Saturday, 25 November 2017

Don't let these Scumbags into your castle FQ Book 3 Canto 9

The castle to which the two knights are denied entry is that of Malbecco, a 'Cacred crabbed Carle';

"That has no skill of Court of courtesie,
Ne cares, what men say of him ill or well;
For all his dayes he drownes in privitie,
Yet has full large to live, and spend at libertie.

But all his mind is set on mucky pelfe,
To hoors up heapes of evil gotten masse,
For which he others wrongs, and wreckes himselfe;
Yet he is licked to a lovely lasse,
Whose beauty doth her bounty far surpasse,
The which to him both far unequall yeares,
And also far unlike conditions has;
For she does joy to play amongst her peares,
And to be free from hard restraint and gealous feares."

But he is old and withered like hay,
Unfit faire Ladies service to supply;
The privie guilt whereof makes him alway
Suspect her truth and keep continuall spy.."

And thats why malbecco won't let anyone into his castle, it is Malbeccos attempt to control his wife. Satyrane notes his own opinions on the treatment of women which combine Rennaisane mysogony and almost proto-femenism in a quite remarkable way;

"In vaine he fears that, which he cannot shonne:
For who wotes not, that womans subtiltyes
Can guilen _Argus_, when she list misdonne?
It is not yron bandes, nor hundred eyes,
Nor brasen walls, nor many wakefull spyes,
That can withhold her wilfull wandring feet;
But fast good will with gentle curtesyes,
And timely service to her pleasures meet
May her perhaps containe, that else would algates fleet."

So women are too cunning and amoral to contain by force, so, for that reason, the best way to control them is to actually be nice to them and help them do what they want.

No one will let Satyrane or Paridell in, no matter what they say. Then a terrible storm comes on 'With shoure and hayle so horrible and dred' that they have to seek shelter somewhere and the only available place is 'a little shed, The which beside the gate for swine was ordered.'

Then another Knight arrives at the castle 'and with earnest mone, Like as the rest, late enterance deare besought;' and has the same luck. So this new knight also goes to the swine shack.

Unfortunately, there is not enough room for all the Knights;

"Both were full loth to leave that needfull tent,
And both full loth in darkenesse to debate;
Yet both full liefe him lodging to have lent,
And both full liefe his boasting to abate;
But chiefly _Paridell_ his hart did grate,
To heare him threaten so despightfully,
As if he did a dogge to kenell rate,
That durst not barke; and rather had he dy,
Then when her was defide, in coward corner ly.

So its time for perhaps the most ignominious Knight-Fight yet. They go at each other in the storm and both are knocked down by the other; 'That each awhile lay like a sencelesse corse'. Paridells squire drags him to his feet and he's about to lay in with his sword until Satyrane;

"..forth stepping, did them stay
And with faire treaty pacifide their ire."

And comes up with an extremely Vancian idea;

"Then when they were accorded from the fray,
Against taht Castles Lord they gan conspire,
To heape on him dew vengeaunce for his hire.
They bene agreed, and to the gates they goe
To burne the same with unquenchable fire,
And that uncurteous carle their commune foe
To do fowle death to dye, or wrap in grievous woe."

Malbecco hears this going on and quickly lets them in, blaming everything on his stupid servants. At this point the third knight takes off their helm;

"And eke that straunger knight emongst the rest,
Was for like need anforst to disaray:
Tho whenas vailed was her loftie crest,
Her golden locks, that were in tramels gay
Upboundedn, did them selves adowne display,
And raught unto her heeles; like sunny beames,
That in a cloud their light did long time stay,
Their vapour vaded, shew their golden gleames,
And through the persant aire shoote forth their azure streames."

It's Britomart! And her amazing hair.

Malbecco offers them dinner but says his wife cant attend. They accept no excuses and insist. Eventually she arrives. She and Paridell flirt it up beyond the awareness of her husband. Some of those verses are very good;

Walter Crane
"And ever and anone, when none was ware,
With speaking lookes, that close embassage bore,
He ro'd at her, and told his secret care:
For all that are he learned had of yore.
Ne was she ignoraunt of that lewd lore,
But in his eye his meaning wisely red,
And with the like him answerd evermore:
She sent at him one firie dart, whose hed
Empoisoned was with privy lust, and gealous dred.

He from that deadly throw made no defence,
But to the wound he weake hart opened wyde;
The wicked engine through false influence,
Past through his eyes and secretly did glyde
Into his hart, which it did sorely gryde.
But nothing new to him was that same paine,
Ne paine at all; for he so oft in vaine,
That thing of course he counted, love to entertaine.

Thenceforth to her he sought to intimate
His inward griefe, by meanes to him well knowne,
Now _Bacchus_ fruit out of the silver plate
He on the table dast, as overthrowne,
And by the dauncing bubbles did divine,
Or therin write to let his love be showne;
Which well she red out of the lerned line,
A sacrament prophane in mistery of wine.

And when so of his hand the pledge she raught,
The guilty cup she fained ti mistake,
And in her lap did shed her idle draught,
Shewing desire her inward flame to slake:
By such close signes they secret way did make
Unto their wills, and one eyes watch escape;
Two eyes him needeth, for to watch and wake,
Who lovers will decieve. Thus was the ape,
By thair faire handling, put into _Malbeccoes_ cape."

Pouring your drink into your cratch becasue you are horny is not a 'close signe'.

The rest of the Canto is somewhat dull. Britomart talks about linaige for a bit and we go into the bistory of Britian AGAIN.

The reason for this in the text I think is becasue, on the allegorical level, a number of very complex things are happening. Paridell is meant to be Paris, of the story of Troy, the guys wife is meant to be Helen. Malbecco is an italian compound storngly suggesting 'cuckold'. Britomart is arguing that Britian is a 'Third Troy' (Rome was Troy II), becasue we britons descend from Romans. So the two troy-linked stories and allegories are mirroring each other in a number of deep and complex ways so that, if you are a Rennaisance Courtier you might be thinking 'Damn, this is some deeeep shit'.

But we are not Rennaisance Courtiers, but the filthy Demos, and from the future too and we are here for the highlights and to us (me) its dull.

The finale verse is pretty good;

"So long these knights discoursed diversly,
Of straunge affaires, and noble hardiment,
Which they has past with mickle jeopardy,
That now the humid night was farforth spent,
And heavenly lampes were halfendeale ybrent:
Which the'old man seeing well, who too long thought
Every discourse and every argument
Which by the houres he measured, besaought
Them go to rest. So all unto their bowres were brought."

1 comment:

  1. In italian (or better, in fiorentine) "malbecco" means "evil goat", but " goat" is lingo for cuckhold (in Italy we say that the cuckhold is "horned" or "horn-carrier" because if you have hornes, everyone can see them but you, and if your wife cheats on you, everyone will know but you).
    Btw in italian the name of Troy ("Troia") means slut.