Sunday, 25 February 2018

Metatextual Spenser and Nice-Guy Calidore - FQ Book 6 Canto 10

So, there's an Edmund Spenser extended universe, and a meta-textual version of Edmund Spenser is a character in the extended Spenserverse.

This character is called 'Colin Clout'. Hes an amusingly ("amusingly") rustic type, and the narrator of a poem Spenser wrote, apparently about his visit to London and what happened there, and he was referenced in Canto 9 as someone whose songs are popular with shepheards.

And Colin Clout turns up in this book to talk to Calidore about the end of the Poem. Which is weird as shit.

You thought the war crimes stuff was as strange as it was going to get. Nope, he's pulling an 'Animal Man' to explain why the poems ending early.

And there are naked girls.

And then more plot.

Ok, lets go!


"Who now does follow the foule Blatant Beast,
Whilest Calidore does follow that faire Mayd,
Unmyndfull of his vow and high beheast,
Which by the Faery Queene was on him layd,"

The Faerie Queene should know by now that Knights do little else but fuck up and fuck about, achieving their quests either too early or too late.

Calidore is simply wandering around at this point, when he comes upon a magic place;

"It was an hill plaste in an open plaine,
That round about was bordered with a wood
Of matchlesse hight, that seem'd the'earth to disdaine,
In which all trees of honour stately stood,
And did all winder as in sommer bud,
Spredding pavilions for the birds to bowre,
Which in their lower braunches sung aloud;
And in their tops the soring hauke did towre,
Sitting like King of fowles in majesty and powre."

There is also a 'gentle flud' which 'wylde beastes' and 'the ruder clowne' will not approach, but instead you get nymphs and faries and all that shit. There is a plain on top of the mountain and Venus comes here for her holidays which explains why the whole place is so great.

"Unto this place when as the Elfin Knight
Approcht, him seemed that the merry sound
Of a shrill pipe he playing heard on hight,
And many feete fast thumping th'hollow ground,
That through the woods their Eccho did rebound."

So Claidore hangs around being a little creep, and sees a bunch of hot naked dames;

"An hundred naked maidens lilly white,
All raunged in a ring, and dauncing in delight.

All they without were raunged in a ring,
And daunced round; but in the midst of them
Three other Ladies did both daunce and sing,
The whilest the rest them round about did hemme,
And like a girlond did in compasse stemme;
And in the middest of those same three, was placed
Another Damzell, as a precious gemme,"


"Those were the Graces, daughters of delight,
.. But that faire one,
That in the midst was placed paravaunt,
Was she to whom that shepheard pypt alone,
That made him pipe so merrily, as never none."

According to the notes the Graces are a mixture of classical dames and christian virtues. The girl in the middle, making the piper pipe is, according to the penguin editor, a kind of meta-Elizabeth combining Spensers three Elizabeth, his mum, his wife Elizabeth Boyle, and his Queen Elizabeth R.

"She was to weete that jolly Shepheards lasse,
Which piped there unto that merry rout,
That jolly shepheard, which there piped, was
Poore Colin Clout (Who knowes not Colin Clout?)
He pypt apace, whilest they him daunst about.
Pype jolly shepheard, pype thou now apace
Unto thy love, that made thee low to lout;
Thy love is present there with thee in place,
Thy love is there advaunst to be another Grace."

Calidore stands there perving for a but, but as soon as he blunders in, they disappear;

"And cleane were gone, which way he never knew;
All save the shepheard, who for fell despight
Of that displeasure, broke his bag-pipe quight,
And made great mone for that unhappy turne."

Firstly, I was not imagining those hot dames dancing to bagpipes. Secondly, the Faerie Queene is interrupted by one of the characters from the Faerie Queene. I have no idea what that means.

Colin is somewhat pissed that his dames are gone and explains to Calidore who they were. Chicks who hang out with Venus and the daughters of Jove;

"These three on men all gracious gifts bestow,
Which decke the body or adorne the mynde,
To make them lovely or well favoured show,
As comely carriage, entertainement kynde,
Sweete semblaunt, friendly offices that bynde,
And all the complements of curtesie:
They teach us, how to each degree and kynde
We should our selves demeane, to low, to hie;
To friends, to foes, which skill men call Civility."

"But what so sure she was, she worthy was,
To be the fourth with those three other placed:
Yet was she certes but a country lasse,
Yet she all other countrey lasses farre did passe."

Then a few verses about how great she is.

"That all her peres cannot with her compare,
But quite are dimmed, when she is in place.
She made me often pipe and now to pipe apace.

Sunne of the world, great glory of the sky,
That all the earth doest lighten with thy rayes,
Great Gloriana, greatest Majesty,
Pardon thy shepheard, mongst so many layes,
As he hath sung of thee in all his dayes,
To make one minime of thy poore handmayde,
And underneath thy feete to place her prayse,
That when they glory shall be farre displayed
To future age of her this mention may be made."

I think this girl is mainly Elizabeth Boyle.

Calidore and Colin stay there talking for a while, but Calidores 'envenimd sting' begins to 'rancle sore,' meaning he wants to get back with Pastorell;

"To his wounds worker, that with lovely dart
Dinting his brest, had bred his restlesse paine,
Like as the wounded Whale to shore flies from the maine."


So Calidore takes his leave of Colin Clout and goes back to not chasing the Blatant Beast and in fact trying to nice-guy Pastorell;

"To whom in sort, as he at first begonne,
He daily did apply him selfe to donne,
All dewfull service voide of thoughts impure"

This is a lie. As show in later verse he is hanging around technically not trying to bone her but being so fucking courteous that eventually she just has to fuck him.

He is aided in this by an unexpected Lion attack. Pastorells other, crappy suitor runs away, but of course Calidore is a Spenserian hero;

"He had no weapon, but his shepheards hooke,
To serve the vengeaunce of his wrathfull will,
With which so sternele he the monster strooke,
That to the ground astonished he fell;"

This seems to do the trick;

"So well he woo'd her, and so well he wrought her,
With humble service, and with daily sute,
That at the last unto his will he brought her;
Which he so wisely well did prosecute,
That of his love he reapt the timely fruit,
And joyed long in close felicity:"


Of course, no somewhat-icky but stable situation can last in the Faerie Queene so roll out the remainder of the Frank Frazetta extras from Canto Eight!

".. A lawlesse people, Brigants hight of yore,
That never usde to live by plough nor spade,
But fed on spoile and booty, which they made
Upon their neighbours, which did night them border,
The dwelling of these shepheards did invade,
And spoyld their houses, and them selve did murder;
And drove away their flocks, with other much disorder."

These guys raid Pastorells village while Calidore is away, and steal her and all the other named NPC's, taking them to their cool-sounding hideout;

"Their dwelling in a little Island was,
Covered with shrubby woods, in which no way
Appeared for people in nor out to pas,
Nor any footing fynde for overgrowen gras.

For underneath the ground their way was made,
Through hollow caves, that no man mote discover
For the thicke shrubs, which did them alwaies shade
From view of living wight, and covered over:
But darkenesse dred and daily night did hover
Through all the inner parts, wherein they dwelt.
Ne lighted was with windwo, nor with lover, (louer?)
But with continuall candleight, which delt
A doubtfull sense of things, now so well seene, as felt."

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