We return to Serena and the Savage Man in the forest. The opening lines tell us that Edmunds brief experimentation with democratic nurture-over-nature is over and we are back to 14th Century Genetic Essentialism;
"O what an easie thing is to descry
The gentle bloud, how ever it be wrapt
In sad misfortunes foule deformity,
And wretched sorrowes, which have often hapt?
For howsoever it may grow mis-shapt,
Like this wyld man, being undisciplynd,
That to all vertue it may seeme unapt,
Yet will it shew some sparkes of gentle mynd,
And at the last breake forth in his owne proper kynd.
For certes he was borne of noble blood,
How ever by hard hap he hether came;
As ye may know, when time shall be to tell the same."
We never find out where this guy comes from.
Somewhere in history there are a bunch of scrawled notes for the next 6-9 books of the Faerie Queene with Edmunds arrows and plot-plans.
The Savage Man goes off to look for Calepine, who went missing last Canto after the deal with the Bear and the Baby and finds no sign of him;
"Tho backe returning to that sorie Dame,
He shewed semblant of exceeding mone,
By speaking signes, as he them best could frame;
Now wringing both his wretched hands in one,
Now beating he hard head upon a stone,
That ruth it was to see him so lament.
By which she well percieveing, what was done,
Gan teare her hayre, and all her garments rent,
And beat her brest, and piteously her selfe torment."
After a lot of drama she decides to grab her horse, which has been chilling in the forest, and make off to find Calepine, despite sill being wounded/poisoned by the Blatant Beast. The Savage Man decides to go with her and picks up Calepines armour, left behind, and shield to follow her. (Though Calepines sword is still hidden.)
"So forth they traveld an uneven payre,
That mote to all men seeme an uncouth sight;
A salvage man matcht with a Ladie fayre,
That rather seem'd the conquest of his might,
Gotten by spoyle, then purchaced aright.
But he did her attend most carefully,
And faithfully did serve both day and night,
Withouten thought of shame of villeny,
Ne ever shewed signe of foule disloyalty."
"then purchaced aright"?
Its the middle of the Canto again, so time to introduce a new plot element. Remember that guy Tiamas, who was Arthurs Squire and who ended up making out in the forest with that Amazon chick? Back iiin, Book 3 or 4 I think? Well here he is, turning up with Arthur himself and about to stumble over the Serena/Woodwose situation.
How did they get here? mysterious auto-generated enemies.
FLASHBACK. Everything was going fine with Tiamas except he developed some generic Rennaisance pre-Iago-esqe enemies who just hated him because they were hateful dudes
"Three mightie ones, and cruell minded eeke,
That him not onely sought by open might
To overthrow, but to supplant by slight.
The first of them by name was cald Despetto,
Exceeding all the rest in powre and hight;
The second not so strong but wise, Decetto;
The third nor strong nor wise, but spightfullest Defetto"
(Spensers italiainised terms for Despite, Deceat and Defect.)
These guys want to hurt Tiamas but aren't tuff enough alone, so they lure him into fighting the Blatant Beast, knowing he won't be able to resist such a challenge.
Tiamas does encounter the beast, and drives it off;
"Yet ere he fled, he with his tooth impure
Him heedlesse bit, the whiles he was thereof secure."
Which is interesting becasue it seems the Blatant Beast isn't actually that hard to scare away, (every Knight it has fought has done that) but is almost impossible to catch and kill, and it has a 'tooth impure' so even if it gets a nip in, the bite slowly corrupts.
Tiamas rides after the beast but is waylaid by Despetto, Decetto and Defetto (who I now can't help but see as Warner Brother characters). They surround him;
"Like a wylde Bull, that being at a bay,
Is bayted of a mastiffe, and a hound,
And a curre-dog; that doe him sharpe assay
On every side, and beat about him round;
But most that curre barking with bitter sownd,
And creeping still behinde, doth him incomber,
That in his chauffe he digs the trampled ground,
And threats his horns, and bellowes like the thonder,
So did that Squire his foes disperse, and drive asonder."
But who should be randomly riding around but magnificent Prince Arthur himself! Tiamas's former (current?) boss. They didn't seem that close several books back when Arthur rode off after (I think it was false Florimell?), but now they are back they get some surprisingly emotive verse about being reunited;
"Whereof exceeding glad, he to him drew,
And him embracing twixt his armes entire,
Him thus bespake; My liefe, my lifes desire,
Why have ye me alone thus long yleft?
Tell me what worlds despight, or heavens yre
Hath you thus long away from me bereft?
Where have ye all this while bin wandring, where bene weft?
With that he sighed deepe for inward tyne:
To whom the Squire nought aunswered againe,
But shedding few soft teares from tender eyne,
His deare affect with silence did restraine,
And shut up all his plaint in privy paine."
So again, we have a powerful Spenserian theme of held vs expressed emotional pain. And we have the very-Chivalric situation of guys who just feel a lot of big feelings for each other. This is all over Mallory as well, friends and brothers who find each other after being seperated will grab and kiss each other and cry a lot.
But now these two see Serena with the Savage Man looking like an absolute freak who has captured her, so they arm up and Tiamas starts dicking with Doc Savage. This does not go well for him;
"Gnashing his grinded teeth with griesly looke,
And sparkling fire out of his furious eyne,
Him with his fist unwares on th'head he strooke,
That made him downe unto the earth encline;
Whence soon upstarting much he gan repine,"
In another classic chivalric gender situation; the woman stopping the pointless intra-male fight, (women have a very strong, rarely directly referenced theme of both legitimising and preventing violence. Sometimes it seems like there is a kind of gender-lock on men fighting. This even starts with Una preventing Redcrosse from suicide in Book One) Serena explains everything;
"Had not this wylde man in that wofull stead
Kept, and delivered me from deadly dread.
In such a salvage wight, of brutish kynd,
Amongst wilde beastes in desert forrests bred,
It is most straunge and wonderfull to fynd
So milde humanity, and perfect gentle mynd.
Let me therefore this favour for him find,
That ye will not your wrath upon him wreake,
Sith he cannot expresse his simple minde,
Ne yours conceive, ne but by tokens speake:
Small praise to prove your powre on wight so weake."
(The guy is invulnerable to harm but whatever.)
And they all calm down and travel together through the forest. It should be noted that both Serena and Tiamas have been wounded/poisoned by the Blatant Beast.
"Till towards night they came unto a plaine,
By which a little Hermitage there lay,
Far from all neighbourhood, the which annoy it may.
And nigh thereto a little Chappell stoode,
Which being all with Yvy overspred,
Deckt all the roofe, and shadowing the roode,
Seem'd like a grove faire braunched over hed:"
Inside the pleasant chapel is a hermit who, I'm sorry to say, is not going to be Archimago in disguise (miss you bro!). But seems to be something of a Sean Connory type.
"And soothly it was sayd by common fame,
So long as age enabled him thereto,
That he had bene a man of mickle name,
Renowmed much in armes and derring doe:
But being aged now and weary to
Of warres delight, and worlds contentious toyle,"
"he thence them lead into his Hermitage,
Letting their steedes to graze upon the greene:
Small was his house, and like a little cage,
For his owne turne, yet inly neate and clene,
Deckt with greene boughes, a flowers gay beseene.
Therein he them full faire did entertaine
Not with such forged showes, as fitter beene
For courting fooles, that curtesies would faine,
But with entire affection and appearaunce plaine."
After hearing about the terrible things that have happend to Serena and Calepine Arthur rides off to do some fucking-up of bad knights locally. Serena and Tiamas stay behind. And so everything seems fine, for now.