Monday, 20 November 2017

devoyd of mortall slime - FQ Book 3 Canto 4

We open with more proto-feminism. It's pretty good;

"Where is the Antique glory now become,
That whilome wont in women to appeare?
Where be the brave atchievements doen by some?
Where be the battels, where the shield and speare,
And all the conquests, which them high did reare,
That matter made for famous POets verse,
And boastfull men so oft abashet to heare?
Bene they all dead, and laid in dolefull herse?
Or doen they onely sleepe, and shal again reverse?"

Redcrosse and Britomart seperate and she finds herself by the sea;

"Tho having viewed a while the surges hore,
That gainst the craggy clifts did loudly rore,
And in their raging surquedry distaynd,
That the fast earth affronted them so sore,
And their devouring covetize restrayned,
Thereat she sighed deepe, and after thus complynd."

Yes, Britomart is still feeling sad about love and sits down to have a good multi-verse whine about how her emotions are like the sea 'of sorrow and tempestous griefe' and how 'stormy strife' raigns and rageth rife' in her 'troubled bowels';

"For else my feeble vessell crazed, and cract
Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,
Cannot endure, but needs it must be wrackt
On the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes,
The whiles that love it steers, and fortune rowes;
Love my lewd Pilot hath a restlesse mind
And fortune Boteswaine no assurance knowes,
But saile withouten starres, gainst tide and wind:
How can they other do, sith bothe are bold and blind?"

But she doesn't need to worry too long because a strange knight is galloping this way, and we know what happens when two strange knights meet each other;

"The knight approaching, stearnly her bespake;
Sir knight, that doest thy voyage rashly make
By this forbidden way in my despight,
Ne doest by others death ensample take,
I read thee soone retyre, whiles thou has might,
Least afterwards it be too late to take thy flight.

Ythrild with deepe distaine of his proud threat,
She shortly thus; Fly then, that need to fly;
Words fearen babes. I meane not thee entreat
To passe; but maugre thee will passe or dy."

Our Britomart is never one to mince words. They take each other on;

"Strongly the straunge knight ran, and sturdily
Strooke her full on the brest, that made her downe
Decline her head, & touch her crouper with her crowne."

But this is Britomart, so she just punches her magic spear through sheild and mail and;

Walter Crane
"Him so transfixed she before her bore
Beyond his croupe, the length of all her launce,
Till sadly soucing on the sandie shore,
He tombled on an heape, and wallwed in his gore."

Britomart rides on, and finds;

"Along the strond, which as she over-went,
She saw bestrowed all with rich aray
Of pearles and pretious stones of great assay,
And all that gravell mixt with golden owre;"

Of course Britomart is in a storygame rather than D&D so she safely ignores all the treasure and rides on and that is all we get to see of her this Canto.


The second part tells us about the knight she just took down. This is 'Marinell'. His mother is the sea-nymph, 'blacke-browd Cymoent' and if I'm reading this right looks like this is another child-of-non-con situation.

Marinells mum loves him and raises him in a cave to be a Knight, which he becomes, and then beats up a whole bunch of dudes for crossing his beach.

His mum loves him so much she persuades her father Neptune to just dump treasures on him and this is the stuff on the beach;

"The spoyle of all the world, that it did pas
The wealth of the'East, and pompe of Persian kings;
Gold, amber, yvorie, perles, owches, rings,
And all that else was pertious and dere,
The sea unto him voluntary brings,"

His mother is so obsessive about his safety that she gets Proteus to prophecy how her son shall die, (which is fucked up if you think about it) and he tells her;

"..of a woman he should have much ill,
A virgin strange and tout him should dismay, or kill."

She thinks this is love Proteus is talking about and so totally bans Marinell from having anything to to with girls, ever. Which sounds rough for Marinell and also rough for the girls for;

"They for love of him would algates dy:
Dy, who so list for him, he was loves enimy."

But of course the prophecy was about Britomart;

"So tickle be the termes of mortall state,
And full of subtle sophismes, which do play
With double senses, and with false debate,
T'approuve the unknowen purpose of eternall fate."

When his mother hears (somehow) about his fall, she freaks out;

"Ne word did speake, but lay as in a swowne,
Whiles all her sisters did for her lament,"

Shes quite a swooner is Cymoent.

Then she leaps up into her chariot and she and her sisters ride across the surface of the ocean on dolphin-powered chariots in some kind of a combination of a prog/metal album cover;

"Great Neptune stood amazed at their sight,
Whiles on his braod round backe they sfotly slid
And eke himselfe mourned at their mournfull splight,
Yet wist not what their wailing ment, yet did
For great compassion of their sorrow, bid
His mightie waters to them buxome bee:
Eftsoones that roaring billowes still abid,
And all the griesly Mosters of the See
Stood gaping at their gate, and wondred them to see.

Walter I _knew_ you could dot it.
As swift as swallowes, on the waves they went,
That their broad flaggie finnes no fome did reare,
Ne bubbling roundell they behind them sent;
The rest of other fishes drawen were,
Which with their funny oars the swelling sea did sheare."

On arriving Cyoment immediately leaps into action;

"His mother swowned thrise, and the third time
Could scarce recovered be out of her paine;
Had she not bene devoyd of mortall slime,
She should not then ahve bene relieved again,"

Then we get multiple verses of lament from her on how terrible this all is;

"Who dyes the utmost dolour doth abye,
But who that lives, is left to waile his losse:
So life is losse, and death felicitie.
Sad life worse then glad death: and greater crosse
To see friends grave, the dead the grave selfe engrosse."

Well said, but after only seven verses of lamenting they 'softly wipt away the gelly blood' and work that actually he's still alive, so its back on the sea-chariot;

"Deepe in the bottme of the sea, her bowre
Is built of hollow billowes heaped hye,
Like to thicke cloudes, that threat a stormy showre,
And vauted all within, like to the sky,
In which the Gods to dwell eternally:"

So they call for a sea-doctor to heal her son and she generally curses the hand

"...that did so deadly smight,
Her dearest sonne, her dearest harts delight;
But none of those curses overtooke
The warlike Maid, th'ensample of that might"

So, what was the point of this section then?

The whole Canto is a bit like this. Were all having fun but it seems like nothing is actually about anything..

On to part three.


There is a thrilling mention of 'false Archimage here, suggesting that all these events are part of one of his meta-plots, and supporting Kathryns idea that he is going to turn out to be a major character in disguise, but sadly he doesn't actually turn up... yet*.

We now rewind back to the moment where the hot Mallorian dame was being chased through the forest by some wierdo. Well she is still running;

"The fearfull damzell, with incessany paines:
Who from them fled, as light-foot haire from view
Of hunger swift, and sent of hondes trew."

They keep chasing after her, but a thing you might notice is that, if you are a heavily armed man chasing a woman, and you keep shouting at her to stop, generally they don't. For reasons why; see the entire rest of the poem.

So one of them, (I forget which), chases her till dark, then;

"... Downe himselfe he layd
Upon the grassie ground, to sleepe a throw;
The cold earth was his couch, the hard steele his pillow."

He can't sleep due to a 'thousand fancies bet his idle braine
With their light wings, the sights of semblants vaine:"

So then, in a very odd turn, he spents the entire end of the Canto ritually cursing Night.

I'm sure you guys know hoe terrible Night is, right?

"Night thou foule Mother of annoyance sad,
Sister of heavie death, and nourse of woe,
Which wast begot in heaven, but for they bad
And brutish shape thrust downe to hell below,
Where by the grim floud of Cocytus slow
Thy dwelling is, in Herebus blacke hous,
(Blacke Herebus thy husband is the foe
Of all the Gods) where thou ungratious
Halfe of thy dayes does lead in horrour hideous."

then more of this, then more..

"Under thy mantle blacke there hidden lye,
Light-shonning theft, and traiterous intent,
Abhorred bloudshed, and vile feolony,
Shamefull deceipt, and daunger imminent;
Foule horror, and eke hellish deriment:
All these I wote in thy protection bee,
And light doe shonne, for feare of being shent:
For light ylike is loth'd of them and thee,
And all that lewdnesse love, doe hate the light to see."

I mean, we met Night back in Book One and honestly she didn't seem that bad.

Ye Podecaste Linke

*From the notes - "This stanza, along with the mention of Duessa in III.i.Arg., suggests that Spenser may have intended to use Archimago again in this book. He does not, and this is the last mention of Archimago in the poem."




Take a moment to remember everyone's favourite piece of anti-Catholic propaganda and the Original Archmage. Peace out Bro.


  1. Not Archmage!

    If so, Spenser just wasted such a golden opportunity. I mean, Archmage had character, motive (however strange without Origin Story) and proper abilities to achieve his goals, he was properly build up for more than one book, why leave him out?

    It is almost as if Archmage was a PvP player or co-DM and dropped out of the game, so his plotline are forgotten.

    I wonder if Braggadochio is forgotten as well.

    To keep track on all people Spenser probably needed a corkboard with little portraits of characters and a lots of treads running between them.

    1. I think he was originally planning on doing (I think) 24 books, so maybe he was going to bring back the OAM in a later story.

    2. Alas and woes, this never is to be!