The opening solar metaphors are back! It's not Phoebus this time but we do at least get purple beams and "Titan playing on the eastern streams".
Guyon gives the bloody-handed Baby to Medina and asks her to raise it in "vertuous lore", "gentle noriture" and TOTAL VENGANCE. So no problem there. The baby is to be called "Ruddymane".
We then get a reminder of Guyons horse being stolen, meaning "his Palmer now shall foot no more alone", then its a flashback to the actual theft.
Enter one of my favourite characters so far; Braggadochio, a name so long I consistently mispronounce it. Who is Braggadochio?
"One that to bounty never cast his mind,
Nor thought of honour ever did assay
His baser breast, but in his kestrel kind
A pleasing vein of glory vain did find,
To which his flowing tongue, and troublous spright
Gave him great aid, and made him more inclined:"
Braggadochio finds the horse and spear, steals them both and "ran away full light".
Braggadochio dreams of glory and status, he comes directly upon an old man sitting on the bank and immediately threatens him with total destruction, for no reason.
"The seely man seeing him ride so rancke,
And aim at him, fell flat to ground for fear,
And crying Mercy loud, his piteous hands gan rear.
Thereat the Scarecrow wexed wonderous proud,
Through fortune of his first adventure fair,
And with big thundering voice reviled him loud;
Vile Cative, vassall of dread and despair,
Unworthy of the commune breathed air,
Why livest thou, dead dog, a longer day?
And doest theyself my captive yeild for ay;
Great favour I thee grant, for answer thus to stay."
This old man immediately crawls shamelessly to Braggadochio and "cleeped him to his liege, to hild of him in fee."
"when he felt the folly of his Lord,
In his own kind he gan himself unfold:
For he was wily witted and grown old
In cunning sleights and practick knavery."
The old man is Trompart, and together with Braggadochio they make the most perfect anti-chivalric mirror pair yet conceived in the book. Shameless total cowards and glorious liars. But it gets better, because who is the first person they run into?
Archimago's back! The Knight-hating super-wizard and original Archmage sees the pair and, thinking Braggadochio a real knight, decides to inveigle them into an anti-Guyon scheme.
His lies meet with absolute approval from Braggadochio;
"Old man, great sure shall be thy meed,
If where those knights for fear of due vengance
Do lurk, thou cert to me areed,
That I may wreak on them their hainous hateful deed."
Archimago is thrilled by this but says Braggadochio will need a sword to fight them, he only has a spear. Why?
"... Once I did swear,
When with one sword seven knights I brought to end,
Thenceforth in battel never sword to bear,
But it were that, which noblest knight on earth doth wear."
Braggadochio is just too hardcore to have a sword, unless it is the best sword.
Archimago buys this totally and tells them he will return tomorrow carrying the sword of Prince Arthur himself. He then magically flies away on the north wind.
Realising that they have been bullshitting with an actual, verifiable wizard, Trompet and Braggadochio compulsively run away in terror and hide in a forest under a bush.
From this edition ,by W Kent.
Why were you under the bush?
"From my mothers womb this grace I have,
Me given by eternal destiny,
That earthly thing may not my courage brave
Dismay with fear, or cause on foot to fly,
But either hellish feinds, or powers on high:
Which was the cause, when earst that horn I heard,
Weening it had been thunder in the sky,
I hid my self from it, as one affeared;
But when I other knew, my self I boldly reared."
Then we enter part two of the Canto, which feels like Spenser writing his own, slightly creepy, Spenser fanfic that gets him banned from Spensercon.
Its about Braggadochio and Trompet encountering a super-sexy (and super-chaste) Goddess-seeming women hunting in the forest.
She gets a verse for her skin, a verse for her eyes, a verse for her forehead, a verse for her eyelids, a verse on her general clothing style, a verse on her 'buskins' and shoes, a verse on her legs generally, a verse on her weapons (including a breakdown on exactly what is going on with her boobs
"Her daintie paps; which like young fruit in May
Now little gan to swell, and being tide,
Through her thin weed their places only signified.")
and a verse on her general legendary beauty. (There are enough precise details here that you could probably cosplay as her if you wanted to.)
I'm guessing this is the Faerie Queene herself in 'disguise' or another insanely high status character we have yet to meet.
Trompet and Braggadochio are initially terrified of her, but they are shallow enough to pull themselves together;
"As fearful fowle, that long in secret cave
For dread of soaring hawk her self hath hid
Proudly to prune, and set aright on every side,
So shakes off shame, nor thinks how erst she did hide."
They remark on how hot she is and how she should be taking pleasures in court. She gives them a very protestant speech about honour being found through hard work, danger and sweat.
"And with her wondrous beauty ravished quite,
Gan burn in filthy lust, and leaping light,
Through in his bastard arms her to embrace."
So thats another rape attempt, thanks Edmund. She exits at speeed. Trompet and Braggadochio are somewhat put out by this.
"Nor cared he greatly for her presence vain,
But turning said to Trompart, what foul blot
Is this to knight, that Ladie should again
Depart to woods untouched & leave so proud distain?"