1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Faerie Queene. Book VI. Canto V.

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. 2 vols.

Edmund Spenser


George L. Craik: "Canto V. (41 stanzas). — 'O what an easy thing is to descry the gentle blood,' says the poet, however it may be warped and misshapen by the force of adverse circumstances even then, however unapt to all virtue it may seem, 'Yet will it show some sparks of gentle mind, | And at the last break forth in his own proper kind.' So this wild man, though he was born and bred in the woods among savage beasts, 'Ne ever saw fair guise, ne learned good, | Yet showed some token of his gentle blood | By gentle usage of that wretched dame'....

"Unfortunately this part of the story must now remain for ever unknown; but the conduct of the man of the woods meanwhile is all that is noble and kind. When he finds that the good Sir Calepine does not reappear, he goes forth into the forest in the hope that he may find him lying asleep, or at least may learn what has befallen him. 'He sought him far and near, yet him no where he spied.' Returning to Serena, he intimates his want of success and his sorrow 'By speaking signs, as he them best could frame, | Now wringing both his wretched hands in one, | Now heating his hard head upon a stone, | That ruth it was to see him so lament.'

"When he sees the misery of Serena, who throws herself upon the ground, careless of her bleeding wounds, and groaning and convulsed 'as if her vital powers were at strife with stronger death,' he lifts her up, and tries in every way he can both to staunch the flowing blood, and to restore her to her senses; and at last when, having lost all hope of his return, she takes Calepine's steed, and, weak as she is, mounts it in order to set out and try what of good fortune will bring her, her host will not suffer her to go forth alone, but, seizing the knight's arms, fastens them about himself in such rude manner as he can — all except the sword, which Calepine had put away, and insists upon attending her. 'So forth they travelled, an uneven pair, | That mote to all men seem an uncouth sight; | A salvage man matched with a lady, fair, | That rather seemed the conquest of his might | Gotten by spoil than purchased aright'.... One day as they were thus journeying, while the salvage man has laid his arms on the ground to assist Serena in putting something to rights about the furniture of her horse, there come riding up a knight and his squire, all armed to point, and seeming, by their attire and bearing, to be two knights errant.

"They are, in fact, Prince Arthur and young Timias, who have now at length met again. After Timias had recovered the favour of Belphoebe in the manner that has been already related (in the eighth Canto of the fourth Book), although he ever after dwelt in her sovereign liking, yet many foes still endeavoured to destroy him, among which were three mightier than the rest — Despetto (Despite), Decetto (Deceit), and Defetto (Defamation); — the first eminent both in strength and height, the second more wise than strong, the third more spiteful than either strong or wise. Finding their divided efforts all in vain to work his ruin or to injure him, they conspired together, and, one day as he was hunting in the wood, sent the Blatant Beast to allure him 'from his dear beloved dame' into danger; 'For well they wist that squire to be so bold, | That no one beast in forest wild or tame | Met him in chase, but he it challenge would, | And pluck the prey oftimes out of their greedy hold.'

"As they had calculated, Timias, as soon as the monster caught his eye, set upon it, and speedily forced it to turn and take to flight, but not before it had, in a moment when he was off his guard, inflicted a bite upon him with its malignant tooth. It drew him on in pursuit, moreover, through brakes and briers, till, almost wearied out, he found himself in a woody glade, where it escaped from his view; and here lay his three foes in ambush, all now ready to fall upon him. 'Sharply they all at once did him assail, | Burning with inward rancour and despite, | And heaped strokes did round about him hail'.... But his utmost exertions were all needed, for the three sought to encompass him, and attack him at once from every point: Defetto creeping behind him; Decetto also trying to get at him by stratagem and circumvention; while stout Despetto, 'in his greater pride,' confronted him, and fought him face to face. He is beginning to give way, when suddenly he hears in the forest 'A trampling steed, that with his neighing fast | Did warn his rider be upon his guard; | With noise whereof the squire, now nigh aghast, | Revived was, and sad despair away did cast.'

"A knight was soon visible, hurrying on with the evident intention of aiding the one against the three, who all thereupon fled away into the wood. It was Prince Arthur himself; who now, turning to Timias, at once knew him to be 'his own true squire.' To his questions, Timias answered only with tears, shutting up for the present the sorrows of the past in his own breast; but gracious expressions of mutual joy, nevertheless, were not wanting, and the two were soon riding again side by side as of old. How long after they had thus met it was that they came upon Serena and her salvage attendant we are not informed. At first, when Timias observed the arms of Calepine, 'he to them stept | Thinking to take them from that hilding hound; | But he it seeing lightly to him leapt, | And sternly with strong hand it from his handling kept'....

"Serena now calls aloud to Prince Arthur to part them, which he does with some difficulty. She then briefly relates the loss of Calepine, whose love erewhile she was; and, explaining how much she has been indebted to the humanity and perfect gentleness of the salvage man, requests that no harm may be done to him. In the end they all set forward together, to find, if possible, some place of harbour where both Serena and Timias may be taken care of; 'For now her wounds corruption gan to breed; | And eke this squire, who likewise wounded was | Of that same monster late, for lack of heed | Now gan to faint, and further could not pass | Through feebleness, which all his limbs oppressed has.'

"On the way Serena gives the prince an account of the usage Calepine and she had met with from Turpin, on whom he vows to lose no time in taking revenge; and with this and other talk they relieve the weary way, 'Till towards night they, came unto a plain, | By which a little hermitage there lay, | Far from all neighbourhood, the which annoy it may'.... When they pass in the hermit breaks off his devotions, and advances to meet them 'with stayed steps and grave beseeming grace,' and all the courtesies of one of gentle descent: it is said that in his youth he had been a man of great renown in arms.... They on their part enjoy their fare, homely as it is, and then retire well contented to bed; but neither Serena nor Timias can take any rest all night, for pain of the wounds they have both received from the Blatant Beast" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 3:34-39.



The Salvage serves Serena well,
Till she Prince Arthur find:
Who her, together with his Squire,
With th' Hermit leaves behind.

O what an easy thing is to descry
The gentle Blood, however it be wrapt
In sad Misfortune's foul Deformity,
And wretched Sorrows, which have often hapt?
For howsoever it may grow mis-shapt
(Like this Wild-man, being undisciplin'd)
That to all Vertue it may seem unapt,
Yet will it shew some Sparks of gentle Mind,
And at the fall break forth in his own proper kind.

That plainly may in this Wild-man be read,
Who though he were still in this desart Wood,
'Mongst salvage Beasts, both rudely born and bred,
Ne ever saw fair Guise, ne learned Good,
Yet shew'd some Token of his gentle Blood,
By gentle Usage of that wretched Dame.
For certes he was born of noble Blood,
However by hard Hap he hither came;
As ye may know, when time shall be to tell the same.

Who, whenas now long time he lacked had
The good Sir Calepine, that far was stray'd,
Did wex exceeding sorrowful and sad,
As he of some Misfortune were afraid;
And leaving there this Lady all dismay'd,
Went forth straightway into the Forest wide,
To seek, if he perchance asleep were laid,
Or what-so else were unto him betide:
He sought him far and near, yet him no where he spy'd.

Tho back returning to that sorry Dame,
Ne shewed Semblant of exceeding Moan,
By speaking Signs, as he them best could frame;
Now wringing both his wretched Hands in one,
Now beating his hard Head upon a Stone,
That Ruth it was to see him so lament.
By which she well perceiving what was done,
'Gan tear her Hair, and all her Garments rent,
And beat her Breast, and piteously her self torment.

Upon the Ground her self she fiercely threw,
Regardless of her Wounds, yet bleeding rife,
That with their Blood did all the Floor embrue,
As if her Breast, new launc'd with murdrous Knife,
Would straight dislodge the wretched weary Life.
There she long groveling, and deep groaning lay,
As if her vital Powers were at strife
With stronger Death, and feared their Decay:
Such were this Lady's Pangs and dolorous Assay.

Whom when the Salvage saw so sore distress'd,
He reared her up from the bloody Ground,
And sought by all the means that he could best
Her to recure out of that stony Swound,
And staunch the bleeding of her dreary Wound.
Yet n'ould she be recomforted for nought,
Ne cease her Sorrow and impatient Stound,
But day and night did vex her careful Thought,
And ever more and more her own Affliction wrought.

At length, whenas no hope of his Return
She saw now left, she cast to leave the Place,
And wend abroad, though feeble and forlorn,
To seek some Comfort in that sorry Case.
His Steed, now strong through Rest so long a space,
Well as she could, she got, and did bedight;
And being thereon mounted, forth did pace,
Withouten Guide, her to conduct aright,
Or Guard her to defend from bold Oppressor's Might.

Whom when her Host saw ready to depart,
He would not suffer her alone to fare,
But 'gan himself address to take her part.
Those warlike Arms, which Calepine whileare
Had left behind, he 'gan eftsoons prepare,
And put them all about himself unfit,
His Shield, his Helmet, and his Curass bare
But without Sword upon his Thigh to fit,
Sir Calepine himself away had hidden it.

So forth they travel'd, an uneven Pair,
That mote to all Men seem an uncouth Sight;
A salvage Man match'd with a Lady fair,
That rather seem'd the Conquest of his Might,
Gotten by Spoil, than purchased aright.
But he did her attend most carefully,
And faithfully did serve both day and night,
Withouten Thought of Shame or Villany,
Ne ever shewed Sign of foul Disloyalty.

Upon a day as on their way they went,
It chaunc'd some Furniture about her Steed
To be disorder'd by some Accident;
Which to redress, she did th' Assistance need
Of this her Groom: which he by Signs did reed
And straight his combrous Arms aside did lay
Upon the Ground, withouten Doubt or Dreed,
And in his homely wize 'gan to assay
T' amend what was amiss, and put in right Array.

'Bout which whilst he was busied this hard,
Lo! where a Knight together with his Squire,
All arm'd to point, came riding thitherward,
Which seemed by their Portance and Attire,
To be two errant Knights, that did enquire
After Adventures, where they mote them get:
Those were to weet (if that ye it require)
Prince Arthur and young Timias, which met
By strange Occasion, that here needs forth be set.

After that Timias had again recour'd
The Favour of Belphoebe (as ye heard)
And of her Grace did stand again assur'd,
To happy Bliss he was full high up-rear'd,
Neither of Envy, nor of Change afeard,
Though many Foes did him malign therefore,
And with unjust Detraction him did beard;
Yet he himself so well and wisely bore,
That in her sovereign Liking he dwelt evermore.

But of them all, which did his Ruin seek,
Three mighty En'mies did him most despight;
Three mighty ones, and cruel-minded eke,
That him not only sought by open Might
To overthrow, but to supplant by Sleight:
The first of them by Name was call'd Despetto,
Exceeding all the rest in Pow'r and Height;
The second not so strong, but wise, Decetto;
The third nor strong, nor wise, but spightfullest, Defetto.

Oft-times their sundry Pow'rs they did employ,
And several Deceits, but all in vain;
For neither they by Force could him destroy,
Ne yet entrap in Treason's subtil Train:
Therefore conspiring all together plain,
They did their Counsels now in one compound;
Where singled Forces fail, conjoin'd may gain.
The Blatant Beast the fittest means they found,
To work his utter Shame, and throughly him confound.

Upon a day as they the time did wait,
When he did range the Wood for salvage Game,
They sent that Blatant Beast to be a Bait,
To draw him from his dear beloved Dame,
Unwares into the Danger of Defame.
For well they wist that Squire to be so bold,
That no one Beast in Forest wild or tame,
Met him in Chace, but he it challenge would,
And pluck'd the Prey oft-times out of their greedy Hold.

The hardy Boy, as they devised had,
Seeing the ugly Monster passing by,
Upon him set, of Peril nought adrad,
Ne skilful of the uncouth Jeopardy;
And charged him so fierce and furiously,
That (his great Force unable to endure)
He forced was to turn from him and fly:
Yet e'er he fled, he with his Tooth impure
Him heedless bit, the whiles he was thereof secure.

Securely he did after him pursue,
Thinking by Speed to overtake his Flight;
Who thro thick Woods, and Brakes, and Briers him drew,
To weary him the more, and waste his Spight;
So that he now has almost spent his Spright.
Till that at length unto a woody Glade
He came, whose Covert stopt his further Sight;
There his three Foes, shrouded in guileful Shade,
Out of their Ambush broke, and 'gan him to invade.

Sharply they all attonce did him assail,
Burning with inward Rancour and Despight,
And heaped Strokes did round about him hail
With so huge Force, that seemed nothing might
Bear off their Blows from piercing thorough quite.
Yet he them all so warily did ward,
That none of them in his soft Flesh did bite,
And all the while his Back for best Safeguard,
He leant against a Tree, that backward Onset barr'd.

Like a wild Bull, that being at a Bay,
Is baited of a Mastiff and a Hound,
And a Cur-dog, that do him sharp assay
On every side, and beat about him round,
But most that Cur, barking with bitter Sound,
And creeping still behind, doth him encumber,
That in his Chauf he digs the trampled Ground,
And threats his Hornes and bellows like the Thunder:
So did that Squire his Foes disperse, and drive asunder.

Him well behoved so; for his three Foes
Sought to encompass him on every side,
And dangerously did round about enclose:
But most of all Defetto him annoy'd,
Creeping behind him still to have destroy'd;
So did Decetto eke him circumvent;
But stout Despetto, in his greater Pride,
Did front him face to face against him bent;
Yet he them all withstood, and often made relent.

Till that at length nigh tir'd with former Chace,
And weary now with careful keeping Ward,
He 'gan to shrink, and somewhat to give place,
Full like e'er long to have escaped hard;
Whenas unwares he in the Forest heard
A trampling Steed, that with his neighing fast
Did warn his Rider be upon his Guard:
With Noise whereof the Squire, now nigh aghast,
Revived was, and sad Despair away did cast.

Eftsoons he spy'd a Knight approaching nigh,
Who seeing one in so great Danger set
'Mongst many Foes, himself did faster hie,
To rescue him, and his weak part abet,
For pity so to see him over-set.
Whom soon as his three Enemies did view,
They fled, and fast into the Wood did get:
Him booted not to think them to pursue,
The Covert was so thick, that did no Passage shew.

Then turning to that Swain, him well he knew
To be his Timias, his own true Squire:
Whereof exceeding glad he to him drew,
And him embracing 'twixt his Arms entire,
Him thus bespake; My Liefe, my Life's Desire,
Why have ye me alone thus long yleft?
Tell me what World's Despight, or Heaven's Ire
Hath you thus long away from me bereft?
Where have ye all this while bin wandring, where bin weft?

With that, he sighed deep for inward Tine;
To whom the Squire nought answered again,
But shedding few soft Tears from tender Eyne
His dear Affect with Silence did restrain,
And shut up all his Plaint in privy Pain.
There they awhile some gracious Speeches spent,
As to them seem'd fit time to entertain.
After all which, up to their Steeds they went,
And forth together rode, a comely Couplement.

So now they be arrived both in sight
Of this Wild-man, whom they full busy found
About the sad Serena things to dight,
With those brave Armours lying on the Ground,
That seem'd the Spoil of some right well renown'd.
Which when that Squire beheld, he to them stept,
Thinking to take them from that hilding Hound:
But he it seeing, lightly to him lept,
And sternly with strong Hand it from his handling kept.

Gnashing his grinded Teeth with griesly Look,
And sparkling Fire out of his furious Eyne,
Him with his Fist unwares on th' Head be strook,
That made him down unto the Earth incline;
Whence soon upstarting, much he 'gan repine,
And laying hand upon his wrathful Blade,
Thought therewithal forthwith him to have slain;
Who it perceiving, hand upon him laid,
And greedily him griping, his Avengement stay'd.

With that, aloud the fair Serena cry'd
Unto the Knight them to dispart in twain:
Who to them stepping, did them soon divide,
And did from further Violence restrain,
Albe the Wild-man hardly would refrain.
Then 'gan the Prince of her for to demand,
What and from whence she was, and by what Train
She fell into that salvage Villain's Hand,
And whether free with him she now were, or in Band.

To whom she thus; I am, as now ye see,
The wretchedst Dame that lives this day on ground;
Who both in Mind, the which most grieveth me,
And Body, have receiv'd a mortal Wound
That hath me driven to this dreary Stound.
I was e'erwhile the Love of Calepine;
Who whether he alive be to be found,
Or by some deadly Chance be done to pine,
Sith I him lately lost, uneath is to define.

In salvage Forest I him lost of late,
Where I had surely long e'er this been dead,
Or else remained in most wretched State,
Had not this Wild-man in that woeful Stead
Kept, and deliver'd me from deadly Dread.
In such a salvage Wight, of brutish kind,
Amongst wild Beasts in desart Forests bred,
It is most strange and wonderful to find
So mild Humanity, and perfect gentle Mind.

Let me therefore this Favour for him find,
That ye will not your Wrath upon him wreak,
Sith he cannot express his simple Mind,
Ne yours conceive, ne but by Tokens speak:
Small Praise to prove your Pow'r on Wight so weak.
With such fair Words she did their Heat assuage,
And the strong Course of their Displeasure break,
That they to Pity turn'd their former Rage,
And each sought to supply the Office of her Page.

So having all things well about her dight,
She on her way cast forward to proceed;
And they her forth conducted, where they might
Find Harbour fit to comfort her great Need,
For now her Wounds Corruption 'gan to breed:
And eke this Squire, who likewise wounded was
Of that same Monster late, for lack of heed,
Now 'gan to faint, and further could not pass
Through Feebleness, which all his Limbs oppressed has.

So forth they rode together all in Troop,
To seek some Place, the which mote yield some Ease
To these sick Twain, that now began to droop;
And all the way the Prince sought to appease
The bitter Anguish of their sharp Disease,
By all the courteous Means he could invent;
Somewhile with merry Purpose fit to please,
And otherwhile with good Encouragement,
To make them to endure the Pains did them torment.

'Mongst which, Serena did to him relate
The foul Discourt'sies and unknightly Parts,
Which Turpine had unto her shewed late,
Without Compassion of her cruel Smarts:
Altho Blandina did with all her Arts
Him otherwise persuade all that the might;
Yet he of Malice, without her Deserts,
Not only her excluded late at night,
But also traiterously did wound her weary Knight.

Wherewith the Prince sore moved, there avow'd,
That soon as he returned back again,
He would avenge th' abuses of that proud
And shameful Knight, of whom she did complain.
This wize did they each other entertain,
To pass the tedious Travel of the way;
Till toward Night they came unto a Plain,
By which a little Hermitage there lay,
Far from all Neighbourhood, the which annoy it may.

And nigh thereto a little Chappel stood,
Which being all with Ivy over-spread,
Deck'd all the Roof; and shadowing the Rood,
Seem'd like a Grove fair branched over-head:
Therein the Hermit, which his Life here led
In straight Observance of religious Vow,
Was wont his Hours and holy Things to bed;
And therein he likewise was praying now,
Whenas these Knights arriv'd, they will not where nor how.

They stay'd not there, but straightway in did pass;
Whom when the Hermit present saw in place,
From his Devotion straight he troubled was;
Which breaking off, he toward them did pace,
With stayed Steps, and grave beseeming Grace:
For well it seem'd, that whilom he had been
Some goodly Person and of gentle Race;
That could his Good to all, and well did ween
How each to entertain with Court'sy well beseen.

And soothly it was said by common Fame,
So long as Age enabled him thereto,
That he had been a Man of mickle Name,
Renowned much in Arms and Derring-do:
But being aged now and weary too
Of War's Delight, and World's contentious Toil,
The Name of Knighthood he did disavow,
And hanging up his Arms and warlike Spoil,
From all this World's Incombrance did himself assoil.

He thence them led into his Hermitage,
Letting their Steeds to graze upon the Green
Small was his House, and like a little Cage,
For his own turn, yet inly neat and clean,
Deck'd with green Boughs, and Flow'rs gay beseen.
Therein he them full fair did entertain,
Not with such forged Shows, as fitter been
For courting Fools, that Courtesies would fain,
But with entire Affection and Appearance plain.

Yet was their Face but homely, such as he
Did use, his feeble Body to sustain;
The which full gladly they did take in gree,
Such as it was, ne did of Want complain,
But being well suffic'd, them rested fain.
But fair Serene all night could take no Rest,
Ne yet that gentle Squire, for grievous Pain
Of their late Wounds, the which the Blatant Beast
Had given them, whose Grief thro Suff'rance sore increas'd.

So all that night they past in great Disease,
Till that the morning, bringing early Light
To guide Mens Labours, brought them also Ease,
And some Assuagement of their painful Plight.
Then up they rose, and 'gan themselves to dight
Unto their Journey; but that Squire and Dame
So faint and feeble were, that they ne might
Endure to travel, nor one foot to frame:
Their Hearts were sick, their Sides were sore, their Feet were lame.

Therefore the Prince, whom great Affairs in Mind
Would not permit to make there longer Stay,
Was forced there to leave them both behind,
In that good Hermit's Charge, whom he did pray
To tend them well. So forth he went his way,
And with him eke the Salvage (that whileare
Seeing his Royal Usage and Array,
Was greatly grown in Love of that brave Peer)
Would needs depart, as shall declared be elsewhere.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 4:911-21]