in his steeds the flaming breath did last. 

Again the Pagan threw another dart, 

Of which he had with him abundant store 
On every side of his embattled cart, 
And of all other weapons less or more, 
Which warlike uses had devised of yore : 


The wicked shaft, guided through th' airy wide 1 
By some bad spirit that it to mischief bore, 
Stayed not, till through his curat 3 it did glide, 
And made a grisly wound in his enriven side. 

Much was he grieved with that hapless throw, 
That opened had the wellspring of his blood ; 
But much the more that to his hateful foe 
He might not come to wreak his wrathful mood : 
# * % # # 

Still when he sought t' approach unto him nigh 
His chariot wheels about him whirled round, 
And made him back again as fast to fly : 
And eke his steeds, like to an hungry hound 
That hunting after game hath carrion found, 
So cruelly did him pursue and chase, 
That his good steed, all were he much renowned 
For noble courage and for hardy race, 

Durst not endure their sight, but fled from place to place. 

Thus long they traced and traversed to and fro, 
Seeking by every way to make some breach ; 
Yet could the Prince not nigh unto him go, 
That one sure stroke he might unto him reach, 
Whereby his strength's assay he might him teach. 

The Prince, in short, was at his wit's end. Not so 
the Poet. To enable the reader to understand what 
follows, I shall have to recur to the original descrip- 
tion of Prince Arthur, where he first appears, in 
the seventh Canto of the first Book. In my sketch of 

1 Airy wide, airy void (?). s Curat, cuirass. 


that Book, I omitted this aescription, to make room for 
other matter necessary to the completeness of the ad- 
venture of Saint George and Lady Una. In like man- 
ner throughout the other Books, the Prince who has 
appeared so often to our relief, has been generally dis- 
missed with a few complimentary phrases, which I 
fear have been received only at the value ordinarily 
put upon phrases of compliment. It is too late now to 
repair the injury done to his character by these omis- 
sions. It is necessary, however, to the present story 
to quote three or four stanzas from the description of 
his armour in the first Book. 

His warlike Shield all closely covered was, 

Ne might of mortal eye be ever seen : 

Not made of steel, nor of enduring brass, 

(Such earthly metals soon consumed been,) 

But all of diamond perfect pure and clean 

It framed was, one massy entire mould, 

Hewn out of adamant rock with engines keen, 

That point of spear it never piercen could, 
Ne dint of direful sword divide the substance would. 

The same to wight he never wont disclose, 
But whenas monsters huge he would dismay. 
Or daunt unequal armies of his foes, 
Or when the flying heavens he would affray : 
For so exceeding shone his glistening ray, 
That Phoebus' golden face it did attaint, 
As when a cloud his beams doth over-lay ; 
And silver Cynthia waxed pale and faint, 

As when her face is stained with magic arts' constraint. 


No magic arts hereof had any might, 

Nor bloody words of bold Enchanter's call ; 
But all, that was not such as seemed in sight, 
Before that shield did fade and sudden fall : 
And, when him list the rascal routs appal, 
Men into stones therewith he could transmew, 
And stones to dust, and dust to nought at all ; 
And, when him list the prouder looks subdue, 

He would them gazing blind, or turn to other hue. 

The Prince was too proud to rely upon the virtues 
of this mysterious shield, except in cases of extreme 
danger. In fact, through all the trying contests in 
which he has been engaged, this is the first instance 
in which he has deigned to resort to it. But now, 
there seemed no other chance. The terrible scythes 
projecting on all sides from the Soudan's chariot, 
forbad all approach within fighting distance. Those 
ferocious horses, too, fed so long on human flesh, 
seemed to have the power of striking a mysterious 
terror into his. Behold then the phenomenon ! 

At last, from his victorious shield he drew 
The veil, which did his powerful light impeach ; 
And coming full before his horses' view, 
As they upon him pressed, it plain to them did shew. 

Like lightning flash that hath the gazer burned, 
So did the sight thereof their sense dismay, 
That back again upon themselves they turned, 
And with their rider ran perforce away : 
Ne could the Soudan them from flying stay 


With reins or wonted rule, as well he knew : 
Nought feared they what he could do or say, 
But th' only fear that was before their view ; 
From which like mazed deer dismayfully they flew. 

Fast did they fly as them their feet could bear 
High over hills, and lowly over dales, 
As they were followed of their former fear : 
In vain the Pagan bans, and swears, and rails, 
And back with both his hands unto him hales 
The resty reins, regarded now no more : 
He to them calls and speaks, yet nought avails ; 
They hear him not, they have forgot his lore ; 

But go which way they list ; their guide they have forlore. 

Such was the fury of these headstrong steeds, 
Soon as the Infant's sunlike shield they saw, 
That all obedience both to words and deeds 
They quite forgot, and scorn'd all former law : 
Through woods, and rocks, and mountains they did draw 
The iron chariot, and the wheels did tear, 
And tossed the Paynim without fear or awe ; 
From side to side they tossed him here and there, 

Crying to them in vain that nould his crying hear. 

Yet still the Prince pursued him close behind, 

Oft making offer him to smite, but found 

No easy means according to his mind ; 

At last they have all overthrown to ground 

Quite topside turvy, and the Pagan hound 

Amongst the iron hooks and grapples keen 

Torn all to rags, and rent with many a wound ; 

That no whole piece of him was to be seen, 
But scattered all about, and strowed upon the Green. 


Such was the end which every loyal subject of Eli- 
zabeth wished at least to the cruel bigot, Philip ! 

Adicia, the fierce Sultana who instigated the Soudan 
to his course, was a woman of a temper neither feeble 
nor serene. There are few things of the descriptive 
kind in the Fairy Queen, more stirring than the lines 
which follow. The reader will excuse me for present- 
ing a picture of this horrible kind. 

Which when his Lady from the Castle's height 
Beheld, it much appalled her troubled sprite : 
Yet not, as women wont, in doleful fit 
She was dismayed, or fainted through affright, 
But gathered unto her her troubled wit, 
And gan eftsoons devise to be avenged for it. 

Straight down she ran, like an enraged cow 
That is berobbed of her youngling dear, 
With knife in hand, and fatally did vow 
To wreak her on that maiden messenger, 
Whom she had caused be kept as prisoner 
By Artegal, misweened for her own Knight, 
That brought her back : and, coming present there, 
She at her ran with all her force and might, 

All flaming with revenge and furious despite. 

But Artegal, being thereof aware, 

Did stay her cruel hand ere she her raught ; 
And, as she did herself to strike prepare, 
Out of her fist the wicked weapon caught : 
With that, like one enfeloned or distraught, 
She forth did roam whither her rage her bore, 
With frantic passion, and with fury fraught ; 


And, breaking forth out at a postern door, 
Unto the wild wood ran, her dolours to deplore : 

As a mad bitch, whenas the frantic fit 

Her burning tongue with rage inflamed hath, 
Doth run at random, and with furious bit 
Snatching at everything doth wreak her wrath 
On man and beast that cometh in her path. 
There they do say that she transformed was 
Into a tiger, and that tiger's scath 
In cruelty and outrage she did pass, 

To prove her surname true, that she imposed has. 

The punishment of the Soudan and Adicia brings 
us to the close of the eighth Canto. A similar exposi- 
tion of the four remaining Cantos would either extend 
the present Essay entirely beyond the limits of discre- 
tion, or exclude all notice of the sixth Book. Let it 
suffice, therefore, to say, that the ninth Canto contains 
an elaborate allegorical description of the Court of 
Mercilla (Queen Elizabeth), which is visited by 
Artegal and Arthur for the purpose of witnessing the 
most noble and striking exhibitions of civil, political, 
and international justice ; — the tenth and eleventh Can- 
tos are occupied with an exploit of Prince Arthur, who 
undertakes, by Mercilla' s permission, the deliverance of 
the Lady Beige (Holland), the overthrow of her op- 
pressor Gerioneo (Duke of Alva), and the destruction 
of a most extraordinary but nameless Monster (the In- 
quisition), which Gerioneo had introduced into Beige's 


dominions ; and lastly, in the twelfth Canto, Artegal 
and Talus accomplish their final and principal adven- 
ture, by succouring the Lady Irena (Ireland), and 
discomfiting her adversary Grantorto, who means the 
King of Spain, or rather the body of Spanish troops 
sent by Philip into Ireland to stir up sedition and re- 
volt in that island. 

In my discussion of the fifth Book of the Fairy 
Queen, I have been at some pains to explain the histo- 
rical and political allusions. The allegory throughout 
the whole poem is susceptible of similar applications. 
It has been found indeed impossible to give these 
applications, without extending the discussion to an 
inordinate length. It seemed, however, but an act of 
justice to the author, in one Book at least, to show 
something of the extent, variety, depth, and fulness of 
his meaning, as well as his surpassing elegance and 
splendour. In the account which I shall attempt to 
give of the last Book, I shall be obliged to avoid almost 
entirely historical illustrations, and to content myself 
with directing attention principally, and even in that 
respect briefly, to those general moral truths which 
are shadowed forth in these allegorical representations. 



Definition of the Subject — Character and Mission of Calidore — The 
Story of Crudor and Briana- — The Swain in Lincoln Green — 
Calepine and Serena — The Blatant Beast — The Savage Man — 
Mirabella — Calidore among the Shepherds — Pastorella — Her Cha- 
racter — Colin's Shepherd's Lass — Conclusion — General Re- 

The writers on morals among the Romans, made a 
fourfold division of the qualities which go to constitute 
human excellence. Their four cardinal virtues were 
Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude. It will 
be perceived at once, that with so limited a number of 
virtues nominally, the ancients must have given to the 
terms used a far more comprehensive signification than 
that now assigned to them. In addition to this enlarged 
sense given to the terms, some of them, particularly 
Cicero, had a confused notion of a fifth element of 
moral character, not very well defined, not even dis- 
tinctly named, not forming indeed a separate class of 
actions, but giving a superadded quality to actions of 
every other class. This undefined something of Cicero 


rests, I conceive, upon a principle of the human mind 
of very general, perhaps universal, application. The 
mind sees in the Parthenon, or in York Minster, not 
merely massiveness, strength, durability, and what- 
ever else is necessary to give the idea of mechanical 
perfection, but something more and higher than mere 
height, and length, and weight, and colour — something 
not material, nor yet intellectual, though closely allied 
to the latter — something dependent on a certain mys- 
terious symmetry of forms and architectural propor- 
tions, and demonstrable only to the consciousness of 
him who perceives it. You may see two buildings, both 
equally capable of yielding every material benefit for 
which they were designed ; and yet, to the eye of the 
beholder, the one is a mere pile of marble, the other is 
a spiritual essence. There is belonging to this, a 
superadded glory, resulting indeed from sensible qua- 
lities, though not itself cognizable by the senses — 
something addressed directly to the soul of man. 

The principle or faculty, whatever it is, which thus 
catches the very soul of architectural art, which per- 
ceives the rhythm of poetical numbers, which hears the 
concord of sweet sounds, which sees in a lovely face 
something more than mere features and colours, which 
feels in words fitly spoken something beside and be- 
yond even the meaning — this universal sense of the 
Beautiful, whatever be its name, does not fail to find 
appropriate exercise in the contemplation of human 
actions. Human conduct may be in all respects in 


strict conformity with the requirements of law — it may 
be holy, temperate, chaste, friendly, or just — and, at 
the same time, may have or fail to have this additional 
quality of which I speak. Two men may be both 
celebrated for the same virtue. They may be both 
eminently just. Yet the one is regarded as severe and 
repulsive, while in the conduct of the other you shall 
see a kind of fitness, an indescribable grace in the man- 
ner of doing an action, that fills and satisfies the sense 
of the beautiful. Two persons may be both equally 
generous. They may both confer on a third party a 
benefit of exactly equal pecuniary value. Yet in the 
gift of the one, there shall be an appropriateness, a 
studious regard to the feelings as well as the wants of 
the person obliged, a delicate sense of fitness as to the 
time and manner of conferring the benefit, far more 
precious than the gift itself. 

Every act then, as I have said, in addition to its own 
particular character as being just, or temperate, or in 
other respects virtuous, may have this other enviable 
quality of which I have been speaking. There is 
around the conduct of some persons a mild and benig- 
nant lustre which shines forth in all they do — a sort of 
super-investing glory, enveloping and ennobling their 
whole character. It was this noble idea, the to xaXov of 
Xenophon and Plato, the decus et honestum of Cicero, 
which seems to have filled the mind of Spenser when 
he gave to the world that series of graceful delineations 



which compose the sixth Book of the Fairy Queen, 
entitled the Legend of Calidore, or of Courtesy. 

In the delineation of the character of Calidore, 
Spenser undoubtedly had in view his friend, the 
gallant and chivalrous Sir Philip Sidney. Sir 
Calidore was the chief ornament of the Court of Glo- 
riana, Queen of Fairy. His name (KaXX»o6wgos) is an 
index to his character and office. It is composed of 
two Greek words, Su^a. gifts, indicative both of gene- 
rosity and talents (liberal in giving and liberally en- 
dowed), and xaXXos, a word difficult to translate, but 
pointing to that quality in actions and things of which 
I have been speaking, and which forms an object for 
our sense of the beautiful. As was his name, so 
was he, gifted, generous, high-minded, honourable, 
gracious : — 

" The expectancy and rose of the fair state, 
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form, 
The observed of all observers." 

The first Canto begins with the following stanzas. 

Of Court, it seems men Courtesy do call, 
For that it there most useth to abound ; 
And well beseometh that in Princes' hall 
That Virtue should be plentifully found, 
Which of all goodly manners is the ground, 
And root, of civil conversation : 
Right so in Fairy Court it did redound, 


Where courteous Knights and Ladies most did won 
Of all on earth, and made a matchless paragon. 

But mongst them all was none more courteous Knight 
Than Calidore, beloved over all : 
In whom it seems that gentleness of sprite 
And manners mild were planted natural ; 
To which he adding comely guise withal 
And gracious speech, did steal men's hearts away : 
Nathless thereto he was full stout and tall, 
And well approved in battailous affray, 

That him did much renown, and far his fame displav. 

Ne was there Knight ne was there Lady found 
In Fairy Court, but him did dear embrace 
For his fair usage and conditions sound, 
The which in all men's liking gained place. 
And with the greatest purchased greatest grace ; 
Which he could wisely use, and well apply, 
To please the best, and the evil to embase : 
For he loathed leasing and base flattery, 

And loved simple truth and steadfast honesty. 

The adventure upon which Sir Calidore was sent, 
was to pursue and punish an odious monster called 
the Blatant Beast. By the Blatant Beast, Spenser 
means Slander. To drive this foul spirit from the 
earth, was a work peculiarly fitted for him who was 
the flower of Courtesy. Honour and truth are legiti- 
mate weapons to be used against falsehood and 
calumny. The conquest over the Blatant Beast does 
not take place till the twelfth Canto. The intervening 
Cantos are occupied with various incidental adventures 


illustrating the principles of honour and courtesy, by 
examples of the virtue of its opposite. 

The first of these adventures is introduced in the 
following stanzas : 

Sir Calidore thence travelled not long, 

Whenas by chance a comely Squire he found, 
That thorough some more mighty enemy's wrong 
Both hand and foot unto a tree was bound ; 
Who, seeing him from far, with piteous sound 
Of his shrill cries him called to his aid : 
To whom approaching, in that painful stound 
When he him saw, for no demands he stayed, 

But first him loosed, and afterwards thus to him said : 

" Unhappy Squire, what hard mishap thee brought 
Into this bay of peril and disgrace? 
What cruel hand thy wretched thraldom wrought, 
And thee captived in this shameful place ?" 
To whom he answered thus : " My hapless case 
Is not occasioned through my misdesert, 
But through misfortune, which did me abase 
Unto this shame, and my young hope subvert, 

Ere that I in her guileful trains was well expert. 

" Not far from hence, upon yon rocky hill, 
Hard by a strait, there stands a Castle strong, 
Which doth observe a custom lewd and ill, 
And it hath long maintained with mighty wrong : 
For may no Knight nor Lady pass along 
That way, (and yet they needs must pass that way, 
By reason of the strait, and rocks among,) 
But they that Lady's locks do shave away, 

And that Knight's beard, for toll which they for passage pay." 


" A shameful use as ever I did hear," 
Said Calidore, " and to be overthrown. 
But by what means did they at first it rear, 
And for what cause 1 tell if thou have it known." 

The story of the unhappy Squire is this. Crudor 
was a cruel and scornful Knight. Briana, a dame of 
high rank, wished him in marriage. Crudor imposed 
the condition, that she should first furnish him with a 
mantle lined throughout with the beards of Knights 
and the locks of Ladies, dishonoured for this purpose. 
To collect the materials for such an extraordinary 
garment, Briana maintained at her castle a Seneschal 
of great strength and valour, Maleffort by name, who 
assaulted travellers passing by, and tying them to a 
tree, cut off their beards or locks and carried his spoils 
to the castle. The Squire concludes — 

" He, this same day as I that way did come 

With a fair Damsel my beloved dear, 

In execution of her lawless doom 

Did set upon us flying both for fear ; 

For little boots against him hand to rear : 

Me first he took unable to withstand, 

And whiles he her pursued everywhere, 

Till his return unto this tree he bound ; 
Ne wot I surely whether he her yet have found." 

Thus whiles they spake they heard a rueful shriek 
Of one loud crying, which they straightway guessed 
That it was she the which for help did seek. 
Then, looking up unto the cry to list, 


They saw that Carl from far with hand unblest 
Haling that Maiden by the yellow hair, 
That all her garments from her snowy breast, 
And from her head her locks he nigh did tear, 
Ne would he spare for pity, nor refrain for fear. 

Which heinous sight when Calidore beheld, 

Eftsoons he loosed that Squire, and so him left 

With heart's dismay and inward dolour quelled, 

For to pursue that Villain, which had reft 

That piteous spoil by so injurious theft : 

Whom overtaking, loud to him he cried ; 

"Leave, foitour, 1 quickly that misgotten weft 2 

To him that hath it better justified, 
And turn thee soon to him of whom thou art defied." 

It is not necessary to pursue this exploit, Calidore 
of course interposes and puts an end to the ungentle 
custom, so unworthy the valour of Crudor and the 
rank of Briana, The accomplishment of this occupies 
the first Canto. It illustrates the abuses of power 
when lodged in the hands of those whose hearts have 
never been touched by the spirit of true honour. A 
courteous man or a gentle dame will never impose or 
accept conditions dishonourable to manhood. 

Sir Artegal or Guy on would no doubt have inter- 
posed as Sir Calidore did, but not with that innate 
grace, that matchless felicity of manner which marked 
his every deed. 

1 Faitour, knave. s Weft, a thing waived, left, dropped, &c. 


What virtue is so fitting for a Knight, 

Or for a lady whom a Knight should love, 

As Courtesy ; to bear themselves aright 

To all of each degree as doth behove 1 

For whether they be placed high above 

Or low beneath, yet ought they well to know 

Their good ; that none them rightly may reprove 

0^ rudeness for not yielding what they owe : 

Great skill it is such duties timely to bestow. 

Thereto great help Dame Nature self doth lend : 
For some so goodly gracious are by kind, 
That every action doth them much commend, 
And in the eyes of men great liking find ; 
Which others that have greater skill in mind, 
Though they enforce themselves, cannot attain : 
For everything, to which one is inclined, 
Doth best become and greatest grace doth gain ; 

Yet praise likewise deserve good thews enforced with pain. 

That w r ell in courteous Calidore appears ; 
Whose every act and deed, that he did say, 
Was like enchantment, that through both the ears 
And both the eyes did steal the heart away. 

Sir Calidore, setting out once more in quest of the 
Blatant Beast, meets with another incident of a beauti- 
ful character, from which I shall quote pretty freely. 
To understand one point in this incident, the reader 
will remember, it was a law of arms in the days of 
chivalry, that no swain or man of low degree should 
presume to strike a Knight, 


He now again is on his former way 
To follow his first quest, whenas he spied 
A tall young man, from thence not far away, 
Fighting on foot, as well he him descried, 
Against an armed Knight that did on horseback ride. 

And them beside a Lady fair he saw 

Standing alone on foot in foul array ; 

To whom himself he hastily did draw 

To weet the cause of so uncomely fray, 

And to depart them, if so be he may : 

But, ere he came in place, that Youth had killed 

That armed Knight, that low on ground he lay ; 

Which when he saw, his heart was inly chilled 
With great amazement, and his thought with wonder filled, 

Him steadfastly he marked, and saw to be 
A goodly youth of amiable grace, 
Yet but a slender slip, that scarce did see 
Yet seventeen years, but tall and fair of face, 
That sure he deemed him born of noble race : 
All in a woodman's jacket he was clad, 
Of Lincoln green, belayed with silver lace ; 
And on his head an hood with aglets spread, 

And by his side his hunter's horn he hanging had. 

Buskins he wore of costliest cord wain, 

Pinked upon gold, and paled part per part, 
As then the guise was for each gentle swain : 
In his right hand he held a trembling dart, 
Whose fellow he before had sent apart ; 
And in his left he held a sharp boar-spear, 
With which he wont to launch the savage heart 


Of many a lion and of many a bear, 
That first unto his hand in chase did happen near. 

Whom Calidore awhile well having viewed, 

At length bespake : " What means this, gentle Swain ! 

Why hath thy hand too bold, itself embrued 

In blood of Knight, the which by thee is slain, 

By thee no Knight ; which arms impugneth plain !" 

" Certes," said he, " loth were I to have broken 

The Law of Arms ; yet break it should again, 

Rather than let myself of wight be stroken, 

So long as these two arms were able to be wroken. 

" For not I him, as this his Lady here 

May witness well, did offer first to wrong, 

Ne surely thus unarmed I likely were ; 

But he me first, through pride and puissance strong, 

Assailed, not knowing what to arms doth long." 

" Perdy great blame," then said Sir Calidore, 

" For armed Knight a wight unarmed to wrong '. 

Bat then aread, thou gentle Child, wherefore 

Betwixt you two began this strife and stern uproar." 

" That shall I sooth," said he, " to you declare. 
I, whose un riper years are yet unfit 
For thing of weight or work of greater care, 
Do spend my days and bend my careless wit 
To savage chase, where I thereon may hit 
In all this forest and wild woody reign : 
Where, as this day I was enranging it, 
I chanced to meet this Knight who there lies slain, 

Together with this Lady, passing on the plain. 


" The Knight, as ye did see, on horseback was, 
And this his Lady, that him ill became, 
On her fair feet by his horse-side did pass 
Through thick and thin, unfit for any Dame : 
Yet not content, more to increase his shame, 
Whenso she lagged, as she needs must so, 
He with his spear (that was to him great blame) 
Would thump her forward and enforce to go, 

Weeping to him in vain and making piteous wo. 

" Which when I saw, as they me passed by, 

Much was I moved in indignant mind, 

And gan to blame him for such cruelty 

Towards a Lady, whom with usage kind 

He rather should have taken up behind. 

Wherewith he wroth and full of proud disdain 

Took in foul scorn that I such fault did find, 

And me in lieu thereof reviled again, 
Threatening to chastise me, as doth t' a child pertain. 

" Which I no less disdaining, back returned 
His scornful taunts unto his teeth again, 
That he straightway with haughty choler burned, 
And with his spear struck me one stroke or twain ; 
Which I, enforced to bear though to my pain, 
Cast to requite ; and with a slender dart, 
Fellow of this I bear, thrown not in vain, 
Struck him, as seemeth, underneath the heart, 

That through the wound his spirit shortly did depart." 

Calidore was not the man to mistake the form for 
the substance. The slain Knight, whatever may have 


been the quarterings upon his shield, was the real 
boor ; the swain in Lincoln Green was the real gentle- 
man : for then, as now, " Wealth and rank are but the 
guinea's stamp, the man's the gold for a' that." So 
thought Sir Calidore. 

Then turning back unto that gentle Boy, 
Which had himself so stoutly well acquit ; 
Seeing his face so lovely stern and coy, 
And hearing th' answers of his pregnant wit, 
He praised it much, and much admired it ; 
That sure he weened him born of noble blood, 
With whom those graces did so goodly fit : 
And, when he long had him beholding stood, 

He burst into these words, as to him seemed good. 

Calidore complimented the youth upon his gallantry 
and inquired further of his history. This introduces 
a distinguished character and a new story, which I 
have to leave untouched. The Swain in Lincoln 
Green, who becomes afterwards the famous Sir Tris- 
tram of the Round Table, says he had lived in these 
woods since he was ten years of age. 

" All which my days I have not lewdly spent, 
Nor spilt the blossom of my tender years 
In idleness : but, as was convenient, 
Have trained been with many noble feres 
In gentle thews and such like seemly leres : 
Mongst which my most delight hath always been 
To hunt the savage chase, amongst my peers. 


Of all that rangeth in the forest green, 
Of which none is to me unknown that ev'r was seen. 

" Ne is there hawk which mantleth her on perch, 
Whether high towering or accoasting low, 
But I the measure of her flight do search, 
And all her prey and all her diet know : 
Such be our joys which in these forests grow : 
Only the use of arms, which most I joy, 
And fitteth most for noble Swain to know, 
I have not tasted yet ; yet past a Boy, 

And being now high time these strong joints to employ. 

" Therefore, good Sir, since now occasion fit 
Doth fall, whose like hereafter seldom may, 
Let me this crave, unworthy though of it, 
That ye will make me Squire without delay, 
That from henceforth in battailous array 
I may bear arms, and learn to use them right ; 
The rather, since that fortune hath this day 
Given to me the spoil of this dead Knight, 

These goodly gilden arms which I have won in fight." 

All which when well Sir Calidore had heard, 
Him much more now, then erst, he gan admire 
For the rare hope which in his years appeared, 
And thus replied : " Fair Child, the high desire 
To love of arms, which in you doth aspire, 
I may not certes without blame deny ; 
But rather wish that some more noble hire 
(Though none more noble than is Chivalry) 

I had, you to reward with greater dignity." 


There him he caused to kneel, and made to swear 
Faith to his Knight, and truth to Ladies all, 
And never to be recreant for fear 
Of peril, or of ought that might befall : 
So he him dubbed, and his Squire did call. 
Full glad and joyous then young Tristram grew ; 
Like as a flower, whose silken leaves small 
Long shut up in the bud from heaven's view, 

At length breaks forth, and broad displays his smilino- hue. 

Tristram, grateful for this boon, and eager to dis- 
tinguish himself in his new profession, offered his ser- 
vices to his benefactor to follow him as his Squire. 
Calidore declined, being under a vow to pursue his 
quest of the Blatant Beast unattended ; but directed 
the Squire to take charge of the unfortunate Lady and 
conduct her safely and honourably to her home. 

Calidore proceeded, therefore, alone. 

So, as he was pursuing of his quest, 

He chanced to come whereas a jolly Knight 

In covert shade himself did safely rest, 

To solace with his Lady in delight : 

His warlike arms he had from him undight ; 

For that himself he thought from danger free, 

And far from envious eyes that mote him spite : 

And eke the Lady was full fair to see, 

And courteous withal, becoming her degree. 

To whom Sir Calidore approaching nigh, 
Ere they were well aware of living wight, 


Them much abashed, but more himself thereby, 
That he so rudely did upon them light, 
And troubled had their quiet love's delight ; 
Yet since it was his fortune, not his fault, 
Himself thereof he laboured to acquit, 
And pardon craved for his so rash default, 
That he gainst courtesy so foully did default. 

With which his gentle words and goodly wit 

He soon allayed that Knight's conceived displeasure, 

That he besought him down by him to sit, 

That they mote treat of things abroad at leisure, 

And of adventures, which had in his measure 

Of so long ways to him befallen late. 

So down he sat, and with delightful pleasure 

His long adventures gan to him relate, 

Which he endured had through dangerous debate : 

Of which whilst they discoursed both together, 
The fair Serena, (so his Lady hight,) 
Allured with mildness of the gentle weather 
And pleasance of the place, the which was dight 
With divers flowers distinct with rare delight, 
Wandered about the fields, as liking led 
Her wavering lust after her wandering sight, 
To make a garland to adorn her head, 

Without suspect of ill or danger's hidden dread. 

All suddenly out of the forest near 

The Blatant Beast forth rushing unaware 
Caught her thus loosely wandering here and there, 
And in his wide great mouth away her bare, 
Crying aloud to shew her sad mis fare 


Unto the Knights, and calling oft for aid ; 
Who with the horror of her hapless care 
Hastily starting up, like men dismayed, 
Ran after fast to rescue the distressed Maid. 

The case of Sir Calepine and Serena is not a solitary 
one. They were innocent, but indiscreet. The occa- 
sion was a fitting one for the appearance of the Blatant 
Beast. The indiscretions of the good have ever been the 
savoury meat of Slander. The monster is ever prowl- 
ing around in the moments of unguarded confidence, 
ready to plunge his fangs into the reputation, and to 
wound the peace of his victims. Calidore immediately 
seized his arms and pursued his foe. So hot was 
his pursuit, that the Blatant Beast was obliged to 
drop the Lady. Leaving her to be cared for by her 
Knight, Calidore pressed forward after the Beast and 
followed it many a weary league. This chase con- 
tinues for days, weeks, and even months. During its 
continuance, which I am obliged to leave to the imagi- 
nation of the reader, a great variety of other incidents 
occur to other parties, occupying five Cantos, viz. : the 
fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth. At length, in 
the ninth Canto, Calidore and the Beast again appear, 
and the main action of the Book is resumed. 

In these intervening incidents, between the third 
Canto and the ninth, the principal actors are Prince 
Arthur, and Timias, and several distinguished new 
characters, which, to be understood would require in 
the commentary, as they possess in the poem, con- 


siderable space. I am sorry to pass these by, but am 
compelled to do so. One of them is a character that 
is peculiarly pleasing to the imagination. Its study 
is recommended to those of my readers who may 
be persuaded to peruse the poem itself. I will quote 
some few stanzas, merely to introduce him to your 
notice. He first presents himself under the following 

A virtuous but feeble and wounded Knight is tra- 
velling with his Lady who is sick. A powerful but 
discourteous Knight, falling in company with them, 
not only refuses the rights of hospitality and good 
fellowship, but attacks and pursues the feeble Knight. 
They are in a forest, and the most shameful outrage is 
expected. But a deliverer of strange and uncouth 
kind appears. 

By fortune passing all foresight, 

A Savage Man, which in those woods did won, 
Drawn with that Lady's loud and piteous shright, 1 
Toward the same incessantly did run 
To understand what there was to be done : 
There he this most discourteous Craven found 
As fiercely yet, as when he first begun, 
Chasing the gentle Calepine around, 

Ne sparing him the more for all his grievous wound. 

The Savage Man, that never till this hour 
Did taste of pity, neither gentlesse knew, 

Shrioht, shriek. 


Seeing his sharp assault and cruel stour 
Was much enmoved at his peril's view, 
That even his ruder heart began to rue, 
And feel compassion of his evil plight, 
Against his foe that did him so pursue ; 
From whom he meant to free him, if he might, 
And him avenge of that so villanous despite. 

Yet arms or weapon had he none to fight, 
Ne knew the use of warlike instruments, 
Save such as sudden rage him lent to smite ; 
But naked, without needful vestiments 
To clad his corpse with meet habiliments, 
He cared not for dint of sword nor spear, 
No more than for the stroke of straws or bents : 
For from his mother's womb, which him did bear, 

He was invulnerable made by magic lear. 

He stayed not t' advise which way were best 
His foe t' assail, or how himself to guard, 
But with fierce fury and with force infest 
Upon him ran ; who being well prepared 
His first assault full warily did ward, 
And with the push of his sharp-pointed spear 
Full on the breast him struck, so strong and hard 
That forced him back recoil and reel arear ; 

Yet in his body made no wound nor blood appear. 

With that the Wild Man more enraged grew, 
Like to a tiger that has missed his prey, 
And with mad mood again upon him flew, 
Regarding neither spear that mote him slay, 
Nor his fierce steed that mote him much dismay : 


The savage nation doth all dread despise : 
Then on his shield he griple hold did lay, 
And held the same so hard, that by no wise 
He could him force to loose, or leave his enterprise. 

Long did he wrest and wring it to and fro, 
And every way did try, but all in vain ; 
For he would not his greedy gripe forego, 
But haled and pulled with all his might and main, 
That from his steed him nigh he drew again : 
Who having now no use of his long spear 
So nigh at hand, nor force his shield to strain, 
Both spear and shield, as things that needless were, 

He quite forsook, and fled himself away for fear. 

But after him the Wild Man ran apace, 

And him pursued with importune speed, 

For he was swift as any buck in chase ; 

And, had he not in his extremest need 

Been helped through the swiftness of his steed, 

He had him overtaken in his flight. 

Who, ever as he saw him nigh succeed, 

Gan cry aloud with horrible affright, 
And shrieked out ; a thing uncomely for a Knight. 

The sick and terrified Lady is relieved of course 
when she sees the discourteous Knight thus driven off 
by this strange deliverer. The Savage, however, after 
a long and unsuccessful pursuit of the Knight, returns 
towards the place where the Lady is lying. Again 
her terrors are awakened. The reader has not for- 


gotten Florimel and the Fisherman. Who can tell 
what passions may lurk beneath that grim visage ? 

But the Wild Man, contrary to her fear, 

Came to her creeping like a fawning hound, 

And by rude tokens made to her appear 

His deep compassion of her doleful stound, 

Kissing his hands, and crouching to the ground ; 

For other language had he none nor speech, 

But a soft murmur and confused sound 

Of senseless words (which Nature did him teach 

T' express his passions) which his reason did impeach : 

And coming likewise to the wounded Knight, 
When he beheld the streams of purple blood 
Yet flowing fresh, as moved with the sight, 
He made great moan after his savage mood ; 
And, running straight into the thickest wood, 
A certain herb from thence unto him brought, 
Whose virtue he by use well understood ; 
The juice whereof into his wound he wrought, 

And stopped the bleeding straight, ere he it staunched thought. 

Then taking up that recreant's shield and spear, 
Which erst he left, he signs unto them made 
With him to wend unto his wonning near ; 
To which he easily did them persuade. 
Far in the forest, by a hollow glade 
Covered with mossy shrubs, which spreading broad 
Did underneath them make a gloomy shade, 
Where foot of living creature never trode, 

Ne scarce wild beasts durst come, there was this wight's abode. 


Thither he brought these unacquainted guests ; 
To whom fair semblance, as he could, he showed 
By signs, by looks, and all his other gests : 
But the bare ground with hoary moss bestrowed 
Must be their bed ; their pillow was unsowed ; 
And the fruits of the forest was their feast : 
For their bad Steward neither ploughed nor sowed, 
Ne fed on flesh, ne ever of wild beast 

Did taste the blood, obeying Nature's first behest. 

Yet, howsoever base and mean it were, 

They took it well, and thanked God for all, 
Which had them freed from that deadly fear, 
And saved from being to that Caitiff thrall. 
Here they of force (as fortune now did fall) 
Compelled were themselves awhile to rest, 
Glad of that easement, though it were but small ; 
That, having there their wounds awhile redressed, 

They mote the abler be to pass unto the rest. 

During which time that Wild Man did apply 
His best endeavour and his daily pain 
In seeking all the woods both far and nigh 
For herbs to dress their wounds ; still seeming fain, 
When ought he did, that did their liking gain. 
So as ere long he had that Knightes wound 
Recured well, and made him whole again : 
But that same Lady's hurts no herb he found 

Which could redress, for it was inwardly unsound. 

By an incident, which I need not relate, the wound- 
ed Knight was drawn off one day into a distant part 
of the forest and could not find his way back. The 


Lady then was left alone in the woods with this 
strange companion. The Savage, missing the Knight 
and fearing some mishap, went in search of him. 
After scouring the woods many hours in vain, he 
returned to his abode, to communicate the sad tidings 
to the Lady. 

Then, back returning to that sorry Dame, 
He shewed semblant of exceeding moan 
By speaking signs, as he them best could frame, 
Now wringing both his wretched hands in one, 
Now beating his hard head upon a stone, 
What ruth it was to see him so lament : 
By which she well perceiving what was done, 
Gan tear her hair, and all her garments rent, 

And beat her breast, and piteously herself torment. 

Upon the ground herself she fiercely threw, 
Regardless of her wounds yet bleeding rife, 
That with their blood did all the floor imbrue, 
As if her breast new lanced with murderous knife 
Would strait dislodge the wretched weary Life : 
There she long grovelling and deep groaning lay, 
As if her vital powers were at strife 
With stronger Death, and feared their decay : 

Such were this Lady's pangs and dolorous assay. 

Whom when the Savage saw so sore distressed, 
He reared her up from the bloody ground, 
And sought, by all the means that he could best, 
Her to recure out of that stony swound, 
And staunch the bleeding of her dreary wound : 


Yet n'ould she be reeomforted for nought, 
Nor cease her sorrow and impatient stound, 
But day and night did vex her careful thought, 
And ever more and more her own affliction wrought. 

This wild but gentle-hearted creature is no doubt 
Spenser's idea of what Sir Calidore, or any other true 
gentleman, would be without the advantages of educa- 
tion, or the cultivation of artificial life. To my mind, 
it is one of Spenser's most beautiful creations. After 
several adventures, the gentle Savage meets with 
Prince Arthur, and witnesses some of that noble per- 
son's exploits. The princely demeanour, the lofty 
bearing, the graceful and finished courtesy of Arthur, 
awaken in the breast of the wild man an unbounded 
admiration for the Prince, and that kind of intense 
devotion to his person which marks a woman's love. 
I confess, I like even Prince Arthur better, for the 
love and devotion which he inspires in the breast of 
this savage man. I must, however, drop the adventure, 
leaving the issue to the reader's imagination, or his— 
curiosity. Enough, however, has been seen of this 
singular being, to show the entire appropriateness of 
such an adventure to the Legend of Courtesy. 

There is another leading character in this Book, 
which I can only introduce to the reader, leaving the 
cultivation of a farther acquaintance to the option of 
the parties. 

She was a Lady of great dignity, 
And lifted up to honourable place, 


Famous through all the Land of Faery : 
Though of mean parentage and kindred base, 
Yet decked with wondrous gifts of nature's grace, 
That all men did her person much admire, 
And praise the feature of her goodly face ; 
The beams whereof did kindle lovely fire 
In th' hearts of many a Knight, and many a gentle Squire : 

But she thereof grew proud and insolent, 

That none she worthy thought to be her fere, 
But scorned them all that love unto her meant ; 
Yet was she loved of many a worthy Peer : 
Unworthy she to be beloved so dear, 
That could not weigh of worthiness aright : 
For beauty is more glorious bright and clear, 
The more it is admired of many a wight, 

And noblest she that served is of noblest Knight. 

But this coy Damsel thought contrariwise, 

That such proud looks would make her praised more, 

And that, the more she did all love despise, 

The more would wretched Lovers her adore. 

What cared she who sighed for her sore, 

Or who did wail or watch the weary night 1 

Let them that list their luckless lot deplore ; 

She was born free, not bound to any wight, 

And so would ever live, and love her own delight. 

Through such her stubborn stiffness and hard heart, 
Many a wretch for want of remedy 
Did languish long in life-consuming smart, 
And at the last through dreary dolour die ; 
Whilst she, the Lady of her liberty, 


Did boast her beauty had such sovereign might, 
That with the only twinkle of her eye 
She could or save or spill whom she would hight : 
What could the Gods do more, but do it more aright ? 

Mirabel at length was summoned before the Court 
of Cupid to answer for her faults. She was found 
guilty and condemned. Her punishment was, that 
she should wander about the world riding upon an 
ass, driven by a fool, and led by a rude carl, called 
Disdain. She should continue this wandering, until 
she had healed as many hearts as she had broken. 
When first met, she had travelled for two years, and 
yet had cured but two hearts, while in an equal time 
previous, she had destroyed two-and-twenty ! 

Her own account of the matter to Prince Arthur is 
as follows : — 

Then bursting forth in tears, which gushed fast 
Like many water-streams, awhile she stayed ; 
Till the sharp passion being overpast, 
Her tongue to her restored, then thus she said : 
" Nor heavens, nor men, can me most wretched Maid 
Deliver from the doom of my desert, 
The which the God of Love hath on me laid, 
And damned to endure this direful smart, 

For penance of my proud and hard rebellious heart. 

" In prime of youthly years, when first the flower 
Of beauty gan to bud, and bloom delight ; 
And Nature me endued with plenteous dower 
Of all her gifts, that pleased each living sight ; 
I was beloved of many a gentle Knight, 


And sued and sought with all the service due : 
Full many a one for me deep groaned and sigh't, 
And to the door of death for sorrow drew, 
Complaining out on me that would not on them rue. 

" But let them love that list, or live or die ; 
Me list not die for any lover's dole ; 
Ne list me leave my loved liberty 
To pity him that list to play the fool : 
To love myself I learned had in school. 
Thus I triumphed long in lover's pain, 
And, sitting careless on the scorner's stool, 
Did laugh at those that did lament and plain : 

But all is now repaid with interest again. 

" For lo ! the winged god, that woundeth hearts, 
Caused me be called to account therefor ; 
And for revengement of those wrongful smarts, 
Which I to others did inflict afore, 
Addeemed me to endure this penance sore ; 
That in this wise, and this unmeet array, 
With these two lewd companions, and no more, 
Disdain and Scorn, I through the world should stray, 

Till I have saved so many as I erst did slay." 

" Certes," said then the Prince, " the god is just, 
That taketh vengeance of his people's spoil : 
For were no law in love, but all that lust 
Might them oppress, and painfully turmoil, 
His kingdom would continue but a while. 
But tell me, Lady, wherefore do you bear 
This bottle thus before you with such toil, 
And eke this wallet at your back arear, 

That for these Carls to carry much more comely were ?" 


" Here in this bottle," said the sorry Maid, 

" I put the tears of my contrition, 

Till to the brim I have it full defrayed : 

And in this bag, which I behind me don, 

I put repentance for things past and gone. 

Yet is the bottle leak, and bag so torn, 

That all which I put in falls out anon, 

And is behind me trodden down of Scorn, 
Who mocketh all my pain, and laughs the more I mourn." 

What Spenser meant by Mirabel, perhaps it might 
not be courteous to say. Perhaps, also, it is not 
necessary. Dropping, however, its general meaning, 
the discussion of which might involve the commenta- 
tor in difficulty with a portion of his readers, one 
can hardly be wrong in the conjecture, that for the 
original of this significant portrait, Spenser drew from 
memory. The cheerless iceberg, whom in his earlier 
poems he celebrates under the name of Rosalind, after 
enjoying for a few years the consciousness of her 
power, and indulging in a species of triumph of ail 
kinds the most contemptible, may not improbably have 
shared the fate common to such characters. It is, I 
believe, not uncommon for the woman that trifles, to be 
trifled with, just about the time that she begins to be 
serious. It excites therefore neither pity nor surprise 
to see her travelling the rest of her pilgrimage through 
the world, the butt of Folly, a sure mark for Disdain. 

It is time to return to Sir Calidore. 


Great travel hath the gentle Calidore 

And toil endured, since I left him last 

Suing the Blatant Beast ; which I forbore 

To finish then, for other present haste. 

Full many paths and perils he hath passed, 

Through hills, through dales, through forests, and through 

In that same quest which fortune on him cast, 

Which he achieved to his own great gains, 
Reaping eternal glory of his restless pains. 

So sharply he the Monster did pursue, 

That day nor night he suffered him to rest, 

Ne rested he himself (but nature's due) 

For dread of danger not to be redressed, 

If he for sloth forslacked so famous quest. 

Him first from court he to the cities coursed, 

And from the cities to the towns him pressed, 

And from the towns into the country forced, 
And from the country back to private farms he scorsed. 1 

From thence into the open fields he fled, 

Whereas the herds were keeping of their neat, 
And shepherds singing, to their flocks that fed, 
Lays of sweet love and youth's delightful heat : 
Him thither eke for all his fearful threat 
He followed fast, and chased him so nigh, 
That to the folds, where sheep at night do seat, 
And to the little cots, where shepherds lie 

In winter's wrathful time, he forced him to fly. 

1 Scorsed. coursed, chased, 


He who attempts to hunt down calumny, will find 
be has a long and wearisome chase before him. Let 
a lie be once raised against your good name, let any 
piece of private scandal, no matter how false, once get 
abroad, and depend upon it, gentle reader, you will 
have a weary labour before you expel it from the 
minds of men. When you have exterminated it from 
one circle, it is but a signal for its reappearance in 
another : at the very moment when you think you have 
" nailed it to the counter," you find it rolling on the 

Calidore pursued the Blatant Beast from the highest 
court circles down to the very lowest and least artificial 
form of civilized society. The flower of courtesy is 
now for the first time brought into contact with the 
shepherd character. He who had spent his life among 
Lords and Ladies, and who had gained among them so 
much renown by his gentle and courteous demeanour, 
is now to mix with plain, unsophisticated country 
people. But Calidore's ascendency over the minds of 
men does not depend upon his gestures or his attire, 
the frippery of his tailor, or the grimaces of his dancing- 
master. His manners spring from his heart. They 
are the natural and spontaneous workings of a soul 
tremblingly alive to a sense of the beautiful. The 
mild lustre of such a soul will send forth its steady 
light, wherever it may be placed — among the gay halls 
of fashion, or in the humble cot of the shepherd. 


To resume the story. Calidore continued his chase 
after the Blatant Beast. 

There on a day, as he pursued the chase, 

He chanced to spy a sort of shepherd grooms 
Playing on pipes and carolling apace, 
The whiles their beasts there in the budded brooms 
Beside them fed, and nipped the tender blooms ; 
For other worldly wealth they cared nought ; 
To whom Sir Calidore yet sweating comes, 
And them to tell him courteously besought, 

If such a beast they saw, which he had thither brought. 

They answered him that no such beast they saw, 
Nor any wicked fiend that mote offend 
Their happy flocks, nor danger to them draw ; 
But if that such there were (as none they kenned) 
They prayed High God them far from them to send : 
Then one of them seeing him so to sweat, 
After his rustic wise, that well he weened, 
Offered him drink to quench his thirsty heat, 

And, if he hungry were, him offered eke to eat. 

The Knight was nothing nice, where was no need, 
And took their gentle offer : so adown 
They prayed him sit, and gave him for to feed 
Such homely what as serves the simple clown, 
That doth despise the dainties of the town : 
Then having fed his fill, he there beside 
Saw a fair Damsel, which did wear a crown 
Of sundry flowers with silken ribands tied, 

Yclad in home-made green that her own hands had dyed. 


Upon a little hillock she was placed 

Higher than all the rest, and round about 
Environed with a garland, goodly graced, 
Of lovely lasses ; and them all without 
The lusty shepherd swains sat in a rout, 
The which did pipe and sing her praises due, 
And oft rejoice, and oft for wonder shout, 
As if some miracle of heavenly hue 

Were down to them descended in that earthly view. 

And soothly sure she was full fair of face, 
And perfectly well shaped in every limb. 
Which she did more augment with modest grace 
And comely carriage of her countenance trim, 
That all the rest like lesser lamps did dim : 
Who, her admiring as some heavenly wight, 
Did for their sovereign goddess her esteem, 
And, carolling her name both day and night, 

The fairest Pastorella her by name did hight. 

Ne was there herd, ne was there shepherd's swain, 
But her did honour ; and eke many a one 
Burnt in her love, and with sweet pleasing pain 
Full many a night for her did sigh and groan : 
But most of all the shepherd Coridon 
For her did languish, and his dear life spend ; 
Yet neither she for him nor other none 
Did care a whit, ne any liking lend : 

Though mean her lot, yet higher did her mind ascend. 

Her whiles Sir Calidore there viewed well, 

And marked her rare demeanour, which him seemed 
So far the mean of shepherds to excel, 
As that he in his mind her worthy deemed 


To be a Princess' paragon esteemed, 
He was unwares surprised in subtle bands 
Of the Blind Boy : ne thence could be redeemed 
By any skill out of his cruel hands ; 
Caught like the bird which gazing still on others stands. 

So stood he still long gazing thereupon. 
Xe any will had thence to move away, 
Although his quest were far before him gone : 
But after he had fed. yet did he stay 

And sat there still, until the flying day 
Was far forth spent, discoursing diversely 
Of sundry things, as fell, to work delay ; 
And evermore his speech he did apply 
To th' herds, but meant them to the Damsel's fantasy. 

At length night came on. and the rustics beg;in to 
make preparations for retiring from the fields to their 
various homes. 

Then came to them a good old aged sire, 

Whose silver locks bedecked his beard and head, 

With shepherd's hook in hand, and fit attire, 

That willed the Damsel rise : the day did now expire. 

This old man is the foster-father of Pastorel. He 
had found her, an infant, in the open fields, and having 
no other child, had nourished her as his own. Pastorel 
knew not that she was not his daughter. Neither 
Melibceus, nor any of his neighbours, knew her real 
parentage ; though in the exquisite native graces of 
her now budding womanhood, the practised eye of 


one who had seen much of hfe, might detect evid ices 
of gentle blood. The simple-minded shepherds and 
shepherdesses among whom she lived, did not of course 
enter into any such speculations about her. They o^ ly 
knew, they loved her with a sort of affection which 
they never thought of entertaining towards one another, 
or towards any one else that they had ever known. 
She was among them, but not of them, a sweet and 
gentle being, meek, winning, pleasant to all; and, 
what is most difficult, giving no pain or offence, where 
she was obliged to withhold her love. She did not 
scorn those poor people. Why should she ? They 
were her people. She had never known any other. 
In a certain sense, she loved them all — loved even 
Coridon, who so haplessly sued for her hand — she 
wished him well ; she wished them all well — she was 
grateful for their thousand kindnesses. Those dear old 
people, father and mother as she believed them, she 
would have shed her heart's blood for them. And yet, 
within that maiden's breast, was a spring of emotion 
which had not been touched. The music of the soul 
goes out only to the touch of a kindred harmony . 'Twas 
not that Pastorel despised the rustic garb or humble 
lot of her companions. Within her was a sense of the 
beautiful which found in them no correlative. Love 
is based upon admiration ; it is a kind of idolatry ; and 
there was in them nothing which she could idolize. 
Yet, she was not discontented and fretful at her condi- 
tion. She had known nothing in human character 


supe, t>r to what was around her, and probably was 
not conscious to herself of possessing, as she did, the 
capability of an emotion, exquisite as the rose in the 
sui learn, yet delicate as the lily of the valley. The 
Chemists will prepare you a compound, a sort of in- 
visible ink, colourless at first, and giving to the casual 
beholder no evidences of the letters which with it you 
have traced upon the virgin paper. But once expose 
that paper to the heat or the light, and every mark and 
line become at once visible. Thus it is. Man knows 
not himself, till circumstances and occasions have brought 
out his latent capabilities and emotions. Pastorel was 
contented, for she was not conscious of the want which 
really existed within her bosom. She knew not the 
idolatrous admiration which could be excited in her 
mind, for the qualities calculated to call forth that ad- 
miration, had never been presented to her — she knew 
not the ecstasy to which she could be raised, for no 
idol had yet been placed before the altar of her affec- 
tions. It was not till the arrival of the gentle stranger, 
and the knowledge of his noble and gracious qualities, 
that she knew 7 herself. 

Pastorel, if I am correct in my analysis, is certainly 
a beautiful idea. The reader of the poem will find 
nothing more exquisite among all the creations of 
Spenser. He will find also the story itself full of 
romance. But this Essay has already been carried 
beyond the bounds of discretion, and I hasten to bring 
it to a close. 



There is however one scene, towards the close of the 
sixth Book, which it would be treason to the character 
of Spenser not to quote. It will be recollected, that 
Spenser in his pastorals designates himself as a rustic 
piper, Colin Clout. Among the closing scenes of the 
Fairy Queen, Colin once more appears. The woman 
whom he married, the Elizabeth of his sonnets and 
his Epithalamium, is here celebrated as a country lass. 
The stanzas about to be quoted, were probably com- 
posed during the same happy period that marks the 
composition of the Epithalamium. 

Calidore, while abiding among the Shepherds, met 
with the incident which I am about to quote. 

One day, as he did range the fields abroad, 
Whilst his fair Pastorella was elsewhere, 
He chanced to come, far from all people's tread, 
Unto a place, whose pleasance did appear 
To pass all others on the earth which were : 
For all that ever was by Nature's skill 
Devised to work delight was gathered there ; 
And there by her were poured forth at fill, 

As if, this to adorn, she all the rest did pill. 

It was an Hill placed in an open plain, 

That round about was bordered with a wood 

Of matchless height, that seemed th' earth to disdain ; 

In which all trees of honour stately stood, 

And did all winter as in summer bud, 

Spreading pavilions for the birds to bower, 

Which in their lower branches sungr aloud ; 


And in their tops the soaring hawk did tower, 
Sitting like king of fowls in majesty and power : 

And at the foot thereof a gentle flood 
His silver waves did softly tumble down, 
Unmarred with ragged moss or filthy mud ; 
Ne mote wild beasts, ne mote the ruder clown, 
Thereto approach ; ne filth mote therein drown : 
But Nymphs and Fairies by the banks did sit 
In the wood's shade which did the waters crown, 
Keeping all noisome things away from it., 

And to the waters' fall tuning their accents fit. 

And on the top thereof a spacious plain 

Did spread itself, to serve to ail delight, 

Either to dance, when they to dance would fain, 

Or else to course about their bases light : 

Ne ought there wanted, which for pleasure might 

Desired be, or thence to banish bale : 

So pleasantly the Hill with equal height 

Did seem to overlook the lowly vale ; 
Therefore it rightly cleped was Mount Acidale. 

Unto this place wkenas the Elfin Knight 

Approached, him seemed that the merry sound 
Q[ a shrill pipe he playing heard on hight, 
And many feet fast thumping th' hollow ground, 
That through the woods their echo did rebound. 
He nigher drew, to weet what mote it be : 
There he a troup of Ladies dancing found 
Full merrily, and making gladfui glee, 

And in the midst a Shepherd piping he did see. 


He durst not enter into th' open green, 

For dread of them unwares to be descried, 
For breaking of their dance, if he were seen ; 
But in the covert of the wood did hide, 
Beholding all, yet of them unespied : 
There he did see, that pleased much his sight, 
That even he himself his eyes envied, 
An hundred naked Maidens lily white, 

All ranged in a ring and dancing in delight. 

All they without were ranged in a ring, 

And danced round ; but in the midst of them 
Three other Ladies did both dance and sing, 
The whilst the rest them roundabout did hem, 
And like a garland did in compass stem : 
And in the midst of those same three was placed 
Another Damsel, as a precious gem 
Amidst a ring most richly well enchased, 

That with her goodly presence all the rest much graced 

Such was the beauty of this goodly band, 

Whose sundry parts were here too long to tell : 
But she, that in the midst of them did stand, 
Seemed all the rest in beauty to excel, 
Crowned with a rosy garland that right well 
Did her beseem : and ever, as the crew 
About her danced, sweet flowers that far did smell 
And fragrant odours they upon her threw ; 

But, most of all, those Three did her with gifts endue. 

Those were the Graces, daughters of delight, 
Handmaids of Venus, which are wont to haunt 


Upon this Hill, and dance there day and night : 
Those Three to men all gifts of grace do grant ; 
And all, that Venus in herself doth vaunt, 
Is borrowed of them : but that fair one, 
That in the midst was placed paravaunt, 
Was she to whom that Shepherd piped alone ; 
That made him pipe so merrily, as never none. 

She was, to weet, that jolly Shepherd's Lass, 

Which piped there unto that merry rout ; 

That jolly Shepherd, which there piped, was 

Poor Colin Clout, (who knows not Colin Clout?) 

He piped apace, whilst they him danced about. 

Pipe, jolly Shepherd, pipe thou now apace 

Unto thy Love that made thee low to lout ; 

Thy Love is present there with thee in place ; 
Thy Love is there advanced to be another Grace. 

Much wondered Calidore at this strange sight, 
Whose like before his eye had never seen ; 
And standing long astonished in sprite, 
And rapt with pleasance, wist not what to ween ; 
Whether it were the train of Beauty's Queen, 
Or Nymphs, or Fairies, or enchanted show, 
With which his eyes mote have deluded been. 
Therefore, resolving what it was to know, 

Out of the wood he rose, and toward them did go. 

But, soon as he appeared to their view, 
They vanished all away out of his sight, 
And clean were gone, which way he never knew ; 
All save the Shepherd, who, for fell despite 
Of that displeasure, broke his bag-pipe quite, 


And made great moan for that unhappy turn : 
But Calidore, though no less sorry wight 
For that mishap, yet seeing him to mourn, 
Drew near, that he the truth of all by him mote learn. 

Calidore approaches the Shepherd and apologizes 
for the interruption which had caused this beautiful 
vision to disappear, and asks an explanation. Colin 
explains the three to be the three Graces, in which 
there is nothing special. It is to the explanation of 
the last to which attention is called. 

" But that fourth Maid, which there amidst them traced, 
Who can aread what creature mote she be, 
Whether a creature, or a goddess graced 
With heavenly gifts from heaven first enraced I 1 
But whoso sure she was, she worthy was 
To be the Fourth with those Three other placed : 
Yet was she certes but a country lass ; 

Yet she all other country lasses far did pass : 

" So far, as doth the Daughter of the Day 

All other lesser lights in light excel ; 

So far doth she in beautiful array 

Above all other lasses bear the bell ; 

No less in virtue, that beseems her well, 

Doth she exceed the rest of all her race ; 

For which the Graces, that here wont to dwell, 

Have for more honour brought her to this place, 
And graced her so much to be another Grace. 

1 Enraced, (Fr. enraciner, enracer) enrooted, implanted. 


" Another Grace she well deserves to be, 
In whom so many graces gathered are, 
Excelling much the mean of her degree ; 
Divine resemblance, beauty sovereign rare, 
Firm chastity, that spite ne blemish dare, 
All which she with such courtesy doth grace, 
That all her peers cannot with her compare, 
But quite are dimmed when she is in place : 

She made me often pipe, and now to pipe apace. 

" Sun of the world, 1 great glory of the sky, 
That all the earth dost lighten with thy rays, 
Great Gloriana, greatest Majesty ! 
Pardon thy Shepherd, mongst so many lays 
As he hath sung of Thee in all his days, 
To make one minim of thy poor Handmaid, 
And underneath thy feet to place her praise ; 
That, when thy glory shall be far displayed 

To future age, of her this mention may be made !" 

Milton has given to his blindness a perpetuity of 
fame coeval with his Paradise Lost. Spenser couples 
with his last and greatest work, and his most beautiful 
series of delineations, this touching and noble tribute of 
affection to his Wife. It seems to be a sort of dying 
request, that posterity would never read his Fairy 
Queen without thinking of his Elizabeth — that his 
wife might become an integral portion of that immor- 
tality of which he was already conscious. Thus does 

1 Sun of the world, Queen Elizabeth. 


the character of the Man shine conspicuous above that 
even of the Poet, I need not say, I admire, I reverence 
him in both capacities. 

It seems but meet, before bringing this Exposition 
to a close, to give some general expression of opinion 
in regard to the writings upon which I have been 
commenting. I have, however, given in this Essay 
so much of Spenser himself, that it will be a work of 
supererogation to occupy much space with mere 
opinions about him. It is like describing the personal 
appearance of a man whom we have seen. The 
readers, if there be any such who have followed 
the exposition to the present point, are in some good 
degree conversant with Spenser's great work. They 
have, not the opinion of this or the other critic in 
regard to him, but what is of infinitely more value, the 
materials for forming a judgment of their own. I will 
add, I believe they know really more of this incom- 
parable author than nine-tenths of the reading com- 
munity, either in England or America. 

This very fact would seem of itself to suggest some 
expression of surprise. Why is it that a poem, con- 
taining so much and such exquisite beauty, so much 
and such delicious entertainment, so pregnant with 
grave and serious meaning, so overflowing with good- 

T PI E F A I R Y QUEEN. 505 

ness, so musical in its numbers, so essentially poetical, 
should be so little read ? 

On this single point, I will venture in conclusion to 
offer one or two observations. 

In the first place, I do not attribute the prevalent 
distaste for the Fairy Queen to the allegory. The 
mere fact of the poem's being allegorical, need not of 
itself make it unattractive. No better evidence of this 
could be desired than the unbounded popularity of 
Pilgrim's Progress. In the work of Spenser, as in 
that of Bunvan, there is no lack of hidden meaning. 
But either of these works may be read as a romantic 
tale without reference to the meaning. The heroes 
and heroines, though personifications of virtues and 
vices, are not mere mental abstractions, but living, 
acting, sentient beings, of like passions and affections 
as ourselves. In our mind's eye, we have seen Talus, 
and Artegal, and the Giant with the Scales, and Brito- 
mart, and the Merry Mariner, just as palpably and 
distinctly as we ever saw Ellen Douglass, or Rob 
Roy, or Jeanie Deans. I know it is a common fault 
with the writers of allegory, in tracing out obscure and 
artificial analogies, to forget to make real men and 
women. And because it is a common fault, and 
because there is obviously some great fault in Spenser, 
it has been, I think without sufficient consideration, 
taken for granted that this is his fault ; and it has been 
assumed, that the reason why he is not more read, is 
that the allegory has made him necessarily artificial, 


abstract, and dry. On the contrary, so far as my read- 
ing goes, no writer of allegory, not even the " Prince of 
Dreamers," surpasses Spenser in the power of giving 
" to airy nothing a local habitation and a name," — of 
changing at will the merest abstractions of the intellect 
into concrete and palpable realities — of transforming, 
as by the wand of his own Merlin, the veriest deduc- 
tions of Logic into brawn and bone, living men and 

Nor do I believe the reason why Spenser is little 
read, is that the incidents which he relates are remote 
from common life and our own experience. No reader 
of Ivanhoe can suppose the pageantry of a tournament 
or the adventures of chivalry, subjects incapable of a 
lively popular effect. On the contrary, those gay and 
brilliant illusions of the middle ages have in them 
something peculiarly fascinating to the imagination. 
They have, by common consent, come to be regarded 
as among the most pleasing subjects for romantic 

Nor do I attribute Spenser's want of success in any 
great degree to want of skill in the invention of his 
plots. There are indeed faults in the minor details of 
his plots. He is exceedingly careless in this respect. 
For instance, while Sir Satyrane in the third Book is 
fighting with Argante, the ugly creature ran away to 
the Witch's hut with Florimel's girdle — and yet, we 
are afterwards told, Sir Satyrane had the girdle and 
held the tournament for it. Again, Florimel is repre- 


sented as leaving Court in search of Marinel, who had 
been slain upon the sea-shore, and yet Florimel was seen 
fleeing from the forester before the encounter of Brito- 
mart with Marinel, in which the latter was slain. 
Innumerable instances of this kind occur, in which the 
author in one part of his story forgets the arrangements 
which he has made in some other part. These, however, 
are mere faults of detail, which might have been cor- 
rected on a revision of the whole, which were probably 
the mere result of carelessness and haste. They do 
not invalidate my main position, which is, that in con- 
structing a story, Spenser had a good degree of skill 
in making his plot or groundwork. He proceeds from 
a single and apparently isolated fact to interweave 
others, interlaces scene with scene, and incident w T ith 
incident, contrives to pass abruptly to another part of 
the story just at the most provoking time, just as the 
hero or heroine is on the verge of deliverance or 
destruction, and the hearer is agape to know which : 
— all of these, and many more he can do, according to 
the most approved plan of the art. No one, I am cer- 
tain, can fairly analyze the plot of any one Book, and 
not regard it as one well planned, and capable of the 
highest interest. 

And yet Spenser is not a good story-teller. Most 
persons who fail in the art of story-telling, do so from 
the want of imagination. They do not call a distant 
or past scene to mind, with that liveliness of apprehen- 
sion which enables them to set it vividly before their 


hearers. Their own conceptions want freshness and 
distinctness, and consequently the narrative becomes 
heavy and dull. Spenser, as a story-teller, fails for 
the opposite reason. He has, if it be possible, too 
much imagination. I hesitate not to regard him as the 
most imaginative of all English writers. Every page 
in the Fairy Queen is a picture. The poem is a con- 
tinued series of tableaux, almost as distinct and clear 
to the imagination of the reader after a perusal, as are 
the scenes of the theatre to the spectator after a per- 
formance. Nothing indeed can surpass the facility 
with which the author conjures up these scenes of 
enchantment. He must have possessed in an extra- 
ordinary degree that faculty of the mind which meta- 
physicians term Conception — the power on which 
imagination mainly depends. His descriptions are 
pictures. The reader sees what is described, because 
the writer saw r it. 

Now, to have such a lively apprehension of the past 
and the distant, to be thus intimately and essentially 
present to what is not here, the mind must necessarily 
abstract itself from what is here. Such a high degree 
of the power of conception and imagination, implies 
by necessity a power and a habit of abstraction — not 
abstraction as the word is used in logic, but in the 
sense of absence of mind. The mind cannot be thus 
intimately present at two places at once. When 
Spenser saw the Lion approach Lady Una, or entered 
the skiff with the old fisherman and Florimel, I do not 


believe he knew whether it was winter or summer, 
whether it rained or shined at Kilcolman Castle. Of all 
poets he seems to come most fully up to Shakspeare's 
description — " Of imagination all compact." Now, as 
I said before, this very ease, this perfect entire ness 
with which he enters into the scene in hand, detracts 
from his skill as a story-teller. He enters so fully into 
the present scene, that hf$J@^et^fig~o$e just past or 
just to come. The s$ety-teller should be to some ex- 
tent like the showman. To pull successfully the 
wires, he should stand apart, behind the scenes. He 
should not enter so fully into the scene himself as to 
forget that the spectators are dependent upon his 
providence and forecast, and that he must all the 
while have one eye upon the scene and one eye upon 

The writer, no less than the speaker, must study 
his audience quite as much as his subject. To be so 
enwrapped in the subject as to forget the audience, is 
to reckon without your host. Spenser is so absorbed 
with what is immediately in hand, his imagination is 
so completely engrossed with the present object, that 
the wants of the reader are forgotten. The reader is 
precipitated from one scene to another without any 
sufficient warning or preparation. He consequently 
gets bewildered. The outlines of the story are not 
sketched with that bold, strong hand which would 
keep the reader constantly informed of his own move- 
ments. The author does not stop often enough to 


"define his position." He does not mark clearly and 
boldly his transitions from one subject or scene to 
another. The consequence is inevitable. The reader 
perpetually loses the thread of the story. He sees 
clearly enough each particular scene, but he loses its 
connexion with the rest. The writer of a narrative 
who allows his reader thus to lose the thread of con- 
nexion — who does not invent some contrivances for 
keeping his reader constantly " posted up," to use a 
mercantile phrase, with the progress of the main action, 
such a writer, I say, is never a good story-teller. The 
man who is successful as a narrator, while busy with 
one particular part, never for one moment loses sight 
of all the other parts, no matter how numerous, distant, 
or complicated they may be. Hence the difficulty 
with Spenser. He enters upon the action in hand 
with his whole force. He keeps no corps in reserve 
to watch the movements in other parts of the field. 
Now this very fault, this surrendering himself up so 
entirely to the present scene, and neglecting to carry 
forward pari passu, in the mind of the reader, the main 
action of the poem, arises, I maintain, from the author's 
excessive facility in the power of imagination. He 
does not tell his story well, because he has too much 
imagination. And, on the other hand, this very cause 
of his not succeeding as a narrator, has contributed 
mainly to his unparalleled success in describing single 
scenes. As a mere scene painter, he stands unsur- 


passed, I had almost said unapproached, in ancient or 
modern times. 

The main reason, then, why Spenser is so little 
read, is believed to be his want of skill as a narrator. 
As the poem is of the narrative kind, failure in such a 
point must of course be a very serious defect. It has 
been a leading object in this Essay to supply to the 
reader this very desideratum — to fill out the connexions 
— to mark strongly the transitions — to carry forward 
the different parts of the story, and keep them all the 
time fresh in the mind. The Essay has aimed, in 
other words, to give a series of connected and agree- 
able readings in the Fairy Queen, and to give them in 
such a way as should lead at the same time to a more 
intelligent perusal of the poem itself. 

There are other causes which have contributed to 
the unpopularity of Spenser, although I believe I have 
mentioned the main one. Among these secondary 
causes, very obvious ones are the obsolete words, and the 
antique spelling. The spelling might be modernized, 
except where the rhyme or the rhythm interferes. In 
the quotations which have been given, I have thus 
modernized the language, spelling the words as far as 
practicable, according to the modern usage. This is 
precisely what has been done in regard to Shakspeare 
and the English Bible. By this means the number 
of really obsolete words is very much reduced. The 
difficulty attending a perusal is still farther reduced, 


or rather is entirely removed, by giving at the bottom 
of each page brief explanations of the obsolete words. 1 
Spenser has faults of style, many, serious, and ob- 
vious. He never hesitates to use awkward and cum- 
bersome inversions and circumlocutions, in order to 
make out a rhyme. He often for the same purpose 
changes both the spelling and pronunciation of a word, 
without rule or analogy, and sometimes two or three 
times on the same page. He is careless in his state- 
ments, one part of a story often disagreeing with 
another. He describes the most disgusting objects 
with the same minuteness with which he describes 
those that are pleasing and beautiful. He sometimes 
offends against delicacy. At the same time, he is emi- 
nently pure in heart — " an Israelite, indeed, in whom 
there is no guile" His fertility is perfectly amazing. 
He is not dramatic like Shakspeare, nor passionate 
like Byron, but he is eminently, and above all other 
writers, imaginative. His descriptions are paintings. 
And yet, it is remarkable, that in describing his Knights 
and Ladies, he never tells you the size, shape or form 
of particular features. It seems indeed as if we could 
at a glance distinguish Britomart, or Florimel, or Bel- 
phoebe, or Amoret, or Una, Saint George, Sir Guy on, 
Artegal, or Calidore, the Palmer, Talus, Tirnias, or 
Arthur : — that we could in an instant single out any 

1 The author has ready for the press an edition of the Complete Works of 
Spenser, modernized after the manner of the extracts given in the present 


one of these from a thousand : — and yet, when we 
come to analyze the idea which we have of these per- 
sons, and examine Spenser's descriptions, we will 
find that almost the only particular of a personal and 
visible kind on which we can fix, is that the author 
gives all his women yellow hair ! The colour of the 
eye, the cut of the nose, the pout of the lip, the longitude 
of the neck, the contour, the bust, the hand, the foot, 
are never so much as once mentioned. We recognise, 
indeed, the distinguished individuals who have been 
named, but it is after all mainly by their moral qualities. 
All else is in truth "mere leather and prunella," and 
may be safely left to the taste and fancy of the reader. 

Milton calls the author of the Fairy Queen " the 
sage and serious Spenser." Like all of Milton's 
epithets, it contains a meaning. The Fairy Queen is 
most truly a book of instruction. It is not a mere tale 
to work upon the feelings without any ulterior or 
•higher design. On the contrary, it has the distinct 
aim to set forth lofty and ennobling truths ; to fortify 
the mind with virtuous principles; to mould and 
fashion the pattern of a " perfect gentleman," which 
in the author's ideal, is merely synonymous with a 
" perfect Christian." 

No poem in our language better rewards study. 
Every character, every incident, is full of meaning. 
In the very imperfect sketches which have been given 
in the present volume, I have attempted to put into 
the hands of the reader the key to a small moiety of 




this meaning. Most of the characters have not only a 
general interpretation, suiting all times, but have also 
a special historical interpretation. They meant Eliza- 
beth, and Philip, and Sidney, and Cecil, and Raleigh : 
they mean, also, the men and women of Chestnut 
Street and Broadway : they mean, gentle reader, you 
and me : they mean human nature through its whole 
range, from its loftiest to its lowest manifestations, from 
its brightest to its blackest aspects. 

The Fairy Queen is read chiefly by two classes of 
persons. The young find entertainment in its tales of 
wonder, its scenes of enchantment, its dazzling and 
gorgeous dreams of chivalry. But the season of won- 
der passes away. Stern and hard realities press upon 
us, as we enter the arena of active life. The contest 
is a part of our moral education. Widely different is 
its effect upon different persons. After battling it with 
the world for a period of twenty years, or until the 
character has become fixed and rigid, some emerge 
from the struggle, hard, selfish, and unbelieving. Such 
persons will regard with a cold eye the warm dream 
of their youth. But, depend upon it, the man who at 
forty finds his heart opening with fresh delight to the 
sober and passionless reveries of Spenser, has not 
passed through the ordeal of life entirely in vain. 


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