Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Faerie Queene Book IV, Part 2

Yep, I'm still going!  Slowly.  If you recall, Book IV is about Friendship, and the friendship story is mostly a sideline to the much more exciting drama of Amoret, Scudamore, Britomart, and Artegall, plus a whole lot of other knightly pairs and rotten ol' Braggadocio.

Let us look back upon these hopeful dates and laugh
Scudamore spent the night at the house of Care (known to us as Worry), and is in bad shape.  He meets the Savage Knight, dressed in wild clothes and with no device on his shield.  This is Artegall in his guise as rough justice.  Both are angry at Britomart (unknown to be a lady) and agree to search for her.  They promptly meet her and attack with lots of angry male imagery, but it's Britomart who stabs Artegall.  In the fighting her visor breaks off and her face is seen for the first time.  Artegall apologizes for fighting a lady, but she wants to keep going and Scudamore and Glauce have to intervene.  All show their faces, Britomart recognizes Artegall, and Glauce explains all.  Scudamore asks after Amoret and it turns out that she disappeared!  Britomart has been searching for her.  They rest at a castle, where Artegall woos Britomart and she consents to marry him, only to be parted the next day as he continues his own quest and the others search for Amoret.

Sir Artegall as the Savage Knight

Amoret, walking in the forest as Britomart slept (significant for chastity), is abducted by Lust, a hideous beast-man, who throws her into a cave.  Another maid and an old woman are there, waiting to be violated and then eaten.  Æmylia ran away to elope with a squire and was captured.  When Lust enters, Amoret escapes and runs with Lust pursuing.  Belpheobe is out hunting and her squire battles Lust, but it takes Belphoebe to kill him.  They set all the ladies free, but Amoret is wounded by the squire, because he used her as a shield.  Belpheobe assumes the squire did this deliberately and leaves him.  The spurned squire, Timias, lives in despair until Arthur finds him.

Timias is wailing away at his campsite and a turtledove joins him in sympathy for his woe.  He ties a ruby on her that Belphoebe gave him, and the dove shows it to her and leads her to the now-unrecognizable squire.  She asks him what is wrong, he reveals the misunderstanding, and they are reconciled.  Arthur then finds Amoret and Æmylia near death and heals them, but they meet Sclaunder (scandal/slander), a venomous hag.  They claim hospitality of her but she chases them away with abuse.  Don't believe all that abuse though; this is the Golden Age and they are well-behaved!  As they travel wearily on, they meet a squire and a dwarf fleeing from a giant man on a camel (!) -- he has venomous eye beams. (!!)  Arthur uses his adamant shield to block the beams but they're so strong the squire faints anyway.  Arthur attacks and beheads the Paynim giant, who was Corflambo!  The squire turns out to serve Æmylia's lover Amyas.  Corflambo's daughter Poeana (punishment) has him prisoner.

The squire arrests Poeana, frees the captives, and everybody matches up properly.  Even Poeana ends up happy with the squire.  Arthur and Amoret go to seek their lovers and meet six knights fighting -- four are the rude knights who wanted the false Snowy Florimell.  They all 'love' in different wrong ways.  The other two are Britomart and Scudamore.  Arthur subdues the rude knights and then talks with the two good ones about Amoret, who doesn't seem to actually be on the spot any more.

Scudamore, assured of Amoret's well-being, tells his adventures: yet another allegorical tale of his wedding and wooing of Amoret.  There's a castle and a gate, it's all very Romance of the Rose.  Eventually he gets to an amazing garden, finds the Temple of Venus, and meets Concord in the porch with her sons Hate and Love.  Concord, you see, holds the forces of the world in harmony.  She lets him in, and he sees lots of lovers around the goddess, who stands on a giant but brittle altar.  She wears a veil and has a snake tying up her legs.  She is surrounded by flying sports, loves, and joys at the top, and complaining lovers below.  To the side, a group of womanly virtues holds Amoret, who sits in the lap of Womanhood.  Scudamore wins Amoret!

The Temple of Venus in Amoret's allegorical heart
Remember Florimell, the real one?  She loves Marinell who is injured and healing.  Now he is better, and Spenser plans to tell their story, but first he has to describe the marriage of the Thames to the Medway.  There is a very, very long description of all the river and ocean guests and the ceremony.

Back to Florimell, she pines for Marinell, who discovers what love is and pines right back.  How can he save her from her imprisonment by Proteus?  Marinell's mother and Proteus are both persuaded to let them meet, and the courtship may begin.


This book is all over the place.  It's fun, but it can be quite tricky to follow everyone's various stories!  Well, onward and ho for Book V!

1 comment:

Joy said...

I admire your persistence!