The Faerie Queene

by Edmund Spenser
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"All For Love"

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Last Updated on May 10, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 173

Context: Sir Guyon, who in this allegory represents Temperance, is one of the twelve knights of the Faerie Queene. He has been tempted unsuccessfully by Mammon for three days, during which time he has neither eaten nor slept. Mammon then is compelled to guide him back to the world, but on first seeing the light Guyon falls down in a trance and would have perhaps died if his companion, the Palmer, had not been called by an angel whom God has sent to watch over Guyon. Spenser tells us that God "loves his creatures so" that He often sends angels on errands of mercy. Dryden used Spenser's words in 1678, when he published his "refined" version of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra which he called All for Love. Spenser, in referring to the errands of mercy performed by angels, says:

They for us fight, they watch and dewly ward,
And their bright Squadrons round about us plant;
And all for love, and nothing for reward:
O! why should hevenly God to men have such regard?

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