"And forst t'alight, on foot mote algates fare,
A traveller unwonted to such way:
Need teacheth her this lesson hard and rare,
That fortune all in equall launce doth sway,
And mortall miseries doth make her play."
Luckily she finds 'A little cottage, built of stickes and reedes'.
Unluckily, its one with a Witch in it.
But luckily Florimell has the top-tier Damizell skills of crying and sighing;
"With that adowne out of her Christall eyne
Few trickling teares she softly forth let fall
That like two Orient Perles, did purely shyne
Upon her snowy cheeke; and therewithall
She sighed soft, that none so beastiall,
Vor salvage hart, but ruth of her sad plight
Would make to melt, or pitteously appall;
And that vile Hag, all were her whole delight
In mischief, was much moved at so pitteous sight."
"This wicked woman has a wicked sonne,
The comfort of her age and weary dayes,
A laesie loord, for nothing good to donne,
But streched forth in idlenesse alwayes,
Ne ever cast his mind to covet prayse,
Or ply him selfe to any honest trade,
But all the day before the sunny rayes
He us'd to slug, or sleepe in slothfull shade:
Such lasinesse both lewd and poore attonce him made."
This magnificent incel immediately falls in love with Florimell (like 90% of the men she meets) and brings her what every girl wants;
"Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring,
Whose sides empurpled were with smiling red,
And oft young birds, which he had taught to sing
His mistresse prayses, sweetly caroled,
Girlonds of flowres sometimes for her faire hed
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirrell wild
He brought to her in bands, and conqureed
To be her thrall, he fellow servaunt vild;
All which, she of him tooke with countenance meeke and mild."
Eventually Florimell sneaks away from the house in the night. The son is displeased;
"But that lewd lover did the most lament
For her depart, that ever man did heare;
He knockt his brest with desperate intent,
And scracht his face, and with his teeth did teare
His rugged flesh, and rent his ragged heare:
That his sad mother seeing his sore plight,
Was greatly woe begon, and gan to feare,
Least his fraile senses were emperisht quight,
And love to frenzy turnd, sith love is franticke hight."
His mother tries everything to calm him down; tears, charms, herbs and counsell, none of them work so she turns back to the old classic: MONSTER SUMMONING;
"Eftsoones out of her hidden cave she cald
An hideous beast, of horrible aspect,
That could the stoutest courage have appald;
Monstrous mishapt, and all his backe was spect
With thousand spots of colours queint elect,
Thereto so swift, that it all beasts did pas:
Like never yet did living eye detect;
But likest it to an Hyena was,
That feeds on womens flesh, as others feede on gras."
Florimell has now been chased by; her own sorrow at the death of Marinell, a 'fowle forster', prince Arthur and a magic Hyena. Again she runs her horse till it breaks, again she dismounts, this time she heads for the sea to drown herself. The monster follows, but luckily she finds a member of the working classes;
"A little boate lay hoving her before,
In which there slept a fisher old and pore,
The while his nets were drying on the sand:
Into the same she lept, and with the ore
Did thrust the shallop from the floting strand:"
Nothing in the rest of the Canto mentions the situation of the fisherman.
The monster 'Ne durst assay to wade the perlous seas,' and turns round to 'tell the idle tidings to his Dame:' (so he can speak?), but finds Florimells poor fucking horse and tears it to pieces in spite.
And at this moment, enters a special guest star; 'Sir Satyrane', the satyr-raised knight we last saw fighting either Sans-Loy or Sans-Joy in Book One, I can't remember which.
Satryane reckognises the horse as Florimells and sees her golden girdle is also there;
"Much feared he, least ought did ill betide
To that faire Mayd, the flowre of womens pride;
For her he dearely loved,...)
Well, Knight, Monster, you know how this goes by this point.
Satryane tries to kill the creature with his sword but;
"Yet might not do him dye, but aye more fresh
And fierce he still appeared, the more he did him thresh."
So he throws away his sword and, with an entire verse comparing him to a 'suddein flood', wrestles it into submission and ties it in Florimells golden girdle.
Enough action for one Canto? We are a little over half way through, its about to get reeeeally wierd;
"Thus as he led the Beast along the way,
He spide far off a mighty Giauntesse,
Fast flying on a Courser dapled gray,
From a bolld knight, that with great hardinesse
Her hard pursewd, and sought for to suppresse;
She bore before her lap a dolefull Squire,
Lying athwart her horse in great distresse,
Fast bounden hand and foote with cords of wire,
Whom she did meane to make the thrall of her desire."
Well, now its Knight and Giant, Satyrane knows what to do, he attacks;
"Like as a Goshauke, that in foote doth beare
A trembling Culver, having spide on hight
An Egle, that with plumy wings doth sheare
The subtile ayre, stouping with all his might,
The quarrey throwes to ground with fell despight,
And to the battell doth her selfe prepare:
So ran the Geauntesse unto the fight;
Her firie eyes with furious sparkes did stare,
And with blasphemous bannes high God in peeces tare."
She beats the hell out of him;
"And lightly on his collar laying pussiant hand,
Out of his wavering seat him pluckt perforse,
Perforse him pluckt, unable to withstand,
Or helpe himselfe, and laying thwart her horse,
In loathly wise like to a carion corse."
From monster-wrestling badass to freaky hentai fantasy in less than ten verses. Is Spenser responding to the repeated tropes in his own work by just doing weirder and weirder shit like the failing seasons of a long-running genre show? Or is that just me getting tired with him?
The Giantess still has to escape her chasing Knight so she throws Satyrane away, he lands close to the Squire, likewise abandoned;
"Whom approaching, well he mote perceive
In that foule plight a comley personage,
And lovely face, made fit for to deceive
Fraile Ladies hart with loves consuming rage,"
So its another really hot Squire. The hot Squire tells him two stories, the story of the giantess; her name is Argante, a daughter of the Titans;
"Her sire Typhoeus was, who mad through merth,
And drunke with bloud of men, slaine by his might,
Through incest, her of his own mother Earth
Whilome begot, being but halfe twin of that berth.
For at that berth another Babe she bore,
To weet the mighty Olyphant, that wrought
Great wreake to many errant knights of youre,
And many hath to foul confucion brought.
These twinnes, men say, (a thing far passing thought)
Wiles in their mothers wombe enclosed they were,
Ere they into the lightsome world were brought,
In fleshy lust were mingled both yfere,
And in that monstrous wise did to the world appeare."
Come the fuck on man. Jesus christ.
So, Argante roams about the country picking up guys (yes, a joke), taking them to a secret isle and fucking them to death.
But what about the story of the Squire? He says he is called The Squire of Dames.
Long story short; hes into a 'gentle Lady' and asks her what he can do to win her love. She tells him to 'wander through the world abroad at will,' and do service unto 'gentle Dames', then after a year to bring her the names of the Dames he has served.
But when he comes back it seems he has seved too many Dames and now she's pissed, so she gives him another insane quest; go away and do the same thing but don't come back until you have been refused by Dames in number equal to that which acccepted your service the first time.
With service here essentially suggestively meaning sex.
Satryane asks him how many refusals he has had;
"In deed Sir knight (said he) one word may tell
All, that I ever found so wisely stayd;
For onely three they were disposd so well,"