In doing gentle deedes with franke delight,
Even so the baser mind it selfe displayes,
In cancred malice and revengefull spight.
For to maligne, t'envie, t'use shifting slight,
Be arguments of a vile donghill mind,
Which what it dare not doe by open might,
To worke by wicked treason wayes doth find,
By such discourteous deeds discovering his base kind."
So Turpine, (he lord of shitbag castle was in fact him) follows Arthur, thinking of some way to screw him over.
He comes upon 'two knights to him unknowne,
The which were armed both agreeably,
And both combynd, what ever chaunce were blowne,
Betwixt them to divide, and each to make his owne."
These guys are young, untested and dumb, so Turpine strings them along with a tale. But crucially, also offers them 'meed' i.e. cash.
They find Arthur; 'Ryding a softly pave with portance sad,
Devizing of his love more, then of daunger drad.
Then one of them aloud unto him cryde.
Bidding him turne again, false traytour knight,
Foule womanwronger, for he him defyde."
Arthur wins of course, but the verse and nature of his winning is interesting;
The first hits Arthur head-on, but his lance 'in peeces shivered quite' and Arthur hits him;
"That the cold steel through piercing, did devowre
His vitall breath, and to the ground him bore,
Where still he bathed lay in his owne bloody gore."
next comes one of the most interesting animal-comparison verses yet;
"As when a cast of Faulcons make their flight
At an Herneshaw, that lyes aloft on wing,
The whyles they strike at him with heedlesse might,
The warie foule his bill doth backward wring;
On which the first, whose force her first doth bring,
Her selfe quite through the bodie doth engore,
And falleth downe to ground like senselesse thing,
But th'other not so swift, as she before,
Fayles of her souse, and passing by doth hurt no more."
The notes say a Hernshaw is a young heron. Has this ever actually happened? I know from reading the Peregrine that they do sometimes hunt in pairs and that the power of their strike is derived from the steepness of their 'stoop' or dive, so if a big-beaked bird did learn to turn round and use that beak as a spear, it could used the raptors own kinetic strength against it. Plus this sounds like the kind of extremely unlikely but just-about-possible rare animal event that could be known to historical falconers and unknown today. But could also be bullshit.
Anyway, the second knight swings around;
"As if he would have passed through him quight:
But the steele-head no stedfast hold could fynd,
But glauncing by, deceiv'd him of that he desyned.
Not so the Prince: for his well learned speare
Tooke surer hould, and from his horses backe
Above a launces length him forth did beare,
And gainst the cold hard earth so store him strake,
That all his bones in peeces nigh he brake."
Arthur leaps off his horse to behead the guy, who begs for mercy and tells him what happened;
"The Prince much mused at such villenie," and tells the guy to go and get him whoever paid him to do this. The Knight runs off (bone situation uncertain) and finds Turpine, who is surprised;
"To see him so bedight with bloodie gore,
And griesly wounds that him appalled sore."
The knight speaks;
"Witnesse the wounds, and this wyde bloudie lake,
Which ye may see yet all about me steeme.
Therefore now yeeld, as ye did promise make,
My due rewards, the which right well I deeme
I yearned have, that life so dearly did redeeme."
The Knight tells him Arthur is dead and to follow him to the battle site (just trace the streemes of bloud).
"Much did the Craven seeme to mone his case,
That for his sake his deare life had forgone;
And him bewayling with affection base,
Did counterfeit kind pittie, where was none:
For wheres no courage, theres no rith nor mone."
I wonder if this is actually true? It feels both true and un-true at the same time.
They find Arthur actually sleeping;
"The whyles his salvage page, that wont be prest,
Was wandred in the wood another way,
To doe some thing, that seemed to him best,
The whyles his Lord in silver slomber lay,
Like to the Evening starre adorn'd with deawy ray."
Is 'thing, that seems to me best,' Renaissance for taking a poop in the woods?
"Hold on, I must do a thing, which seems to me best."?
Turpine is too afraid to go near Arthur, even sleeping, and make an attempt to buy back the service of the wounded Knight;
"Nathlesse for all his speach, the gentle knight
Would not be tempted to such villanie,
Regarding more his faith, which he did plight,
All were it to his mortall enemie,
Then to entrap him by false treacherie:"
The Woodwose returns and seeing them together; 'doubted much what mote their meaning bee,' throws down his nuts (so thats what he was up to) and shakes his weapon ('That was an oaken plant, which lately hee Rent by the root').
Arthur wakes up and terrorises Turpine (not that difficult);
"His foote he set on his vile necke, in signe
Of servile yoke, that nobler harts repine,"
Gives him a lot of crap about how terrible he is and hangs him from his ankles in a tree so that 'all which passed by, The picture of his punishment might see, And by the like ensample warned be,'.
So ends that tale.
A reminder of where we are in Book Six; three levels down;
Level One - Calidore is sent to stop the Blatant Beast, briefly meets Arthegall, encounters Calepine & Serena, Serena is bitten.
Level Two - Calepine tries to save Serena, is tortured and messed-with by Turpine, is saved by the Salvage Man but separated from Serena. Serena encounters Arthur and Tiamas. She hangs out with Tiamas because they both need healing from the Bite of the Blatant Beast.
Level Three - Arthur teams up with the Salvage Man and beats up and shames Turpine.
Now It's back to Level Two to find out what was going on with that Lady and the Fool, and apparently also a Gyant that wasn't mentioned originally;
"She was a Ladie of great Dignitie,"
"Though of mean parentage and kindred base,"
"Yet deckt with wondrous giftes of natures grace,
That all men did her person much admire,"
Beauty in Spenser is either super good or super evil, so which will it be?
"Yet she thereof grew proud and insolent,
That none she worthie thought to be her fere,"
"But this coy Damzell thought contrariwize,
That such proud looks would make her praysed more;
And that the more she did all love despize,
The more would wretched lovers her adore.
What cared she, who sighed for her sore,
Or who did wayle or watch the wearie night?
Let them that list, their lucklesse lot deplore;
She was borne free, not bound to any wight,
And so would ever live, and love her own delight."
NOOOOOOOOOO! It's Lady Friendzone!
So the grand crime of this woman is that she is too hot and really into her own hotness and also proud and won't get with any guy, even though loads are into her, and that this literally kills them through being friendzoned;
"Many a wretch, for want of remedie,
Did languish long in lifeconsuming smart,
And at the last through dreary dolour die:"
What happens is that Cupid is keeping court on St Valentines day, and 'when the roules were red, In which the names of all loves folke were fyled,' that a bunch are midding for various reasons, and when he interviews Infamie, and Despight, they give evidence 'that they were all betrayd, And murdred cruelly by a rebellious Mayd.'
This is fair Mirabella
(Probably from the italian mirabile - admirable, and from mirari - 'to gaze at' and bella - 'beautiful'.)
They drag Lady Mirabella Friendzone in and she refuses to plead 'Even for stubborne pride, which her restrayned.' So she is set a very knightly penance, one quite similar to that slutty knight we saw in the friendship Canto;
"She wander should in companie of those,
Till she had sav'd so many loves, as she did lose."
(This would actually be a cool start to a serial TV show.)
"So now she had bene wandring two whole yeares
Throughout the world, in this uncomely case,
Wasting her goodle hew in heavie teares,
And her good dayes in dolorous disgrace:"
And worse than that, she has not one, but two complete assholes to accompany her.
"... And eeke that angry foole
Which follow'd her, with cursed hand uncleane
Whipping her horse, did with his smarting toole
Oft whip her dainty delfe, and much augment her doole."
And also another complete freak who looks like a Quentin Blake illustration;
"For he was sterne, and terrible by nature,
And eeke of person huge and hideous,
Exceeding much the measure of mans stature,"
And in fact is the descendant of giants and brother to Orgoglio, that guy somebody killed a bunch of Cantos previously;
"His lookes were dreadfull, and his fiery eis
Like two great Beacons, glared bright and wyde,
Glauncing askew, as if his enemies
He scorned in his overweening pryde;
And stalking stately like a Crane, did stryde
At every step uppon the tiptoes hie,
And all the way he went, on every syde
He gaz'd about, and stared horriblie,
As if her with his lookes would all men terrifie.
He wore no armour, ne for none did care,
As no whit dreading any living wight;
But in a Jacket quiltedd richly rare,
Upon checklaton he was straungely dight,
And on his head a roll of linnen plight,
Like to the More of Malaber her wore;
With which his locks, as blacke as pitchy night,
Were bound about, and voyded from before,
And in his hand a mighty yron club he bore.
This was Distaine, who lead that Ladies horse"
"NO IT ISN'T!" I hear all you Faerie Queene super-fans cry out. "Distaine is from Book Two, Canto Seven, where Guyon, knight of Temperance, either has a dream vision or literally enters the underworld to hang out with Mammon, and sees a bunch of crazy shit, including 'A sturdy villain, striding stiffe and bold' who is also a 'gyant' but a gold one, carrying an 'Yron' clubbe. And we remember this becasue he had one of the coolest descriptive verse-fragments;
"Disdayne he was called, and did disdaine
To be so cald, and who so did him call:""
1. That was just a dream vision so this is the real one.
2. They are the SAME GUY, he just moonlights underground for Mammon sometimes (the gold paint is his Mammon-Uniform) and does shifts for Cupid in the summer, Persephone-style.
3. Edmund has forgotten he already used Distaine. (impossibe).
4. They have differnet spellings, so they are actually two completely different Distaines.
5. Its a clever theological callback, ahhh you see Distain serves Mammon AND Cupid, so you see? Hmmm? Ahhhhhh.
6. Heroes like the Faerie Queene and Arthur, get multiple shadow-selves cast into different adventures, and even meet their shadow selves, so maybe this is that, but for a Villain?
The recursive, repetitive, endless shadow-casting, multiple-person-characters, all Villians are related nature of the Faerie Queene is one of the things that almost calls out for it to be made into an RPG because all of that stuff represents complex organisational elements that make play more interesting.
If you kill this Distain, does Mammon lose an employee? Is he then pissed off? They are both descended from Titans, can they call on their family? If one is a shadow-self, does killing the prime destroy the shadow? Or can you only kill the Prime once you have killed the shadow in a spiritual-ladder sense?
Anyway, these two are so horrible to this lady that Tiamas goes into full Knight mode and attacks.
And Distain goes after him with the gyant yron clubbe. Tiamas avoids him 'Like as a mastiffe having at a bay, A salvage Bull, whose cruell hornes doe threat Desperate daunger' while the gyant 'oftentimes by Turmagent and Mahound swore', thereby proving he is not only a giant evil dude but a non-anglo giant evil dude.
But eventually Tiamas slips, 'And with his yron club to ground him strooke:', then ties him up and he and the fool both whip him for fun;
"And other whiles with bitter mockes and mowes
He would him scorne, that to his gentle mynd
Was much more grievous, then the others blowes:
Words sharpely wound, but greatest griefe of scorning grows."