Wednesday 28 February 2018

Ceasse to molest the Moone - Mutabilitie Canto 6

Get ready for a brief, and irregular, turn into Sandman/Anime high, HIGH Fantasy as Edmund takes us first, directly to the Moon, for Moon-War One, and then back to Ireland for more blather about his house getting burnt down.

"What man that sees the ever-whirling wheele
Of Change, the which all mortall things doth sway,
But that therby doth find & plainly feele,
How MVABILITY in them doth play
Her cruell sports, to many mens decay?
Which that to all may better yet appeare,
I will rehearse that whylome I heard say,
How she at first her selfe began to reare,
Gainst all the Gods, and th'empire sought from them to beare."

But who is Mutability, and whence came she?

"She was, to weet, a daughter by descent
Of those old Titans, that did whylome strive
With Saturnes sonne for heavens regiment."

Women in Spenser are either super-good or super-evil, and you can guess which one is Mutability. She wants to first, rule the world, and then defeat the gods.

Ruling earth is realtively simple and achieved by verse five;

"For shee the face of earthly things so changed,
That all the which Nature had establisht first
In good estate, and in meet order ranged,
She did pervert, and all their statutes burst:"
"Ne shee the lawes of Nature onely brake,
But eke of Justice, and of Policie;
And wring of right, and bad of good did make,
And death for life exchanged foolishlie:
Since which, all living wights have learen'd to die,
And all this world is woxen daily worse.
O pittious worke of MVTABILITIE!
By which, we are subject to that curse,
And death in stead of life have sucked from our Nurse."

Word conquest achieved, she makes straight for heaven. First stop; THE MOON.

"Thence, to the Circle of the Moone she clambe,
Where Cynthia raignes in everlasting glory,"

Passing by the silver gates of the bright shining palace, and their keeper, Time, Change comes upon Cynthia;

"Her sitting on an Ivory throne shee found,
Drawne of two steeds, th'one black, the other white,
Environd with tenne thousand starres around,
That duly her attended day and night;
And by her side, there ran her Page, that hight
Vesper_, whom we the Evening-starre intend:
That with his Torche, still twinkling like teylight,
Her lightened all the way where she should wend,
And joy to weary wandring traveilers did lend."

Mutability instantly becomes envious of the Moons rich swag and glorious 'Crystall pillors';

"Eftsoones she cast by force and tortious might,
Her to displace, and to her selfe to have gained
The kingdome of the Night, and waters by her wained.

Boldly she bid the Godesse downe descend,
And let her selfe into that ivory throne;
For, shee her selfe more worthy thereof wend,
And better able it to guide alone:
Whether to men, whose fall she did bemone,
Or unto Gods, whose state she did maligne,
Or to th'infernall Powers, her need give lone
Of her faire light, and bounty most benigne,
Her selfe of all that rule shee deemed most condigne."

The Moon is having none of this, she bears 'Nights burning lamp,' and 'with sterne countenaunce and disitainfull cheare, Bending her horned browes, did put her back:' and tells her to get out 'Or at her perill bide the wrathfull Thunders wrack.'

Then it gets really, really Anime. Mutability 'rought forth her hand' to pluck Cynthia from her  Ivory Moon-Throne, and up-lifts her golden wand. The 'starres, which round about her blazed' and the Moons bright wagon stand amazed.

On earth the lights go out in the sky and people start to freak, 'Fearing least Chaos_ broken had his chaine,'.

And very quickly, Mercury (The Flash) runs to Joves Palace in 'heavens hight' to tell him whats going on.



"The father of the Gods when this he heard,
Was troubled much at their so strange affright
Doubting least Typhon_ were againe uprear'd,
Or other his old foes, that once him sorely fear'd."

So he sends the Flash 'Downe to the Circle of the Moone' to find out whats going on and to stop it. If hellish, cast it down, if other, bring it here.

"The wing-foot God, so fast his plumes did beat,
That soone he came where-as the Titanesse
Was striving with faire Cynthia for her seat:
At whose strange sight, and haughty hardinesse,
He wondred much, and feared her no lesse.
Yet laying feare aside to doe his charge,
At last, he bade her (with bold stedfastnesse)
Ceasse to molest the Moone to walk at large,
Or come before high Jove, her dooings to discharge."

The Flash even breaks out his 'snaky-wreathed Mace, whose awfull power Doth make both Gods and hellish fiends affraid:', but to no success as Mutability answers that she gives not two shits for him or Jove or anything else, she is going to go full-Killmonger on this joint.

Agnes Miller Parker

So the Flash runs back to Jove.

Jove has his own opinions on people trying to overturn divine power;

"Ye may remember since th'Earths cursed seed
Sought to assaile the heavens eternall towers,
And to us all exceeding feare did breed:
Of that bad seed is this bold woman bred,
That now with bold presumption doth aspire
To thrust faire Phoebe from her silver bed,
And eke our selves from heavens high Empire,
So haveing said, he ceast: and with his brow
(His black eye-brow, whose doomefull dreaded beck
Is wont to wield the world unto his vow,
And even the highest Powers of heaven to check
Made sign at them in their degrees to speake:"

Before they can really get into it, Mutability herself arrives;

"So forth she rose, and through the purest sky
To Joves high Palace straight cast to ascend,
To prosecute her plot: Good on-set boads good end."

Everyone fraks out, even Mutability freaks out because she has just burst into the country club and found the members quite heavily armed. Only rapey old Jove keeps his cool and asks her to lay that rap on him girl.

She has a complex and slightly boring argument about the descent of Titans and how this technically makes her Queen.

Jove is having none of this;

"... With that, he shooke
His Nectar-deawed locks, with which the skyes
And all the world beneath for terror quooke,
And eft his burning levin-brond in hand he tooke."

But then notices that she it hot;

".. when he looked on her lovely face,
In which, faire beames of beauty did appeare,
That could the greatest wrath soone turne to grace
(Such sway doth beauty even in Heaven beare)
He staine his hand:"

".. ceasse thy idle claime thou foolish gerle,
And seeke by grace and goodnesse to obtaine
That place from which by folly Titan_ fell;
There-to thou maist perhaps, if so thou faine
Have Jove thy gratious Lord and Soveraigne."

MVTABILITY is having none of this;

".. thee, o Jove, no equall Judgee I deeme
Of my desert, or of my dewfull Right;
That in thine owne behalfe maist partiall seeme:
But to the highest him, that is behight
Father of Gods and men by equall might;
To weet, the God of Nature, I appeale.
There-at Jove wexed wroth, and in his spright
Did inly grudge, yet did it well conceale;
And bade Dan Phoebus Scribe her Apellation seale."


So the trial between Jove and MVITABILITY to see who is in charge is set, and arranged to take place on Arlo hill, in Ireland.

Which means the rest of this Canto (about 40% of the whole thing) is an exhaustive descritpion of parts of Ireland, and how beautiful it is, and why its full of criminals and metaphorical wolves who burn people out of their homes.

You may feel free to skip the rest of the Canto if you wish, the next one picks up at the tiral, and is the final, ultimate and last Canto of the Faerie Queene.


".. were it not ill fitting for this file,
To sing of hilles & woods, mongst warres and Knights,
I would abate the sternenesse of my stile,
Mongst these sterne sounds to mingle soft delights:"

This is the mythical/allegorical history of a hill (Galymore to us).

So, this was a place so wonderful that Diana would go there to bathe.

"In her sweet streames, Diana used oft
(After her sweatie chace and toilsome play)
To bathe her selfe; and after, on the soft
And downy grasse, her dainty limbes to lay"

(I hope you have't forgotten Edmunds sweat fetish.)

So a creepy Satyr/God fellow, Faunus, wants to spy on Diana washing off the sweat. He manages to corrupt a maid who tells him when Diana will be bathing. He successfully peeps, but;

"There Faunus saw that pleased much his eye,
And made his hart to tickle in his brest,
that for great joy of some-what he did spy,
He could him not containe in silent rest;
But breaking forth in laughter, oud profest
His foolish thought. A foolish Faune indeed,
That couldst not hold thy selfe so hidden blest,
But wouldest needs thine owne conceit areed.
Babblers unworthy been of so divine a meed."

So Diana catches him, and we get this charming verse about her reaction;

"Like as a huswife, that with busie care
Thinks of her Darie to make wondrous gaine,
Finding where-as some wocked beast unware
That breakes into her Dayr'house, there doth draine
Her creaming pannes, and frustrate all her paine;
Hath in some snare or gin set close behind,
Entrapped him, and caught into her traine,
Then thinkes what punishment were best assign'd,
And thousand deathes deviseth in her vengefull mind:"

Diana and her nymphs throw Faunus around a bit, they consider castrating or drowning him. Instead they dress him in a deer-skin and chase him till he drops.

Its not exactly clear, but I think they stone the corrupted maid, Molassa, to death;

"They, by commaund'ment of Diana there
Her whelm'd with stones."

Faunus feels bad enough about this that he agrees to recieve her 'unto his bed' with her lover Fanchin, which, since he is a woody wood god means that they both get turned into rivers? So this is another Spencerian river-marriage story.

Diana is still so angry about the situation that she leaves Ireland forever;

"There-on an heavy haplesse curse did lay,
To weet, that Wolves, where she was wont to space,
Should harbour'd be, and all those Woods deface,
And Thieves should rob and spoile that Coast around.
Since wich, those Woods, and all that goodly Chase,
Doth to this day with Wolves and Thieves aboud:
Which too-too true that lands in-dwellers since have found."

Tuesday 27 February 2018

there we leave them in joy - FQ Book 6 Canto 12

"Like as a ship, that through the Ocean wyde
Direct her course unto one certain cost,
Is met of many a counter winde and tyde,
With which her winged speed is let and crost,
And she her selfe in stormie surges tost;
Yet making many a borde, and many a bay,
Still winneth way, ne hath her compasse lost:
Right so it fares with me in this long way,
Whose course is often stayed, yet never is astray."

It seemed pretty damn astray quite a bunch of times Edmund, but here we are indeed.

Ben Jonson reported that when the Hugh O'Neill burnt Spenser out of his property, that one of his young children with Elizabeth Boyle died in the fire before they could escape.

Its strange and fascinating to me how, as the wheel of history turns, the hero of one story inevitably becomes the villain of another, the monster the victim, the braggart a poet, and back again. It is no wonder to me that the Medieval Age was absorbed in the image of the Wheel of Fortune. It is simple concept, but often a true one, especially in an age of strife.

Its impossible for me to not read all of the final parts of this book, the attack on the village, the capture and loss of Pastorell, and the nice happy reunion, and the final trapping of the Blatant Beast, as almost direct allegories of Spensers life.

That may be wrong. And possibly he well-deserved every bad thing that happened to him. But I take no pleasure in it.

"Sir Calidore when thus he now had raught
Faire Pastorella from those Brigants powre,
Unto the Castle of Belgard her brought,
Whereof was Lord the good Sir Bellamoure;
Who whylome was in his youthes freshest flowre
As lustie knight, as ever wielded speare,
And had endured many a dreadfull stoure
In bloudy battell for a Ladie deare,
The fayrest Ladie then of all that living were.

Her name was Claribelle"

From the notes;

Belgard - French: 'beautiful love'
Claribelle - French: 'bright beauty'

Claribelles father was a wealth lord who wanted to marry her off to Picteland. She fell in love with Belgard and married him in secret. The dad was pissed enough to throw them both into a dungeon;

"Yet did so streightly them a sunder keepe,
That neither could to company of th'other creepe.

Nathless Sir Bellamour, whether through grace
Or secret guifts so with his keepers wrought,
That to his love sometimes he came in place,
Whereof her wombe unwist to wight was fraught,
And in dew time a mayden child forth brought."

This baby is given to a Maid to be taken away and adopted. The Maid goes off somewhere and hides behind some bushes unto a Shepheard (pooe Meliboe) who picks her up and takes her away.

But not before noting that the baby has;

"Upon the litle breast like christall bright,
She mote percieve a litle purple mold,
That like a rose her silken leaves did faire unfold."

And eventually the bad dad dies and Bellamour and Claribelle end up in the castle;

"Thenceforth they joy'd in happinesse together,
And lived long in peace and love entyre,
Without disquiet or dislike of ether,
Till time that Calidore brought Pastorella thether."

Of course they get along amazingly with the somehow-familiar Pastorell, until Calidore remembers that this is the last Canto and he only has about 30 verses left to catch the Blatant Beast.

One day, Pastorellas maid, while dressing her;

"Chaunst to espy upon her yvory chest
The rosie marke, which she remembered well
That litle Infant had, which forth she kest,
The daughter of her Lady Claribell,"

"So full of joy, streight forth she ran in hast
Unto her mistresse,"

The sober mother seeing such her mood,
Yet knowing not, what meant that sodane thro,
Askt her, how mote her words be understood,
And what the matter was, that mov'd her so.
My liefe (sayd she) ye know, that long ygo,
Whilest ye in durance dwelt, ye to me gave
A little mayde, the which ye shylded tho;
The same againe if now ye list to have,
The same is yonder Lady, whom high God did save."


"The matrone stayd no lenger to enquire,
But forth in hast ran to the straunger Mayd;
Whom catching greedily for great desire,
Rent up her brest, and bosome open layd,
In which that rose she plainely saw displayd.
That her embracing twixt her armes twaine,
She long so held, and softly weeping sayd;
And livest thou my daughter now againe?
And art thou yet alive, whom dead I long did faine?

Who ever is the mother of one chylde,
Which having thought long dead, she fyndes alive,
Let her by proofe of that, which she hath fylde
In her owne breast, this mothers joy descrive:
For other none such passion can contrive
In prefect forme, as this good Lady felt,
When she so faire a daughter saw survive,
As Pastorella was, that night she swelt
For passing joy, which did all into pitty melt."

And I think that is where we can leave that.


Now to the Beast.

The Beast is having a great old time, it has broken into a monestary;

"Through which the Mockes he chaced here & there,
And them purdu'd into their dortours sad,
And searched all their cells and secrets neare;
In which what filth and ordure did appeare,
Were yrksome to report;"

Protestant England really fucking hates monks.

The Beast sees Calidore coming and, as usual, runs for it. BUT;

"Him in a narrow place he overtooke,
And fierce assailing forst him turne againe:
Sternely he turned againe, when he him strooke
With his sarp steele, and ran at him amaine
With open mouth, that seemed to containe
A full good pecke within the utmost brim,
All set with yron teeth in raunges twaine,
That terrified his foes, and armed him,
Appearing like the mouth of Orcus griesly grim.

I think the Blatant Beast is the first known usage of 'Blatant'.
So it may please you to think that when you use that word you are referring to this many-tonged beast.

And therein were a thousand tongs empight,
Of sundry kindes, and sundry quality,
Some were of dogs, that barked day and night,
And some of cats, that wrawling still did cry:
And some of Beares, that groynd continually,
And some of Tygres, that did seeme to gren,
And snar at all, that ever passed by:
But most of them were tongues of mortall men,
Which spake reprochfully, not caring where nor when.

And them amongst were mingled here and there,
The tongues of Serpents with three forked stings,
That spat out poyson and gore bloudy gere
At all, that came within his ravenings,
And spake licentious words, and hatefull things
Of good and bad alike, of low and hie;
Ne Kasars spared he a whit, nor Kings,
But either blotted them with infamie,
Or bit them with his banefull teeth of injury."

Calidore, 'no whit afrayd' Recounters with 'impetuous might'.

The Beast spits poison from his bloody jaws and rears up 'As if he would have rent him with his cruell clawes.'

Agnes Miller
Calidore throws his shield forwards and 'Putting his puissaunce forth' pushes so hard that he forces the Beast to fall back and presses the shield into it.

"Full cruelly the Beast did rage and rore,
To be downe held, and maystred so with might,"

Calidore still presses on;

This Canto is almost the story of how Man first defeated the Internet

"Tho when the Beast saw, he mote nought availe,
By force, he gan his hundred tongues apply,
And sharpely at him to revile and raile,
With bitter termes of shamefull infamy;
Oft interlacing many a forged lie,
Whose like he never once did speake, nor heare,
Nor ever through thing so unworthily:
Yet did he nought for all that him forbeare,
But strained him so streightly, that he chokt him neare."

Eventually Calidore breaks its will, muzzels it and chains it 'with surest yron';

"And like a fearefull dog him followed through the land."

And so ends the quest of Sir Calidore.

Monday 26 February 2018

Lone Wolf and Coridon - FQ Book 6 Canto 11

Considering how unutterably terrible most penultimate Canto's are, this isn't that bad. Pretty good even.

Calidore still does fuck all to pursue the Blatant Beast, but that's because he has a lot of action-movie crap to get involved with.

This stuff does actually happen in this Canto.

"The joyes of love,if they whould ever last,
Without affliction of disquietnesse,
That worldly chaunces doe amongst them cast,
Would be on earth too great a blessednesse,
Liker to heaven, then mortall wretchednesse.
Therefore the winged God, to let men weet,
That here on earth is no sure happinesse,
A thousand sowres hath tempred with one sweet,
To make it seeme more deare and dainty, as is meet."

Pastorell is in a baaad situation, 'Wrapt in wretched cares and hearts unrest', abducted and held in a cave complex by 'Brigants'. Luckily ("luckily") for her, the Boss Briagant is into her 'And inly burnt with flames most raging whot,';

"And sought her love, by all the means he mote;
With looks, with words, with gifts he oft her wowed:
And mixed threats among, and much unto her vowed."

Pastorella is not into this guy but eventually;

"She thought it best, for shadow to pretend
Some shew of favour, by him gracing small,
That she thereby mote either freely wend,
Or at more ease continue there his thrall:
A little well is lent, that gaineth more withall."

This goes on for a while, with Pastorella pretending (or half-pretending, she is pretty messed up) sickness, until a new element enters. Something we haven't seen before. Slave traders;

"During which space that she thus sicke did lie,
It chaunst a sort of merchants, which were wound
To skin those coastes, for bondmen there to buy,
And by such trafficke after gaines to hunt,
Arrived in this Isle though bare and blunt,
T'inquire for slaves; where being readie met
By some of these same theeves at the instant brunt,
Were brought unto their Captaine, who was set
By his faire patients side with sorrowful regret."

This is curious and interesting on a number of levels. First, I think this is around the nascent beginnings of the Anglo-African slave trade, with the Royal African Company (Sir John Hawkins was just kicking off the proto slave-trade at the time of the Faerie Queene) and also, at the same time, being preyed upon by Barbary Corsairs who will just turn up on the European coast and yank whole villages (seems this was just about to start).

And on a fictional level, because, now there are slavers in Faerie? Who are they trading, and to where? Does the Faerie Queene know about this? Is she in charge of it? Are there pseudo-Muslim 'Panyim' or 'Saracen' slave traders preying on the Faerie Queenes fairies while her guys do the same to them?

Anyway, these slavers look at the captives from Pastorellas village, but someone mentions Pastorella herself. The Captain is not happy about this but brings her out;

"The sight of whom, though now decayd and mard,
And eke but hardly seene by candle-light,
Yet like a Diamond of rich regard,
In doubtfull shadow of the darkesome night,
With starrie beames about her shining bright,
These matchants fixed eyes did so amaze,
That what through wonder, & what through delight,
A while on her they greedily did gaze,
And did her greatly like, and did her greatly praize."

"But then the Captaine fraught with more displeasure,
Bad them be still, his love should not be sold:
The rest take if they would, he her to him would hold."

Even amongst Brigants, Faerie Queene logic holds up. Everything is about romance. Women are the lock on, and justification for, violence.

"Thus as they words amongst them multiply,
They fall to strokes, the frute of too much talke,
And the mad steele about doth fiercely fly,"

"Like as a sort of hungry dogs yemt
About some carcase by the common way,
Doe fall together, stryving each to get
The greatest portion of the greedie pray;
All on confused heapes themselves assay,
And snatch and byte, and red, and tug, and teare;
That who them sees, would wonder at their fray,
And who sees not, would be affrayd to heare.
Such was the conflict of those cruell Brigants there."

Melioboe and all of the other villagers are killed 'Least they should joyne against the weaker side,' Coridon, the alternate beta-male suitor for Pastorella, manages to escape in the dark and Pastorella herself is held in the arms of the Brigant Captain as he dies and 'fell down with him in drerie';

"There lay she covered with confused preasse
Of carcases, which dying on her fell."

When the fighting is done,the Brigants look around;

"And lighting candles new, gan search anone,
How many of their friends were slaine, how many fone.

Their Captaine there they cruelly found kild,
And in his armes the dreary dying mayd,
Like a sweet Angell twixt two clouds uphild:
Her lovely light was dimmed and decayd,
With cloud of death upon her eyes displayd;
Yet did the cloud make even that dimmed light
Seeme much more lovely in that darknesse layd,
And twixt the twinckling of her eye-lids bright,
To sparkle out litle beames, like starres in foggie night."

"So leave we her in wretched thraldome bound,
And turne we backe to Calidore, where we him found."

Almost certainly the most useless Knight in the whole of the story so far. Ignores Serene when the Blatant Beast spews her up, doesn't then pursue the Blatant Beast but hangs out in a village trying to nice-guy some chick, and when the brigants come hes off perving on metatextual nymphs. Even Arhthegall was at least an effective genocide machine.

Well he gets back to find everything fucked up and does all the standard behaviours; 'wexed wood', chauft' 'griev'd' 'fretted' 'And fared like a furious wyld Beare, Whose whelpes are stolne away, she being otherwhere.'

He searches the woods and plaines but can find neither the shepherds nor their flocks, until eventually;

"He chaunst one comming towards him to spy,
That seem'd to be some sorie simple clowne,
With ragged weedes, and lockes upstaring hye,"

Its Coridon who blathers out the whole terrible story about Pastorell probably being dead and everyone else almost certainly being dead. There's quite a few verses of emoting and despair before Calidore bribes/threatens/praises Coridon into showing him the way there, and they approach the Brigants den dressed both as Shepherds.

They find the villiages flocks on a hillside (I thought this place was on an island?) and the Brigants asleep alongside them;

"Whom Coridon him counseld to invade
Now all unwares, and take the spoyle away;
But he, that in his mind had closely made
A further purpose, would not so them slay,
But gently waking them, gave them the time of day."

Calidore and Coridon pretend to be runaway shepherds looking for new work and chat to the Brigants, learning the news about Pastorell. Eventually they have learnt enough and while the Brigants are asleep, Calidore acquires a sword 'of meanest sort' and raids the cave like a computer-game hero.

By which I mean he tries to be stealthy to begin with, fucks that up, then just starts slaughtering people, then eventually just uses his superior hp to tank the bad guys and wades through them.

"When to the Cave they came, they found it fast:
But Calidore with huge resistlesse might
The dores assayled, and the locks upbrast.
With noyse whereof the theefe awaking light,
Unto the entrance ran: where the bold knight
Encountring him with small resistance slew:"

Stealth mode = DEACTIVATED

He finds Pastrorell;

"Her gentle hart, that no long season past
Had never joyance felt, not chearefull thought,
Began some smacke of comfort new to tast,
Like lyfull heat to nummed senses brought,
And life to feele, that long for death had sought:"

The Brigants come 'flocking in great store';

"But Calidore_ in th'entry close did stand,
And entertayning them with courage stout,
Still slew the foremost, that came first to hand,
So long till all the entry was with bodies mand."

Eventually he is effectively surrounded by a fortress of bodies so no others can get close. Then waits till daylight, grabs a better sword and, presumably, kicks his way through the body-pile to the outside where he finds all the other remaining Brigants;

"Where all the rest for him did readie stay,
And fierce assayling him, with all their might
Gan all upon him lay: there gan a dreadfull fight."

"How many flyes in whottest sommers day
Do sieze upon some beast, whose flesh is bare,
That all the place with swarmes do overlay,
And with their litle stings right felly fare;
So many theeves about him swarming are,
All which do him assayle on every side,
And sore appresse, ne any him doth spare:
But he doth with his raging brond divide
Their thickest troups, & round about him scattreth wide."

The bad guys die. Calidore takes their treasure and gives Coridon all the remaining flocks;

"Then backe returning to his dearest deare,
He her gan to recomfort, all he might,
With gladfull speaches, and with lovely cheare,
And forth her bringing to the joyous light,
Whereof she long had lackt the wishfull sight,
Seviz'd all goodly meanes, from her to drive
The sad remembrance of her wretched plight.
So her uneath at last he did revive,
That long had lyen ddead, and made againe alive."

Sunday 25 February 2018

Metatextual Spenser and Nice-Guy Calidore - FQ Book 6 Canto 10

So, there's an Edmund Spenser extended universe, and a meta-textual version of Edmund Spenser is a character in the extended Spenserverse.

This character is called 'Colin Clout'. Hes an amusingly ("amusingly") rustic type, and the narrator of a poem Spenser wrote, apparently about his visit to London and what happened there, and he was referenced in Canto 9 as someone whose songs are popular with shepheards.

And Colin Clout turns up in this book to talk to Calidore about the end of the Poem. Which is weird as shit.

You thought the war crimes stuff was as strange as it was going to get. Nope, he's pulling an 'Animal Man' to explain why the poems ending early.

And there are naked girls.

And then more plot.

Ok, lets go!


"Who now does follow the foule Blatant Beast,
Whilest Calidore does follow that faire Mayd,
Unmyndfull of his vow and high beheast,
Which by the Faery Queene was on him layd,"

The Faerie Queene should know by now that Knights do little else but fuck up and fuck about, achieving their quests either too early or too late.

Calidore is simply wandering around at this point, when he comes upon a magic place;

"It was an hill plaste in an open plaine,
That round about was bordered with a wood
Of matchlesse hight, that seem'd the'earth to disdaine,
In which all trees of honour stately stood,
And did all winder as in sommer bud,
Spredding pavilions for the birds to bowre,
Which in their lower braunches sung aloud;
And in their tops the soring hauke did towre,
Sitting like King of fowles in majesty and powre."

There is also a 'gentle flud' which 'wylde beastes' and 'the ruder clowne' will not approach, but instead you get nymphs and faries and all that shit. There is a plain on top of the mountain and Venus comes here for her holidays which explains why the whole place is so great.

"Unto this place when as the Elfin Knight
Approcht, him seemed that the merry sound
Of a shrill pipe he playing heard on hight,
And many feete fast thumping th'hollow ground,
That through the woods their Eccho did rebound."

So Claidore hangs around being a little creep, and sees a bunch of hot naked dames;

"An hundred naked maidens lilly white,
All raunged in a ring, and dauncing in delight.

All they without were raunged in a ring,
And daunced round; but in the midst of them
Three other Ladies did both daunce and sing,
The whilest the rest them round about did hemme,
And like a girlond did in compasse stemme;
And in the middest of those same three, was placed
Another Damzell, as a precious gemme,"


"Those were the Graces, daughters of delight,
.. But that faire one,
That in the midst was placed paravaunt,
Was she to whom that shepheard pypt alone,
That made him pipe so merrily, as never none."

According to the notes the Graces are a mixture of classical dames and christian virtues. The girl in the middle, making the piper pipe is, according to the penguin editor, a kind of meta-Elizabeth combining Spensers three Elizabeth, his mum, his wife Elizabeth Boyle, and his Queen Elizabeth R.

"She was to weete that jolly Shepheards lasse,
Which piped there unto that merry rout,
That jolly shepheard, which there piped, was
Poore Colin Clout (Who knowes not Colin Clout?)
He pypt apace, whilest they him daunst about.
Pype jolly shepheard, pype thou now apace
Unto thy love, that made thee low to lout;
Thy love is present there with thee in place,
Thy love is there advaunst to be another Grace."

Calidore stands there perving for a but, but as soon as he blunders in, they disappear;

"And cleane were gone, which way he never knew;
All save the shepheard, who for fell despight
Of that displeasure, broke his bag-pipe quight,
And made great mone for that unhappy turne."

Firstly, I was not imagining those hot dames dancing to bagpipes. Secondly, the Faerie Queene is interrupted by one of the characters from the Faerie Queene. I have no idea what that means.

Colin is somewhat pissed that his dames are gone and explains to Calidore who they were. Chicks who hang out with Venus and the daughters of Jove;

"These three on men all gracious gifts bestow,
Which decke the body or adorne the mynde,
To make them lovely or well favoured show,
As comely carriage, entertainement kynde,
Sweete semblaunt, friendly offices that bynde,
And all the complements of curtesie:
They teach us, how to each degree and kynde
We should our selves demeane, to low, to hie;
To friends, to foes, which skill men call Civility."

"But what so sure she was, she worthy was,
To be the fourth with those three other placed:
Yet was she certes but a country lasse,
Yet she all other countrey lasses farre did passe."

Then a few verses about how great she is.

"That all her peres cannot with her compare,
But quite are dimmed, when she is in place.
She made me often pipe and now to pipe apace.

Sunne of the world, great glory of the sky,
That all the earth doest lighten with thy rayes,
Great Gloriana, greatest Majesty,
Pardon thy shepheard, mongst so many layes,
As he hath sung of thee in all his dayes,
To make one minime of thy poore handmayde,
And underneath thy feete to place her prayse,
That when they glory shall be farre displayed
To future age of her this mention may be made."

I think this girl is mainly Elizabeth Boyle.

Calidore and Colin stay there talking for a while, but Calidores 'envenimd sting' begins to 'rancle sore,' meaning he wants to get back with Pastorell;

"To his wounds worker, that with lovely dart
Dinting his brest, had bred his restlesse paine,
Like as the wounded Whale to shore flies from the maine."


So Calidore takes his leave of Colin Clout and goes back to not chasing the Blatant Beast and in fact trying to nice-guy Pastorell;

"To whom in sort, as he at first begonne,
He daily did apply him selfe to donne,
All dewfull service voide of thoughts impure"

This is a lie. As show in later verse he is hanging around technically not trying to bone her but being so fucking courteous that eventually she just has to fuck him.

He is aided in this by an unexpected Lion attack. Pastorells other, crappy suitor runs away, but of course Calidore is a Spenserian hero;

"He had no weapon, but his shepheards hooke,
To serve the vengeaunce of his wrathfull will,
With which so sternele he the monster strooke,
That to the ground astonished he fell;"

This seems to do the trick;

"So well he woo'd her, and so well he wrought her,
With humble service, and with daily sute,
That at the last unto his will he brought her;
Which he so wisely well did prosecute,
That of his love he reapt the timely fruit,
And joyed long in close felicity:"


Of course, no somewhat-icky but stable situation can last in the Faerie Queene so roll out the remainder of the Frank Frazetta extras from Canto Eight!

".. A lawlesse people, Brigants hight of yore,
That never usde to live by plough nor spade,
But fed on spoile and booty, which they made
Upon their neighbours, which did night them border,
The dwelling of these shepheards did invade,
And spoyld their houses, and them selve did murder;
And drove away their flocks, with other much disorder."

These guys raid Pastorells village while Calidore is away, and steal her and all the other named NPC's, taking them to their cool-sounding hideout;

"Their dwelling in a little Island was,
Covered with shrubby woods, in which no way
Appeared for people in nor out to pas,
Nor any footing fynde for overgrowen gras.

For underneath the ground their way was made,
Through hollow caves, that no man mote discover
For the thicke shrubs, which did them alwaies shade
From view of living wight, and covered over:
But darkenesse dred and daily night did hover
Through all the inner parts, wherein they dwelt.
Ne lighted was with windwo, nor with lover, (louer?)
But with continuall candleight, which delt
A doubtfull sense of things, now so well seene, as felt."

Saturday 24 February 2018

Never Do The Quest - FQ Book 6 Canto 9

"Now turne againe my teme thou jolly swayne,
Backe to the furrow which I lately left;
I lately left a furrow, one or twayne
Unplough'd, the which my coulter hath not cleft:
Yet seem'd the soyle both fayre and frutefull eft,
As I it past, that were too great a shame,
That so rich frute should be from us bereft;
Besides the great dishonour and defame,
Which should befall the Calidores immortal name."

Yes! Remember Calidore? The guy this Book is meant to be about, how he chased and fought the Blatant Beast and how the last thing we saw from him was him ignoring a wounded woman to dash into the forest after that self-same creature?

Well don't worry, because Calidore is about to leap back into action, he is focused, he is calm and absolutely nothing on earth is going to stop him from completely ignoring the Blatant Beast and spending a few weeks trying to bone a hot shepardess.

This does not happen in this Canto

So Calidore has been wandering 'Through hils, through dales, throgh forests, & through plaines;

"Him first from court he to the citties coursed,
And from the citties to the townes him prest,
And from the townes into the countrie forsed,
And from the country back to private farms he scoursed."

The agricultural hinterland, a place rare indeed to visit in adventure fiction.

"From thence into the open fields he fled,"

"... to the folds, where sheepe at night do seat,
And to the litle cots, where shepheards lie
In winters wrathfull time, he forced him to flie."

But its not winters wrathfull time now, but chillout season and Calidore sees some shepherds 'Playing on pipes, and caroling apace,' and stops to ask them about the Blatant Beast. They know nothing about that but do offer him a drink;

"The knight was nothing nice, where was no need,
And tooke their gentle offer: so adowne
They prayd him sit, and gave him for to feed
Such homely what, as serves the simple clowne,
That doth despise the dainties of the towne."

But look out Calidore, because here comes the ultimate challenge to all knights; female hotness;

".. a faire damizell, which did weare a crowne
Of sundry flowres, wtih silken ribbands tyde,
Yclad in home-made greene that her owne hands had dyde."
"And soothly she was full fayre of face,
And perfectly well shapt in every lim,
Which she did more augment with modest grace,
And comely carriage of her count'nance trim,
That all the rest like letter lamps did dim:"

This is Patorella. She is not into any of the swains who are into her, although, not in the bad friendzone way that means she could be divinely punished, but in an honourable way, somehow.

Calidore is, of course;

".. unwares surprisd in subtile bands
Of the blynd boy, ne thence could be redeemed
By any skill out of his cruell hands,
Caught like the bird, which gazing still on others stands."

(Apparently you can catch larks in a net while someone holds a hawk nearby as they will just freak out and fixate on the raptor and go into the net. You can also catch them by fascinating them with pieces of glass.)

Calidore keeps making up excuses to not leave, 'discoursing diversly' until;

".. the moystie night approaching fast,
Her dewy humour gan on th'earth to shed,
That warn'd the shepheards to their homes to last
For feare of wetting them before their bed:"

So Pastorells dad comes along to take her home, this is on old greybeard called Meliboee who found her one day in a field and adopted her (third abandoned/adopted/wild baby in this book along - the Salvage Man, the baby in the bears mouth and now this, WTF is going on with parenting in this part of Faerie?)

Since Calidore is alone and its getting dark, Meliboee invites him home, where they have dinner and talk about pastoral happiness;

"Hoe much (sayd he) more happie is the state,
In which ye father here doe dwell at ease,
Leading a life so free and fortunate,
From all the tempests of these wordly seas,
Which toss the rest in daungerous disease?
Where warres, and wreckes, and wicked emnite
Doe them afflict, which no man can appease,
That certes I your happinesse envie,
And wish my lot were plast in such felicitie."

Meliboee agrees that the pastoral thing is pretty fucking great;

".. having small, yet doe I not complaine
But doe my selfe, with that I have, content;
So tought of nature, which doth litle need
Of forreine helpes to lifes due nourishment:"

"Therefore I doe not any one envy,
Nor am envyde of any one therefore;
They that have much, feare much to lose thereby,
And store of cares do follow riches store."

"To them, that list, the worlds gay showes I leave,
And to great ones such follies doe forgive,
Which oft through ambition pride do their owne perill weave,
And through ambition downe themselves doe drive
To sad decay, that might contented live."

"Sometimes I hunt the Fox, the vowed foe
Unto my Lambes, and him dislodge away;
Sometimes the fawne I practice from the Doe,
Or from the Goat her kidde how to convay;
Another while I baytes and nets display,
The birds to catch, or fishes to beguyle:
And when I wearie am, I downe do lay
My limbes in every shade, to rest from toyle,
And drinke of every brooke, when thirst my throte doth boyle."

And there's a lot more about how great it is to be a low-level agricultural worker in a world where you don't have to worry about your own expanding family's needs, trouble from landlords, rent, taxes, feudal lords, demands, environmental degradation, plague and where there is always enough land of just the right temperate kind and for some reason no-one was already living on it that you had to murder to get it.

"Whylest thus he talkt, the knight with greedy eare
Hong still upon his melting mouth attent;
Whose sensefull words empierst his hart so neare,
That he was rapt with double ravishment,
Both of his speach that wrought him great content,
And also of the object of his vew,
On which his hungry eye was alwayes bent;
That twixt his pleasing tongue, and her faire hew,
He lost himselfe, and like one halfe entraunced grew."

I think maybe this Canto is partly about Spenser not really wanting to write the Faerie Queene any more?

Calidore is deeply persuaded of the shephards speech;

".. Now surely syre, I find,
That all this worlds gay showes, which we admire,
Be but vaine shadowes to this safe retyre
Of life, which here in lowlinesse ye lead,
Fearlesse of foes, or fortunes wrackfull yre,
Which tosseth states, and under foot doth tread
The mightie ones, affrayd of every chaunges dred."

It's only now that I realise that Spensers obsession with those Irish prisoners he ordered killed, is possibly mirrored in Elizabeths execution of Mary. The woman had (relative to your view of 'had') to kill her own sister to preserve the state. So they are all bound together, up and down the line, by similar circumstance.

But Meliboe disagrees with this desired change of station in these verses which prefigure Shakespeare (though they are probably just both ripping off the some other guy);

"In vaine (said then old Meliboe) doe men
The heavens of their fortunes fault accuse,
Sith they know best, what is the best for them:
For they to each such fortune doth diffuse,
As they doe know each can most aptly use.
For not that, which men covet most, is best,
Nor that thing worst, which men do most refuse;
But fittest is, that all contented rest
With that they hold: each hath his fortune in his brest.

It is the mynd, that maketh good or ill,
That maketh wretch or happie, rich or poore:
For some, that hath abundance at his will,
Hath not enough, but wants in greatest store;
And other, that hath litle, askes no more,
But in that litle is both rich and wise.
For wisdome is most riches; fooles therefore
They are, which fortunes dow by vowes devize,
Sith each unto himselfe his life may fortunize."

A slightly less relentelssly authoritarian version of Arthegalls argument to the Giant Hugo Chavez who was going to level everything. You just have to deal with the shit that is handed to you.

He does, however, allow Calidore to hang around in the pastoral paradise with Pastorella (there is an awkward point where Calidore offers him money which, of course, in these circumstances, he should never do. And which reminds me of my dads description of the builders and workmen he met in Andalucia, who, when the time came to exchange money, would put on a kind of performance of high and grand masculinity, as if money was merely a minor element of that meeting).

Calidore doffs his bright armes' and hangs around being a shepheard, impressing everyone with what a great guy he is, helping with the sheep and 'In his strong hand their rugged teats to hold, And out of them to presse the milke: love so much could.'

There is some buisness with a shepheard called Coridon, who is into Pastorell and generally fucked-off with Calidore and his slumming-it 1%-er bullshit.

Coridon semi-challenges Calidore in dancing and wrestling but Calidore is not only better at everything but Courteous as FUCK;

"Thus did the gentle knight himself abeare
Amongst that rusticke rout in all his deeds,
That even they, the which his rivals were,
Could not maligne him, but commend him needs:
For courtesie amongst the rudest breeds
Good will and favour. So it surely wrought
With this faire Mayd, and in her mynde the seeds
Of perfect love did sow, that last forth brought
The fruite of joy and blisse, though long time dearely bought."

Friday 23 February 2018

Frank Frazetta Scene - FQ Book 6 Canto 8

A strange long Canto. The first half deals with the Mirabella situation, the second half is a really creepy, pervy, sexy, violent not-specifically-racist but still racist-feeling Robert E. Howard short story.

These two things do not go together. They are, however, both quite fun.

Lets begin;

(I'm just going to bomb through a lot of this as its 50 verses long.)

"Ye gentle Ladies, in whose soveraine powre
Love hath the glory of his kingdom left,
And th'hearts of men, as your eternall dowre,
In yron chaines, of liberty bereft,
Delivered hath into your hands by gift;
Be well aware, how ye the same doe use,
That pride doe not to tyrrany you lift;
Least if men you of cruelty accuse,
He from you take that chiefdome, which ye doe abuse."


Mirabella feels very sad aboout Tiamas being tied up. Lucky for you Mirabella, you are about to run into Prince Arthur (the original) and he is not only a verifiable super-hero, but he's really into that squire.

Arthur is with Sir Enias, the Knight who's friend he killed a Canto back and who he has instantly redeemed from being a dirtbag just by hanging out with him, because Arthur practically gives off Pure Chivalric Radiation, if he bites you you gain all the powers of a Knight.

Tiamas is too ashamed of his situation to even look up but Enias doesn't like what he sees;

".. See you Sir Knight,
The greatest shame that ever eye yet saw?
Yond Lady and her Squire with foule despight
Abusde, against all reason and all law,
Without regard of pitty or of awe?"

So he starts a pretty awesome fight scene, beginning with some excellent chivalric smack talk;

"Abide ye caytive treachetours untrew,
That have with treason thralld unto you
These two, unworthy of your wretched bands;
And now your crime with cruelty pursew.
Abide, and from them lay your loathly hands;
Or else abide the death, that hard before you stands.

The villaine stayd not aunswer to invent,
But with his yron club preparing way,
His mindes sad message backe unto him sent:"

I love this shit.

Enias manages to slip past the strike and 'with his sharpe sword he fiercely at him flew' and draws blood. But unfortunately, first blood in Spenser only pisses off the receiver and gives them extra hit points and the gyant hits him so hard that;

"He driven was to ground in self despight;
From whence ere he recovery could gaine,
he in his necke had set his foote with fell disdaine."

And then he gets bound up right alongside Tiamas. Arthur, of course, is not happy about this, and attacks himself. Distain counters with an anime weapon-spinning display;

"The villaine leaving him unto his mate,
To be capti'd, and hadled as he list,
Himselfe addrest unto this new debate,
And with his club him all about so blist,
That he which way to turne him scarcely wist:
Sometimes aloft he layd, sometimes alow;
Now here, now there, and oft him neare he mist;
So doubtfully, that hardly one could know
Whether more wary were to give or ward the blow."

Arthur is too fly to fall for this and eventually Distain decides to go for the old Spencerian/Anime standby - the fight-ending super-mega-strike.

"His dreadfull hand he heaved up aloft,
And with his dreadfull instrument of yre,
Through sure have pownded him to powder soft,
Or deep embowled in the earth entyre:"

Wait for it..

"But Fortune did not with his will conspire."

Arthur ducks underneath 'And smote him on the knee, that never yet was bent.'

"It never yet was bent, ne bent it now,
Albe the stroke so strong and pussiant were,
That seem'd a marble pillour it could bow,
But all that leg, which did his body beare,
It crackt throughout, yet did no bloud appeare;"

I think this means that Distain is so distainful that he can't kneel, or even bend his knee, as in submit to someone, ever.

Still, he cannot stand, and Arthur rushes in for a decapitaion strike. But Mirabelle cries out;

"Slay not that Carle, though worthy to be slaine:
For more on him doth then him selfe depend;
My life will by his death have lamentable end."

Dun dun duuuuunnnn.

"Then bursting forth in teares, which gushed fast
Like many water streames, a while she stayd;
Till the sharpe passion being overpast,
Her tongue to her restord,"

Then we get the story. Arthur is unsympathetic. We get some stuff about the ladies previously unmentioned bottle and wallet being for her tears and her repentance respectively.

Distain gets up, helped by the Fool;

"But being up. He lookt againe aloft,
As if he never had received fall;
And with sterne eye-browes stared at him oft,
As if he would have daunted him with all:
And standing on his tiptoes, to seeme tall,
Downe on his golden feet he often gazed,
As if such pride the other could apall;
Who was so far from being ought amazed,
That he his lookes despised, and his boast dispraized."

I just love Distain in any of his incarnations.

Arthur lets the captives go, including Tiamas;

"It was his owne true groome, the gentle Squire,
He thereat wext exceedingly astound,
And him did oft embrace, and oft admire,
Ne could with seeing satisfie his great desire."

I mean come the fuck on.

The Salvage Man sees the 'huge great foole opressing th'other Knight,' and

"He flew upon him like a greedy kight
Unto some carrion offered to his sight,
And downe him plucking, with his nayles and teeth
Gan him to hale, and teare, and scratch, and bite:
And from him taking his owne whip, therewith
So sore him scourgeth, that the bloud downe followeth."

Mirabella drags him off the Scorne-Fool and tells Arthur that she has to complete her quest before she can be free and that this quest involves these two ding-dongs.

"But Arthure with the rest, went onward still
On his first quest, in which did him betide
A great adventure, which did him from them devide."

And that's the last we will see of Arthur in this book and in the Faerie Queene. Wandering off with Tiamas, Enias and his Salvage Man. Wave goodbye everybody.


Now shit gets freaky;

What has happened to Serena? Well, on seeing Tiams get teken down and tied up by the supporting cast of a Spawn comic, she has 'fled fast away, afeared Of villany to be to her inferd:'

"So fresh the image of her former dread,
Yet dwelling in her eye, to her appeared,
That every foote did tremble, which did tread,
And every body two, and two she foure did read."

She flees 'Through hills & dales, through bushes & through breres' and alights from her horse, sits down, and, not unreasonably; 'her selfe a while bethought Of her long travell and turmoyling paine; And often did of love, and oft of lucke complaine.'

"And evermove she blamed Calepine," untill eventually she falls asleep. And of course things are about to get worse for Serena.

"In those wylde deserts, where she now abode,
There dwelt a slavage nation, which did live
Of stealth and spoile, and making nightly rode
Into their neighbours borders; ne did give
Them selves to any trade, as for to drive
The painfull plough, or catell for to breed,
Or by adventrous marchandize to thrive;
But on the labours of poore men to feed,
And serve their owne necessities with others need.

Thereto they usde one most accursed order,
To eate the flesh of men, whom they mote fynde,
And straungers to devoure, which on their border
Were brought be error, or by wreckfull wynde.
A monstrous cruelty gainst course of kynde."

So non-agricultural, non-producing thieves, raiders and cannibals. It's interesting to see this negative-image of positive civilisation in its popular culture proto-form (and, as a dirtbag 21stC extruded cultural product I do find the Faerie Queene more interesting as popular culture than as high culture).

"Soone as they spide her, Lord what gladfull glee
They made amongst them selves; but when her face
Like the faire yvory shining they did see,
Each gan his fellow solace and embrace,
For joy of such good hap by heavenly grace.
Then gan they to devize what course to take:
Whether to slay her there upon the place,
Or suffer her out of her sleepe to wake,
And then her eate attonce; or many meales to make."

Eventually they decide to let her sleep to keep the meat tender, then sacrifice her to their God and 'make a common feast' of her.

"So round about her they them selves did place
Upon the grazze, and diversely dispose,
As each thought best to spend the lingring space.
Some with their eyes the daintest morsels chose;
Some praise her paps, some praise her lips and nose;
Some whet their knives, and strip their elbows bare:
The Priest him selfe a garland doth compose
Of finest flowres, and with full busie care
His bloudy vessels wash; and holy fire prepare."

Eventually Serena wakes up, sees whats going on, screams 'where none is nigh to heare, that will her rew' and 'rends her golden locks, and snowy brests embrew'.

If you were disliking the creep levels so far, stop reading now.

"But all bootes not: they hands upon her lay;
And first they spoile her of her jewls deare,
And afterwards of all her rich array;
The which amongst them they in peeces teare,
And of the pray each one a part doth beare.
Now being naked, to their sordid eyes
The goodly threasures of nature appeare:
Which as they view with lustfull fantasyes,
Each wisheth to him selfe, and to the rest envyes.

Her yvorie necke, her alabaster brest,
Her paps, which like white silken pillowes were,
For love in soft delight thereon to rest;
Her tender sides, her bellie white and clere,
Which like an Altar did it selfe uprere,
To offer sacrifice divine thereon;
Her goodly thighes, whopse glorie did appeare
Like a triumphall Arch, and thereupon
The spoiles of Princes hang'd, which were in battel won.

Those dantie parts, the dearlings of delight,
Which mote not be prophan'd of common eyes,
Those villaines vew'd with loose lacivious sight,
And closely tempted with their craftie spyes;
And some of them gan mongst themselves sevise,
Thereof by force to take their beastly pleasure."

But their cannibal priest says they can't, becasue they are feeding her to god before they feed her to themselves.

Now we cut to when 'Eventyde His brode black wings had through the heavens wyde'. Serena is on an altar, the Priest 'Approaching nigh, and murdrous knife well whet. Gan mutter close a certain secret charme,'

Walter Craine finally drawing the pervy kind of thing he's been avoiding drawing all book.

"Then gan the bagpypes and the hornes to shrill,
And shrieke aloud, that with the peoples voyce
Confused, did the ayre with terror fill,"

Bagpipes? Are these evil Scots? Or Irish? Or just evil Celts of some kind?

Luckily for Serena, the first of the long list of Knights who alterately places her into, then frees her from, danger, is nearby;

"Sir Calepine by chaunce, more than by choyce,
The self same evening fortune hether drove,"

Calepine has been, of course, seraching for Serena throgh 'endlesse toyle', 'certain harmes' and 'wretched stormes'.

He runs towards the noise, sees some hot chick about to be sacrificed;

"With that he thrusts into the thickest throng,
And even as his right hand adowne descends,
He him preventing, layes on earth along,
Ad sacrifizeth to th'infernall feends.
Then to the rest he wrathfull hand he bends,
Of whome he makes such havocke and shuch hew,
That swarmes of damned soules to hell he sends:
The rest that scape his sword and death eschew,
Fly like a flocke of doves before a Faulcons vew."

I wonder, was Spenser the first person to invent this scene?

Pure Frazetta. Serena freed, bad guys driven off;

"The end wherof Ile keepe untill another cast."

From the notes; "At this point Calepine and Serena leave the narrative. Spenser's promise to finish their tale is in the manner of Ariosto, but unlike Ariosto, Spenser never provides the promised conclusion."

Only four cantos, plus two from the DVD extras, are left in the book, so if somebody leaves the scene you can be increasingly sure they are not coming back.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Foul Womanwronger and Lady Friendzone - FQ Book 6 Canto 7

"Like as the gentle hart it selfe bewrayes,
In doing gentle deedes with franke delight,
Even so the baser mind it selfe displayes,
In cancred malice and revengefull spight.
For to maligne, t'envie, t'use shifting slight,
Be arguments of a vile donghill mind,
Which what it dare not doe by open might,
To worke by wicked treason wayes doth find,
By such discourteous deeds discovering his base kind."

So Turpine, (he lord of shitbag castle was in fact him) follows Arthur, thinking of some way to screw him over.

He comes upon 'two knights to him unknowne,
The which were armed both agreeably,
And both combynd, what ever chaunce were blowne,
Betwixt them to divide, and each to make his owne."

These guys are young, untested and dumb, so Turpine strings them along with a tale. But crucially, also offers them 'meed' i.e. cash.

They find Arthur; 'Ryding a softly pave with portance sad,
Devizing of his love more, then of daunger drad.

Then one of them aloud unto him cryde.
Bidding him turne again, false traytour knight,
Foule womanwronger, for he him defyde."

Arthur wins of course, but the verse and nature of his winning is interesting;

The first hits Arthur head-on, but his lance 'in peeces shivered quite' and Arthur hits him;

"That the cold steel through piercing, did devowre
His vitall breath, and to the ground him bore,
Where still he bathed lay in his owne bloody gore."

next comes one of the most interesting animal-comparison verses yet;

"As when a cast of Faulcons make their flight
At an Herneshaw, that lyes aloft on wing,
The whyles they strike at him with heedlesse might,
The warie foule his bill doth backward wring;
On which the first, whose force her first doth bring,
Her selfe quite through the bodie doth engore,
And falleth downe to ground like senselesse thing,
But th'other not so swift, as she before,
Fayles of her souse, and passing by doth hurt no more."

The notes say a Hernshaw is a young heron. Has this ever actually happened? I know from reading the Peregrine that they do sometimes hunt in pairs and that the power of their strike is derived from the steepness of their 'stoop' or dive, so if a big-beaked bird did learn to turn round and use that beak as a spear, it could used the raptors own kinetic strength against it. Plus this sounds like the kind of extremely unlikely but just-about-possible rare animal event that could be known to historical falconers and unknown today. But could also be bullshit.

Anyway, the second knight swings around;

"As if he would have passed through him quight:
But the steele-head no stedfast hold could fynd,
But glauncing by, deceiv'd him of that he desyned.

Not so the Prince: for his well learned speare
Tooke surer hould, and from his horses backe
Above a launces length him forth did beare,
And gainst the cold hard earth so store him strake,
That all his bones in peeces nigh he brake."

Arthur leaps off his horse to behead the guy, who begs for mercy and tells him what happened;

"The Prince much mused at such villenie," and tells the guy to go and get him whoever paid him to do this. The Knight runs off (bone situation uncertain) and finds Turpine, who is surprised;

"To see him so bedight with bloodie gore,
And griesly wounds that him appalled sore."

The knight speaks;

"Witnesse the wounds, and this wyde bloudie lake,
Which ye may see yet all about me steeme.
Therefore now yeeld, as ye did promise make,
My due rewards, the which right well I deeme
I yearned have, that life so dearly did redeeme."

The Knight tells him Arthur is dead and to follow him to the battle site (just trace the streemes of bloud).

"Much did the Craven seeme to mone his case,
That for his sake his deare life had forgone;
And him bewayling with affection base,
Did counterfeit kind pittie, where was none:
For wheres no courage, theres no rith nor mone."

I wonder if this is actually true? It feels both true and un-true at the same time.

They find Arthur actually sleeping;

"The whyles his salvage page, that wont be prest,
Was wandred in the wood another way,
To doe some thing, that seemed to him best,
The whyles his Lord in silver slomber lay,
Like to the Evening starre adorn'd with deawy ray."

Is 'thing, that seems to me best,' Renaissance for taking a poop in the woods?

"Hold on, I must do a thing, which seems to me best."?

Turpine is too afraid to go near Arthur, even sleeping, and make an attempt to buy back the service of the wounded Knight;

"Nathlesse for all his speach, the gentle knight
Would not be tempted to such villanie,
Regarding more his faith, which he did plight,
All were it to his mortall enemie,
Then to entrap him by false treacherie:"

The Woodwose returns and seeing them together; 'doubted much what mote their meaning bee,' throws down his nuts (so thats what he was up to) and shakes his weapon ('That was an oaken plant, which lately hee Rent by the root').

Arthur wakes up and terrorises Turpine (not that difficult);

"His foote he set on his vile necke, in signe
Of servile yoke, that nobler harts repine,"

Gives him a lot of crap about how terrible he is and hangs him from his ankles in a tree so that 'all which passed by, The picture of his punishment might see, And by the like ensample warned be,'.

So ends that tale.


A reminder of where we are in Book Six; three levels down;

Level One - Calidore is sent to stop the Blatant Beast, briefly meets Arthegall, encounters Calepine & Serena, Serena is bitten.

Level Two - Calepine tries to save Serena, is tortured and messed-with by Turpine, is saved by the Salvage Man but separated from Serena. Serena encounters Arthur and Tiamas. She hangs out with Tiamas because they both need healing from the Bite of the Blatant Beast.

Level Three - Arthur teams up with the Salvage Man and beats up and shames Turpine.

Now It's back to Level Two to find out what was going on with that Lady and the Fool, and apparently also a Gyant that wasn't mentioned originally;


"She was a Ladie of great Dignitie,"

Sounds good.

"Though of mean parentage and kindred base,"

Uh oh...

"Yet deckt with wondrous giftes of natures grace,
That all men did her person much admire,"

Beauty in Spenser is either super good or super evil, so which will it be?

"Yet she thereof grew proud and insolent,
That none she worthie thought to be her fere,"

"But this coy Damzell thought contrariwize,
That such proud looks would make her praysed more;
And that the more she did all love despize,
The more would wretched lovers her adore.
What cared she, who sighed for her sore,
Or who did wayle or watch the wearie night?
Let them that list, their lucklesse lot deplore;
She was borne free, not bound to any wight,
And so would ever live, and love her own delight."

NOOOOOOOOOO! It's Lady Friendzone!

So the grand crime of this woman is that she is too hot and really into her own hotness and also proud and won't get with any guy, even though loads are into her, and that this literally kills them through being friendzoned;

"Many a wretch, for want of remedie,
Did languish long in lifeconsuming smart,
And at the last through dreary dolour die:"

What happens is that Cupid is keeping court on St Valentines day, and 'when the roules were red, In which the names of all loves folke were fyled,' that a bunch are midding for various reasons, and when he interviews Infamie, and Despight, they give evidence 'that they were all betrayd, And murdred cruelly by a rebellious Mayd.'

This is fair Mirabella

(Probably from the italian mirabile - admirable, and from mirari - 'to gaze at' and bella - 'beautiful'.)

They drag Lady Mirabella Friendzone in and she refuses to plead 'Even for stubborne pride, which her restrayned.' So she is set a very knightly penance, one quite similar to that slutty knight we saw in the friendship Canto;

"She wander should in companie of those,
Till she had sav'd so many loves, as she did lose."

(This would actually be a cool start to a serial TV show.)

"So now she had bene wandring two whole yeares
Throughout the world, in this uncomely case,
Wasting her goodle hew in heavie teares,
And her good dayes in dolorous disgrace:"

And worse than that, she has not one, but two complete assholes to accompany her.

"... And eeke that angry foole
Which follow'd her, with cursed hand uncleane
Whipping her horse, did with his smarting toole
Oft whip her dainty delfe, and much augment her doole."

And also another complete freak who looks like a Quentin Blake illustration;

"For he was sterne, and terrible by nature,
And eeke of person huge and hideous,
Exceeding much the measure of mans stature,"

And in fact is the descendant of giants and brother to Orgoglio, that guy somebody killed a bunch of Cantos previously;

"His lookes were dreadfull, and his fiery eis
Like two great Beacons, glared bright and wyde,
Glauncing askew, as if his enemies
He scorned in his overweening pryde;
And stalking stately like a Crane, did stryde
At every step uppon the tiptoes hie,
And all the way he went, on every syde
He gaz'd about, and stared horriblie,
As if her with his lookes would all men terrifie.

He wore no armour, ne for none did care,
As no whit dreading any living wight;
But in a Jacket quiltedd richly rare,
Upon checklaton he was straungely dight,
And on his head a roll of linnen plight,
Like to the More of Malaber her wore;
With which his locks, as blacke as pitchy night,
Were bound about, and voyded from before,
And in his hand a mighty yron club he bore.

This was Distaine, who lead that Ladies horse"

"NO IT ISN'T!" I hear all you Faerie Queene super-fans cry out. "Distaine is from Book Two, Canto Seven, where Guyon, knight of Temperance, either has a dream vision or literally enters the underworld to hang out with Mammon, and sees a bunch of crazy shit, including 'A sturdy villain, striding stiffe and bold' who is also a 'gyant' but a gold one, carrying an 'Yron' clubbe. And we remember this becasue he had one of the coolest descriptive verse-fragments;

"Disdayne he was called, and did disdaine
To be so cald, and who so did him call:""

Options -

1. That was just a dream vision so this is the real one.
2. They are the SAME GUY, he just moonlights underground for Mammon sometimes (the gold paint is his Mammon-Uniform) and does shifts for Cupid in the summer, Persephone-style.
3. Edmund has forgotten he already used Distaine. (impossibe).
4. They have differnet spellings, so they are actually two completely different Distaines.
5. Its a clever theological callback, ahhh you see Distain serves Mammon AND Cupid, so you see? Hmmm? Ahhhhhh.
6. Heroes like the Faerie Queene and Arthur, get multiple shadow-selves cast into different adventures, and even meet their shadow selves, so maybe this is that, but for a Villain?

The recursive, repetitive, endless shadow-casting, multiple-person-characters, all Villians are related nature of the Faerie Queene is one of the things that almost calls out for it to be made into an RPG because all of that stuff represents complex organisational elements that make play more interesting.

If you kill this Distain, does Mammon lose an employee? Is he then pissed off? They are both descended from Titans, can they call on their family? If one is a shadow-self, does killing the prime destroy the shadow? Or can you only kill the Prime once you have killed the shadow in a spiritual-ladder sense?

Anyway, these two are so horrible to this lady that Tiamas goes into full Knight mode and attacks.

And Distain goes after him with the gyant yron clubbe. Tiamas avoids him 'Like as a mastiffe having at a bay, A salvage Bull, whose cruell hornes doe threat Desperate daunger' while the gyant 'oftentimes by Turmagent and Mahound swore', thereby proving he is not only a giant evil dude but a non-anglo giant evil dude.

But eventually Tiamas slips, 'And with his yron club to ground him strooke:', then ties him up and he and the fool both whip him for fun;

"And other whiles with bitter mockes and mowes
He would him scorne, that to his gentle mynd
Was much more grievous, then the others blowes:
Words sharpely wound, but greatest griefe of scorning grows."


Wednesday 21 February 2018

Wolverine Woodwose - FQ Book 6 Canto 6

Things that have traumatised Edmund Spenser;

- Ireland
- Ships
- That situation with Lord Grey (see 'Ireland')
- Lord Burleigh
- That time the Irish burnt his house down (see 'That situation with Lord Grey')

We open with another curiously-modern verse about the horrors of character assassination and gossip/calumny generally;

"No wound, which warlike hand of enemy
Inflicts with dint of sword, so sore doth light,
As doth the poysnous sting, which infamy
Infixeth in the name of noble wight:
For by no art, not any leaches might
It ever can recured be againe;
Ne all the skill, which that immortal spright
Of Podalyrius did it it retaine,
Can remedy such hurts, such hurts are hellish paine."

The poisoned (and it is explicitly named as poison of a sort) Serena and Tiamas are chilling with the Sean Connery former-badass healing hermit, who is thinking about how to heal them.

Of course, this is the Faerie Queene and the whole thing is a sermon, so the solution is a moral one, becasue the poison of the Blatant Beast is a spiritual/moral one;

"For in your selfe your onely helpe doth lie,
To heale your selves, and must proceed alone
From your owne will, to cure your maladie.
Who can him cure, that will be cured of none?
If therefore health ye seeke, observe this one.
First learne your outward sences to refraine
From things, that stirre up fraile affection;
Your eies, your eares, your tongue, your talke restraine
From that they most affect, and in due termes containe."

Sean Connory then describes the origins of the Blatant Beast. Its generic monster nonsense, it seems to share a parent with the Spanish Inquisition Sphinx that someone fought that time, another example of all the bad guys in the FQ being related somehow. The verse is good though; 'Wasting the strength of her immortal age.';

"Echinda is a Monster direfull dred,
Whom Gods doe hate, and heavens abhor to see;
So hideous is her shape, so huge her hed,
That even the hellish fiends affrighted bee
At sight thereof, and from her presence flee:
Yet did her face and former parts profess
A faire young Mayden, full of comely glee;
But all her hinder parts did plaine expresse
A monstrous Dragon, full of fearefull uglinesse.

To her the Gods, for her so dreadfull face,
In fearfull darkness, furthest from the skie,
And from the earth, appointed have her place,
Mongst rocks and caves, where she enrold doth lie
In hideous horrour and obscurity,
Wasting the strength of her immortal age."

The Blatant Beast is a big poisonous dog-monster with rusting iron teeth;

"A wicked Monster, that his tongue doth whet
Gainst all, both good and bad, both most and least,
And poures his poysnous gall forth to infest
The nobllest wights with notable defame:
Ne ever Knight, that bore so lofty creast,
Ne ever Lady of so honest name,
But he them spotted with reproach, or secrete shame."

Then Sean Connory repeats and deepens his spiritual anti-poisoning prescription;

"The best (sayd he) that I can you advize,
Is to avoide the occasion of the ill:
For when the cause, whence evill doth arize,
Removed is, th'effect surceaseth still.
Abstaine from pleasure, and restraine your will,
Subdue desire, and bridle loose delight,
Use scanted diet, and forbeare your fill,
Shun secresie, and talke in open sight:
So shall you soone repaine your opresent evill plight."

And this moral psychology apparently works, they are both healed and decide to go off together to look for Arthur, Calpeine, the Savage Man and presumably Belphoebe. What they find is another group from the Chivalric Encounter Generator;

".. a faire Mayden clad in mourning weed,
Upon a mangy jade unmeetly set,
And a lewd foole her leading through dry and wet."

There is also a creepy Gyant, not mentioned here.

But by what meanes that shame to her befell,
And how thereof her selfe she did acquite,
I must a while forbare to you to tell;"

Because now we have to follow Arthur on another of his surprisngly-sneaky and ruthless quests to murder some dudes;


Arthur finds the hall of Turpine, the Knight that refused Calepine shelter (for it is he), and the gate is wide open. Arthur sneaks his way in;

"Where soft dismounting like a weary lode,
Upon the ground with feeble feete he trode,
As he unable were for very neede
To move one foote, but there must make abode;"

Another very murder-hobo/Cugel choice from Arthur, the secret old-school player in the storygame.

Eventually someone comes out to speak to him, Arthur requests aid, they say lol no fucking way gtfo errant knight aaaaad;

"And therewithall rude hand on him did lay,
To thrust him out of dore, doing his worst assay.

Which when the Salvage comming now in place,
Beheld, eftsoones he all enraged grew,
And running streight upon that villaine base,
Like a fell Lion at him fiercely flew,
And with his teeth and nailes, in present vew,
Him rudely rent, and all to peeces tore:"

Literally tears a guy apart. A fight is on.

Arthur and the Salvage Man super-murder everyone until Turpine hears what is going one and;

"Came forth in hast: where when as with the dead
He saw the ground al strow'd, and that same Knight
And salvage with their bloud fresh steeming red,
He woxe nigh mad with wrath and fell despight,
And with reprochfull words him thus bespake on hight.

Art thou he, traytor, that with treson vile,
Hast slaine my men in this unmanly maner,
And now triumphest in the piteous spoile
Of these poore folk, whose soules with black dishonor
And foule defame doe decke thy bloudy baner?"

Yes I am. And I'm going to do the same to you. Also, I have an unkilable Woodwose. More fighting happens.

"But when the Prince had once him plainely eyde,
He foot by foot him follwed alway,
Ne would him suffer once to shrinke asyde
But joyning close, huge lode at him did lay:
Who flying still did ward, and warding fly away.

Arthur chases the fellow through his own house, he runs to where his wife Blandina is sitting and in front of her Arthur hits the Lord;

"And with his sword him on the head did smyte,
That to the ground he fell in senselesse swone:
Yet whether thwart of flatly it did lyte,
The tempred steele did not into his braynepan byte.

Which, when the Ladie saw, with great affright
She starting up, began to shrieke aloud,
And with her garment covering him from sight,
Seem'd under her protection him to shroud;"

Turpine now literally hiding under his lovers dress;

"Her weed she then withdrawing, did him discover,
Who now come to himselfe, yet would not rize,
But still did lie as dead, and quake, and quiver,
That even the Prince his baseness did despize,


Vile cowheard dogge, now doe I much repent,
That ever I this life unto thee lent
Whereof thou caytive so unworthie art;
That both thy love, for lacke of hardiment,
And eke thy selfe, for want of manly hart,
And eke all knights hast shamed with this knightlesse part."

Arthur pauses in his shit talk and realises he has left his Woodwose fighting absolutely everyone else in the castle;

"He had beynd him left that salvage wight,
Amongst so many foes, whom sure he thought
By this quite slaine in so unequall fight:
Therefore descending backe in haste, he sought
If yet he were alive, or to destruction brought.

There he him found environed about
With slaughtred bodies, which his hand had slaine,
And laying yet a fresh with courage stout
Upon the rest, that did alive remaine;
Whom he likewise right sorely did contraine,
Like scattred sheepe, to seeke for safetie,"

So he returns to give the Turpine a load of crap about being an awful person and a bad knight, but Blandina tries to calm things down;

"For well she knew the wayes to win good will
Of every wight, that were not too infest,
And how to please the minds of good and ill,
Through tempering of her words & lookes by wonderous skill.

Yet were her words and lookes but false and fayned,
To some hid end to make more easie way,
Or to allure such fondlings, whom she trayned
Into her trap unto thier owne decay:
Thereto, when needed, she could weepe and pray,
And when her listed, she could fawne and flatter;
Now smyling smoothly, like to sommers day,
Now glooming sadly, so to cloke her matter;
Yet were her words but wynd, & all her teares but water."

So eventually Arthur and the Unkillable Woodwose leave, with Turpine embarrassed, ashamed, alive and PLANNING REVENGE.