(Queen Elizabeth considered as a sovereign.) Spenser says in
his Faërie Queene that she kept an annual feast for twelve days,
during which time adventurers appeared before her to undertake whatever
task she chose to impose upon them. On one occasion twelve knights
presented themselves before her, and their exploits form the scheme of
Spenser's allegory. The poet intended to give a separate book to each
knight, but only six and a half books remain.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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