Saturday, 18 November 2017

Shitlord Britomart - FQ Book 3 Canto 2

The opening verses for this Canto get more proto-femenist than they ever have before;

"Here have I cause, in men just blame to find,
That in their proper prayse too partiall bee,
And not indifferent to woman kind,
To whom no share in armes and chevalrie
They do impart, ne maken memorie
Of their brave gestes and prowesse martiall;
Scarse do they spare to one or two or three,
Rowme in their writs; yet the same writing small
Does all their deeds deface, and dims their glories all,

But by record of antique times I find,
That women wont in warres to beare most sway,
And to all great exploits them selves inclind:
Of which they still the girlond bore away,
Till envious Men fearing their rules decay,
Gan coyne streight lawes to curb their libery;
Yet sith they warlike armes have layd away:
They have exceld in artes and pollicy,
That now we foolish men that prayse gin eke t'envy."

Well, well, well!

The verse proper begins with Britomart and Guyon travelling together. Anyone paying attention to the last Canto should be confused as she is meant to be with Redcrosse at this point and the notes agree that probably Spenser has just screwed up this bit.

Guyon asks what she it doing wandering about;

"And ever anone the rosy red,
Flasht through her face, as it had been a flake
Of lightning, through bright heaven fulmined,"

Eventually she tells him that she is out seeking honour, then asks about a knight called Arthegall, saying that he is a super bad-guy.

Guyon replies that actually Arthegall is the best possible guy ever and she must have made a mistake;

"They royall mayd woxe inly wondrous glad,
To heare her Love so highly magnified,"

Yes, Arthegall is her secret love and she was being a massive neurotic shitlord by spreading rumours about him to check if they were true without surrendering her own emotions. Don't do this online guys.

Britomart continues her shitlording for a few verses, Guyon defends Arthegall in the most exemplary terms;

"His feeling words her feeble sence much pleased,
And softly sunck into her molten hart;
Hart that is inly hurt, is greatly eased
With hope of thing, that may alegge his smart;
For pleasing words are like to Magick art,
That doth the charmed Snake in slomber lay:
Such secret ease felt gentle Britomart,
Yet list the same efforce with faind gainsay;
So dischord oft in Musick makes the sweeter lay."

(Curious element. Britomart is the second shadow of Elizabeth in the poem. The first is the Faerie Queene herself - Elizabeth as supernatural ruler. The second is Britomart - Elizabeth as adventuring Knight and, crucially, someone you can tell active stories about. There are also now two shadow-Arthurs (or one, depending how you think about it) the real, main one, and this 'Arthegall' who is apparently meant to be a kind of mirror or substitute Arthur.)

Britomart asks in more detail and the Redcrosse knight (Spenser has remembered who is where) describes Arthegall. 

Britomart recognises him and the following verses describe that and have some cool magic stuff so here they are in full;

"By strange occasion she did him behold,
And much more strangely gan to love his sight,
As it in books hath written bene of old.
In Deheubarth that now South-wales is hight,
What time king Ryence raign'd, and dealed right,
The great Magitian Merlin had deuiz'd,
By his deepe science, and hell-dreaded might,
A looking glasse, right wondrously aguiz'd,
Whose vertues through the wyde world soone were solemniz'd.

It vertue had, to shew in perfect sight,
What ever thing was in the world contaynd,
Betwixt the lowest earth and heavens hight,
So that it to the looker appertaynd;
What ever foe had wrought, or frend had faynd,
Therein discovered was, ne ought mote pas,
Ne ought in secret from the same remaynd;
For thy it round and hollow shaped was,
Like to the world it selfe, and seem's a world of glas.

Who wonders not, that reades so wonderous worke?
But who does wonder, that has red the Towre,
Wherein th'AEgyptian Pheo long did lurke
From all mens vew out of her bowre?
Great Ptolomoee it for lemans sake
Ybuilded all of glasse, by Magicke powre,
And also it impregnable did make;
Yet when his love was false, he with a peaze it brake."

So Britomart is dicking about whith her dads magic stuff like everyone does and she comes across the magic glass and has a look inside;

Eftsoones there was presented to her eye
A comely knight all arm'd in compleat wize,
Through whose bright ventayle lifted up on hye
His manly face, that did his foes agrize,
And friends to termes of gentle truce entize
Lookt foorth, as Phoebus face out of the east,

Motherfuckers you knew I'd be back in this shizzle.
Betwixt two shadie mountains doth arize;
Portly his person was, and much increast
Through his Heroicke grace, and honourable gest,

His crest was covered with a couchant Hound,
And all his armour seem'd of antique mould,
But wonderous massie and assured sound,
And round about yfretted all with gold,
In which there written with cyphers old,
Achilles armes, which Arthegall did win.
And on his shield enveloped seven fold
He bore a crowned litle Ermilin,
That deckt the azure field with her faire pouldred skin."

From this point on Britomart is utterly in love, and it sounds horrible. There is more here on just how horrible and terrible Cuipid is;

"But the false Archer, which that arrow shot
So slyly, that she did not feele the wound,
Did smyle full smoothly at her weetlesse wofull stound."

Cupid you fffffuuuuuuuucccckkk.

We are only part-way through the Canto and almost all of the rest is a Spencerian disclose-yourself conversation between Britomart and her Nurse about the nauture of love, what Britomart is feeling, whether is terrible or potentially good, and what she should do about it.

This is an inusually in-depth discussion of feeling for The Faerie Queene so far, and the first lengthy one betweent two women.

Britomart is freaking out, acting strange and having fevers because she doesn't even know or understand the emotion she is feeling. The nurse notices this;

"For not of nought these suddeine ghastly feares
All night afflict thy naturall repose,
And all the day, when as thine equall peares
Their fit disports with faire delight doe chose,
Thou in dull corners doest thy selfe inclose,
Ne tastest Princes pleasures, ne doest spred
Abroaud thy fresh youthes fairest flowre, but lose
Both leafe and frit, both too untimely shed,
As one in wilful bale for ever buried.


Sorrow is heaped in thy hollow chest,
Whence forth it breakes in sight and anguish rife,
As smoke and sulphure mingled with confused strife."

I liked this conversation between two different mental states, two different ages, one old and experienced, the other young, and two different personality types;

We start with Britomart, when it says (quoth she), that means a shift from one to the other. (actually I'l just break them up so they are easier to parse;

"But mine is not (quoth she) like others wound;
For which no reason can find remedy.

Was never such, but mote the like be found,
(Said she) and though no reason may apply
Salve to your sore, yet love can higher stye,
Then reasons reach, and oft hath wonders donne.

But neither God of love, nor God of sky
Can doe (said she) that, which cannot be donne.

Things oft impossible (quoth she) seeme, ere begonne.

These idle words (said she) doe nought asswage
My stubborne smart, but more annoyance breed,
For no no usuall fire, no usual rage
It is, o Nurse, which on my life doth feed,
And suckes the bloud, which from my hart doth bleed.
But since thy faithfull zeale lets me not hyde
My crime, (if crime it be) I will it reed.
Not Prince, nor pere it is, whose love hat gryde
My feeble brest of late, and launched this wound wyde."

Its also an intersting view on the overwhelming and deeply alien power of an unknown emotion. Controlling, consuming and frightening.

"Daughter (said she) what need ye be dismayd,
Or why make ye such Monster of your mind?"

After many verses the Nurse says;

"But if the passion mayster thy fraile might,
So that needs love or death must be thy lot,
Than I avow to thee, by wrong or right
To compasse thy desire, and find that loved knight.

Here chearefull words much cheard the feeble spright
Of the sicke virgin, that her downe she layd
In her warme bed to sleepe, if that she might;
And the old-woman carefully displayd
The clothes about her round with buisie ayd;
So tht at last a little creeping sleepe
Surprised her sense: She therewith well apayd,
The drunken lampe down in the oyle did steepe,
And set her by to watch, and set her by to weepe."

The Nurse does some freaky folk magic, which is an interesting mirror to the 'high' or fancy magic described previously, but it doesn't work;

"But love, that is in gentle brest begonne,
No idle charmes so lightly may remove,
That well can witnesse, who by triall it does prove."

Friday, 17 November 2017

Such Love is hate - FQ Book 3 Canto 1

The opening for Canto Three is a combination of Liz-bait and the poets request for powers, or denial of powers.

So Elizabeth IS chastity, and she's so amazing that the poets hopes for her forgiveness in writing this since

"But living art may not least part expresse,
Nor life-resembling pencill it can paint

And he can't do it directly because she is too amazing so

"Cannot your glorious pourtraict figure plaine
That I in coloured showes may shadow it,
And antique praises unto present presons fit."

Canto One

Acrasia is safely moved off to some other future part of the poem. Then Guyon and Arthur have the kind of nebulous and wide-ranging adventure that knights have between chapters;

"Long so they travelled through wastefull wayes,
Where daungers dwelt, and perils most did wonne,"

They come upon a knight whose shield has a lion on golden field. Guyon gets ready to joust, and gets knocked down;

"Great shame and sorrow of that fall he bore,"

Our narrator breaks in to tell us what has happened;

"... of a single damzell thou wert met
On equall plaine, and there so hard beset;
Even the famous Britomart it was,
Whom straunge adventure dod from Britaine fet,
To seeke her lover (love farre sought alas,)
Whose image she had seene in Venus looking glas."

Guyon doesn't know this though, and, in a very un-Guyon-esque action, totally loses his shit.

"Full of distainfull wrath, he fierece uprose,
For to revenge taht foule reprochfull shame,"

Comic book fans will be familiar with the fact that, when we enter a new heroes story, just like with Redcrosse and Guoyn, theere is a ritual exchange of power and perspective. The knights don't just cross blades, they exchange the cameras eye on the point of their spears. The old heroes also often get nerfed to make the new one look good.

For once the Palmers 'mightie Science' notices something before it happens, he had seen;

"The secret vertu of that weapon keene,
That mortall puissiance motw not withstond:
Nothing on earth mote alwaies happie beene."

And, amusingly, gets Guyon to calm down by encouraging him to blame his loss on his saddle, his steed and his squire;

"So is his angry courage fairly pacifyde."

Which is very un-Palmer-like behaviour.

Every calms down and agrees to be friends. They travel on and encounter a standard Mallorian dame being chased by a freak. All the male knights instantly run off to save the lady or fight the freak, depending on temperament.

But Britomart, whose constant mind;

"Would not so lightly follow beauties chace,
Ne reckt of Ladies Love, did stay behind,"

This is the this-knight-does-things-differently scene. Then she goes on;

"With steadfast courage and stout hardiment;
Ne evill thing she fear'd. ne evill thing she ment."

Till she comes to a castle and s six-on-one fight, where an un-named knight (it later turns out this is Redcrosse is being attacked by six foes, but defending himself well. And in _this_ case;

"When Britomart him saw, she ran a pace
Unto his reskew. amd with earnest cry,
Bad those same six forbeare that single enimy."

Why are they fighting? In this case the challenge of the castle is that there is a super-hot girl in here and if any knight comes along who 'have a Ladie or a Love,' they have to fight or admit that the girl in the castle is hotter.

Britomarts response is good;

"Certes (said she) then bene ye sixe to blame,
To weene your wrong by force to justify:
For knight to leave his Ladie were great shame,
That faithfull is, and better were to die.
All osse is lesse, and lesse the infamie,
Then losse of love to him, that loves but one;
Ne may love be compeld by maisterie;
For soone as maisterie comes, sweet love anone
Taketh his nimble wings, and soone away is gone.


Live I have sure, (quoth she) but Lady none;
Yet will I not fro mine owne love remove,"

Britomart and the outnumbered knight take everyone down in a couple of verses and are generally acclaimed. They are lead into 'Castle Joyous' which is glorious and sumptuous.

Really the luxury verses are very good, the only reason I don't repeat them is because I have to precis a lot to get this done.

(Its been stated a few times that oriental or generally-eastern-from-Europes-point-of-view cultures have an eye for luxury, and on reading stuff like 'Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange' thats certainly true, to a point, but Spenser, and many poets like him, are slathered in adored (and condemned) luxury, much more than those stories I think.

I don't have the depth of knowledge to know whether luxury has more of a dual-focus in Western verse, being both good, and super-bad (i.e. Catholic), its possible it does.)

There is also an element in TFQ in which the tapestries, carvings and various other high-status pictures show stories from classic mythology which are like mirrored alter-worlds. In the poem they are like stories-within-stories, in this case its;

"Costly clothes of Arras and of Toure,
I which with cunning hand was pourtrahed
The love of Venus and her Paramoure
The faire Adonis, turned to a flowre,"

(If you remember the Gawain translation, you may recall the 'tapestaries of tors', I think Tors is Toure.)

We meet the locals;

"Dauncing and reveling both day and night,
And swimming deepe in sensuall desires,"

And their Lady, Malecasta, "sitting on a sumptuous bed,
That glistred all with gold and glorious shew,
As the proud Persian Queenes accustomed:
Se seemd a woman of great bountihed,
And of rare beautie, saving that askaunce
Her wanton eyes, ill signs of womenhed,
Did roll too lightly, and too often glaunce,
Without regard of grace, or comely amenaunce."

They sit down, the six knights who fought are named, then Britomart (though not taking off her armour) reveals her particular, and so far in this poem, unique kind of beauty;

"For she was full of amiable grace,
And manly terrour mixed therewithall,
That as the one stird up affections bace,
So th'other did mens rash desires appall,
And hold them backe, that would in errour fall;
Ad he, that hath espied a vermeill Rose,
To which sharpe thornes and breres the way forstall,
Dare not for dread his hardy hand expose,
But wishing it far off, his idle wish doth lose."

Malecasta instantly falls in lust with Britomart. Definitely not love;

"For love does alwayes bring forth bouteous deeds,
And in each gentle hart desire of honour breeds.

Nought so of love this looser Dame did skill,
But as a coale to kindle fleshy flame,
Giving the bridle to her wanton will,
And teading under foote her honest name:
Such love is hate, and such desire is shame.
Still did she rove at her with crafty glaunce
Of her false eyes, that at her hart did ayme,
And told her meaning in her countenaunce
But Britomart dissembled it with ignoraunce."

The lady feigns deep sorrow for Britomarts story and she falls for it easily, Spenser clarifies the Honourable/Dumb axis for us;

"Who meanes no guile, beguiled soonest shall,
And to faire semblaunce doth light faith annexe;
The bird, that knowes not the false fowlers call,
Into his hidden net full easily doth fall."

Eventually everyone goes to bed and falls asleep, except for Malecasta, who is too pervy and too into Britomart, so creeps out in the night;

"Then panting soft, and trembling every joint,
Her fearfull feete towards the bowre she mouved;
Where she for secret purpose did appoynt
To lodge the warlike mayd unwisely loved,"

Yep, its about to get non-consentual, again;

"Th'embroderd quilt she lightly up did lift,
And by her side her selfe she softly layd,
Of every finest fingers touch affrayd;"

Britomart wakes up, freaks out and grabs her sword. Malecasta;

"Did shrieke alowd, that through the house it rong,"

And everyone in the house rushes to that room, where nobody has any idea what to make of it, but they are not pleased. They quickly become angry and someone takes a shit at Britomart;

"The mortall steele stayd not, till it was seene
To gore her side, yet was the wound not deepe,
But lightly rased her soft silken skin,
That drops of purple bloud thereout did weepe,
Which did her lily smock with staines of vermeil steepe."

This starts a fight, which Britomart and Redcrosse handily win and they both leave the castle;

"So earely ere the gross Earthe gryesy shade,
Was all disperst out of the firmament,
They tooke their steeds, & forth upon their journey went."

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Smashing Sexy Disneyland - FQ Book 2 Canto 12

What I think has happened here is that Spenser has already decided to to exactly twelve Canto's for each section, then he's either overrun with the Castle of the senses, or with this part, and has compressed two Canto's worth of stuff into one extra-long Canto.

So I am doing this in two seperate parts. The first will cover Guyon and his Palmer in their ocean adventure as they try to reach the Bowre of Blisse, the second what happens when they get there.

Part One

We open with Guyon and his Palmer already at sea for two days;

"Ne ever land beheld, ne living wight,"

What follows is a series of ocean adventures in which Guyon, the Palmer and the 'Boteman' (the invisible working classes in Chivalric literature again doing most of the work behind the scenes), essentially dodging or avoiding monsters till they can get to the island.

Its intersting to us (me) mainly for the invention and beauty of the poetry.

They pass the Gulf of Greedieness, the Rock of Vile Reproach, which is as good a study as any of some of Spensers poetic methods;

"For thy, this hight The Rocke of vile Reproch,
A daungerous and detestable place,
To which nor fish nor fowle did once approach,
But yelling Meawes, with Seagulles horse and bace,
And Cormoyrants, with birds of ravenous race,
Which still sate waiting on that wastfull clift,
For spoyle of wretches, whose unhappie cace,
After lost credit and consumed thrift,
At last them driven hath to this despairfull drift."

Use of Italics as name signifiers, shifting a bit of text slightly into a different realm of thought, though it remains a smooth part of the spoken line.

Whenever I'm speaking these I add a slightly arch or mannered element to the speech, because I am referring to something, this thing has a name, and that name is not a casual one. It's almost like a super-nounification, like the print of an official seal on the smooth text, something like the feel you would get from an academic reference, with all its intimation of sobriety, hierarchy and confirmed meaning. And of course, almost all the things so super-noun'd are made up, though some are made up by ancient Greeks, and some by Spenser.

Flowing or irregular alliteration in the verse-form.

So in classical anglo-saxon poetry the alliteration goes (I think), sound - sound - sound - offsound, with the sound almost always being at the beginning of the word and the exact syllables not that important,and that's the structure of the form.

Here we have a regular syllable count (largely) and the structure being maintained by the rhyme, of which only one needs to be locked-in, and that an end of word sound at the end of each line with the lines always in the same rhyme pattern.

(I know this is some basic shit but I am not an expert and I am thinking aloud here.)

So one of the things we get is that we still have lots of alliteration but instead of being the foundation, or the load-bearing element of the verse it becomes play, indulged in irregularly and mainly for the pleasure of it.

1. Rock .. Reproach
2. daungerous .. detestable
3. fish .. fowle
4. (this line has completely differnt start-word sounds each major stress)
5. ravenous race
6. still sate .. waiting .. wastfull
7. wretches ... whose
8. credit ... consumed
9. driven .. despairfull .. drift


Verses 14-6 has one of my favourite baddies turn up, apparetly just for the pleasure of it;

"A daintie damzell, dressing of her heare,
By whom a litle skippet floting did appeare.

She them espying, loud to them can call,
Bidding them nigher draw unto the shore;
For she had cause to busie them withall;
And therewith loudly laught: But nathermore
Would they once turne, but kept on as afore:
Which when she saw, she left her lockes undight,
And running to her boat withouten ore,
From the departing land it launched light,
And after them did drive with all her power and might.

Whom overtaking, she in merry sort
Them gan to bord, and purpose diversly,
Now faining dalliance and wanton sport,
Now throwing forth lewd words immodestly;
Till that the Palmer gan full bitterly
Her to rebuke, for being loose and light:
Which not abiding, but more scornefully
Scoffing at him, that did her justly wite,
She turnd her bote about, and from them rowed quite.

That was the wanton Phoedria, which late
Did ferry him over the Idle lake;"

Verse 20 has a beautiful flow;

"On th' other side they see that perilous Poole,
That called was the Whirlpoole of decay,
In which full many had with haplesse doole
Beene suncke, of whom no memorie did stay:
Whose circled waters rapt with whirling sway,
Like to a restlesse wheele, still running round,
Did covet, and they passed by that way,
To draw the boate within the utmost bound
Of his wide Labyrinth, and then to have them dround."

Verses 23 to 25 have some wonderful monsters and a Lovecraftian touch at the end;

"Most ugly shapes, and horrible aspects,
Such as Dame Nature selfe mote feare to see,
Or shame, that ever should so fowle defects
From her most cunning hand escaped bee;
All dreadfull pourtraicts of deformitee:
Spring-headed Hydraes, and sea-shouldering Whales,
Great whirlpooles, ehich all fishes make to flee,
Bright Scolopandraes, arm'd with silver scales,
Mighty Monocros, with immeasured tayles.

The dreadfull Fish, that hath deseru'd the name
Of Death, and like him lookes in dreafull hew,
The griesly Wasserman, that makes his game
The flying ships with swiftnesse to pursew,
The horrible Sea-satyre, that doth shew
His fearfull face in time of greatest storme,
Huge Ziffius, whom mariniers eschew
Lo lesse, then rockes, (as travellers informe,)
And greedy Rosmarines with visages deforme.

All these, and thousand thousands many more,
And more deformed Monsters thousand fold,
With dreadfull noise, and hollow rombling rore,
Came rushing in the fomy waves enrold,
Which seem'd to fly for fear, them to behold:
Ne wonder, if these did the knight appall;
For all that here on earth we dreadfull hold,
Be but as bugs to frearen babes withall,
Compared to the creatures in the seas entrall."

Which shows another of Spensers common methods; the list of legend, or the rythm-list. In this case combined with his tricky use of brackets '(as travellers informe,)'.

Then we get some mermaids and other stuff, then a 'grosse fog' which makes 'this great Universe seemd one confused mas.'

They get scared and, its about to get worse, because having used up all the monsters in the sea, the power opposing them turns to the air;

"Suddeinly and innumerable flight
Of harmefull fowles about them fluttering cride,
And with their wicked wings them oft did smight,
And sore annoyed, groping in that griesly night.

Even all the nation of unfortunate
And fatall birds about them flocked were,
Such as by nature men abhorre and hate,
The ill-faste Owle, death dreadfull messangere,
The hors Night-raven, trump of dolefull drere,
The lether-winged Bat, dayes enimy,
The ruefull Strich, still waiting on the bere,
The Whistler shrill, that who so hears, doth dy,
The hellish harpies, prophets of sad destiny."

But don't worry because we are here at last;

"Said then the Palmer, Lo where does appeare
The sacred soile, where all our perils grow;
Therefore, Sir knight, your ready armes about you throw."

Part Two - The Sexy Bits

In this brutal, pervy, luxurious and deeply unsympathetic second half, we watch Guyon smash Disneyland.

They land and march 'fairly forth, of nough ydred'. Soon they encounter a hideous bellowing 'of many beasts'.

The beasts attack but the Palmer raises his staff;

"Of that same wood it fram'd was cunningly,
Of which Caduceus whilome was made,
Cadeceus the rod of Mercury,
With which he wonts the Stygian realms invade,
Through ghastly horrour, and ternall shade;
Th'infernall feends with it he can asswage,
And Orcus tame, whome nothing can perswade,
And rule the Furyes, when they most do rage:
Such vertue in his staffe had eke the Palmer sage."

So the staff has been a Legendary Item all this time.

They pair reach the Bowre itself, surrounded by a gate;

"....wrought of substance light,
Rather for pleasure, then for battery or fight."

This is carved from delecate 'yvory' and worked there in are the legends of Jason and of Medaea;

"Ye might have seen the frothy billows fry
Under they ship, as throrough them she went,
That seemd the waves were into yvory,
Or yvroy into the waves were sent;"

They meet a comley personage, of stature tall; this is Genius. Not the good kind of Genius that god sends us;

"Who sondrous things concerning our welfare,
And straunge phantomes doth let us oft forsee,"

This is some other guy;

"The foe of life, that good envuys to all,
The secretly doth us procure to fall,"

We get some verses on this guy. Then Guyon just smashes his shit and walks on. Puritan Mode = ACTIVATED.

Then we meet a hot girl pulling apples from a glorious tree and squeezing them into a cup. She offers it to Guoyn;

"Who taking it out of her tender hond,
The cup to ground did violently cast,"

Then this excellent verse on the beauty of the garden (there are a few of these);

"One would have thought, (so cunningly, the rude,
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine,)
That nature had for wantoness ensude
Art, and that Art at nature did repine;
So striving each th'other to undermine,
Each did the others worke more beautifie;
So diff'ring both in willes, agreed in fine:
So all agreed through sewwte diversitie,
This Gardin to adrone with all varietie."

Which is remarkable; a work of art made so that it looks like a perfect interaction between Art and Nature.

Then we get some fountains, more wanton yvie, some Laurell trees. And then we get the biggest threat of this whole Canto - six verses on two hot, naked teendage blondes wrestling each othe in a stream;

"Which therin bathing, seemed to contend,
And wrestle wantonly, ne car'd to hyde,
Their dainty parts from vew of any, which them eyde.

snowy limbs ...  amrous sweet spoiles .. lilly paps .. naked except for long (wet)golden hair

Luckily for Guyon, his Palmer arrives and 'much rebukt those wandering eyes of his'

"For here the end of all our travell is:
Here wonnes Acrasia whom, we must surprise,
Else she will slip away and all our drift despise."

So they creep closer, into the centre of the Bowre of Blisse. There they find Acrasia;

"Upon a bed of Roses she was layd,
As faint through heat, or dight to pleasant sin,
And was arayd, or rather disarayd,
All in a vele of silke and silver thin,
That hid no whit her alabaster skin,
But rather shewd more white, if more might bee:
More subtlie web Arachne can not spin,
Nor the fine nets, which oft we woven see
Of scorched dew, do not in th'aire more lightly flee.

Her snowy brest waa bare to readie spoyle
Of hungry eis. which n'ote therwith be fild,
And yet through langour of her late sweet toyle,
Few drops, more cleare then Nectar, forth distild,
That like pure Orient perles adowne hit trild,
And her faire eyes sweet smiyling in delight,
Moystened their fierie beams, with which she thrild
Fraile harts, yet quencehed not; like starry light
Which sparckling on the silent waves, does seeme more bright."

And, to make it short becasue I've spent hours on this. They throw a net over her and run off with her. They encounter the beasts on the way out and the Palmer tells Guyon that these beasts are former lovers of Acrasia who she beastified with her magic. Guyon asks if they can be turned back and, for plot reasons, or maybe because shes tied up in her net, the Palmers staff can do just that;

"Streight way he with his vertuous staffe them strooke,
And streight of beasts they comely men became;
Yet being men they did unmanly looke,
And stared ghastly, some for inward shame,
And some for wrath, to see their captive Dame:
But one above the rest in speciall,
That had an hog been late, hight Grille be name,
Repined greatly, and did him miscall,
That had from hoggish forme him brought to naturall.

To whom the Palmer thus, The donghill kind
Delights in filth and foule incontinence:
Let Grill be Grill, and have his hoggish mind,
But let us hence depart, whilest wether serves and wind."

And with that, we are out. Book Two OVER.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Oldhammer! - FQ Book 2 Canto 11

This Canto combines three excellent qualities; it is short, and it is a fight, there are freaks. We are in for some prime Spenser.

(It is also a lot like an old Warhammer Battle Report, so that's four excellent qualities.)

Let us begin.

First Guyon and his Palmer are booted off to the next canto;

"For all so soone, as Guyon thence was gon
Upon his voyage with his trustie guide,
That wicked band of villains fresh begon
That castle to assail on every side,"

And they brought mutants!!!!

The mutants are literalised metaphors for the delusions of the material world assailing the senses, but they are also cool and metal as fuck.

"The first troupe was a monstrous rablement
Of fowle misshapen wights, of which some were
Headed like Owles, with becks uncomley bent,
Others like Dogs, others like Gryphons dreare,
And some had wings, and some had clawes to teare,
And every one of them had Lynces eyes,
And every one did bow and arrowes beare:
All those were lawlesse lustes, corrupt enview,
And covetous aspectes, all cruell enimies."

These guys attack the bulwark of Sight;

"But two then all more huge and violent,
Beautie, and money, they that Bulwarke sorely rent."

From here on I'm just going to give you verses 10 to 13 in full because they are great;

"The second Bulwarke was the Hearing sence,
Gaint which the second troupe dessignment makes;
Deformed creatures, in straunge difference,
Some having heads like Harts, some like to Snakes,
Some like wild Bores late rouzed out of the brakes;
Slaunderous reproches, and fowle infamies,
Leasings, backbytings, and vaine-glorious crakes,
Bad counsels, prayses, and false flatteries.
All those against that fort did bend their batteries.

Likewise that same third Fort, that is the Smell
Of that third troupe was cruelly assays:
Whose hideous shapes were like to feends of hell,
Some like to hounds, some like Apes, dismayed,
Some like to Puttockes, all in plumes arayd:
All shap't according their conditions,
For by those ugly formes weren pourtrayed,
Foolish delights and fond abusions,
Which do that sence beseige with light illusions.

And that fourth band, which cruell battry bent,
Angainst the fourth Bulwarke, that is the Tast,
Was as the rest, a grysie rablement,
Some mou'd like greedy Oystriges, some fast
Like loathly Toades, some fashioned in the wast
Like swine; for so deformed is luxury,
Surfeat, misdiet, and unthriftie wast,
Vaine feasts, and idle superfluity:
All those this sences Fort assayle incessantly.

But the fift troupe most horrible of hew,
And fierce of force, was dreadfull to report:
For some like Snailes, some did like spyders shew,
And some like ugly Urchins thicke and short:
Cruelly they assayled that fift Fort,
Armed with darts of sensuall delight,
With sings of carnall lust, and strong effort
Of feeling pleasures, with which day and night
Against that same fift bulwarke they continued fight."



Arthur begs leave to venture forth and try for a decapitation strike on the main bad-guy. He does so with his "gay Squire" and bursts through the rabeletment on his horse Spumador, who has an unusual orogin;

"The fierce Spumador trode them downe like docks,
The fierce Spumador borne of heavenly seed:
Such as Laomedon of phoebus race did breed

That son of a bitch found a way into the battle scene.

Now Arthur battles the 1980's Warhammer Chaos Lord literalised personification of bodily sin, Maleger, head-to-head;

"Upon a Tygre swift and fierce he rode,
That as the winde ran underneath his lode,
Whiles his long legs nigh raught unto the ground;
Full large he was of limbe and shoulders brode,
But of such subtile substance and unsound
That like a ghost he seem'd, whose grave-clothes were unbound."


"As pale and wan as ashes was his looke,
His bodie leane and meagre as a rake,
And skin all withered like a dryed rooke,
Thereto as cold and drery as a Snake,
That seem'd to tremble evermore, and quake:
All in a canvas thin he was bedight,
And girded with a belt of twisted brake,
Upon his head he wore an Helmet light,
Made of a dead mans skull, that seem'd a ghastly sight."

He has a bow and arrows;

"Headed with flint, and feathers bloudie dide,
Such as the _Indians_ in their quivers hide;
Those could he well direct and streight as line,
And bid them strike the marke, which he had eyde,"


Maleger also has

"two wiked Hags,
With hoarie lockes all loose and visage grim;"

who follow him, these are Impotence and Impatience, they play a very similar role to that of Furors mother; side-civilians who have to be beaten or controlled before the main opponent becomes vulnerable.

With all has specific allegorical religious meaning, but it is fascinating to see video game and rpg logic in a 500 year old poem.

Arthru rides right at Malegar, who dashes away from him on if Tiger, turning in the saddle to fire his poisoned arrows at him;

"(As wonts the Tartar by the Caspian lake,
When as the Russian him in fight does chace)"

Arthur wards the arrows and hopes to wait for Maleger to run out, then realises his super-fast Hags (the Hags are super-fast) and keep grabbing the arrows and bringing them back to him.

Arthur dismounts to tie up one Hag (it worked for Guyon last time, presumably he shared that story), but the second Hag leaps on him, then Maleger himself;

"Upon him fell, and lode upon him layd;
Full little wanted, but he had him slaine,
And of the battell balefull end had made,
Had not his gentle Squire beheld his paine,
And commen to his reskew, ere his bitter bane."

The Squire holds off the baddies while Arthur recovers himself in such a way that it earns its own fire-verse;

"Like as a fire, the which in hollow cave
Hath long bene underkept, and downe supprest,
With murmurous disdaine doth inly rave,
And grudge, in so streight prison to be prest,
At last breaks forth with furious unrest,
And strives to mount unto his native seat;
All that did earst it hinder and molest,
It now devoures with flames and scorching heat,
And carries into smoake with rage and horror great.

So mightily that Briton Prince him rouzed"

Maleger, thinking Arthur was done, has now dismounted and forgone his bow, Arthur hits him;

"And him so sore smote with his yron mace,
That grouveling to the ground he fell, and fild his place."

(Not sure what happened to Arthurs sword, didn't he get it back in the fight with Pyrochles and Cymochles?)

Maleger gets right back up as if he has not been harmed, grabs a huge stone and hurls it at Arthur, who dodges in perhaps the best-phrased dive-the-fuck-out-of-the-way ever;

"It booted not to thinke that throw to beare,
But ground he gave, and lightly leapt areare:
Eft fierce returning, and Faulcon faire
That once hath failed of her souse full neare,
Remounts againe into the open aire,
And unto better fortune doth herself prepaire."

Arthur then drives his blade right through Malegers body "That halfe the steele behind his back did rest;" (he's using his sword by this point I suppose) but;

"Ne drop of bloud appeared shed to bee,
All were the wounde so wide and wonderous,
That through his carkasse one might plainely see:"

Arthur hits him again, harder than the first time. Maleger groans "full piteous" but no more.

Arthur realises he has slipped into one of the Gothic cantos and starts to freak out. This is no Dragon-fight like the other guy got;

"His wonder farre exceeded reasons reach,
That he began to doubt his dazeled sight,
And oft of error did himselfe appeach:
Flesh without bloud, a person without spright,
Wounds without hurt, a bodie without might,
That could not die, yet seem'd a mortall wight,
That was most strong in most infirmitee;
Like did he never heare, like did he never see."

Its time to get mythical; Arthur throws away his sword and sheild and;

"Twixt his two mightie armes him up he snatcht,
And crusht his carkasse so against his brest,"

The bad guy dies and his body goes down so hard it bounces.

But Maleger gets up again.

"Nigh his wits end then woxe th'amazed knight,
And thought his labour lost and travell vaine,
Against this lifelesse shadow so to fight:"

But he remembers his Greek Myth, or just works out that his current plot is being ripped from one;

"He then remembred well, that had been sayd,
How the'Earth his mother was, and first him bore;"

So he picks up the 'carrion corse' in his 'pussiant hands' and squeezes him to death, then throws him in a lake.

One Hag jumps in with him, the other kills herself with an arrow.

Job done, back to the castle.

And for us, onto Canto Twelve, the final, super, super long Canto of Guyons journey, where he will finally meet (and presumably defeat) Acrasia.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Another Shit 10th Canto - FQ Book 2 Canto 10

Have you read Geoffery of Monmouths History of the Kings of Britian? Well Spenser has, and he's going to precis the whole goddamn motherfucking book over one of the longest and most draningly turgid Cantos yet.

It's kind of amazing, after the 10th Canto of Book One, I didn't think it could get that bad again, and here we are, back with a second 10th Canto, and it's worse.

The opening line at least isn't bad;

"Who now shall give unto me words and sound.
Equall unto this haughtie enterprise?"

So its not a direct appeal to the muse but a more 'how to I even write something so amazing and important? Then we go into more pathetic courtier crawling to Elizabeth (apparently there's no evidence she ever even read the whole thing), then we go right into Monmouth.

If you haven't already read Monmouth then this will be less shit, if you have then its essentially Monmouth-in-rhyme, with most of it being a very, very, veeeeeery long list of almost-certainly imaginary people fucking each other over.

Its like someone reading out a Lexicanium article.

Some fun fragments;

Britain before humans is essentially the Chaos Wastes;

"But farre in land a savage nation dwelt,
Of hideous Giants, and halfe beastly men,
That never tasted grace, nor goodness felt,
But like wild beasts lurking in loathsome den,
And flying fast as Roebucke through the fen,
All naked without shame, or care of cold,
By hunting and by spoiling lived then;
Of stature huge, and eke of courage bold,
That sonnes of men amazd their sternnesse to behold."

Apparently these were born of Diocletians fifty daughters, who came here by chance and;

"Where companing with feends and filthy Sprights,
Through vaine illusion of their lust unclene,
They brought forth Giants and such dreadful wights,
As farre exceeded men in their immeasured mights."

Then Brutus the Trojan arrives with his guys and starts fighting the Giants and stuff, and throwing them about and things end up being named after dead Giants or the guys that killed them. And that does sound like a cool RPG setting actually.

Theres a slight proto-feminist gloss due to is being aimed at Elizabeth.

Verse 18 has Guendolene, the betrayed daughter of a king fighting her pervy husband, capturing him and ruling the country till her son comes of age.

We then get the whole King Lear story in much more detail than anything else and with Cordelia, again, avenging injustice and ruling, apparently, alone;

""He to Cordelia him selfe addrest,
Who with entire affection him receav'd,
As for her Syre and king her semmed best;
And after all an army strong she leav'd,
To war on those, which him had of his realm bereav'd.

So to his crowne she him restor'd againe,
I which he dyde, made ripe for death by eld,
And after wild, is should to her remaine:
Who peaceably the same long time did weld:
And all mens harts in dew obedience held:
Till that her sisters children, woxen strong
Through proud ambition, against her rebeld,
And overcommen kept in prison long,
Till wearie of that wreched life, her selfe she hong."

Verse 42 has a lady law-maker;

"A woman worthy of immortal prayse,
Which for this Realme found many goodly layes,
And wholesome Statues to her husband brought;
Her many deemd to have been on of the Fayes,
As was Aegerie that Numa tought;
Those yet of her be Mertian lawes both nam'd & thought."

Bouducia gets a pair of verses, then;

"And yet though overcome in haplesse fight,
She triumphed on death, in enemies despight."

Then blah, blah, blah, Romans etc.

It gets interesting at the end where we zoom back to Arthur reading all this in the old mans room. Because for him, this is the story of his family, which he doesn't know yet, so this is a Telenovella moment.

Then we get some not-that-good stuff from Arthur about the importance of patriotism;

"How brutish it is not to understand,
How much to her we owe, that all us gave,
That gave unto us all, what ever good we have."

Yes, very nice.


But, what about Guyons book about the history of Elves. Are we going to get another 70 verses just on that? Because I would read that shit.

Walter Crane
"But Guyon all this while his booke did read,
Ne yet has ended: for it was a great
And ample volume, that doth far excead
My leasure, so long leaves here to repeat:"

So in this case we just get a summary.

It turns out that Elves were made by Prometheus;

"A man of many partes from beasts derived
And then stole fire from heaven to animate
His worke,"


So the first Elf, called Elfe, goes wandering and in the gardens of Adonis, finds;

"A goodly creature, whom he deemd in mind
To be no earthly wight, but either Spright,
Or angell, th'authour of all woman kind;
Therefore a Fay he her according hight,
Of whom all Fayryes spring, and fetch their liniage right."

So fay are Frankenstein/Ghost (possibly angel) hybrids. Clearly they are from a 90's RPG.

The fresh race of Elves conquers the whole world, including America, builds a city called Celopolis, surrounded by a golden wall.

Then comes;

"His sonne was Elfinell, who overcame
The wicked Gobbelines in bloudy field:"

So there was an epic world-wide Elf-Goblin war.

A place called Panthea built "all of Christall".

A guy called Elfinor;

"..who was in Magik skild;
He built by art upon the glassy See
A bridge of bras, whose sound heavens thunder seem'd to bee."

Eventually we get Oberon, who, dying;

"... left the fairest Tanaquill,
Fairer and nobler liveth none this howre,
Ne like in grace, ne like in learned skill;
Therefore they Glorian call that glorious flowre,
Long mayst thou Glorian live, in glory and great powre."

And that's where the Faerie Queene comes from.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Boring Fucking Bullshit - FQ Book 2 Canto 9

We open with Guyon and Arthur talking about the Faerie Queene (title call-out). Guyon goes on and on and on and on about how amazing she is. Arthur wants to meet and serve her.

Its often boring when two lawful good characters converse.

But we do at least get;

"And now faire Phoebus gan decline in hast
His weary wagon to the Westerne vale,"

They see a castle and approach the gate, asking for entry so they can stay the night. But look out, becasue this Canto's about to get (briefly) interesting;

"Fly, fly, good knights, (said he) fly fast away
If that your lives ye love, as meete ye should;
Fly fast, and save your selves from neare decay,
Here may ye not have entraunce, though we would:
We would and would again if that we could;
But thousand enemies about us rave,
And with long siege us in this castle hould:
Seven years this wize they us besieged have,
And many good knights slaine, that have us sought to save."

And look out because thes motherfuckers are right here and they are awesome chaos-cultist looking dudes!

"Thus as he spoke, loe with outragious cry
A thousand villains round about them swarmd
Out of the rockes and caves adjoyning nye,
Vile caytive wretches, ragged, rude, deformed,
All threatning death, all in strange manner armd,
Some with unwieldy clubs, some with long speares,
Some rusty knives, some staves in fire warmd.
Sterne was their looke, like wild amazed steares,
Staring with hollow eyes, and stiff upstanding heares."

So the Knights fight a thousand guys, which they can do as they are pretty high-level and also because they seem to be made of magic shadows;

"Hewing and slashing at their idle shades;
For though they beies seeme, yet substance from them fades."

They ask entry again and are denied, but the lady of the castle lets them in. This is Alma - a standard Spenserian virginal blonde who's name means 'nourishing'.

The castle is apparently meant to be an allegory for the human body. From the notes; "this episode has often been criticized".

No shit, its another 'Goldilocks' castle in which everything is 'just right, and therefore dull. Its a rhapsody in architecture, like the bit in Mammons realm, but where that was goth as fuck and had demons, this is like the Disney-castle version of that; long, detailed, boring and wierd, and its weirdness only rarely breaches the oozing swell of its detailed boringness. Its like a mid-american protestant bourgeois Disney dream of mediumness.

A handfull of good points;

"Not built of bricke, ne yet of stone and lime,
But of thing like that that AEgyptian slime,
Whereof king Nine whilome built Babel towre;"

Yes, its made of Egyptian Slime.

It has creepy sacred patriarchal geometaries;

"The frame thereof seemed partly circulare,
And part triangulare, o work divine;
Those two the first and last proportions are,
The one imperfect, mortall, foemeinine;
Th'other immortall, perfect, masculine,
And twixt them both a quadrate was the base,
Proportioned equally by seven and nine;
None was the circle set in heavens place,
All which compacted made a goodly Diyapase."

Whatever. I think thats all we need to hear of that part.


Eventually Arthur and Guyon meet some girls;

"And eke emongst them litle Cupid playd
His wanton sports, being returned late
From his fierce warres, and having from him laid
His cruell bow, wherewith he thousands hath dismayd."

Yes, in this castle, Cupid is disarmed, which tells you everything you need to know about how fucking dull it is. Wait, it gets even more boring;

"Diverse delights they found them selves to please;
Some song in sweet consort, some laughed for joy,
Some plaid with strawes, some idly sat at ease;
But other some could not abide to toy,
All pleasaunce was to them griefe and annoy:
This fround, that faund, the third for shame did blush,
Another seemed anvious or coy,
Another in her teeth did gnaw a rush:
But at these strangers presence every one did blush."

It's impossible for me to tell if Spenser is taking the piss out of himself with this part.

Arthur meets Prays-desire who essentially kind of give him shit about not getting any further with his quest. Guyon meets Shamefastenesse, who is literally made of embarrassment and won't even look at him.


There is one good bit at the end, Alma has three advisers, one can see the future, one the present and one the past. All so classically standard, but the descriptions are very good;

"His chamber was dispainted all within,
With sundry colours, in the which were writ
Infinite shapes of things dispersed thin;
Some such as in the wrold were never yit,
Ne can devized be of mortall wit;
Some daily seene, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies do flit:
Infernall Hags, Centaurs, feendes, Hippodames,
Apes, Lions, AEgles, Owles, fooles, lovers, children, Dames.

And all the chamber filled was with flyes,
Which buzzed all about and made such sound,
That they encombred all mens ears and eyes,
Like many swarms of Bees assembled round,
After their hives with honny do about:
All those were idle thoughts and fantasies,
Devices, dreames, opinions unsound,
Shewes, visions, sooth-says, and prophesies;
And all the fained is, as leasings, tales, and lies.

Emongst them all sate he, which wonned there,
That hight Phantastes by his nature trew;
A man of years yet fresh, as mote appere,
Of swarth complexion and of crabbed hew,
That him full of melancholy did shew;
Bent hollow beetle broes, sharpe staring eyes,
That mad or foolish seemd: with ill disposed skyes,
When oblique Saturne sate in the house of agonyes."

Thats the first guy, there's also a now-guy who sits in a room;

"...... whose wals
Were painted faire with memorable gestes,
Of famous Wisards, and with picturals
Of Magistrates, of courst, of tribunals,
Of commen wealths of states, of pollicy,
Of lawes, of judgements, and of decretals;
All artes, all science, all Philosophy,
And all that in the world was aye thought wittily."

And then the old guy who thinks about the past, and its in this old library-room that Arthur and Guyon each find a book relevant to themselves.

Arthur finds Briton moniments "That of this lands first conquest did devize", and Guyon finds Antiquitie of Faerie lond, "Th'off-spring of Elves and Faries there he fond,".

"Wherat they burning both with fervant fire,
Their countries auncestry to understand,"

They sit down and read - what they read I think makes up the next Canto, which has 77 verses, making it the longest yet.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Wyde was the wound - FQ Book 2 Canto 8

Its a Baggins.

Our Hero spends most of this Canto knocked out while people fight over his body. Despite that sounding like the worst idea for a Canto ever, this one is almost entirely a giant raw-as fuck fight scene, at which Spenser is exceptionally good.

It also makes almost no practical sense in any way but I feel that anyone who cared about gave up on this some time ago.


We start with an usually militant and visionary opening statement. This is the first time we have ever started a Canto with a question;

"And is there care in heaven?"


"How oft do they with golden pineons cleave
The flitting skyes, like flying Pursuivant,
Against foule feends to aide us millitant?
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:"

And this explains and excuses one of a series of (logically) ridiculous  and (literal in one case (deux es machina) that allows for one thing: ACTION SCENE.

The Blacke Palmer has somehow crossed the Idle Lake and is wandering when he hears a voice calling. He follows it to find Guyon passed out and finds and actual literal motherfucking angel;

"Beside his head there sate a faire young man,
Of wonderous beautie, and of freshest yeares,
Whose tender bud to blossome new began,
And flourish faire above his equall peares;
His snowy front curled with golden heares,
Like _Phoebus_ face adornd with sunny rayes,
Decked with diverse plumes, like painted Jayes,
Were fixed at his backe, to cut his ayerie wayes."

I know its not a full appearance, but its the first mention we've had in a while;

The Angel tells the Palmer that Guyon is going to be OK, that the Angel will be watching out for him and to look after the guy and then BLAM;

"So having said, eftsoones he gan display
His painted nimble wings, and vanisht quite away."

The Palmer seeing his left empty place,
And his slow eyes beguiled of their sight,
Woxe sore affraid, and standing still a space,
Gaz'd after him, as fowle escapt by flight;"


But look out because team bad-guy is on the scene.;

"Two Payim knights, all armed as bright as skie,"

Pyrochles, Cymochles, Archimago and Atin have also got back together (somehow) and have lost none of their hatred for Guyon or absolute hypocritical dickishness;

"......... Thou dotard vile,
That with thy bruteness, shendst thy comley age,
Abandone soone, I read, the cative spoil
Of that same outcast carkasse,"

Now we have a long debate on whether its reasonable to chop up and rob the body of your dead/sleeping foe, with the Palmer being, unsurprisingly, against;

"Ville is the vengance on the ashes cold,
And envy base to bark at sleeping fame,
But leave these relicks of his living might,
To deck his herse, and trap his tomb-blacke steed."

Pyrochles replies;

"What herse or steed (said he) should he have dight*,
But be entombed in the raven or the kite?"

*dight - prepared.

(Also I got this bit wrong in the reading so my apologies.)

They are about to despoil Guyon when whom should arrive?



Pyrochles and Cymochles prepare to fight, Pyrochles has no sword, but Archimago does;

"The metall first he mixt with Medaewart,
That no enchauntment from his dint might save;
Then in flames of Aetna wrought apart,
And seven times dipped in the bitter wave
Of hellish Styx, which hidden vertue to it gave."

So this poison-infused, volcano-forged, hell-river-dipped blade is super magic, BUT, it is Arthurs own sword;

"Wherefore Morddure it rightfully is hight.
In vaine therefore, Pyrochles, should I lend
The same to thee, against his lord to fight,
For sure it would deceive thy labour, and thy might."

Pyrochles is like 'whatever, nerd,' grabs Morddure and Guyons shield and is off.

(By this point I think we just have to accept that Guyons sheild is going to re-grow between Cantos.)

Arthur asks what is going on and tries to calm things down with customary Arthurian tact;

"Palmer (said he) no knight so rude, I weene,
As to doen outrage to a sleeping ghost:
Ne was there ever noble courage seene,
That in advantage would his pussiance bost:
Honour is least, where oddes appeareth most.
May be, that better reason will asswage,
The rash revengers heat. Words well dispost
Have secret powre, t'appease inflamed rage:
If not, leave unto me thy knights last patronage."

This is Pyrochles he's talking about, so, like fuck will reason work;

"Pyrochles gan reply the second time,
And to him said, Now felon sure I read,
How that thou art partaker of his crime:
Therefore by Termagaunt thou shalt be dead."

So a battle is on!

Eugene Delacroix
This is not that fight but I couldn't find an illustration of it.

Pyrochles swings on Arthur, misses;

"The faithfull steele such treason no'uld endure,
But swarving from the marke, his Lords life did assure."

Arthur attacks with his spear;

"But ere the point arrived, where it ought,
That seven-fold shield, which he from Guyon brought
He cast betweene to ward the biter stound:
Though all those foldes the steelehead passage wrought
And through his shoulder pierst; wherwith to ground
He groveling fell, all gored in his gushing wound."

Cymochles sees this and freaks out;

"And fowly said, By Mahoune, cursed thief,
That direfull stroke thou dearly shalt aby."

And hits Arthur do hard on his crest he knocks him from his horse;

"Now was the Prince in daungerous distresse,
Wanting his sword, when he on foot should fight:"

Together they wail on Arthur;

"With hideous strokes, and importable powre,
That forced him his ground to traverse wide,
And wisely watch to ward that deadly stowre:"

Arthur strikes back;

"At proud Cymochles, whiles his shield was wyde,
That through his thigh the mortall steele did gryde:"

Pyrochles sees this and begins to weep and says;

"Catyive, cursse on thy cruell hond,
That twise hath sped; yet shall it not thee keepe"

He strikes again but Morddure still won't hit Arthur. However, Cymochles does manage to;

"... upon his troncheon smyte,
Which hewing quite a sunder, further way
It made, and on his hacqueston did lyte,
The which dividing with importune sway,
Is siezed in his right side, and there the dint did stay.

Wyde was the wound, and a large lukewarm flood,
Red as the Rose, thence gushed grievously;"

Arthurs in trouble, wounded and with no point to his spear, but Spenser is about to invent a Hollywood cliche;

"Whom when the Palmer saw in such distresse,
Sir, Guyons sword he lightly to him raught,
And said; faire Son, great God thy right hand blesse,
To use that sword so wisely as it ought."

Arthur comes back so hard his ferocity requires two new animal metaphors;

"Then like a Lion, which hath long time saught
His robbed whelpes, and at the last them fond
Emongst the shepheard swaynes, then wexeth wood and yond."


As salvage Bull, whom two fierce mastive bayt,
When rancour doth with rage him once engore,
Forgets with warie ward them to await,
But with his dreadful hornes them drives afore,
Or flings aloft, or treads down in the flore,
Breathing out wrath, and bellowing distaine,
That all the forrest quakes to heare him rore:"

But Arthur can't really hit Pyrochles much as he is warded by Guyons shield, painted with the Fairy Queen, the girl Arthur is into.

Cymochles sees they are maybe losing, freaks out and;

"Resolv'd to put away that loathly blame,
Or dye with honour and sesert of fame;"

He strikes Arthur so far it parts mail, bites flesh and makes him reel, but Arthur responds;

"He stroke so hugely with his borrowd blade,
That it empierst the Pagans burganet,
And cleaving the hard steele, did deep invade
Into his head, and cruell passage made
Quite through his braine."

Cymochles dies, and immediately goes straight to Hell (which is conveniently nearby if you remember the last Canto), presumably for all of those Nymphs he boned.

Pyrochles sees his brother die, he takes it about as well as you would expect;

"Traytour what hast thou doen? hoe ever may
Thy cursed hand so cruelly have swayd
Against that knight: Harrow and well away
After so wicked deed why liv'st thou longer day?"

Pyrochles Hulks out and uses his once-per-encounter attack. Arthur calmly endures this.

Pyrochles finally realises that Morddure won't hit Arthur full-on, throws down his blade and goes full WWE with a flying tackle;

"Thinking to overthrow and downe him tred;"

This does not work out the way he'd hoped, he ends up disarmed, on his back, with Arthurs blade at his throat. Pyrochles;

"Did not once move, nor upward cast his eye,
For vile distain and rancour, which did gnaw
His heart in twaine with sad melancholy,
As one that loathed life, and yet despised to dye."

Arthur offers him mercy. Pyrochles is having none of it;

"Foole (said the Pagan) I thy gift defye,
But use thy fortune, as it doth befall,
And say, that I not overcome do dye,
But in despight of life, for death to call."

For a moment it looks like we are going to get dumb, sleepy, stupidly-merciful Arthur.


"His shining Helmet he gan soone unlace,
And left his headlesse body  bleeding all the place."


The fight, over. Guyon wakes up;

"And sword saw not, he wexed wondrous woe:
But when the Palmer, whom he long ygoe
Had lost, he by him spide, right glad he grew,
And said, Deare sir, whom wandring to and fro
I long have lackt, I joy thy face to vew;
Firme is thy faith whom danger ever fro me drew."

And the rest is mere lyrical logistics.