Saturday, 17 February 2018

Enter the Good-Guy Wild Boi Woodwose - FQ - Book 6 Canto 4

Nice and neat, this Canto gets to the point and gets out.

We open with a classic Spencerian ship-metaphor verse illustrating how bad things are for Calepine;

"Now farre from harbour likely to be lost,"

I don't know what happened to Edmund on that ship but it must have been traumatising. If he'd stayind out there we might have ended up with Englands first Sea-Poet.

Luckily for Calepine, and fans of Gilgamesh/Endinku buddy-dramas, these woods home a 'salvage man' who 'Drawne with that Ladies loud and piteous shright' runs towards the sound and finds Turpine trying to murder Calepine, a sight so horrid that;

"The salvage man, that never till this houre
Did taste of pittie, neither gentlesse knew,
Seeing his sharpe assault and cruell stoure
Was much emmoved at his perils vew,
That even his ruder hart began to rew,
And feele compassion of his evil plight,"

The woodwosy guy has no clothes or tools but, for some mysterious reason, is invulnerable to harm due to 'Magicke leare.'. No explanation in the notes, hopefully something will come up later.

"He stayed not to advize, which way were best
His foe t'assayle, or how himselfe to gard,
But with fierce fury and with force infest
Unpon him ran;"

Yeah boi! Turpine jabs him right in the chest with his spear, but cannot harm him.

"With that the wyld man more enraged grew,
Like to a Tygre that hath mist his pray,
And with mad mood again upon him flew,"

He grabs the sheild and they wrestle for it;

And nearly pulls Turpine off his horse, until Turpine runs for it. Our wyld boi chases after him and Turpine;

"Gan cry aloud with horrible affright,
And shrieked out, a thing uncomely for a knight."

Eventually Wild-Man Martin Riggs gets tired of chasing and returns to Calepine and Serena, he finds them both bleeding and Serena terrified of him, because hes a naked invulnerable wild dude.

"But the wyld ma, contrarie to her feare,
Came to her creeping like a fawning hound"

Wildy has no language;

"But a soft murmure, and confused sound
Of senselesse words, which nature did him teach,
T'expresse his passions, which his reason did empeach."

On seeing the 'streames of purple blood' flowing from Calpine he makes 'great mone after his salvage mood'.

And guess what he does next?

He stops the bleeding.

"And running streight into the thickest wood,
A certain herbe from thence unto him brought,
Whose vertue he by use well understood:
The juyce whereof into his wound he wrought,
And stopt the bleeding strait, ere he it staunced thought."

I think the reason I like this cano so much is, not only the bleeding thing, but this might be one of Spencers few low-status heroes (except maybe Glauce, Britomarts nurse) and its nice to seem something that doesn't quietly outrage my 21stC democratic instincts with Spensers Beauty=Good, Status=Good paradigm. Plus I really like it when mis-matched guys team up.

(Its looking like Serena has internal bleeding?)

From later;

"But that same Ladies hurst no herbe he found,
Which could redresse, for it was inwardly unsound."

He then takes Calepine and Serena off to chill in his hollow glade where they sleep on grass and are vegetarians;

"For their bad Stuard neither ploug'd nor sowed,
Ne fed on flesh, ne ever of wyld beast
Did taste the bloud, obaying natures first beheast."

This goes on for an indeterminate amount of time until the mid-point of the Canto is reached and we know its time for a new element to be introduced. Calepine is out wandering alone 'To take the ayre, and heare the thrushes song,' WHEN HE SEES;

"A cruell Beare, the which an infant bore
Betwixt his bloodie jawes, besprinckles all with gore."

Calepine is still a knight goddamnit so he races off to save the baby. He is not wearing his 'heavy armes' and has become so used to their weight that;

"Now wanting them he felt himselfe so light,
That like an Hauke, which feeling her selfe freed
From bels and jesses, which did let her flight,
Him seem'd his feet did fly, and in their speed delight."

He overtakes the bear, which drops the baby to fight him;

"But the bold knight no whit thereat dismayd,
But catching up in hand a ragged stone,
Which lay thereby (so fortune him did ayde)
Upon him ran, and thrust it all attone
Into his gaping throte, that made him grone
And grasp for breath, that he nigh choked was,
Being unable to digest that bone;"

The bear gets a pretty cool death-verse, full of brast bowels and 'wanting breath', but so much for the Bear, now Calepine has a baby to look after, and he's now lost in the forest;

"He could no path nor tract of foot descry,
Ne by inquirie lerne, nor ghesse by ayme.
For nought but woods and forrests farre and nye,
That all about did close the compasse of his eye."

So he wanders around for ages with the baby crying, which drives him nuts, until he happens to wander out of the forests edge, and hears someone else, a lady, crying. Again we get an interesting piece of verse about the necessity of speaking your harm;

"Nathlesse (quoth he) if need doe not you bynde,
Doe it deisclose, to ease your grieved spright:
Oftimes it haps, that sorrowes of the mynd
Find remedie unsought, which seeking cannot fynd."

This is Matilde, her husband Sir Bruin is the local lord. He beat up a 'Gyant' called Cormoraunt (a name apparenly used after the sea-bird to describe greedy people). He scared the gyant of but, oh no, they can't have children and they are scared once Bruin gets old the Gyant will come back. And by we, she means her, because her husband has blamed her & kicked her out. And wouldn;t you know it, Calepine just happens to have this guarunteed untraceable baby _right here_, who's owners probably aren't even missing it.

Then we get another very un-Spencerian, somewhat democratic moment;

"If that the cause of this your languishment
Be lacke of children, to supply your place,
Low how good fortuen doth to you present
This litle babe, of sweete and lovely face,
And spotlesse spirit, in which ye may enchace
What ever formes ye list thereto apply,
Being now soft and fit them to embrace;
Whether ye list him traine in chevalry,
Or nourlse up in lore of learn'd Philosophy.

And certes it hath oftentimes bene seeme,
That of the like, whose linage was unknowne,
More brave and noble knight have raysed beene,
As their victorious deedes have often showen,
Being with fame through many Nations blowed,
Then those, which have been dandled in the lap.
Therefore some thought, that those brave imps were sowen
Here by the Gods, and fed with heavenly sap,
That made them grow so high t'all honourable hap."

Nurture over nature? Noble blood not even being that important? Edmund what has happened to you?

So she takes the baby. She offers Calepine help but he doesn't want it;

"Vowing, that never he in bed againe
His limbes would rest, ne lig in ease embost,
Till that his Ladies sight he mote attaine,
Or understand, that she in saftie did remaine."

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