Thursday, 30 November 2017

wicked discord - FQ Book 4 Canto 2

"Firebrand of hell first tynd in Phlegeton,
By thousand furies, and from thence out throwen
Into this world, to worke confusion,
And set it all on fire by force unknowen,
Is wicked discord, whose small sparkes once blowen
None but a God or godlike man can slake;
Such as was Orpheus, that when strife was growen
Amongst those famous ympes of Greece, did take
His filver Harpe in hand, and shortly friends did make."

But Orpheus is dead.

We open with Glauce still trying to calm down Scudamour. Blandamour and Paridell lay on as well. This is apparently still going on when they come upon Sir Ferraugh, the gentleman who took False Florimell from Braggadocio.

Paridell and Blandamour argue again over who should joust, eventually Blandamour takes the challenge, downs Ferraugh and grabs the demon-powered waifu-cyborg False Florimell, with whom he is very happy;

".. nathlesse proud man himselfe the other deemed,
Having so peerelesse paragon ygot:
For sure the fayrest Florimell him seemed,
To him was fallen for his happie lot,
Whose like alive on earth he weened not:
Therefore he her did court, did serve, did wooe,
With humblest suit that he imagine mot,
And all things did devise, and all things dooe,
That might her love prepare, and liking win theretoo."


"So great a mistress of her art she was,
And perfectly practiz'd in womans craft,
That though therein himselfe he thought to pas,
And by his false allurements wylie draft,
Had thousand women of their love beraft,
Yet now he was surpriz'd: for that false spright,
Which that same witch has in this forme engraft,
Was so expert in every subtile slight,
That it could ovverreach the wisest earthly wight."

False Florimell is like a devil-energy Bostromian A.I. with superios social engines.

Ate is displeased with this, and decides to do something about it by pushing Paridell to fight;

"By sundry meanes thereto she prickt him forth,
Now with remembrance of those spightfull speaches,
Now with opinion of his own more worth,
Now with recounting of like former breaches
Made in their friendship, as that Hag him teaches:
And ever when his passion is allayd,
She it revives and new occasion reaches..."

She tricks Paridell and Blandamour into fighting each other over Florimell and we get a new collision-verse (only now do I begin to wish I had been writing these down);

"As when two warlike Brigandines at sea,
With murdrous weapons arm'd to cruell fight,
Doe meete together on the watry lea,
They stemme each other with so fell despight,
That with the shocke of their owne heedlesse might,
Their wooden ribs are shaken nigh a sonder;
They which from shore behold the dreadfull sight
Of flashing fire, and heare the ordenance thonder,
Do greatly stand amaz'd at such unwonted wonder."

They fight brutally over several verses before interrupted by the Dame of Squires, who seems rather unsurprised that Florimell is alive. He advises them to team up as pretty much every knight alive is into Florimell and they will all try to take her and explains;

"... Herin, as thus. It lately so befell,
That Satyran a girdle did uptake,
Well knowne to appertaine to Florimell,
Whoch for her sake he wore, as he beseemed well.

But when as she her selfe was lost and gone,
Full many knights, that loved her like deare,
Thereat did greatly grudge, that he alone,
That lost faire Ladies ornament should weare,"

So Satyrane has proclaimed a big feast where all the Knight will bring their Ladies and they will fight for the golden girdle.

Since, he points out; "To you that ornament of hers pertaines", they should be the ones to win it.

"When they the reaason of his words had hard,
They gan abate the rancour of their rage,"

Paridell abd Blandamour put aside their differences, but Spenser points out this is not true friendship;

"So well accorded forth they rode together
In friendly sort, that lasted but a while;
And of all old dislikes they made faire weather,
Yet all was forg'd and spred with golden foyle,
That under it hidde hate and hollow guyle.
Ne certes can that friendship long endure,
How ever gay and goodly be the style,
That doth ill cause or evill end enure:
For vertue is the band, that bindeth harts most sure."

It is after this that our team of ultra-scumbags bump into the stated heroes of this Canto, who will probably be less interesting, but never mind.

"Couragious Cambell, and stout Triamond,
With Canacee and Cambine linkt in lovely bond."

The rest of the Canto is about the background and story of some of these, but before this Spenser tells us why he it telling this particular story; its fanfic.

Well sort of. The story is well-known and somehow lost? (The notes say Chaucer mentioned it but never told it.) It was told;

"With warlike numbers and Heroicke sound,
Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.

But wicked Time that all good thoughts doth waste,
And workes of noblest wits to nought out weare,
That famous moniment hat quite defaste,
And robd the world of threasure endlesse deare,"

So the story is gone, but Spenser is going to re-write it and add it again to the English canon. So, fan fic.

(We've seen that Shakespeare, about 15 or so years later was essentially writing Spenser Fan-Fic, now it turns out that Spenser was writing Chaucer fan-fic.)

Cambells sister is Canacee, described in this charming and somewhat Christine de Pizan-eque verse;

"..That was the learndest Ladie in her dayes,
Well seene in everie science that mote bee,
And every secret worke of natures wayes,
In wittie riddles, and in wise soothsayes,
In power of herbes, and tunes of beasts and burds,
And, that augmented all her other prayse,
She modest was in all her deedes and words,
And wondrous chast of life, yet lov'd of Knights and Lords."

A bit too loved as so many Knights and Lords are into her that it causes massive fights and discord between them.

Cambell tries to solve this by proposing;

"They by consent should chose the stoutest three,
That with himselfe should combat for her sake,
And of them all the victour should his sister take."

No-one will take Cambell up on this since, firstly, he is 'full of haughtie hardiment' and 'Approved oft in perils manifold', and secondly becasue he has a magic ring, given to him by his sister, which means he cannot bleed from mortal wounds.

The story of Triamond is quite different and has some rather unusual, almost Fairytale-like or Child-like verses to describe it;

"Amongst those knighte there were three brethren bold,
Three bolder brethren never were yborne,
Borne of one mother in one happie mold,
Borne at one burden in one happie morne,
Thrise happie mother, and thrise happie morne,
That bore three such, three such not to be fond;
Her name was Agape whose children werne
All three as one, the first hight Priamond,
The second Dyamond, the youngest Triamond.

Stout Priamond, but not so strong to strike,
Strong Diamond, but not so stout a knight,
But Triamond was stout and strong alike:
On horsebacke used Triamond to fight,
And Priamond on foote had more delight,
But horse and foote knew Diamond to wield:
With curtaxe used Diaomond to smite,
And Triamond to handle speare and shield,
But speare and curtaxe both used Priamond in field."

Agape is a Fay, who was raped by a Knight (thanks Edmund), the boys are half-fey but grow up boisterous, knightly and dangerous and their mother is afraid for them;

"Therefore desirous th'end of all their dayes
To know, and them t'enlarge with long extent,
By wondroud skill, and many hidden wayes,
To the three fatall sisters house she went.
Farre under ground from tract of living went,
Downe in the bottome of the deepe Abysse,
Where Demogorgon in dull darknesse pent,
Farre from the view of Gods and heavens blis,
The hideous Chaos keepes, their dreadfull dwelling is."

There she talks with the three fates and gets them to show her the three threads of her three sons;

"And when she saw, it did her much amate,
To see their thrids so thin, as spiders frame,
And eke so short, that seemed their ends out shortly came."

Walter Crane
She begs the fate to change the threads, which they say they will never do, but she does make this request;

"Graunt this, that when ye shred with fatall knife
His line, which is the eldest of the three,
Which is of them the shortest, as I see,
Eftsoones his life may passe into the next;
And then the next shall likewise ended bee,
that both their lives may likewise be annext
Unto the third, that his may so be trebly wext.

They graunted it;"

Agape does not tell her three sons their destinies, but warns them to 'tend their safties well' and 'Love each other deare, what ever them befell'.

Which they do.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Team Rocket is Back - Book 4 Proem and Canto 1

In the proem to Book Four, Spenser starts us off with a complete 360 turnaround, love, formerly pretty fucked up, is now great;

"Such ones ill judge of love that cannot love,
Ne in their frosen hearts feel kindly flame:
For thy they ought not thing unknowne reprove,
Ne naturall affection faultless blame,
For fault of few that have abusd the same.
For it of honor and all verue is
The roote, and brings forth glorious flowres of fame,
That crowne true lovers with immortal blis,
The meed of them that love, and do not live amisse."

He also appeals to Elizabth as the Queen of Love to 'please read this Liiizzzz'.

And we are into Canto One.


We begin with Spenser going on about how sad his story is (going to be);

"My softened heart so sorely doth constraine,
That I with teares full oft doe pittie it,
And oftentimes doe wish it never had bene writ."

This is the latest of a long series of Spenser highlighting his own limitations relative to the story in order to build hype. He’s been too simple to 'rime' a tale so great, he's called upon the muse Calliope, but in fearful terms because she's so amazing, he's talked about his own muse being too petty to record such greatness and he's talked about Elizabeth being so magnificent that he's ashamed to tell her the story. Now we get the story being so sad that it breaks him to tell it.

It's a good job no-one believes a fucking word you say isn't it Edmund because they would just stop listening, you being so fucking rubbish and all.

Anyway, a bit with Scudamore first, thinking about how he got Amoret in a fight and then had her stolen by an enchanter before they got to bone on the wedding night. This is our first hint of a background to that particular tale.

Then we go to Amoret, lately rescued by Britomart. Amoret is super-hot on staying a virgin (she literally had her heart cut out over it last canto), and is freaking out somewhat because she thinks Britomart is a man;

"Thereto her feare was made so much the greater
Through fine abusion of that Briton mayd:
Who for to hide her fained sex the better,
And maske her wounded mind, both did and sayd
Full many things so doubtfull to be wayd,
That well she wist to her she purpos made
Of love, and otherwise of lustfulnesse,
That much she feard his mind would grow to some excesse."

They both come to a castle where the deal is that you have to win a 'love or lemman' or 'lye without the dore.'

A 'jolly knight' claims Amoret. At this Britomart 'wexed inlie wroth' and says;

'to lose she was full loth.
But either he should neither of them have, or both.'

Britomart takes the guy down easily. But, being Britomart, feels bad for the knight and doesn't want him locked out of the castle. She claims Amoret;

"Then since that strange knights love from him was quitted,
She claim'd that to her selfe, as Ladies det,
He as a Knight might justly be admitted;
So none should be outshut, sith all of love were fitted."

Then we get another Magnificent Hair Scene;

"With that her glistring helmet she unlaced;
Which doft, her golden lockes, that were up bound
Still in a knot, unto her helles downe traced,
And like a silken veile in compasse round
About her backe and all her bodie wound:
Like as the shining skie in summers night,
What time the dayes with scorching heat abound,
Is creasted all with lines of firie light,
That is prodigious seemes in common peoples sight."

The crowd is bemused by this;

"Some, that it was a maske of strange disguise:
So diversely each one did sundrie doubts devise."

But the other Knight is cool with it and at least 'Amoret now freed from feare, More franke affection did to her afford,’.

They wake the next day and wander long, eventually they come upon two Knights, with two Ladies, BUT; 'Ladies none they were, albee in face'.

In fact this is 'false Duessa' who I'm sure we're all glad to see return from wherever she was last time, I think it was a cave or a wilderness or something.

Duessa has her magic back and so is hott again;

"For she could d'on so manie shapes in sight;
As ever could Cameleon colours new;"

The second Lady is even better, because Duessa, presumably needing evil backup since Archimago was benched, has gone straight to Hell to raise the Goddess of Discord herself; Ate, of Trojan Wars fame, and who gets a whole range of excellent verses in description. I'll show you two. Her dwelling place;

"And all within the riven walls were hung
With ragged monuments of times forepast,
All which the sad effects of discord sund,
There were rent robes, and broken scepters plast,
Altars defyl'd, and holy things defast,
Disshivered speares, and shields ytorne in twaine,
Great cities ransackt, and strong castles rast,
Nations captived, and huge armies slaine:
Of all which ruines there some relicks did remaine."

Her form;

"Her face most fowle and filthy was to see,
With squinted eyes contrarie wayes intended,
And loathly mouth, unmeete a mouth to bee,
That nought but gall and venim comprehended,
And wicked wordes that God and man offended:
Her lying tongue was in two parts divided,
And both the parts did speake, and both contended;
And as her tongue, so was her hart discided,
That never thoght one thing, but doubly stil was guided."

The Knights are a guy called Blandamour and our old friend Paridell, making for an excellent team of sleazebags.

They see Britomart, Blandamour recommends that Paridell take her on but Paridell remembers being crushed by Britomart previously and offers Blandamour the joust.

Britomart takes him down; 'Which done, she passed forth not taking leave,' and the point of view passes, as before, on the point of a spear and we follow team bad-guy for a while.

Team Rocket comes upon two more knights. Blandamour recognises Scudamore;

"For they he thus to Paridel bespake,
Faire Sir, of friendship let me now you pray,
That as I late adventured for your sake,
The hurst whereof me now from battle stay,
Ye will me now with like good turne repay,
And justifie my cause on yonder knight.
Ah Sir (said Paridell) do not dismay
Your selfe for this, my selfe will for you fight,
As ye have done for me: the left hand rubs the right."

They race upon each other;

"As when two billowes in the Irish sowndes,
Forcibly driven with contrarie tydes
Do meete together, each abacke rebowndes
With roaring rage; and dashing on all sides,
That filleth all the sea with fome, divydes
The doubtfull current into divers wayes:
So fell those two in spight of both their prydes,
But Scudamour himselfe did soone uprayse,
And mounting light his foe for lying long upbrayes."

Paridell is 'all mazed', in a glassic ‘Pyrochles-esque example of ‘bad knighthood’, Blandamour acts like a little bitch about the whole thing, but Scudamor manages to keep his temper.

Duessa mocks Scudamore;

"Ne be ye wroth Sir Scudamour therefore,
That she your love list love another knight,"

Then Ate breaks out the high-level motherfuckery;

".. Both foolish knights, I can but laugh at both,
That strive and storme with stirre outrageous,
For her that each of you alike doth loth,
And loves another, with whome now she goth
In lovely wise, and sleepes, and sports, and playes;
Whiles both you here with many a cursed oth,
Sweare she is ours, and stirre up bloudie frayes,
To win a willow bough, whilest other weares the bayes.
I saw (quoth she) a stranger knight..
I saw him have your _Amoret_ at will,
I saw him kisse, I saw him her embrace,
I saw him sleepe with her all night his fill,
All manie nights, and manie by in place,
That present were to testifie the case."

That is how you get promoted to Goddess of Discord.

Scudamore 'ne word he had to speake for great dismay', 'But lookt on Glauce grim, who woxe afeard'. Glauce, Britmarts nurse, is still with Scudamore and presumably still in disguise as a man.

At Scudamours 'change of cheere', Blandamour 'woxe full blithe', 'and gan thereat to triumph without victorie.'

Scudamour starts to have a complete breakdown and blames Glauce;

"False traitour squire, false squire, of falsest knight,
Why doth mine hand from thine avenge abstaine,
Whose Lord hath done my love this foule despight?
Why do I not it wreake, on thee now in my might?"

"The aged Dame him seeing so enraged,
Was dead with feare, nathlesse as neede required,
His flamine furie sought to have assuaged
With sober words, that sufferance desired,
Till time they tryall of her truth expyred:
And evermore sought Britomart to cleare.
But he that more with furious rage was fyred,
And thrise his hand to kill her did upreare,
And thrise he drew it backe: so did at last forbeare."

Book Four Canto One

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

huge mischiefe, and vile villany - FQ Book 3 Canto 12

Waiting in the darkness, Britomart hears 'a shrilling Trompet sound aloud', then 'an hideous storme of winde arose', there's lightning, every door swings and claps, this goes on for two hours, then;

".. forth issued, as on the ready flore
Of some Theatre, a grave personage,
That in his hand a branch of laurell bore,
With comely haveour and count'nance sage,
Yclad in costly garments, fit for tragicke Stage."

He stands as if in a play and beckoning an audience to Silence;

"And passing by, his name discovered,
Ease, on his robe in golden letters cypered."

Then come "Minstrals, making goodly meriment,
With wanton Bardes, and Rymers impudent,"

It's the start of another Spencerian Parade of Monsterous Qualities. If you remember the monstrous wizard advisors from the House of Pride in Book One, this is similar to that. Its worth reading but I will try to leap through it with some speed;

".. Fancy, like a lovely boy," dancing, waving a fan and wearing plumes.

Then "..amorous Desyre," older, with ambroidered bonnet say arawy and carrying kindled sparks.

Then Doubt, in 'discolour'd cote, of strange disguyse', treding as if he fears thorns or 'that the flore to shrinke he did avyse'.

Then 'Daunger' clothed in Bears skin, with net and rusty blade, one to stab foes the other to enwrap friends.

Fear, fully armoured, with a brasen sheild in his right hand. Fixing his eye on Danger and afraid of the sight or sound of his own arms;

"he fast away did fly,
As ashes pale of hew, and winged heeld;"

Now Hope, a handsome maid, sprinkling favours;
"On whom she list, and did great liking sheowe,
Great liking unto many, but true love to feowe."

Then Dissemblance, another fair maid, but her hair is a wig and her clothes 'painted and purloynd, and Suspect, foul and grim who walks with a lattice before his face.

Then Grief, who has pincers to pinch people to the heart; 'That from thenceforth a wreched life they lad,'. And Fury, a woman in rags, tearing her clothes and her own hair, wielding a firebrand and roaming here and there; ;

"As a dismayed Deare in chace embost,
Forgetfull of his safety, hath his right way lost."

Then Displeasure and Plesance;

"That evil matched paire they seemd to bee:
And angry Waspe th'one in a viall had:
Th'other in hers an hony-lady Bee;"

Then finally the 'most fiare Dame' herself, tortured by 'gryslie villains Despight and Cruelty and carrying her own heart, torn from her chest, in a silver bowl.

Then finally;

"Next after her the winged God himselfe
Came riding on a Lion ravenous,


And did survay his goodly company:
And marshalling the evill ordered traine,
With that the darts whcih his right hand did straine,
Full dredfully he shooke that all did quake,
And clapt on hie his couloured winges twaine,
Ahat all his many it affraide did make:
Tho blinding him againe, his way he forth did take."

Then a whoooole bunch of other qualities rushes after;

"There were full many moe like maladies,
Whose names and natures I note readen well;
So many moe, as there be phantasies
In wavereing wemens wit, that none can tell,
Or paines in love, or punishments in hell:
All which disguized marcht in maskin wise,
About the chamber with that Damozell,
And then returned,m having marched thrise,
Into the inner roome, from whence they first did rise."

Then they disappear and Brit doesn't know what to do, then adopts and rather unknightly attitude;

"Where force might not availe, there sleights and art
She cast to use, both fit for hard emprize;
For thy from that same roome not to depart
Till morrow next, she did her selfe avize,
When that same Maske againe should forth arize.
The morrow next appeard with joyous cheare,
Calling men to their daily exercize,
Then she, as morrow fresh, her selfe did reare
Out of her secret stand, that day for out to weare."

Yep, the old wait in the castle till the door opens trick. It works too and she finds the missing Lady tied up with 'yron bands', 'unto a brasen pillour', and a creepy wizard;

"And her before the vile Enchaunter sate,
Figuring straunge characters of his art,
With living bloud he those characters wrate,
Dreadfully dropping from her dying hart,
Seeming transfixed with a cruell dart,
And all perforce to make her him to love.
Ah who can love the worker of her smart?
A thousand charmes he formerly did prove;
Yet thousand charmes could not her stedfast heart remove."

Yes, it was just some nerd with magic, obsessed with a hot girl.

Brittomart redeems Faire Amoret by William Etty
Britomart nearly kills the guy but the Lady says only he can release her with his magic so Brit breaks out the knightly threats;

"And to him said, Thou wicked man, whose meed
For so huge mischiefe, and vile villany
Is death, or if that ought do death exceed,
Be sure, that nought may save thee from to dy,
But if that thou this Dame doe presently
Restore unto her health, and former state;
This doe and live, else die undoubtedly.
He glad of life that lookt for death but late,
Did yield himselfe right willing to prolong his date."

The Freeing of Amoret Macklin's British Poets
Well, everything works out, the 'bleeding brest' and 'riven bowels' of the Lady heal up, the brasen pillar shatter, the yorn chains fall and they all walk out of a perfectly ordinary castle now stripped of illusions.

Only to find that Scudamore, having waited for ages, and assuming Britomart dead in the flames that burnt him, has left, with Britomarts squire/nurse Glauce.

End of Book Three.



Well don't worry becasue the original 1590 version had a much better ending and the Penguin book includes this as an addendum;

Here they escape the castle and Scudamore is there waiting and runs to his girl;

"Like as a Deare, that greedily embayes
In the coole soile, after long thirstinesse,"

"Lightly he clipt here twixt his armes twaine,
And streightly did embrace her body bright,
Her body, late the prison of sad paine,
Now the sweet lodge of love and deare delight:
But she faire Lady overcommen quight
Of huge affection, did in pleasure melt,
And in sweete ravishment pourd out her spright.
No word they spake, nor earthly thing they felt,
But like two sencele stocks in long embracement dwelt."

That's the end of Book Three.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Be Bold - FQ Book 3 Canto 11

Spencer opens pointing out how terrible Jealousy is; 'Of all the passions in the mind thou vilest art.' and how good Love is by comparison.

Then we quickly return to Britomart (finally), who sees a giant chasing a young man;

"..It was that Ollyphant, the brother deare
Of that Argante vile and vitious,
From whom the Squire of Dames was reft whylere;
This all as bad as she, and worse ought were.

For as the sister did in feminine
And filthy lust exceede all woman kind,
So he surpassed his sex masculine,
I beastly use that I did ever find;"

Sir Satyrane is there with her and together they chase the giant, who quickly abandons the boy hes after and runs for it. Quite effectively;

"For he was long, and swift as any Roe,
And now made better speed, t'escape he feared foe."

He is also scared of Briomat specifically; 'For he the powre of chast hands might not beare,', which raises the image of the virgin lightly picking up the giant like an empty carboard box.

Unfortunately Briomart does not get to do this, but instead comes upon a sorrowful Knight;

"His face upon the ground did groveling ly,
As if he had bene slombring in the shade,"

This is Sir Scudamore, lamenting at some length, as Knights are wont to do, about his captured girl and how there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, that anyone can do about it;

"There an huge heape of singulfes did oppresse
His strugling soule, and swelling throbs empeach
His foltring toung with pangs of drerinesse,
Choking the remnant of his plaintife speach,
As if his days were come to their last reach.
Which when she heard, and saw the ghastly fit,
Threatning into his life to make a breach,
Both with great ruth and terrour she was smit,
Feareing least from her cage the wearie soule would flit."

Britomart tries to help him and get him back in Knighting shape, but he just goes on about his girl, the 'tyraunt', blacke Magicke', 'dungeon deepe', 'dreadfull feends' etc etc.

"With this sad hearsall of his heavy stresse,
The warlike Damizell was empassioned sore,
And said; Sir knight, your cause is nothing lesse,
Than is your sorrow, certes if not more;
For nothing so much pitty doth implore,
As gentle Ladies helplesse misery.
But yet, if please ye listen to my lore,
I will with proofe of her last extremity,
Deliver her fro thence, or with her for you dy.

Ah gentlest knight alive, (said Scudamore)
What huge heroicke magnamity
Dwels in thy bounteous brest? what couldst thou more,
If she were thine, and thou as now am I?
O spare they happy dayes, and them apply
To better boot, but let me dye, that ought;
More is more losse: one is enough to dy.
Life is not lost, (said she) for whic h is bought
Endlesse renowm, that more then death is to be sought."

So off they go to the surprisigly close magic castle where his girl is, only to find, blocking the entry, not dudes, or feends, but fire. Magic fire.

"Greatly thereat was Britomart dismayd,
Ne in that stownd wist, how her selfe to beare;
For daunger vaine it were, to have assayd
That cruell element, which all things feare,
yet none can suffer to approachen neare:
And turning backe to Scudamour, thus sayd;
What monsterous enmity provoke we here,
Foolhardy as th'Earthes children, the which made
Battell against the Gods? so we a God invade.

Daunger without discretion to attempt,
Inglorious and beastlike is: therefore Sir knight,
Aread what course of you is safest dempt,
And how we with our foe may come to fight."

Wise words from Britomart, which she almost instantly ignores;

"Therewith resolv'd to prove her utmost might,
Her ample shield she threw before her face,
And her swords point directing forward right,
Assayld the flame, the which eftsoones gave place,
And did it selfe divide with equall space,
That through she passed; as a thunder bolt
Perceth the yielding ayre, and doth desplace
The soring clouds into sad sowres ymolt;
So to her yold the flames, and did their force revolt."

Knightly as fuck

Britomart can pass through the flames but Scudamore is stopped 'all scorcht and pitifully brent'.

Britomart goes into the castle and discovers no-one, eventually she finds a kind of treasure store;

"For round about, the wals yclothed were
With goodly arras of great majesty,
Woven with gold and silk so close and near,
That the rich metall lurked privily,
And faining to be hid from envious eye;
Yet here, and there, and every where unwares
It shewd it selfe, and shone unwillingly;
Like a discolourd Snake, whose hidden snares
Through the greene gras his long bright burnist backe declares."

This tapestry is another long tale-within-a-tale, this one is about Cupids war against the Gods and how he perpetually dicks them about and ruins everything.

Its a list of Zeuses creepy transformations to start with, so that's pretty long, then the other Gods get in there with a few. It's long and is summed up in verse 45;

"Ne did her spare (so cruell was the Elfe)
His owne deare mother, (ah why should he so?)
Ne did he spare sometime to pricke himselfe,
That he might tast the sweet consuming woe,
Which he had wrought to many others moe.
But to declare the mournfull Tragedyes,
And spoils, wherewith he all the ground did strow,
More eath to number, with how many eyes
High heaven beholds sad lovers nightly theeueryes.


And round about a border was entrayld,
Of broken bowes and arrowes shivered short,
And a long bloudy river through them rayld,
So lively and so like, that living sence it fayld."

Then she finds a creepy altar of Cupid as 'The Victor of the Gods' which people worship at commiting 'fowle Idolatree'. She keeps seeing the words 'be bold written everywhere 'yet could not find what sence it figured'.

Then she finds another creepy treasure room;

"..Wrought with wilde Antickes, whch their follies playd,
In the rich metall, as they living were:
A thousand monstrous formes therein were made,
Such as false love doth oft upon him weare,
For love in thousand monsrous formes doth oft appeare."


And as she lookt about, she did behold,
How over that same dore was likewise writ,
Be bold, be bold and every where Be bold,
That much she muz'd, yet could not construe it
By any ridling skill, or commune wit.
At last she spyde at that roomes upper end,
Another yron dore, on which was writ,
Be not too bold; whereto though she did bend
Her earnest mind, yet wist not what it might intend."

And there she stays, waiting, till eventide

"Yet living creature none she saw appeare:"


He nould be clogd. - FQ Book 3 Canto 10

We get a guest appearance in line one;

"The morrow next, so soone as Phoebus Lamp"

Back once again for the Renegade Master
Paridell fakes being injured so he can hang out with Hellinore. Malbecco suspects everything but;

"Fond is the feare, that finds no remedie;"

His marriage is doomed. Paridell pulls a lot of creppy bullshit to get with Hellinore;

"..He sigh'd. he sobd, he swownd, he perdy dyde,
And cast himselfe on ground her fast besyde:
Tho when againe he him bethought to live,
He wept, and wayld, and false laments belyde,
Saying but if she Mercie would him give
That he mote algates dye, yet did his death forgive."

All of this works and Hellinore forms a plan;

"..She to his closet went, where all his wealth
Lay hid: thereof the countlesse summes did reare,
Thw which she meant away with her to beare;
The rest she fyr'd for sport, or for despight;
As Hellene when she saw aloft appeare
The Trojan flames, and reach to heavens hight
Did clap her hands, and joyed at that dolefull sight."

She then acts like Paridell is abducting her and halls for help. Malbecco sees his teasure on fire and quite literally doesn't know which way to turn;

"Ay when to him she cryde, to her he turnd,
And left the fire; love money overcame:
But when he marked, how his money burnd,
He left his wife; money did love disclame:
Both was he loth to loose his loved Dame,
And loth to leave his liefest pelfe behind,
Yet sith he n'ote save both, he sa'd that same,
Which was the dearest to his donghill mind,
The God of his desire, the joy of misers blind."

Hellinore and Paridell run for it. Malbecco fights the flames and when the dust settles and he sees 'how his loss did lye', he has a minor breakdown;

"Full deepe emplonged was, and drowned nye,
Twixt inward doole and felonous despight"

Eventually he decides to search for Hellinore, takes some treasure, leaves the rest in the ground and searches 'farre and nere', 'But all in vaine'. He can find neither of them.

Eventually he spies someone;

"Well weened he, that those the same mote bee,
And as he better did their shape avize,
He seemed more their manner did  agree;
For th'one was armed all in warlike wize,
Whom, to be Paridell he did devize;
And th'other all yclad in garmets light,
Discolour'd like to womanish disguise,
He did resemble to his Ladie bright;
And ever his faint hart much earned at the sight."


".. it was scornefull Braggadoccio,
That with his servant Trompart hoverd there,"

Braggadoccio awes Malbecco with his warlike nature. Trompart gets him to tell his griefe and show is smart. After Malbecco explains what has happened he begs for help and;

"With that out of his bouget forth he drew
Great store of treasure, therewith him to tempt;
But he on it lookt scornefully askew,
As much disdeigning to be so misdempt,
Or a war-monger to be basely nempt;
And said; thy offers base I greatly loth,
And eye thy words uncurteous and unkempt;
I tread in dust thee and they money both,
That, were it not for shame, So turned from him wroth."

Trompart knows;

"that his maisters humor knew
In lofty lookes to hide an humble mind,"

And persuades Braggadocio to change his mind and embark on the quest to retrieve Hellinore;

"Bigge looking like a doughty Doucepere,
At last he thus; Thou clod of vilest clay,
I pardon yield, and with thy rudenesse beare;
But weete henceforth, that all that golden pray,
And all that else the vine world vaunten may,
I loath as doung, ne deeme my dew reward:
Fame is my meed, and glory vertues pray.
But minds of mrtall men are muchell mard,
And mov'd amisse with massie mucks unmeet regard."

I love it when Braggadocioloses himself in the character. He swears by Sanglamort, his sword, to fulfill the quest, and off they go.

They wander the world for the standard chivalric unit of indeterminite time, then they see Paridell, alone!;

"For having flicht her bels, her up he cast
To the wide world, and let her fly alone,
He nould be clogd. So had he served many one."

Malbecco nearly faints with fear, Braggadoccio pretends to do something with the horses, Malbecco asks about Hellinore;

"I take no keepe of her (said Paridell)
She wonneth in the forrse there before.
So forth he rode, as his adventure fell."

And thats literally all he says to them.

Malbecco still wants to find Hellinore and so to search the forest. Tormpart warns him about its dangers and advises him to bury his treasure somewhere first, he and Braggadocio will go somewhere off and blindfold themselves to maintain security.

So in they go. Though terrified by 'shrieking Hububs' they do in fact find Hellinore, she is romping with Satyrs as their May Queen.

They dance all day and then, as 'Phoebus gan to hide his golden hed.';

D4 damager, power to the people
"Tho up they gan their marry pipes to trusse,
And all their goodly herds did gather round,
But every Satyr first did give a busse
To Hellinore: so busses did abound.
Now gan the humid vapour shed the ground
With perly deaw, and th'Earthes gloomy shade
Did dim the brightness of the welkin round,
That every bird and beast awarned made,
To shrowd themselves, whiles sleepe their senses did invade.

Which when Malbecco saw, out of his bush
Upon his hands and feete he crept full light,
And like a GOte emongst the Gotes did rush,
That through the helpe of his faire hornes on hight,
And misty dampe of misconceiving night,
And eke through likeness of his gotish beard,
He did the better conterfeite aright:
So home he marcht emongst the horned heard,
That none of all the Satyres hem espyde or heard."

He finds Hellinore and whispers to her all night, promising that they can go back and things will be as before;

"But she it all refused at one word,
And by no meanes would to his will be wonne,
But chose amongst the jolly Satyrs still to wonne.

Eventually he is butted by the waking heard and, before morning comes, runs for it, not looking behind him;

"Ne stayd he, till he came unto the place,
Where late his treasure he entombed had,
Where when he found it not (for Trompart bace
Had it purloyned for his miaster bad:)
With extreme fury he became quite mad,
And ran away, rean with himselfe away:
That who so straungely had hom seene bestad,
With upstart haire, and staring eyes dismay,
From Limbo lake him late escaped sure would lay."

The last part of the Canto really is magnificent and I advise reading or listening to it yourself, this is one of the good ones. Eventually Malbecco comes to a cliff and hurls himself off it to die, but;

".. through long anguish, and selfe-murdring thought
he was so wasted and forpined quight,
That all his substance was consume'd to nough,
And nothing left, but likke and aery Spright,
That on the rockes he fell so flit and light,
That he thereby receiv'd no hurt at all,"

He climbs into a hole in the cliff and lairs there, never sleeping, in continual fear, feeding on toads and frogs which turn his blood to poison and bile, neither dying nor living;

"There dwels he ever, miserable swaine,
Hatefull both to him selfe, and every wight;
Where he through privy griefe, and horrour vaine,
Is woxen so deform'd, that he has quight
Forgot he was a man, and Gealosie is hight."

It was an origin story! Catch Gealosie in his next shared-universe appearance, Shakespeares Othello, in only 14 years time!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Don't let these Scumbags into your castle FQ Book 3 Canto 9

The castle to which the two knights are denied entry is that of Malbecco, a 'Cacred crabbed Carle';

"That has no skill of Court of courtesie,
Ne cares, what men say of him ill or well;
For all his dayes he drownes in privitie,
Yet has full large to live, and spend at libertie.

But all his mind is set on mucky pelfe,
To hoors up heapes of evil gotten masse,
For which he others wrongs, and wreckes himselfe;
Yet he is licked to a lovely lasse,
Whose beauty doth her bounty far surpasse,
The which to him both far unequall yeares,
And also far unlike conditions has;
For she does joy to play amongst her peares,
And to be free from hard restraint and gealous feares."

But he is old and withered like hay,
Unfit faire Ladies service to supply;
The privie guilt whereof makes him alway
Suspect her truth and keep continuall spy.."

And thats why malbecco won't let anyone into his castle, it is Malbeccos attempt to control his wife. Satyrane notes his own opinions on the treatment of women which combine Rennaisane mysogony and almost proto-femenism in a quite remarkable way;

"In vaine he fears that, which he cannot shonne:
For who wotes not, that womans subtiltyes
Can guilen _Argus_, when she list misdonne?
It is not yron bandes, nor hundred eyes,
Nor brasen walls, nor many wakefull spyes,
That can withhold her wilfull wandring feet;
But fast good will with gentle curtesyes,
And timely service to her pleasures meet
May her perhaps containe, that else would algates fleet."

So women are too cunning and amoral to contain by force, so, for that reason, the best way to control them is to actually be nice to them and help them do what they want.

No one will let Satyrane or Paridell in, no matter what they say. Then a terrible storm comes on 'With shoure and hayle so horrible and dred' that they have to seek shelter somewhere and the only available place is 'a little shed, The which beside the gate for swine was ordered.'

Then another Knight arrives at the castle 'and with earnest mone, Like as the rest, late enterance deare besought;' and has the same luck. So this new knight also goes to the swine shack.

Unfortunately, there is not enough room for all the Knights;

"Both were full loth to leave that needfull tent,
And both full loth in darkenesse to debate;
Yet both full liefe him lodging to have lent,
And both full liefe his boasting to abate;
But chiefly _Paridell_ his hart did grate,
To heare him threaten so despightfully,
As if he did a dogge to kenell rate,
That durst not barke; and rather had he dy,
Then when her was defide, in coward corner ly.

So its time for perhaps the most ignominious Knight-Fight yet. They go at each other in the storm and both are knocked down by the other; 'That each awhile lay like a sencelesse corse'. Paridells squire drags him to his feet and he's about to lay in with his sword until Satyrane;

"..forth stepping, did them stay
And with faire treaty pacifide their ire."

And comes up with an extremely Vancian idea;

"Then when they were accorded from the fray,
Against taht Castles Lord they gan conspire,
To heape on him dew vengeaunce for his hire.
They bene agreed, and to the gates they goe
To burne the same with unquenchable fire,
And that uncurteous carle their commune foe
To do fowle death to dye, or wrap in grievous woe."

Malbecco hears this going on and quickly lets them in, blaming everything on his stupid servants. At this point the third knight takes off their helm;

"And eke that straunger knight emongst the rest,
Was for like need anforst to disaray:
Tho whenas vailed was her loftie crest,
Her golden locks, that were in tramels gay
Upboundedn, did them selves adowne display,
And raught unto her heeles; like sunny beames,
That in a cloud their light did long time stay,
Their vapour vaded, shew their golden gleames,
And through the persant aire shoote forth their azure streames."

It's Britomart! And her amazing hair.

Malbecco offers them dinner but says his wife cant attend. They accept no excuses and insist. Eventually she arrives. She and Paridell flirt it up beyond the awareness of her husband. Some of those verses are very good;

Walter Crane
"And ever and anone, when none was ware,
With speaking lookes, that close embassage bore,
He ro'd at her, and told his secret care:
For all that are he learned had of yore.
Ne was she ignoraunt of that lewd lore,
But in his eye his meaning wisely red,
And with the like him answerd evermore:
She sent at him one firie dart, whose hed
Empoisoned was with privy lust, and gealous dred.

He from that deadly throw made no defence,
But to the wound he weake hart opened wyde;
The wicked engine through false influence,
Past through his eyes and secretly did glyde
Into his hart, which it did sorely gryde.
But nothing new to him was that same paine,
Ne paine at all; for he so oft in vaine,
That thing of course he counted, love to entertaine.

Thenceforth to her he sought to intimate
His inward griefe, by meanes to him well knowne,
Now _Bacchus_ fruit out of the silver plate
He on the table dast, as overthrowne,
And by the dauncing bubbles did divine,
Or therin write to let his love be showne;
Which well she red out of the lerned line,
A sacrament prophane in mistery of wine.

And when so of his hand the pledge she raught,
The guilty cup she fained ti mistake,
And in her lap did shed her idle draught,
Shewing desire her inward flame to slake:
By such close signes they secret way did make
Unto their wills, and one eyes watch escape;
Two eyes him needeth, for to watch and wake,
Who lovers will decieve. Thus was the ape,
By thair faire handling, put into _Malbeccoes_ cape."

Pouring your drink into your cratch becasue you are horny is not a 'close signe'.

The rest of the Canto is somewhat dull. Britomart talks about linaige for a bit and we go into the bistory of Britian AGAIN.

The reason for this in the text I think is becasue, on the allegorical level, a number of very complex things are happening. Paridell is meant to be Paris, of the story of Troy, the guys wife is meant to be Helen. Malbecco is an italian compound storngly suggesting 'cuckold'. Britomart is arguing that Britian is a 'Third Troy' (Rome was Troy II), becasue we britons descend from Romans. So the two troy-linked stories and allegories are mirroring each other in a number of deep and complex ways so that, if you are a Rennaisance Courtier you might be thinking 'Damn, this is some deeeep shit'.

But we are not Rennaisance Courtiers, but the filthy Demos, and from the future too and we are here for the highlights and to us (me) its dull.

The finale verse is pretty good;

"So long these knights discoursed diversly,
Of straunge affaires, and noble hardiment,
Which they has past with mickle jeopardy,
That now the humid night was farforth spent,
And heavenly lampes were halfendeale ybrent:
Which the'old man seeing well, who too long thought
Every discourse and every argument
Which by the houres he measured, besaought
Them go to rest. So all unto their bowres were brought."

Friday, 24 November 2017

Black Magic Sex Golem, Mark Two - FQ Book 3 Canto 8

The witch sees that her beast returned, covered with blood and wrapped with Florimells girdle. Either it cannot speak or she asks no questions becasue she assumes Florimell is dead and runs right off to tell her son, who then goes right back to his misery;

"With thought wherof, exceeding mad he grew,
And in his rage his mother would have slaine,"

There's only one way to solve this problem = Black Magic Sex Golem.

"The substance, whereof she the bodie made,
Was purest snow in massie mould congealed,


In stead of eyes two burning lampes she set
In silver sockets, shyning like the skyes,
And a quicke moving Spirit did arret
To stirre and roll them, like a womans eyes;
In stead of yellow lockes she did devise,
With golden wire to weave her curled head;
Yet golden wire was not so yellow thrise
As Florimells faire haire: and in the stead
Of life, she put a Spright to rule the carkasse dead."

This particular Spright is actually male, and apparently used to hang out with Lucifer; "Which with the Prince of Darkness fell somewhile," and "in counterfeisance did excell"

The churlish son is happy with fake Florimell, who, like the real Florimell, still won't bone him, but they go wandering about in the forest....

"Till on a day, as he disposed was
To walke the woods with the his Idole faire,
Her to disport, and idle time to pas,
In th'open freshnesse of the gentle aire,
A knight that way there chaunced to repaire;
Yet knight he was not, but a boastfull swaine,
That deedes of armes had ever in despaire,
Proud Braggadocchio, that in vaunting vaine
His glory did repose, and credit did maintaine."

Braggadoccio takes the fake Florimell and is very happy with himeself, until they come upon another, un-named knight who;

".......... looked grim,
And fain'd to cheare his Ladie in dismay;
Who seem'd for feare to quake in evry lim,
And her to save from outrage, meekly prayed him."

Braggadoccio talks a good game;

"Sith then (said Braggadoccio) needes thou wilt
Thy dayes abridge, through proofe of pussiance,
Turne we our steedes, that both in equall tilet
Mey meet againe, and each take happie chance.
This said, they both a furlongs mountenance
Retyrd their steeds, to ronne in even race:
But Braggadoccio with his bloudie lance
Once having turnd, no more returned his face,
But lefte his love to losse, and fled himself apace."

Braggadocio, he's not here for many verses but when he is he damn well delivers.

The knight makes off hapily with False Florimell and we turn back to Real Flormiell in the fishermans boat. Guess what's about to happen with the sleeping Fisherman.

"At last when dronke with drowsinesse, he woke,"

aaand, three verses later;

"The sight whereof in his congealed flesh,
Infixt such secret sting of greedly lust,
That the drie withered stocke ot gan refresh,
And kindled heat, that soone in flame forth brust:
The driest wood is soonest burnt to dust.
Rudely to her he lept, and his rough hand
Where ill became him. rashly would have thrust,
But she with angry scorne him did withstond,
And shamefully reproved for his rudenesse fond."

The best Florimell can do is call out to her knights and admonish them for not currently being at-sea;

"O ye brave knight, that boast this Ladies love,
Where be ye now, when she is nigh defild
Of filthy wretch?"

Somewhere on land, looking for you.

Luckily, in as much as anything that happens to Florimell is lucky, Proteus the shape-changing sea-shepheard is about; 'Along the fomy waves driving his finny drove', and he does hear Florimell;

"Her up betwixt his rugged hands he reard,
And with his frory lips full softly kist,
Whiles the cold ysickles from his rough beard,
Dropped adowne upon her yvorie brest:
Yet he himself so builsily addrest,
That her out of astonishment he wrought,
And out of that same fishers filthy nest
Revoving her, into his charet brought,
And there with gentle terms her faire besought."

 Agnes Miller Parker

He also beats the hell out of the fisherman, ties him behind his chariot and then throws him on shore. But not Florimell, that fortunate girl is going to his sea-cave. At first he tries to tempt her with sexy shape-changing;

"Then like a Faerie knight himself he drest;
For every shape on him he could endew:
Then like a king he was to her exprest,
And offred kingdomes unto her in vew,
To be he Leman and his Ladie trew:
But when all this he nothing saw prevale,
With harder meanes he cast her to subdew,
And with sharpe threates her often did assaile,
So thinking for to make her stubborn courage quaile.

To dreadfull shapes he did himself transforme,
Now like a Gyant, now like to a feend,
Then like a Centaure, then to like a storm,
Raging within the waves: thereby he weens
Her will to win unto his wished end.
But when with feare, nor favour, nor with all
He else could doe, he saw himself esteemd,
Downe in a Dongeon deepe he let her fall,
And threatned there to make her his eternall thrall."

She says no thanks and Spenser gets to go on about the wonders of virginity for a few verses.

Back to Satyrene;

Hes chilling with the _Squire of Dames_ (I always think of either Hugh Hefner or Stan Lee when I read that name) & they meet a guy. It's Paridell, he tells him everyones out loking for Florimell.

Satyrane says shes dead.

Paridel says - well  maybe she isnt dead, did you see a body or whatever.

So they keep looking.

Eventually they come to  castle, to which they are refused entrance.

FQ Book 3 Canto 7

Florimell is still running as the Canto opens, but her horse is giving up and she must dismount;

"And forst t'alight, on foot mote algates fare,
A traveller unwonted to such way:
Need teacheth her this lesson hard and rare,
That fortune all in equall launce doth sway,
And mortall miseries doth make her play."

Luckily she finds 'A little cottage, built of stickes and reedes'.

Unluckily, its one with a Witch in it.

But luckily Florimell has the top-tier Damizell skills of crying and sighing;

"With that adowne out of her Christall eyne
Few trickling teares she softly forth let fall
That like two Orient Perles, did purely shyne
Upon her snowy cheeke; and therewithall
She sighed soft, that none so beastiall,
Vor salvage hart, but ruth of her sad plight
Would make to melt, or pitteously appall;
And that vile Hag, all were her whole delight
In mischief, was much moved at so pitteous sight."

But un-luckily;

"This wicked woman has a wicked sonne,
The comfort of her age and weary dayes,
A laesie loord, for nothing good to donne,
But streched forth in idlenesse alwayes,
Ne ever cast his mind to covet prayse,
Or ply him selfe to any honest trade,
But all the day before the sunny rayes
He us'd to slug, or sleepe in slothfull shade:
Such lasinesse both lewd and poore attonce him made."

This magnificent incel immediately falls in love with Florimell (like 90% of the men she meets) and brings her what every girl wants;

"Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring,
Whose sides empurpled were with smiling red,
And oft young birds, which he had taught to sing
His mistresse prayses, sweetly caroled,
Girlonds of flowres sometimes for her faire hed
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirrell wild
He brought to her in bands, and conqureed
To be her thrall, he fellow servaunt vild;
All which, she of him tooke with countenance meeke and mild."

Eventually Florimell sneaks away from the house in the night. The son is displeased;

"But that lewd lover did the most lament
For her depart, that ever man did heare;
He knockt his brest with desperate intent,
And scracht his face, and with his teeth did teare
His rugged flesh, and rent his ragged heare:
That his sad mother seeing his sore plight,
Was greatly woe begon, and gan to feare,
Least his fraile senses were emperisht quight,
And love to frenzy turnd, sith love is franticke hight."

His mother tries everything to calm him down; tears, charms, herbs and counsell, none of them work so she turns back to the old classic: MONSTER SUMMONING;

"Eftsoones out of her hidden cave she cald
An hideous beast, of horrible aspect,
That could the stoutest courage have appald;
Monstrous mishapt, and all his backe was spect
With thousand spots of colours queint elect,
Thereto so swift, that it all beasts did pas:
Like never yet did living eye detect;
But likest it to an Hyena was,
That feeds on womens flesh, as others feede on gras."

Florimell has now been chased by; her own sorrow at the death of Marinell, a 'fowle forster', prince Arthur and a magic Hyena. Again she runs her horse till it breaks, again she dismounts, this time she heads for the sea to drown herself. The monster follows, but luckily she finds a member of the working classes;

"A little boate lay hoving her before,
In which there slept a fisher old and pore,
The while his nets were drying on the sand:
Into the same she lept, and with the ore
Did thrust the shallop from the floting strand:"

Nothing in the rest of the Canto mentions the situation of the fisherman.

The monster 'Ne durst assay to wade the perlous seas,' and turns round to 'tell the idle tidings to his Dame:' (so he can speak?), but finds Florimells poor fucking horse and tears it to pieces in spite.

And at this moment, enters a special guest star; 'Sir Satyrane', the satyr-raised knight we last saw fighting either Sans-Loy or Sans-Joy in Book One, I can't remember which.

Satryane reckognises the horse as Florimells and sees her golden girdle is also there;

"Much feared he, least ought did ill betide
To that faire Mayd, the flowre of womens pride;
For her he dearely loved,...)


Well, Knight, Monster, you know how this goes by this point.

Satryane tries to kill the creature with his sword but;

"Yet might not do him dye, but aye more fresh
And fierce he still appeared, the more he did him thresh."

So he throws away his sword and, with an entire verse comparing him to a 'suddein flood', wrestles it into submission and ties it in Florimells golden girdle.

Enough action for one Canto? We are a little over half way through, its about to get reeeeally wierd;

"Thus as he led the Beast along the way,
He spide far off a mighty Giauntesse,
Fast flying on a Courser dapled gray,
From a bolld knight, that with great hardinesse
Her hard pursewd, and sought for to suppresse;
She bore before her lap a dolefull Squire,
Lying athwart her horse in great distresse,
Fast bounden hand and foote with cords of wire,
Whom she did meane to make the thrall of her desire."

Walter Crane
A female, rapist giant, riding a horse, being chased by a knight and carrying a hot guy. Though it does sound like something spit out by a Spenser Random Generator, even I was not expecting that.

Well, now its Knight and Giant, Satyrane knows what to do, he attacks;

"Like as a Goshauke, that in foote doth beare
A trembling Culver, having spide on hight
An Egle, that with plumy wings doth sheare
The subtile ayre, stouping with all his might,
The quarrey throwes to ground with fell despight,
And to the battell doth her selfe prepare:
So ran the Geauntesse unto the fight;
Her firie eyes with furious sparkes did stare,
And with blasphemous bannes high God in peeces tare."

She beats the hell out of him;

"And lightly on his collar laying pussiant hand,
Out of his wavering seat him pluckt perforse,
Perforse him pluckt, unable to withstand,
Or helpe himselfe, and laying thwart her horse,
In loathly wise like to a carion corse."

From monster-wrestling badass to freaky hentai fantasy in less than ten verses. Is Spenser responding to the repeated tropes in his own work by just doing weirder and weirder shit like the failing seasons of a long-running genre show? Or is that just me getting tired with him?

The Giantess still has to escape her chasing Knight so she throws Satyrane away, he lands close to the Squire, likewise abandoned;

"Whom approaching, well he mote perceive
In that foule plight a comley personage,
And lovely face, made fit for to deceive
Fraile Ladies hart with loves consuming rage,"

So its another really hot Squire. The hot Squire tells him two stories, the story of the giantess; her name is Argante, a daughter of the Titans;

"Her sire Typhoeus was, who mad through merth,
And drunke with bloud of men, slaine by his might,
Through incest, her of his own mother Earth
Whilome begot, being but halfe twin of that berth.

For at that berth another Babe she bore,
To weet the mighty Olyphant, that wrought
Great wreake to many errant knights of youre,
And many hath to foul confucion brought.
These twinnes, men say, (a thing far passing thought)
Wiles in their mothers wombe enclosed they were,
Ere they into the lightsome world were brought,
In fleshy lust were mingled both yfere,
And in that monstrous wise did to the world appeare."

Come the fuck on man. Jesus christ.

So, Argante roams about the country picking up guys (yes, a joke), taking them to a secret isle and fucking them to death.

But what about the story of the Squire? He says he is called The Squire of Dames.

Long story short; hes into a 'gentle Lady' and asks her what he can do to win her love. She tells him to 'wander through the world abroad at will,' and do service unto 'gentle Dames', then after a year to bring her the names of the Dames he has served.

But when he comes back it seems he has seved too many Dames and now she's pissed, so she gives him another insane quest; go away and do the same thing but don't come back until you have been refused by Dames in number equal to that which acccepted your service the first time.

With service here essentially suggestively meaning sex.

Satryane asks him how many refusals he has had;

"In deed Sir knight (said he) one word may tell
All, that I ever found so wisely stayd;
For onely three they were disposd so well,"

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Raped by the sun? what the shit - FQ Book 3 Canto 6

The opening is strange;

"Well may I weene, faire Ladies, all this while
Ye wonder, how this noble Damozell
So great perfections did in her compile,"

Not really. I'm not a Lady and like most of the readers I want us to get back to Britomart. Something I see from looking ahead, that we will not be doing for a while.

I am interested that at this point Spenser thinks he readers will be Ladies.

We begin with some creepy stuff about Belphoebes origins, including a reference to our old friend;

"Jove laught on Venus from his souveraigne see,
And Phoebus with faire beames did her adorne,"

It seems that Belphoebe is extra-super-mega-pure;

"Pure and unspotted from all loathly crime,
That is ingenerate in fleshy slime."

Her mother was Chrysogonee, daughter of Amphisa, a high born Faerie. And she was impregnated while sleeping, (wait, it gets better), by the sun. Because;

"Great father he of generation
Is rightly cald, th'author of life and light;
And his faire sister for creation
Ministreth matter fit, which tempred right
With heate and humour, breedes the living wight."

So then she wanders round in the forest, not understanding what has happened to her (i.e. she was raped by the fucking sun, so far all Night has done is try to help out her family be healing someone), until she falls into a magical sleep.

Meanwhile - our scene shifts to the house of the goddess Venus;

"The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
Whence all the world derives the glorious
Features of beauties, and all shapes select,
With which high God his workmanship hath deckt;"

She has lost her son;

"(So oft from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharply did reprove,
And wandred in the world in strange aray,
Disguiz'd in thousand shapes, that none might him bewray.)"

So she searches the Courts, the Cities and the Country and everywhere they say this guy is terribe because of his 'sharpe darts and whot artillerie;', but he's not there (probaby).

"She sweetly heard complaine, both how and what
Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat."

"Hey son, stop being such a massive rapist."
"lol, no."
"Okay, sorry for asking."
The one place she hasn't checked is the 'savage woods', woods which are also full of nymphs. She goes there and runs right into Diana, who is very specifically naked;

"She having hong upon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlaste
Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lancke loynes ungirt, and brests unbraste,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
Her golden lockes, that late the tresses bright
Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders hong undight,
And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinkled light."

Diana gives her some crap about her son (it's Cupid). The defence of Venus is interesting;

"As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory set, to chace the savage beasts,
So my delight is all in joyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feats:
And ill becomes you with your loftie creats,
To scorne the joy, that Jove is glad to seeke;
We both are bound to follow heavens beheats,
And tend our charges with obeisance meeke:
Spare, gentle sister, with reproach my paine to eeke.

And tell me, if that ye my sonne have heard,
To lurke emongst your Nymphes in secret wize;
Or keepe their cabins: much I am affeard,
Least he like one of them him self disguize,
And turne his arrowes to their exercize:
So may he long himself full easie hide:
For he is faire and fresh in face and guize,
As any Nymph (let not it be envyde.)
So saying ever Nymph full narrowly she eyde."

Then Diana gets pissed off again;

"... goe seeke your boy,
Where you him lately left, in Mars his bed:"

Does that mean what I think it means? Were they in Mar's bed together?

They end up wandering around in the forest looking for Cupid where they find;

"Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere:
Who in her sleepe (a wonderous thing to say)
Unwares had borne two babes, as faire as spriging day."


This brings us to the third part of the Canto; Diana takes one baby - this is Belphoebe, Venus takes the other - named Amoretta, to her home in the garden of Adonis, a mirror to the bowre of blisse, but good this time, for some reason.

"... there is the first seminarie
Of all things, that are borne to live and die,
According to their kindes."

You know the drill by this point, this one has walls o 'yron' and 'bright gold' and;

".. double gates it had, which opened wide,
By which both in and out men moten pas;
Th'one faire and fresh, the other old and dride:"

There is a porter here, Genius, the real one this time, not the bad sinful one that Guyon threatened in Book Two. Genius is up to some stuff which does not sound like Christianity to me...

"A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require,
Such as him list, such as eternall fate
Ordained hath, he clothes with sinfull mire,
And sendeth forth to live in mortall state,
Till they again returne backe by the hider gate.

After that they againe returned beene,
They in that Gardin planted be againe;
And grow afresh, as they had never seene
Fleshy corruption, nor mortall paine.
Some thousand yeares so doen they there remaine;
And then of him are clad with other hew,
Or sent into the chaungefull world againe,
Till thither they returne, where first they grew:
So like a wheele around they runne from old to new."

I'm not an expert but I don't remember that shit from the bible.

We get a whole, whole lot about the garden of Adonis. Its a little like a good version of Acrasias bower of bliss and a little like a life-based opposite to Mammons realm. And a bit freaky and pagan/Buddhist/Warhammer in some elements, as this strange verse;

"Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the world, it to replenish more;
Yet is the stocke not lessened nor spent,
But still remaines in everlasting store,
As it at first created was of yore.
For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
In hatefull darknesse and in deepe horrore,
And huge eternall Chaos which supplyes
The substances of natures fruitful progenyes."

And this strange buisness with Adonis himself;

"There wont faire Venus often to enjoy
Her deare Adonis joyous company,
And reape sweet pleasure of the wanton boy;
There yet, some say, in secret he does ly,
Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery,
By her hid from the world, and from the skill
Of Stygian Gods, which doe her love envy;
But she her selfe, when ever that she will,
Possesseth him, and of his sweetnesse takes her fill.

And sooth it seemes to say: for he may not
For ever die, and ever buried bee
In balefull night, where all things are forgot;
All be he subject to mortalitie,
Yet is eterne in mutabilitie,
And by succession made perpetuall,
Transformed oft, and chaunged diverslie:
For him the Father of all formes they call;
Therefore needs mote he live, that living gives to all."

Titian, Venus and Adonis (1554), Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

There is much, much more on the Garden of Adonis if you want to listen to the Podcast, or read the book.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

divine Tobacco - FQ Book 3 Canto 5

It's beginning to annoy me that Britomart is not playing a very large part in her own story. This didn't happen to the other knights.

We open with Spenser discoursing on love;

"Wonder it is to see, in diverse minds,
How diversly love doth his pagents play,
And shews his powre in variable kinds:
The baser wit, whose idle thoughts alway
Are wont to cleave unto the lowly clay,
It stirreth up to sensuall desire,
And in lewd slouth to wast his careless day:
But in brave prite it kindles goodly fire,
That to all high desert and honour doth aspire."

And as we go on we will find out that the whole Canto, and probably this whole book, is about love in some way, and what it does to us.

We then leap to Prince Arthur (for it was he) the knight who chased the hot dame and cursed night in the last Canto;

"Who long time wandred through the forrest wyde,
To finde some issue thence, till that at last
He met a Dwarfe, that seemed terrifyde"

Though the Dwarfe is 'panting for breath, and almost out of hart,' he has a lot to say for himself. He has come from Faery court and is chasing a lady, whom he served, and who came this way;

"Royally clad (quoth he) in cloth of gold," "fairest wight alive", so this description doesn't really narrow things down in the Spenserverse but Arthur seems to recognise her - this is the same woman he has been after.

The Dwarfe tells him she; "is yclemped Florimell the faire,
Faire Florimell belov'd of many a knight,
Yet she loves none but one, that Marinell is hight.


According to the Dwarfe they heard at court that Marinell was dead five days ago, and Florimell ran off four days ago. I have no idea what's going in with time in this poem.

"So with the Dwarfe he backe return'd againe.
To seek his Lady, where he mote her find;"

But is there something you've forgotten Arthur?

"But by the way he greatly gan complaine
The want of his good Squire late left behind,
For whom he wondrous pensive grew in mind,
For doubt of danger, wich mote him betide;
For him he loved above all mankind,
Having him ever trew and faithfull ever tride,
And bold, as ever Squire that waited by knights side."

Also he saved your life a bunch of times.

So on poem, on to the Squire!

The squire went off chasing the foul foster who was chasing the damizell. This guy is terrified of the squire and manages to lose him in the woods;

"And out of sight escaped at the least;
Yet not escaped from the dew reward
Of his bad deeds, which dayly he increast"

The foster 'to his brethren came, for they were three', and 'them with bitter words he stird to bloudy ire'. They will ambush the Squire at a ford they know he must cross.

The Squire arrives. The fierce foster fares forth. Roll for initiative;

"With that at him a quiv'ring dart he threw,
With so fell force and villeinous despighte,
That through his haberieon the forkhead flew,
And through the linked mayles empierced quite,
But had no powre in his soft flesh to bite:
That stroke the hardy Squire did sore displease,
But more that him he could not come to smite;
For by no meanes the high banke he could sease,
But labour'd long in the deep ford with vaine disease."

It might be three-on-one and only a Squire, but this is still a Spencerian hero;

"At last through wrath and vengeaunce making way,
He on the bancke arriv'd with mickle paine,
Where the third brother did sore assay,
And drove at him with all his might and maine
A forrest bill, which both his hands did straine;
But warily he did avoid the blow,
And with his spear requited hem againe,
That both his sides were thrilled with the throw,
And a large streme of bloud out of the wound did flow.

He tombling down with gnashing teeth did bite
The bitter earth, and bad to let him in
Into the balefull house of endlesse night,
Where wicked ghosts do waile their former sin.
Tho gan the batell freshly to begin;
For nathermore for that spectable bad,
Did th'other two their cruell vengeaunce blin,
But both attonce on both sides him bestad,
And load upon him layd, his life for to have had.

Tho when that villian he auiz'd, which late
Affrighted had the fairest Florimell,
Full of fiers fury, and indignant hate,
To him he turned, and with rigour fell
Smote him so ruedly on the Pannikell,
That to the chin he cleft his head in twaine:
Downe on the ground his carcas groveling fell;
His sinfull soule with desperate disdaine,
Out of her fleshy ferme fled to the place of paine."

One thing I like about Spenser is that when a bad guy dies we see, through the verse, their soul go directly, immediately and quickly to hell, as if the body kept falling through the ground. Its tremendous fun and it gets people out of the way of the plot and the poem very neatly.

One villian remains and takes a shot at the Squire, whose name is Timias;

"which faintly fluttring, scarce his helmet raught,
And glauncing fell to ground, but him annoyed naught.

With that he would have fled into the wood;
But Timias him lightly overhent,
Right as he entring was into the flood,
And strooke at him with force so violent,
That headlesse him into the foord he sent:
The carkas with the streame was carried downe,
But th'head fell backward on the Continent.
So mischief fel upon the meaners crowne;
They three be dead with shame, the Squire lives with renowne."

Unfortunately, Timias is wounded;

"For of that ruell wound he bled so sore,
That from his steed he fell in deadly swowne;"

And down he goes, wallowing in his own gore and certain to bleed to death. Luckily for him the hot huntress from a previous book;

"She that the base Braggadochio did affray,
And made him fast out of the forrest runne;
Belphoebe was her name, and faire as Phoebus sunne."

She finds Timias;

"In whose faire eyes, like lamps of quenched fire,
The Christall humour stood congealed round;
His locks, like faded leaves fallen to grownd,
Knotted with bloud, in bounches rudley ran."

She stops the bloeeding using herbs;

"There, whether it divine Tobacco were,
Or Panachae, or Polygony,
She found and brought it to her patient deare,"

Which the notes tell me is the first mention of Tobacco in English Literature.

Timias wakes up and asks 'what grace is this';

"To send thine Angell from her bowre of blis,
To comfort me in my distresses plight?
Angell, or Godess do I call thee right?"

So now Timias is in love.

Britomart is in love with Arthegall. Arthur seems to be (apparently) in love with Florimell. Florimell is in love with Marinell, who was wounded by Brimoart. Now Timias is in love with Belphobe, with much the same results as Britomart.

Belphobe takes him home where she hangs out in a valley with Damizells. She heals him, but as his physical wound heals, the wound of love grows ever deeper;

"O foolish Physick and unfruitfull paine,
That heales up one and makes another wound:
She his hurt thigh to him recur'd againe,
But hurt his hart, the which before was sound,
Through an unwary dart, which did rebound
From her faire eyes and gracious countenaunce.
What bootes it him from death be unbound,
To be captived in endless durance
Of sorrow and despaire without aleggaunce?"

And as we have learnt so far, in Spenser love is more deadly than goddamn ebola. Like Britomart, Timias has to have a lot of complex and depressing thoughts about his own passions;

"Unthankfull wretch (said he) is this the meed,
With which her soveraigne mercy thou doest quight?
Thy life she saved by her gracious deed,
But thou does weene with villeinous despight,
To blot her honour, and her heavenly light.
Dye rather, dye, then so disloyally
Deeme of her high desert, or seeme so light:
Faire death it is to shonne more shame, to dy:
Dye rather, dy, then ever love disloyally.

But if to love disloyaly it bee,
Shall I then hare her, that from deaths dore
Me brought? ah farre be such reproach fro mee.
What can I lesse do, then her love therefore,
Sith I her dew reward cannot restore:
Dye rather, dye, and dying do her serve,
Dying her serve, and living her adore;
Thy live she gave, thy life she doth deserve:
Dye rather, dye, then ever from her service swerve."

So he's healing, but clearly also sickening at the same time;

"Which seeing faire Belphobe, gan to feare,
Least that his wound were inly well not healed,
Or that the wicked steele empoysned were:
Litle she weend, that love he close concealed;
Yet still he waste, as the snow congealed,
When the bright sunne he beans thereon doth beat;
Yet never his hart to her revealed,
But rather chose to dye for sorrow great,
Then with dishonourable termes her to entreat."

Then there are a lot a rather squamous verses about Belphoebe. Timias is still alive by Canto's end though.