The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Faerie Queene can help.
Themes and Colors
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Faerie Queene, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Love and Friendship Theme Icon

Throughout Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, there are two types of relationships that occur again and again. One is love (typically between a knight and a lady) and the other is friendship (often between equally matched knights who share common goals, or between knights and squires). In Spenser’s epic poem, characters’ morality often comes through most clearly in their relationships with others, meaning that heroic characters are kind and courteous in their relationships while villainous characters are selfish and uncaring.

One of the most noteworthy love stories in The Fairy Queene is the romance between Britomart and Arthegall. Though their courtship represents an ideal version of love, this doesn’t mean there aren’t obstacles along the way. First, Britomart searches for a long time for Arthegall, enduring heartsickness and maintaining her chastity, all in the hopes of one day meeting her destined husband. After meeting, Britomart and Arthegall don’t immediately fall in love—due to mistaken identity, the two end up actually fighting each other in battle. Even when Britomart and Arthegall do confess their love, they can’t be together immediately because Arthegall is called off to complete his knightly duties. Though there are fairytale elements to the love between Britomart and Arthegall, what’s even more noteworthy is their patience and endurance for overcoming obstacles.

In a similar vein, many of the noble knights that meet in The Faerie Queene also form enduring friendships that are built on sacrifice and endurance. Arthur appears as a character in several books, helping the other knights on their quests, but his most notable relationship is with his squire Timias. Timias and Arthur feel affection for each other, but they also feel a sense of duty. When Timias fails in his squirely duty by disappointing the fair huntress Belphoebe, he is too ashamed to see Arthur again until he first performs proper penance to Belphoebe. In the poem, knights operate according to a code, and while knights who follow this code form friendships based on shared duty, knights who disregard the code often end up on their own, at least until they serve their punishment. By comparing and contrasting examples of love and friendship in The Faerie Queene, Spenser shows how healthy relationships can be based on mutual duty and sacrifice, while superficial relationships can be easily torn apart by greed and selfishness.

Related Themes from Other Texts
Compare and contrast themes from other texts to this theme…

Love and Friendship ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Love and Friendship appears in each book of The Faerie Queene. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
How often theme appears:
book length:
Book
1.P
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
1.7
1.8
1.9
1.10
1.11
1.12
2.P
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2,7
2.8
2.9
2.10
2.11
2.12
3.P
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.9
3.10
3.11
3.12
4.P
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.6
4.8
4.9
4.10
4.11
4.12
5.P
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
5.9
5.10
5.11
5.12
6.P
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5
6.6
6.7
6.8
6.9
6.10
6.11
6.12
M.6
M.7
Get the entire The Faerie Queene LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Faerie Queene PDF

Love and Friendship Quotes in The Faerie Queene

Below you will find the important quotes in The Faerie Queene related to the theme of Love and Friendship.
Book I: Canto IX Quotes

Come, come away, fraile, feeble, fleshly wight,
Ne let vaine words bewitch thy manly hart,
Ne divelish thoughts dismay thy constant spright.

Related Characters: Una (speaker), Redcross Knight, Despair
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Book II: Canto XII Quotes

Said Guyon, See the mind of beastly man,
That hath so soone forgot the excellence
Of his creation, when he life began,
That now he chooseth, with vile difference
To be a beast, and lack intelligence

Related Characters: Sir Guyon (speaker), Acrasia, The Palmer
Page Number: 382
Explanation and Analysis:
Book III: Canto III Quotes

The man whom Heavens have ordaynd to bee
The spouse of Britomart, is Arthegall:
He wonneth in the land of Fayeree

Related Characters: Merlin (speaker), Britomart, Arthegall, Glauce
Page Number: 422
Explanation and Analysis:
Book III: Canto IV Quotes

Who through foresight of his eternall skill,
Bad her from womankind to keepe him well:
For of a woman he should have much ill,
A virgin strange and stout him should dismay, or kill.

Related Characters: Marinell, Proteus, Florimell, Britomart, Cymoent
Page Number: 438
Explanation and Analysis:
Book III: Canto VIII Quotes

Now when the Beast, which by her wicked art
Late forth she sent, she backe returning spyde,
Tyde with her broken girdle, it a part
Of her rich spoyles, whom he had earst destroyd,
She weend, and woundrous gladnesse to her hart applyde.

Related Characters: Florimell, Sir Satyrane, Marinell, Venus
Related Symbols: Florimell’s Gold Belt
Page Number: 492
Explanation and Analysis:
Book III: Canto XII Quotes

But Britomart uprearing her from ground,
Said, Gentle Dame, reward enough I weene
For many labours more, then I have found,
This, that in safety now I have you seen,
And meane of your deliverance have beene

Related Characters: Britomart (speaker), Sir Scudamore, Amoretta (Amoret)
Page Number: 560
Explanation and Analysis:
Book IV: Canto I Quotes

Of lovers sad calamities of old,
Full many piteous stories doe remaine,
But none more piteous ever was ytold,
Then that of Amorets hart-binding chaine,
And this of Florimels unworthie paine

Page Number: 383
Explanation and Analysis:
Book IV: Canto II Quotes

Though now their acts be no where to be found
As that renowned Poet them compyled,
With warlike numbers and Heroicke sound,
Dan Chaucer well of English undefiled,
On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond, Cambell, Canacee, Cambina
Page Number: 587
Explanation and Analysis:
Book IV: Canto IV Quotes

Then all with one consent did yield the prize
To Triamond and Cambell as the best.
But Triamond to Cambell it relest.
And Cambell it to Triamond transferd;
Each labouring t’advance the others gest,
And make his praise before his owne preferd:

Page Number: 616
Explanation and Analysis:
Book IV: Canto V Quotes

Then was that golden belt by doome of all
Graunted to her, as to the fairest Dame.
Which being brought, about her middle small
They thought to gird, as best it her became;
But by no meanes they could it thereto frame.

Related Characters: Florimell
Related Symbols: Florimell’s Gold Belt
Page Number: 624
Explanation and Analysis:
Book IV: Canto XII Quotes

Right so himself did Marinell upreare,
When he in place his dearst love did spy;
And though his limbs could not his bodie beare,
Ne former strength return so suddenly,
Yet chearefull signes he shewed outwardly.

Related Characters: Marinell, Florimell, Britomart, Proteus
Page Number: 721
Explanation and Analysis:
Book V: Canto I Quotes

And such was he, of whome I have to tell,
The Champion of true Justice Artegall.
Whom (as ye lately mote remember well)
An hard adventure, which did then befall,
Into redoubted perill forth did call.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Gloriana (The Faerie Queene), Arthegall, Britomart
Page Number: 727
Explanation and Analysis:
Book V: Canto VII Quotes

Where being layd, the wrothfull Britonesse
Stayd not, till she came to her selfe againe,
But in revenge both of her loves distresse,
And her late vile reproach, though vaunted vaine,
And also of her wound, which sore did paine,
She with one stroke both head and helmet cleft.

Related Characters: Radigund, Britomart, Arthegall
Page Number: 807
Explanation and Analysis:
Book V: Canto X Quotes

When they had seene and heard her doome a rights
Against Duessa, damned by them all;
But by her tempred without griefe or gall,
Till strong constraint did her thereto enforce.

Related Characters: Duessa, Mercilla, Arthegall
Page Number: 838
Explanation and Analysis:
Book VI: Canto IX Quotes

So there that night Sir Calidore did dwell,
And long while after, whilest him list remaine,
Dayly beholding the faire Pastorell,
And feeding on the bayt of his owne bane.
During which time he did her entertaine
With all kind courtesies, he could invent;
And every day, her companiee to gaine

Related Characters: Calidore, Pastorella, Coridon, Melibee, Colin Clout
Page Number: 984
Explanation and Analysis: