Skip to main content

Full text of "The gateway to Spenser. Tales retold by Emily Underdown from "The faerie queene" of Edmund Spenser"

See other formats


Prince Arthm- 7?ieefs the Divarf in the forest. 




With Sixteen Coloured Plates and 

Numerous Marginal Illustrations from 

Drawings by F. C. Pape 

London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and New York 


* The asterisk denotes a poetical extract. 
Edviund Spenser .... 
Una and the Red Cross Knight 
*The Red Cross Knight and Una set out 
*Una^s Lion ..... 
*The Fight with the Dragon . 
Sir Guyon ..... 
* Guyon finds Mammon . 
Britomarf ..... 
"* Britomart and the Mirror 
*Florimell finds the Witches Cottage 
^Britomarfs Fight .... 
Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast 
*Calidore and Pastorella . 
*The Defeat of the Blatant Beast . 











Prince Arthur meets the Dwarf in the Forest . Frontispiece 

Una and the Dwarf tvatch the encounter between the 

Fed Cross Knight and the Dragon . Facing page i6 

Duessa visits Night to beg the life of Satisjoy . . 40 

Una is discovered by the little Woodmen ... 64 

The Wicked Elf flies away with the Prince ... 80 

The Watchman shows the King the vanquished Dragon 96 

Una and the Lion in the Desert . . . .112 

The Enchantress waits in her little painted shallop 

for Sir Guy on . . . . . .152 

The Mermaids discover Sir Guyon and the old 

Palmer in their Boat . . . . .176 

Florimell finds the Cottage of the Witch in the gloomy 

Glen ........ 208 

Britomart rescues Amoret from Busirane . . 232 

A Wood Nymph discovers the wounded Timias . 272 

Florimell is held captive by the sea-god Proteus . 280 

Sir Calepine supports the wounded Serena upon his 

Horse ........ 336 

Sir Calidore wooes the Shepherdess . . . .352 

Sir Calidore overthrows the Blatant Beast . .384 


The stories in this volume are told from an 
old poem written more than three hundred 
years ago by Edmund Spenser. This poem 
is entitled The Faerie Queen, and was dedicated 
tQ_CIyLeen_Elizabeth, who, whenever she read 
it, would remember that in his praise of 
G loriana, the ^poet was_really^ffer i n g h o mage 
tjQL^isj;oyal mistress. But we do not think 
of this when we are enjoying the delightfully 
adventurous stories of knights and ladies, 
dragons and giants, sorcerers and witches, 
which make up the various books of The 
Faerie Queen. 

Edmund Spenser was a native of London 
and a lover of the city, which he describes 
in one of his poems as his " most kindly 
nurse." He was educated at Cambridge, 
and, after leaving that delightful university 
town, went to London, where he obtained an 

The Gateway to Spenser. 

introduction to Sir Philip Sidney, who was 
not only a brave soldier, but a lover of poetry, 
and who found a congenial companion in 
the young poet fresh from Cambridge. The 
two friends left London for a season and 
spent a delightful time in Sidney's beautiful 
Kentish home at Penshurst, writing, reading, 
and discussing the books which were so dear 
to both their hearts. Not long after this 
time Spenser began to write The Faerie Queen., 
which is his longest and best poem. While 
he was busily engaged in this great work, 
he obtained an introduction to Lord Leicester, 
who, as our history books tell us, was a great 
favourite of Queen Elizabeth. The poet 
resided for some time with this nobleman, 
who was very kind to him, and who enter- 
tained at his house in London all the cleverest 
and most famous men of the time. 

But this delightful period did not last. 
Lord Burleigh succeeded Lord Leicester in 
the Queen's regard, and in the changes that 
followed, Spenser was sent to Ireland as 
Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. This 
was really equivalent to banishment, for at 

Edmund Spenser. 

the time Ireland was in a state of terrible 
misery. The southern part of the country 
was in rebellion, the north was restless and 
threatening, while the Irish noblemen of the 
district near Dublin were also ready for 
insurrection. But the poet did not fare so 
badly after all. He was given a number of 
offices which brought him a steady income, 
thus enabling him to go on with his writing, 
and, after a while, he received a grant of an 
estate in Munster, with a castle named Kil- 
colman. His new home was situated on the 
side of a wide lake set amid the mountains, 
and commanded a magnificent view. Here 
he went on with his work, and in time there 
came to him on a visit no less a person than 
Sir Walter Raleigh, who listened entranced 
to the stanzas of The Faerie Queen^ and urged 
the poet to publish the work at once. 
Spenser did so without delay, and the poem 
was given a very warm reception. 

Not long afterwards, the poet married a 
beautiful Irish lady, and three years later 
paid a visit to London, where he was 
received with acclamation, and spent a 

The GateiJi'ay to Spenser. 

delightful time among the most powerful 
and famous men of the day. He must have 
met Shakespeare, already famous, though ten 
years younger than himself, as well as Ben 
Jonson, that other writer of plays which 
are " not for an age but for all time ; " 
and Francis Bacon, who had won fame by 
the publication of his Essays. 

After several months of this London holi- 
day, the poet and his wife returned to their 
Irish home, and they had not been settled 
there for a few weeks when an insurrection 
broke out, and the rebels attacked Kilcolman. 
The house was set on fire, and, in the con- 
fusion that followed, one of the poet's children 
was burned to death. Spenser returned to 
England ruined and heart-broken, and died 
in London after a few months of great 
unhappiness. It was a miserable ending 
for one of the greatest poets of all time ; 
but the writer's work will live as long as 
the English tongue, and delight the hearts 
of all true lovers of adventure. 






/. — The Quest. 

TN the far-away region of Fairyland there 
dwelt a great and wise queen called 
Gloriana. The time when she reigned was 
in those early days when the great Prince 
Arthur and other brave knights rode through 
the world in search of adventure, when fair ,, \^-^^.y ^i\j;r£ i ,i 
ladies were imprisoned in lonely towers by ^r^^^^'^^M'^'-', 
cruel tyrants, when fierce dragons attacked ^^^^ 7.'v/,lM> 
and devastated whole countries, and when 
wild romantic events were of common 
everyday occurrence. 

To the court of Queen Gloriana there 
came one day a very lovely and gentle 
maiden named Una. She explained to the ( 
great Queen that in the land where her 
parents ruled a terrible dragon had taken 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

up his abode, driving the royal family to 
seek the protection of a castle of brazen 
metal where they were now imprisoned, 
awaiting the arrival of some brave knight 
bold and strong enough to deliver them ; 
and she demanded from the Queen one of 
her majesty's most trusty knights to ride 
back with her to her own land, and slay 
the monster and release her parents the 
king and queen. 

Now there were many brave knights at 
the court who were eager for adventure, and 
who had already performed great and valiant 
deeds, but the Fairy Queen chose none of 
these to perform this new task. Shortly 
before she had made a promise to give the 
first quest she had to bestow to a certain 
one who had begged her for it, and who 
instead of being a tried knight was to all 
appearance only a peasant. 

This young man's name was Georgos, and 
in spite of his common dress there was some- 
thing so knightly in his bearing, so noble 
and brave in his bright countenance, that 
when he had come into the Queen's presence 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 13 

at a feast and begged for the next adventure, 
some secret impulse had caused her to give 
her promise. The only condition she made 
was that when the quest was accomplished, 
Georgos should return to her court and serve 
her for six years ; and Georgos, on his part, 
was quite willing to comply with this, for 
how could he be anything but eager to serve 
so great and beautiful a mistress as the Fairy 
Queen ? 

So now when Una told her tale of distress, 
Georgos stepped forward and claimed the 
fulfilment of her promise, and Gloriana 
could not refuse it after having given her 
word ; and in spite of the scorn of the 
knights present and the queen's own doubts 
of his fitness, the young man was appointed 
Una's champion. 

Now when he was clad as a knight in the 
armour Una had brought for the purpose, 
every one forgot to be scornful, so well did 
this knightly garb become the young peasant. 
Una herself, when she looked upon him and 
noted how bravely he bore the silver shield 
marked with a blood-red cross, and how 

14 The Gateway to Spenser. 

well the breastplate with the same device 
and the great helmet with its sweeping 
plumes became him, felt well contented 
with her champion. 

Then at the Queen's command Georgos 
knelt before her, and with a light stroke of 
a sword she knighted him, declaring that 
he should henceforth be known as the 
Red Cross Knight, and bidding him be 
true and brave, and fight to the death for 
the Lady Una whom he had vowed to 

Then the Red Cross Knight mounted a 
white horse, and Una seated herself on the 
little milk-white ass which had brought her 
there ; and side by side they left the court 
of Gloriana, followed by a dwarf, who acted 
as Una's faithful attendant. 

II. — The Monster Error. 

Although the Red Cross Knight had never 
yet fought nor been tried by adventure, he 
felt no misgivings as he started forth on 
his great enterprise with no aid but that 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 15 

of his spear and sword and his own strong 
arm. He had within him that which was 
the best of all support, the knowledge that 
his quest was a true one, and that he had 
the right on his side ; and he had a brave 
spirit which shrank from no danger, because 
he knew_jthat what_is-^ true and good-must 
in the end overcome all t hat is eyil. 

In truth, however, the journey before him 
was to prove a more perilous one than he 
could have imagined, and he was to meet 
and contend with dangers and difficulties 
greater than any he had foreseen. No 
warning of these, however, came to him 
as he sped gently across a wide open plain 
in the direction indicated by the lovely Una, 
who on her milk-white ass rode by his side. 

Una's own thoughts were very sad ones, 
for they dwelt on her beloved parents im- 
prisoned in their tower of brass, while the 
horrible dragon devastated their land ; and 
though she trusted that her knight would 
rescue them, she could not but think of 
the long journey fraught with many terrors 
that must first be accomplished. 

1 6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Over her spotless white robe Una wore a 
black cloak as a mark of her grief, and her 
beautiful features were nearly hidden by the 
long veil she wore. Near to her trotted 
a little lamb, as pure as her own maiden 
thoughts ; and the dwarf toiled along on 
foot behind, bearing the bag containing her 
requirements for the journey. 

And now suddenly the noonday sun, 
which had hitherto shone brightly upon 
them, became overcast. Great black clouds 
rolled up over the sky, growing ever thicker 
and thicker, and a torrent of such heavy 
rain began to fall that the travellers looked 
eagerly round for shelter. At a little dis- 
tance they espied a grove of lofty, thickly 
covered trees, and into this they now turned, 
and found themselves in a charming spot, 
which might have been far from the storm 
so complete a protection did it afford. 

Firs, pines, and cypresses raised their crests 
to the sky, while mingling with the sombre 
tints of these evergreen trees were the softer 
hues of willows and birches, of elms and 



^^ £^' 

,- **^~#' 

[///a and tlie Divarf ivatch the encounter between 
the Red Cross Knkht and the Dragon. 


Una and the Red Cross Kiiight. 17 

Beguiled by the sights around them, and 
by the sweet songs of innumerable birds 
that dwelt in this woodland home, the 
knight and his lady wandered further than 
they intended ; and when at last, the storm 
having subsided, they sought to return to 
their path, they found they had forgotten 
the turning and no longer knew their way. 

After some fruitless searching for it, they 
at length decided on taking a path which 
seemed well worn and therefore more likely 
to be frequented than the rest, and following 
this they came to a still thicker part of 
the wood, and found themselves at the 
entrance to a large cave. At the sight 
of this, the Red Cross knight dismounted 
and handed his spear to the dwarf, and 
armed with his sword prepared to enter 
the cave alone. Terror, however, seized 
upon Una, for she suddenly recognized 
the spot as the abode of a most dangerous 
and horrible monster named Error, and 
she besought the knight to flee from the 
accursed place at once. 

But the knight was too strong in his 

(1.666) 2 

1 8 The Gateway to Spenser. 

sense of virtue to know anything of fear, 
and after gently soothing the lady with 
words of cheer, he entered boldly into the 
depths of the cave. 

In the dark gloom of its recesses his own 
bright armour gleamed with a shining light, 
and served to reveal to him the contents 
of the place, which were quite as horrible 
as Una had told him they would be. 

All along the floor of the den lay a hideous 
creature, like an enormous snake ; the 
upper part of its body was horrible and 
filthy to look upon, and the great snaky 
tail spread out in huge coils and unsightly 
knots over the floor of the cave. At the 
sight of him the monster rushed forward 
with its great tail raised above its head as 
though to strike ; then seized with fear at 
the shining light, it sought to slink back 
into the darkness which it loved. 

The Red Cross Knight saw its intention, 
and raising his sword on high he rushed at 
it, striking it with so mighty a stroke that 
it was completely dazed. But it was for a 
second only that it was checked ; the next 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 19 

it had seized him in its coils, and with 
frantic effort twined its snake-Hke form 
around him so that he could not move. 

Desperate indeed seemed his plight, but 
Una cried to him not to be afraid, and 
bade him at all costs to strangle his 
enemy. Cheered and encouraged by his 
lady's words, the knight freed one hand, 
and with a gigantic effort tore the monster's 
head from its body. 

Thus did the new knight conquer in his 
first adventure, and Una, proud of her 
champion, gave him sweet words of praise 
and encouragement as his reward. Then 
with renewed hope and courage they left 
the abode of Error, and after further seeking 
came out at length on the path they had 

HI. — The Evil Magician. 

For some time the knight and the lady rode 
on across the plain without further adventure, 
but as evening drew near they saw slowly 
approaching them an aged man who ap- 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

peared to be a hermit. He was clad in a 
black robe, and had bare feet, and his long 
gray beard swept nearly to his waist. From 
his belt there hung a book ; and he walked 
with downcast eyes, muttering as if in 
prayer, and ever and anon he smote his 
breast as he walked. 

The knight stopped at the sight of this 
apparently holy man, and asked him if he 
knew of adventure in those parts, to which 
the hermit replied, — 

" Indeed, dear son, it is not likely that a 
simple old man living as I do in a lonely cell 
should know aught of what goes on outside. 
It is not for me to meddle in battles or 
worldly affairs. And yet, nevertheless,'* he 
p continued, " I have heard tell of a dangerous 
man about here who lays waste the country- 
side. Is this the adventure you would 
seek ? " 

The knight replied eagerly that it was. 

" I entreat you, sir, to show me the abode 
of this evil-doer," he said. " I am fain to 
rid the world of one who works such evil 
in it." 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 21 

But here Una gently interposed. She re- 
minded the knight that the hour grew late, 
and that he was already weary from his fight 
with the monster Error. 

" Were it not best," she asked, " to rest 
now with the sun, and to-morrow rise 
with it again, refreshed for the new day's 
work ? " 

" Now, surely that were well advised," 
said the hermit ; "and if you will accompany 
me, my hermitage is close at hand, and there 
you can rest until morning." 

The knight agreed to this proposal ; so, 
accompanied by the hermit, he and Una 
came to a lonely dwelling in a dale, on the 
edge of a great forest, through which trickled 
the clear crystal waters of a stream. It 
seemed a peaceful, quiet resting-place, and 
little did the unsuspecting travellers imagine 
all the evil which was to befall them upon 
entering there. 

The contents of the hermitage were of the 
simplest nature, but the travellers were well 
content with what they found, for the nobler 
the mind the less it cares for such com- 

22 The Gateway to Spenser. 

parative trifles as luxurious apartments or 
costly fare. 

The hermit too made the evening pass 
pleasantly to them with interesting discourse ; 
for many stories of saints and priests could 
this seemingly holy man relate in a pleasant 
smooth-tongued way which quite deceived 
his guests as to his true character. 

At last sleep overcame the travellers, worn 
out as they were with their long tiring day, 
and having shown them to their sleeping 
apartments, the so-called hermit betook 
himself to his study, where his real character 
showed itself. For the fact was that he was 
no hermit at all, but a wicked magician, 
named Archimago, who had appeared in the 
guise of a holy man in order to lure the 
knight and lady into his clutches so that he 
could work his wicked will upon them. 

Archimago saw quite plainly that together 
they would be able to conquer untold dangers, 
and destroy his own evil power in the land ; 
and he also saw that the first step towards 
preventing them from doing this was to 
separate them. He had a wicked plan to 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 23 

accomplish this, which he now put into 

First he summoned some evil spirits to his 
aid with all kinds of dreadful incantations, 
and one of these he caused to assume the 
exact appearance of Una. Some of these 
spirits were then sent to the knight to fill 
his mind with bad, disturbing dreams, and 
then the one in the semblance of Una stood 
by his bedside and spoke such wicked words 
to him, that had he not thought it was 
Una herself, the knight would never have 
believed she could have uttered them. He 
gently reproved her, and bade her return to 
her rest. 

His heart was filled with dismay to think 
Una was after all a wicked woman, instead 
of the noble, pure-minded lady he had thought 
her ; and when the morning star appeared 
in the sky he hastily donned his armour, and 
calling to the dwarf to bring his steed, he 
rode away from the hermitage, leaving Una 
to her fate. 

24 The Gateway to Spenser. 

IV. — The Saracen and the Witch. 

We must now follow the Red Cross Knight 
for a time in his lonely adventures, and then 
we shall see what befell the unfortunate 
lady bereft of her champion and left to the 
evil power of Archimago. 

The knight rode on for a time in a 
somewhat aimless fashion. He no longer 
cared for the adventure entrusted to him by 
the Queen, since he believed Una to be false ; 
and so filled was his heart with grief and 
bitterness at the discovery, that he cared 
little what befell him. 

After a time he saw approaching him a 
Saracen knight, bearing on his shield the 
name "Sansfoy." Accompanying him was a 
lady clad in bright scarlet robes, and riding a 
palfrey gaily decked in tinsel trappings, and 
with a bridle hung with bells which rang 
merrily as she moved. 

Now, at the sight of this cavalier, the 
Red Cross Knight immediately prepared for 
battle, for the very fact of the new-comer 
being a Saracen was enough to declare him 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 25 

an enemy ; and with couched spear he rode 
towards him. 

The Saracen, for his part, was no less eager 
for the fray, as he hoped thereby to win 
added worth in the lady's eyes ; and with a 
fierce shock the two knights met. 

As they drew back from this encounter, 
the Saracen raised his sword on high and 
rained blow after blow on his foe. His 
fierce attack, however, had no effect on the 
strong armour worn by the Red Cross 
Knight, and of a sudden he in his turn raised 
his sword and brought it down on his enemy 
with so mighty a stroke that it pierced right 
through his helmet, cleaving his head, and 
with a great groan the Saracen fell dead on 
the ground. 

Meanwhile the lady who accompanied the 
Saracen had closely watched the battle, and 
when she saw her knight overthrown, she 
fled as fast as she could from the spot in 
evident fear of the conqueror. 

At- sight of her distress, the Red Cross 
Knight was wishful to reassure her, and 
started in swift pursuit, bidding the dwarf to 

26 The Gateway to Spenser. 

follow with the Saracen's shield, which was 
his by right of conquest. 

As he overtook her, the lady turned to 
meet him and implored him to spare her, 
and the knight thought her very beautiful 
as he looked at her in her rich scarlet robes 
and sparkling jewels, while in apparent great 
humility and distress she threw herself on 
his mercy. He reassured her with gentle, 
courteous words, and in reply to his request 
the lady told him her story. 

" Alack ! " she cried, " though none who 
see my present distress would think it, I am 
the daughter of a great emperor, who in 
very early youth betrothed me to a most 
brave and handsome knight, the son of a 
mighty king ; but before our marriage could 
take place my betrothed was slain in a fight, 
and by a most cruel fate even his dead body 
was taken from me. Thereupon I set forth 
in search of it, and after much wandering 
met with the Saracen whom you have just 
slain, and who was the eldest of three 
brothers ; his name being Sansfoy, and the 
other two Sansloy and Sansjoy. My own 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 27 

name is Fidessa ; and now, Sir Knight, you 
know my sad story and my present plight." 

All the while that she spoke Fidessa 
maintained the appearance of a simple maiden 
in great distress, and she so stirred the 
chivalrous nature of the knight that he 
begged her at once to look upon him as her 
protector, promising to be her faithful friend. 

With artful glances and coy smiles Fidessa 
consented, and together the two rode onward. 

After much travelling, they saw before 
them two large trees whose ample shade 
offered an attractive resting-place, for the 
sun was now high in the heavens, and his 
scorching rays fell full on the wayfarers. 
Thither the knight turned, thinking only 
of the cool shadow cast by the great trees, 
without noticing how deserted the spot was, 
nor pausing to wonder why no others sought 
its refreshing coolness. 

But as he and Fidessa rested under the 
trees a strange and horrifying experience 
befell him, which explained why the spot 
was deserted. By this time the knight felt 
sure that in Fidessa he had met with a 

28 The Gateway to Spenser. 

beautiful lady and one worthy of his regard, 
and it occurred to him as a fitting act of 
homage to make a little crown or garland 
for her fair forehead from the leaves of the 
tree ; and with this object he tore off a 
branch. The next moment he stood frozen 
to the spot with terror, for from the tree 
whose branch he had broken off there came 
a piteous, wailing voice, begging the knight 
not to rend him thus, since in reality they 
were no trees, but a knight named Fradubio 
and his lady, who had been enchanted by the 
evil arts of a witch. 

The knight was filled with great pity, 
and tried to comfort the trees. He begged 
Fradubio to tell him as much as he could 
of his sad story, for he thought it would be 
a relief to him to do so, as he told him in 
these words — 

" He oft finds med'cine who his grief imparts ; 
But double griefs afflict concealing hearts." 

Thus encouraged, Fradubio told the knight 
how, when riding one day with his lady 
Fraelissa, he had met a knight accom- 

Una and the Red Cross Knight, 29 

panicd also by a lady, and how he and the 
knight had fought until he had overcome 
and slain him. The lady he had then taken 
under his protection, deeming her to be very 
fair, until one day he had discovered that 
instead of being what she seemed, she was 
in reality no other than a most evil witch 
named Duessa. By her arts Duessa had 
already turned his true love Fraelissa into 
one of the trees that the knight now saw, 
and soon after she succeeded in turning him 
into the other. So now, side by side, im- 
prisoned in these wooden walls, the two 
lovers must dwell until the spell should be 

When the tree had finished speaking, the 
knight turned to Fidessa, and found her 
nearly fainting with terror, as it appeared, at 
what she had heard. But little did he guess 
the real cause of her terror ; for Fidessa was 
herself no other than the wicked witch 
Duessa, and as Fradubio told his story, she 
was terrified lest at any moment he might 
penetrate her disguise and reveal her to the 


The Gateway to Spenser, 

Quite unsuspicious that she was other than 
she seemed, the knight soothed and cheered 
^ her, and at length she slowly raised her eyes 
and a faint colour appeared again in her 
cheeks. The knight then set her on her 
steed and together they journeyed onward. 

Alas ! a journey in such company was 
little likely to bring the Red Cross Knight 
anything but evil, and he was wandering 
further and further from his own true lady, 
Una, whom he had vowed to serve. 

V. — The Palace of Pride. 

As night drew near, the travellers saw 
before them a broad highway marked with 
many footprints, at the end of which a 
glittering palace raised its walls and lofty 
towers to the evening sky. Duessa, to 
whom we will now give her proper name, 
pleaded weariness after the fatigue of the 
day, and at the sight of this goodly mansion 
she begged the knight to accompany her to 
it and seek shelter there for the night ; 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 31 

so together they made their way to the 

The great doors of the palace were 
standing open, and the porter who stood 
before them allowed the two to pass in 
unchallenged, and they soon found them- 
selves in a hall of surpassing magnificence. 
Down each side of the hall stood fair ladies 
and gaily dressed knights ; but all this only 
led the eye to still greater magnificence 
beyond, for at the far end of the hall was 
spread a sumptuous carpet, on which stood 
a throne of great brilliance, and on the 
throne, in gorgeous robes of state, sat 
Lucifera, the queen of the palace. She 
was most beautiful to look upon in her 
glittering array, but her expression was 
very scornful and proud, and in her hand 
she held a bright mirror, in which she often 
gazed at her own reflection, while at her 
feet lay a hideous dragon. 

No sooner had the knight and Duessa 
been presented to Lucifera than she called 
for her coach, as she intended to take the 
air, and they saw her start out, accompanied 

32 The Gateway to Spenser. 

by her six councillors, who were named 
Idleness, Gluttony, False Love, Avarice, 
Envy, and Wrath. 

It were difficult to say which of these 
evil persons was the most displeasing to 
look upon, and when they each mounted 
a different animal to draw the queen's 
coach, the sight was very terrible in spite 
of the queen's gorgeous apparel and the 
magnificence of the vehicle, which was 
adorned with gold and with gay garlands. 

First came Idleness, clad all in black and 
mounted on an ass, and next to him. 
Gluttony, a hideous bloated monster, clad 
in vine leaves and mounted on a pig. Next 
to these two came False Love, dressed in 
green, and carrying a burning heart, but 
with his true filthiness showing beneath his 
robes. He rode a goat, and by his side was 
Avarice on a camel loaded with gold and 
other wealth, though he himself was in rags. 
Last of all came Envy, in sad-coloured 
garments, holding a venomous snake hidden 
in his bosom and riding upon a wolf, and 
Wrath on a lion, holding a burning brand. 

Uiia and the Red Cross Knight. 33 

The sight of this most ungodly company 
ought surely to have warned the knight 
into what evil surroundings he had Tallen, 
and indeed he did refrain from starting forth 
in attendance ; but the fact that Duessa was 
in the train that followed Lucifera did not 
warn him, as it should have done, of her 
true character. 

When Lucifera and Duessa returned to 
the palace, they found that a good deal 
had happened during their absence. No 
sooner had they gone than Sansjoy, the 
younger brother of Sansfoy, arrived, and on 
seeing his brother's shield in the keeping of 
the Red Cross Knight's attendant, the dwarf, 
he was so much overcome with rage that he 
sprang at the little man and tore the shield 
out of his grasp. Upon this the knight 
sprang at Sansjoy to wrest it back, and 
Lucifera, finding the two engaged in fierce 
conflict, turned on them in great displeasure. 

" How now ! " she cried in imperious 
tones, " do you thus fight without any 
proper rules of the tourney ? Restrain your 
rage, I command, and if fight ye must, let 



The Gateway to Spenser. 

the shield be contended for in proper fashion 
on the morrow." 

So with hearts burning with unsatisfied 
wrath, the two knights parted for the 
moment ; and it was arranged that on the 
following day the lists should be prepared 
and the fight should take place in real 

When night had wrapped all the palace 
in darkness, and each of the knights slept 
in his bed, the wicked Duessa crept from 
her own couch and stole to Sansjoy, whom 
she awakened. She then told him a lying 
story of how she had dearly loved Sansfoy, 
and that since his death the Red Cross 
Knight had taken possession of her and 
kept her for a long time his captive in a 
cave. This further incensed Sansjoy against 
his enemy, and he swore at all hazards to 
be revenged for the death of his brother. 

Then Duessa with a deep sigh warned 
him that this might not be so easy a task as 
he expected, since the Red Cross Knight 
bore an enchanted shield and magic armour 
that no one could pierce ; but she promised 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 35 

him that she would use secret powers to 
aid him, if necessary. 

She then returned to her own chamber 
with her mind full of the scheme by which 
she sought to outwit the Red Cross Knight, 
should he prove the victor in the approach- 
ing contest. 

VI. — The Tour?jey. 

No sooner had the golden beams of the 
rising sun flooded the chamber of the Red 
Cross Knight than he rose and carefully pre- 
pared himself for battle ; and clad in his full 
armour, he entered the great field where the 
tournament was to take place. His enemy, 
Sansjoy, in his suit of tightly woven mail, 
soon entered from the other side and stood 
glaring at him with hate and malice in his 

Then the sound of sweet singing and 
of many instruments was heard, and a 
band of minstrels took up their position 
at one side of the field, while costly wines 
flavoured with delicate spices were off^ered 

36 The Gateway to Spenser. 

to the combatants, who swore before they 
quaffed it to obey all the laws of knighthood 
in their contest. 

A loud sound of trumpeting now filled 
the air, and to the sound of this music 
Lucifera appeared with great pomp and 
majesty, and was led to a throne under a 
green canopy, whence to watch the tourney. 

At the opposite end of the field Duessa 
took up her position with the shield of 
Sansfoy, which was the object of the battle, 
hanging on a tree behind her. Now once 
more came a shrill blast from a trumpet, and 
at this signal each knight seized his shield 
and advanced with uplifted sword. 

The battle had begun, and blow after 
blow resounded as the swords descended on 
the armour. The Saracen knight was the 
stronger, and his blows came down on his 
foe like mighty strokes from an iron hammer ; 
but the Red Cross Knight was aflame with 
the righteousness of his cause, and his sword- 
strokes were like swift flashes of lightning 
which drew sparks from the armour of the 
other as they descended. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 37 

So fierce waxed the deadly conflict that 
ere long the armour of the fighters could no 
longer resist the blows, and streams of blood 
flowed from either knight. So grievously were 
both wounded that none of the spectators 
could in the least tell with which the victory 
would be ; but of a sudden, Sansjoy caught 
sight of his brother's shield as it hung on 
the tree behind Duessa, and redoubled his 
fury. At the same moment Duessa called 
to him in encouraging tones saying, — 

" Thine the shield, and I, and all ! " 

The Red Cross Knight, who was half 
swooning from the last mighty blows of 
Sansjoy, heard these words, and thinking 
they were spoken to him, he was urged 
on by them to one supreme effort, and gave 
so strong a sword-stroke to his enemy that 
he forced him to his knee. 

Victory seemed to be within the grasp 
of the Red Cross Knight. He had but 
to finish his work and with one more stroke 
slay his enemy. But he had not reckoned 
on a force that was to be used against him 
at the last, nor dreamt that magic arts were 



The Gateway to Spenser. 



to deprive him of his prey. For at the 
moment when his sword was about to 
descend on the fallen Sansjoy, a dark cloud 
sprang up before him, and lo ! his enemy 
had disappeared. 

Though he sought him, he could see 

no trace of his whereabouts, and when he 

^ ^ called to him, there was no reply. The 

3\ thick cloud still rested on the spot where 

' / he had lain, but of Sansjoy himself there 

J was no sign. However, by the acclaim of 

t'^ the queen and of all present, the Red Cross 

^^^'\ Knight was pronounced the victor, and he 

\^y/fi' was led by her side back to the palace in 

' ^y' triumph, followed by a laughing, shouting 

crowd. There he was laid in a sumptuous 

bed, where his severe wounds were carefully 

tended and dressed, while sweet music was 

played to divert his mind from his suffering 

and thus help to hasten his recovery. 

And as he lay thus, the false Duessa sat 
by his side, weeping as though overcome 
with grief at his condition. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 39 

VII. — Duessas Visit to Night, 

DuEssA watched by the Red Cross Knight 
until nightfall. Then when none could see 
her, she crept to the spot where Sansjoy 
lay hidden under the thick cloud ; and 
seeing how woeful was his plight and how 
exhausted his condition, she determined to 
seek other succour for him. 

Far away was the abode of the strange 
dark being. Night herself, who was the aunt 
of Sansjoy, and to her Duessa now betook 
herself with all the speed possible. She 
found Night wrapped in garments of the 
deepest black, about to mount her iroji_ 
chariot which, with four coalblack steeds 
harnessed to it, waited at her door. 

At the sight of Duessa in her glittering 
raiment. Night was at first dazzled, and 
would have withdrawn in fear to her cave ; 
but when she discovered that her visitor was 
none other than Duessa the witch, she 
welcomed her right gladly as one of her 
own kindred, and she bade her enter the 
chariot with her, that together they might 

40 The Gateway to Spenser. 

go to Sansjoy, and take him where he could 
be healed of his wounds. So together Night 
and Duessa came to the spot where Sansjoy, 
bleeding and unconscious, lay hidden by the 
enchanted cloud. 

They bent over him and bound up his 
wounds before lifting him into the chariot 
drawn by the coalblack steeds. As they 
worked, horrible sounds echoed around them. 
Watch-dogs bayed in fear,* the screech owl, 
messenger of death, uttered its wild shrill 
note, and hungry wolves prowled round howl- 
ing at the sight of Night and her dark coun- 
tenance. Between them Night and Duessa 
raised Sansjoy into the chariot, and then, 
urging on the fiery steeds, they bore him 
right away to the regions of the under-world 
where they placed him under the care of 
iEsculapius, the heathen god of medicine. 

Her work ended, Duessa returned to the 
palace, but during her absence something 
unexpected had happened, and on her arrival, 
to her great dismay she found that the Red 
Cross Knight with his horse and the dwarf 
had disappeared. 

Diiessa visits Night to beg the life of Sansfoy. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 41 

VIII. — The Capture of the Red Cross Knight 
by the Giant. 

The reason of the Red Cross Knight's sudden 
disappearance from the Palace of Pride was, 
that during the absence of Duessa and the 
removal of the spell that she had cast upon 
him, his eyes had been able to see things 
more clearly, and he had discovered the true 
character of the place which gave him shelter. 
It was the dwarf who first really opened his 
eyes to this, for one day it chanced that 
he came across a deep dungeon within the 
walls, and this dungeon he found to be filled 
with most wretched captives, who were the 
victims of Lucifera or of her evil councillors, 
and who lay there rotting in torment. 

At the dwarPs account of this dungeon, 
the knight was filled with loathing for 
the place which concealed such horrors. 
Although he was hardly fit to move, as his 
wounds were not yet properly healed, he 
determined to leave his sick-bed and flee 
from the palace at once. 

Accordingly, before the sun was up on 


The Gateivay to Spenser. 

the following day, he stole from his room, 
and, followed by the dwarf, found his way 
to a small postern gate by which he was 
able to leave the palace. 

He had to move very cautiously, for he 
realized now that Lucifera meant to keep 
him there as a captive, and that if his 
attempted escape were discovered, he would 
probably be killed. But he was all the more 
eager to get away, as he now knew the real 
nature of the palace, and recognized that 
the glitter on it was but tinsel, and that it 
was loosely built of common bricks without 
even mortar to cement them, and on such 
a shifting foundation that it was most unsafe. 
Moreover, as he sped along, he saw horrid 
sights of murdered people strewing the 
ground. These were the victims of Lucifera, 
as he in his turn would be if he stayed there. 

But at last he had reached the postern 
gate and passed through it, and soon the 
walls of the palace were left behind him, and 
its great towers of counterfeit gold were out 
of sight. 

With a sigh of relief, the knight pur- 

Una and the Red Cross K^iight. 43 

sued his way ; but though he had escaped 
from the Palace of Pride, his danger was by 
no means over, nor was it likely to be while 
the witch Duessa's real nature was undis- 
covered by him. For Duessa was not 
daunted in her evil designs by his escape, 
and a still more deadly scheme for his 
undoing was to be hatched in her wicked 

When she found that he had vanished 
from the Palace of Pride, she immediately 
started off in pursuit, and before long she 
found him quietly resting on the ground by 
the side of a fountain, and with his armour, 
of which he had divested himself, on the 

With gentle words of reproach at his 
desertion, the witch drew near to him, and 
at the sound of her soft, caressing tones, all 
her charms began once more to work on the 
knight, who failed to discern the evil purpose 
they concealed. So he allowed her to take 
a seat by his side on the grassy bank where 
he rested, which was indeed a most tempting 
spot in which to linger. The green boughs 

44 The Gateway to Spenser. 

of the encircling trees made a soft screen 
against the fierce heat outside, and the 
babbling waters of the little stream which 
ran through the glade had a most pleasant, 
cooling sound. Duessa, much pleased at the 
success so far of her enterprise, charmed the 
knight with gentle discourse, while he little 
recked of her secret sources of satisfaction. 
The fact, however, was that Duessa could 
not have found him in a spot which pleased 
her better ; for the stream, which seemed 
so pure and harmless, was, as she knew, 
enchanted, and possessed certain most dan- 
gerous properties, for any one drinking from 
its tempting waters immediately lost all 
bodily strength and became as a child or a 
feeble old man. Her great hope now was 
that, parched by the heat of the day, the 
knight would be tempted to quench his 
thirst from the stream, and that when he 
was weak and helpless from the effects, she 
could get him completely in her power. 

For a time the knight paid no heed to 
the stream, as he listened to the witch's 
discourse and feasted his eyes on her beauty. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 45 

rejoicing at the tender glances she bestowed 
on him. But ere long the refreshing tinkle 
of the water attracted him, as Duessa hoped 
it would, and stooping down on the bank 
of the stream, he bent over it and took 
a long draught. No sooner had he done 
so than the evil enchantment of the water 
began to work. A deadly chill seemed to 
pass all over his frame, he felt his will grow 
faint and his courage fail. 

In spite of the fears which assailed him, 
however, the knight continued to discourse 
with Duessa as if nothing had happened, 
until he was suddenly forced to reveal his 
weakness by a most untoward incident. 

As he sat in languid idleness and unarmed 
by the side of Duessa, thinking nothing of 
danger, he was suddenly startled by a dreadful S 
sound like a loud bellowing, which echoed 
through the wood behind them. This was 
accompanied by a trembling of the earth 
near them, and the knight, now thoroughly 
awake to a sense of approaching danger, 
realized that he was totally unprepared to 

meet it. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

He sprang up with haste and tried to 
reach his armour, but he had not time to 
do this before he saw himself confronted by 
a hideous giant, whose huge bulk shut out 
the rays of the noonday sun and seemed 
almost to reach the sky. 

It was this monster whose voice he had 
heard bellowing through the forest, and it 
was his heavy tread which had made the 
ground to shake. 

Now when he saw the Red Cross Knight, 
the intention of the giant was unmistakable, 
and he advanced upon him brandishing a huge 
weapon in great fury, while the knight stood 
defenceless before him. The good shield 
which had hitherto guarded him so well 
lay idle on the ground, with his trusty sword 
beside it, and worse still, the knight's own 
strength had forsaken him, as the effect of 
his draught from the enchanted stream. 

There seemed no chance of his escape, 
but as the giant's great club swung round 
and descended with a swift stroke on the 
spot where the knight stood, he succeeded 
in springing aside, and was thus saved from 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 47 

certain death. He did not, however, escape 
from the giant entirely, for the blow which 
was to have crushed him caused such a 
wind as the weapon fell, that the force of 
it knocked the enfeebled knight to the 
ground in an unconscious condition. 

Now was he indeed at the giant's mercy, 
and his enemy's work would immediately 
have been finished, and another great blow 
have crushed the prostrate knight to death, 
had not Duessa interposed. It did not happen 
to suit the witch's purpose that the knight 
should be slain yet awhile. She thought she 
could have further amusement if he were kept 
alive and made to suffer instead, and she 
realized, too, that for a brave man there are 
some things far worse than death. 

Therefore, just as the giant was about to 
slay the knight, she called to him by his 
name, which was Orgoglio, and begged him 
to hold his hand. 

" Oh ! great Orgoglio," she cried, " I 
entreat thee spare thy victim for my sake, 
and do a lady a favour. Instead of killing 
the knight, make him your captive slave for 

48 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

ever, and in return for this boon I promise 
to give you my love." 

This seemed to OrgogHo a very sensible 
request, and he w^as the more w^illing to 
grant it that Duessa had promised to love 
him in return ; so he took the still uncon- 
scious knight in his great arms and, accom- 
panied by Duessa, bore him to his own castle. 

Here he plunged his victim into a dark 
and foul dungeon, v^hile as for Duessa, she 
w^as treated w^ith the greatest honour. He 
clad her in gold and purple and placed 
a triple crown on her brow, and declared 
her to be a queen, while in order to make 
her the more feared by the people, he released 
from a den where it had long been kept 
a horrible serpent with seven heads, an iron 
breast, a back of scaly brass, and great bloody 
eyes, and gave it her on which to ride. 

So now we see the Red Cross Knight 
vanquished after all his brave fights, and 
a hopeless prisoner, it might seem, in the 
castle of the cruel monster Orgoglio. But 
there was one way of escape left for him, 
as we shall see later. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 49 

All this time Una was wandering far and 
wide seeking for him wherever there seemed 
the least chance of finding him, and her 
efforts were in the end not to be in vain. 

When Orgoglio bore the knight away, 
his faithful attendant, the dwarf, was left 
standing forlorn and disconsolate, holding his 
good white steed, and watching over the 
discarded armour and shield which the knight 
had had no time to take up in his hurried 
attack. After his master's capture, the dwarf 
set out to seek aid for him, and in course 
of time Una met with the little man. But 
before coming to this part of the story, we 
must follow Una in her adventures from 
the time when the Red Cross Knight left 
her in the hermitage. 

IX, — Una and the Lion. 

On finding herself deserted by the knight 
in whom she had placed all her trust, Una's 
heart was filled with great sorrow and dis- 
tress. Her position was indeed a very sad 
one, alone and deserted in the midst of a 


50 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

strange country, with not even her attendant 
dwarf, and only her little white ass to bear 
her company. 

Seated on this faithful creature, the forlorn 
maiden started forth to seek her recreant 
knight ; for though he was untrue to her, 
she still loved him none the less, and her 
one aim was to find him, so that together 
they might once more resume their journey. 

Through dark lonely woods, and across 
wild open plains, the solitary Una wandered 
day after day ; but all in vain she sought 
tidings of the knight who was far away. 
It needed a sturdy courage to pursue her 
search through those desolate regions, but 
Una possessed a brave heart, and would not 
let her fears conquer her. 

At last one day even her undaunted spirit 
showed signs of failing. She had sought 
so long and so untiringly, and all, so far, in 
vain, and the road before her seemed so 
hard and difficult, that her heart misgave 
her. The poor tired ass too could make 
but slow progress ; and weary in body and 
spirit, Una alighted, and seeking a quiet 

Una and the Red Cross Knwht. 


grassy spot hidden from the highway, she 
paused there to rest her tired limbs. With 
a sigh of relief, she unfastened the fillet by 
which her locks were bound, and let the 
long veil of hair fall round her, and her 
black, cloak she laid aside, and settled to 
repose. As she lay in her white robe, with 
her golden hair falling all round her lovely 
face, she seemed to cast a heavenly light 
around her, and might well have been taken 
for an angel. Hardly, however, had Una set- 
tled herself, than her rest was rudely disturbed. 

There was a rushing sound in the wood 
near her, and out of it sprang a great 
ramping lion, with blazing eyes and open 
jaws all hungry for prey. When he saw 
the maiden, he sprang greedily forward as if 
to seize her, when behold ! a most wondrous 
change came over him. 

At the sight of her loveliness, even his 
fierce desires vanished, and instead of spring- 
ing on her and crushing her tender body in 
his cruel jaws, he crept softly to her side, 
kissed her weary feet, and licked her delicate 
hands with his great tongue. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

Una was deeply touched by the submission 
of the lion, from whom, as she saw him 
approach, she had expected nothing less 
than a cruel death. 

She could not refrain from tears, however, 
as she thought of the contrast between this 
devotion from the proud beast of the field 
and the desertion and cruelty of the Red 
Cross Knight, whom she loved so dearly. 

" Alas ! " she cried, " how is it that this 
lion, the lord of all beasts, forgets his rage 
when he sees me, while my own dear knight, 
the lord of my heart, whom I adore, seems 
to hate and avoid me t " 

And at the sight of her tears and the 
sound of her sad plaint, the lion, with his 
angry mood entirely subdued, stood gazing 
down at her in tender compassion. Not 
only this, but when Una rose after a brief 
rest and once more mounted the ass to 
resume her search for the knight, the lion 
refused to leave her, and walked along beside 
her as her guardian and protector. He obeyed 
every command expressed in her eye, and 
when night came and she lay down to rest. 

U^ia and the Red Cross Knight. 53 

the faithful beast, watchful and alert, kept 
strict guard over her. The way was less 
lonely and dreary for Una now that she had 
her lion attendant, and she gained fresh 
courage for her task. 

For manj, days Una and the lion wandered 
through desolate regions, where there was 
no sign of human habitation, seeking in vain 
for the knight. 

One evening, as it was growing dusk, 
they saw before them a high mountain, and 
near to it Una noticed that the grass was 
trodden as if by the foot of man. Following 
these marks, she saw in front of her a woman 
carrying a pot of water on her shoulders. 
Una called to her, asking if she knew of 
any house where the night could be spent, 
but when the woman saw the lion, she was 
seized with such terror that she threw down 
her pitcher and ran away as fast as she 
could go. 

Una followed her, trying to make her 
understand that the lion would do her no 
harm, and thus she came to the woman's 
dwelling-place, but not until the woman 

54 'I^^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

herself had entered and closed the door 
securely. Una's hopes of a resting-place for 
the night would thus have been destroyed 
had it not been for her faithful attendant, 
the lion, who tore open the door with his 
great claws, and they soon found themselves 
in a cottage where the woman with the 
pitcher and her old blind mother were 
huddled together in a far corner. 

The fears of the women, however, vanished 
before Una's gentle speech, and they yielded 
to her request that she should spend the 
night beneath their roof. So when darkness 
came Una rested her weary limbs, but the 
sleep she craved for did not come to her. 
The thought of her lost knight overcame 
her instead, and her tears flowed as the 
sense of her loss and the apparently hope- 
less nature of her quest came over her. 
Instead of sleeping, she lay awake longing 
for the light, when once more she could 
start in search of her knight, and as she lay 
thus watchful, she heard a knock at the 
door. The people of the house were both 
asleep and took no notice, whereupon the 

Una and the Red Cross Knis'ht. 


knocking grew louder and faster, and a 
man's voice, speaking in accents of rage, 
could be heard from outside accompany- 
ing it. The women were wide awake 
now, nevertheless they did not open the 
door, for the fact was that the man who 
demanded admission was a thief who was 
in the habit of bringing them his ill-gotten 
gains, and they dared not let him in on 
account of the lion. So they lay in their 
beds quaking with fear, and hoping the 
thief would give up in despair and go away. 

The man did not do this, however. 
When he found that no one would open 
the door, he flung himself against it with 
such fury that he burst it open, and no 
sooner had he done so than the lion sprang 
upon him. The noble beast knew him at 
once as a base and evil man, and in a 
moment he had crushed the life out of him. 

The two women, meanwhile, did not 
dare to move nor show any pity, for fear 
that they should be seen to be the robber's 
accomplices and should meet with a similar 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

The next morning Una left the cottage 
and continued her journey, but though the 
women said nothing to her before she left, 
they hurled all sorts of abuse at her as soon 
as her back was turned, so wrathful were 
they at the death of their friend the thief, 
and the loss henceforth of his stolen goods, 
which he had been in the habit of taking 
from the churches and poor-boxes. While 
they were in this state of wrath against Una, 
they met with the magician Archimago 
himself, and begged him to avenge their 
wrongs. They showed him the direction 
in which Una had gone, and the enchanter 
immediately thought of a wicked plan for 
working harm to the maiden. 

X. — Archimago s Deceptio?i. 

Una and the lion had not travelled 
far when she saw before her a sight 
sent a thrill of intense joy to her heart. 

Standing at a little distance from her on 
a low hill was a knight in armour mounted 


Una and the Red Cross Knight. 57 

on a white horse, and bearing before him 
the shield of her Red Cross Knight. 

At first she was afraid to trust her eyes, 
but when she approached nearer and spoke 
to him, there seemed no further doubt that 
she had found her knight at last. 

He replied to her in loving tones that 
sounded exactly like the knight's, and ex- 
plained that his long absence had been from 
no lack of fidelity to her, but because he had 
been obliged to go on an adventure against 
a wicked man in a far-off strange land. 
He also begged her forgiveness for his 
seeming neglect, and vowed to serve her 
faithfully in the future. 

. On hearing these words all Una's sorrow 
seemed to be wiped out. The knight's own 
pleasure appeared to be no less than hers, 
and together they moved slowly on. Their 
happy discourse was, however, soon inter- 
rupted. Before they had gone many yards, 
a fierce-looking knight rode up bearing the 
words " Sans loy " in letters of blood on his 
shield ; and on seeing the shield of the knight 
with the Red Cross on it, he attacked him 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

with such force that he soon laid him on 
the ground bleeding profusely. At this 
he lightly dismounted himself, and addressed 
the fallen knight in these words : — 

" Lo ! here is the just reward of him who 
slew my brother Sansfoy." Then he un- 
fastened his helmet, and prepared to slay 

Una meanwhile, in great grief and despair 
at the knight's overthrow, was entreating 
that mercy might be shown him, when, to 
the amazement of both herself and the 
knight, the unfastening of the helmet 
revealed not the face of the Red Cross 
Knight, but the grey beard and evil 
countenance of Archimago ! Una then 
saw the cruel and wicked deception that 
had been practised on her by the magician, 
and as the knight gazed at him dismayed 
at having wounded one who was really his 
ally, she turned in terror to flee from Sansloy. 
It was in vain. The Saracen knight followed 
her at once, seized her roughly by her 
clothing, and plucked her from her ass. 
Upon this the lion sprang towards the 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 59 

knight with gaping jaws, but his force was 
powerless before that of Sansloy, who with 
a thrust of his spear pierced the animal's 
noble heart, and the lion fell dead on the 
ground. Terrible indeed was now the plight 
of Una, with her protector dead and she 
herself at the mercy of the cruel, wicked 
Sansloy, who seized her in his arms and bore 
her away weeping and shrieking on his 

One friend only was left to the maiden, 
for, as she was borne away by the Saracen, 
her little white ass, determined to keep near 
his mistress, trotted as fast as he could be- 
hind her. 

XI, — JJna and the Wild Woodmen, 

The Saracen went on until he came to a 
great forest, into which he rode for a 
short distance. Then he dismounted from 
his horse, but he still kept fast hold of 
poor Una, and he threatened her with such 
cruel and terrible things that she shrieked 
aloud for help, though there seemed little 

6o The Gateway to Spenser. 

chance of any one hearing her in that lonely 

It happened, however, that in the forest 
were a number of little wild creatures of 
the wood, half man and half elf, who were 
dancing a merry fantastic dance round their 
master and leader, old Sylvanus, when Una's 
cries for help echoed through the air. At 
the sound the woodmen stopped their dance 
and hurried in the direction whence it 
came ; and when Sansloy found himself 
suddenly surrounded by this strange crowd, 
the like of which he had never seen 
before, he took fright, and mounting his 
steed, rode quickly away, leaving Una to 
her fate. 

The funny little woodmen now crowded 
round her, gazing at her with eyes of pitying 
admiration, but Una lay before them trem- 
bling with fear, just as the Saracen had left 
her, and still too much frightened to move. 
The little men became more and more 
compassionate as they saw her distress, 
and having cleared the frowns from their 
funny wrinkled foreheads, clad with horns, 

Una and the Red Cross K^iight. 6i 

with gentle smiles they tried to comfort 
and reassure her. 

Una was now sitting up, and very lovely 
did she appear to the strange companions 
grouped around her ; and as she paused, 
still half doubtful how far she might 
trust them, her wonderful beauty so over- 
came their kind savage hearts that they 
knelt at her feet and kissed her garments. 

Upon this Una's confidence was won, and 
she gave herself into their hands, and walked 
forth among them without fear ; and the 
woodmen rejoiced greatly. They made 
her their queen, crowning her with olive 
branches and strewing green boughs before 
her, and as they led her onward, they shouted 
and sang merry shepherds' songs which some 
accompanied on pipes, until all the forest 
echoed with their merry music. And 
so, leaping and singing and piping, they 
brought her to old Sylvanus, the master 
of the wood, who, awakened by the sounds 
of merriment, came out with tottering steps 
to greet her. 

Many other wild wood creatures also came 

62 The Gatezvay to Spenser. 

forth at the sounds to bid her welcome to 
their company ; and there among them all 
the gentle Una dwelt for many a day, 
tenderly watched and waited upon by her 
strange friends, and in return imparting as 
many true and wise things to them as their 
untutored minds were able to understand. 

But this quiet life was not to last for long. 
Una soon began to seek a means of escape 
from the gentle wood people who kept her 
in friendly captivity, longing to resume her 
search for the Red Cross Knight, and before 
long she met with an unexpected means of 

There chanced to come to the forest glade 
where she dwelt with the wood people a 
brave knight, whose name was Satyrane, 
and who was noted for his wonderful power 
over wild animals. No matter how fierce 
or untamed they were, they became sub- 
missive to Satyrane, who could thus control 
fierce wolves, ravenous lions, or cruel tigers. 
Even as a little boy he had shown this 
power, and his mother, who was a gentle 
lady, had been seized with terror when he 

Una and the Red Cross Knio-ht. 


was still in early youth to see him bearing 
away in his arms the whelp of a lioness 
whom he had boldly robbed of her off- 
spring. As he grew to manhood, the 
exercise of his power over the brute world 
had become a passion to Satyrane, who was 
not content until he had subdued all the 
beasts of the forest to his will. This 
accomplished, however, he had sought other 
adventures afar ; and now he once more 
returned to his former haunts, anxious to 
seek out some of his kindred and early 

Satyrane was much surprised when he 
found Una among the wood people, with 
whom she would seem to have so little in 
common. When he first came upon her, 
a small company of the funny little men 
were sitting round her in a ring, their 
strange little faces, with the puzzled eyes 
and wrinkled foreheads, turned towards her 
as she tried to teach them wise and good 
lessons, such as had been hidden from little 
woodmen until this fair lady had come 
amongst them. 

64 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

Satyrane was greatly struck at Una's 
beauty, as indeed were all who beheld her, 
and he was also struck by her words of 
wisdom and her gentle manner, which proved 
that her outward beauty was but the reflec- 
tion of the greater beauty of the soul within 

As he watched her, he felt quite sure that 
it must be some evil fortune which had 
made so wise and lovely a lady an inhabitant 
of the forest, and given her the company 
among which he saw her, and he set to 
work to please Una and gain her confidence. 
After a short time she told him all her 
sad story of how she had lost her knight, 
and of her long wandering in search of him, 
and of how the wood people had befriended 
her and saved her from Sansloy, but how 
she now sought to escape from them, for 
she could rest happily in their midst no 
longer, and would fain seek her knight once 

When Satyrane heard all this, he promised 
to help Una, so they watched their oppor- 
tunity, and when all the wood people were 

jSf -^ ^--"i- >- 


Una is discovered by the little Woodmen. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 65 

busy in another part of the forest, Satyrane 
took her on his horse, and followed by the 
little ass, they hastened through the forest, 
and at last found themselves once more on 
the open plain. 

When they had journeyed across the plain 
for the better part of a day, and night was 
drawing near, they saw in front of them 
a weary-looking pilgrim in travel-stained 
garments. Satyrane and Una hastened to 
overtake him, for they thought they might 
obtain news from him of the far-off world 
of men, and especially of the Red Cross 

In reply to their inquiries, the pilgrim at 
first shook his head, and declared that he 
knew nothing of adventures or wars, or 
indeed of anything that was happening in 
the world at large ; but when Una added 
the eager question whether he happened 
to have heard anything of a knight bearing 
a shield with a red cross on it, his manner 

"Ay, me,'* he said, "well may I shrink 
from telling you, dear lady, of the sad sights 

66 The Gateway to Spenser. 

my eyes have seen. These very eyes have 
seen the knight you speak of both hving 
and dead." 

At these melancholy tidings Una fell into 
a swoon, from which Satyrane gently restored 
her, and with return of consciousness she 
begged the pilgrim to tell her all he knew ; 
for if her knight were in truth dead, she 
wished at least to know how he had died, 
with any other particulars about him. 

Upon this the pilgrim related that only 
that very day he had seen the Red Cross 
Knight slain in a great contest with a 
Saracen, and he also told them that they 
would find the victorious Saracen bathing 
his wounds at a fountain close by. Satyrane, 
filled with wrath against this slayer of Una's 
knight, at once set off^ in the direction 
indicated, with the result that he found 
the Saracen, as described by the pilgrim, 
at the side of a fountain. In reply to 
his angry challenge, the Saracen caught up 
his shield, and the two immediately engaged 
in fierce fight, though the Saracen declared 
that the cause of the fight was a mistake, 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 67 

as it was untrue that the Red Cross Knight 
had been slain by him. 

While they were in the midst of their 
fight, and the blood was flowing from both 
combatants, Una arrived on the spot, and 
what was her dismay to see that the Saracen 
was none other than her persecutor Sansloy. 
At this discovery she fled in terror, for 
almost any fate seemed better to her than 
that of falling again into the hands of Sansloy ; 
but in her terror she did not discover another 
source of danger. Had she observed the pil- 
grim very closely, she would have seen some- 
thing in his eyes to fill her with dread ; 
and now as she escaped from Sansloy, he 
watched her with evil gaze. But even 
had she observed him, she could hardly 
have discovered that this aged, travel-worn 
pilgrim was indeed no other than Archimago, 
who had heard of her escape from the forest 
and had once more vowed to work her ill. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

XII. — Prince Arthur comes to the Rescue. 

Una had not gone far in her flight from the 
Saracen, when she saw something which at 
first made her heart leap with sudden joy. 

You will remember that when the Red 
Cross Knight was borne away by the giant 
Orgoglio, the faithful dwarf attendant had 
been left behind, and had started forth alone 
to try to secure help for his master. It 
was the familiar misshapen figure of the 
dwarf which now met Una's eyes, and at 
the sight she went towards him even more 
quickly than she had fled from Sansloy. 
Now at last she seemed to be on the track 
of her dear lord, the Red Cross Knight ; but 
when she came nearer to the dwarf, and saw 
that he was leading the riderless charger, and 
that it bore the armour and shield of the 
knight on its back, all her joy changed to 
bitter grief and dismay, for she felt sure that 
this must mean that the knight had been 
slain ; and overcome by this thought, she 
fell fainting to the ground. 

The dwarf was almost as much grieved as 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 69 

Una when he thought of the sad tidings he had 
to tell her about the knight ; but he mastered 
his feelings as well as he could, and kneeling 
by her side, he chafed her hands and rubbed 
her temples till signs of life began to appear. 
But as consciousness returned to Una, she 
awoke again to her sorrow, and wished that 
she might die. 

" Let death come," she moaned. " Let 
my eyes be closed for ever from the sad 
sight of that empty armour and abandoned 

And with these words, she sank once 
more into a swoon. 

Again the dwarf strove to restore her to 
consciousness by every gentle means in his 
power, and at last Una revived sufficiently 
to ask him to tell her the sad story of her 
knight's fate. Then the dwarf told her 
everything that had happened from the day 
when they had left her in the hermitage, 
owing to the evil deception of Archimago. 
He related how the knight had fought and 
killed Sansfoy, and had been beguiled by 
Duessa and taken to the Castle of Pride, 

JO The Gateway to SpeMser. 

and gave an account of his combat with 
Sansjoy, and finally of his escape from the 
castle and his capture by Orgoglio. 

When she had listened with a heart 
torn with sorrow to the whole story, fresh 
courage came to Una. Love revived her 
drooping spirit, and as there was still the 
remote chance that her knight was alive, 
she rose at once with the determination to 
seek him far and wide until she found 

So, accompanied by the dwarf, Una once 
more resumed her quest. Through fierce 
storms, beaten upon by cruel winds and 
driving rains, over high mountains, through 
gloomy valleys and dark woods, she resumed 
her undaunted way. 

And at last her weary search was rewarded 
by an encounter which led to the happiest 

One day she saw before her a knight 
of very goodly appearance. He wore a 
complete suit of armour, so bright and 
shining that it looked like sunlight; his 
breastplate was ablaze with magnificent 

Una and the Red Cross Knight, ji 

jewels, and he wore a wonderful helmet 
of pure gold in the shape of a dragon 
with outstretched wings and claws, and 
crouching head, from the mouth of which 
fiery sparks seemed to issue. The crest at 
the top of the helmet was of fine gold 
and pearls, and it seemed to shake in the 
passing breeze like the tender blossoms of 
an almond tree in spring. More wonderful 
than the rest, however, was the shield borne 
by the knight, which was carved out of 
one magnificent diamond ; but this shield 
the knight kept veiled, as its light was too 
dazzling to be displayed without due cause. 
Only when the knight had to contend with 
magic powers, evil enchantments, and huge 
monsters against which his sword alone was 
powerless, would he unveil the shield, for 
before its brightness such evil things would 
immediately fade away and become of no 
avail. Later, Una was to see it, and to 
hear how it had been endowed with its 
wonderful powers, and given to the knight 
by the good magician Merlin, but at present 
it was hidden from her gaze. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

In the midst of the jewels on the knight's 
breastplate was one that shone out above all 
the rest, and was in the shape of a lady's 
head, and this jewel proclaimed to Una 
that the knight was from the court of 
^ Gloriana, the Fairy Queen. She knew at 
I once that he was a good knight and worthy 
of being trusted, though, being a stranger 
herself, she did not recognize him, as she 
otherwise would have done, as Prince Arthur, 
one of the bravest and truest knights of all 
who served the Fairy Queen. 

The knight was accompanied by his squire, 
armed with a stout wooden spear that had 
been carried to victory in many a fierce 
encounter, and both he and the knight were 
mounted on fine spirited chargers. 

As soon as this knight came close to Una 
he spoke to her with gentle courtesy, and 
discovered at once from her sad manner 
and sorrow-stricken appearance that she 
was in great secret distress. 

Now there was nothing this knight better 
loved to do than to right wrongs and succour 
those in distress ; and he tried by gentle tact 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. y2> 

and courtesy to persuade Una to tell him all 
that troubled her. 

But Una had reached that depth of sorrow 
where it seems that to speak of it to any one 
can but make matters worse. In reply to 
the knight she only uttered words of bitter 
anguish, which told him nothing. 

" It were better," she moaned, " to keep 
such grief as mine buried in my heart, than 
to stir it up by speech when no help can 
avail to comfort me." 

"Dear lady," the knight replied in sooth- 
ing accents, "well do I see that your grief 
is no common one. Yet, nevertheless, I 
beg you to tell me of its cause. Remember 
that none ever found help in distress who 
confided not the reason of it." 

"But, sir," she said, "great grief cannot 
be told, and if displayed does only grow 

"That is so," said the knight, "but some- 
times wise counsel may help to heal the 
sharpest wounds." 

Won at last by his gentle persuasion, 
Una confided to him the whole of her 

74 'I^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

sorrowful story. She began by telling him 
how she was herself the daughter of a king 
and queen, and of the terrible state of her 
country owing to the dragon that devastated 
it. And she related how she had come to 
the court of the Fairy Queen to seek a 
knight to deliver them from the dragon, 
and had been given the untried knight 
of the Red Cross as her champion. Then 
she went on to tell how he had proved him- 
self brave and strong, and worthy of the 
adventure entrusted to him, until the evil 
arts of Archimago had blinded his eyes to the 
truth and led him away from her to become 
the captive eventually of the giant Orgoglio, 
in the dungeon of whose castle he still, as 
far as she knew, was languishing. At the 
end of her sad story Una seemed likely to 
faint again with the recollection of her 
sorrows, but her new-found friend spoke 
words which put fresh courage into her 
sinking heart. 

"Indeed, dear lady," he said, "you have 
cause enough for your grief ; but be of good 
cheer, and take comfort. From henceforth, 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 75 

until we have found your captive knight, 
I will not leave your side." 

These cheering words gave poor Una fresh 
spirit, and she could not but feel confidence 
in her new friend ; so, accompanied by him 
and his squire, and led by the dwarf, she 
set forth once more on her search. 

XIII. — The Defeat of Orgoglio and Duessa. 

After journeying for some time, the tra- 
vellers saw before them a very strongly built 
castle, which the dwarf at once recognized 
as that to which he had seen the knight 
borne away by Orgoglio. He pointed 
it out to Prince Arthur, who immediately 
alighted from his horse, and went up to 
the great frowning entrance accompanied by 
his squire, bidding Una wait where she was, 
and watch what happened. 

The doors were closely shut, and there 
were no signs of life from within, but the 
squire had a wondrous horn wrought in 
twisted gold hanging by his side, the 
sound from which could be heard for three 

76 The Gateway to Spenser. 

miles, and which, moreover, had the power 
to overcome false enchantments. A blast 
from it would also cause the stoutest door, 
or the most securely locked gateway, to 
spring open ; and now as the squire raised 
it to his lips, and a piercing note echoed 
from it, the great castle quaked as if about 
to fall, and every door in it flew wide open. 

The giant himself, filled with dread, came 
rushing forth from some inner recess to find 
out the cause of the disturbance ; and after 
him came Duessa mounted on the horrible 
seven-headed monster which Orgoglio had 
given her. At the sight of this monster, 
with its seven fiery mouths gaping wide, 
the prince prepared at once for attack ; but 
at the same time the giant raised his mighty 
club in the air, and swinging it round his 
head, brought it down with such force that, 
though the prince by lightly springing aside 
avoided the blow, the head of the club was 
buried deeply in the ground, which shook as 
if from an earthquake. 

This gave the prince an advantage, because 
Orgoglio could not free the club without 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. yy 

a little delay ; and while the giant was strug- 
ling to raise it again, the prince sprang lightly 
to him and with one swift stroke of his 
sword cut off his left arm, which fell like a 
block to the ground, while a stream of blood 
gushed from the wound. 

Upon this the giant bellowed so loudly 
with pain and rage that Duessa urged her 
strange charger to his rescue, and he came 
ramping up against the knight with threat- 
ening jaws. At the sight of this fresh 
danger, the squire hastened to the protec- 
tion of the prince, and advancing toward 
the monster with his drawn sword in his 
hand, made an effectual barrier between it 
and his master. 

Duessa, however, still had magic powers 
at her disposal, for in her hand she held 
a golden cup containing a secret poison, 
which she now threw over the squire, and 
the effect of which was to daze his senses 
and numb his power, so that he could no 
longer stand, and he sank down helpless 
before the monster. 

In another moment all would have been 

78 The Gateway to Spenser. 

over with him, for the dragon's claws were 
already prepared to rend him in pieces, but 
Prince Arthur, seeing his plight, abandoned 
his conflict with Orgoglio for the moment, 
and hastened to his rescue, for his squire 
was greatly loved by him, and he was much 
distressed at his danger. 

With one swift stroke he gave the dragon 
so severe a wound that one of his seven 
monstrous heads was cleft from scalp to jaw, 
the blood from it flooded the country round, 
and a terrible roar arose from the strange 
beast, while, as he twisted in his agojiy, 
Duessa was nearly flung to the ground. 
Whereupon Orgoglio, beside himself with 
rage, came hurtling against the knight, dealing 
out such blows around him that the strongest 
oak could hardly have stood against their 
force, and Prince Arthur was hurled to the 

To Una, who watched this terrible scene 
from afar, it must now have seemed as 
though all hope were lost. There was the 
squire prone at the feet of the dragon, and 
now Prince Arthur was also overcome, and 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 79 

lay at the mercy of Orgoglio. But Una 
knew nothing of the prince's diamond shield 
and its magic power, and it was this which 
now saved him. As he fell, the veil which 
covered it slipped aside, and all its dazzling 
beams were flashed into the eyes of both the 
giant and the dragon. 

As the dragon's eyes met this flashing 
light, he at once became stone blind, and 
began to totter, and Duessa, feeling that he 
was about to fall, shrieked to Orgoglio to 
save her. 

"Oh, help, Orgoglio, help ! " she cried, 
" or else we perish all." 

Orgoglio, with an immense effort, raised 
hifi club on high to strike once more at the 
prince, but in vain. Beneath the piercing 
radiance of that diamond shield, all his force 
vanished, and he became powerless. His 
arm fell weakly to his side and he swayed 
as though about to fall ; and seizing the 
opportunity, the knight sprang to his feet 
and severed the giant's left leg near the 
knee. Down crashed Orgoglio to the ground 
like a great tree when the earth at its roots 

8o The Gateway to Spenser, 

crumbles away, or like a castle when it is 

As he lay there, the prince stepped swiftly 
to his side and cut off his head, and at the 
same moment the huge body seemed to 
shrink and vanish, until at last there was 
nothing where the giant had been but an 
empty bladder. 

At the loss of her champion, Duessa flung 
aside the mitre with which she was crowned, 
and hurled away her golden cup of poison, 
and she would have escaped from the scene 
of her disaster, had not the squire swiftly 
overtaken her and brought her back as a 
captive, whose future fate was yet to be 

Una now came running up to greet tlie 
victor, and she too asked that Duessa should 
not be allowed to escape so easily, since the- 
Red Cross Knight's misadventures were so 
largely due to her evil arts. 

So Duessa was left in charge of the squire, 
while the Prince and Una forced their way 
into the castle to seek for the captive knight. 


The Wicked Elf flies a^vay with the Prince. 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 8i 

XIV. — The Release of the Red Cross Knight. 

The whole castle seemed to be deserted as 
Una and Prince Arthur entered it. In none 
of the corridors or rooms could they see 
signs of any living person, and a solemn 
silence was the only answer to their cries. 
At last an old, old man, with a beard as 
white as snow, came tottering forth from 
some hidden recess, bearing a great bunch 
of keys by his side, and with his head so 
twisted that he looked in an opposite direction 
from the one in which he moved. This 
old man proved to be the giant's foster- 
father, whose name was Ignaro; but in reply 
to the prince's gently spoken question as to 
where the inhabitants of the castle could be 
found, and in which part the captive Red 
Cross Knight was imprisoned, his only answer 
was, " I cannot tell, I cannot tell," repeated 
in a foolish, vacant manner. 

The prince controlled his impatience on 
account of the aged appearance of Ignaro, 
but his suspicions as to the honesty of his 
answer were in the end aroused, and th 

(1,666) 6 



The Gateway to Spenser. 

he kept in check his wrath at Ignaro's de- 
ceitfulness, he took the keys from his hands^ 
and proceeded to unlook the inner doors of 
the castle himself. A horrible sight met 
his gaze when he had done so. 

The walls of the castle were adorned as 
for a royal residence with gorgeous tapestries 
and resplendent gold ; but the floors were 
a mass of filth, and strewn with the remains 
of slaughtered children. Through room after 
room strode the prince, seeking the Red 
Cross Knight in vain, but at last he came 
upon a fast-closed iron door, the lock of 
which none of the keys seemed to fit. In 
this door was a small grating, and through 
this grating the prince now shouted in case 
any one was hidden within ; and indeed 
a low hollow voice could be faintly heard 
in reply. 

" Oh ! who is that ? " it said, " who is it 
that brings me hope of death which would 
be so much better than the life which I 
endure in this dark spot, where I have lain 
for three whole weary months ? " 

At the sound of this voice, the prince's 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 8 


heart beat fast, for he felt almost sure that 
he had at last found the Red Cross Knight ; 
and with a mighty push of the door he 
burst" it open, and nearly fell headlong into 
a deep hole on the other side, from which 
rose a foul, close atmosphere. 

Nothing daunted, however, in his deter- 
mination to free the captive. Prince Arthur 
succeeded in lowering himself to where the 
wretched knight lay in the depths below ; 
and with great toil and difficulty he brought 
him back to the upper air. 

It was a pitiful spectacle that met his gaze 
when at last he laid the Red Cross Knight, 
for it was indeed he, at the entrance to the 
dungeon. His eyes were sunken in his pale 
wasted face, and his shrunken limbs were 
unable to bear the weight of his feeble body. 

He was hardly to be recognized as the 
strong, handsome young knight who had set 
out with Una from the court of the Fairy 
Queen, and when the maiden, who had waited 
close by, came running up to greet him, even 
her joy was overcome by grief at the sorry 
spectacle he presented to her loving gaze. 

84 The Gateway to Spenser, 

The knight himself was too worn out to be 
able to feci delight either at seeing his lady 
or at being released from his long imprison- 
ment, and could not even find words in which 
to tell them of his great sufferings. Una, 
however, had no need of speech to tell her 
what they had been. His sad appearance 
told her more of all he had endured than 
anything he might say could ever do, and 
fierce indignation overcame her at the 
thought of the bad treatment he had suffered. 

Prince Arthur pointed out to her, however, 
that to dwell on past ill-fortune is very 
unprofitable, and that the only use in 
thinking of bygone grief and suffering is 
to be wiser in knowing how to avoid them 
in the future. 

He bade the Red Cross Knight endeav- 
our to recover his lost strength and overcome 
the effects of his misfortunes with patient 
striving ; and he showed him how his great 
enemy Orgoglio lay vanquished, while the 
witch whose evil arts had been the means 
of his undoing was now at their mercy to 
slay or not as they might choose. 

Una and the Red Cross Kniphi. 



Una decided that it would be a shame to 
kill so weak and powerless an enemy as 
Duessa, and suggested that instead of this 
she should be stripped of her scarlet robe 
and other finery, and sent forth into the 
world revealed as the witch that she was. 

So Duessa's robes and false hair and jewels 
were taken from her, and when this was 
done, she was seen to be nothing but a 
hideous, misshapen witch. One of her feet 
was like a huge claw, and the other like 
a bear's foot ; her skin was all withered and 
hard, and, above all, she had a tail like that 
of a fox. Thus stripped, and with all her 
hideousness laid bare, the witch fled from 
the light of heaven, and sought secret caves 
in wild desolate regions where she might 
hide from the gaze of men. 

And' now, after their labours and sufferings, 
Una and the two knights rested for a while 
in the deserted castle, where they found all 
necessary for their comfort. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

XV.— The Healing of the Red Cross Knight. 

When the prince and Una had rested long 
enough to regain their strength, and the 
Red Cross Knight had also recovered some- 
thing of his usual health and vigour, they 
were no longer content to spend their time 
in idleness and luxury. Una was feeling 
very anxious about her aged parents, who 
all this time were waiting in their brazen 
tower for her help ; and the knight too 
was now eager to resume his adventure 
to rescue them, while Prince Arthur felt 
that they no longer needed him, and was 
anxious to go forth again in service of the 
Fairy Queen. 

So with many expressions of affection and 
goodwill, he parted from his friends, and 
they each resumed their separate ways. 
Before he bade them farewell, Prince Arthur 
told them who he was, and how he had been 
brought up by a Fairy Knight and instructed 
by the wise magician Merlin ; and he gave 
the Red Cross Knight as a parting gift a 
beautiful box made of a diamond and em- 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. ^'j 

bossed with gold, and containing a precious 
ointment, which he said had the power to 
heal any wound, however grievous. 

Then with the exchange of courtesies and 
many affectionate words, they parted. 

So now Una and the Red Cross Knight, 
attended by the dwarf, once more resumed 
their long-interrupted journey. They had 
not gone very far when they met a knight 
riding at great speed towards them, and 
glancing behind him constantly as he came, 
as if in fear of pursuit. When he drew 
near to them, he was seen to exhibit great 
signs of terror, and in reply to the Red 
Cross Knight, he said that his fear was due 
to an encounter with an evil man named , 
Despair, who had deprived him of all his*^ 
courage, and even almost persuaded him to 
take his own life. The knight was at once 
fired with the wish to attack this wicked 
personage, and though the other, who gave 
his name as Trevisan, refused to go near 
him again, he undertook to point out his 
dwelling-place, which was in a cave not far 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

After passing a most desolate region, they 
came to the entrance of the cave, and within 
the knight saw the figure of Despair sitting 
on the ground clad in rags, and with his 
long gray locks falling on to his shoulders 
and half hiding his gaunt face, out of which 
stared his hollow, dull eyes. 

The knight accosted him in tones of 

wrath, intending to fight with him while 

fhis own blood was up, but in reply Despair 

» argued so calmly that he quite disarmed him. 

He declared that ease and rest were good 
things, that after a little toil they were well 
earned, and he discouraged the effort and 
courage which are necessary to enable us 
to live nobly and well. Then, and in con- 
clusion, he said, — 

•' Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, 
Ease after war, death after life, doth greatly please.' 

Now all this talk was as poison to the 
spirit of the knight, who was still weak and 
worn, and he began to be so much influenced 
by Despair, that instead of fighting with 
him, he came to the conclusion that he him- 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 89 

self would rather die at once, and be finished v/ 
with the battle of life, instead of fighting 
nobly to the end. He even accepted a 
dagger which Despair placed in his hand, 1 , 
intending to kill himself with it, but he K 
was saved from this base and cowardly act ' 
by Una. 

When she saw the dagger in his hand and 
realized his intention, she rushed to him and 
addressed him in words of indignant wrath, 
reminding him of the quest he had under- 
taken, and reproaching him as a faint-hearted 
knight. And she implored him to fly with 
her from this evil haunt of Despair, so 
together they turned their backs upon it, 
leaving Despair angry beyond measure at the 
knight's escape. 

This proved to Una that her dear knight , 
was not fully healed, and that before he faced v/ 
so fierce an enemy as the dragon which 
devastated her country, he must have further 
care ; so she led him to a house that she 
knew well, ruled over by a wise matron, 
in whose hands she was assured he would 
have his strength restored to him. The 


90 The Gale'ujay to Spenser. 

name of the matron was Caelia, and tended 
by her three virtuous daughters, FideUa, 
Speranza and Clarissa (or Faith, Hope, and 
Charity), and by the skilful doctor. Patience, 
the health and strength of the Red Cross 
Knight slowly returned to him. 

Before his cure was quite complete, Pen- 
ance and Remorse were also called in to 
attend upon him, and much he had to suffer 
at their hands ; but in the end he was 
healed and strengthened, and restored to 
Una, who greeted him with tender affection. 

Before he left the house of Caelia, he was 
^ led by an aged dame named Mercy to a 
steep hill at some little distance away, and 
on the summit of the hill he saw a little 
hermitage, where dwelt an ancient sage, who 
spent all his time in holy contemplation, and 
with whom he had much discourse. 

This venerable old man told the knight 
how he too might attain to holiness, and in 
the end join the concourse of saints, and he 
declared to him a secret concerning himself 
and his birth, which filled the knight with 
wonder. For instead of being the son of 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 


a simple peasant, as the Red Cross Knight 
himself had always believed, he told him 
that he was of royal British lineage, and he 
foretold that he was to become the patron 
saint of his own native land, and be known 
to future ages as St. George. 

Great was the amazement of the knight, 
and he was filled with joy and pride to think 
that he was of British blood ; but he was 
still much puzzled as to how he came to 
be brought up far from his own people and 
as the son of a ploughman. The old man 
then told him that when he was a baby, 
a fairy had snatched him out of his cradle 
when sleeping, leaving one of her own elfin 
babies in his place, and had borne him away 
in her arms to Fairyland, where she had 
hidden him in a furrow of a ploughed field. 
There he had been found by the ploughman, 
who brought him up as his own son and 
gave him the name of Georgos. With this 
foster-father he had remained until arrived 
at man's estate, when the instincts of his 
race led him to the court of the Fairy 
Queen in search of knightly adventure. 



The Gateway to Spenser. 

The Red Cross Knight was filled with 
gratitude to the old sage for all he had told 

" O holy Sir," he said, " how can I ever 
requite thee ? Thou hast shown me the 
right path, and put me in possession of the 
true facts of my birth and parentage." 

So with these words of gratitude, he left 
the sage and returned to Una, and after a 
little rest they bade farewell to the kindly 
ladies who had cared for them so well in 
the house of Caelia, and started forth once 
{ more in pursuit of their first adventure. 

XVI. — The End of the Adventure, 

Before the knight and Una had travelled 
very far, the maiden was able to point out 
to her companion in the distance the brazen 
tower which sheltered her parents ; and by 
straining their eyes they were able to discern 
a watchman on the top of it, gazing anxiously 
across the landscape to catch the first glimpses 
of their longed-for approach. 

While their eyes were fixed in this direc- 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 93 

tion, their attention was arrested by a loud, 
hideous roaring, and turning whence it came, 
they saw the great form of the dragon 
stretched at full length on the side of a 
hill, the bright sunshine falling full upon 
him, and his huge bulk appearing almost 
like a hill itself. 

As he caught sight of the knight, the 
monster reared himself up, displaying his 
enormous proportions and the whole horror 
of his appearance. He was covered entirely 
with scales of metal, which shone in the 
sunlight, and were so closely overlaid that 
there was no space for sword or spear to 
penetrate between them ; and as he moved, 
these shining scales clattered with a frightful 

HiSj^two huge wings were like great sails ; 
and his tail, armed with two deadly stings, 
was bespotted red and black, and when 
unfolded could sweep the land for three 
furlongs. But more horrible still was the 
sight of his great cruel talons and of his 
deep devouring jaws, gaping open, with three 
rows of sharp iron teeth, and dripping with 

94 The Gateway to Spenser. 

the gore of his mangled victims. Half 
flying and half running, and with his eyes 
blazing like two burning shields, while a 
cloud of foul vapour issued from his mouth, 
this dreadful monster advanced towards the 

The knight couched his spear and ran 
fiercely at him, but the spear glanced off 
the smooth surface of the dragon's side 
though he swerved a little with the shock, 
and the next moment a stroke of his tail 
laid the knight and his charger in the dust. 
They quickly recovered themselves, and the 
knight returned to the attack, whereupon 
the dragon unfurled his huge wings, raised 
himself on them in mid-air and swooping 
down on the knight bore both him and his 
horse aloft. 

So fiercely, however, did the knight 
struggle in his grasp, that the monster was 
compelled to relax his hold and descend 
again to the plain, where the knight once 
more attacked him with his spear, and this 
time with such force that he inflicted a wide 
wound under the left wing. The spear-head 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 95 

remained in the wound, while the monster 
filled the air around with his yells of wrath 
and agony ; and as he forced the spear from 
his side, a stream of black blood issued from 
the wound. 

The knight now seized his sword and 
hurled blows on the dragon's crest, but so 
stout was the metal encasing it that these 
did not even make a dint. Again and again 
did he smite the beast, but the sharp blade 
only recoiled from the surface as though it 
had been of adamant. The dragon, still 
smarting from his wound, now sought to 
raise himself into the air again, but with 
a roar of agony he found that his wounded 
wing made flight impossible, and at the same 
time he sent forth a fiery blast from his 
mouth full in the face of his enemy, who felt 
it scorch his body even through his armour. 

Grievous now seemed the plight of the 
knight, tortured by this burning sensation, 
and he was faint and worn by the terrible 
conflict ; and at this moment, when he 
felt that even death were better than the 
further endurance of such suffering, the 

96 The Gateway to Spenser. 

dragon felled him to the ground with one 
mighty stroke. It seemed as though the 
end must have come, but this was not so. 

By a fortunate chance the spot where the 
knight was standing was close to an ancient 
spring, which was possessed of most wonder- 
ful healing properties. Into this water the 
knight had fallen when the dragon knocked 
him down, and there he remained all night 
gradually recovering his strength, while the 
dragon vaunted himself as being the victor. 
Poor Una, who had watched the battle from 
a hill near by, feared the day was lost, and 
spent the night in agonized prayer for her 
champion, of whose safety she remained in 
great doubt, as the last she saw before the 
sun went down was that he had fallen. 

Great was Una*sjoy and relief, therefore, 
when the bright rays of the risen sun lighted 
up the scene next morning, to behold the 
knight rise up from the spring, in the waters 
of which he had spent the night, as fresh 
and vigorous as though he had not fought 
at all on the previous day. The sight of 
him thus strong and unwounded also filled 

The Watchman shozvs the 

King the vanquished 


Una and the Red Cross Knight. 97 

the dragon with such surprise that he began 
to quake a little, and wonder if after all some 
other knight had not taken the place of his 
enemy of the day before ; and taking the 
monster at a disadvantage, the knight suc- 
ceeded in inflicting such a blow on his head 
that the dragon was almost stunned with 
the pain, and began to roar like a hundred 
ramping lions, and lash his tail with such 
fury that he overthrew trees and tore rocks 
in pieces with it. 

Then recovering himself, he attacked his 
enemy with the sting in his tail, wounding 
him in the shoulder, while in return the 
knight cleft one of the knots of the tail 
with his sword. Fiercer and fiercer waxed 
the conflict throughout the day. The air 
was filled with roars and bellowings from 
the dragon, mingled with the clang of metal, 
as the knight's sword struck right and left 
against the iron scales, while the whole 
plain was enveloped in a dense smoke issuing 
from the mouth of the monster, and lighted 
by vivid flashes of flame which scorched 
the knight when he drew near him. At 

(1,666) 7 

98 The Gateway to Spenser. 

last, with a desperate plunge, the dragon 
seized the knight's shield in one of his great 
claws ; but his enemy slashed so fiercely at 
him that he had to loosen his hold with one 
claw in order to defend himself, and with a 
swift true stroke the knight severed the other 
at the joint, though the claw even when thus 
severed still kept its grip upon the shield. 

But at the close of the day the knight's 
strength once more began to fail, and over- 
come by weakness and by the terrible 
atmosphere of smoke and flame, he missed 
his footing and fell backwards, where he lay 
motionless at the foot of a tree. 

Again through the long night did Una 
watch and pray for her knight whose fate 
she had again witnessed, and again with a 
new joy did she see him arise fresh and 
vigorous. For it so chanced that the tree 
under which he fell was the one known as 
the " tree of life," and was the only one in 
the whole district which the dragon had 
been powerless to destroy, so that instead of 
being bare and stricken like the rest, it was 
still covered with leaves and fruit. More- 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. 99 

over, it had marvellous healing properties, 
for a balm trickled from its sides v^hich 
could heal the most deadly wound. So as 
the knight lay at its foot, this wonderful 
balm bathed him all night, and he arose 
the next morning, as on the day before, as 
fresh as if he had never fought. 

The dragon meanwhile had obtained no 
renewal of his strength, which was greatly 
diminished by all his wounds ; and if he 
had known of the balm, he could not have 
made use of it, as he was powerless to draw 
near to the tree. 

On the third day the fight began again. 
The dragon advanced as before with great 
gaping jaws. Then the knight, by a sudden 
swift attack, plunged his sword right down 
the throat of the beast with such force that 
his life-blood welled up through it, and with 
a mighty groan the monster rolled over on 
his side quite dead. 

Even the knight could hardly believe that 
he had actually killed his foe, and stood 
appalled as the huge mass swayed and heaved 
over, while Una was afraid at first to draw 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

near, hardly daring to believe that the monster 
was really slain. But as the dragon con- 
tinued to lie quite still just as he had rolled 
over, and to give no sign of life, she first 
sank for a moment on her knees to praise 
God for the victory, and then hastened to 
thank the knight. 

XVII. — The Marriage of Una and 
the Red Cross Knight. 

The w^atchman on the tow^er had seen the 
death of the dragon, and had at once hastened 
to the king and queen with the joyful news ; 
and now the great doors of the castle were 
thrown open for the first time for many 
years, and the king and queen came out to 
thank their deliverer. Following them were 
fair children, and young men and lovely 
maidens, who sang and danced as they came, 
and they threw laurels at the feet of the Red 
Cross Knight, and on Una's head they placed 
garlands of gay flowers. 

So all was merrymaking and rejoicing. 
Soon, too, all the people of the country came 

Una and the Red Cross Knight. loi 

flocking to the spot as the glad news spread 
among them, and great was the delight of 
all to see the huge carcass of their tormentor. 
Even yet, however, fear of the dragon was 
not quite at an end, for some fancied that 
a lingering spark of life might still cause 
evil to those who drew near the dead body, 
and great was the terror of one woman who 
saw her infant son calmly playing with the 
monster's claws. 

The knight was now loaded with gifts of 
costly ivory and gold by the grateful king, 
and to the renewed sounds of trumpets and 
clarions, and with flowers and branches 
scattered before them, he and Una were led 
to the palace, where a great feast was prepared. 
When the feast was ended, the knight, at the 
request of the king and queen, related all his 
adventures since he first started on the quest 
with Una, up to the slaying of the dragon, 
and to all this the royal pair listened with 
deep interest, shedding tears of sympathy 
when they heard of his sufferings and mis- 
adventures through the wiles of Archimago 
and Duessa. 

I02 The Gateway to Spenser. 

At the end of his story the king announced 
that he had vowed, in return for what the 
Red Cross Knight had done, to give him his 
only daughter Una in marriage, and to make 
him the heir to his kingdom. Una herself 
was then sent for, and she appeared radiant 
and joyful. She had thrown aside her melan- 
choly garb, and the hood which before had 
partly hidden her face, so that now all the 
beauty of her sweet face was revealed, and in 
her gown of spotless white silk, embroidered 
with silver, she seemed to the eyes of her 
lover as — 

" Fresh and fair as fairest flowers in May." 

But just at this glad moment, when the 
knight advanced to meet Una, who came 
towards him with blushing cheeks and 
shining eyes, an interruption occurred. A 
messenger came hurrying into the royal 
presence, and with gestures of great apparent 
humility presented the king with an urgent 
letter. When the king had glanced at the 
contents of this letter, he became much 
disturbed. It was signed " Fidessa," and in 

Una and the Red Cross Knicrht. 


it the writer declared that the knight had 
been betrothed to her for a long time, and 
that though he had basely deserted her, he 
was not free to marry any one else. Una, 
however, soon put her father's mind at rest, 
by explaining that Fidessa was but a name 
assumed by the evil witch Duessa, who had 
already wrought the knight so much harm. 
She also thought she could recognize in the 
messenger the wicked Archimago himself, 
and this indeed he proved to be. Where- 
upon the king had him seized by his guard 
and cast into prison, while the preparations 
for the marriage of the Red Cross Knight 
and Una were proceeded with at once. 

Great were the rejoicings throughout the 
land when the happy day came which united 
the lovers, and never was bridegroom happier 
than was the Red Cross Knight when he 
looked upon the lovely countenance of the 
lady whose heart and hand were his. 

But in the midst of his happiness he did 
not forget the solemn promise he had made 
to the Fairy Queen, that if she gave him the 
adventure, he would return to her at its close 

I04 The Gateway to Spenser. 

and serve her for six years in knightly enter- 
prise. So after a short time spent with 
Una, he bade her farewell, and set forth to 
redeem his pledge, leaving her with her 
parents until the time when he could return 
and take up his position as her husband and 
the heir to her father's realm, which he did 
in due time ; and with his beloved wife he 
lived happily to the end of his days. 


A GENTLE knight was pricking on the plain, 
Yclad in mighty arms and silver shield, 
Wherein old dints of deep wounds did 

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 seem'd, and fair did sit. 
As one for knightly jousts and fierce en- 
counters 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 

And dead, as living, ever Him adored ; 
Upon his shield the like was also scored, 

io6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

For sovereign hope, which in his help he 

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 


Upon a great adventure he was bond. 
That greatest Gloriana to him gave, 
(That greatest glorious Queen of Fairy lond) 
To win him worship, and her grace to have. 
Which of all earthly things he most did 

And ever as he rode, his heart did earne 
To prove his puissance in battle brave 
Upon his foe, and his new force to learn ; 
Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern. 

A lovely lady rode him 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 mourn'd ; so was she sad, 

The Red Cross Knight and Una set out. 107 

And heavy sate upon her palfrey slow ; 
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had ; 
And by her in a line a milk-white lamb she 

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 
Their sceptres stretch'd from east to western 

And all the world in their subjection held ; 
Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar 
Forwasted all their land, and them expell'd ; 
Whom to avenge, she had this knight from 

far compell'd. 

Behind her far away a dwarf did lag. 

That lazy seem'd, in being ever last. 

Or wearied with bearing of her bag 

Of needments at his back. Thus as they 

The day with clouds was sudden overcast, 
And angry Jove an hideous storm of rain 
Did pour into his consort's lap so fast, 

io8 The Gateway to Spenser. 

That every wight to shroud it did constrain ; 
And this fair couple eke to shroud themselves 
vv^ere fain. 

Enforced to seek some covert nigh at hand, 
A shady grove not far away they spied, 
That promised aid the tempest to withstand ; 
Whose lofty trees, yclad with summer's pride 
Did spread so broad, that heaven's light did 

Not pierceable with power of any star ; 
And all within were paths and alleys wide, 
With footing worn and leading inward far ; 
Fair harbour that them seems ; so in they 

enter'd are. 

And forth they pass, with pleasure forward 

Joying to hear the birds' sweet harmony. 
Which therein shrouded from the tempest 

Seem'd in their song to scorn the cruel sky. 
Much can they praise the trees so straight 

and high. 
The sailing pine ; the cedar proud and tall ; 

The Red Cross Knight and Una set out. 109 

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 
And 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 

The warlike beech ; the ash for nothing ill, 
The fruitful olive ; and the platane round ; 
The carver holme ; the maple, seldom 

inward sound. 


Nought is there under heaven's wide hol- 

That moves more dear compassion of mind, 
Than beauty brought t' unworthy wretched- 
Through envy's snares, or fortune's freaks 

I, whether lately through her brightness 

Or through allegiance, and fast fealty, 
Which I do owe unto all womankind. 
Feel my heart pierced with so great agony, 
When such I see, that all for pity I could die. 

And now it is empassioned so deep. 
For fairest Una's sake, of whom I sing, 
That my frail eyes these lines with tears do 

To think how she through guileful handeling. 

UncLS Lion. ill 

Though true as touch, though daughter of 

a king, 
Though fair as ever living wight was fair. 
Though nor in word nor deed ill meriting, 
Is from her knight divorced in despair, 
And her due loves derived to that vile 

witch's share. 

Yet she, most faithful lady, all this while 
Forsaken, woeful, solitary maid. 
Far from all people's preace,* as in exile. 
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray 'd. 
To seek her knight ; who, subtilely betray'd 
Through that late vision which th' enchanter 

Had her abandon'd ; she of nought afraid. 
Through woods and wasteness wide him 

daily sought. 
Yet wished tidings none of him unto her 


One day, nigh weary of the irksome way, 
From her unhasty beast she did alight ; 

* Press, throng, or crowd. 

112 The Gateway to Spenser. 

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 

It fortuned, out of the thickest wood 
A ramping lion 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 devour'd her tender corse ; 
But to the prey when as he drew more nigh. 
His bloody rage assuaged with remorse, 
And, with the sight amazed, forgat his 
furious force. 

Instead thereof, he kiss'd her weary feet, 
And lick'd her lily hands with fawning 

tongue ; 
As he her wronged innocence did weet. 
O how can beauty master the most strong. 


Una and the Lion i/i the aesert. 

Unas Lion. 1 13 

And simple truth subdue avenging wrong ! 
Whose yielded pride and proud submission, 
Still dreading death, when she had marked 

Her heart gan melt in great compassion ; 
And drizzling tears did shed for pure 


" The lion, lord of every beast in field," 
Quoth she, " his princely puissance doth 

And mighty proud to humble weak does 

Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late 
Him prick'd, 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 

abhorr'd ? " 

Redounding tears did choke th' end of her 

Which softly echoed from the neighbour 

wood ; 

(1.666) 8 

114 '^^^^ Gateway to Spenset. 

And, sad to see her sorrowful constraint, 
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood ; 
With pity calm'd, 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 

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. 


High time now gan it wax for Una fair 
To think of those her captive parents dear. 
And their forwasted kingdom to repair : 
Whereto whenas they now approached near. 
With hearty words her knight she gan to 

And in her modest manner thus bespake : 
" Dear knight, as dear as ever knight was 

That all these sorrows suffer for my sake. 
High heaven behold the tedious toil ye for 

me take ! 

" Now are we come unto my native soil, 
And to the place where all our perils dwell ; 
Here haunts that fiend, and does his daily 

spoil ; 
Therefore henceforth be at your keeping well, 

1 1 6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

And ever ready for your foeman fell : 
The spark of noble courage now awake, 
And strive your excellent self to excel : 
That shall ye evermore renowned make 
Above all knights on earth, that battle 

And pointing forth, " Lo ! yonder is," said 

"The brazen tow'r, in which my parents 

For dread of that huge fiend imprison'd be ; 
Whom I from far see on the walls appear. 
Whose sight my feeble soul doth greatly 

cheer ; 
And on the top of all I do espy 
The watchman waiting tidings glad to hear. 
That, O my parents, might I happily 
Unto you bring, to ease you of your misery ! " 

With that they heard a roaring hideous 

That all the air with terror filled wide. 
And seem'd uneath to shake the steadfast 


The Fight with the Dragon. 1 1 7 

Eftsoones that dreadful dragon they espied, 
Where stretch'd he lay upon the sunny side 
Of a great hill, himself like a great hill : 
But, all so soon as he from far descried 
Those glist'ring arms that heaven with light 

did fill. 
He roused himself full blithe, and hast'ned 

them until. 

By this, the dreadful beast drew nigh to hand. 
Half flying and half footing in his haste. 
That with his largeness measured much land, 
And made wide shadow under his huge 

waste ; 
As mountain doth the valley overcast. 
Approaching nigh, he reared high afore 
His body monstrous, horrible, and vast ; 
Which, to increase his wondrous greatness 

Was swoll'n with wrath and poison, and with 

bloody gore ; 

And over all with brazen scales was arm'd, 
Like plated coat of steel, so couched near 

ii8 The Gateway to Spenser. 

That nought mote pierce ; ne might his 

corse be harm'd 
With dint of sword, nor push of pointed 

spear : 
Which, as an eagle, seeing prey appear. 
His aery plumes doth rouse full rudely dight ; 
So shaked he, that horror was to hear : 
For, as the clashing of an armour bright. 
Such noise his roused scales did send unto 

the knight. 

His flaggy wings, when forth he did dis- 
Were like two sails, in which the hollow 

Is gather'd full, and worketh speedy way : 
And eke the pens, that did his pinions 

Were like main-yards with flying canvas 

lined ; 
With which whenas him lift the air to beat. 
And there by force unwonted passage find, 
The clouds before him fled for terror great, 
And all the heavens stood still amazed with 
his threat. 

The Fight with the Dragon. 119 

His huge long tail, wound up in hundred 

Does overspread his long brass-scaly back, 
Whose wreathed boughts* whenever he un- 
And thick-entangled knots adown does slack, 
Bespotted as with shields of red and black. 
It sweepeth all the land behind him far, 
And of three furlongs does but little lack ; 
And at the point two stings infixed are, 
Both deadly sharp, that sharpest steel ex- 
ceeden far. 

But stings and sharpest steel did far exceed 
The sharpness of his cruel rending claws : 
Dead was it sure, as sure as death indeed. 
Whatever thing does touch his ravenous 

Or what within his reach he ever draws. 
But his most hideous head my tongue to tell 
Does tremble ; for his deep devouring jaws 
Wide gaped, like the grisly mouth of hell. 
Through which into his dark abyss all ravin 


* Circular folds or windings. 

I20 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

And, that more wondrous was, in either jaw 
Three ranks of iron teeth enranged were, 
In which yet trickling blood, and gobbets raw, 
Of late devoured bodies did appear ; 
That sight thereof bred cold congealed fear : 
Which to increase, and all at once to kill, 
A cloud of smothering smoke, and sulphur 

Out of his stinking gorge forth steamed still. 
That all the air about with smoke and stench 

did fill. 

His blazing eyes, like two bright shining 

Did burn with wrath, and sparkled living 

fire : 
As two broad beacons, set in open fields. 
Send forth their flames far off to every shire. 
And warning give, that enemies conspire 
With fire and sword the region to invade ; 
So flamed his eyne with rage and rancorous 

ire : 
But far within, as in a hollow glade. 
Those glaring lamps were set, that made a 

dreadful shade. 

The Fight with the Dragon. 121 

So dreadfully he towards him did pass, 
Forelifting up aloft his speckled breast, 
And often bounding on the bruised grass, 
As for great joyaunce of his new come guest. 
Eftsoones he gan advance his haughty crest ; 
As chafed boar his bristles doth uprear ; 
And shook his scales to battle ready drest, 
(That made the Redcross knight nigh quake 

for fear). 
As bidding bold defiance to his foeman near. 

The knight gan fairly couch his steady spear. 
And fiercely ran at him with rigorous might : 
The pointed steel arriving rudely there. 
His harder hide would neither pierce nor 

But, glancing by, forth passed forward right : 
Yet, sore amoved with so puissant push. 
The wrathful beast about him turned light. 
And him so rudely, passing by, did brush 
With his long tail, that horse and man to 

ground did rush. 

Both horse and man up lightly rose again. 
And fresh encounter towards him addrest ; 

122 The Gateway to Spenser. 

But th' idle stroke yet back recoil'd in vain. 
And found no place his deadly point to rest. 
Exceeding rage enflamed the furious beast, 
To be avenged of so great despite ; 
For never felt his impierceable breast 
So wondrous force from hand of living wight : 
Yet had he proved the pow'r of many a 
puissant knight. 

Then, with his waving wings displayed wide, 
Himself up high he lifted from the ground, 
And with strong flight did forcibly divide 
The yielding air, which nigh too feeble found 
Her flitting parts, and element unsound, 
To bear so great a weight : He, cutting way 
With his broad sails, about him soared round ; 
At last, low stooping with unwieldly sway, 
Snatch'd up both horse and man, to bear 
them quite away. 

Long he them bore above the subject plain, 
So far as yewen bow a shaft may send ; 
Till struggling strong did him at last con- 
To let them down before his flightes end : 

The Fight with the Dragon. 123 

As haggard hawk, presuming to contend 
With hardy fowl above his able might, 
His weary pounces all in vain doth spend 
To truss the prey too heavy for his flight ; 
Which coming down to ground, does free 
itself by fight. 

He so disseized of his gripping gross, 
The knight his thrillant spear again assay'd 
In his brass-plated body to embosse, 
And three men's strength unto the stroke 

he laid ; 
Wherewith the stiff beam quaked, as afraid, 
And glancing from his scaly neck did glide 
Close under his left wing, then broad dis- 

play'd : 
The piercing steel there wrought a wound 

full wide. 
That with the uncouth smart the monster 

loudly cried. 

He cried, as raging seas are wont to roar. 
When wintry storm his wrathful wreck does 

threat ; 
The rolling billows beat the ragged shore, 

124 "^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

As they the earth would shoulder from her 

seat ; 
And greedy gulf does gape, as he would 

His neighbour element in his revenge : 
Then gin the blust'ring brethren boldly 

To move the world from off his steadfast 

And bois'trous battle make, each other to 


The steely head stuck fast still in his flesh. 
Till with his cruel claws he snatch'd the 

And quite asunder broke : forth flowed fresh 
A gushing river of black gory blood. 
That drowned all the land, whereon he 

stood ; 
The stream thereof would drive a water- 
mill : 
Trebly augmented was his furious mood 
With bitter sense of his deep-rooted ill. 
That flames of fire he threw forth from his 
large nostril. 

The Fight with the Dragon. 125 

His hideous tail then hurled he about, 
And therewith all enwrapt the nimble thighs 
Of his froth-foamy steed, whose courage stout 
Striving to loose the knot that fast him ties, 
Himself in straiter bands too rash implyes. 
That to the ground he is perforce constrain'd 
To throw his rider ; who can quickly rise 
From off the earth, with dirty blood dis- 

For that reproachful fall right foully he 

disdain'd ; 

And fiercely took his trenchant blade in 

With which he struck so furious and so fell, 
That nothing seem'd the puissance could 

Upon his crest the hard'ned iron fell ; 
But his more hard'ned crest was arm'd so well. 
That deeper dint therein it would not make ; 
Yet so extremely did the buff him quell. 
That from thenceforth he shunn'd the like 

to take. 
But, when he saw them come, he did them 

still forsake. 

126 The Gateway to Spenser. 

The knight was wroth to see his stroke be- 
And smote again with more outrageous 

might ; 
But back again the sparkling steel recoil'd. 
And left not any mark where it did light, 
As if in adamant rock it had been pight. 
The beast, impatient of his smarting wound. 
And of so fierce and forcible despite. 
Thought with his wings to sty above the 

ground ; 
But his late wounded wing unserviceable 

Then, full of grief and anguish vehement. 
He loudly bray'd, that like was never heard : 
And from his wide devouring oven sent 
A flake of fire, that, flashing in his beard. 
Him all amazed, and almost made afeard : 
The scorching flame sore singed all his 

And through his armour all his body sear'd. 
That he could not endure so cruel case, 
But thought his arms to leave, and helmet 

to unlace. 

The Fight with the Dragon. 127 

Not that great champion of the antique 

Whom famous poets' verse so much doth 

And hath for tw^elve huge labours high ex- 

So many furies and sharp fits did haunt, 
When him the poison'd garment did enchant, 
With Centaur's blood and bloody verses 

charm'd ; 
As did this knight twelve thousand dolours 

Whom fiery steel now burnt, that erst him 

arm'd ; 
That erst him goodly arm'd, now most of all 

him harm'd. 

Faint, weary, sore, emboyled, grieved, brent, 

With heat, toil, wounds, arms, smart, and 
inward fire. 

That never man such mischiefs did tor- 
ment ; 

Death better were ; death did he oft desire ; 

But death will never come, when needs 

128 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Whom so dismay'd when that his foe beheld, 
He cast to suffer him no more respire, 
But gan his sturdy stern about to weld. 
And him so strongly stroke, that to the 
ground him fell'd. 

It fortuned, (as fair it then befell). 
Behind his back, unweeting where he stood. 
Of ancient time there was a springing well. 
From which fast trickled forth a silver flood, 
Full of great virtues, and for med'cine 

good : 
Whylome, before that cursed dragon got 
That happy land, and all with innocent 

Defiled those sacred waves, it rightly hot 
The Well of Life ; ne yet his virtues had 

forgot : 

For unto life the dead it could restore. 
And guilt of sinful crimes clean wash away ; 
Those, that with sickness were infected sore, 
It could recure ; and aged long decay 
Renew, as one were born that very day. 
Both Silo this, and Jordan, did excel. 

The Fight with the Dragon. 129 

And th' English Bath, and eke the German 

Spa ; 
Ne can Cephise, nor Hebrus, match this 

well : 
Into the same the knight back overthrowen 


Now gan the golden Phoebus for to steep 
His fiery face in billows of the west. 
And his faint steeds wat'red in ocean deep, 
Whiles from their journal labours they did 

rest ; 
When that infernal monster, having kest 
His weary foe into that living well. 
Can high advance his broad discolour'd 

Above his wonted pitch, with countenance 

And clapt his iron wings, as victor he did 


Which when his pensive lady saw from far. 
Great woe and sorrow did her soul assay, 
As weening that the sad end of the war ; 
And gan to highest God entirely pray 

(1,686) 9 

130 The Gateway to Spenser. 

That feared chance from her to turn away ; 

With folded hands, and knees full lowly- 

All night she watch'd ; ne once adown would 

Her dainty limbs in her sad dreriment. 

But praying still did wake, and waking did 

The morrow next gan early to appear. 
That Titan rose to run his daily race ; 
But early, ere the morrow next gan rear 
Out of the sea fair Titan's dewy face. 
Up rose the gentle virgin from her place. 
And looked all about, if she might spy 
Her loved knight to move his manly pace : 
For she had great doubt of his safety, 
Since late she saw him fall before his enemy. 

At last she saw, where he upstarted brave 
Out of the well wherein he drenched lay : 
As eagle, fresh out of the ocean wave, 
Where he hath left his plumes all hoary gray. 
And deck'd himself with feathers youthly 


The Fight with the Dragon. 131 

Like eyas hawk up mounts unto the skies, 
His newly-budded pinions to assay, 
And marvels at himself, still as he flies : 
So new this new-born knight to battle new 
did rise. 

Whom when the cursed fiend so fresh did 


No wonder if he wond'red at the sight, 
And doubted whether his late enemy 
It were, or other new supplied knight. 
He now, to prove his late-renewed might. 
High brandishing his bright dew-burning 

Upon his crested scalp so sore did smite, 
That to the skull a yawning wound it made : 
The deadly dint his dulled senses all dis- 


I wote not, whether the revenging steel 
Were hard'ned with that holy water dew 
Wherein he fell ; or sharper edge did 

feel ; 
Or his baptized hands now greater grew ; 
Or other secret virtue did ensue : 

132 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Else never could the force of fleshly arm, 
Ne molten metal, in his blood embrue : 
For, till that stownd, could never wight him 

By subtilty, nor slight, nor might, nor mighty 


The cruel wound enraged him so sore. 
That loud he yelled for exceeding pain ; 
As hundred ramping lions seem'd to roar, 
Whom ravenous hunger did thereto con- 
Then gan he toss aloft his stretched train. 
And therewith scourge the buxom air so 

That to his force to yielden it was fain ; 
Ne ought his sturdy strokes might stand 

That high trees overthrew, and rocks in 
pieces tore : 

The same advancing high above his head. 
With sharp intended sting so rude him smot, 
That to the earth him drove, as stricken 
dead ; 

The Fight with the Dragon. 133 

Ne living wight would have him life behott : 
The mortal sting his angry needle shot 
Quite through his shield, and in his shoulder 

Where fast it stuck, ne would thereout be 

The grief thereof him wondrous sore dis- 
Ne might his rankling pain with patience 
be appeased. 

But yet, more mindful of his honour dear 
Than of the grievous smart which did him 

From loathed soil he can him lightly rear, 
And strove to loose the far infixed sting : 
Which when in vain he tried with struggel- 

Inflamed with wrath, his raging blade he 

And struck so strongly, that the knotty 

Of his huge tail he quite asunder cleft ; 
Five joints thereof he hew'd, and but the 

stump him left. 

134 '^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

Heart cannot think, what outrage and what 

With foul enfould'red smoke and flashing fire, 
The hell-bred beast threw forth unto the 

That all was covered with darkness dire : 
Then fraught with rancour, and engorged 

He cast at once him to avenge for all ; 
And, gathering up himself out of the mire 
With his uneven wings did fiercely fall 
Upon his sun-bright shield, and gript it fast 


Much was the man encumb'red with his 

In fear to lose his weapon in his paw, 
Ne wist yet, how his talons to unfold ; 
Nor harder was from Cerberus' greedy jaw 
To pluck a bone, than from his cruel claw 
To reave by strength the griped gage away : 
Thrice he assay'd it from his foot to draw. 
And thrice in vain to draw it did assay ; 
It booted nought to think to rob him of his 


The Fight with the Dragon. 135 

Tho when he saw no power might prevail, 
His trusty sword he call'd to his last aid, 
Wherewith he fiercely did his foe assail, 
And double blows about him stoutly laid, 
That glancing fire out of the iron play'd ; 
As sparkles from the anvil use to fly, 
When heavy hammers on the wedge are 

sway'd ; 
Therewith at last he forced him to untie 
One of his grasping feet, him to defend 


The other foot, fast fixed on his shield, 
Whenas no strength nor strokes mote him 

To loose, ne yet the warlike pledge to yield ; 
He smote thereat with all his might and main, 
That nought so wondrous puissance might 

sustain : 
Upon the joint the lucky steel did light, 
And made such way, that hew'd it quite in 

twain ; 
The paw yet missed not his minish'd might. 
But hung still on the shield, as it at first was 



6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

For grief thereof and devilish despite, 
From his infernal furnace forth he threw, 
Huge flames, that dimmed all the heaven's 

Enroll'd in duskish smoke and brimstone 

blue : 
As burning Etna, from his boiling stev^ 
Doth belch out flames, and rocks in pieces 

And ragged ribs of mountains molten new, 
Enwrapt in coalblack clouds and filthy smoke. 
That all the land with stench, and heaven 

with horror choke. 

The heat whereof, and harmful pestilence. 
So sore him 'noy'd, that forced him to retire 
A little backward for his best defence. 
To save his body from the scorching fire. 
Which he from hellish entrails did expire. 
It chanced, (Eternal God that chance did 

As he recoiled backward, in the mire 
His nigh forwearied feeble feet did slide. 
And down he fell, with dread of shame sore 


The Fight with the Dragon. 137 

There grew a goodly tree him fair beside, 
Loaden with fruit and apples rosy red, 
As they in pure vermilion had been dyed, 
Whereof great virtues over all were read : 
For happy life to all which thereon fed, 
And life eke everlasting did befall : 
Great God it planted in that blessed 

With His Almighty hand, and did it 

The Tree of Life, the crime of our first 

father's fall. 

In all the world like was not to be found. 
Save in that soil, where all good things did 

And freely sprang out of the fruitful ground. 
As incorrupted Nature did them sow. 
Till that dead dragon all did overthrow. 
Another like fair tree eke grew thereby. 
Whereof whoso did eat, eftsoones did 

Both good and ill : O mournful memory ! 
That tree through one man's fault hath done 

us all to die ! 

138 The Gateway to Spenser. 

From that first tree forth flow'd, as from a 

A trickling stream of balm, most sovereign 
And dainty dear, which on the ground still 

And overflowed all the fertile plain. 
As it had dewed been with timely rain ; 
Life and long health that gracious ointment 

gave ; 
And deadly wounds could heal ; and rear 

The senseless corse appointed for the grave : 
Into that same he fell, which did from death 

him save. 

For nigh thereto the ever cursed beast <9{^ 
Durst not approach, for he was deadly made, ^ 
And all that life preserved did detest ; 
Yet he it oft adventured to invade. 
By this the drooping Day-light gan to fade, 
And yield his room to sad succeeding Night,"- 
Who with her sable mantle gan to shade 
The face of earth and ways of living wight. 
And high her burning torch set up in heaven 

The Fight with the Dragon. 139 

When gentle Una saw the second fall 

Of her dear knight, who, weary of long 

And faint through loss of blood, moved not 

at all. 
But lay, as in a dream of deep delight, 
Besmear'd with precious balm, whose vir- 
tuous might 
Did heal his wounds, and scorching heat 

allay ; 
Again she stricken was with sore affright. 
And for his safety gan devoutly pray, 
And watch the noyous night, and wait for 
joyous day. 

Then freshly up arose the doughty knight, 
All healed of his hurts and woundes wide. 
And did himself to battle ready dight ; 
Whose early foe awaiting him beside 
To have devour'd, so soon as day he spied. 
When now he saw himself so freshly rear, 
As if late fight had nought him damnified. 
He woxe dismay'd, and gan his fate to fear ; 
Nathless with wonted rage he him advanced 



140 The Gateway to Spenser. 

And in his first encounter, gaping wide, 
He thought at once him to have swallow'd 

And rush'd upon him with outrageous pride ; 
Who him rencount'ring fierce as hawk in 

Perforce rebutted back : the weapon bright. 
Taking advantage of his open jaw, 
Ran through his mouth with so importune 

That deep empierced his darksome hollow 

And, back retired, his life blood forth withal 

did draw. 

So down he fell, and forth his life did breathe. 

That vanish'd into smoke and cloudes swift ; 

So down he fell, that th' earth him under- 

Did groan, as feeble so great load to lift ; 

So down he fell, as an huge rocky clift, 

Whose false foundation waves have wash'd 

With dreadful poise is from the mainland 

The Fight with the Dragon. 141 

And rolling down, great Neptune doth dis- 
may : 

So down he fell, and like an heaped moun- 
tain lay. 

The knight himself even trembled at his fall. 
So huge and horrible a mass it seem'd ; 
And his dear lady, that beheld it all. 
Durst not approach for dread which she mis- 

deem'd ; 
But yet at last, whenas the direful fiend 
She saw not stir, off-shaking vain affright 
She nigher drew, and saw that joyous end : 
Then God she praised, and thank'd her faith- 
ful knight. 
That had achieved so great a conquest by 
his might. 


/. — The Orphan Babe. 

TT was the custom of the Fairy Queen to 
hold a great feast on the first day of 
every year, and at this feast to apportion to 
each of her knights some special quest or 
adventure. To this festival there came from 
a distant realm on a certain New^ Year's day 
the young Sir Guyon, than whom no braver 
or more worthy knight could be found 
anywhere. In appearance he presented a 
combination of pleasant comeliness with an 
expression of fierce determination, which 
rendered him no less terrible to his enemies 
than attractive to his friends. He was tall 
and strong and well made, and in every 
respect did credit to his royal descent. 

The Queen was much pleased with this 
new knight, and bestowed on him her special 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 143 

order, that of Maidenhood, in token of 
which he was to wear her own likeness on 
his breastplate. 

To the Queen's court on the same occasion 
there came an aged palmer or pilgrim, clad in 
the long black robe which was the customary 
garb of such men. He besought help from 
the Queen against a wicked witch named 
Acrasia, who was working much evil. To 
the surprise and joy of Guyon, the Queen 
chose him for this adventure, and bade him 
go forth with the palmer to redress, as far as 
possible, the wrongs wrought by Acrasia, as 
well as to capture the witch herself. 

So Guyon and the palmer started forth 
together. They had not gone far when they 
came upon an old man, who in trembling 
accents sought their aid for a lady, who he 
told them had been badly used by a certain 
knight ; and this old man so excited the 
wrath of Guyon by his account of the lady's 
distress and of the knight's cruel conduct, 
that he vowed immediate vengeance. 

The old man led him first to a place near 
by, where he found a lady who was evidently 


144 '^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

in a pitiful state of distress, with dishevelled 
appearance and face disfigured with tears, 
and who confirmed the story of her wrongs. 
Then Guyon, all eagerness to find and punish 
the knight who had caused her distress, 
followed his guide to where the latter said 
he would find him. 

They came to a pleasant valley shut in by 
two high hills, and there refreshing himself 
with a draught from a clear stream, he saw 
the knight whom they sought. Guyon rode 
up to him at once and challenged him to 
fight, and the two knights were about to 
attack each other when they were suddenly 
brought to a standstill. For just as he was 
about to strike at the knight Guyon saw that 
his shield bore the Red Cross, and against 
that symbol he could not bring himself to 
fight ; while the knight, who was in fact no 
other than the Red Cross Knight on his way 
from Una's home to Gloriana's court, also 
saw the Queen's portrait on Guyon's breast- 
plate, and knew him to be serving the same 
mistress as himself. So instead of a fight, 
apologies and explanations were exchanged 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


between the two, but when they turned to 
seek the old man who had led Guyon there 
with his false story, they found that he had 

The truth turned out to be that Archimago 
was playing his evil tricks again, while the 
lady in pretended distress was Duessa, whom 
he had rescued from her hiding-place in the 
desert and clothed again in fair apparel to aid 
his wicked designs as before. 

So with much good-will and mutual ex- 
pressions of courtesy, the two knights parted 
company, being bound in contrary directions, 
and Guyon continued his journey, leading his 
horse at a walking pace to keep in step with 
the slower movements of the aged palmer. 

For some distance they went over hill and 
dale without adventure, until they came to a 
large forest ; and as they skirted this wooded 
region they were stopped by the sound of the 
shrill cries of a woman which caused them 
to turn aside in the direction whence the 
sounds came. They had not gone far in 
the forest when they found a beautiful 
on the ground lying beside a fountai 




The Gateway to Spenser. 

dead from a cruel wound in her breast. On 
her lap lay a baby in innocent play, and by 
her side was the dead body of a knight in 

Guyon felt his blood freeze with pity and 
horror at this sad spectacle, and at first he 
stood still quite speechless, gazing at the 
poor lady, but the next moment he sprang 
to her aid. He drew from her side the 
dagger which still pierced it, and gently 
bathed the wound with water from the 
fountain ; and as she slowly revived, he spoke 
to her in tones of gentle pity, which induced 
her to tell him her sad story. 

It seemed that the knight who lay dead 
by her side was her husband, and that they 
had loved each other very dearly. His name 
was Mordant and her own Amavia, and they 
had lived in perfect happiness, until once, 
when out in quest of knightly adventure, 
Mordant had fallen a victim to the wiles of 
the witch Acrasia. By her he was beguiled 
to a place called the Bower of Bliss, where 
she was in the habit of keeping her victims, 
and she kept him a captive there for many a 

The Story of Sir Gtiyon. 147 

day. Amavia, meanwhile, having discovered 
what had happened, started in pursuit, dis- 
guised as a pilgrim, and bearing her infant 
boy in her arms. 

Her search was rewarded, for she found 
Mordant, and though at first he failed to 
recognize her owing to the evil enchantments 
of Acrasia, she succeeded in restoring his 
lost powers, so that he knew and loved her 
as of old. When Acrasia perceived that her 
victim had thus escaped from her magic 
arts, she released him, but she gave him a 
parting gift of a poisoned cup, from which 
he drank all unsuspecting. The result of 
this was that when they had reached the 
fountain beside which Amavia now lay, the 
poison had done its deadly work, and he had 
fallen down dead. At this the poor lady had 
been so overcome that in a moment of un- 
controllable grief she had plunged a dagger 
into her own breast. But at this point of 
her story, Amavia's own strength failed, and 
she sank back dead by the side of Mordant. 

This terrible story filled Guyon with all 
the greater zeal for the fulfilment of his 


148 Tke Gateway to Spenser. 

adventure, since it proved to him how great 
indeed was the evil wrought by Acrasia. 
It also served to show him how necessary 
a virtue is temperance or self-control, for 
had Mordant possessed more of this, he 
would not have yielded so weakly to the 
wiles of Acrasia, nor would Amavia have 
allowed excess of grief to cause her own 
death, and thus deprive her helpless infant 
of both motherly and fatherly care. 

Guyon, aided by the palmer, dug a grave 
beneath a cypress tree for Mordant and 
Amavia, and buried them there ; and ere he 
covered their dead bodies with earth, he cut 
off a lock of hair from the head of each of 
them with his sword, and cast it into the 
grave as a pledge that either he or the orphan 
babe would avenge their cruel fate. 
- After having filled in the grave with earth, 
Guyon next turned his attention to the babe, 
who, all unconscious of his sad loss, smiled 
up at him in innocent glee. Guyon raised 
the child in his arms, and noticing how 
the tiny hands were stained with blood, he 
bore it to the fountain in order to cleanse 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 


them. To his wonder and surprise, how- 
ever, the water had no effect. Though he 
bathed them again and again, the little hands 
still bore their crimson stain, and the palmer, 
who now joined him, explained that this 
was due to certain properties of the water, 
which was enchanted, and of such wonderful 
purity that it refused to be defiled. 

" Thus it is," he said, " that no amount 
of cleansing from this fountain will ever 
remove the stain from the baby's hands. 
Yet, Sir," he went on, " I would advise 
you not to be troubled on this score. Let 
the child's hands remain as they are, and 
serve as a reminder of what has befallen — 
of his mother's undeserved fate, and of the 
revenge you have sworn in his name or your 

To this Guyon agreed, and as the babe 
was nameless, as far as they knew, he decreed 
that the little one should be known as 
Ruddymaine (or Red-handed.) He then 
placed the babe in the arms of the palmer 
while he turned to seek his horse, but 
behold ! it was nowhere to be seen, and 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

after seeking it for some time in vain, he 
was reluctantly forced to give up the search. 

The fact was, that while he had lingered 
listening to the story of Amavia, a rascally 
fellow named Braggadogchio had spied the 
riderless horse bearing Guyon's arms, and 
thinking it a fine opportunity to masquerade 
as a knight, had made off with both. 

Laden with the armour which he had 
taken from Mordant, and accompanied by 
the palmer bearing the babe, Guyon resumed 
his journey on foot, but with slow progress, 
and at last they saw the sea in front of them, 
and on a rock near to it an ancient castle. 
Here they decided to seek for hospitality. 

The castle was inhabited by three sisters, 
the eldest of whom, named Medina, received 
the travellers with much courtesy and con- 
sideration. They spent the night in the 
castle, where they were well entertained, 
and when they started forth again the next 
morning Guyon left the babe Ruddymaine, 
whose story he had told the night before, 
under the care of Medina. 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 151 

II. — The Idle Lake and Isle of Pleasure. 

The knight continued his way on foot, since 
he had lost his good steed. It was gaUing 
enough to him to be thus delayed in his 
search for the witch Acrasia, but soon many 
other events were still further to delay him. 

They had not gone very far, when they 
saw three people who were making such an 
uproar and commotion that Guyon hurried 
forward to discern the cause. When he 
came up to them, he found that one, a fair 
handsome youth, was being dragged along 
on the ground by a man who seemed beside 
himself with fury, while a hideous old hag, 
who followed close behind, encouraged him 
in his cruel conduct with a torrent of foul 

Guyon immediately sought to release the 
youth, and in order to do this it was necessary 
first to capture the hag and tie her tongue, 
so that she no longer encouraged the man, 
who was in fact her son, her name being 
Occasion, and his Fury. Fury, in his turn, 
had thus also to be bound. 

152 The Gateway to Spenser. 

All would now have gone well had not a 
fresh comer arrived on the scene, in the 
person of a knight named Pp^ocMes, who 
came riding up full tilt, and immediately- 
attacked Guyon with his spear. A battle 
ensued between the two knights, in which 
Guyon won by means of his steadiness, while 
^Pyrochles lashed, and thundered, and hewed 
with such wild, uncontrolled passion, that he^ 
"''^/^ scarcely knew what he was doing. Guyon, 
however, did not kill him. Instead of this 
he gave him his liberty, and also released 
Occasion and , Fury, whereupon the three 
all set to work to quarrel with each other, 
and, obeying the advice of the palmer, Guyon 
left them to their evil ways, and again 
resumed his journey. 

By -and -by their way was blocked by a 
winding river, which there seemed no means 
>jV of crossing. But before long they saw a 
little skiff anchored under some willows, and 
in the skiff a fair lady sat singing to herself, 
as it swayed lightly to and fro. 

In reply to Guyon's request, the lady 
showed herself very willing to ferry him 

The Efichantress waits in 
her little painted shallop for 
.■^5»«., . Sir Guy on. 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


across the river, and he stepped into the 
boat. But when it was a question of the 
palmer's following him, she would not hear 
of his doing so. All Guyon's threats or 
offers of reward were in vain. " Nothing,'' 
she said, " would induce her to take the 
palmer," and ere Guyon could prevent it, 
she had launched the boat into mid-stream. 

Now though his regret at leaving his 
faithful companion behind was very great, 
the lady was so lovely to look upon, and 
so beguiled the journey with her merry 
conversation, that at first the knight was 
fascmated. But before long her conduct 
became so bold that he quite despised her, 
and at the same time he discovered, to his 
dismay, that instead of rowing him to the 
opposite side of the river, she had taken him 
down the stream and into a broad lake. 

When he complained of this, she only 
laughed, and told him that the lake was 
called the Idle Lake, and that she was taking 
him to an island in it, where he should stay 
with her for a while. The fact was that she 
was a witch named Phaedria, and one of 

/ * ■ - , V'-4»^^;,wS^_- 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

the servants of Acrasia, and though Guyon 
did not know this, his own nobility of mind 1 
gave him a great distaste for the society of 
this frivolous lady. However, they had 
now reached the island of which she spoke, 
and there seemed no choice for him but to 
land there ; and in truth it appeared to be 
a very pleasant place when he had done so. 
The whole island seemed to be a garden 
filled with trees and flowers in all the first 
freshness of spring ; the air was filled with 
sweet scents, and from every bough and bush 
birds poured forth sweet sounds of melody. 

As Phaedria led him down one shady walk 
after another, her own voice often mixed 
with that of the birds, sweet snatches of 
song arose from her lips, and with coy 
glances and sweet smiles she did her utmost 
to win the heart of the knight. Guyon, 
however, was not to be deceived. He saw 
right well that the lady was altogether un- 
worthy of his love, and he walked by her 
side amid the fair sights and sounds of the 
island, calm and unmoved by her wiles. 

The quiet of the scene was, howevef. 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 155 

soon roughly broken ; for in the course of 
their walk, Guyon and Phaedria came across 
a man named Cymochles, who was in fact 
a brother of Pyrochles, and whom Phaedria 
had also beguiled to the island. When he 
saw Guyon with her, he flew at him in a 
fury of jealous rage, and a fight ensued, in 
which a swift stroke of Guyon's trusty sword 
soon cleft the other's helmet in twain. 
Phaedria, overcome with dismay at this, 
threw herself between them, imploring them 
to cease from fighting, which they agreed to 
do, and when Guyon now asked permission 
to leave the island, Phaedria no longer refused. 
She saw that her arts were powerless with 
him, and was therefore not sorry to let him 
go. The boat was again brought, and into 
it she and Guyon stepped, and soon he found 
himself landed on the spot opposite the place 
where he at first met her, and to which he 
had intended to go. But of the palmer, who 
had been left on the other side, he saw no 
trace at all. 

156 The Gateway to Spenser. 

III. — Mammon and his Realm. 

GuYON missed his faithful companion and 
guide as he pursued his lonely way, which 
led through a dreary, deserted region where 
there seemed no prospect of adventure. 

After a time he came to a gloomy glade, 
where a tangle of branches and undergrowth 
quite shut out the light of heaven, and when 
Guyon peered into its dark recess, he saw a 
sight which filled him with astonishment. 

In a far, dark corner sat a hideous creature 
of uncouth, savage aspect. His face was 
tanned with smoke, and his long beard and 
hands were black with grime. His coat 
appeared to have been costly and of fair 
workmanship originally, but the wrought 
gold of which it was made was now defaced 
and almost hidden with dirt. But the most 
curious part of the whole spectacle was that 
on every side were great heaps of gold, some 
in raw lumps of ore, some in great wedges 
and squares, and some already made into 
coin. As he sat there, the man's bleared 
eyes were fixed on a pile which he constantly 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


turned over and counted in front of him, 
but as soon as he saw Guyon, he was seized 
with fear, and poured all the coins from his 
lap down a big hole in front of him mean- 
ing to hide them. Guyon sprang to him, 
seizing his trembling hand as he did so, and 
demanded his name. 

" I am the great Mammon, the god of 
riches," was the reply. " I hold all the 
world's goods at my disposal. Honour, 
estate, riches, renown — all those things for 
which men strive and toil the most come 
from me. Serve me, and all this wealth 
that you see — nay, ten times more than this 
— shall be thine." 

" 111 it would beseem a worthy knight 
to care for such reward," cried Guyon con- 
temptuously. " Not for wealth nor gold do I 
seek, but for noble deeds and high adventure. 
Nay, know further that I deem your heaps 
of gold as the root of all evil and the cause 
of much mischief and strife." 

Mammon was much annoyed to find his 
treasure thus despised. 

" Cease your scorn, my son," he said 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

angrily ; " for know you that wealth is the 
one thing worth having. But take your 
choice. Help yourself to all that you will 
of my hoard, or leave it alone, but in the 
latter case do not find fault afterwards." 

At this he turned his back on Guyon, 
and began once more to count his money 

It would seem that the evil atmosphere of 
the place now began to affect even the noble 
spirit of Guyon, for instead of leaving it and 
its hideous occupant, he still lingered, and 
even began to argue with himself as to 
whether or not he should accept Mammon's 

" It were perhaps a different matter," he 
said, " if I were sure how your gains were 
gotten, but for aught I know they may have 
been obtained by robbery and slaughter." 

" Nonsense ! " said Mammon, " My 
treasure is all fresh, untried gold. If you , 
doubt this, come with me, and I will show ' 
you the secret places whence I obtain and 
guard my store." 

Now it was a pity that Guyon did not 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 159 

keep to his first resolution, and refuse at once 
to have any more to do with Mammon, but 
instead of that he yielded to the money god's 
persuasion, and allowed him to lead him to 
his secret places. 

They went by a dark, hidden path that led 
them downward into the earth until they 
reached a broad level road, where sights and 
sounds of horror were around them as they 
moved. They passed Strife and Pain, the 
one wielding an iron whip and the other 
brandishing a bloody knife ; the trembling 
shadow of Fear flitted to and fro on their 
path ; and Revenge, Treason, and Hate were 
seen lurking together. In a dark corner. 
Jealousy sat gnawing his lips in bitter spite, 
while Shame and Sorrow hid in the shade 
not far away. 

On they went, taking no notice of these 
evil presences, and so they came at last to a 
door, which opened at once to the touch of 
Mammon and closed behind them as soon as 
they had entered, while at the same moment 
a hideous fiend flew up from behind it, and 
hovered over Guyon with extended claws. 

i6o The Gateway to Spenser. 

When the knight looked around him, he 
saw that he was in a huge cave, shaped out 
of the soHd rock ; and as his eyes grew a 
Httle accustomed to the dim Hght, he noticed 
that the walls and floor and roof were covered 
with gold, though so encrusted with dust 
and covered with cobwebs that its glitter 
was hidden. The cave contained many huge 
chests and coffers filled with gold, and Guyon 
also saw with a shudder that around them 
lay the decaying bodies or dead bones of 
men and women who had spent their lives 
in seeking for this wealth. 

Without a word, he followed Mammon, 
who, passing through this room, came to 
another door, which opened to them of its 
own accord and displayed such an accumula- 
tion of wealth as the world had never seen. 

Here Mammon paused, for he had come 
to his greatest treasure of all, and now he 
thought Guyon would not refuse to serve 
him for the sake of the reward he could 

" Lo ! " he cried triumphantly, " here is 
the world's greatest bliss ! Here is the end 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


for which all men aim. Now is your chance 
to accept this boon and to be happy." 

But Guyon only recoiled before the pros- 

*' In truth," he cried, " I do not choose to 
accept such happiness as you can offer. I 
seek another bliss than this, and my aim in 
life is quite different. Rather would I follow 
brave adventure, and spend my hours in the 
pursuit of arms, while keeping my soul free, 
than have the whole of these riches and be 
your slave." 

But Mammon, though greatly disappointed, 
still did not despair of winning Guyon, as he 
had won so many others to his service and 
bondage, and he thought of fresh temptations 
to place before him. 

He led him next into his workshops, 
where a hundred or more strange, uncouth 
beings were at work melting the gold at as 
many glowing furnaces. At the sight of the 
knight in his glistening armour all the 
creatures came flocking round to gaze at him 
with their hard, brilliant eyes, while their 
misshapen bodies, many of which showed 



1 62 The Gateway to Spenser. 

quite hideous deformities, filled Guyon with 

Once more did Mammon offer him his 
wealth, but Guyon was steadfast in his 

I " I have all that I need," he said simply ; 
" why should I desire more than that ? I 
entreat you therefore to let me return to 
the world above." 

Now was Mammon much displeased, for 
this was not at all the kind of man with 
which he was accustomed to meet. He 
refused Guyon's request that he should 
leave those underground realms, and led 
him still further on in the hope of enticing 

They came next to a room or hall sup- 
ported with massive pillars of gold, in which 
glittering crowns and sparkling diadems were 
hung, while in the midst of it sat a woman 
in gorgeous array, and holding a great gold 
chain in her hand. Up and down this chain 
or ladder swarmed men and women, pushing 
and trampling each other in their desire to 
be first, for this figure was known as Worldly 

The Story of Sir Gtiyon. 163 

Ambition, and the crowns and diadems were 
the rewards she had to offer. 

"This," said Mammon proudly, "is my 
own dear daughter, and she shall be your 
wife, and advance you in all worldly pros- 
perity, if you will." 

But again was Guyon untempted, and he 
rejected this offer too. 

Now was Mammon's wrath indeed greatly 
kindled, but he still concealed it, and made 
one more attempt to gain Guyon to his will. 

Through grisly shadows he led him to a 
dismal garden, where grew melancholy 
cypresses and sleepy poplars, and where the 
leaves and blossoms and fruit of the trees, 
instead of being bright and sweet, were all 
black in hue and bitter to the taste. But on 
a bank in the centre was a tree so unlike 
the rest that Guyon climbed up to look 
more closely at it, and on doing so, found 
that the boughs were laden with apples 
made of solid gold. On the other side of 
this tempting tree, however, there was a 
sight which filled his heart with horror and 
pity ; for a black river flowed past it, and 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

I in this was plunged many a shrieking and 
wailing spirit. One of these he specially 
noticed, who was plunged up to the chin 
in the water which he could not drink, 
however much consumed with thirst he 
might be, while he ever tried in vain to 
reach the golden fruit which hung over his 
head just out of reach. This was Tantalus, 
of whom we read in the old tales, and in 
reply to Guyon's question, he told him his 
name and story. 

But Mammon was growing impatient 
that Guyon should linger by the sufferers in 
the river, instead of feasting his eyes on the 
golden fruit. 

Round the tree there was a silver seat, and 
he expected Guyon to rest there after his 
tiring journey and to gather the fruit from 
the tree. 

Meanwhile the fiend who had flown over 
Guyon's head ever since he passed the first 
door was still hovering eagerly over him, 
and would have pounced on him with his 
claws directly, if he had yielded to Mammon. 
Guyon did not know this, but he knew that 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 165 

there was danger in giving in to Mammon 
at all, and he refused the seat and golden 
fruit as he had done all the wealth and 
worldly honour already offered to him. 

And now Mammon's opportunity was 
almost at an end ; for there was a law by 
which he could keep no one longer than 
three days in his kingdom, unless they yielded 
to him, and the third day since Guyon had 
entered had nearly ended. Thus when 
Guyon still refused all his offers, and besought 
him to allow him to return to the upper 
world, Mammon, to his great mortification 
and secret wrath, was compelled to comply, 
and brought the knight back again to the 

The danger for Guyon was not, however, 
all over even now. With the first sweet 
breath of the upper air, his sorely tried 
strength suddenly failed, and as Mammon 
left him at the entrance to his cave, he fell 
senseless to the ground. 

1 66 The Gateway to Spenser. 

IV. — Prince Arthur to the Rescue. 

For the three days and nights of his journey 
with Mammon, Guyon had taken neither 
food nor rest, while in addition all the evil 
air of the place through which he had 
passed had a numbing effect on his senses. 
The swoon in which he fell was therefore 
a very deep one, and as he lay alone and 
unconscious, he would probably have died 
had not help come to him in the following 

It happened that the palmer, who had 
been wandering about alone since the witch 
Phaedria bore Guyon away in the boat, now 
passed near where he lay, and as he did so 
he was startled to hear a voice call out : — 
"Come hither! Come hither ! Bring help 
at once ! " in loud clear tones. Following 
the sound, he found Guyon lying insensible 
at the mouth of Mammon's cave, while by 
his head and watching him stood a shining 
figure in the form of a beautiful youth with 
radiant wings. 

This was, in fact, an angel messenger who 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


had been sent to save Guyon, and who now 
gave him into the palmer's care, assuring 
the latter that the knight was alive and 
would recover before long, but warning 
him that fresh danger approached. Upon 
this the angel spread his wings and quickly 
disappeared, leaving the palmer in charge of 
the knight. 

He had no sooner disappeared than there 
appeared two armed knights, attended by an 
old man and a page, who drew rein at once 
when they saw the palmer sitting beside 
what appeared to them to be the dead 
body of the knight. 

They proved to be no others than Guyon's 
former enemies, the brothers Pyrochles and 
Cymochles, and the old man who led 
them was Archimago the Magician, who 
was always at the root of any mischief or 
ill-doing that was afoot. 

The two knights began to scoff and jeer 
when they saw Guyon lying, as they thought, 
dead, for they thought that he had been 
overcome in battle at last, and thus shown 
be less brave than he had appeared, and they 

1 68 

The Gateway to Spenser. 

rejoiced greatly at his overthrow. Nor were 
they contented with this, for, in spite of all 
the palmer's efforts to prevent them, they 
seized Guyon's shield, and began to unfasten 
his helmet and armour in order to take 
possession of them. 

They were busily engaged in doing this 
when Archimago cried to them in great 
haste to make ready to fight, for he 
saw a knight approaching whom he recog- 
nized as Prince Arthur, the bravest and 
noblest knight in all the realm of the Fairy 

Now it happened that Archimago was 
carrying a sword which he had obtained 
by magic arts, and which really belonged 
to Prince Arthur. It was called by the 
name of Morddure^ and it had the power 
to cut through steel or even stone ; but it 
also had this virtue, that if used against its 
rightful owner, it could do him no harm. 
This sword Pyrochles hastily borrowed, 
having no weapon of his own since his 
defeat by Guyon, and though Archimago 
told him that it would have no power 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 169 

against Prince Arthur, he only laughed at 
him as a foolish old man for his pains. 

By this time the Prince had arrived, and 
seeing Guyon's unconscious form, and the 
little group near him, he asked what had 
befallen, and if the knight was dead. To 
these questions the palmer replied, telling 
him that Guyon's senses were but overcome 
for the time, and how the other knights had 
attempted to take advantage of his uncon- 
scious condition, and with all unknightliness 
rob him of his armour and shield. The soul 
of the great Prince was kindled to just 
wrath at hearing of this ignoble deed, and 
he reproved Pyrochles and his brother in no 
measured terms. Upon this Pyrochles raised 
the sword Morddure to cleave his head, with- 
out waiting for a challenge or observing the 
usual courteous rules of knighthood. 

This unprovoked attack and defiance of 
knightly rule incited Prince Arthur to still 
greater wrath and indignation, and with 
a thrust of his spear he pierced through 
Guyon's strong shield with which Pyrochles 
was protecting himself, wounding him so 

170 The Gateway to Spenser. 

severely in the shoulder that he fell bleed- 
ing to the ground. 

On seeing his brother fall wounded, 
Cymochles sprang at Prince Arthur with 
such fury that his sword-stroke forced him 
from his saddle. The Prince, having no 
sword, was now at a great disadvantage, 
especially with two foes to fight, for Pyro- 
chles, in spite of his wound, returned to the 
attack, and both brothers slashed and struck 
at him at once. Beneath this wild, furious 
onset the prince stood like a strong tower 
attacked with a double battery, watching 
their deadly strokes with such calmness 
that he was able skilfully to ward them 
off. He succeeded in wounding Cymochles 
in the thigh, but this had the effect of 
increasing the fury of his attack, and the 
next minute a crimson stream gushed from 
a wound that he in his turn inflicted on 
the prince. 

Ill might it have fared now for the prince 
had not the palmer, distressed at the sight, 
seized Guyon's sword and brought it to him, 
and armed with this, Arthur laid about him 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


with renewed courage and force. Fierce 
and furious was the battle now, though 
ever and anon Prince Arthur's hand was 
stayed when about to strike Pyrochles by 
the image of the Fairy Queen on Guyon's 
shield, which came between them. At the 
same time the heavy blows rained upon him 
by his own sword Morddure, in the hand of 
Pyrochles, did him no hurt. But at last the 
strength of Prince Arthur was destined to pre- 
vail in the uneven contest. First, Cymochles 
went down before a blow which cleft through 
his head-piece and coat of mail, and when he 
saw his brother slain, Pyrochles began to lose 
courage. He stood trembling and irresolute 
for a second, and then, with words of fierce 
hatred, flew at the prince, slashing at him 
in a wild, reckless way which was, however, 
of no avail. 

To right and left flew the sword Mord- 
dure, hitting the Prince's armour first at 
one side and then another, but making no 
dint on it, until, perceiving that Archimago's 
words were true and that the weapon was 
of no use against its owner, Pyrochles flung 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

the sword away, and seizing the prince in 
his arms, sought to fling him to the ground 
and trample upon him. Instead, he was 
himself thrown down and speedily slain by 
the prince. 

At this moment of victory, Guyon awoke 
from his long trance, and was soon made 
acquainted with all that had happened. 

V. — The Capture of the Witch Acrasia. 


•^HE prince having recovered his own sword 
Morddure, and Guyon his shield, they pur- 
sued their way together in friendly discourse 
with the palmer, until they came to a 
castle, where the Prince suggested that 
they should pass the night. They found, 
however, that entrance to this place was 
not so easy as they expected, for as they 
approached the gates, a whole army of low 
rabble suddenly emerged upon them from 
hiding-places in the rocks, and attacked 
them with clubs and spears and rusty knives, 
while from the walls of the castle a warning 
voice told them that the building had long 


The Story of Sir Guy on. 173 

been besieged by this mob, and that they 
had best take to flight. 

Prince Arthur and Guyon paid no at- 
tention to this warning, but were laying 
about them vahantly with their trusty 
swords, when an amazing thing happened, 
for the army proved to be but shadows, 
with no real substance, and quickly vanished. 

They found the castle inhabited by a 
gracious lady named Alma, and a pleasant 
company of knights and ladie«(^but Guyon 
had not forgotten his vow to find and capture 
the witch Acrasia, nor the sad story of 
Mordant and Amavia, which added fresh 
ardour to his adventure ; and after a brief 
rest, he was anxious to resume his journey. „^ 

For this purpose Alma provided him with ^ . 
a boat and a boatman, for it seemed that 
Acrasia's abode was in a distant island ; 
and taking him to the water's edge, the 
lady saw him and the palmer into the boat 
and bade them farewell. j^, 

The boat soon left the river and came to ' 

the open sea, where for two days they sailed 
without sight of land. On the third day the 


174 '^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

palmer warned the boatman to steer very care- 
fully, and soon they entered an opening in the 
shore where great greedy waves dashed on 
a high rock, and where the current was 
very strong. This was called the Gulf of 
Greediness, and many an unwary traveller 
had been sucked in by the raging waters 
and dashed to pieces on the cruel rock. 

They passed this dangerous place in safety, 
and soon saw several islands floating in the 
sparkling :^ter in front of them. The 
boatman told them, however, that none 
of these were the abode of Acrasia, and 
they steered wide of the group, and soon 
came to stormy and dangerous water again. 
Enormous billows rose as though to en- 
gulf them, and barred their progress with 
a mighty wall of dark - coloured water. 
To add to the horror, there was no wind 
to account for this, and worse still, many 
weird and monstrous fish came rushing round 
them with hollow rumbling noises. Guyon's 
sword was of little avail against this foe, but 
the palmer with perfect calmness smote the 
water with his staff, whereupon the great 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 


waves subsided and all the strange animals 

And now they came to an island in smooth 
fair water, and in a bay sheltered by a high 
hill they saw a little group of lovely mer- 
maids with sweet fair faces, who swam to- 
wards the boat softly singing to the knight 
to come and rest awhile among them. 

" This is the port of rest from troublous toil, 
O turn thy rudder hitherward awhile." 

So they sang, and their song mingled with 
the soft sound of the waves breaking on the 
shore and with the rustling breeze ; and as he 
heard it, and saw their lovely faces turned 
entreatingly towards him, Guyon felt tempted 
to 4^aw nearer. But the palmer rebuked 
him for his weakness, and they sped onward, 
leaving the mermaids and their island behind. 

And now they drew near to the spot that 
they sought, but as they did so a great fog 
enveloped them, and evil night-birds came 
flocking around them with flapping wings 
and wild discordant cries. They took no 
notice of these creatures, but made for the 


l^he Gateway to Spenser. 

island, and as the fog lifted, they ran the 
boat into a bay on its coast, and taking 
with them their arms and a net of fine 
steel, with which they had come provided, 
and of which they were soon to make good 
use, Guyon and the palmer sprang ashore, 
leaving the boatman in charge of the boat. 

With bold hearts they advanced against 
whatever unknown danger might lie before 
them, and soon their courage was severely 

A hideous bellowing and roaring as of 
many beasts was heard, and directly after- 
wards a herd of wild animals appeared with 
gaping jaws as if ready to devour them. But 
the palmer's upheld staff subdued them, as 
it had done the monsters of the deep, and 
he explained to Guyon that they were beasts 
in appearance only, and were really men 
transformed into this likeness by the witch. 

And now the travellers came to the Bower 
of Bliss, which they entered by a lovely gate 
of carved ivory, and found themselves in a 
garden which delighted the eye at every 
turn. In the mild sweet air rare and 

The Mermaids discove?- Sir Guyon and the old 
Pabner in their boat. 

The Story of Sir Guy on. 177 

lovely flowers grew in profusion, and the 
smooth grassy lawns were decked with 
a variety of beds filled with brilliantly 
coloured blossoms. 

Much did Guyon wonder at the entrancing 
beauty of the place, yet he did not suffer him- 
self to be diverted from his object by the 
pleasant sights around him, and he followed 
the palmer with fierce determination and 
steadfast purpose in his heart. .^^ 

They came soon to a lovely bower, at 
the entrance to which a fair lady appeared, 
holding in her left hand a cup of gold, into 
which she poured some sparkling wine. This 
she offered to Guyon, but he took it from 
her hand and dashed it untasted to the 
ground with such force that the cup was 
broken and the wine spilt, and in spite 
of the lady's very evident displeasure, he 
passed on. 

The garden became still more beautiful as 
they went further into it. The flowers grew 
in still greater luxuriance and were of more 
brilliant hue and sweeter perfume ; streams of 
crystal clearness trickled through the grassy 

(1,565) 12 

178 The Gateway to Spenser. 

sward and made soft refreshing music ; birds 
carolled forth in joyful lays, and in the centre 
of a mossy lawn was a lovely fountain of 
wonderful device in gold, over which the 
water played in a shower of silvery spray. 
Suddenly a strain of exquisite music broke 
on the ear, seeming to combine in one 
delicious harmony the songs of birds and 
of the human voice with the melody from 
soft instruments and the sweet sounds of 
running waters and rustling breezes. 

" Now, Sir," whispered the Palmer, 
" move very quietly. We have reached 
the Bower of Bliss, but we must needs 
capture Acrasia unawares, or she will escape 
us even now." 

Creeping very softly, so that she should 
not hear them, they came to a spot over- 
arched with flowering trees, and on the 
soft grass they saw the witch Acrasia her- 
self, bending over the figure of a young 
knight, who, divested of his armour, lay 
wrapt in sleep before her. 

Round them hovered fair maidens and 
beautiful boys, and as the witch kissed the 

The Story of Sir Guyon. 


lips of the sleeping knight, they filled the 
air with sweet music. As the song ceased, 
the witch threw herself back on a bank of 
roses and seemed about to sleep ; and all the 
while, unperceived by her, the knight and 
palmer drew nearer and nearer. 

At last they were within reach, and the 
palmer signed to Guyon that the moment 
to capture her had come ; then with a skilful 
twist of the net he had brought with him 
for the purpose, he threw it over her and 
caught her fast in its meshes. 

In vain she fought and struggled, in 
vain the young knight, now aroused from 
his sleep, strove to release her. The net 
was so cunningly wrought that all their 
efforts were in vain, and the knight, whose 
name was Verdant, was himself taken 
captive by Guyon. 

Guyon and the palmer then went through 
the pleasant garden with its flowers and 
glades, and destroyed and laid waste the 
whole place, and the palmer also with a 
stroke of his staff removed the spell from 
the evil beasts which they had seen wh 

--- jS?^'- 

/ ^" > 

/ ; MX 

i8o The Gateway to Spenser. 

they entered, and restored them to the form 
of men. 

Something of the beast, however, they still 
retained in their demeanour as they slunk 
away, and there was one animal, called Gryll, 
who actually preferred to remain a hog. 

"There are some so sunk in filth that it 
is useless to try to alter them," said the 
palmer. "Let Gryll be Gryll and keep 
his hoggish mind. And now," he added, 
"let us hence, while tide and wind serve." 

So taking with them their captive, they 
returned to the boat, and once more set sail. 

Thus was Guyon's adventure ended, and 
the witch Acrasia made a captive. 


At last he came unto a gloomy glade, 
Cover'd with boughs and shrubs from 

heaven's light, 
Whereas he sitting found in secret shade 
An uncouth, savage, and uncivil weight, 
Of grisly hue and foul ill-favour'd sight ; 
His face with smoke was tann'd, and eyes 

were blear'd, 
His head and beard with soot were ill 

His coal-black hands did seem to have been 

In Smith's fire-spitting forge, and nails like 

claws appear' d. 

His iron coat all overgrown with rust. 
Was underneath enveloped with gold ; 
Whose glist'ring gloss, darkened with filthy 

1 82 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Well yet appeared to have been of old 
A work of rich entayle and curious mould, 
Woven with antics and w^ild imagery : 
And in his lap a mass of coin he told, 
And turned upside down to feed his eye 
And covetous desire with 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 
Into great ingots and to wedges square ; 
Some in round plates withouten moniment : 
But most were stamp'd, and in their metal 

The antique shapes of kings and Kaisers 

strange and rare. 

Soon as he Guyon saw, in great affright 
And haste he rose for to remove aside 
Those precious hills from stranger's envious 

* Vulcan. 

Guy on finds Mammon. 183 

And down them poured through an hole full 

Into the hollow earth, them there to hide ; 
But Guyon, lightly to him leaping, stay'd 
His hand that trembled as one terrified ; 
And though himself were at the sight dis- 

Yet him perforce restrain'd, and to him 

doubtful said : 

" What art thou, man, (if man at all thou 

That here in desert hast thine habitance. 
And these rich heaps of wealth dost hide apart 
From the world's eye, and from her right 

usance ? " 
Thereat, with staring eyes fixed askance. 
In great disdain he answered : " Hardy Elf, 
That darest view my direful countenance ! 
I read thee rash and heedless of thyself. 
To trouble my still seat and heaps of pre- 
cious pelf. 

" God of the world and worldlings I me call. 
Great Mammon, greatest god below the sky, 

184 The Gateway to Spenser. 

That of my plenty pour out unto all. 
And unto none my graces do envy : 
Riches, renown, and principality. 
Honour, estate, and all this worldes good, 
For which men swinck and sweat incessantly. 
Fro me do flow into an ample flood. 
And in the hollow earth have their eternal 

" Wherefore if me thou deign to serve and sue. 
At thy command, lo ! all these mountains be ; 
Or if to thy great mind, or greedy view, 
All these may not suffice, there shall to thee 
Ten times so much be numbered frank and 

" Mammon," said he, " thy godhead's vaunt 

is vain. 
And idle offers of thy golden fee ; 
To them that covet such eye-glutting gain 
Proffer thy gifts, and fitter servants entertain. 

" Me ill besits, that in der-doing arms, 
And honour's suit my vowed days to spend. 
Unto thy bounteous baits and pleasing 

Guy on finds Mammon. 185 

With which weak men thou witchest, to 

attend ; 
Regard of worldly muck doth foully blend 
And low abase the high heroic spright, 
That joys for crowns and kingdoms to 

contend : 
Fair shields, gay steeds, bright arms, be my 

delight ; 
Those be the riches fit for an advent'rous 


" Vain glorious Elf," said he, "dost not thou 

That money can thy wants at will supply ? 
Shields, steeds, and arms, and all things for 

thee meet. 
It can purvey in twinkling of an eye ; 
And crowns and kingdoms to thee multiply. 
Do not I kings create, and throw the crown 
Sometimes to him that low in dust doth lie; 
And him that reigned into his room thrust 

down ; 
And, whom I lust, do heap with glory and 

renown ? " 


/. — The Magic Mirror, 

TN that part of Britain now known as South 
Wales there once reigned a just and 
great king named Ryence. This king had 
an only child, a daughter, whose name was 
Britomart, and her mother being dead, she 
was a constant companion to her father, and 
from her earliest years she had been trained 
in warlike pursuits. No youth of the same 
age could wield a spear or hold a shield 
better than this young girl, and her great 
delight was in outdoor exercise and in the 
practice of things pertaining to warfare. 

Brave and strong and true was Britomart, 
and her active nature found little enjoyment 
in the ordinary pursuits of the ladies about 
her father's court. Their pleasures attracted 
her not at all, and instead of sitting quietly 

The Sto7y of Britomart. 187 

in their midst at her embroidery frame, or 
engaging in the light conversation by which 
they beguiled the hours, she longed to roam 
through the world in quest of manlike ad- 
venture, to meet and overcome dangers, and 
fight for some just cause, as ardently as any 
knight in the realm. 

Now it happened that the wise magician 
Merlin, who lived in her father's kingdom, 
made the king a gift of a wonderful mirror 
of his own devising, which had the magic 
power of revealing to the persons who gazed 
into it any events connected with themselves, 
whether in the past, present, or future. This 
mirror was shaped like a globe, and it was 
greatly valued by King Ryence, because it en- 
abled him to see the secret things worked by 
his enemies, so that he was always prepared 
for what might happen ; and this was of course 
an immense help in governing his country. 

One day, as Britomart wandered through 
the palace in a somewhat restless, dissatisfied 
mood, she came to the private chamber 
where the king kept the mirror ; and when 
she saw its shining surface she felt tempted to 

1 88 The Gateway to Spenser. 

try to read her own future in it, since her 
father had often told her of its magic powers. 

As she gazed into it in a rather listless 
manner, Britomart could see no reflection at 
first, not even that of her own fair face sur- 
rounded with its golden curls ; and then 
into her head there came a thought of her 
future husband, as is wont to come to the 
minds of maidens. 

Gradually as she gazed at the mirror the 
surface grew clearer and brighter, and before 
long, with a thrill of expectancy, Britomart 
saw appear the figure of a knight, fully 
armed. As he became more clearly revealed, 
she saw that he was of brave and handsome 
appearance. His vizor was raised so that 
she could see his face, and something in its 
straightforward, manly expression, and his 
whole brave, heroic bearing, stirred her 
deeply. She noticed that his armour was 
of antique mould, but very solid and good, 
and as she gazed a device in quaint lettering 
slowly appeared on it and Britomart made 
out the words : — 

" The arms of Achilles., won by Artegall.^'' 

The Story of Britomart. 


So now she not only knew the appear- 
ance of her future lover, but also that his 
name was Artegall, and that he had won 
the arms of the Greek hero Achilles. 

After gazing for some time at this knightly 
figure, Britomart turned from the mirror, 
but did not guess at first what had befallen 
her. The fact was that the image of Arte- 
gall had made so great an impression on 
her mind and heart that, unknown to her- 
self, she had fallen deeply in love with 

From that day Britomart was a changed 
person. Her spirits, usually so high, drooped, 
and she became sad and dejected, much to 
the distress of her father, who did not guess ^^' 
the cause. Her nights' rest, too, became 
disturbed, her sleep was troubled, and often 
a bad dream would awake her with a start. 

One night her former nurse, whose name 
was Glauce, and who slept by her, was 
much disturbed by Britomart's restlessness, 
and it occurred to the woman that this and 
the other signs of change in her young 
mistress must be due to her being in love. 



The Gateway to Spenser. 

So she determined to win the maiden's con- 
fidence, and to help her if she could. 

Leaving her own bed, she crept in beside 
Britomart, and taking the maiden in her 
arms she said, — 

" Come, tell me, my dear daughter, what 
trouble it is that thus destroys your nights' 
rest, and has changed you from a bright, 
cheerful maiden into a melancholy one. 
Much I fear that love is the cause ; but 
if this be so, and the one you love is of suit- 
able rank and birth, there is no need for 
fear. Come, tell me about it, my darling, 
and let me see if I can help you." 

Then, as she tenderly held Britomart in 
her arms, soothing and fondling her as though 
she were again the baby she had once nursed, 
the maiden told her with many sighs that in 
truth it was as she thought, and love was 
the cause of her suffering ; further, that it 
was no ordinary love for a real prince that 
she felt, but a strange passion for an unknown 
knight whose image alone she had seen as it 
was reflected in the magic mirror. 

Glauce comforted her as best she could. 

The Story of Britomari, 191 

telling her that there was no shame or dis- 
honour in this love, since the knight was no 
doubt worthy of it all. Nevertheless, she 
thought it were best to try to overcome it, 
since there seemed little likelihood of Brito- 
mart being able to wed him. But if this 
were not possible, and she could not be 
cured of her love, she promised by every 
means in her power to help Britomart to 
find her knight. 

Then the old woman carefully tucked up 
the girl in her warm bed, and, comforted 
by her words, the princess fell asleep. 

The next day Glauce set to work to try 
to cure her young mistress of her secret 
passion. She hurried off to the garden of 
the palace, and from it she gathered wonder- 
ful herbs, such as rue, dill, savin, and cala- 
mint, which she placed together in an earthen 
pot. These she mixed with drops of milk 
and blood, and in order to complete the 
charm, added three hairs from her own head 
lightly plaited together. She then turned 
herself round three times as the concluding 
part of the ceremony. 

192 The Gateway to Spenser. 

However, the charm failed to work. 
Britomart became more wan and wasted 
than before, and Glauce saw that other steps 
must be taken to restore her young mistress 
to health and happiness. 

//. — Merlin's Cave, 

After much careful thought, Glauce decided 
that particulars as to Artegall and his country 
must be discovered if possible, with the hope 
of finding him for Britomart ; and she 
thought of a plan for doing this which she 
imparted to the princess. It was that they 
should go in disguise to Merlin himself, 
and find out what they wanted to know 
from him. 

Britomart was nothing loth, and the two, 
disguised as peasants, accordingly set out 
for the place, at some little distance, where 
the magician lived in a deep, hideous, weird 
cavern under a high rock, near which a 
swift river came tumbling down from among 
some wooded hills. 

When Britomart and Glauce in their 

The Story of Britomart. 


strange, uncouth attire at last reached this 
romantic spot, their courage at first failed 
them ; but Britomart soon plucked up her 
spirits, and went boldly forward into the 

She found the magician deeply engaged in 
tracing certain strange signs on the ground, 
which were orders for his elfin servants to 
carry out ; and on seeing Britomart before 
him, he showed no surprise, for the fact 
was he already knew by his magic power 
that she was coming and saw through her 
disguise at once. 

Glauce, who had closely followed her 
mistress, now began to tell him of her plight 
in a long speech, to which the magician 
listened attentively, but at its close he burst 
into laughter. 

" Now, Glauce," he cried, " what is the 
use of all this pretence \ And, Britomart, 
why are you hidden in mean attire like the 
sun when veiled by clouds ?" 

Glauce was covered with confusion, while 
Britomart's fair cheeks were suffused with 
blushes at finding that they were discovered 

(1,665) 13 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

but Glauce quickly recovered herself, and 
begged Merlin, since he knew them, to 
have pity on the princess's condition, and 
tell her what to do. 

Then the old man addressed Britomart in 
solemn but glowing words. 

" Most noble maiden," he said, " be not 
dismayed that Love has come to you in this 
strange way, and as if by magic arts. It 
was not mere chance, but Destiny which 
led you to let your glance fall on my magic 
mirror. No evil fate is it that has befallen 
you, but the high fortune to love one of the 
bravest knights that exists. Your love shall 
be all the more worthy and noble in the 
end that in the beginning it is hard and 
difficult for you. The knight you seek shall 
be your husband, and renowned kings and 
great emperors shall be your descendants. 
It is decreed that you and Artegall shall wed, 
so submit your will to the Divine Power 
which ordains this, and do your utmost to 
fulfil your destiny. 

" Artegall is in truth the son of Gorlois, 
and nephew to the Cornish king. He is of 

The Story of Britomart. 195 

entirely human descent, though he is sup- 
posed to be of fairy origin, because he was 
stolen by a fairy when in his cradle and 
brought up in Fairyland, where he has great 
renown for his bravery. But his native land 
will need the might of his strong arm ere 
long against the heathen foe ; and it is your 
mission, Britomart, to go forth and seek him 
in Fairyland, and to bring him back to 
Britain. Here he shall fight great battles, 
for, alas, the British people will be over- 
come and taken into slavery by the enemy, 
and woe, and woe, and everlasting woe shall 
befall the babe born in those evil times. 
But after many ages shall happier days be- 
tide, and the just rule of a maiden queen 
rejoice the whole of the land. But the end 
is not yet." 

With these mysterious words the magician 
stopped, his eyes gazing far out into space as 
though he saw scenes beyond the present, 
concerning which he dared not speak. 

The two women looked at him with awe- 
struck faces, until he seemed to wake from 
his trance, when, after receiving further 

196 The Gateway to Spenser. 

directions from him as to their best course, 
they thanked him warmly, and with lightened 
hearts returned to the palace. 

III. — Castle Joyous, 

When the princess and her nurse had re- 
turned home from their secret visit to 
Merlin, they discussed together what their 
next step should be ; and Glauce made the 
bold suggestion that they should don suits of 
armour, and with spear and shield in hand, 
set forth disguised as a knight and his at- 
tendant squire, and thus roam through 
Fairyland in search of Artegall. 

Britomart's eyes sparkled and her cheeks 
flushed brightly as she listened to her nurse's 
plan. It appealed strongly to her love of 
adventure, and this, combined with the wish 
to find Artegall, caused her to accept the pro- 
posal with joy. At once they arranged to 
steal forth disguised from her father's palace 
as soon as possible. 

The first thing, however, was to provide 

The Story of Britomart. 197 

themselves with armour, and this, as Glauce 
pointed out, could easily be done. 

It happened that King Ryence had lately 
come into possession of several suits of mail 
which he had taken from some Saxons in 
a fray, and these he had hung up as 
trophies of victory in a neighbouring church. 
So together Glauce and Britomart stole to 
the church under cover of approaching dark- 
ness, and took two of the suits, one for each 
of them. The one chosen for Britomart 
was of costly design, as it had belonged to 
Angela, a warrior-queen of the Saxons ; but 
of still greater value than the richly-wrought 
armour was a spear which had belonged to 
old King Bladud, who founded the city of 
Bath, and with which the princess also 
armed herself. 

Now this spear had such wonderful 
powers that no one could resist it, and any 
knight against whom it was used was im- 
mediately unseated, however good a horse- 
man and brave a fighter he might be. There 
was a shield with this spear which also had 
special magic powers of resistance, so that 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

any one using it was protected in a marvel- 
lous manner. Thus equipped, Britomart 
was better prepared to resist attack than any- 
ordinary knight could have been, and added 
to this, she had a pure heart and a brave 
spirit, and as we shall see, she was always 
sure of victory. 

Glauce also put on a suit of armour, such 
as was worn by the attendant squire who 
accompanied every knight ; and thus ready 
for any adventure that they might encounter, 
the two women prepared to start. 

At a postern gate their two steeds awaited 
them, and while it was too dark for their 
flight to be noticed, they mounted and rode 
straight off to Fairyland. 

Now it happened soon after this that the 
good knight Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon, 
attended by the prince's trusted squire, 
Timias, and the palmer, were riding side by 
side across a wide open plain. The two 
knights were both bound for the court of 
the Fairy Queen, whither Guyon had already 
sent in advance his captive, the witch Acrasia. 
He himself, accompanied by the prince, had 

The Story of Britomart. 199 

taken a longer way to reach the palace in 
order to achieve more knightly adventure, 
and many a brave and noble fight had they 
fought and won for the relieving of the 
weak and oppressed, and the triumph of the 
right over wrong and ill-doing. 

As they rode across the plain they saw 
approaching them a young knight, bearing 
a shield which was strange to them, and 
which had for device a lion in a golden 
field. With the knight was his squire, who 
appeared to be an old man, since he was some- 
what bowed by the weight of his shield. 

At the sight of them the strange knight 
immediately couched his spear, to which 
Guyon responded in like fashion, and the 
two knights met in a sudden sharp encounter. 

But strong and swift as was the thrust of 
Guyon, it only caused his opponent to reel 
for a moment in his saddle, while, to his 
great surprise and bitter mortification, he 
was himself unseated by a mere touch from 
his adversary's spear. 

So great was the wrath of Guyon at this 
unexpected defeat, that he was about to 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

resume the attack with a fury which might 
have had dangerous results had it not been 
for the palmer. The wise old man had 
seen at once that it was no ordinary defeat 
which Guyon had suffered, but that the 
spear which had unseated him so easily had 
special magic powers against which courage 
and skill, however great, could not prevail. 

He persuaded the knight that it was due 
to no fault of his own, but to some accident 
that such an untoward incident had occurred, 
and he begged him to make peace with his 
enemy. Britomart, for it was no other than 
the princess whom Guyon had encountered, 
was quite willing on her part to close the 
combat amicably, and the end of it was that 
she joined Sir Guyon and the prince, and 
they all rode on together in friendly fashion. 

After much journeying they reached a 
dark forest, and as they rode through it 
there came forth from a neighbouring thicket 
a lovely lady on a milk-white palfrey. She 
was clad in a robe of beaten gold, and her 
horse's trappings were also of gold, but she 
was quite alone and unattended, and her fair 

The Story of Britomart. 201 

face was white from terror, while her long 
golden hair had escaped with the speed of 
her flight and streamed out far behind her. 

As she dashed out of their sight, there 
appeared in pursuit of her a man dressed as 
a forester, but of such an ugly cast of coun- 
tenance and of such a very evil appearance 
that it was easy to understand the poor lady's 
desperate wish to escape from him. 

At the sight of him the desire to rescue 
the lady from this ruffian seized both Prince 
Arthur and Sir Guyon at once, and without 
wasting time in explanations, they dashed 
after them, accompanied by the palmer and 

Britomart and Glauce were thus again left 
alone together, and soon they came out from 
the gloomy forest and drew near to a castle, 
in front of which they saw a curious sight ; 
for there was a knight holding his own with 
great difficulty against no less than six 
others, who were all attacking him at once. 
The unfairness of this contest fired Britomart 
with sudden wrath. She plunged into the 
midst of the fray in order to help the knight, 

202 The Gateway to Spenser. 

and succeeded in separating the band of his 
assailants, of whom she demanded an explana- 

The knight who was attacked replied that 
his opponents were trying to force him to 
become the champion of a certain lady, 
though he had told them plainly that this 
was impossible, because his heart was given 
to another, for whose sweet sake he had 
already fought and suffered much. 

He was in fact the Red Cross Knight, 
who, as will be easily believed, would have 
fought to the death rather than be disloyal 
to Una, the lady of his heart. 

Britomart turned on the six knights with 
fierce indignation when she had heard his 

" By my soul," she cried, " then are you 
six greatly in the wrong to try to justify 
your demand by force. Little you know of 
love, forsooth, if you think it can be given to 
order. Better it were to die than to be un- 
faithful. If this knight were to offer love to 
any but the one lady to whom he is pledged, 
it were to his great shame and dishonour." 

The Story of Britomart. 203 

But the knights still declared that every- 
one who came to that castle must forego 
any lady of his affection in favour of the 
lady who owned it, or, if he would not do 
this, he must fight them. Upon this Brito- 
mart was so incensed that she deemed it 
time to use her own spear against them 

Down went the first knight almost before 
he knew he was touched, and before his 
comrades had recovered from their surprise, 
a second and a third were also laid helpless 
on the ground The Red Cross Knight 
meanwhile unseated a fourth, and the other 
two gave themselves up. 

" Now," said Britomart, looking at the 
unhappy men with bitter scorn, " you see 
for yourselves that Faithfulness and True 
Love shall in the end prevail." 

After this they all entered the castle, 
which was called the Castle Joyous, and 
there they found a goodly company as- 
sembled, and were entertained in a most 
sumptuous fashion. 

It happened, however, that when all had 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

retired for the night, and Britomart had 
taken off her armour, displaying the female 
attire that she wore underneath, and letting 
her golden curls, which had been concealed 
under her helmet, fall over her shoulders, 
the lady of the house happened to catch 
sight of her. Of course she saw at once 
that she was no knight, but a maiden in 
disguise, and she was so rude to Britomart 
in consequence, that the Princess raised her 
spear against her, which frightened the lady 
so much that she shrieked in terror, and 
the knights all came flocking round to see 
what was the cause of the uproar. 

Then one of those whom Britomart had 
defeated earlier in the day took the oppor- 
tunity to aim an arrow at her, which wounded 
her slightly, and Britomart, in virtuous wrath 
at this outrage, seized her sword and with 
flashing strokes waved it here, there, and 
everywhere around her. The Red Cross 
Knight had meanwhile come to her aid, and 
the two soon caused consternation to all 
around them by the fierceness of their blows. 

Britomart herself decided not to stay even 

The Story of Britomart. 205 

for the night in a place where she had been 
so inhospitably treated. So hastily putting 
on her armour again, and accompanied by 
Glauce and the Red Cross Knight, she left 
the castle before even the morning star 
had appeared in the sky. 

IV, — Britomart and the Red Cross Knight. 

Britomart and the Red Cross Knight jour- 
neyed side by side for some distance without 
conversation ; but suddenly the knight's 
curiosity about his companion caused him 
to break the silence. 

" Fair lady," he began — " for, indeed, 
when arrayed as one you seem to me most 
fair, though your appearance as a knight is 
none the less knightly — I would fain know 
what adventure hath brought you into this 
land and caused you thus to disguise yourself." 

Britomart flushed a rosy red at the knight's 
words, but after a moment's hesitation she 
decided to tell him part of her story, and at 
the same time she thought of a plan by 
which she might find out a little more about 

2o6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Artegall's true character ; for she was aware 
that most of the knights in Fairyland knew 
of each other's deeds and reputations. 

So she told the knight that love of warlike 
adventure had been the main cause of her 
leaving her own land of Britain, since she 
knew that in Fairyland were many great 
deeds to be done ; and she then asked him 
whether he had ever heard of one called 
Artegall, and added that it was partly in 
order to avenge herself for a wrong wrought 
by him that she had started forth. 

No sooner had she said this than she felt 
as if she would like to bite out her tongue 
for her folly and for the injustice to Artegall; 
but her heart beat high with pleasure, never- 
theless, as the Red Cross Knight replied with 
indignation that he was sure she had made 
a mistake, since there was no braver or truer 
knight in existence than the noble Artegall, 
and he was certain that he would never do 
wrong to any lady. 

Britomart, still hiding her real feelings, 
now thought to follow up her advantage, and 
with bent head replied, — 

The Story of Britomart. 207 

" Nevertheless, in spite of your generous 
praise, it is no knightly action to mislead a 
maiden, as I can prove to you that Artegall 
has done ; and I entreat you, good sir, to 
tell me where the knight can be found, so 
that my search may speedily end." 

" I can only beg of you to abate your 
wrath," said the knight earnestly, " since I 
do assure you that Sir Artegall could not 
possibly deserve it ; but as regards his where- 
abouts, that could I in no case tell you, for 
he is seldom long in one place. His whole 
time is spent in roaming through the world, 
helping the weak and defenceless, comforting 
those in distress, and righting the wrong." 

" At least," then pleaded Britomart, " tell 
me what he is like, so that I may know him 
if we do meet." 

Her heart beat faster than ever as the 
knight proceeded to describe Artegall, for in 
every point his description agreed with the 
image she had seen in the mirror ; and she 
was well satisfied to hear Artegall spoken of 
in terms of such high praise as the knight 
bestowed both on his character and person. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

/ ' 

She would have been happy to listen much 
longer to all he could tell her of her unknown 
lover, but they now came to a point where 
they had to separate, as the Red Cross 
Knight's way lay in a different direction 
from the one which Britomart had decided 
to take. So with mutual expressions of 
friendship, they parted. 

V. — Prince Arthur and the Dwarf, 

We must now leave Britomart and return 
to Prince Arthur, whom we left in pursuit 
of the frightened lady on her white palfrey. 

The prince had plunged into the forest 
after her, leaving his squire to pursue the 
forester ; but in spite of the speed with 
which he had hastened, she was already far 
out of sight. In great distress he wandered 
through the forest in search of her, but all 
in vain. The fair lady in the dress of gold 
and her white palfrey seemed to have dis- 
appeared as though the earth had opened 
and swallowed them. 

As he pushed on through the forest he 

Florimell finds the cottage of the Witch in the 
gloomy glen. 

The Story of Britomart. 209 

suddenly found himself face to face with a 
funny little dwarf, who was also hurrying 
along as though in pursuit of some one. He 
was quite footsore and lame, and his arms 
and legs were scratched with brambles. 
Moreover, he seemed frightened, and was 
so much out of breath that he could at first 
hardly answer the prince when he stopped 
him to ask what was the matter. 

At last he panted out that he was a servant 
to a gentle lady of high position in Fairyland, 
who had lately left the court and had gone 
that way, and he was now in search of her. 
He begged the prince to tell him if he had 
seen her, and the prince, guessing that they 
sought the same lady, asked the dwarf 
eagerly what she was like and how she 
was clad. 

"Royally clad," said the dwarf, " in cloth 
of gold, as is befitting one so high-born, and 
she rides a white palfrey. As for her looks, 
I need only tell you that she is the fairest 
lady in the whole world." 

" Well, now," said the prince kindly, " I 
think I have indeed seen your lady ; for 

(1,666) 14 

2IO The Gateway to Spenser. 

such a one as you describe I saw lately pass 
this way, pursued by a forester. I am, in 
fact, myself seeking her, in order to give her 
protection ; but so fast did she fly that I have 
tried in vain to overtake her. But tell me 
who the lady is, and why one so fair rides 
forth thus alone." 

" The lady's name is Florimell," said the 
dwarf, "and no better or more virtuous lady 
exists. She loves a knight named Marinell, 
who is the son of a sea-nymph, but he does 
not appear to return her love, and a few 
days ago there came tidings that he had 
been slain by an enemy. Whereupon Flori- 
mell started forth to find out for herself if 
this were true, and to see him once more, 
whether dead or alive. But now, good sir, 
I beseech you to help me to trace her if 
you can." 

The prince then told the dwarf that he 
would not leave him until they had found 
the lady, and greatly comforted him by 
this promise. 

So together they pursued their way through 
the forest, searching on every side for the 

The Story of Britoniart, 


lost Florimell, but searching in vain, as we 
shall now see. 

VI. — Florimell and the Witch. 

Florimell had continued her wild flight 
through the forest long after the forester's 
pursuit had in fact been stopped by Prince 
Arthur's squire. In escaping from the latter 
the ruffian had been obliged to take a different 
direction from that pursued by Florimell. 

Her terror was so great that she still, 
however, fancied herself followed by the 
churl, and she rode on in desperation, without 
daring to glance behind. All through that 
night, and again during the next day, she 
pressed onward, until at last her faithful 
steed, which had borne her thus far, sank 
down, too much exhausted to move further. 

Great was Florimell's dismay at this, and 
at first she could hardly realize that such 
misfortune could have overtaken her, and 
that she, who had hitherto never known 
hardship, must go on foot and seek for a 
night's lodging, however humble. 



The Gateway to Spenser. 

At last she came to a little valley, and 
from among its thickly wooded slopes she 
noticed a thin line of smoke, betokening a 

The hope of finding a resting-place filled 
her with fresh courage. She toiled onward 
in the direction of the smoke, and found 
that it came from a small cottage — which 
was, in fact, hardly more than a hut built 
of turf and reeds, and covered with thatch. 

By this time Florimell was so worn out 
that the sight of even this poor hut was 
welcome, and she went boldly to the door 
and peeped inside. 

Now the occupant of the little house was 
a witch, but quite a different sort of witch 
from such as Acrasia or Duessa, who, as we 
know, had the resemblance of beautiful ladies. 
This witch appeared to be simply a hideous 
old woman, and when Florimell looked in 
at her she saw her clad in filthy rags, and 
busy about some evil snare which she was 

The witch did not expect any traveller to 
find his way to her hut in its remote valley, 

The Story of Britomart. 213 

and when on turning round she saw Flori- 
mell standing in the doorway, she was so 
much startled that at first she gazed at her 
in terror without speaking. When she 
recovered herself sufficiently to speak, her 
words were not at all reassuring ; for, instead 
of bidding Florimell welcome, she asked her 
what she meant by coming there unasked, 
and told her in very plain and impolite 
language that she was not wanted. 

But even the witch's heart was touched 
by Florimell's gentle answer, and by the 
tears which slowly welled up and overflowed 
from her beautiful eyes at this harsh treat- 

" Beldame," she said, " I beg of you be 
not wroth with me, for I meant no ill. It 
is quite by chance that I have found your 
dwelling, and I only crave room to rest until 
the storm which approaches be over." 

Upon this the witch not only bade her 
enter, but made her rest her weary limbs, 
and even tried to comfort her in her rough, 
uncouth fashion as she sat beside her on the 
floor — for other seat there was none in that 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

miserable abode. And as the witch saw her 
closer, and noticed how beautiful she was, and 
how costly her garments, she began to think 
that she must be some goddess, and resolved 
to keep her under her roof as long as possible, 
with the idea that such a fair visitant must 
bring her luck. 

While Florimell was sitting by the witch's 
side on the floor, with her golden hair, which 
she had unbound, falling round her like a 
veil, the door of the hut opened, and there 
entered the witch's son, who dwelt with her. 
He was a lazy, good-for-nothing rascal, who 
spent all his time in idleness, making no 
attempt to earn his living by honest labour, 
but was always loafing about, basking in the 
sun or sleeping. 

Great was the surprise of this young man 
when he saw Florimell, and at first he stood 
still, gazing at her in wondering admiration, 
quite awestruck by her beauty. When he 
had sufficiently recovered himself, he drew 
his mother aside, and asked her in an under- 
tone who the, lady was, and how she came 
to be there ; but the witch knew no more 


The Story of Britomart. 215 

than he did, and only replied by frightened 
glances and unintelligible signs. 

Florimell's own gentleness, however, soon 
calmed the fears of the witch and her son 
to such a degree that they felt quite at their 
ease with her, and for some time she con- 
tinued to dwell with them in the hut. But 
a very unfortunate thing happened in the 

The witch's son, from being afraid of 
Florimell, grew to like her very much, and 
at last fell desperately in love with her. 
Florimell did not notice this at first, and 
when he began to pay her little attentions 
she received them graciously. He was so 
poor that he had nothing of his own to offer 
her, but he used to make her gifts of any 
treasures he could find in the forest. One 
day it would be a young bird which he had 
taught to sing ; another, a squirrel which he 
had so tamed that it would live with the 
lady as a pet ; or, again, it would be a 
garland for her head of the fairest wild 
flowers he could find. 

Gradually, however, it dawned on Flori- 

2i6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

mell that this rough, uncouth peasant ex- 
pected something more than smiles and 
thanks in return for his gifts, and hoped 
thereby to win her love. Then a great 
terror seized upon her, for she felt that she 
was at his mercy and that of his evil-looking 
mother, and she determined to escape from 
them at the first opportunity. 

VII. — The Witch's Monster and Satyrane. 

One night soon after this Florimell made 
up her mind to escape, and creeping out 
from the hut when all was dark, she went 
to the place where her horse rested, and 
hastily saddling him, she started forth to ride 
through the forest. 

At first all went well, but Florimell was 
filled with terror as she rode onward, for she 
felt that at any moment her flight might be 
discovered, and she trembled to think what 
would happen if the witch and her son 
should start in pursuit. Every now and then 
she cast an anxious, terrified glance behind 
her, and though she could see nothing but 

The Story of Britomart. 


the shadowy forms of the great forest trees 
she imagined that she heard footsteps 
behind her. Faster and faster she urged 
on her good steed, but still the sound of 
heavy footsteps, real or imaginary, seemed 
to her to become louder and more distinct. 
The dawn was drawing near, and the faint 
light of the rising sun fell through the thick 
growth of the trees, and suddenly, as Florimell 
glanced back, she saw something which froze 
her blood with horror. 

The witch and her son had discovered her 
absence before the night was far advanced, 
and were filled with great wrath and dismay 
at her escape. The young man especially 
was beside himself with fury, and to appease 
him the witch had recourse to a wicked 
scheme by which Florimell should either be 
brought back to them or killed. For her 
part, she cared little which it was, and she 
imagined that either would also please her 
son equally well. 

Now in a secret den not far from her 
dwelling-place the witch kept a most 
hideous and ferocious monster. He was 



The Gateway to Spenser. 

more like a hyena than any other known 
animal, but he was bigger and fiercer, and 
to add to the horror of his appearance he 
was misshapen and deformed, and covered 
with great ugly spots. There was no fare 
that this monster liked so much as the flesh 
of beautiful women, so when the witch 
unchained him and gave him whispered 
orders to start out in pursuit of Florimell, 
he was only too eager to obey. 

It was this horrible monster gaining rapidly 
on her that the terrified Florimell saw when 
she glanced behind. At first she was so 
paralyzed with terror that she felt hardly 
able to hold the reins, but she knew that 
her one chance of escape from the monster's 
devouring jaws lay in pressing forward, and 
with fresh efibrt she urged on her faithful 
steed. The good animal strained every nerve 
and muscle in obedience to his mistress's will, 
and with dilated nostril and panting breath 
he struggled on. But still nearer and nearer 
with steady pace came the monster. 

Soon the forest was left behind, and as she 
emerged from its gloomy depths Florimell 

The Story of Britomart. 219 

saw with a sigh of relief a stretch of yellow 
sand, and, beyond, the broad expanse of the 
sea, sparkling in the light of the risen sun. 

Here, at any rate, was one means of escape, 
and she resolved to plunge into the water, 
and at least meet a calm and peaceful death 
there. The next moment, however, she saw 
a better means of escape. Gently swaying 
to and fro on the waves near the shore was 
a little boat, in which the owner, an old 
fisherman, slept, while his nets lay drying 
in the sun close by. It was the work of 
a moment for Florimell to spring from her 
horse, leap into the boat, and with a few 
rapid strokes of the oar push it well out to 

The monster arrived at the water's edge 
to see his prey beyond his reach, for he 
dared not enter the sea himself; and beside 
himself with fury at her escape, he turned 
to vent his rage on the poor horse, which 
lay panting on the shore, and began to tear 
him to pieces. 

While he was engaged in this evil work 
there chanced to pass that way some one who 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

was filled with wrath at the sight. This 
was the good Sir Satyrane, the lover of 
animals, who had befriended the wandering 

Satyrane was further enraged and distressed 
to recognize the horse as that of Florimell, 
and when he also saw her golden girdle, 
which had dropped in her flight and lay in 
the wet sand, great was his grief, for he felt 
sure that the lady, whom he dearly loved, 
had been devoured by the monster. 

Thereupon he flew at him and hurled such 
blows on his body that he was forced to 
leave the horse and to defend himself; but 
all good Satyrane's blows were powerless to 
kill the monster, and after a long struggle, 
he gave up the attempt. But he bound 
it with Florimell's girdle, which had a magic 
power that the monster could not resist, and 
led it away as his captive. 

He had not gone far when he saw an 
enormous horse of dappled gray in front 
of him, and on its back a giantess of 
immense size, who was bearing a captive 
knight in front of her. Seeing the distress 

The Story of Britomart. 2 2 1 

and danger of the knight, Satyrane left 
the monster and flew to his rescue, and at 
the sight of him the giantess thrust the 
bound knight aside, and seemed to prepare for 
fight. No sooner, however, had the knight 
come up to her with couched spear than she 
made off with such speed that it was useless 
to try to overtake her, so he gave up the 
pursuit and returned to her captive. 

The latter proved to be a young and 
handsome knight, who was overcome with 
gratitude to his deliverer, since, as he ex- 
plained, the giantess had meant to take him 
away to a prison on a secret isle, from which 
he would have had little chance of escape. 
As for his name, for which Satyrane asked, 
he wished merely to be known as the Squire 
of Dames. 

The two knights then retraced their steps 
to the place where Satyrane had left the 
monster, but it was nowhere to be seen, the 
fact being that during the encounter with 
the giantess, it had taken the opportunity 
of creeping back home to the witch. 

As they could see no signs of it, Satyrane 

222 The Gateway to Spenser. 

gave up searching for it, and resumed the 
journey which had been interrupted on the 
seashore, accompanied by the knight he had 

Ere they had gone far they came across 
another knight, named Paridell, whom they 
saluted, and from whom they paused to 
inquire on what adventure he was bound, 
and what tidings, if any, he brought from 

" Alas ! " sighed the knight ; " I bring 
very bad tidings indeed, for the whole of 
Queen Gloriana's court is plunged in sorrow 
by the departure of the fair Florimell in 
search of her lover, Marinell, who is said to 
be slain. After her started all the brave 
knights available, of whom I, unworthy, am 
one, in order to protect her, since she has 
gone unguarded and alone." 

" Greatly I fear that your labour is 
wasted," said Satyrane gravely, " and that 
the fair Florimell is dead." 

Paridell's countenance changed very much 
at these words, and he begged Satyrane to 
tell him his meaning more fully, and to 

The Story of Britoniart. 


say what reason he had for thinking that 
Florimell was dead. Satyrane then told him 
all that he knew, and how he had seen 
her steed being devoured by the monster. 
Moreover, he said that if further proof were 
needed, he had picked up her girdle near by, 
and this he still had in his possession. 

"In truth," said Paridell, when he had 
heard all, " it much seems to be feared that, 
as you say, the lady has been done to death. 
Yet of this we are not absolutely sure, and 
for my part I shall not forsake my quest of 
her until I have stronger proof." 

" Well spoken, fair Sir," said Satyrane ; 
" and I for my part will not stay behind, 
but proceed with you in your quest until 
it be ended." 

The Squire of Dames announced his in- 
tention to join them also, but as night was 
approaching, he persuaded the other two 
to accompany him to a castle which he 
pointed out to them not far away. 

The three companions therefore turned in 
the direction indicated, and as the last rays 
of the setting sun faded from the sky, they 

224 ^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

found themselves at the entrance to the 

V III. —The Castle of Malbecco. 

The castle appeared to be closed, and there 
was no sign of life anywhere, so it was 
agreed that Paridell should go forward and 
demand admission and a night's rest for the 

Now the owner of the castle, whose name 
was Malbecco, always kept the gates fast 
closed and refused hospitality to all way- 
farers, though this was against the knightly 
usage. This was because he had a miserly, 
suspicious nature and also was very jealous 
of any one approaching his wife Hellenore. 
So when he heard Paridell knock at the 
gate, he answered himself from the other 
side, pretending to be the porter, and said 
that he could not let him in, since the 
inhabitants had all gone to bed, and the 
master of the house had taken the keys with 
him and must not be disturbed. 

Paridell having thus tried gentle means in 

The Story of Britomart. 225 

vain, began to threaten punishment and 
force if the gates were not unlocked, but 
this also had no effect, and at the same time 
a tremendous storm of sleet and wind began. 
Close at hand was a little shed used for pigs, 
but now standing empty, and as the storm 
beat in fury round the castle, and there 
seemed no chance of finding shelter within, 
the three knights betook themselves to the 
shed and huddled together there. 

They had not been long in this place 
when another knight, accompanied by his 
squire, arrived at the hut, having in his turn 
demanded the shelter of the castle and been 
refused. It was to his great aanoyance that 
he found it already occupied by the three 
knights, and as these refused to make room 
for him, he became very angry, and declared 
that either they must let him in among them 
or come out. 

The masterful tones of the young knight's 
voice and his haughty manner infuriated 
Paridell, who rushed out into the storm, 
mounted his horse, and attacked him fiercely. 
His attack was returned with equal rage, 

(1,665) 15 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

and to his great discomfiture he speedily- 
found himself unhorsed and lying in the 
mud too much bruised to rise. 

The Squire of Dames then sprang to the 
attack, and a bloody contest might have 
ensued if Sir Satyrane had not interposed. 
He suggested that instead of fighting against 
each other, they should combine to force 
the churlish owner of the castle to give 
all of them shelter within. This was agreed 
upon, and the four knights now set to work 
to kindle a fire at the castle gates as if to 
set the whole building ablaze, and when 
Malbecco saw their intention he became 
much alarmed, and decided to admit them 
at once. So he ran as fast as he could to 
the wall, and called to them from there, 
apologizing in humble tones for the stupid 
and careless conduct of his servant, to whose 
fault it was entirely due, so he said, that 
they had not at once been admitted. 

Though they knew quite well that there 
was not a word of truth in all Malbecco's 
excuses, the knights were in such sore need 
of shelter and rest that they were only too 

The Story of Brilomart. 227 

glad to escape from the storm and accept 
this tardy welcome. 

Once within, they were well and hos- 
pitably treated, and though they saw plainly 
it was fear and not cordiality which was the 
cause of this reception, they acted as though 
they knew nothing. 

A huge fire was lighted, and right glad 
were the wet and bruised knights to doff 
their heavy armour and dry and warm them- 
selves at its cheerful blaze ; but it might 
have been noticed that the stranger knight 
who had fought with Paridell stood some- 
what apart and hesitated to do so. At last, 
however, he too began timidly to unfasten 
his helmet, but as he raised it a most sur- 
prising thing happened. From underneath 
escaped a profusion of lovely golden curls, 
which fell all round the young knight almost 
to his feet, and now, as the rest of his armour 
was removed, a woman's robe which had been 
tucked up within descended, and he stood 
revealed as a most beautiful maiden. 

It was, in fact, Britomart, and at the sight 
of her the knights stood around wrapt in 

228 The Gateway to Spenser. 

speechless admiration no less of her beauty 
as a woman than of her skill and courage as 
a knight. 

When they had all dried and warmed 
themselves, supper was served, and the 
evening was spent in much pleasant con- 
versation, until at a late hour the company 
dispersed for the night. 

Early on the following day Britomart 
started forth again with the faithful Glauce 
in attendance, and accompanied by Satyrane, 
leaving Paridell behind, as he declared that 
he was not sufficiently recovered from his 
bruises to travel. 

They went for some distance together, 
but in the course of the day they became 
separated in a forest, and Britomart and 
Glauce went on without Satyrane. 

IX. — Scudamour and Amoret, 

As she went through the forest Britomart 
saw something which filled her with great 
pity. By the side of a fountain lay a young 
knight evidently in the greatest distress. He 

The Story of Britomart. 229 

had thrown aside his helmet, breastplate, and 
shield, and lay face downward on the grass ; 
and as Britomart drew near to him, he gave 
forth a most heartrending groan, which was 
followed by a torrent of words ending in 
choking sobs. 

Britomart knelt down by the knight, and 
tried with tender hands to turn him round 
so that she might see his face ; and though 
the young man was at first only annoyed at 
finding his grief witnessed by a stranger, her 
gentle words of courteous sympathy induced 
him at length to tell her the cause of his 
grief and anger. 

The story he had to tell was in truth a 
very sad one. His name, it appeared, was 
Sir Scudamour, which means " Shield of 
Love," and he had been devoted to a lady 
named Amoret, who loved him in return. 
All would have gone well had it not been 
for a terrible event which turned the happi- 
ness of the lovers into agony. For just as the 
wedding was to take place, an evil magician 
named Busirane succeeded in carrying the 
lady away to his own castle, where he kept 

230 The Gateway to Spenser. 

her in a dark prison, and, worse still, tortured 
her, because she refused to give up Sir 
Scudamour and love him instead. There 
had she been a captive for seven months 
already, and Scudamour began to fear that 
any thought of rescuing her was hope- 
less, since it was not ordinary powers with 
which he had to contend, but magic and the 
black arts of sorcery. 

The knight's story appealed at once to 
Britomart's noble spirit, and she bade him 
take fresh heart, for she would help him, 
she said, to release his lady or herself die in 
the attempt. 

Scudamour was touched to the heart at 
these words, yet he, for his part, hesitated to 
let this brave young knight risk his life for a 

" Indeed," he said, " I know not, fair sir, 
how to thank you. More you could not 
have offered were Amoret your lady instead 
of mine. But methinks you should not risk 
your life on an adventure so hopeless. Let 
me die, whose place it is to do so for Amoret, 
but for one life to be lost is enough." 

The Story of Britomart. 



" No life is lost," said Britomart in swift 
reply, " if endless renown be bought by it, 
and for that it is worth while to die." 

Scudamour was at last persuaded by her 
brave words and fearless manner to put on 
his discarded armour and lead her to the 
castle where Amoret was a prisoner, though 
with little hope of rescuing her, as he knew 
the difficulties in the way. Even Britomart's 
courage failed a little when she saw how the 
entrance to the castle was guarded. 

The gates were deserted, but from the 
inner porch issued fierce flames as well as ^l^f^^^ 
clouds of smoke and sulphur fumes, through ', 
which it seemed impossible for any one to 

Britomart turned to Scudamour for ex- 
planation, and he told her that it was in 
truth this fiery entrance which had made him 
despair of ever gaining admission to the 
castle, and had been the cause of his hopeless 
grief, since he knew that the enchantments 
of the place were so strong that the flames 
never ceased, and that by no earthly means 
could they be put out. 



232 The Gateway to Spenser. 

" Therefore," he concluded, " it is useless 
to hope for anything better. I may as well 
be left to my bitter grief until I die of 
sorrow, since Amoret must needs remain here 
as a captive." 

'* By my faith, not so," cried Britomart. 
" It were a shameful thing thus to abandon 
a noble adventure without at least making an 
attempt to win success." Then, holding her 
shield well before her face to protect her, 
the brave maiden plunged into the fire. As 
she did so, a wonderful thing happened, for 
the flames divided before her, making a free 
passage, and she passed through unscathed. 
But when Scudamour rushed forward to try 
to follow, they closed again, and he was 
forced to retreat scorched and burned. 

Filled with rage at his own failure and 
smarting from his burns, Scudamour threw 
himself on the grass outside the castle, there 
to await Britomart's return, if in truth she 
ever did come back. 

Meanwhile Britomart had entered the 
castle, and after passing through one or two 
rooms found herself in a very large one, 

Britomart rescues A??ioret from Busira/ie. 

The Story of Britomart. 233 

furnished with costly tapestry, from behind 
which could be seen gleams of golden trea- 
sures, while at the end of the room was an 
altar to the God of Love. This altar was 
built of precious stones, and near it stood a 
figure of Cupid in solid gold, with a bow 
and arrows in his hands, and a prostrate 
dragon at his feet. 

As Britomart gazed all round the room, 
she caught sight of the words ^^ Be Bold'' 
inscribed over a doorway, and though she 
was much puzzled as to their meaning in 
that place, she pushed open the door and 
went inside. 

She found herself in a much more beauti- 
ful room than the last, adorned with figures 
of strange animals all modelled in gold ; and 
all round the room she saw the same motto 
that had caught her attention before, " Be 
Bold^' repeated over and over again on the 
walls, while over another door of iron in 
one corner ran the legend, " Be not too 

Britomart was much puzzled both by this 
and by the strange fact that there were no 

234 '^^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

signs of any living person anywhere in the 

And now night began to fall, and she 
decided to stay where she was until morning, 
but to keep as wide awake and as much on 
her guard as possible. For how could she 
tell what hidden dangers might lurk in the 
place ? 

So without putting off her armour, and 
with her sword and spear close at hand, she 
rested herself on the floor near to the little 
iron door. 

X. — The Ke lease of Amoret. 

In the middle of the night Britomart was 
startled by the sound of a great storm of 
wind which beat in fury against the castle, 
accompanied by thunder and lightning, and 
by the rumbling sound of an earthquake. 
In the midst of this uproar it seemed as 
though the tempest found its way into the 
castle itself, and every door banged to and 
fro, while at the same time Britomart's 
watchful gaze saw the iron door near her 

The Story of Britomart. 


slowly open, and through it came a grave 
person with a bunch of laurel in his hand, 
who beckoned to some one within. 

Britomart's courage did not fail, but she 
stood carefully aside in the shadow so as not 
to be seen, and soon a large company appeared 
through the doorway, walking in procession 
to the sound of gay music. They were of 
various appearances and clothed in apparel 
of different hue, some seeming merry and 
happy, while others wore sable garments 
and had melancholy faces ; but what struck 
the notice of Britomart the most, and filled 
her with pain and horror, was the sight of 
a most beautiful lady led in their midst with 
an arrow stuck into her breast. 

Three times did the people in this strange 
procession march round the room, taking no 
notice of Britomart, who stood back in the 
corner and watched them with awestruck 
eyes, and then they withdrew through the 
iron door. All was quiet then once more, 
and Britomart hardly knew whether she had 
been to sleep and dreamt it all or not. She 
was determined, however, to find out all 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

about it, for she felt sure that the lady with 
the wounded breast whom she had seen 
either in reality or fancy was no other than 
Amoret, and she went boldly to the iron 
door and tried to push it open. 

It was of no use. The door remained 
fast locked, and Britomart saw that her only 
chance of going through was to wait until 
it was opened from within again. So all 
the next day and until night came she sat 
patiently outside the closed door, and at last 
in the middle of the night it flew open 
as before, and without a moment's pause 
Britomart slipped inside. 

To her surprise, the company that she 
expected to see was not there, for the fact 
was that the moment she entered they had 
all vanished ; but the room was occupied by 
two people. One was the lady she sought, 
who was standing in the centre of the room 
bound to a brazen pillar, while in front of 
her sat the vile magician Busirane, who had 
brought her there. 

He was engaged in writing enchantments 
in a volume before him with drops of blood 

The Story of Britomart, 237 

drawn from his victim's wound. By these 
cruel means he thought to make her love 

At the sight of Britomart he was filled 
with terror lest she should counteract his 
evil arts, and he sprang to the lady with 
a knife in his hand. But Britomart was 
too quick for him. With a swift move- 
ment she was at his side, and had seized his 
hand ; but in the struggle which followed 
he struck at her with the knife, and drew 
a few drops of blood from her own bosom. 
Britomart was stung to still further fury at 
this outrage, and drawing her sword, she 
used it with such skill against the magician, 
that in a few minutes he was overcome and 
lay helpless at her feet. 

She was about to slay him there, when 
she was stopped by the captive lady, who 
was in truth Amoret, and who entreated 
Britomart to spare his life, since he alone 
had the power to undo his own evil charms 
on her and set her free. So Britomart stayed 
her hand, though with some reluctance, and 
told Busirane that if he restored Amoret 

238 The Gateway to Spenser. 

to her former unwounded condition, he 
should be allowed to live, but on that con- 
dition alone. 

The magician, trembling with fear, re- 
sumed his former seat, and began to read all 
his charms backwards to undo them, and 
even thus they were full of the most dreadful 
things which filled Britomart with horror ; 
and all the while that he read them she 
stood over him with her drawn sword, ready- 
to slay him on the spot if he failed her. 
Even when all the doors began to rattle, and 
the whole house quaked and tottered as 
though about to fall, Britomart stood stead- 
fastly at her post with drawn sword and 
watchful eye. And at last she was re- 

The cruel chain which bound Amoret by 
the waist first began to fall slowly to the 
ground, and as it did so the brazen pillar 
gave way and fell in fragments ; then the 
shaft fell softly of its own accord out of her 
bleeding breast, and as it did so the wound 
it had made quickly healed up, leaving the 
flesh as sound as though it had never been 

The Story of Britomart. 


pierced. The next minute Amoret, now 
as well and whole as she was on the day 
she had been seized by the magician, had 
thrown herself at the feet of her deliverer 
in a transport of gratitude and joy. 

Britomart gently raised her. 

" Sweet lady," she said, " to see you safe 
and sound would be reward enough for me 
had my efforts on your behalf been a great 
deal more. But let us go forth, since out- 
side there is one awaiting you to whom your 
sufferings have caused no less grief than to 

At these words Amoret flushed rosy red, 
for she understood very well that it must be 
Sir Scudamour whom Britomart meant, and 
the thought of seeing him so soon filled her 
with very great joy. 

Britomart first tightly bound Busirane with 
the chain which had been round Amoret, 
and then together they went through the 
deserted castle. As they did so, Britomart 
saw with wonder that all the costly decora- 
tions and resplendent tapestries in the rooms 
had vanished utterly, leaving the place dreary 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

and deserted. And when they reached the 
entrance, a still greater change had taken 
place there, for with the removal of the 
magician's spells, the fire had quite dis- 
appeared, and they were able to walk out 
through the porch without the least 

But here a little disappointment awaited 

In the spot where Britomart had left 
Scudamour and Glauce, neither was to be 
seen, and though they searched everywhere 
they could find no trace of them. 

Amoret, overcome with disappointment, 
and half afraid that she had been deceived, 
and that her knight had not been there 
at all, began to weep bitterly. Britomart 
was, for her part, greatly puzzled and 

The truth was, that as she did not return 
for so long both the knight and Glauce had 
come to the conclusion that she must have 
perished in the flames. They decided there- 
fore that instead of waiting there, it would 
be better for them to go in search of other 

The Story of Britomart. 241 

help, on the slight chance that it might still 
be possible to save Britomart and Amoret. 

XL— The False Florimell. ^^0 

All this time Britomart, in spite of her 
many adventures, had never gleaned any 
news of the knight she sought, the great and 
just Artegall, but before long she was des- 
tined to do so. 

There was a great deal of confusion and 
disturbance in Fairyland at this time owing 
to events connected with Florimell, whom 
we saw escape from the monster sent after 
her by the witch. The monster, it will be 
remembered, was captured by Satyrane, but 
escaped from him and went back to its 

The witch had been greatly pleased to 
see him return, and as he had a bit of 
Florimell's golden girdle still hanging to 
him, she took this for a sign that he had 
devoured the maiden. But instead of her 
son being overjoyed at these tidings, as she 
expected, he fell into bitter weeping and 

(1.565) 16 

242 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

wailing, and complained that all he wanted 
was Florimell herself, and that he had 
thought the monster would bring her back 
to him instead of devouring her. 

The witch felt greatly distressed at this 
failure of her plan to please her unworthy 
son, but it took more than this to baffle her, 
for she could always fall back on magic arts 
to complete her purpose. So, nothing 
daunted, she retired to a quiet spot, and 
with the aid of incantations and evil powers 
she made a false Florimell, so like the true 
one that none could tell the difference at 
first. The witch's son was delighted when 
she brought this counterfeit lady to him, 
and especially so when, after a little pretended 
shyness, so that he would not suspect any- 
thing, the lady became quite kind to him. 

For a time she stayed with him, but one 
day they met the boastful would-be knight 
Braggadocchio, who claimed her for himself, 
and so cowardly was the witch's son that 
he gave her up without an attempt to defend 
her, and she was borne away by Braggadocchio, 
well pleased with himself at having captured 

The Story of Britomart. 


so fair a lady. He did not enjoy her com- 
pany for long, however, for as they rode 
together, they met a knight named Sir 
Ferraugh, who was one of the band searching 
for Florimell. When he saw her counterfeit, 
he thought it was the lady herself, and 
claimed her from Braggadocchio, who, after 
a short fight, turned his back and rode hastily 
away, while Ferraugh bore away the lady, 
feeling greatly delighted at having, as he 
thought, rescued the missing Florimell. 

Now through this much quarrelling arose, 
for the false Florimell cared little to what 
knight she belonged, and when one after 
another would have claimed her, she made 
no demur. 

Thus when Sir Paridell and another knight 
named Blandamour overtook her and 
Ferraugh, determined to carry her off from 
him, she made no resistance. Blandamour 
felled Ferraugh to the ground wdth a stroke 
of his sword, and the false Florimell rewarded 
him with loving glances and sweet words. 
The result of this was that Paridell grew 
jealous, and the two knights were in the 


244 T^^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

midst of a quarrel about her when they were 
interrupted by the Squire of Dames, who 
begged them to stay their fight until they 
had heard what he had to say. 

First he asked to be told the cause of their 
quarrel. When they told him that it was 
for the lady Florimell that they fought, he 
asked them how that could be, since Florimell 
had wandered afar, and as yet no trace had 
been found of her. 

" Foolish squire to talk thus," said Paridell 
with wrath. "The lady you speak of as lost 
stands there before your eyes ! " 

The Squire of Dames looked in the direc- 
tion indicated, and he did not doubt that he 
really saw Florimell, and was overjoyed to 
think that she had been found and was safe. 

" All the same," he said, turning again to 
the knights after he had given Florimell 
greeting and homage, " your quarrel strikes 
me as exceedingly out of place. Rather 
than acting at variance, it seems to me you 
should be united in friendly endeavour to 
protect the lady. But if you want to fight 
for her sake, you have opportunity to do so. 

The Story of Britomart. 245 

For know that Satyrane possesses the golden 
girdle of Florimell, and as this has been the 
cause of envy among other knights, he has 
proclaimed a solemn feast, to be followed by 
a mighty tournament, to which all brave 
knights and their ladies are bidden. And 
since it is supposed that Florimell hath not 
been found, the golden girdle is to be given 
to the lady who is proclaimed the fairest, 
and she shall belong to the stoutest knight 
there. Now since you have found the lady, 
surely it is meet that you should take part 
in the tournament and thus settle your 

The knights agreed to this, and, accom- 
panied by the Squire of Dames and the false 
Florimell, they went on their way with 
outward appearance of friendliness, but with 
hate and rancour still raging in their hearts. 

They had not gone far before they espied 
in front of them two knights, each accom- 
panied by a lady of most pleasing appearance, 
and the Squire of Dames, who was sent on to 
find out who they were, returned with the 
tidings that they were two of the bravest 

246 The Gateway to Spenser. 

knights in Fairyland, named Sir Triamond 
and Sir Cambell, and that they were the 
lovers of the two ladies, one of whom was 
named Canacee and the other Cambine. 

At first Blandamour was inclined to quarrel 
with them out of sheer ill-nature, but he 
was dissuaded from this, and the two com- 
panies joined and engaged in friendly con- 
versation, in the course of which Satyrane's 
tournament for the golden girdle was spoken 
of. On hearing of this both Triamond and 
Cambell decided at once to take part in the 
contest, each in hope of having his own lady 
proclaimed the fairest. 

But now another adventure befell, for 
before they had reached their destination 
they were overtaken by Braggadocchio, who, 
on recognizing Florimell, came up in his 
usual boastful manner and declared that she 
belonged to him. 

A quarrel ensued between him and 
Blandamour, while the lady who was the 
cause of it showed so little concern that it 
evidently mattered nothing to her to which 
knight she belonged. 

The Stoiy of Britomart. 247 

Sir Cambell, however, persuaded them to 
leave the matter over without coming to 
blows ; for, as he pointed out, it seemed a 
pity for strength to be wasted in these con- 
flicts by the way when every knight needed 
all the strength that he could command to 
help him in the forthcoming tournament. 

XII. — Satyranes Tournament. 

When the company arrived at the field 
where the tournament was to be held they 
found all preparations completed for it, and 
already there was assembled in the enclosure 
a fine array of brave knights and dainty 
ladies, who walked round it in fair and 
orderly procession. 

Then into the centre 'of the field rode Sir 
Satyrane, bearing a rich casket, out of which 
he drew the golden girdle which was to be 
the trophy of the fight, and which, as will 
be remembered, he had picked up covered 
with mud by the side of the monster on the 
seashore. Very different did it appear as he 
displayed it, for all the mud stains had been 

248 The Gateway to Spenser, 

cleaned away, and it shone forth to the eyes 
of all resplendent with shining gold and 
sparkling jewels. Satyrane hung the girdle 
up where all could see it, and then, to a loud 
fanfare of trumpets, he opened the tourna- 
ment, advancing towards the knights on the 
other side with a huge spear in his hand. 

A Saracen knight, known as Bruncheval 
the Bold, was the first to accept his chal- 
lenge, and the two knights met in so fierce 
a conflict that each was unhorsed and lay 
stunned and helpless on the ground. Upon 
this the brave Sir Farramont spurred his 
horse to the aid of Satyrane. Against him 
came Blandamour, and, when he was over- 
thrown, Paridell came to his help. Now it 
was Braggadocchio's turn to help both 
Blandamour and Paridell, but the boaster 
proved that he was no real knight but a 
masquerader, and he stood still, hesitating, 
until Triamond, wrathful at his cowardice, 
took his place. 

The victory was now on the opposite side 
to Satyrane's, for so well and fiercely did 
Triamond fight that knight after knight tried 

The Story of Britomart. 


their arms against him in vain. But just as 
he was at the height of his success Satyrane 
recovered from his swoon, and when he saw 
the crowd of disabled knights on his side he 
was spurred to fresh action. In spite of his 
wounds, he seized his weapons, which lay near 
him and, remounting his horse, rode against 
Triamond with pointed spear, which he 
aimed so well at his side, that Triamond 
reeled in the saddle, while a stream of blood 
rushed from the wound which he sustained. 

Evening was now drawing near, and as 
the knights on Satyrane's side ranged the 
field there was none on the other side to 
accept the challenge, and the tournament 
closed for that day to their advantage. 

The next day the tournament was resumed, 
but, to his great grief, Triamond was unable 
to be present on account of his severe wound. 
So, unknown to him, Cambell, who loved 
him with a great and unselfish devotion, 
donned Triamond's arms, and thus disguised 
entered the lists with the intention of winning 
honour for his friend. 

He found Satyrane still master of the field, 


The Gateway to Spenser. 


since no knight present seemed able to stand 
against him, and the two met with such 
force that both were thrown forcibly to the 
ground. But they were on their horses 
again before either could claim the advantage, 
and betook themselves to their swords, fight- 
ing with such fury and skill that all the 
onlookers were amazed. 

Now they were chasing each other, now 
hitting out close, now hurtling round to take 
advantage, now almost grappling with each 
other, and yet to neither the advantage 
seemed to fall. At last Satyrane's steed, 
either through accident or fear, slipped, and 
Cambell seized the opportunity and unhorsed 
Satyrane. But his victory was not yet 
assured, for as he stooped to seize his foe's 
shield and sword, other knights came to the 
aid of Satyrane, and Cambell found himself 
surrounded by a fierce crowd, jostling and 
pushing, and attacking him with swords and 
spears. Against these numbers one alone 
was powerless, and Cambell was soon over- 
borne and made captive. 

Now the news of this reached Triamond 

The Story of Britomart. 251 

as he lay on his sick couch, and in his zeal 
to be avenged for his friend Cambell, he 
forgot all about his wounds, and rushed to 
seek his armour, only to find it had been 
removed. But though his ovv^n was nowhere 
to be seen, Triamond soon found Cambell's, 
and hastily donning it he rushed into the 
thickest of the fight. There, singling out 
the knight who had taken Cambell captive, 
he rescued him, and pursued the foe round 
the lists with a fury that never abated until 
the sound of trumpets proclaimed the tourna- 
ment over for the day. 

By universal acclaim the two brave friends 
Cambell and Triamond were declared the 
winners of the prize, but neither knight 
would take it, each declaring that his friend 
deserved it more than himself ; and the end 
of it was, that another day's fighting was held 
to be necessary to decide whose the prize 
should be. 

On this third day a very unexpected turn 
was given to the tournament, and it ended 
quite differently from what any one could 
have expected. 

252 The Gateway to Spenser. 

The victory seemed again to be with the 
knights of Satyrane, who himself appeared 
to be able to withstand every attack, and 
fought with almost incredible courage, though 
on both sides marvellous bravery was shown. 

To none of these combatants did the 
thought of wounds or death ever seem to 
occur. Each knight was bent on fighting 
with the utmost courage possible, and the 
field was strewn with shivered spears and 
broken swords ; riderless horses ran to and 
fro, adding to the confusion, and squires were 
hurrying in every direction to drag their 
wounded and unhorsed masters out of the 
melee. But Satyrane was still lord of the 

Suddenly, from a distant corner, there 
entered a strange knight, in a most extra- 
ordinary guise. His armour was covered 
with wild weeds and moss, the trappings of 
his steed were oak leaves, and his ragged 
shield bore the strange motto, Sahagesse sans 
Finesse, or, " Wildness without Art." 

Straight into the fight rode the stranger, 
attacking the first knight he met, who at a 

The Story of Britomart. 


touch from his spear was overborne from his 
saddle, though he was deemed a right brave 
knight. The next one, named Sir Brianor, 
was also soon disposed of, and after him in 
rapid succession seven more were laid low. 

Much wonder did the appearance and still 
more the deeds of the stranger knight excite 
among all, and whispered inquiries went 
round as to who he was ; but since no one 
knew they called him the " Savage Knight." 
All the remainder of that day did the Savage 
Knight keep the field. Against his mighty 
spear even Sir Satyrane seemed powerless, 
and he and his knights gradually began to 
lose heart. It seemed plain to all that the 
Savage Knight was to win the tournament. 
But this was not to be, and there was a 
further surprise for all in store. 

Just as the sun was beginning to set and 
the tournament was almost ended, there 
suddenly appeared in the very thick of the 
fight another stranger knight, and with one 
touch from his heavy spear the Savage 
Knight was sent backwards from his horse 
and lay prone and helpless on the ground. 

2 54 ^'^^^ Gatezvay to Spenser. 

Upon this Cambell spurred on his horse 
and plunged into the thick of the fray, but 
he also was powerless against the spear of the 
newcomer, and soon he too was unhorsed. 
Triamond shared the same fate as Cambell, 
and so did Blandamour and all the other 
knights who attacked him. So when the 
sun set, and the shades of night descended on 
the field, the trumpets declared the tourna- 
ment ended, and the victory was by all 
accorded to the stranger, who, to the joy of 
Satyrane's knights, had won it for their side 
just when all seemed lost. 

Little did the exultant knights imagine 
that they owed their triumph to no warrior, 
but to a young girl, nor guess that beneath 
the glittering helmet there was concealed a 
wealth of woman's curls. But so it was, for 
the knight of the heavy spear was no other 
than Britomart, though she for her part little 
guessed that in the Savage Knight whom 
she had overthrown she had at last met the 
knight of her own heart, Sir Artegall. 

The Story of Britomart. 255 

XIIL—The Golden Girdle. 

At the close of the tournament all with- 
drew to a joyous feast and to take part in 
other gentler pastimes ; but the next day 
was one of great excitement, for the prize 
was now to be awarded, and the fairest lady 
present was to be chosen for the winner. 

Never before had there been such a dis- 
play of beauty as when the various ladies 
were brought forward by their knights. 
The first to be led up was Cambine by her 
lover Triamond, and when her veil was cast 
aside there was a buzz of admiration all 
around ; but when she was followed by the 
fair Canacee, led by Cambell, all felt that it 
would be hard to say which of the two was 
the fairer. 

About a hundred others followed them, 
and to describe all their beauty would need 
a pen of gold, and at last Britomart led forth 
Amoret. At the sight of that sweet coun- 
tenance nearly every one agreed that her 
loveliness surpassed that of all the others. 
But there was one more lady still to be seen, 

256 The Gateway to Spenser. 

for Blandamour with secret triumph had 
waited until now to produce the fairest lady 
of all — the owner, as he thought, of the 
girdle, and he now led up the false Florimell. 

Even those who had known the true 
Florimell were almost startled at the beauty 
of the counterfeit, but the fact was that the 
witch had somewhat overdone her copy of 
the beauty, and with a little more discern- 
ment it would easily have been detected as a 
fraud, just as jewels which glitter the most 
are often of least worth, or the copies of a 
fine picture are more highly coloured than 
the original. 

No one, however, suspected the deception, 
and Florimell was declared to be the prize of 
the victorious knight and the winner of her 
own girdle. 

But the strange thing that now happened 
was that when the false Florimell eagerly 
seized the sparkling girdle and fastened it 
round her waist, it immediately became un- 
fastened again and slipped down to her feet. 
Again and again did she try to secure it ; 
each time the same thing happened, and 

The Story of Britomart. 257 

the girdle was no sooner fastened than it 
became undone. At last, seeing expressions 
of amusement at her discomfiture on some of 
the faces present, she fell into a temper and 
handed the girdle to the lady next to her ; 
but strange to say, the same thing happened 
again, and so with lady after lady. With 
one after another the girdle was no sooner 
placed round the waist than it immediately 
became undone and slipped to the ground, as 
it had done with Florimell. At last it came 
to the turn of Amoret, and to every one's 
surprise the girdle fitted her perfectly and 
remained in its place. 

At this Florimell was much annoyed, and 
snatched it from her, and tried it again round 
her own waist, but with the same result as 
before. However, as the girdle was known 
to be Florimell's, it was decided that she had 
the right to keep it, and also that she must 
be the lady given to the victorious knight. 
Britomart, however, would have nothing to 
do with her, declaring that she preferred 
Amoret, and Triamond, to whom she was 
next offered, had eyes for no one but his 

(1,565) 17 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

own dear Ca-nacee. As for the Savage 
Knight, he had disappeared in much annoy- 
ance at his defeat, so the lady was given to 
Satyrane. At this Blandamour was filled 
with jealous rage, and he and Satyrane began 
to quarrel. Paridell then joined in, and 
other knights present also began to quarrel 
for possession of the lady. In the end it 
was arranged that she should select her own 
knight, and, much to the disgust of every 
one, she chose none of those who had borne 
themselves so bravely in the fight, but the 
blustering coward Braggadocchio, who, 
mightily pleased at his unexpected triumph, 
waited until nightfall, and then bore her 
away with him. 

XIV. — '^ritomart meets Artegall. 

Now when Sir Artegall left the tournament 
it was with a heart full of wrath against the 
knight who had defeated him, and he waited 
about in a neighbouring forest in the hope 
of meeting him and having his revenge. 
There he was joined by Sir Scudamour, who 

The Story of Britomart. 259 

had also taken part in the fray, though his 
presence had not been known to Britomart 
or Amoret, and who was also full of wrath 
against the former. 

After he and Glauce had left the castle of 
Busirane, he had heard from some other 
knights that Amoret and Britomart had 
been seen wandering about together and appa- 
rently on the most affectionate terms, and he 
thought from this that the knight had acted 
falsely to him, and had but saved Amoret to 
win her heart for himself; for he did not 
know, of course, that her knight's armour 
really concealed a maiden. So when Scuda- 
mour and Artegall compared notes, they 
found that they were both waiting with the 
same object, that of being revenged on the 
knight who had won the tournament, and 
before long they espied Britomart riding 
through the forest in leisurely fashion. 

Scudamour obtained the consent of his com- 
panion to be the first to challenge her, and 
rode furiously at her with his spear ; but she 
in return smote him in such fashion that both 
horse and rider soon lay helpless on the ground. 

26o The Gateway to Spenser. 

Upon this Sir Artegall rode up in a fury, 
and though she unhorsed him at once, he 
flew at her and hurled such blows against 
her on foot that it seemed no mortal strength 
could prevail against them. Britomart, how- 
ever, had, as we know, a strength more than 
mortal, but at last a thundering blow alighted 
on the back of her horse, inflicting so severe 
a wound on the animal that she too was 
compelled to fight on foot. Little she 
guessed who was the knight with whom she 
was engaged in seemingly mortal combat ! 

At first the advantage was with her, for 
Artegall was already somewhat spent with 
fighting on foot, and such was the fury of 
her onset that her sword pierced through 
his armour and soon his blood began to flow. 
Urged by his wound to fresh fury, Artegall 
gathered his failing strength, and showered 
such fierce and rapid blows on her that the 
sound of them resembled a hailstorm. 

At last one mightier than the rest lighted 
on her helmet, tearing open the vizor, and 
just as Artegall's arm was raised to pursue 
his advantage with a second and more deadly 

The Story of Britomart. 


blow, he stood back breathless with surprise 
and admiration. For instead of the bronzed 
and bearded face of a hardy knight which he 
had expected to see, behold ! before him the 
lovely face, framed by a mass of golden curls, 
of a most beautiful maiden. 

Twice again did the astonished knight 
raise his sword to smite, but again and yet 
again his hand fell powerless to his side as 
though the sword itself refused to be raised 
against such beauty ; and at last the knight 
yielded to the feelings struggling within, 
and falling on his knees before Britomart, 
humbly entreated her pardon for the outrage 
he had done to her in fighting with her at all. 

Britomart was still full of the spirit of 
battle, and at first was not inclined to listen 
to the knight's entreaties. Indeed, she would 
have fain resumed the combat, but they were 
now joined by Scudamour and Glauce. 

Scudamour was overcome with joy and 
remorse when he saw that he had no cause 
for his jealousy of Britomart, since she was 
no knight but a lady, and Glauce greeted 
her with great delight after their long 



262 The Gateway to Spenser. 

separation, and begged her to give a truce 
to the knights. This being granted, the 
two knights raised their vizors, and at the 
sight of Artegall's face, now for the first 
time disclosed, a great change came over 
Britomart as she saw that countenance in 
which tender dignity tempered the stern- 
ness. Surely, surely, she thought, it was the 
one which she had seen long ago in the 
crystal into which she gazed in her father's 
palace ; and when Scudamour addressed the 
knight directly after by name, any lingering 
doubt in her mind was removed, and she 
knew that she had found Artegall at last. 

Artegall's heart, too, was won by the first 
glance he had of Britomart's sweet face 
framed in its golden curls, surmounted by the 
helmet, and Britomart found the real Sir 
Artegall even more worthy of her affection 
than the knight of her dreams. 

Love, as Glauce pointed out to them, had 
proved the great conqueror once more, and 
there was no shame to Artegall that he had 
been conquered by a woman's hand. 

But Britomart was not prepared to promise 

The Story of Britoviart, 263 

her heart so quickly, and it was not for some 
time that she consented to be Artegall's wife. 
They now all sought the shelter of a 
neighbouring castle, where they rested and 
were refreshed after their hard fighting, and 
where their wounds had time to heal, and 
there during many happy, peaceful days the 
lovers learnt to know each other well, and 
in the end were betrothed. But the mar- 
riage was not to be yet. Artegall was en- 
gaged on a difficult adventure which he 
must leave Britomart to accomplish, and 
Britomart had also a duty to perform in 
another direction. For meanwhile, what 
had become of Amoret .? 

XV. — 77?^ Peril of Amoret, 

When Scudamour had asked Britomart for 
tidings of Amoret, which he had done 
almost immediately after the fight, Britomart 
had a very sad story to tell him. For the 
fact was that she knew no more of Amoret's 
whereabouts than Scudamour himself. 

Soon after the tournament they had settled 

264 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

for the night in a place which seemed quiet 
and secluded, and Britomart, heedless of 
danger, had fallen asleep. When she awoke, 
she found to her great dismay that Amoret 
had disappeared, and though she searched 
and called for her everywhere, she found no 
sign of her, and from that day she had 
neither seen nor heard of her again. 

Bitter was the grief of Scudamour at hear- 
ing these sad tidings, and Britomart vowed 
to him then and there that she would not 
leave him until they had found the lost lady. 

So while Artegall went forth on his own 
adventure, Britomart with Scudamour started 
on hers. 

Now it was really a very terrible thing 
which had befallen Amoret, for while Brito- 
mart had slept, she had wandered in the 
neighbouring forest, and there had been 
seized by a horrible monster, who bore her 
off to his den, a dark and evil place, into the 
depths of which he thrust her, closing the 
entrance with so huge a stone that she could 
not possibly escape. Here she lay shaking 
with terror, and soon in the darkness close to 

The Story of Britomart. 


her she heard most pitiful and heartrending 
sobs, which proved to be from another lady 
caught by the same monster. She told 
Amoret that it was his custom to keep his 
victims there and to ill-treat them shamefully, 
and then devour them ; and she added that 
she had been there twenty days, and that she 
knew that it would soon be her turn to be 

While the two wretched captives were 
whispering together concerning their most 
evil plight, the stone was moved, and in 
came the monster ; but Amoret, with a 
sudden swift instinct of self-preservation, 
slipped behind him before he had moved 
the stone back into its place, and bounded 
off over the open country like a hunted 

Straight ahead went the frightened lady, 
pausing not for breath. Over hedge and 
ditch, up steep hillsides, through narrow 
dales, she fled, and ever as she fled the 
hideous monster was behind her in pursuit. 
And still the faster she went the nearer the 
monster gained on her. Now his horrible 


266 The Gateway to Spenser. 

hot breath could actually be felt by her, and 
turning a little, she could see his fiery eyes 
glaring at her, and his cruel mouth wide open 
ready for its prey. 

With a terrified shriek she fell almost 
swooning, for her strength was spent, and she 
knew she could no longer hope to escape. 
But just at this moment of extreme peril 
unexpected help arrived. 

To understand how all this befell we must 
go a long way back in the story, even to 
the day when Florimell had been seen by 
Prince Arthur and his squire Timias, as she 
escaped through the forest. 

XVI. — Timias and the Wood Nymph. 

It may be remembered that when Prince 
Arthur set ofi^ after the frightened Florimell, 
his trusty squire Timias followed the forester 
who was pursuing her, the prince intending 
to save and protect the lady, and the squire 
to seize and punish the ruffian who was 
the cause of her alarm. 

From that day Timias had never rejoined 

The Story of Britomart. 


his master, who greatly missed him. We 
must now see what had befallen him, and 
why he was still separated from the prince. 

All the efforts of Timias to overtake the 
forester had been in vain. The forester knew 
the country so much better than he did that 
he was able to escape from him by little- 
used bypaths into the depths of the wood, 
and thus succeeded in reaching his two 
brothers, strong, stalwart fellows, as bold and 
as bad as himself. He told them of his 
danger, and together they all three set out 
with the intention of waylaying the squire 
and putting him to death. 

With this evil purpose they lay in wait 
near a ford across a stream where they 
thought that Timias would be likely to pass, 
and where he would be at a great dis- 
advantage if attacked. 

Before long Timias came riding quietly 
by, just as they had expected he would, and 
no sooner had he reached the ford than the 
forester hailed him from the opposite bank, 
threatening him with his spear if he should 
attempt to cross the stream ; and while 

268 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Timias, being on a lower level than his foe, 
was thus kept at bay, one of the forester's 
brothers from their hiding-place in the 
thicket near smote him in the thigh with an 
arrow, while the third brother attacked him 
from the bank with a heavy forester's bill. 

Though wounded sorely, Timias succeeded 
in gaining the bank. One thrust of his spear 
pierced the side of the second forester, so that 
he fell heavily, dyeing the ground with his 
blood ; and ere the forester who had pursued 
Florimell could be avenged for his brother's 
death, his own head was cleft in two by 
a blow from the squire's sword. There 
remained now only the third brother, whose 
courage entirely failed him when he saw the 
fate of the other two, and it was easy work 
for Timias to dispatch him, and send his 
headless corpse floating down the stream. 

But victory had been bought at a heavy 
price, and his enemies now disposed of, 
Timias sank back on the ground, faint and 
exhausted from loss of blood ; and there he 
would probably have lain until he bled to 
death had not fortune favoured him. 

The Story of Britomart. 269 

There was living in a glade not far away 
a lovely maiden named Belphoebe, who was 
a great huntress, and it happened that in 
eager pursuit of her prey she came upon the 
squire lying in a death-like swoon. At first 
Belphoebe started back in horror, but the 
next moment a feeling of gentle womanly 
compassion swept over her, and kneeling by 
the wounded man she raised him gently in 
her arms, and tried by every means to restore 
him to life. 

At last Timias slowly opened his eyes, and 
when they fell on the fair creature bending 
over him, he thought she must be an angel 
sent to succour him, until Belphoebe ex- 
plained that she was no angel, but the 
daughter of a wood nymph, who had chanced 
to find him while out hunting. She was 
now joined by her maidens, who had come 
hastening after her, and together they bore 
the wounded man to their dwelling in a 
shady dell, where the pleasant tinkle of a little 
stream mingled with the sweet songs of the 
birds. There Timias was placed on a couch, 
and for many a day was tended by Belphoebe, 


The Gtztrmay to Spenser. 

whose gentle care combined with the beauty 
and peacetulness of his surroundings to help 
onward his recovery. 

But as his wound healed, Timias did not 
grow so strong and well as might have 
been expected, for the fact was he had 
another wound now, a wound in the heart ; 
for he had fallen deeplv in love with 
Belphoebe, whom he did not dare to tell of 
his feelings, deeming her far too much above 

Love, however, was strong enough to over- 
come this dimculrs', and at length Timias 
and Belphoebe exchanged vows of constancy. 
For a time the trusrv* squire was vers* happy, 
but on the day when Amoret was pursued 
by the monster, all his bliss was snatched 
from him bv a sad misunderstanding. 

It happened that just as the monster 
pursuing Amoret had seized hold of her, and 
was about to bear her off to his den, Timias, 
who was out with Belphoebe on a hunting 
expedition, came across them. He saw the 
lady's sad plight at once, and rushed to her 
rescue. But the monster had a shield against 

The Story of Brilomart. 27 1 

which Timias was powerless, for this, was no 
other than Amoret herself, which te held in 
front of him in such wise that any blow 
aimed at him must strike her first. In vain 
did Timias try to avoid touching her in his 
attempt to wound his fearful foe. Now in 
this direction, and now in that, the monster 
swung Amoret before him, and one blow 
from her would-be deliverer did in fact 
wound her severely. 

While matters were at this pass, Belphcebe 
appeared, breathless from her chase, and on 
seeing the monster aimed an arrow at him ; 
but at sight of her pure and noble counte- 
nance, shame overcame him, and dropping 
Amoret he fled as fast as he could towards 
his den. After him sped Belphcebe, and at 
the very door of the den the arrow from her 
bow struck him in the neck and slew him. 
She then entered the horrible place itself, and 
released the two victims from within, one 
being the lady whose sobs had wrung 
Amoret's heart, and the other a very old 

Leading them both with her, Belphcebe 

272 The Gateway to Spenser. 

returned to the spot where she had left 
Timias and Amoret. Unfortunately, she 
arrived at the very moment v^hen Timias 
vs^as holding Amoret in his arms, and bending 
over her in his efforts to restore her from a 
death-like swoon. 

Belphoebe saw nothing of the swoon 
nor of the wound ; all she saw was Timias 
clasping Amoret, as she thought, very lov- 
ingly to his heart, and at once a fierce feeling 
of jealousy took possession of her. With the 
reproachful words, " Is this thy faith ? " she 
turned and left the place, giving Timias no 
chance to explain. This unreasoning jealousy 
was the cause of bitter and unnecessary 
suffering, as jealousy nearly always is. 

Timias laid the fainting Amoret gently on 
the ground, and started in pursuit of Bel- 
phoebe ; but like all jealous people, she re- 
fused to listen to reason, and treated Timias 
with such cold disdain that at last he gave 
up trying to appease her displeasure. 

And so full of grief was he at having lost 
Belphoebe's love, that he sought the most 
gloomy glen he could find, and dwelt there 


A Wood Nymph discovers the woufided Thiiias. 

The Story of Britomart. 


in miserable seclusion, brooding over his 
grief, and neglecting his appearance, until 
he grew unkempt and dishevelled like a wild 
man of the woods. Worst of all, he even 
threw away his arms, declaring to himself 
that he would never care to use them again. 
We shall see how in due time he was 
saved from this sad state and restored to 

XVII. — The Turtle Dove. 


One day as Timias lay on the 
bewailing his lot with bitter sighs and tears, 
he noticed a dove which had come close to 
him, and soon he also noticed that she 
seemed to respond to his sighs by sad 
plaintive notes of her own. 

Day after day the same thing seemed to 
occur. The dove would come to him, and 
sit without fear close by his side, answering 
his sad plaints by her low sweet cries. At 
last one day, as she thus bore him company, 
he chanced to come across a jewel which 
was one of his treasured relics of the lost 

(1,665) 18 

274 ^-^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

Belphoebe, since he had given it to her in the 
days when she loved him. 

It w^as a brilliant ruby, shaped like a heart 
and attached to a slender gold chain, and as 
Timias turned it over in his hand and 
admired its pure rich colour, a sudden whim 
seized him to fasten it round the neck of the 
bird. No sooner was this done than the 
dove opened her wings in sudden flight, and 
soon both bird and ruby had disappeared 
from his view. 

For some time Timias continued to gaze 
in the direction taken by the dove, hoping it 
would return, but he saw no sign of it doing 
so ; and at last he felt sure that both the 
bird and his jewel were lost to him for ever, 
and fell to bitter repining. 

Very different would have been his feelings 
if he could have seen what really became of 
the dove ; for she had gone straight as an 
arrow in the direction of Belphoebe, and 
never paused until she alighted at her feet, as 
she rested in a shady arbour at the close of a 
day's labour. 

The gentle bird soon attracted the maiden's 

The Story of Britomart. 275 

attention by her plaintive notes, which 
seemed indeed to Belphoebe like an echo of 
her own sad thoughts, and suddenly she 
caught sight of the ruby, as a ray of light 
caused it to sparkle on the dove's neck. The 
next moment she had recognized it as her 
own love-token, both by the chain and also 
by a knot of her own ribbon which was still 
fastened to it. 

With sudden haste she rose, and approach- 
ing the dove tried to seize it so as to take the 
jewel. But the bird was too quick for her, 
and with a swift movement swerved to one 

Again and again did the same thing 
happen. The dove would remain quite 
still until Belphoebe was almost within reach 
of it, and always, just as she stretched out her 
hand for the jewel, the bird moved quickly 
out of reach. Thus was Belphoebe led on 
without noticing the distance, until she was 
far in the forest which sheltered Timias. 
And in the end she came to Timias him- 

The dove flew to his hand, and then began 

2/6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

a song which was different from her former 
sad plaint, and which seemed as though it 
was meant to give him hope and comfort. 
But Belphoebe stood gazing in surprise, and 
failed to recognize in this rough, unkempt, and 
bearded stranger her own brave, handsome 
Timias. Even when he threw himself in a 
passion of tears at her feet, she but wondered 
at his distress, little guessing that she was 
the cause. But in the end she recognized 
him, and the sight of his grief and his altered 
appearance touched her very deeply, and 
soon all was explained and forgiven. 

XV III. — Florimell in the Sea Cave, 

We now leave Timias and Belphoebe happy 
in their love. Amoret was also soon rejoined 
to her knight ; for as she lay faint and 
exhausted after her escape from the monster, 
she was found by no other than the great 
Prince Arthur himself, who took her under 
his care, and never gave her up until he had 
found Scudamour, and restored the lovers to 
each other. 

The Story of Britomart. 


But what of Florimell ? Is the fair lady, 
whose love for Marinell had led her into 
so much ill-fortune, to be forgotten ? When 
we last saw her she was bounding over the 
waves of the sea in the little fishing-boat that 
had offered her a means of escape from the 
witch's monster. 

At first, in her relief at being safe, 
Florimell thought of nothing else, and using 
the oars with all her strength, the little boat 
was soon far out at sea. But here a fresh 
danger awaited her. 

The fisherman who owned the boat, and 
who had all this time remained asleep in the 
bottom of it, now suddenly awoke ; and 
greatly surprised he was to find himself out 
at sea, and to see such a lovely companion 
using the oars. He asked her in such a rough, 
rude way to tell him what had brought her 
there, that Florimell began to feel that 
she might only have exchanged one danger 
for another. She pretended, however, to be 
quite calm, and told the old man to look well 
after the boat, since now that land was out of 
sight it was necessary to steer very carefully. 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

The fisherman, instead of obeying her, only 
stared at her in so insolent a manner that 
poor Florimell grew more and more alarmed ; 
and when he came nearer to her and began 
to threaten her with ill-treatment, she became 
thoroughly terrified, and shrieked loudly for 
assistance. It seemed useless to shriek in 
that desolate spot, where in all the lonely 
waste of sea and sky there appeared no 
possibility of succour. It was evident, how- 
ever, that the fisherman was full of most evil 
intentions, and, hopeless though it seemed, 
Florimell continued to utter loud and 
piercing cries. And after all, her cries were 
heard, and help did indeed come to her. 

It happened that Proteus, an old sea-god, 
was not far away under the water, and at the 
sound of the cries of distress he came rushing 
up in his chariot of mother-of-pearl, drawn 
by dolphins, ploughing through the waves 
which rose round him in yeasty foam until 
he reached the boat. 

It was the work of a few moments for him 
to rescue the maiden, and give the fisherman 
a good beating with one of his own oars. 

The Story of Britomart. 279 

Proteus then dragged him in the boat behind 
his chariot back to the land, and there he 
left him to his fate. He then took Florimell 
in his arms, and bore her away with him to 
his sea home beneath the waves. 

Down and down they went, until at last 
they came to his castle, which was built in a 
great rock, round which the mighty billows 
echoed and roared ; and here he kept Flori- 
mell far away from human habitation. But 
Florimell was not safe even here, though the 
sea-god treated her very kindly at first. 

All day long he would sit near her making 
her soft and tender speeches, offering her all 
the gifts he could bestow, and doing his best 
to make her happy, for he had fallen very 
much in love with the beautiful lady. But 
when he found it was all useless, and that 
Florimell cared nothing for him, instead of 
treating her kindly, he became very angry, 
and at last thrust her into a dungeon carved 
out of the solid rock and guarded by the 
fierce waves, which roared and foamed about 
the entrance, and by numerous great monsters 
of the deep, which swam to and fro with 

28o The Gateway to Spenser. 

great shining fins and wide-gaping jaws. 
And there, as far as Florimell could tell, she 
seemed likely to languish in captivity for 

But all this time Marinell, for whose sake 
she had first started on her journey when she 
left the Fairy Queen's court, had not been 
killed as reported, but only grievously 
wounded ; and while Florimell had been 
having so many sad adventures, he was being 
slowly nursed back to life beneath the waters, 
in the home of his mother Cymodoce, the 
sea nymph. 

One day it chanced that he wandered near 
the rock in the dungeon beneath which 
Florimell lay, and as he did so he was 
stopped by the sounds of sweet but very sad 
singing. It was the voice of Florimell that 
he heard, though he could not see her, 
and she was singing a song of her own 
making, in which she poured forth the story 
of all the sufferings to which she had been 
brought by her love of Marinell. And when 
at the end she came to her loved one's name, 
she burst into a passion of such sobs and 


Flommll is held captive by the sea-god Proteus. 

The Story of Britomart. 281 

weeping that Marinell felt as though his 
heart would break with pity. 

If he had not loved Florimell before, he 
knew that he loved her very truly now, and 
all his thoughts were turned to finding a 
means of releasing her from the dungeon and 
claiming her as his wife. But there seemed 
no possible way of doing this, and especially 
as his mother had always been set against any 
marriage between him and Florimell, and 
would therefore give him no help. 

Being only half sea fairy and half human, 
he could not enter the angry water and fight 
old Proteus on his own domain, and he knew 
that any appeal to him would have no effect. 
So very sadly he went back to his mother, 
there to wait and watch for the chance of 
releasing Florimell ; and he grew so pale and 
ill, thinking about her and pining for her, 
that at last his mother took alarm, and when 
she found out the cause of his illness, she 
went herself to Neptune, the god of the 
whole ocean, to whom Proteus was only a 
kind of servant. 

She told Neptune the story as far as she 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

knew it from Marinell, and said that 
Marinell himself had fallen into grievous 
illness for the sake of the fair captive who 
had suffered so much for his sake, and 
Neptune was seized with compassion. He 
gave her an order bidding Proteus release 
Florimell to her at once, and armed with this, 
Cymodoce sped to the abode of Proteus. 

The old sea god was not at all pleased 
when he had read the order, but he did not 
^ ' 7*^^? dare-to disobey Neptune. So Florimell was 
^^ delivered to Cymodoce, who bore her away 

to Marinell, and with many embraces and 
expressions of great joy, the lovers met at 
last. And Marinell soon recovered his 
former health and strength now that he had 
Florimell with him, while the lady, in her 
turn, soon forgot all her past sufferings now 
that she was at last restored to Marinell. 

But Marinell knew that his mother's home 
beneath the sea was not the right place for 
his bride, and as soon as he was quite strong 
again he took her back to her own country 
of Fairyland, where he arranged for their 
marriage to take place as soon as possible. 

The Story of Britomart. 283 

XIX.— The Marriage of Florimell. joi^ 3^ 

So Florimell and Marinell were married 
amid much rejoicing, and the wedding was 
followed by a tournament in which many 
brave knights took part. It lasted for three 
days and at the end of the first and second 
days Marinell was proclaimed the victor by 
all. The third day the odds were so great 
against him, that in spite of his great valour 
he was finally overcome ; but just as he was 
about to be led away a captive, there were 
three fresh arrivals in the lists. These were 
Artegall, and with him, owing to a chance 
encounter, the boastful Braggadocchio, with 
whom came the false Florimell. 

When Artegatll saw how the day was 
going, he hastily changed shields with Brag- 
gadocchio, so that it should not be seen who 
he was, and rushed to the rescue of Marinell. 
There were a hundred knights against him, 
fifty of whom guarded the captive, but the 
other fifty, who attacked him all at once, he 
overcame, and this done he released Marinell 
from the others. Then the two together set 

284 The Gateway to Spenser. 

on the company with such fury that soon 
they had cleared them all from the field. 

Now the prizes for the tournament were 
to be awarded, and all assembled in a great 
hall, where Florimell bestowed the rewards 
on the successful knights. The trumpets 
sounded, and the names of the knights were 
proclaimed, and from her place on a dais 
at the end of the hall Florimell gave the 

But when it came to the turn of the 
stranger knight who had saved Marinell, 
the acclaims were louder than for any other ; 
and as a knight bearing the same shield 
stepped forward in reply, Florimell showed 
him greater favour than all who came before ; 
for stepping down from her dais as she held 
out a garland of victory to him, she thanked 
him in words of special graciousness for 
saving the day. 

Judge of the surprise and consternation 
of all, when in reply the knight, who was 
Braggadocchio and not Artegall, pushed 
the proffered prize aside, with the rude 
words, — 

The Story of Britomart. 285 

" You need not think it was for you I 
fought so well. It was for the sake of my 
own lady, who is much fairer and better 
than you, I can tell you. And here she is, 
to prove my words." 

Upon this he led forward the false Flori- 
mell, and great was the surprise of all present 
when they beheld in her an exact counter- 
part, as it seemed to them, of the true lady 
of that name. No one knew what to be- 
lieve or what to do, and there was general 

But Artegall gave a new turn to the 
events of the day. 

He had been standing just out of sight, 
keeping a careful watch on all that took 
place, and now he stepped forward and con- 
fronted Braggadocchio. 

" Base liar," he cried ; " you have gained 
renown in borrowed plumes. It is true 
that the shield you bear figured in the 
fight, but how about yourself? Show your 
sword to all that they may see if it bears 
mark of recent battle, and for yourself, 
where are the honourable wounds or those 

286 The Gateway to Spenser. 

signs of fatigue that a warrior shows after a 
fight ? " 

Whereupon he drew his own sword, 
marked with signs of recent warfare, and 
bared his own fresh wounds to their gaze, 
declaring himself to be the knight who had 
won the day. 

" As for that lady," he cried, pointing to 
the false Florimell, " I wager that she is 
not Florimell at all. But let it be proved 
one way or another by placing the two 
ladies side by side for all to see." 

So the true Florimell was now led blush- 
ingly from her seat into the centre of the 
hall, and the two ladies placed as Artegall 
desired close to each other. For a moment 
they stood there side by side, appearing to all 
so much alike that it seemed impossible to 
distinguish one from the other. Then an 
amazing thing happened. 

As the true Florimell raised her lovely 
face the counterfeit one grew very pale. 
Paler and paler she grew, and behold ! just 
as snow melts beneath the rising sun, so she 
melted and disappeared, until nothing was 

The Story of Britomart. 


left to show where she had been but the 
golden girdle which lay where she had 
stood. All stood speechless and awestruck 
at this marvel, and even Braggadocchio had 
nothing to say but remained rooted to the 
spot with horror. Then Artegall stepped 
forward, and raising the glittering girdle, 
placed it round the waist of the true Flori- 
mell, whom it fitted to perfection. 

But the events of this wonderful day were 
even yet not quite at an end. 

The company had hardly recovered from 
the startling impression of the false Flori- 
mell's disappearance when there was a great 
hurly-burly at the far end of the hall. 

The disturbance was now seen to centre 
round a knight, who had suddenly appeared 
and claimed as his own the horse on which 
Braggadocchio had arrived, and on which he 
was now intending to make good his flight. 
This was none other than our old friend Sir 
Guyon, who recognized the boaster's steed 
at once as the one stolen from him on the 
day when he had found the infant Ruddy- 
maine. Of course Braggadocchio declared 

The Gateway to Spenser. 

that the horse was his own lawful property, 
and the story of its theft, shouted out to the 
assembled crowd by the excited Guyon, only 
a tissue of lies ; and the tumult seemed likely 
to become serious, as Guyon stood against 
the horse with his drawn sword in his hand 
threatening to kill any one who took it 
from him. 

To this excited group came Artegall, who 
with the calm judgment which he always 
showed, stilled the tumult with a wise 

" If indeed the horse be yours," he said 
to Guyon, *' you can surely give some proof 
of it beyond your mere word. Are there no 
special signs by which the animal could be 
recognized ? " 

" Well, yes," said Sir Guyon ; " there 
should be a black mark in his mouth shaped 
like a horseshoe, if that would satisfy 

But this suggested test led to a much 
better proof being given as to the horse's 
lawful master. 

The animal himself refused to let any one 

The Story of Britomart. 289 

go near him to examine his mouth. One 
he kicked badly, a second he bit in the 
shoulder, and finally no one dared to ap- 
proach him. But when Guyon went up 
and called him by his old name of Brigadore, 
the animal stood as quiet and gentle as a 
lamb while he examined his mouth, and 
then, overcome with joy at recognizing his 
true master, he frisked and frolicked around 
him in playful glee. 

Thus was Braggadocchio exposed and dis- 
graced all round, and Artegall ordered his 
squire Talen to inflict suitable punishment 
on the boaster. He was dragged out of that 
knightly hall by the heels, his shield was 
reversed, and his armorial bearings blotted 
out, and he was then beaten and driven from 
the place. 

And now all these dangers and difficulties 
overcome, we may leave the knights and 
ladies to the enjoyment of the marriage 

We have seen how Britomart found her 
lover Artegall, and how Amoret and Scud- 
amour, Belphoebe and Timias, and last of 

(1,565) 19 

290 The Gateway to Spenser. 

all Florimell and Marinell found their own 
true loves and were happy. 

There let us leave them to the enjoyment 
of the bliss so well earned by courage, purity, 
constancy, and love. 


One day it fortuned fair Britomart 
Into her father's closet to repair ; 
For nothing he from her reserved apart. 
Being his only daughter and his heir ; 
Where when she had espied that mirror fair 
Herself awhile therein she view'd in vain : 
Then, her avising of the virtues rare 
Which thereof spoken were, she gan again 
Her to bethink of that mote to herself 

Eftsoones there was presented to her eye 
A comely knight, all arm'd in complete wise, 
Through whose bright ventayle lifted up on 

His manly face, that did his foes agrise 
And friends to terms of gentle truce entice, 
Look'd forth, as Phoebus' face out of the 


292 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Betwixt two shady mountains doth arise : 
Portly his person was, and much increased. 
Through his heroic grace and honourable gest. 

His crest was cover'd with a couchant hound. 
And all his armour seem'd of antique mould, 
But wondrous massy and assured sound, 
And round about yfretted all with gold, 
In which there written was, with cyphers old, 
Achilles' arms which Arthegall did win : 
And on his shield envelop'd sevenfold 
He bore a crowned little ermilin. 
That deck'd the azure field with her fair 
powder'd skin. 

The damsel well did view his personage, 
And liked well ; ne further fasten'd not. 
But went her way ; ne her unguilty age 
Did ween, unwares, that her unlucky lot 
Lay hidden in the bottom of the pot : 
Of hurt unwist most danger doth redound : 
But the false archer which that arrow shot 
So shyly that she did not feel the wound. 
Did smile full smoothly at her weetless 
woeful stound. 

Britomart and the Mirror. 293 

Thenceforth the feather in her lofty crest, 

Ruffed of love, gan lowly to availe ; 

And her proud portance and her princely 

With which she erst triumphed, now did 

quail : 
Sad, solemn, sour, and full of fancies frail. 
She woxe ; yet wist she neither how, nor 

why ; 
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 


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 

Her dainty couch with tears which closely 

she did weep. 

294 ^-^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

And if that any drop of slumb'ring rest 
Did chance to still into her weary spright, 
When feeble nature felt herself opprest, 
Straightway with dreams, and with fantastic 

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 : 
Tho gan she to renew her former smart, 
And think of that fair visage written in her 


One night, when she was toss'd with such 

Her aged nurse, whose name was Glauce 

Feeling her leap out of her loathed nest, 
Betwixt her feeble arms her quickly keight. 
And down again in her warm bed her dight : 
" Ah ! my dear daughter, ah ! my dearest dread, 
What uncouth fit," said she, " what evil 

Hath thee oppress'd, and with sad dreary-head 
Changed thy lively cheer, and living made 

thee dead ? 

Britoniart and the Mirror. 295 

" For not of nought these sudden ghastly 

All night afflict thy natural repose : 
And all the day, whenas thine equal peers 
Their fit disports with fair delight do chose, 
Thou in dull corners dost thyself inclose ; 
Ne tastest prince's pleasures, ne dost spread 
Abroad thy fresh youth's fairest flow'r but 

Both leaf and fruit, both too untimely shed, 
As one in wilful bale for ever buried. 

" The time that mortal men their weary 

Do lay away, and all wild beasts do rest. 
And every river eke his course forbears. 
Then doth this wicked evil thee infest. 
And rive with thousand throbs thy thrilled 

breast : 
Like an huge Etn' of deep engulfed grief. 
Sorrow is heaped in thy hollow chest. 
Whence forth it breaks in sighs and anguish 

As smoke and sulphur mingled with con- 
fused strife. 

296 The Gateway to Spenser. 

" Ay me ! how much I fear lest love it be ! 
But if that love it be, as sure I read 
By know-en signs and passions which I see, 
Be it worthy of thy race and royal seed. 
Then I avow, by this most sacred head 
Of my dear foster child, to ease thy grief 
And win thy will : therefore away do dread : 
For death nor danger from thy due relief 
Shall me debar ; tell me, therefore, my 
liefest lief!" 

So having said, her twixt her armes twain 
She straightly strain'd, and colled tenderly ; 
And every trembling joint and every vein 
She softly felt, and rubbed busily. 
To do the frozen cold away to fly ; 
And her fair dewy eyes with kisses dear 
She oft did bathe, and oft again did dry : 
And ever her importuned not to fear 
To let the secret of her heart to her appear. 


Like as an hind forth singled from the herd, 
That hath escaped from a ravenous beast, 
Yet flies away of her own feet afeard ; 
And every leaf, that shaketh with the least 
Murmur of wind, her terror hath increased : 
So fled fair Florimell from her vain fear, 
Long after she from peril was released : 
Each shade she saw, and each noise she did 

Did seem to be the same which she escaped 


All that same evening she in flying spent. 
And all that night her course continued : 
Ne did she let dull sleep once to relent 
Nor weariness to slack her haste, but fled, 
Ever alike, as if her former dread 
Were hard behind, her ready to arrest : 

298 The Gateway to Spenser. 

And her white palfrey, having conquered 
The mast'ring reins out of her weary wrest, 
Perforce her carried wherever he thought best. 

So long as breath and able puissance 
Did native courage unto him supply. 
His pace he freshly forward did advance. 
And carried her beyond all jeopardy ; 
But nought that wanteth rest can long aby : 
He, having through incessant travel spent 
His force, at last perforce adown did lie, 
Ne foot could further move : the lady gent 
Thereat was sudden struck with great aston- 

And, forced t'alight, on foot mote algates fare 
A traveller unwonted to such way ; 
Need teacheth her this lesson hard and rare, 
That Fortune all in equal lance doth sway. 
And mortal miseries doth make her play. 
So long she travell'd, till at length she came 
To an hill's side, which did to her bewray 
A little valley subject to the same. 
All cover'd with thick woods that quite it 

Florimell finds the Witches Cottage. 299 

Through th' tops of the high trees she did 

A Httle smoke, whose vapour thin and hght 
Reeking aloft uprolled to the sky : 
Which cheerful sign did send unto her sight 
That in the same did wonne some living 

Eftsoones her steps she thereunto applied, 
And came at last in weary wretched plight 
Unto the place, to which her hope did guide 
To find some refuge there, and rest her 

weary side. 

There in a gloomy hollow glen she found 

A little cottage, built of sticks and reeds 

In homely wise, and wall'd with sods around : 

In which a witch did dwell, in loathly weeds 

And wilful want, all careless of her needs ; 

So choosing solitary to abide 

Far from all neighbours, that her devilish 

And hellish arts from people she might 

And hurt far-off unknown whomever she 


300 The Gateway to Spenser. 

The damsel there arriving ent'red in ; 
Where sitting on the floor the hag she 

Busy (as seem'd) about some wicked gin : 
Who, soon as she beheld that sudden 

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 ; 
But show'd by outward signs that dread her 

sense did daze. 

At last, turning her fear to foolish wrath. 
She ask'd, What devil had her thither 

And who she was, and what unwonted path 
Had guided her, unwelcomed, unsought ? 
To which the damsel full of doubtful thought 
Her mildly answer'd : " Beldam, be not 

With silly virgin, by adventure brought 
Unto your dwelling, ignorant and loth. 
That crave but room to rest while tempest 


Florimell finds the Witch! s Cottage. 301 

With that adown out of her crystal eyne 
Few trickling tears she softly forth let 

That like two orient pearls did purely 

Upon her snowy cheek ; and therewithal 
She sighed soft, that none so bestial 
Nor savage heart but ruth of her sad plight 
Would make to melt, or piteously appal ; 
And that vile hag, all were her whole 

In mischief, was much moved at so piteous 

sight : 

And gan recomfort her, in her rude wise. 
With womanish compassion of her plaint. 
Wiping the tears from her suffused eyes. 
And bidding her sit down to rest her faint 
And weary limbs awhile : she nothing quaint 
Nor 'sdainful of so homely fashion, 
Sith brought she was now to so hard con- 
straint ; 
Sate down upon the dusty ground anon ; 
As glad of that small rest, as bird of tem- 
pest gone. 

302 The Gateway to Spenser, 

Tho gan she gather up her garments rent, 
And her loose locks to dight in order due. 
With golden wreath and gorgeous ornament ; 
Whom such whenas the wicked hag did 

She was astonish'd at her heavenly hue, 
And doubted her to deem an earthly wight. 
But or some goddess, or of Diane's crew. 
And thought her to adore with humble 

spright : 
T'adore thing so divine as beauty, were 

but right. 


What equal torment to the grief of mind, 
And pining anguish hid in gentle heart. 
That inly feeds itself with thoughts unkind, 
And nourisheth her own consuming smart ! 
What medicine can any leech's art. 
Yield such a sore, that doth her grievance 

And will to none her malady impart ! 
Such was the wound that Scudamore did 

gryde ; 
For which Dan Phoebus' self cannot a salve 


Who having left that restless house of Care, 
The next day, as he on his way did ride. 
Full of melancholy and sad misfare 
Through misconceit, all unawares espied 
An armed knight under a forest side 
Sitting in shade beside his grazing steed : 

304 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

Who, soon as them approaching he descried, 
Gan towards them to prick with eager speed. 
That seem'd he was full bent to some 
mischievous deed. 

Which Scudamore perceiving forth issued, 
To have rencount'red him in equal race ; 
But, soon as th' other nigh approaching 

The arms he bore, his spear he gan abase 
And void his course ; at which so sudden case 
He wond'red much : but th' other thus can 

say ; 
" Ah ! gentle Scudamore, unto your grace 
I me submit, and you of pardon pray, 
That almost had against you trespassed this 


Whereto thus Scudamore : " Small harm it 

For any knight upon a vent'rous knight 
Without displeasance for to prove his spear. 
But read you, sir, sith ye my name have 

What is your own, that I mote you requite." 

Britomart' s Fight. 305 

" Certes," said he, " ye mote as now excuse 
Me from discovering you by name aright : 
For time yet serves that I the same refuse ; 
But call ye me the Savage Knight, as others 

" Then this, sir Savage Knight," quoth he, 

" aread. 
Or do you here within this forest wonne. 
That seemeth well to answer to your weed,* 
Or have ye it for some occasion done ? 
That rather seems, sith knowen arms ye 

"This other day," said he, "a stranger knight 
Shame and dishonour hath unto me done ; 
On whom I wait to wreak that foul despite. 
Whenever he this way shall pass by day or 


" Shame be his meed," quoth he, " that 

meaneth shame ! 
But what is he by whom ye shamed were t " 
" A stranger knight," said he, " unknown 

by name, 

* Your attire — or have you assumed it for some purpose? 

(1,565) 20 

3o6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

But known by fame, and by an ebon 

With which he all that met him down did 

He, in an open tourney lately held, 
Fro me the honour of that eame did 

rear ; 
And having me, all weary erst, down fell'd. 
The fairest lady reft, and ever since with- 

When Scudamore heard mention of that 

He wist right well that it was Britomart, 
The which from him his fairest love did 

Tho gan he swell in every inner part 
For fell despite, and gnaw his jealous heart. 
That thus he sharply said : " Now by my 

Yet is not this the first unknightly part. 
Which that same knight, whom by his lance 

I read, 
Hath done to noble knights, that many 

makes him dread : 

Britomarf s Fight. 307 

" For lately he my love hath fro me reft, 

And eke defiled with foul villainy 

The sacred pledge which in his faith was left, 

In shame of knighthood and fidelity ; 

The which ere long full dear he shall aby ; 

And if to that avenge by you decreed 

This hand may help or succour ought 

It shall not fail whenso ye shall it need." 
So both to wreak their wraths on Britomart 


Whiles thus they communed, lo ! far away 
A knight soft riding towards them they 

Attired in foreign arms and strange array : 
Whom when they nigh approach'd they 

plain descried 
To be the same for whom they did abide. 
Said then Sir Scudamore, " Sir Savage 

Let me this crave, sith first I was defied. 
That first I may that wrong to him requite : 
And, if I hap to fail, you shall recure my 


3o8 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Which being yielded, he his threatful spear 
Gan feuter,* and against her fiercely ran, 
Who soon as she him saw approaching near 
With so fell rage, herself she lightly gan 
To dight, to welcome him well as she can ; 
But entertain'd him in so rude a wise. 
That to the ground she smote both horse 

and man ; 
Whence neither greatly hasted to arise, 
But on their common harms together did 


But Artegall, beholding his mischance, 
New matter added to his former fire ; 
And, eft avent'ring t 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 forewent. 
And found himself on ground in great 


* To set in rest, 
t Pushing forward. 

Britomarf s Fight. 309 

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 assail'd 
That though she mounted were, yet he her 

To give him ground, (so much his force 

And shun his mighty strokes, gainst which 

no arms avail'd. 

So, as they coursed here and there, it 

That, in her wheeling round, behind her 

So sorely he her struck, that thence it glanced 
Adown her back, the which it fairly blest 
From foul mischance ; ne did it ever rest. 
Till on her horse's hinder parts it fell ; 
Where biting deep so deadly it impress'd 
That quite it chined his back behind the sell. 
And to alight on foot, her algates did 

compel : 

3IO The Gateway to Spenser. 

Like as the lightning-brand from riven sky. 
Thrown out by angry Jove in his vengeance, 
With dreadful force falls on some steeple 

Which battVing dov^^n, it on the church 

doth glance. 
And tears it all with terrible mischance. 
Yet she no wit dismay 'd her steed forsook ; 
And, casting from her that enchanted lance, 
Unto her sword and shield she soon betook ; 
And therewithal at him right furiously she 


So furiously she struck in her first heat. 
Whiles with long fight on foot he breathless 

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 pour'd the purple blood forth on the 

grass ; 
That all his mail yrived, and plates yrent, 
Show'd all his body bare unto the cruel 


Britomart's Fight. 311 

At length, whenas he saw her hasty heat 
Abate, and panting breath began to fail, 
He through long suff'rance growing now 

more great 
Rose in his strength, and gan her fresh assail. 
Heaping huge strokes as thick as show'r of 

And lashing dreadfully at every part, 
As if he thought her soul to disentrayle. 
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' self resembling in her feature ! 
Certes some hellish fury or some fiend, 
This mischief framed, for their first love's 

To bathe their hands in blood of dearest 

Thereby to make their love's beginning their 

life's end. 

312 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

Thus long they traced and traversed to and 

Sometimes pursuing, and sometimes pursued, 
Still as advantage they espied thereto : 
But toward th' end Sir Artegall renew'd 
His strength still more, but she still more 

At last his luckless hand he heaved on high, 
Having his forces all in one accrued. 
And therewith struck at her so hideously, 
That seemed nought but death mote be her 


The wicked stroke upon her helmet chanced, 
And with the force, which in itself it bore. 
Her ventail shear'd away, and thence forth 

Adown in vain, ne harm'd her any more. 
With that, her angel's face, unseen afore, 
Like to the ruddy morn appear'd 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 : 

Britomart's Fight. 313 

And round about the same her yellow hair, 
Having through stirring loosed their wonted 

Like to a golden border did appear. 
Framed in goldsmith's forge with cunning 

hand : 
Yet goldsmith's cunning could not under- 
To frame such subtle wire, so shiny clear 
For it did glister like the golden sand, 
The which Pactolus with his waters sheer, 
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 pow'rless arm, benumb'd with secret fear, 
From his revengeful purpose shrank aback. 
And cruel sword out of his fingers slack 
Fell down to ground, as if the steel had 

And felt some ruth, or sense his hand did 

Or both of them did think obedience 
To do to so divine a beauty's excellence. 

314 '^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

And he himself, long gazing thereupon, 
At last fell humbly down upon his knee, 
And of his wonder made 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. 

Nathless she, full of wrath for that late 

All that long while upheld her wrathful 

With full intent on him to been ywroke ; 

And, looking stern, still over him did stand, 

Threat'ning to strike unless he would with- 
stand ; 

And bade him rise, or surely he should die. 

But, die or live, for nought he would up- 
stand ; 

But her of pardon pray'd more earnestly. 

Or wreak on him her will for so great 

Britomart's Fight. 315 

Which whenas Scudamore, who now 

Beheld, whereas he stood not far aside, 
He was therewith right wondrously dis- 

may'd ; 
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. 

But Glauce, seeing all that chanced there. 
Well weeting how their error to assoil. 
Full glad of so good end, to them drew 

And her salued^ with seemly bel-accoyle, 
Joyous to see her safe after long toil ; 
Then her besought, as she to her was dear. 
To grant unto those warriors truce awhile ; 
Which yielded, they their beavers up did 

And show'd themselves to her such as indeed 

they were. 

* Saluted. 

3i6 The Gateway to Spenser. 

When Britomart with sharp aviseful eye 
Beheld the lovely face of Artegall 
Temp'red with sternness and stout majesty, 
She gan eftsoones it to her mind to call 
To be the same which, in her father's hall, 
Long since in that enchanted glass she saw : 
Therewith her wrathful courage gan appal, 
And haughty spirits meekly to adaw. 
That her enhaunced hand she down can soft 

Yet she it forced to have again upheld. 

As feigning choler which was turned to 

cold : 
But ever, when his visage she beheld. 
Her hand fell down, and would no longer 

The wrathful weapon gainst his count'nance 

bold : 
But, when in vain to fight she oft assay 'd, 
She arm*d her tongue, and thought at him 

to scold : 
Nathless her tongue not to her will obey'd. 
But brought forth speeches mild when she 

would have missaid. 

Brit077tart' s Fight. 317 

Bur Scudamore, now woxen inly glad 
That all his jealous fear he false had found, 
And how that hag his love abused had 
With breach of faith and loyalty unsound. 
The which long time his grieved heart did 

He thus bespake : " Certes, Sir Artegall, 
I joy to see you lout so low on ground. 
And now become to live a lady's thrall. 
That whylome in your mind wont to despise 

them all." 

Soon as she heard the name of Artegall, 
Her heart did leap, and all her heart-strings 

For sudden joy and secret fear withal ; 
And all her vital pow'rs, with motion 

To succour it, themselves gan there assemble ; 
That by the swift recourse of flushing blood 
Right plain appear'd, though she it would 

And feigned still her former angry mood. 
Thinking to hide the depth by troubling of 

the flood. 

3i8 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

When Glauce thus gan wisely all upknit : 
" Ye gentle knights, whom fortune here 

hath brought 
To be spectators of this uncouth fit, 
Which secret faith hath in this lady wrought 
Against the course of kind, ne marvel nought ; 
Ne thenceforth fear the thing that hitherto 
Hath troubled both your minds with idle 

Fearing lest she your loves away should woo ; 
Feared in vain, sith means ye see there 

wants thereto. 

" And you. Sir Artegall, the Savage Knight, 
Henceforth may not disdain that woman's hand 
Hath conquer'd you anew in second fight : 
For whylome they have conquer'd sea and 

And heaven itself, that nought may them 

withstand : 
Ne henceforth be rebellious unto love. 
That is the crown of knighthood and the band 
Of noble minds derived from above. 
Which, being knit with virtue, never will 


Britomart' s Fight » 319 

" And you, fair lady knight, my dearest 

Relent the rigour of your wrathful will, 
Whose fire were better turn'd to other 

flame ; 
And, wiping out remembrance of all ill. 
Grant him your grace ; but so that he fulfil 
The penance which ye shall to him empart : 
For lovers' heaven must pass by sorrow's hell." 
Thereat full inly blushed Britomart ; 
But Artegall, close-smiling, joy'd in secret 


Yet durst he not make love so suddenly, 
Ne think th' affection of her heart to draw 
From one to other so quite contrary : 
Besides, her modest countenance he saw 
So goodly grave, and full of princely awe, 
That it his ranging fancy did refrain. 
And looser thoughts to lawful bounds with- 
draw ; 
Whereby the passion grew more fierce and 

Like to a stubborn steed whom strong hand 
would restrain. 

320 The Gateway to Spenser. 

But Scudamore, whose heart twixt doubtful 

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 

Mote I request you tidings of my love, 
My Amoret, sith you her freed fro thence 
Where she, captived long, great woes did 

prove ; 
That where ye left I may her seek, as doth 


To whom thus Britomart ; " Certes, sir 

What is of her become, or whither 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 villainy her kept : 
Ne ever was there wight to me more dear 
Than she, ne unto whom I more true love 

did bear : 

Britomarfs Fight. 321 

" Till on a day, as through a desert wild 
We travelled, both weary of the way, 
We did alight, and sate in shadow mild ; 
Where fearless I to sleep me down did lay : 
But, whenas I did out of sleep abray, 
I found her not where I her left whyleare. 
But thought she wand'red was or gone 

astray : 
I call'd her loud, I sought her far and near ; 
But nowhere could her find, nor tidings of 

her hear." 

When Scudamore those heavy tidings heard 
His heart was thrill'd with point of deadly 

Ne in his face or blood or life appeared ; 
But senseless stood, like to a mazed steer. 
That yet of mortal stroke the stound doth bear, 
Till Glauce thus : " Fair sir, be nought 

With needless dread, till certainty ye hear ; 
For yet she may be safe though somewhat 

stray 'd ; 
It's best to hope the best, though of the 

worst afraid." 

(1.565) 21 

322 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Nathless he hardly of her cheerful speech 
Did comfort take, or in his troubled sight 
Show'd change of better cheer : so sore a 

That sudden news had made into his spright ; 
Till Britomart him fairly thus behight : 
" Great cause of sorrow certes, sir, ye have ; 
But comfort take ; for, by this heaven's 

I vow you dead or living not to leave, 
Till I her find and wreak on him that did 

her reave." 

Therewith he rested, and well pleased was, 
So, peace being confirmed amongst them 

They took their steeds, and forward thence 

did pass 
Unto some resting place, which mote befall : 
All being guided by Sir Artegall : 
Where goodly solace was unto them made. 
And daily feasting both in bow'r and hall. 
Until that they their wounds well healed 

And weary limbs recured after late usage bad. 

Britomart' s Fight. 323 

In all which time Sir Artegall made way 
Unto the love of noble Britomart, 
And with meek service and much suit did lay 
Continual siege unto her gentle heart ; 
Which, being whylome lanced with lovely 

More eath was new impression to receive : 
However she her pain'd with womanish art 
To hide her wound, that none might it 

perceive : 
Vain is the art that seeks itself for to 


So well he woo'd her, and so well he 

wrought her. 
With fair entreaty and sweet blandishment, 
That at the length unto a bay he brought her, 
So as she to his speeches was content 
To lend an ear, and softly to relent. 
At last, through many vows which forth he 

And many oaths, she yielded her consent 
To be his love and take him for her lord. 
Till they with marriage meet might finish 

that accord. 

324 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Tho, when they had long time there taken 

Sir Artegall, who all this while was bound 
Upon an hard adventure yet in quest, 
Fit time for him thence to depart it found, 
To follow that which he did long propound ; 
And unto her his conge came to take : 
But her therewith full sore displeased he 

And loth to leave her late betrothed make ; 
Her dearest love full loth so shortly to for- 

Yet he with strong persuasions her assuaged. 
And won her will to suffer him depart ; 
For which his faith with her he fast en- 
And thousand vows from bottom of his 

That, all so soon as he by wit or art 
Could that achieve whereto he did aspire, 
He unto her would speedily revert : 
No longer space thereto he did desire, 
But till the horned moon three courses did 

Britomart's Fio-ht. 


With which she for the present was ap- 
And yielded leave, however malcontent 
She inly were and in her mind displeased. 
So, early on the morrow next, he went 
Forth on his way to which he was ybent ; 
Ne wight him to attend, or way to guide, 
As whylome was the custom ancient 
Mongst knights when on adventures they 

did ride 
Save that she algates him awhile accom- 

And by the way she sundry purpose found 
Of this or that, the time for to delay, 
And of the perils whereto he was bound. 
The fear whereof seem'd much her to 

affray : 
But all she did was but to wear out day. 
Full oftentimes she leave of him did take ; 
And oft again devised somewhat to say. 
Which she forgot, whereby excuse to 

make : 
So loth she was his company for to for- 

326 The Gateway to Spenser. 

At last when all her speeches she had spent, 
And new occasion fail'd her more to find. 
She left him to his fortunes' government, 
And back returned with right heavy mind ; 
To Scudamore, whom she had left behind ; 
With whom she went to seek fair Amoret, 
Her second care, though in another kind : 
For virtue's only sake, which doth beget 
True love and faithful friendship, she by 
her did set. 

Back to that desert forest they retired, 
Where sorry Britomart had lost her late : 
There they her sought, and everywhere in- 
Where they might tidings get of her estate ; 
Yet found they none. But, by what hap- 
less fate 
Or hard misfortune she was thence convey 'd. 
And stol'n away from her beloved mate. 
Were long to tell ; therefore I here will stay 
Until another tide, that I it finish may. 


/. — The Blatant Beast. 

TT will be remembered how the Fairy Queen 
at her great annual feast chose out the 
knights for the various quests which she 
entrusted to them. 

To one of these feasts came a hermit, 
who reported to the Queen that a fierce and 
terrible monster, described as the Blatant 
Beast, had broken loose, and was doing an 
immense amount of harm in the land. The 
monster was, so he said, not only most 
horrible to look upon with its thousand 
enormous tongues and terrible rows of sharp 
teeth, but was also armed with hideous 
poisonous claws. In fact, the Blatant Beast 
was a source of great danger to any whom 
it might encounter, and that it should be 

328 The Gateway to Spenser. 

roaming through the land unchecked was a 
menace to all. 

The task of finding and capturing the 
monster the Fairy Queen now gave to Sir 
Calidore, who was specially the knight of 
Courtesy, just as the Red Cross Knight was 
the knight of Holiness, Sir Guyon of Tem- 
perance, and Sir Artegall of Justice. 

When Sir Calidore had wandered for some 
time without finding any traces of the object 
of his quest, he came one day to a quiet 
woodland spot, where he saw a young knight 
and a very fair lady seated together. The 
young man had thrown aside his armour, 
and was gazing with tender affection at the 
lady, who with modest glances and blushing 
cheeks looked lovingly also at him. So ab- 
sorbed were these lovers in each other that 
Sir Calidore was close upon them before 
they heard him approach ; and at first they 
were a good deal annoyed at what they 
deemed an intrusion, for they thought they 
had found a quiet sheltered place where they 
could enjoy themselves in loverlike fashion 
without being observed. 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 329 

Calidore's courteous words of genuine re- 
spect and apology, however, soon showed 
them that the seeming intrusion was un- 
intentional on his part, and so smoothed 
their ruffled feehngs that they repHed in 
Hke friendly fashion, and invited him to join 
them awhile. Calidore accepted this invita- 
tion, and seated himself by the young man, 
whose name was Calepine, and soon the two 
knights were deep in descriptions of knightly 
deeds, of dangers met and overcome. 

While they thus discoursed, Serena (for 
this was the lady's name) was tempted by 
the soft air and bright sunshine to stroll in 
the adjacent meadows, where the blossoms 
of many rare flowers attracted her. From 
flower to flower roamed the maiden, filled 
with innocent happiness, and heedless of 
danger lurking near as she culled the blos- 
soms with deft fingers and wove them into a 
gay garland for her own head. 

Meanwhile the knights had hardly noticed 
her absence, so deep were they in the dis- 
cussion of warlike topics, full of interest 
to them both, when suddenly their conversa- 


The Gateway to Spenser, 

.. <-^- 

tion was rudely interrupted, and shriek upon 
shriek of terrible distress rang out upon 
'Ml the air. 

In a moment they had sprung to their 
feet and rushed in the direction of the cries, 
and they were just in time to see the fair 
Serena being borne into the adjacent forest 
in the jaws of the Blatant Beast itself. 

Calidore, being the lightest of foot, came 
up first to them, and at sight of him the 
beast was seized with fear ; for he durst not 
encounter the Courteous Knight, and drop- 
ping Serena on the ground he rushed off 
without her to the forest. 

Calepine was close behind, and Calidore, 
leaving him to attend to Serena, who was 
sorely wounded, started off in swift pursuit ; 
for now that the Blatant Beast, the object of 
his quest, was within sight, he felt that the 
right thing for him to do was to follow it at 
all costs before it could escape from him. 

Meanwhile Calepine found Serena in a 
very sad plight indeed, for the wounds 
which the monster had inflicted in both her 
sides were so severe and bled so profusely 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 331 

that she had fallen into a deathlike swoon. 
Calepine took her very gently in his arms, 
and with every tender care strove to restore 
her, and at last a faint flutter of breath came 
to her ashen lips, a slight colour reappeared 
in her cheeks, and her eyes slowly opened. 
She was still, however, much too weak and 
exhausted to be able to move or even to 
stand, so Calepine lifted her very gently 
upon his horse, and holding her there as 
the animal moved forward, walked slowly 
beside her. Thus they set off in search of 
a resting-place, where the maiden might be 
tended and cared for until her wounds were 

At length, at the close of the day, they 
came to a castle, and approaching the great 
door Calepine begged for a night's lodging. 
Great was his surprise when in reply the 
porter rudely banged the door in his face, 
with the words, — 

" There is no lodging here for any knight 
errant unless he hath already fought with 
the master. So begone ! " 

In spite of this rebuff the condition of 

332 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Serena was so serious that Calepine refused 
to accept the porter's answer as final, and 
insisted on the man taking a message to the 
owner of the castle, whose name was Sir 
Turpine, explaining that he sought shelter 
not for himself alone but for a lady who was 
grievously wounded. 

The porter obeyed with sullen reluctance, 
and took Calepine's message to Sir Turpine, 
who was sitting at supper with his wife 
Blandina ; but though this lady urged him to 
admit the knight and the maiden, Turpine 
would not yield to her entreaties, and sent 
back a rude reply to Calepine, telling him that 
nothing would make him relent, and that he 
and Serena need not hope for admission to his 
castle, so had best take themselves off at once. 

There seemed indeed no choice but to 
obey, though Calepine was in great distress 
about Serena, who was in no fit condition to 
spend the night out in the open. He found 
as sheltered a spot as he could, and lifting 
her very gently off the horse, bore her to it 
as a resting-place for the night, while he 
kept careful watch by her side. 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. ^iZZ 

The air was cold, and the means of pro- 
tection against it small, so that the night 
was one of great discomfort for both ; and 
it was with joyful relief that they saw the 
first rays of the rising sun the next morning. 

Calepine helped Serena once more upon 
his horse, and although he was reluctant to 
leave the place without being avenged on 
Turpine for his insult, he felt that for 
Serena's sake it were folly to linger. So 
supporting her as before, and leading the 
horse at the same time, he continued the 

//. — The Savage of the Wood. 

Serena and Calepine moved on with great 
difficulty, for the maiden's wounds were still 
extremely painful, and bled constantly, and 
before they had gone far a fresh trouble befell 
them, for just when things seemed at their 
very worst Calepine saw a knight approaching 
them, evidently with unfriendly intention. 
On a closer view this proved to be no other 
than Sir Turpine himself, who, not content 


The Gateway to Spenser. 

with his rudeness and inhospitality of the 
night before, had thus maliciously waylaid 
the knight with intent to do him further ill. 

In spite of the great disadvantage under 
which Sir Calepine laboured from being on 
foot, Sir Turpine showed him no mercy, but 
rode at him with couched spear and murder- 
ous intention. With desperate efforts to 
escape, Calepine rushed from spot to spot, 
and at last sought shelter behind Serena, 
while she, poor lady, entreated Turpine with 
sobs and tears to spare her lover's life. 

But the distress of Serena served only to 
inflame the evil passion of Turpine, and 
without paying any heed to her cries, he 
attacked Calepine with renewed fury, and 
succeeded in wounding him severely. Even 
the sight of his blood did not appease him, 
nor cause him to abstain from his cruel chase. 
Again he pursued the unfortunate knight, 
who, with failing strength, made one last 
struggling effort to escape ere he sank faint- 
ing in a pool of his own blood, and lay com- 
pletely at his enemy's mercy. 

Just at this moment, when all hope of life 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 335 

for Calepine seemed over, unexpected help 

There w^as living in the wood v^^here all 
this took place a man who was a savage. 
He was quite unkempt, wore little clothing, 
and lived the wild life of an animal. This 
savage heard Serena's piteous shrieks and 
hurried in her direction, and all untaught 
and ignorant though he was, when he saw 
the sad plight of Calepine and the sufferings 
of Serena, a feeling of pity led him to go 
at once to their rescue. He had no arms, 
and was quite unversed in the use of weapons; 
but without pausing to consider the best way 
to set to work, he rushed straight at Turpine 
and attacked him with a fury that the knight 
found hard to resist. In return, the blows 
which he aimed at the savage did him no 
hurt, for though his skin was bare it was 
hard and tough as hide, and was, indeed, 
proof against any injury. 

Turpine's own courage quite forsook him 
before he had had much encounter with this 
fresh foe, whose methods were quite unlike 
anything to which he had been accustomed ; 


336 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

and at last, when the savage had sprung at 
him, and while wrestling to get hold of his 
shield had nearly dragged him from his 
horse, Turpine gave up the contest and fled 
as fast as his horse could take him, actually 
shrieking with terror in a most unknightly 
fashion when he saw the savage start in 
pursuit. The savage on foot was, however, 
unable to keep up with the knight's steed at 
full gallop, so having thus driven Turpine 
off, he soon returned to Calepine and Serena. 

Sad indeed was the condition of the two 
lovers. Calepine's wound was still bleeding 
profusely, and Serena, as she knelt beside him, 
was almost fainting, both from the pain of 
her own wounds and from agony of mind 
at the sight of his. When she saw the 
savage returning, her anguish increased, for 
she imagined that the wild, uncouth creature 
must intend to do them further injury, and 
was filled with terror at the sight of him. 
It seemed to her that all hope was at an 
end, and she resigned herself to her fate. 

The savage, however, surprised her greatly 
by his behaviour. The sight of her beauty 


Sir Calepine supports the tvo^itided Serena 
upon his horse. 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 337 

and distress found a chord of pity and affec- 
tion in his untaught nature, and he came 
creeping gently to her side, kissing her 
hands and bending before her, and by such 
rude signs and unformed language as he 
could use, he conveyed to her that, far from 
wishing them ill, he was prepared to help 
them in any way that he could. He then 
turned eyes of pity on Calepine's wounds, 
and before they knew what he intended to 
do, he had rushed off into the wood to fetch 
certain herbs, with the properties of which 
he was familiar, and the juice from which, 
gently squeezed into Calepine's wounds, soon 
staunched the flow of blood and caused them 
to heal. 

Then burdening himself with the knight's 
shield and spear, he led the lovers by signs 
to a place in the depths of the forest far 
from the haunts of either man or beast, 
where he himself had his abode. Here he 
gave them as resting-places beds of the softest 
moss, and for food brought them the wild 
fruits and vegetables of the forest, and day 
by day this faithful attendant roamed the 




338 The Gateway to Spenser. 

forest in search of fresh herbs with which to 
dress their wounds. Before long those of Cale- 
pine were completely healed. But Serena's 
did not heal. The Savage, in spite of all his 
efforts, failed to find a salve for hers, for the 
reason that hers were no ordinary wounds, 
since within them still rankled the poison 
from the evil talons of the Blatant Beast. 

Ill, — Calepine's Adventure with the ^ear. 

One day when Calepine's strength had begun 
to return, the soft air and the song of a 
thrush in a neighbouring thicket tempted him 
to wander into the forest, where it seemed 
quite safe for him to go unarmed, so 
secluded and quiet was it thereabouts. Here 
a most unexpected adventure befell him, 
which had the unfortunate result of separat- 
ing him and Serena. 

He had not gone far when he heard sounds 
of a most piteous wailing, and found himself 
confronting a bear, which carried between 
his cruel jaws a baby, whose cries of terror 
Calepine had heard. Calepine was at once 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 339 

filled with compassion for the unfortunate 
infant, and with anxiety to save it from the 
terrible death which threatened it at any 
moment. The bear on seeing him, how- 
ever, hastened his pace, and was soon out of 
sight ; and Calepine, guided by the cries of 
the baby, which grew fainter and fainter, 
started off in pursuit. Ere long he overtook 
them, and unarmed though he was, he 
succeeded in making the bear release the 
baby, when the bear turned on him, furious 
at being deprived of his prey. 

Calepine was now in much danger, but 
with great readiness he seized a large stone, 
and as the furious animal advanced against 
him with gaping jaws, he thrust this rough 
weapon down his throat ; and while the 
bear gasped and struggled for breath, Cale- 
pine closed with him, and taking him thus 
at a disadvantage, succeeded in throttling 

The bear thus dispatched, he turned to 
the baby. He took the little helpless crea- 
ture in his arms, and after carefully examin- 
ing it to see if it were wounded, and finding 

340 The Gateway to Spenser. 

it unhurt, he tenderly wiped away its tears 
and soothed and caressed it. 

But now when he turned with the inten- 
tion of retracing his steps, Calepine found to 
his dismay that he no longer remembered 
the way he had come. All in vain he 
searched for track or footpath, and he went 
first in one direction and then in another 
without finding any clue to guide him. For 
miles he wandered, bearing in his arms the 
baby whom he had saved, and whose cries 
for food troubled him greatly. At last, when 
the sun was about to set, he found himself 
in an open plain outside the forest, and while 
he paused to see whether there was any sign 
of human habitation where he might hope 
to find help, he heard from somewhere close 
at hand the sound of a woman's voice in 
great distress ; and turning in its direction, 
he found a lady, who at sight of the stranger 
stayed her lamentation and eyed him timidly. 

In true knightly fashion Calepine asked 
her the cause of her distress in the hope that 
he might be able to relieve it. Thus en- 
couraged, the lady told him that in truth 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 341 

she had come there to indulge her grief in 
secret, and that the cause was that, though 
she and her lord loved each other dearly, 
and had all worldly prosperity, they were 
grievously disappointed that no child had 
been born to them. This was especially a 
source of trouble since they knew that all 
the land which he had won and guarded 
with great toil would, more likely than not, 
fall into the hands of his enemies if he left 
no son to defend it when he was gone. 
The disappointment was all the more bitter 
since there was a prophecy which they had 
believed, and which foretold that they should 
have a son. 

Now when Calepine heard this story, it 
immediately occurred to him that he might 
heal the lady's grief and do another good action 
at the same time ; and bringing to her the 
baby he had rescued, he suggested to her 
that she should give it the home it needed, 
and let it be to her as a son of her own. 

The lady fell in with this idea right joy- 
fully, and taking the infant tenderly in her 
arms bore it away with her. 

342 The Gateway to Spe^iser. 

But Calepine, now left alone, began bitterly 
to deplore the unkind fate which had separ- 
ated him from his own dear lady, and caused 
him to be thus unarmed and defenceless, alone 
in a strange district. He spent the night on 
the cold ground, but little sleep came to 
him, and he tossed uneasily on his hard bed, 
lamenting his lot, and vowing to pause not 
in his search for Serena until once more they 
should be happily united. 

IV. — The Hermit and the Rescue of Serena. 

Meanwhile Serena had grown very anxious 
as the day sped onward and brought no sign 
of Calepine's return, and the savage under- 
stood her grief and showed his sympathy in 
many gentle ways. At last, as night drew 
near without the missing knight appearing, 
he started forth in search of him. All that 
night he sought far and wide, but in vain, 
and the next morning he returned alone to 
Serena, whom he found in great distress, and 
with her wounds bleeding afresh. 

All that the savage could do to comfort 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 343 

her and staunch her wounds he did right 
willingly ; but as time went on Serena felt 
she could no longer bear to stay where she 
was, but must start herself in search of Cale- 
pine. She made the savage understand her 
wishes, and the strange couple set forth 
together, Serena riding Calepine's horse, and 
the savage carrying the armour which he 
had left behind him. 

Now as they journeyed thus, whom should 
they encounter but the great Prince Arthur, 
accompanied by his squire Timias, whom 
by a curious chance he had just rescued 
from a fierce encounter with that same 
monster, the Blatant Beast, which had caused 
the fair Serena such cruel suffering. 

At the sight of this strangely assorted 
couple Prince Arthur drew rein and asked 
the lady her name, and how she came to 
have such an attendant. In reply, Serena 
told him all her story, of how the savage 
had guarded and cared for her in as faithful 
and tender a fashion as any knight versed in 
all the laws of chivalry could have done, and 
how she had lost her own true knight and 


344 The Gateway to Spenser. 

lover, and knew not if he were alive or 

She also told the prince of her wounds, 
inflicted by the Blatant Beast, and much 
concerned he was to hear of this, since he 
knew what deadly injury the poison from 
this monster inflicted. He advised Serena 
to leave her quest of her knight until her 
wounds were healed, for he saw that she was 
in no fit condition to travel, and he offered 
to guide her to a hermitage, where dwelt a 
wise and holy hermit, by whom the healing 
of such wounds as hers was well understood. 
So together they all journeyed to the her- 
mit's dwelling, and very peaceful and sweet 
did the tiny chapel-like abode, surrounded 
by smooth lawns and with ivy-covered walls, 
appear to the weary travellers. The hermit 
himself stood at the doorway to receive them, 
and led them into his neat and spotless home 
with gentle courtesy. Here Prince Arthur 
left the two sufferers, Serena and Timias, to 
his care, and taking with him the savage, 
whose heart he had already won, as his 
squire in place of Timias, he went forth to 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 345 

find and punish Sir Turpine for the base 
conduct to Calepine of which Serena had 
told him. 

Both Timias and Serena passed a wretched 
night in the hermitage. Their wounds gave 
them no rest, so sore and painful were they ; 
and when the hermit examined them care- 
fully, he saw that he could not heal them 
by the application of external remedies alone. 
He explained to the sufferers that the Blatant 
Beast inflicted wounds of such a nature that 
he caused evil to enter into them, and there 
to fester and do much harm. Against this 
medicine alone was powerless, and it rested 
with the patients themselves to regain their 
health, for they could be cured by their own 
treatment of themselves better than by any 
remedies. The advice he gave them was 
to use self-control, to avoid light pleasures, 
to be sparing in their diet, and, above all, to 
cultivate a frank and open disposition, avoid- 
ing secret or unprofitable discourse, such as 
backbiting and slander. 

At first this advice seemed to Serena very 
difficult to follow, but the difficulties soon 

346 The Gateway to Spenser. 

disappeared, and this healthy mode of life 
prescribed by the hermit speedily had a 
good result on both her and Timias, so that 
before long their wounds were healed, and 
they were strong and well. 

Now that they no longer needed the her- 
mit's care, Serena and Timias bade him a 
grateful farewell, and started forth together 
from the hermitage ; but ere they had gone 
very far another adventure claimed the atten- 
tion of Timias, and Serena found herself 
alone. Bitterly did the forlorn maiden long 
for her own knight Calepine, and in her dis- 
tress her heart began to reproach him and 
accuse him of deserting her. Many fears, 
too, beset her as she pursued her lonely way, 
and amongst them was terror at the thought of 
the monster who had attacked her before, and 
sorely did she long for a protector against him, 
and against any other evil that might befall. 

At length she came to a place which she 
deemed a safe one for the night, and, dis- 
mounting from her palfrey, she threw herself 
down on the ground, where sleep soon over- 
took her. 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 347 

Now, instead of this place being one of 
safety, it was really inhabited by a race of 
savages who were cannibals, and while Serena 
slept they came creeping out from amongst 
the bushes and gathered round her. Filled 
with delight were they as they looked on 
the sleeping lady, lying there all unconscious 
of her peril, and entirely at their mercy. 

There they all waited, eager for their feast, 
until darkness should have quite set in, for 
their savage laws did not allow them to slay 
their victims until night. But as the last 
ray of light disappeared all was made ready. 
In a grove close at hand an altar was pre- 
pared on which Serena was to be slain, and 
murderous knives were well sharpened for 
committing the horrible deed. 

And now the savages swooped down on 
their victim with loud whoops and halloos. 
From her peaceful slumbers Serena awoke 
to this wild, terrifying scene, and half dead 
with fear, she found herself stripped of all 
her clothing and dragged to the altar. All 
hope was at an end, it seemed. Her naked 
body was bound fast, and to the sound of 

348 The Gateway to Spe^iser. 

wild bagpipes and horns and the shouts of 
the savages, the savage high priest drew near 
armed with a deadly knife. Serena had 
given one wild shriek when first she was 
seized, but now she lay still and almost un- 
conscious, awaiting the first thrust of the 
knife. But just as it was raised on high, 
there was a sudden rush from the thicket 
near, and into the midst of the savage crew 
sprang an armed knight, who with one blow 
struck the priest dead at his feet, and then 
plunging among the crowd used his sword 
with such deadly effect as he swung it to 
and fro among them, that soon a whole 
multitude was slain, and the rest scattered 
in confusion. 

The knight's next task was to unbind the 
captive lady very gently. In the thick dark- 
ness he could see little but the gleam of her 
fair white skin, and knew not who it was that 
he had saved from so terrible a fate. But in 
true knightly fashion he led her tenderly to 
a place of shelter, and wrapped her round in 
his own cloak, and while she rested he re- 
mained near to guard and protect her. Only 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 349 

when the dawn appeared, and the first faint 
light of the rising sun shone on both their 
faces, did he and the lady recognize each 
other, for the rescuer was no other than 
Calepine himself. 

During all these weary days had the 
knight sought his lady, and now in this 
strange and unexpected fashion were the 
two faithful lovers reunited at last. 

V, — Calidore and '^astorella. 

We must now see how Sir Calidore had 
fared since the day when he left the wounded 
Serena with Calepine while he started in 
pursuit of the Blatant Beast, whose capture 
was the object of his quest. 

For a long time did the knight pursue 
the monster, yet without overtaking him. 
Through crowded cities, and even to the 
courts of kings, he followed him ; then back 
again into the country, over hill and dale, 
past quiet meadows where shepherds watched 
their flocks, into the towns once more, and 
from there into quiet country villages — 


The Gateway to Spenser, 

wherever the Beast went Calidore pursued. 
For days and nights he never paused from 
the chase, but at last one day he lost sight 
of his prey, and all weary and exhausted 
he came to a charming peaceful spot where 
some shepherds were softly piping, while 
near by their flocks nibbled the tender grass 
and herbs. Here Calidore paused, and asked 
the shepherds if they had seen the Blatant 
Beast pass that way. 

The simple shepherds replied that never 
had any such evil creature as he described 
come near their happy meadow, and seeing 
how tired and hot the knight appeared, they 
begged him to rest awhile with them and 
share their humble meal. Calidore was 
tempted to accept this offer, and he seated 
himself among the shepherds and enjoyed 
the refreshment they offered, intending to 
continue his quest as soon as he had 

But neither on that day nor the next, nor 
for a long time afterwards, did Sir Calidore 
pursue the Blatant Beast. No sooner had 
he finished his repast than his eyes fell on 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 351 

a sight that seemed to him was the fairest 
he had ever seen. 

On a little hillock, which raised her above 
all the shepherds and shepherdesses around 
her, sat a most lovely maiden, wearing on 
her head a gay garland of flowers, and clad 
in a simple homespun gown. As Calidore 
gazed at her, he felt no surprise to see that 
all the youths present paid court to her, for 
there was something in her sweet face and 
the gentle dignity of her demeanour which 
seemed to mark her out from all others. 
Instead of continuing his journey, therefore, 
Calidore sat where he was, feasting his eyes 
on the girl until evening drew near and the 
little company began to disperse. 

An old man with kindly face and long 
silvery beard now joined the maiden, and 
in reply to inquiries Calidore learnt that 
this was her father, Melibee, that her name 
was Pastorella, and that she was regarded 
as a rustic queen by the shepherds, but that 
the young man she favoured as a suitor was 
one named Coridon. 

When Pastorella had collected her flocks, 

352 The Gateway to Spensei'. 

and had begun to drive them homewards 
with much willing help from the shep- 
herds, Melibee noticed the stranger standing 
neglected and alone, and approaching him 
with courteous speech, asked him if he 
might give him shelter for the night. So 
Calidore, nothing loth, returned with Melibee 
and Pastorella, and spent the night beneath 
their humble roof. 

Much did the knight admire the happy 
simplicity of the shepherd's home, which 
was made rich with that greatest of blessings, 
a contented spirit. The good old couple 
made him right welcome at their board, 
and never in costly palaces had Calidore 
enjoyed a repast better than their simple 
fare served by the dainty hands of Pastorella. 

When all had satisfied their hunger, and 
the two women had cleared the table, 
Calidore, with the courtesy which never 
forsook him, began to thank his host and 
hostess for their kindness ; and in order 
to prove how happy he really felt in their 
humble home, he told them that he thought 
a shepherd's life was one greatly to be envied. 


Sir Calidore wooes the Shepherdess. 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 353 

" How much happier you are," he said, 
" in this quiet, peaceful existence than you 
could be outside in the world where wars 
and enmities are ever rife. In truth, I envy 
you this mode of living." 

To this old Melibee replied that he, 
for his part, was well content with his 
humble lot in life, and though he had 
once when young spent some years near 
a court, he had been very glad to return 
to the quiet life among his flocks, which 
he thought much better. 

" Indeed, fair sir," replied Calidore, " I 
do heartily agree with you, and since I see 
how happy is a shepherd's life, I wish greatly 
I could give up my share in the life of the 
world, with its vanities and empty pleasures, 
and live even as you do." 

" Nay, say not so," replied Melibee. " It 
is not for any of us to repine against the 
lot in which we are placed, but to encourage 
contented minds, whether in court or cottage, 
and to make the best use of what fortune 
gives us, whether it be humble or exalted. 
It is the mind that makes good or ill." 

(1,566) 23 

354 '^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

So pleased, however, was Melibee with his 
guest, that he urged him to prolong his 
visit, and he refused the payment offered to 
him for his entertainment by Calidore ; and 
the knight, who was only too glad to remain 
within sight of Pastorella, accepted his hos- 
pitality and stayed there for many a day. 

At first Pastorella was very shy with him, 
and seemed much more at ease with the 
shepherds than with this stranger in the 
dress of a knight. Calidore, therefore, realiz- 
ing that the maiden was unused to knightly 
apparel, clad himself as a shepherd, and in 
rural dress and with a crook in his hand 
he followed her day after day to the pasture. 
There he would guard the flocks for her 
or watch her as she tended them, and at 
night he was always ready to help her to 
drive them home. 

Gradually Pastorella grew to smile upon 
him, and this caused Coridon much heart- 
burning and jealousy, who hitherto had 
been her favoured lover, and now saw the 
stranger preferred to him. All in vain now 
did he bring her little gifts, catching her 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 355 

young sparrows from the nest, or the shy 
graceful squirrels from their forest home. 
Pastorella no longer valued the tokens from 
her old lover, for the new one had won her 
heart, though as yet she did not allow this 
even to herself. But one day an adventure 
befell which chased for ever from Pastorella's 
heart any lingering doubt as to which of 
her lovers she preferred. 

It was fine summer weather, and Pastorella 
with both Calidore and Coridon, had gone 
to a neighbouring wood at a little distance 
to pick strawberries. While they were thus 
employed, they were surprised by a tiger 
which sprang among them, and with gap- 
ing jaws went straight towards Pastorella, 
who shrieked to the two men to save her. 
Coridon, who was nearest to the tiger, ran 
forward at first, but was so frightened when 
he found himself face to face with the fierce 
beast that he turned his back on Pastorella, 
and escaped as fast as he could. Calidore, 
on the other hand, went straight up to the 
beast, and though he had no other weapon 
than his shepherd's crook, he felled it to 

356 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

the ground, and then cut off its head with 
his shepherd's knife. 

From that day Pastorella made no secret 
of her choice, and accepted CaHdore as her 
lover, and the days passed in bhssful content- 
ment for CaHdore, as he lingered in this 
happy spot by her side. 

But meanwhile his quest of the Blatant 
Beast, which should have come before 
Calidore*s own happiness, was neglected and 
forgotten, and the monster still roamed the 
world working its evil will unchecked. 

VI. — The Capture and Release of Pastorella. 

This peaceful, happy life in the shepherd's 
vale was, however, not destined to last, and 
soon a terrible event put an end to it for 

One day CaHdore, who had been absent 
for a few days on a hunting expedition, 
returned to find a dreadful scene of desolation. 
The happy homes where the shepherds had 
dwelt were all laid waste and destroyed, the 
flocks had disappeared, and worse still, there 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 357 

was no sign of any of the inhabitants them- 
selves. They had all vanished, including 
Melibee and Pastorella. 

At this mournful sight Calidore was 
almost beside himself, for how to find 
tidings or trace of his lost love he did 
not know, and he greatly feared that all 
the worst things he could imagine must 
have happened to her. To and fro he 
wandered in the deserted valley in the hope 
of finding some one who could give him 
a clue as to what had happened ; and at 
last he did indeed see a man approaching 
him, clad in rags, and so altered by fear 
and trouble that it was not until he was 
quite close to him that Calidore recognized 
him as Coridon. 

Calidore did not pause to give him 
greeting ; all he cared for was to get news 
of Pastorella, and rushing up to him, he 
implored him to tell him if he had tidings 
of her. 

" Alack ! " was the mournful reply ; 
"would that I had never lived to see this day, 
since on this day I have seen Pastorella die." 

358 The Gateway to Spenser. 

" Die ! " gasped Calidore. " Nay, surely 
that cannot be true. It cannot be that death 
has taken Pastorella." 

But seeing on Coridon's face confirmation 
of his words, the distracted lover implored 
him to tell him all he knew. 

It was a very piteous story that Coridon 
had to tell. 

On the day when Calidore had started on 
his hunting expedition, a band of brigands 
had descended on the shepherds, and wrought 
all the destruction that Calidore saw, and 
carried off the inhabitants of the valley as 
captives. Amongst them were Melibee, 
Pastorella, and Coridon himself. The brig- 
ands had made arrangements to sell them 
to some merchants, but when it had come 
to the turn of Pastorella to be sold, the 
captain of the brigands would not part 
with her. Upon this a dreadful quarrel 
took place between the merchants and the 
brigands, and most of the captives, including 
Melibee, were slain by the robbers, for fear 
they should take part against them ; and 
Coridon himself had seen Pastorella fall 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 359 

wounded amidst them. He had managed 
to escape, and had made his way back to 
the scene of his former home. 

Now though Coridon himself held out 
no hope of Pastorella being still alive, Cali- 
dore clung to the faint chance that she might 
be, and conquering the outburst of grief with 
which he at first received Coridon's news, 
he persuaded him to lead him back to the 
place where the brigands had taken her. 

Here they found the flocks from the 
valley and some of the brigands, and pre- 
tending to be shepherds in search of work, 
Calidore and Coridon offered their services 
to them. The brigands were glad to engage 
them, and in the course of conversation they 
became so friendly that at last they told the 
two men all that they wanted to find out, 
and they then learnt that Pastorella was still 
alive, though Melibee and the other shepherds 
had in truth all been slain, even as Coridon 
had said. They also told them where Pas- 
torella was hidden, which was in a large 
cave not far away. 

When it was quite dark Calidore and 

360 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Coridon went by separate ways to the cave, 
both dressed as shepherds ; but Calidore wore 
a complete suit of armour and a sword under 
his rural dress. 

When they came to the door of the cave, 
they found it barred, but Calidore burst it 
open, and after slaying the brigand who 
guarded it within, he called to Pastorella. 
At the sound of his loved voice, Pastorella 
felt a wave of joyful strength sweep over 
her, lifting her out of the state of weakness 
and deep despair into which she had fallen. 
Joyfully she answered him back, and the 
next moment Calidore was holding her in 
his arms and covering her face with kisses. 

But news of what had happened now spread 
among the brigands, and Calidore had soon 
to defend Pastorella from a crowd of fierce 
men who appeared at the door of the cave. 
Right well did the knight, disguised as a 
shepherd, wield his trusty sword among them, 
and soon the place was strewn with their 
dead bodies. Then returning to Pastorella 
he took her tenderly in his arms and bore 
her away from the cave. 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 361 

Vll. — Melissa s Discovery. 

Calidore bore Pastorella to a castle called 
Belgard, which was ruled by the good Sir 
Bellamour and his lady Claribell. The story 
of their love and marriage was a very roman- 
tic one ; for Claribell's father, who was a 
wealthy lord, had wished to wed her to a 
great chief of the Picts, and Claribell did 
not dare to let him know that she had fallen 
in love with Bellamour. 

So she and Bellamour were married in 
secret, and had a little baby girl, whom 
Claribell was afraid to acknowledge as hers, 
and she gave it to one of her maidens to 
place in some safe hiding-place. The maiden 
took it into a meadow and left it there, 
remaining in hiding herself not far away to 
see what would happen. Soon an honest- 
looking shepherd passed that way and when 
he heard the infant's cries he stopped, and 
raising it in his arms bore it home to his 

Claribell's father had meanwhile discovered 
her secret marriage with Bellamour, and he 

362 The Gateway to Spenser. 

was so angry that he thrust them each into 
separate dungeons, and there they remained 
until his death. 

Since this had happened they had lived 
very happily together in Bellamour's castle of 
Belgard, but of their infant daughter they 
had had no tidings since the day when 
Claribell gave her into her maiden's care. 

These good people received Pastorella very 
kindly, and spared no pains to nurse her back 
to health and strength ; for she was much 
exhausted by all she had suffered, and by 
the wound she had received in the struggle 
between the brigands and the merchants. 
Now that she was thus well cared for, and 
was placed amid such happy surroundings, 
Calidore's thoughts began to return to his 
neglected quest, and he wondered with many 
feelings of shame what the Fairy Queen 
would think of him for having thus for- 
saken the adventure she had entrusted to 

At length he determined to leave his lady 
with Claribell while he once more started 
in pursuit of the monster, with the intention 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 363 

of capturing it even if he had to journey all 
over the world to do so. 

So after giving many grateful thanks to 
Bellamour and Claribell, and having taken a 
tender farev^ell of Pastorella, Calidore started 
forth once more in pursuit of the Blatant 

While he was absent on this quest, a 
wonderful thing happened to Pastorella. 

The servant to whom many years before 
Claribell had given the charge of her infant 
girl, and whose name was Melissa, was still 
in her service, and it was this woman that 
Claribell chose to be Pastorella's personal 

One day when Melissa was helping Pas- 
torella to dress, she caught sight of a little 
mark shaped like an opening rose on her 
neck, and exactly like one she had noticed 
on the neck of Claribell's baby. Without 
saying anything to Pastorella of her dis- 
covery, Melissa hastened to Claribell with 
the great news, telling her that she felt 
certain that the lady brought by Calidore 
was her own long-lost daughter. 

364 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Claribell was afraid at first to believe such 
joyful news, but on asking Pastorella for 
particulars of her early years, there seemed 
no doubt that it was indeed so, and that 
the good old shepherd Melibee had been 
only her foster-father. So Claribell clasped 
Pastorella to her heart, and with tears of 
joy claimed her as her own child, and then 
led her to Bellamour, who was hardly less 
pleased than she was. Pastorella, too, was 
filled with gladness, not only at having 
found her own father and mother, but at 
the thought that she was nobly born, and 
no unfitting wife for her own true knight 
Calidore, for whose return from his quest 
she longed more than ever now that she 
had such joyful news with which to greet 

VIIl. — Capture of the Blatant Beast, 

Sir Calidore sought the Blatant Beast for 
long, and at last he came across him in a 
monastery. From there he chased him into 
a church, for he hesitated not to frequent 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 365 

even places that are wont to be looked upon 
as sacred, and having driven him forth, he 
at last overtook him and brought him to 
bay in a narrow place outside. 

For the first time Calidore now saw the 
monster face to face, and very horrible was 
the sight. His wide gaping jaws showed a 
double row of sharp spiky teeth, but the 
most terrible part of him was the great 
number of tongues which played to and fro 
within his mouth. 

Some were like dogs' tongues, and with 
these he barked, and some were like cats', 
and made a constant mewing ; others were 
like bears' and tigers' tongues, and growled 
continuously; and others were like snakes', 
and these darted to and fro, spitting out 
deadly poison. But worse than all were the 
tongues which were like the tongues of men 
or of women, for not even dogs' or cats' or 
bears' or serpents' tongues could do such 
deadly mischief as these. 

The cruel teeth snapped at Calidore, and 
the countless tongues were all displayed, but 
he felt no fear. He held his shield well in 


366 The Gateivay to Spenser. 

front of him, and with a sudden sharp blow 
from it forced the beast backwards, and 
before it could recover he placed the shield 
over him, holding him pinned down beneath 
it. On finding himself thus powerless to 
move, the beast roared and raged, and used 
all his tongues at once against his captor. 

Calidore took no notice, but with cool, 
swift fingers placed a huge muzzle made of 
iron over his mouth, which at once stopped 
him from uttering a sound, so that his evil 
power was ended, and he could no longer do 
deadly wrong to brave knight or fair lady 
with his venomous tongues. 

Thus helpless and subdued, Calidore 
fastened a chain to the beast and led him 
behind him in triumph. 

All through Fairyland did the knight lead 
his captive, who, chafing and raging in- 
wardly, dared no longer show signs of this, 
but followed him like a beaten hound. And 
from the towns and villages they passed 
through, and from all the country-side, 
flocked the people, rejoicing at the sight, 
and admiring the knight who had accom- 

Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast. 367 

plished so great a deed and freed the land 
from its evil scourge. 

Thus ended the quest of Sir Calidore, the 
knight of Courtesy, who paused not nor 
delayed again until he had led the Blatant 
Beast, chained and muzzled, into the 
presence of the Fairy Queen. 

But the story is not quite ended yet, for 
a sad thing happened later. How it came 
about, whether it was accident or the 
wicked design of man, no one knew, but 
one day the Blatant Beast broke his iron 
chain and escaped. From that day to this :^|^' 
he has roamed the world, and has never ) 
again been completely captured or subdued. '^ 
His poisonous claws, and worse still, his 
thousand tongues, are a source of danger 
now as in the days of old. But now, as ^ 
then, their evil attacks can be met un- 
flinchingly by brave hearts, and those who 
are courteous and truthful and strong, even 
as was Sir Calidore, will share his quest and 
adventure, and help towards the capture 
once more of the Blatant Beast. 


Great travel hath the gentle Calidore 
And toil endured, sith 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 past, 
Through hills, through dales, through forests, 

and through plains, 
In that same quest which fortune on him 

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 sufFred him to rest, 
Ne rested he himself (but nature's due) 
For dread of danger not to be redrest. 
If he for sloth forskck'd so famous quest. 
Him first from court he to the cities coursed, 
And from the cities to the towns him press'd. 

Calidore and Pastorella. 369 

And from the towns into the country forced, 
And from the country back to private farms 
he scorsed. 

From thence into the open fields he fled, 
Whereas the herds were keeping of their neat, 
And shepherds singing, to their flocks that 

Lays of sweet love and youth's delightful 

heat : 
Him thither eke for all his fearful threat 
He follow'd fast, and chased him so nigh. 
That to the folds, where sheep at night do 

And to the little cots, where shepherds lie 
In winter's wrathful time, he forced him to 


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 

Beside them fed, and nipp'd the tender 

blooms ; 

(1,565) 24 

370 The Gateway to Spenser. 

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 answer'd him that no such beast they 

Nor any wicked fiend that mote offend 
Their happy flocks, nor danger to them draw ; 
But if that such there were (as none they 

They pray'd High God them far from them 

to send : 
Then one of them him seeing so to sweat. 
After his rustic wise, that well he ween'd, 
Off'red him drink to quench his thirsty heat. 
And, if he hungry were, him off'red eke to eat. 

The knight was nothing nice, where was no 

And took their gentle offer : so adown 
They pray'd him sit, and gave him for to 

Such homely what as serves the simple clown 

Calidore and Pastorella. 371 

That doth despise the dainties of the town : 
Tho, having fed his fill, he there beside 
Saw a fair damsel, which did wear a crown 
Of sundry flow'rs with silken ribbands 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 
Environ'd with a garland, goodly graced. 
Of lovely lasses ; and them all without 
The lusty shepherd swains sate 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 

And comely carriage of her count'nance 

That all the rest like lesser lamps did dim : 

2)'] 2 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Who, her admiring as some heavenly wight, 
Did for their sovereign goddess her esteem, 
And, carolhng her name both day and night, 
The fairest Pastorella her by name did 

Her whiles Sir Calidore there viewed well, 
And mark'd her rare demeanour, which him 

So far the mean of shepherds to excel. 
As that he in his mind her worthy deem'd 
To be a prince's paragon esteem'd. 
He was unawares surprised in subtle bands 
Of the blind bov ; ne thence could be re- 

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, 
Ne any will had thence to move away. 
Although his quest were far afore him gone : 
But after he had fed, yet did he stay 
And sate there still, until the flying day 
Was far forth spent, discoursing diversely 

Calidore and Pastorella. 373 

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 

By this the moisty night approaching fast 
Her dewy humour gan on th' earth to shed. 
That warn'd the shepherds to their homes 

to haste 
Their tender flocks, now being fully fed. 
For fear of wetting them before their bed : 
Them came to them a good old aged sire, 
Whose silver locks bedeck'd his beard and 

With shepherd's hook in hand, and fit attire. 
That will'd the damsel rise ; the day did now 


He was to weet, by common voice, esteem'd 
The father of the fairest Pastorell, 
And of herself in very deed so deem'd ; 
Yet was not so ; but, as old stories tell. 
Found her by fortune, which to him befell, 
In th' open fields an infant left alone ; 
And, taking up, brought home and nursed well 

374 '^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

As his own child ; for other he had none ; 
That she in tract of time accounted was his 

She at his bidding meekly did arise, 
And straight unto her little flock did fare : 
Then all the rest about her rose likewise, 
And each his sundry sheep with several care 
Gather'd together, and them homeward bare : 
Whilst every one with helping hands did 

Amongst themselves, and did their labours 

To help fair Pastorella home to drive 
Her fleecy flock ; but Coridon most help 

did give. 

But Melibee (so bight that good old man) 
Now seeing Calidore left all alone, 
And night arrived hard at hand, began 
Him to invite unto his simple home ; 
Which though it were a cottage clad with 

And all things therein mean, yet better so 
To lodge, than in the savage fields to roam. 

Calidore and Pastorella. 375 

The knight full gladly soon agreed thereto, 
Being his heart's own wish ; and home with 
him did go. 

There he was welcomed of that honest sire 
And of his aged beldam homely well ; 
Who him besought himself to disattire, 
And rest himself, till supper time befell ; 
By which home came the fairest Pastorell, 
After her flock she in their fold had tied ; 
And, supper ready dight, they to it fell 
With small ado, and nature satisfied. 
The which doth little crave contented to 

Tho when they had their hunger slaked well, 
And the fair maid the table ta'en away ; 
The gentle knight, as he that did excel 
In courtesy and well could do and say, 
For so great kindness as he found that day 
Gan greatly thank his host and his good wife ; 
And, drawing thence his speech another way, 
Gan highly to commend the happy life 
Which shepherds lead, without debate or 
bitter strife. 

376 The Gateway to Spenser. 

"How much," said he, "more happy is the 

In which ye, father, here do dwell at ease. 
Leading a life so free and fortunate 
From all the tempests of these worldly seas. 
Which toss the rest in dangerous dis-ease ; 
Where wars, and wrecks, and wicked enmity 
Do them afflict, which no man can appease ! 
That certes I your happiness envy. 
And wish my lot were placed in such 


"Surely, my son," then answer'd he again, 
"If happy, then it is in this intent, 
That having small yet do I not complain 
Of want, ne wish for more it to augment. 
But do myself, with that I have, content ; 
So taught of nature, which doth little need 
Of foreign helps to life's due nourishment : 
The fields my food, my flock my raiment 

breed ; 
No better do I wear, no better do I feed. 

"Therefore I do not any one envy. 
Nor am envied of any one therefore : 

Calidore and Pastorella. 2>77 

They that have much, fear much to lose 

And store of cares doth follow riches' store. 
The little that I have grows daily more 
Without my care, but only to attend it ; 
My lambs do every year increase their 

And my flocks' father daily doth amend it. 
What have I, but to praise th' Almighty 

that doth send it ! 

''To them, that list, the world's gay shows 

I leave, 
And to great ones such follies do forgive ; 
Which oft through pride do their own peril 

And through ambition down themselves do 

To sad decay, that might contented live. 
Me no such cares nor cumb'rous thoughts 

Ne once my mind's unmoved quiet grieve ; 
But all the night in silver sleep I spend. 
And all the day, to what I list, I do 

attend : 

378 The Gateway to Spenser. 

"Sometimes I hunt the fox, the vowed foe 
Unto my lambs, and him dislodge away ; 
Sometime the fawn I practise from the 

Or from the goat her kid, how to convey ; 
Another while I baits and nets display 
The birds to catch or fishes to beguile ; 
And when I weary am, I down do lay 
My limbs in every shade to rest from 

And drink of every brook, when thirst my 

throat doth boil. 

"The time was once, in my first prime of 

When pride of youth forth pricked my 

That I disdain'd among my equal peers 
To follow sheep and shepherd's base attire ; 
For further fortune then I would inquire : 
And, leaving home, to royal court I sought. 
Where I did sell myself for yearly hire. 
And in the prince's garden daily wrought : 
There I beheld such vainness as I never 


Calidore arid Pastorella. 2>19 

"With sight whereof soon cloy'd, and long 

With idle hopes which them do entertain, 
After I had ten years myself excluded 
From native home, and spent my youth in vain, 
I gan my follies to myself to plain. 
And this sweet peace, whose lack did then 

appear : 
Tho, back returning to my sheep again, 
I from thenceforth have learn'd tolove moredear 
This lowly quiet life which I inherit here." 

Whilst thus he talk'd, the knight with 

greedy ear 
Hung still upon his melting mouth attent ; 
Whose senseful words impierced his heart 

so near, 
That he was wrapt with double ravishment, 
Both of his speech that wrought him great 

And also of the object of his view. 
On which his hungry eye was always bent ; 
That twixt his pleasing tongue and her fair hue 
He lost himself, and like one half-entranced 



Like as a ship, that through the ocean wide 
Directs her course unto one certain coast, 
Is met of many a counter wind and tide. 
With which her winged speed is let andcross'd. 
And she herself in stormy surges toss'd ; 
Yet, making many a board * and many a bay, 
Still winneth way, ne hath her compass lost ; 
Right so it fares with me in this long way, 
Whose course is often stay'd, yet never is 

For all that hitherto hath long delay'd 
This gentle knight from 'suing his first quest, 
Though out of course, yet hath not been 

* " To make a board," or " to board it up to a place," is 
to turn the ship to windward, sometimes on one tack, some- 
times on the other. 

The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 381 

To show the courtesy by him profess'd 
Even unto the lowest and the least. 
But now I come into my course again, 
To his achievement of the Blatant Beast ; 
Who all this while at will did range and 

Whilst none was him to stop, nor none him 

to restrain. 

Sir Calidore, when thus he now had raught 
Fair Pastorella from those brigands' pow'r. 
Unto the castle of Belgard her brought, 
Whereof was lord the good Sir Bellamoure ; 
Who whylome was, in his youth's freshest 

A lusty knight as ever wielded spear, 
And had endured many a dreadful stour 
In bloody battle for a lady dear. 
The fairest lady then of all that living were : 

Her name was Claribell ; whose father hight 
The Lord of Many Islands, far renown'd 
For his great riches and his greater might : 
He, through the wealth wherein he did 

382 The Gateway to Spenser. 

This daughter thought in wedlock, to have 

Unto the Prince of Pictland, bordering near ; 
But she, whose sides before with secret 

Of love to Bellamoure empierced were. 
By all means shunn'd to match with any 

foreign fere. 

\ln despite of her father the lady married 
Bellamoure., and a daughter was born to the 
pair., who was delivered to a handmaid to be 
kept until a happier time.\ 

The trusty damsel bearing it abroad 
Into the empty fields, where living wight 
Mote not bewray the secret of her load. 
She forth gan lay unto the open light 
The little babe, to take thereof a sight : 
Whom whilst she did with wat'ry eyne 

Upon the little breast like crystal bright. 
She mote perceive a little purple mold 
That like a rose her silken leaves did fair 


The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 383 

Well she it mark'd and pitied the more. 
Yet could not remedy her wretched case, 
But, closing it again like as before, 
Bedew'd with tears there left it in the place ; 
Yet left not quite, but drew a little space 
Behind the bushes, where she her did hide. 
To weet what mortal hand, or heaven's grace. 
Would for the wretched infant's help provide ; 
For which it loudly call'd, and pitifully cried. 

At length a shepherd, which thereby did keep 
His fleecy flock upon the plains around. 
Led with the infant's cry that loud did weep, 
Came to the place ; where when he wrapped 

Th' abandon'd spoil, he softly it unbound ; 
And, seeing there that did him pity sore, 
He took it up and in his mantle wound ; 
So home unto his honest wife it bore, 
Who as her own it nursed and named ever- 

Thus long continued Claribell a thrall. 
And Bellamoure in bands ; till that her sire 
Departed life, and left unto them all : 

384 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Then all the storms of fortune's former ire 
Were turn'd, and they to freedom did retire. 
Thenceforth they joy'd in happiness together, 
And lived long in peace and love entire. 
Without disquiet or dislike of either, 
Till time that Calidore brought Pastorella 

Both w^hom they goodly well did entertain ; 
For Bellamoure knevs^ Calidore right v^ell. 
And loved for his prowess, sith they twain 
Long since had fought in field : als Claribell 
Ne less did tender the fair Pastorell, 
Seeing her weak and wan through durance 

There they awhile together thus did dwell 
In much delight, and many joys among. 
Until the damsel gan to wax more sound and 


Tho gan Sir Calidore him to advise 
Of his first quest, which he had long forlore. 
Ashamed to think how he that enterprize. 
The which the Faery Queen had long afore 
Bequeathed to him, foreslacked had so sore ; 

Sir Calidore overthrow's the Blatant Beast. 

The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 385 

That much he feared lest reproachful blame 
With foul dishonour him mote blot therefore ; 
Besides the loss of so much loos and fame, 
As through the world thereby should glorify 
his name. 

Therefore, resolving to return in haste 
Unto so great achievement, he bethought 
To leave his love, novsr peril being past. 
With Claribell ; whilst he that monster sought 
Throughout the world, and to destruction 

So taking leave of his fair Pastorell, 
Whom to recomfort all the means he 

With thanks to Bellamoure and Claribell, 
He went forth on his quest, and did that 

him befell. 

But first, ere I do his adventures tell 
In this exploit, me needeth to declare 
What did betide to the fair Pastorell, 
During his absence left in heavy care. 
Through daily mourning and nightly misfare : 
Yet did that ancient matron all she might, 

(1.665) 25 

386 The Gateway to Spenser. 

To cherish her with all things choice and rare ; 
And her own handmaid, that Melissa hight, 
Appointed to attend her duly day and night. 

Who in a morning, when this maiden fair 
Was dighting her, having her snowy breast 
As yet not laced, nor her golden hair 
Into their comely tresses duly drest. 
Chanced to espy upon her ivory chest 
The rosy mark, which she rememb'red well 
That little infant had, which forth she kest, 
The daughter of her Lady Claribell, 
The which she bore the whiles in prison she 
did dwell. 

Which well avising, straight she gan to cast 
In her conceitful mind that this fair maid 
Was that same infant, which so long sith past 
She in the open fields had loosely laid 
To fortune's spoil, unable it to aid : 
So, full of joy, straight forth she ran in haste 
Unto her mistress, being half dismay'd. 
To tell her, how the heavens had her graced, 
To save her child, which in misfortune's 
mouth was placed. 

The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. -^Z"] 

The sober mother seeing such her mood, 
Yet knowing not what meant that sudden 

Ask'd her, how mote her words be under- 
And what the matter was that moved her so. 
" My Hef," said she, " ye know that long ygo. 
Whilst ye in durance dwelt, ye to me gave 
A little maid, the which ye childed tho ; 
The same again if now ye list to have. 
The same is yonder lady, whom High God 
did save." 

Much was the lady troubled at that speech. 
And gan to question straight how she it 

" Most certain marks," said she, " do me it 

teach ; 
For on her breast I with these eyes did view, 
The little purple rose which thereon grew. 
Whereof her name ye then to her did give. 
Besides, her countenance and her likely hue. 
Matched with equal years, do surely prieve 
That yond same is your daughter sure, which 

yet doth live." 

388 The Gateway to Spenser. 

The matron stay'd no longer to inquire. 
But forth in haste ran to the stranger 

maid ; 
Whom catching greedily, for great desire 
Rent up her breast, and bosom open laid. 
In which that rose she plainly saw display 'd : 
Then, her embracing twixt her armes twain. 
She long so held, and softly weeping said ; 
" And livest thou, my daughter, now again ? 
And art thou yet alive, whom dead I long 

did fain ? " 

Tho further asking her of sundry things, 
And times comparing with their accidents, 
She found at last, by very certain signs 
And speaking marks of passed monuments, 
That this young maid, whom chance to her 

Is her own daughter, her own infant 

Tho, wond'ring long at those so strange 

A thousand times she her embraced near, 
With many a joyful kiss and many a melting 


The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 389 

Whoever is the mother of one child, 
Which having thought long dead she finds 

Let her by proof of that which she hath 

fylde * 
In her own breast, this mother's joy descrive : 
For other none such passion can contrive 
In perfect form, as this good lady felt, 
When she so fair a daughter saw survive, 
As Pastorella was ; that nigh she swelt f 
For passing joy, which did all into pity melt. 

Thence running forth unto her loved lord. 
She unto him recounted all that fell : 
Who, joining joy with her in one accord, 
Acknowledged, for his own, fair Pastorell. 
There leave we them in joy, and let us tell 
Of Calidore ; who, seeking all this while 
That monstrous Beast by final force to quell. 
Through every place with restless pain and 

Him follow'd by the track of his outrageous 


* Altered for rhyme irom/elt. 
t Fainted. 

390 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Through all estates he found that he had past, 
In which he many massacres had left, 
And to the clergy now was come at last ; 
In which such spoil, such havoc, and such 

He wrought, that thence all goodness he 

That endless were to tell. The elfin knight, 
Who now no place besides unsought had left. 
At length into a monastere did light. 
Where he him found despoiling all with 

main and might. 

Into their cloisters now he broken had. 
Through which the monks he chased here 

and there, 
And them pursued into their dortours sad. 
And searched all their cells and secrets near ; 
In which what filth and ordure did appear. 
Were irksome to report ; yet that foul beast. 
Nought sparing them, the more did toss and 

And ransack all their dens from most to least, 
Regarding nought religion nor their holy 


The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 391 

From thence into the sacred church he 

And robb'd the chancel, and the desks down 

And altars fouled, and blasphemy spoke. 
And th' images, for all their goodly hue, 
Did cast to ground, whilst none was them to 

rue ; 
So all confounded and disorder'd there : 
But, seeing Calidore, away he flew, 
Knowing his fatal hand by former fear ; 
But he him fast pursuing soon approached 


Him in a narrow place he overtook. 
And fierce assailing forced him turn again. 
Sternly he turn'd again, when he him 

With his sharp steel, and ran at him amain 
With open mouth, that seemed to contain 
A full good peck within the utmost brim. 
All set with iron teeth in ranges twain. 
That terrified his foes, and armed him, 
Appearing like the mouth of Orcus griesly 

grim : 

392 The Gateway to Spenser. 

And therein were a thousand tongues empight 

Of sundry kinds and sundry quality ; 

Some were of dogs, that barked day and 

night ; 
And some of cats, that wrawHng still did cry ; 
And some of bears, that groyn'd continually ; 
And some of tigers, that did seem to gren 
And snarl at all that ever passed by : 
But most of them were tongues of mortal 

Which spake reproachfully, not caring where 

nor when. 

And them amongst were mingled here and 

The tongues of serpents, with three-forked 

That spat out poison, and gore-bloody gear, 
At all that came within his ravenings ; 
And spake licentious words and hateful 

Of good and bad alike, of low and high, 
Ne kaisars spared he a whit nor kings ; 
But either blotted them with infamy. 
Or bit them with his baneful teeth of injury. 

The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 393 

But Calidore, thereof no whit afraid, 
Rencount'red him with so impetuous might, 
That th' outrage of his violence he stay'd. 
And beat aback, threat'ning in vain to 

And spitting forth the poison of his spite 
That foamed all about his bloody jaws : 
Tho, rearing up his former feet on height. 
He ramp'd upon him with his ravenous 

As if he would have rent him with his cruel 

claws : 

But he right well aware, his rage to ward. 
Did cast his shield atween ; and, there- 
Putting his puissance forth, pursued so hard. 
That backward he enforced him to fall ; 
And, being down, ere he new help could call, 
His shield he on him threw, and fast down 

held ; 
Like as a bullock, that in bloody stall 
Of butcher's baleful hand to ground is fell'd. 
Is forcibly kept down, till he be throughly 

394 ^'^^^ Gateway to Spenser. 

Full cruelly the Beast did rage and roar 

To be down held, and mast'red so with 

That he gan fret and foam out bloody gore. 
Striving in vain to rear himself upright : 
For still, the more he strove, the more the 

Did him suppress, and forcibly subdue ; 
That made him almost mad for fell despite : 
He grinn'd, he bit, he scratch'd, he venom 

And fared like a fiend right horrible in hue : 

Or like the hell-born Hydra, which they 

That great Alcides whylome overthrew. 
After that he had labour'd long in vain 
To crop his thousand heads, the which still 

Forth budded, and in greater number grew. 
Such was the fury of this hellish beast, 
Whilst Calidore him under him down threw ; 
Who nathemore his heavy load released. 
But aye, the more he raged, the more his 

pow'r increased. 

The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 395 

Tho, when the Beast saw he mote nought avail 
By force, he gan his hundred tongues apply, 
And sharply at him to revile and rail 
With bitter terms of shameful infamy ; 
Oft interlacing many a forged lie. 
Whose like he never once did speak, nor 

Nor ever thought thing so unworthily : 
Yet did he nought, for all that, him for- 
But strained him so straitly that he choked 
him near. 

At last, whenas he found his force to shrink 
And rage to quail, he took a muzzle strong 
Of surest iron made with many a link ; 
Therewith he mured up his mouth along. 
And therein shut up his blasphemous 

For never more defaming gentle knight. 
Or unto lovely lady doing wrong : 
And thereunto a great long chain he tight,* 
With which he drew him forth, even ivi his 

own despite. 

* Tied. 

396 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Like as whylome that strong Tirynthian swain 
Brought forth with him the dreadful dog of 

Against his will fast bound in iron chain, 
And roaring horribly did him compel 
To see the hateful sun, that he might tell 
To griesly Pluto, what on earth was done, 
And to the other cursed ghosts which dwell 
For aye in darkness which day-light doth 

shun : 
So led this knight his captive with like con- 
quest won. 

Yet greatly did the Beast repine at those 
Strange bands, whose like till then he never 

Ne ever any durst till then impose ; 
And chafed inly, seeing now no more 
Him liberty was left aloud to roar : 
Yet durst he not draw back, nor once with- 
The proved pow'r of noble Calidore ; 
But trembled underneath his mighty hand, 
And like a fearful dog him follow'd through 
the land. 

The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 2>97 

Him through all Faery land he foUow'd so, 
As if he learned had obedience long, 
That all the people, whcreso he did go, 
Out of their towns did round about him 

To see him lead that Beast in bondage 

strong ; 
And seeing it, much wonder'd at the sight : 
And all such persons, as he erst did wrong. 
Rejoiced much to see his captive plight, 
And much admired the Beast, but more 

admired the knight. 

Thus was this monster, by the mast'ring 

Of doughty Calidore, suppress'd and tamed. 
That never more he mote endamage wight 
With his vile tongue, which many had 

And many causeless caused to be blamed : 
So did he eke long after this remain, 
Until that, (whether wicked fate so framed 
Or fault of men,) he broke his iron chain, 
And got into the world at liberty again. 

398 The Gateway to Spenser. 

Thenceforth more mischief and more scath 

he wrought 
To mortal men than he had done before ; 
Ne ever could, by any, more be brought 
Into like bands, ne mast'red any more : 
Albe that, long time after Calidore, 
The good Sir Pelleas him took in hand ; 
And after him Sir Lamorack of yore ; 
And all his brethren born in Britain land ; 
Yet none of them could ever bring him into 


So now he rangeth through the world 

And rageth sore in each degree and state ; 
Ne any is that may him now restrain. 
He growen is so great and strong of 

Barking and biting all that him do bate, 
Albe they worthy blame, or clear of 

crime ; 
Ne spareth he most learned wits to rate. 
Ne spareth he the gentle poet's rhyme ; 
But rends, without regard of person or of 


The Defeat of the Blatant Beast. 399 

Ne may this homely verse, of many meanest, 
Hope to escape his venomous despite, 
More than my former writs, all were they 

From blameful blot, and free from all that 

With which some wicked tongues did it 

And bring into a mighty peer's * displeasure, 
That never so deserved to indite. 
Therefore do you, my rhymes, keep better 

And seek to please ; that now is counted 

wise men's treasure. 

* Lord Burleigh. 

The End. 





^ ^ ^ LOAN DEPT. 

Renewed books are subject to i^Tdiate recall. 

LD 21A-40TO-11 '63 







, /.