Harington (1574-1612), was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, and Lincoln's Inn. As a godson of Queen Elizabeth, he began from his first time in London to frequent the court. The first of the passages below is ironically illuminated by the story about Harington's expulsion from court for having circulated among the ladies his translation of just this canto of the Furioso. The disclaimer in the second passage is lightly intended: as an allegorizer of Ariosto, Harington must know that Spenser intends both the senses he pretends not to be able to distinguish between. (In the context, perhaps it should be said, a Spenserian allusion is more likely than a Biblical one.)
(a) From Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse (1591), p. 373:
The hosts tale in the xxvviij book of this worke, is a bad one: M. Spencers tale of the squire of Dames, in his excellent Poem of the Faery Queene, in the end of vij. Canto of the third booke, is to the like effect, sharpe and well conceyted; In substance thus, that his Squire of dames could in three yeares trauell, find but three women that denyed his lewd desire: of which three, one was a courtesan, that reiected him because he wanted coyne for her: the second a Nun, who refused him because he would not sweare secreacie; the third a plain countrie Gentlewoman, that of good honest simplicitie denyed him.
(b) From Of Monsters. To my Lady Rogers, in The Most Elegant and Wittie Epigrams of Sir Iohn Harington, Knight, Digested Into Foure Bookes: Three whereof neuer before published (1618; this epigram does not appear in the first edition of 1615), sig. G8V; repr. in Letters and Epigrams of Sir John Harington, ed. N.E. McClure (Philadelphia, 1930), pp. 224-5:
Strange-headed Monsters, Painters haue described.
To which the Poets strange parts haue ascribed, …