1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Faerie Queene. Book IV. Canto IV.

The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Bookes, fashioning XII. morall Vertues. The Second Part of the Faerie Queene. Containing the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Bookes.

Edmund Spenser


George L. Craik: "Canto IV. (48 stanzas). — The main story of the poem is now resumed from the point where Cambel, Triamond, Cambina, and Canace are overtaken by Blandamour, Paridel, the Squire of Dames, Duessa, Ate, and the false Florimel, in the second Canto. Blandamour, vainglorious and insolent, notwithstanding the entreaty of the courteous squire that he would let them and their ladies pass on in quiet, assails the two stranger knights, as was his wont, with his foul tongue — so that, stung by his unprovoked abuse — 'for evil deeds may better than bad words be borne' — they begin to adjust their shields and to lay hold on their spears, when Cambina interposes, and by her mild persuasions prevents the quarrel from going farther.

"They all now ride on together, discoursing of the tourney, till after a while they perceive advancing towards them 'one in bright arms, with ready spear in rest,' who, however, upon observing Paridel ready to take him in hand, quickly assumes a gay and good-humoured demeanour, and joins their company. But, as soon as he looks about him and sees the snowy Florimel, he lays claim to her as his own lost property. It is, in fact, Braggadoccio, from whom, it may be remembered, the false lady had been carried off by Ferraugh. Blandamour hears his demand with infinite scorn, and proposes that they shall immediately decide the controversy in the usual way by a passage of arms, and that, while the victor shall have the bright Florimel for his prize, the other shall be obliged to console himself with the old hag Ate — 'and with her always ride till he another get.' 'That offer pleased all the company: | So Florimel with Ate forth was brought, | At which they all gan laugh full merrily: | But Braggadocchio said, he never thought | For such an hag, that seemed worse than nought, | His person to emperil so in fight'....

"So they all ride on in merry mood, 'that masked mock-knight' affording them good sport all the while; till on the appointed day they come to the place of tournament, where they find already assembled 'many a brave knight, and many a dainty dame.' All take their places, knights and ladies marching in couples linked together: — 'Then first of all forth came Sir Satyrane, | Bearing that precious relic in an ark | Of gold, that bad eyes might it not profane'.... But how the girdle has come into the hands of Satyrane is not explained. It was indeed found by him when he came up to the spot where Florimel had dropped it in her flight from the beast sent in pursuit of her by the witch (B. iii. C. 7, s. 31) but he afterwards employed it to bind that monster (s. 36), which, we are expressly told (C. 8, s. 2), returned so bound to the witch, who immediately (s. 3) took the girdle and ran with it to show to her son as an evidence that Florimel was destroyed.

"Satyrane then takes his spear and 'maiden-headed shield,' and presents himself ready for the fight. The first who comes forth against him is a paynim knight, called Bruncheval the Bold. They are thrown to the ground together at the first encounter. On this another knight, the noble Ferramont, rides up to the aid of Satyrane, and against him Blandamour advances. Blandamour and his horse are both thrown down, and then Paridel rides forth to the rescue of his friend; but he meets the same fate. It is Braggadoccio's turn to strike in next, but of course he does not stir; and so Triamond sternly steps forth, and at last bears down the hitherto invincible Ferramont. Neither can Sir Devon, nor Sir Douglas, nor Sir Palimord, who all come up in succession, better stand his fury and force. Satyrane, however, now recovers out of his swoon, — 'And looking round about, like one dismayed, | Whenas he saw the merciless affray | Which doughty Triamond had wrought that day | Unto the noble knights of Maidenhead'.... Mounting his steed he dashes fiercely forward, 'Like spark of fire that from the anvil glode,' and, aiming 'his beamlike spear' with all his strength, wounds Triamond so severely in the side, that the utmost the latter can do is to manage to withdraw himself without being observed. 'Then gin the part of challengers anew | To range the field, and victor-like to reign, | That none against them battle durst maintain.... | And trumpets' sound to cease did them compel | So Satyrane that day was judged to bear the bell.'

"The next morning Triamond is still unable to appear; but Cambel, without informing him, arrays himself in his friend's shield and arms, and so presents himself before the triumphing Satyrane. Having encountered, they are at the first onset thrown to the ground together, but, quickly springing up and betaking themselves to their swords, they continue the fight, till, Satyrane's horse stumbling, Cambel by a blow on his helmet unseats him, and throws him down among the animal's feet. He himself instantly dismounts and is about to disarm his prostrate adversary, when a hundred knights rush up to the rescue of Satyrane, and all fall to pounding him with their swords at once. Stoutly as he resists they succeed in taking him captive. When news of this is brought to Triamond, he soon forgets his wound, and, starting up, seeks for his arms which when he cannot find, he hastily takes those of Cambel, and issuing forth rushes into the thick of the knights who hold his friend a prisoner, and soon compels them to let him go. The two knights, joining together, carry everything before them — till at last the trumpets sound, and the prize is unanimously declared to be theirs. Neither, however, will accept it from the other; so that the doom, or final adjudication, is deferred to a third day. On that Satyrane again finds none who can withstand him, and victory seems to rest with him and his party....

"At last, however, there enters from the opposite side a stranger knight, whose quaint disguise perplexes every body: — 'For all his armour was like salvage weed | With woody moss bedight, and all his steed | With oaken leaves attrapt, that seemed fit | For salvage wight, and thereto well agreed'.... He instantly charges the first knight that catches his eye, who happens to be the stout Sir Sanglier; and, after jerking him out of his saddle at the first encounter, treats a second, Sir Brianor, in the same fashion: — 'Then, ere his hand he reared, he overthrew | Seven knights one after other as they came'.... The wondering crowd name him the Salvage Knight; but his true name, though few know it, is Arthegal — 'The doughtiest knight that lived that day, and most of might.'

"By evening, however, another stranger knight appears, and eclipses the glory of this victorious champion first attacking him, and sending him over his horse's tail, and then disposing of Cambel, Triamond, Blandamour, and many others, who successively encounter her, in the same summary way. For this is no other that Britomart, with her enchanted spear, whose force no man can bide" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 2:104-09.



Satyrane makes a Turneyment
For Love of Florimel:
Britomart wins the prize from all,
And Arthegal doth quell.

It often falls (as here it earst befel)
That mortal Foes do turn to faithful Friends;
And Friends profess'd, are chang'd to Foe-men fell:
The Cause of both, of both their Minds depends;
And th' End of both, likewise of both their Ends.
For Enmity, that of no Ill proceeds,
But of Occasion, with th' Occasion ends;
And Friendship, which a faint Affection breeds
Without regard of Good, dies like ill-grounded Seeds.

That well (me seems) appears, by that of late
Twixt Cambel and Sir Triamond befel
As als by this, that now a new Debate
Stir'd up 'twixt Scudamore and Paridel,
The which by course befals me here to tell:
Who, having those two other Knights espy'd
Marching afore, as ye remember well,
Sent forth their Squire to have them both descry'd,
And eke those masked Ladies riding them beside.

Who, back returning, told as he had seen,
That they were doughty Knights of dreaded Name;
And those two Ladies, their two Loves unseen;
And therefore wish'd them without Blot or Blame,
To let them pass at will, for Dread of Shame.
But Blandamore, full of vainglorious Spright,
And rather stir'd by his discordful Dame,
Upon them gladly would have prov'd his Might,
But that he yet was sore of his late luckless Fight.

Yet nigh approaching, he them foul bespake,
Disgracing them, himself thereby to grace,
As was his wont; so weening way to make
To Ladies Love, where-so he came in place,
And with leud Terms their Lovers to deface.
Whose sharp Provokement them incens'd so sore,
That both were bent t' avenge his Usage base,
And 'gan their Shields address themselves afore:
For evil Deeds may better than bad Words be bore.

But fair Cambina, with Persuasions mild,
Did mitigate the Fierceness of their Mode
That for the present they were reconcil'd,
And 'gan to treat of Deeds of Arms abroad,
And strange Adventures all the way they rode:
Amongst the which they told, as then befel,
Of that great Turney, which was blaz'd broad,
For that rich Girdle of fair Florimel,
The Prize of her, which did in Beauty most excel.

To which Folk-mote they all with one Consent,
Sith each of them his Lady had him by,
Whose Beauty each of them thought excellent,
Agreed to travel, and their Fortunes try.
So as they passed forth, they did espy
One in bright Arms with ready Spear in rest,
That toward them his Course seem'd to apply,
'Gainst whom Sir Paridel himself address'd,
Him weening, e'er him nigh approach'd, to have repress'd.

Which th' other seeing, 'gan his Course relent,
And vaunted Spear eftsoons to disadvance,
As if he nought but Peace and Pleasure meant,
Now fain into their Fellowship by chance;
Whereat they shewed courteous Countenance.
So as he rode with them accompany'd,
His roving Eye did on the Lady glance,
Which Blandamore had riding by his Side:
Whom sure he ween'd, that he somewhere tofore had ey'd.

It was to weet, that snowy Florimel,
Which Ferrau late from Braggadochio won;
Whom he now seeing, her remember'd well,
How having reft her from the Witch's Son,
He soon her lost wherefore he now begun
To challenge her anew, as his own Prize,
Whom formerly he had in Battle won,
And proffer made by Force her to reprise:
Which scornful Offer Blandamore 'gan soon despise;

And said, Sir Knight, sith Ne this Lady claim,
Whom he that hath were loth to lose so light,
(For so to lose a Lady were great Shame)
Ye shall her win, as I have done in Fight:
And, lo! she shall be placed here in fight,
Together with this Hag beside her set,
That whoso wins her, may her have by right:
But he shall have the Hag that is ybet,
And with her always ride, till he another get.

That Offer pleased all the Company,
So Florimel with Ate forth was brought;
At which they all 'gan laugh full merrily:
But Braggadochio said, he never thought,
For such a Hag that seemed worse than nought,
His Person to imperil so in Fight.
But if to match that Lady they had sought
Another like, that were like fair and bright,
His Life he then would spend to justify his Right.

At which his vain Excuse they all 'gan smile,
As scorning his unmanly Cowardise:
And Florimel him foully 'gan revile,
That for her sake refus'd to enterprise
The Battel, offer'd in so knightly wise.
And Ate eke provok'd him privily,
With Love of her, and Shame of such Mesprise.
But nought he car'd for Friend or Enemy,
For in base Mind nor Friendship dwells nor Enmity.

But Cambel thus did shut up all in jest,
Brave Knights and Ladies, certes ye do wrong,
To stir up Strife, when most us needeth Rest,
That we may us reserve both fresh and strong,
Against the Turnament which is not long;
When whoso list to fight, may fight his Fill:
Till then your Challenges ye may prolong;
And then it shall be tried, if ye will,
Whether shall have the Hag, or hold the Lady still.

They all agreed: so turning all to Game,
And pleasant Bord, they past forth on their way.
And all that while, whereso they rode or came,
That masked Mock-knight was their Sport and Play.
Till that at length upon th' appointed Day,
Unto the Place of Turnament they came;
Where they before them found in fresh Array
Many a brave Knight, and many a dainty Dame
Assembled, for to get the Honour of that Game.

There this fair Crew arriving, did divide
Themselves asunder: Blandamore with those
Of his, on th' one; the rest on th' other side.
But boastful Braggadochio rather chose,
For Glory vain their Fellowship to lose,
That Men on him the more might gaze alone.
The rest themselves in Troops did else dispose,
Like as it seemed best to every one;
The Knights in Couples march'd, with Ladies link'd attone.

Then first of all forth came Sir Satyrane,
Bearing that precious Relique in an Ark
Of Gold, that bad Eyes might it not profane:
Which drawing softly forth out of the dark,
He open shew'd, that all Men it mote mark;
A gorgeous Girdle, curiously emboss'd
With Pearl and precious Stone, worth many a Mark;
Yet did the Workmanship far pass the Cost:
It was the same, which lately Florimel had lost.

That same aloft he hong in open Viev.,
To be the Prize of Beauty and of Might;
The which eftsoons, discover'd, to it drew
The Eyes of all, allur'd with close Delight,
And Hearts quite robbed with so glorious Sight,
That all Men threw out Vows and Wishes vain.
Thrice happy Lady, and thrice happy Knight,
Them seem'd, that could so goodly Riches gain,
So worthy of the Peril, worthy of the Pain.

Then took the bold Sir Satyrane in hand
An huge great Spear, such as he wont to wield,
And 'vancing forth from all the other Band
Of Knights, address'd his Maiden-headed Shield,
Shewing himself all ready for the Field.
'Gainst whom, there singled from the other side
A Paynim Knight, that well in Arms was skill'd,
And had in many a Battel oft been try'd,
Hight Bruncheval the bold, who fiercely forth did ride.

So furiously they both together met,
That neither could the other's Force sustain.
As two fierce Bulls, that strive the Rule to get
Of all the Heard, meet with so hideous main,
That both rebutted, tumble on the Plain;
So these two Champions to the Ground were feld,
Where in amaze they both did long remain,
And in their Hands their idle Troncheons held,
Which neither able were to wag, or once to weld.

Which when the noble Ferramont espy'd,
He pricked forth in aid of Satyrane,
And him against, Sir Blandamore did ride
With all the Strength and Stiffness that he can.
But the more strong and stiffly that he ran,
So much more sorely to the Ground he fell,
That on a Heap were tumbled Horse and Man.
Unto whose Rescue forth rode Paridel;
But him likewise with that same Spear he eke did quell.

Which Braggadochio seeing, had no will
To hasten greatly to his Party's Aid,
Albe his turn were next; but stood there still,
As one that seemed doubtful or dismay'd.
But Triamond, half wroth to see him staid,
Sternly stept forth, and raught away his Spear,
With which so sore he Ferramont assay'd,
That Horse and Man to ground he quite did bear,
That neither could in haste themselves again uprear.

Which to avenge, Sir Devon him did dight,
But with no better Fortune than the rest;
For him likewise he quickly down did smite;
And after him, Sir Douglas him address'd,
And after him, Sir Palimord forth press'd:
But none of them against his Strokes could stand;
But all the more, the more his Praise increas'd.
For either they were left upon the Land,
Or went away sore wounded of his hapless Hand.

And now by this, Sir Satyrane abraid
Out of the Swoun, in which too long he lay,
And looking round about, like one dismay'd,
When as he saw the merciless Affray,
Which doughty Triamond had wrought that Day,
Unto the noble Knights of Maidenhead,
His mighty Heart did also rend in sway,
For very Gall, that rather wholly dead
Himself he wish'd have been, than in so bad a stead.

Eftsoons he 'gan to gather up around
His Weapons, which lay scatter'd all abroad;
And as it fell, his Steed he ready found.
On whom remounting, fiercely forth he rode,
Like Spark of Fire, that from the Anvil glode,
There where he saw the valiant Triamond
Chasing, and laying on them heavy Load,
That none his Force were able to withstond,
So dreadful were his Strokes, so deadly was his Hond.

With that, at him his beam-like Spear he aim'd,
And thereto all his Power and Might apply'd;
The wicked Steel for Mischief first ordain'd,
And having now Misfortune got for Guide,
Staid not, till it arrived in his Side,
And therein made a very griesly Wound,
That Streams of Blood his Armour all bedy'd.
Much was he daunted with that direful Stound,
That scarce he him upheld from falling in a Swound.

Yet as he might, himself he soft withdrew
Out of the Field, that none perceiv'd it plain.
Then 'gan the part of Challengers anew
To range the Field, and Victor-like to reign,
That none against them Battel durst maintain.
By that, the gloomy Evening on them fell,
That forced them from fighting to refrain,
And Trumpets Sound to cease did them compell:
So Satyrane that Day was judg'd to bear the Bell.

The Morrow next the Turney 'gan anew,
And with the first the hardy Satyrane
Appear'd in place, with all his noble Crew:
On th' other side, full many a warlike Swain
Assembled were, that glorious Prize to gain.
But 'mongst them all, was not Sir Triamond,
Unable he new Battel to darrain,
Thro Grievance of his late received Wound,
That doubly did him grieve, when-so himself he found.

Which Cambal seeing, tho he could not salve,
Ne done undo, yet for to salve his Name,
And purchase Honour in his Friends behalve,
This goodly Counterfesaunce he did frame.
The Shield and Arms well known to be the same,
Which Triamond had worn, unwares to Wight,
And to his Friend unwist, for doubt of Blame,
If he mis-did; he on himself did dight,
That none could him discern, and so went forth to fight.

There Satyrane, Lord of the Field, he found,
Triumphing in great Joy and Jollity;
'Gainst whom none able was to stand on ground.
That much he 'gan his Glory to envy,
And cast t' avenge his Friends Indignity.
A mighty Spear eftsoons at him he bent;
Who seeing him come on so furiously,
Met him mid-way with equal Hardiment,
That forcibly to ground they both together went.

They up again themselves 'gan lightly rear,
And to their tried Swords themselves betake;
With which they wrought such wondrous Marvels there,
That all the rest it did amazed make,
Ne any dar'd their Peril to partake;
Now cuffing close, now chasing to and fro,
Now hurtling round, advantage for to take:
As two wild Boars together grapling go,
Chaufing and foaming Choler, each against his Foe.

So as they cours'd, and turned here and there,
It chaunc'd Sir Satyrane his Steed at last,
Whether thro foundring or thro sudden Fear,
To stumble, that his Rider nigh he cast;
Which Vantage Cambel did pursue so fast,
That e'er himself he had recover'd well,
So sore he sous'd him on the compass'd Creast,
That forced him to leave his lofty Sell,
And rudely tumbling down under his Horse-feet fell.

Lightly Cambello leapt down from his Steed,
For to have rent his Shield and Arms away,
That whilom wont to be the Victor's Meed:
When all unwares he felt an hideous Sway
Of many Swords that Load on him did lay.
An hundred Knights had him enclosed round,
To rescue Satyrane out of his Prey;
All which at once huge Strokes on him did pound,
In hope to take him Prisoner, where he stood on ground.

He with their Multitude was nought dismay'd,
But with stout Courage turn'd upon them all,
And with his Brondiron round about him lay'd;
Of which he dealt large Alms, as did befal:
Like as a Lion that by chaunce doth fall,
Into the Hunter's Toil, doth rage and roar,
In royal Heart disdaining to be thrall;
Put all in vain: for what might one do more?
They have him taken Captive, tho it grieve him sore.

Whereof when News to Triamond was brought,
There as he lay, his Wound he soon forgot;
And starting up, straight for his Armour sought:
In vain he sought; for there he found it not;
Cambello it away before had got:
Cambello's Arms therefore he on him threw,
And lightly issu'd forth to take his lot.
There he in Troop found all that warlike Crew,
Leading his Friend away, full sorry to his View.

Into the thickest of that knightly Press
He thrust, and smote down all that was between,
Carry'd with fervent Zeal; ne did he cease,
Till that he came where he had Cambel seen,
Like captive Thrall two other Knights atween,
There he amongst them cruel Havock makes;
That they which lead him, soon enforced been
To let him loose to save their proper Stakes:
Who being freed, from one a Weapon fiercely takes.

With that he drives at them with dreadful Might,
Both in Remembrance of his Friend's late Harm,
And in Revengement of his own Despight;
So both together give a new Alarm,
As if but now the Battel waxed warm.
As when two greedy Wolves do break by Force
Into an Heard, far from the Husband Farm,
They spoil and ravin without all Remorse;
So did these two, thro all the Field, their Foes enforce.

Fiercely they follow'd on their bold Emprize,
Till Trumpets Sound did warn them all to rest;
Then all with one Consent did yield the Prize
To Triamond and Cambel as the best.
But Triamond to Cambel it releas'd,
And Cambel it to Triamond transfer'd;
Each labouring t' advance the other's Gest,
And make his Praise before his own prefer'd;
So that the Doom was to another day defer'd.

The last day came, when all those Knights again
Assembled were, their Deeds of Arms to shew.
Full many Deeds that day were shewed plain:
But Satyrane 'bove all the other Crew,
His wondrous Worth declar'd in all Mens view;
For from the first he to the last endur'd:
And tho some while Fortune from him withdrew,
Yet evermore his Honour he recur'd,
And with unweary'd Power his Party still assur'd.

Ne was there Knight that ever thought of Arms,
But that his utmost Prowess there made known,
That by their many Wounds, and careless Harms,
By shiver'd Spears, and Swords all under strown,
By scatter'd Shields was easy to be shown.
There might ye see loose Steeds at random run,
Whose luckless Riders late were overthown;
And Squires make haste to help their Lords fordone:
But still the Knights of Maidenhead the better won.

Till that there enter'd on the other side
A Stranger Knight, from whence no Man could read,
In quaint Disguise, full hard to be descry'd;
For all his Armour was like salvage Weed,
With woody Moss bedight, and all his Steed
With oaken Leaves attrap'd, that seemed fit
For salvage Wight, and thereto well agreed
His Word, which on his ragged Shield yeas writ,
Salvagesse sans Finesse, shewing secret Wit.

He at his first in-coming, charg'd his Spear
At him that first appeared in his fight:
That was to weet, the stout Sir Sangliere,
Who well was known to be a valiant Knight,
Approved of in many a perlous Fight.
Him at the first Encounter down he smote,
And over-bore beyond his Crouper quite,
And after him another Knight, that hote
Sir Brianor so sore, that none him Life behote.

Then e'er his Hand be rear'd, he overthrew
Seven Knights, one after other as they came:
And when his Spear was burst, his Sword he drew,
The Instrument of Wrath, and with the same
Far'd like a Lion in his bloody Game;
Hewing and flashing Shields, and Helmets bright,
And beating down whatever nigh him came;
That every one 'gan shun his dreadful Sight,
No less than Death it self in dangerous Affright.

Much wonder'd all Men, what or whence he came,
That did amongst the Troops so tyrannize;
And each of other 'gan enquire his Name.
But when they could not learn it by no wise,
Most answerable to his wild Disguise
It seemed, him to term the salvage Knight.
But certes his right Name was otherwise,
Tho known to few, that Arthegal he hight,
The doughtiest Knight that liv'd that day, and most of Might.

Thus was Sir Satyrane, with all his Band,
By his sole Manhood and Atchivement stout
Dismay'd, that none of them in Field durst stand,
But beaten were, and chased all about.
So he continu'd all that day throughout,
Till Evening, that the Sun 'gan downward bend.
Then rushed forth out of the thickest Rout
A Stranger Knight, that did his Glory shend:
So nought may be esteemed happy till the end.

He at his Entrance charg'd his powerful Spear
At Arthegal, in middest of his Pride;
And therewith smote him on his Umbriere
So sore, that tumbling back, he down did slide
Over his Horse's Tail above a stride
Whence little lust he had to rise again.
Which Cambel seeing, much the same envy'd,
And ran at him with all his might and main;
But shortly was likewise seen lying on the Plain.

Whereat full inly wroth was Triamond,
And cast t' avenge the Shame done to his Friend:
But by his Friend, himself eke soon he fond
In no less need of Help, shall him he ween'd.
All which when Blandamore, from end to end
Beheld, he wox therewith displeased sore,
And thought in mind it shortly to amend:
His Spear he feuter'd, and at him it bore;
But with no better Fortune than the rest afore.

Full many others at him likewise ran:
But all of them likewise dismounted were.
Ne certes wonder; for no Power of Man
Could bide the Force of that enchanted Spear,
The which this famous Britotmart did bear;
With which she wondrous Deeds of Arms atchiev'd,
And overthrew whatever came her near,
That all those Stranger Knights full sore agriev'd,
And that late weaker Band of Challengers reliev'd.

Like as in Summer's-day, when raging Heat
Doth burn the Earth, and boiled Rivers dry,
That all brute Beasts forc'd to refrain from Meat,
Do hunt for Shade, where shrouded they may lie,
And missing it, fain from themselves to fly;
All Travellers tormented are with Pain:
A watry Cloud doth overcast the Sky,
And poureth forth a sudden Shower of Rain,
That all the wretched World recomforteth again.

So did the warlike Britomart restore
The Prize to Knights of Maidenhead that day
(Which else was like to have been lost) and bore
The Praise of Prowess from them all away.
Then shrilling Trumpets loudly 'gan to bray,
And bad them leave their Labours and long Toil,
To joyous Feast and other gentle Play,
Where Beauty's Prize should win that precious Spoil:
Where I with Sound of Trump will also rest awhile.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 3:590-602]

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