Tuesday, 28 November 2017

huge mischiefe, and vile villany - FQ Book 3 Canto 12

Waiting in the darkness, Britomart hears 'a shrilling Trompet sound aloud', then 'an hideous storme of winde arose', there's lightning, every door swings and claps, this goes on for two hours, then;

".. forth issued, as on the ready flore
Of some Theatre, a grave personage,
That in his hand a branch of laurell bore,
With comely haveour and count'nance sage,
Yclad in costly garments, fit for tragicke Stage."

He stands as if in a play and beckoning an audience to Silence;

"And passing by, his name discovered,
Ease, on his robe in golden letters cypered."

Then come "Minstrals, making goodly meriment,
With wanton Bardes, and Rymers impudent,"

It's the start of another Spencerian Parade of Monsterous Qualities. If you remember the monstrous wizard advisors from the House of Pride in Book One, this is similar to that. Its worth reading but I will try to leap through it with some speed;

".. Fancy, like a lovely boy," dancing, waving a fan and wearing plumes.

Then "..amorous Desyre," older, with ambroidered bonnet say arawy and carrying kindled sparks.

Then Doubt, in 'discolour'd cote, of strange disguyse', treding as if he fears thorns or 'that the flore to shrinke he did avyse'.

Then 'Daunger' clothed in Bears skin, with net and rusty blade, one to stab foes the other to enwrap friends.

Fear, fully armoured, with a brasen sheild in his right hand. Fixing his eye on Danger and afraid of the sight or sound of his own arms;

"he fast away did fly,
As ashes pale of hew, and winged heeld;"

Now Hope, a handsome maid, sprinkling favours;
"On whom she list, and did great liking sheowe,
Great liking unto many, but true love to feowe."

Then Dissemblance, another fair maid, but her hair is a wig and her clothes 'painted and purloynd, and Suspect, foul and grim who walks with a lattice before his face.

Then Grief, who has pincers to pinch people to the heart; 'That from thenceforth a wreched life they lad,'. And Fury, a woman in rags, tearing her clothes and her own hair, wielding a firebrand and roaming here and there; ;

"As a dismayed Deare in chace embost,
Forgetfull of his safety, hath his right way lost."

Then Displeasure and Plesance;

"That evil matched paire they seemd to bee:
And angry Waspe th'one in a viall had:
Th'other in hers an hony-lady Bee;"

Then finally the 'most fiare Dame' herself, tortured by 'gryslie villains Despight and Cruelty and carrying her own heart, torn from her chest, in a silver bowl.

Then finally;

"Next after her the winged God himselfe
Came riding on a Lion ravenous,


And did survay his goodly company:
And marshalling the evill ordered traine,
With that the darts whcih his right hand did straine,
Full dredfully he shooke that all did quake,
And clapt on hie his couloured winges twaine,
Ahat all his many it affraide did make:
Tho blinding him againe, his way he forth did take."

Then a whoooole bunch of other qualities rushes after;

"There were full many moe like maladies,
Whose names and natures I note readen well;
So many moe, as there be phantasies
In wavereing wemens wit, that none can tell,
Or paines in love, or punishments in hell:
All which disguized marcht in maskin wise,
About the chamber with that Damozell,
And then returned,m having marched thrise,
Into the inner roome, from whence they first did rise."

Then they disappear and Brit doesn't know what to do, then adopts and rather unknightly attitude;

"Where force might not availe, there sleights and art
She cast to use, both fit for hard emprize;
For thy from that same roome not to depart
Till morrow next, she did her selfe avize,
When that same Maske againe should forth arize.
The morrow next appeard with joyous cheare,
Calling men to their daily exercize,
Then she, as morrow fresh, her selfe did reare
Out of her secret stand, that day for out to weare."

Yep, the old wait in the castle till the door opens trick. It works too and she finds the missing Lady tied up with 'yron bands', 'unto a brasen pillour', and a creepy wizard;

"And her before the vile Enchaunter sate,
Figuring straunge characters of his art,
With living bloud he those characters wrate,
Dreadfully dropping from her dying hart,
Seeming transfixed with a cruell dart,
And all perforce to make her him to love.
Ah who can love the worker of her smart?
A thousand charmes he formerly did prove;
Yet thousand charmes could not her stedfast heart remove."

Yes, it was just some nerd with magic, obsessed with a hot girl.

Brittomart redeems Faire Amoret by William Etty
Britomart nearly kills the guy but the Lady says only he can release her with his magic so Brit breaks out the knightly threats;

"And to him said, Thou wicked man, whose meed
For so huge mischiefe, and vile villany
Is death, or if that ought do death exceed,
Be sure, that nought may save thee from to dy,
But if that thou this Dame doe presently
Restore unto her health, and former state;
This doe and live, else die undoubtedly.
He glad of life that lookt for death but late,
Did yield himselfe right willing to prolong his date."

The Freeing of Amoret Macklin's British Poets
Well, everything works out, the 'bleeding brest' and 'riven bowels' of the Lady heal up, the brasen pillar shatter, the yorn chains fall and they all walk out of a perfectly ordinary castle now stripped of illusions.

Only to find that Scudamore, having waited for ages, and assuming Britomart dead in the flames that burnt him, has left, with Britomarts squire/nurse Glauce.

End of Book Three.



Well don't worry becasue the original 1590 version had a much better ending and the Penguin book includes this as an addendum;

Here they escape the castle and Scudamore is there waiting and runs to his girl;

"Like as a Deare, that greedily embayes
In the coole soile, after long thirstinesse,"

"Lightly he clipt here twixt his armes twaine,
And streightly did embrace her body bright,
Her body, late the prison of sad paine,
Now the sweet lodge of love and deare delight:
But she faire Lady overcommen quight
Of huge affection, did in pleasure melt,
And in sweete ravishment pourd out her spright.
No word they spake, nor earthly thing they felt,
But like two sencele stocks in long embracement dwelt."

That's the end of Book Three.


  1. I love this entire series. The adventure, the rennaissance weirdness and especially your commentary and remarks. As your long time reader and (possibly - I'm not sure) first time commenter I say thank you. For it all.

    Also without your remarks I really couldn't follow the cantos (cantoes? cantoi?) because my English fails me when trying to read that stuff with any less than full scientific concentration. It almost feels like attempting to read the (significantly older) Nibelungenlied in what passes for the ancestor of my native tongue German.

    Always loved your blog, love this new series as well.