Friday, October 10, 2014

A Braggart, A Horse, A Deceiver, and A Woman — Faerie Queene, Book 2, Canto 3

This is actually Justice,
but you try finding pictures
of armed women.
I really should be more diligent about reading and commenting on The Faerie Queene. First, I want to get this done. Second, according to the blog stats, someone actually found a Faerie Queene post through a search. I hope he or she didn’t go away disappointed. So, I’m back. I've been somewhat busy lately, but I do want to continue to make time to get through the poem.

In Book II, Canto II, Sir Guyon tried to wash the blood off the hands of child of the couple who died due to Acrasia’s evil doings (in Book II, Canto I), but found that the spring they were near was too pure to allow itself to be contaminated with blood. It seems that the blood isn’t coming off by any means, because he leaves the kid with Medina (who doesn’t seem to have volunteered), and the kid’s hands are still bloody. But now he gets a name: Ruddymane, that is to say “bloody hands.” I’d wear gloves.

Back in Canto II, Sir Guyon lost his horse. He tied him up, but when he returned, the horse was gone.
He left his loftie steed with golden sell
And goodly gorgeous barbes, him found not
By other accident, that earst befell,
He is convaide; but how, or where, here fits not tell.
We finally get to the horse thief.
He, that brave steed there finding ready dight,
Purloynd both steed and speare, and ran away full light.
Thus weaponed, the first thing our (yet) unnamed knight does is threaten some unwary person who is likely sufficiently gullible to be fooled by this man’s show. Spenser points out that it’s all fakery on the part the the gol-durn horse thief.
To him avaunting in great bravery,
As Peacocke that his painted plumes doth pranck,
Once he’s secured the man’s services, Spenser identifies the pair. The man whom the knight has pressed into service is Trompart (Deceiver), who immediately figures out that the knight is a fool, “for he was wylie witted” and he realizes that the man will respond well to “fine flattery.” The knight is Braggadochio (Braggart). And who do they meet? Arch image.

Archimage does seem to be taken in by Trompart’s lies, and when Trompart claims that
’He is a great adventurer,’ (said he)
’That hath his sword through hard assay foregone,
And now hath vowed, till he avenged bee
Of that despight, never to wearen none:’
the Archimage believes him. Of course, Braggadochio has a spear because Sir Guyon left a spear, but not his sword, with the horse. But it’s okay, Trompart lies to the Archimage, and then the Archimage feels him a line of bullshit about how badly he had been treated by Sir Guyon “and by that false Redcrosse knight.” Soon Braggadochio is joining in, because why lose a change to spout falsehoods in this crowd? Here we have three bad characters, each trying to gain his own advantage. Of course, then Braggadochio is worried because his lies are being taken seriously.

Trompart and Braggadocio then make tracks, coming to a wood. A horn sounds and a woman steps out. She is a “goodly Ladie clad in hunters weed.” We now pause for ten stanzas so Spenser can describe this woman. With this much text, she’d better be an allegorical figure. Well dressed, stately woman dressed a hunter. She’s looking for her quarry, and asks Trompart if he’s seen
a bleeding Hynde,
Whose right haunch earst my stedfast arrow strake
She shot a doe with an arrow. Trompart answers her the best he can, with flattery. Meanwhile, Braggadochio is hiding in the underbrush, when leads the woman to think it might be the doe. Trompart saves him.
’O! stay thy hand ; for younger is no game
For thy fiers arrows, them to exercise ;
But loe ! my Lrd, my liege, whose warlike name
Is far renownd through many bold emprize’
Braggadochio, after creeping out of the underbrush actually tries one. He goes to grab the woman, but despite his “filthy lust,” she’s actually the better fighter and scares him off with her javelin. Back into the woods, where Trompart and Braggadochio aren’t likely to follow. Then they’re off, because hanging around the wood isn’t going to do them any good.
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