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Book VI, Canto I

July 17, 2011

The end is in sight!

THE SIXTE BOOKE

OF THE

FAERIE QVEENE

CONTAYNING

THE LEGENDE OF S. CALIDORE

OR

OF COVRTESIE.

Book VI is all about courtesy. Our hero is Sir Calidore, a knight with a golden tongue to “steale mens hearts away”. He is not a flatterer or a liar, just an honest, tactful, considerate knight. As Calidore is leaving for his book’s adventure, he meets Arthegall return from Book V’s adventure. They exchange pleasantries and Arthegall asks what quest Calidore is on. He responds that he is seeking the Blatant Beast. Arthegall informs him that he recently saw the same beast, and they part with well wishes on both sides.

Soon Calidore meets a squire tied to a tree. He unties him and inquires about his situation. The squire tells of a nearby castle. The lady of the castle is named Briana, and she loves a knight named Crudor. Crudor is too proud to marry her unless she gives him a mantle made of beards and locks.  Briana instituted a rule that none may pass without forfeiting their hair (for ladies) or their beard (for men). Briana has her seneschal Maleffort in charge of this strange tax.

The squire was just riding by with his lady when he was assaulted for his beard, and his lady is now being chased down for her hair. They hear her scream and Calidore confronts the man who has her. He chases him all the way to the castle and chops off his head once they make it inside. Then he fights his way to Briana, who chastises him and calls him an uncourteous coward. She threatens him with Crudor’s wrath and he offers to face him. Briana sends for Crudor to fight for her.

Calidore meets Crudor out on the field in front of the castle and knocks him unconscious right away. He is too kind to kill him while he is out, but the fight resumes on foot once Crudor awakes. They spill each other’s blood, Calidore wins, Crudor begs for mercy, and Calidore grants it on the condition that he take Briana without the hair mantle.

In her gratitude Briana gives the castle to Calidore, who in turn gives it to the unfortunately squire and his lady.

 

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