Monday, 6 November 2017

not so good of deeds as great of name - FQ Book 2 Canto 2

From Giallo to Sitcom today in a thankfully brief Canto.

Guyon delivers to the Baby a classically medieval speech about how terrible life is and then sets down to wash his little bloodstained hands in the spring.

(There is also this line;

"(So love does loath distainfull nicitee)"

Which is maybe the third reference to how those of true noble feeling are not afraid to get their hands dirty doing stuff, which is interesting. Its turning out to be a minor obsession with Spenser and is always delivered in this semi-authorial aside.)

Anyway, the blood WILL NOT WASH OFF..

"The which him into great amaz'ment drove,
And into diverse doubt his wavering wonder clove."

Which is the most delightful description of confusion I have ever read.

Guyon freaks out a little at this and wonders if its divine vengeance or just super-poison in the blood but his Palmer calms him with some exposition, which apparently he knew all along;

  • Most spring are magic one way or another.
  • This spring used to be a Nymph. (2nd of those in the poem)
  • Its magic is relatid to how it became a stream. (like the last one)
  • This Nymph was out hunting and ended up running away from a horny rapist. (jesus fucking christ Spenser again?, this is like an Alan Moore comic)
  • She appealed for divine help to keep her chastity, got turned into a rock and this stream is her rape avoidance tears which are so chaste they will not "with any filth be dyde" so that's why they won't wash off blood.

So they move on and it looks like Sir Guyons horse has been stolen. They carry the baby on foot. Knight, Palmer, Bloodstained Baby, this is how you know you are in a Chivalric romance.


Part Two is a castle divided amongst three sisters who are all in conflict with each other.

Really its the eldest and youngest against each other and against the middle one as this is a Goldilocks Castle, everything comes in threes and the two on the end are crazy bitches and the one in the middle is just right.

Guyon meeds with the middle sister Medina, and they get on very well, it seems like maybe a very temperate romance might possibly be on the cards, eventually.

But the other sisters each have a knight that's into them. The youngest is into Sans-Joy, who you will remember as the attempted rapist of Una in the last canto and who apparently survived his combat with Satyrine.

The other is, amazing;

"He that made love unto the eldest Dame,
Was hight Sir Huddibras, an hardy man;
Yet not so good of deeds as great of name,
Which he by many rash adventures wan,
Since errant armes to sew he first becan;
More huge in strength, then wise in workes he was,
And reason with foole-hardize over-ran;
Sterne melancholy did his courage pas,
And was for terror more, all armed in shining brass."

These two hear about Sir Guyon arriving, both come out to challenge him, but on the way they run into each other and start fighting.

"The noyse thereof calth forth that stranger knight,
To weet, what dreadful thing was there in hand;"

Guyon being Guyon, the first thing he does is to try to seperate them and calm them down, because you know, Temperance.

"But they him spying, both with greedy force
Annonce upon him ran, and him beset
With strokes of mortal steel without remorse,"

Sir Guyon fights them off and pushes them both back. They start fighting each other again. He tries to stop them, They fight him.

"So boldly he him bears, and rutheth forth
Between them both, by conduct of his blade
Wondrous great prowesse and heroic worth
he shewd that day, and rare ensample made,
When two so mighty warriors he dismayed:
Attonce he wards and strikes, he takes and pays,
Now forced to yield, now forcing to invade,
Before, behind, and round about him lays:
So double was his pains, so double was his praise.

Strange sort of fight, three valliant knights to see
Three combats join in one, and to darraine
A triple war with triple emnitee,"

Eventually Medina comes out with her chest bare (2nd time for this in the Poem) and persuades them all to calm down with a speech about self control and and just cause which is pretty much the death of knight errantry.

We finish with a meal with Erissa_=, the eldest;

"Such entertainment base, ne ought would eat,
Ne ought would speak, but evermore did seem
As discontent for want of mirth or meat;"

A woman after my own heart. And the youngest sister;

"But young Perissa was of other mind,
Full of disport, still laughing, loosely light,
And quite contrary to her sisters kind;
No measure in her mood, no rule of right,
But poured out in pleasure and delight;
In wine and meats she flowed about the bank,
An in excess exceeded her own might;
In sumptuous tire she joined her self to prancke,
But of her love too lavish (litle have she thancke.)"

Guyon tells his story - he comes from the Fairy Queen and has the order of Maidenhead, and has been sent to take down Acrasia.

Then we get a lunar metaphor (Guyon seems to get these rather than Solar ones. We will see if that goes on) and everyone goes to sleep.

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