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Title: The Faery Queen and Her Knights: Stories Retold from Edmund Spenser

Author: Alfred John Church

Edmund Spenser

Release date: October 17, 2017 [eBook #55765]

Language: English

Credits: E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Stephen Hutcheson, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (



E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Stephen Hutcheson,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team





The Faery Queen and Her Knights



MACMILLAN & CO., Limited


The Slaying of the Dragon.




Author of “Stories from Homer”


All rights reserved

Copyright, 1909,

Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1909.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



I. The Red-Cross Knight 1
II. Archimage and Duessa 7
III. The Fortunes of Una 16
IV. Of what befell at the House of Pride 24
V. How the Red-Cross Knight leaves the Castle of Pride 29
VI. The Lady Una and the Satyrs 35
VII. Of the Giant Orgoglio 42
VIII. Of the Deeds of Prince Arthur 49
IX. Of the House of Holiness 55
X. Of the Slaying of the Dragon 64
XI. Of Sir Guyon and the Lady Medina 71
XII. How Sir Guyon came into Great Peril 77
XIII. Of Two Pagan Knights 89
XIV. Of Queen Acrasia 96
XV. Britomart 102
XVI. Of Merlin’s Magic Mirror 109
XVII. How Britomart took to Arms 117
XVIII. Sir Scudamore and Amoret 127
XIX. Of Sir Paridell and Others 135
XX. The Story of Canacé and the Three Brothers 142
XXI. The Story of Florimell 153
XXII. Of the False Florimell 160
XXIII. Sir Satyrane’s Tournament 168
XXIV. Of Florimell’s Girdle 176
XXV. Of Britomart and Artegall 180
XXVI. Of the Fortunes of Amoret 190
XXVII. Of Sir Artegall and the Knight Sanglier 197
XXVIII. Of Other Adventures of Sir Artegall 202
XXIX. Sir Artegall does Justice 214
XXX. Radigund 221
XXXI. How Sir Artegall was Delivered 233
XXXII. Of the Knave Malengin 247
XXXIII. Of the Lady Belgé 252
XXXIV. Of Sir Artegall and Grantorto 263
XXXV. Of Sir Calidore and the Lady Briana 270
XXXVI. Of the Valour of Tristram 278
XXXVII. Sir Calepine and the Lady Serena 286
XXXVIII. Of Sir Calidore and Pastorella 294
XXXIX. The End of Sir Calidore’s Quest 301


The Slaying of the Dragon Frontispiece
The Red-Cross Knight and Sansfoy 10
The Lady Una and the Lion 20
Sir Guyon and the Men in Bestial Shapes 100
Agapé approaching the Dwelling of the Fates 142
Sir Scudamore overthrown by Britomart 184
Sir Artegall and the Saracen 204
Prince Arthur slaying the Seneschal 256



Once upon a time there might have been seen a gentle Knight, riding across the plain. He was clad in armour of proof, and on his arm he carried a silver shield. A shield it was that brave men had carried before him, for there were great dints upon it, which were as a witness of great fights that had been fought. Now the Knight himself had never yet been in battle; but he seemed as one who could bear himself bravely, so well did he sit upon his horse, and so stout of limb he was. On his breast he wore a cross, red as blood, in token that he was vowed to serve the Lord Christ, who had died for him; and on his shield was yet another cross, to be as it were a sign that this service should be a defence to him in all dangers. Somewhat sad of look he was, not as though he had fear in his heart, but rather as one upon whom had been laid the burden of a great task. And such, in truth, there was, for Queen Gloriana had sent him upon a great enterprise, and all his heart was full of the thought of how he should best accomplish it. And the task was this—to slay the Great Dragon.


Beside the Knight a lady was riding on an ass as white as snow. Very fair she was; but she hid her fairness under a veil, which was brought low over her face. She was clad also in a garment of black; and she, too, was somewhat sad of look, nor, indeed, without cause. She came of a royal stock, being descended from ancient kings and queens, who had held wide sway in their land until this same Dragon had driven out their ancient house and had cruelly wasted all their realm. The third of this company was a Dwarf, who lagged behind, wearied, it may be, with the weight of the bag in which he bore this fair lady’s gear.


While the three, to wit the Knight, and the Lady, and the Dwarf, passed on, the sky was suddenly covered with clouds, and there began to fall a great storm of rain, so that they were fain to seek some shelter. Gladly, then, did they espy a wood hard by that promised, so thickly grown it was, a shelter from the rain. Tall were the trees and spreading wide with shady branches, so that neither sun by day nor star by night could pierce through. And all about were paths and ways, worn as by the treading of many feet, which seemed to lead to the abodes of men—a fairer place of shelter, as it seemed, there scarce could be. So they passed along, the birds singing sweetly the while; overhead were trees of many kinds, trees of the forest and of the orchard, the cedar and the oak, and the elm with the vine clinging to its stem, the yew for bows, and the birch for arrows, and the fruitful olive. So fair was the place, and so full of delights, that the travellers took no heed of the way by which they went. So it came to pass that they strayed from the path by which they first entered the wood, nor could they win to it again when once they had left it, so many were the ways and so like the one to the other. After a time, when they had taken counsel together, it seemed best to choose the way which seemed most trodden by the feet of travellers, as being the likeliest to lead to a certain end. When they had followed this awhile, they came to a great cave, deep in the very thicket of the wood. Here the Knight sprang from his horse, and gave to the Dwarf his spear, thinking that he should not need it. But his sword he kept.

Then said the Lady Una, for that was her name: “Be not overbold, Sir Knight; there may be mischief here of which you know nothing, peril which gives no sign of itself, even as a fire which burns without smoke; hold back, I pray you, till you have made some trial of the place.”

The Knight made reply: “Fair lady, it were a shame to fall back for fear of a shadow. The cave, doubtless, is dark, but where there is courage there is not wanting a light for the feet.”


Then said the Lady again: “Nay, nay, Sir Knight; I know this place by repute, though I thought not of it before. This wood in which we are lost is the Wood of Wandering; this cave which you see before you is the Den of Error, a monster, hateful both to God and man. Beware, therefore, beware!” And the Dwarf cried out aloud in his fear: “Fly, Sir Knight, fly, this is no place for mortal man.”

But the Knight would not be persuaded. He stepped into the cave, and the light of day, shining from without on his armour, showed him dimly the monster that was within. Hideous it was to behold, half a serpent and half a woman, and all as foul as ever creature was, upon the earth or under it. All the length of the cave she lay, her tail wound in many coils; and in every coil there was a deadly sting. And all round her was a brood of young ones. Many different shapes they had, but hideous all. And as soon as the light from the Knight’s armour glimmered through the darkness, they fled for shelter to the mouth of their dam.


The monster, wakened from her sleep, curled her tail about her head, and rushed to the cavern’s mouth, but, seeing one armed from top to toe in shining mail, would have turned again. But the Knight leaped at her, fierce as a lion leaps upon his prey, and barred her backward way with his sword. First she darted at him her great tail, and threatened him with the deadly sting that lay in it; but he, not one whit dismayed, aimed at her head a mighty blow. Her head it wounded not, but glanced on to the neck with force so great that for a while the great beast was stunned. Then, coming to herself, she raised her body high from the ground, and leaped upon the Knight’s shield, and wrapped his body round with huge folds.

Then Una, seeing in how sore plight he was, cried out: “Now show, Sir Knight, what you are. Put out all your force, and, above all things, back your force with faith, and be not faint. Strangle this monster, or surely she will strangle you!”

Greatly was his heart stirred within him with grief and anger, and, knitting all his strength together, he gripped the creature by the throat so mightily that she was constrained to loosen the bonds which she had cast about him. And yet, it had well-nigh cost him dear to come so close to the monster, so foul she was. And of this foulness the worst was this, that she caused to come forth out of her mouth, as in a flood, the brood which had taken shelter therein at the first. Serpents they were, like to their dam, small indeed, but full of venom, and they swarmed over him, twining themselves about his arms and legs, so that he could not strike a blow nor even move. So, in some still eventide, a shepherd, sitting to watch his flock, is suddenly assailed by a cloud of gnats; feeble creatures they are, and slight their sting, but they suffer him not to rest. The Red-Cross Knight was in a strait more dire, for these evil creatures had power to do him a more grievous harm. But he thought to himself, “Shall I be vanquished in this fashion?” He was somewhat moved by the danger wherein he stood, but more ashamed that he should be overcome in so foul a fashion. So, resolved in his heart that he would put all his strength into a stroke, either to win or to lose, he gathered himself together, and struck the monster with a blow so fierce that he shore the head from the body, and she fell dead upon the ground.


Then said the Lady Una: “Well, indeed, have you carried yourself, Sir Knight. Surely you were born under a lucky star, seeing that you have overcome so terrible a foe. You are worthy of these arms wherewith you are clad. So is your first adventure brought to a good result. God grant that you have many such in the time to come, and that they may be brought to as happy an ending.”

Then the Knight sprang upon his horse, and the Lady Una mounted again her ass, and the Dwarf followed as before. And now they kept with steadfast purpose to the one way which they saw to be most trodden, turning neither to the right nor to the left, how fair soever the path might seem. So at last they came to the outskirts of the Wandering Wood, and journeyed once more across the plain.



So the two, the Knight and the Lady, rode on, the Dwarf following as before. After a while they chanced to meet an old man by the road. He was clothed in black and barefooted, and he had a long white beard, and a book was hanging from his belt. A very wise old man he seemed, sober and even somewhat sad, and as he went along he seemed to be praying; and now and again he would beat upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” He made a humble reverence to the Knight, and the Knight in his courtesy made his salute, and said: “Sir, do you know of any adventure that a Christian man may undertake?”

“My son,” said the old man, “how should one who lives in his cell and tells his beads and does penance for his sins know aught of wars and enterprises by which glory may be won? Nevertheless, I can tell of a very evil man who dwells in these forests and wastes all the country-side.”

“Ah!” cried the Knight, “it is for such an adventure, the setting right of wrong, that I seek. Bring me to this villain’s dwelling and I will reward you well.”


“Willingly,” said the old man, “will I guide you thither, but the way is long and painful.”

“And surely,” said the Lady Una, “you are wearied with your late encounter. I take it that he who lacks rest lacks strength, however stout of limb he be. Take your rest then with the sun, and begin your new work with the new day.”

“This is wise counsel, Sir Knight,” said the old man, “and wise counsel ever wins the day. The day is far spent; come, then, and take such poor entertainment as my home can give.”

With this the Knight was well content. So they followed the old man to his dwelling. It was a lowly hermitage, in a valley, close to the forest, with a chapel hard by, and by this chapel a brook crystal clear. Humble was their fare, but the rest after the day’s toil made it sweet enough, as also did the old man’s talk, for he discoursed of many things and many men, saints and popes, and the great deeds which they had done. Then, as the night drew on and sleep began to fall upon their eyes, he showed them the places where they should lodge for the night.


Now this old man, who seemed so pious and good, with his long white beard, and his prayers, and his beating of his breast, was really a wicked magician. So soon as he had taken his guests to their lodgings, he went to his study, where he kept his books of charms with other contrivances of his art, and taking one of these books from the shelf on which it stood, opened it, and began to mutter some dreadful words which it were a great sin for anyone to write or read. With these he brought up from their dwelling-place in the lower parts of the earth a very legion of evil spirits. To these he gave a part of his evil work to do, and some of this work he kept to himself; and the work was this: To cheat the hearts of those whom he wished to deceive with false dreams and visions. What these were, it is best not to tell: let it be enough to say that they wrought such doubts concerning the Lady Una in the heart of the Red-Cross Knight that, as soon as the morning dawned, he rose from his bed, and clothed himself with all haste, and crying for the Dwarf that he should bring him his horse, rode away as fast as the beast could carry him.

He had not ridden many miles before there met him a paynim knight. A tall warrior and a strong he was, armed from top to toe, and carrying a great shield on which were written in scarlet letters the words “Sans Foy,” which, being interpreted, mean “Without Faith.” With him there rode a fair lady, clad also in scarlet, with ornaments of gold and necklaces of coral, and on her head a Persian cap set round with crowns of gold. Her horse also had gay trappings, and her bridle was set with bells of gold, which tinkled bravely as she rode. So soon as she saw the Red-Cross Knight she said to her companion, “See now, here comes your enemy; make ready.”


No sooner had she spoken, but he stuck spurs in his horse, and rode at the Red-Cross Knight. Nor did the knight hold back from the fray, for he also put his spear in rest and charged. So the two met fully and fairly, with so fierce a shock that the two horses stood, as it were, struck to stone, and the riders were borne backwards in their saddles, holding each of them in his hand his broken spear. Then the Saracen drew his sword from the scabbard, and addressed himself again to the fray. So did the Christian also; blow for blow did they deal one to the other, till the sparks flew from their shields, and when they chanced to strike home, the blood flowed forth and dyed the earth under their feet. After a while cried the Saracen: “Now curse upon that Cross which keeps your body from harm! You had been dead long since but for that magic power. For all that, I bid you now beware, and keep safe your head if it may be.”

So saying, he dealt a blow so fierce that it shore away half the Christian’s crest, yet glancing down upon the shield harmed him no more. Yet was it not struck in vain, for it roused him of the Red Cross to such rage that he made a more than like reply. Full on the Saracen’s helmet he dealt his stroke. Right through the steel it passed, and cleft the head, so that the Saracen fell a dead man from his horse.

When the lady saw her champion fall, not a moment did she stay to see how it had fared with him, either to tend his wounds, or to weep for his death, but fled away as fast as her horse could carry her. Then the Red-Cross Knight, crying to the Dwarf that he should pick up the dead man’s shield to be a memorial of the fight, rode after her, and overtaking her, bade her halt: “You have no cause to fear, fair lady,” he said.

The Red Cross Knight and Sansfoy.


Then she, turning back, cried aloud: “Fair Sir, have mercy on an unhappy woman!”

Much was he moved to see her humbleness, for she was beautiful to look on, and richly clad, as one of noble birth might be. “Lady,” said he, “be of good heart. It pitieth me to see you in such distress; tell me now who you are, and whence you come, and who was this your champion?”

“Sir,” she answered, weeping the while, “I have suffered much from evil fortune. I was the only daughter of an emperor, who had wide dominion over the land of the West, setting his throne where flows the famous stream of Tiber. Being such, I was betrothed in my early youth to the only son and heir of a most wise and mighty king. Never surely was prince so fair and faithful as he, never one so gentle and debonair. But alas! ere the day appointed for our marriage came, my lord fell into the hands of cruel enemies, and was most foully slain. When this ill news came to me, I said to myself: ‘Now will I at least do due honour to the dear body of him whom I loved.’ So I set forth from my father’s house upon this quest. Long did I wander over the world, a virgin widow, nor did I find that for which I sought. At last I chanced to meet this Saracen, who now lies dead upon the plain. He constrained me to go with him, and would fain have won me for his wife, but I ever said him nay. And now he lies dead. An evil man he was, one of an evil brotherhood of three—Sansloy, the eldest; Sansjoy, the youngest; and this Sansfoy, of middle age between the two.”


“Be contented, fair lady,” answered the Knight; “you have done well. You have found a new friend and lost an old foe. Friend, be he ever so new, is better, I trow, than foe, new or old.”

So the two rode on, he making merry with gay talk, as became a courteous knight, and she, with much modest show of bashfulness. After a while they came in their journey to two fair trees, which spread their branches across the road. Lovely trees they seemed, and fair was the shade which they cast. Yet was the place held in ill-repute of all the country-side; never did shepherd sit beneath them to rest or play upon his oaten pipe, for all men held it to be unlucky ground. But of this the good Knight knew nothing, so, the sun being now high in heaven, and of so fierce a heat that a man might scarcely abide it, he dismounted and bade the lady do likewise, so that they might rest awhile, and anon, in the cool of the evening, might pursue their journey. So the two sat them down and talked.


Now the Knight, being in a merry mood, said to himself: “Surely, this is the fairest of women; it is meet that she should be crowned.” So saying, he plucked a branch which he would have shaped into a garland for the lady’s head. Then, lo! from the place where the branch had been plucked came trickling drops of blood, and there issued forth a lamentable voice which said: “Stranger! Tear not in this cruel fashion the tender human limbs which are covered by the bark of this tree. Fly also from the place, fly, lest haply the same fate should come upon you as came upon me in this place, both on me and on the dear lady also who was my love.”

Much was the Knight astonished to hear such words, and for a while he stood speechless. Then he said: “What ghost is this from the world below, what wandering spirit that talks in this strange fashion?”

Then there came this answer: “No ghost am I from the nether world, nor wandering spirit of the air. I was a man, Fradubio by name, as now I am a tree, being charmed by the arts of a wicked witch. But I am yet a man, for I feel the winter cold and the summer heat in these branches, even as a man might feel.”

Then said the Knight: “Tell me now, Fradubio, be you tree or man, how you came to suffer in this fashion. It is good for a man to tell his trouble; he who hides it in his heart makes his griefs to be twice as great.”


Then did Fradubio tell his tale, “Know, stranger, that I suffer this trouble through the arts of a false sorceress, Duessa by name; nor I only, for she has brought many knights into a like evil case. In my youth, which indeed is not long passed, I loved a fair lady, whom you may see, not indeed in the fashion of a lady, but as yonder tree which joins its branches with these. Once upon a time, when I was riding abroad with her, I chanced to meet a knight, who also had a fair lady for a companion. A fair lady I called her, and so she seemed, but she was in truth this same false witch Duessa. Said the strange Knight: ‘I do declare that this lady is the fairest dame in all the world, and this I will make good with my sword and spear against all the world.’ For the witch had cast her spells over him and deceived him. And when I put forth the same challenge for my own lady, we fell to fighting, and he fared so ill, that he fell by my hand.

“So now there were two fair ladies, for so it seemed, Fraelissa, who was fair in truth, and Duessa, who by her wicked arts had made herself so to seem. And I knew not to which I should give the prize of beauty, for it seemed the due of each. But while I doubted, this wicked witch raised by evil arts such a mist as made Fraelissa’s face to lose all its fairness. Which when she had accomplished, she cried: ‘See now how this false dame has lost her beauty, for indeed it was but borrowed. Many has she deceived in time past, even as now she has deceived you.’ When I heard this, I would fain have killed the fair lady that had been my true love. But this the false Duessa, feigning compassion, would not suffer. Only with her magic arts she changed her into that tree which you see yonder.


“Now you must know that for every witch, be she as crafty as she may, there is one day in every year when she is constrained to take her true shape. And on this day I chanced to see Duessa as she was in truth, old and foul of hue, fouler than one had thought woman could be. Nor did she fail to perceive that I had discovered the truth, though indeed I sought to bear myself as before, having it in my mind secretly to escape, and fly from her company. So she practised upon me the same wicked arts that she had used with my Fraelissa, changing me into the semblance of a tree. And here we stand, banished from the company of men, and wasting weary days and nights.”

“But,” said the Knight, “how long shall this endure? What is the appointed end of your sufferings?”

“We must here abide till we shall be bathed in a living well,” Fradubio made answer.

“Can I find this same well?” asked the Knight.

“That shall be as the Fates may decree,” said Fradubio.

All this Duessa—who called herself Fidessa—heard, and knew it for truth. She well-nigh fainted for fear; but the time for the discovering of her falseness was not yet.



While the Red-Cross Knight was thus faring, the Lady Una was not a little troubled that she should have been so left by her champion. Never did she cease to search for him, wandering the while over plain, and forest, and mountain, and not one whit afraid, however desolate they were.

On a certain day she lighted off the ass, on which she was wont to ride, and laid herself down to rest in a solitary place, under the shadow of a tree; she took the covering from her head, and laid aside her black cloak; her faithful beast grazed hard by, for there was much grass in the place. As she lay, there rushed out of the wood with which the meadow was circled about a furious lion. Wild he was with hunger, and was hunting for prey. And when he saw the royal maid, he ran greedily at her with open mouth, as if he would have devoured her; but when he came near, and saw what manner of maid she was, all his rage departed from him. He kissed her weary feet, and licked with his tongue her lily hands, crouching down before her as if to show himself her servant. At the first sight of the beast the Lady Una was not a little afraid, but when she saw how gently he bore himself, she sighed and said: “See now, how this lion, who is the king of the forest, forgets his hunger and his rage in pity of my sad state, while he who was my champion leaves me to wander alone.” So she spake till she could speak no more for very tears, and the lion meanwhile stood looking upon her. Then—for the lady was of a brave spirit—she shut up her sorrows in her heart, and mounted on her steed again, and set out once more upon her quest. It was a long and weary way which she went, through divers places, where there were no inhabitants, and still the lion went with her, ready to guard her against all dangers. While she slept, he watched over her, and when she awaked he awaited her command, watching her eyes so that he might discern her pleasure.


After long journeying, in which they saw no sign of the presence of man, they came to a place which, from the wearing of the grass, seemed to be trodden by human feet. And in no long time the lady espied a woman, who was following the path with slow steps, and carrying on her head a pitcher of water. The lady cried to her, “Tell me now, my friend, whether there may be any dwelling near to hand, where I may rest awhile?” But the woman answered her never a word, seeming as if she could neither understand nor speak. But when, turning her eyes, she saw the lion by the lady’s side, she threw down her pitcher, and fled as fast as her feet could carry her. Not once did she look behind her, but fled as if for her life till she came to the house where she dwelt with her mother, a blind woman. Not a word did she say, but her fear was plain to see, and the old woman perceived that there was some great danger at hand, so when they two had shut the door they hid themselves in the darkest corner of the cottage.


In a short space of time came Una and her lion to the door. Thereat the lady knocked, but when no one answered, and the time was passing, the lion in his impatience rent the wicket-gate with his claws and let her in. No further hurt did he, and when Una had with much gentle speech allayed the women’s fear, they laid themselves down to sleep.

But when the night was far spent, there came one to the door demanding entrance, and when this was not speedily given him, using many oaths and curses. He was a sturdy thief, by name Kirkrapine, that is to say, Robber of Churches, and this indeed was his trade. He was wont to steal away the ornaments of churches, and to strip off from the images of the saints the vestments with which they were clad, and to purloin the robes of the priests, and to break open the boxes in which were put the alms for the poor. No small share of the plunder did he bring to the house where Una lay that night, for he was the lover of the old woman’s daughter, and he could never give her enough of gold and jewels and precious things. But whether the old woman knew of the matter none can tell, though it might have seemed that such doings were not to her mind, seeing that she told her beads and prayed both by day and by night; nine hundred Paternosters would she say daily, and of Ave Marias twice as many. Thrice in the week, also, did she sit in ashes; thrice three times she fasted from all food and drink, and she wore sackcloth nearest to her skin.


Now when this same Kirkrapine found that, for all his cursing, he could not win an entrance, for, indeed, though the women heard him, they were hindered from rising by fear of the lion, he let fly furiously at the door and brake it down, and would have entered. But as he was about to cross the threshold, the beast, thinking that his lady was in danger, sprang at him, and brought him to the ground, and so tore him that he died, which, having done, the lion came back to his place by the lady’s side, and watched her as before.

When the day broke, the Lady Una rose from her place, and went forth from the cottage, and journeyed onwards still seeking the Knight, and the lion went with her. The old woman also and her daughter, so soon as the house was clear of its guests, rose up. But when they found Kirkrapine lying dead before the door, great was their grief and greater still their anger.

“This,” they cried, “the savage beast has done,” and they followed with all the speed they might use, and so overtook her. Harm her they might not, for they feared the lion, and when they had cursed her loud and long they turned back to go to their own house.


As they went they met a knight, fully clad in armour. But yet he was no knight but only the wizard Archimage, who had taken upon himself, by help of his wicked arts, the semblance of the Red-Cross Knight. The false knight asked them whether they had seen a lady journeying alone.

“Yea,” the old woman answered, “such I have seen; an evil woman she is, and much harm hath she wrought.” And she told a piteous tale of the things which she had suffered. This done, she showed him the way by which he must go, if he would overtake the lady, and he, having thanked her with due courtesy, rode on. Nor was it long before he overtook the Lady Una, for she, having but an ass for her steed, travelled slowly. When she saw him, and noted the Red Cross on his shield and the like emblem on his breast, she said to herself: “Now God be thanked, I see my true champion again,” and she rode to meet him, and greeted him with friendly words, saying: “Where have you been these weary days, my lord? I have fared ill without your company,” and she told him of all the troubles and dangers through which she had passed.

On the other hand, the false knight spoke her fair: “For this cause I left you, dearest lady, that I might seek an adventure of which Archimage told me, and how I might deal with a felon who had done great harm to many gallant knights. And, indeed, I did deal with him, so that he shall hurt such knights no more. I pray you, fair lady, to pardon me that I left you awhile, even for such cause, and to take me once more as your faithful servant and champion.”

The Lady Una and the Lion.


So the two rode on together. They had not travelled many miles when they saw coming to them, riding at the full speed of his horse a knight fully armed. When he came near they saw that he was a man of very fierce aspect, and that he carried on his shield the name Sansloy. Fierce as he was of look, he grew fiercer yet when he perceived the false knight’s shield, how it had the badge of the Red Cross. Not a word did he speak, but he laid his spear in rest and rode fiercely forward.

Sorely dismayed was Archimage, and loath to meet the stranger in battle, for, indeed, he was not used to bearing arms. Yet could he not hold back for very shame. The Lady Una also looked at him that he should bear himself bravely. But it fared ill with him, and, indeed, it would have fared worse but that his steed, being no less timorous than himself, held back in the onset, so that the shock of their meeting was the less fierce. Nevertheless, he was thrown to the ground, where he lay helpless and without defence.

The strange knight leapt lightly from his horse, and made as though he would have slain his adversary. “Ha!” he cried, “so he that slew the brave knight Sansfoy, my brother, has come by his deserts. Sansfoy he slew, and by Sansloy he shall be slain!”


Then he began to unlace the man’s helmet as he lay upon the ground, but the Lady Una cried, “Oh, Sir Knight, hold your hand; is it not enough that you have vanquished him? He lies there at your mercy. Therefore have mercy upon him. Verily there is not in the whole world a truer knight than he.” But the stranger had no mind to hold his hand, for, indeed, he had no compassion within his heart. But when he had ended the unlacing of the helmet, and was now ready to strike, he saw the hoary head and wrinkled face of Archimage, and cried: “What is this that I see, Archimage, luckless sire? By what ill-fortune have you come across me in this fashion? Is the fault with me or with you, that I should have dealt with a friend as though he were an enemy?”


So he spake, but not a word did the wizard answer. He lay in a swoon, and the shadow of death was on his face. And now the Lady Una had come and was looking into the old man’s face. Sore dismayed she was and sore vexed; for he whom she had taken for her champion was a deceiver; nor could she divine how she might escape from the hand of this paynim knight. And now she had to bear yet another grief. For when Sansloy laid a rude hand upon her and bade her descend from her steed, and caught away her veil that he might look upon her face, the lion, not enduring to see his mistress so handled and treated, sprang at the knight, but alas! what was he to withstand a knight clad in armour of proof, with spear and sword? Soon did Sansloy thrust him through with the iron point, so that the faithful beast fell dead upon the ground, and the lady was left helpless and without defence.



The Red-Cross Knight rode on with the false Fidessa, not knowing that she was indeed the witch Duessa, who had changed the unhappy Fradubio into a tree. After a while they came to a road which was manifestly much frequented of men, and following this beheld before them a very stately palace. “Come,” said Duessa, “let us seek shelter here, for I am weary with my journeying and the day is far spent.”

It was, indeed, a very noble house, cunningly built of bricks laid artfully together without mortar. It had very lofty walls, but they were as slight as they were high, overlaid with shining gold, with many towers rising from them, and goodly galleries disposed among them, and spacious windows. No one could blame the skill of the architect that had planned it, or of the builders that had raised it up, so fair it was to look upon; yet it was passing strange that it had been built in a place so ill chosen, to wit, upon a sandy hill, so that the foundations were ever slipping away from it; and when the winds blew upon it it was shaken most perilously, and the lower parts, for all that they were painted so as to make a very brave show, were ruinous and old.


They passed by the porter, whose name was Malvenu, which being interpreted is “Ill come,” without challenge, and so came into the hall. This was right richly arrayed with arras and cloth-of-gold, and was filled from end to end with a great crowd of people of all sorts and degrees, waiting, all of them, for a sight of the lady of the house. These also they passed, as being guests to whom special honour was due, and so were brought into the presence of the lady, where she sat with as fair and richly-clad a company of knights and dames about her as ever was seen upon the earth. High on a throne, splendid in royal robes and ornaments of gold and jewels costly beyond all count, sat the lady. Fair she was, so fair that throne and robes and gold and gems were as nothing in comparison with her beauty. Under her feet was a great dragon, and in her hand she held a shining mirror of brass, and her name was Lucifera. She was, indeed, the Queen of Pride, and all her brave show was a false seeming, and her kingdom a kingdom of unrighteousness.


The Knight, not knowing what the lady truly was, and false Duessa, to whom all these things were well pleasing, being introduced by a certain usher of the court, Vanity by name, bowed themselves low before the throne. And the Knight said, “Lady, we are come to see your royal state, and to prove the report of your great majesty which has gone through all the world.” “I thank you,” said the lady, but in a disdainful way, for she did not so much as cast her eyes upon them, nor did she bid them rise. On the other hand, the knights and ladies set themselves with much heartiness to entertain the new-comers. The knights were right glad to welcome among them a companion so fair and so stalwart, and to the dames the false Duessa was well known. Nevertheless the Knight was but ill pleased that the Lady Lucifera should show such scant courtesy to a stranger. “She is overproud,” he thought to himself, “and there is too much of vain show in these her surroundings.”


While he was thus thinking, the lady rose suddenly from her place, and said that she would ride abroad, and bade call for her coach. A stately coach it was, like to that which, as it was said of old, Queen Juno rode with six peacocks, spreading out great starry tails, for horses. Six steeds had this Queen also, but they were but ill matched, and on each of them did ride one of the six counsellors who advised her in affairs of state, and the six were Idleness, and Gluttony, and Lust, and Avarice, and Envy, and Anger. The false Duessa followed close after the Lady Lucifera, for she was of a kindred spirit, but the Knight, though he knew not all the truth, yet held aloof from the rout, not liking their company. When they had tarried awhile in the fields, breathing the fresh air of the country-side, they turned back to the palace. There they found a Saracen knight newly come, who carried on his shield the name Sansjoy. He was ill-favoured and ill-conditioned, as one who bore a grudge against his fellows. But when he saw how the page of the Red-Cross Knight carried a shield on which was written the name of Sansfoy, then was he filled with fury, and sprang upon the lad and wrenched it from him, which the Red-Cross Knight perceiving, being ill content so to lose the trophy which he had won in fair fight, ran at the Saracen, and recovered that which was his own. Already had they drawn their swords to fight out their quarrel hand to hand, when the Queen Lucifera interposed her high command: “Sirs,” she said, “I command you on pain of my high displeasure to forbear. To-morrow, if you will, you shall prove in fair fight to whom this shield, for which I perceive you contend, in right belongs. Meanwhile I bid you be at peace.”

“I beg your pardon, noble Queen,” said the Saracen, “for that I have thus broken the peace of your court; in truth I could not refrain myself when I saw this false knight possessing the shield of the brave Sansfoy, whom he slew not in fair fight, but by magic arts, ay, and not possessing it only, but that he might do it dishonour, commanding that it should be publicly borne.” So spake Sansjoy, but the Red-Cross Knight said nothing; he was a man of deeds, not of words. Only he threw his gauntlet on the ground, to be a pledge that he would meet his adversary in the field.


Then, for evening was now come, all sat down to the banquet. Right royally did they feast, for Gluttony was steward that night, and ordered their meat and drink; and when they had feasted to the full, they betook themselves to their beds, and Sloth was their chamberlain. But before she slept Duessa made Sansjoy aware that she was no friend to the Red-Cross Knight.



It is ever the way with noble hearts, that they cannot rest till they have fully accomplished that which they purpose to do. So all night long the Red-Cross Knight considered with himself how he should most wisely bear himself in the morrow’s fight, and so considering he waited till the morning light should shine upon the earth. So soon therefore as the sun appeared in the sky he rose from his bed, and arrayed himself in his armour, making ready for his combat with the Saracen. This done, he descended into the castle hall, where there was already gathered a great crowd of men, who had come to see what the issue of the day should be. There were musicians making melody on harps and viols, and bards who were ready to celebrate in song the strength and valour of him who should win the victory. After him by no great space of time came the Saracen, clad in chain armour. Fierce was his look, as though he would strike fear into his adversary, but the Knight was of a temper which no looks could dismay. Then the pages brought in two cups of wine from Greece, and mingled therein spices from farthest India, for such was the custom of the place. It was to kindle the champions’ courage forsooth, but neither Christian nor Saracen, I take it, had need of such encouragement. And as they drank they sware a solemn oath that they would duly observe the laws of honourable war.


This done, the Queen Lucifera came with a great train of knights and ladies, and took her seat upon the throne which had been set for her with a great canopy over it. Before her was an open space, railed in on every side, that none should be near either to help or to hinder the champions. Over against the Queen was set another throne, of less account and dignity. On this was set false Duessa. And on a tree hard by was hung the shield of Sansfoy, and a laurel crown which should be the conqueror’s meed.


And now was heard the shrill note of a trumpet, and the two champions addressed themselves to the battle. Each man carried his shield on his left arm, and took his sword in his right hand, for such was the order of the fight, that for a speedier issue they should lay aside their spears and take at once their swords. Both knights were sturdy and brave, and long they fought without advantage gained. Stroke was answered with stroke, while the sparks flew from either shield, and each helmet showed the dints where the steel had been well-nigh broken through. Neither did this champion or that escape without harm, for the blood was seen to flow out and dye their coats of mail, but neither suffered such a wound as to hinder him from the fight, nor did the crowd that watched them know which would prevail. And now it chanced that the Saracen, as he shifted his place, caught the sight of his brother’s shield, where it hung upon the tree, to be the conqueror’s prize. The sight stirred him to a double rage: “Ah! brother,” he cried, “dost thou sit so long by that dark lake of death the while thy shield hangs here to be the prize of victory? Go, caitiff,” so he cried, as he turned him to the Red-Cross Knight, “go and tell him that I have redeemed his shield from shame.” And as he spoke, he smote upon the crest of the Knight a mightier stroke by far than he had ever dealt. Twice did the Knight reel as he stood; twice was he ready to fall; while all that watched were assured that the battle was indeed won and lost, and the false Duessa cried aloud: “Well done, Sansjoy; the shield is yours, and I and all.” But when the Knight heard the voice of the lady—for he knew not yet her true quality—he raised himself from his swoon, and his faith that had waxed weak grew strong again, and the chill departed from his limbs. Wrath and shame and love wrought such new strength within him, that he struck his foe with a stroke so mighty that it brought him to his knee. “Ah! thou miscreant,” he cried, “go now and take yourself your message to this dear brother, and tell him that the conqueror has his shield.” But when he would have dealt yet another blow, and so ended the fight beyond all doubt, lo! there was a dark cloud over all the place, and the Saracen was nowhere to be seen. He called him aloud, but there came no answer. The darkness had swallowed him up. Then the false Duessa came down from her seat and entreated him with many words: “O most valiant Knight that ever lady chose for her champion, abate now your rage; your adversary lies low; be content with your victory.” But not one whit was his wrath diminished; willingly would he have driven his sword-hilt deep into the body of his enemy, so finishing his work. But nowhere could he espy him. While he stood wondering, the trumpets sounded again, now with a note of victory, and heralds came and paid him homage, making low obeisance to him, and giving into his hands the shield. After this they took him to the Queen, where she sat upon her throne; and he, bending his knee before her, made proffer of his service, which she accepted with much courtesy of thanks. This done, she returned to the palace, having the Knight by her side, the people following with loud shouts and much rejoicing.


And now, because his wounds were many—for not without much cost of pain had he won this victory—they laid him in a bed and bound up his hurts, pouring in oil and wine, the while the musicians made sweet music to comfort him in his sickness. While he thus lay, Duessa resorted to a certain witch of whom she had knowledge, and told her of how the Christian Knight had slain Sansfoy, and now had stricken Sansjoy well-nigh to death, and prayed her help. So the two returned together to where the Saracen lay, still covered with the magic cloud. They bound up his wounds, and laid him in the witch’s car, and carried him to hell to the dwelling of Æsculapius. Now this Æsculapius was a great physician in the days of old, and because he had brought to life again a certain man who had been unjustly slain he had suffered grievous punishment. He could not die, for he was of immortal race, but he had been struck down to hell with a thunderbolt. There he had lain, age after age, striving, if it might be, to heal his own hurts. To him, therefore, the witch and Duessa brought Sansjoy, and prayed him that he would recover him of his deadly hurt. “Nay, nay,” said he, “you ask what may not be. You tempt me to do again the very thing for which I suffer all this pain. Shall I again, with a like deed, renew the wrath of him that so dealt with me?”


The witch made answer: “What more can you suffer than you have suffered already? You hope for nothing; what then should you fear? You are in this lowest deep; is there a lower to which you can fall? Deny not my prayer; rather show the power which has given you your great renown in heaven and on earth and in hell itself.”


“Be it so,” he said. So they brought the knight, and the great physician used all his arts, applying to the man’s wound all the healing powers that he knew. Then Duessa, having accomplished her purpose, so far as it might be done, journeyed back to the Palace of Pride, but when she came thither she found that the Red-Cross Knight had departed.

Now the cause of his going was this. He was not, indeed, fit for travel, nor had his wounds been duly healed, but he might not stay, having heard what his faithful Dwarf had told him; and the thing was this, that there were dungeons beneath this fair castle, with all its splendid furnishing, in which lay a crowd of prisoners in most miserable plight, men of the old times and of the new, such as were Nimrod the great hunter, and the lords of Babylon and Nineveh, and great chiefs of Rome, all who by wicked pride had sinned against God and man. This had the watchful Dwarf espied. And when the Knight heard the tale he would tarry no longer, but that very hour, while it was yet dark, for it would have gone ill with him had he been espied, he fled from the castle. By a bye-way he fled, and lo! it was so full of the corpses of men that he and the Dwarf could scarce make their way, for though the castle was fair in all its public parts, those that were secret were foul beyond all thinking.



Though the wizard Archimage was an ill companion for the Lady Una, yet was Sansloy, by whom he was overthrown, a worse. They had not travelled together far when he said, “Lady, deign, I pray you, to show me that fair face of yours. I would fain know for whom I have done battle. Yours, I ween, is such beauty as the old villain whom I overthrew was not worthy to take in charge.” And when she answered him not a word, he stretched forth a lawless hand, and would have torn the veil from her face. Then she cried aloud. “Ay,” said he, “cry if you will; there is none to help you here.” But even while he spoke there came running out of the wood, which was hard by, a great multitude of strange creatures, fauns and satyrs, half man and half beast. They were dancing and making merry in the forest, which is their natural dwelling-place, and when they heard the cry, one said to another: “This is the cry of some mortal in distress, and it has the note of a woman’s voice; let us see what is the cause.” So they made all haste to the place from which the cry came. And when the Saracen beheld them he was sore afraid. Such creatures he had never seen in all his life; so he sprang upon his horse, and fled as fast as he could. Nor, indeed, was the Lady Una wholly quit of her fears. So it may chance that when a wolf carries off a lamb, and drops it for fear of a lion, the lamb may be in no better case. But when the strange creatures saw by the lady’s face that she was sore afraid, they tried to show their goodwill towards her; they threw themselves upon the ground and kissed her feet, and sought to show her that they were her dutiful servants. So, gathering courage, she raised herself from the earth on which she had thrown herself in fear and distress, and made signs that she would go with them. So they led her through the wood, dancing and shouting and singing; and some strewed branches of trees on the ground before her, and one, who was a chief among them, put a crown of olive leaves about her head. So they led her to their chief Sylvanus, and he, waked from his sleep by their shouting, came forth to meet them, leaning on a staff of cypress wood, and having a rope of ivy knitted about his middle. When he saw her, much did he marvel who she could be. “This is not Venus,” he said to himself, “for Venus never was in so sober a mood; no, nor Diana, for I see not her bow and arrows and the buskins up to her knee.” And while he stood and wondered, the nymphs flocked in to see, nymphs of the fountains and the woods, and they whose lives are bound to a single tree, living while it lives and dying when it dies. Nor were they less astonished, but they were ill pleased that one so fair should come among them: “Who of the wood folk,” they said to themselves, “will think of us when this mortal maid is near?”


Many days Lady Una tarried with this strange folk, and not unwillingly, for it was as it were a breathing time, giving her rest from the long toil of her journey. And while she tarried she strove to the utmost to teach them something of the Christian faith: but ever she had much ado to keep them from the worshipping of herself. And when she had scarcely kept them from this, they turned to worship her ass.


After a while there came into these parts a certain knight, Satyrane by name, so called because he was the son of a prince among the satyrs, but his mother was of the race of men. He was brought up in the woods, far from all human company; nor did he learn letters or any craft whatsoever, but only to be ever of a good courage and to banish fear. So he would lay his hand on lions and bears, and tame the wild bulls of the forest, riding on them as one might ride upon a horse. And he grew to be so swift of foot that he would overtake the roebuck in his flight. ’Tis said that once when his mother came to see him, for she had gone back to dwell with her own kind, she saw him carrying in his arms the cubs of a lioness which he had carried away from their dam, while the creature, in its rage, followed him, roaring aloud, yet dared not spring, so well did all the beasts of the forest know and fear him. When he grew to years of manhood he was not content with the conquest over wild beasts, or with life in the wood far from man. He went therefore into distant lands seeking adventures, in which he acquitted him so well that no man could boast of having overthrown him. Yet it was his custom from time to time to return to his old dwelling-place to see his old father and to rest awhile from his labours. And so coming now, he chanced to find the Lady Una sitting with a company of the forest folk around her, teaching them holy things. Much he marvelled to see how fair she was, and more did he marvel at the wise and gracious words that came from her lips; for, indeed, by this time, being by nature of a lively wit, he had himself learnt many things. So he gladly sought her company, and would fain be her disciple and learn the ways of righteousness and peace from her lips.


After certain days the Lady Una, seeing that this Satyrane was an honourable knight and worthy of trust, said to him, “I would fain go on with journeyings, if haply I may find my champion.” “Lady,” he made answer, “I am bound to do your pleasure; it shall be as you say.” So having watched for a time when the forest folk were away, he took her through the forest till they came to the plain beyond. When the day was now far spent they spied a traveller on the road, and judging from his look and garb that he had come from far, hastened towards him, hoping that they might by chance hear something that would help them in their quest. He was an old man of low estate, as it seemed, his garments worn and soiled with much dust from the road, his sandals torn with much travelling, and his face bronzed by the sun, as if he had travelled long in Arabian or Indian land. A staff he carried in his hand, and on his shoulders hung a wallet in which he carried such things as were needed for his journey.


Satyrane said to him: “Friend, have you aught to tell me of wars and adventures in these or in foreign parts, for indeed you seem to have come a long way?” “Nay,” answered the stranger, “I am a simple man, and know nothing of such matters.” Then said the Lady Una: “Tell me now whether you have seen or heard aught of the champion whom I am seeking? He bears a red cross on his armour.” The old man answered: “Fair lady, truly I have seen such an one with these eyes, and a sorry sight it was, for he lay dead upon the ground.” When the Lady Una heard these words she fell to the earth in a swoon. When Satyrane with much care had brought her back to life, she said: “Friend, tell me all that you know; one who has borne the greater pain may well endure the less.”


The old traveller answered: “On a certain day—an evil day it was, and I am grieved that I ever lived to see it—as I chanced to be passing on my way, I saw two knights contending fiercely together; one was a Saracen, and the other bore a red cross on his shield, and he that carried this device was slain.” “Oh to think,” cried the Lady Una, “that he should be thus overcome, he that was so stout and brave. How could such an evil chance befall?” “That I know not, fair lady,” said the old man; “I can but relate the thing which I saw with mine eyes.” Then said Satyrane: “Tell me now, old man, where is the Saracen knight that did this deed? Is he far from hence or near at hand?” The old man made answer: “You may find him not far from here. I left him but a short time ago sitting by a fountain where he washed his wounds.”

The knight Satyrane, having further inquired by what way he should go, made all haste to find the Saracen, fearing lest haply he should have departed. And, indeed, he found him, sitting by the fountain side under the shade of a tree, for it was Sansloy, the same that had overthrown Archimage. And Satyrane cried aloud: “Rise from your place, accursed miscreant, you that by some unknightly craft and treachery have slain the Red-Cross Knight, for I know well that you could not have overcome him in fair fight. Rise up, and either maintain your cause in arms, or confess your guilt.” The Saracen, when he heard these words, rose quickly from his place and put his helmet on his head, and took his shield upon his arm, and drew near to his adversary. But first he said: “Truly you have been sent hither in an evil hour to fight a quarrel that is not yours. And, indeed, you blame me for a deed which I have not done. The Red-Cross Knight I slew not, nor indeed did I engage in fight with him. Someone who falsely bore his arms I overthrew. But come now, if you may not fight in his quarrel, fight in your own.”


Then the two men came together in fierce encounter. When they were at the hottest of the fray, the Lady Una came to the place, for Satyrane had left her behind in his haste. And when she saw the Saracen she said to herself: “Now what shall I do if this false villain should get the upper hand of Satyrane?” And the thought struck such terror into her heart that she straightway turned and fled from the place. And the old traveller, who had told the false tale of the slaying of the Red-Cross Knight, followed her, for, indeed, he was none other than Archimage.



When the false Duessa came back to the Palace of Pride from the journey which she had made in the matter of Sansjoy, she found that the Red-Cross Knight had departed. Thereupon she set out without delay, being altogether unwilling that he should escape out of reach of her nets. Nor, indeed, was it long before she found him, sitting by the side of a spring in the shade of a tree. He had put off his armour by reason of his weariness and of the heat of the day. “You did ill to leave me in that ill place Sir Knight,” she said, “for ill I found it to be, even as you did yourself.” Then he excused himself with courteous words, and so peace was made again between the two.


Now the spring by which the Knight was taking his rest was not as other springs, but there lay a curse upon it, because the nymph which dwelt therein had fallen out of favour with her mistress, Diana. And the cause of her so falling was this. On a certain day, as Diana and her train were following the chase, the nymph of this spring, being wearied with the heat and toil of the day, sat herself down to rest. With this her mistress, being very keen in her hunting, was ill pleased: “Maid,” she cried, “you are dull and slow; such, then, shall these waters be for ever, ay, and whosoever shall drink of them.” Of this the Knight knew nothing, but because the waters were crystal clear and cold, and his thirst was great, he drank a great draught. And as he drank, the powers of body and soul grew faint and feeble, but by slow degrees and unperceived. Ere long there came to his ears a loud bellowing sound which made the trees to tremble and the very earth to shake. The Knight leapt from the ground, and would have armed himself, but yet, such was the working of that magic spring, was strangely slow. Certain it is that ere he could don his armour or thrust his arm into the fitting of his shield, there came stalking along with mighty stride the most fearsome giant that ever was seen on the face of the earth. His stature was thrice that of man, and in his right hand he carried an oak tree which he had torn from the earth by its roots. It served him for a staff whereon to stay his steps, and for a mace with which to slay his foes. So soon as he spied the Knight he came against him with the oak tree lifted in his hand. On the other hand, the Knight made a vain show of battle, but the strength had departed from his arm, and the heart in him failed for fear. He lifted his sword, indeed, but he had no power to strike. Then the giant aimed at him a mighty blow, such as would have levelled to the ground a tower of stone. Verily, but for the grace and help of God, it had ground him to powder, but he leapt from under it, yet its very wind laid him prostrate on the ground. When the giant saw him lie helpless in this fashion, he lifted his hand again as if to slay him, but the false Duessa, who, for her own ends, would not have the Knight perish in this fashion, cried aloud: “O Orgoglio, greatest of all creatures under the sun, slay him not, but make him your thrall and slave.” The giant listened to this prayer. He took the Knight in his arms and carried him to his castle, and there threw him into a dungeon that had been dug deep into the earth. There he lay for a while, with such scant provision of meat and drink as sufficed to keep the life in him.


The faithful Dwarf had seen his master fall, for he had the Knight’s war-horse in charge, while the beast was grazing in the meadow hard by. And now, the giant having departed with his prisoner, he gathered together the arms and the armour, for these Orgoglio had left lying on the ground as taking no account of such things. There was the helmet and the cuirass, and the greaves and the shield with the cross upon it, and the spear—things sad to behold, now that there was none to wear or wield them. He laid them on the back of the war-horse, and so departed. He had not gone far before he met the Lady Una herself. When she saw him and the war-horse and the burden which it bore, there was no spirit left in her, so that she fell without sense to the ground. Willingly would the faithful Dwarf have died, knowing what ill tidings he bore, and seeing how ill they were taken. Nevertheless he did not lose heart, but with much pain and care sought to recover the lady from her swoon. Thrice did he bring her back to life, and thrice she fell as one dead to the ground. At last, when the spirit within her had somewhat recovered itself, she said with faltering tongue: “Tell me now, faithful friend, the whole story from the beginning, how it is that I see these relics of the bravest knight that ever was. Verily Fortune has spent all her spite upon him and me. Worse than that which I feel in my heart I cannot hear. Begin your tale and carry it to the very end. If haply it shall be in aught less dreadful than what I fear, so much I shall have gained.”


Then the Dwarf rehearsed from the beginning all that had befallen the Red-Cross Knight from the time of their parting, the deceits of Archimage and the wiles of the false Duessa, and the fate of the two lovers who had been changed to trees, and the Palace of Pride, and the combat with Sansjoy, and how the Knight had been taken unprepared by the giant Orgoglio.

To these things the lady listened with attentive ear, and when the Dwarf had ended his tale she said: “Verily I will seek him as long as I live. Lead on, and show me the way that I must go.” So they travelled both together.


They had not journeyed far before they met a knight riding on the way with his squire behind him. Never was there more gallant warrior or more gallantly arrayed. His armour shone like the sun, and across his breast he wore a baldrick richly adorned with precious stones. Costly were they all, but one among them shone most excellently, a great diamond like to the head of a fair lady, brighter than all the rest, even as the star of evening is brighter than all the hosts of heaven. His sword hung from his side in a sheath cunningly made of ivory; its hilt was of burnished gold, and its buckle also of gold. The crest of his helmet was a great dragon, with wings spread out on either side, and above the crest a horse-hair plume, which waved to and fro as an almond tree waves its blossoms in the breath of spring. But the great marvel of his equipment was his shield. It was not made of iron or of brass, as are the shields of common men, but of one great diamond. Only it was covered up from sight. When he would dismay some huge monster, or strike with fear some great array of the enemy, then he would show its brightness. No power of man, no enchantments, strong and subtle as they might be, could prevail against it, or diminish aught of its power, for indeed it was made by the greatest magician that ever lived upon the earth, even Merlin.


The gallant knight spake full courteously to the Lady Una, asking if he could help her or serve her in aught. “Oh, Sir,” she answered, “my sorrow is so great that it is past all remedy. What would it profit to tell the tale? ’Tis best to hide it in my heart nor stir the hidden grief.”

“Nay, lady,” answered the knight, “I doubt not that your grief is great, but I would counsel you to tell the tale for all it is so sad. Pain is ever lessened, be it ever so great, by wise counsel, and he who will not reveal his trouble may never find help.”

So they spake together, he persuading her to reveal her sorrow and she unwilling to bring it to the light, till at last, yielding to his words of wisdom, she told her tale.


“I am the daughter,” she said, “the only child of a king and queen whose kingdom lies far by the river Euphrates. Long did they reign in great prosperity, till a great dragon, bred in the lakes of Tartary, wasted their land till there was nothing left of all that belonged to them, save the one castle in which they dwelt, and to this the dragon has laid siege now for the space of four years. Many knights have taken in hand this enterprise, to subdue the dragon and to deliver those whom he oppresses. From every country under heaven have they come, brave men and famous for great deeds, but they have failed, one and all. For want of faith or for the hidden weakness of some secret sin they have fallen before him. At last there came to our land a report of certain famous knights that had been bred in this realm of Fairy Land. Thereupon I betook myself thither, even to the Court of Queen Gloriana, who dwells in the City of Renown, hoping that I might there find some faithful knight who should deliver my father and mother from the power of the tyrant. Nor did I go in vain. It was my good fortune to find a gallant knight who was fit and willing to undertake this task. Unproved indeed he was, but he was of a fair body and a noble soul. It was he who set forth upon this enterprise. Of his prowess I saw full many a proof. Yea, the sword and the spear which you see on the back of yonder steed might tell, if they could speak, of the great deeds which he has wrought. But by ill chance he encountered a most false magician, by whose arts he was betrayed. First this vile creature made division between my knight and me, so that he misdoubted of my faith. Next he delivered him to the wiles of a certain false woman, Duessa by name. And she has betrayed him into the hands of a great and terrible giant, Orgoglio by name. And in this giant’s dungeon he now lies pining to death. This is my grief, Sir Knight, and greater, surely, never woman bore.”

“Your grief is indeed great,” answered the stranger knight; “but be of good cheer. I will never leave you till I have set your champion free. Come now, let us bring this matter to an end.”

So they rode on together with the Dwarf for their guide. The name of the gallant knight who bore the shield of diamond was Arthur.



When they had travelled a score of miles or so, they came to a castle which was built very high and strong. Thereupon the Dwarf cried out, “This is the place in which my good lord lies a prisoner, the thrall of the giant Orgoglio.” Thereupon the Prince Arthur alighted from his steed, and said to the Lady Una, “Stay here, madam, and await the issue of this day’s combat.” Then, at his bidding, the squire came near to the wall of the castle. He found the gates fast shut, with no warder to guard them, nor was there any to answer when he called. Then the squire took in his hand a bugle that he bore, that hung by his side with a chain of gold decked with gay tassels. It was a bugle of wondrous power; for three miles it could be heard, and there came out of space three answers to its blast, nor could anyone in whose heart there was aught of falsehood endure to hear it without dismay, nor could any bolt or bar, however stout they might be, withstand its summons. This bugle, then, Prince Arthur’s squire sounded before the giant’s castle. And it was shaken straightway from the foundation to the topmost towers, and the doors flew open of their own accord. The giant himself was much troubled at the sound, and came with staggering steps, as one smitten with a sudden fear, to see what it might mean. And after came the false Duessa, riding on a many-headed beast, with fiery tongues, for such a monster the giant had given her for her own.


Prince Arthur without delay addressed himself to the fight. Nor did the giant draw back, being persuaded that no mortal man could stand up against him and prevail. He thought, indeed, to slay him with a single blow, and lifted up his mighty club. But the Prince was wise and wary, and, lightly leaping aside, he escaped the stroke unhurt, for he thought it no shame to use his craft against brute strength. As for the club, so missing its aim, it sank deep into the earth, making a furrow a yard deep and more. The giant pulled at it amain, seeking to lift it for another stroke, but could not prevail, so fast was it buried. The knight, therefore, had him at a disadvantage, and smote him with his sword so deadly a stroke that it shore off his arm. Loud did he bellow with fear and pain, and Duessa, seeing her champion in sore distress, made the great beast on which she sat advance against the Knight. But now Prince Arthur’s squire, a gallant warrior, worthy of such a lord, stood forth and, with his single sword, barred the way. In high disdain to be hindered by so weak a foe Duessa yet again urged on the beast, but still the squire stood firm; he would not give place a single step lest the enemy should so gain an advantage against his lord. Then Duessa had recourse to her magic arts, for she took of the magic juices which she ever carried with her, and sprinkled them upon the youth, and quenched his courage and robbed him of his strength, so that he could neither see nor stand. So he fell all his length upon the earth, and the beast laid his deadly claws upon his neck, and would have crushed the life out of him. But the Knight, perceiving his evil plight, turned quickly from his own adversary, and addressed himself to the beast, for, indeed, it grieved him much that his faithful squire should have come into such peril of his life. So, lifting high the sword with which he had smitten the giant, he smote the beast upon one of its heads, making the blood pour out amain. But when the beast, writhing to and fro in its pain, would have shaken Duessa from her seat upon its back, and she cried out in her fear, the giant came to her help. He was, indeed, of no common nature, nor was he disabled by the wound which would have bereft all other creatures of strength. In the one hand which was left to him there dwelt the strength of the two, and now being free to use again his club of oak, he lifted it up high and dealt such a blow at Prince Arthur’s shield that it brought him to the ground. But now by this very stroke the Knight’s deliverance was wrought, for the covering was torn from the shield by its violence, and all its brightness was revealed. With so great a splendour did it blaze into the giant’s eyes that he dropped his arm and let fall the club with which he was ready to slay his adversary. The beast also was blinded by that brightness, and fell reft of its senses on the ground. Nor when Duessa cried aloud to the giant in her fear could he render effectual help. With stroke after stroke the Prince lopped from him limb after limb, till he lay dead upon the ground. And then this marvel came to pass. This creature which had seemed so vast seemed to vanish away. As for Duessa, she sprang from off the beast, and would have fled away upon her feet. But this the squire would not suffer, for, pursuing her with speedy feet, he laid hold of her and brought her back to the Prince to await his judgment.


And now the Lady Una, who in fear and trembling had watched the combat from a distance, came near and thanked both Knight and squire for the good service which they had rendered. “I cannot repay you,” she said; “may Heaven give you your reward and with usury. Suffer me to say one thing. Let not this false woman depart, for, indeed, she is the cause of all the mischief that has been wrought.” Then Prince Arthur said to his squire: “Take this woman in charge; I will go seek the Red-Cross Knight.” So he departed on this errand, and, entering the castle, sought someone of whom he might inquire. No one did he find, and though he called aloud, there was none to answer. At last there came forth an old man leaning on a staff with which he guided his steps, for the sight of his eyes had failed him long since, and carrying a great bunch of keys, but all of them overgrown with rust. His name was Ignaro. A reverend sire he seemed, and the Knight asked him with all courtesy: “Who are they that dwell in this place, and where may they be found?” “I cannot tell,” he said. Then the Prince asked again: “Where, then, is the Knight whom the giant Orgoglio holds in thrall?” “I cannot tell,” said he again, nor did he say any other words. The Prince’s anger rose at this foolishness, but he checked it as should a courteous knight, and, taking the keys from the old man’s hand, essayed to open the doors, nor did they delay to yield. Great riches he found within—store of gold, and tapestry finely wrought, and much splendid furnishing; but the floor was foul with blood. Vainly did he search through all the chambers; the prisoner he could not find. At last he came to an iron door. It was fast locked, nor was there a key upon the bunch that would open it. But in the door there was a grating of iron bars. Through this he called aloud: “Dwells there anyone in this place, for I will set him free?” To this there came a low voice making this reply: “Who is that who comes? Three months have I lain in this foul dungeon, and if you bring me death itself I would choose it rather than to stay in this place.” When the Prince heard these words he was overcome with horror and pity; not the less, gathering up all his strength, he smote the door, and brake it from its hinges. But when the opening was made, lo! on the other side was no floor but only a deep pit, dark as night, from which there came up a loathsome smell. But neither the pit nor the darkness nor the vile stench abated the Prince’s courage. With much pains and toil he drew up the prisoner from the pit. Sadly wasted was he. He could not stand upon his feet, and his eyes, deep sunk in the sockets, could not bear to look upon the light, and his arms that had been so staunch and strong in the old time were wasted to the bone. So the Prince carried him to the castle door. And when the Lady Una saw him, she was filled with pity and ruth and would have comforted him: “Welcome, my lord,” she cried, “whom I have so long desired to see. Soon shall you have a recompense for all that you have suffered.” “Dear lady,” he made answer, “we will not speak of the evil that is past; only let us beware that we fall not into it again. For, indeed, there is engraven in my heart, as with a pen of iron, this true saying: ‘Happiness may not abide in the heart of mortal man.’”

As for the false Duessa, they were content to strip her of her robes and ornaments. And fouler creature to behold there never was. Then the knights and the squire and the Lady Una tarried awhile in the castle, where they found all things that they needed. So they took for sundry days a rest from their toil.



The time was now come when, having rested sufficiently, the Red-Cross Knight must set forth again, and Prince Arthur, being bound for another land, must bid his companions farewell. Then said the Lady Una: “Tell us now your name and nation, for it would be a great loss not to know to whom we owe so great a debt.” “Fair lady,” said he, “you ask me that which it passeth my wit to answer. This only do I know, that so soon as I was born I was taken by a knight of Fairyland to Timon, now the wisest, as he was once the most expert, in arms among living men, by him to be brought up in all virtuous lore and noble accomplishment. To his house the great Merlin would often come, for he had the chief charge of my upbringing, and he, when I asked him of my family, answered: ‘Be content; you are the son and heir of a king, as shall be made manifest in due time.’” “And how,” said the Lady Una, “came you here seeking adventure?” “You bid me renew an unspeakable grief,” he answered. “There was a time when I laughed at the name of Love, and thought scorn of all that suffered from its power. But there came a time when I myself confessed it. On a certain day, being wearied out with sport, I laid me down to sleep. And in my sleep I dreamt a dream. The Queen of Fairyland stood by my side and told me that she loved me and would show her love when the time should come. Such was my dream; whether it was false or true I know not—only that never in this world did man see so fair a sight or hear words so sweet. And when I woke I vowed in my heart that I would seek her, and never rest till I had found her. Nine months have I sought her, but in vain.” The Lady Una said: “Happy Queen of Fairies that has found so gallant a champion!” and the Red-Cross Knight said: “O sir, to whom I owe my life, if ever man was worthy of such love, you are surely he!”


And now the time was come when they must part. Prince Arthur gave to the Knight a box of diamonds set in gold, wherein were drops of a wondrous liquid of a virtue so excellent that it could heal the most grievous wounds. And the Knight gave to the Prince a book in which the Gospels were written in golden letters.


They had not journeyed far when they were aware of a knight, in complete armour, riding towards them as fast as his horse could gallop. He seemed to be flying from an enemy or from some dreadful thing, for, ever and anon, he cast a look behind him as though an enemy were close at his heels. When he came near they saw that his head was uncovered, and that his hair bristled with fear, while his face was as pale as death, and that round his neck was a rope of hemp, which, indeed, ill agreed with his shining armour. But he made no account, so overcome with fear was he, either of rope or of arms. The Red-Cross Knight rode as fast as he could so as to meet him as he fled, and said to him: “Tell me, Sir Knight, what has befallen you? From whom do you flee? Never have I seen knight in such evil plight.”

Not a word did the stranger speak, but stood staring widely out of stony eyes. But after a while he gathered strength to speak, but full low, and with faltering words: “For the love of God,” he said, “gentle Knight, hinder me not: he comes; see! he comes after me, as fast as he can ride.” But the Red-Cross Knight held him fast, and using now comfort and now reproach, at last put some little heart into him, so that he could tell his tale, and the tale was this—


“I chanced of late to be in company with a gentle knight, Sir Terwin by name. He was a man of good repute for courage and skill in arms, but he fared ill in one matter, in that he loved a fair lady who had but little love for him, but rather took pleasure in seeing him languish and lament. On a certain day as we were coming away from the lady’s dwelling—for he had been paying her court, and had been most disdainfully treated—we met a stranger who greeted us courteously, and, as we fared on together, told us many wonderful tales of great adventures. When he had in this way won our regard, he inquired with a show of friendship of our condition, and when he had heard the same, and knew that we suffered not a little distress in this matter of love, for I, too, was not less troubled in this respect than was my friend, he began to talk to us in the most gloomy fashion, taking from us all hope of relief, and in the end counselling us to end our troubles with death. And that we might do this the more easily, he gave to me this rope and to Sir Terwin a rusty knife. With this said knife Sir Terwin, unhappy man that he was, forthwith slew himself; but I, whether I was more faint of heart or more fortunate I know not, fled away with all speed.”

“I would see this fellow,” said the Red-Cross Knight, “and deal with him according to his deserts.”

“Nay,” said the other, whose name was Trevisan, “I counsel you not to go within hearing of his speech, so powerful is he to persuade.” And when the Red-Cross Knight was urgent to go, Sir Trevisan answered: “To do your pleasure, friend, I will show the place, but I myself would sooner die than enter.”


So they two rode together, and the Lady Una with them, till they came to the place. It was a gloomy cave in the side of a rock, on the top of which there sat an owl making a doleful screech. By the side of the cave were stocks of trees without leaf or fruit, but with the carcases of men hanging upon them, and on the ground beneath were other bodies, which had fallen down by lapse of years. Sir Trevisan would have fled when he saw the place, but the other would not suffer it. They entered the cave and saw the man sitting on the ground within. His grisly hair fell in long locks about his neck, and his eyes were deadly dull and his cheeks sunken, as if it were with hunger and grief. His garments were dirty and patched, being fastened together with thorns. And on the ground beside him there lay the corpse of a man, newly slain, whose blood had not yet ceased to flow from the wound. Then said the Red-Cross Knight, “What say you, wicked man, why you should not be straightway judged for the evil deed which you have done?” “What words are these, stranger?” said the man, “and what judgment is this? Why should he live who desires to die? Is it against justice that a man should have his due? Or, again, to speak of charity rather than justice, is it not well to help him over that comes to a great flood, or to free the feet that stick fast in the mire? He that lies there enjoys the rest which you desire and cannot have. Somewhat painful the passage, it cannot be denied, yet how great and how sweet the rest! Is it not well to endure short pain for so long a happiness? Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, ease after war, death after life, what better can you ask?”


“Nay,” answered the Knight, “the time of a man’s life is ordered. No one may shorten it at his will; no, nor any soldier quit the post at which he has been set.”

“Say you so?” replied the other. “If all things have their appointed end, who shall deny that the end which you shall yourself set is of the things appointed by Fate? Remember also this: the longer the life the more the sin, and the more the sin the greater the punishment. Once you have missed the right way—and who has not missed it?—the further you stray. And have you not strayed, Sir Knight? Bethink you what you have endured, and what you have done amiss. What of the lady whom you swore to champion and so shamefully deserted? What of the false Duessa to whom you so basely pledged yourself? Does not the law say, ‘He that sins shall die’? Die, therefore, as becomes a brave man, without delay, and of your own accord.”

The Knight was greatly troubled by these words, for indeed there were many things of which his conscience accused him, so that he trembled and grew faint, which, when the Fiend perceived, he showed him a picture in which was set forth the sufferings of lost souls; and, after this, perceiving him to be yet more confounded, he brought to him a sword, and poison, and a rope, bidding him choose the death by which he would rather die. And when the Knight took none of these, he put into his hand a sharp knife. Once and again did the Knight lift it up as if to strike; but when the Lady Una saw it, she snatched the knife out of his hand, crying, “Fie, fie on thee, faint hearted! Is this the battle which you promised to fight against the dragon of the fiery mouth? Come away; let not these idle words dismay your heart. You are chosen to a great work; why should you despair? Surely Mercy rejoices against Judgment, and the greater the need, the greater the grace. Come, let us leave this accursed place.” Then the Knight rose up and departed. And when the Fiend saw him depart, he took a halter and put it round his neck, and was fain to hang himself. But this he could not do; many times had he essayed the same, but had ever failed.


As they journeyed on the Lady Una perceived that her Knight, for all that he was healed of his sickness, was feeble and faint, and unfit for combat, if such should come in his way. Now she knew of an ancient house of rest which was in those parts where he might have refreshment and recover his strength. The hostess’ name was Cælia, which, being interpreted, is Heavenly, and she had three daughters—Fidelia and Speranza and Charissa, the last a matron with fair children, the others maidens promised in marriage. There the Knight tarried many days. Much discipline did he endure for the removing of his faults and weaknesses, and much comfort also was ministered to him, and many things was he taught. And when his heart had been thus strengthened and purified, then did the Lady Cælia commend him to the care of a most venerable sire who was chief among her ministers. The same showed him many fair and noble sights, and last of all, on a mountain side, a way that was both steep and long, and at the end of the way a fair city, whose walls were builded high of pearls and all manner of precious stones. And as the Knight gazed thereat, he saw angels ascending thereto and descending therefrom. Then said he to his guide: “Tell me, sir, what city do I see yonder?” “That,” answered he, “is the New Jerusalem which God has built as a dwelling-place for his children.” “Verily,” said the Knight, “I thought that Cleopolis, the abode of the great Gloriana, was the fairest of all cities. But this does far excel it.” “Yea,” answered the holy man, “that is true beyond all doubt; and yet this same Cleopolis is worthy to be the abode of all true knights, and the service of Queen Gloriana a most honourable thing. And you, fair sir, have chosen a good part, rendering thus obedience to her command, and succouring on her behalf this distressed lady. And I give you this counsel: When you have won your great victory, and have hung your shield high among the shields of the most famous knights of the world, then turn your thoughts to better things; wash your hands clean from the stain of blood, for blood, though it be shed in a righteous cause, must make a stain. So shall you tread the steep and narrow path which leads to this fair city, the New Jerusalem. There is a mansion prepared for you. Thus you shall be numbered among the saints, and shall be the friend and patron of the land which gave you birth, having for your style and title Saint George of England.” Then said the Knight, “Dare I hope, being such as I am, to attain to such a grace?” “Yea,” said the Sage, “others of the like degree have so attained.” “But must I leave behind all the delights of war and love?” “Be content,” answered the Sage; “in that joy are all joys fulfilled.” “But,” said the Knight, “if this world is so vain a thing, why should I turn to it again? May I not abide here in peace till I can set forth on that last voyage?” “Nay,” said the Sage, “that may not be. Thou must maintain this lady’s cause, and do the work that has been committed to you. But now learn the secret of your birth. You are of the ancient race of British kings; but a fairy stole you from your cradle, and laid you in a furrow. There a certain ploughman found you, and, designing to bring you up to his own craft, called you George, which is by interpretation, ‘worker of the earth.’”

So the Knight went back to Cælia’s abode not a little comforted and encouraged.



The time was now come when the Red-Cross Knight must perform the task which he had taken in hand. He departed therefore from the House of Rest; nor had he journeyed far when the Lady Una said to him: “See now the brazen tower in which my father and mother are imprisoned for fear of the dragon, and lo! there is the watchman on the wall waiting for good tidings.” Scarcely had she spoken when they heard a dreadful sound of roaring, and, looking, they saw the dragon lying on the sunny side of a hill, and he was like a hill himself, so great he was. Nor did he fail to note the glitter of arms, for he was a watchful beast, and made all haste to meet his enemy.

Then said the Knight to Una: “The hour is come; stand aside on yonder hill where you may watch the battle and be safe yourself.”


Meanwhile the dragon came on, half flying and half on foot, such haste did he make. Never was seen upon the earth so terrible a beast. He looked like to a mountain as he came, so much of the earth did he cover, so high did he rear himself in air, so broad a shadow did he cast. He was covered all over with scales as of brass or iron, fitting so close together that neither edge of sword nor point of spear could pierce them. On either side he spread out two great wings like to the sails of some tall ship. Behind was a great tail, wound in a hundred folds and covering full three furlongs. Huge knots it had, each like to a shield, and at the end were two great stings, armed each with deadliest poison. But more cruel even than the stings were his claws, so mighty were they and so sharp to rend asunder all that they should touch; and yet more cruel than his claws was his monstrous head, with rows of teeth, strong as iron, set in either jaw, while out of his throat came forth a smoking breath with sulphurous stench. Deep set in his head were his two great eyes, large as shields and burning with wrath as with fire, like to two broad beacons set upon a hill to give warning of the foe’s approach to all the shires around.


Such was the dragon to behold, and as he came on he might be seen to rear his neck as in pride, while his scales bristled with anger—a dreadful sight, which made even the Knight’s bold heart grow cold for a space with fear. But not the less boldly did he address himself to the fight. Laying his spear in rest he charged with all his might. Full on the monster’s carcase struck the spear, but could not pierce those scales, so stout and closely set they were. Only so shrewd was the blow that the dragon felt the shock within: never had such been dealt to him before, though he had met many a gallant knight in combat. So he spread wide his wings, and, lifting himself in air, circled round till, swooping down, he seized Knight and steed with his claws and lifted them from the earth. For a whole bow-shot’s length he carried them, but then was constrained to loose them, so fierce the struggle which they made. So you may see a hawk, when he has pounced upon some bird that is too heavy for his flight, carry his prey awhile, but is then constrained to drop him from his claws. Again did the Knight, so restored to the earth, charge his foe. Again did the spear glance aside, though there was the force as of three men in the blow. Yet was not the thrust all in vain. So fierce was the shock that the dragon was constrained to raise his wing, and there, where the flesh was bare of shelter, the spear point made a grisly wound. The beast caught the spear shaft with his claws and brake it short, but the head stuck fast, while the blood poured out amain. Then, in his rage, he vomited forth great flames of fire, and, bending round his tail, caught the Knight’s horse by the legs, and he, fiercely struggling to free himself, threw his rider to the ground. Ill content with this fall, for it seemed as a dishonour to him, he snatched his sword—of his spear he had been bereft—and smote the dragon on his crest. The crest did not yield to the blow, so stoutly was it cased about, but the creature felt the shock through all his mighty frame. Yet again the Knight smote him, and once more the sword glanced aside as if from a rock of adamant, yet was not the labour spent in vain, for now the beast, seeking to avoid his enemy, would have raised himself in air, but that the wounded wing could not perform its office. Then, in his fury, he brayed aloud, and vomited forth from his throat so fierce a flame that it scorched the face of the Knight, and set his beard on fire, and seared his flesh through his armour. Grievous was the pain, and scarcely to be borne, not less than that which Hercules of old endured when the fiery robe steeped in the Centaur’s blood wrapped him round.[1] He stood astonished and helpless. And when the dragon saw how he fared he dealt him a great blow with his tail, and so brought him headlong to the ground. Then, indeed, it had gone ill with him, but for the happy chance that behind him there was a spring which sent forth a stream of water, silvery bright and of great virtue for the healing of all wounds and sicknesses. Men in the old time, before the dragon had wasted the land, called it the Well of Life, and though it was now for the most part forgotten, yet had it not lost its healing powers. It could restore him that was wasted with sickness, ay, and raise the dead. There was no spring on earth that could be matched with it. But of this the dragon was unaware—how should he know of such things?—only when he saw his adversary fall headlong into the water he clapped his wings for joy. This the Lady Una saw from the hill whereon she sat watching the fight. Sorely did it dismay her. Nevertheless she did not wholly lose her hope, but prayed all night to God that it might yet be well with the Knight.


When the next morning dawned in the sky she looked, and lo! her champion stood all refreshed and ready for the fray. Nor did the dragon draw back from the encounter. Straightway the Knight, lifting high his sword, dealt a great blow at the monster’s crest, and this time, whether the sacred spring had given a keener edge to the steel or had put new strength into the arm which wielded it, it did that which never steel had done before, for it made a great yawning wound. Then the dragon, wrought to fury by the pain, lifted his tail high over his head, and brought down upon his adversary the deadly double sting which lay in the end. Through the shield it made its way, and fixed itself in his shoulder. Grievous was the smart, but the Knight, thinking only of victory and honour, did not flinch beneath it, but, gathering all his strength, shore off the furthest joints of the tail, so that not the half of it was left. But not yet was the battle won. For now the dragon laid his two mighty claws upon the Knight, seizing his foot with one and his shield with the other. Sorely was he now beset, for though with a blow of his sword he rid himself of the one claw, the other held him fast. At the same time there burst forth from the monsters mouth such blasts of fire, such clouds of smoke, that he was constrained to retire a little backward, and so, retiring, he slipped in the mire and fell. Yet the matter turned to his good, for the same Spring of Life refreshed and healed him as before, nor did the dragon dare to come near, for he could not have aught to do with a thing so pure and holy. And so the second day came to its ending.


This night also did the Lady Una pray for her Knight throughout the hours of darkness, and the morning found her watching as before. But with the third day came a speedy end to that fierce encounter. The dragon, full of rage to be so baulked of his prey, ran at the Knight with mouth wide open as if to swallow him alive. And he was not slow to seize the occasion, for his foe had laid bare before him its most vital part. Right into the monster’s mouth he drove his sword with all the strength that was in him. Nor had he need to strike again, for the monster fell as falls some cliff which the waves of the sea for many years have worn away. High and strong it seems to stand, but it falls far and wide in sudden ruin.


There is no need to tell in many words how the king and queen of that land came forth from their prison with great gladness, and how the people of the land rejoiced to be rid of so foul a tyranny, and how the Lady Una seemed to be fairer than ever when she came forth in her robe of state, and how the Knight and she were duly betrothed. “Fain would I stay,” said the Knight, “but I am under promise to Queen Gloriana to serve her for six years against the infidel.” “So be it,” said the king of the land, “go, keep your promise as becomes a noble knight, and know that when you shall return you shall have my daughter to wife and my kingdom also, for this I have ever purposed in my heart, that he who should deliver it from the foul tyranny should have it for his own, for none could be more fit.”



Archimage did not suffer long from his overthrow by Sansloy, for he had devices at his command by which he could recover himself from all sicknesses, howsoever sore they might be. And, being recovered, he set himself to do some hurt to the Red-Cross Knight, who, by this time, had bidden farewell to the Lady Una, and was journeying to render service to Queen Gloriana.

As he was travelling with this purpose in his heart, he came upon a very noble knight, clad in armour from top to toe, who was riding slowly along the road, reigning back his horse’s pace to suit the steps of a venerable pilgrim, who journeyed by his side. Archimage laid his hand upon the neck of the knight’s horse and said: “Sir Knight, I pray you to help one who is sadly in need of succour for himself and for another, of whom he is in charge.” And while he spoke he made great pretence of fear and trouble, trembling and weeping.

“Speak on,” answered Sir Guyon, for this was the knight’s name. “Speak on, and I will not fail to help you, and the other of whom you speak.”


“Oh, sir,” said Archimage, “I am a squire, and I have a lady in charge to deliver her to her parents, but there is a certain evil-minded Knight who hinders me. I know not what I shall do, and she goes in deadly fear that some great harm will happen to her.”

“And where is the lady?” asked Sir Guyon.

“Come, sir,” the false squire made answer, “and I will bring you to her.” So the two went together, and found a lady sitting under a tree, weeping sore, with her garments all dishevelled and torn.

“Fair lady,” said Sir Guyon, “it troubles me much to see you in this plight. But take heart; I will surely call him who has done you any wrong to strict account. But let me hear your complaint.”

So she told him her tale. And when she had ended he said: “But who is this man; by what name or by what signs shall I know him?”

“His name,” said she, “I know not; but this I know, that he rode upon a steed of dappled grey, and that he carried a shield of silver with a red cross upon it.”

“Now by my head,” cried Sir Guyon, “I know this same Knight, and I wonder such that he should have behaved so ill. He is a good Knight and a true, and, I hear, has won great renown in the cause of a fair lady. I was myself present in the Queen’s court when he took this task upon himself, which he has now performed with great honour. Nevertheless, I will try him in this matter, and he must needs either show that he is free from blame, or make due amends.”


Now she that made all this show of grief was the false Duessa, and Archimage had found her wandering in miserable plight after Prince Arthur had dealt with her as has been told above. And having found her, he decked her out with robes and ornaments, and made her to appear passing fair, such arts he had. This he did because she helped him much when he would tempt a knight into evil ways.

“And now, squire,” said Sir Guyon, “can you lead me to the place where the Knight of whom you make this complaint may be found?”

“That can I,” said Archimage; and he led him to a shady valley hard by, in the midst of which was a stream both clear and cold, and on the bank of the stream sat a knight with his helmet unlaced, who drank of the water as one who was resting after a long journey. “Sir,” said Archimage, “yonder is the evil Knight; he would fain hide himself from the punishment of his deeds.”

Then Sir Guyon addressed himself to the fight, and the Red-Cross Knight likewise. But ere they encountered each other they stayed their hands: “Pardon me, fair sir, that I had well-nigh set my spear against the sacred badge which you bear upon your shield.”

“And I, too,” answered the Red-Cross Knight, “would likewise crave pardon for like violence to that fair image of a maiden which is your device.”


Then they held converse together. Sir Guyon told his tale, but when he had ended it he looked, and lo! the false squire, the deceiver Archimage, had fled, knowing that his device had come to naught. And now the pilgrim that bore Sir Guyon company came up, and when he saw the Red-Cross Knight, he said: “Fair son, God give you praise and peace for ever. You indeed have won your place; but ours is yet to win.”

“His be the praise,” answered the Red-Cross Knight, “by whose grace I am what I am.” So they parted with much courtesy, going each his several way.

After a while they came to a fair castle by the sea where the Lady Medina had her dwelling, Sir Guyon toiling painfully on foot, because, when he was helping an unhappy traveller, a knave had stolen away his horse. This Lady Medina was one of three sisters, and of the three Elissa was the eldest and Perissa the youngest. These two were always at variance, not a little with Medina, but still more with each other, and she being always of an equal mind, and wise conduct, had the chief authority in the place, though, indeed, their father had left it to the three in equal shares. Elissa had for lover a certain Sir Hudibras, a famous knight, but in deeds scarce equal to his high repute. He had a most mighty body and sturdy limbs, but his wit was small. Perissa’s knight was Sansloy, of whom mention has already been made. Never was man more reckless, indeed, more careless of right and wrong. So soon as these two heard that a stranger knight was come to the castle, then they issued forth to fight with him, their ladies following; yet such was their folly that even on the way they fell out and joined in deadly fray, to the great disturbance of the house. Much did Sir Guyon marvel as, entering the hall, he saw the fray.


“This,” said he to himself, “must have an end,” and, carrying his shield on his left arm and with his right hand unsheathing his sword, he ran in between the two. They with one consent turned their arms against him, just as a bear and tiger in the desert plains of Africa, when some traveller comes in sight, leave their strife and fall upon him with one mind. It was a strange fight indeed, and Sir Guyon had fared ill, but for his surpassing strength and courage, and even these might have failed him in a conflict so unequal, but that the Lady Medina, hearing in her bower of what had befallen, ran forth, with bare bosom and dishevelled hair, and fell on her knees and besought them to abate their strife: “Now, my lords!” she cried, “by the mothers that bare you, and by the love that you have for your fair ladies, and by the knighthood to which you owe your homage, I beseech you to put away this fury and to be at peace among yourselves.” So she besought them, and though the two sisters stood by, not helping a whit, but rather stirring up each her champion to fiercer wrath, she prevailed. The knights let fall their swords, and bowed their heads before her, and vowed to do her bidding. Then she, fearing that their resolve might be unstable, bound them by a treaty, which they, on their part, swore, on their knightly honour, that they would keep for all time to come.


This done she bade them all, both knights and ladies, to a fair banquet. And when they had had enough of meat and drink, she said: “Tell us, Sir Knight, on what errand you are come and what end you seek.”

Then said Sir Guyon: “What you ask brings to my mind that great Queen, fairest and best of all that are in the wide world. She is wont to make a great feast on the first day of the New Year, to which come all knights that seek adventure and desire to gain honour for themselves. At this feast, at the beginning of the self-same year, I was present; and it came to pass that this pilgrim whom you have bidden with me to your feast, stood forth before the Queen, and made his complaint of a certain wicked fairy that wasted the land wherein he dwelt, and wrought great damage to its inhabitants. And when he had ended the Queen set this task to me, unworthy as I am. Nor did I refuse to take it in hand. Now the name of this wicked fairy is Acrasia. Three times has the moon waxed and waned since that day, and I have already seen full proofs of the mischief which she works. To subdue her, therefore, and to bring her captive into the presence of Queen Gloriana is the purpose which I set before myself.”

Then, the night being now far spent, all the guests betook themselves to sleep.



Many perils did Sir Guyon encounter, which it would take too long time to tell. Nor were there perils only of battle, such as befell in the meeting of pagan knights and the like. For such he was well prepared; never did sturdier champion lay spear in rest or wage war at close quarters with his sword. Force could not overcome him, but he could be led astray by fraud. So it was when, in his journeyings, he came to a broad water, which seemed to bar his way. While he stood at the water’s brink, wondering how he might win his way farther, suddenly there was seen hard by a little boat rowed by a fair damsel. When he had told his need she said: “Be content, fair sir; step you aboard and I will take you to the place which you desire.”

So Sir Guyon, nothing doubting, stepped into the boat. But when he would have taken his guide, the pilgrim, with him, he was denied. “Nay, nay,” said the damsel, “we have not space for the old man on this journey.” And even while she was speaking the boat was already far from the land, for indeed it was a magic craft; nor could he even say farewell.


The two had pleasant converse awhile, for the damsel was gay and debonair, and the knight courteous. Nevertheless, he somewhat misliked her manner, and when in a short space they came to the other side of the water, he perceived that he had been led astray, and was not a little displeased. “Lady,” said he, “you have done me a wrong. This is not the place which I sought; I did not think when I followed your bidding that you would so deceive me.”

“Sir Knight,” she answered, “he that will travel by water cannot always command his way; winds and waves will not answer to his call: the sea is wide, and ’tis easy to go astray thereon. Yet here, methinks, you may abide awhile in peace.”

So Sir Guyon stepped upon the shore, though he was but half-content to find himself in such a plight. Nevertheless, he could not but perceive that it was a right pleasant place to which he had come, for the ground was covered with flowers, and the trees were green with the fresh leaves of spring, and the sweet singing of birds was heard on every side. And fairer and more pleasant than all else was the damsel of the boat; nevertheless, Sir Guyon was ever on the watch, nor would he suffer himself to be beguiled. “Maybe,” he said to himself, “this fair dame designs to turn me from my quest. Why did she, as by design, part me from my guide? Why did she turn me aside from the way in which I desired to go? This was more, I doubt not, than an idle whim.” She, on the other hand, perceived that she had failed of her intent, and was, in truth, as willing that he should go as he was eager to depart. So after a while she said: “Fair knight, I perceive that it irks you to abide in this place. Suffer me, therefore, to carry you to the other shore.”


Well content, he stepped into the boat, and was ferried across in the shortest space of time. So he passed through this peril, it seemed, without hurt, save indeed that he had lost his guide, for the damsel in her craft took him to a place far from where the guide had been left; and this losing of the guide was, as will be seen, a very sore hurt indeed.

After a while he came to a gloomy valley covered in on all sides from the light of heaven with the thick branches of trees. And here, in the deepest and darkest shade, he saw sitting a man of a most uncouth and savage aspect, having his face all dark with smoke, and his eyes bleared, and the hair of his head and his beard covered with soot. His hands were black as the hands of one who works in a forge, and his nails were like to claws. He had an iron coat, all rusty above, but underneath of gold, and finely wrought with curious devices, though, indeed, it was covered with dust and grime. In his lap he had a mass of golden coin, which he counted, turning over each piece as if he would feed his eyes with the delight of seeing them. Round about him were great heaps of gold, some of them of rude ore, not yet smelted in the furnace, and some smelted newly, in great squares and ingots, and others in round plates without device; but for the most part they bore the devices of ancient kings and Cæsars. When the man beheld Sir Guyon he rose as in great fear, as if he would hide this precious store from a stranger’s eyes, and began to pour it into a great hole that was thereby. But Sir Guyon, leaping forward, caught him by the hand, and, though he was not a little dismayed by the things which he saw, restrained him.


“Man,” he said, “if, indeed, man you are, why sit you here apart, hiding these piles of wealth, and keeping them from being rightly used by men?”

“Truly,” answered the man, “you are bold and careless of yourself thus to trouble me. Know that I am the god of this world, the greatest god under heaven, Mammon by name. From me come riches and renown, powers and honours, and all things which men covet upon earth. Know, then, that if you will serve me, all these mountains of riches shall be yours; and if these do not content you, I will give you tenfold more.”

“Mammon,” answered the knight, “in vain do you boast your godhead; in vain do you offer me your gifts. Keep them for such as covet such idle things, and look for a more fitting servant. I am of those who regard honour and strive for kingdoms; fair shields and steeds gaily bedight and shining arms are pleasant to my eyes.”


“Do you not perceive,” answered Mammon, “O foolish knight, that money can furnish all these things in which you delight? Shields, and steeds, and arms it can provide in the twinkling of an eye; ay, and crowns and kingdoms also. I can throw down into the dust him that sits upon the throne, and I can lift up to the throne him that lies in the dust.”

“But I,” said Sir Guyon, “have other thoughts of riches; that infinite mischiefs spring from them—strife and debate and bloodshed. No crowns nor kingdoms are yours, but you turn loyal truth to treason; you break the sacred diadem in pieces, and rend the purple robe of kingship. It is of you that castles are surprised, great cities sacked and burned, and kingdoms overthrown!”

Then Mammon waxed wroth and cried: “Why, then, are men so eager to obtain a thing so evil? Why do they so complain when they have it not, and when they lose it, so upbraid?”


And when the knight answered these questions by telling of how in the old time man was content without riches, and how he had been corrupted by the lust of gold and silver, Mammon replied: “Nay, my son, let be these stories of ancient days. You who live in these latter times must be content to take your wage for the work you do. Come now, you shall have what you will of these riches; and if you like them not, then you are free to refuse. Only, if you refuse, blame me not afterwards.”

Then said the knight, for, being but mortal man, he was touched by the sight of great riches: “I would not take aught that is offered me unless I know that it has been rightly got. How can I be assured that you have not taken these things unlawfully from the rightful owner?”

“Nay,” cried Mammon, “that is but idle talk. Never did eye behold these things, never did hand handle them. I have kept them secret both from heaven and from earth.”

“But,” said the knight, “what place is large enough to hold such store, or safe enough to keep it from robbery?”

“Come and see,” answered Mammon. And the knight followed him, but he had done more wisely to stay behind.


Mammon led him through the depths of the wood, till they came to a secret way which was hollowed out in the earth. This they entered and followed awhile, till they came to where it opened out into a wide plain. Across the plain there was a broad highway which led to the dwelling of Pluto. On either side of this road were dreadful shapes—Pain holding an iron whip, and Strife with a bloody knife in his hand, and Revenge, and Treason, and Jealousy. Fear, also, was there, ever trembling, and seeking in vain where he might hide himself, and Sorrow, crouching in darkness, and Shame, hiding her face from every eye. So they came at last to a narrow door, which stood fast shut, with one which was yawning wide open hard by. The narrow door was the door of riches, and the wide the door of hell. This opened to Mammon of its own accord; and Sir Guyon followed him, fearing nothing. But behind the knight there followed close a monstrous fiend, watching him, that he might do him to death if he should lay a covetous hand or cast a longing eye on anything he might see; for such was the law of the place. The walls and the floor and the roof were all gold, but covered with dust and decay; and piled up on every side were huge chests of iron, bound all of them with double bands, and on the floor were the bones of dead men, who, in time past, had sought to win some spoil for themselves, and so had come by their death. But not a word did Sir Guyon speak. So they came to a great door of iron; this, too, opened to them as of its own accord, and showed such a store of wealth as could not be seen in all the world beside. Then Mammon turned to the knight and said: “See now the happiness of the world; here is that for which men strive and struggle. Lo! I lay before you all that you can desire.”


The knight answered: “I do refuse your proffered grace. I seek not to be made happy in such fashion. I set before mine eyes another happiness. I seek another end; I would spend my life in brave deeds. I desire rather to be lord of them who have riches than to have them for myself.”

Mammon gnashed his teeth to hear such an answer, for he had thought that the sight would overcome the soul of any mortal man, and that being so overcome the knight would be his prey. But not yet did he give up all hope. He led him into yet another chamber, in which were a hundred furnaces all ablaze, and at every furnace strange creatures busy at work. Some worked the bellows which raised the fire to white heat; and some scummed off the dross from the molten gold, and some stirred it with great ladles. But when they saw the shape of mortal man, they all ceased from their work, and looked at him with wondering eyes. And he was not a little dismayed to see them, so foul and hideous were they to behold.

Then Mammon spoke again: “See now what mortal eye has never seen before. You would know whence come the riches which men so fervently desire. Look, here you see their source and origin. Here is the fountain of the world’s whole wealth. Think, and change your mood, lest haply hereafter you may wish and not be able to obtain.”

Said the knight, “Mammon, once more I refuse the thing which you offer. I have all that I need; why should I ask for more? Suffer me to follow my own way.”


Great was Mammon’s wrath to hear his offers so refused, but he would try yet another temptation. He took the Knight into a very lofty, spacious chamber in which was assembled a great company of people from every nation under heaven. All of them were pressing forward with great uproar to the chamber’s upper end, where, upon a dais, was set a lofty throne. On the throne there sat a woman gorgeously attired, clad in such royal robes as never were worn by earthly prince. Right fair of face was she to behold, of such a beauty that she seemed, as it were, to make a brightness in the chamber. But the beauty was not indeed her own. It was but a pretence, cunningly devised to delude the hearts of men. In her hand she held a great chain, of which the upper end was fastened to the sky, and the lower went down into hell. All the crowd that thronged about her sought to lay hold of this same chain, hoping thereby to climb to some high estate. Some were fain to rise by the help of riches, and some by flattery, and some by help of friendship, but all thought only of themselves. And they that were high kept others down, and they that were low would not suffer others to rise; every man was against his fellow.

Then said Sir Guyon: “What means this that I see? What is this throng that crowds about the lady’s throne? And the lady, who is she?”


Mammon answered: “That fair lady about whom these people crowd is my own dear daughter. Her name is Philotime (which, being interpreted, is Love of Honour). She is the fairest woman on the earth, could you but see her in the upper air, for the darkness of the place hides her beauty. Her, if you will, you shall have to wife, that she may advance you to high dignity.”

“I thank you, sir,” said the knight, “for the honour which you design for me. But I am only mortal man, and not fit match for an immortal mate. And were it otherwise, my troth is given to another, and it would ill become a loyal knight to break his faith.”

Again was Mammon greatly moved to wrath, but he hid it in his heart, and led the knight into a garden full of herbs and trees, not such as earth puts forth, in the upper air, to delight the souls of men: but such as have about them the atmosphere of death. The cypress was there, and the black ebony, and hemlock, which unjust Athens gave in old times to Socrates, wisest of mortal men. These were gloomy to behold. But in the midst was a tree, splendid with apples of gold. Hercules planted it with the apples which he won from the garden of the daughters of Atlas, and it bore fruits which were the occasions of strife, such as that which Discord threw among the guests at the marriage-feast of Peleus and Thetis. “For the Fairest!” was written on it. Hence came the strife of the goddesses, and the Judgment of Paris, and the stealing of Helen, and the bringing to the ground of the towers of Troy.


Much did the knight marvel to see the tree, for it spread its branches far and wide across the garden, and even beyond the garden’s bounds; for it was compassed about with a great mound. And the knight, desiring to see all that could be seen of so strange a place, climbed upon the bank and looked. And lo! there flowed below it a dark and dismal stream, which men call the River of Wailing. In this he saw many miserable creatures; and one he noted especially, who was always clutching at the fruit which hung from the tree, and making as though he would drink from the stream; and still the fruit seemed to draw back from his hand and the water from his mouth. The knight, seeing him so tormented, asked him who he was and how he came to be in such a plight.

“I am Tantalus,” answered the wretch, “the most miserable of all men; in old time I feasted with the gods, and now I die of hunger and thirst.”

Looking a little further he saw one who sought to wash in the stream hands covered with filth; but for all that he washed they were not one whit the cleaner. And when the knight inquired of him who he might be, he answered: “I am Pontius Pilate, most unjust of judges. I condemned most unrighteously the Lord of Life to die, and washed my hands to show that I was innocent of his blood, but in truth I was most guilty.”

Then Mammon, coming to him again, said: “Will you not even now take of the good things which I offer you, for yet there is time?”


But Sir Guyon was aware of his guile, and would not. “Take me back,” he said, “to the place from which I came,” and Mammon was constrained to obey, for it was not permitted to him to keep the knight or any man against his will. He led him back, therefore, to the upper air; but as soon as Sir Guyon felt the wind blow upon his face, for want of food and sleep he fell into a swoon, and lay without sense upon the ground.



While Sir Guyon was beholding the wonders of the house of Mammon, his faithful guide, the pilgrim, was seeking him, and came by happy chance, or leading of the powers above, to the place where he lay. Sore troubled he was to see him in so sore a plight, for indeed he lay as one that was dead. Nevertheless, feeling his pulse with trembling hand, the pilgrim found that it still did beat. Thereat greatly rejoicing he tended him with all care and kindness.

While he was busy with this tending, he lifted his eyes and saw two knights riding towards him clad in bright armour and an old man pacing by their side. The two were brothers, Pyrochles and Cymochles by name, and the old man was Archimage. Well he knew who they were, for Sir Guyon had done battle with the two in the time past, and had vanquished them, nor did he doubt that the old man, for all his reverend looks, was a wicked sorcerer. And they, too, knew who he was, and that the knight who lay upon the ground was their whilom adversary, Sir Guyon. And first Sir Pyrochles cried aloud: “Old man, leave that dead man to us. A traitor and a coward he was, while he was yet alive; and now he lies dishonoured!”


“Nay, Sir Knight,” answered the pilgrim, “you do wrong so to revile the dead. He was a true knight and valiant in the field, as none know more surely than yourself.”

Then said the other pagan, Cymochles: “Old man, you dote. And, indeed, what know you of knighthood and valour? All is not gold that glitters; nor are all good knights that know how to set spear in rest and use the sword. Let a man be judged by his end. There he lies dead on the field, and the dead are nothing worth.”

Pyrochles spoke again: “Ay, he is dead and I must forego the vengeance that I vowed to have upon him. Nevertheless, what I can that will I have. I will despoil him of his arms. Why should a dead body be arrayed in so noble a fashion?”

“Nay, Sir Knight,” cried the pilgrim, “I pray you not to do so foul a deed. ’Tis a vile thing to rob the dead. Surely it would better befit a noble knight to leave these things to be the ornament of his tomb.”

“What tomb?” cried Pyrochles, in his rage; “the raven and the kite are tomb enough for such as he.”


Thus speaking, he laid a rude hand upon Sir Guyon’s shield, and Cymochles began to unlace his helmet. But while they were so busied, they chanced to spy a knight of gallant mien and bravely accoutred, riding towards them, with a squire behind him, who carried a spear of ebony and a covered shield. And Archimage, so cunning was he, knew him from afar, and he cried to the two brothers: “Rise, prepare yourselves for battle. Here comes the sturdiest knight in all the world, Prince Arthur. Many a pagan has he laid low in battle. You must use all your skill to hold your own against him.”

So the two made themselves ready for battle. And now the strange knight rode up, and with all courtesy made his salute to the company, to which greeting the two brothers made but a churlish return. He said to the pilgrim: “Tell me, reverend sir, what misfortune has befallen this knight. Did he die in course of nature, or by treason, or in fair fight?”

Said the pilgrim: “He is not dead, but in a swoon that has the likeness of death.”

Then Prince Arthur, turning to the two brothers, said with all courtesy: “Valiant sirs, who, I doubt not, have just complaint against this knight, who lies here dead, or seeming dead upon the ground, will you not abate your wrath awhile? I would not challenge your right, but would rather entreat your pardon for this helpless body.”

“But who are you?” said Cymochles, “that make yourself his daysman? Who are you that would hinder me from wreaking on his vile carcase the vengeance which I should have required had he lived? The man is dead, but his offence still lives.”


“It is but true,” said the Prince, “that evil lives after death, and that the curse goes down even to the third and fourth generation, so stern is the judgment of God. But yet the knight who raises his hand against the dead, sins against his honour.”

But Pyrochles made reply: “Stranger, you make yourself a sharer in the dead man’s crime.” And as he spoke, he lifted his great sword and dealt a blow which, but that the Prince’s horse swerved aside, had surely laid him on the earth. He reeled somewhat in the saddle, but so true was his seat, still kept his place.

Great was his wrath at such treacherous attack. “Traitor,” he said, “you have broken the law of arms, so to strike without challenge given, and you shall suffer such penalty as befits.” So speaking, he thrust his spear, and thought with that one thrust to end the battle. And so, indeed, it would have fallen out, but for Sir Guyon’s shield, which the pagan carried. Yet even through this, with its seven folds, did the spear-head pass, and pierced Pyrochles’ shoulder, and drove him bleeding to the earth.


When Cymochles saw what had happened, he leapt forward in great wrath, crying: “Now, by Mahomet, cursed thief! You shall pay for this blow!” and smote him on the crest so mightily that he had no chance but to leave his saddle, else had his head been cleft in twain. Now was the Prince in no small distress, for what could he do with his spear alone against two stalwart knights? For sword he had none, and they too were both fully armed, and well skilled in fight, unwounded one, and the other wounded indeed, but only made thereby more furious. Bravely did he bear himself, and bravely held his own, wounding now this adversary and now that, yet did not himself escape without hurt, for Cymochles wounded him sorely in the side, so that the blood flowed out amain. And when the brothers saw it, they rejoiced greatly, thinking that the end had come. But now the pilgrim, seeing that the Prince was hard bested, and all for want of a sword, came near and put Sir Guyon’s blade into his hand, saying, “My son, God bless your right hand; use the sword as he that owns it would have used!”

Right glad was the knight to have this help, and advanced himself with new courage to his task. He smote first this brother and then that, and both so fiercely that, though they were two against one, they could not hold their own, but began to give way. Only the Prince was at this disadvantage that, when Pyrochles held out against him the shield of Sir Guyon with the likeness of Queen Gloriana on it, his hand retreated and forebore the stroke. Once and again was the pagan saved thereby from instant doom. But for all that the appointed hour drew nigh. Cymochles, thinking to end the battle, smote the Prince upon the hauberk. So fierce was the blow, that it broke the links of the mail in twain, and made the Prince to reel, as he had never reeled before. But his courage rose all the higher, and his strength seemed to be doubled. High in the air he lifted Sir Guyon’s sword, and smote the pagan’s helmet so fiercely that he shore it in two, and the steel pierced to the brain, so that he fell dying to the ground.


When Pyrochles beheld what had befallen his brother, he was so filled with rage that he cast away all caution and care, and rushed in madman’s fashion upon the Prince. And now might be seen how an evil deed finds its recompense. The sword which the pagan carried was, in truth, the Prince’s own, which had been filched from him by craft. Now Archimage had warned the knight before, saying: “Use not this blade against its rightful lord; it will not serve your will.” And well he knew that he spoke the truth. But Pyrochles had laughed him to scorn, saying:

“You think too much, old man, of magic charms and words.”

Yet now he found that the old man’s words were true. So perceiving that he smote to no purpose, he threw the sword down and leapt upon the Prince, and caught him round the middle and thought to throw him to the earth. But he strove to no purpose, for the Prince surpassed him both in strength and in skill, so that he was thrown to the ground, whereon he lay helpless as a bittern in the claws of an eagle. Full of rage he was, but he did not move nor cast a look upon his conqueror. But the Prince, full of courtesy and kindness, said: “Pagan, this is an evil day for you; but if you will give up your false faith, and yield yourself to be my liegeman for ever, I will give you life in reward for your courage, and blot out from my memory all your misdeeds.”


“Fool,” cried the pagan in his rage, “I defy your gift; use your fortune as you will, slay me, for I would not live at your behest.” And the Prince, much against his will, smote him that he died.

And now Sir Guyon, waking from his swoon, saw the pilgrim at his side, and cried out with joy, “Dear friend, for lack of whose guidance I have wandered long, how gladly do I see you again. But where are my shield and my sword?” Then the pilgrim told him what had befallen, and the knight rendered his thanks to the Prince right courteously, and he as courteously received them.



All day the two journeyed together with much sweet converse, and, when it was evening, they came to a fair castle, of which the gate was fast barred. So the Prince bade his squire wind his horn under the castle wall, which thing he did with such a will, that a watchman straightway looked forth from an upper storey; but the gate was barred as before. “What want you, strangers?” he asked.

“We seek shelter for the night,” answered the squire.

“Fly,” cried the man, “fly, my friends, for your lives. Willingly would I give you shelter, but this is no safe abiding place, so closely and fiercely do our enemies assail us. Truly many knights, coming as you have come this day, have perished miserably.” And while he was speaking a thousand villainous creatures swarmed up from all the rocks and caves about, armed in the strangest fashion, some with pikes, and some with clubs, and some with stakes hardened in the fire. Fiercely they rushed at the knights and their company, and for a while drove them back by mere force of numbers. But soon they were forced to fly, and though they came again and again, yet before the night fell they departed and left the travellers in peace. And now the castle gate was opened wide, and the lady of the place, Alma by name, coming to the door with a fair company of knights and dames, bade them welcome. Then she showed them her castle, which was marvellously well-ordered in all its parts. There was a noble hall in which the guests—and there was already gathered a goodly company of knights and ladies—were entertained; and a library where there was a great store of goodly books, and all other things which the heart of man could desire.


On the morrow, Sir Guyon and his guide set forth again, but Prince Arthur tarried behind, desiring to help the Lady Alma against the enemies who sought to take her castle. And this he did in such a fashion that she was troubled no more with them. Yet of his great deeds I will not further speak, being rather concerned with the doings of Sir Guyon, who was indeed now come to the accomplishment of his task.

First they came to a great water, where there was a ferry-boat ready prepared for their coming. In this they embarked and set forth, a stout ferryman being at hand to manage the craft. Two days they sailed and saw no land; but on the third day, as the light began to dawn in the East, they heard the sound of a great roaring. Now the pilgrim held the tiller and steered the craft. To him said the ferryman: “Pilgrim, steer an even course; there is a dangerous place which we must pass across,—on the one side is a great whirlpool, and a ship that comes too near it is sure to sink, and on the other a great rock of magnet, which, if we keep not a due distance, will draw us to itself. Steer then so that we may not fall into this danger or into that.”


Right skilfully did the pilgrim steer, and great was the need. The whirlpool, indeed, showed no sign of what had happened there before, for all was swallowed up in its depths; but on the rock they saw the ribs of ships which had been broken upon it, and the bones of men lying in its clefts. And birds of prey, mews and cormorants and the like, sat watching for such spoils as should come. Right willingly did they pass from that place of death. And when the ferryman, plying his oars with sturdy strength, had rowed awhile, Sir Guyon cried, pointing with his hand: “I see land yonder; steer thereto, good sir.”

“Nay,” said the ferryman, “it is not so. That is no land which you see, but what men call the Wandering Islands. Many men have come to their deaths through them. They seem firm ground, fairly grown with trees and grass and flowers; but let a man once set his foot upon them, he can never recover it again.”


So they journeyed on in a straight course, and in so doing came to one of these islands, whereon they espied a fair lady sitting. On the rock she sat, and she had a little boat hard by. “Come hither, my friends,” she said. “I have somewhat here which I would show you, and which you would willingly see.”

But Sir Guyon said: “Nay, nay. We are otherwise minded; this is the Lady of the Lake who caused me to be parted from my guide.” So they passed on, and took no heed. But when, after a while, they passed hard by another island, on which sat a maiden in sore distress, as it seemed, Sir Guyon’s heart was moved; for was it not a good knight’s part to succour ladies in distress? “Steer thither,” he cried.

“Not so. This damsel in distress is but a show; no damsel she, but some ill creature ready to devour any that she may deceive.” So they passed on, nor did they halt when, passing by a pleasant bay, they heard a sound of sweet singing.

“O Guyon,” such was the song which they heard, “flower of chivalry, most famous of all knights upon earth, turn thy bark hither, and rest awhile.”

“Listen not,” said the pilgrim, “they do but seek to lure you to your death.”

These things past, they came to the place for which they were bound. And the pilgrim said: “This, Sir Knight, is the place where you must contend for the mastery. Take your arms, and make yourself ready, for the hour of trial is at hand.”


And now the ferryman drove the boat upon the shore, and Sir Guyon and his guide stepped out upon the sand. Straightway they heard a hideous bellowing as of savage beasts, and soon the beasts themselves came in view, threatening as if they would devour them. But no sooner did the pilgrim hold out his staff than they ceased their roaring, and humbled themselves to the ground. And now they came to the Bower of Bliss, a place most daintily adorned with all that could please the eye. The porch by which they entered was of ivory cunningly adorned with carved work, in which was told the story of Jason and Medea; how he sailed in the good ship Argo, and how he won the love of the king’s daughter, and how she helped him to win the fleece of gold from the dragon which guarded it, and how she fled with him over the sea. And when they had passed through the porch they came to a very fair meadow, adorned with the fairest trees and flowers. And the meadow being passed they came to another gate, where there sat a comely damsel, who pressed the clusters of a vine which hung above her head into a cup. This cup she proffered to the knight, and he, suspecting evil in all that seemed most fair and pleasant, took it from her hand, and threw it violently on the ground, so that it was broken into many pieces, and all the liquor was spilt.

Sir Guyon and the Men in Bestial Shapes.


Many other tempting sights did they see, and all the knight passed by unscathed, the pilgrim not ceasing on occasion to give counsel and warning. So at last they came to the most sacred place of the Bower, where the queen herself, Acrasia by name, had her abode. Fair she was beyond all words and daintily arrayed, and at her feet there lay a goodly knight asleep. He was of goodly aspect, just come to the years of manhood, with the down newly sprung upon his cheeks and his lips. His arms hung idly on a tree hard by, but his shield was without an emblem, as if he had put away the purpose of his life.

Sir Guyon and the pilgrim drew near, none seeming to heed them, so occupied were they with the pleasures of the place. And then the pilgrim threw over the queen and the knight a net which he had cunningly prepared for that same purpose. Fast did it hold them for all their struggles, neither force nor art could avail them, though they strove with all their might. The queen being thus captured, they bound her with chains of adamant, for nothing else could hold her safely; but the knight they soon set free, for he was of a noble nature, though it was much decayed by evil ways, and he was willing to take to himself good advice and counsel. And the beauty and glory of the Bower did they deface and spoil, the goodly carvings they broke in pieces, and cut down the pleasant groves. As for the beasts, when the pilgrim raised his staff over them, they left their bestial shapes and came back to their own, for, indeed, they were men whom this same evil queen had changed to the forms and thoughts of beasts. So did Sir Guyon perform the command of Queen Gloriana.



Sir Guyon returned to rest awhile in the castle of the Lady Alma, where also he had Prince Arthur for companion. Acrasia he sent to Queen Gloriana under a strong guard, lest perchance her friends and followers, of whom there was great multitude, should seek to deliver her. After a while the two knights set out again on their journey. Many good deeds they did, helping the weak and setting right the things that were wrong. It happened on a certain day that they espied a knight riding towards them, with an aged squire by his side, who seemed too weak for the burden which he bare. The knight had a shield with the device of a lion on a field of gold. Sir Guyon said to Prince Arthur, “Let me, I pray you, have this turn.”


So he put his spear to rest, and charged, and the stranger did likewise. They met full and fair; Sir Guyon’s spear, so fast and furious was the onset, was like to pierce the stranger’s shield, but this it did not avail to do, nor did it drive the stranger from his seat: nevertheless he was somewhat shaken. On the other hand, Sir Guyon himself was carried back, ere he was aware, nigh upon a spear’s length behind the crupper of his saddle, yet without hurt to life or limb. Nevertheless his anger was great, for never since the day when he first bore arms as a knight had he been dismounted in such fashion. And indeed, if he had known the whole truth of the matter, his anger had been both less and greater; less because the spear by which he had been overthrown was of the magic sort, and greater, because the knight by whom he had been overthrown was no man, but a maid, even the famous Britomart. Full of rage he was and hot to do away his disgrace, as leaping from the ground he drew his sword. And now the pilgrim in great haste came between the knight and his purpose, for being a holy man and wise, he perceived that there was some marvellous power in that same spear-point. This indeed he did not disclose, for it was not lawful so to do, but he made other pretence: “Nay, Sir Knight, it were ill advised to seek amends with your sword for the mischance of your spear. If haply your steed swerved somewhat to the side, or your page was somewhat careless in the ordering of your equipage, why should you be so carried away by wrath; for, remember, you have no quarrel with this knight.”

With such prudent counsels did the pilgrim pacify Sir Guyon’s wrath. Thus concord was made between the two, in which the prince also was joined.


When they had journeyed awhile Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon set off on an adventure of their own, to rescue some fair lady in distress. But Britomart, finding that they two would suffice for that enterprise, on which her own mind was in nowise set, rode on without company until she came to a fair castle, with a meadow before the gate, on which she saw six knights setting upon one. He was not a little pressed by such odds, yet in nowise dismayed. Indeed, the six dared not to stand up against him face to face, so shrewd were the blows which he dealt them, but sought to take him at a disadvantage from behind. Britomart endured not to see such knavish work, but setting spurs to her horse and crying aloud, “Have done with such foul tricks,” made all haste to help. And when they ceased awhile from the attack, she said to the single knight: “How comes it, sir, that you do battle in such fashion and at such odds?”

“Sir,” he made answer, “these six would have me swear that the lady of this castle hard by is fairer than the lady whom I love. Now that I utterly refuse; I had sooner die than break my plighted word in such a fashion.”

Then said one of the six, speaking for his fellows: “In this castle which you see there dwells a lady of such a beauty that none in all the world can be compared with her. She has ordained this law, that any knight coming to this place, if he have no lady-love already, shall vow himself to her service; but if he have such a lady-love, then he shall confess that she is of less grace and beauty, or failing so to do, shall do battle with us.”


“By heaven!” cried Britomart, “this is a hard choice! And tell me, pray, if this knight be obedient to this same law, what reward shall he have?”

“He shall have the lady’s fair regard. But tell us, sir, for yourself—have you a lady-love?”

“That,” said Britomart, “I answer not; whether I have such or have not, I pay no such homage as you ask to your lady. Rather, I take up this good knight’s cause against you.” And even while she spoke, she rode at one of the six and laid him low upon the ground, and then at another, and then again at a third, with the like end. Meanwhile the knight had discomfited the fourth. And the two that were left were fain to sue for peace. “See,” said Britomart, “how truth and honour prevail!”

Then was Britomart taken into the castle and received with great honour. Yet she misliked the place and the company, for that they both seemed unduly given over to ease and luxury. Nor would she doff her armour, nor, indeed, do aught but raise the visor of her helmet. And when the lady of the place, seeing that the stranger was very fair and of a noble presence, bore herself as one greatly enamoured, she departed in great discontent. The six knights would fain have stopped her going, and one of them, Gardanté by name, shooting with an arrow, for to come to closer quarters was not to his mind, wounded her in the side. But he and his companions received manifold more hurt than they gave, not only from Britomart, but from the strange knight and Sir Guyon also, for they, hearing the tumult, came to her help.


As they journeyed, it came into Sir Guyon’s mind to inquire of his companion concerning her condition, and how she came to be wandering in these parts. Britomart was not a little disturbed by this questioning. For a while she was silent, and could make no answer, but trembled and blushed, no knight but a very woman. But when the passion had passed, and she had gathered her strength together, she said: “Sir Knight, I would have you know that from a child I have been trained in things of war, to carry a shield, and to put spear in rest, that the life of ease, which women, for the most part, follow, pleased me not; and as for fingering the fine needle and the slender thread, by heaven! I had sooner be struck dead by a foeman’s spear! And so, all my heart being set on deeds of arms and perilous adventures, by sea and by land, wheresoever they might be met, I came from my own country, which men call the Greater Britain, into this land. For it was told me that in this same fairy land many such adventures were to be found, and much glory and honour won thereupon. And now, courteous sir, I would ask you one question: Know you, perchance, of one Artegall, for he has done me a wrong for which I would fain requite him?”


Scarcely had she spoken the words, when she fain would have called them back. But Sir Guyon, taking them up with no small heat, made answer: “Fair warrior, surely you do ill to accuse so true and loyal a knight as is Sir Artegall with ill-behaviour. Truly of all who have ever taken part in tilt or tourney, there is not one that stands in better repute than he. It were indeed the greatest of marvels that he should do an unworthy act, or even think in his heart an unworthy thought. And if you have come with such a purpose in your heart, then I say that you have journeyed far on a false errand.”

Now Britomart, in her secret heart, was glad to hear such praises of Sir Artegall. For, indeed, as will be seen, she loved him, and it was her woman’s craft, by speaking ill of him to his friends, so to call forth his praises. And when, with this thought in her heart, she had again uttered some injurious words concerning him, Sir Guyon answered: “It would be well, lady, that you should listen to reason in this matter. Truly he is not one whom you can compel by force to do this thing or that, for there is not, I take it, a knight upon earth that can match him in equal fight. And, indeed, for what you ask me, where is Sir Artegall to be found, I cannot tell you. He is not one who will remain for long time in any certain place; rather he wanders round the world, seeking occasion for great deeds, by which he can help to right such as suffer wrong.”


Britomart was greatly pleased to hear such praises of the knight. Still she dissembled the matter and said: “Whether it be easy or hard to find the man I know not; but at least I would know how I may profitably seek him. Tell me some mark by which I may know him, the manner of his shield, the fashion of his arms, the bearing of his steed, and other things by which I may certainly know the man should I chance to encounter him.” Then Sir Guyon told her all that she would know, and she, listening to all that he said, found it most welcome to her heart.



There was a certain king of old time in the land of Deheubarth, which men now call South Wales. His name was Ryence, and he had for his principal counsellor one Merlin, who was a great magician. This Merlin made by his art a wonderful mirror, which was so contrived that he who looked in it could see anything from the lowest parts of the earth to the highest part of the heavens, if only it concerned him. If a foe contrived any evil against him, if a friend had used any falsehood in respect of him, there he could see it plainly set forth. This mirror Merlin gave to the king for a protection, that if at any time an enemy should invade his dominions, he should know of his design before tidings could come to him from without, and so should be able to be beforehand with him. Never had prince a more noble present, nor one more worthy of reward, for there could be no treason within the realm or enmity without but that it came straightway to the king’s knowledge.


Now Britomart was the daughter of King Ryence, and it chanced on a certain day that she came into his closet, for he kept nothing secret from her, seeing that she was his only child and the heir of his kingdom, and there saw Merlin’s mirror. She had seen it indeed not once or twice only, and knew its virtues. There came into her head the thought that she might see therein the image of the man who should be her husband. Such a thought maidens are wont to entertain, and Britomart, being her father’s only child, and knowing that she would one day come to the kingdom, was the more curious in this regard, nor had she had to that time any thought of one man more than of another. So looking into the mirror she saw a very comely knight, armed cap-à-pie. He had the visor of his helmet up, showing a face that would strike fear into an enemy and be loving to a friend. He was tall of stature, and bore himself with a manly grace. For his crest he had a hound couchant, and his armour seemed of ancient fashion, massive and strong to look at; on it was written in old letters these words, “The Arms of Achilles which Artegall did win.” The shield was of seven folds, and it bore an ermilin crowned, white on a field of blue. The maiden looked and liked well what she saw, and went her way, not knowing—such was the simplicity of her age—that she had seen with her eyes the fate that should rule the fortunes of her life. That keen archer Love had wounded her with his arrow, but she knew it not. Yet from that day she began to droop. No longer did she carry herself with princely pride. Sad and solemn was she, and full of fancies, yet knew not why. That she ailed somewhat she was well aware, but thought it was not love, but some passing mood of melancholy. Such was she by day, and at night, when she laid herself down to rest, sleep fled far from her eyes. She kept a sorrowful watch as the hours of the night went by, and she watered her couch with her tears; and if, when nature was worn out with these long watchings, she fell into some brief slumber, then some fearful dreams would come and bring with them a worse unrest.


One night her nurse, Glaucé by name, caught her in her arms as she was leaping from her bed, and held her down by force. “Ah, my child,” she cried, “how is it that you are in this evil plight? What is it that has changed your cheerful mood to this sadness? Surely there is some cause for these troubles that haunt you by night, and drive away sleep from your eyes. And in the days when your equals in age disport themselves, you mope in solitary corners, and have no enjoyment of your princely life. I doubt much whether the cause be not love; yet if the love be worthy of your race and royal birth—and that it is I seem to myself to read by many signs and tokens—then I do swear most solemnly to help you. Away, dear child, with your fears! Neither danger or death shall keep me from bringing you due relief.” Then she caught the maid in her arms, and embraced her in all tenderness, and chafed her limbs to drive away the cold, and kissed her eyes, still entreating that she should show the secret of her heart. For a while the maid was silent; then she said, “Dear nurse, why should you grieve for me? Is it not enough that I must die? Must you die also?”


“Talk not of dying,” cried the nurse; “never was wound yet for which no salve could be found. The god who has wounded you has, I doubt not, in his quiver another arrow for your lover’s heart.”

So they talked together; the maid would have it that there was no remedy for her trouble; the old nurse still steadfastly affirmed that the cure could easily be found. At last the damsel told the secret of her grief, as it seemed to her: “Alas, dear mother,” she said, “it is no living man whose image dwells in my heart and makes this pain; it is but the shadow and semblance of a knight; I saw him one day in the magic mirror of the king my father; this is the baited hook which, as some foolish fish, I swallowed; it is this thought that brings me to my death.”

“Is this all, my daughter?” cried the nurse; “then is nothing strange or against nature here. Why should you not set your heart on one who seemed so worthy of your love?”

“Oh, mother,” answered the girl, “I seemed to myself like the Greek boy of old who saw his own face in the fountain and perished miserably.”


“Nay,” cried the nurse, “he was but the lover of a shadow, and rightly faded into a flower. But of this image which you saw, there is, be sure, a substance somewhere, and there are arts by which it may be found. And now, dear child, let me give you my counsel. If you can banish this thought from your mind till the convenient time be come, then do so. If it is too strong for you, then I vow and promise that, by one means or another, I will find this very knight whose image you beheld.”

The maid was somewhat encouraged by these words, and slept awhile. But on the morrow, and as the days went by, the old trouble came again, and Glaucé, seeing that neither words nor prayers, nor strange spells of the magic art, for such she tried, were of any avail, judged that some other remedy must needs be found. What this remedy might be she long doubted in herself. At last it seemed to her that he who had made the mirror, that is to say, the wise magician Merlin, might tell her in what land the knight of the image might dwell, for though he dwelt in farthest Ind, yet find him she would. Forthwith these two, that is to say, Glaucé and the maiden Britomart, disguised themselves in mean attire, that no one might learn their purpose, and betook themselves to Maridunum, where, in a cave which he had hollowed out for himself beneath the earth, so as to escape from the curious eyes of men, Merlin had his abode. When they were come to the place they stood awhile without, in doubt and fear, whether they had done well in making so bold a venture.


At last the maid, moved by love, which is ever bold, led the way, and Glaucé following, they stood within the cave. There they found the magician busy on some wonderful work, for he was writing strange characters on the ground, the spells by which he bound the spirits of the earth to his service. He was not one whit moved at their coming, of which, indeed, he was aware beforehand, for indeed by his art he knew the secret thoughts of others. Nevertheless he made as though he knew not their errand, saying: “Tell me now on what business you are come?”

Then Glaucé answered: “Blame us not, kind sir, that we have thus disturbed you in your solitude, coming thus unbidden, but the need was great.”

“Speak on,” said Merlin.

Then she began: “Three months have passed since this maiden here began to sicken of some strange disease. What it is, and whence it began, I know not; only this I know, that unless you can find some remedy she must shortly die.”

The magician smiled at her woman’s craft, knowing well that she had in her heart that which she would not tell. “Madam,” he said, “I take it from what you say that this damsel has more need of the physician’s art than of any skill of mine. They who may find a remedy for their trouble elsewhere, do ill to have recourse to the magic art.”


The old dame was not a little disturbed by these words, but yet was loath to show her true purpose. “Sir,” she said, “the trouble has taken too strong a hold on this maiden’s life that the physician’s art could work a cure. I fear me much that some bad spell has been cast upon her. Some witch or evil spirit has done this thing; therefore it is that we seek your help.”

When he heard these words Merlin could no more contain himself, but laughed aloud. “Glaucé,” he said, “what avails this pretence by which you seek to hide your purpose? And you, fair Britomart, why have you thus disguised yourself in mean attire, as the sun hides himself behind a cloud? You have come, by the ordering of Fate, to the very place where you shall find the help which you need.” The maiden, hearing her name so called, blushed a rosy red; but the nurse, not one whit dismayed, but rather taking heart at Merlin’s words, said:

“Sir, if you know our troubles, and, indeed, what is there that you do not know, have pity upon us, and help us in our need.”

Merlin sat silent awhile, for many thoughts were in his mind. At last he spoke: “Most noble maid, who have learned to love in this strange fashion, be not dismayed by this hard beginning of your life. It was no chance look, O Britomart, in the mirror of the king your father, but the unchanging course of the purposes of Heaven, that showed you this image. Believe me, it is no ill-fortune that you love this noble knight. Submit yourself, therefore, to the purposes of God, and be content to do His will.”


Then said Glaucé: “Tell us, man of wisdom, what means she shall use, what ways she shall take, to find this man. Or has she no need of toil, but may sit still while her fate is fashioned for her?”

“The fates,” answered Merlin, “are firmly fixed; not the less it becomes those whom they concern to do their own endeavour, and to be fellow-workers with God.” Then he told Britomart the true name and lineage of Sir Artegall, how that he was son to Gorloïs, King of Cornwall in time past, and brother to Cador, then king of the same land. Then he turned to Britomart and opened to her the future, how she should be wife to Sir Artegall, and how from them would come a line of kings who should reign with great glory. Many things that should come to pass in after days, both good and evil, did Merlin unfold to her.



From Merlin’s cave these two, Britomart and Glaucé, her nurse, went back to their own home. There they consulted together many days how they might best carry out their purpose of seeking Sir Artegall. At last Glaucé said: “My daughter, I have conceived in my heart a scheme, somewhat bold, I must confess, yet such as may be accomplished if you are both brave and prudent. And above all things, it is in good accord with the conditions of these present days. You must know that the good King Uther has of late made war against the pagan brothers, Octa and Oza, who are newly come to this country from the lands which lie about the Northern Sea, and has won a great victory over them and their people, and that all Britain is now in a great flame of war. My counsel therefore is, seeing that armed men are everywhere, let us make ourselves as armed men. Let our hands, weak though they be by nature, learn to handle the spear and the sword, nor shall we fail therein, for there are no scholars so apt as they who have need for their teacher. And, indeed, my daughter, you are one who should easily learn such matters, for you are both tall and strong, and need practice only, which being had, you should be as truly martial a maid as you could wish. Nor is such a thing unknown in the race from which you come. Such was the bold Boadicea, who reigned in old time over the Iceni, for she made haughty Rome to tremble before her, and others, as Gwendolen and Emmilen. Hear also this thing which I saw with my own eyes. On the battlefield at Menevia, where King Uther last fought against the pagan hosts, there was a Saxon virgin who thrice struck to the earth the great Ulfin himself. Verily she had slain him as he lay, but that Caradoc held her hand, and Caradoc himself had much ado to escape from her without hurt.”


“Tell me, I pray you, her name,” said Britomart.

“They call her Angela,” the nurse made answer, “and she is as fair as she is strong. She is the leader of a tribe who are more to be feared than all other Saxons; they call themselves Angles.”

Much was the maiden moved by this tale, so that she made her resolve, unknown to her father, to take upon herself all the duties and adventures which were fitting to a knight. And she said to her nurse: “See, Glaucé, that you have all things ready that are convenient to my new estate.” And this Glaucé did with all readiness and care. Fortune also helped in the matter; for about this time a band of Britons, being abroad on a foray, took a great spoil of Saxon goods, and among them goodly armour decked with gold, and arms of proof which belonged to the Saxon queen Angela. These spoils King Ryence commanded to be hung up in the chapel of his palace, that they might be a memorial for all time of the great victory which God had given to his arms. Into this same chapel Glaucé led the maiden Britomart late in the night when no one was near, and taking down the armour, clad her in it, and she gave her the arms also, chief among these being a wonderful spear which King Bladud had made by magical arts many years before. This virtue it had, that whosoever might be struck by the point thereof, could not stay in his saddle, but must be borne to the ground. And when Glaucé had so furnished the maiden with due equipment of war, then she took for herself such arms and armour as befitted a squire, and put them on. This done, they left the place by secret ways, unseen of any. Thus did it happen that Britomart came in guise of a knight into the company of Sir Guyon and the Red-Cross Knight.


Not long after this they parted from each other, for the Knight had an errand of his own, and Britomart was bent on the finding of Sir Artegall. Many miles did she ride, and through many lands did she travel, till at last she came to the shore of the sea. There she lighted from off her horse and bade Glaucé unlace her helmet, and sat down upon a rock to rest awhile and refresh herself with the breeze that blew from off the waves. And as she sat, she thought within herself: “Ah me, how like is love to this restless sea! How shall my frail bark escape where there are so many dangers, and no certain guide?” So she spake to herself, sighing the while; weep she would not, for tears, she thought, did not become a knight. But Glaucé comforted her, calling to her mind what Merlin had prophesied about the things to come. Nor were these words in vain; but there soon befell a thing which roused her more than many words. She spied a knight in shining armour riding towards her in all haste, with his spear in rest as one that had some hostile purpose. Quickly she mounted her horse, and bade Glaucé lace her helmet, and addressed herself without delay to battle. Now, by the time she had put her shield in place and made ready her spear, the knight was close at hand.


“Sir Knight,” said he, “know you that you travel on this road against my strict commands? I suffer not any to pass by this way. Others who have so trespassed have come by their death. Therefore I counsel you to go back while there is yet time.”


She made answer in few words: “Let them fly who have need for flight. You may frighten children with your words. As for passing by this way, I am prepared to do it, even without your leave. Verily, I will pass or die.” Scarcely had she spoken when the stranger knight rode at her with his spear in rest. He smote her full on the breast, and she bowed her head, so fierce was the stroke, till it well-nigh touched the crupper of her saddle. But her counter-stroke was deadlier by far. The spear-point passed through his shield and through his cuirass, and, glancing thence, pierced his left side. The power of the stroke bore him from the saddle, and laid him bleeding on the ground, where he lay wallowing in his blood. So fell the knight, Sir Marinell, upon the shore which he called his own. And Britomart rode on; and as she went she saw pearls and precious stones of every kind, and ingots of gold half buried in the sand. Much she wondered to see such riches, but she would not descend for a single hour. What were jewels or precious stones or gold to her, that they should hinder her in her quest?


The story of Sir Marinell, briefly told, is this. His mother was a daughter of Nereus, God of the Sea, and his father a mortal man. He was reared up in arms, and became a great and famous knight. And he had for his possession this same shore; a place in which Nature of her own will had set much riches, pearls and precious stones and the like, and to which, by the ordering of Nereus, great store of the treasure which the sea swallows up through shipwreck was brought, for his daughter made request of the same for her son. This coast, then, he most jealously guarded against all comers. And being, as has been said, valiant and strong and expert in arms, and also because he knew the place and was able to take a new-comer unawares, he seemed to be invincible. Many knights, seeking to pass along the coast, for, indeed, the fame of its treasures was spread abroad, were slain, and yet more, being vanquished in battle, for life’s sake, submitted themselves to him, and became vassals and servants to him. One hundred knights, men of name all of them, were so bound to his service. In the end, Sir Marinell, what with the multitude of his riches, and the pride of having so many knights of renown at his beck and call, became not a little puffed up, and his mother, knowing that the wise man had said of old, “Pride goeth before a fall,” would fain know how he might be kept from mischief. So she went to a certain god of the sea, Proteus by name, who had the gift of foretelling things to come. And Proteus said to her: “My daughter, keep this thy son from all womankind, for from a woman he shall have a deadly hurt.” And the mother, taking these words to be spoken of woman’s love, set her son’s mind against all such things, and did most carefully keep him from all company of women. And he, to do her pleasure, obeyed her in this matter, yet could not so escape his fate. And this fate was all the harder, because this knight was beloved of a fair and virtuous maiden, Florimell by name, whom he might have wedded much to his joy and profit. Of this same Florimell more shall be told hereafter.


Britomart, after having thus vanquished Sir Marinell, still went on her quest, and came at night to the castle of a certain Malbecco. To this same place there had also come, earlier by the space of an hour or so, two other knights, Sir Paridell and Sir Satyrane. It was this same Satyrane that helped the Lady Una in her wanderings when she was parted by evil chance from the Red-Cross Knight. To them Sir Paridell’s squire had said: “My lords, you will not find entertainment here. The master of this castle, Malbecco by name, is a mere churl, and hates all company, and this for two reasons: the first of these reasons is that his mind is wholly set on riches, and he hates all doings by which they may seem to be wasted; and the second is that he, being old and crabbed, is wedded to a very fair young wife, whom he would fain keep from the sight of all eyes but his own. Verily he keeps her as in prison.”

When Sir Paridell heard the squire’s story, he said: “Why do we suffer this old dotard to behave himself in this churlish fashion? ’Twere better to kill the villain and spoil his home.”

“Nay,” said Sir Satyrane, who was a loyal and true knight, and would fain bear himself honestly to all men; “we will first gently entreat this man to give us entertainment. And if he will not listen to gentle words, then will we threaten him; for some who heed not fair words will take account of foul. And if we accomplish nothing either by entreaties or by threats, then we will make our way into his dwelling by force, and deal with him as he deserves.”


“So be it,” said Sir Paridell, and coming to the gate he knocked. “Sir Porter,” he said, “two knights seek shelter and entertainment.”

Now the porter was Malbecco himself, for it was his custom to play the porter’s part. He answered: “All in this house, my friend, are now gone to their beds, and the keys have been taken to the master of the house, and he also is in his bed, nor is there anyone so bold that would venture to wake him from his sleep. I pray you, therefore, to be patient and to seek entertainment elsewhere.”

The two knights were not a little wroth at this fellow’s churlishness, but knew not what they should do, for he took no heed, neither of blandishments nor of threats. And while they parleyed with him, the sky was overcast, and there came so bitter a blast of wind and so fierce a storm of rain and hail that they were constrained to depart and seek shelter in a little hut that was near at hand, being a sty for pigs. While they were faring as best they could in this place, there came another knight to the castle gate. He also sought for entertainment and was denied, and he also, under compulsion from the storm, sought shelter in the hut. And when, the place being indeed already filled, he was not suffered to enter, he fell into a great rage.

“Nay,” said he, “this will I not suffer. Either I will lodge with you, or you shall be dislodged. Choose then whether of these two things ye will have.” The two knights scarce knew how they should answer him. They liked not to deny him lodging, and they liked not to yield to his boasting. But of the two Paridell was the less disposed to take the matter patiently.


“Who is this fellow,” said he, “who talks to me as though he were rating a dog in a kennel? Of a truth, if he is a dog of spirit, he would rather die than lie like a coward in a corner.” So saying, he issued forth, and came to blows with the stranger. And doubtless mischief had been done but that the good Satyrane made peace between them. This done, they agreed together to punish the lord of the castle for his churlishness. So they went back to the gate, and Paridell cried aloud: “Hark, Sir Porter, whoever you are, if you open not this gate, then we will burn this place and all that is therein with fire.”


When Malbecco heard this, perceiving that they were in earnest, he ran with all speed and called to them from the castle walls. “Bear with me, fair sirs,” he cried, “and pardon me, seeing that I am so ill-served. These loutish knaves of mine know not their duty, and fail to attend as they should upon strangers.” When they heard this, the knights consented to let the matter be, though they believed not a word of what the man had said. So they entered the castle. Being within the walls, they rid themselves of their armour, for they were fain to dry their garments at the fire. And lo! when the last come of the three took off his helmet, the hair, which was of golden hue, broke loose from its tie and fell down to her feet, like the sunbeams that fall from a cloud; and when she doffed her coat of mail and let down the pleated frock she had tucked up for convenience’ sake in riding, then it was plain to see that she was a woman, and indeed the very fairest of women; for in sooth this last come of the three knights was Britomart.



Britomart, riding forth on the day following from Malbecco’s Castle, came to a fountain whereby a knight was lying stretched upon the ground. His cuirass and his helmet and his spear lay near him, and his shield, on which was the emblem of love, as a boy with wings, was thrown carelessly on the ground. He lay with his face upon the ground, and it seemed as if he were asleep, so that Britomart of her courtesy held back, lest perchance she should wake him. But as she stood, she heard him groan, and after break forth into bitter complaining: “O God,” he cried, “who rulest in bliss among Thy saints, why sufferest Thou such cruel deeds to be done? Hast Thou no care for the cause of the innocent? Is Thy justice asleep? What doth it profit a man to do righteously if righteousness find no reward? Never was there on earth a creature more gracious than my Amoret; and lo! for seven months the tyrant Busirane holds her in prison, and all, forsooth, because she will not deny her Scudamore. And I, this same Scudamore, am safe and sound, and yet can help her not at all!” Then he burst forth into a storm of sobs. So shaken and disturbed was he with the torment of his grief, that Britomart feared that he might even die. So, stooping down, she touched him lightly on the shoulder. Whereat he, starting up, looked to see what had happened; and finding that it was but a stranger knight, he threw himself again upon the ground.


Then said Britomart: “Sir Knight, whose sorrow seems to overpass your patience, I would counsel you to submit your will to the providence of God. Remember, if you will, that virtue and faith are mightier than the very worst of sorrows. Surely he who cannot bear the burden of this world’s distresses must not think to live, for life is a distressful thing. And now, tell me what this villain of whom you speak has done. Maybe this hand of mine may help you to win relief and redress.”

Then said the knight: “Ah me! it is idle to complain of what may not be cured. I fear me much that there is no remedy for this trouble. How can we deliver my Amoret from the dungeon in which this tyrant holds her, and all because she will not accept his love, nor be false to me? For, indeed, he has fortified the place with such magic charms that no power of man can overcome them.”

“Nevertheless,” said Britomart, “we will make our endeavour.”


“Why should you die for me?” said the knight. “It is enough that I should perish, who deserve it well.”

“Nay,” cried Britomart, “life is not lost if the fame that dies not be bought with it.”

So at last she persuaded him to rise from the ground. His armour she helped him to put on, and his horse, which had strayed away, she brought back to him. Then they set off for the magician’s castle, which was but a bow-shot away. But when they were arrived, lo! there was no gate, no, nor porter, nor watchman, but in the porch there was a flaming fire and a great smoke of sulphur; so fierce was the fire and so thick the smoke that they were compelled to fall back.

“To run into danger without thought, Sir Knight,” said Britomart, “is becoming to a beast, not to a man. Let us think, therefore, how we may most prudently deal with this enemy.”

“Alas!” answered Sir Scudamore, for this was the knight’s name, “here you see the doleful straits in which I stand. This is the trouble of which I complained. By no cleverness or strength or valor may these flames be quenched, for no man can undo the enchantments by which they have been kindled. Leave me to my complaints. Fair Amoret must dwell as before in this evil prison, and Scudamore must die of sorrow.”

“By heaven!” cried Britomart, “it were a shameful thing to give up some noble purpose for fear of danger, without some venture made. Let us make a trial at the least, and see what shall come to pass.”


And as she spoke the bold maiden threw her broad shield before her face, and pointing her sword straight in front of her, threw herself upon the fire; and behold the flames straightway parted asunder, leaving a space in the middle through which she passed, as a flash of lightning passes through the clouds. And when Sir Scudamore saw how she had traversed the fire safe and untouched, he essayed to follow her. But whether it was that there was a certain jealousy in his heart, or some less pure desire, or some lack of faith, to him the flames yielded not one jot. His pride and fierceness availed him nothing; he was constrained to return most piteously burnt. Greatly was he troubled at this defeat, so that he threw himself on the ground and groaned aloud in the bitterness of his heart.


Britomart meanwhile had made her way into the palace of the Enchanter. The first chamber was a wondrous place, all its walls being covered with tapestries picturing the triumphs of love. Many a strange tale of the gods might there be seen, and with the gods was shown a great multitude of men and women, both of high degree and low, kings and queens and knights and ladies, and peasants and women who worked with their hands, for love has no respect of person, and there are none but feel his power. And round about the tapestries was woven a border of broken bows and shivered arrows, and through them flowed as it were a river of blood. At the end of the chamber was an altar, and on the altar was set the image of a boy. Blindfolded was he, and in his hand he held a deadly bow with an arrow set. And on his shoulders he carried a quiver, and some of the shots were tipped with gold and some with lead, and under his foot was a dragon which had been smitten through with a dart. Under his feet was written this inscription: “The Conqueror of the Gods.” All this the maid beheld, and also she saw that over every door in the chamber, and there were many such doors, the words were written: “Be Bold!” But over one door at the very end of the chamber were these words to be seen, “Be not Over-Bold.” Much she marvelled to see no living creature, for the whole place was silent and empty. But the day being now far spent, she lay down to sleep, but was careful to keep her arms close at hand should need arise.

She slept not untroubled. First there was the sound of a great trumpet; but whether it were blown for victory or for warning she knew not. And after the trumpet there was a great storm of wind, with thunder and lightning, and after the lightning an earthquake, and after the earthquake a great stench and smoke of sulphur, yet was not Britomart one whit dismayed. Then, as she wondered what these things might mean, a great whirlwind blew throughout the house, and the door over which the words “Be not Over-Bold” were written, flew open of its own accord. And out of it there issued a marvellous array.


First came Fancy, in likeness of a lovely boy, and after him Desire, and then Doubt, ever looking about him with restless eyes, and Danger, and Fear, who ever kept his eye on Danger, and Hope in the semblance of a happy maiden, and Suspicion, and Grief and Fury, and many more, which it were long to name one by one. Thrice did they march round the chamber, and then returned to that within from which they had come forth. And when the last had passed through, the door shut as it had opened at the first, of its own accord. And when the maid would have passed through it, she found it locked fast against her and beyond all her strength to open. Then, finding that she could do nothing by force, she had recourse to craft, purposing not to depart from the chamber till the next night should come, and with the night the same procession of figures should come forth. And so it fell out, and when the door opened next of its own accord, then Britomart went boldly in. Not one single figure did she see of all that wondrous company. There was no living creature in the chamber, save one lady of woeful aspect, whose hands were bound fast together, while round her waist was a chain which bound her to a pillar. And before her sat the Enchanter, making strange characters, which were among the devices of his art. In blood he drew them, and the blood seemed to be drawn from the woeful lady’s heart by an arrow which was fastened in her side. When the Enchanter saw the maid he cast his magic book in haste to the ground, and drawing from his vest a murderous knife, made as though he would have thrust it into the lady’s side. But the maid caught his hand and mastered him. Not so completely did she quell him but that with a sudden wrench he turned the dagger upon her and struck it into her chest. It was but a shallow wound, but it moved her wrath, and she, drawing forth her sword, dealt him a mighty blow, so that he fell half dead upon the ground. But as she made ready to smite him again, the woeful lady cried: “Slay him not, for if he die then am I here fast bound for ever; for only he that has bound can loosen.”


Full wroth was Britomart to spare so foul a wretch. Nevertheless, for the lady’s sake, she held her hand, and said: “O wicked man, death, or that which is worse than death, if such there be, is the due reward of your crimes. Nevertheless you may live if you will restore this lady to her first estate.” To this the wretch, so reprieved beyond all hope, gave a willing consent, and taking up his book began to reverse his evil charms. Many a dreadful thing did he read which the lady heard with trembling, seeing that they had brought her to this evil plight. And all the while Britomart stood, with her sword drawn over his head, ready to smite him if he should fail of his promise. And now all the house began to shake around them, and the doors to rattle. Yet was not the maid dismayed, but watched the villain as he undid the charm. And now the chain was broken from off the lady’s hands, and that which did bind her to the pillar was severed, and the pillar itself fell into ruins, and the steel by which her life-blood was drained away came forth from the wound, no one drawing it, and the wound itself was closed and the lady herself restored to her first estate.


When she found herself thus whole again, she poured out her heart in thanks to the maid, throwing herself upon the ground before her. “Gentle lady,” said Britomart, “it is reward enough to have done you this service. And now forget your trouble, and take comfort to yourself and comfort also the true knight who has suffered so much for your sake.” Right glad was Amoret to hear such kindly words of the man whom she loved. Then did Britomart take the chain with which Amoret had been bound and bind the Enchanter with it. And this was a fit beginning of the punishment which was to fall upon him. This done, they turned to depart, and as they passed through the Enchanter’s abode, lo! all the grace and glory had departed from it; all the fair picturings were defaced, and when they came to the fiery porch, the flames were vanished, and the place was like to a torch that is half burned.

But as nothing in the world is without trouble, so to their great trouble they found no one awaiting them; neither did Amoret see Sir Scudamore, nor Britomart her squire.



It was, in truth, a great deliverance that Britomart had worked for the Lady Amoret. Nevertheless this same lady was somewhat in doubt how she should bear herself to her deliverer. For, on the one hand, she was well aware that all her love and homage was due to Sir Scudamore, nor was there aught in her heart that hindered her from rendering it. It should be told indeed that she was not only betrothed to this same Scudamore, but verily wedded, only it had come to pass on the very wedding-day, when the guests were somewhat overtaken with wine, that the enchanter Busyrane had entered the palace, and, under cover of a jest, had carried her away into captivity. So now she said to herself:

“This is a very noble knight, and it irks me to show him any discourtesy; yet, on the other hand, I fear me much lest I should seem in any wise disloyal to my own dear lord,” for she knew not that Britomart was a maid. And Britomart, on her part, desiring that the secret should not be known, bore herself with a certain freedom. Nothing unseemly did she say or do; but none had guessed her to be what she was.


As they journeyed together they came to a castle, where a great company of knights and ladies had assembled to hold a tournament. Now it was a custom of tournament that every knight entering the lists bore the colours of some lady, and averred that she was the fairest of all ladies, and that he would prove it with spear and sword. Thus it came to pass that when the knights were gathered together, and the master of the ceremony asked of each his lady’s name, a certain young and lusty knight cried out, “My lady is the fair Amoret, and that I will avow with spear and sword.”

When Britomart heard these words she was not a little wroth; nevertheless she dissembled her anger, and said only, “I am loath to make strife; but this young man must needs make good his words!” So they jousted together, and the knight was easily overthrown, being thus made to suffer for coveting that which was not his. But Britomart, seeing that he was a brave man, and being herself as courteous as she was strong, cast about how she could save his honour. She said, therefore, to the master of the ceremony: “Let me have this knight for my champion.” And as she spoke she doffed her helmet, and her golden hair, which had been cunningly coiled up within, fell down to her very feet. All that stood by, both ladies and knights, were not a little amazed.


Some said, “This is wrought by magic!” others, “This is Bellona’s self that has come among mortal men.” As for the young knight, he worshipped her as though she were divine, and the fair Amoret, all her doubts being removed, was knit to her in the closest bonds of affection and tenderness.

The next morning they departed together from the castle, the one ever cherishing in her heart the thought of Sir Artegall and the other of Sir Scudamore. After a while they were aware of two knights riding towards them, having each a lady at his side; ladies, indeed, they were not, save in outward appearance, for one was the false Duessa, the other was called Até, which name by interpretation is Strife, than whom there is no more baleful creature under the sun, and she has her dwelling hard by the gates of hell. Many ways are there by which a man may go into that place, but none by which he may come forth. And the walls on every side are hung with the rent robes and broken sceptres of kings, shivered spears and shields torn in twain, spoils of Babylon and of Rome, relics of great empires that have been and are no more. Até herself was hideous to behold, if one could see her as she was in truth. But now she was fair to look at, for she had put on, as can all evil things, the semblance of beauty.


The knight who rode by her side was a certain Blandamour, gallant and strong, and most expert in arms, but of a fickle and inconstant heart; and he that was companion to the false Duessa was Sir Paridell. When Sir Blandamour saw from afar Britomart and Amoret, he said to Sir Paridell: “See you, my friend, that knight with a lady by his side? There is a fair adventure for you!” But Sir Paridell, for now they were near enough to discern the fashion of Britomart’s arms, perceived that this knight bore the like scutcheon to one by whom he had of late been worsted in battle; nor was he minded to tempt his fate again.

“I know that knight full well, Sir Blandamour,” he said; “he proved his skill on me, and I count it folly when he who has escaped a danger challenges it again.”

“Then I,” replied Sir Blandamour, “will try my fortune; take you, meanwhile, this dame in charge.” And he laid his spear in rest and charged. Britomart, on her part, made ready to receive him, and gave him an uncouth welcome. Scarce had they met than he found himself lying helpless on the ground. Meanwhile his conquering adversary rode on, not deigning so much as to say a single word.

When his companions saw in what an evil plight he was, they hastened to his help, and put him on his steed, for mount himself he could not, and held him up as he rode. Ill-content he was that he had ventured so much and won so little.


After that they had journeyed awhile, they saw two knights coming towards them across the plain. When Sir Blandamour perceived them, he grieved more than ever for his late mishap, for he saw that one of them was his old enemy Sir Scudamore, knowing him to be such by the device that he wore, to wit, the god of love with his wings spread out on this side and on that. “Here,” he said to himself, “is evil fortune! Yonder is my enemy, and I am so bruised with this late encounter that I cannot do battle with him.” Then he said to Sir Paridell: “My friend, will you, of your affection, do somewhat for me, even as I have done for you? My hurts keep me back from battle, but I have just cause of enmity against yonder knight. Will you, therefore, maintain this my cause against him?”

Sir Paridell answered: “Trouble not yourself. There is a proverb that the left hand rubs the right. As you have fought for me, so will I for you.” Forthwith he laid his spear in rest, and charged, swift as an arrow from a bow. Nor was Sir Scudamore slow to make himself ready. So they met in fierce encounter, and with so great a shock, that both were driven from their saddles, and they lay stretched upon the ground. Sir Scudamore was soon on his feet again, and said to the other: “Laggard, why lie you so long?” But Sir Paridell lay tumbled in a heap, without sense or speech, all unheeding of his adversary’s reproach. Then his companion ran to him, and unlaced his helmet, and loosened his coat of mail, and so brought him back to feeling; but not a word did he speak. Then said Sir Blandamour:

“False knight, you have overcome by craft a better man than yourself. It is well for you that I am not in such good case to-day that I can avenge him.”


To this Sir Scudamore made no answer, though there was great anger in his heart. Then the false Duessa, not seeing how her ends would be served by a quarrel between these two, would have made peace between them. But, on the other hand, Até made up a fresh contention, for she turned Sir Scudamore against Amoret, slandering that true lady with false tales of how she had given her love to a stranger knight, who, indeed, was none other than Britomart. Nor was she content with this, but she made a quarrel also between Paridell and Blandamour. And the contention between these two grew so hot that they were ready to do battle with each other. What had been the end thereof none can say, but by good luck there came that way a certain squire who was well known to both, and not a little beloved by them. No easy thing was it for him to get hearing from the two, so full of fury were they. Yet, at the last, he persuaded them to stay their hands. This done, he said: “Brave knights, you ought to be at peace and not at variance. There are those that seek your harm, and you would do well to ally yourselves against them.” Thus he persuaded them to swear friendship again. So being reconciled, they pursued their journey. After a while they saw two knights and two ladies with them, and they sent on their squire to inquire who these might be. And when the squire came back to his company he said: “These are two famous knights, brave Cambell and stout Triamond; and the ladies are Cambina, who is wife to Cambell, and Canacé, who is wedded to Triamond. But would it please you, gentle sirs, to hear their story, for I know it well, and it is worth the hearing?”


Sir Blandamour answered, “Speak on.” So the squire told this tale that follows.



There was a great lady in Fairyland, Agapé by name, who had three sons, born all of them at one birth; and the names of the three were Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond. Also she had a daughter, Cambina by name. Now the Lady Agapé greatly desired to know how long her sons should live, for they, having a mortal for their father, must needs die some day, whereas she, being of fairy race, was immortal. Having, therefore, this thought in her mind, she made her way to the place where the three Fates sit by the distaff spinning the lines of Life. One sister draws out the thread, and another turns the spindle, and yet another, sitting by with the shears in her hand, cuts the thread when the due time is come. Deep in the hidden places of the earth was the dwelling of the three, and the way thereto was dark and hard to find; but Agapé had in her heart all the wisdom of Fairyland, nor did she fail to accomplish her purpose. When she had come to the place she sat awhile, and watched the sisters at their work. At last, having seen all that they did, she declared why she had come: “I have three sons,” she said, “mortal men, though I myself am immortal; and I greatly desire to know how long they will live.” One of the sisters, she that held the shears, was very angry when she heard these words: “You have done ill,” she said, “in coming here on this errand. These things are not for anyone, mortal or immortal, to know. You deserve to be smitten with the Curse of Jupiter—you and your children with you.”

Agapé approaching the Dwelling of the Fates.


Agapé was greatly frightened at these words. Still she held to her purpose, and with many prayers and entreaties prevailed upon her that held the spindle, for she was less hard of heart than the sister who held the shears, to show her the threads of the three youths. When she saw them she cried, “I pray you draw them out longer and of a stouter thread.”

“Nay,” said the sister, “think you, O foolish one, that the purposes of the Fates may be changed as are the purposes of men? It is not so; what they decree stands fast for ever; the gods may not move it by one hair’s-breadth, no, nor the ruler of the gods himself.”

Then answered Agapé: “If this be so, if you cannot add one jot to the thread of any man’s life, still there is a boon which you can give me. I see the thread of my eldest son, and it is, I perceive, the shortest of the three. Grant that when it is cut with the shears, it may be added to the thread of the second, and that in like manner when the thread of the second is cut, it may be joined to the third. So shall he have a treble portion, and yet the whole shall not have been increased.”


The sisters said, “This shall be so.” Thereupon the Lady Agapé departed to her own home. She told her sons nothing of this journey which she had taken, or of the things which she had seen and heard, or of the boon which had been granted to her in the matter of their lives. But she said to them, not at that time only, but after, whenever she could find occasion: “O my sons, be careful and walk in safe ways; but, above all things, love one another, whatever may befall.” And this they did all their lives. Never was there any strife between them, but only great friendship and concord, of which the most signal proof is now to be told.

There was a fair lady in those parts, Canacé by name, who was wiser than all the women of her day. She knew all the powers of nature, and could see beforehand the things that should come to pass, and knew the speech of beasts and birds. And as she was wise above all others, so also did she excel in goodness. To these things she added also a singular beauty, so that many lords and knights of the land came to woo her. To these she bare herself rightly courteously, but favoured none, no, not so much as by a word or a look. But it came to pass, as is the way in such matters, that the more she held herself aloof, the more eagerly did these lords and knights urge their suit upon her. And not a few quarrels came about on her account, one suitor meeting another in battle. Now this Canacé had a brother, Cambell by name, as brave and stout a knight as ever lived. And he, seeing that great mischief might arise out of these quarrels concerning his sister, caused all her wooers to come together, and made this proclamation among them:


“Ye Lords and Knights that seek my sister Canacé in marriage, choose now from among yourselves the three whom you judge to be the boldest and most skilful in battle among you, and let them meet me in combat, man by man, and it shall be that whosoever of the three shall prevail over me shall have my sister to wife.”

Now this Cambell was, as has been already said, a brave knight and a stout; yet for all his strength and courage he had scarcely dared to stand up in this fashion against so many. For, indeed, it might well come to pass, such are the chances of battle, that one or other might prevail over him, not being the better man, but by reason of some accident. But there was that which encouraged him to dare so much, to wit, a magic ring which his sister had given him. It was a ring of many virtues, but the chief of them all was this, that if he who wore it should be wounded, this ring straightway staunched the bleeding.


Now this matter of the magic ring and its marvellous virtues was known to all, and the suitors of the Lady Canacé were, for the most part, terrified by it, so that they would not venture on the battle. “Fair she is without doubt,” they said, “but it would be a fool’s part to venture life even for her.” Nevertheless there were three among them who were not of this way of thinking, and these three were the brothers Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond. They all loved the Princess, and yet, so brotherly were they in heart and mind, that there was not a thought of anger or jealousy among them. “Let her choose,” said they, “between us, and we will be content with her choice. Or, if the judgment be left to the sword, then let him be preferred who shall overcome this her brother Cambell.”

So the three addressed themselves to the battle in the order of their age. First came Priamond, the eldest, a stout knight to hold his place, but he was not so strong to strike as are some. He loved to fight on foot, and his arms were the spear and the battle-axe. Next to him was Diamond; he was one to deal mighty blows, but he was not so good in holding his ground. Whether he were on horseback or on foot he cared not, so that he had his battle-axe in hand, for with this he loved to fight. Last of all came Triamond. There was no man better than he, whether to stand or to strike; the fight on horseback pleased him best, and his arms were spear and shield.


On a set day the lists were prepared. Barriers were made to keep off the press of the people. At one end sat six judges, who should see that all things were done decently and in order, and that neither this warrior nor that should take undue advantage; and at the other was set the fair Canacé on a stage, that she might see the battle and herself be seen. The first that came into the lists was Sir Cambell. Noble was his mien and assured his look, as of one that knew certainly that he should prevail. After him advanced the three brothers, bravely attired and shining in arms, each with his banner borne before him. Thrice did they bow themselves before the fair Canacé, and then a blast of the trumpet gave the signal for battle.


First of the three to meet Sir Cambell came Priamond; well skilled in arms were the two, and for long they fought without advantage to one or the other. Mighty the blows that they dealt, but both had watchful eyes and ready skill to turn the deadliest stroke aside. The first gain fell to Sir Priamond, for his spear, whether by good fortune or by skill it were hard to say, passed by his adversary’s shield and pierced the shoulder where a joint of the armour gave it access. Deep was the wound, and though no blood flowed therefrom—such was the virtue of the magic ring—it stung the warrior to the quick with keenest pain. There are whose spirit is quelled with pain; but Sir Cambell was not of these. The smart did but rouse his courage to the utmost, and put new strength into his arm. Straightway he drave his spear close underneath Sir Priamond’s shield and smote him on the thigh. The coat of mail did not stay it, but that it made a grisly wound, and the stout knight tottered with the blow, even as an old oak, withered and sapless, rocks with every blast of the wind. Nor did Cambell fail to use the occasion. He smote him yet again upon the side, making another deadly wound, and though the spear brake with the blow, he did not abate his onset, but drave the shaft through the visor of Sir Priamond’s helmet, and laid him low upon the ground. So fell the first of the three brothers; yet did not his soul depart, but by virtue of the gift of the Fates it passed into the bodies of the two that yet remained, making them stronger and more eager for the fray.


Nevertheless, when Sir Diamond addressed himself to the battle, the lists having been cleared afresh, and the trumpet sounded a second time, he fared no better than his brother. For a while the two stood face to face, giving and receiving equal blows, but without advantage either to the one or to the other. But then a great gust of wrath swept through Sir Diamond’s soul, driving away all thought but of how he might most speedily avenge his brother. And, indeed, the very soul of the brother stirred within him. So he lifted high his mighty battle-axe, swinging it over his head, and bringing it down on his adversary with all the force that was in his body. And, surely, had the blow fallen as it was meant, there had been an end of strife. No magic ring had availed to stay so dreadful an onset. It had crushed out Sir Cambell’s life, whether with or without the shedding of blood. But fortune helped him in his need, for judging where the axe would fall, he swerved aside, so that the stroke missed the mark, and the striker’s right foot slid from under him. So we may see a hawk strike at a heron with all his might; so strong is the blow, that it would seem as if nothing could turn it aside; but the heron, a wary bird, sees it come, and lightly avoids it, so that the hawk is well-nigh brought to the ground ere the force of his onset is sped. So fared it with Sir Diamond; not only so, but while he reached forward with his left arm to recover himself, he left his side unguarded by the shield. Which thing Sir Cambell did not fail to perceive, for swinging his axe, he smote him between the topmost rings of the coat of mail and the lowest rings of the helmet, which spot is ever dangerous to the warrior, how well soever he be armed. There did Sir Cambell smite Sir Diamond, with an arm so sure and deadly that he shore his head from his body.


And now ensued the fiercest fight of all, yea, and also the strangest. Well might a man wonder to see how Sir Cambell stood up, neither faint nor weary, for all that he had been changing blows for the space of an hour and more. Yet did he seem even fresher and brighter than at his first taking of arms, just as some great serpent wakes from the long sleep of winter, when the warm breath of spring has touched him, and throws off the ragged skin of his old estate, and raises himself in the sunshine with all the glory of his youth renewed. Such freshness and vigour did the magic ring work in calling out all the strength that he had, for all the magic in the world had not availed to help a coward or a sluggard. Against him stood a worthy foe, with the might of three stout champions in his heart and in his limbs. Once and again, yea, many times, did it seem that this or that warrior had prevailed. Now was Cambell beaten to his knee, till all the company thought he must needs lose the day, and now was Triamond stretched upon the ground, like to one who has received a mortal wound. And once, indeed, the two lay together at full length, as though they had been dead. The judges rose from their place, and the marshals of the lists came forward as to carry the two corpses to the appointed place, and the fair Canacé cried out in her despair, for it seemed as if both brother and lover had been taken from her at once. But lo! in a moment the two were standing on their feet again, and addressing themselves anew to the battle. What had been the end, whether the virtue of the magic ring had overcome the triple might of him in whom dwelt the spirits of three brave men, who can say? For now there was heard such a clamour, such a confusion of voices, such a shouting of men and wailing of women and shrill crying of children, that all turned their faces to look, and the two champions by common consent stayed their hands till they could see what strange things had happened. And, indeed, it was a marvellous sight that they saw. There came speeding along the ground, fast as a thunder-cloud that rides the sky, a chariot richly adorned with gold and purple in the Persian fashion. Two lions from the forest drew it, mighty beasts, such as could not be surpassed for strength and fierceness in any land, but now they had forgotten their savageness to obey the pleasure of their driver. And this was a lady of wonderful beauty, and not less wise than fair, for she had been taught all the arts of wholesome magic by the fairy, her mother. In her right hand she carried a wand with two serpents twined about it, and in her left a cup filled to the brim with nepenthe, the wondrous drink of which he that tastes straightway forgets all grief and anger and care.


This was the Lady Cambina, daughter of Agapé, and sister to Sir Triamond, and she, knowing by her art in what deadly peril her dear brother stood, came to his help. All the people made a way for her to pass, so that she could approach the lists. These first she struck with her wand, and they fell at the stroke. Then she said to the two champions, “Cease now your strife and be at peace.” And when they would not hear, but made as if to renew the battle, she cast herself upon her knees and besought them with many prayers and tears to cease from their anger; and when they still hardened their hearts, she smote them lightly with her wand. So soon as they felt the touch, the swords dropped from their hands. Then, as they stood astonished, not knowing what had befallen them, she gave the cup first to one and then to the other; and they, as being consumed by mighty thirst, drank each a mighty draught. Straightway the magic liquor turned all their strife to love; they clasped hands, and plighted troth to each other, and swore that they would be friends for ever. And such indeed they were to the end of their days; ay, and Cambell took to wife Cambina, and Triamond wedded the fair Canacé.



It has been related before how Sir Guyon and Prince Arthur parted company with Britomart with the purpose of relieving a fair lady in distress. Now the name of this same lady was Florimell. She was courted by many knights of high degree, but her love was given to Sir Marinell, the same that was overthrown by Britomart in the passage by the sea; but he, on his part, had no thought for her, being mindful of his mother’s counsel that he should hold himself aloof from all womankind. So fast did Florimell fly, for she was in grievous fear, that the two knights who followed with intent to give her help, could by no means overtake her. After a while the strength of the white palfrey on which she rode wholly gave out, and she, alighting, made her way on foot, a thing which she had never done in all her life before, so delicately bred was she. But need teaches many lessons, this being chief among them, that Fortune holds the lots of all in equal scales, and has no respect of persons. So travelling, she came to a hillside, from which, looking down, she espied a valley thickly covered with trees, and through the tree-tops a thin vapour of smoke issuing forth. “Here,” she said to herself, “is a dwelling of man, where haply I may find shelter and rest.” So she bent her steps thither, and after a while reached the place, being now sorely spent with trouble and weariness. A dwelling there was, but of the humblest kind, a little cottage, built with reeds and wattled with sods of grass. In this there dwelt a witch woman. Most sparely did she live, careless of all common things, for her mind was wholly given to her art, for the better and more secure practice of which she lived far from all neighbours.


When Florimell came in the witch was sitting on the ground, and was so busied with one of her enchantments that she was taken wholly unawares. At the first she was overcome with fear, for she would not that any should surprise her while she was busy with her art. Then, her fear changing to anger, as, indeed, it is commonly wont to do, she cried in a loud voice: “Stranger, what mischief has brought you hither? Here, of a truth, you will find no welcome.”


Florimell answered: “Mother, be not angry with a simple maid, who has been brought to your dwelling by hard chance, and asks only for leave to rest awhile.” And as she spoke the tears came trickling down her cheeks, and she heaved a sigh, so softly and sweetly, that there could be no creature so hard and savage that would not have pitied her. Even the witch, for all that her soul was given to mischief, was much moved at the sight, and sought to comfort her in such rude fashion as she knew, for even in her the sight of such beauty and virtue moved the hidden sense of womanhood. So, wiping the tears from the damsel’s eyes, she bade her rest awhile. This she was nothing loath to do, and sat down upon the dusty floor, as a bird spent with tempest cowers upon the ground. After a while she began to set aright the garments that she wore, and to put in order her golden hair. All this the witch woman saw with wonder that still waxed greater and greater. “Is this a mortal maid,” she said to herself, “or one of Diana’s train?”

This same witch woman had a son, very dear to her, and in a sort the comfort of her age, but a lazy, evil-minded loon, always idling away his time, and loath to follow any honest trade. He was abroad when Florimell came to the cottage, and when he returned, he was not a little amazed to see so fair a creature sitting by his mother’s hearth. But the maiden bore herself so meekly, fitting herself to the low condition of the place, that she soon ceased to be strange to mother and son. This was a thing to be desired; yet it had in it this discomfort, that the witch’s son began to love her. He would bring gifts for her, such as birds which he taught to speak her name, and squirrels which, he said, were as fellow-slaves with himself, and flowers to make garlands for her head. All these she graciously received. Nevertheless she was not a little troubled in her heart, for she could not but perceive the love which the young man bore her. Therefore she determined in herself to depart.


By this time her palfrey was well rested from its weariness, for, indeed, the young man, the son of the witch, had tended it with all care. Early, therefore, one morning she put its strappings on the beast, and so departed.

Great was the anger of the witch and her son when they knew that Florimell was gone. As for the disappointed lover, his fury passed all bounds. He beat upon his breast and scratched his face, and tore his flesh with his teeth. When his mother saw him in so evil a plight, she did all that she could to comfort him. Tears and prayers she used, and charms and herbs of might; but all were of no avail. When she saw this, fearing lest, in his despair, he should bring himself to a violent end, she said within herself: “I must bring the creature back.” So she called out of the cave a hideous beast that served her. It was a creature likest to a hyena, for its back and sides were covered with spots. But never was seen anything that could be matched with it, so fierce of aspect was it, and so swift. The witch said to him: “Follow this woman, and do not leave following till you overtake.”


So the monster followed Florimell, and, as she rode leisurely, soon overtook her. When she saw him, she set spurs to her palfrey, and he, so long as he was fresh and full of breath, kept her out of the creature’s reach. But when his breath failed him, then the monster drew near. This Florimell perceiving, leapt from her saddle and fled away on her feet. Now it chanced that she was close to the seashore, and she, being minded to be drowned, rather than be overtaken by so foul a beast, ran to the very edge of the waves. There, by good hap, she saw a little shallop lying, in which the fisherman, an old man and poor, lay asleep, the while his nets were drying. Into this she leapt, and pushing off the shallop with an oar, was safe awhile. The monster would not venture on the sea, for it was not to his liking, and so set out to return to his mistress the witch, to tell her how his quest had failed. But first he turned upon the palfrey and rent it.


Scarcely had the beast done this, when there came that way a gallant knight, Sir Satyrane by name, the same that had befriended the Lady Una in her distress. He, seeing the palfrey lie dead upon the ground, knew it for that on which the Lady Florimell had been wont to ride; also he found the golden girdle which she had been wont to wear, for it had fallen from her in the haste of her flight. These things greatly troubled him, and when, looking round, he also saw the monstrous beast which had pursued her, standing by, his fear was changed to anger, and he flew upon it and dealt it many blows with all his might. Many wounds did he give it, causing much blood to pour out of its carcase; but the beast he subdued not, with such spells had the witch woman fortified it against all assault. At the last he threw away his sword, for in truth the steel seemed to avail nothing against the creature’s hide, and caught it in his arms as if he would have crushed the life out of it; also he took the girdle of Florimell and bound the beast with it. Never in truth had it known such constraint, for in a moment all its rage was quelled, and it followed him meek as a lamb which the shepherd has rescued from the lion’s mouth. And this, without doubt, it had continued to do, but for this chance, that Sir Satyrane was called away upon another adventure. He spied a giantess riding on a dappled grey steed, holding before her a squire fast bound with chains of wire, and a knight pursuing her. Therefore he made haste to put himself in her way. She would have passed him by, but he would not suffer it, running at her with his spear. Thereupon she was constrained to deal with him, and would have smitten him with a great mace of iron which she carried in her hand, and with which she had already slain not a few. But ere she could deal the blow, his spear came full upon her shield. So great was the shock, that her horse staggered to and fro; but she was not moved one whit in her place, nor was the shield broken. Rather the shaft of the spear was shivered on it, for all it was big and strong. Nor did she delay to strike him with the mace of iron. Full on his helmet’s crest she smote him, and that so sturdily that he bowed his head upon his breast and reeled to and fro like to a drunken man. Which the giantess perceiving, caught him in her arms, and put him on the saddle before her, for the squire she had already cast to the ground. Then truly had Sir Satyrane been in an evil plight, but for the knight that was pursuing. He, indeed, seeing what had chanced, made the greater haste to overtake her, but she, not desiring another battle, or because she especially feared the other knight, threw Sir Satyrane to the ground, and thus he was delivered. But meanwhile the witch’s monster had departed.



The monster sped on as fast as it could to the dwelling of its mistress, the witch woman. When she saw it, she perceived how it was bound with Florimell’s girdle. At this she rejoiced greatly, and showed the thing to her son, thinking that he also would rejoice. “See,” said she, “this thankless creature has not escaped. Behold her girdle.”

But he was otherwise minded. “Surely,” he cried, “she is dead, this fairest of all maidens!” And it seemed as if he would have torn the very heart out of his breast. So mad was he with anger and grief, that he would have slain his mother where she stood. Only she hid herself in a secret place where she was wont to call up the evil spirits which served her. And now she summoned them to her help, telling them what had come to pass. “Counsel me,” she said, “for my son is distraught with anger and grief and love, and either he will lay violent hands on himself, or he will slay me, though I have done my very best to serve and help him.”


So the spirits took counsel together in the matter, and by their advice, her own wicked wit helping, she contrived a marvellous thing. She set herself to make another Florimell, a false maid, like in all things to the true, so far as concerned shape and outward semblance. The substance of which she made her was snow, which she gathered in a secret glade of the Thracian hills, the spirits of the mountains having revealed to her the place. This snow she tempered with fine mercury and virgin wax, which had never been touched with fire. These she mingled with vermilion, so making a rosy red in the cheeks. And for eyes she set two lamps, whose fire was marvellously attempered to the likeness of life; and hair she made of golden wire, more marvellously light than ever was hair of woman; and for life to make this dead mass move and breathe—for dead it was for all its beauty—she put one of the spirits which served her. A wicked spirit was this, none more wicked or crafty, or with a more cunning art to take the semblance of goodness. There was no need to teach him how to bear himself. This he knew already; there was no subtlety or craft in all the wit of woman with which he was not acquainted. Such was the false Florimell.


This creature she arrayed in some of the garments which the true Florimell had left behind her, and so brought her to her son, where he lay groaning on the earth. “See, my son,” she said, “the maid herself has come back to us.” And when he saw her, he leapt from the ground, and would have caught her in his arms. But she held back, for the spirit within her knew well how women bear themselves in such a case, neither seeming too fond, yet giving such encouragement as might the more confirm him in his passion. Such was the charge which the witch woman laid upon him.

One day, as the son was walking with the false Florimell in the wood, there chanced to come by a certain knight with a squire attending him. And now it must be said who this fellow was, for, indeed, he was no true knight. It has been already told how that Sir Guyon, when he was helping a traveller in distress, had his horse and his spear also stolen from him. The thing was done by a vain fellow, Bragadocchio by name, who, seeing the horse and spear ready to his hand, thought that by taking them he might make himself into a veritable knight. Little had he of his own but a ready tongue; but this same tongue was no small help with the more foolish sort. He then, mounting the steed, and taking the spear in hand, rode on, and so vain was he, and full of self-conceit, that he hoped to be courteously received for what he seemed to be. And in this notion his first adventure confirmed him. As he rode along he saw a man sitting idly on a bank; and he said to himself: “Here is one whom I will make captive to my spear.” With that he smote his steed upon the flank, and set his spear in rest and charged. The man, when he saw him coming on, fell flat on the ground for fear, and cried for mercy, holding up his hands. At this Bragadocchio took a wonderful conceit of his own strength and courage: “Who are you, caitiff?” he cried. “You are not worthy to breathe the air along with honest men. Prepare for death, or yield yourself to be my prisoner for ever. ’Tis no small favour that I give you time to answer!”


The man cried: “Hold your death-dealing hand, my lord, I am your thrall!”

“So be it,” said the sham knight, “your fate has baulked my will, and given you life when I had purposed death. So be it; life I give you. Fall on the ground, and kiss my stirrup. So pay your homage.”

Then the wretch threw himself on the ground, and kissed the stirrup, and declared himself to be Bragadocchio’s man. For a while he held his master in great respect, but when he found out how hollow was his show of courage, then he grew bolder, and practised upon him for his own ends. Trompart was his name, which, being interpreted, means deceiver; a worthy squire he was for such a knight.

They had not long companied together when they chanced to meet Archimage, who was looking out for some men-at-arms to help him in his evil designs. He, coming close to Trompart, said to him under his breath: “Who is this mighty warrior, who has a spear only and no sword?”


Said Trompart: “He is indeed a mighty warrior; as for his sword, he has made a vow that he will use none till he shall be avenged for a certain wrong that has been done to him. Meanwhile his spear is enough: he can do to death with that as many as he will.” Then Archimage, louting low before him, told a false tale about the Red-Cross Knight and Sir Guyon, which when Bragadocchio had heard, he cried with a loud voice: “Old man, tell me where these false knights are hiding themselves. I will soon punish them for all their misdeeds.”

“That will I do without delay,” answered Archimage, “and will help you also when you come to deal with them. Meanwhile I would give you this counsel, that you give no odds to your adversaries, but provide yourself with a sword before you do battle with them, for, indeed, they are sturdy fighters.”

“Old man,” said Bragadocchio, “you dote. Doubtless your wits have failed you by reason of age, or you would not judge of a man by his coat of mail or his sword. A man, be he indeed a man, can quell a host without sword or shield. Little do you know what this right hand of mine has achieved; but they who have seen it can tell if they will.”

Not a little abashed was Archimage at these high words; well he knew in his heart that whoso should do battle with the Red-Cross Knight or Sir Guyon would need all his arms, and yet he feared to offend this knight. Then Bragadocchio said further: “Once upon a time I slew seven knights with one sword. And I took a great oath, having done this, never again to use a sword in battle, unless it should be the sword of the very noblest knight in all the world.”


“Wait you for that,” said Archimage, “then you shall have it by to-morrow at this time. ’Tis the sword of Prince Arthur, and it flames like a burning fire. Lo! I go to fetch it.” And as he spoke he vanished into air.

“What is this?” thought the two to themselves in sore dismay, for they liked little to have aught to do with such a sword. And they fled from the place as fast as they could to hide themselves in a wood which was near at hand. This they had scarcely reached when they heard the clear ringing of a horn. Thereupon Bragadocchio leapt from his horse and hid his coward head in a thicket. As for Trompart, he was not easily moved, but abode in his place to see what should happen. Soon there came into the glade where they were a very fair lady dressed in huntress fashion. She had a fair white tunic with an edge of gold and gilded buskins, and a boar-spear in her hand, and on her shoulder a bow and a quiver filled with steel-headed arrows. And all about them flowed loosely down her golden hair. When she spied Trompart she said: “Saw you a hind with an arrow in her right haunch? If so, tell me which way she went, that I may follow up the chase.” But while she was speaking, she saw the bush stir in which Bragadocchio lay hid, and thinking it was some beast of prey, would have shot an arrow into it.


But Trompart cried: “Forbear, I pray you, whether you be nymph or mortal maid. That is no mark for your arrows. My master, a famous knight, rests awhile under the shade.” So she stayed her hand, and Bragadocchio came forth from his hiding-place on his hands and knees, and after stood up, making as if he had been newly roused from sleep. After this they talked awhile, and when the lady had passed on, Bragadocchio said to Trompart: “I had from my birth this grace, not to fear any mortal thing. But of the heavenly powers and of the fiends in hell I do stand, I do honestly confess, in great dread. And when I heard that horn, I took it for some signal from the sky, and hid myself for fear. And now let us depart hence.”

Such was Bragadocchio, the false knight who came upon the son of the witch woman as he was walking in the wood with the false Florimell. When he saw the two, and perceived that the lady was very fair to look upon, and that he who was with her was no man of war, he rode up, with his spear in rest, crying, “Clown, how is this? This lady is my love. Gainsay it if you dare!”

The churl dare not answer him a word, but yielded the damsel to him; and he, mounting her upon Trompart’s horse, rode on, not a little proud of the valiant deed which he had done. Nor had he ridden long when there came in view a stranger knight, who cried: “Ho there! Yield the damsel to me; I have a better right than you!”


Sorely dismayed was Bragadocchio at such a challenge, but dissembled his fear, saying, “Think you, Sir Knight, to steal away with words what I have won by many blows? Yet, if you will have trial of my strength or prove your own, let it be so.”

“Turn your horse,” said the stranger, “or I will strike you dead!”

“So be it,” answered Bragadocchio, “if nothing else will content you. Let us then retire our horses for a furlong either way, and tilt together as is the custom.” So they turned their horses, and retired each a furlong’s length; but Bragadocchio came not again, but fled away as fast as his horse could carry him.



By sundry adventures, which there is no need to set forth in their place, the girdle of Florimell came into the possession of Sir Satyrane, who forthwith resolved to hold in honour of it a great tournament. In this same tournament there should be, so he proclaimed, two contests; first, a contest of knights, who should joust with each other, so showing who excelled in strength and courage; second, a contest of fair ladies, she who should most fittingly wear the said girdle being adjudged the most excellent.

The beginning of the tournament was that Sir Satyrane came forth from his pavilion, holding in his hands an ark of gold. This ark he opened with much solemnity, and drew forth from it the girdle. A wondrously fair thing it was, curiously embossed with pearls and precious stones; they were all costly things, but the workmanship was costlier yet. This he held up for the general view; and all eyes were drawn to it, for indeed it was a thing greatly to be admired; nor was there one in all that company but said in his heart: “Happy the knight who shall win so fair a prize! Happy the dame who shall be deemed to wear it most fittingly.”


The girdle having been thus displayed in the sight of all the concourse, the knights disposed themselves for the jousting. And first of all Sir Satyrane came forth holding in his hand the great spear which he was wont to wield; no man in those days bore one greater, or, indeed, so great. He was the challenger, and it became him thus to be first in the field. Behind him were ranged the knights of Fairyland, owning allegiance, all of them, to the great Queen Gloriana. On the other side was ranged a great company of knights, who had come from all parts. First of these rode up a pagan knight, Sir Bruncheval, surnamed the Bold (he jousted with Sir Satyrane), whose mastery of arms had been tried in many battles. Fierce was their onset, so fierce that neither could resist the other; but both were tumbled on the plain, holding, indeed, their spears in their hands, but not able to move them so much as a hair’s-breadth. When Sir Ferramont saw his leader in this plight, he set spurs to his horse, and rode forth. Against him came out Sir Blandamour, putting all his strength into his stroke; but his strength availed him nothing, for he was tumbled on the ground, he and his horse together. And when Sir Paridell rode forth to his rescue, he fared no better. The next in turn to contend was Bragadocchio, but the thing was not to his liking, and he stood still in doubt what he should do, or rather in fear. Thereupon Sir Triamond, vexed indeed that a brave-seeming knight should bear himself so basely, but rejoicing in the occasion, rode forth with his spear in rest, and charged on Sir Ferramont with all his might. So sure was the stroke, that both man and horse were laid prostrate on the ground, nor could they lift themselves again for a space. And when Sir Devon rode forth from the Fairyland array he fared no better; nor did Sir Douglas, nor Sir Palimord, when in turn they made trial of him. Either they were stretched on the plain or went sorely wounded.


By this time Sir Satyrane had woke out of the swoon in which he had lain so long. Looking round, he was sorely dismayed to see the havoc which Sir Triamond had wrought among the knights of Queen Gloriana. “Truly,” he said to himself, “I had rather been dead than laid here helpless while such deeds were done.” Then, gathering strength, he laid hold of his spear, which lay close beside him; his horse also, by good fortune, was at hand. Mounting, therefore, he rode forth again to where the brave Triamond was carrying all before him. Not a man could stand up against him, so heavy were his strokes, so deadly was his hand. But now there came a stay to his achievements; Sir Satyrane smote him on the side with his great spear, and the point made a most grievous wound. So grievous was it, that though he was not forthwith overthrown, he was fain to withdraw himself from the field. Then the challengers ranged over the lists, claiming to be conquerors, and, indeed, no one was ready to take them in hand. And now the night fell, and the trumpets sounded a retreat. That day, therefore, Sir Satyrane was adjudged to have won the prize.


On the second day of the tournament Sir Satyrane rode forth, with Queen Gloriana’s knights following him, to challenge all comers. And on the other side also were many famous warriors, eager all of them to win the prize for himself. But Sir Triamond was not one of these; his wound was so grievous that it hindered him from making a trial of arms. So he was constrained to stand aside, but it grieved him sorely. This his close friend Sir Cambell perceiving, said to himself: “I cannot cure his hurt, nor undo the thing which has been done; but this I can do; I can win honour for him.” Therefore he took Sir Triamond’s arms, none knowing, neither Sir Triamond himself, nor anyone else, for he said to himself: “If I fare ill in this matter, the blame will not fall on my friend.”


He went therefore to fight, no one doubting that he was the veritable Triamond. When he was come, he found Sir Satyrane, full of joy and triumph, for no one was able to stand up against him. At him, therefore, he charged, with his spear in rest; nor did Sir Satyrane, on his part, draw back from the encounter. With so great a shock did they meet that both were driven from their saddles to the ground. Rising, therefore, they drew both of them their swords, and fought therewith such a fight as had scarce been seen before in that land. And now Sir Satyrane’s horse, for, by this time, they had both again mounted their steeds, chanced to stumble, so that his rider was well-nigh cast to the ground. This Sir Cambell perceiving, was not slow to seize the occasion, but dealt him so sore a blow on the crest of his helmet that he fell to the ground. Then Sir Cambell leapt from his steed, and would have spoiled him of his arms. But this, which, indeed, is a custom of the battlefield rather than of the tourney, the knights who were of Sir Satyrane’s party would not suffer. Hastening to their comrade’s help, they closed his adversary in so close a ring that though he laid about him most bravely, yet could he not deliver himself—for what could one against so many? So he was taken prisoner and led away.


It chanced somehow that the news of what had befallen Sir Cambell came to Sir Triamond where he lay in his bed. In a moment of time he leapt therefrom, wholly forgetting his wound, and sought for his armour. He sought, but he found it not, for indeed, Cambell was wearing it at the very time. But the arms and armour of Sir Cambell he found. These he donned without delay, and issued forth to take such chance as might befall him. There he saw his friend and companion Cambell as he was led away captive in the midst of a great press of knights, and the sight moved him to great wrath. He thrust himself into the thickest of the press, and smote down all that were in his way till he came to where Cambell was led a prisoner between two knights. Fiercely did he assail these two, and they, for their own lives’ sake, were constrained to let him go. Then he, seizing a sword from one of them, laid about him with all his might, for both his own wrong and the wounding of his friend stirred a great wrath in him. So these two made great havoc over all the field, till the trumpet sounded the end of the battle for that day. By common consent the prize of the day was adjudged to these two, Cambell and Triamond, but to which of the two was doubtful, for they strove together, each advancing the other’s cause, so that the matter was postponed.

On the third and last day of the tournament many valiant deeds were done, not without great hurt and damage to many that contended in the field. There might be seen that day full many a shivered shield, and swords strewn upon the ground, horses also running loose without their riders, and squires helping their lords who were in evil plight. But, for the most part, the knights of the Queen fared the better, and among the knights there was not one that fought with better success than the brave Sir Satyrane. Now and again his fortune failed him; but ever it returned again, and he was the best stay and support of his side.


But when it was now past noon, there came forth from the other side a strange knight whom no one knew. Strange he was and strange was his disguise, for all his armour was covered with moss from the wood, and his horse had trappings of oak leaves, and on his shield, which had ragged edges, was written this motto: Salvagesse sans Finesse. He, as soon as he had come upon the field, charged the first knight that was in his way. This was the stout Sir Sanglier, a valiant man, well approved in many battles; but now he was laid low at the very first encounter. And after him Sir Brianor came to a worse fate, for he was killed outright. Seven knights, one after the other, he overthrew; and when his spear was broken, then he worked no less damage with his sword. Shields and helmets he broke through, and wasted all the array of knights, as a lion wastes a flock of sheep. So Satyrane and his party were turned to flight, for, indeed, no man could stand before him. And when they would find out his name, no one knew it, so that they were constrained to call him the Savage Knight. But he was in truth Sir Artegall.


It was said by a wise man of old time that no man should be accounted happy before the end, because it cannot be known what change of fortune may befall him. And so it proved that day with Sir Artegall. For when the sun was laid low in the heavens, but before the trumpet had sounded, there came forth from the ranks of the Queen’s knights a stranger. First he charged at Sir Artegall and tumbled him backwards over his horse’s tail, with so heavy a fall that he had small desire to rise again. This when Sir Cambell saw he charged with all his might; and he, too, could be seen lying on the plain. In like manner fared Sir Triamond when he would have avenged his friend’s disgrace. Nor did Sir Blandamour succeed where these had failed. Many another famous knight was overthrown that day, yet without loss of honour, for they had to yield to the enchanted spear of Britomart. So when the trumpet sounded on the third day of Sir Satyrane’s great tournament, the honour rested with the knights of Queen Gloriana.



The tournament being ended, the next thing in order to be done was to adjudge the prizes. For the first day the prize was given to Sir Satyrane, as has been told before, because, having been first at the beginning, he was also first at the end. For the second day Sir Triamond was held to have excelled all others: Cambell, indeed, was victor, but then Triamond had saved him from imprisonment, and he who saves the victor is, without controversy, first of all. For the third day the prize was adjudged to Britomart, or, as men called her, the Knight of the Ebony Spear, for who she was in truth no one knew. Nor could this judgment be disputed, for, whereas the Savage Knight had overthrown all others, so was he overthrown by her. And this third prize was held to be the most honourable of all, and the knight to whom it was given the first of all. And because by good right beauty and valour go together, there must needs be a trial of the dames, who should be reckoned the fairest, with the girdle of Florimell for prize.


First came Sir Cambell, leading his wife, the fair Cambina, clad in a veil which covered her from head to foot, which being taken away, such was her beauty that all hearts were won. Nevertheless, when Sir Triamond, coming next, showed his wife Canacé, they were not less moved by the sight. And some greatly admired the false Duessa, when Sir Paridell led her forth before the company, for some hearts are moved by one thing and some by another. Nor did the Lady Lucida, whose champion was Sir Ferramont, want for worshippers; nor, indeed, did any one of the hundred dames assembled in that place, lack some to champion her. Yet, doubtless, the great number of the votes had been given to Amoret, when Britomart led her forth, but that she also was surpassed in the common judgment by Sir Blandamour’s Florimell, not the true Florimell, it must be understood, but the false which the witch woman had made. For in comparison of her all others seemed but base, even as the stars seem to grow dull when the moon is shining at her full. “This,” said they all, “is no mortal creature, but an angel from heaven.”

Even so when some cunning smith overlays base metal with covering of gold, he lays upon it so fair a gloss that it seems to surpass the true gold itself. So they who had looked upon the true Florimell thought to themselves, “The dame is fairer than ever before!” For ever it is that false things do seem to excel the true, so weak and false are the judgments of men.


Then, by common consent, the girdle was adjudged to her as being the fairest of all; but lo! when they thought to bind it round her waist, they could not prevail to do it. So soon as they fastened it, it seemed to loose itself and fall away, as if there was some secret hindrance and want of fitness. And so it fared with many other dames when they assayed the same; when they would have girt the thing about their waists, they could not. However fast it seemed to be, it was soon seen to be loose. Then a certain squire, who thought scorn of women, cried aloud: “Surely this is a sorrowful sight, that out of so many fair dames not one can fit to herself the girdle of beauty! Shame on the man who thought of this fatal device! May he never find fair lady to love him!” At which saying all the knights laughed loud, and all the ladies frowned.

And now the gentle Amoret, coming last of all that company, took the girdle in her hands, and put it around her waist, and lo! it fitted to a marvel. But the false Florimell snatched it away as if in anger, and would have clasped it round her own waist. She clasped it, but it fitted as ill as before. Nevertheless it was adjudged to her as her right, for such the common voice had been; and she herself was assigned to the Knight of the Ebony Spear, that is, to Britomart. But she was ill-content: “Nay, nay,” she said, all thinking that it was the Knight of the Ebony Spear that spoke, “I am no light of love; I am still steadfast to my own Amoret.” Then she was adjudged to the Savage Knight, but he had already departed in great wrath; and then to Triamond, but he was faithful to his Canacé; and after Triamond to Sir Satyrane. He indeed was well content. But then arose great strife, and, like enough, there had been a drawing of swords, but for this strange happening. Sir Satyrane stood forth and said:


“Surely we have had enough of battles; why should we fight again the old quarrels? Let the fair lady choose for herself. Surely the love that comes of her will is the sweetest of all!” To this they all consented. And so the choice was given to the false Florimell. Long looked she upon each gallant knight, for it seemed as if she would willingly have pleased them all; but at the last she turned to Bragadocchio, for he also stood among the rest, and said:

“This is the man I choose!” Great was the wrath of all the company of knights, for they knew not how fitting it was that the false beauty should choose the valour that was false.



Britomart grew not a little weary of these strivings of knights and dames. Therefore she departed, taking with her the Lady Amoret, for she was still bent on finding the Knight of the Mirror. An unlucky maid she was, in truth, thus seeking one who had been her adversary, to whom she had been so near, though she knew it not. Great was her grief, and great also her toil, for neither grief nor toil did she spare, thinking that could she find him, there would be both an end of her own toil and a solace for her grief. The gentle Amoret also, who was her companion, had a sorrow of her own, for she sought for her Scudamore; but he, unhappy man, had his heart full of hatred and revenge. For that evil hag, whose name was Até or Strife, had poisoned it with suspicion. The very one who had best served him, he hated most, even Britomart. Neither could Glaucé, for she went with him, serving him as a squire, abate his rage, for all that she could say.


And now, as though the evil counsels of Strife had not wrought trouble enough for him, he must needs put another burden on his soul. As they journeyed on, the night came upon them unawares, very heavy with cloud and rain. They, seeking some place where they might find shelter, perceived upon a steep hillside what seemed to be a poor man’s cottage. And underneath there ran a little stream, but the water was muddy and thick, and had an evil smell. As they came near they heard the sound of hammers, and judged that it must be a blacksmith’s forge. Entering in, they found the goodman of the place busy with his work. He was of a mean and wretched aspect, spent, it would seem, with weariness. His eyes were hollow, and his cheeks fallen in, like to one who had been many months in a prison cell; his face was begrimed with smoke and his beard ragged, as if neither comb nor shears had ever passed upon it. Rude were his garments, and hanging in rags, and his hands were blistered with burning, with nails long left unpared. Care was his name, and his trade was the working of wedges of iron. To what purpose they could serve, neither he nor anyone knew. Such are the idle doubts and fears which Care drives into the hearts of men. Nor was it he alone that was busy with this toil; six stout workers stood about the forge, all with huge hammers in their hands, which they plied in order. Much did Sir Scudamore wonder to see their work; but when he had watched it awhile, he asked them of its purpose, saying, “What make you?” But they answered not a word, nor did they hold their hands for a moment; the bellows blew like to a cold blast from the north, and the din of the hammers ceased not.


When the knight saw that no one answered, he laid himself down upon the floor, seeking to rest his weary limbs; Glaucé did the like; and sore was her need of rest, for she was old and feeble, and they had journeyed that day a long and weary way. She slept indeed, but to Sir Scudamore there came no sleeping. Now he would lie on this side, now on that; now he lay in one place, now in another. Anon he would rise from his place, and then lie down again. But every change was to no purpose, and every place seemed full of pain. Also the dogs howled and barked all the night long, and the cocks crowed, and the owls hooted; and if by chance slumber came down upon his eyes, then one of the workers smote his headpiece with a hammer, for they indeed rested not all the night. As morning drew near, he fell into a sleep, so utterly wearied was he, but sleep was worse than waking, for it brought evil thoughts of those whom he was most bound to love and trust.

The next day Sir Scudamore and Glaucé, serving him as his squire, started betimes from the house of Care, for his was the dwelling where they had spent the night. After a while they espied a knight sitting beside a wood, while his horse grazed in the field hard by. The man mounted, so soon as he saw them, and rode forward, as did also Sir Scudamore. But when the two were near enough that each could discern what arms the other wore, the Knight of the Wood lowered his spear and turned his horse aside, saying, “Gentle Scudamore, pardon me, I pray you, that I had unknowingly almost trespassed against you!”


“I blame you not,” answered Sir Scudamore; “such happenings may well be to knights who seek for adventures. But, sir, as you call me by my name, may I be bold enough to ask you yours?”

The other made answer: “I pray you pardon me if I withhold my name for a time; the time serves not that I should make it known. May it please you to call me the Savage Knight, for thus I am commonly known.”

Sir Scudamore said: “This place seems to suit well the arms which you are pleased to wear. But tell me, have you any special purpose to serve that you abide in this place?”

“Sir,” replied the other, “be it known to you that a stranger knight did me but the other day a great shame and dishonour, and I wait till I can take vengeance on him.”

“Tell me,” answered Sir Scudamore, “who it is that wronged you.”

“His name,” said the Savage Knight, “is unknown, yet he himself is known to many, especially by the ebony spear which he carries. It was but the other day that with this spear he overthrew all that met him in the tourney, and reft from me the honour of the day; not only so, for of these things a knight may not complain, but he took from me the fairest lady that ever was, and withholds her still.”


Then Sir Scudamore knew that he spoke of Britomart, who, as he thought, had taken from him his love. All his heart was full of rage, and he cried out: “Now, by my head, this is not the first time of this knight’s playing an unknightly part, for I know him by this same spear which he bears. From me also did he carry away my love. If you purpose to take vengeance on him, I will give you all the help that I can.” So these two agreed to join together in wreaking their wrath on the Knight of the Ebony Spear, that is to say, on Britomart.

While they were communing together on this matter, they saw in the distance a knight riding slowly towards them, somewhat strangely attired, and bearing strange arms, whom approaching they perceived to be the very one of whom they were speaking.

Then said Sir Scudamore: “I beseech you, Sir Savage Knight, that as I was first wronged, so I may first take vengeance. And if I fail, then the lot comes to you.”

Sir Scudamore overthrown by Britomart.


To this the other gave his assent. Thereupon Sir Scudamore charged at her with all his might and at his horse’s top speed, which she perceiving, made herself ready, and gave him so rough a welcome that she smote to the ground both horse and man; and this so strongly, that neither had any mind to rise therefrom. This Sir Artegall perceiving, felt in himself a yet greater anger than before, and laying his lance in rest, charged also with all his strength. But he also was laid upon the ground, for there was nothing that could withstand the enchanted spear. Nevertheless he fared better than his fellow, in that he rose lightly from the ground, and drawing his sword, leapt fiercely at his adversary. So sore were his strokes, that though she was on horseback, she was constrained to give place before him. As they turned this way and that, it chanced that a blow which Sir Artegall aimed at the Princess, glancing down the corslet which she wore, lighted on the back of her horse, wounding him so sorely upon the back, in the rear of the saddle, that she was compelled to alight. Not a whit was she dismayed at this mischance, and casting down her enchanted spear, betook herself to use sword and shield. And now the fortune of the fight changed somewhat, for he was not a little spent by long fighting on foot, and she, having been mounted hitherto, had the advantage. Hence it followed that she drove him backwards, and even, so heavy were her blows, wounded him through his coat of mail. And now behold! another change. She was over-hasty in her assault, and her breath began to fail; and he on the other hand reserved his strength, and dealt his blows as thick as the hailstones fall upon a roof—unhappy man, who came so near to slaying the fairest creature in all the world! Still was the battle waged between these two, but ever Sir Artegall grew the stronger and Britomart the weaker. At last he dealt a stroke that, had it been aimed aright, had surely gone near to slay her; but, by good chance, it did but shear away the visor of her helmet, so that her face could plainly be seen, somewhat reddened indeed by long toil, and with the sweat standing on it in great drops, but yet fair beyond all comparison. And at the same time her hair, its band being broken, fell down as it were a river of gold flowing about her. Already had the knight lifted his hand to strike again; but when he saw the fair face and golden hair his arm was, as it were, benumbed, his sword dropped from his hand, and he himself fell upon his knees.


“Surely,” he said to himself, “this is some goddess that I see before me.” She stood, indeed, in great wrath, for she had been in sore straits, and anger ever follows close on fear, and made as if she would strike him, but he could do nothing but ask for pardon. Nor was Sir Scudamore less amazed, for he had by this time recovered from his swoon, when he saw the sight.

And now Glaucé, glad at heart to see again the mistress whom she had missed so long, drew near, and made her a reverence, saying: “Truly I rejoice to see you safe after so many toils and dangers. And now, dear daughter, as you love me, grant these knights a truce.”


“So be it,” Britomart made answer. Thereupon they lifted up their visors, so that their faces could be seen. And when Britomart looked on the face of Artegall, behold it was the very countenance of the knight whom she had seen long since in the magic mirror! And as she saw it her haughty spirit abated. She could never again lift hand against him; nay, when she thought to use her tongue, and reproach him with angry words, even her tongue failed her.

And now Sir Scudamore, greatly rejoiced to know that all his fears and suspicions were false, drew near and said: “Surely it makes me glad, Sir Artegall, to see you who were wont to despise all dames, bow yourself before one in so lowly a fashion.” And when Britomart heard the name of Artegall, her heart leaped within her breast, nor for all her feigning could she hide the gladness which she felt. Then said Glaucé again: “Gentle knights, be thankful for the happy chance which has brought so strange an ending to your fears and troubles. Here is no thief that would take away from you the ladies whom you love. And you, Sir Artegall, who call yourself the Savage Knight, count it no shame that a maid has so bravely held her own against you, and strive no longer against love, which is the very crown of knighthood. And you, fair lady, turn away your wrath; if there is fire in your heart, let it be the fire of love.” Britomart blushed deep to hear these words, and Sir Artegall was glad at heart.

And now Sir Scudamore, who was divided between hope and fear concerning his Amoret, spoke, saying: “Pardon me if I ask you for tidings of my Amoret. I know that you delivered her at no small peril from the Enchanter’s prison. Where is she? for I would seek her, as is, indeed, my bounden duty.”


Britomart answered: “Sir Knight, it grieves me much that I cannot tell you what you seek to know. After I had delivered her from the Enchanter, as you know, I kept her safe. And truly there never was companion more dear to me than she. But one day, as we travelled, we lighted from our steeds by the wayside, to rest awhile. Then I laid myself down to sleep; but when I woke from my sleep, she was nowhere to be seen. I called her; I sought her far and near; but nowhere could I find her, or hear tidings of her.”

When Sir Scudamore heard these words, he was greatly troubled, and stood like to a man who has received a mortal blow. But Glaucé said: “Be not discouraged, fair sir; hope still for the best; why should you trouble yourself in vain?”

Little comfort did he take of these words, but when Britomart said, “Truly you have great cause for trouble; yet take comfort, by the light of day I swear that I will never leave you till I find and give her back to you,” then was he not a little comforted, for he had a great trust that what Britomart promised she would surely perform.


Then they all journeyed together to a castle that was near, Sir Artegall being their guide. There they rested till their wounds were healed and their strength repaired. Meanwhile Sir Artegall paid court to Britomart, who, after much persuasion, though, indeed, she was not unwilling in her heart, consented to take him for her husband. Nevertheless their marriage could not be yet, because Sir Artegall was bound on a great adventure which he must needs carry through. Nor could she refuse to allow him to depart, seeing that his honour was bound in the matter. Only it was agreed that when three months had waxed and waned, then he should return. So the knight departed, Britomart going with him for a part of his journey. Full loath was she to leave him, finding ever new occasions for delay. And when these were all spent, then with a heavy heart did she return to the castle, for she also had business in hand, even to seek together with Sir Scudamore for the lost Amoret.



It shall now be told how the fair Amoret was lost. She and Britomart, riding away from the place where Sir Satyrane had held his tournament, chanced in their journey upon a wood. There it seemed good to them to rest awhile. Britomart, being not a little wearied with fighting in the lists, fell fast asleep, but Amoret walked in the wood. As she walked a giant rushed out of a thicket hard by and seized her; she cried aloud; but Britomart heard her not, so deep was she in slumber. A horrible monster to behold he was, feeding on the raw flesh of men and beasts, with a face red as blood, and two great ears, like to the ears of an elephant. He was covered with shaggy hair, and in his hand a young oak with sharp snags that had been hardened in the fire, till they were as steel. He carried her through the wood to his cave, and threw her in. For a while she lay without sense; then, being somewhat recovered, she heard someone sighing and sobbing, and inquired who it was that spoke.


Then that other said: “Listen, unhappy one, and I will tell you my story, from which you may learn in what plight you yourself are. Twenty days have I dwelt in this dreadful place; and in these twenty days have I seen seven women slain and devoured. And now he has for store three only, yourself and me and an old woman yonder; and of these three he will surely devour one to-morrow. And if you ask my history it is this. I am daughter to a lord of high degree, and it happened to me to love a squire of low degree. Of low degree he was, but so comely as to be a fit mate for the proudest lady in the land. Nevertheless, my father, loving me well after his fashion, and seeking my advancement, would have none of him. But I, being steadfast in my mind, made a resolve to flee far from my home, and take with my lover such a lot as fortune might bring. On a certain day, therefore, it was appointed that I should meet him at a certain place. To which place I came, but he, alas! was not there. Then this monster found me, and carried me away as an eagle carries off a dove.”

After they had talked awhile, lo! the monster himself came back to his cave. And Amoret, as soon as she saw him, leapt from her place, which chanced to be near to the mouth of the cave, and fled away on her feet as fast as she could; and the monster, perceiving her flight, pursued her. Fleet of foot was she, but it had fared ill with her but for a happy chance which brought her help beyond all hope, as shall now be told.


There dwelt in those parts a famous huntress, Belphœbe by name; this Belphœbe was own sister to Amoret. That day she was following the chase, pursuing leopards and bears, of which beasts there was a great multitude in those woods. With her were her companions, the forest nymphs, and also a gentle squire, who was her lover. Now the squire chanced to be separated from the rest of his company, and so came to the very place where the monster was in chase of Amoret. By this time he had overtaken her and caught her up in his arms. And when the squire perceived it, and set upon him, seeking to deliver her out of his hands, the villain used this crafty device. When the squire would have thrust at him with the hunting-spear which he carried, then the monster would shield himself with the body of Amoret. And when the squire held back his blow, or when the blow chanced to fall ever so lightly on the dame, then the monster laughed aloud. So they two contended awhile; but at the last the squire dealt his adversary a shrewd blow and wounded him sorely. But this did not abate his rage, for, throwing Amoret on the ground, he set upon the squire so fiercely with his club, that the man had much ado to save himself from being beaten down. Nor can it be known what had been the issue, for now Belphœbe, hearing the sound of the strokes through the wood, and guided by her ear, drew near, holding her bow in her hand, with an arrow upon the string, ready to be despatched. When the monster saw her, he, knowing how deadly was her aim, turned and fled. Nor did she fail to pursue; swift of foot was she, and ere he could reach his cave, she smote him on the back of the neck with an arrow. He fell to the ground with a great crash, and when she came up, thinking to put an end to him, lo! he was already dead. Thereupon she went into the cave, and while she wondered that a place could be so foul, she heard a whispering and a low sort of groaning. Then she said to herself: “Are these spirits that suffer in this place of dread and darkness?” and afterwards aloud, “If there be any here, let them come forth, if only they be free to move.” Thereupon Æmilia stood up from the place where she had been lying, and told her story. “Come forth,” said Belphœbe, when she heard the tale; “haply, I may give you help.” So she led her to the place where she had left the squire and the fair Amoret. And now there befell an evil chance which brought about no small trouble.


Amoret was in a piteous plight, as may easily be believed. For first she had been affrighted almost to death by the monster, and then she had been sorely bruised when he cast her so roughly to the ground. So she lay as one without life, and the gentle squire was full of compassion when he saw her hurts, especially the wound which he himself had made with his hunting-spear, when the monster held her before him as a shield. And now Belphœbe, coming back from the cave, saw him looking at her, as it might be, in lover’s fashion, and a great pang of jealousy and anger moved in her heart. At first she thought to slay them both with the arrow which she held in her hand. But keeping herself back from this, she cried: “Is this, then, the faith you keep?” And, with the word, she turned her face and fled into the wood. The squire, knowing that he was wrongly blamed, made haste to follow her, yet, overtaking her, he did not dare to come near; and when he would have told her the truth, she would not listen, but made as if she would slay him with an arrow. So, after having long followed her in vain, he turned back, and finding a solitary place in the depth of a forest, made there a cabin for himself, where he dwelt in most unhappy sort. His weapons of war he broke, and vowed never to use them again. Also he swore a great oath that he would never more speak to woman; his garments, which were of the seemliest fashion, he cut into the strangest shape, and his hair he suffered to grow as it would and fall untrimmed about his shoulders. So he lived for many days.


It chanced one day that a turtle dove which also had lost its mate came near, and, as if it could understand what was in his heart, behaved in a most friendly and familiar fashion. And this it did again and again. The bird would sit upon the branch of a tree hard by, and sing to him; and he, by way of guerdon for its song, would share with him such slender meals as he had. On a certain day he brought out from a certain place certain gifts which Belphœbe had bestowed upon him in the days when the affection between them was yet unbroken. Among these was a ruby of the finest water, with a gold setting in the shape of a heart and a chain of gold fastened to the setting. This jewel he took, and binding it with a riband of his lady’s colour, tied it round the neck of the dove, and solaced his mind by gazing on it. But no sooner had the bird felt the jewel tied about his neck than he spread out his wings and flew away. Not a little troubled was he at this matter, for he had lost, not the companionship of the bird only, but the jewel also. So was his trouble not a little increased. But the bird flew in a straight line to the abode of Belphœbe, and found her sitting in an arbour, taking rest from the toils of the chase. For she still followed in the ways of a huntress, though, in truth, she was not a little troubled that she had lost her lover. So soon as she saw the bird, she spied the jewel about his neck, and knew it for her own gift, and the riband also wherewith it was bound. Thereupon she rose from her place, and would have caught it in her hand, but the bird flew away. For a short space it flew, and then tarried for a space, and then when Belphœbe came near, flew away once more. So it drew the lady on from place to place, ever seeming ready to be caught, yet ever again escaping, till it brought her to the place where the squire dwelt in his unhappiness. There it perched on his hand, and sang a song, sweet and sad, as if to suit his sorrowful estate. So spent was he with grief and trouble that the lady knew him not, but only saw that he was in great misery, yet judged that he had fallen into it from better things. Thereupon she said: “Unhappy man, what has brought you into this evil plight? If it is Heaven’s will, then we must submit; but if it is of man’s wrongdoing, then may the wrong be set right. But if it is of your own will, know that no man should so neglect the gifts of God, who wills that all should be happy.”


“O lady,” answered the squire, “surely it is no one but yourself that has brought me into this trouble.” And he showed her the whole truth.

So peace was made again between the two.



It is now time that the story of Sir Artegall should be told; how he was bred up in the ways of justice. Now this story, as it was commonly reported, was this: Astræa, who was the Goddess of Justice, found him when he was a child playing with other children of a like age; she, liking him well, and finding him innocent and without guile, took him away with her to a solitary place where she dwelt—for as yet she lived upon the earth—and there instructed and trained him to be such an one as she desired. She taught him to weigh right and wrong in equal scales, and to measure out equity according to the rule of conscience. And because there were no men in the place, she taught him to seek experience of the right way among the beasts of the forest; for these also oppress their own kind. Also she caused him to be instructed in the use of arms, in which use he became in due time most expert, so that he came to be held in high repute, as being one who could not only distinguish most truly between right and wrong, but could also maintain the same by force of arms. Also she gave him a sword of great repute which Jupiter himself had used in his war against the Titans; Chrysaor was its name, which, being interpreted, is “Sword of Gold.” Of finest temper was it, and beautiful to behold. Also she gave her servant to attend upon him—Talus was his name. This same Talus wielded an iron flail with which to thresh out falsehood and separate the truth.


This Artegall, being now come to years of manhood, betook himself, as was the wont of all worthy knights in those days, to the Court of Queen Gloriana. And she gave him as the task which he should accomplish, the succouring of a distressed lady, Irene by name, from whom a tyrant, whom men called Grantorto, withheld the heritage which was rightly hers. For she judged that there was no man who could better discern the right, and having discerned it could more effectually cause it to prevail.

So it came to pass that he and Talus, who was his squire, rode off on their errand. On their way they saw as sorry a sight as ever was seen by mortal eyes, a squire sitting upon the ground in most doleful fashion, and hard by him, lying on the ground, the headless corpse of a lady. It was indeed a piteous thing to see the gay apparel of the dead, most cruelly drenched in blood.

“Now tell me,” cried Sir Artegall, “by what foul mischance this dreadful thing has happened.”


“Oh, sir,” answered the squire, “as I sat here with the lady whom I love, there came riding by a knight who had in his company this fair dame whom you see lying here. And whether he was taken with the sight of my love, or was weary of his own, I know not; but this he said: ‘Ho! fellow, let us make exchange.’ And when I denied his request, and the two ladies also cried out upon him, then he threw down the dame his companion on the ground, and lawlessly taking away from me my own, set her upon his horse. And when his lady saw what he had done, and how he was riding away, she followed him as fast as she could, and laying hold of his arm, cried out: ‘Leave me not in this fashion; slay me rather!’ And he in a fury drew his sword, and with a single stroke shore off her head, even in the place where now she lies. And now he has gone, taking my love with him.”

“Tell me,” said Sir Artegall, “by which way he went. Tell me also by what signs I may know him.”

“But, fair sir,” the squire made answer, “he has gone so long that you can scarce hope to overtake him. Yet, if you would know the way, he rode across the plain.” And he pointed with his hand to the course which the knight had followed. “As for the marks, know that he carried on his shield a broken sword on a field of blood; and, indeed, it seemed to be a fitting emblem.”


“Follow him,” said Sir Artegall to his page Talus. And the page followed him swift as a swallow flies over a field. Nor was it long before he overtook the knight—Sir Sanglier he was called—and bade him come back with him, and answer for his deed. No little scorn did the knight feel to be so commanded, and, setting down the lady whom he carried on his steed, rode at the page Talus with all his force. Full on the body he struck him, but moved him no more than a rock is moved by some stone that is thrown at it. On the other hand, Talus dealt him such a blow that he laid him prostrate on the ground. Ere he could recover himself, Talus had seized him in an iron grip, and forced him to follow him, the lady also, though she would have fled in her fear, following. So they came to Sir Artegall.

“What is this that you have done?” said Sir Artegall.

“Nay,” said the knight, “I did it not: I am guiltless of the blood of this dame, and this I will prove on the body of this false squire, if he will meet me hand to hand.”

Now the squire was not of such prowess as to meet so doughty a knight. Then said Sir Artegall: “This is a doubtful cause, which it were not well to try by arbitrament of battle. Will you therefore commit the matter to me, and abide by my judgment and sentence?”


To this they both consented. Then said Sir Artegall: “Since each of you denies that this lady came by her death through his deed, and each claims the living lady as his own, my judgment is that both the living and the dead shall be equally divided, and each shall have his part both of one and of the other. Also I decree that if either of you two shall reject this my sentence, he shall carry this head as a penance for twelve months, by way of witness that he brought about her death.”

Sir Sanglier gladly accepted the doom, but the squire was ill-content, for he really loved the dame who had been reft from him. “Nay,” said he, “I would rather by far that she should live, though I lose her.”

“’Tis well said, squire!” cried Sir Artegall, “and now I perceive that you are indeed guiltless in this matter. As for you, Sir Knight, who care so little for the living or the dead, take this head and carry it for a twelve months’ space, to be a witness of your shame and guilt.” Sir Sanglier was ill content with this sentence, and would have refused to abide by it. Only, when he saw Talus approaching with intent to compel him, he made his submission, for he knew by experience how great was his strength.

Then said the squire: “Oh, sir, you have done me such service as I can never repay. Let me therefore attend you as your squire, and that without fee or favour.”

“Not so,” Sir Artegall made answer, “I am well content to be as I am. Do you follow your own affairs. As for me, Talus here will be sufficient for my needs.”



As Sir Artegall, with Talus following, rode on, he met a dwarf who was travelling with all the speed that he could use. “Stay awhile,” he said, “for I have somewhat to ask of you.” And the dwarf, though somewhat loath, could not but yield. Now the dwarf’s name was Dony, and he served the fair Florimell. Not a little of his discourse, therefore, concerned the said Florimell. He told how Marinell was recovered of the grievous wound which Britomart had given him, and how he was to wed the fair Florimell.

“Say you so?” cried Artegall. “Tell me, therefore, when the marriage shall be, for I would fain be present at the celebration.”

“In three days’ time, as I am informed,” answered the dwarf, “and I too should be there, and the place is the castle by the seashore; only there is a hindrance in the way, for a little farther on from this place, a cruel Saracen keeps the bridge by which one must needs pass. Much harm has he done already to travellers, and men are fain to shun the way that lies thereby.”

“Tell me more about the villain,” said Sir Artegall. Then Dony set forth the whole matter.


“He is a man of great strength, and expert in battle. Moreover, he is not a little helped by the charms with which the wicked witch, his daughter, supports him. Thus he has gathered together much wealth, store of gold, and lordships and farms. This wealth he daily increases, greatly by means of this same bridge which he holds by force of arms. No one will he suffer to go over unless he first pays a toll, be he rich or poor. If the traveller be poor, then a squire whom he sets over this business extorts from him this tribute. As for the richer sort, these he deals with himself. Men call him Pollenté, which, being interpreted, is ‘Powerful,’ and the name is fitting, for much power he has. And besides the power he has not a little cunning, for he is wont to fight on this same bridge. Exceeding long is it and narrow, and full of pitfalls which he knows, but a stranger knows not. And often it happens that the stranger falls through one of these said pitfalls into the river beneath. And while he is confused with his fall, Pollenté leaps into the river and takes him at a disadvantage, and either slays him outright or causes him to drown. Then he takes the spoils of them who perish in this fashion, and brings them to his daughter, who dwells hard by. Thus she has gathered together great store of wealth, so that she exceeds even kings. Her they call Munera. Very fair is she, and gorgeously attired; many lords have sought to have her for a wife, but in her pride she thinks scorn of them all.”


This is the story which Dony the dwarf told to Sir Artegall. When the knight heard it, he cried, “Now, by my life, I will go none other way but this, God helping me.”

So he went on with Talus, and the dwarf followed. When they came to the bridge, there came to them an evil-looking villain, who said, “Give me the passage-money, according to the custom of the place!”

“Here,” answered Sir Artegall, “is my passage-money,” and therewith dealt him such a blow that he fell dead upon the ground. When the Saracen knight saw this, he was very wrath, and charged at Sir Artegall full tilt; nor did Sir Artegall lag behind. They met in the middle of the bridge, where there was a trap cunningly devised. The Saracen looked that his adversary should fall into it unawares and be sorely bruised and wounded; but Sir Artegall, having been forewarned by the dwarf, leapt into the river, clear of all that might do damage to horse or man. The Saracen leapt in like fashion, and the two met in the water, not one whit less hotly than had they been on the dry land. And here the pagan had no small advantage, for he was accustomed to fight in this fashion, and his horse also could swim like a fish. Sir Artegall, perceiving that the odds were against him, saw that he must close with his adversary without delay. Long they wrestled together, and Sir Artegall never loosened his grip one whit, and at last forced him from his saddle, so that he no longer had the advantage of the swimming of his horse. And yet the issue of the fight was doubtful awhile, for the Saracen was both brave and expert in arms. Nevertheless Sir Artegall had the better breath, as one that followed temperance in all things, and so prevailed until the Saracen was compelled to turn from the river to the land, hoping so to escape. Yet even as he lifted his head from the stream to the brink, the knight dealt him so heavy a blow that it clean shore the head from the neck. And this being done, then he went his way to the castle where the pagan’s daughter dwelt.

Sir Artegall and the Saracen.


Here he was denied entrance, being received with so great a shower of stones that he was forced to retreat. Then he sent Talus, bidding him compel an entrance. And this he did without damage to himself, and with his iron flail he battered the door so fiercely that the whole place shook from the foundation to the roof. All who were within were greatly dismayed, and the Lady Munera herself came out, and stood upon the castle wall. When she saw in what peril she was, she used all the devices which she could imagine to deliver herself. First she besought the adversary with many prayers to cease from his attack—and, indeed, she was not wont to beseech in vain. Then she tried what enchantments could do, and of these she had a great store at her command. And when she found that prayers and enchantments availed nothing, she thought to corrupt the man with great gifts. She caused sacks of gold and precious things to be brought, and poured from the castle wall, thinking to herself that he would surely cease from his battering, and give her, at the least, some respite and delay.


But the riches moved him no more than the entreaties and enchantments. Still he battered with his iron flail till he broke down the door and made a way for his master to enter. No one dared to lift a hand against them: all through the castle they moved at their will. The Lady Munera for a while they could not find. At the last Talus, than whom a bloodhound was not more keen to scent a runaway, found her hidden under a heap of gold. Thence he drew her from her lair, pitying her not at all. For now even Sir Artegall, seeing how fair she was, had some compassion in his heart, and when she knelt before him would have given her some remission of the penalty. But there was no such thought in the heart of Talus. He cared for naught but to do justice to the full. So he took her by the waist, she crying loudly the while, and cast her into the river. And when he had wrought this justice upon her, he took all the pelf that he found in the castle, and ground it small to powder, and threw it into the water. This done, he razed the castle to the ground, destroying it utterly, so that no one in days to come should think to set it up again. After this Sir Artegall reformed the evil customs of the bridge, ordering that in time to come it should be free for all to pass over.


This good deed accomplished, they journeyed on to the castle by the sea, where the nuptials of Sir Marinell and the fair Florimell were to be celebrated with great honour. There were great feastings and rejoicings, to which an infinite concourse of lords and ladies resorted from all quarters; no knight that was held in repute for valour and deeds of arms was absent. When the banquet, which was furnished with all rare meats and drinks that the heart of man could desire, was finished, then the company addressed themselves to feats of arms. First came forth Sir Marinell and six knights with him, declaring to hold the field against all comers, in right of Florimell, and to affirm that she was the fairest of all the ladies upon earth. Against these there came from all parts such as desired to try their fortune in the lists—none were debarred. Many feats of arms were wrought that day; many knights were unhorsed, and some were wounded; but none, so it was judged by common consent, bore themselves more bravely than did Sir Marinell. His name, therefore, did the heralds proclaim as the champion of the day. And on the second day the event was the same. There was much fighting, many suffered loss and overthrow; and in the end the heralds proclaimed, as they had done before, the victory of Sir Marinell. But on the third day things fell out otherwise, for the knight pursuing his adversaries when he had put them to flight, somewhat rashly, was surrounded by them and taken prisoner. While they were leading him away, it so chanced that Sir Artegall came into the tilting-yard, and close behind him followed Bragadocchio, who had in his company the false Florimell.


When Sir Artegall understood what mishap had befallen Sir Marinell, he said to Bragadocchio: “I would fain help this brave knight; but I would not have anyone know who I am: therefore, I pray thee, change shields with me.” And Bragadocchio full willingly did so, thinking that he might thus win to himself renown without cost or danger. Sir Artegall, therefore, taking Bragadocchio’s shield, set upon the knights who were leading away Sir Marinell. There were a hundred in all. Of these fifty assailed him, and the other fifty stayed behind to guard the prisoner. But for all that there were so many they could not stand against him. The fifty who assailed him he speedily put to flight, and the fifty who would have kept the prisoner did not hinder Sir Artegall from setting him free. Then Sir Marinell being delivered and armed anew, for they had taken his arms from him, the two joined their forces and drove their adversaries out of the field. There was not one among them who could hold up his head or make a stand against them. When Sir Artegall had accomplished this, then he gave back the shield to Bragadocchio, who had stayed to see the issue of the day, keeping with him the false Florimell.


After this the trumpets sounded, and the judges rose up in their place and summoned the company, saying: “Hear! All ye knights who have borne arms to-day, and know to whom the prize of valour is awarded.” Then came forth the fair Florimell from the place where she sat, as queen of the tourney, that she might give to each knight his proper guerdon, and to him who should be held to have best acquitted himself, the first prize of all. Loudly did they call for the stranger knight who had wrought such prodigies of valour and strength in delivering Sir Marinell. He did not come forward, but in his stead Bragadocchio presented himself, with the shield bearing the device which all men knew—namely, a sun shining in a field of gold. When the company saw this, they, thinking that this was indeed the champion, set up a great shout, and the trumpets sounded, and Florimell rose up and greeted him most graciously, thanking him for his championship. But all this praise turned the vain fellow’s mind. “Not for your sake, madam,” said he, “but for my own dear lady’s sake did I this,” adding other words such as could not pass the lips of a true knight. Then he called to Trompart his squire, saying, “Bring forth the fairest of all dames!” Thereupon Trompart led forth the false Florimell; for he had her in keeping, hidden by a veil from the common sight.


Great was the astonishment of the company when they saw her. “This surely is Florimell,” they said to themselves, “or, if it be not, then it is one fairer than she.” Never were men more perplexed than the guests that day. Nor was Sir Marinell himself less amazed than the rest, and, as he gazed, the more and more steadfastly did he believe that this false Florimell was indeed the true.

But now Sir Artegall, who stood in the press of the crowd, closely disguised, heard the false boaster’s words, and could not contain himself any more, but came forth and cried with a loud voice: “False boaster, strutting thus in borrowed plumes, and doing dishonour to others with your lies, verily when each shall have his due, great will be your disgrace! ’Tis true that the shield which you bear was this day borne by him who delivered Sir Marinell, but yours was not the arm which struck the blow. And now hold forth your sword and let it show what marks of battle it bears, and if you bear in your body the mark of a wound, let this company behold it; nay, boaster, this is the sword which won the victory, and these the wounds which were endured in the winning!” And here he showed his sword, which bore the dint of many a blow, and the wounds which he carried on his arms and his body. “And,” he further said, “as for this Florimell of yours, I warrant she is no true dame, but only a fit companion for such as you.” Then he took the true Florimell by the hand and led her, she blushing the while, for the colour on her fair face was of roses mixed with lilies, and set her by the side of the false. And then, lo! a great marvel! The false dame melted away as snow melts in the sunshine! In a moment naught remained of her save only the empty girdle which once had compassed her waist. So on a day of storm we see a rainbow spanning the sky with all its goodly colours, and in a moment it vanishes from our sight, so did this lovely creature, the false Florimell, vanish from before the eyes of that company. And now Sir Artegall took up the golden girdle which alone remained of all that fair show, for this, indeed, was true, while all else was false. This he presented to the true Florimell, and she forthwith fastened it about her waist. Many a fair dame before had essayed to do it, but not one had found it truly and rightly fit.


But the end of these things was not yet, for now Sir Guyon came forth from the crowd to claim his own good steed, which, as has been told, had been stolen from him in time past by this false thief. With one hand he seized the golden bit, and with the other he drew forth his sword from its sheath, for he would have smitten the knave with a deadly blow, but that the press hindered him, for now there was a great tumult in the place. Thereupon Sir Artegall came forth and would fain know how the knight had been robbed of his horse. Then Sir Guyon told the story how, while he was busy setting right a grievous wrong, some knave had stolen his horse. “And now,” said he, “I challenge the knave who robbed me of it to deadly combat.” So he spoke, but Bragadocchio held back. He had no liking for such things.


Then said Sir Artegall: “This is truly the law of knighthood, that if one man claim a thing and offer to make good his claim by might of arms, and the other will not, the judgment goes against the latter by default. Nevertheless, for further and clearer discovery of the truth, can you who claim this horse as your own declare some tokens in proof?”

To this answered Sir Guyon: “Most truly I can. Such a token there is: a black spot in the beast’s mouth like in shape to a horse’s shoe.” But when they thought to look into his mouth so as to discern the token, he wounded first one and then another so sorely that they were like to die. From no one would he suffer such a thing. But when Sir Guyon called him by his name—Brigador—he, hearing the voice, stood still, as if he had been bound, and suffered them to open his mouth, so that all could see the mark as it had been described. Nay more, he would follow Sir Guyon, breaking the band with which he was tied, and frisked right gaily, ay, and bent his knee.

Then said Sir Artegall: “Now it may be plainly discerned that the horse is indeed yours. Take it therefore, with its saddle of gold, and let this boaster go horseless, till he can win a steed for himself.”

Much was Bragadocchio moved to be so shamed in the presence of all that company—so moved that for a while he laid aside his very cowardice, and broke forth into angry words against Sir Artegall. The knight made as if he would have slain the knave with his sword, but Sir Guyon stayed him. “Sir,” said he, “it would ill suit your dignity to vent your wrath on such a knave as this. The meetest punishment for him is to be put to open shame in the sight of all this company.”


But Talus was not minded to let the knave escape so easily. He caught him by the neck and led him out of the hall, and shaved his beard, and reft away his shield, and blotted out the escutcheon, and defaced all his arms. Nor did the false squire, Trompart, fare better, though he cunningly had essayed to fly, for Talus overtook him and served him in the like way. So may all makers of falsehood fare!



The marriage of Sir Marinell and the fair Florimell having been duly celebrated with much rejoicing and great festivity, Sir Artegall set forth again upon his travels. On his way, which for a while lay by the seashore, he came upon two men who were wholly taken up with a great quarrel. They were brothers, as might clearly be seen by the likeness between them. Near them stood two fair dames who would fain have reconciled them; but the brothers took no heed of their words, whether they spoke gently or in threatening fashion. Between them stood a strong chest, bound about with bands of iron; it seemed to have been much battered, whether by the violence of the sea or by the chances of long travel from foreign parts. It was indeed for this that the two seemed to be contending, for now the one and now the other would lay his hands upon it; so did they well-nigh come to blows, but the two damsels had so far hindered them from coming to this extremity. Not the less were they bent on trying their cause by the sword. It seemed as if it could not be decided in any other fashion. But when they were on the point to do so, notwithstanding all that the damsels could say or do, then did Sir Artegall appear.


“Sirs,” said he, “are you content to tell me the cause of your strife?” To this the two gave a common consent.


“Sir,” said the elder—Bracidas was his name—“our father, who was a knight, Milesio by name, divided between us, by his testament, his estate, that is to say, two islands which you see yonder. One is but a little mount, but in years past it was fully as long and broad as that which you see on the other side of the bay. To me he bequeathed that island which you see to be so small; for the sea, as years have passed by, has wasted it, and in so doing has largely increased the other, for what the waves took away from my land they added unto his. There is also this to be told. I was betrothed to that fair lady who stands yonder, Philtera by name, and with her I was to receive a goodly dowry, so soon as we should be linked together in bonds of wedlock. My younger brother, whose name is Amidas, was betrothed to that other dame whom you see yonder, Lucy by name. She had but small dower, but much of that which is far better—to wit, goodness. Now when the lady Philtera saw that my lands had been greatly decayed and the lands of my brother not less increased, she deserted me and betook herself to my brother, who, that he might receive her, deserted his own betrothed, to wit, the fair Lucy. Thereupon this damsel, in her unhappiness, thinking it better to die than to suffer such a contumely and pain, threw herself into the sea. But while she floated among the waves, being, I take it, buoyed up by her clothing, she chanced upon this chest which you see. And now there befell her what has often befallen others in like case. She, who had thought death to be better than life, when she saw his terrors close at hand, changed her mind, and desired to live. Catching hold, therefore, of this chest, she clung to it, and after much tossing by the sea, was at last thrown upon my island, and I, chancing at that time to be walking on the shore, espied her; and she being by this time much spent with hunger and cold, and little able to help herself, I did, so to speak, save her from death. And she, being not a little grateful for this same help, bestowed upon me the dowry which fortune had given her, to wit the chest on which she had chanced, and what was far more precious, her own self. When we had opened the chest, we found in it a great store of treasure, and took it for our own use. But now this damsel, Philtera, maintains that this chest is hers by right, that she was bringing it from foreign lands that she might deliver it to her husband, and that she suffered shipwreck by the way. Whether this be so or no, I cannot say; but this I do maintain, that whatever by good fortune or by the ordering of God has been brought into my hands is verily mine, I not having in any wise contrived the same. My land he has, and also my betrothed, though of that I take no count, but my good luck he shall not have!”


To this the younger of the two made this answer: “As for the two islands, it is as my brother has said. I do not deny the truth. But as for this chest and the treasure therein, which has been cast by the sea upon his island, that I do affirm to belong to the Lady Philtera, my wife, as she can prove by most certain signs and tokens, and I do claim that it be straightway rendered up to her.”

Sir Artegall said: “It were no hard thing to decide this matter, if you would refer it to the judgment of some just man. Are you content so to do?”

“Yes,” said the two with one voice, “you shall be a judge between us, and we will abide by the judgment that you shall give.”

“Then lay down your swords under my feet,” said Sir Artegall, and they laid them down.

Then Sir Artegall, turning himself to the younger of the two brothers, said to him: “Tell me now by what right you hold for yourself, and withhold from your brother, the land which the sea has taken from him and added to you?”

“I do so,” the man made answer, “because the sea bestowed it upon me.”

“You are in the right,” said Sir Artegall; “it is yours, keep it.” Then turning himself to the elder, he said: “Bracidas, by what right do you hold this treasure of which your brother and his wife affirm, and not without reason, that it is theirs?”


“I hold it,” said he, “because the sea bestowed it upon me.”

“You also are in the right,” said Sir Artegall; “it is yours; keep it.” Then, speaking to both, he thus declared his sentence: “That which the sea has taken is his own. None who before possessed it has claim upon it. He may bestow it as he will. The land which he took from Sir Bracidas he gave to Sir Amidas; let it therefore remain in his hand. The treasure which he took from Sir Amidas, or from the Lady Philtera, his wife, he gave to Sir Bracidas; let him also keep it.”

The matter being settled, the knight went on his way. After a while he espied a great rout of people, and turned aside from the road that he might discover what it might mean. When he came near he saw a great crowd of women, in warlike array, with weapons in their hands. And in the midst of them he saw a knight, with his hands tied tightly behind his back, and a halter about his neck; his face was covered, but his head was bare. It was plain that the man was about to be hanged. And, as they went, the women reviled him in bitter words. When Sir Artegall came near, he said: “Tell me, pray, what this may mean.”


To this they gave no answer, but made as if they would assault him. Then, at the knight’s bidding, Talus went among them, and with a few strokes of his iron flail sent them flying hither and thither. Then he took the knight, who would otherwise have been put to death, and brought him to Sir Artegall.

“Sir Turpine, unhappy man”—it so chanced that he knew the man—“how came you into this evil plight? How is it that you suffered yourself to be thus enslaved by women, who should rather be subject to men?” Sir Turpine was sore ashamed and confounded, and could say but little in his excuse for himself; but this was the story which he told.

“I was desirous, as was indeed my knightly duty, to find some adventure which would be praiseworthy in itself, and also bring me to honour. And I heard a report that there was a proud amazon who was accustomed to defy all the knights of Queen Gloriana. Some she had put to shame, and some she had slain. And the cause of her rage was this. She had loved the bold Bellodant, and when he disdained her, then her love was turned to hatred, not towards him only, but towards all knights, to whom she worked, as, indeed, she still works, all the mischief that she can devise. Any whom she can subdue, either by force or fraud, she treats in the most evil fashion. First she takes from them their arms and armour, and then she clothes them in women’s garments, and compels them to earn their bread by women’s work, spinning and sewing and washing and the like. And all the food that she gives them in recompense is but bread and water, so as to disable them from taking their revenge. And if anyone is of so manly a mind that he sets himself against her pleasure, him she causes to be hanged out of hand on that gibbet which you see yonder. And in this case I stood. For when she overcame me in fight, then she put me into that base service of which I have spoken; and when I refused, then she sent me with that rabble of women whom you dispersed, that I might be done to death.”


“By what name do they call this amazon?” said Sir Artegall, “and where does she dwell?”

“Her name,” answered Sir Turpine, “is Radigund; a princess is she of great power and pride, well tried in arms and skilled in battle, more than I could have believed had I not known it by my own experience.”

“Then,” said Sir Artegall, “by the faith which I owe to my queen, and the knighthood which I bear, I will not rest till I have made trial of this same amazon, and have found out for myself what she has of strength and skill. And now, Sir Turpine, put off these unseemly clothes which you wear, and come with me that you may see how my enterprise shall prosper, and whether I shall avenge the cause of knighthood upon this woman.”

To which request Sir Turpine consented with all his heart.



Radigund the amazon dwelt a mile or so from the place where the gallows had been set up, in a city which she had called Radigone, after her own name. On the walls of the city were set watchmen to warn the queen of the coming of strangers. One of these espied Sir Artegall and his company, and gave warning accordingly, saying: “I see three strangers; one of them is a knight fully armed, and the others have a warlike look!” Thereupon all the people ran in haste to arm themselves, like to bees when they come forth in a swarm from their hive, and Radigund herself, half-arrayed as a man, came forth from her palace. Meanwhile the three drew near to the city gate, and when the porter, thinking scorn of them because they were so few, did not trouble to open to them the gate, they beat upon it with many blows, threatening the man also that he should suffer much for his insolence.


When the queen heard this she fell into a great rage and cried: “Open the gate; these fellows shall soon know to what a city they have come!” So the porter threw wide the gate, and the three pressed forward, meaning to pass through. But lo! of a sudden there fell upon them such a storm of arrows that they had perforce to halt.

“These women,” said Sir Artegall, “are stout fighters; let us be careful what we do.” And when they halted, the rout set upon them more fiercely than ever. As for Queen Radigund, when she saw Sir Turpine, and knew that he had escaped from the doom which she had decreed for him, and was now dealing blows to her women, she was carried away with rage, and flew at him headlong, as a lioness flings herself at an ox, and dealt him so fierce a blow as brought him headlong to the ground. And when she saw him lying she set her foot upon his neck, with intent to make him pay with his life for his disparagement of her authority. So does a bear stand over the carcase of an ox, and seem to pause awhile to hear its piteous crying. When Sir Artegall saw what had befallen Sir Turpine, he made all haste to help him, and dealt the queen so mighty a blow that it reft her of her senses; nay, but that she somewhat broke its force, for she was expert in arms, it had laid her dead upon the ground. For a while she lay without speech or hearing; then, recovering herself, she would have assailed him with all her might, for never before had she endured such disgrace. But when her maidens saw it, for a great company, armed for battle, accompanied her, they thrust themselves between; for they deemed that she was not wholly in fit condition for fighting. Thus were Sir Artegall and Queen Radigund perforce kept apart. As for the rest, Talus, with his iron flail, drove them hither and thither, breaking their bows and marring their shooting, and they fled before him as sheep fly from a wolf.


When evening came, Queen Radigund bade the trumpeters sound a recall, so that the soldiers should cease fighting. All the people she made pass back into the city; and she caused all them that were wounded to be carried to houses where their hurts might be healed. Then Sir Artegall caused his tent to be pitched, on the open plain, not far from the gate of the city. There he and Sir Turpine took their ease, but Talus, as was his custom, kept watch all the night. But Radigund was ill-content with what had happened that day; never before had her pride been so rebuked. She could not rest, but cast about in her mind how she could avenge herself for the shame which had been put upon her that day, and that for the first time in her life. After a while she made this resolve in her mind; that she would meet the knight in single combat and make trial of his strength, for that her people should suffer such waste and ruin as she had seen that day was a thing not to be endured. Then she asked for one of her maidens, Clarin by name, whom she judged to be most trustworthy, and fit to do her errand, and said to her: “Clarin, go quickly, and bear a message to the stranger knight, who has so distressed us this day, saying that I will meet him to-morrow in single combat, that we may see whether he or I be the better. Say also that these are my conditions: If I overcome him, then he shall render me obedience and be bound for ever to my service; and I, if he should vanquish me, do promise to do the same. Go, therefore, taking with you six of your fellows, arrayed as finely as may be, that they may be witnesses of this covenant! Take with you also wine and meats, that he may eat. Verily, if I have my will, he shall sit hungry many a day!”


So the damsel did as she was bidden, taking with her six companions, and meat and drink also. When she came to the gate of the city she bade the trumpeter blow a blast for warning to the knights. And when Talus came forth, she said that she would fain speak with his master. So being brought with her companions into the tent, she delivered to him the message of the queen. Sir Artegall received her right courteously, and when she had departed—not without gifts—he betook himself to sleep.


The next day the two adversaries made themselves ready for battle. Sir Artegall was accoutred as knights commonly are; not so Queen Radigund. She wore a purple cloak, embroidered with silver, with ribands of diverse colours, nicely ordered upon it. This cloak, for easier motion, she shortened to her thighs; but when she pleased, she could let it fall to her heels. She had for defence of her body a cuirass of chain-mail; buskins she had, finely embroidered with bars of gold; at her side she had a scimitar hanging to a most gorgeous belt; her shield was finely decked with precious stones, it was like the moon when it is at the full. In this guise she came out of the city gate, a noble sight to see; about her was a bodyguard of maidens, some of whom made music with shawms and trumpets. Her people had pitched a pavilion for her, where she might rest till the fight should begin. After this Sir Artegall came out of his tent, fully armed, and first entered the lists. Nor did Radigund long delay to follow him. And when the lists had been barred against the crowd, for a great multitude of people were gathered to see the issue of the battle, the trumpets sounded the signal, and the combat began.


The queen charged first in the most furious fashion, as if she would have done her adversary to death out of hand. But he, having had much experience in such matters, was not carried out of himself by her rage, but was content to defend himself from her assault; the greater was her fury, the more calmly did he bear himself. But when her strength began to fail her, then he took the other part; even as a smith, when he finds the metal grow soft, plies his hammer with all his might. Even so did Sir Artegall deal blow upon blow as if she were an anvil; and the sparks flew from her armour, and from her shield also, for with this she guarded herself in right skilful fashion from his assault. But now things began to go ill with her; for off this same shield the knight with one stroke shore away a full half, so that her side for half its length was exposed. Yet not one whit was she dismayed, but, smiting him with her scimitar, wounded him on the thigh, making the blood flow amain. Loud did she boast when she saw the blood, thinking that she had wounded him to death; but he, provoked by her boasting, struck at her with all his might, and when she put her shield to ward the blow, lo! this was shattered altogether, and fell in pieces on the plain. Next, as she was thus left without defence, he smote her again, this time upon the helmet; so that she fell from her horse, and lay upon the plain, like to one that was dead. When he saw her lying thus, he leapt from his steed and unlaced her helmet, with intent to sever her head from her body. But when he had unlaced her helmet, lo! her face was discovered to him. So fair it was, even though covered with blood and sweat, that he stood amazed; it was as when a traveller sees the face of the moon through a foggy night. And at the sight, all the cruel purpose departed out of his heart. So great was his pity that he threw his sword from him, for, indeed, there is no heart so hard but that the sight of beauty will soften it.


As he stood thus astonished, she recovered herself from her swoon, and saw the knight standing by her side without a weapon. Then she lifted herself from the ground and flew upon him with all her former rage. He, indeed, could but ward off her blows with his shield, as well as he could. And now, being without hope, he entreated her to withhold her hand. “Not so,” said she, “till you have yielded to me your shield in token of submission.” Nor could he refuse so to do. He had overcome her in fair fight, yet now was he himself overcome by his own misdoing, for he had of his own accord given up his sword, and so lost that which he had attained. Then she struck him on the shoulder with the flat of her sword, in token that he was from henceforth her subject. As for the unhappy Sir Turpine, he was indeed born under an unlucky star, for they took him back to the place from which he had escaped, and there hanged him shamefully by the heels. Talus they could not take, for all that they sought to lay hands upon him. He laid about him so unmercifully with his flail, that they were right glad to let him escape. Many did he wound and some he slew; the rest he put into great fear. Yet he would not seek to rescue his lord. “Nay,” said he to himself, “Sir Artegall has yielded himself of his own accord, and I must e’en let him be.”


Queen Radigund took the knight who had thus made himself her subject, and despoiled him of all his arms and armour, and put upon him woman’s clothing, with a white apron in place of a breast-plate. Having thus arrayed him, she brought him into a great chamber, on the walls of which were many memorials of other knights whom she had dealt with in the same fashion. His arms and armour she caused to be hung up among these, and his sword, lest it should work mischief to her, she broke in twain. When he was come into this place, he saw sitting there many brave knights whose names he knew right well, bound all of them to obey the amazon’s law, and spinning and carding wool. This they did under constraint, for they were bound to finish their task by the appointed time, nothing being given them whereon to dine or sup but what they could earn by this woman’s work. The queen set him in the lowest place of all, and put a distaff into his hands, and bade him spin flax and tow. Truly it is the hardest of all lots to be a woman’s slave! But he consented to her will, saying to himself: “She vanquished me in battle, and I must abide by my own word.”

After a while the queen began to feel the beginning of love for the knight. Long time she strove against it, thinking shame to be so overcome; but finding that her passion was not to be put away, she sent for the same Clarin, whom she had before made her messenger, and said to her: “Clarin, you see that fairy knight, who has been made my subject, not by my valour, but by his own honourable mind. He gave me my life, when it was lost; why should he suffer there in this cruel bondage? Why should I recompense him with ill for so good a deed? I would fain give him his freedom, yet in such a fashion that in giving it to him, I may win his free goodwill. I would loose him, and yet have him still bound to me, not with the bonds of violence and compulsion, but of benevolence and love. Now if you can by any means win him to such a mood, but without discovering, mark you well, my thought, you will win a goodly reward from him, and have me also greatly beholden to you. And now, that you may be able to pass freely to and fro, I give you this ring as a token to Eumenias”—this was the keeper of the knights’ prison. “Go then, my Clarin; use to the best all thy wits, employing both enticing looks and fair speeches.”


So Clarin, promising that she would use her best endeavour to win Sir Artegall to such thoughts as her lady desired, departed on her errand. She had recourse to all the arts she knew to win his favourable regard, and one day she said to him: “Sir Knight, you have had but an evil fortune; you sit drowned in despair, and yet you might raise yourself, if you were but willing, to something better.”

He was in doubt what this speech might mean, and so made answer: “Fair damsel, that you regard me with compassion is in itself a kindness for which I am in your debt. But you must know that a brave heart bears with equal courage fair weather and foul, frowns of ill fortune or smiles of prosperity. At this moment my life is overcast with cloud, yet I hope for sunshine to come.”

“Yea,” answered the maiden, “and what say you if you should see an occasion ready to your hand for entering on better things?”


“Truly,” answered Sir Artegall, “I count him to be unworthy of good fortune who should not promptly take such occasion, so that it come within his reach.”

Then said Clarin: “Why do you not set about to win your liberty by seeking the favour of the queen? ’Tis true that she has passed her days in war, yet she is not born of tigers or bears. She scorns the love of men, yet she does not forget that she is herself of the kindred of man.”

To this Sir Artegall replied: “Believe me, fair damsel, that not from obstinacy or disdain have I neglected to seek her favour. ’Tis lack of means that has kept me back from so doing; and if you can in any way supply this lack, then shall I be bound to you for ever.”

“This fish bites at the bait,” said the damsel to herself, “but it is not yet surely caught.” But even while she spoke, she herself, foolish maiden that she was, was caught herself. For, as a fisher who, while he seeks for the prey, falls into the brook, so Clarin, seeking to serve her mistress’s ends, conceived a great pity for this captive knight, and from pity it is but a short journey to love. But her love she durst not tell, neither to the knight, lest haply she should be disdained, nor to anyone else, lest that by any means it should come to the knowledge of the queen, for that she knew would mean a sure sentence of death. Therefore she kept the matter in her heart, watching for such occasion as might arise.


Queen Radigund, growing impatient of the delay, bade her unfold the truth. “How have you fared?” she said, “What is the temper of the man? Has captivity brought him to a more humble mind?”

“Not so,” said Clarin; “he is as stern and obstinate as ever. He scorns all offers and conditions; he would sooner die—so he declares—than look with any favour on those who have done him so great a wrong. This in brief is his resolve; in truth these are his very words: ‘My body may be thrall to the queen, but my heart is free.’”

When she heard these words the queen fell into a mighty rage. But coming to herself, and perceiving that anger would profit her nothing, she said to her minister: “Clarin, what remains for us to do? It were a shame to have laboured in vain, and still more a shame to sit down content when this fellow flouts us in such fashion. Nevertheless, that his guilt may be seen to be the greater, and my grace the more admirable, I will bear with this folly of his till you shall have made another trial of him. And you I charge to leave nothing that can be done or said to work upon him. Leave nothing unpromised that may help to persuade him. Tell him that he shall have life, freedom, grace, and store of gifts, for by gifts even the hearts of gods are touched. And to these promises add all your arts and woman’s wiles. And if your arts avail nothing, then let him feel the weight of your hand. Diminish his victuals; maybe he is too proudly fed; put more labour upon him, and with harder conditions; let him lodge less softly, lying upon straw; do aught that may abate his courage and his pride; put a chain of cold iron upon him, and deny him all that he may desire. And when you have done all this, tell me how he bears himself. If need be, I will deal with him, not as a lover, but as a rebel.”


All this Clarin heard, and made pretence to fulfil her lady’s commands. But her mind was turned to quite another thing, that is to say, to play her mistress false, and to gain the knight’s love for herself. To him therefore she made as great a show of goodwill as she could, telling him that she was making suit for him to the queen, that she should set him at liberty, but that she could not persuade her.

“The more I entreat her,” she said, “the sterner and the harsher she is.” Then from the knight she would go to the queen and say: “The more grace I show, the more haughty and unbending is he.” As for Sir Artegall, he spoke the woman fair, but never did he depart from his loyalty to his own fair lady.



While Sir Artegall lay thus in evil plight under the tyranny of Queen Radigund, the Lady Britomart was in no small distress of mind. For now the latest date that had been fixed for his return was long past, and yet no tidings of him had come. Sometimes she thought that some mishap had befallen him in his adventure, and sometimes that his false foe had entrapped him, and sometimes—and this was the most grievous fear of all—that he had bestowed his love upon another. She knew no ill of him, nor ever had heard any; yet could she not forbear to think ill. Now she blamed herself, and now she condemned him as being faithless and untrue. Then again she would think to herself: “Surely I have miscounted the time,” and she reckoned the days and weeks and months again; and, indeed, the days were as weeks and the weeks were as months. Also she considered within herself what she should do; should she send someone to search for him, and yet who could go on such an errand but herself? She could not rest in her dwelling, no place could please her; yet that which displeased her least was a certain window which looked towards the west, for it was from the west that Sir Artegall was due to come. It chanced then that as she sat at this same window on a certain day she saw someone approaching at full speed. No sooner did she see him, though she could not discern his face, than she said to herself, “This is someone from my love.” And truly, when he came nearer, she perceived that it was Sir Artegall’s groom Talus. The sight filled her heart both with hopes and with fears; nor could she stay in her place, but ran forth to meet him, crying, “Where is your lord? Is he far from here? Has he lost or has he won?”


Talus, albeit he was made of iron, and was without feeling of pain and sorrow, yet was conscious within himself that his news was ill, and stood silent as if he would rather that she should discern his tidings than that he should declare them. Then she said: “Take courage, Talus; tell me what you have to tell, be it good or be it bad.”

Then he answered: “If I must tell my evil tidings, so be it. My lord lies in wretched bondage.”

“How came that to pass?” said Britomart; “did the tyrant, his enemy, vanquish him?”

“Not so,” quoth Talus, “no tyrant man did vanquish him, but a tyrant woman.” Great was the rage of Britomart when she heard these words.


“And you are not ashamed, evil newsmonger, to come here with such tidings of your lord’s disgrace?” And she turned her back upon him, seeking her own chamber; and there with much self-torturing she spent many weary hours.

The next day she sought out Talus again, and being now in a milder mood, she said: “Tell me now plainly how came Sir Artegall into this captivity. Does he woo this tyrant lady?”

“Ah! madam!” answered Talus, “he is in no state to woo; he lies in thraldom, weak and wan; and yet, for the truth must be told, it was by his own doing that he came into this state.”

Then Britomart’s anger was kindled again. “Are you not leagued together to deceive me? You say that he came into this bondage of his own accord; is he not then false?”

Then Talus unfolded the whole story of how Sir Artegall fought, and how he was vanquished, not by the strength of his adversary, but by his own compassion. When Britomart heard this same story, she was, so to speak, torn asunder by anger and grief, nor would anything content her but that she must straightway put on her armour, mount her horse, and ride forth to deliver Sir Artegall, Talus being her guide. After they had ridden for a space they came upon a knight who was riding slowly across the plain, a man well stricken in years, and of a very modest and peaceable bearing. He saluted Britomart right courteously, and she, though in her sad mood she would sooner have remained without speech, answered him pleasantly. Then he began to talk of many things, and she, though wholly occupied in her mind with one matter, to wit, the deliverance of Sir Artegall from his prison, made such replies as were suitable. After some converse he said: “Friend, night is about to fall, and there are tokens of rain in the heavens; will you not lodge with me at my house?” And Britomart, seeing that the day was far spent, consented.


They rode therefore to the knight’s dwelling, which was, indeed, hard by. There he most hospitably entertained them, both with good cheer and pleasant conversation. When the hour of rest came, Britomart was conducted to the bower where she should sleep. There she found grooms who offered to undress her, but she would not doff her arms for all her host’s entreaties. “Nay,” she said, “I have vowed a vow that I will not take off these arms till I have taken vengeance for a great wrong that has been done to me.”


When she made this answer, it might have been perceived that her host was somewhat troubled. Nevertheless he took his leave right courteously, and departed. Britomart watched all the night; if sleep seemed about to settle for a moment on her eyes, she shook it off with a right resolute will. And Talus watched also; outside her door did he lie in no small trouble of mind, as a dog that keeps guard over his master’s chamber. So night passed, but about the dawn, when the cock commonly crows for the first time, Britomart perceived that the bed in her chamber began to sink through the floor, and that after awhile it was raised again. And while she waited to see what this might mean, though indeed it was clear that it meant treachery of some sort, there came two knights to her chamber door, with a rabble rout of followers after them. But these came on a vain errand. Talus, having his iron flail ready to his hand, laid about him with a right goodwill. They fled before him, both knights and the rabble also. Some he struck to the ground as they fled, and others as they strove to hide themselves in dark corners of the house.

Now the true story of the matter is this. This knight, who seemed so gentle and courteous, was one Dolon, a man of great cunning and of an evil mind. He had been a knight in his youth, yet had achieved no honour; only by his craft he had undone many men who were better than himself. Three sons he had, of the same temper as himself, full of fraud and guile. One of these, the eldest in birth, Guizor by name, had been slain by Sir Artegall in battle, not without his deserving, for he had sought to compass some treachery. And now this Dolon would have taken vengeance for this injury. Britomart he took for Sir Artegall, chiefly by reason of the page Talus, with the iron flail, whom he had seen in his company. The next day, so soon as it was light, Britomart departed. And when the two knights would have stayed her going, and this on the bridge where Artegall had fought Pollenté, she vanquished them. And one she caught up in her arms, and carrying him to the bridge end, cast him into the water, where he perished miserably.


After journeying awhile, Britomart, with Talus her guide, came to the city of Queen Radigund. The queen, when she was advised of her coming, was greatly rejoiced, for she had not had the great joy of battle for many days, and it always pleased her greatly to have experience of a new adversary. She commanded that a pavilion should be set up outside the city gate for the new-comer. There Britomart rested that night, Talus keeping watch, as was his wont, at the door. The townsfolk also kept watch upon the walls. At sunrise the queen caused a trumpet to be blown to warn the stranger that the hour of battle was come. Such warning Britomart needed not, for she had slept but ill, so troubled was she in heart with jealousy and anger. Then the two made ready for the combat. But first the queen would have her adversary bind herself to perpetual service if the fortune of the day should go against her.

But Britomart cried: “I will have no such conditions, no terms will I accept but such as are prescribed by the laws of chivalry!” Then the trumpets sounded again, and the two ran at each other with great fury. It seemed to them who looked on that both the one and the other had forgotten all their skill in arms, so possessed were they with rage. They sought not to ward off blows, but only to strike. And, indeed, none could have said who struck the harder.


At last Radigund, thinking that she had her adversary at a disadvantage, dealt her a blow with all her might, saying at the same time: “You love this man; here then is a token of your love, which you may show him; for what could be a surer proof than to die for him?”

But Britomart answered: “Have done with idle words about my love,” and though she was sorely wounded by the stroke, for the blade, breaking through the shoulder-plate of her armour, bit to the bone, she gave in return even more than she had received. The sharpness of the pain gave a new force to her arm, and she struck the queen so fierce a blow on the head that it broke through her helmet and laid her senseless on the ground. Nor did Britomart wait for her adversary to recover herself; but, urged by injured love and pride, and the fresh smarting of her wound, with one blow cleft both helmet and head. When her guards perceived this dreadful sight, they fled headlong to the city, but did not so escape, for Talus, taking up his flail, entered at the gate along with the rout of fugitives, and dealt death in every direction. Small need had they, I ween, of a physician on whom one of his strokes had lighted. Verily he had destroyed them all, but that the heart of Britomart was moved to see such great slaughter.


“Hold your hand,” she cried; “it is enough!” Then she commanded that someone should lead her to the prison where Sir Artegall was kept in bonds. Much was she moved to see these knights in their womanish attire, plying distaff and spindle. But when she espied Sir Artegall himself, and saw how pale and wan and wasted he was, her heart was well-nigh broken in her breast. Bitterly did she repent of her unkind suspicions: this was no lover of women whom she saw before her in so sad a plight!

Then she bade take him to a chamber where he might put off these uncomely garments, and put on the apparel that belonged to a knight, and take again his arms and armour, of which there was a great store in the place. Not a little rejoiced was she when she saw how he became again like to the knight whom she had seen long since in the magic mirror.

For a while they tarried in the city, for he needed to rest, and she had wounds which it was well to heal. And she, being now queen of the land in the place of the dead Radigund, wholly changed the form of the commonwealth. She did away with this same monstrous rule of women, and ordered all things according to the ordering of nature, and showed such justice and wisdom that the people gladly made submission to her government. The knights whom she found in the prison-house she set free, and made them rulers in the city, having first caused them to take an oath to be loyal to Sir Artegall. There was but one thing that troubled her: to wit, that her lover must now proceed on the errand to which he was bound.


This he did in not many days’ time, Talus travelling with him as before. After a while they saw a damsel on a palfrey, flying as fast as she could, and two knights pursuing her also at their utmost speed; they saw also how another knight was riding after these two. Each was intent on his own business, the two knights on chasing the damsel, the single knight on chasing the two, the damsel seeking if, by any means, she could escape. But when she saw Sir Artegall, being at her wits’ end, she turned her course towards him, hoping that he might give her help. The foremost of her pursuers—pagan knights both of them—continued his course, and with his spear in rest charged Sir Artegall. But there he had met more than his match; the Christian was both stronger and more skilful in arms, and drove him out of the saddle full two spears’ length, and it so chanced that in falling he lighted on his head, and so was killed outright.

Meanwhile his companion had fared as ill, for the single knight overtaking him, had compelled him to stand and do battle, in which battle he was defeated and slain. This done, he still followed, and taking Sir Artegall for the other pagan, charged him at full tilt. They met with a great crash, and both their spears were broken, and though neither was driven from his saddle, yet they tottered as two towers which an earthquake makes to rock. But when they drew their swords to renew the combat, the damsel, seeing that her two friends were like to come to as ill an end as had her two foes, ran up, crying out: “Oh, sirs, stay your hands till I shall tell you how the matter stands. ’Tis I that have been wronged, and you have brought me help, slaying these two pagans who were pursuing me. These lie dead upon the ground; what quarrel have you against each other? If there be still any wrongdoer or cause of trouble, truly it is I.”


When the two heard these words, they held their hands, and, lifting up the visors of their helmets, looked each in the other’s face. And when Sir Artegall saw the last comer, who was no other than Prince Arthur, he was sure that he was a very noble knight, and said: “Pardon me, fair sir, that I have erred in lifting my hand against you. I will make what amends you will.”

“Talk not of amends,” answered the prince; “I was in equal error, taking you for this dead pagan.” So they swore friendship, and made a covenant of mutual help.

Then said Sir Artegall, “Tell me, sir, who were these knights that have come by this bad end?”

“That I know not,” answered the prince, “but know that this damsel was in distress, and that I sought to succour her. But doubtless she herself will unfold the whole matter to us.”


Then the damsel told her story. “Know, sirs,” she said, “that I serve a maiden queen of these parts, Mercilla by name, a lady known far and wide, and envied also, for her prosperity and her goodness. Enemies she has, and chief among these is a pagan prince, who is bent on overthrowing her kingdom, yea, verily, and on slaying her sacred self. To this wickedness he is stirred up by his evil wife, Adikia[2] by name. ’Tis she who, trusting in her power, moves him to all kinds of wrong. Now my liege lady, being desirous of peace, and willing for sake of it to give up something of her just right, sent me to make a treaty with this same Adikia, so that there might be quietness in the land. Now, as you know, it has been a custom of all time that such messengers have liberty to come and go without hindrance or harm. But this evil woman, without any offence given on my part, broke forth in railing upon me, and not only this, but thrust me from her door as if I were a dog. Yea, and when I had departed, she sent these two knights after me to take me prisoner. To you, therefore, for myself and for the queen, whose messenger I am, I render you most hearty thanks.”

When they had heard the damsel’s story, the two knights, Sir Artegall and Prince Arthur, counselled together what should be done in this matter. Of which consultation the conclusion was that they should punish those who were guilty of this wrongdoing, that is to say the sultan and his wife and the knights who lent themselves to do their evil will. Further, they concluded to carry out this purpose in the way now to be described. Sir Artegall should disguise himself in the accoutrements of one of the dead pagan knights, and should take with him the damsel to the sultan’s court, making as though she was his prisoner.


Sir Artegall therefore having donned the armour of one of the two knights, took the damsel with him, as being a prisoner, and so came to the sultan’s court. And the sultan’s wife, who chanced to be looking from the window, saw them, and did not doubt but that her errand had been performed, and sent a page who would show the knight what he should do. The page therefore brought them to the place appointed, but when he would have eased Sir Artegall of his armour, the knight refused, for he feared to be discovered.

Meanwhile Prince Arthur, coming to the gate of the city, sent to the sultan this message: “I demand that there be delivered to me the Lady Samient”—this was the damsel’s name—“being the ambassador of Queen Mercilla, whom you wrongfully detain in custody.”

When the sultan heard this message, he was filled with anger, and commanded that his armour should be brought. This he straightway put on, and mounted his chariot. This same was armed in dreadful fashion with iron hooks and scythes, and was drawn by savage horses, whom he was wont to feed on the flesh of men. The poor wretches whom in his cruelty he slew, he was wont to give when they were but half dead to these beasts. In this guise he came forth from the city gates, where he found Prince Arthur awaiting him, mounted on his steed, with Talus standing at his stirrup.


The sultan drove straight at his adversary, thinking to overthrow him by the rush of his chariot, and that his horses would trample him in the dust. But the prince perceiving his design, withdrew himself a pace, and so escaped the danger. Nor was he hurt by the dart which the sultan cast at him as he passed; this also he avoided, and it was well that he did so, else of a certainty it had pierced either him or his horse from side to side. But when Prince Arthur sought to approach the sultan, the horses carried the chariot out of his reach, so swift of foot were they. On the other hand, the sultan, having a store of darts ready to his hand in the chariot, cast them at the prince, and with one of them pierced the prince’s cuirass, and made a grievous wound in his side. So did the combat rage between these two, the prince being at this disadvantage also, that his horse could not endure the look of the sultan’s horses, so fierce and fiery of aspect were they. At the last, finding that all other means were of no avail, he drew the covering from his shield—a thing which he was not wont to do save in the last extremity—and held it so that the light shining from it fell full on the eyes of the sultan’s horses. As a flash of lightning did it fall upon them, and they straightway turned and fled. Nor could the sultan stay their flight. The reins were of no avail; they heeded them not; and when he called to them, they would not hear. Over hill and dale they carried him, he vainly dragging at the reins, and cursing aloud; while the chariot, swaying from side to side, tossed him to and fro. Still the prince followed close behind, but still found no opportunity to strike. Nor, indeed, had he need, for coming to some rocky ground, the horses overset the chariot, and the sultan was torn in pieces by his own contrivance of scythes and hooks. Then the prince took up his shield and armour from where they lay, sorely bent and broken, upon the ground. These he carried back to the city, and hanged them on a tree before the palace door. When the wicked wife saw what had happened, she ran down from her chamber like to one mad, saying to herself, “I will be avenged on that damsel who has brought upon me all this trouble.” And she ran, knife in hand, to the place where she had been put. But Sir Artegall stayed her hand. And she, being made yet more furious, ran forth into the woods, and there abode, in the form—so some men said—of a tigress. Sir Artegall meanwhile vanquished the sultan’s knights, and established a new order in the city.



The two knights delivered the city, when they had ordered it anew, to the Lady Samient, to hold for Queen Mercilla. This done, they would have departed on their own business, but Samient was not content that they should depart without seeing the queen, and this, overborne by her entreaties, they consented to do. As they journeyed, the damsel said to them: “There abides in this region a very sturdy villain, who is wont to rob all the country round about; and carries the spoil to a rock which he makes his dwelling, and to this place no man can get, so hard of access is it. Also he is marvellously light of hand and nimble of foot, smooth of face, and so subtle in his talk that he can deceive well-nigh anyone.”

When the two knights heard this tale, they desired with one accord that the damsel should take them to the place where this villain abode.

“That would I willingly do,” said she, “only that the going thither would hinder your journey to Queen Mercilla.”

“Let not that stay you,” said the prince, and Sir Artegall gave also his consent.


So they travelled onwards together. After a while the damsel said to the knights: “We are close to the place!” Then Sir Artegall and Prince Arthur consulted together what was best to be done. They agreed that the damsel should sit by the robber’s cave, and raise a great uproar, and that when he should come to see what was the cause of the disturbance, they should set upon him, and hinder his return. So the Lady Samient went to the cave, and there threw herself upon the ground, and then made a great uproar, with much wailing and many cries of grief. When the villain heard it he came forth from his den, thinking that something had come in his way. A dreadful creature he was to see, with hollow eyes, and long curling hair which fell over his shoulders, and a most uncouth and ragged garment. In his hand he carried a long staff with iron hooks at the end of it, and on his back he bore a wide net. This he used, not for fishing in the brook, but to catch such prey as he desired on the dry land, taking them unawares.


When the damsel saw this strange creature standing close by her she was not a little dismayed, and cried out for help in good earnest. But he, with guileful words, would have persuaded her that she had nothing to fear; and then, while she listened, as she could scarce refrain from doing, suddenly he threw his net about her, and lifting her from the ground ran with her to his cave. But when, as he came near to the cave mouth, he saw the two knights barring the way, he threw down on the ground his net with its burden, and fled away: like to a wild goat did he leap from rock to rock, and he ran along the cliff-side without fear, into places where Sir Artegall, for all his courage, durst not follow him. So the knight sent his iron man, Talus, to follow him. And when the knave saw that the new-comer was not less swift of foot than he was himself, and did not grow weary or scant of breath, then he left running on the hills and came down again to the plain. And here he had recourse to a new device, changing himself into various shapes. First he made himself into a fox, but Talus was not slow to hunt him as a fox is hunted; then into a bush, but the iron man beat the bush with his flail; and from the bush he made himself into a bird, but Talus threw stones at the bird, and with so sure an aim that he soon brought it to the ground, as if it had been itself a stone. This Talus took from the ground and brought it to the knights, and gave it to Sir Artegall, saying at the same time: “Take it, Sir Knight, but beware! Hold it fast!” And lo! even while he held it fast, it was changed into a hedgehog, and pricked the knight’s hand so sorely that he threw it away. And the villain returned to his own shape and would have fled. But when Talus perceived it, he followed and overtook him and led him back. Then did he change himself into a snake; but this Talus struck so heavily with his iron flail that he broke all his bones, and left him dead for the fowls of the air to devour.


After this they came to the palace of Queen Mercilla, as fair and noble a palace as was ever seen upon the earth. The porch stood open day and night, so that all comers might enter in. But a warder of giant form sat there, to keep from entering all that harboured guile or malice, and such as with flattery and dissembling work such harm in the courts of kings. The warder’s name was Awe. Such as were permitted to pass in were marshalled in the hall by another warder, whose name was Order. There they saw many noteworthy things, and chief of all the Queen Mercilla herself, where she sat on her throne, with a sceptre in her hand, a pledge of peace and clemency. And under her feet lay a great lion, very fierce of nature, but wholly tamed in that presence. So then the two did obeisance, and stood aside while the queen judged affairs of state, and ministered justice and equity to her people. Of all these affairs the chiefest was the trial of a great lady who stood before the throne, most fair and royally arrayed. Many accusations were brought against this lady, the prosecutor being one Zeal. Nor could this be wondered at, for this great lady was no other than the false Duessa. It was surely proved against her that she had deceived knights, and brought them to shame, and even to death; also that she had wrought upon two vain knights, Blandamour and Paridell, to devise hostility against Queen Mercilla herself. Sir Artegall was so moved by these accusations that, being a lover of justice, he was firm in taking the contrary part against her. Prince Arthur, on the other hand, was not a little touched by the pleadings on her behalf. When all had been heard on either side, Queen Mercilla gave judgment, and although Duessa’s guilt was clear beyond all doubt, yet she, being true to name and nature, did not adjudge the extreme penalty of death, but ordered that she should be so kept as not to do any mischief more.



While the two knights tarried at the court of Queen Mercilla, being entertained by her in the most liberal fashion, there came two youths from a foreign land, praying for help for their mother, the Lady Belgé. It was a piteous story that they told before the Queen Mercilla and all the knights and ladies of her court. The Lady Belgé had been in former days among the most fortunate of women. She had to husband a most worthy and noble prince, of wide dominions and great wealth; she had also a very fair progeny, even seventeen sons, fair children, and of great promise. Anyone who saw them in those days would surely have said that not Niobé herself, before she moved the wrath of Apollo and Diana, was more blessed in her progeny. Now the beginning of troubles to this honourable lady was that her husband died in his prime, before any of his children had come to such an age that they could fill his place. And because the times were ill-suited to a woman’s rule, she was constrained to look for someone who should give her help and protection. Now there was in those parts a monstrous creature, Geryoneo by name, son of that Geryon who was slain by Hercules. He was terrible to look upon, and marvellously strong, for he had three bodies joined in one, the legs and arms of three men, as it were, to help him in the fighting. He, feigning himself to be just and kind, proffered his service to the Lady Belgé while she was yet in the first trouble of her widowhood, undertaking to defend her against all enemies both from within and from without. This proffer she gladly accepted, and he, for a time, kept the promise which he had made well and loyally. But having established himself in the country, and Belgé having given into his hands all the power, he began to bear himself most cruelly. Many wrongs did he do to this most unhappy lady, but of all the wrongs the worst was this, that he took of her children, one after another, to offer up in sacrifice to a horrible idol which he had made of his father Geryon. Twelve had he taken, one by one, so that now there were left to the unhappy mother but five only. And now, all other hope having been lost, she bethought her of the gracious Queen Mercilla, and sent her two eldest sons to entreat her help.


When they had told their story there was for a while silence in the court, no one caring to take this adventure upon himself. And when Prince Arthur saw that no one offered himself, he stood forth and said: “Grant me leave, gracious queen, to succour this distressed lady!”


“Readily do I grant it,” said the queen. Thereupon he began straightway to prepare himself for his journey, for he would not lose time; even on the morrow would he start on this adventure. And so it was. So soon as the next morning came the prince set forth, not without gifts from the queen. Sir Artegall he left to follow his own business, but the two young sons of the Lady Belgé went with him, guiding him on his way.

It was but a short journey to the place where the Lady Belgé dwelt. The tyrant had shut her out from the cities of her land, and from all the pleasant spots; she had her abode in the midst of marshes and fens, and was glad to find shelter in them from the cruelty of her oppressor. In such a dismal region did Prince Arthur find her, living quite alone, for her children had left her, seeking safety elsewhere. And she herself, when she caught sight of a man clad in armour, made ready to fly. But then, spying her own two sons, she took heart, and looked up joyfully, for she knew that the stranger was come to give her help. Then she threw her arms round the necks of the two lads as they knelt before her, crying, “Oh, my sweet boys, now I seem to live again, so joyful a thing is it to see you! Surely the sun shines brighter than its wont, thanks to your coming and to the presence of this noble knight.” Then turning to Prince Arthur she said: “Noble sir, who have taken all this trouble to help a miserable woman, may heaven reward you for your goodness. Reward have I none to give, for all that is left to me is bare life, and that life so full of misery that it is more like to a lingering death!”


The prince was not a little moved at these sorrowful words, and sought to comfort her. “Take heart, dear lady,” he said, “for help is at hand, and these, your troubles, will have an end. But now come with me, and find some spot where you may more conveniently dwell than in this miserable place.”

“Ah sir,” she answered, “to what place shall I go? The enemy dwells in my palaces, my cities are sacked, my towers are levelled with the ground, and what were abodes of men are fields where the wild flowers grow. Only these marshes, the abode of efts and frogs, are left to me.”

“Nay, good lady,” answered the prince, “think better things than these. We will find some place to harbour us. And if it yield not itself willingly, then will we compel it; for all that your adversary may do, we will purchase it with spear and shield; and if not, then the open field shall give us welcome; earth has a lodging for all its creatures.” With such words did the prince encourage her, so that she made ready to go with him.


They set out therefore and came to a city which once had been the Lady Belgé’s own, but had been taken from her by her enemy. He had pulled down its stately towers, closed its harbour, marred the trade of its merchants, and brought its people to poverty. And he had built a great fort from which he dominated the place. For a while the city had resisted his tyranny, but had now submitted itself to him, so purchasing life, but losing all else that is worth the having. Many things did it suffer from his tyranny, but of all that it endured the worst was this, that it was compelled to offer sacrifices of human life to a hideous idol which the tyrant had set up in a chapel which he had built and adorned with costliest fittings of gold and ivory. In this city he had put a strong garrison, and in command of this garrison he had set a seneschal, a very stalwart knight, who had vanquished hitherto all the knights that had ventured to come against him. He had vanquished them, and when he had them in his power he had dealt with them in the most shameful fashion.

Prince Arthur slaying the Seneschal.


When the Lady Belgé knew the place, she said to the prince, “Oh, sir, beware what you venture; very many knights have been undone at this place.” To this warning he paid no heed, but riding up to the wall of the city, called to the watchmen, “I challenge to single combat the seneschal of this fortress.” Nor did the man delay to come, but donning his armour, rode forth from the city gate. The two combatants met in full tilt in the open field, charging each the other with his spear full upon the shield. But the spear of the seneschal made no way, of so pure and well-refined a metal was the prince’s shield. Broken was it into pieces without number. But the spear of the prince passed through the pagan’s cuirass, and made a deep wound in his body, so that he fell from his horse to the ground. There the prince left him to lie, for he was dead almost before he touched the ground, and rode straight to the fortress seeking entrance. But as he rode he spied three knights advancing towards him at the top speed of their horses. All three charged him at once, all aiming their spears at one place in his armour. But the prince did not swerve from his straight seat in his saddle, no, not by a hair’s-breadth. Firm as a tower he sat, and with his spear he smote that one of the three who had the middle place. Nor was his smiting in vain, for he drove the spear through the shield and through the side of the man, so that he fell dead straight-way on his mother-earth. When his fellows saw how easily he had been overcome, they fled away as fast as their steeds could carry them. But the prince followed yet faster, and overtook them hard by the city gate. There, as they hasted to enter, one hindered the other, and the prince slew the hindmost. The third, striving to shut the gate in his adversary’s face, was hindered by the carcase of his companion, for it lay in the way. So he fled into the hall which stood at the entering in of the gate, hoping so to save himself, but the prince following hard after him, slew him there. When they that were left of the garrison saw how it had gone with these three, they were sore afraid, and fled in great terror, escaping by a postern door. When the prince found no more to oppose him, he returned to the Lady Belgé, and brought her into the city, her two sons being with her. Many thanks did she render for the good service which he had done her.


When the tidings of what had befallen the seneschal and his knights came to the sultan, he was carried out of himself with rage. Nevertheless there was something of fear mingled with his rage, for his conscience smote him with the thought that the recompense of his evil deeds was at hand. Nevertheless he comforted himself with this: “There is but one of them, and he cannot always prevail.” Therefore he armed himself: also he took with him all the followers that he had, and marched to the gate of the city, and there demanded entrance, saying, “Yield me up this place straightway, for it is my own.”

To this summons the prince made no answer, but rode forth through the gate, ready armed for battle. And being on the farther side he said, “Are you he that has done all this wrong to the noble Lady Belgé, exiling her from her own land in such fashion that all the world cries shame on you?”


The tyrant answered, “I stand on my own right; what I have done, that will I justify!” So saying he ran furiously at the prince, beating upon his armour with a great battle-axe as if he would have chopped it in pieces. So fierce was his onset that the prince was constrained to give place awhile. So heavy were his strokes, one had thought they would have riven a rock asunder. Also he had the advantage of his threefold form. Three pairs of hands he had, and he could shift his weapon from one to the other as occasion served. So crafty was he and so nimble, that an adversary scarce could know where and when he should defend himself. But the prince was his match and more. Ever he watched the motion of his hands, and parried the blow wherever it might fall. And the tyrant, being thus baffled again and again, roared for very rage, till, at the last, gathering up all the strength of the three bodies into one stroke, he thought to fell his adversary to the ground. What had happened had the stroke come upon the man none can say, but it lighted on the horse and brought him to the ground. So now the prince was constrained to fight on foot, and the giant laughed aloud to think that he had him at a disadvantage. But the fortune of the fight went not so. Now this arm and now that did the prince shear away with his good sword, and he himself was sheltered safe under his shield; so faultless was its temper, that no blow could shatter it. And ever the giant was more and more carried away by his rage, till, at the last, offering his whole side to the attack of the prince, he was brought to the ground a corpse, nay, three corpses, for all were smitten to death by the one stroke, and lay a bloody heap upon the plain.


All this while the Lady Belgé watched the fortunes of the fight from the city wall, with her two sons standing on either hand. And when she saw the issue she hastened to greet him; the people of the city also, who had waited to see to whom the victory should fall, hastened to do him homage. Right glad were they to be rid of the giant’s tyranny.

When the Lady Belgé had rendered the prince her thanks, which he received with due modesty—“’Tis not the strength nor courage of the doer,” said he, “but the justice of his deed that should be looked to”—she said: “O noble sir, you have freed me from my chief foe; nevertheless there remains yet something to be done. I pray you not to stay your victorious arms till you have rooted out all that remains of this vile brood, and established my peace for ever.”

“Tell me, lady,” he answered, “what is this that remains?”

“Sir,” she answered, “in this temple hard by there is, as you have heard, a monstrous idol which this tyrant set up, and to which he offered up sacrifices, taking, alas! of my dear children, and many children also of this people. Now in a cavern underneath this idol there lies a most hideous monster, which is wont to feed upon the flesh of these sacrifices. No man, they say, has ever looked upon its shape, so fearful is it, and lived.”


When the prince heard this he was occupied with a great desire to deal with this same monster, and demanded that the queen should show him the place where it abode. “It is beneath the altar,” said she; and he uncovered his shield, for the need was such as to demand the help. The idol he saw, but not the monster. Then he took his sword, and with the naked blade he struck three times, as if in defiance, and at the third time the monster came from out its hiding-place. Hideous it was to see, huge of size, as long, it seemed, as the whole chapel, with the face of a woman and the body of a dog; its claws were like to lion’s claws; it had a tail with a deadly sting, and eagle’s wings. Nevertheless, for all its strength, it was dismayed to see the knight, and especially the burning brightness of his shield. It would have fled again to its hiding-place, but that the prince would not suffer. Seeing, then, that it had to fight, the monster flew at the prince’s shield, and caught it with its claws, purposing either to break it, or, if that might not be, to wrench it out of his hands. Long did they struggle together, but at the last the prince, with a stroke of his sword, shore off the monster’s claws. Exceeding loud was the bellowing which it made, seeming to make the whole chapel rock to its foundations. Next it struck at the prince with its great tail, and well-nigh brought him to the ground; but before it could strike a second blow, he had severed the last joint with his sword. Last of all, it raised itself on its great wings and flew at his head; doubtless it had hurt him sore but that he held his shield between. While he so warded off the attack, he struck full at the monster’s belly, and so did it to death.


Great was the rejoicing in the city when the people knew that the creature which had oppressed them so long was slain. They crowned the prince with bays, and led him through the streets with solemn pomp. After this he tarried awhile in the city, establishing Queen Belgé on her throne, and setting all things in due order, till the time came when he had to depart for the completing of his task.



While these things were doing, Sir Artegall set forth to accomplish his task, having Talus with him as before. After he had journeyed awhile, he overtook an old man who was travelling alone, and perceived that he was the same that had attended the Lady Irene when she came to the court of Queen Gloriana. He had been a famous knight in his day, but had long since foregone the use of arms, being stricken with age.

“Hail, Sir Sergis,” he cried, “there lives no truer knight, I know; but tell me, what is your errand? How fares the Lady Irene? How comes it that you have left her? Is she in prison? Does she yet live?”

“She lives,” answered the old knight, “but she is in sore trouble. Trusting to your promise that you would come to be her champion, and do battle with him who was oppressing her, she came at the appointed time, but found you not. And now Grantorto has thrown her into prison, and has appointed her a day, saying that if by that time no champion shall appear to justify her and prove her clear of the crimes of which she is accused, she shall suffer death.”


Sir Artegall was sorely troubled to hear these words, knowing that she suffered these things through his default. “Verily,” he said, “I am to blame for this fair maiden’s trouble, in that I was not present to maintain her cause; but, as you know, I was not wholly to blame for that which hindered me. But tell me, how many days has the tyrant allowed for the finding of this champion?”

“Ten days he has given,” answered the old knight, “but he knows that ’tis only a form, for he guards all the coasts and approaches by which such a champion might come. Indeed, he counts her to be already dead.”

“Turn again, dear knight,” said Sir Artegall; “surely, if I live, she shall have the champion whom she needs within the appointed time!” So they two went on together.


As they rode they were aware of a great rout of people who seemed to be looking on at some affray. Coming nearer, they perceived a number of rude fellows setting on a single knight, and chasing him to and fro as if they would make him prisoner. And he, on the other hand, sought to make his way to a lady who might be seen in another part of the field, holding up her hands and praying for help. Wheresoever he turned they gave way before him, yet ever returned and renewed their attack, and, so great were their numbers, pressed him sorely. So harassed was he with their assailing, that he threw away his shield, a most dishonourable thing for any knight to do, and one that marks him with shame without end. When Sir Artegall saw in what an evil plight the man stood, he rode forward to his help, yet he was himself so rudely assailed that he was constrained to give place for a while. But when Talus began to use his iron flail, then the multitude fled for their lives, being scattered as the wind scatters the chaff on a threshing-floor. When the knight had given thanks for his deliverance, Sir Artegall said to him:

“What is the occasion of this uproar? Who are you, and who are these villains that attacked you so furiously?”

The knight answered: “My name is Burbon; I have won honour as a knight, and have been in good repute till of late trouble has overtaken me. This lady is by name Fleur de Lys; my love she is, though of late she has scorned me; I know not whether by her own choice or by constraint of others. It cannot be denied that she was once betrothed to me of her own free choice; but a certain tyrant, whom men call Grantorto, won her by gifts and lying words. This host of villains he sent to take her away from me by open force.”

Then said Sir Artegall: “I see, Sir Knight, that you have suffered grievous things, yet not without fault of your own. But let us first rid you of these villains. That done, we can make a settlement of other matters.”


This then they did, Talus greatly helping with his flail. But when they came to the lady, who had been left by them who had taken her prisoner, they were in no little doubt in what mind she was, for she seemed to be neither glad nor sorry. One thing was certain, to wit, that she was wondrous fair and clad in splendid robes. When Sir Burbon, lighting from his horse, ran to her and would have clasped her in his arms, she turned from him in high disdain. “Begone,” she cried, “and touch me not.” Then said Sir Artegall: “Fair lady, you cast a very great blemish on your beauty, if you change a plighted faith. Is there aught on earth so dear and so precious as faith and honour? Love surely is dearer than life, and fame is more to be desired than gold; but a plighted troth is more to be honoured than even love or fame.” At this rebuke the lady seemed much abashed, and Sir Burbon, lifting her in his arms, set her on her steed, nor did she repulse him. So they rode away, but whether wholly agreed or not, no one can say.


These matters being accomplished, Sir Artegall with Sir Sergis pursued his journey till they came to the seashore. There by good fortune they found a ship ready equipped for sailing. This they hired, that it should take them whither they would, and embarking in it, found wind and weather serve them so well that in a single day they came to the land which they sought. There they saw drawn up on the shore great hosts of men who should hinder them from landing. But they did not for this forego their purpose. So soon as they approached so near to the shore that they could see the bottom beneath the waves, Talus leapt from the ship into the sea. The enemy sought to overwhelm him with stones and darts, but he heeded them not at all. Wading through the waves he came to the shore, and once having put his foot upon the land, chased all the multitude away, even as an eagle chases a flock of doves. The way being thus made clear, for there was now no one to hinder them, Sir Artegall and the old knight landed, and made their way to a city that was hard by. The tyrant Grantorto, being made aware of their coming by some of those that had fled from Talus, gathered a host of men and came against them. But these also did Talus discomfit with his flail, pursuing them till Artegall himself bade him hold his hand, for he would settle the quarrel in more orderly fashion. Therefore he called a herald and bade him take a message to King Grantorto to this purport:

“I came not hither to fight against your people, but to maintain the cause of the Lady Irene against you in single combat. Do you therefore call your people back that they may suffer no further damage, but fix a time and place for us two to fight together in the cause of the Lady Irene.”


That night he pitched his tent outside the city, and would suffer none to come near him; only Sir Sergis kept him company, and gave such services as were needful. Now the Lady Irene had not heard of the coming of Sir Artegall, and this being the day on which, lacking a champion who should defend her cause, it was appointed for her to die, she arrayed herself in squalid garments, fit for such occasion, and prepared herself for her doom. But her mood was changed to joy when, coming to the appointed place, she found Sir Artegall ready to do battle for her.

And now, the lists having been made ready, Grantorto came forth prepared for battle. He was clad in armour of iron, with a steel cap, rusty brown in colour, on his head, and in his hand he carried a huge pole-axe. He was of mighty stature, standing up as a giant among other men, and hideous of aspect. Very expert in arms was he, and of great strength; no man had ever stood against him in fight and held his own.


Then the trumpets sounded and the two met. Fast and furiously did Grantorto rain his blows upon his adversary. This was his manner of fighting, to wit, to overbear his foe by the fierceness of his attack, giving him no respite or breathing-time. But of this Sir Artegall was well aware, and bore himself accordingly. It was as when a sailor sees a storm approaching and strikes his sails and loosens his main-sheet. So did Sir Artegall stoop his head, shunning the great shower of blows. Small shame it is to stoop if a man shall thereafter raise his head the higher. For a time, indeed, it might seem that the tyrant would prevail, so heavy was the shower of blows that he poured upon him, and so many the wounds which the great pole-axe made even through his armour. But ere long the occasion came for which the knight had waited. When the tyrant raised his arm high to strike what should be, he hoped, a mortal blow, Sir Artegall smote under his guard and drove his sword deep into his flank, so that the blood gushed forth in a great stream. Meanwhile the blow of the pole-axe had fallen, and, despite the shield which the knight had raised to defend his head, had bitten so deep that the giant could by no means loose it again. Then Sir Artegall let go his shield, and struck Grantorto on the head with such strength that he brought him to the ground, and, as he lay, with yet another stroke severed his head from his body.

Then all the people, glad to be rid of the tyrant, joyfully hastened to pay their homage to Queen Irene. So she was established on her throne. Sir Artegall tarried awhile to order all things in peace and justice, Talus helping much in the seeking out and punishment of offenders.



As Sir Artegall was returning from his latest enterprise, he met a certain Sir Calidore, who was in high repute among the knights and dames of Fairyland for his courtesy and honesty. These two had been friends in old time, and now were right glad to meet.

“Hail, noble sir,” said Sir Calidore, “tell me, I pray you, how you have prospered in your enterprise.”

And when the other had unfolded the whole matter in order, what hindrances he had encountered, and what success he had achieved in the end, “Happy man,” he said, “that have accomplished so great an enterprise! You are at the end of your labours, but I am but beginning mine, nor do I know where to begin; the way is all untried. I know not what dangers await me, nor what provision I must make.”

“What, then, is this enterprise of yours?” said Sir Artegall.


“I pursue,” answered the other, “the Blatant Beast, a monster that, having been nurtured in the regions below, has now come forth on the earth to be the plague and bane of men. My task is to follow him, if need be, all over the world, till I can destroy him.”

“Such a creature I myself saw,” said Sir Artegall, “after that I left the Savage Island. It seemed to have full a thousand tongues, and with all of these it bayed and barked at me; I heeded him not, and this seemed to move him to still greater rage.”

“Doubtless,” answered Sir Calidore, “that is the monster which I follow.”

“Go on and prosper,” said Sir Artegall; and so they parted in all friendship and amity.

After Sir Calidore had travelled a mile or so, he came upon a squire, a comely youth to behold, whom his enemies had bound to a tree. The same loudly called on him for help, which he, without waiting to ask questions, promptly rendered. When he had loosed his bonds he said: “Tell me, unhappy man, how you came into this evil plight; who was it that captured you and bound you in this fashion?”

“Sir Knight,” said the man, “be assured that it was by misfortune only, not by fault committed, that I came into this condition. Not far from this place there is a very strong castle, where they keep this evil custom. No man may pass along the road—and the road so lies that none may pass without leave obtained from them who hold the castle—without payment of toll. And the toll is this—from every lady her hair, and from every knight his beard.”


“As shameful a custom as ever came to my ears!” cried Sir Calidore, “and one speedily to be overthrown! But tell me how it came about, and what was its beginning?”

“In this castle,” the squire made reply, “there dwells a certain lady, Briana by name; there is no one on earth more proud, and it vexes her sorely that she loves a certain Sir Crudor, and that he will not deign to return love for love, until she shall make for him a mantle lined with the hair of ladies and the beards of knights. And she to gain this end uses the castle, having for her minister in the matter a certain Maleffort, who, indeed, does her will in the most cruel fashion. This very day, as I journeyed by the road with the lady whom I love, this Maleffort made an assault upon us. Me first he took prisoner, for I could not withstand him, so strong was he. This done, he pursued the damsel, binding me to this tree until he should come back. But whether he has found her or not, I know not.”

While he was yet speaking, they heard a loud shriek from hard by, and looking to the place saw the knave holding a lady by her garments and about to shear the tresses from her head. When Sir Calidore saw this he was greatly moved with wrath; the squire he left, and turned to pursue the villain. “Hold!” he cried, “leave that evil doing, and turn to answer me!”


The fellow, trusting in his strength, which, indeed, had never failed him, answered him scornfully. “Who,” said he, “are you that defy me in this fashion? You take this maiden’s part; will you then give your beard, though it be but little, for her locks? Nay, nay, you may not purchase them so cheaply.” So saying he ran at Sir Calidore in a mighty rage, and rained upon him a great shower of blows. The knight, who was well skilled in arms, held back awhile, standing on his defence, and let him spend his strength. But when he perceived that he was failing somewhat, then he began to press him; the more he gave way the more strongly he assailed him. At last the fellow lost heart, and turned to fly, hoping to gain the castle and find shelter. So he fled, Sir Calidore pursuing; and now he had reached the gate and cried aloud that they should open to him without delay. This indeed they who were within, seeing in what extremity he was, made haste to do, but even as he stood in the porch Sir Calidore dealt him a mighty blow with his sword, and cleft his head from the crown to the chin. He fell down dead where he stood, and when they would have shut the gate, they could not, for the carcase blocked the way, and Sir Calidore entering in, slew the porter where he stood. Then all who were in the castle set at him, but in vain; he swept them aside full easily, as an ox, standing in a meadow on a summer day, sweeps away the flies which trouble him. So he passed from the porch into the hall, where the Lady Briana met him, and assailed him with angry words, calling him villain because he had slain her steward, and was now come to rob her of her possessions.


“Nay, nay, fair lady,” he made answer, “I deserve not these reproaches. I came to abate an evil custom that you wot of. Such things do dishonour to the laws of courtesy. I pray you, therefore, of your own accord, to do away with this evil. Rather show kindness and hospitality to all such as pass by this way; so shall you gain a glory that is better far than earthly love.”

These words did but make her wrath more strong. “Know, sir,” she cried, “that I disdain all this talk of kindness and courtesy, and defy you to the death.”

“I hold it no shame,” answered Sir Calidore, “to take defiance from a lady; but were there one here who would abide the trial with his sword, gladly would I prove my words upon him.”

Then the lady in great haste called to her a dwarf who served her, and taking from her hand a ring of gold, gave it to him, saying: “Take this with all speed to Sir Crudor; and tell him that there is a knight here who has slain my steward and done much damage to my people;” for it had been agreed between them, that when urgent need should arise she should send this ring. So the dwarf departed with the ring, and travelled all that night. Meanwhile Sir Calidore abode in the castle, the lady being now scornful, now angry, and he enduring her moods with all patience and courtesy.


The next day, before the sun rose, came the dwarf, bringing a message from Sir Crudor that he would come to her help before he had broken his fast, and would deliver to her the enemy alive or dead; and he sent his helmet as a true token. Greatly did the Lady Briana rejoice to have such news, and behaved herself more scornfully than ever to Sir Calidore. He took no heed of her ways, rather rejoicing that he should have someone with whom to settle this quarrel. So he donned his arms, and waited for the coming of Sir Crudor. Nor did he wait long. Right soon did he espy a knight riding across the plain. “This,” said he to himself, “is the Lady Briana’s champion,” and without staying to ask of anyone who this new-comer might be, he rode forth to meet him. The two came together in the middle of the plain with so strong a shock that both were rolled upon the ground, each rider with his horse. Sir Calidore rose lightly from the ground, while his adversary still lay without sense or speech, but he disdained to do him any damage; it would ill become a courteous knight to strike a sleeping foe. But Briana, where she stood upon the castle walls, thought that her champion was dead, and loudly bemoaned him, and made as if she would throw herself from the walls to the earth.


After a while Sir Crudor raised himself from the ground, but in listless fashion, like to one who can scarcely rouse himself from sleep. But when he saw his adversary, his spirit returned to him as before, and he renewed the fight, hoping that he would fare better on foot than he had fared on horseback. Long did they fight, dealing each to other fearful blows. Not once, so fierce were they, did they pause to take rest. At the last, when, as if by common consent, both lifted their swords high in the air to deal what might be a final blow, and so finish the fight, either for this champion or for that, Sir Calidore, being more nimble and quicker of sight than his adversary, was beforehand with him, and struck him with so sharp a blow upon his helmet that he brought him to his knee. Nor did he fail to follow up his advantage, but redoubling the fierceness of his strokes, brought him altogether to the ground. As he lay there he would have unlaced his helmet, and given him his death-blow, but the vanquished man begged for mercy. Then Sir Calidore, mastering his anger, such was his courtesy, said: “Mercy I grant with all goodwill. Do you learn not to treat strangers with such rudeness. This ill befits a knight, for his first duty is to conquer himself. And now I give you your life on these conditions, that you help to the best of your power all wandering knights, and also give aid as you can to all ladies in need.”


These things the knight, being thus delivered beyond all hope from the fear of death, promised to do, and swore fealty to Sir Calidore as being his liege lord for all his life. All this time the Lady Briana was looking in great dismay and trouble of mind; and now Sir Calidore, bidding her to approach, told all that had been agreed between him and Sir Crudor. She was overcome by so great a courtesy, and thanked him with all her heart, for indeed it was in her inmost heart that she was moved. She threw herself at his feet, and declared herself to be wholly bound to him. After this they all betook themselves to the castle, where the lady entertained them in most joyous fashion.

The banquet ended, she said: “Sir Calidore, I do bestow this castle upon you freely and without price, by way of token of how great is my debt to you.”

Then answered Sir Calidore: “Lady, I thank you for this gift; but I am not minded to take any hire or reward for any good deed that it may be given me to do.” So he gave the castle to the squire, that he and the damsel might dwell there. And when he had tarried there certain days, and was now made whole of his wounds, he went forth again on his quest.



As Sir Calidore went on his way he saw a young man of great stature fighting on foot with a knight on horseback. Not far from these two stood a lady, clad in very poor array. Sir Calidore would have inquired of her the cause of the strife, having it in his mind to part the two combatants, if this might be done. But before he could come at the place, the youth had slain the knight, a thing at which he wondered not a little. This same youth was very goodly to look at, slender in shape, and of but seventeen years or so, as it seemed, but tall and fair of face. He was clad in a woodman’s jacket of Lincoln green, embroidered with silver, with a huntsman’s horn hanging by his side. He had a dart in his right hand, and in his left a boar-spear.

“What means this?” said Sir Calidore. “You, who are no knight, have slain a knight, a thing plainly contrary to the law of arms.”

“I would not wish,” answered the youth, “to break the law of arms; yet would I break it again, sooner than suffer such wrong as I have of this man, so long as I have two hands wherewith to defend myself. The quarrel with him was not of my seeking, as this lady can testify.”


“Tell me therefore,” said Sir Calidore, “how things fell out.”

“Sir Knight,” answered the lad, “I was hunting in the wood, as I am wont to do for lack of graver employment, for which my years are not fit, when I saw this knight, who lies dead yonder, passing over the plain, with this lady in his company. He was on horseback, but she followed on foot, and when she lagged behind, as she must needs do, so rough was the ground, then he smote her with the butt of his spear, taking no heed of her tears and prayers. This sight I saw with no small indignation, and being moved with wrath said: ‘Surely, Sir Knight, you should rather takeup this lady to ride behind you than make her travel so uneasily.’ To this he answered in angry words, bidding me hold my peace, nor meddle with things that concerned me not. ‘Or,’ said he, ‘I will whip you as a malapert boy should be whipped!’ So after some angry talk, he struck me twice with his spear, and I threw at him a dart, fellow of this which you see here in my hand; nor did I throw it in vain, for it struck him beneath the heart so hard that presently he died.”


Sir Calidore was not a little pleased with his manner of speech, so bold and honest was it, and he admired also the sturdiness of the stroke which had broken to such effect the coat of mail. And when, after question put to the lady, he found that it was even as the lad had told, he said: “I do not condemn this youth, but rather hold him free of blame. ’Tis the duty of knights, and indeed of all men, to bear themselves kindly and courteously to women, and he did well to maintain this good custom. But now I would have you tell me, lady, if you will, how it came about that the man whom he slew treated you in so unseemly a fashion?”

“Sir Knight,” answered the lady, “I am loath to bring accusations against the dead; yet I must needs declare the truth. This day, as this knight and I were passing on our way, we came upon a glade in the wood where there sat two lovers, a comely knight and a fair lady. The knight my companion being taken with the lady’s beauty, bade me dismount. And when I was unwilling to do so, thrust me out of my seat with violence. Which when he had done, he said to the other: ‘Now, yield me up that dame!’ And when the other—though, indeed, he was not prepared for battle—refused, then he wounded him sorely with his spear. This he did, though the other had proffered to do battle with him, if only he would appoint a day when they might try their strength on equal terms. Meanwhile the lady had fled into the wood, and had hidden herself to such good purpose, that when my knight sought to find her, he spent all his labour in vain. At this baulk he was greatly enraged. He would not set me on his horse again, but constrained me to follow on foot, smiting me with his spear if ever I lagged behind, and taking no heed of my tears and complaining. So we went on till we fell in with this young man, and he, being moved with pity at my evil plight, rebuked the knight. How the matter ended you have seen for yourself.”


“This boor has received his due,” said Calidore. Then turning to the lad, he said: “Tell me now who you are, and how you came to be in this place. Never did I see greater promise in anyone, and I would help you to bring it to as good fulfilment as may be.”

“Sir Knight,” the youth made answer, “it may be that the revealing of my name and lineage may be to my hurt, for of such danger I have been warned; nevertheless, so courteously have you borne yourself to me, that I will tell you the whole truth. I am a Briton, Tristram by name, son of good King Meliogras, who once reigned in the land of Cornwall. He dying while I was yet of tender years, his brother took the kingdom. Thereupon my mother, Queen Emiline, conceiving me to be in danger from this same uncle, thought it best to send me into some foreign land, where I should not be within his reach, if the thought of doing me a mischief should arise in his heart. So, according to the counsel of a wise man of whom she inquired in her perplexity, she sent me from the land of Lyonesse, where I was born, to the land of Fairy, where, no one knowing who or what I was, none would seek to do me wrong. I was then ten years of age, and I have abode in this land ever since, not wasting my days in vain delights, but perfecting myself in all the arts of hunting. But now it is time, I hold, to look to higher things. Therefore, this being such an occasion as might not again befall, I would entreat of you that you advance me, unworthy though I be, to a squire’s degree, so that I may duly learn and practise all the use of arms. And for this I have this beginning, to wit, the arms of this knight, whom I slew in fair encounter.”


Sir Calidore answered, “Fair child, I would not by any means baulk this your honourable desire to follow the profession of arms; only I could wish that I could set you to some service that should be worthy of you. Kneel therefore and swear that you will be faithful to any knight whom you shall serve as squire, and be true to all ladies, and never draw back from fear of any deed that it may be fitting for you to do.” So Tristram knelt down upon his knees, and took his oath to do according to these words.

Thereupon Sir Calidore dubbed him a squire, and he bloomed forth straightway in all joy and gladness, even as a bud opens into a flower. But when Tristram besought him that he might go with him on his present adventure, vowing that he would follow him to the death, Sir Calidore answered: “I should be right glad, most courteous squire, to have you with me, so that I might see the valour which you have show itself in honourable achievement, but this may not be. I am bound by vow to my sovereign, who set me this task to accomplish, that I would not take anyone to aid me. For this reason I may not grant your request. But now, seeing that this lady is left desolate, and is in need of safe convoy, you will do well to succour her in this her need.”


This service the youth gladly undertook, and Sir Calidore, taking leave of him and the dame in courteous fashion, set forth again on his quest. He had not travelled far before he came to the place where the knight who had been so discourteously treated by him whom Tristram had slain, lay in a most sorrowful plight. He was bleeding from many wounds, so that all the earth about him was red; and the lady sat by him weeping, and yet doing all that she could with careful hands to dress his wounds and ease his pain. Sir Calidore, when he saw this sorry sight, was well-nigh moved to tears; from which, scarce refraining himself, he said: “Tell me, sad lady, if your grief will suffer you, who it was that with cruel hand wrought such mischief to a knight unarmed, for surely, if I may but come near him, I will avenge this wrong upon him.”

The lady answered: “Fair sir, this knight whom you see here and I sat talking in lover’s fashion, and this man charged him, unarmed as he was, and dealt him these deadly wounds. And if you would know what manner of man he was, he was of tall stature, clad in gilded armour, crossed with a band of blue, and for device on his shield he had a lady rowed in a summer barge across rough waves.”


When Sir Calidore heard this, he was assured that this indeed was the knight whom Tristram had slain, and he said: “Lady, take to yourself this comfort, that he who so foully wronged your knight lies now in yet more evil case. I saw him with my own eyes lying dead upon the earth, a just recompense for the foul wrong that he did to your fair knight. And now bethink you what we may best do for this wounded man, how you may best convey him hence, and to what refuge.”

She thanked him for his courtesy and friendly care, yet knew not what to say, for being a stranger in that country she could not think of a fitting place, nor could she ask him to carry the wounded man. This he did not fail to perceive, and said: “Fair lady, think not that I deem it a disgrace to carry this burden; gladly will I help you.” Taking therefore his shield, and first pouring the healing balm, which he always carried with him for such needs, into the knight’s wounds, he put him thereon, and bare him, the lady helping, to a castle that was hard by. And it so chanced that the lord of this castle was father to the wounded knight, a man far advanced in years, who had been a famous man-at-arms in the days gone by, and was of most courteous and hospitable temper. Aldus was his name, and his son’s name was Aladine. Great was his grief when he saw his dear son brought home in such a plight.


“Dear boy,” he cried, “and is the pleasure with which I thought to welcome you to this your home turned to such sorrow!” Nevertheless he put a brave constraint upon his sorrow, and turned himself to entertain his guests with all hospitality. To this welcome Sir Calidore made a courteous return, but the lady, whose name was Priscilla, could not by any means be cheered. She was daughter to a noble lord that dwelt hard by, and had seen and loved this same Aladine, though he was of meaner birth and smaller estate; and now she was much troubled, thinking both of her lover’s perilous state and of how her father would take the matter. So, while Sir Aldus entertained Sir Calidore, she sat and tended the wounded man, and at the last, with infinite pains, brought him out of the swoon in which he lay, and restored him to himself.

The next day, when Sir Calidore came to see how the wounded man was faring, he found him not a little bettered in state of body, but anxious in mind, especially for his lady’s sake, because of the displeasure which her father might have concerning her love for him. Thereupon he told to Sir Calidore the whole story of his love, and besought his help, which he, much moved by pity for their sorrowful case, gladly promised that he would give. This promise he most fully did perform. First he went to where the carcase of that misbehaved knight lay upon the ground, and shore the head from the body. This he took in his hand, and brought the lady to her father’s house. He, indeed, was greatly troubled to think what had befallen his child, and was much rejoiced to see her again safe and sound.

Then said Sir Calidore: “Your daughter was like to suffer wrong from an evil knight; but he suffered for his evil intent—lo! here you see his head.”

Then did the noble lord most gladly receive her again to her home, and Sir Calidore, after a short sojourn, departed again upon his quest.



As Sir Calidore passed on his way he came upon two lovers, Sir Calepine and the Lady Serena, as they sat talking together. They were abashed to see him, and he, being the very soul of courtesy, made most humble apology for so disturbing them. Then said Sir Calepine: “Sit down and rest awhile, and let us talk together;” to which Sir Calidore courteously assented. While they talked, the Lady Serena, tempted by the fairness of the place, and seeking to make a garland of flowers, of which there was great store, wandered away.

Thereupon the Blatant Beast, the same monster which Sir Calidore had it in charge to seek, rushed out of a wood that was hard by, caught her in his mouth, and carried her away. She cried aloud to the two knights for help, and they, hearing her voice, started up to succour her. Sir Calidore, being the more swift of foot of the two, overtook the beast before it had gone far. Thereupon it cast down the lady out of its mouth and fled. Nor did Sir Calidore delay to pursue the beast. “The lady,” said he to himself, “will be cared for by her own knight; but as for me, I must not abandon my quest.” How he fared in the pursuit will be told hereafter; but we will follow in the meanwhile the fortunes of the two lovers.


Sir Calepine found the lady in very sad plight, being sorely wounded on both sides by the monster’s teeth, so that she lay upon the ground in a swoon, as if she were dead. With much ado he brought her back to life, and, setting her on his horse, held her up with his arms, till they could find some place where she might rest and be healed of her wounds. So they journeyed till they came to a river, on the other side of which stood a fair castle, in which he hoped that he might find shelter. But when he came to the water’s edge he found that the stream could scarce be forded on foot. While he doubted what it were best to do, there came a knight to the river’s side, with a lady riding on a palfrey by his side. Thereupon Sir Calepine, with all due courtesy, made a request of the new-comer, that he would take this wounded lady to the other side.

“Not so,” replied the other; “if you have no horse of your own you shall have no help of mine. Go on foot, and let this lady do the same. Or, if you like it better, carry her on your back, and so prove yourself a man.”


The lady on the palfrey was much displeased at the rudeness of this speech, and, pitying the plight of Serena, would have helped her with her own palfrey. For this courtesy Sir Calepine thanked her, but, being very angry with the knight, would have none of her help. Stepping down, therefore, into the river, he held himself up against the stream with his spear in one hand, and with the other hand stayed the lady on his horse. All the while the discourteous knight stood on the bank jeering and laughing.

When Sir Calepine had won in safety to the farther bank, he called aloud to the other, saying, “Unknightly man, disgrace to all who bear arms, I defy you. Fight if you dare, or never be bold to bear arms again.” But the fellow took no heed of this challenge, but laughed aloud, as if to say that his adversary was of so mean estate that a man of honour need not trouble to regard his words. So, crossing the stream, he came to the fair house on the farther bank, for indeed this was his house.

To this same house came Sir Calepine, for indeed there was no other house where he could find shelter, and asked admittance for the lady’s sake. But the porter said: “We find no lodging here for any wandering knight, unless he is willing first to fight with the master of the house.”

“And who is he?” said Sir Calepine.

“His name,” answered the porter, “is Sir Turpin; a mighty man and a great fighter; he bears a great grudge against all wandering knights, by reason of some wrong that was done him by such a knight in time past.”


Then said Sir Calepine: “Go your way to your master, and tell him that a wandering knight craves shelter for a wounded lady, and that he is willing to fight, but craves that Sir Turpin will, of his courtesy, postpone this issue till the day following.” To this request no answer other than had first been delivered was made, and Sir Calepine perforce turned away, not knowing what else he could do. All that night he sheltered the lady under a bush as best he could. The next day he went on his way, hoping to find some more hospitable place, and walking as before by the lady’s side.

But he was not suffered to proceed far; for Sir Turpin, filled with hatred and malice, pursued after him and overtook him, and having him at a disadvantage, for he had the charge of the lady on his hands, went near to slaying him. Slain without doubt he had been, but for help that came to him beyond all hope. A savage man, who dwelt in the wood, hearing the lady’s cry, hastened to discover what had befallen. He was as a brute beast, and had never before felt in his breast any touch of pity; but now, seeing the knight so hardly pressed, was moved to help him. Neither armour had he nor arms, being wont to strike with such things as came to his hand, and for protection he had a magic charm, which from his birth had made him proof against all wounds. He took no thought how he could best attack Sir Turpin, but ran at him with great fury. The knight struck him full upon the breast with his spear, but made no wound. And when the wild man’s fury grew greater and greater, and he caught hold of the knight’s shield, and the knight on the other hand perceived that neither spear nor sword availed anything against him, then Sir Turpin left his shield and his spear also and fled. Nor had he then escaped but for the fleetness of his steed, for the savage also was the fastest of runners. So near did he come that Sir Turpin shrieked aloud for fear, a most unbecoming thing for a knight to do; nevertheless, by the speed of his horse he escaped to his castle.


The savage man, therefore, seeing his labour of pursuit to be vain, returned to the place where he had left the knight and the lady. Both he found in very evil case, and tended them with all care, staunching the bleeding of their wounds with juices of healing herbs which he found in the woods. Also he took them to a dwelling which he had in the wood hard by, and gave them such entertainment as he could, beds of leaves on which to sleep, and wild fruits of the wood for food, for the savage man never would slay any living creature.

But now there befell these lovers a great mishap. Sir Calepine, being now whole of his wounds, was wandering in the wood, when he heard the cry of an infant which a bear was carrying off in his mouth. This indeed he rescued, but in the chase went so far that he wholly lost his way, and could not by any means return to the place where he had left the Lady Serena. Long did she wait for his coming, being in great doubt and trouble as to what had befallen him, and when, after many days, he was still absent, she purposed to leave the abode of the Savage Man. He would not suffer her to go alone, but clad himself in Sir Calepine’s armour—his sword the knight had put in some secret place—and so set forth; nor, indeed, was ever a stranger pair seen in company.


They had not journeyed far before, by great good fortune, they met Prince Arthur. To him Serena told all that had befallen her and Sir Calepine, the misdeeds of Sir Turpin, and the wandering away of the knight. And when Prince Arthur had heard her tale, he said: “You I will bestow with a good and wise man, a hermit, who dwells in these parts. My squire also, who has suffered no little damage, I will leave; as for this discourteous knight who calls himself Turpin, I will punish him forthwith.”

And this he did in most effective fashion, slaying him and hanging him after by the heels upon a tree, that others might take warning by his punishment.

And now shall be told what befell the Lady Serena, and how it came to pass that she and her lover were found one of another. It chanced one day as she walked in the wood with Prince Arthur’s squire that he was set upon by two knaves, and she, doubting to what end the battle might come, fled away on her feet, and, losing her way, could not by any means return to the hermit’s abode. Being wearied out with long wandering, she lay down in the wood to sleep.


Now there dwelt in those parts a savage tribe which was wont to live by robbery. They did not till the ground, nor breed cattle, nor deal in merchandise, but they lived by spoiling of their neighbours’ goods. And they had this evil custom also, that they lived on the flesh of men, devouring all strangers whom they might chance to find within their borders. Some of these savages, as they wandered in the forest, chanced to see Serena, as she lay asleep. Great was their joy to see her, not for her beauty, but because she would make, they thought, so goodly a meal. First they debated whether they should wake her or let her sleep. And it seemed to them better that she should sleep her fill. “She will be the better,” they said, “for her sleep.” Also they agreed together that she should be offered in sacrifice to their god. “He,” said they, “shall have her blood, and we, after the sacrifice, will have a goodly feast on her flesh.” This they set about to do, and having built an altar, they stripped her of her ornaments and robes and laid her upon it; and the priest stood ready to slay her with a knife of stone in his hand, when their evil purpose was baulked.


Sir Calepine, by some happy chance, had come to this same grove, which they had fixed for the place of the sacrifice, and for the feast which was to come after. He was still searching for Serena, and having travelled far that day, had laid himself down to sleep. And now, there being a great noise of bagpipes and horns, for with these they celebrated the solemnity, he started up; and, looking through the branches that were about him, saw the altar set, and the woman lying on it, and the priest, stretching out his hand to slay her. Who she was he knew not, but ran to her help, as was a knight’s duty, and the priest he slew, and not a few of the savages that were gathered round, and the rest fled like to doves that fly before a hawk. So did Sir Calepine recover the lady of his love.



Now must be told what befell Sir Calidore in his quest. For many days he pursued unceasingly the Blatant Beast. Over hills and through valleys, through forests and across plains, he made his way, and wearied not. The monster he suffered not to rest, nor did he rest himself, save only when Nature commanded; for he feared disgrace, if haply should he, for reason of sloth, forego his task, and the monster should escape. Therefore he went from Court to city, and from city to country, and in the country nothing would content him but he must search in every farm. On a day while he thus urged the pursuit, he came on a company of shepherds who were playing on pipes and singing country ballads, the while their flocks fed near them among the broom bushes with their flowers of gold. When he came near to them he inquired of them whether they had chanced to see such a beast as he sought.


They answered him: “We have seen none such in this country, nor have we anything that threatens harm to us or to our flocks. And we pray to the good God that He will keep such creatures far from us.” And one of them, perceiving that the knight was hot and weary, offered him drink, and if he chanced to be hungry, something that he might eat. This courteous offer he gladly accepted, and sat him down, well content with such simple fare as suits the dweller in the country. When he had ended his meal he saw a fair damsel who wore a crown of flowers tied with ribbons of silk, being clad in a gown of home-made green which she had worked with her own hands. She sat on a little hillock in the middle of the company, with company of lovely maids about her, and round these again was a ring of shepherds, piping and singing the praises of their queen, for indeed she did shine as a queen in the midst of her subjects. Fair of face she was and of just proportions, and commended her beauty to all beholders by the modesty of her carriage. There was not one in the place but honoured, and not a few sighed for her in love: but she had no liking for anyone.

Greatly did Sir Calidore admire both her beauty and her carriage, for they seemed to him to far excel the shepherd’s estate. “Surely,” he said to himself, “this may be a princess who thus disguises her high condition.” And even while he thought the thought in his heart, Love took him unawares. So he sat musing, and, for a while, so taken was his heart with this new thought, forgot the chase.


And now the evening was come and it behoved the shepherds to fold their flocks. So there came an aged sire, Melibæus by name, who was commonly reputed to be the father of the fair maiden—Pastorella was her name. So indeed it was believed, but, in very truth, he had found her as an infant lying in an open field, and taking her home, had brought her up as his child, for child of his very own he had none. The old man said, “Night falls, and we must fold the flocks.” Nor was there any want of helpers to the fair Pastorella. Many were eager to manage her sheep, and none more eager than Corydon.

Then Melibæus, seeing how Sir Calidore sat alone, seeming to have no place of abode, and that night was now near at hand, said to him: “Fair sir, I have but a humble cottage; yet is this a better lodging than the bare field; I pray you to take up your abode with me this night.” To which Sir Calidore gladly agreed, for indeed there was nothing that he more desired.


A hearty welcome did the old man and his wife accord to the knight. Shortly after, the fair Pastorella came back from folding her flock, and they all sat down to sup in high content, and had much pleasant talk concerning the shepherd’s life, the delights of which old Melibæus set forth. “Let those who will seek after honour and wealth and the good things of this world: I am content with what I have. My nights I spend in quiet sleep, my days in honest toil. I take good care that the fox shall not harm my lambs; I catch birds in snares, and fishes with hook and net. When I am weary, I rest my limbs under the green tree; when I am thirsty, I drink of the brook. Time was when I was not content with these simple things, but must raise myself above my fellows, and seek fortune elsewhere. So I left my home and betook myself to the King’s Court, and worked for hire. But I perceived that in this life there was vanity and discontent; after ten years, therefore, had passed, I came back to my home and to peace, and I have learnt to love it daily more and more.” While the good man talked, the knight was well content to listen. Much he liked to hear such speech, but more to look at the fair Pastorella.

After a while he said to the old man, “Good father, I would gladly rest a while in this peaceful place. The ship of my life has of late been greatly tossed by tempestuous winds and in stormy seas. Let it therefore find haven here, and I meanwhile will meditate what course I shall follow for the time to come. But I would not that my entertainment should be a burden to you. Your simple fare and such lodging as you can give content me well; but for these you should have fair guerdon.” So saying he drew from his pouch a great store of gold, and would have the old man take it. But Melibæus pushed it from him.

“I desire it not,” he said; “this is the thing that breeds such mischief in the world. But if you are content to abide here and lead our shepherd’s life, be it so; I am well content.”


So Sir Calidore abode in the old man’s house, delighting himself with the daily sight of the fair Pastorella, and bearing her company whenever he could find excuse. Very high courtesy did he show to the maid; but she, having been used to more lowly things, held it in but light esteem. This the knight did not fail to perceive. So he doffed his knightly attire, and clad himself in shepherd’s dress, and laid aside his spear for a shepherd’s crook. One had thought him another Paris when for Œnone’s sake he fed her flocks on the Phrygian Ida. So did the shepherd Calidore go day by day to the fields with Pastorella’s flock. He kept watch against the wolf while the maid sported and played, and at even—such is the might of love—he would essay to help in the milking of the ewes.


These things were little to the liking of Corydon, who had long courted the maid. He wore a scowling face and would complain that old service was forgotten, and bore himself in most injurious fashion. Calidore, on the other hand, never abated one jot of his usual courtesy, showing no sign of rancour or offence, but rather seeking, as it seemed, to commend his rival to the good opinion of the maid. So when they danced to the piping of Colin Clout, and the others would have Calidore lead the ring, the knight took Corydon and set him in his place. And when Pastorella took the garland of flowers from her head and set it on Calidore’s, he again put it on the head of Corydon, much to the youth’s content. Another time, when the shepherds had games and contests of skill and strength, the prize being a garland which the fair Pastorella had twined with her own hands, Corydon stepped into the ring and challenged the knight to a bout of wrestling. He was himself well skilled in the art, and being supple and strong sought to put his rival to open shame. But he was much mistaken in his man, for the knight far excelled him both in strength and in skill, and gave him such a fall as well-nigh broke his neck. Nevertheless, when Pastorella bestowed on him the crown, he passed it to Corydon, saying that he in truth deserved it more, and that he had prevailed by fortune rather than by skill. Thus did the knight, so courteous was he and large of heart, win the fair maiden’s favour. But there was nothing which advanced him more than that which is now to be told.


On a certain day when these three, to wit, Pastorella and Sir Calidore and the shepherd Corydon, went out into the wood to gather strawberries, a tiger suddenly rushed out from a thicket, and with wide gaping mouth ran at the maid. She, seeing herself alone, for her companions chanced to be divided from her, cried aloud for succour. And when Corydon, who was the nearer of the two, heard the cry, he ran to help her. But when he saw how fierce a beast it was that was attacking her, his courage failed him, and he fled, putting his life before his love. But Calidore, who also had heard the crying, coming not far behind, when he saw the tiger and the maiden held in his claws, ran at the beast with all his strength, and first striking him to the ground with such a blow that the creature could not stand under it, then cut off its head and laid it at the maiden’s feet. Small wonder is it that she gave her love to a knight so courteous and so bold. So for a while they abode in great content, save that Sir Calidore had put out of his mind the quest on which he was bound, concerning which quest he had sworn to the great Queen Gloriana that nothing should hinder him from it.



It chanced one day that while Sir Calidore was hunting in the woods—it pleased him more to be hunter than to be shepherd—a company of lawless men who never used the spade or plough, but lived by the spoiling of their neighbours, fell upon the shepherds’ village, and spoiled their houses and drove away their flocks. Many of the men they slew, and many they led away captives. Among these was old Melibæus and the fair Pastorella and also Corydon. These the brigands carried away to an island where they dwelt, a close place, hidden with great woods round about, meaning, when occasion offered, to sell them to merchants who dealt in such wares.

When they had remained in ward for a while the captain of the brigands, seeing Pastorella how fair she was, conceived a great love for her, and when she spake him fair, would have had her marry him. This she was ill-content to do, but could not devise any other means to stay his importunities than to feign a sudden sickness. While she was making this pretence there came to the island a company of slave merchants, who, inquiring whether there were any of the wares in which they dealt, were brought to the captain.


“Sir,” said the brigands to the captain, “here be the merchants; ’twould be well that all the captives whom we have should be brought out and sold for such a price as may be agreed upon, and the money divided in equal shares.”

To this the captain could not but consent. The captives, therefore, were brought forward, Melibæus and Corydon and the others, and the merchants set a price upon them. This being finished, said one of the brigands, “There is yet another captive, a very fair maid, for whom, without doubt, you would pay much money, so beautiful is she to look upon.”

“Nay,” cried the captain, “that maid is not for selling. She is my wife, nor has anyone any concern with her. She, too, is now so wasted and worn with sickness that no one would be willing to pay for her a price, however small.”

So he took them to the chamber where she abode. A poor place it was, gloomy and dark, and the maiden was wasted and wan. Nevertheless the merchants were astonished at her beauty. “The others,” said their spokesman, “are but common wares. We will buy them, if you will, but on this condition only, that we may buy this maiden also.” And he named for her a price of a thousand pieces of gold.


The captain’s wrath was much moved at these words. “My love,” he cried, “shall not be sold. With the others you may do as you will, but to her I hold.”

“Nay,” said the one who was chief among the brigands, “you do us great wrong. We have our equal share in her, and we demand that she be sold with the rest.”

When he heard this, the captain drew his sword from its sheath, and shouted that anyone who should dare lay hands on her should straightway die. On this there followed a great battle. But first they slew the prisoners, lest haply they should turn against the weaker side. Thus did old Melibæus die and with him many others, but Corydon escaped. This being done, the thieves fought among themselves; and soon the captain, who was ever more careful of Pastorella than of his own life, was slain, and she, being wounded with the same stroke by which he was bereft of life, fell upon the ground, being hidden under a pile of dead bodies. The captain being dead, the strife of which he was the beginning and the chief cause soon came to an end. The brigands, searching among the dead, found the maid still lived, though sorely wounded; they gave her, therefore, such care as could be found in so rude a place.


In the meanwhile Corydon had made his way to the village where he dwelt, and there he encountered the knight, who, seeing the house in which he dwelt utterly spoiled and void of all inhabitants, was overwhelmed with trouble and fear. To him he told the story of how he, with the rest, had been led into captivity, and how the brigands had fallen out among themselves, and how the captain had fought with the others, and had been slain, and with him Pastorella, for so the shepherd believed.

For a while Sir Calidore was wholly mastered by his grief. Yet coming to himself, he considered that Corydon had not seen with his own eyes all that he had told, because he had fled away before the strife had so much as begun; and so hope, which is ever hard to kill in the hearts of men, sprang up within him, and he made a great resolve that he would find her if she yet lived, or avenge her if she had died. He therefore said to Corydon: “Come now, and show me the place where these brigands dwell,” which thing Corydon was at the first unwilling to do; for he was not minded to run again into the danger from which he had escaped. Nevertheless Sir Calidore so wrought upon him that he consented to go.


The two therefore set out together clad in shepherd’s clothing, and carrying each a shepherd’s crook; but Sir Calidore had donned his armour. After a while they saw on a hill which was not far away some flocks and shepherds tending them, and approached them, hoping to learn something about the matter with which they were concerned. Then they perceived that these flocks were indeed the same as the brigands had driven away, for Corydon knew his own sheep when he saw them, and wept for pity, being in grievous fear because he perceived that they who kept them were none other than the brigands themselves. These, however, were but ill shepherds, for they lay fast asleep. Corydon would have had Sir Calidore slay them as they slept. But the knight hoped that he might gain from them some tidings of her whom he was seeking. So, waking them gently, he gave them courteous greeting. And when the brigands would know who he was, he answered that he and his companion were used to the keeping of cattle and the like, and now, having run away from their masters, sought to find service elsewhere.

“Take service then with us,” said the brigands, “for this work is not to our liking.” To this the two agreed, and took charge accordingly.

When night fell the brigands took them to the cave where they dwelt. There Sir Calidore learnt many things which he desired to know, and chief of all that Pastorella was yet alive. At midnight, when all were sleeping sound, Sir Calidore, fully armed, for he had found a sword, though but of the meanest sort, went to the cave wherein dwelt the new captain of the band. It was indeed barred, but the knight soon broke down the bars, and when the captain, roused by the noise, came running to the entrance, slew him. Pastorella, being within, was at the first not a little alarmed at this new intruder, yet was greatly comforted to see again her own lover, and he also was overcome with joy, and catching her in his arms, kissed her most tenderly. Meanwhile the thieves had gathered together, perceiving that some new danger threatened them. But Sir Calidore, standing in the opening, slew them as they approached. In the end he utterly vanquished the whole company, and spoiled their goods. As for the sheep, he gave them as a gift to Corydon. The fair Pastorella he bestowed in the house of a certain Sir Bellamour and the lady Claribell his wife.


Now must be told the true name and lineage of this same maiden Pastorella. Sir Bellamour in former time had served a very great lord of those parts who had one daughter, Claribell by name. This same lord had promised her in marriage to the lord of Pictland, which was the neighbouring dominion, thinking that the two domains might thus be conveniently joined together. Claribell meanwhile loved Sir Bellamour, who was a very gallant knight. So fondly did she love him that she consented to a secret wedlock, having good hopes that her father might relent. But when he continued to be hard of heart, she having borne a maiden babe, was constrained to commit the child to a woman who waited upon her. This same woman, taking the babe into the field, laid it under a bush, and having hidden herself hard by, waited to see what should happen, for she trusted that someone, hearing its cry, would take it up. But first she noted that it had on its breast a little spot of purple colour, like to a rosebud. After a while the shepherd Melibæus passing by, heard the voice of the babe, and taking it from its place, carried it home to his wife, who, being herself childless, gladly took it in charge, and reared it for her own. No long time after the Lady Claribell’s father died and left to her all that he had, and she having now no cause why she should conceal her marriage, took Sir Bellamour openly for her husband, and had lived with him in great content until the coming of Sir Calidore into those parts.


And now Sir Calidore bethought him of his quest, that he must not delay its accomplishment any longer, and, indeed, he feared lest he should suffer in fame because he had put it aside in thinking of other things. Now, therefore, he departed, leaving Pastorella in the charge of the Lady Claribell, the same undertaking this care most willingly, for the maid was fair and gracious, and was altogether one to be loved. Sir Bellamour also, having a friendship for Sir Calidore, with whom he had served the Queen Gloriana in time past, was glad to help him in this fashion.

It chanced on a day that the Lady Claribell’s waiting woman, Melissa by name, being the same that in time past had served her in the matter of the new-born babe, was doing service to the fair Pastorella in the matter of her attire. Being so engaged, she spied the mark on her bosom and said to herself, “Surely this is the very mark of a rosebud that I saw on the Lady Claribell’s maiden babe, and the years of her age, as far as may be guessed, agree thereto.” Having this in her mind, she ran straightway to the lady, her mistress, and unfolded the whole matter, how she had noted the mark, and how the old shepherd had taken the babe from the ground. That this shepherd and his wife had been as father and mother to the maiden was of common knowledge. Nor did the Lady Claribell delay to search out the matter with her own eyes, and, being satisfied that this was indeed her very child, took her to herself with great joy, as did also her husband, Sir Bellamour.


Meanwhile Sir Calidore pursued the Blatant Beast, and at the last overtook him. The monster, having spoiled all the other places in the realm, was wasting the church, robbing the chancel and fouling the altar, and casting down all the goodly ornaments. When he saw the knight he fled, knowing that he was in peril, yet could he not escape. In a narrow place Sir Calidore overtook him and compelled him to turn. Sore was the conflict between these two, for the beast ran at the knight with open mouth, set with a double range of iron teeth, between which were a thousand tongues giving out dreadful cries as of all manner of beasts, tongues of serpents also spitting out poison, and of all other venomous things that are upon the earth. Not one whit dismayed, the knight ran in upon him, and when the monster lifted himself up on his hind legs, and would have rent him with his claws, he threw his shield between and held him down. Vainly did the beast rage and strive to lift himself from the ground; the more he strove, the more hardly and heavily did the knight press upon him. At the last, when the creature’s strength now failed him, the knight put a great muzzle of iron with many links in his mouth, so that he should no more send forth those evil voices. And to the muzzle he fastened a long chain with which he led him, he following as a dog, so utterly was he subdued. Through all Fairyland he led him, the people thronging out of their towns to see him, and much admiring the knight who, by his great strength and valour, had subdued so foul and fierce a creature.


’Tis true that in after days, whether by some evil chance or by the folly of those who had charge of the monster, these bonds were broken; for even now the creature wanders about the world doing great harm to all estates of men. For it must be known that his name is Slander.

But in the good times of old it was not so. So did Sir Calidore fulfil his quest. And afterwards he lived in all happiness, as became so brave and loyal a knight, with his wedded wife, the fair Pastorella.


[1]The story may be read at length in Stories from the Greek Tragedians. Briefly put, it is this: Hercules slew the Centaur who would have carried off his promised wife. The dying monster gave his mantle, dyed as it was with his blood, to the woman, saying: “Keep this as my last gift: it will be a sure means of keeping your husband’s love.” In after years the woman, thinking that her husband had ceased to love her, sent him the robe as a gift, and he, putting it on, was so grievously burned by the poison that he died.
[2]Adikia = Unrighteousness.


With colored illustrations. Each, 12mo, $1.50
Cloth, 12mo, with illustrations after Flaxman. Each, $1.00
In the new Standard School Library, without illustrations, each, 50 cents.

A Story of the days of Nero. With colored illustrations.
Cloth, 12mo, $1.00
From the old romances, with illustrations in color by George Morrow.
Cloth, 12mo, $1.75
With illustrations in color by George Morrow.
Cloth, 12mo, $1.75
A story of the War for the Holy Sepulchre, as seen by the Wandering Jew. With illustrations in color by George Morrow.
Cloth, 12mo, $1.75
With illustrations in color.
Cloth, 12mo, $1.75
Standard School Library, cloth, 12mo, 50 cents


A series of books which have been proved to have each its points of special appeal to young readers.

Attractively bound in cloth, each, 75 cents net

The Adventures of Dorothy
By Jocelyn LewisIllustrated by Seymour M. Stone
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis CarrollWith forty-two illustrations by John Tenniel
Aunt Jimmy’s Will
By Mabel Osgood WrightIllustrated by Florence Scovel Shinn
The Bears of Blue River
By Charles MajorWith illustrations by A. B. Frost and others
The Bennett Twins
By Marguerite Hurd
Bible Stories retold for Young People (In one volume)
The New Testament Story
By W. F. Adeney, M.A.With illustrations and maps
The Old Testament Story
By W. H. Bennett, M.A.With illustrations and maps
Boy Life on the Prairie
By Hamlin GarlandIllustrated by E. W. Deming
Children of the Tenements
By Jacob A. RiisWith illustrations by C. M. Relyea and others
The Children who ran Away
By Evelyn SharpWith illustrations by Paul Meylan
By Mabel Osgood Wright
Profusely illustrated from photographs by the author
Eight Secrets
By Ernest IngersollIllustrated
The General Manager’s Story
By Herbert Elliott HamblenIllustrated
A Little Captive Lad
By Beulah Marie DixWith illustrations by Will Grefé
The Merry Anne
By Samuel Merwin
With illustrations and decorations by Thomas Fogarthy
By Beulah Marie DixWith illustrations by Frank T. Merrill
Pickett’s Gap
By Homer GreeneWith illustrations
Tales of the Fish Patrol
By Jack LondonWith illustrations
Through the Looking Glass
By Lewis CarrollWith fifty illustrations by John Tenniel
Tom Benton’s Luck
By Herbert Elliott HamblenWith illustrations
Tom Brown’s School Days
By An Old Boy—Thomas Hughes
With illustrations by Arthur Hughes and Sidney Hall
Trapper “Jim”
By Edwyn SandysWith many illustrations by the author
The Wonder Children
By Charles J. BellamyIllustrated
The Youngest Girl in the School
By Evelyn SharpWith illustrations by C. E. Brock
The Railway Children
By E. NesbitWith illustrations by Charles E. Brock
The Phœnix and the Carpet
By E. NesbitIllustrated by H. R. Millar
“Carrots”: Just a Little Boy
By Mrs. MolesworthIllustrated by Walter Crane
Us: An Old-Fashioned Story
By Mrs. MolesworthIllustrated
Cuckoo Clock
By Mrs. MolesworthIllustrated
The Dwarf’s Spectacles and Other Fairy Tales
By Max Nordau
Illustrated by H. A. Hart, F. P. Safford, and R. McGowan
The Story of a Red Deer
By J. W. Fortescue
The Little Lame Prince
By Dinah Mulock Craik, author of “John Halifax, Gentleman”

Stories from some of Scott’s Novels, told
Author of “The Raiders,” etc.

Red Cap Tales
Stolen from the Treasure Chest of the Wizard of the North
With sixteen illustrations in color by Simon Harmon Vedder
Cloth, 12mo, $1.50 net; by mail, $1.67

“In this simple recounting of adventures there lurks a really high art, and not a little humor. Mr. Crockett is aiming to bring home to his critical small audience the liveliness, the excitement, the breathless adventuresomeness, of these great novels. He is luring his hearers on to read for themselves. He tells them enough about the people and the events to make them hurry to the books to fill out details.”—Churchman.

“Not the least attraction of the book is the clear print, on good paper, and the really superb colored pictures, delicately tinted and full of artistic beauty. So far this is the best book we have seen in anticipation of Christmas gifts, and it is not exorbitant in price.”—New York Christian Advocate.

“Mr. Crockett has adapted Scott for the benefit of his own and other peopled children, making a little story of each of the main incidents in sequence, so that the outline and a good deal more of each romance is presented. Characteristic interludes acquaint one with the story-teller’s first audience, among them the dear little maid of ‘Sweetheart Travellers.’ The naturalness of their comment and criticism will delight the reader as surely as will Mr. Crockett’s clever rehearsal accomplish its purpose ‘to lure children to the printed book’ of his great original—and along with the youngsters many ‘oldsters’ (Mr. Crockett’s word) as well.”—The Outlook.




Transcriber’s Note