Turpine is baffuld, his two knights
doe gaine their treasons meed;
Fayre Mirabellaes punishment
for loues disdaine decreed.
We left Canto VI with Arthur and 'the savage' leaving Turpine's castle whilst Turpine plotted his revenge. Now Arthur has left Turpine has donned his armour and gone to seek him, but on the way he meets two knights and he tells them he is seeking a knight who has done him and his lady a great wrong. The knights naturally believe him and when they see Arthur they attack him but Arthur, the stronger knight, subdues them and then tells them the real story. He then asks one of the knights to bring Turpine to him whilst holding the other knight hostage. Turpine, believing Arthur is dead, accompanies the knight but soon realises that Arthur is simply sleeping. He prepares to kill the sleeping Arthur but the knight stops him. On waking up Arthur prevents any attack and hangs Turpine upside down from a tree as punishment:
And after all, for greater infamie,We now return to Serena and Timias who, now recovered, have left the hermitage. Spenser wrote in Canto VI how, on their journey, they met "a faire Mayden clad in mourning weed" accompanied by "lewd foole" and "a mangy iade". Once, Spenser writes, the lady was renowned for her beauty but she grew proud and rejected all her suitors:
He by the heeles him hung vpon a tree,
And baffuld so, that all which passed by,
The picture of his punishment might see,
And by the like ensample warned bee,
How euer they through treason doe trespasse....
She was a Ladie of great dignitie,
And lifted vp to honorable place,
Famous through all the land of Faerie,
Though of meane parentage and kindred base,
Yet deckt with wondrous giftes of natures grace,
That all men did her person much admire,
And praise the feature of her goodly face,
The beames whereof did kindle louely fire
In th'harts of many a knight, and many a gentle squire.
But she thereof grew proud and insolent,
That none she worthie thought to be her fere,
But scornd them all, that loue vnto her ment:
Yet was she lou'd of many a worthy pere;
Vnworthy she to be belou'd so dere,
That could not weigh of worthinesse aright.
For beautie is more glorious bright and clere,
The more it is admir'd of many a wight,
And noblest she, that serued is of noblest knight.
This lady, Mirabella, was sentenced by Cupid to make amends for her wrongs - killing the knights who loved her by disappointing them (I believe this is what's suggested!). She must wander the world in poverty and save as many lives as she has ruined. At the point of meeting Timias and Serena she has saved just two lives; she has 22 lives to save in total. Meanwhile the fool (named Scorn) whips her and the jade (Disdain) taunts her. Timias, trying to help her, attacks Disdain however he is defeated and Disdain ties him up, unconscious. Serena, thinking he is dead, runs away:
The faire Serena, when she saw him fall
Vnder that villaines club, then surely thought
That slaine he was, or made a wretched thrall,
And fled away with all the speede she mought,
To seeke for safety, which long time she sought:
And past through many perils by the way,
Ere she againe to Calepine was brought;
The which discourse as now I must delay,
Till Mirabellaes fortunes I doe further say.
Prince Arthure ouercomes Disdaine,
Quites Mirabell from dreed:
Serena, found of Saluages,
By Calepine is freed.
Mirabella, Spenser writes, is an example of how cruel pride is the enemy of happiness and love:
And as ye soft and tender are by kynde,
Adornd with goodly gifts of beauties grace,
So be ye soft and tender eeke in mynde;
But cruelty and hardnesse from you chace,
That all your other praises will deface,
And from you turne the loue of men to hate.
Ensample take of Mirabellaes case,
Who from the high degree of happy state,
Fell into wretched woes, which she repented late.
They carry on their journey and soon encounter Arthur and the knight - Enias. Enias fights Disdain, but again Disdain gains the upper hand. Arthur intervenes and defeats Disdain but Mirabella stops him from killing him, explaining how this was Cupid's punishment of her. She then explains she wishes to fulfil her punishment's obligations, and she leaves them, alone.
Serena meanwhile is still running, thinking Timias is dead. When she feels danger has passed she stops to rest, not realising she is near a group of cannibals. They find her, strip her, and prepare to sacrifice her. However Calepine arrives and saves her:
From them returning to that Ladie backe,
Whom by the Altar he doth sitting find,
Yet fearing death, and next to death the lacke
Of clothes to couer, what they ought by kind:
He first her hands beginneth to vnbind,
And then to question of her present woe;
And afterwards to cheare with speaches kind.
But she for nought that he could say or doe,
One word durst speake, or answere him a whit thereto.
Calidore hostes with Meliboe
and loues fayre Pastorell;
Coridon enuies him, yet he
for ill rewards him well.
We now return to Calidore, who we left chasing the Blatant Beast. He rests a while with a group of shepherds and there he sees a shepherdess - Pastorella:
And soothly sure she was full fayre of face,
And perfectly well shapt in euery lim,
Which she did more augment with modest grace,
And comely carriage of her count'nance trim,
That all the rest like lesser lamps did dim:
Who her admiring as some heauenly wight,
Did for their soueraine goddesse her esteeme,
And caroling her name both day and night,
The fayrest Pastorella her by name did hight.
|Colin Clout in The Shepheardes Calender (1579).|
She is loved by a shepherd, Coridon, but does not return his love. That night Pastorella's father Meliboee invites Calidore to stay with them. Meliboee is a good host, and they talk of shepherding, knighthood, and praise the simple life, Calidore observing -
How 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 worldly seas,
Which tosse the rest in daungerous disease?
Where warres, and wreckes, and wicked enmitie
Doe them afflict, which no man can appease,
That certes I your happinesse enuie,
And wish my lot were plast in such felicitie.
During this time Calidore becomes very taken by Pastorella, however she is more interested in Colin Clout (Colin features in Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender, 1579; in The Faerie Queene Spenser writes, "who knowes not Colin Clout?") and his music. However, once Calidore is dressed like a shepherd Pastorella favours him; Coridon becomes jealous and ultimately challenges Calidore to a wrestling match, and of course Calidore wins however he graciously gives the winning garland to Coridon. All seems well, however the canto ends:
Thus Calidore continu'd there long time,
To winne the loue of the faire Pastorell;
Which hauing got, he vsed without crime
Or blamefull blot, but menaged so well,
That he of all the rest, which there did dwell,
Was fauoured, and to her grace commmended.
But what straunge fortunes vnto him befell,
Ere he attain'd the point by him intended,
Shall more conueniently in other place be ended.
Calidore sees the Graces daunce,
To Colins melody:
The whiles his Pastorell is led,
Calidore has now abandoned his mission from the Faerie Queene to slay the Blatant Beast, preferring to spend his time with Pastorella. One day whilst the two are walking Calidore sees a hill:
It was an hill plaste in an open plaine,
That round about was bordered with a wood
Of matchlesse hight, that seem'd th'earth to disdaine;
In which all trees of honour stately stood,
And did all winter as in sommer bud,
Spredding pauilions 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 maiesty and powre.
And at the foote thereof, a gentle fludThey approach and Calidore sees ladies dancing to the tune of Colin Clout's pipe.
His siluer waues did softly tumble downe,
Vnmard with ragged mosse or filthy mud;
Ne mote wylde beastes, ne mote the ruder clowne
Thereto approch, ne filth mote therein drowne:
But Nymphes and Faeries by the bancks did sit,
In the woods shade, which did the waters crowne,
Keeping all noysome things away from it,
And to the waters fall tuning their accents fit.
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,
Amidst a ring most richly well enchaced,
That with her goodly presence all the rest much graced.
Looke how the Crowne, which Ariadne woreSuddenly however they all disappear apart from poor Colin. He tells Calidore about the women;
Vpon her yuory forehead that same day
That Theseus her vnto his bridale bore,
When the bold Centaures made that bloudy fray
With the fierce Lapithes, which did them dismay;
Being now placed in the firmament,
Through the bright heauen doth her beams display,
And is vnto the starres an ornament,
Which round about her moue in order excellent.
They are the daughters of sky-ruling Ioue,The woman at the centre of the circle however is unknown, but Colin calls her Gloriana -
By him begot of faire Eurynome,
The Oceans daughter, in this pleasant groue,
As he this way comming from feastfull glee,
Of Thetis wedding with Æacidee,
In sommers shade himselfe here rested weary.
The first of them hight mylde Euphrosyne,
Next faire Aglaia, last Thalia merry:
Sweete Goddesses all three which me in mirth do cherry.
Sunne of the world, great glory of the sky,
That all the earth doest lighten with thy rayes,
Great Gloriana, greatest Maiesty,
Pardon thy shepheard, mongst so many layes,
As he hath sung of thee in all his dayes,
To make one minime of thy poore handmayd,
And vnderneath thy feete to place her prayse;
That when thy glory shall be farre displayd
To future age of her this mention may be made.
Calidore returns to Pastorella, but as ever Coridon is trying to compete with Calidore, despite the fact she loves Calidore (which intensifies when he saves her from a tiger). One day however their pastoral world is attacked and Pastorella and Coridon are kidnapped by "A lawlesse people, Brigants hight of yore" who hide them and plan to sell them as slaves. The canto ends,
But for to tell the dolefull dreriment,
And pittifull complaints, which there she made,
Where day and night she nought did but lament
Her wretched life, shut vp in deadly shade,
And waste her goodly beauty, which did fade
Like to a flowre, that feeles no heate of sunne,
Which may her feeble leaues with comfort glade.
But what befell her in that theeuish wonne,
Will in an other Canto better be begonne.
The theeues fall out for Pastorell,
VVhilest Melibee is slaine:
Her Calidore from them redeemes,
And bringeth backe againe.
The captain of the Brigants begins to take a fancy to Pastorella and, for fear of angering him, she pretends to reciprocate, and when she fears he will take things further she must pretend she ill. When merchants arrive to buy the captive shepherds they wish to buy Pastorella, but unsurprisingly the captain refuses, and so the merchants refuse to buy any of the shepherds. The Brigants urge the captain to reconsider and a fierce fight breaks out. Many shepherds are killed, inluding Meliboe and his wife. Coridon however escapes during the fight, in which the captain is eventually killed. Pastorella is also left for dead amongst the corpses:
There lay she couered with confused preasseShe is saved and looked after, but still she remains a captive.
Of carcases, which dying on her fell.
Tho when as he was dead, the fray gan ceasse,
And each to other calling, did compell
To stay their cruell hands from slaughter fell.
Sith they that were the cause of all, were gone.
Thereto they all attonce agreed well,
And lighting candles new, gan search anone,
How many of their friends were slaine, how many fone.
Meanwhile Calidore goes looking for Pastorella, and he soon meets with Coridon who believes her to be dead. Eventually they find her and after a long battle she is saved along with the sheep and the other captives.
Fayre Pastorella by great hap
her parents vnderstands:
Calidore doth the Blatant beast
subdew, and bynd in bands.
Calidore now knows he must return to his quest: to stop the Blatant Beast:
For all that hetherto hath long delayd
This gentle knight, from sewing his first quest,
Though out of course, yet hath not bene mis-sayd,
To shew the courtesie by him profest,
Euen vnto the lowest and the least.
But now I come into my course againe,
To his atchieuement of the Blatant beast;
Who all this while at will did range and raine,
Whilst none was him to stop, nor none him to restraine.
He takes Pastorella to Castle Belgrade, the home of Sir Bellamour and Claribell and there he leaves her to go in search of the Beast. Whilst Pastorella stays there, it is revealed that she is in fact the daughter of Claribell, and they are happily reunited. Meanwhile Calidore has finally cornered the Beast which has been running rampant through churches and monasteries:
But Calidore thereof no whit afrayd,
Rencountred him with so impetuous might,
That th'outrage of his violence he stayd,
And bet abacke, threatning in vaine to bite,
And spitting forth the poyson of his spight,
That fomed all about his bloody iawes.
Tho rearing vp his former feete on hight,
He rampt vpon him with his rauenous pawes,
As if he would haue rent him with his cruell clawes.
The beast attacks but Calidore manages to muzzle him:
Full cruelly the Beast did rage and rore,
To be downe held, and maystred so with might,
That he gan fret and fome out bloudy gore,
Striuing in vaine to rere him selfe vpright.
For still the more he stroue, the more the Knight
Did him suppresse, and forcibly subdew;
That made him almost mad for fell despight.
He grind, hee bit, he scratcht, he venim threw,
And fared like a feend, right horrible in hew.
Or like the hell-borne Hydra, which they faine
That great Alcides whilome ouerthrew,
After that he had labourd long in vaine,
To crop his thousand heads, the which still new
Forth budded, and in greater number grew.
Such was the fury of this hellish Beast,
Whilest Calidore him vnder him downe threw;
Who nathemore his heauy load releast,
But aye the more he rag'd, the more his powre increast.
Tho when the Beast saw, he mote nought auaile,
By force, he gan his hundred tongues apply,
And sharpely at him to reuile and raile,
With bitter termes of shamefull infamy;
Oft interlacing many a forged lie,
Whose like he neuer once did speake, nor heare,
Nor euer thought thing so vnworthily:
Yet did he nought for all that him forbeare,
But strained him so streightly, that he chokt him neare.
At last when as he found his force to shrincke,
And rage to quaile, he tooke a muzzell strong
Of surest yron, made with many a lincke;
Therewith he mured vp his mouth along,
And therein shut vp his blasphemous tong,
For neuer more defaming gentle Knight,
Or vnto louely Lady doing wrong:
And thereunto a great long chaine he tight,
With which he drew him forth, euen in his own despight.
Like as whylome that strong Tirynthian swaine,The people of Faerie Land celebrate seeing the Beast finally muzzled and chained, however it would not remain tied up forever. The Beast escaped and remains to this day on the loose.
Brought forth with him the dreadfull dog of hell,
Against his will fast bound in yron chaine,
And roring horribly, did him compell
To see the hatefull sunne, that he might tell
To griesly Pluto, what on earth was donne,
And to the other damned ghosts, which dwell
For aye in darkenesse, which day light doth shonne:
So led this Knight his captyue with like conquest wonne.
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 strong 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 there ends the final completed book of The Faerie Queene. What remains now is the Two Cantos of Mutability (which I would love to write about tomorrow if I can find the time). Until then, I'll try and get my head around Book VI!
Booke of the
The Legend of S. Calidore
There is our knight - Sir Calidore - and our theme: courtesy. Courtesy in Spenser's Faerie Queene is not merely politeness, it is a virtue, it's humanity, it's the very act of being civil. Book V was on justice, Book VI follows the theme: whereas justice is based upon the law, courtesy is a social necessity, still rules and obligations, but not legal ones, but even so, without such rules and obligations society would fall apart. Courtesy, just as much as justice, ensures harmony.
The enemy of courtesy is the Blatant Beast: the word 'blatant' was actually coined by Spenser himself and most likely was inspired by the Latin blatire: "to babble". The beast, as the name suggests, is a monster, uncivilised, uncouth, and as dangerous as any monsters so far in The Faerie Queene. One must be vigilant: Calidore was not, and so it entered into the churches and monasteries, threatening the very fabric of society. Here another contrast is shown: the courtly life of the knights and the pastoral life of the shepherds.
This is not the only obstacle of Book VI: exactly like the other books there are challenges faced by a variety of other characters throughout, but it is the theme of courtesy and discourtesy that run throughout them. We have many tyrants whose behaviour is not merely rude but oppressive. Abiding by the law, Spenser shows, is not enough to bring perfection. There is also the debate of nature and nurture in The Faerie Queene: Calidore is naturally courteous:
In whom it seemes, that gentlenesse of spright
And manners mylde were planted naturall;
To which he adding comely guize withall,
And gracious speach, did steale mens hearts away.
The savage however learns a degree of courtesy: he is not Calidore's opposite here, Turpine is: Turpine is the savage at heart decked out as a knight, and he is naturally aligned with the Blatant Beast in nature. The law does not change this, and neither birth nor upbringing has the final say.
Unlike the other heroes of The Faerie Queene however, this monster is never really defeated, only briefly subdued, which makes for a strange ending. Spenser certainly was not finished with The Faerie Queene, six other books were planned if not written, however here it ends, almost on an anti-climax. Book VI was strange, perhaps not as strong as the others, and I don't feel I got as much out of it as previous books. But I'm not quite done: there is still Mutability remaining. And I've already read it and enjoyed it, so I shall have a few words to say on it very soon. Until then, the illustrations for the final half of Book VI by Walter Crane: