Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Oldhammer! - FQ Book 2 Canto 11

This Canto combines three excellent qualities; it is short, and it is a fight, there are freaks. We are in for some prime Spenser.

(It is also a lot like an old Warhammer Battle Report, so that's four excellent qualities.)

Let us begin.

First Guyon and his Palmer are booted off to the next canto;

"For all so soone, as Guyon thence was gon
Upon his voyage with his trustie guide,
That wicked band of villains fresh begon
That castle to assail on every side,"

And they brought mutants!!!!

The mutants are literalised metaphors for the delusions of the material world assailing the senses, but they are also cool and metal as fuck.

"The first troupe was a monstrous rablement
Of fowle misshapen wights, of which some were
Headed like Owles, with becks uncomley bent,
Others like Dogs, others like Gryphons dreare,
And some had wings, and some had clawes to teare,
And every one of them had Lynces eyes,
And every one did bow and arrowes beare:
All those were lawlesse lustes, corrupt enview,
And covetous aspectes, all cruell enimies."

These guys attack the bulwark of Sight;

"But two then all more huge and violent,
Beautie, and money, they that Bulwarke sorely rent."

From here on I'm just going to give you verses 10 to 13 in full because they are great;

"The second Bulwarke was the Hearing sence,
Gaint which the second troupe dessignment makes;
Deformed creatures, in straunge difference,
Some having heads like Harts, some like to Snakes,
Some like wild Bores late rouzed out of the brakes;
Slaunderous reproches, and fowle infamies,
Leasings, backbytings, and vaine-glorious crakes,
Bad counsels, prayses, and false flatteries.
All those against that fort did bend their batteries.

Likewise that same third Fort, that is the Smell
Of that third troupe was cruelly assays:
Whose hideous shapes were like to feends of hell,
Some like to hounds, some like Apes, dismayed,
Some like to Puttockes, all in plumes arayd:
All shap't according their conditions,
For by those ugly formes weren pourtrayed,
Foolish delights and fond abusions,
Which do that sence beseige with light illusions.

And that fourth band, which cruell battry bent,
Angainst the fourth Bulwarke, that is the Tast,
Was as the rest, a grysie rablement,
Some mou'd like greedy Oystriges, some fast
Like loathly Toades, some fashioned in the wast
Like swine; for so deformed is luxury,
Surfeat, misdiet, and unthriftie wast,
Vaine feasts, and idle superfluity:
All those this sences Fort assayle incessantly.

But the fift troupe most horrible of hew,
And fierce of force, was dreadfull to report:
For some like Snailes, some did like spyders shew,
And some like ugly Urchins thicke and short:
Cruelly they assayled that fift Fort,
Armed with darts of sensuall delight,
With sings of carnall lust, and strong effort
Of feeling pleasures, with which day and night
Against that same fift bulwarke they continued fight."



Arthur begs leave to venture forth and try for a decapitation strike on the main bad-guy. He does so with his "gay Squire" and bursts through the rabeletment on his horse Spumador, who has an unusual orogin;

"The fierce Spumador trode them downe like docks,
The fierce Spumador borne of heavenly seed:
Such as Laomedon of phoebus race did breed

That son of a bitch found a way into the battle scene.

Now Arthur battles the 1980's Warhammer Chaos Lord literalised personification of bodily sin, Maleger, head-to-head;

"Upon a Tygre swift and fierce he rode,
That as the winde ran underneath his lode,
Whiles his long legs nigh raught unto the ground;
Full large he was of limbe and shoulders brode,
But of such subtile substance and unsound
That like a ghost he seem'd, whose grave-clothes were unbound."


"As pale and wan as ashes was his looke,
His bodie leane and meagre as a rake,
And skin all withered like a dryed rooke,
Thereto as cold and drery as a Snake,
That seem'd to tremble evermore, and quake:
All in a canvas thin he was bedight,
And girded with a belt of twisted brake,
Upon his head he wore an Helmet light,
Made of a dead mans skull, that seem'd a ghastly sight."

He has a bow and arrows;

"Headed with flint, and feathers bloudie dide,
Such as the _Indians_ in their quivers hide;
Those could he well direct and streight as line,
And bid them strike the marke, which he had eyde,"


Maleger also has

"two wiked Hags,
With hoarie lockes all loose and visage grim;"

who follow him, these are Impotence and Impatience, they play a very similar role to that of Furors mother; side-civilians who have to be beaten or controlled before the main opponent becomes vulnerable.

With all has specific allegorical religious meaning, but it is fascinating to see video game and rpg logic in a 500 year old poem.

Arthru rides right at Malegar, who dashes away from him on if Tiger, turning in the saddle to fire his poisoned arrows at him;

"(As wonts the Tartar by the Caspian lake,
When as the Russian him in fight does chace)"

Arthur wards the arrows and hopes to wait for Maleger to run out, then realises his super-fast Hags (the Hags are super-fast) and keep grabbing the arrows and bringing them back to him.

Arthur dismounts to tie up one Hag (it worked for Guyon last time, presumably he shared that story), but the second Hag leaps on him, then Maleger himself;

"Upon him fell, and lode upon him layd;
Full little wanted, but he had him slaine,
And of the battell balefull end had made,
Had not his gentle Squire beheld his paine,
And commen to his reskew, ere his bitter bane."

The Squire holds off the baddies while Arthur recovers himself in such a way that it earns its own fire-verse;

"Like as a fire, the which in hollow cave
Hath long bene underkept, and downe supprest,
With murmurous disdaine doth inly rave,
And grudge, in so streight prison to be prest,
At last breaks forth with furious unrest,
And strives to mount unto his native seat;
All that did earst it hinder and molest,
It now devoures with flames and scorching heat,
And carries into smoake with rage and horror great.

So mightily that Briton Prince him rouzed"

Maleger, thinking Arthur was done, has now dismounted and forgone his bow, Arthur hits him;

"And him so sore smote with his yron mace,
That grouveling to the ground he fell, and fild his place."

(Not sure what happened to Arthurs sword, didn't he get it back in the fight with Pyrochles and Cymochles?)

Maleger gets right back up as if he has not been harmed, grabs a huge stone and hurls it at Arthur, who dodges in perhaps the best-phrased dive-the-fuck-out-of-the-way ever;

"It booted not to thinke that throw to beare,
But ground he gave, and lightly leapt areare:
Eft fierce returning, and Faulcon faire
That once hath failed of her souse full neare,
Remounts againe into the open aire,
And unto better fortune doth herself prepaire."

Arthur then drives his blade right through Malegers body "That halfe the steele behind his back did rest;" (he's using his sword by this point I suppose) but;

"Ne drop of bloud appeared shed to bee,
All were the wounde so wide and wonderous,
That through his carkasse one might plainely see:"

Arthur hits him again, harder than the first time. Maleger groans "full piteous" but no more.

Arthur realises he has slipped into one of the Gothic cantos and starts to freak out. This is no Dragon-fight like the other guy got;

"His wonder farre exceeded reasons reach,
That he began to doubt his dazeled sight,
And oft of error did himselfe appeach:
Flesh without bloud, a person without spright,
Wounds without hurt, a bodie without might,
That could not die, yet seem'd a mortall wight,
That was most strong in most infirmitee;
Like did he never heare, like did he never see."

Its time to get mythical; Arthur throws away his sword and sheild and;

"Twixt his two mightie armes him up he snatcht,
And crusht his carkasse so against his brest,"

The bad guy dies and his body goes down so hard it bounces.

But Maleger gets up again.

"Nigh his wits end then woxe th'amazed knight,
And thought his labour lost and travell vaine,
Against this lifelesse shadow so to fight:"

But he remembers his Greek Myth, or just works out that his current plot is being ripped from one;

"He then remembred well, that had been sayd,
How the'Earth his mother was, and first him bore;"

So he picks up the 'carrion corse' in his 'pussiant hands' and squeezes him to death, then throws him in a lake.

One Hag jumps in with him, the other kills herself with an arrow.

Job done, back to the castle.

And for us, onto Canto Twelve, the final, super, super long Canto of Guyons journey, where he will finally meet (and presumably defeat) Acrasia.

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