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.

And only much, much later does the Beast again get free.

"Untill that, whether wicked fate so framed,
Or fault of men, he broke his yron chaine,
And got into the world at liberty againe."

"So now he raungeth through the world againe,
And rageth sore in each degree and state;
Ne any is, that may him now restraine,
He growen is so great and string of late,
barking and biting all that him doe bate,
Albe they worthy blame, or cleare of crime:
Ne spareth he most learned wits to rate,
Ne spareth he the gentle Poets rime,
But rends without regard of person or of time."

And that, indeed, could not be a more fit ending to the Faerie Queene.

The end though, it is not. Two lost Cantos remain. Numbers six and seven of 'Mutabilitie', the DVD extras of Spensers rime.

So two days more. But after that we will, indeed, be done for good.

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