The Faery Queen and Her Knights_ Stories Retold from Edmund Spenser

The Faery Queen and Her Knights_ Stories Retold from Edmund Spenser
Title: The Faery Queen and Her Knights_ Stories Retold from Edmund Spenser
Release Date: 2017-10-17
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Faery Queen and Her Knights, by AlfredJohn Church

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Title: The Faery Queen and Her Knights

Stories Retold from Edmund Spenser

Author: Alfred John Church

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

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



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 seena gentle Knight, riding across the plain. Hewas clad in armour of proof, and on his arm hecarried a silver shield. A shield it was that bravemen had carried before him, for there were greatdints upon it, which were as a witness of greatfights that had been fought. Now the Knight himselfhad never yet been in battle; but he seemedas one who could bear himself bravely, so well didhe sit upon his horse, and so stout of limb he was.On his breast he wore a cross, red as blood, intoken that he was vowed to serve the Lord Christ,who had died for him; and on his shield was yetanother cross, to be as it were a sign that thisservice should be a defence to him in all dangers.Somewhat sad of look he was, not as though hehad fear in his heart, but rather as one upon whomhad been laid the burden of a great task. Andsuch, in truth, there was, for Queen Gloriana hadsent him upon a great enterprise, and all his heartwas full of the thought of how he should best accomplishit. And the task was this—to slay theGreat Dragon.


Beside the Knight a lady was riding on an assas white as snow. Very fair she was; but she hidher fairness under a veil, which was brought lowover her face. She was clad also in a garment ofblack; and she, too, was somewhat sad of look,nor, indeed, without cause. She came of a royalstock, being descended from ancient kings andqueens, who had held wide sway in their landuntil this same Dragon had driven out their ancienthouse and had cruelly wasted all their realm. Thethird of this company was a Dwarf, who laggedbehind, wearied, it may be, with the weight of thebag 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 suddenlycovered with clouds, and there began to fall a greatstorm of rain, so that they were fain to seek someshelter. Gladly, then, did they espy a wood hardby that promised, so thickly grown it was, a shelterfrom the rain. Tall were the trees and spreadingwide with shady branches, so that neither sun byday nor star by night could pierce through. Andall about were paths and ways, worn as by thetreading of many feet, which seemed to lead tothe abodes of men—a fairer place of shelter, as itseemed, there scarce could be. So they passedalong, the birds singing sweetly the while; overheadwere trees of many kinds, trees of the forestand of the orchard, the cedar and the oak, and theelm with the vine clinging to its stem, the yew forbows, and the birch for arrows, and the fruitfulolive. So fair was the place, and so full of delights,that the travellers took no heed of the way bywhich they went. So it came to pass that theystrayed from the path by which they first enteredthe wood, nor could they win to it again when oncethey had left it, so many were the ways and so likethe one to the other. After a time, when they hadtaken counsel together, it seemed best to choosethe way which seemed most trodden by the feetof travellers, as being the likeliest to lead to acertain end. When they had followed this awhile,they came to a great cave, deep in the very thicketof the wood. Here the Knight sprang from hishorse, and gave to the Dwarf his spear, thinkingthat he should not need it. But his sword hekept.

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

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


Then said the Lady again: “Nay, nay, SirKnight; I know this place by repute, though Ithought not of it before. This wood in which weare lost is the Wood of Wandering; this cavewhich you see before you is the Den of Error, amonster, hateful both to God and man. Beware,therefore, beware!” And the Dwarf cried outaloud in his fear: “Fly, Sir Knight, fly, this is noplace for mortal man.”

But the Knight would not be persuaded. Hestepped into the cave, and the light of day, shiningfrom without on his armour, showed him dimly themonster that was within. Hideous it was to behold,half a serpent and half a woman, and all as foul asever creature was, upon the earth or under it. Allthe length of the cave she lay, her tail wound inmany coils; and in every coil there was a deadlysting. And all round her was a brood of youngones. Many different shapes they had, but hideousall. And as soon as the light from the Knight’sarmour glimmered through the darkness, they fledfor shelter to the mouth of their dam.


The monster, wakened from her sleep, curledher tail about her head, and rushed to the cavern’smouth, but, seeing one armed from top to toe inshining mail, would have turned again. But theKnight leaped at her, fierce as a lion leaps uponhis prey, and barred her backward way with hissword. First she darted at him her great tail, andthreatened him with the deadly sting that lay in it;but he, not one whit dismayed, aimed at her heada mighty blow. Her head it wounded not, butglanced on to the neck with force so great that fora while the great beast was stunned. Then, comingto herself, she raised her body high from the ground,and leaped upon the Knight’s shield, and wrappedhis 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, backyour force with faith, and be not faint. Stranglethis monster, or surely she will strangle you!”

Greatly was his heart stirred within him withgrief and anger, and, knitting all his strengthtogether, he gripped the creature by the throat somightily that she was constrained to loosen thebonds which she had cast about him. And yet, ithad well-nigh cost him dear to come so close to themonster, so foul she was. And of this foulness theworst was this, that she caused to come forth out ofher mouth, as in a flood, the brood which had takenshelter therein at the first. Serpents they were,like to their dam, small indeed, but full of venom,and they swarmed over him, twining themselvesabout his arms and legs, so that he could not strikea blow nor even move. So, in some still eventide,a shepherd, sitting to watch his flock, is suddenlyassailed by a cloud of gnats; feeble creatures theyare, and slight their sting, but they suffer him notto rest. The Red-Cross Knight was in a straitmore dire, for these evil creatures had power to dohim a more grievous harm. But he thought tohimself, “Shall I be vanquished in this fashion?”He was somewhat moved by the danger wherein hestood, but more ashamed that he should be overcomein so foul a fashion. So, resolved in hisheart that he would put all his strength into astroke, either to win or to lose, he gathered himselftogether, and struck the monster with a blow sofierce that he shore the head from the

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