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Book III, Canto V

May 11, 2011

Not a whole lot of story happens in this canto. Arthur rides on and comes across a Dwarf who has been lately separated from the lady he’s been pursuing. The Dwarf informs him that the lady’s name is Florimell, and she has lately been devastated by news of the death of Marinell, her love. She is searching for him to see whether the news is true (until the forester incident). Arthur vows to stay with the Dwarf until they find her, but he is worried about his squire Timias…

If you remember, Timias was chasing the lecherous forester. He is still hot on the trail, but the forester has recruited his two brothers. They ambush Timias at a ford while he is crossing the river. He slays all three brothers but is wounded badly in his thigh. He faints.

Belpheobe the Diana-esque wood-nymph (from II.III) appears to rescue him. She takes pity on the wounded, unconscious knight and nurses him back to life with the aid of herbs – including tobacco, in its first recorded mention in English literature*.

Poor Timias cannot help but fall in love with the goddess-form of Elizabeth I, and he has several stanzas devoted to the struggle of falling in love with such a pure being. His inward struggles only make him sicker, and Belpheobe begins to worry about him despite her excellent healing powers.

*according to my book’s notes.

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