Monday, 13 November 2017

Boring Fucking Bullshit - FQ Book 2 Canto 9

We open with Guyon and Arthur talking about the Faerie Queene (title call-out). Guyon goes on and on and on and on about how amazing she is. Arthur wants to meet and serve her.

Its often boring when two lawful good characters converse.

But we do at least get;


"And now faire Phoebus gan decline in hast
His weary wagon to the Westerne vale,"

They see a castle and approach the gate, asking for entry so they can stay the night. But look out, becasue this Canto's about to get (briefly) interesting;

"Fly, fly, good knights, (said he) fly fast away
If that your lives ye love, as meete ye should;
Fly fast, and save your selves from neare decay,
Here may ye not have entraunce, though we would:
We would and would again if that we could;
But thousand enemies about us rave,
And with long siege us in this castle hould:
Seven years this wize they us besieged have,
And many good knights slaine, that have us sought to save."

And look out because thes motherfuckers are right here and they are awesome chaos-cultist looking dudes!

"Thus as he spoke, loe with outragious cry
A thousand villains round about them swarmd
Out of the rockes and caves adjoyning nye,
Vile caytive wretches, ragged, rude, deformed,
All threatning death, all in strange manner armd,
Some with unwieldy clubs, some with long speares,
Some rusty knives, some staves in fire warmd.
Sterne was their looke, like wild amazed steares,
Staring with hollow eyes, and stiff upstanding heares."

So the Knights fight a thousand guys, which they can do as they are pretty high-level and also because they seem to be made of magic shadows;

"Hewing and slashing at their idle shades;
For though they beies seeme, yet substance from them fades."


They ask entry again and are denied, but the lady of the castle lets them in. This is Alma - a standard Spenserian virginal blonde who's name means 'nourishing'.

The castle is apparently meant to be an allegory for the human body. From the notes; "this episode has often been criticized".

No shit, its another 'Goldilocks' castle in which everything is 'just right, and therefore dull. Its a rhapsody in architecture, like the bit in Mammons realm, but where that was goth as fuck and had demons, this is like the Disney-castle version of that; long, detailed, boring and wierd, and its weirdness only rarely breaches the oozing swell of its detailed boringness. Its like a mid-american protestant bourgeois Disney dream of mediumness.

A handfull of good points;

"Not built of bricke, ne yet of stone and lime,
But of thing like that that AEgyptian slime,
Whereof king Nine whilome built Babel towre;"

Yes, its made of Egyptian Slime.

It has creepy sacred patriarchal geometaries;

"The frame thereof seemed partly circulare,
And part triangulare, o work divine;
Those two the first and last proportions are,
The one imperfect, mortall, foemeinine;
Th'other immortall, perfect, masculine,
And twixt them both a quadrate was the base,
Proportioned equally by seven and nine;
None was the circle set in heavens place,
All which compacted made a goodly Diyapase."

Whatever. I think thats all we need to hear of that part.

...........................

Eventually Arthur and Guyon meet some girls;

"And eke emongst them litle Cupid playd
His wanton sports, being returned late
From his fierce warres, and having from him laid
His cruell bow, wherewith he thousands hath dismayd."

Yes, in this castle, Cupid is disarmed, which tells you everything you need to know about how fucking dull it is. Wait, it gets even more boring;

"Diverse delights they found them selves to please;
Some song in sweet consort, some laughed for joy,
Some plaid with strawes, some idly sat at ease;
But other some could not abide to toy,
All pleasaunce was to them griefe and annoy:
This fround, that faund, the third for shame did blush,
Another seemed anvious or coy,
Another in her teeth did gnaw a rush:
But at these strangers presence every one did blush."

It's impossible for me to tell if Spenser is taking the piss out of himself with this part.

Arthur meets Prays-desire who essentially kind of give him shit about not getting any further with his quest. Guyon meets Shamefastenesse, who is literally made of embarrassment and won't even look at him.

............................

There is one good bit at the end, Alma has three advisers, one can see the future, one the present and one the past. All so classically standard, but the descriptions are very good;

"His chamber was dispainted all within,
With sundry colours, in the which were writ
Infinite shapes of things dispersed thin;
Some such as in the wrold were never yit,
Ne can devized be of mortall wit;
Some daily seene, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies do flit:
Infernall Hags, Centaurs, feendes, Hippodames,
Apes, Lions, AEgles, Owles, fooles, lovers, children, Dames.

And all the chamber filled was with flyes,
Which buzzed all about and made such sound,
That they encombred all mens ears and eyes,
Like many swarms of Bees assembled round,
After their hives with honny do about:
All those were idle thoughts and fantasies,
Devices, dreames, opinions unsound,
Shewes, visions, sooth-says, and prophesies;
And all the fained is, as leasings, tales, and lies.

Emongst them all sate he, which wonned there,
That hight Phantastes by his nature trew;
A man of years yet fresh, as mote appere,
Of swarth complexion and of crabbed hew,
That him full of melancholy did shew;
Bent hollow beetle broes, sharpe staring eyes,
That mad or foolish seemd: with ill disposed skyes,
When oblique Saturne sate in the house of agonyes."

Thats the first guy, there's also a now-guy who sits in a room;

"...... whose wals
Were painted faire with memorable gestes,
Of famous Wisards, and with picturals
Of Magistrates, of courst, of tribunals,
Of commen wealths of states, of pollicy,
Of lawes, of judgements, and of decretals;
All artes, all science, all Philosophy,
And all that in the world was aye thought wittily."

And then the old guy who thinks about the past, and its in this old library-room that Arthur and Guyon each find a book relevant to themselves.

Arthur finds Briton moniments "That of this lands first conquest did devize", and Guyon finds Antiquitie of Faerie lond, "Th'off-spring of Elves and Faries there he fond,".

"Wherat they burning both with fervant fire,
Their countries auncestry to understand,"

They sit down and read - what they read I think makes up the next Canto, which has 77 verses, making it the longest yet.


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