Tuesday, 5 December 2017

WOODWOSE - FQ Book 4 Canto 7

We open with a flashback to Brit and Amoret leaving Satyranes joust. As previously described, they pause and Britomart rests;

"The whiles faire Amoret, of nought affeared,
Walkt through the wood, for pleasure, or for need;"


"It was to weet a wilde and salvage man,
Yet was no man, but onely like in shape,
And eke in statue higher by a span,
All overgrowne with haire, that could awhape
An hardy hart, and his wide mouth did gape
With huge great teeth, like to a tusked Bore:
For he liv'd all on ravin and on rape
Of men and beasts; and fed on fleshy gore,
The signe whereof yet stain'd his bloudy lips afore.

His neather lip was not like man nor beast,
But like a wide deepe poke, downe hanging low,
In which he wont the relickes of his feast,
And cruell spoyle, which he has spard, to stow:
And over it his huge great nose did grow,
Full dreadfully epurpled all with bloud;
And downe both sides two wide long eares did glow,
And raught downe to his waste, when up he stood,
More great thatn th'eares of Elepahnts by Indus flood."

She is 'snatched up' and 'Feebly she shriekt' but 'Britomart heard not the shrilling sound,' and Amoret is dragged off at a run and thrown into a cave.

She wakes in darkness and hears sobbing;

"Ay me (said she) where am I, or with whom?
Emong the living, or emong the dead?
What shall of me unhappy maid become?
Shall death be th'end, or ought else worse, aread.
Unhappy mayd (then aswered she) whose dread
Untride, is lesse, that wretched life doth lead,
Both grace and gaine; but he in hell doth lie,
That lives a loathed life, and wishing cannot die."

This voice first tells her about the situation in the cave. This creature has a 'cursed usage and ungodly trade';

"For on the spoile of women he doth live,
Whose bodies chast, when ever in his powre
He may them catch, unable to gainstrive,
He with his shamefull lust doth first deflowre,
And afterwasrds themselves doth cruelly devoure."

The voice is AEmylia and she has a boring Spencerian story about falling in love with a hot Squire and running away to be with him and then being captured by this Woodwose when the Squire didn't show. We will skip that part.

There is also an old woman there, the only other survivor;

"I ahve so done, as she to me hath showne.
For ever when he burnt in lustfull fire,
She in my stead supplide his beastiall desire."

"Thus of their evils as they did discourse,
And each did other much bewaile and mone;
Loe where the villaine selfe, their sorrowes sourse,
Came to the cave, and rolling thence the stone,
Which wont to stop the mouth thereof, that none
Might issue forth, came rudely rushing in,
And spredding over all the flore alone,
Gan dight him selfe unto his wonted sinne;
Which ended, then his bloudy banket should beginne."


"Full fast she flies, and farre afore him goes,
Ne feeles the thorns and thickets pricke her tender toes.

Nor hedge, nor ditch, nor hill, nor dale she staies,
But overleapes them all, like Roebuck light,"

Luckily for her, someone is hunting in these woods. It's Belphebe, with her friends and with the Squire. Do you remember these guys from when Arthurs Squire chased a bad guy into the forest, fought a bunch of dudes and got knocked out? Then Belphobe, who was concieved by the Sun on a Nymph, and then given to Diana to raise, and who bumped into and terrified Braggadochio, found him and then took him to  the valley of the Amazons to heal him? Those guys? Well its them.

Belphebe is hunting with Arthurs squire, they get seperated and the Squire finds the Woodwose/Giant holding Amoret;

"Under his arme, as seeming wondrous glad,
That by his grenning laughter mote farre off be rad."

The Squire knows just what to do in these circumstances and 'assiles with all the might he may'. The giant, brilliantly;

"He held the Lady forth before him right,
And with her body, as a buckler broke
The pussiance of his intended stroke."

A living lady being the perfect shield to defend against a knight. More giants should do this.

The Squire doesn't know where to strike but eventually drives his point home; 'A streme of coleblacke bloud thence gusht amaine, That all her silken garments did with bloud bestaine.'

The giant hurls Amoret 'rudely on the flore' and battles the Squire. Bephebe comes upon them and as soon as the giant sees her he runs 'Well knowing her to be his deaths sole instrument.' Either its fate or Belphebe is just that goddamn dangerous.

Belphebe chases him to his cave and then, in a scene so cool they drew it twice

Walter Crane
 shoots him down at the door.

William Kent (1685-1748), 'Belphoebe kills the Savage Man',

His soul goes directly to hell, 'surcharg'd with spoile and theft.'

(It would be cool in D&D if Clerics could actually see the sould of sinful enemies going directly to Hell as they struck the last blow.)

She checks out the cave and finds the AEmylia;

"And after her the Hag, there with her mewed,
A foule and lothsome creature did appeare;
A leman fit for such a love deare."

Which is rather unfair.

When Belphebe returns to the squire, she finds him with Amoret;

"From her faire eyes wiping the deawy wet,
Which softly stild, and kissing them atweene,
And handling soft the hurts, which she did get."

When Belphebe sees this she is filled 'With deepe disdaine, and great indignity,' and nearly kills them both;

"Is this the faith she said, and said no more,
But turnd her face, and fled away for evermore."

Which is remarkably terse and effective for any Spenserian heroine. The Squire chases after her trying to explain but she will turn only to shoot arrows at him.

"At last when long he foll'd had in vaine,
Yet found no ease of griefe, not hope of grace,
Unto those woods he turned backe againe,
Full of sad anguish, and in heavy case:"


"His wonted warlike weapons all he broke,
And threw away, with vow to use no more,
Ne thenceforth ever strike in battell stroke,
Ne ever word to speake to woman more;
But in that wildernesse, of men forlore,
And of the wicked world forgotten quight,
His hard mishap in dolor to deplore,
And wast his wretched daise in wofull plight;
So on him selfe to wreake his follies owne despight."

And thats all he does until the end of the Canto, stay in the forest being mad and mute and carving the trees with 'B E L P H E B E'.

Arthur eventually finds him after another unspecified length of time (surely some nerd has worked out the geography and chronology of the Faerie Queene?), and doesn't recognise him due to beard, muteness, madness and the fact that Knights generally can't recognise anyone in chivalric literature, especially members of the gentry that saved their life multiple times, and so;

"He left him there in languour to remaine,
Till time for him should rememdy provide,
And him restore to former grace againe.
Which for it is too long here to abide,
I will deferre the end untill another tide."

1 comment:

  1. I agree about clerics and if there going to be an opportunity, will try to give clerics some sight of departing soul and where it goes.