Book III, Canto VI
This canto explains the history or Belphoebe. She and her twin sister Amoretta were conceived immaculately by a nymph names Chrysogonee, who bathed in a fountain and then became pregnant through the sunshine as she lay sleeping after her bath.
The goddess Venus was wandering about looking for her son Cupid (who often ran away when his mother was cross with him). She searched for him at court, in the cities, and in the countryside, but only heard complaints that he had come and gone and shot a lot of love arrows in the process. Venus ended up in the woods. She stumbled across Diana and her nymphs bathing. Diana was notoriously grouchy when people interrupted her bathing, so it took some convincing, but she agreed to send her nymphs in search of Cupid.
In the meantime, Chrysogonee had noticed her bulging belly and retreated into the woods to deliver her twins (which once again happened while she was asleep). The nymphs in the Cupid search party find the newborn babies lying next to the napping Chrysogonee and they kidnap them. Belphoebe was given to Diana to raise, while Venus took the other baby to her secret garden – the Garden of Adonis, the source of all life – to be mothered by Psyche. They named her Amoretta.
At the end of the canto Spenser promises to return to the story of Florimell.