Friday, 23 February 2018

Frank Frazetta Scene - FQ Book 6 Canto 8

A strange long Canto. The first half deals with the Mirabella situation, the second half is a really creepy, pervy, sexy, violent not-specifically-racist but still racist-feeling Robert E. Howard short story.

These two things do not go together. They are, however, both quite fun.

Lets begin;

(I'm just going to bomb through a lot of this as its 50 verses long.)

"Ye gentle Ladies, in whose soveraine powre
Love hath the glory of his kingdom left,
And th'hearts of men, as your eternall dowre,
In yron chaines, of liberty bereft,
Delivered hath into your hands by gift;
Be well aware, how ye the same doe use,
That pride doe not to tyrrany you lift;
Least if men you of cruelty accuse,
He from you take that chiefdome, which ye doe abuse."


Mirabella feels very sad aboout Tiamas being tied up. Lucky for you Mirabella, you are about to run into Prince Arthur (the original) and he is not only a verifiable super-hero, but he's really into that squire.

Arthur is with Sir Enias, the Knight who's friend he killed a Canto back and who he has instantly redeemed from being a dirtbag just by hanging out with him, because Arthur practically gives off Pure Chivalric Radiation, if he bites you you gain all the powers of a Knight.

Tiamas is too ashamed of his situation to even look up but Enias doesn't like what he sees;

".. See you Sir Knight,
The greatest shame that ever eye yet saw?
Yond Lady and her Squire with foule despight
Abusde, against all reason and all law,
Without regard of pitty or of awe?"

So he starts a pretty awesome fight scene, beginning with some excellent chivalric smack talk;

"Abide ye caytive treachetours untrew,
That have with treason thralld unto you
These two, unworthy of your wretched bands;
And now your crime with cruelty pursew.
Abide, and from them lay your loathly hands;
Or else abide the death, that hard before you stands.

The villaine stayd not aunswer to invent,
But with his yron club preparing way,
His mindes sad message backe unto him sent:"

I love this shit.

Enias manages to slip past the strike and 'with his sharpe sword he fiercely at him flew' and draws blood. But unfortunately, first blood in Spenser only pisses off the receiver and gives them extra hit points and the gyant hits him so hard that;

"He driven was to ground in self despight;
From whence ere he recovery could gaine,
he in his necke had set his foote with fell disdaine."

And then he gets bound up right alongside Tiamas. Arthur, of course, is not happy about this, and attacks himself. Distain counters with an anime weapon-spinning display;

"The villaine leaving him unto his mate,
To be capti'd, and hadled as he list,
Himselfe addrest unto this new debate,
And with his club him all about so blist,
That he which way to turne him scarcely wist:
Sometimes aloft he layd, sometimes alow;
Now here, now there, and oft him neare he mist;
So doubtfully, that hardly one could know
Whether more wary were to give or ward the blow."

Arthur is too fly to fall for this and eventually Distain decides to go for the old Spencerian/Anime standby - the fight-ending super-mega-strike.

"His dreadfull hand he heaved up aloft,
And with his dreadfull instrument of yre,
Through sure have pownded him to powder soft,
Or deep embowled in the earth entyre:"

Wait for it..

"But Fortune did not with his will conspire."

Arthur ducks underneath 'And smote him on the knee, that never yet was bent.'

"It never yet was bent, ne bent it now,
Albe the stroke so strong and pussiant were,
That seem'd a marble pillour it could bow,
But all that leg, which did his body beare,
It crackt throughout, yet did no bloud appeare;"

I think this means that Distain is so distainful that he can't kneel, or even bend his knee, as in submit to someone, ever.

Still, he cannot stand, and Arthur rushes in for a decapitaion strike. But Mirabelle cries out;

"Slay not that Carle, though worthy to be slaine:
For more on him doth then him selfe depend;
My life will by his death have lamentable end."

Dun dun duuuuunnnn.

"Then bursting forth in teares, which gushed fast
Like many water streames, a while she stayd;
Till the sharpe passion being overpast,
Her tongue to her restord,"

Then we get the story. Arthur is unsympathetic. We get some stuff about the ladies previously unmentioned bottle and wallet being for her tears and her repentance respectively.

Distain gets up, helped by the Fool;

"But being up. He lookt againe aloft,
As if he never had received fall;
And with sterne eye-browes stared at him oft,
As if he would have daunted him with all:
And standing on his tiptoes, to seeme tall,
Downe on his golden feet he often gazed,
As if such pride the other could apall;
Who was so far from being ought amazed,
That he his lookes despised, and his boast dispraized."

I just love Distain in any of his incarnations.

Arthur lets the captives go, including Tiamas;

"It was his owne true groome, the gentle Squire,
He thereat wext exceedingly astound,
And him did oft embrace, and oft admire,
Ne could with seeing satisfie his great desire."

I mean come the fuck on.

The Salvage Man sees the 'huge great foole opressing th'other Knight,' and

"He flew upon him like a greedy kight
Unto some carrion offered to his sight,
And downe him plucking, with his nayles and teeth
Gan him to hale, and teare, and scratch, and bite:
And from him taking his owne whip, therewith
So sore him scourgeth, that the bloud downe followeth."

Mirabella drags him off the Scorne-Fool and tells Arthur that she has to complete her quest before she can be free and that this quest involves these two ding-dongs.

"But Arthure with the rest, went onward still
On his first quest, in which did him betide
A great adventure, which did him from them devide."

And that's the last we will see of Arthur in this book and in the Faerie Queene. Wandering off with Tiamas, Enias and his Salvage Man. Wave goodbye everybody.


Now shit gets freaky;

What has happened to Serena? Well, on seeing Tiams get teken down and tied up by the supporting cast of a Spawn comic, she has 'fled fast away, afeared Of villany to be to her inferd:'

"So fresh the image of her former dread,
Yet dwelling in her eye, to her appeared,
That every foote did tremble, which did tread,
And every body two, and two she foure did read."

She flees 'Through hills & dales, through bushes & through breres' and alights from her horse, sits down, and, not unreasonably; 'her selfe a while bethought Of her long travell and turmoyling paine; And often did of love, and oft of lucke complaine.'

"And evermove she blamed Calepine," untill eventually she falls asleep. And of course things are about to get worse for Serena.

"In those wylde deserts, where she now abode,
There dwelt a slavage nation, which did live
Of stealth and spoile, and making nightly rode
Into their neighbours borders; ne did give
Them selves to any trade, as for to drive
The painfull plough, or catell for to breed,
Or by adventrous marchandize to thrive;
But on the labours of poore men to feed,
And serve their owne necessities with others need.

Thereto they usde one most accursed order,
To eate the flesh of men, whom they mote fynde,
And straungers to devoure, which on their border
Were brought be error, or by wreckfull wynde.
A monstrous cruelty gainst course of kynde."

So non-agricultural, non-producing thieves, raiders and cannibals. It's interesting to see this negative-image of positive civilisation in its popular culture proto-form (and, as a dirtbag 21stC extruded cultural product I do find the Faerie Queene more interesting as popular culture than as high culture).

"Soone as they spide her, Lord what gladfull glee
They made amongst them selves; but when her face
Like the faire yvory shining they did see,
Each gan his fellow solace and embrace,
For joy of such good hap by heavenly grace.
Then gan they to devize what course to take:
Whether to slay her there upon the place,
Or suffer her out of her sleepe to wake,
And then her eate attonce; or many meales to make."

Eventually they decide to let her sleep to keep the meat tender, then sacrifice her to their God and 'make a common feast' of her.

"So round about her they them selves did place
Upon the grazze, and diversely dispose,
As each thought best to spend the lingring space.
Some with their eyes the daintest morsels chose;
Some praise her paps, some praise her lips and nose;
Some whet their knives, and strip their elbows bare:
The Priest him selfe a garland doth compose
Of finest flowres, and with full busie care
His bloudy vessels wash; and holy fire prepare."

Eventually Serena wakes up, sees whats going on, screams 'where none is nigh to heare, that will her rew' and 'rends her golden locks, and snowy brests embrew'.

If you were disliking the creep levels so far, stop reading now.

"But all bootes not: they hands upon her lay;
And first they spoile her of her jewls deare,
And afterwards of all her rich array;
The which amongst them they in peeces teare,
And of the pray each one a part doth beare.
Now being naked, to their sordid eyes
The goodly threasures of nature appeare:
Which as they view with lustfull fantasyes,
Each wisheth to him selfe, and to the rest envyes.

Her yvorie necke, her alabaster brest,
Her paps, which like white silken pillowes were,
For love in soft delight thereon to rest;
Her tender sides, her bellie white and clere,
Which like an Altar did it selfe uprere,
To offer sacrifice divine thereon;
Her goodly thighes, whopse glorie did appeare
Like a triumphall Arch, and thereupon
The spoiles of Princes hang'd, which were in battel won.

Those dantie parts, the dearlings of delight,
Which mote not be prophan'd of common eyes,
Those villaines vew'd with loose lacivious sight,
And closely tempted with their craftie spyes;
And some of them gan mongst themselves sevise,
Thereof by force to take their beastly pleasure."

But their cannibal priest says they can't, becasue they are feeding her to god before they feed her to themselves.

Now we cut to when 'Eventyde His brode black wings had through the heavens wyde'. Serena is on an altar, the Priest 'Approaching nigh, and murdrous knife well whet. Gan mutter close a certain secret charme,'

Walter Craine finally drawing the pervy kind of thing he's been avoiding drawing all book.

"Then gan the bagpypes and the hornes to shrill,
And shrieke aloud, that with the peoples voyce
Confused, did the ayre with terror fill,"

Bagpipes? Are these evil Scots? Or Irish? Or just evil Celts of some kind?

Luckily for Serena, the first of the long list of Knights who alterately places her into, then frees her from, danger, is nearby;

"Sir Calepine by chaunce, more than by choyce,
The self same evening fortune hether drove,"

Calepine has been, of course, seraching for Serena throgh 'endlesse toyle', 'certain harmes' and 'wretched stormes'.

He runs towards the noise, sees some hot chick about to be sacrificed;

"With that he thrusts into the thickest throng,
And even as his right hand adowne descends,
He him preventing, layes on earth along,
Ad sacrifizeth to th'infernall feends.
Then to the rest he wrathfull hand he bends,
Of whome he makes such havocke and shuch hew,
That swarmes of damned soules to hell he sends:
The rest that scape his sword and death eschew,
Fly like a flocke of doves before a Faulcons vew."

I wonder, was Spenser the first person to invent this scene?

Pure Frazetta. Serena freed, bad guys driven off;

"The end wherof Ile keepe untill another cast."

From the notes; "At this point Calepine and Serena leave the narrative. Spenser's promise to finish their tale is in the manner of Ariosto, but unlike Ariosto, Spenser never provides the promised conclusion."

Only four cantos, plus two from the DVD extras, are left in the book, so if somebody leaves the scene you can be increasingly sure they are not coming back.

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