By thousand furies, and from thence out throwen
Into this world, to worke confusion,
And set it all on fire by force unknowen,
Is wicked discord, whose small sparkes once blowen
None but a God or godlike man can slake;
Such as was Orpheus, that when strife was growen
Amongst those famous ympes of Greece, did take
His filver Harpe in hand, and shortly friends did make."
But Orpheus is dead.
We open with Glauce still trying to calm down Scudamour. Blandamour and Paridell lay on as well. This is apparently still going on when they come upon Sir Ferraugh, the gentleman who took False Florimell from Braggadocio.
Paridell and Blandamour argue again over who should joust, eventually Blandamour takes the challenge, downs Ferraugh and grabs the demon-powered waifu-cyborg False Florimell, with whom he is very happy;
".. nathlesse proud man himselfe the other deemed,
Having so peerelesse paragon ygot:
For sure the fayrest Florimell him seemed,
To him was fallen for his happie lot,
Whose like alive on earth he weened not:
Therefore he her did court, did serve, did wooe,
With humblest suit that he imagine mot,
And all things did devise, and all things dooe,
That might her love prepare, and liking win theretoo."
"So great a mistress of her art she was,
And perfectly practiz'd in womans craft,
That though therein himselfe he thought to pas,
And by his false allurements wylie draft,
Had thousand women of their love beraft,
Yet now he was surpriz'd: for that false spright,
Which that same witch has in this forme engraft,
Was so expert in every subtile slight,
That it could ovverreach the wisest earthly wight."
False Florimell is like a devil-energy Bostromian A.I. with superios social engines.
Ate is displeased with this, and decides to do something about it by pushing Paridell to fight;
"By sundry meanes thereto she prickt him forth,
Now with remembrance of those spightfull speaches,
Now with opinion of his own more worth,
Now with recounting of like former breaches
Made in their friendship, as that Hag him teaches:
And ever when his passion is allayd,
She it revives and new occasion reaches..."
She tricks Paridell and Blandamour into fighting each other over Florimell and we get a new collision-verse (only now do I begin to wish I had been writing these down);
"As when two warlike Brigandines at sea,
With murdrous weapons arm'd to cruell fight,
Doe meete together on the watry lea,
They stemme each other with so fell despight,
That with the shocke of their owne heedlesse might,
Their wooden ribs are shaken nigh a sonder;
They which from shore behold the dreadfull sight
Of flashing fire, and heare the ordenance thonder,
Do greatly stand amaz'd at such unwonted wonder."
They fight brutally over several verses before interrupted by the Dame of Squires, who seems rather unsurprised that Florimell is alive. He advises them to team up as pretty much every knight alive is into Florimell and they will all try to take her and explains;
"... Herin, as thus. It lately so befell,
That Satyran a girdle did uptake,
Well knowne to appertaine to Florimell,
Whoch for her sake he wore, as he beseemed well.
But when as she her selfe was lost and gone,
Full many knights, that loved her like deare,
Thereat did greatly grudge, that he alone,
That lost faire Ladies ornament should weare,"
So Satyrane has proclaimed a big feast where all the Knight will bring their Ladies and they will fight for the golden girdle.
Since, he points out; "To you that ornament of hers pertaines", they should be the ones to win it.
"When they the reaason of his words had hard,
They gan abate the rancour of their rage,"
Paridell abd Blandamour put aside their differences, but Spenser points out this is not true friendship;
"So well accorded forth they rode together
In friendly sort, that lasted but a while;
And of all old dislikes they made faire weather,
Yet all was forg'd and spred with golden foyle,
That under it hidde hate and hollow guyle.
Ne certes can that friendship long endure,
How ever gay and goodly be the style,
That doth ill cause or evill end enure:
For vertue is the band, that bindeth harts most sure."
It is after this that our team of ultra-scumbags bump into the stated heroes of this Canto, who will probably be less interesting, but never mind.
"Couragious Cambell, and stout Triamond,
With Canacee and Cambine linkt in lovely bond."
The rest of the Canto is about the background and story of some of these, but before this Spenser tells us why he it telling this particular story; its fanfic.
Well sort of. The story is well-known and somehow lost? (The notes say Chaucer mentioned it but never told it.) It was told;
"With warlike numbers and Heroicke sound,
Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.
But wicked Time that all good thoughts doth waste,
And workes of noblest wits to nought out weare,
That famous moniment hat quite defaste,
And robd the world of threasure endlesse deare,"
So the story is gone, but Spenser is going to re-write it and add it again to the English canon. So, fan fic.
(We've seen that Shakespeare, about 15 or so years later was essentially writing Spenser Fan-Fic, now it turns out that Spenser was writing Chaucer fan-fic.)
Cambells sister is Canacee, described in this charming and somewhat Christine de Pizan-eque verse;
"..That was the learndest Ladie in her dayes,
Well seene in everie science that mote bee,
And every secret worke of natures wayes,
In wittie riddles, and in wise soothsayes,
In power of herbes, and tunes of beasts and burds,
And, that augmented all her other prayse,
She modest was in all her deedes and words,
And wondrous chast of life, yet lov'd of Knights and Lords."
A bit too loved as so many Knights and Lords are into her that it causes massive fights and discord between them.
Cambell tries to solve this by proposing;
"They by consent should chose the stoutest three,
That with himselfe should combat for her sake,
And of them all the victour should his sister take."
No-one will take Cambell up on this since, firstly, he is 'full of haughtie hardiment' and 'Approved oft in perils manifold', and secondly becasue he has a magic ring, given to him by his sister, which means he cannot bleed from mortal wounds.
The story of Triamond is quite different and has some rather unusual, almost Fairytale-like or Child-like verses to describe it;
"Amongst those knighte there were three brethren bold,
Three bolder brethren never were yborne,
Borne of one mother in one happie mold,
Borne at one burden in one happie morne,
Thrise happie mother, and thrise happie morne,
That bore three such, three such not to be fond;
Her name was Agape whose children werne
All three as one, the first hight Priamond,
The second Dyamond, the youngest Triamond.
Stout Priamond, but not so strong to strike,
Strong Diamond, but not so stout a knight,
But Triamond was stout and strong alike:
On horsebacke used Triamond to fight,
And Priamond on foote had more delight,
But horse and foote knew Diamond to wield:
With curtaxe used Diaomond to smite,
And Triamond to handle speare and shield,
But speare and curtaxe both used Priamond in field."
Agape is a Fay, who was raped by a Knight (thanks Edmund), the boys are half-fey but grow up boisterous, knightly and dangerous and their mother is afraid for them;
"Therefore desirous th'end of all their dayes
To know, and them t'enlarge with long extent,
By wondroud skill, and many hidden wayes,
To the three fatall sisters house she went.
Farre under ground from tract of living went,
Downe in the bottome of the deepe Abysse,
Where Demogorgon in dull darknesse pent,
Farre from the view of Gods and heavens blis,
The hideous Chaos keepes, their dreadfull dwelling is."
There she talks with the three fates and gets them to show her the three threads of her three sons;
"And when she saw, it did her much amate,
To see their thrids so thin, as spiders frame,
And eke so short, that seemed their ends out shortly came."
"Graunt this, that when ye shred with fatall knife
His line, which is the eldest of the three,
Which is of them the shortest, as I see,
Eftsoones his life may passe into the next;
And then the next shall likewise ended bee,
that both their lives may likewise be annext
Unto the third, that his may so be trebly wext.
They graunted it;"
Agape does not tell her three sons their destinies, but warns them to 'tend their safties well' and 'Love each other deare, what ever them befell'.
Which they do.