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.

Monday, 20 November 2017

devoyd of mortall slime - FQ Book 3 Canto 4

We open with more proto-feminism. It's pretty good;

"Where is the Antique glory now become,
That whilome wont in women to appeare?
Where be the brave atchievements doen by some?
Where be the battels, where the shield and speare,
And all the conquests, which them high did reare,
That matter made for famous POets verse,
And boastfull men so oft abashet to heare?
Bene they all dead, and laid in dolefull herse?
Or doen they onely sleepe, and shal again reverse?"

Redcrosse and Britomart seperate and she finds herself by the sea;

"Tho having viewed a while the surges hore,
That gainst the craggy clifts did loudly rore,
And in their raging surquedry distaynd,
That the fast earth affronted them so sore,
And their devouring covetize restrayned,
Thereat she sighed deepe, and after thus complynd."

Yes, Britomart is still feeling sad about love and sits down to have a good multi-verse whine about how her emotions are like the sea 'of sorrow and tempestous griefe' and how 'stormy strife' raigns and rageth rife' in her 'troubled bowels';

"For else my feeble vessell crazed, and cract
Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,
Cannot endure, but needs it must be wrackt
On the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes,
The whiles that love it steers, and fortune rowes;
Love my lewd Pilot hath a restlesse mind
And fortune Boteswaine no assurance knowes,
But saile withouten starres, gainst tide and wind:
How can they other do, sith bothe are bold and blind?"

But she doesn't need to worry too long because a strange knight is galloping this way, and we know what happens when two strange knights meet each other;

"The knight approaching, stearnly her bespake;
Sir knight, that doest thy voyage rashly make
By this forbidden way in my despight,
Ne doest by others death ensample take,
I read thee soone retyre, whiles thou has might,
Least afterwards it be too late to take thy flight.

Ythrild with deepe distaine of his proud threat,
She shortly thus; Fly then, that need to fly;
Words fearen babes. I meane not thee entreat
To passe; but maugre thee will passe or dy."

Our Britomart is never one to mince words. They take each other on;

"Strongly the straunge knight ran, and sturdily
Strooke her full on the brest, that made her downe
Decline her head, & touch her crouper with her crowne."

But this is Britomart, so she just punches her magic spear through sheild and mail and;

Walter Crane
"Him so transfixed she before her bore
Beyond his croupe, the length of all her launce,
Till sadly soucing on the sandie shore,
He tombled on an heape, and wallwed in his gore."

Britomart rides on, and finds;

"Along the strond, which as she over-went,
She saw bestrowed all with rich aray
Of pearles and pretious stones of great assay,
And all that gravell mixt with golden owre;"

Of course Britomart is in a storygame rather than D&D so she safely ignores all the treasure and rides on and that is all we get to see of her this Canto.


The second part tells us about the knight she just took down. This is 'Marinell'. His mother is the sea-nymph, 'blacke-browd Cymoent' and if I'm reading this right looks like this is another child-of-non-con situation.

Marinells mum loves him and raises him in a cave to be a Knight, which he becomes, and then beats up a whole bunch of dudes for crossing his beach.

His mum loves him so much she persuades her father Neptune to just dump treasures on him and this is the stuff on the beach;

"The spoyle of all the world, that it did pas
The wealth of the'East, and pompe of Persian kings;
Gold, amber, yvorie, perles, owches, rings,
And all that else was pertious and dere,
The sea unto him voluntary brings,"

His mother is so obsessive about his safety that she gets Proteus to prophecy how her son shall die, (which is fucked up if you think about it) and he tells her;

"..of a woman he should have much ill,
A virgin strange and tout him should dismay, or kill."

She thinks this is love Proteus is talking about and so totally bans Marinell from having anything to to with girls, ever. Which sounds rough for Marinell and also rough for the girls for;

"They for love of him would algates dy:
Dy, who so list for him, he was loves enimy."

But of course the prophecy was about Britomart;

"So tickle be the termes of mortall state,
And full of subtle sophismes, which do play
With double senses, and with false debate,
T'approuve the unknowen purpose of eternall fate."

When his mother hears (somehow) about his fall, she freaks out;

"Ne word did speake, but lay as in a swowne,
Whiles all her sisters did for her lament,"

Shes quite a swooner is Cymoent.

Then she leaps up into her chariot and she and her sisters ride across the surface of the ocean on dolphin-powered chariots in some kind of a combination of a prog/metal album cover;

"Great Neptune stood amazed at their sight,
Whiles on his braod round backe they sfotly slid
And eke himselfe mourned at their mournfull splight,
Yet wist not what their wailing ment, yet did
For great compassion of their sorrow, bid
His mightie waters to them buxome bee:
Eftsoones that roaring billowes still abid,
And all the griesly Mosters of the See
Stood gaping at their gate, and wondred them to see.

Walter I _knew_ you could dot it.
As swift as swallowes, on the waves they went,
That their broad flaggie finnes no fome did reare,
Ne bubbling roundell they behind them sent;
The rest of other fishes drawen were,
Which with their funny oars the swelling sea did sheare."

On arriving Cyoment immediately leaps into action;

"His mother swowned thrise, and the third time
Could scarce recovered be out of her paine;
Had she not bene devoyd of mortall slime,
She should not then ahve bene relieved again,"

Then we get multiple verses of lament from her on how terrible this all is;

"Who dyes the utmost dolour doth abye,
But who that lives, is left to waile his losse:
So life is losse, and death felicitie.
Sad life worse then glad death: and greater crosse
To see friends grave, the dead the grave selfe engrosse."

Well said, but after only seven verses of lamenting they 'softly wipt away the gelly blood' and work that actually he's still alive, so its back on the sea-chariot;

"Deepe in the bottme of the sea, her bowre
Is built of hollow billowes heaped hye,
Like to thicke cloudes, that threat a stormy showre,
And vauted all within, like to the sky,
In which the Gods to dwell eternally:"

So they call for a sea-doctor to heal her son and she generally curses the hand

"...that did so deadly smight,
Her dearest sonne, her dearest harts delight;
But none of those curses overtooke
The warlike Maid, th'ensample of that might"

So, what was the point of this section then?

The whole Canto is a bit like this. Were all having fun but it seems like nothing is actually about anything..

On to part three.


There is a thrilling mention of 'false Archimage here, suggesting that all these events are part of one of his meta-plots, and supporting Kathryns idea that he is going to turn out to be a major character in disguise, but sadly he doesn't actually turn up... yet*.

We now rewind back to the moment where the hot Mallorian dame was being chased through the forest by some wierdo. Well she is still running;

"The fearfull damzell, with incessany paines:
Who from them fled, as light-foot haire from view
Of hunger swift, and sent of hondes trew."

They keep chasing after her, but a thing you might notice is that, if you are a heavily armed man chasing a woman, and you keep shouting at her to stop, generally they don't. For reasons why; see the entire rest of the poem.

So one of them, (I forget which), chases her till dark, then;

"... Downe himselfe he layd
Upon the grassie ground, to sleepe a throw;
The cold earth was his couch, the hard steele his pillow."

He can't sleep due to a 'thousand fancies bet his idle braine
With their light wings, the sights of semblants vaine:"

So then, in a very odd turn, he spents the entire end of the Canto ritually cursing Night.

I'm sure you guys know hoe terrible Night is, right?

"Night thou foule Mother of annoyance sad,
Sister of heavie death, and nourse of woe,
Which wast begot in heaven, but for they bad
And brutish shape thrust downe to hell below,
Where by the grim floud of Cocytus slow
Thy dwelling is, in Herebus blacke hous,
(Blacke Herebus thy husband is the foe
Of all the Gods) where thou ungratious
Halfe of thy dayes does lead in horrour hideous."

then more of this, then more..

"Under thy mantle blacke there hidden lye,
Light-shonning theft, and traiterous intent,
Abhorred bloudshed, and vile feolony,
Shamefull deceipt, and daunger imminent;
Foule horror, and eke hellish deriment:
All these I wote in thy protection bee,
And light doe shonne, for feare of being shent:
For light ylike is loth'd of them and thee,
And all that lewdnesse love, doe hate the light to see."

I mean, we met Night back in Book One and honestly she didn't seem that bad.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Mediocre Merlin - Book 3 Canto 3

This is a largely boring Canto.

We open with more tiresome banging on about love. We do get a mention from our special guest;

"Begin then, o my dearest sacred Dame,
Daughter of Phoebus and of Memorie,
That does enoble with immortal name
The warlike Worthies, from antiquitie,
In thy great volumes of Eternitie:
Begin, o Clio and recount from hence
My glorious Soveraines goodly ancestry,"

So; nice to see you back sir.

Since Edmund is calling on Clio, muse of history we know this is going to be what an Elizabethan guy thinks is history rather than what an Elizabethan guy thinks is Legend, which means from our perspective it is about 20% more accurate.

The nurse, Glauce, if trying to fix Britomart, can't think of what to do so they go and see Merlin.

"Forthwith themselves disguising both in straunge
And base attyre, that none might them bewray,
To Maridunum, that is now by chaunge
Of name Cayr-Merdin cald, they tooke their way:
There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say)
To make his wonne, low underneath the ground,
In a deepe delve, farre from the view of day,
That of no living wight he mote be found,
When so he counseld with his sprights encompast round."

Merlin is insanely 4th-Edition powerful;

"For he by words could call out of the sy
Both Sunne and Moone, and make them him obay:
The land to sea, and sea to maineland dry,
And darksome night he eke could turne to day:
Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay,
And hostes of men of meanest things could frame,
When so him list his enimies to fray:
That to this day for terror of his fame,
The feeds so quake, when any him to them does name."

And he gets a really cool opening;

"First entering, the dreadfull Mage there found
Deepe busied bout workes of wonderous end,
And writing strange characters on the ground,
With which the stubborn feends he to his service bound."

Walter Crane getting the goddamn memo for once.

Which is going to make everything he does in this Canto overwhelmingly boring. becasue what he does is prophecy that its ok for Britomart to be in love with this random dude for they are destined to birth a race of kings.

So that's good.

And then he goes on, and relates all of recorded Elizabethen history up until the Tudors. So firstly, that takes a long, long fucking time, and secondly, even Elizabethan history is incoherent as a legendary story;

"You will birth a race of kings."


"Who will then be deafeated by Saxons."


"But, the saxons are then defeated by Vikings!"


"The vikings are then defeated by .. Normans!"

"I'm not sure how this is good for me."

"But then, after only several hundred years, the Normans will (sort of) fall apart and be replaced by a dynasty which is (sort of) British (in the old pre-saxon style). I mean, they have red hair and speak English in private life and everything!"

"Whats 'English'."

"It's a kind of Saxon language, don't worry too much about that part."

Ok so thats where the Tudors come from. There are some fragments of decent poetry in here but they are scattered;

"Great Gormond, having with huge mightinesse
Ireland subdewd, and therin fixt his throne,
Like a swift Otter, fell through emptinesse,
Shall overswim the sea with many one
Of his Norueyses, to assist the Britons fone."

I don't know how an Otter is fell through emptyness but it makes for a good line. Verse 42 on the Saxon conquest is pretty good;

"Then woe, and woe, and everlasting woe,
Be to the Briton Babe, that shalbe borne,
To live in thraldom of his fathers foe,
Late King, now captive, late Lord, now forlorne,
The worlds reproch, the cruell victors scorne,
Banisht from Princely bowre to wastfull wood:
O who shall helpe me to lament, and mourne
The royall seed, the antique Trojan blood,
Whose Empire lenger there, then ever any stood."

And this on (what I think is) the rise of the Tudors;

"Tho when the terme is full accomplishd,
There shall a sparke of fire, which hath long-whiel
Bene in his ashes raked up, and hid,
Be freshly kindled in the fruitfull Ile
Of Mona, where it lurked in exile;
Which shall breake forth into bright burning flame,
And reach into the house, that beares the stile
Of royall majesty and souveraigne name;
So shall the Briton bloud their crowne againe reclame."

Then, when merlin comes to the end of his Wikipedia article;

"... There Merlin stayd,
As overcomen of the spirites powre,
Or other ghastly spectacle dismayd,
That secretly he saw, yet note discoure:
Which suddein fit, and half extatick stoure
When the two fearefull women saw, they grew
Greatly confused in behavioure;
At last the fury past, to former hew
Hee turned againe, and chearfull looks as earst did shew."

Which is the most interesting and dramitic thing he does all Canto. Just for reference;

Archimago - sex demons, illusions, disguises, power of flight, sword-stealing.

Merlin - wikipedia article from the future, has a fit.

So thats all very nice to hear and helps Britmart and Glauce to about zero per-cent so they are back off home.

There, the Glauce has a 'topping scheme';

".. Let us in feigned armes our selves disguize,
And our weake hands (whom need new strength shall teach)
The dreadfull spear and sheild to exercize:
Ne certes daughter that same warlike wize
I weene, would you misseme; for ye bene tall,
And large of limbe, t'atchieve an hard emprize,
Ne ought ye want, but skill, which practize small
Will being, and shortly make you a mayd Martiall.

Britomarts father has been fighting Anglea, Queen of the Angles (that's where the name comes from in Spenser) and has managed to grab some armour meant for her, along with a spear. he has hung both in the rafters of one of his churches as a trophy.

The spear was enchanted by Bladud a magical british king, the shield with the armour also has some kind of magical power but its not declared what.

And so Britomart and Nurse grab the arms and are off into Faerie, where we are brought up to date. Flashback over.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Shitlord Britomart - FQ Book 3 Canto 2

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

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

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

Well, well, well!

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

Guyon asks what she it doing wandering about;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cupid you fffffuuuuuuuucccckkk.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After many verses the Nurse says;

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

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

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

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

Friday, 17 November 2017

Such Love is hate - FQ Book 3 Canto 1

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

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

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

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

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

Canto One

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

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

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

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

Our narrator breaks in to tell us what has happened;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"So is his angry courage fairly pacifyde."

Which is very un-Palmer-like behaviour.

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

But Britomart, whose constant mind;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Britomarts response is good;

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We meet the locals;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Smashing Sexy Disneyland - FQ Book 2 Canto 12

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

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

Part One

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

"Ne ever land beheld, ne living wight,"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flowing or irregular alliteration in the verse-form.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Verse 20 has a beautiful flow;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part Two - The Sexy Bits

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

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

The beasts attack but the Palmer raises his staff;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is some other guy;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Oldhammer! - FQ Book 2 Canto 11

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

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

Let us begin.

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

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

And they brought mutants!!!!

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

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

These guys attack the bulwark of Sight;

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

He has a bow and arrows;

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


Maleger also has

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So mightily that Briton Prince him rouzed"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Maleger gets up again.

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

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

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

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

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

Job done, back to the castle.

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

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Another Shit 10th Canto - FQ Book 2 Canto 10

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

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

The opening line at least isn't bad;

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

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

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

Its like someone reading out a Lexicanium article.

Some fun fragments;

Britain before humans is essentially the Chaos Wastes;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verse 42 has a lady law-maker;

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

Bouducia gets a pair of verses, then;

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

Then blah, blah, blah, Romans etc.

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

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

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

Yes, very nice.


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

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

So in this case we just get a summary.

It turns out that Elves were made by Prometheus;

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


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

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

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

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

Then comes;

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

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

A place called Panthea built "all of Christall".

A guy called Elfinor;

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

Eventually we get Oberon, who, dying;

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

And that's where the Faerie Queene comes from.