The Project Gutenberg EBook of Tales from Spenser; Chosen from the Faerie
Queene, by Edmund Spencer

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Title: Tales from Spenser; Chosen from the Faerie Queene

Author: Edmund Spencer

Editor: Sophia H. MacLehose

Release Date: February 4, 2011 [EBook #35161]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Delphine Lettau, Mary Meehan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at




Publishers to the University.


London, Simpkin, Hamilton and Co.
Cambridge, Macmillan and Bowes.
Edinburgh, Douglas and Foulis.




In writing these Tales from "The Faerie Queene," no attempt has been made to interpret their allegorical or explain their historic bearing. Intended for children, the stories are related simply as stories, and therefore only those episodes in the poem most interesting and most complete in themselves have been chosen. In no case do the Tales pretend to relate the whole that Spenser tells of their heroes and heroines.


Una and the Lion.
Prince Arthur helps Una to find the Red-cross Knight.
How the Red-cross Knight slew the Dragon.
Britomart and the Magic Mirror.
Britomart and Amoret.
The Story of Marinell and Florimell.
How Britomart found Artegal.
Cambello and Triamond.
The Story of Timias.
Calidore and Pastorella.


Una and the Lion.

Faerie Queene. Book I. Cantos I., III., VI.

Once upon a time, while fairies and goblins still lingered in the forests of Merry England, a great queen named Gloriana reigned over Faeryland. The subjects over whom she ruled were not tiny creatures like Oberon and Titania, but brave knights who went out from her court endowed with magic powers to redress wrongs and help those in trouble.

Now there lived at this time a king and queen of very ancient lineage, whose dominions stretched from east to west, and who had once held all the world in subjection. But a cruel enemy had arisen against them, and destroyed their rich lands, and killed the inhabitants, and forced the king and queen to take refuge in a strong castle, guarded by a mighty wall of brass. This enemy was no other than a huge and fearful dragon. From every quarter of the globe knights came to fight the accursed beast, but only those whose faith was strong and conscience clear could prevail; and thus knight after knight fell before the dragon, who grew stronger and more cruel in his success.

The king and queen had one child, a daughter, whose name was Una. She loved her parents dearly, and hearing of the knights of queen Gloriana, she resolved to go to the Faerie Court and pray for assistance for her parents who had now been four years prisoners, and were in great distress. She set out upon her journey, dressed in a long black robe covered by a deep veil; she rode an ass as white as snow, and led by a line a milk-white lamb, a symbol of innocence. Behind her followed a dwarf, bearing a spear in his hand, and leading a war-like steed, on whose back was laid a suit of armour. Thus accoutred, Una appeared at the court of Gloriana.

Shortly before, a young man, tall and powerful, but clownish in appearance, had arrived at the Faerie Court and had prayed to be sent on the first adventure that should arise. When, therefore, Una came and preferred her request, the young man claimed the enterprise as his right. Gloriana wondered at his boldness, for he had not a knightly air, and Una herself objected, but he only urged his suit the more, and at length Una said he might try on the armour she had brought, but that, unless it fitted him perfectly, it was impossible he could succeed in so dangerous an enterprise.

Now, the armour which Una had was that of a Christian knight; and when it was tried on, lo! the clownish youth changed into the noblest of all the company. And Queen Gloriana conferred knighthood upon him; and he, mounting the steed led by the dwarf, went forth with Una to vanquish her foe. Henceforth the youth is called the Red-cross knight, for on his silver shield, and on the breast-plate of his armour, was a blood-red cross, the symbol of the Christian faith. And the knight proved right worthy of his cross: he was true and faithful both in word and deed, and his countenance was grave and sober, befitting one who dreaded no danger, but was himself held in dread; so Una loved him well.

Now, it happened that, shortly after Una and her knight had left the court of Gloriana, they met a grave old man dressed in long black weeds; he had bare feet, and a hoary head, and a book hung from his side; and as he walked, he prayed and smote upon his breast in the manner of a hermit. But he was, instead, a wicked enchanter named Archimago, who, by means of the most cunning tricks, deceived the Red-cross knight, made him think Una an impostor, and beguiled him and also the dwarf away from her. This made the lady very sad, for not only was she lonely and helpless in the strange land through which she was passing, but, unless she could find the knight, she must give up the hope of seeing the cruel dragon subdued and her dear parents set free. So Una, brave as she was good, put away her fears, and travelled on through vast forests and desolate moors, seeking for her knight.

One day, when almost wearied out, Una alighted from her slow-footed steed, and, taking off her robe and unbinding the band which confined her hair, lay down to rest; and so fair and lovely was she that her sweet countenance made sunshine in the shady place in which she lay. Now, while she rested, there suddenly burst out from the forest a lion, hungry and greedy, who, seeing the maiden, ran towards her with jaws wide-open, ready to devour his prey. But, as the lion drew nearer to the maiden, his rage changed into pity, and, amazed at the fair sight before him, he forgot his savage fury and licked her lily hands and kissed her weary feet. And Una, unable at first to cease from the fear of death, watched him, hardly believing her eyes, and then her heart began to melt in gratitude and her tears to flow, as she thought how this fierce lord of beasts pitied her, while her own lord, whom she loved as her very life, had forsaken her.

At length Una checked her tears, and, trying to put away her grief, arose, and, remounting her humble steed, set out again to seek her knight. But she was no longer a defenceless maiden, for with her went the lion—a strong guardian and faithful comrade—who, while she slept, kept both watch and ward, and, while she waked, waited on her will, taking direction from his lady's eye.

One day, as the damsel and the lion travelled thus through untrodden deserts, they unexpectedly came upon a beaten path. Following this path, which led under the brow of a steep mountain, Una observed a young girl walking slowly before them, bearing on her shoulder a water-pot. To her Una called, and asked if there were any dwelling-place near at hand. But the girl was rude, and did not reply; indeed, she seemed neither to hear nor understand, and when she saw the lion fear seized upon her, and, throwing down her pitcher, she fled. She dared not once look back, but ran as if her life depended on her speed, until she reached her home, where sat her mother old and blind. This was Corceca, a wicked woman and a hypocrite, who was wont daily to fast and pray and do painful penance. With trembling hands, the girl caught hold of the old woman, and exhibited such signs of terror that her mother rose in great alarm and hastened to close the door just as Una and her strange page arrived. Una prayed hard for admittance, but in vain; and at this the lion lifted his great paws, and, tearing down the wicket door, let his lady in. She found the two women almost dead with fright, crouching in the darkest corner of the hovel. Una tried to calm their fears by gentle words and looks, and after a time succeeded so far as to receive permission to rest there for the night. She was very weary and laid herself down on the floor—the lion at her feet—but she was too sad for the loss of the Red-cross knight to sleep, and so spent the long hours in sighs and groans and bitter tears.

At length morning approached, and with it came some one knocking at the door. He knocked loud and repeatedly, and was heard to curse and swear because the door was not more readily opened to him. Now, he who knocked was a wicked thief, who robbed churches and stole money from the poor men's box. At this very moment he had on his back a heavy load of stolen goods, for all that he got, whether by lawful means or unlawful, he brought to this old woman's house and bestowed upon her daughter Abessa, who was as wicked as herself. There he stood knocking at the door, but neither Abessa nor Corceca dared pass by the lion to open. At length, Kirk-rapine, for such was his name, became quite furious and would wait no longer, but burst open the door. Alas! for Kirk-rapine; the moment he entered, the lion rose from Una's feet, and, outstretching his lordly paws, laid the robber low. The wretched man was powerless to resist, nor did Abessa or Corceca dare to go to his assistance, and very soon Kirk-rapine lay quite dead—his body torn in pieces, and his blood flowing into the earth.

Now, when the broad daylight returned, Una arose, and with her the lion, and once more set out together to seek the knight. As soon as she was gone, the women came out from their dark corner, to see whether or not their worst fears were realized. When they saw that Kirk-rapine was indeed slain, they tore their hair, and beat their breasts, and, half mad with malice and revenge, rushed forth in pursuit of Una. As soon as they got near her, they began to shout and cry after her, calling her all sorts of bad names and praying that every kind of evil might befall her. At length, tired out with their own curses, they turned back, and on the way met one clad in armour as became a knight.

This was, however, no knight, but Archimago, the wicked enchanter, who, not content with having separated Una from her champion, sought to lead her into further distress. He stopped the old woman, and, describing Una, asked if she had seen any such lady. Thereupon Corceca's passion became renewed, and, crying and cursing, she declared she knew her but too well, and told him which way to take.

Before long, Archimago came where "Una travelled slow," her fierce guardian treading by her side. The sight of the lion alarmed the enchanter, and he turned aside, not daring to approach too near. Now Archimago had taken care to disguise himself as Una's own Red-cross knight. When, therefore, she recognized the well-known shield, she turned and rode towards him, and, as she approached more near, became assured in her own mind that this was indeed her lost lord. Hastening on, in much humility and with tears in her eyes, she exclaimed: "Ah! my long-lost lord, where have you been so long hidden from my sight?" The pretended knight replied "that his absence had been enforced in that a certain Archimago had sent him on an adventure, from which he had now returned successful, and ready henceforth to abide by her and defend her by land and sea." His words made Una very happy. In her new-found joy, she forgot the pains and toils she had encountered and journeyed on, discoursing happily of all that had befallen her.

They had not, however, travelled far when they saw an armed horseman riding towards them at full speed. Although his horse was covered with foam, the warrior kept spurring it from time to time, and looked as if he were breathing forth dread threats of vengeance on some unknown victim. On his shield his name Sansloy was written in red letters. Now, this Sansloy was a Saracen knight, and was brother of another knight named Sansfoy, but this brother had encountered the Red-cross knight shortly after he and Una left the Faerie Court, and had been slain by him. The moment, therefore, that Sansloy had seen the cross on Archimago's armour, he had determined to avenge his brother's death, and bore down thus fiercely on the enchanter and the lady. But Archimago had no mind to fight; he grew faint and fearful when he saw the warrior, and it was only when Una cheered him on that he ventured to couch his spear or put spurs to his horse. Sansloy showed no mercy, but came on with such force and fierceness that his spear went right through Archimago's shield and hurled his antagonist from his charger, so that he fell heavily to the ground, while the blood gushed from his wound. Immediately Sansloy leapt from his steed and hastened toward his prostrate foe exclaiming, "Lo! there the worthy meed of him who slew Sansfoy with bloody knife," and thereupon began to unlace Archimago's helmet, thinking to sever his head at one stroke. But Una saw his purport, and cried out, beseeching him to hold "that heavy hand," urging that surely Sansloy's revenge was enough when he saw his foe lie vanquished at his feet. To her piteous words the cruel Saracen paid no attention, but tore off the other's helmet, and would have given the fatal blow had he not perceived before him, instead of the Red-cross knight, the hoary head of Archimago the enchanter. He stayed his hand, and gazed on the old man in amazement, for he knew him well, and knew that, skilful as Archimago was in charms and magic, he was but little used to war.

"Why, Archimago," he exclaimed, "what do I see? What hard mishap is this?"

The enchanter answered him never a word, but lay in a trance, apparently dying, and Sansloy, who had no compassion in his soul, made no attempt to render him assistance.

He turned instead to Una, who, poor damsel, was in sore amazement to see that he whom she had believed her own true knight was the cruel enchanter who had caused all her distress. Her wonder soon changed into terror, for Sansloy proceeded to seize hold of her white veil and pluck her rudely from her steed and gaze boldly in her face. But now arose the lion, her fierce servant, and, full of kingly rage at seeing his lady thus maltreated, sprang upon the Saracen, and with sharp-rending claws strove to tear away his shield. But Sansloy was very strong and wary, and, redeeming the shield from the lion's paws, he drew his sword. Alas! the power of the wild beast was all too weak to withstand a foe armed at every point and so mighty in strength and in skill as Sansloy. Very soon the deadly steel pierced the lion's heart, and he roared aloud, and life forsook him. Una was left alone in the hands of a cruel warrior, bereft of hope, for her faithful guardian was slain. She knew not where to look for help, and indeed help seemed very far away.

The Saracen would listen to no entreaty, but lifted her on to his own steed and bore her off, while the lowly ass, who would not forsake his lady, followed as best he could. With piteous words, she wept and begged for freedom, but all in vain; her words only increased the hardness of her captor's heart.

After a time, Una found herself borne into a wild forest. Here the damsel's terror became extreme, and she cried aloud in her distress. She had no hope of succour, but succour came.

"Eternal providence, exceeding thought,
Where none appears, can make herself a way."

And a wondrous way in this case it proved.

Far off in the wood, a troop of Fauns and Satyrs, wild, untamed inhabitants of deepest forests, were dancing, whilst old Sylvanus, their god, lay sleeping. These, hearing Una's cry, left their sport, and, running towards the spot from which the cry had come, appeared suddenly on the scene.

They were a rude, misshapen, even frightful-looking crowd, and Sansloy, like the wicked knight that he was, seized with superstitious fears, took fright and fled. But, when the Satyrs beheld Una all alone, sad and desolate, her fair face stained with tears, they stood still before her, astonished at her beauty, and pitiful of her distress. And she, more amazed than they, began to fear and tremble afresh, for wild stories were told of the Satyrs and of their lawless deeds. And it seemed to her that a worse lot than ever before had now befallen her. So fearful was she that she dared neither speak nor move.

The wild people read Una's sorrow in her sad countenance, and, laying aside the rough, frowning looks they usually wore, began to grin and smile and bend their knees before her, trying thus to comfort her. Uncertain whether or not she dare trust herself to them, Una stood irresolute. They, as they watched her, were overcome by pity of her tender youth and wonder at her sovereign beauty, and prostrating themselves on the ground, kissed her feet and fawned upon her with their most kindly looks.

Then Una, guessing their hearts aright, gave herself up to their care, and, rising, went fearlessly among them. Glad as birds in the joyous spring-time, they led her forth dancing, shouting, singing, and strewing green branches before her. All the way they played on their merry pipes, until the woods rang with their echo; and, worshipping the lady as a queen, they crowned her with an olive garland and led her to Sylvanus, their god.

He had wondered at the sounds of rejoicing which had roused him from his sleep, but when, leaning on his cypress staff, he came forth from his bower and saw Una, he stood amazed and wondered not when his wood-born subjects fell prostrate before her.

And then came tree-nymphs and light-footed Naiads, flocking to see the new-comer. But when they saw how fair and good she was, sharp envy seized upon them, and they fled away lest the Satyrs, in their new-born reverence for Una, should scorn their ancient playmates.

So Una, thankful for the favour she found and the respect shown to her, remained a long time among this forest people, and rested from her weariness. In return for their hospitality, she tried to teach them something of truth, and to prevent their worship of herself, but it was in vain, for when they found they might not worship the lady, they turned to the milk-white ass, her lowly steed, and worshipped it in her stead.

One day there came to the forest a certain Sir Satyrane, a noble knight who had been born in these woods, and who was in the habit of revisiting them from time to time. Now, when he came unexpectedly on this fair lady sitting among the Satyrs and endeavouring to teach them true sacred lore, he wondered at her heavenly wisdom, the like of which he had never before seen in woman. And when he watched her courteous deeds and heard the story of her sad misfortunes, his wonder changed into admiration, and he became her scholar and learned of her "the discipline of truth and faith."

Thus Una and Sir Satyrane grew close friends, and at length she told him her most secret grief, how deeply she longed to find the Red-cross knight, and how all her secret thoughts were spent in contriving an escape from her kind but rude guardians. So Sir Satyrane began to devise how he might help her, and one day while the Satyrs had all gone to pay homage to Sylvanus, the strong knight led away the gentle virgin, and after further adventures, of which you shall hear in the next tale, Una did at last rejoin her long-lost knight to the great comfort of them both.

Prince Arthur helps Una to find the Red-cross Knight.

Faerie Queene. Book I. Cantos VIII., X.

Una and the good Sir Satyrane travelled together for some time, seeking her knight. In the course of their search Sir Satyrane became separated from Una, who must have gone on alone had not her long-lost dwarf unexpectedly appeared.

This was a most welcome sight, and yet Una's heart sank within her as she looked at the dwarf, for he travelled alone and carried with him the silver shield, the mighty spear and ancient armour of the Red-cross Knight. Seeing these, she fell helpless to the ground, for she knew some terrible misfortune must have happened to her lord.

The dwarf, as he drew near and beheld his lady in such distress, became as sorrowful as she; for he bore heavy tidings and feared greatly to impart them. His heart sank within him, but he made a show of hopefulness and set about to rub and chafe the poor damsel's temples until she began to give signs of life, and to moan and groan aloud. She was very weary, and she thought her effort to save her parents was all in vain. Loathing the very sunshine she cried out for death, and, believing her prayers about to be answered, once more sank upon the ground.

Three times she sank and three times the dwarf raised and revived her with busy care and pains. When at length life fairly won the victory, with trembling limbs and failing tongue Una prayed him to tell her what woful tragedy had befallen her knight. "Thou canst not," she said, "tell a more heavy tale than that I already know to be true."

Then the dwarf began to relate all the adventures which had happened to him and the knight from the time that Archimago, the wicked enchanter, had parted them from Una until now. These were many, but at present I can only tell you of that in which the Red-cross Knight lost his armour.

First, you must know that the knight ought never to have left Una. In leaving her he followed a false imagination put into his mind by Archimago, instead of remaining strictly true to the charge given him by Gloriana, Queen of Faeryland, and this one false step led him into much misfortune.

It was thus he came to trust in Duessa, a wicked witch, who one day led him to rest by a stream whose waters had the fatal effect of rendering every one who drank of them weak and powerless against all attacks of evil. The knight, then, resting by the stream, drank of its waters, and immediately his strength gave way, his blood ran slow, and a chill struck at the very root of his courage.

While lying in this feeble condition, a dreadful sound was heard, that seemed to shake the earth and cause the trees to tremble. Starting up, the knight began to collect his weapons and to don his armour in great haste. But before he could do so, before he had even got his shield in his hand, a hideous giant, more than three times the height of any mortal man, and so huge that the earth groaned under his weight, came stalking into sight. In his hand the giant Orgoglio bore a gnarled oak torn up from the forest, which he used both as staff and weapon, and when he saw the knight he raised this formidable cudgel and bore down upon him in a fury.

Alas! the Red-cross Knight was little able to sustain the combat. Unarmed, disgraced and inwardly dismayed by the power of the fatal waters, he could hardly wield his single blade.

The giant struck with a force that might overthrow a tower of stone, much more a defenceless man: but the knight watched carefully where the blows fell, and skilfully leapt out of their way, and thus for a time evaded them. But not for long: so furious were the blows that the wind they raised presently overthrew him and flung him stunned upon the ground.

The giant was not slow to see his advantage. He uplifted his powerful arm, and with one stroke would have made an end of his opponent had not Duessa interfered. She besought Orgoglio to spare the life of the Red-cross Knight and take only his liberty: and to this the giant consented on condition that Duessa would become his lady-love. He then raised the knight in his cruel arms and carried him in haste to his strong castle, where he threw him into its darkest dungeon.

Such was the tale the dwarf had to tell.

Una heard him patiently to the end, and strove to master her sorrow, but it only grew stronger the more she contended against it. At length, when the first passion of grief had worn itself out, she rose, and, attended by the dwarf, resolved to find her knight, alive or dead. But ever as she wandered through low dales, and over high hills and among thick woods, her grief broke forth from time to time as if from a wound that had not healed.

After a time Una and her dwarf chanced to meet a very noble-looking knight attended by a single follower.

These were none other than the great and good Prince Arthur and Timias his much loved squire. The armour of the Prince glittered from afar, and on his breast he wore a bauldric beset with precious stones, in the midst of which shone one shaped like a lady's head, which was of wondrous worth and was possessed of magic powers. By the bauldric hung the Prince's sword: its sheath was of ivory curiously wrought. The hilt and the buckle were of burnished gold and the handle was of mother-of-pearl. His helmet was also of gold and had a dragon for its crest: the wings of the dragon spread wide apart, while its head couched close upon the Prince's beaver, and its tail stretched low upon his back, and on the top of all was a tuft of divers coloured hair sprinkled with gold and pearls, and quivering in the sunlight. His shield was closely covered and might not be seen of mortal eyes, for it was made of pure and perfect diamond:—one massive piece cut solid from the rock, and no spear could pierce it nor any sword divide its substance.

And never did Prince Arthur reveal its brightness to any single foe, but if he wished to dismay huge monsters or daunt whole armies, then would he discover its exceeding brightness, and so discomfit them. No magic art or enchanter's word had power over it, and all things that were not what they seemed, faded away before its brightness. By it the Prince could blind the proud, turn men into stones, stones to dust, and dust to nought.

This wondrous shield, with the rich sword and armour, had been made for Prince Arthur by Merlin, the great and good magician.

Timias, the Prince's squire, was a gentle youth. He bore a spear of ebony, with a square pike head, which had been three times heated in the furnace; and he rode a proud and stubborn steed that chafed under its rider, but was kept well in hand.

As Prince Arthur approached the lady, he spoke courteously to her, and when he perceived that his words drew forth slow and unwilling answers, he guessed that a secret sorrow rent her heart. He then tried to draw from her the cause of her distress, until, moved by his kind words, Una spoke.

"What happiness," she asked, "could reach a heart plunged in a sea of sorrow, and heaped with huge misfortunes?" As soon as she thought of her distress a cold chill crept over her, and she felt as if stung by an iron arrow. Griefs which could not be cured were best not spoken of,—she could only weep and wail.

Then said the Prince—"Ah! dear lady, well do I believe that your grief is a heavy one, for only to hear you speak fills my soul with sadness; but let me entreat of you to unfold it, for counsel eases the worst sorrow."

"But great grief," said Una, "will not bear to be spoken of; it is easy to think about, but hard to utter."

"True," replied the Prince, "but he that wills not, can do nothing."

"Ah!" pleaded Una, "but grief that is spoken, and finds no relief, grows still heavier, and leads to despair."

"Not so," said the Prince, "when there is trust and faith."

And thus was Una at length persuaded to disclose her secret sorrow.

She told the Prince the story you already know: how her dear parents were imprisoned by a huge dragon, and how the Red-cross Knight, who was to have rescued them, had been betrayed into the hands of a cruel giant, in whose dungeons he lay, disarmed and helpless.

Before she had quite ended her tale, the poor damsel grew faint from grief and dread, but the Prince comforted her with cheering words.

"Truly," he said, "you have great cause of sorrow; but take comfort and courage, for until I have rescued your captive knight be assured that I will not leave you."

So the whole party went on together, until they reached a great castle. Here, said the dwarf, lay his luckless lord, and here the Prince must try his prowess. Whereupon the Prince alighted from his steed, and bidding Una remain where she was and watch the issue of the fight, took Timias, his squire, and strode up to the castle wall. He found the gates fast closed, and no one to keep guard or answer to his call. At this, the squire blew a small bugle, which hung by his side, adorned with twisted gold and gay tassels, and writ all over with the wonders of its virtue.

None ever heard its shrill call who did not tremble before it. There was no gate however strong, or lock however firm, that did not burst open at its summons. And now, as the squire blew the magic horn, the grim castle quaked, every door flew open, and the giant himself rushed forth with an angry stare on his cruel countenance, eager to learn who or what this might be that had dared his dreaded power. After him appeared Duessa, riding a many-headed monster, with a fiery, flaming tongue in every one of its many heads.

At once the Prince began a furious attack on the monster. Thereupon the giant buckled to the fight, and lifting up his dreadful club, all armed with ragged knobs and gnarled knots, thought to have slain the Prince at a single blow. But he, wise and wary, leapt swiftly aside, and the great weapon fell so heavily, that it sank three yards deep into the ground, making the earth tremble. Now, Orgoglio could not easily uplift his club, and as he strove to drag it from the deep cleft, the Prince smote off his left arm, which fell to the ground, a senseless block, while streams of blood gushed from the wound. Dismayed by the pain, Orgoglio roared aloud, and Duessa hastened to draw up her many-headed charger to his aid. But the squire soon forced the horrid beast to retreat, and at this Duessa in her pride rebelled and urged the monster afresh; but in vain, for Timias dealt mighty strokes, and stood firmly to his post.

Then Duessa resorted to her witch ways, and taking out a golden cup, murmured enchantments over it, and sprinkled some of its contents upon Timias. His courage immediately faded away, and his senses became dull and numb, and he fell helpless before the monster.

The dreadful beast laid its claws upon Timias' neck, and kept him pinned to the ground, until his life was nearly crushed out: then it left him with neither power nor will to rise.

But when Prince Arthur beheld the sad plight into which his well-loved squire had fallen, he left off fighting with Orgoglio, and turned upon the beast, and struck off one of its monster heads.

Thereupon Orgoglio went to Duessa's aid, and putting all his force into his remaining arm, he let drive his oaken club with such terrible fury, that falling on the Prince's shield, it bore him to the ground.

But as Prince Arthur fell, his shield became uncovered, and suddenly there blazed forth a light of such dazzling brightness, that no eye could bear it. The giant let his arm drop to his side, and the many-headed beast turned blind and staggered so that Duessa cried out wildly, "O! help, Orgoglio, help, or we perish all!"

The giant was moved by her piteous cry, and strove to wield his weapon in her aid, but all in vain, for the bright shield had sapped his powers.

And now Prince Arthur struck at him, smiting off his right leg, and while he lay prostrate and helpless, leapt lightly upon him, and smote off his head. Lo! Orgoglio's body shrank away, and nothing was left but an empty dried-up skin—such is the end of pride.

When Duessa saw the grievous fate of Orgoglio, she cast away her golden cup, and fled fleetly from the bloody scene; but the squire, light of foot as she, speedily brought her back captive.

And now Una, who had watched the fight from afar, came forward with sober and modest gladness, hardly able to find words with which to greet and thank the victor, declaring that heaven, not she, must requite him the service he had done. She then went on to pray that since heaven and his prowess had made him master of the field, he would end that he had so fair begun, and would rescue her Red-cross Knight from the deep dungeon in which he lay.

Thereupon the Prince gave Duessa into the charge of Timias, while he himself proceeded to make forcible entrance into the castle. No living creature did he see, and when he called aloud, no man answered to his cry; but a solemn silence reigned in hall and bower.

At length there came forth an old, old man, with a beard as white as snow, who walked along with a creeping, crooked pace, and leant his feeble steps on a staff, groping his way, for his eyesight had failed him long ago. On his arm hung a bunch of keys, overgrown with rust: these were the keys of the inner doors, but he could not use them, and only kept them by him from ancient custom. It was a strange sight to watch his feeble pace, for as he moved slowly forward his face was seen to be turned backward. He was the ancient keeper of the place, foster-father to the slain Orgoglio, and his name, Ignaro, betrayed his true nature.

But the Prince honoured his grave and reverend appearance, and asked him gently where were all the dwellers in the castle, to which he replied in a quiet voice that he could not tell. Again the Prince asked where the knight whom Orgoglio had vanquished lay captive, and Ignaro replied he could not tell. Then the Prince inquired by which way he might pass into the castle, and still the old man said he could not tell; whereupon the Prince, courteous as he ever was, grew displeased, and thinking that Ignaro mocked at his questions, upbraided him, and demanded an answer befitting the gravity of the old man's years, but the reply was ever the same, he could not tell.

At this the Prince looked attentively at the aged sire, and, guessing that he was indeed ignorant, stayed his wrath in pity for his imbecility, and, stepping up to him, took the bunch of keys from his unresisting hand, and made free entrance for himself. He opened all the doors, and neither bar nor foeman presented any hindrance. He found all within furnished with great richness and splendour, but everywhere he beheld traces of the giant's cruelty. He sought through every room and every bower, but nowhere could he find the Red-cross Knight.

At length, Prince Arthur came upon an iron door, which was fast locked. He searched among the keys, but in all the bunch there was not one to open it. Presently he espied a small grating in the door, and through this he called with all his strength that he might discover whether any living wight were imprisoned there.

By-and-bye he heard a hollow, dreary, murmuring voice. It asked who this might be that brought tidings so welcome as the news of death to one who had lain dying for three weary months, but yet lived on.

When the Prince heard this sad plaint, his heart thrilled with pity and indignation, and he rent open the iron door in fierce fury; but when the iron door was open, there was nothing before him but a deep descent, dank, dark, and foul. However, neither the darkness nor the foulness could stay the strong purpose of the Prince, and after long labour and great perseverance, he succeeded in finding means whereby to rescue the prisoner from the dismal hole.

But alas! when the knight was lifted out, he presented a sad spectacle of ghastly suffering. His feeble limbs could scarce support his body, his eyes were dull and sunken, and could ill bear the light, his cheeks were thin and hollow, his once powerful arms wasted away, and his whole appearance was withered and shrivelled.

When Una saw him she ran towards him, tears in her eyes, and joy and sadness mingled in her feelings, and as soon as she could speak for her tears, she exclaimed, "Ah, dearest Lord, what evil power hath thus robbed you of yourself, and marred your manly countenance? But welcome now, whether in weal or in woe."

The knight was too feeble to answer, and the Prince replied for him, saying that nothing was gained in recounting woes, since the only good to be had from past peril is to be wise and ware of like again.

He then asked Una what he should do with Duessa, the false witch. Una declared that to have her die would be too spiteful an act, and, therefore, having despoiled her of the scarlet and purple robes, and rich ornaments, with which she imposed upon men, they let her go, and Una and the knights remained in the castle to rest a while.

But this rest was not sufficient to fit the Red-cross Knight for his approaching conflict with the dragon, and so Una, seeing that his limbs were weak, and his spirit damped by the long and miserable imprisonment, conducted him to an ancient house, called the House of Holiness, in which she knew they would have a kind welcome and good food.

In this house they remained for some time, and here the knight met an aged sire, who told him many curious things concerning his origin. The knight rejoiced greatly as he heard that he was descended from ancient Saxon kings, and was destined to do great deeds for his native land.

Inspired with fresh courage he returned to Una, who had been resting with the good lady Charity, and her women, in their side of the great House of Holiness. After many thanks rendered and many blessings bestowed, they once more set out to find the Dragon.

How the Red-cross Knight slew the Dragon.

Faerie Queene. Book I. Cantos XI., XII.

As Una and the Red-cross Knight rode on their way they came near her father's wasted lands and the brazen tower in which her parents were imprisoned.

"Dear Knight," said Una, "we are now come where our peril must begin," and warning him that they might encounter the dragon at any moment she prayed him to be constantly on his guard.

As she spoke, the maiden pointed out the tower, and at the same time a hideous roar filled the air with horror. They looked up and beheld the dragon stretched out on the sunny side of a hill. The moment that the monster saw the knight's shining armour, he raised his great frame and hastened towards them as if delighting at the prospect of fresh prey.

Then the knight bade Una leave him and withdraw to a hill at a little distance, where she could watch the fight and yet be secure from danger.

The dreadful beast came on steadily, half walking, half flying in his haste. He covered the ground quickly, and as he went, cast a huge shadow over the wasted land.

As the dragon approached the knight, he reared his monstrous body on high, which looked the more horrible that it was swollen with wrath and venom. It was covered with brazen scales, so closely placed, that nothing could pierce them, and the dragon shook the scales until they sounded like the clashing of armour. He had wings which he spread out like great sails, and when these smote the air, the clouds fled in terror before them, and the heavens stood still in astonishment. His tail was twisted in a hundred folds, and lay over his scaly back, and when he unfolded its coils and displayed its full length, it swept the land behind him for three furlongs. At its extremity were inserted two deadly stings, sharper than the sharpest steel. And still sharper and more cruel were his claws; so cruel and ravenous, that all they touched, and all they drew within their reach, suffered certain destruction.

But most fearful of all was the dragon's head. It had deep-set eyes, that burned with rage, and shone forth like shining shields; and gaping jaws, in which were set three rows of iron teeth. From these trickled the blood of the creatures he had lately devoured, while from between his jaws issued clouds of smoke that filled the air with sulphurous stench.

Such was the foe the Red-cross Knight must face and conquer.

On came the dragon, raising his haughty crest, shaking his scales, and hastening so joyously to the combat, that the knight inwardly quaked for fear.

And now began the first of three days' mortal strife.

The Red-cross Knight couched his spear, and ran fiercely at his foe. The spear did not wound, but it annoyed the dragon: he turned aside, and as he turned, swept both the horse and its rider to the ground. In a moment the knight had risen, and renewed the attack. Never before, although many a knight had fought with him, had the dragon felt such force in the arm of a foe, and yet the deadly thrusts glanced back from his well-armed breast, leaving him unhurt.

But the knight's persistent attacks roused the monster's rage. He spread his great wings, and lifting himself into the air, swooped down upon his foe, and seized both horse and man in his cruel claws. He carried them an arrow's shot, when their fierce struggles obliged him to let them fall; and the knight, putting the force of three men into a single blow, once more aimed his spear at the impenetrable scales. Again the blow glanced aside, but this time it glided close under the dragon's upraised wing, and there inflicted so sore a wound, that the monster, unaccustomed to pain, roared aloud with a noise like that of the ocean in a wintry storm.

The weapon stuck in the dragon's flesh, until he contrived to tear it out with his claws, whereupon black blood streamed forth from his wound, and flames of fire from his nostrils. In his rage, he flung his great tail about: it twisted round the horse's legs, and the steed in its effort to get free, only became the more entangled, and at length was forced to throw the knight. Quickly he arose, and laying hold of his powerful sword, struck the dragon a stroke that seemed as if it must prove fatal. But the hardened iron took little effect upon the still more hardened crest, although it fell with a force that made the dragon careful to avoid its blows.

The knight grew angry when he saw his strokes of no avail, and struck again with greater might, but the steel recoiled, leaving no mark where it had fallen.

Now the dragon was suffering from the wound under his wing, and impatient of the pain, tried again to rise into the air. But the injured wing impeded his effort, and full of rage and disappointment, he uttered a roar such as had never before been heard, and once more sent out flames of fire. These came right into the face of the knight, and making their way through his armour, burned him so sorely that he could hardly endure its weight. Faint and weary, burned, and sore with his wounds, worn out with heat and toil, and the very arms he bore, death seemed to him much easier than life. "But death will never come when needs require," and his despair well nigh cost him dear.

The dragon, seeing his discomfiture, turned upon him, and smiting him with his tail, felled him to the ground. Very near, then, was the knight to the death he coveted.

However, it so happened that, unknown to him, a well of rare virtue lay close by. Its waters could cure sicknesses, make the aged young, wash sinful crimes away, and even restore the dead to life. In the happy days before the accursed dragon had brought ruin to the land, it had been called the Well of Life; and though he had denied its sacred waters with innocent blood, it still retained many of its ancient virtues. Into this spring the knight fell.

And now the sun began to set, and Una, watching from her hill, saw her champion fall, and saw, too, that the monster swelled out his proud breast, and clapped his great wings as if in victory. Little knowing the boon that had befallen her knight, the maiden grew very sad at heart, thinking all was lost. No sleep was possible to her. With folded hands, on lowly knees, she spent the long anxious hours in earnest prayer.

When morning came, Una arose and looked anxiously around to see if, haply, she might discover the warrior still alive, for with the morning new hopes frequently arise. By-and-bye, to her great joy, she saw him start up, all fresh and invigorated by the powers of the wondrous well. The dragon was confounded at the sight, and knew not whether this was his foe of yesterday, or another come to take his place, when the knight uplifted his bright blade, and struck the monster a blow upon the skull, which wounded him in right earnest.

Whether the sword had received some secret virtue from the waters of the well, or whether they had only increased the strength of the knight's right arm, none can tell, but never before had a blow taken such effect on the cruel monster. He yelled aloud as if he were a hundred lions all in one; he tossed his great tail aloft, and scourged the air into a tempest, and flung about its mighty length, so that it overthrew high trees, and tore rocks into pieces. Then advancing his tail high above his head, the dragon struck the knight and smote him to the ground. The cruel sting pierced through his shield and fixed itself in his shoulder. There it remained, causing him very severe pain.

The knight was nearly overcome, but more mindful of the issues involved in the combat than of his own suffering, he rose and tried to free himself. Unable to loose the sting, and inflamed with wrath and anguish, he struck the dragon on the tail, and at one blow cut off five of the mighty joints. Deeply enraged, the creature thought to avenge himself once for all, and gathering himself up, fell fiercely on the knight's shield, and kept fast hold of it.

And now was the Red-cross Knight terribly encumbered. Three times he strove to release his shield from the dragon's clutch, and three times failed. In despair he summoned his trusty sword to his aid, and laid about with it so ruthlessly that at length the creature was forced to withdraw one foot in order to defend himself. Then the knight directed all his blows against the other foot, still fast fixed on the shield, until, by happy fortune, the sword fell upon the ankle-joint, and severed it.

Upon this there burst forth from the beast such smoke and flames and brimstone as to dim the light of heaven itself and force the warrior to retreat, lest he should be scorched alive. As he did so, his weary feet slipped, and he fell down, sore terrified with the dread of shame.

Now it chanced that close by where he fell, there grew a goodly tree, laden with apples. Great virtue had belonged to this tree, and even now there trickled forth from it a stream of balm that fell on the ground and watered it as if with dew. This little stream imparted life and long health to all whom it benefited, and into its soothing power the knight fell, on this, the close of the second day's fight.

Once more his life was saved, for the dragon, who was of death and darkness, dared not approach aught life-giving. And now the daylight began to fade, and Una, seeing her lord again fall and lie motionless, knowing not that he lay in the healing balm, was once more stricken with sore affright, and watched and prayed for him all through the weary darkness.

When morning again dawned Una saw her knight arise, healed and refreshed, ready for renewed combat. And the dragon, who had lain waiting for the day that he might destroy him, grew afraid when he beheld his foe as fresh as if he had not fought at all. Nevertheless, he advanced, full of his wonted pride and rage, with jaws wide open, thinking to devour his foe at the first encounter.

But the knight was prepared to meet him; thrusting his keen weapon between the monster's open jaws, he ran it through his mouth, and wounded him with a mortal wound. Then the dragon fell, and as he fell the earth groaned as if unable to support his weight. And the valiant knight himself trembled, so huge and hideous did the slain dragon look.

Una, who had seen all from her hill, dared not at first approach; but at length finding that the huge mass made no movement, she shook off her terror, and, drawing near, saw that the terrible monster was indeed dead. Then praising God, she thanked her brave champion for the great deliverance.

The sun had scarcely risen above the eastern horizon, when the watchman who stood on the battlements of the brazen tower, saw the last breath of the monster fade away, and knowing then that the dragon was dead, shouted out the glad tidings.

The king heard the shout, and rose in joyful haste, although for his feebleness he could not make much speed, and looked forth to see if the tidings were indeed true. When he found that they were, he commanded the brazen gate, long closed, to be thrown open, and peace and joy to be proclaimed throughout the land—for the dragon was slain! Then the trumpets sounded the happy victory, and the people, with one accord, assembled as in solemn festival, to rejoice over the fall of the great and terrible beast.

From the tower came forth the king and queen, clad in worn and sober garments. Grave nobles attended them, and a band of young men, bearing laurel boughs, followed in glad procession. Headed by the king these made their way to the Red-cross Knight, and, prostrating themselves before him, loudly proclaimed him their lord and patron, casting the laurels at his feet.

As they did so, there issued from the brazen gate maidens adorned with garlands, bearing sweet-sounding timbrels, and dancing as they went; while with them were children who sang to the maidens' music.

This second procession wended its way until it came where Una stood, and there they stayed and sang aloud her praises, and set a green garland on her head, crowning her "'twixt earnest and 'twixt game."

Last of all came the mob, hurrying to see the dragon-slayer, whom they looked upon as sent from heaven, and at whom they stared with gaping wonder. But when they arrived where lay the dead dragon they were filled with fear. Some, indeed, were so terrified that they fled away; others pretended to conceal their fear, while one who wished to be thought wiser than all the rest, suggested that the dragon might not be really dead. At this another immediately declared that he could see fire sparkle in his eye, while a third was persuaded he had seen the monster wink. Others, more bold, stood near its carcase, in order to measure how many acres it covered.

Thus the people flocked about the dead dragon, while the king and his train were entertaining the knight with gifts of ivory and gold. After thanking him a thousand times, and embracing their fair daughter Una, the king and queen conducted them to the palace, while the people strewed the way with their garments and shouted aloud for joy.

Now when the Red-cross Knight had rested and been feasted, the king and queen called upon him to relate the story of his adventures. Tears ran down their cheeks as they listened, and when he had ended, the king again welcomed him to the palace, and spoke of his resting there from all further toil.

But the knight declared that he might not rest yet, for he was bound by vow to Gloriana, Queen of Faeryland, to return and serve her for the space of six years. Then the king called for Una, his only daughter and sole heir, and with his own hands betrothed her to the knight.

Never in all her loveliness had Una looked so fair as when her father called her forth. The toil of the journey over, she had put aside her sober mournful robe, and was arrayed in a dress of pure and shining white, while the brightness of her beautiful countenance astonished even her own true lord. There was great joy among both old and young at the marriage, and a solemn feast was ordered throughout the land.

The Red-cross Knight held himself a thrice happy man, and ever as he looked on his dear lady rejoiced anew. In great peace and happiness he remained with Una until his conscience and his vow compelled him to return for a time to the court of Gloriana, leaving her in her dear parent's care.

After this he was no longer known as the Red-cross Knight, but as St. George, the slayer of the dragon—the great Saint George whom England has made her patron saint.

Britomart and the Magic Mirror.

Faerie Queene. Book III. Cantos II., III.

Once upon a time there lived in Cambria a king whose name was Ryence. Now Ryence was a good king, and dealt justly with his people, and on this account he won the approval of Merlin, the great magician. And Merlin gave King Ryence a boon.

This boon was a looking-glass, so wonderfully made, and possessed of such strange properties, that its fame spread throughout the wide world. The glass was round, shaped like a ball, and hollow inside. He who looked into it, saw not himself, but saw there portrayed anything that was happening in any part of the world that might be of consequence to him. If a foe were working him secret ill, or a friend feigning false kindness, this glass revealed their deeds. Such, then, was the boon which Merlin had given to King Ryence; and from it the king could learn the approach of an enemy more surely and more quickly than from the swiftest messenger.

Now the King of Cambria had one only child. This was Britomart, his daughter and his heir. She was a noble damsel, tall and stately, with rich golden hair, which, when loosened from its silken bands, fell like a sunny shower, reaching down to her feet. And she was brave as she was beautiful: gentle towards the weak, and ready to help those in trouble; one who scorned to take advantage of the misfortunes of others. A fit daughter of a great king, from whom her father kept no secrets.

It chanced that one day, as Britomart was wandering over the palace, she found herself in the small apartment where Ryence kept the mirror. Forgetful of its strange virtues, the princess looked into it, and was surprised that she did not see a reflection of herself. Then she remembered that Merlin's gift was no ordinary looking-glass, and as she recalled its properties, she began to wonder what she might look for there that was of importance to herself. Standing lingering by the mirror, her thoughts fell on love, and she wondered—as maidens will—whom fortune would allot for her husband.

Now Britomart was no foolish maiden, dwelling ever on her future, and in it forgetting the duties of the present; but she was a rich and lovely princess, and it was only natural that she should expect to marry some day.

By-and-bye, as she gazed into the mirror, there appeared before her the image of a knight, completely armed. His countenance was a right manly one; a countenance to awe his foes, but to endear him to his friends. His frame was large and strong, its natural strength increased by deeds of chivalry which he continually practised. His armour was massive, and seemed of some antique mould, as indeed it was, for in golden letters there was written on it these words—

"Achilles' arms which Artegal did win."

Artegal's crest was a hound couchant, and on his shield he bore the figure of a crowned ermine on an azure field.

As Britomart looked on the image, she liked it, and having looked at it well, she went her way, and little thought that Cupid, the false archer, had shot an arrow into her heart. After a time, the stately Britomart began to droop. She no longer moved about with her customary princely bearing, but became sad, low-spirited, and full of foolish fears; nor could she discover the cause of her discomfiture. At night when she lay down to sleep, Glaucé, the old nurse who still attended her, wondered at her wakefulness, and at the tears which Britomart tried in vain to conceal. And when sleep visited her weary eyes, it was only for a few minutes at a time, and she started in her sleep as if some ghastly dream had affrighted her. She did not know that she loved, but her thoughts ever returned to the fair image she had seen.

One night when Britomart seemed more uneasy than usual, Glaucé determined to inquire into the cause of her unrest. With loving words she besought the princess to tell her how it was that her former cheerfulness had changed into this sad melancholy.

"Ah me," said the old nurse, "how much I fear lest love it be;" and added—

"But 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."

The nurse was a powerful personage in the king's household, and praying Britomart to put away this melancholy humour, she promised that neither death nor danger should prevent her from relieving her sorrow. Then she took her dear foster-child in her arms and fondled her tenderly, and chafed her cold limbs, and kissed and bathed her fair eyes, praying her all the time to take courage and disclose the secret trouble of her heart.

Britomart did not answer at once; but at length she spoke, and begged Glaucé to inquire no further, since there was no remedy for her distress.

"Dear daughter," said the nurse, "despair not; there never yet was a wound which something could not soothe."

"But mine," said Britomart, "is like no other; for it, reason can find no remedy."

"Nevertheless," replied Glaucé, "love can mount higher than reason, and has oft done wondrous things."

"But," urged the poor princess, "not even love can do that which is not possible to be done."

"Things often seem impossible," said Glaucé, "before they are attempted."

Then Britomart broke out bitterly—"These idle words," she said, "do me no good; mine is no common grief, but, since you will know it, I shall no longer conceal my crime, if crime it be. Neither for prince nor peer is my heart pained, but only for the image and semblance of a knight, aye, and the semblance of one I have not even seen."

So saying, she related to Glaucé the adventure of the magic mirror, and added that the image haunted her so that she almost longed for death itself.

"Daughter," replied Glaucé, "why be so dismayed? Thy love hath a strange beginning, but there is nothing to be ashamed of in it, joy therefore have thou, and eternal bliss;" and stooping over the maiden she kissed her tenderly.

"Ah! nurse," said the Princess, "what you say comforts me but little; for what good is it although my love be worthy if it be fixed on nothing more than a shadow?"

"Nay," said Glaucé, "there never was a shadow that had not a substance, and one which could not by some means be discovered. Still, if thou can'st conquer this evil before it grows more powerful, yield thee not, but if it prove too great for thee, I promise that the beloved knight shall be found."

Cheered by her words, Britomart laid herself down to sleep. Glaucé covered her with tender care, and by-and-bye the damsel slept. Well pleased, the nurse darkened the light of the rude oil lamp and sat down to watch her charge, and as she watched, tears fell from her aged eyes. When morning dawned Glaucé roused Britomart, and together they went to the church to pray. But even there Britomart could not command her thoughts—nor for that matter could Glaucé—and as soon as they returned home the old melancholy came back upon the Princess. When Glaucé perceived this she called Britomart into her own bower, and there tried the effect of spells much resorted to in those old fairy days. But the spells were of no avail, and Britomart grew worse, and became so thin and pale that Glaucé was well nigh in despair. At length it occurred to her that it might be wise to consult Merlin, the great magician. She therefore disguised herself and the Princess, and set out.

Now Merlin dwelt in a dark cave which ran low underneath the ground. It was entered from a rock which lay a little way from a fierce brawling stream that flowed amongst densely-wooded hills. It was a dismal spot, and when the travellers reached it they paused and feared to enter, and half repented their coming. But Britomart, whose nature was full of spirit, recovered courage, and entered, followed by her nurse.

They found the magician busied in his mysteries, writing strange characters on the ground. Their entrance did not surprise him, for by his art he knew before-hand of their coming, and knew also the nature of their business; but feigning ignorance, he bade them tell their errand.

Then Glaucé spoke, humbly praying him not to be offended by their coming since no light cause had brought them there. She paused, but he bade her go on. Then she related how for the last three months the maiden before him had been afflicted by a sore evil, but what it was she scarce could tell; of one thing only was she certain, that unless a remedy were found her nursling must die.

On hearing this Merlin began to smile, and knowing that she had not yet told him the whole truth, said quietly, "If this be all, the damsel hath need of a physician rather than of me," and added these words,

"Who help may have elsewhere
In vain seeks wonders out of magic spell."

This speech rather disconcerted Glaucé, who wished to secure his help without confessing who they were or referring to the magic mirror, which would at once reveal the maiden's parentage. "Ah," she exclaimed, "if physicians' skill or any learned means could have relieved my dear daughter, truly I should be loath to disturb thee; but this evil has arisen from a source beyond nature."

Thereupon the wizard laughed outright.

"Glaucé," he said, "why try to cloak what is self-betrayed? And thou, fair Britomart," he continued, turning towards the Princess, "art no more hidden by thy disguise than is the sun when a passing cloud conceals him. Thy good fortune hath brought thee hither to ask my help, and it shall be granted thee."

On finding herself thus addressed, Britomart blushed deeply, but old Glaucé took heart and replied, "Since then thou knowest our grief, pity it, I pray thee, and relieve us."

Whereupon Merlin sat silent for a time, and then spoke thus.

"Be not thou dismayed, most noble virgin, by the sharp pangs which have so sore oppressed thine heart, for so must all excellent things begin. Nor was it idle chance that led thee to look into the charmed mirror; thine eyes were guided by eternal providence in order that heaven's destiny be fulfilled. Thine is no evil fate, thus to love the noblest among knights. Therefore submit thyself to Heaven, and take all due means to fulfil thy destiny."

"But," said Glaucé "advise us, thou great magician, what means to take. How shall she find this knight, or indeed why need she do aught since the fates can of themselves fulfil their own purpose."

"Nay," replied Merlin, "true is it that naught can shake the heavenly destiny, nevertheless men must use their own endeavour to work it out. Know then that he whom Britomart loves, and is to marry, is the knight Artegal. He dwells in the Faeryland, and yet he is neither born of a fairy nor in any way related to one, but was by them stolen from his cradle, and to this day he is ignorant that he belongs not to their race. But he is in truth a son of Gorlois, and a brother of Cador, the great Cornish king, whose deeds are renowned from east to west. And to thee, Britomart, is it given to bring Artegal back to his native soil. He shall return to help his country to withstand the foreign invasion which now threatens thy father's territory. His great strength and his dreaded name shall render great assistance against the foe; and thy prowess shall be added unto his, and together ye shall wear arms and bear great command."

Then the magician saw before him a vision of the future. In his vision he beheld wars and desolation, a ruined church, and a king made captive. Overcome by the sorrows which lay before his people, the aged wizard passed into an ecstasy which much alarmed the two women, who stood silent and confused. Presently it passed away, the natural colour returned to his face, and the expression of horror gave way to one of calm cheerfulness. He then instructed Britomart and her nurse as to what they should do, and they, with lightened hearts, bade him farewell and returned home. There they held secret counsel how best to carry out their difficult enterprise, proposing now one, and now a different plan. At length Glaucé hit upon a bold device.

"Daughter," she said, "I think that plan is ever the wisest that takes into consideration present advantages. Good King Uther is now making war upon the Saracens, and all Britain is in arms. Let us too wear arms and learn to use the shield and spear; so shall we pass unrecognized where we will throughout the land. Thou art tall and large of limb, and armour will befit thee well, and practice will soon bring thee the needful skill in handling weapons. Truly," continued Glaucé waxing eager in praise of her plan, "it ought to inflame thy courage to remember how many women of thy house—a house inferior to none—have done deeds to rival those of the bravest men. Remember bold Bundeca, brave Gwendolin, Martia, and Emmeline; and more than these, let the example of the Saxon Virgin incite thy courage."

"Ah," said Britomart, "what is her name?"

"Men call her fair Angela," replied the nurse, "for she is as fair as she is courageous in battle: she is more dreaded than all the Saxons by her foes, and so beloved by her people that they call themselves by her name. Therefore, fair child, take her example for thine, and equal her in courage."

These hearty words of Glaucé sank deep into Britomart's heart, and inspired in her a great desire to excel in arms. She therefore resolved to undertake the perils of knighthood, and consulted with her nurse how to attire herself in suitable array.

Now it chanced that only a few days previously a band of Cambrians who had gone out against the Saxons had returned with much prey, and among other booty had carried back a complete suit of the armour worn by Angela, the Saxon Queen. It was a rich and beautiful suit, and fretted over with gold. This suit along with other spoils of war King Ryence had caused to be hung up in his chief church as a lasting monument of his success and victory.

In the same church was a famous and mighty spear. It had been fashioned in olden days by magic lore, and was preserved on account of its magic powers. No matter how well or firmly a warrior sat his charger, this spear bore him to the ground.

Glaucé remembered these things, and late in the evening she led Britomart to the church, and taking down Angela's armour from its place on the wall, arrayed her fair nursling therein. She took also the spear, and with it a shield, and gave them to Britomart.

When she had thus completed the Princess' attire, she took another suit of armour and put it on herself, that she might attend Britomart and act as her squire. And now, both being fully equipped, they mounted the horses which Glaucé had caused to be ready, and under cover of the darkness escaped from the palace, nor did they rest until they reached the Faeryland to which Merlin, the great magician, had directed them.

Britomart and Amoret.

Faerie Queene. Book III. Cantos XI., XII.

After Britomart and Glaucé left the palace of King Ryence, many adventures befel them. In all her adventures Britomart's magic sword and matchless prowess gained for her great renown, and she was spoken of far and wide as the Knight of the Heben Spear, while old Glaucé, her nurse, was believed to be her squire. They encountered many a famous knight, but they had not yet found him whom they sought.

One day, as they were continuing in their search, they came suddenly upon a stranger knight, who lay with his face on the ground, his armour scattered near him, and who seemed either asleep or in great distress. Lest he should be sleeping, Britomart did not speak, but stood waiting patiently. Presently the knight groaned as if his very heart were breaking, and then burst forth into a piteous wail over the loss of Amoret, his wife.

Unconscious that he was heard, the knight cried out against the cruelty of the wicked enchanter who had taken her prisoner, and kept her for the last seven months cruelly tormented, and shut out from the light of day, in a stronghold guarded by thick smoke and magic fires. Then followed such an outburst of grief that Britomart thought his very life in danger, and no longer able to forbear, stooped down and spoke to him.

At the sound of her voice, the knight raised himself, and looked up, but seeing a stranger, he hastily flung himself down, angry at being disturbed. Britomart, however, was not to be easily daunted, and again spoke.

"Ah! gentle knight," she exclaimed, "whose grief seems well-nigh past bearing, scorn not the relief which Providence may send you. To my hand it may be given to relieve your woe, and wreak vengeance on your enemy."

Her brave words so touched the knight's heart that he poured out the whole bitterness of his woe, telling her how hard it was to reach Amoret, since the tyrant had her in strong enchantment, and had guarded her dungeon with dreadful fiends.

Britomart was greatly moved by his sad tale, and again offered her aid. "Sir Knight," she said, "if you will listen to me, I will either deliver her to you from thence or die with her."

At first the knight, whose name was Scudamour, would not accept so great a boon, but Britomart at length succeeded in persuading him to arise and accompany her to the scene of Amoret's captivity.

Arrived at the tyrant's stronghold, they dismounted, and went boldly to its entrance. There they found neither gate nor porter, but a porch from which issued flames of fire, mingled with smoke and sulphurous stench. At this Britomart was greatly dismayed, and turning to Scudamour, consulted with him how best to overcome this dreadful obstacle, "for," said she, "to run into danger without care and thought is worthy only of the beasts."

"Alas!" said Scudamour, "this is the worst cause of my distress, for the fire cannot be quenched by any wit or skill; what then is there left to me but ceaseless sorrowing. Leave me to my grief, let Amoret dwell in chains, and Scudamour die of misery."

"Nay," replied the noble maid, "to abandon a brave deed for the mere show of danger were a shameful thing; better run all risks than turn aside for fear."

Thereupon, resolved to trust her weapons to the utmost, Britomart threw her great shield before her face, and pointing her magic sword straight in front, moved onward; when lo! the dread flames parted on either side of her, and she passed through scatheless.

When Scudamour saw that she had passed beyond the fire and was uninjured, he, too, tried to force a way. But he was full of proud passions, and commanded the flames to yield to him, and being foolish enough to threaten them, increased their mighty rage so that with imperious sway they sent him back scorched and burned. Impatience and disappointment raged in his bosom, and in a very madness of misery he again flung himself on the ground and beat his head and breast, and would take neither hope nor comfort.

Meantime Britomart pursued her way, and going through the first door, entered an outer chamber. It was full of precious stores, and was hung round with rich arras, into which was woven many a fair scene, portraying the feats of Cupid, the blind god. At the upper end of the chamber stood an altar, built of gems of great beauty, and on the altar was an image of massive gold with wings of divers colours, more varied and brilliant than the hues of the rainbow. This image represented Cupid with the fatal bow and arrows in his hand, and at his feet a wounded dragon. Underneath were written these words—"Unto the victor of the gods this be," and all the people that dwelt in the great castle paid it homage.

Britomart stood still for a while, gazing at the golden image, fascinated by its brightness; but at length she turned to look back and take in the other wonders of the chamber. Then, for the first time, she noticed the words "Be bold" written over a doorway. She puzzled over their meaning for some time, and could not find it, but no way dismayed by the apparent warning, she followed their advice, and advanced from the first to a second chamber.

This chamber was still richer than the other. Its walls were overlaid with gold wrought with figures of antique story, and all about were the spoils and arms and trophies of mighty conquerors, who had been taken captive by the cruel Cupid.

For a long time Britomart gazed around her, and the more she looked the more she wondered, both at the richness of the room and at the wasteful emptiness and solemn silence that pervaded the place. As she continued her survey, she saw over the door through which she had just passed the same words, three times written, "Be bold." While trying to make out their import, her eye chanced to light upon an iron door at the other end of the room, on which was written, "Be not too bold." This puzzled her still more; but no living creature appeared from whom she could ask an explanation. And now the shadows lengthened, and darkness fell, yet Britomart would not sleep, but sat in watchfulness, her armour on, and her weapons all about her.

When night had quite set in, she was startled by the shrill sound of a trumpet. After the trumpet blast, there arose a hideous storm of wind, with thunder, lightning, and an earthquake, followed by a horrible stench of sulphur and smoke, which lasted from four in the morning until six—yet Britomart remained steadfast in her watch. Then suddenly arose a whirlwind throwing open the heavy iron door, and from an inner room there entered a grave personage bearing a branch of laurel, and clad as if for the tragic stage. Before Britomart had time to recover from the surprise of this apparition, a band of minstrels, followed by a troop of masquers, issued also from the chamber. Sweet music and strange and gay figures now filled the hitherto empty room. There were Fancy and Desire, dressed in silk and embroidery; Doubt and Danger in more sober garb; Fear, armed from head to foot; Hope, with golden locks and samite robes; Suspicion and Deceit, Grief and Fury, Pleasure and Displeasure—six couples in all. Behind these came a fair lady, led by Cruelty and Despight, who goaded and tormented her as she walked. After these rode the winged god, mounted on a lion, and closely followed by Reproach, Shame, and Repentance, while a confused rabble brought up the rear.

The procession marched three times round the chamber, and disappeared into the inner room. As soon as it had passed through, the iron door was violently closed by the same whirlwind which had opened it. Then Britomart came forth from the shady corner in which she had stood unnoticed, and tried to follow; but she could by no means pass the door, and was obliged to wait patiently for any opportunity that might arise.

All day the maiden waited, and when the next night came with its garment of darkness her hopes rose, and not in vain. About the second watch, the door flew open, and afraid neither of masques nor enchantments, Britomart walked boldly in. As soon as she entered, she looked round for those persons whom she had seen the previous night. But of all the motley crew only one was visible, and this was the fair lady who had been led by the cruel villains, and who indeed was Amoret. Her hands were fast bound, and round her waist was an iron band that fastened her to a brass pillar. Before her was the wicked enchanter, drawing strange characters with Amoret's own heart's blood, which he drew from her by means of a cruel transfixed dart. By such strange spells, he sought to charm her into loving him. But he had already tried a thousand charms, and had utterly failed to touch her love and loyalty to Scudamour, and indeed she was little likely to love one who wrought such cruel imprisonment.

The moment the enchanter saw Britomart in her knightly attire, he cast away his books of wicked magic, and drawing a murderous knife from his pocket ran fiercely at poor Amoret, whom for very spite he was ready to kill rather than see her escape. Britomart leapt forward, seized his arm, and stayed his murderous intent. In a moment the enchanter's rage turned upon her, and his sword inflicted a wound upon her snowy throat.

Then Britomart drew forth her deadly spear, and struck him so dire a blow, that he fell on the ground half dead. Another stroke must have killed him, and she was on the point of dealing it when Amoret made sign to her to hold her hand, telling Britomart that only he who had enchained could set her free.

Hearing this the noble maiden paused, and very unwilling to spare her wicked captive, addressed him thus, "Thou wretched man, for whom no punishment can be too severe, be sure that nothing shall save thee from death, unless thou immediately restore this lady to health and freedom."

Glad to secure his life on any terms, the enchanter at once yielded, and rising up, began to look over the leaves of his accursed books, that he might learn how to reverse the charms he had wrought. Britomart stood over him with her sword drawn, and so dreadful were the things he read, that her hair stood on end with horror. By and bye she perceived that the house shook and the door rattled, but not for a moment did she slacken the grasp of her weapon. With steadfast eye and stout courage she waited to see what these strange omens meant. At length she saw the chain that wound round the waist of Amoret fall slowly to the ground, and the brazen pillar to which she was bound break in pieces. The dart that pierced her bosom fell out as of its own accord. The wound it had made closed up as though it had never existed, and all the hurts and bruises caused by her long imprisonment were forthwith healed.

When the fair dame found herself free, she fell on the ground before Britomart, thanking her out of the fulness of her heart, and begging to be permitted to render her deliverer some service or reward.

Britomart raised her, and replied courteously that her labour received more than sufficient reward in seeing Amoret thus free and safe.

She then besought the lady to take comfort, and putting away the remembrance of her past cruel sufferings, think rather of what Scudamour, her loving husband, had lately endured on her account. It cheered and comforted Amoret to hear Scudamour, whom of all living wights she loved best, thus spoken of by her deliverer.

But Britomart's work was not yet done. She turned to Busyran, the wicked enchanter, bound him firmly by the chain which had held Amoret captive, and thus secured, led him forth from his own stronghold.

Then Britomart was amazed to find that the rooms which had so lately astonished her by their beauty and richness had completely vanished. Still more surprised was she to find the flames which had guarded the porch quenched, and the porch itself gone.

But now a sore disappointment befel both Britomart and the lady Amoret, for when they reached the spot where Scudamour had been left, neither he nor old Glaucé, the squire, were anywhere to be seen. Britomart's brave heart was sorely astonished, and poor Amoret, in whom hope had sprung up, was filled with alarm and misgiving lest she had been betrayed.

Scudamour's faint-heartedness was the cause of their grief and disappointment.

For a time after the war-like maiden's disappearance within the castle, he lay eagerly expecting her return. But she did not come back all that day, and Scudamour, who was not a very great and therefore not a very patient knight, gave way to despair, and made up his mind that Britomart had been consumed by the flames. He took counsel with old Glaucé, and together they resolved to leave their post, and go in search of further help; thus it was that Britomart and Amoret came forth to find themselves deserted.

And so Scudamour and Glaucé and Britomart and Amoret sought each other for many a long day in vain; how they met at last another tale must tell.

The Story of Marinell and Florimell.

Faerie Queene. Book III., Cantos IV., VII., VIII.; Book IV., Canto XII.; Book V., Canto III.

In the days of Britomart there lived a famous knight named Marinell.

Now this Marinell was a sea-nymph's son, and dwelt in a rocky cave by the sea-shore. His mother had trained him to deeds of daring and a life of hardihood. Along the strand on which he dwelt no man durst pass without first doing battle with Marinell. He had subdued and made vassals of a hundred brave knights, and his renown had reached the Court of Gloriana, Queen of Faeryland.

Yet Cymoent, his mother, was not satisfied, but prayed the sea-god to make her son richer than the son of any of the mortals. The sea-god granted her prayer, and bade the waves yield him their treasure—treasure gained by the wreck of many a gallant craft.

So there were heaped upon his shores great riches—gold, amber, ivory, pearls, jewels, rings, and all else that was precious, until Marinell became as great a lord as any that dwelt in the land. So powerful did he grow that his mother began to fear lest his boldness and haughtiness might cost him his life, and she counselled him to forbear further warfare and be at rest.

That she might be the more secure of his welfare, Cymoent inquired of Proteus, the sea-god, concerning her son's future. Proteus replied that Marinell must beware of all womankind, as one day a strange maiden would cause him much dismay, if not destroy his life. Now Cymoent supposed this to mean that Marinell must not love any woman; she counselled her son accordingly, and he listened to her words and followed her advice.

One day as Marinell rode on the rich strand dressed in gay arms, looking here and there, he descried a rider on the forbidden ground.

This was no other than Britomart, journeying in disguise. Marinell rode fiercely up to her, and haughtily bade her retire before he made retreat impossible. She was filled with disdain at his proud threat, and replying, "Fly they that need to fly," thrust at him with her magic spear. Thereupon Marinell struck her on the breast; for a moment her head bent low upon her horse's neck; then she raised herself and smote him so hard a blow that her spear pierced his shield and hauberk, and glancing off, wounded his side.

Thus Britomart bore him down until he fell helpless on the sand. She did not stay to lament his fall, but went on her way, passing by his treasure, and caring nothing for it.

This then was the woman of whom Proteus, the sea-god, had given warning.

Now, the sad tidings of Marinell's overthrow reached Cymoent as she and her sister-nymphs were disporting themselves by a pond gathering daffodils to make garlands wherewith to shade their foreheads from the sun. When Cymoent heard the melancholy news, she flung away her flowers, and rending her hair, threw herself speechless on the ground. The nymphs likewise tore off their garlands, and loudly lamented Marinell's fate.

At length Cymoent arose out of her swoon. She at once called for her chariot, while the sea-nymphs called for theirs, and set out with her on their mournful errand. The waves ceased to rage, and helped them on their way, while the dolphins which drew the chariots sped swiftly through the water, and brought Cymoent and her sisters to where Marinell lay.

They found him in a deadly faint. When his mother saw him lying thus, she fell from one swoon into another, and when she at length recovered, made such piteous moanings that the very rocks could scarce refrain from tears. She bewailed her son's fall, and wished that she too had been mortal to have shared his fate.

At length, after long sorrowing and great wailing, the sea-nymphs took Marinell's armour off, spread their silver-fringed garments on the strand, and laid him upon them. They then examined his wound, washed the blood away, and poured in balm and nectar. Then Liagore, the lily-handed, trained by Apollo in the surgeon's lore, felt his pulse, and discovered that life still lingered in his frame. Whereupon his mother no longer despaired, but, aided by the sea-nymphs, bore him to her chariot. At her command the dolphin-team remained still while flowers were strewn over him as if he were already dead. The sister-nymphs then climbed into their chariots, and Marinell was borne swiftly to Cymoent's sea cave. It was far down at the bottom of the sea, and built up of hollow billows heaped high on all sides. Here, on the softest of couches, they laid him, while Cymoent sent for Tryphon, the best esteemed among the sea-gods in the art of healing, and the nymphs sat round bemoaning his sad plight.

Now, the news of Marinell's sad overthrow reached the court of Gloriana, Queen of Faeryland, where was the lady Florimell, who was famed for her rare goodness and great beauty, and was held in high repute throughout all Elfin-land. She was loved of many knights, but she herself loved only Marinell, and when the news of his fall reached her, Florimell resolved to leave the court of Gloriana, and vowed that she would not return until she had found her love, alive or dead. She mounted a snow-white palfrey, and attended by a trusty dwarf, set forth: she was clad in a dress of cloth of gold, and her fair locks were bound in a jewelled circlet.

Some days after, it happened that Prince Arthur, accompanied by Timias, his squire, and one or two others whom they had encountered on their way, were riding leisurely through the woods that led to Marinell's abode, when the fair Florimell dashed suddenly across their path. She had burst out from the brushwood, and rode as if for her life. Her hair streamed behind her, and she constantly looked back as if fearing pursuit. And sure enough, there appeared a rough forester, riding a jaded steed, which he was urging over bush and bank until the blood flowed from its sides.

Now, when the Prince saw this, he and a knight named Guyon hastened to Florimell's rescue, while Timias, the Prince's squire, followed the forester. Through thick and thin, over hill and plain, the Prince and the knight followed, but the poor damsel feared them as much as she feared the forester, and fled from them so swiftly, that when they reached a double way she was out of sight, and they could not tell which path to take. Each took a separate one, and that chosen by the Prince proved right. At length he came in sight of Florimell. Urging afresh his foaming steed, he approached the terrified damsel, and called on her to have no fear. She looked back, but, not recognizing Prince Arthur's arms or shield, paid no attention to his call. And so it fell that darkness came on, and the Prince was reluctantly obliged to give up all hope of helping her. Little did she think from how great and good a deliverer she fled, or into what miseries this flight would lead her.

Thus Florimell sped on, fearing every shadow and every sound, until when darkness fell, she grew so weary that her palfrey wrested the reins from her slack hold, and went where he would. At length even he could go no farther, and to her dismay, lay down. Florimell was now forced to alight and lead him.

After travelling slowly for some time, she came to a hill-side, and here she saw below her a little valley thickly clothed with wood. From amongst its high trees there arose a wreath of thin blue smoke, and encouraged by this sign of habitation, the maiden went on her way more hopefully. But she was very weary and worn when she reached the place from which the smoke proceeded. It was a cottage built of sticks and reeds, walled round with sods, where dwelt a witch, dressed in poor and dirty rags, and living wilfully in want. She dwelt in these dark woods because her deeds were evil.

Here poor Florimell entered, and found the hag seated on the ground, apparently busied in magic arts; she started up when she saw Florimell, stared at her, but said nothing. Very soon her fear, for such it seemed, turned to anger, and she asked the damsel who she was, and what ill fortune had sent her there, unwelcome and uninvited.

Florimell replied that she had lost her way, and prayed her not to be angry with one who was unwilling to intrude on her, and only begged shelter and rest for a little space. As she spoke, tears dropped from her eyes, and she sighed so gently and sadly that the wicked old woman could not help being sorry for her, and began in her rude way to show some kindly feeling; wiping the tears from Florimell's eyes, she bade her sit down and rest. Florimell gladly obeyed; she sat down on the dusty ground, put her torn garments into better order, smoothed her fair hair, and fastened it into its golden circlet. When the hag saw the rich ornaments in Florimell's hair, and beheld how beautiful she was, she wondered greatly, and feared lest a goddess had found her way to the hut.

This old witch had a son who was as wicked as herself. He was also lazy and good-for-nothing, loving to lounge in the sunshine, and sleep away his time. When he returned home, and found a fair lady sitting by his mother, he was so astonished at the sight of beauty in such a place, that he stood quite still, staring at Florimell, and saying never a word. At length he went up to his mother, and asked her in a whisper by what strange chance this vision had appeared. His mother only replied by a scared look, as if her wits were gone, and the two gazed first at Florimell, and then at one another.

By-and-bye, however, they grew accustomed to her presence. Her ways were so gentle that the witch's son became enamoured of her beauty, and brought her young birds and garlands of flowers, and a wild squirrel which he tamed. Florimell received his gifts courteously, but she feared him, and so, when an opportunity came, she saddled and bridled her palfrey, and early one morning made her escape. She went in great trepidation, for she was afraid that she might be followed and overtaken.

Now when the witch and her son awoke and found her gone, their grief was very great. Indeed, the son became almost frantic, and nothing his mother could do would pacify him. So she bethought herself of her wicked arts, and retiring to her secret cave, called up a hideous beast, monstrous and misshapen;—its back speckled with a thousand spots, and so swift that it could overtake the fleetest steed. Nothing like it had ever been seen, yet it more resembled a hyena than any other creature.

This monster the hag sent after Florimell, charging it not to pause until it found her, and either to bring her back or slay and devour her. The moment she ceased speaking, it set off, and by the help of its keen sense, surely and swiftly traced the maiden. When Florimell saw the cruel monster, and perceived that it began to overtake her, her heart quaked with fear. Terror also seized her palfrey, who, as long as breath supplied him with strength, fled onwards. At length his pace began to slacken fatally, and then indeed, Florimell believed herself at the last extremity. But just as her horse's strength gave way, she reached the shore, and slipping hastily to the ground, sped towards the water, thinking to drown herself rather than have the monster seize her. All unexpectedly she found a little boat, with an old fisherman asleep in it, drawn up at the water's edge. Leaping into the boat, she seized an oar, and pushed it out from the land.

Her escape was none too soon, for the monster was close upon her, and ready to spring just as her boat left the shore. It gaped greedily at her, but durst not venture into the water, and turning back avenged its wicked spite upon the noble palfrey.

By-and-bye the good Sir Satyrane, who had delivered Una from the Satyrs, rode that way, and seeing the dead body of the horse, recognized it as belonging to Florimell. He feared some ill must have befallen the maiden, and his fears were confirmed when he found a golden girdle she was wont to wear lying on the sand. Full of grief and rage, he fell upon the speckled beast, and wounded it severely; but it managed to escape from him, and returned to the old hag, while Sir Satyrane was forced to go on his way. When the old woman saw the beast return, she believed that Florimell was dead, and rejoiced in her heart, but her son became more wretched than ever, and to comfort him, his mother made an image, and calling a wicked spirit into it, gave it such a likeness to Florimell that her son mistook it for her, and was comforted.

Meanwhile the true Florimell was in fresh straits. For a long time the fisherman slept on, so that she had to steer the boat as best she could, but this was an easy task, for the wind was light and the sky clear. But when the old man awoke, she discovered that he was rude and cruel, and would have made a slave of her if he could. It chanced, however, that Proteus, god of the seas, was abroad that day, and was roving over the foamy waves, drawn by his finny steeds. He came upon the little boat, and when he saw that the fisherman behaved roughly to the damsel, he beat the old man and took Florimell into his own chariot.

Now Proteus was an aged god, whose hoary hair was frozen, and on whose long beard icicles hung. He told the still affrighted Florimell who he was, and bade her no longer fear, and spoke so kindly to her that she was comforted and cheered. The sea-god bore her to his own dwelling, a hollow cave eaten out by the angry waves from under a mighty rock at the bottom of the sea. Here Proteus dwelt with no living being save an old nymph whose name was Panopè, and whose care it was to keep the cavern clean. He was very pleased to have Florimell, and thought to keep her there. But he soon discovered that she thought much more of Marinell than of anyone else, and that nothing he could do would make her forget the knight, or be content to remain in the ocean cave. At this he became very angry, and at last let her down into a deep dungeon, where he threatened to keep her until she died. And for seven long months the poor damsel was imprisoned there bound in chains, guarded by raging waves and grizzly ocean monsters.

Meantime Marinell still lingered in his mother's bower. By the aid of Tryphon, the sea-god's surgeon, he had been cured of the wound inflicted by Britomart. But so fearful was his mother lest further ill should befall her son, that sorely against his will she kept him in her cave almost as closely confined as if he had been a prisoner.

It happened at this time that all the sea-gods met to celebrate the wedding of the Thames and the Medway. A solemn feast in honour of the event was held at the abode of Proteus, and there Cymoent, with many others, was summoned. With her went Marinell, but, as his father was only a mortal, Marinell was not accounted a god, and might not banquet with immortals or eat of their food. Therefore, while his mother was within, he wandered about examining the strange abode, and, as he did so, there befel to him a strange adventure. From under a hideous overhanging cliff he heard a sad voice uttering such piteous lamentations that the cruel rocks and raging billows seemed moved in sympathy. It was Florimell, who, believing herself alone, bewailed her fate aloud. Though none could hear, she nevertheless spoke out her grief in the hope that the very recital might yield her some comfort, for

Heaven, that unto all lends equal ear,
Is far from hearing of my heavy plight,
And lowest hell, to which I lie most near,
Cares not what evils hap to wretched wight,
And greedy seas do in the spoil of life delight.

She mourned that while the beating of the waves pierced the hardest rocks, her piteous plaints only hardened the tyrant's heart against her. Then she prayed all the sea-gods to release her, or else to let her die at once, and ended by the words, "Know, Marinell, that all this is for thee." After this followed such an outburst of grief and weeping that it seemed as if poor Florimell's heart must break.

On hearing her sad complaint, Marinell, who had never yet been touched by pity for the misfortune of any, was filled with remorse and grief at the thought of Florimell's condition.

In his sorrow began the dawning of his love, and he set himself to devise the fair damsel's escape. He thought of suing Proteus for her release, but this he could not do without his mother's aid, and he remembered her charge against the love of women. For a moment he contemplated rescuing her by force of arms, but Proteus was a god, while he had only mortal's might. Then he bethought himself of carrying her off by stealth, but the damsel was surrounded by water, and he possessed no means of getting her to land. So he wandered sadly about the rock, blaming himself severely for not having acknowledged her goodness and beauty long ago.

At length the feast was over, and Marinell was obliged to accompany his mother home, and, sore against his will, leave Florimell in her sea-walled dungeon. Thinking of nothing but her sad fate, he was silent and disinclined for companionship, and so brooded over his secret sorrow that he could neither eat nor sleep. He pined and languished and wept until he grew so weak and ill that he could not stand upright, but was forced to lie upon his couch.

When his mother saw his miserable state, she was greatly troubled, and knew not what to think, for she could not discover the source of his malady. She fancied his old wound was the cause, and repaired to Tryphon, whom she chid sharply because of her son's distress. He returned with her and examined the wound, but said that Marinell's present discomfiture must have some other source, perhaps an unknown grief. At this Cymoent was more troubled than before, and went to her son, beseeching him to reveal to her what lay hidden in his heart, but he would not. Then forsaking the sea-gods as of no avail, she hastened to the heavens, and thence brought Apollo, god of healing, to see her son. He declared the disease to be love.

Cymoent grieved and fretted greatly when she heard this, and went to her son and prayed him in gentle words to tell her which one of the sea-nymphs he loved. She felt sure it must be a sea-nymph, and was the less concerned since the god's warning had been only against a mortal maid. She therefore promised, whoever it might be, to aid him in his suit. Great was her dismay when Marinell replied that he loved Florimell. But it was no time to indulge in fruitless grief, for her son lay in danger of his life. Cymoent therefore went straight to Neptune, and telling him of Proteus' cruelty towards Florimell, begged him to order her release. This Neptune at once did, and armed with his warrant she went to Proteus' cave, and there saw the maiden whom her son loved. The old sea-god read his monarch's mandate in moody silence, but was forced to obey, and therefore yielded his prisoner to Cymoent. She, charmed by Florimell's grace and gentle loveliness, took her by the hand, and welcomed her lovingly, rejoicing that her son should have so fair a wife. Then Cymoent showed her son the fair maiden, and his heart and spirit were so cheered within him that his strength gradually returned, and he became himself again. Nor was Florimell less glad.

After a time Marinell took her back to Faeryland, where he married her, and there was a great banquet held in honour of the wedding, and after the feast a tournament, in which Marinell did deeds of great renown, of which you shall hear more in the tale of Braggadochio.


Faerie Queene. Book II., Canto III.; Book III., Canto VIII.; Book IV., Cantos IV., V.; Book V., Canto III.

Among the good and brave knights who fought in Faeryland was a false one named Braggadochio.

Wandering aimlessly about the forests, this man had one day come upon a noble horse, fully caparisoned, and a spear lying by its side. Here was his chance! He made no endeavour to find the owner of the steed, but straightway appropriated both horse and spear.

Finding himself thus armed and mounted, his ambition rose; he determined to call himself a knight, and to set out for the famous court of Gloriana.

He had not gone far when he saw a man sitting idly on a sunny bank. At this Braggadochio puffed himself out in order to look grand, pricked on his horse, and ran at the man full tilt. In terror the man fell flat upon the ground, and lifting up his hands, cried out piteously for mercy. Thereupon Braggadochio thought himself a great warrior, and thundered at his victim in a loud voice, calling him all sorts of names, and commanding him to yield or die, adding that he might think himself happy to be permitted a choice.

The man cried out that he yielded. Then Braggadochio told him, that if he would prostrate himself on the earth and kiss his stirrups he would accept him as his thrall. Immediately the coward cringed at his feet, and did him homage as his liege lord.

By-and-bye this craven thrall became emboldened, for he found out Braggadochio's character, and being full of cunning, resolved to keep in his master's favour by humouring his vanity.

So they went forth. Braggadochio the knight, and Trompart the squire, a fitting pair.

Very soon after they had cast in their fortunes together, they met Archimago, the great and cruel wizard. Now Archimago had a secret grudge against certain knights, and was in search of some one to avenge his fancied wrong. Delighted to see so imposing a personage as Braggadochio, he inquired of Trompart what mighty man this was that rode on a golden saddle, yet carried no weapon save a single spear. Trompart replied that his lord was a great adventurer, who had lost his sword in a hard fight, and had sworn never to wear another until he had avenged himself of his loss. His master's spear, he alleged, was weapon enough to make a thousand combatants quake.

Archimago was much delighted, and he bowed low to Braggadochio, and told the story of his wrongs.

When Braggadochio heard it, he pretended to be very angry, and threatened the offending knights with instant death if Archimago would only tell him where to find them. This the enchanter at once did; but he warned Braggadochio that his enemies were two of the mightiest knights that lived, and begged him to arm himself with a sword as well as his spear.

But Braggadochio scorned his advice, laughed at the notion of measuring his might by the arms he bore, and taunted the enchanter with the weakness of old age, declaring that Archimago little knew what his right arm had done. At this the old man grew ashamed of his mistrust, yet could not dismiss it from his mind.

As he hesitated whether to speak again Braggadochio broke out into a loud boast, declaring that he had once slain seven knights with a single blade, and had then sworn never again to wear a sword unless it were that belonging to the noblest knight alive.

By this grand speech he thought to get rid of Archimago and his troublesome request. But not so, for the enchanter at once promised to bring him by next day the flaming sword of Prince Arthur, "noblest knight alive"; and as he spoke he vanished, leaving no trace behind.

And now the boaster began to fear, and to wonder who this strange man might be. His wonder soon changed to panic, and the bold champions, Trompart and Braggadochio, fled from the spot as if the very ground Archimago had trod would rise and pursue them.

They did not once look back until they reached a green forest, and there they concealed themselves. But their terror was by no means gone: every leaf that moved, every sound the wind made caused their valiant hearts to quake, while all the time they feigned that they were only pretending fear.

At length a shrill horn echoed through the wood, and some one was heard moving quickly in the thicket. This new cause of fright so overcame Braggadochio that he tumbled hastily from his horse and crept into a bush. Trompart waited to see what would happen. Presently there issued from the brushwood a lady in hunting dress. She was very beautiful: her habit was adorned with rich jewels, and her stately bearing showed her to be of princely birth. In her hand she carried a boar-spear, and at her back was slung a bow and a quiver full of steel headed darts.

When Trompart saw the lady, fear seized upon him, and he could not tell whether to flee away or to remain in hiding, but she soon spied him out, and asked whether he had seen a wounded hind pass by. Addressing her in most respectful terms, Trompart replied that he had not, and then begged of her to tell him which of the goddesses she was. She was on the point of replying when something moved in the thicket. It was Braggadochio, but the damsel thought it was her prey, and, bending her bow, would have made a speedy end of the boaster had not Trompart stayed her hand, and explained that his lord, far-famed for bold achievement, lay shrouded there.

As he spoke Braggadochio crept forth on hands and knees; then, rising up boldly, shook his helmet fiercely, trying to appear as if he had just been awakened from deep slumber. The sight of her beauty restored him to self-confidence, and he was beginning to resume airs of vanity when a vision of the weapons she carried cowed him. Her manner, however, again reassured him. She addressed him as a companion-in-arms, and Braggadochio, taking up the strain, recounted the wondrous deeds he had done, then boldly asked who she was that thus ranged the forest and did not dwell at court. To this she replied, that honour was only truly to be found in toil, and that he who idled at home need not hope to win it.

While she spoke Braggadochio, presuming on her graciousness, grew more and more insolent in his demeanour. Indignant, the goddess bent her javelin threateningly, then turned and fled apace. Braggadochio was at first dismayed, but was far too great a coward to pursue. So, concluding that he had better depart lest worse things should befall, he mounted his steed and rode away in so clumsy and untrained a manner that the noble animal chafed under him, and yearned to be eased of his burden.

Some time after this, as Braggadochio and Trompart, who now also possessed a steed, were going on their way, they saw a rude rustic seated on the roadside by a beautiful lady, richly decked with jewels. Now, these were no other than the false Florimell and her lover, son of the old witch who had sent the cruel beast after Florimell the true. Braggadochio thought a knight such as himself more suited to the fair lady than any rustic. He therefore couched his spear, rode up to the man, declaring that the damsel was his, and must be yielded to him on pain of death.

The rustic, greatly alarmed, and not daring to fight against so powerful-looking an enemy, let his lady go, and Braggadochio mounted her on Trompart's horse and led her off, a proud and happy man. As they journeyed he began to make love to her, but presently their love-making came to an abrupt end, for they encountered an armed knight, who advanced towards them on a heavy charger that trampled the ground with a sound like thunder.

The appearance of this knight greatly disconcerted Braggadochio, but he looked as fierce as he could, and made a show of cheering his lady, who also was afraid. The knight came on, fierce and powerful, and bade Braggadochio give up the lady or else do battle for her. This challenge made the boaster quake with terror, but he put on the best appearance of bravery he could, and addressing the stranger declared that man to be very foolish who sought to win with words what he had gained with blows. At this the knight grew angry, and told Braggadochio to prepare to fight.

"Then," said Braggadochio, "since die thou wilt, let us both turn our steeds, ride back a certain distance, and meet in equal tilt." They did as he suggested, and retired one from the other about a furlong's space, when Braggadochio, whose last intention was to fight, rode away, and without looking back, left his lady-love to take her chance, caring only for his own safety. Thus did his valour show itself!

After several further adventures, Braggadochio one day encountered a party of knights and ladies who were on their way to a great tournament. He rode up to them and they treated him courteously, and allowed him to accompany them.

Now, it happened that the fair but false Florimell whom Braggadochio had so basely deserted was of this company, and rode with a knight named Blandamour. No sooner did Braggadochio see her than he wished to have her back again. He therefore declared that he had before won her in battle and that she was his by right. But Blandamour would not listen to his claim, and taunting him with having lost his lady-love decreed that Braggadochio must fight for her once more if he wished to make good his pretended right. He further proposed that the false Florimell should stand side by side with a wicked old witch named Até, who was of their company, and that he who won the day should have the lady, and he who was beaten, the witch. The company were all pleased with this proposal, and false Florimell and the hag were brought forward, whereupon all began to laugh. Then Braggadochio, glad of any excuse which saved him from fighting, declared that he would be no party to any such bargain; if Blandamour liked to offer another lady as fair as Florimell, he would agree to fight, but he would not risk his life on the chance of gaining so poor a prize as Até. At this they all smiled, the false Florimell upbraided him with want of gallantry and Até, the witch, tried to urge him on, but he cared for none of them, and remained obstinate.

In order to keep the peace, a brave knight, Cambello, who chanced to ride with them, reminded the company that they were on their way to a great tournament, and had better not waste their strength in quarrelling on the way, but wait until they arrived where each could fight his fill and, if they wished, fight out this quarrel also. So they passed off Blandamour's proposal as a joke, and went on together; but all the way they mocked at Braggadochio and made a laughingstock of him.

Now, the tournament to which this company was going was one arranged by the good knight Satyrane, he who had picked up the lost girdle of the true Florimell.

It was to be held in her honour, and to last for three days. To the combatant who most distinguished himself the right was reserved of claiming the hand of the fairest lady present, and to that lady Satyrane would yield Florimell's golden girdle.

On the first day, Sir Satyrane himself was judged the victor. On the second, Braggadochio's opportunity arose; but when his turn came to fight, he looked so uncertain and fearful that the knight Triamond, indignant at his cowardly hesitation, stepped forward and took his place. The third day was no more favourable to the braggart, for a strange knight appeared within the lists, who bore all others down, and won the honours of the tournament.

Then followed a contest as to which was fairest of the many damsels who had graced the combat. Knight after knight advanced his lady, but of them all, Florimell the false was deemed most lovely, and to her the girdle was awarded.

Now, this girdle had been framed by magic skill, and could not be made to clasp upon falsehood of any kind. It would not therefore fasten on the false Florimell, who, however, insisted upon wearing it, although she was forced to tie it on.

And here fortune favoured Braggadochio, for there arose a great quarrel as to whose Florimell should be. The knight who had rightfully won her was no other than Britomart, who cared nothing for her prize. Then Braggadochio stepped forward and called Florimell to witness that he had before won her in battle. At his audacity the uproar grew more loud, for all the knights hated and despised Braggadochio. At length Sir Satyrane proposed that all should forego their claim, and that the false Florimell should be placed in their midst, and of her own free will choose her rightful lord. To this the knights agreed, and after looking long at each one, as if she would fain have pleased them all, Florimell turned to Braggadochio. The knights were almost mad with disappointment and anger at her choice, so Braggadochio, feeling rather uncomfortable and not very safe among them, bore her off in the night, and left them to complain.

Soon after this the true Florimell was married, as you have already heard, to Marinell. Immediately after the wedding, Marinell held a great tournament, in which he and six friendly knights maintained Florimell's beauty against that of any lady all the world over.

The lists were open to all who cared to enter them, and many were the honours lost and won, but when the third day dawned, Marinell still wore the victor's laurel. This day was to end the tournament, and as the fight grew more and more fierce, Marinell became surrounded, and was in serious danger. At that moment the brave Sir Artegal, whom Britomart sought, entered the tilting-yard, and at the same time, Braggadochio, Trompart, and the lady. Sir Artegal saw Marinell's danger, and hastened to his aid, but not wishing to be recognized, he changed shields with Braggadochio before entering the lists. After a hard combat, he succeeded in rescuing Marinell from the opposing knights, and together they won every honour of the field.

The tournament ended, Sir Artegal returned his shield to Braggadochio, and the whole company repaired to the great hall, where the judges of the tilting match were to announce the name of him who had won the prize. There also stood the true Florimell, ready to greet every knight according to the deeds he had done. Then the judges called for the stranger knight who had rescued Marinell, but Artegal did not move, and in his stead Braggadochio advanced and showed his shield, which all recognized as that belonging to the victor. The trumpets sounded three times in his honour, the judges awarded him the prize, and Florimell came forth to greet him and to thank him for the honour he had done her name. But Braggadochio received her courteous words with scorn, declaring that what he had done had been for his own lady's sake, and not for hers.

At these rude words, Florimell turned aside, and Braggadochio, who had kept his lady veiled until now, brought her boldly forth before all the people, maintaining that she and not the other was Florimell the true. She was indeed fair, and for a moment the assemblage was stupified, and agreed that if this were not the Florimell famed throughout Faeryland, she was yet more beautiful. Even Marinell was dismayed, and knew not what to believe. Then arose Sir Artegal, and no longer able to contain his anger against Braggadochio, plainly discovered himself, and charging the boaster with utter falsehood, declared it was he and not Braggadochio who had rescued Marinell; for proof of which he pointed to the false knight's unused sword. He next called for Florimell, and leading her up to the other, caused the two to stand side by side. Behold, the false could not abide the presence of the true, and the false Florimell faded away before their eyes, and no trace of her was left but the empty girdle. The people were struck dumb with astonishment, and Braggadochio was seized with despair and remained as still as if he were lifeless. Artegal broke the silence, for he stooped and lifted the girdle, and presented it to Florimell. She fastened it on her waist, and it fitted perfectly; and all were convinced that this was indeed Florimell, and crowded around her, giving her tokens of their joy.

Meantime, a commotion arose in the hall. The knight Guyon, to whom the stolen horse belonged, had arrived, and seeing Braggadochio's horse recognized it as his own. Seizing its reins with one hand and drawing his sword with the other, he insisted on having it restored. Braggadochio refused, and a quarrel ensued, which bade fair to be a bloody one. Then Artegal came forward and asked Guyon whether he could prove the steed to be his own. Guyon replied that there was a mark inside the horse's mouth by which he could certainly recognize it. At this several of those present tried to open its mouth, and were severely bitten for their pains. Then came Guyon himself, and called his steed by its name, at which the horse broke loose from its bonds in its joy and followed Guyon, opening its mouth so that all could see whose he was.

Now Artegal was deemed the just, and all looked to him for judgment in the quarrel. He decreed the proof sufficient, and condemned Braggadochio to go on foot until he could obtain a horse honestly. Braggadochio raged and raved in fury, and made Artegal at length so angry that he three times laid his hand on his sword to kill him, but Sir Guyon stayed his anger, saying that Braggadochio was unworthy the vengeance of a true knight.

So was Sir Artegal pacified, but Talus, his servant, seized Braggadochio, and, dragging him out of the hall, shaved off his beard, reversed his shield, blotted out his device, broke his sword, and scattered his armour. Then, rushing after Trompart, who had tried to make away, he disarmed him also, and scourged him out of the court; and, amidst the laughter and scorn of the knights and their ladies, Braggadochio and his follower finally disappeared.

How Britomart found Artegal.

Faerie Queene. Book IV. Cantos IV., V., VI.

After leaving the abode of Busyran, the cruel enchanter, Britomart and Amoret met with many adventures, but in none of these did they encounter either Scudamour or Artegal. At length Britomart heard of Sir Satyrane's famous tournament, and to it, accompanied by Amoret, she repaired.

It was the last day of the tournament when they arrived. Many brave combats had already taken place, but for this day was reserved the most eager display of valour. Full many a knightly deed was wrought, and when fortune seemed to forsake the side of Satyrane, he himself was ever ready to assist his knights and uphold their honour, proving once again his far-famed prowess. Nor was there one that day who did not put forth his utmost strength, as might be well seen from the many wounds received, the shivered spears and broken swords, and horses that ran riderless. Still the knights of Sir Satyrane kept the ascendency. But when the day had dragged on a weary pace, there appeared from out the other side a stranger. Whence he came no man could say, nor could they discover aught from the arms which he bore. His steed was caparisoned with oaken leaves, his armour looked like wild weeds decked with wood mosses, and on his ragged shield was the strange device, "Salvagesse sans finesse." On entering the lists this new-comer levelled his spear at the first knight he met, and overthrew him at the first encounter. Knight after knight he vanquished, until his spear split, and then he drew his sword, and with it hewed and slashed at helmets until everyone began to shun the very sight of him as of death itself. And now all men wondered who this was, and whence he came, inquiring one of another by what name he was called, and when they could learn nothing they dubbed him the Savage Knight because of his wild appearance. He was, however, no knight of the woods, but Artegal, the brave and mighty.

Thus were Sir Satyrane and his knights dismayed by the sole power of Artegal, and none of them durst stand in the field before him, but were beaten back and chased about all the day, until evening came, and the sun began to slant downwards in the heavens. Then, again, there rushed out from the thickest press, an unknown knight, who in turn put to shame even the glory of Sir Artegal.

This was Britomart, who, eager to restore the day to Sir Satyrane, bent her powerful spear towards Artegal's helmet, and smote him so sore a blow that he fell from his charger, and was for a time unable to arise. Nor did others who crossed spears with the stranger fare better; and when the fighting was over, Britomart, content with having restored the glory of the field to Satyrane, went on her way with Amoret, ignorant that she had, all unawares, seen and fought with Artegal her love.

He, however, was sore at heart, by reason of his defeat, and eager to have his revenge on the unknown warrior.

Meantime, Scudamour still sought his wife. He had, by this time, heard of her rescue, but instead of feeling grateful to Britomart, he was jealous and suspicious of her, for the wicked hag Até had spoken ill of the noble maid, and tried to create enmity against her.

From being suspicious, Scudamour became unjust, and in his wrath against Britomart, had nearly slain old Glaucé, her faithful squire. In vain did the aged dame try to pacify his wrath; the more calmly she spoke, the more angry he grew, and yet their common interest held them together. At length, after various wanderings, they one day encountered an armed knight, who, when he saw them approach, rode rapidly towards them as if bent on an attack. Scudamour, perceiving his purpose, rode forward, ready for the combat, but, as the other knight came near and saw the arms which Scudamour bore, he checked his charger, and riding quietly up, addressed him courteously, calling him by his name, and praying to be pardoned for the offence against a friend which he had so nearly committed.

To this, Scudamour replied, that at worst it were a slight offence to try his sword with any venturous knight, and begged to know who it was that had thus called him by name.

"Call me the Savage Knight," said Artegal, "as others do."

"Then," said Scudamour, "interpret your name; have you taken it for some secret purpose, or only because your home is in the forest?"

"The other day," Artegal replied, "a stranger knight did me shame, and I wait to wreak revenge upon him when he shall pass this way."

At this answer, Scudamour asked who the stranger knight might be, and Artegal told him that he was one whose name was unknown, although his fame was far renowned. He was called the Knight of the Heben Spear, and having borne down all opponents in a great tournament lately held by Sir Satyrane, had departed, carrying with him the fairest lady ever seen.

When Scudamour heard mention of the dread spear, he knew it must be Britomart of whom Artegal spoke, and his rage kindling afresh, he exclaimed in angry accents—

"This is not the first uncourtly deed of which that knight is guilty; he hath stolen from me my true love, and if this hand can aid in the revenge you purpose, it shall not fail you when the time arrives."

So together they plotted vengeance on the unconscious and noble Britomart.

While they were thus talking, they saw far off, a knight, dressed in foreign arms and strange accoutrements, whom on nearer approach, they recognized as none other than this same Knight of the Heben Spear. Then Scudamour prayed Sir Artegal to let him make the first attack. Artegal granted the request, and Scudamour, preparing his spear for battle, ran fiercely against his foe. Britomart, seeing his intention, prepared to receive the onset, and so entertained Sir Scudamour, that presently both horse and rider were on the ground.

And now Artegal, beholding Scudamour's mischance, advanced his lance, and full of rage and vengeance, rode against the maiden; but lo! all unawares, Artegal also left his saddle, and to his great amazement, found himself on the ground. He leapt lightly up, and snatching his deadly blade, sprang upon Britomart, assailing her with such vigour that although she was mounted and he on foot, she was forced to give way before him. Now, as they fought, it happened that Britomart wheeled suddenly round, when Sir Artegal's sword struck a blow behind her crest, which falling backward, wounded her steed, and forced her to dismount.

Not a whit dismayed, she cast from her the enchanted spear, and betook herself to her shield and sword. So furiously did she fight that Artegal, exhausted by his long combat, had to yield before her, and her sword pierced through his armour and wounded him so that his blood flowed freely on the green grass.

But now the tide of battle began to change, for Britomart grew weary, while Artegal, through very fighting, seemed to gain rather than to lose strength. He showered blow after blow on his opponent as if he would tear her body from her soul, and then gathering together all his force, the Savage Knight upraised his arm to deal a stroke from which it seemed impossible that Britomart could escape with her life. Down came the cruel blow, and falling on her helmet, struck off the face-piece, then glancing aside, did no further hurt.

And now appeared the maiden's beauteous countenance, shining like the ruddy morn; and all around, her fair hair—loosened from its band by the stir of the fight—fell like a golden shower glistening as the shining sand. And as Sir Artegal once more raised his sword, thinking to deal the last deadly blow, his arm was suddenly arrested; and benumbed with secret fear, shrank from its revengeful purpose, while the cruel sword fell from his slackened fingers to the ground. Then Artegal, having gazed long on the fair and unexpected vision, fell humbly on his knee, thinking that she who stood before him was a heavenly goddess, and horror-struck with what he had done, prayed for pardon.

But Britomart, full of wrath because of the stroke that had revealed her face, still held her arm uplifted, and standing sternly over the knight, threatened to strike unless he would return to the combat, bidding him arise or he should surely die. But Artegal only prayed the more earnestly for pardon, or if that were refused him, besought that she would take her will and inflict on him what punishment she chose.

And when Scudamour, who now quaked with fear, watched her as she stood resolute, and beheld how fair and heavenly her countenance appeared, he crossed himself, and began to worship her as a celestial vision. And old Glaucé seeing this, and knowing that now all jealousy of Britomart would be at rest, was joyful at the thought of a good ending to her sore trouble, and greeting her lost nursling, prayed her as she loved her faithful squire to grant these warriors a truce. The maiden yielded to her request, and the knights raised their beavers to show who they were.

When Britomart beheld the face of Artegal in all its manly beauty, she saw that it was the countenance she had beheld in the magic mirror in her father's house; her angry courage gave way, her haughty spirit became subdued, and her upraised arm fell quietly by her side.

But the maiden was very proud, and cared not to show that she was conquered, so by-and-bye she tried to uplift her hand again, as if rage and revenge still remained in her soul, but it fell harmless, for she caught sight of Sir Artegal's fair countenance. Then she tried to force bitter, angry words from her tongue, but it too refused to obey her will, and instead of wrathful speeches, would utter only mild and gentle words.

And Scudamour, relieved from all his jealous fears by the vision of her loveliness, grew sportive in his speech, rallying Sir Artegal on his so sudden humble behaviour towards his late opponent.

"Indeed, Sir Artegal," he exclaimed, "I delight to see you, who were wont to despise all fair dames, become so suddenly a lady's thrall."

When Britomart heard the name of Artegal, she knew in very truth that this was the knight whom Merlin had told her she should wed. Her heart gave a great leap. She trembled for sudden joy and secret fear, while the blood rushed through her veins and mounted to her fair face. Then, fearful of betraying herself, she strove the harder to continue in her former angry mood, trying thus to hide her newly-awakened feeling.

And now old Glaucé began to speak wise words.

"Ye gentle knights," she said, "whom fortune hath brought to be spectators of the emotion which secret fate hath wrought in this fair lady, marvel not, and henceforth be not the prey of idle fears and jealous thoughts. Nor may you, Sir Artegal, again disdain the might of woman's arm, which hath twice conquered you, nor any longer be rebellious unto love, which is the crown of knighthood and the bond of noble minds. And you, fair lady knight," continued the old woman, "relent, and grant him your grace."

Britomart blushed deeply at her nurse's words, but Artegal rejoiced in his inmost heart, yet dared not make too sudden a change in his demeanour, nor show openly the love which her beauty and quiet dignity of manner, so grave and full of princeliness, inspired within him. But his passion grew the stronger from the very restraint imposed upon him.

Here Scudamour, whose heart had all this time been racked with fear and hope, interposed, with a request for tidings of Amoret. This Britomart at once granted, and went on to relate a sad tale: how, after freeing her from the enchanter, and guarding her with tender care and love for many a day, she had lost her in a wild desert, where from sheer weariness Britomart had fallen asleep.

Poor Scudamour was terribly cast down by these melancholy tidings, and only plucked up a faint hope when Britomart pledged herself to remain with him until together they found the missing dame.

Meantime the three combatants being thus reconciled one to another, mounted their steeds, and rode towards a certain resting-place known to Sir Artegal, where they were well received and cared for. Here they remained until their wounds were healed, and their weary limbs thoroughly rested.

And all the time they sojourned there, Sir Artegal served Britomart with meek service, watching continually how he might best please her. Thus day by day he made progress in his suit; and though Britomart in her womanly pride tried hard to conceal the love she bore him she could not quite succeed. So well did Artegal woo, so skilfully did he contrive, that at length he brought the noble damsel to bay and forced her to lay aside her seeming indifference and to hearken to his words. And as she listened to the vows with which he swore to love and guard her, Britomart's reserve gave way, and she yielded a glad consent to love and own him for her lord until marriage should unite them for ever.

But their marriage might not be yet, for Sir Artegal had been sent out from the court of Gloriana, Queen of Faeryland, on a hard adventure, and until it was achieved he might not turn aside from following after it. And now that his limbs were rested and his wounds were healed, the knight knew the time was come when he must leave Britomart and continue on his way, so he told her of the adventure on which he was bound. She, poor maiden, having just begun to taste of the rest and comfort of his presence, was sorely grieved and exceeding loth to be so soon parted from her "dearest love." But he, strong in the sense of duty, persuaded her to acquiesce, and with fresh vows of love and constancy, promised to return to her so soon as ever his enterprise was ended, which would not, he thought, be longer than three months.

Early next morning, Sir Artegal rose and pursued his way unattended, save by Britomart, who insisted on accompanying him a certain distance.

As they rode, she found first one, and then another excuse for delay, and talked of the perils he must encounter; perils of which the fearless maiden would have thought little for herself. But it was of no avail; all her stratagems but served to wear away the day; evening came, when they must part. Full often Britomart took leave of her lord, each time finding some last injunction to give, until at length she had spent all her words and could find no further pretext for delay, and so with right heavy heart she left him, and returned to fulfil her promise to Scudamour.

How Sir Artegal did at last return from his enterprise and marry the Princess Britomart, Spenser does not say, for he did not live to end all the tales he had begun. But we know that they were married and lived happily, for Merlin prophesied this when Britomart and Glaucé went together to his cave.

Cambello and Triamond.

Faerie Queene. Book IV. Cantos II., III.

Once upon a time there lived a knight named Cambello, who had a sister called Canacée. This sister was very beautiful, and was the most learned lady of her day. She was skilled in the works of nature and in magic arts; she understood the virtues of herbs and the sounds of beasts and birds, and was as good as she was learned.

Now many lords and knights loved Canacée. She, however, showed favour to none; but the more difficult she was to gain, the more was she sought after. Then arose quarrels among her numerous wooers, who ofttimes fought for her in bloody combat.

When Cambello saw this, he perceived it would cause much mischief, and he set about to consider how to prevent these unseemly deeds.

So one day, when this bold and mighty company of knights were assembled together, and were quarrelling as usual, Cambello proposed that if they really loved his sister they should choose three from among their number as champions. These three were to challenge and fight him for his sister's hand, and the bravest was to become her acknowledged suitor.

This was a bold offer on Cambello's part, but Canacée employed her skill on his behalf. She sent him a ring, which, amongst its many virtues had the strange power of staunching the bleeding of a mortal wound. The properties of the ring were well-known, and when her lovers saw Cambello receive it, they began to falter and to wonder whether it were worth while to risk life against such odds for a lady of whose favour they were after all uncertain.

Amongst the knights were three brothers, Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond. These three were born on the same day and loved one another dearly. Each had his own way of fighting. Priamond fought on foot, and for weapons used a spear and cutlass, Triamond on horseback with spear and shield, while Diamond, who was equally at home on horse or foot, used only a cutlass. Bolder men never lived.

Now their mother, Agapé, was a fairy, and had the power of knowing secret things, and as her sons grew up and showed a love of daring, she feared lest they should thereby incur disaster. She therefore determined to visit the three sister Fates and to inquire of them concerning her sons. She had to leave the bright earth and go far underground to a deep dark abyss where was their dwelling.

Agapé found the sisters sitting round the fateful distaff, which Clotho held while Lachesis span the threads that measured out men's lives, and cruel Atropos cut them in twain. Saluting the Fates she sat by, and as she watched them spin and cut the threads, her heart grew sad, and she trembled as she told them the cause of her coming.

They at once consented to reveal to her the fate of her sons, and proceeded to spin out their threads. Agapé trembled still more to see how short and thin these were. She besought that they might be drawn out longer, but to this the sisters would not listen.

Then she craved another boon, and asked that when the eldest, whose thread was shortest, died, his life might pass into the second son, and that when the second died, both lives might pass into the third. This boon they granted, and Agapé went home to find her sons arrayed in armour ready for fight. She did not tell them their destiny, but warned them to beware of danger and exhorted them to love each other.

Now these three brothers were the champions chosen by Canacée's wooers to challenge Cambello.

The day of combat was appointed, and as soon as it was dawn the knights assembled in the field clad in shining armour. The lists were enclosed with rails to keep off the press of people; at one side sat six judges, while at the other, Canacée, beautifully dressed, was seated on a stage where she could both see and be seen by those who fought for her.

The first to enter the lists was Cambello, who walked with stately step and fearless countenance; soon after came the three brothers, bearing gilt shields and broad banners. They marched three times round the field, bowing low to Canacée each time they passed her stage, while trumpets sounded and clarions played.

This ceremony over, Cambello and Sir Priamond advanced from the opposite sides of the lists; a trumpet blew, and they met in fierce encounter. They were a well-matched pair, and it was hard for the on-lookers to say who was the better man.

At length Priamond struck so mighty a blow that it pierced Cambello's shoulder, and forced him to lower his shield. Yet no blood fell from the wound, and the pain of it only made Cambello fight the more fiercely. Driving his spear at Priamond, he smote him in the thigh so that the knight reeled in agony; then Cambello drove at him afresh, and this time fixed his spear so firmly that in drawing it out the head broke.

Mad with pain and rage, Priamond now charged, thrusting his spear through Cambello's beaver. The weapon broke in his hand, and Cambello, dragging out the broken head, flung it back with fury. It struck Priamond in the throat, and wounded him so that he died, whereupon his life passed into Diamond, as the Fates had predicted.

At once Sir Diamond rushed forth into his brother's place, and, accepting Cambello's challenge, the trumpets sounded, and the fight began again. Fiercely they fought, while blood flowed freely, and their weapons flashed fire as stroke fell on stroke; but for a long time the issue was uncertain.

At length Diamond heaved his axe at Cambello with such force that it must have killed him had he not seen it and swerved aside. Then Diamond, who was bowed almost to the ground with the weight of his own blow, slipped. Seizing his opportunity, Cambello with one dread stroke severed his opponent's head from his shoulders. And behold! his body remained upright for a time before it fell senseless to the earth. The spectators were much astonished, for they did not know the Fates' decree, nor that the lifeless trunk had been inhabited by a double soul, which lingered awhile before it passed to Triamond.

Then Triamond, filled with the life and grief of two, leapt forth to avenge his brothers' death. And, notwithstanding the hard fight and his many wounds, Cambello met him as fresh as if he had not fought at all, for the ring not only prevented his wounds from bleeding, but restored his wearied spirits and revived his powers.

But Triamond was a fearless foe, and fought so desperately that Cambello was forced to retreat, until from his very fury Triamond grew breathless. Then Cambello attacked him in turn, compelling him to retire. And so the fight went on until both were sorely wounded, and Triamond's strength gave way from loss of blood. But Cambello, through the virtue of the ring, grew ever stronger, and striking Triamond on the hauberk, pierced it through, and so wounded him that he fell, to all appearance, dead.

But only one of his three lives had gone from him, and, to the utter surprise of all beholders, he suddenly arose and began again to assail Cambello. Cambello was astounded at this strange sight, and in his amazement stood still and off his guard, until Triamond's repeated thrusts compelled him to defend himself. He now fought more cautiously than he had done before, as if his adversary were some uncanny thing, so that Triamond imagined the knight was getting faint-hearted, and that victory was at hand. So thinking, he upheaved his mighty blade and aimed a terrible blow at Cambello. He, seeing it come, leapt skilfully aside, and pierced Triamond under the arm, wounding him right through to the shoulder. But Cambello did not altogether escape the heavy blow, which, falling on his head, hurt him wofully. Both combatants fell to the ground, seemingly dead. Thereupon the on-lookers thought the tournament ended, and the judges rose from their seats. The field-marshals broke up the lists, and went to remove the armour from the slain warriors, and poor Canacée wailed aloud for her brother. When, behold! both knights started lightly from the ground, and once more began the combat.

For a long time they fought fiercely, recklessly, as if caring only to end the contest. No one could say who would win, and all were watching eagerly, yet sadly, for the death of one or both, when suddenly a great noise was heard, so great that the champions themselves stood still. And lo! driving at a furious speed, there appeared a chariot, drawn by lions and decked with gold and precious ornaments, in which there sat a lady of wondrous beauty. She was bounteous as well as beautiful, and learned in all magic arts, for she was Cambina, the daughter of Agapé, and sister of Triamond, to whose aid she came.

There was terrible confusion as she drove through the thick crowds, for the people pressed to see her, and her unruly steeds grew restive, and overthrew many of the mob.

In one hand she held a rod of wondrous power, in the other a cup filled with Nepenthe, a drink devised by the gods to take away anger from the hearts of men, and give peace in its stead. As she came up to the lists she touched the rail with her wand, and it at once flew open. Then she descended from her chariot, and bid "All hail!" first to her brother and then to Cambello. But they were eager to return to the combat, and paid her scant attention. Seeing this, she flung herself on the bloody ground, and with tears prayed them by all that was dear to them to cease. Her entreaty availing not, she touched them lightly with her wand, whereupon their swords fell from them, and as they stood doubtful whether or not to resume them, she handed them the soothing draught, and they being very thirsty, drank of it eagerly.

Then was a wonder wrought, for the two fierce combatants ceased fighting, and kissed each other, and plighted hands as friends for evermore. When the on-lookers beheld this fair sight they shouted aloud for joy, and Canacée descended in haste from her exalted seat, and came to see what the shout portended. When she found the fighting ended and the foes at peace, she greeted Cambina, the strange lady, and offered her love and friendship.

The trumpets sounded, and they all arose to depart. Cambina took Canacée in her chariot, and Triamond and Cambello returned home together, and the people rejoiced with great feasting in the land.

And after a time Triamond took Canacée, and Cambello took Cambina to be their wives, and no such friends or lovers were anywhere to be found.

The Story of Timias.

Faerie Queene. Book III., Canto V.; Book IV., Cantos VII., VIII.; Book VI., Canto V.

You may remember that the good Prince Arthur had a squire named Timias. He it was who went in pursuit of the forester that so rudely followed Florimell. He thus became separated from his lord and had many adventures before he again saw Prince Arthur, who grieved sorely over the loss of his beloved squire.

Timias' first adventure was an encounter with the forester. He chased him through thick woods, a long and weary way, and more than once had nearly avenged the rude fellow's discourtesy towards Florimell. But the forester managed to escape, either because his horse was swifter or his knowledge of the woods better than that of Timias. He made his way to his two brethren, who dwelt with him in the wilds. To them he complained of the ill done him by the squire, and so excited their wrath that they determined to set out forthwith and aid him in making an end of Timias.

All three therefore repaired to a hidden glade, close by a narrow ford, difficult at any time to cross, and now swollen by recent rains. They knew that Timias must pass this ford, and here they lay in wait.

Things fell out just as the brothers expected. All unaware of danger the squire rode up, and began to cross the ford. The moment he did so, the forester stepped out upon the opposite bank, and daring Timias to move another step, threw a dart at him, which struck his habergeon. The blow did not harm him but it made him very angry, all the more so that the bank on which the forester stood was so high that Timias could not reach his antagonist.

At this moment one of the brothers shot a poisoned arrow out of the thicket, which wounded the squire, and caused him exceeding pain. Still he struggled on against all difficulties, and at length reached the opposite bank, where the third brother now attacked him with a bill-hook. Timias avoided the blow and killed the man with a thrust of his spear.

This increased the rage of the surviving brothers, who made a fresh attack with renewed energy. Timias, however, singled out one, and directing his whole force against him, struck a blow which cleft his head from skull to chin. Filled with rage and horror, the last brother shot an arrow at the squire, and immediately attempted flight, but Timias overtook him, and just as he entered the stream, struck off his head.

Timias was now freed from the three brothers, but his troubles were not over, for his poisoned wound bled so profusely that he soon fell from his horse in a deadly faint. He was in a sad plight all alone in the forest, but—

Providence heavenly passeth living thought,
And doth for wretched man's relief make way.

While he lay in the swoon, Belphœbe the huntress, she whom Braggadochio had seen, came where the squire lay. She found him lying in a pool of blood, his hair matted and tangled, his eyes fixed and his lips pale. She recoiled with horror at the sight, but she was a good and brave woman and looked again, and as she looked her heart grew pitiful, and stooping down she felt his pulse. Finding that it still beat she raised his head and rubbed his temples, and then unfastened his armour. This done, she hastened to the woods, where she found herbs, which she carefully prepared. The juice of the herbs she poured into the wound and then bound it with her scarf. By-and-bye Timias opened his eyes and saw the lady standing by him, her bow and golden quiver lying at her feet. He thought her an angel or a goddess, and addressing her as such, asked what service he could render in return for her care. To this Belphœbe replied that she was only the daughter of a wood-nymph and that she desired nothing but his recovery for reward.

By this time the damsels of the huntress arrived and were despatched to recover Timias' strayed steed. Having brought it back, they set him upon it and led him gently to their dwelling.

It lay in a pleasant glade, surrounded by mountains whose mighty woods cast great shadows, and in the midst of which a little stream murmured softly over a rocky bed. By the stream was a fair spot planted with myrtles and laurels, and among these stood a rich pavilion. Here they laid Timias on a soft couch, and here Belphœbe daily dressed his wounds until he became quite well and strong. And then, from gratitude for Belphœbe's care and admiration of her rare virtues, Timias gave up all thought of returning to the Prince, and remained in the forest as her faithful attendant.

One day when hunting with Belphœbe and her damsels, Timias, as often happens in the chase, got separated from his companions, and while wandering about in search of them, came suddenly upon a poor lady who was being carried off by a cruel giant. He instantly went to her rescue, and succeeded in freeing the lady. But he was himself in great danger when Belphœbe, attracted by the noise of the fight, came to his aid, and bending her bow pursued the giant to the door of his den, where she slew him with an arrow.

Meantime Timias, always kind and gentle, was filled with pity for the fair lady whom he had rescued. She had fainted from terror and was much bruised by the fray and the cruel grasp of the monster. The squire knelt by her side, examined her wounds with tender touch, wiped her dewy and unconscious eyes, and in his pitifulness kissed them. At that moment Belphœbe returned, and when she saw her faithful squire so tender towards the lady, her heart swelled with proud disdain. In her sudden passion she was ready to have killed both squire and lady with the very bow which had already slain the monster. She however restrained herself, and drawing near to Timias, exclaimed, "Is this the faith?" then turned and fled.

Distressed at her rebuke Timias instantly arose and followed her, but ever as he drew near she threatened him with her bow and would not permit him to approach her. After a long and fruitless pursuit the squire was forced to turn back with a sad heart. Finding a solitary part of the forest he chose a glade made gloomy with mossy trees, and there built a hut to live in. He broke his weapons and threw them away, vowing never again to fight nor ever again speak to a woman, but to live alone and deplore his grief. The better to keep his foolish vow he cut and spoiled his clothes, let his hair grow until it fell untended over his shoulders, ate only wild fruits and drank only running water. Thus he weakened himself until he was unfit to carry arms, and disguised himself until no one could recognize him.

Indeed it chanced that one day Prince Arthur came into that part of the forest and found Timias in this wretched plight. The Prince talked to him and tried to make out who he was, but never guessed he was all the time addressing his lost squire. Timias would not speak, but only bowed reverently, and the Prince was obliged to go away sad at heart. He thought the miserable man some love-lorn swain, for he saw the name of Belphœbe cut on many of the trees, and remarked how he brightened at the sound of the name and even kissed the ground where it was written.

Thus Timias dwelt alone, wasting his youth in selfish solitude, until one day, as he lay bemoaning himself, a turtle dove that had lately lost her mate happened to come that way. Seeing one so sad, she paused in her flight and began to mourn with Timias. She sat by his side and sang so pitiful and so human a ditty that the squire fancied he heard in it his own name; and as he listened, he shed many tears and beat his breast and tore his hair in his sadness.

Day by day the bird sat by him and sang; she showed no sign of fear and for guerdon of her song, he never failed to share with her his scanty meal.

Timias grew to regard her as a companion, and one day when looking at some mementoes given him by Belphœbe, he chose out a ruby, shaped like a heart, and bound it on the dove's neck. He expected to find some pleasure in gazing at it as he lay and listened to her song, but suddenly the dove finding herself thus decked flew away. Timias was now more sad than ever, for he had lost both the jewel which Belphœbe had given him and his companion.

Meantime the bird flew right through the forest until she came where Belphœbe rested after the chase. There she alighted and straightway began her mournful ditty, hoping thus to attract the maiden's attention. She succeeded, and after watching her for some time Belphœbe noticed on the dove's neck the well-known jewel. Rising hastily she attempted to grasp it, but the dove flew out of her reach, and when she saw that Belphœbe followed, lingered until the maid was near, when she again flew a little way forward, and thus flying and resting lured her far into the forest. They at length arrived near to the abode of Timias, when the dove flew straight into his hand. There she began a most piteous plaint, as if to force Belphœbe to understand who this was. The maiden, however, although sorry for this wretched-looking man, and wishful to do him any good she could did not recognize him. But Timias knew her: he said nothing, but fell humbly at her feet, and kissing the ground on which she trod, washed it with his tears and looked at her with wistful looks. She did not understand him, but wondered at his courtly manners, and pitying his misery, asked him whether heaven or the cruelty of man or his own wilfulness were its cause. When she ended speaking Timias broke his long silence and with it his vow, and replying that his suffering arose from all three, added that she herself had done the wrong.

He went on to pray her forgiveness and the sad words touched Belphœbe's proud heart when she found that it was Timias who thus addressed her.

Relenting from her severity she received him into favour again. For a long time he lived happily in the forest ever attending Belphœbe and forgetting the Prince, his rightful lord, who still sought for his lost squire.

By-and-bye men grew envious of the high distinction Timias received from the great Belphœbe, and said unjust and malicious things of him, but he behaved wisely and continued in her favour.

There were three men more anxious than any others for the overthrow of Timias. These were Despetto, Decetto, and Defetto. They tried all sorts of mean tricks by which to work his ruin, but in vain.

At length they resolved to send the Blattant Beast to destroy him. This was a horrid monster, treacherous and cruel, given to turn suddenly on its pursuer, and bite with poisonous fangs.

On a day when Timias was hunting, these bad men sent the Beast into the forest, hoping that he would give it chase and so be led to destruction. Just as they expected, Timias charged the monster as soon as he saw it, and with such fury that the Beast turned and fled. As it turned it bit him; he, however, paid no attention to the wound, but hotly pursued the Beast, which led him into thick woods and rough places full of briers, and thus wore out his strength until it had him in a woody glade where his three foes lay concealed.

All three sprang out and attacked him fiercely, so that it required his utmost skill to defend himself. They closed round him and rained blows on every side and yet he contrived to withstand them all and even to make them yield before him. But after a long fight his strength began to fail before the heavy odds, and he feared he must soon yield. Just then he heard the trampling and neighing of a horse. The sound inspired him with fresh hope, and the next moment he saw a knight in full armour riding hastily to his rescue. Despetto, Decetto, and Defetto saw this also, and like the cowards that they were, fled precipitately into the thick brushwood whither the knight did not choose to follow. He turned instead to Timias, and in the sorely bested combatant, Prince Arthur, for he it was, recognized his long-lost squire. Exceedingly rejoiced the Prince took him in his arms and embraced him tenderly, and thus was Timias restored to his rightful lord.

Calidore and Pastorella.

Faerie Queene. Book VI. Cantos I., IX., X., XI., XII.

Of all the knights that lived at Gloriana's Faery Court, there was none more gentle or more courteous than Sir Calidore. He was beloved by every one, for to his natural gentleness of spirit and grace of manner was added a manly bearing and courtesy of speech that stole men's hearts away. He was tall and strong, and much renowned for his bravery in battle, and he never employed his great gifts for mean purposes or flattered any one, for he loved simple truth and steadfast honesty.

Now about this time a very hideous monster was wandering about in Faeryland. This was the Blattant Beast, the same that attacked Timias, and so terrible a creature was it, that even the wicked race from which it sprang dreaded and hated it.

This monster had iron teeth, and within the iron teeth were a thousand tongues—of dogs, cats, bears, and tigers,—but the greatest number were human tongues, and these uttered cruel scandals, caring not when or where. There were also serpents' tongues, with three-forked stings, which spat out poison and said hateful things of any who interfered with the Beast. Indeed the delight of this horrid creature was to annoy and injure and destroy good men and women. It was the very plague and curse of mankind, whom it bit and wounded and tormented with its venomous teeth and wicked tongues.

Against the Blattant Beast Sir Calidore was sent, and he was commanded to give it incessant chase until he overtook and subdued it.

It was a hard quest, for the Beast never remained in one place, and Sir Calidore, without guide or good direction, had to go forth in untried ways, to unknown dangers, and to laborious effort.

At length after a weary search and many adventures, after permitting himself little rest either by night or by day, after pursuing the Beast from the court to cities, and from cities to country places, Sir Calidore came into open pasture land where shepherds watched their flocks.

Here he so nearly overtook the monster that he forced it to hide itself from him amongst empty sheds and huts. By the help of these it once more escaped the knight, who, as he still followed in pursuit, chanced to espy a group of shepherds singing and playing, whilst their sheep wandered among the fresh young plants, and nipped off their tender buds.

All tired and heated, Calidore went up to the shepherds, and asked them whether they had seen a Beast such as he described. They replied that they had neither seen it nor anything else to excite their alarm, and prayed God to deliver them from all such.

Then one of the shepherds seeing that Calidore perspired from the heat, offered him a draught to quench his thirst, and food to relieve his hunger. The knight courteously accepted their kindness, and, sitting down at their request, partook of their homely hospitality.

As he rested after the meal, Sir Calidore noticed at a little distance a fair damsel, dressed in home-spun, home-dyed green, with a crown of flowers tied with ribbon on her head. She sat on a little hillock higher than the others, and around her was a circle of fair companions, while beyond these the shepherds lay about, piping and singing her praises, delighting in her beauty, and shouting aloud for very wonder that so beautiful a maiden should be found amongst them. She was as good and modest as she was lovely, and they treated her as if she were a goddess, singing day and night of fairest Pastorella.

Many of the shepherds loved Pastorella, but one named Coridon loved her beyond all the others, and yet the maiden cared neither for him nor any of them. Now, while Sir Calidore looked at the fair damsel and noted the difference in her mien from that of her companions, his heart, all unawares, became drawn towards her, and he stood gazing on her, quite forgetful of his quest, and that the Beast was all this time getting farther and farther away from him. And after the repast was quite over, he still stayed talking to the shepherds, hoping all the time that Pastorella would overhear the adventures he recounted.

Thus the day wore on until night advanced, and the ground grew damp, so that the shepherds knew that it was time to take their flocks to rest. Then there came out to them an old man with silver locks, carrying a shepherd's crook in his hand, and he told Pastorella to arise. The old man's name was Meliboæ, and he was accounted by all, even by Pastorella herself, as her father, but he was only her adopted father, for he had found her as an infant in the fields and had brought her up as his own.

At his bidding she arose and gathered together her little flock of sheep, and the shepherds who had sat round her gathered theirs also, while they vied one with another in helping Pastorella; yet Coridon gave her most help.

When Meliboæ found Sir Calidore left alone, and night so near, he invited him to his cottage, which, though poor, was a better resting-place than the fields, and the knight accepted gladly. He was kindly welcomed both by Meliboæ and his wife, who invited him to lay aside his armour and to rest until supper was ready and Pastorella had returned from tending her sheep. When the frugal meal was ended, Pastorella removed the table, and Sir Calidore in his most courteous manner gave thanks to his host and hostess for their kindness, and praised the simple life which shepherds led. Meliboæ replied by dwelling on the delights of a country life, adding that in his youth he had sought a prince's court and had worked as a gardener at the palace; ten years spent there, however, made him return home more contented than before. Calidore listened much delighted, and anxious to stay on in the shepherd's hut, replied that the world's gay shows were but vanity, and that he wished that his lot were that of Meliboæ. "But," said the old man, "the mind is the true fortune, and happiness is in each man's power." "Then," said Sir Calidore, "let me make my happiness by staying here and resting awhile from the storms of fortune." And lest the expense of his stay should prove burdensome to the old man, he drew forth much gold with which to pay for his food. This offer Meliboæ refused but he granted Calidore permission to remain.

So he remained there, and saw Pastorella daily and offered her many courtesies; but she, unaccustomed to courtly ways, loved the kindness of the shepherds better than his. Calidore therefore laid aside his armour, and dressing as a shepherd, went out into the fields and helped Pastorella with her flocks.

At this Coridon became jealous, and whenever Sir Calidore was present, looked cross and angry; yet Sir Calidore was ever kind to Coridon, and when Coridon brought birds and squirrels from the wood to Pastorella, the knight praised their beauty. But the maiden ceased to care for Coridon's gift, for her heart was beginning to turn towards Sir Calidore.

One day, when the shepherds were in a merry mood, they called for music and began to dance. They invited Sir Calidore to lead the ring, for he was held to be first in Pastorella's favour. But Coridon frowned and bit his lips in anger, and seeing this, Sir Calidore courteously yielded to him the place of honour, and when Pastorella placed her garland on the knight's head, he put it instead upon Coridon.

Another day games were proposed by the shepherds, and Pastorella was chosen judge, and held the garland which was to be the victor's reward. Coridon, renowned for his skill in wrestling, challenged Calidore. But the knight was much stronger than Coridon expected, and easily threw him, whereupon the garland was awarded to Sir Calidore. In his never-failing courtesy the knight gave it up to Coridon, declaring him well worthy the honour.

Thus Calidore proved himself ever courteous, and won love and honour even from his rival, and Pastorella's heart was turned more and more towards him, but he still forgot the Blattant Beast and his vow to follow it without rest.

One day, as Sir Calidore, Coridon, and Pastorella were gathering strawberries in a green wood, a tiger rushed suddenly out of the forest, and with cruel jaws and wide open mouth ran straight at Pastorella. It happened that the others had wandered a little way from her, and the poor damsel, left defenceless, cried out for help. Coridon came running to her aid, but seeing the fierce beast, fled in terror, for his own life was dearer to him than hers. But when Sir Calidore came up and saw the tiger ready to tear Pastorella's limbs, rage, not fear, filled his soul, and with no weapon but his shepherd's hook, he ran at the wild beast and stunned it by his blow, and before it had time to recover he had struck off its head, which he laid at the feet of the trembling Pastorella. From that time she showed marked preference for Calidore, and a little after promised to be his bride.

But one dreadful day, whilst Calidore was hunting in the woods, a party of brigands came down upon the shepherds' dwellings, and spoiling their homes, murdered many of the occupants and carried off the others to sell as slaves. Amongst those taken captive were Meliboæ, Pastorella, and Coridon. They were carried off during the night, for the brigands wished no man to know where they dwelt. Now, their home was on an island, covered with brushwood, but there was no appearance of dwellers on the island, for the brigands lived in underground caves, dark and dreary, and lighted only by candles.

Here they brought their captives, meaning to sell them to the first merchants who passed that way. But they had not been long in the island before the captain of the brigands fell in love with Pastorella and wished her for his wife. Now Pastorella, being betrothed to Calidore, could not listen to his wish, and this made him angry, and yet he loved her so much that he continued to try hard to gain her affection. All this made her so unhappy that she became ill.

While Pastorella lay ill, a band of free-booting merchants arrived in search of slaves. The brigands came and told the captain who was watching near the sick maiden, and the news made him sorrowful, for he feared that his men would insist on Pastorella's being sold with the others. Yet he dared not refuse; so he showed the merchants old Meliboæ and Coridon and others. But one of the merchants had heard of the shepherdess, and demanded to see her also. At this the captain grew angry and declared that the maiden was his prize, and that, moreover, she lay sick; and to prove his words, he took them to see her. But the sight of her pale beauty only made the merchants still more desirous to have her, and they declared that unless they might buy Pastorella they would buy no one. Thereupon the brigands demanded her sale, but the captain stoutly refused and drew his sword, and a fierce fight began, in which blood was freely spilt.

And first of all, the captives were slain, old Meliboæ, his aged wife, and many others. But Coridon escaped in the darkness, thinking nothing of his friends. All this time Pastorella was defended by the captain who stood between her and the enemy. He was slain at length, and fell with Pastorella in his arms, who fainted from fear and weakness. And as she lay there the fight continued, and those slain fell upon her, so that she was nearly stifled to death.

When the brigands found that their captain was gone, the fighting ceased, and the combatants became as eager to make friends as they were before to quarrel; so having agreed among themselves, they lighted candles and began the melancholy search for the dead. Their captain they found cruelly slain, and by him the dying maid. Seeing that there was still life in Pastorella, they used every means to restore her, and at length succeeded. But when she was able to look round, and saw her father and her friends lying dead, wringing her hands, she wept and wailed and wished herself of their number. However, as the brigands were very anxious that she should get well, they took care of her in their rude way. When they went out to plunder, they left one of themselves—the best, although all were bad—in charge of her, but he was of little use, scarce giving her food or rest.

Meantime Sir Calidore had returned from the chase and had found the desolation caused by the brigands. He was almost mad with grief and rage, and his anguish was increased by the sad fact that there was no one to whom he could speak, nor any of whom he could ask tidings. He sought everywhere, but in vain; the woods and the plain were alike silent and empty. Roaming about restlessly in his despair, he at length saw someone coming towards him. The new-comer was dressed in rags, his hair was standing on end, and he was running as if from great danger. As he came near, Sir Calidore saw that it was Coridon. Hastening up to him the knight asked where Pastorella and the others had been taken.

"Ah," said Coridon, sighing deeply, "would that I had never lived to see this day, but had died before I saw Pastorella dead."

"What," exclaimed Calidore, "Pastorella dead? How dared death touch her?" And then he persuaded Coridon to tell his sad tale; and Coridon told how he had seen Meliboæ die, and the captain defend Pastorella, but as he believed,—in vain.

On hearing these tidings, Sir Calidore's heart well-nigh broke; but after a time he recovered spirit and determined to rescue Pastorella were she still alive, or to avenge her, were she dead. He asked Coridon to show him the way to the Island, but he had great difficulty in inducing him to do so. At length Calidore prevailed upon him, and they went forth dressed as shepherds, although the knight wore armour under his peaceful garb.

As they neared the Island they came to a hill, on which they saw shepherds with their flocks. They determined to go and learn from them the latest tidings. Great was their surprise when Coridon recognized the flocks as the very ones that had been stolen from them, and these shepherds no other than the thieves. This discovery alarmed him greatly, and his heart began to lose all courage, but Sir Calidore reassured him as best he could and prevailed upon him to advance upon the men, who were all asleep. Coridon would have slain them, but Sir Calidore, who had another plan, prevented him.

Sitting down by their side, he wakened them gently, told them the time of day, and beginning to talk, asked them questions which would, he hoped, reveal the truth as to Pastorella. And when the brigands in turn questioned Sir Calidore and asked who he and his comrade might be, the knight replied that they were herdsmen who sought for hire. On hearing this the thieves at once offered them wages to take care of their flocks. Sir Calidore accepted the offer, and when night came, he and Coridon returned with the outlaws as their hired servants. They quickly learned all the secrets of the caverns, and to their great joy found that Pastorella still lived.

After a time of patient waiting Sir Calidore's opportunity came. The brigands had returned from a fray and slept soundly. In the dead of night Sir Calidore arose, and armed only with an old sword which he had found, made his way to the new captain's cavern. Coridon, too cowardly to join boldly with him, too fearful to be left behind, followed faltering. They found the doors fast closed, but Sir Calidore attacked them with all his force and burst them open. The noise awoke the chief brigand, who came rushing to the entrance, where in a few moments Sir Calidore slew him.

Meantime the sound of the fray struck terror into the heart of Pastorella, but when the well-known and much-loved voice of Sir Calidore called to her, joy and comfort took the place of misery and despair, and her spirit revived within her. His voice was to her as the sunshine to the wintry earth, and she who had longed for death felt the spring of life arise anew within her. Nor did Sir Calidore rejoice less: like one distraught he rushed to her, and taking her in his strong arms kissed her a thousand times.

But now the alarm had roused all the brigand camp, who came flocking to their captain's cavern. Sir Calidore stood in the doorway, and as they pressed forward, he slew them one by one until the entrance was fairly blocked by dead bodies. Then he rested until daylight dawned; and when there was sufficient light to see his way, he arose, chose from among the slain a trusty sword and went out into the open day. There a great crowd awaited ready to attack him. Then began a terrible fight. On every side the brigands set upon him, and sorely they oppressed him, nor did any spare him; yet so skilled and powerful was Sir Calidore that by the aid of his trusty brand he dispersed and scattered his enemies, slaying all that came into his way.

Then Sir Calidore returned to Pastorella his betrothed, and brought her forth to the light of day, which she had not seen since she was taken captive, and did all he could to make her forget the sorrows she had suffered. When he had thus comforted her he returned to the robbers' caves and took away their treasure. Bestowing the flocks they had stolen from old Meliboæ on Coridon, Sir Calidore went forth, taking with him Pastorella.

Now all this time the Blattant Beast was ranging at will, no one stopping or restraining his course. And Sir Calidore deemed it high time to follow his quest once more, although he must first secure the safety of his love. He therefore took her to the Castle Belgard, where dwelt the good Sir Bellamour with Claribell, his wife, and there they were warmly welcomed and hospitably entertained, for Sir Bellamour knew Sir Calidore right well, and had loved him for his prowess ever since they had served together in the field. And Claribell was drawn towards the fair Pastorella, and tended her so lovingly that she soon grew strong and well. When Sir Calidore saw the maiden recover strength and health, he resolved to leave her in Castle Belgard, and to return to his quest, for he was ashamed to remember how long he had neglected the enterprise entrusted to him by Gloriana.

With ceaseless pains and toils Sir Calidore resumed his task. It was in some respects easier than before, for the Beast had gradually waxed more powerful, and wherever it went left traces of its spoil.

The knight found that it had invaded the homes of men of all conditions of life and in all had done great damage; that at length it had reached the clergy, and among them had wrought such spoil and havoc, and committed such thefts that to tell all would be impossible. And now Sir Calidore, who had followed its track with ceaseless care, came to a monastery, where he found the Blattant Beast destroying and despoiling with might and main. It had broken into the cloisters and scattered the monks hither and thither; it had pursued them into their cells and had not spared even the holy things of religion. For it broke into the church and robbed the chancel; threw down the desks and injured the altar, and cast everything into confusion.

Here Sir Calidore found it; and the Blattant Beast, knowing his power of old, at once fled, but the knight pursued with great swiftness and got nearer and nearer to the monster, until at length he overtook it in a narrow place. Attacking it fiercely, Sir Calidore forced the Beast to turn and face him. Then the knight struck it with his sharp steel, and in return it rushed savagely upon him, its ugly mouth wide open so as to expose the double row of iron teeth, and the thousand yelling, barking, back-biting tongues therein. Not one whit afraid, Sir Calidore fell upon the monster with such might that he obliged it to give way, and for a moment so mastered it that all it could do was to spit forth poisonous venom from its foaming, bloody jaws, threatening in vain to bite. Then rearing itself on its hind legs, it attacked him with its claws as if it would have rent him in pieces. But Sir Calidore was on his guard, and thrust his shield before him; then putting out all his strength he forced the creature back until it fell. Quick as thought the knight flung his shield upon it, and with all his strength held it down.

At this the Beast raged and roared most horribly, and foamed out bloody gore, and strove in vain to rear itself upright. The more it strove, the firmer the knight held it. It bit, and scratched, and threw out venom, and behaved like a very fiend, so mad was its rage that any should hold it under, and still Sir Calidore kept on, for the more its anger increased the greater became his power.

Then when the Beast felt it could do nothing against the knight, it began to reveal its deepest, most wicked nature, and used its tongue no longer to spit out blood or venom, but to speak reproaches and to utter wicked lies of Sir Calidore. But even these could not cause this true knight so to forget himself as to grow angry and release his hold for a single moment. He held on tighter and tighter until the Beast was almost strangled in his grasp. At length when he saw that the creature's power was growing less, he drew forth a muzzle made of the strongest iron, and with it closed its cruel mouth and shut in its blasphemous tongues. To the muzzle he fastened a long chain, and by this drew forth the Blattant Beast, cowed and captive. Never before had any dared to curb its will or restrain its tongues, and it greatly repined at its bondage, inwardly chafing under a restraint which nevertheless it did not dare to withstand. It trembled under Sir Calidore's mighty hand, and like a beaten dog followed him where he went. Thus was the once powerful Beast led through all Faeryland, its former victims thronging out of the towns to see it captive and to praise and admire its captor. Thus then did Sir Calidore rid the world during his lifetime of a scandalous pest, although after his days the Beast broke its chain and ranged once more at liberty.

His quest ended, the knight returned to Pastorella, to whom a strange fortune had befallen.

Sir Bellamour and Claribell had known troublous days in their youth. In these days an infant daughter had been born to them, which, owing to the sad woes that had befallen them, Claribell was forced to send away from her. Her maid Melissa had borne the infant to the fields. With many tears she had laid it down and watched behind bushes until a shepherd coming to the spot lifted the babe and carried it away.

And now Melissa, who still lived with Claribell, recognized a certain mark on Pastorella's fair skin by which she was persuaded that the damsel was none other than the long-lost babe. She ran to her mistress with the glad tidings; at first Claribell could hardly believe her, and trembling with uncertain joy, hurried to Pastorella and asked her many questions. To all Pastorella gave satisfactory answers, and Claribell overcome with the gladness of a mother's love, tenderly embraced her child, and then went to tell her husband. Deeply rejoiced, he too acknowledged Pastorella as his daughter.

Thus was the fair shepherdess proved to be a right worthy bride for the mighty Sir Calidore by birth as well as by beauty and goodness, and we may be very sure that they were, as the old story-books say, "happy ever after."


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