Monday, 26 February 2018

Lone Wolf and Coridon - FQ Book 6 Canto 11

Considering how unutterably terrible most penultimate Canto's are, this isn't that bad. Pretty good even.

Calidore still does fuck all to pursue the Blatant Beast, but that's because he has a lot of action-movie crap to get involved with.

This stuff does actually happen in this Canto.

"The joyes of love,if they whould ever last,
Without affliction of disquietnesse,
That worldly chaunces doe amongst them cast,
Would be on earth too great a blessednesse,
Liker to heaven, then mortall wretchednesse.
Therefore the winged God, to let men weet,
That here on earth is no sure happinesse,
A thousand sowres hath tempred with one sweet,
To make it seeme more deare and dainty, as is meet."

Pastorell is in a baaad situation, 'Wrapt in wretched cares and hearts unrest', abducted and held in a cave complex by 'Brigants'. Luckily ("luckily") for her, the Boss Briagant is into her 'And inly burnt with flames most raging whot,';

"And sought her love, by all the means he mote;
With looks, with words, with gifts he oft her wowed:
And mixed threats among, and much unto her vowed."

Pastorella is not into this guy but eventually;

"She thought it best, for shadow to pretend
Some shew of favour, by him gracing small,
That she thereby mote either freely wend,
Or at more ease continue there his thrall:
A little well is lent, that gaineth more withall."

This goes on for a while, with Pastorella pretending (or half-pretending, she is pretty messed up) sickness, until a new element enters. Something we haven't seen before. Slave traders;

"During which space that she thus sicke did lie,
It chaunst a sort of merchants, which were wound
To skin those coastes, for bondmen there to buy,
And by such trafficke after gaines to hunt,
Arrived in this Isle though bare and blunt,
T'inquire for slaves; where being readie met
By some of these same theeves at the instant brunt,
Were brought unto their Captaine, who was set
By his faire patients side with sorrowful regret."

This is curious and interesting on a number of levels. First, I think this is around the nascent beginnings of the Anglo-African slave trade, with the Royal African Company (Sir John Hawkins was just kicking off the proto slave-trade at the time of the Faerie Queene) and also, at the same time, being preyed upon by Barbary Corsairs who will just turn up on the European coast and yank whole villages (seems this was just about to start).

And on a fictional level, because, now there are slavers in Faerie? Who are they trading, and to where? Does the Faerie Queene know about this? Is she in charge of it? Are there pseudo-Muslim 'Panyim' or 'Saracen' slave traders preying on the Faerie Queenes fairies while her guys do the same to them?

Anyway, these slavers look at the captives from Pastorellas village, but someone mentions Pastorella herself. The Captain is not happy about this but brings her out;

"The sight of whom, though now decayd and mard,
And eke but hardly seene by candle-light,
Yet like a Diamond of rich regard,
In doubtfull shadow of the darkesome night,
With starrie beames about her shining bright,
These matchants fixed eyes did so amaze,
That what through wonder, & what through delight,
A while on her they greedily did gaze,
And did her greatly like, and did her greatly praize."

"But then the Captaine fraught with more displeasure,
Bad them be still, his love should not be sold:
The rest take if they would, he her to him would hold."

Even amongst Brigants, Faerie Queene logic holds up. Everything is about romance. Women are the lock on, and justification for, violence.

"Thus as they words amongst them multiply,
They fall to strokes, the frute of too much talke,
And the mad steele about doth fiercely fly,"

"Like as a sort of hungry dogs yemt
About some carcase by the common way,
Doe fall together, stryving each to get
The greatest portion of the greedie pray;
All on confused heapes themselves assay,
And snatch and byte, and red, and tug, and teare;
That who them sees, would wonder at their fray,
And who sees not, would be affrayd to heare.
Such was the conflict of those cruell Brigants there."

Melioboe and all of the other villagers are killed 'Least they should joyne against the weaker side,' Coridon, the alternate beta-male suitor for Pastorella, manages to escape in the dark and Pastorella herself is held in the arms of the Brigant Captain as he dies and 'fell down with him in drerie';

"There lay she covered with confused preasse
Of carcases, which dying on her fell."

When the fighting is done,the Brigants look around;

"And lighting candles new, gan search anone,
How many of their friends were slaine, how many fone.

Their Captaine there they cruelly found kild,
And in his armes the dreary dying mayd,
Like a sweet Angell twixt two clouds uphild:
Her lovely light was dimmed and decayd,
With cloud of death upon her eyes displayd;
Yet did the cloud make even that dimmed light
Seeme much more lovely in that darknesse layd,
And twixt the twinckling of her eye-lids bright,
To sparkle out litle beames, like starres in foggie night."

"So leave we her in wretched thraldome bound,
And turne we backe to Calidore, where we him found."

Almost certainly the most useless Knight in the whole of the story so far. Ignores Serene when the Blatant Beast spews her up, doesn't then pursue the Blatant Beast but hangs out in a village trying to nice-guy some chick, and when the brigants come hes off perving on metatextual nymphs. Even Arhthegall was at least an effective genocide machine.

Well he gets back to find everything fucked up and does all the standard behaviours; 'wexed wood', chauft' 'griev'd' 'fretted' 'And fared like a furious wyld Beare, Whose whelpes are stolne away, she being otherwhere.'

He searches the woods and plaines but can find neither the shepherds nor their flocks, until eventually;

"He chaunst one comming towards him to spy,
That seem'd to be some sorie simple clowne,
With ragged weedes, and lockes upstaring hye,"

Its Coridon who blathers out the whole terrible story about Pastorell probably being dead and everyone else almost certainly being dead. There's quite a few verses of emoting and despair before Calidore bribes/threatens/praises Coridon into showing him the way there, and they approach the Brigants den dressed both as Shepherds.

They find the villiages flocks on a hillside (I thought this place was on an island?) and the Brigants asleep alongside them;

"Whom Coridon him counseld to invade
Now all unwares, and take the spoyle away;
But he, that in his mind had closely made
A further purpose, would not so them slay,
But gently waking them, gave them the time of day."

Calidore and Coridon pretend to be runaway shepherds looking for new work and chat to the Brigants, learning the news about Pastorell. Eventually they have learnt enough and while the Brigants are asleep, Calidore acquires a sword 'of meanest sort' and raids the cave like a computer-game hero.

By which I mean he tries to be stealthy to begin with, fucks that up, then just starts slaughtering people, then eventually just uses his superior hp to tank the bad guys and wades through them.

"When to the Cave they came, they found it fast:
But Calidore with huge resistlesse might
The dores assayled, and the locks upbrast.
With noyse whereof the theefe awaking light,
Unto the entrance ran: where the bold knight
Encountring him with small resistance slew:"

Stealth mode = DEACTIVATED

He finds Pastrorell;

"Her gentle hart, that no long season past
Had never joyance felt, not chearefull thought,
Began some smacke of comfort new to tast,
Like lyfull heat to nummed senses brought,
And life to feele, that long for death had sought:"

The Brigants come 'flocking in great store';

"But Calidore_ in th'entry close did stand,
And entertayning them with courage stout,
Still slew the foremost, that came first to hand,
So long till all the entry was with bodies mand."

Eventually he is effectively surrounded by a fortress of bodies so no others can get close. Then waits till daylight, grabs a better sword and, presumably, kicks his way through the body-pile to the outside where he finds all the other remaining Brigants;

"Where all the rest for him did readie stay,
And fierce assayling him, with all their might
Gan all upon him lay: there gan a dreadfull fight."

"How many flyes in whottest sommers day
Do sieze upon some beast, whose flesh is bare,
That all the place with swarmes do overlay,
And with their litle stings right felly fare;
So many theeves about him swarming are,
All which do him assayle on every side,
And sore appresse, ne any him doth spare:
But he doth with his raging brond divide
Their thickest troups, & round about him scattreth wide."

The bad guys die. Calidore takes their treasure and gives Coridon all the remaining flocks;

"Then backe returning to his dearest deare,
He her gan to recomfort, all he might,
With gladfull speaches, and with lovely cheare,
And forth her bringing to the joyous light,
Whereof she long had lackt the wishfull sight,
Seviz'd all goodly meanes, from her to drive
The sad remembrance of her wretched plight.
So her uneath at last he did revive,
That long had lyen ddead, and made againe alive."

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