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1Nephewes:grandsons, here and passim.2be

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Canto Five


“Yet shall they not escape so freely all;

For some shall pay the price of others guilt:

And he the man that made Sansfoy to fall,

Shall with his owne blood price, that he hath spilt.1

But what art thou, that telst of Nephews kilt?”

“I that do seeme not I, Duessa ame,”

Quoth she, “how ever now in garments gilt,

And gorgeous gold arrayd I to thee came;

Duessa I, the daughter of Deceipt and Shame.”


Then bowing downe her aged backe, she kist

The wicked witch, saying, “In that fayre face

The false resemblaunce of Deceipt, I wist

Did closely lurke; yet so true-seeming grace

It carried, that I scarse in darksome place

Could it discerne, though I the mother bee

Of falshood, and roote of Duessaes race.

O welcome child, whom I have longd to see,

And now have seene unwares. Lo now I goe with thee.”


Then to her yron wagon she betakes,

And with her beares the fowle welfavourd2 witch:

Through mirkesome3 aire her ready way she makes.

Her twyfold Teme, of which two blacke as pitch,

And two were browne, yet each to each unlich,4

Did softly swim away, ne ever stamp,

Unlesse she chaunst their stubborne mouths to twitch;

Then foming tarre,5 their bridles they would champ,

And trampling the fine element,6 would fiercely ramp.


So well they sped, that they be come at length

Unto the place, whereas the Paynim lay,

Devoid of outward sence, and native strength,

Coverd with charmed cloud from vew of day,

And sight of men, since his late luckelesse fray.


price, that he hath spilt: pay the price

for blood that he has spilled.


fowle welfavourd: ugly-beautiful, an

oxymoron; she is beautiful on the outside

and ugly on the inside.



mirkesome: murky.

unlich: unlike.


foming tarre: these horses were so sinister that even their saliva was black.


fine element: air.



The Faerie Queene: Book One

His cruell wounds with cruddy1 bloud congeald,

They binden up so wisely, as they may,

And handle softly, till they can be heald:

So lay him in her charett,2 close in night conceald.


And all the while she stood upon the ground,

The wakefull dogs did never cease to bay,

As giving warning of th’unwonted sound,

With which her yron wheeles did them affray,

And her darke griesly looke them much dismay;

The messenger of death, the ghastly owle

With drery shrickes did also her bewray;3

And hungry wolves continually did howle,

At her abhorred face, so filthy and so fowle.


Thence turning backe in silence softe they stole,

And brought the heavy corse with easy pace

To yawning gulfe of deepe Avernus hole.4

By that same hole an entraunce darke and bace

With smoake and sulphur hiding all the place,

Descends to hell: there creature never past,

That backe retourned without heavenly grace;

But dreadfull Furies, which their chaines have brast,5

And damned sprights sent forth to make ill6 men aghast.


By that same way the direfull dames doe drive

Their mournefull charett, fild with rusty blood,7

And downe to Plutoes house are come bilive:8

Which passing through, on every side them stood

The trembling ghosts with sad amazed mood,

Chattring their iron teeth, and staring wide


cruddy: clotted.

charett: chariot, cart.

3 bewray: manifest the presence of.

4 Avernus is a lake near Naples, but is traditionally pictured as a cavelike entrance to

Hades, used by Aeneas (Aeneid, 6.237–63).

There are many echoes of Aeneid, Book

Six, in this episode. It seems as if challenging Virgil may have been Spenser’s motive

for creating it, for it has no effect on the plot.



Furies: spirits who inspire vengeance, see

note to iii.36; brast: burst.

6 ill: a common Elizabethan contraction of


7 rusty blood: old, dried blood. On the

phrase in iv.35.4, ACH notes, “usually the

word suggests ‘filthy’ or ‘defiled’ from use,

not disuse.”

8 bilive: quickly.

Canto Five


With stony eies; and all the hellish brood

Of feends infernall flockt on every side,

To gaze on erthly wight, that with the Night durst ride.


They pas the bitter waves of Acheron,

Where many soules sit wailing woefully,

And come to fiery flood of Phlegeton,1

Whereas the damned ghosts in torments fry,

And with sharp shrilling shriekes doe bootlesse cry,

Cursing high Jove, the which them thither sent.

The house of endlesse paine is built thereby,

In which ten thousand sorts of punishment

The cursed creatures doe eternally torment.


Before the threshold dreadfull Cerberus2

His three deformed heads did lay along,3

Curled with thousand adders venemous,

And lilled4 forth his bloody flaming tong:

At them he gan to reare his bristles strong,

And felly gnarre,5 untill Dayes enemy

Did him appease; then downe his taile he hong

And suffered them to passen quietly:

For she in hell and heaven had power equally.


There was Ixion turned on a wheele,6

For daring tempt the Queene of heaven to sin;

And Sisyphus an huge round stone did reele7

Against an hill, ne might from labour lin;8

There thristy Tantalus hong by the chin;9


Acheron and Phlegeton are rivers of Hell.

Phlegeton is a river of fire.

2 The three-headed dog that guards the gate

to Hell.

3 did lay along: stretched out on the


4 lilled: lolled, two syllables.

5 felly gnarre: snarl viciously.

6 This catalogue of sufferers in hell, of

which Virgil and the literature of the

Middle Ages and Renaissance offer many

examples, follows the list in Comes’

Mythologia (6.16) in order and wording, as

Lotspeich has noted (74). These men and

deities all sought what cannot be obtained

from the gods (6.16–22). Spenser adds to

this list Theseus from Comes’ list of illustrious men (7.9), and the fifty sisters (9.17).

“Three are guilty of sexual assault against

goddesses, three of scorning or rebelling

against the gods, and the fifty sisters of slaying their husbands” (ACH); for further details, see TPR and ACH.

7 reele: roll.

8 lin: cease.

9 hong by the chin: suspended up to the

chin in water (ACH); a daring visualization

of Tantalus’ standard punishment of being

always about to drink but unable to do so.


The Faerie Queene: Book One

And Tityus fed a vultur on his maw;

Typhoeus joynts were stretched on a gin,1

Theseus condemned to endlesse slouth2 by law

And fifty sisters water in leke3 vessels draw.


They all beholding worldly wights in place,4

Leave off their worke, unmindfull of their smart,

To gaze on them; who forth by them do pace,

Till they be come unto the furthest part:

Where was a Cave ywrought by wondrous art,

Deepe, darke, uneasy, dolefull, comfortlesse,

In which sad Aesculapius far apart

Emprisond was in chaines remedilesse,

For that Hippolytus rent corse he did redresse.5


Hippolytus a jolly huntsman was,

That wont in charett chace the foming bore;

He all his Peeres in beauty did surpas,

But Ladies love as losse of time forbore:

His wanton stepdame6 loved him the more,

But when she saw her offred sweets refusd

Her love she turnd to hate, and him before

His father fierce of treason false accusd,

And with her gealous termes his open eares abusd.7


Who all in rage his Sea-god syre besought,8

Some cursed vengeaunce on his sonne to cast:

From surging gulf two Monsters streight were brought,


gin: engine; in this case, a rack. Lotspeich

finds no source for this punishment, but

TPR points out that this is traditionally the

punishment of Tityus, above, which Spenser

has transferred to Typhoeus.


endlesse slouth: endless sloth, sitting in a

chair for eternity.


leke: leaky.


in place: in that place.


Hippolytus was dragged to death as a result of the passion and deceit of his stepmother Phaedra (Aeneid, 7.761ff). Virgil

says Apollo and Diana reassembled him into

a new man called Virbius. Spenser got the

notion that Aesculapius, a god of medicine,

restored Hippolytus from Metamorphoses

(15.497ff) and Boccacio, De Genealogia Deorum (10.50). See M&P.


I.e., Phaedra.


I.e., she convinced the gullible father

Theseus that Hippolytus had tried to seduce

her, thus arousing his jealousy.


Theseus, in a rage, prayed to his father,

the sea god Neptune, who sent two sea

monsters to frighten the horses that drew

Hippolytus’ chariot and so cause an accident, dragging their master to death.

Canto Five


With dread whereof his chacing steedes aghast,

Both charett swifte and huntsman overcast.

His goodly corps on ragged cliffs yrent,1

Was quite dismembred, and his members chast

Scattered on every mountaine, as he went,

That of Hippolytus was lefte no moniment.2


His cruell stepdame seeing what was donne,

Her wicked daies with wretched knife did end,

In death avowing th’innocence of her sonne.

Which hearing his rash Syre, began to rend

His heare,3 and hasty tong, that did offend:

Tho gathering up the relicks of his smart4

By Dianes meanes, who was Hippolyts frend,

Them brought to Aesculape, that by his art

Did heale them all againe, and joyned every part.


Such wondrous science in mans witt to rain5

When Jove avizd, that could the dead revive,

And fates expired could renew again,6

Of endlesse life he might him not deprive,

But unto hell did thrust him downe alive,

With flashing thunderbolt ywounded sore:

Where long remaining, he did alwaies strive

Him selfe with salves to health for to restore,

And slake the heavenly fire, that raged evermore.


There auncient Night arriving, did alight

From her nigh weary wayne,7 and in her armes

To Ỉsculapius brought the wounded knight:

Whome having softly disaraid of armes,

Tho gan to him discover all his harmes,

Beseeching him with prayer, and with praise,


yrent: torn.

moniment: monument or identifiable

remains. But there must have been something left because the remains are gathered

in the next lines.


heare: hair.



I.e., the remains of Hippolytus.

rain: reign.


I.e., could literally give a person a new

lease on life, after his destined time on earth

had expired.


wayne: cart; variant spelling of “wain,” as

in iv.9.2 and iv.19.7.


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