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The second Booke of the Faerie Queene. Contayning The Legend of Sir Guyon. OR Of Temperaunce. [1] Right well I wote most mighty SoueraineSoveraine, That all this famous antique history, Of some th'aboundance of an ydle braine Will iudgedjudged be, and painted forgery, Rather 1.5. then: thanthenthan matter of iustjust memory, Sith none, that breatheth liuingliving aire, does know, Where is that happy land of Faery, Which I so much doe vaunt, yet no where show, But vouch antiquities, which no body can know. [2]But let that man with better sence aduizeadvize, That of the world least part to vsus is red: And daily how through hardy enterprize, Many great Regions are discouereddiscovered, Which to late age were neuernever mentioned.mentioned, Who euerever heard of th'Indian PerúPeru? Or who in venturous vessell measured The AmazonsAmarons huge riuerriver now found trewtrew?true? Or fruitfullest Virginia who did euerever vew?vew.view? [3]Yet all these were when no man did them know, Yet hauehave from wisest ages hidden beenebeene: And later times thinges more vnknowneunknowne shall show:ſ⁀howſ⁀how.ſ⁀howe. Why then should witlesse man so much misweeneThat nothing is but that which he hath seene?What if within the Moones fayre shining ſpheare,spheare, ſphearespheare ſpheare?spheare? What if in eueryevery other starre vnseeneunseene Of other worldes he happily should heare?heare He wõderwonder would much more, yet such to some appeare.appeare [4]Of faery lond yet if he more inquyreBy certein signes here sett in sondrie placeHe may it fynd; ne let him then admyreBut yield his sence to bee too blunt and baceThat n'oteno'teno'te without an hound fine footing trace.trace And thouthenthou, O fayrest Princesse vnderunder skysky, In this fayre mirrhour maist behold thy face,face And thine owne realmes in lond of Faery,Faery And in this antique ymage thy great auncestry. [5]The which O pardon me thus to enfold In couertcovert vele and wrap in shadowes light,light That feeble eyes your glory may behold,behold Which ellesells elſeelse could not endure those beames bright,bright But would bee dazled with exceeding light;lightlight. O pardon and vouchsafe with patient eare The brauebrave aduenturesadventures of this faery knight The good Sir Guyon gratiously to heare,heare In whom great rule of Temp'raunce goodly doth appeare.
1.2. antique: ancient
1.2. history: narrative
1.3. Of some: by some
2.1. advize: consider
2.5. late age: recent ages, as opposed to antiquity
3.4. misweene: misconceive, suppose incorrectly
3.8. happily: by chance or good fortune
4.5. n’ote: might not
2.5. mentioned.] 1596, 1609; mentioned, 1590
2.6. Perú] 1590; Peru? 1596, 1609
2.8. Amazons] 1596, 1609, 1590FE; Amarons 1590
2.8. trew] 1590; trew? 1596, ; true? 1609
2.9. vew?] 1596; vew. 1590, ; view? 1609
3.2. beene] 1590; beene: 1596, 1609
3.3. show:] this edn.; ſ⁀how 1590, ; ſ⁀how. 1596, ; ſ⁀howe. 1609
3.6. ſpheare,spheare, ] 1609; ſphearespheare 1590, ; ſpheare?spheare? 1596
3.8. heare?] 1596, 1609; heare 1590
3.9. appeare.] 1596, 1609; appeare 1590
4.5. n'ote] 1590 state 3; no'te 1590 state 1,2, ; no'te 1596, 1609
4.5. trace.] 1596, 1609; trace 1590
4.6. thou] this edn.; then 1590, ; thou, 1596
4.6. sky] 1590; sky, 1596, 1609
4.7. face,] 1596, 1609; face 1590
4.8. Faery,] 1596, 1609; Faery 1590
5.2. light,] 1596, 1609; light 1590
5.3. behold,] 1596, 1609; behold 1590
5.4. elles] 1590 state 3; ells 1590 state 1,2, ; elſeelse 1596, 1609
5.4. bright,] 1596, 1609; bright 1590
5.5. light;] this edn.; light 1590, ; light. 1596, 1609
5.8. heare,] 1596, 1609; heare 1590
Sir: Guyon is the only protagonist in the FQ thus entitled on the title page of his legend.
antique: ancient
antique: Also ‘antic’, i.e. ludicrous or grotesque. Cf. Donne, Elegy 9, ‘The Autumnal’: ‘Name not these living death-heads unto me, / For these, not ancient, but antique be’ (43-4). This wordplay introduces an ambiguity that runs throughout the proem, which pretends to worry about whether Spenser’s fiction possesses the dignity and authority of antiquity or is merely a gothic extravagance.
history: narrative
1.2 history: In early modern usage, either factual (the modern sense) or a purely imaginary (a common synonym for ‘story’).
Of some: by some
1.6 living aire: A good example of the freedom with which Spenser commonly transfers epithets, here from ‘none’ to ‘aire’, and of the distinctive quality this freedom lends to the verse: half-animating the air itself, such phrasing contributes to a pervasive fluidity in the boundary between allegorical agents and their physical environments.
antiquities: Cf. I.pr.2.3-4, imploring the muse to ‘Lay forth out of thine everlasting scryne / The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still’.
no body: Anticipating the contrast between faith in that which is unseen and knowledge that is available to the senses (the body), elaborated in st. 3 and 4.
better sense: As opposed to the senses through which a ‘body can know’ (see 4.4n).
advize: consider
red: A favorite word of Spenser’s both for its convenience in rhyming and for its lexical range. Here primarily a synonym for its rhyming partner ‘discovered’, it also suggests the activities of conjecture, interpretation, declaration, and, of course, construal of a text. Its range is suggested by the way Spenser punningly enfolds the verb into its rhyming partners ‘discover-red’ and ‘measur-red’.
late age: recent ages, as opposed to antiquity
2.6 Indian Peru: Early explorers had believed that Peru was India. By 1590 the difference was well understood. The passage thus suggests, through the rhyming play on ‘red’ and ‘discovered’ (with its accented last syllable), that Peru was initially both discover-read and misread.
2.8 Amazons huge river: Francisco de Orellana in 1541-42 was the first European to sail the Amazon.
2.9 fruitfullest Virginia: Named after Elizabeth in 1584. The epithet combines colonial motives, asserting the economic value of newly discovered lands, with a Protestant adaptation of the Virgin Mary’s paradoxical status as fecund virgin.
3.3-3.8 3.3-8  Spenser is here imitating Ariosto, OF 7.1 and Chaucer, LGW Prol. 12-15. Spenser fuses these more or less playful references with an echo of Heb 11:1: ‘Now faith is the grounde of things, which are hoped for, and the evidence of things which are not sene’; the rest of chapter 11, an extended definition of faith, is evoked more broadly in the proem. Hamilton 2001 also notes a reminiscence of Giordano Bruno’s astronomical speculations in the 1584 treatise De l'Infinito Universo e Mondi (‘On the Infinite Universe and Worlds’). This fusion of literary, religious, and scientific allusions creates an ambiguous, distinctively Spenserian tonal irony.
misweene: misconceive, suppose incorrectly
happily: by chance or good fortune
4.1-4.5 4.1-5  The keen-scented hound tracking textual "feet" is a Renaissance commonplace applied to the seeker of rare manuscripts or to the humanist editor filling in manuscript lacunae (Passannante 2011: 90), but Spenser in these lines appears to be tracking the source in Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 1.400-409. An emphasis on moving beyond the realm of perception is distinctive to both passages, and Spenser’s “certain signes” may echo vestigia certa from Lucretius.
yet: Culminating the series of four begun at 3.1 (‘Yet all these were’), this yet stretches the adversative sense of its predecessors into a temporal notion of prolonging, integral to the argument that the unseen may be what we haven’t seen yet.
certein signes: Cf. John 4:48: ‘Then said Jesus unto Him, Except ye se signes and wonders, ye wil not beleve’. Extends the resonance of the allusion to Hebrews in st. 3.
here sett: May refer to the positioning of words in a piece of writing or to the setting of type on the page.
sondrie place: Playing the geographical sense of ‘place’ against its use as the designation for a passage in a text, familiar from the glosses to the Geneva Bible. ‘Place’ in this sense is a vernacular equivalent for the more learned expression loci communes.
ne let him then admyre: The romance topos of the marvelous, canvassed extensively in Italian Renaissance criticism, passes into travel narratives and other New World discourses as a trope of discovery (Greenblatt 1992). Spenser’s proem has evoked the wonder of geographical discovery in a characteristically ambiguous register, half-serious and half-playful, that lends this phrase its edge of irony: the reader who would ‘wonder’ at newly discovered worlds (3.9) should not wonder at the inadequacy of his common sense to apprehend the marvels of Spenser’s text.
sence: Powers of interpretation (cf. 2.1, ‘with better sense’, and 3.4, ‘witless man’), but playing also on the five senses, or ‘wits’ and the ‘common sense’ that synthesizes them (thus Thomas Wilson 1553 says that ‘The common sense...is therefore so called, because it geveth judgement, of al the five outwarde senses’ [112]). These ‘outward’ or bodily senses were contrasted with the ‘inward sense’, i.e. faculties of mind or spirit. This ambiguity concentrates into a single word the playful pretense that Faeryland is a geographical location like Peru, able to be discovered by the outward senses, rather than a textual ‘place’ (4.2n) accessible only to the intellect.
n’ote: might not
4.5 n’ote: A pseudo-Chaucerian contraction for ‘ne mote’, might not. (See glossary entry.)
fine footing: Elusive tracks or artful metrics—an ambiguity parallel to those of ‘red’, ‘place’, and ‘sence’. The line may thus be paraphrased ‘That can’t track fancy (poetic) footwork without a bloodhound’. In 1596 Spenser will repeat the pun on ‘footing’, referring to Faeryland as ‘these strange waies, where never foote did use, / Ne none can find, but who was taught them by the Muse’ (VI.pr.2.7-9).
fayrest: Spenser more than once links ‘faery’ (4.1, 8) to ‘fayre’ (4.7) and ‘fayrest’ as if it expressed the comparative degree of a beauty whose superlative is embodied in the queen (cf. 1.pr.2.5). This ambiguity cuts against the wordplay elsewhere in the proem that tends to disembody Faeryland, and thus implies that it can be ‘red’ in both senses (intellectually as well as corporeally; see 4.4n) only in Elizabeth.
this fayre mirrhour: A favorite metaphor of Spenser’s, elaborated in all but one of the proems and in many other texts; for examples, see Am 7 and 45, HL 196, and HB 181, 224. Here its seeming simplicity is complicated by the association between ‘fayre’ and ‘Faery’, by the implication that Elizabeth is the mirror in which Faeryland may be ‘red’, and by the assertion in the immediately following lines that Faeryland reflects the past as well as the present.
4.7-4.9 4.7-9 According to early modern constitutional theory, the monarch possesses two ‘bodies’: the personal body of the mortal individual and the undying ‘body politic’, through which the monarch personifies the realm. These lines evoke the body personal in Elizabeth’s ‘face’ and the body politic in her ‘realmes’, concluding with her lineage, which traces the genealogy of each.
5.2 covert vele: Echoes biblical accounts of Moses veiling his face to temper the ‘glory’ or radiance that shone from it after he spoke with God (Exod 34:30). At 2 Cor 3:13 St. Paul reinterprets the passage allegorically, suggesting that what Moses hid was not the radiance but its fading. If there is also a glance at the legal term femme covert (the legal status, or rather non-status, of a married woman), it would carry strong irony, given the queen’s unmarried state. Both vele and shadowes echo standard Renaissance discussions of fiction in general and of allegory in particular.
5.2 shadowes light: Shadows that are trivial or facetious (continuing the pretense from st. 1 that fiction is somehow disreputable), in contrast to the rhyming use (at 5.5) as illumination. But the paradox of ‘shadowes light’ reintroduces the sense of illumination as a secondary reference, and it thus plays against the superficial sense of ‘light’ as trivial.
Guyon: The name may come from heroes of French romance, particularly the medieval metrical romance Guy of Warwick, where the name ‘Guy’ is regularly varied to ‘Guyon’ for rhyme; Guy’s two-part career, as questing knight and then as pilgrim, offers a template for the pairing of Guyon and the Palmer in Book II (King 2007). Guy was especially well known because the English earls of Warwick, Robert and Ambrose, claimed descent from him (Cooper 2007: 185). The name also echoes Gihon, one of the four rivers of Paradise, associated with Temperance (Fowler 1960), and may additionally, as Camden thought, recall Ital guido guide (1605:82). In the Golden Legend it is glossed as ‘wrestler’ (1955:112). See SpE s.v. ‘Guyon’.
rule: The term has a range of meanings here, among them the fundamental principle of temperance, the body of writings that make up its lore, the standard by which it is measured, and its reign or governance.
5.9 goodly doth appeare: Cf. ‘to some appeare’ (3.9). This verbal echo belongs to the pattern of contrasts running throughout the language of the proem, suggesting that Temperance will ‘appear’ to the inward rather than the outward senses. This suggestion is reinforced by the rhyming partner ‘heare’(5.8), since hearing Guyon’s adventures is an activity of the common sense whereas the rule of Temperance can appear only to the intellect (see 4.4n).
3 Mordant and Amavia: Sir Mordant is first named at 49.9, Amavia not until ii.45.8. Their names are glossed by the poet at 55.4-5.
conning: cunning
Architect: Combines an echo of ‘Archimago’ with the Greek root τ𝜀κτων tektōn builder, from τ𝜀χνη technē art or craft, emphasizing the techniques and technology of deceit (cf. wyle, artes, meanes, engines, practick witt, stales, traynes, spyals, and snares in the ensuing lines).
cancred: ulcerated; figuratively, ‘infected’ with evil
Princes late displeasure: At I.xii.35-36 Una’s royal father has Archimago clapped in irons.
1.2-1.9 bands . . . shackles emptie lefte: At Rev 20:1-3 an angel is said to bind Satan for a thousand years, after which he is ‘loosed . . . for a little season’. Lexically, ‘bands’ in early modern English are not yet distinct from ‘bonds’ (see Glossary), which may either unite or imprison: cf. I.xii.34.4, where Una describes Archimago’s purpose as ‘breaking of the band betwixt us twaine’ (herself and Redcrosse), and I.ix.1.9, where Arthur is said to have ‘redeemd the Redcrosse knight from bands’.
suborned wyle: At I.xii.25-28 Archimago bears false witness against Redcrosse, to which Una responds at 34.1 that he has been ‘suborned’.
1.5 Eden lands: The kingdom Una will inherit is first identified by its rivers (I.vii.43.6-9), then named in the ‘falsed letters’ addressed to Una’s father as ‘most mighty king of Eden fayre’ (I.xii.26.1).
1.6 Redcrosse explained this obligation at I.xii.18.
caytives: caitiffs’
1.7 caytives: Either the hands belong to wretches (Hamilton 2001 suggests ‘menials’) or Spenser is referring to Archimago’s erstwhile captors as ‘captives’, less a transferred epithet than a reversed one. Cf. ‘her captive Parents deare’ (I.xi.1.2) in contrast with ‘victorious handes’ at 2.6.
cleene: Archimago escapes ‘cleene’ in the sense of ‘entirely’ (also, no doubt, ‘dexterously’), but the word combines complex senses related to the opposition in the early cantos of Book II between mixture and purity. Compare 10.4, ‘virgin cleene’, ii.arg.4, ‘banish cleane’, and Guyon’s failed effort at ii.3.4 to ‘cleene’ Ruddymane’s ‘guilty hands from bloody gore’.
algates: altogether
late ygoe: not long ago
2.9 At I.xii.42 the narrator speaks of the narrative itself as a ‘weather-beaten ship’, with the break between books figured as its temporary harbor.
food: 16th-c spelling of ‘feud’ suggests that Archimago feeds on hatred.
offend: injure or attack (in biblical use, to stumble)
drift: purpose
engins: contrivances
practick: crafty; experienced; concerned with practice (opposed to ‘theoretic’)
fayre fyled tonge: At. I.i.35.7 he ‘well could file [smooth or polish] his tongue’; this usage may recall Chaucer’s Pardoner and Pandarus, both of whom file their tongues (CT Gen Pro 712; T&C 2.1681).
credit: reputation, credibility
stales: decoys
traynes: snares or baits
privy spyals: secret spies
ketch him at a vauntage: the modern idiom would be ‘catch him at a disadvantage’
to win occasion: An innocuous phrase, but it foreshadows the emergence of a full-blown allegory of Furor and Occasion in canto iv.
5.4-5.5 5.4-5 Archimago transfers his enmity from Redcrosse to Guyon according to the network of alliances forged by the knights and their virtues, symbolized by the ‘goodly golden chayne, wherewith yfere / The vertues linked are in lovely wize’ (I.ix.i.1-2). Here, Archimago both anticipates an alliance not yet pledged and, ironically, in trying to prevent it brings it about (cf. 34.1-2).
a goodly knight: Redcrosse is ‘that godly knight’ at 2.3.
5.8-5.9 5.8-9 Archimago’s first view of Guyon finds no chink in his armor.
countenance demure: Echoes the description of Fidelia and Speranza at I.x.12.4.
demure: sober, reserved
amate: dismay
an Elfin borne: A fairy rather than a human knight like the Saxon Redcrosse (I.x.65.1-5) or the ‘Briton Prince’ Arthur (I.pr.2.6, where ‘Briton’ may be taken as synonymous with ‘Welsh’).
mickle worship: great honor
lists: bounded space of combat
debate: armed encounter
6.8 Sir Huon: Protagonist of a popular 13th-century French romance, a version of which was translated into English in the early decades of the sixteenth century. Since Oberon will later be identified with Henry VIII (II.x.75-76), this allusion may trace Guyon’s knighting to the generation preceding Spenser and his queen, suggesting that Huon ‘came with’ Oberon to Faeryland in a literary sense when he was ‘translated’ into English literature during the reign of Henry VIII. Since Huon is a principal source for Spenser’s notion of Faeryland, the poet may here be tipping his hat to the vernacular romance tradition.
als: also
comely: appropriate or suitable
7.2 comely: In ME usage, ‘applied in courtesy to those of noble station’ (OED).
Palmer: A pilgrim, so called because travelers returning from the Holy Land sometimes carried palm leaves. Also a flat piece of wood used by the stricter Elizabethan schoolmasters to spank recalcitrant students on the palms of their hands.
clad in black attyre: At I.i.4.5-6 the narrator describes Una covered with ‘a blacke stole . . . / As one that inly mournd’, a phrase recalled at xii.41.9 when Redcrosse, returning to Faerie court, ‘Una left to mourne’.
stire: stir
7.4 stire: Cf. v.2.9, where the word clearly describes the effects of a spur. With a possible play on ‘steer’, given the Palmer’s tendency to manage Guyon.
aread: conjecture
7.8-7.9 7.8-9 Cf. the tensions in the opening procession of Book I, where Una rides slowly on a donkey while Redcrosse both spurs his steed and reins it in. Both passages reflect the tradition descending from Plato’s Phaedrus in which the passions are represented as a horse resistant to the bit.
with equall steps: With steps matching the pace of the aged Palmer; perhaps with a contrastive allusion to Aen 2.724, where Ascanius accompanies his father out of Troy non passibus aequis (‘not with equal steps’).

St. 8-34 Each book of the 1590 FQ begins by separating virtuous companions: first Una and Redcrosse, then Guyon and the Palmer, and in III a group consisting of Arthur, Timias, Guyon, and Britomart. In Books I and II this effect is accomplished through the combined efforts of Archimago and Duessa.

Guyon’s encounter with Duessa is modeled in part on an episode in Book 4 of Trissino’s L’Italia Liberata dai Goti in which the knight Corsamonte, on his way to free a band of his comrades held captive by the enchantress Acratia, is deceived by another enchantress, Ligridonia, posing as a wronged maiden. (For a detailed account, see Lemmi 1928, excerpted in Var 2.443-44.)

8.1-8.2 8.1-2 In contrast with his initial impression of Guyon as impregnable (5.8-9), Archimago spies an opportunity in the tension between the Palmer’s ‘slow pace’ and the knight’s ‘trampling steed’.
weened well to: thought he would
uncouth wyle: unrecognized trick
8.2 weened well to: The verb ‘to ween’ was still current in Elizabethan usage, but the combination ‘weened well’ is more common in ME.
clew: ball of yarn or thread
8.5 faire countenance: The 1596 reading, ‘a faire countenance’, probably reflects compositorial uncertainty as to whether ‘countenance’ is disyllabic or trisllabic.
humble misers sake: Archimago, an old man asking the knight to ‘stay your steed’, slyly imitates the Palmer. (‘Miser’, from the Latin adjective for ‘unfortunate’, here means ‘miserable person’ rather than one who hoards wealth.)
languorous constraynt: sorrowful affliction or compulsion
10.3-10.9 10.3-9 Archimago here retells the stripping of Duessa (I.viii.46). As the Spenserian narrator’s rival for control over the storyline, he relates Duessa’s exposure as if it were Sansloy’s assault on Una I.vi.4-6. Cf. also Rev 17:16, where the ten horns of the beast ‘shall make [the whore] desolate and naked’, glossed in the Geneva Bible as foretelling the overthrow of Rome by formerly subject nations.
lewd rybauld: These terms have a range of meanings, but context suggests ‘lascivious, sexually unprincipled villain’.
advaunst: put forth, put into action
10.3 ​advaunst: Only in the following line does it become clear that the word is an adjective modifying ‘lust’ rather than a verb with ‘rybauld’ as its subject, a stylistic effect in which ‘advaunst’ seems to retreat as the reading moves forward.
corps: body
sheene: beautiful
10.5-10.8 10.5-8 The syntax is: ‘to spoil her corpse, so fair . . . as never more fair was seen on earth with living eye’. Multiple inversions push the stylistic tension between advancing and retreating so far as to endanger comprehension, even as ‘percing speech’ and ‘piteous mone’ (9.5) have made the listener impatient for information. Archimago is already exploiting the weakness he has spied (8.1-2).
knight: Archimago hasn’t said the ‘lewd rybauld’ was a knight. Guyon, ‘halfe wroth’ (11.1), is leaping to conclusions.
drew: dragged
11.6 drew: Cf. ‘tract’ at 12.7.
bent: aimed
12.1-12.3 12.1-3. Cf. Malory VI.10: ‘‘What?’ seyde Sir Launcelot, ‘is he a theff and a knyght and a ravyssher of women? He doth shame unto the order of knyghthode, and contrary unto his oth. Hit is pyté that he lyvyth’’ (163).
fact: deed
12.4 fact: From L factum thing done, the neuter perfect passive participle of the verb facere to do.
treachour: traitor
12.7-12.9 12.7-9 Cf. II.pr.4.4-5, ‘n’ote without an hound fine footing trace’. Guyon is on the wrong track, following the wrong hound.
tract: trace
12.7 tract: From the Latin trahere to drag or draw. In connection with ‘footing’ and the attendant pun on metrics, the secondary sense of tract as ‘treatise’ (from L tractatus) may contribut to the sustained analogy between the action narrated in the poem and the action of reading it.
chaleng: OED recognizes the use of this verb as a technical term for the baying of hunting dogs only from the late 17th-c, though the present instance would seem to qualify. Earlier meanings include impeach, reprove, and call to account.
that crafty Squire: First reference to Archimago as Duessa’s squire.
13.4-13.5 13.4-5 More misdirection: Archimago as bloodhound promised to conduct Guyon to the ‘treachour’ knight, but takes him instead to see Duessa in her supposedly ravished state—extending his strategy of plying the knight with passionate outcries and provocative imagery while frustrating his desire for information.
blubbered: ‘Blubber’, facetious in modern usage, is conventional in ME and early modern descriptions of weeping; cf. ‘blubbred face with teares’ (III.viii.32.3).
bedight: clothed or furnished
For thy: therefore
doe dew: This homophonic doubling signals the pervasive concern of Book II with obligation, the performance of revenge, and the conspicuously unstated alternative of baptism, figured in Redcrosse’s combat with the dragon as balm flowing from a tree that ‘overflowed all the fertile plaine, / As it had deawed been with timely raine’ (I.xi.48.4-5). The repetition here introduces ‘dew’ as a key term, repeated at 22.9, 25.4, 28.9, 40.6, 47.7, 57.5, 60.7, and ii.1.2, all in variations on the sense of obligation or propriety. This series culminates in the Palmer’s reference to fountains ‘from their source indewd’ with secret powers, and ‘with moisture deawd’ (ii.6.1, 4), which returns to the baptismal ‘dew’ of I.xi.48, but in a mystified, paganized version.
dreriment: Coined by Spenser from ‘dreary’, by analogy to merry/merriment. Synonyms are ‘drerihed’ and ‘dreriness’, all three frequently said to be ‘ghastly’.
teene: grief
bespake: said to her
liefe: dear
wayment: bewail or lament
voluntarie: self-willed (cf. ‘wilfull bent’), but also freely chosen, deliberate
reave: plunder
read: judge or pronounce
17.7 read: Guyon also ‘mis-reads’ the man in the continued analogy between the narrated action and the action of reading (see 12.7-9n).
gentle Lady: The status of the victim defines the crime.
or her wrong: or wrong her
read: declare
With ‘soone’ in the next line, ‘short’ stresses the knight’s impatience.
short: speedy
quartred all the field: Divided the surface of the shield into four equal parts.
by my head: An oath common from ancient times but proscribed in the gospels: ‘Neither shalt thou sweare by thine head, because thou canst not make one heare white or blacke’ (Matt 5:36).
19.1 Guyon: First mention of the knight by name in the narrative proper.
amis: In early modern usage the adverb, meaning ‘wrongly’, is sometimes a noun meaning ‘evil deed’.
ywis: indeed, certainly
I present was: Cf. FQ Letter 66-73.
enterpris: undertake
19.8 Th’aventure of the Errant Damozell: The first occurrence of this title (cf. III.i.24.7). In Book I the term ‘errant’ is applied only to the knight.
fairely quit him: fully acquit himself
20.5 20.5 Guyon seems to be tripping over his proverb. The distinction between ‘wrongs’ that can be mended and ‘shame’ that cannot be is difficult to apply to a wrong that shames the victim: cf. 17.8, ‘her wrong through might’, 18.2, ‘who hath ye wrought this shamfull plight’, and 20.7, where Guyon invites the lady to ‘see the salving of your blotted name’.
salving: cleansing
As: i.e., disguising herself as
well aguisd: suitably dressed
well aguisd: Here linked to its rhyming partners ‘disguysd’ and ‘devisd’ to stress that the appearance is plausible but false; contrast 31.9, where the Palmer describes Redcrosse as seeming ‘goodly . . . aguizd’ with the device on his shield.
22.1-22.7 Cf. I.viii.45-50.
late: recently
forlorne and naked: Cf. Rev 17:16, ‘desolate and naked’.
22.9 revest: From L vestire to clothe. In 16th-c usage, specifically to vest in ecclesiastical robes, a sense immediately relevant to Duessa as the Catholic Church. Controversy over the use of priestly vestments was a central theme of the English Reformation; dissenting priests were stripped of their vestments when excommunicated.
habiliments: accessories
irrenowmed: not famous
23.4 irrenowmed: Part of a contrast between shame and fame that runs throughout the stanza: cf. ‘praise and fame’, ‘advaunced hye’, ‘against his praise’.
engine: stratagem
23.9 23.9. Archimago attacks not only the protagonists but the ideal form of the poem itself, targeting the alliances among virtues and their patron knights that form the joints in the poem’s allegorical armature. See 5.4-5n
vertues like: If ‘vertues’ is a plural noun, ‘similar virtues’; if it is a possessive, the phrase may be construed as ‘affection for virtue’, ‘virtue’s similitude’, or ‘virtue’s equal’.
24.1 now he Guyon guydes: As opposed to 7.8, where the Palmer ‘ever with slow pace the knight did lead’. The use of present tense, abandoned in the next line, accentuates the return to present action after three stanzas of background information.
fact: deed
25.2 fact: See 12.4n.
25.3-25.4 in secret shrowd, / To fly the vengeaunce: Archimago’s description of the Redcrosse knight’s physical and moral disposition transvalues the description provided by the narrator in the preceding stanza. See 10.3-9n.
outrage dew: ‘Due’ can be seen to modify ‘vengeance’ (the vengeance due for his outrage), but its proximity to ‘outrage’ is ironically apt to describe the stripping of Duessa as originally characterized by the narrator.
do him rew: make him regret it
25.9 25.9 Guyon here attacks without first issuing a challenge, in bad form.
26.1-26.9 26.1-9 In describing the knights’ near-combat, Spenser echoes OF 36.37-38, where Bradamante almost attacks Ruggiero.
pricke: spur
embrace: The etymology (Fr bras arm) and the common meaning (‘to clasp in arms affectionately’) play against ‘warlike armes’, a reminder that these combatants ought to be embracing in the usual sense.
embrace: to mount (a shield) on the arm
rest: ‘A contrivance fixed to the right side of the cuirass to receive the butt-end of the lance when couched for the charge, and to prevent it from being driven back upon impact’ (OED).
rencounter: encounter in battle
in equall race: Echoing 7.9.
affrap: A Spenserianism for which OED records one other instance (III.ii.6.4). Probably formed from ‘frap’, to strike upon.
27.1 The contrasting accents on the repeated word (mercí, mércy) distinguish between human pardon (from OF crier merci I cry you pardon) and divine mercy.
hardiment: daring, or a daring deed
shame mine honour shent: Cf. his condemnation of Redcrosse at 11.2.
inclyning: yielding, bowing, or adopting a favorable disposition
me behoveth rather to upbraid: ‘it is appropriate to scold me instead’
28.7 that heavenly Mayd: Guyon will identify the image on his shield to Arthur at II.ix.4.1-2. Redcrosse, having attended Faery court in Cleopolis, recognizes it.
28.9 28.8 Upton hears in the phrase ‘decks and armes’ a Virgilian echo: a golden coat of mail given by Aeneas as a prize during the games is described as decus et tutamen in armis (‘a glory [ornament] and defense in battle’; Aen 5.262). The echo is both aural (decus . . . in armis) and conceptual, since both phrases balance the functions of ornament and armament, as does the phrase ‘faire defence’ at the end of the line.
at one: reconciled
29.1 at one: With a suggestion of ‘atone’.
bevers: visors
comportaunce: conduct
29.3 comportaunce: OED gives this as the earliest recorded use; from L comportare to carry together, emphasizing mutuality.
saliaunce: sally or assault
saliaunce: OED records only this instance.
29.8 governaunce: The action of temperance in regulating the passions. This word appears seven times in FQ, all in Book II.
you guided: See 24.1n.
St. 30 The opening and closing references to ‘shame’ in this stanza mark it, together with its repeated companion terms ‘blame’, ‘fame’, and ‘praise’, as a thematic keyword for the episode. Cf. the culminating exchange between the Palmer and Redcrosse at 32.1 and 33.2.
fond encheason: silly reason
infamous: deserving infamy; detestable
faitour: impostor
ill bested: badly off
red: declared
30.5 red: See II.pr.2.2n.
30.2,7 The lamely repeated rhyme stresses Guyon’s chagrin at having been deceived and marks his belated recognition that he chose the wrong guide (cf. 7.8-9, 24.1, 29.9 and notes).
31.1 earnest unto game: A loosely formulaic phrase (cf. I.xii.8.7) familiar from Chaucer and the vernacular romance tradition.
By this: The elliptical phrase allows ‘by this time’ to suggest as well ‘by this means’ (Hamilton 2001). Post hoc/propter hoc equivocation is frequent in FQ; here it marks the Palmer’s return as a consequence of Archimago’s flight.
his aged Guide: This designation for the Palmer confirms a second thematic keyword for the episode (see 30.2,7n; also 32.6-8n and 33.4-5n).
perfect cognizaunce: Complete recognition, in contrast to the series of missed and belated recognitions leading up to it. The sense of cognizaunce as a heraldic badge or token is also relevant, although here the narrator specifies that the Palmer recognizes Redcrosse because he has seen him at Faery court.
late avizd: recently observed
aguizd: arrayed
31.9 aguizd: See 21.9n.
32.1-32.5 32.1-5 Confirms the promise revealed to the Redcrosse knight on the Mount of Contemplation at I.x.55-61.
32.1 32.1 Cf. Phil 4:4, ‘Rejoyce in the Lord alway, againe I say, rejoyce’, as well as Luke 10:20, ‘rejoyce, because your names are written in heaven’.
32.4 32.4 Cf. Paul’s reference to ‘my felowe laborers, whose names are in the boke of life’ (Phil 4:3); also Rev 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 21:27.

32.6-8 See 7.9n and 26.5n. Having got off on the wrong foot, Guyon here starts over from the proper ‘marke’. ‘Race to ronne’ recalls the language of steps, haste, and delay that pervades the episode. It also echoes 1 Cor 9:24, ‘Knowe ye not, that they which runne in a race, runne all, yet one receiveth the price? so runne, that ye may obteine’, and Heb 12:1-2, ‘Wherefore, let us also, seing that we are compassed with so great a cloude of witnesses, cast away everie thing that presseth downe, and the sinne that hangeth so fast on: let us runne with patience the race that is set before us, Loking unto Jesus the autor and finisher of our faith, who for the joye that was set before him, endured the crosse, and despised the shame, and is set at the right hand of the throne of God’.

Taken together, lines 6-7 imply both that Guyon’s quest follows upon Redcrosse’s, beginning where he left off, and that Guyon is starting over from scratch.

32.8 32.8 This line culminates the emphasis on guidance (see 31.2n) as it completes the Palmer’s reprise in stanzas 31 and 32 of the episode’s key terms.
33.4-33.5 33.4-5 Cf. Luke 17:10, ‘So likewise ye, when ye have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duetie to doe’. Redcrosse’s modesty here may be less than modest, since readers of Book I can hardly fail to recall that much of what he did, he did as he ought not. His language may therefore be truer than he knows: not only ‘attribute nothing more than goodwill to me’, but more accurately, ‘more than you attribute goodwill to me, attribute nought: nothing, nothingness, and sin’. Cf. I.x.1.8, ‘If any strength we have, it is to ill’. The doctrine of imputed grace, whether in Luther or in Calvin, stresses the unqualified surrender of individual will to divine initiative.
pageant: allegorical tableau or procession
33.6 pageant: This theatrical term, repeated at 36.2, anticipates the repetition of ‘spectacle’ in ‘Pitifull spectacle’ at 40.1 and 40.9. Together these references evoke a pagan milieu of ritual and tragedy as one important context for the episode. Cf. ii.1.2, ‘due rites’.
next ensues: The poem’s time-scheme is symbolic rather than realistic. FQ Letter 70-74 indicates that Guyon’s quest begins the day after Redcrosse’s (cf. 31.6, ‘late avizd’), yet here Guyon setting forth encounters Redcrosse returning. The poem is consistently inconsistent in treating its parallel quests as both simultaneous and sequential.
mote ye thee: may you thrive
as well can wish your thought: Either ‘as well as your thoughts can wish’ or ‘as your thoughts may well wish’.
thewes: moral qualities; habits of conduct
courteous conge: ceremonious farewell
34.2 On the linking of the virtues, see I.ix.18.9n and 5.4-5n.
steedy: steady (because held with a firm grip); trusty
34.7-34.9 34.7-9 These lines epitomize the moral lesson of the episode. The pairing of ‘intemperaunce’ with ‘wrath’ suggests the traditional distinction between concupiscible and irascible passions (those caused by pleasure, such as lust, and those caused by pain, such as wrath). Duessa’s role in provoking Guyon, preceded by Archimago’s vivid description of her violent rape, demonstrates how intimately the two passions may be related.
his hasty steps to stray: See 12.7-9n.
yfere: together
35.5-35.9 35.5-9 This episode varies from the account given in FQ Letter 70-74, suggesting a late revision. At ii.43, a further account of how Guyon’s quest was initiated will accommodate the change. The episode offers an elaborate set of parallels to that of Fradubio and Fraelissa in Book I (ii.29-45), signaled by a number of verbal echoes. For examples cf. I.ii.29.8-9 with II.i.35.6 and I.ii.31.1 with II.i.35.7.
dearnly: dismally
dolefull lay: A sad song or lyric, and hence a conspicuously literary periphrasis for ‘lament’; cf. the ‘Doleful Lay of Clorinda’ (1595).
their forward steps they stay: Cf. ‘hasty steps to stray’, ‘he stayd his steed’, and ‘equall steps’ (7.9, 9.1, and 34.9).

st. 36-56 The episode of Mortdant and Amavia has been persuasively interpreted as an allegory based on the Pauline account Mosaic law in Romans 7 (Kaske 1993, 1999). The principal characters appear to be derived from the 1576 Geneva glosses to Romans. Chapter 7 opens with a similitude meant to explain the dominion of the Law over a man ‘as long as he liveth’:

2. For the woman which is in subjection to a man, is bounde by the law to the man, while he liveth: but if the man be dead, she is delivered from the law of the man.

3. So then, if while the man liveth, she take another man she shalbe called an adulteresse: but if the man be dead, she is free from the Law, so that she is not an adulteresse, though she take another man.

4. So ye, my brethren, are dead also to the Law by the body of Christ, that ye should be unto another, even unto him that is raised up from the deade, that we should bring forth fruite unto God.

Amavia, refusing to be delivered from ‘the law of the man’, remains bound to Mortdant under the Law even after his death. The gloss to Romans 5:14 contains a similar hint for the character of Ruddymane. The verse reads, ‘But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them also that sinned not after the like maner of the transgression of Adam, which was the figure of him that was to come’. The ‘like maner of the transgression of Adam’ refers to enacted sin; the verse asserts that, by virtue of original sin, death reigned even over those who personally committed no transgression. The gloss explains, ‘he meaneth yong babes, whiche neyther had the knowledge of the law of nature, nor any motion of concupiscence, much lesse committed any actuall sinne’.

36.1-36.3 36.1-3 These lines are echoed by Robert Greene in Selimus, Emperor of the Turks (1594): ‘O! you dispensers of our hapless breath, / Why do ye glut your eyes, and take delight / To see sad pageants of men’s miseries?’ (1278-80). The noun ‘dispensers’, with its familiar pun on the poet’s name, offers a rhetorical wink-and-a-nod to insiders (see Cummings 1971: 95, along with CV 5.3, FQ II.ix.29.1 and xii.42.8, and notes).
careless: negligent or uncaring
doome: verdict
pageaunts: Cf. 33.6.
36.4 36.4 ‘As obliged by the heavens to live while despising life’ or ‘as obliged by the heavens to suffer life’s malice’.
warne death from: forbid death to, order death away from
36.6 Cf. Aen 4.660, where Dido stabs herself with the cry ‘Sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras’ (‘Thus, thus I go gladly into the dark’). Spenser’s line, along with basic elements of the situation (the bloody hands, the lover’s suicide) may be travestied in Thisbe’s death speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: ‘O sisters three, / Come, come to me / With hands as pale as milk. / Lay them in gore, / Since you have shore / With shears his thread of silk’ (5.2.323-28). The amorous lyric quality in Amavia’s wooing of death at once parodies her name (see 55.3-5n) and recalls the rhetoric of Despair in passages like I.ix.40.
froward: unfavorable; adverse
37.1 froward: Cf. ‘forward steps’ (35.9); forward/froward and toward/fromward form pairs analogous to ‘concupiscible’ and ‘irascible’ (34.7-9 and note).
thee deignes to hold in living state: sees fit to keep you alive
embrewd: soaked; dyed; defiled
37.8 embrewd: Cf. 50.9. For the hands stained with blood, see Vewe: ‘As they vnder Oneale crye—Landergabo that is the bloddye hande whch is Oneales badge’ (2187-89). Upton first noted this connection, offering a passage from Camden’s Annales to gloss the historical allegory: ‘Thus did Shan Oneal come to his bloody end: A man he was who had stained his hands with blood, and dealt in all the pollutions of unchaste embraces.—The children he left by his wife, were Henry and Shan: but he had several more by O-donnell’s wife, and others of his mistresses’ (31-32). Hadfield and Maley 1997 add that ‘the bloody hand is the traditional symbol of Ulster’ (59).
pledges: Children, considered as symbols of love and duty between their parents, were called ‘pledges’ (cf. I.x.4.9), but here Amavia describes her child’s bloodstained hands as tokens of her own innocence. Cf. also 34.2, ‘With right hands plighted, pledges of good will’. The series witness . . . attest . . . pledges figures a legal scenario in which the baby is called upon to bear witness, with its bloody hands offered as a guarantee, or bond, subject to forfeit if the witness does not testify.
thrild: pierced
Hynd: doe
launched: lanced
her bleeding life: Cf. Aen 9.349, purpuream . . . ille animam (‘his red life’); the dying Rhoetus in this passage also cum sanguine mixta / vina refert moreins (‘dying casts up wine mixed with blood’).
the sad pang: death-spasm
straict: straight, immediately
the thick: thicket; densest part of the wood
the thick: OED cites no instance earlier than 1681 for the figurative meaning ‘point of greatest intensity’, but Guyon does find himself ‘in the thick of it’ in that sense as well.
halfe dead, halfe quick: Echoing the biblical expression ‘the quick [living] and the dead’ (Acts 10:42, 2 Tim 4:1, 1 Pet 4:5). With its rhyme-partner ‘thick’, quick also echoes SC March 73-74: ‘Tho peeping close into the thicke, / Might see the moving of some quicke’.
goreblood: ‘blood shed in carnage’ (OED)
thick: May modify either the stream or the blood.
spectacle: Cf. 33.6 and 36.3 and note the repetition in line 9. The emphasis on pity suggests a tragic perspective and prepares for repeated echoes in the following stanzas of the death of Dido in Aen 4.
smart: sharp physical pain; grief or affliction
hart: Following the image of the ‘gentle Hynd’ at 38.6, the pun on ‘hart’ as ‘stag’ is unavoidable.
ray: Beray, meaning defile or befoul, although the abbreviated form makes it just possible to read ‘array’, clothe. Cf. ii.3-10, where the fountain refuses any defilement.
40.5-40.9 40.5-9 Editors have seen these lines as echoing Ezek 16, where the personified ‘word of the Lord’, instructing the prophet to ‘cause Jerusalem to knowe her abominacions’, declares: ‘And when I passed by thee, I sawe thee polluted in thine owne blood, and I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Thou shalt live: even when ye wast in thy blood, I said unto the, Thou shalt live’ (16:1-2, 6). The Geneva gloss reads in part: ‘whereby is ment that before God wash his Church, and give life, there is nothing, but filthines and death’. This would associate Ruddymane with the Pauline subject prior to baptism, but a more likely reference for the episode is found in the Geneva gloss to Romans 5:14 (see st. 36-56n), which associates Ruddymane with the subject not only prior to baptism but ‘without the Law’. Spenser may also be recalling Gower’s Confessio Amantis: ‘The child lay bethende in hire blod / Out rolled fro the moder barm, / And for the blod was hot and warm, / He basketh him aboute thrinne’ (3.312-15).
embay: soak
with blood besprincled: Presumably Amavia’s blood.
yett being ded: The phrase works in overlapping grammatical constructions: (1) ‘rosy red did paint his cheeks, yet [despite his] being dead’; and (2) ‘yet [despite his] being dead, he seemed to have been a goodly personage’. The phrase sits oddly at the stanza’s pivot point (line 5), but rather than turning from life to death or from appearance to reality, the lines sustain a gruesome incongruity. First Amavia’s blood, soiling the grass and besprinkling her lover’s armor, contrasts with the blood still animating his ‘ruddy lips’ and ‘red . . . cheekes’; then the false appearance created by this coloring is dispelled by the qualification ‘yett being ded’, followed by the past tense of ‘Seemd to have beene’—only to return in the next line’s description of him as ‘Now in his freshest flowre’. The reference to ‘loves rage’ returns us to Amavia and her fury in preparation for the adversative of the alexandrine (‘But that’), which reasserts the actuality of the knight’s death. This dissonance-effect carries over from the description of the bloody babe in the second half of st. 40.
41.6 41.6 The subject of the verb, ‘he’, is elided.
lusty hed: lustiness, exuberant vitality; also lustfulness
41.8 41.8 Cf. ‘bold furie’ (57.8); there may also be an echo of Jer 51.7 (‘therefore do the nacions rage’; see 52.2n).
42.1 St. 42 Guyon responds with fear, then pity (cf. ii.1.3, ‘their sad Tragedie’).
starke: rigid, unyielding
attone: at once
42.6-42.9 42.6-9 Cf. I.iii.8.3-5 for the transformation of Una’s lion by pity.
grudging: growling or grumbling
courage: heart or spirit
stoupe: submit
St. 43-44 Cf. the Dwarf’s efforts to revive Una when she hears of Redcrosse’s defeat at I.vii.21-25.
43.2-43.3 43.2-3 Cf. Aen 4.687: atros siccabat veste cruores (‘stanching with her robe the dark streams of blood’).
in her veynes did hop: Cf. A Midsummer Night’s Dream 5.287-88 with s.d.: ‘Ay, that left pap, / Where heart doth hop: [Stabs himself.]’.
44.2-44.3 44.2-3 Proverbial (Smith 1970, no.123), but gruesomely inappropriate to a knife-wound.
impatient smart: Cf. 40.1 and note. The phrase condenses physical pain with the mental pain of unwilling suffering.
44.8-44.9 44.8-9 The phrase ‘untimely date’, meaning premature end of life, leaves its rhyming partner, ‘help never comes too late’, dangling helplessly. (For the proverb, see Smith 1970, no. 379). ‘Untimely date’ may also echo Virgil’s description of Dido’s death at Aen 4.697 as ante diem subitoque accensa furore (‘hapless before her day and fired by sudden madness’). If so, the allusion is especially poignant since the belated ‘help’ that comes to Dido finishes off her suicide out of pity.
sad: heavy
45.4-45.5 45.4-5, 9 Cf. 36.7, ‘loathed light’.
she nothing drad: Unlike ‘one out of a deadly dream affright’, she did not dread anything ‘deadly’. Cf. I.i.2.9; given the typically chivalric context for the phrase, its irony here is mordant.
46.3 Cf. Aen 4.690-91: ter sese attollens cubitoque adnixa levavit; / ter revoluta toro est (‘Thrice rising, she struggled to lift herself upon her elbow; thrice she rolled back on the couch’). Cf. also I.vii.24.1-4 and GL 3.46.1-4: Gli apri tre volte, e i dolci rai del cielo / cercò fruire e sovra un braccio alzarsi, / e tre volti ricadde, e fosco velo / gli occhi adombrò , che stanchi al fin serrarsi (‘Three times he strove to view heav’n’s golden ray, / And raised him on his feeble elbow thrice, / And thrice he tumbled on the lowly lay, / And three times clos’d again his dying eyes’; trans. Fairfax).
46.4 Cf. Aen. 4.686: semianimemque sinu germanam amplexa fovebat (‘and, throwing her arms around her dying sister’).
46.9 Versions of this proverb appear at I.ii.34.4 and I.vii.40.9 (see Smith 1970, no. 761).
47.1-47.5 47.1-5: Cf. Aen 4.688-89: illa gravis oculos conata attollere rursus deficit; infixum stridit sub pectore volnus (‘She, essaying to lift her heavy eyes, swoons again, and the deep-set wound gurgles in her breast’); GL 3.45.7-8: e gli occhi, ch’a pena aprir si ponno, / dura quiete preme e ferreo sonno (‘And lifted up his feeble eyes unneath, / Oppress’d with leaden sleep of iron death’; trans. Fairfax).
sight: sighed
foltring: faltering
lett: hinder
redrest: Presumably through vengeance, as in Guyon’s oath at 61.7-8.
infest: attack
48.5 infest: From L infestare and the related noun infestus hostile or aggressive.
priefe: proof; test or trial
cast to compas: try to accomplish
die with you in sorrow: Cf. Aen 4.678-79: eadem me ad fata vocasses; / idem ambas ferro dolor atque eadem hora tulisset (‘Thou shouldst have called me to share thy doom; the same sword-pang, the same hour had taken us both!’).
49.2-49.3 49.2-3 Amavia’s congealed tears invert Rev 7:17 (repeated at 21:4), ‘and God shal wipe away all teares from their eyes’, presumably because of the impiety ascribed to her in line 2.
sence: The primary meaning here is ‘comprehension’, but the word is slippery in context since Amavia’s sorrows may in part be defined by her failure (and Mordant’s) to surpass the bodily senses. Cf. II.pr.4.4 and note.
49.7-49.9 49.7-9 The language of pricking and green grass echoes both our first glimpse of Redcrosse (I.i.1) and Arthur’s description of the sensual ‘jollity’ that precedes his dream of Gloriana (I.ix.12.5-13.3).
49.9 Sir Mortdant: This spelling anticipates the poetic etymology at 55.4, deriving from L mors death and mortuus dead in combination with dare to give. (The English word ‘mordant’ actually derives from French and Latin roots meaning biting or corrosive.) Spenser’s etymology associates the knight with Adam as the source of original sin. Cf. 32.6-7, where the Palmer tells Redcrosse that their quest begins where his ended, Redcrosse having just exited from ‘Eden lands’ after his victory over sin and death. Cf. also Rom 5:12: ‘by one man sinne entred into the worlde, and death by sinne, and so death went over all men: for asmuche as all men have sinned’.
50.2 50.2 Cf. I.ii.31.7: ‘O too deare love, love bought with death too deare’. The Fradubio episode is parallel to this one in many respects, particularly as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exclusively sensual love and an allegory of life without baptism.
equall: impartial
50.3 equall: Cf. 49.2. Cf. also Matt 5:45 and Ezek 18:25 on God’s treatment of the just and the unjust.
Vouchsafed: were graciously willing
50.5-50.9 50.5-7 See 49.7-9n.
51.2-51.4 51.2-4 Precursors to Spenser’s Acrasia include Trissino’s Acratia (spelled ‘Acrazia’ in the index; Var 2.444), Tasso’s Armida (GL 16), Ariosto’s Alcina (OF 6-8, 10), and Homer’s Circe (Od 10). Her name corresponds to the Greek noun 𝛼κρασ𝜄α akrasia lack of self-control. As ‘false enchauntresse’, she condenses the roles of Duessa and Archimago into a single figure.
fordonne: put to death
dronken mad: Cf. Jer 51:7: ‘Babel [Babylon] hathe bene as a golden cuppe in the Lords hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nacions have drunken of her wine, therefore do the nacions rage’. The Geneva gloss adds ‘By whom the Lord powred out the drinke of his vengeance, to whom it pleased him’. Cf. Rev 14:8: ‘And there followed another Angel, saying, Babylon that great citie is fallen, it is fallen: for she made all nations to drinke of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’; also 17:4, ‘And the woman was arayed in purple and skarlet, and gilded with golde, and precious stones, and pearles, and had a cup of gold in her hand, full of abominations, and filthines of her fornication’. These suggest a link a link between Acrasia’s charmed cup (55.3) and Duessa’s ‘golden cup’ at I.viii.14 based on taking literally the Biblical trope of spiritual fornication.
52.3 words and weedes: Cf. the Palmers’s restraining ‘words’ at 34.7, and the ‘Palmers weed’ that Amavia puts on. The ‘weedes’ here are drugs; cf. Virgil’s reference to the potentibus herbis of Circe (Aen 7.19), following Od 10:290, where Hermes warns Odysseus, ‘She will mix thee a potion, and cast drugs into the food’ (τευξει τοι κυκεω, βαλεει δ’ εν φαρμακα σ𝜄τῳ, teuxei toi kykeō baleei d’ en pharmaka sitō).
52.6 Amavia here ascribes Mordant’s delinquency to original sin rather than to any special moral failing on his part. She echoes biblical usage of ‘flesh’; cf. Matt 26:41, Rom 6:19, and especially Rom 8.
53.1-53.3 53.1-3 Nine months had passed.
forbeare: part with, surrender
53.5-53.7 53.5-7 Lucina is the Roman goddess of childbirth and hence a poetic term for ‘midwife’. To say that ‘she came’ and that Amavia’s midwives were ‘the Nymphs’ is either literally true or, more likely, a euphemistic way of saying that there was no midwife. The repetition of the name would reinforce this irony. Cf. the birth of Tristram in the Morte D’Arthur (Malory 8.1).
54.5 Cf. Rom 7:7: ‘I knewe not sinne, but by the Law’.
54.6-54.7 54.6-7 Amavia, dressed ‘in Palmers weed’ (52.8), here plays the Palmer’s role.
reprive: redeem
55.3-55.6 55.3-6 Cf. arg.3 and 49.9 and notes. The inscription functions as a riddle to which the solution is the names of the characters, although ‘Amavia’ seems to elide or compress L Amaviva. The name has been glossed as combining L amo I love + vita life with L amavi I have loved and the Hebrew Heváh: ‘And the man called his wives name Heváh, because she was the mother of all living’ (Gen 3:20); it may also echo John 12:25, ‘He who loveth his life, shall lose it’. The name ‘Amavia’ may also recall ‘Amata’, wife of Latinus and mother of Lavinia, whose suicide is described at Aen 12.593-611. Bacchus is the Greek god of wine; the Nymph, unexplained at this point in the narrative, will be identified by the Palmer at ii.7-10. Acrasia’s curse uses the ‘linke’ between Bacchus and the Nymph to destroy that between Mordant and Amavia.
cup thus charmd: See 52.2n; cf. the golden cup of Fidelia at I.x.13.2-5.
55.3 him parting she deceived: Cf. Rom 7:11 ‘For sinne toke occasion by the commadement, and disceived me, and thereby slew me’.
55.6 55.6 Upton cites Heliodorus, Ethiopica: καθαρας σοι τας νυμφας ως σοι φίλον και ακοινωνητους του Διονυσου (Katharas soi tas numphas hōs soi philon kai akoinōnētous tou Dionysou, translated by Upton ‘I drink to you the nymphs that are pure and unlinked with Bacchus’; For the dilution of wine with water as a conventional emblem of temperance, and for the allegorical reading of water as doctrine and wine as ‘ardent will’ (Pierre Bersuire, Morale reductorium [1517]), see Fowler (1960: 147-48). Fidelia bears a ‘cup of gold, / With wine and water fild up to the hight’ at I.x.13.2-3, alluding to the wine and water mingled in the communion chalice. On this symbolism cf. John 19:23, ‘And there followed another Angel, saying, Babylon that great citie is fallen, it is fallen: for she made all nations to drinke of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’; also 1 John 5:6, ‘This is that Jesus Christ that came by water and blood: not by water onely, but by water and blood: and it is that Spirit, that beareth witnesse: for that Spirit is trueth’.
well: wellspring, fountain
dead suddeinly he down did sincke: Cf. Rom 7:9-10: ‘but when the commandement came, sinne revived, But I dyed: and the same comandement which was ordeined unto life, was founde to be unto me unto death’.
56.1 The timing and abruptness of Amavia’s death emphasize that losse of love, to her that loves to live entails loss of life.
wreath: twist aside
57.2 Guyon’s moralizing response proclaims the spectacle of Mordtant and Amavia to be an emblem of mortal human nature.
tyre: attire
her basest part: the passions
57.6 her: Probably refers either to ‘feeble nature’ or to 'passion' rather than to ‘reason’.
57.7-57.9 57.7-9 The distinction between irascible and concupiscible passions, first evoked at 34.7-9, becomes explicit in this formulation.
(said he): Ambiguous, indicating either that the Palmer replies or that Guyon continues to speak
squire: Square, an instrument used by carpenters to measure angles, and a common emblem of temperance as ‘golden mean’ (hence ‘golden squire’). Cf. Fowler (1960: 143). The reference to Aristotle’s notion of virtue as a mean between vices of excess and deficiency anticipates the schematic allegory to follow in canto ii.
Nor . . . tene: ‘Nor seethe in disheartened grief and sorrowful vexation’. Church 1758 proposes emending frye to fryze (freeze).
doome: judgment
in the meane: ‘In the meantime’ (pending ‘eternall doome’); the echo of line 2 suggests that to bury Amavia is temperate in its deferral of judgment. Watkins finds in the discussion about burying Amavia a recollection of Virgil’s lines describing Proserpine’s hesitancy to cut the lock of hair that will release Dido into death (Aen 4.696-99; Watkins 1995: 121-23). Punning on the Aristotelian definition that will organize the next canto—temperance as a mean between excess and deficiency—Spenser here emphasizes the temporality of temperance; see ‘Introduction’ 00 on the Pauline and Lutheran notion of patience as suffering in hope.
vouchsafe: allow
equall doome: Cf. 36.2, 49.2, and 50.3.
the commen In of rest: Death is an inn because the travelers who stop there are en route to their final destination.
59.6-59.9 59.6-9 At Aen 6.321-330, the Sybil explains to Aeneas that unburied souls cannot cross the river Styx to gain their final rest for a hundred years, and he ‘pit[ies] in soul their cruel lot’ (sortemque animi miseratus iniquam; 332).
teene: Possibly a variant spelling of the verb ‘tine’, meaning ‘to close; to enclose in something; to hedge in’ (OED). ‘Buriall’ would then be a noun modifier, and the line might be paraphrased, ‘But religious reverence doth [with] burial enclose both alike’.
59.9 59.9 Echoing ‘good and bad’ from line 2, Guyon here asserts that to lie ‘unburied [because] bad’ is as shameful as to die in sin.
St. 60-61 The act of burial corresponds to the office of the sixth beadman in the House of Holiness (I.x.42), though Guyon carries out a ceremony at odds with Christian practice. In 61 his oath of vengeance and his ritual mingling of blood, earth, and hair strongly mark the pagan character of his ‘Religious reverence’ (59.6), and of his response to the episode more broadly. This emphasis on pagan ritual and revenge sorts oddly with Guyon’s recognition at 27.6 of ‘The sacred badge of my Redeemers death’ on the shield of the Recrosse knight, but there too Guyon was intent on revenge, a motif that recalls the argument of Despair in Book I: ‘life must life, and blood must blood repay’ (ix.43.6).
60.1-60.4 60.1-4 The two ‘bodies’ have a single ‘closed eye’, and seem to be placed together in a single grave (‘it’, 60.3).
60.1 to engrave: To entomb, with a latent pun on inscription that, like the motif of revenge, recalls Despair’s combined emphasis on the law and the ‘table plain’ in which the torments of the damned are depicted (I.ix.47.5, 49.6-9).
sad Cypresse: Cf. I.i.8.9, ‘the Cypresse funerall’. In glossing SC Nov 145, E.K. refers to Cypress as ‘used of the old Paynims in the furnishing of their funerall Pompe. and properly the signe of all sorrow and heavinesse’; in Arcadia Sidney refers to ‘Cypresse braunches; wherewith in olde time they were woont to dresse graves’ (1590, 308). Cf. Aen 3.63-4, stand Manibus arae, / caeruleis maestate vittis atraque cupresso (‘altars are set up to the dead, made mournful with sombre fillets and black cypress’).
embrave: adorn
utmost obsequy: final ceremony
Bynempt: swore
ay: ever
61.2 Cf. Aen 4:704 on Iris’s release of Dido from suffering: dextra crinem secat (‘with her hand shears the lock’).
61.5-61.6 61.5-6 Cf. Ruth 1:17: ‘Where thou dyest, wil I dye, and there wil I be buryed. the Lord do so to me and more also, if oght but death departe thee and me’, echoed at 1 Sam 3:17. The care of widows and orphans is the office of the seventh beadman in the House of Holiness, I.x.43.
guiltie blood: The guilt is Acrasia’s insofar as she causes the bloodshed; original sin would also make the blood itself a source of guilt, but cf. ii.4.4 and 4.10, where the Palmer will apparently reject this reading. Christian teaching would likewise hold Amavia guilty of shedding her own blood, a reading the present context resists.
face: Personification; the rhetorical term for personification, ‘prosopopoeia’, from Gk προσωπον pr𝜊sōpon face or person (from προς pr𝜊s to + ωψ 𝜊ps face) and ποι𝜀ω poiein to make.
golden Meane: Refers to Aristotle’s concept of virtue as a mean between the excess and deficiency of a given quality (Nic Eth 2.6-9). Cf. Horace on the aurea mediocritas (Odes 2.10.5).
Extremities: The extremes of excess and deficiency, as at 38.4; also the hands as they flank the ‘face’.
cleane: completely
4 cleane: Cf. ‘clensd’ (arg. 1).
sad Tragedie: Cf. ‘pitifull spectacle’ (i.40.1, 9).
1.3 uptyde: The awkward sense of neatly tidying up, in contrast to the dénoument (unravelling) proper to tragedy, extends to the unapt repetition of up as the knight picks the ‘litle babe’ up off the ground, and prepares for the shocking incongruity of the child’s blissful obliviousness to the ‘sad Tragedy’ of its birth.
blandishment: alluring behavior
innocent: ignorant
1.7 innocent: Ironically not ‘innocent’ in a spiritual sense, as the surrounding language of blood and guilt insists with its repeated implication of original sin.
in . . . balefull ashes bred: Cf. the phoenix, a common Renaissance emblem of resurrection.
livelyhed: inheritance
2.6 2.6 Links the baby with its bloody hands to the bleeding branch in the Fradubio episode at I.ii.30.6-9.
2.7-2.8 2.7-8 Cf. John 15:6, ‘If a man abide not in me, he is cast forthe as a branche, and withereth’. Guyon’s conclusion (‘Such is the state of men’) might seem to assume the absence of grace, in contrast to the implications of the phoenix; like the texture of allusion to Romans in this and the previous canto, the metaphor of the babe as a branch torn from its trunk—in contrast to the conventional image of the genalogical tree—depicts life itself as a form of death.
St. 3-4 The image of the phoenix (2.6) recalls the well in which Redcrosse is restored at I.xi.29-30 (cf. the simile comparing the ‘new-borne’ knight to an Eagle at I.xi.34). Guyon’s failed effort to wash the baby’s hands in this well has been diversely interpreted as an allegory of baptism and of Mosaic Law. See The Thirty Nine Articles IX, on original sin; XVI, on sin after baptism; and XVIII, on the insufficiency of the Law for salvation. Paul discusses these topics in Rom 5-7; see esp. 6:2-4: ‘Howe shall we, that are dead to sinne, live yet therein? Knowe ye not, that all we which have bene baptized into Jesus Christ, have bene baptized into his death? We are buried then with him by baptisme into his death, that like as Christ was raysed up from the dead to the glorie of the Father, so we also should walke in newnesse of life’. The language and imagery of these cantos suspend Temperance in the interval between baptism-into-death and resurrection into newness of life.
3.3 3.3 Cf. I.viii.40.3, ‘Entire affection hateth nicer hands’.
diverse: leading in different directions
3.9 diverse: Cf. I.i.10.9. Refers to the alternative hypotheses set forth in the next stanza; figuratively, plays out the characteristic pun on 'maze' in Spenserian 'amazement'.
in lieu of: in place of
4.3 in lieu of innocense: This interpretation of the stigma contradicts the hypothesis that the babe smiles on his dead parents 'As . . . innocent / Of that was doen' (1.7-8). The infant’s shocking combination of inherited guilt and ignorance of sin suggest to Paul’s description of life prior to the Mocaic law (Rom 7:9, ‘For I once was alive, without the Law’).
Imprinted: Cf. the pun on 'engrave' at i.60.1 and note; as a token of divine wrath the stigma would similarly be associated with the motif of revenge and the rhetoric of Despair at I.ix.47-49.
bloodguiltinesse: Normally, ‘guilty of bloodshed’, but here perhaps ‘guilt inhering in the blood’; see 3.4 and i.61.8 and notes. The word occurs twice more in FQ, at 30.3 and at II.vii.19.5.
4.6-4.8 4.6-8 These lines treat Mordant and Amavia as a single body: because he drank, ‘they dronk’, and ‘their blood’ is infected. In line 8 they become a single ‘tronck’. See i.60.1-4n.
charme and veneme: Cf. i.52.3, ‘words and weedes’.
4.7 The conjecture of 'secret filth' infecting the parents' blood implies venereal disease.
4.9 4.9 Since the bodies have not been dead long enough to decay their stench calls for explanation, although the 'great contagion' of this conjecture may blur the line between a natural cause like disease and a supernatural cause like sin.
at gaze: bewildered
to bord: to address
to bord: From the sense of coming up alongside a ship in order to go aboard.
hart amated: emotionally confounded
5.4 5.4 'Out of your ignorance you build up great wonderment/a great prodigy', referring at once to the conjectures of st. 4 and to the 'wavering wonder' that gives rise to them.
vertues: powers
5.8-5.9 5.8-9 ‘Whoever has the knowledge to have selected among waters based on their secret powers has been able to use them to effect wonders far beyond the ordinary’.
indewd: invested
6.1 indewd: The pun on the rhyming partner (invested with dew = in-dewed) aptly folds the action of supplying moisture back into the 'sourse', Dame Nature's breast.
great Dame Nature: A frequent character in medieval allegories from Alain de Lisle’s De Planctu Naturae to Chaucer’s Parlement of Fowles, the goddess Nature appears at TCM vii.5.1 and disappears at vii.59.9; Alain and Chaucer are mentioned at vii.9. Faunus, Diana, and another nymph (Molanna) also figure in TCM, along with an etiological fable about rivers.
6.5 Floraes painted lap: Flora is the Roman goddess of flowering plants, associated with natural fertility; cf. her image in Boticelli’s Primavera. Contrast her appearance in Redcrosse’s lustful dream (I.i.48.9) and E.K.’s reference to her as a Roman prostitute (SC March gloss to 16).
guifte of later grace: Echoing Rom 5:15: ‘But yet the gift is not so, as is the offence: for if through the offence of one, many be dead, muche more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, hathe abunded unto many’.
vertue: Cf. 5.6.
St. 7-9 Cf. the enchanted well and indwelling nymph at I.vii.4-6. Spenser may base the fable of the well’s nymph on the legend of St. Winifred. For Drayton’s account of ‘the sacred fount of Winifrid’, see Polyolbion 10.124-164. There is a corresponding well in the episode from Trissino that Spenser draws on in Book II (L’Italia 4.673-697; see i.8-34n).
hartlesse Hynd: timid doe
hartlesse Hynd: With a pun on ‘hart’ as stag, ‘doe without a mate’.
Robucke: the male of a species of deer found in Europe and Asia
Dan Faunus: See 6.2n. Faunus is a wood-god, identified with Pan and associated with fertility but also specifically with amorous pursuit: Horace calls him Nympharum fugientum amator (‘lover of the flying nymphs’; Odes 3.18.1).
chace: Since the stanza form calls for a ‘b’-rhyme to end line 7, editors often emend to ‘pray’ (prey) or ‘ray’. Some who consider the repetition of ‘chace, / And chaced’ to be deliberate have devised interpretations for the violation; Kellogg and Steele 1965 note ‘four other passages in Book II, and nine altogether in The Faerie Queene, in which the early editions give a non-rhyming word in a position where an obvious synonym would rhyme . . . . The other imperfect rhymes in Book II are at ii.42.6, iii.28.7, viii.29.7, and xii.54.7’.
of shame affrayd: See i.20.5, 30.1-9 and notes.
8.4 Diana: The goddess of chastity and of the hunt. The nymph’s invocation of Diana and subsequent metamorphosis mark this episode as a self-conscious imitation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; often cited are the transformations of Daphne in Book 1, Arethusa in Book 5, Biblis in Book 9, and Acis in Book 13.
dismayd: With its rhyme-partner ‘mayd’, emphasizes the paradox that the nymph can remain a maid (virgin) only by ceasing to be a maid (girl).
mate: The play on 'mayd' and 'mate' suggests by way of a pun that the miraculous well left Guyon 'amated' at 5.3 because its singularity derives from the nymph's refusal to be 'amated' (matched, joined) by Faunus. The fountain’s nymph is, therefore, figuratively the antithesis of the water that mixes with wine in the curse Acrasia uses to deceive Mortdant: ‘So soone as Bacchus with the Nymphe does lincke’ (i.55.6 and note).
9.3 old conceived dreads: Implicitly contrasting the conception of unchanging ‘dreads’ with the sexual conception that the maid refuses.
vertues: moral qualities; natural properties
tryde: proven
10.2-10.9 10.2-9 The Palmer’s interpretation of the bloody hands as a testament to Amavia’s ‘innocence’ neglects the Christian belief that suicide is a mortal sin; his sense of them as a ‘sacred Symbole’ calling for ‘revengement’ violates the Biblical injunction against revenge, and aligns Amavia uncomfortably with Duessa, in the preceding episode, as a distressed damsel appealing for vengeance. (See i.37.8n for the topical allusion in the 'bloody hand'.)
innocence: See 1.7-8, 4.3, and i.37.6-9. In the theological allegory, the mother 'in her last testament' bequeaths not innocence but original sin.
Symbole: OED identifies this as the earliest recorded use of the word in its modern sense to mean something that stands for something else.
dwell: Cf. Romans 7.17, 'the sin that dwelleth in me'.
moniment: warning or memorial
sell: saddle
11.7-12.4 11.7-12.4 The import of Guyon’s loss is suggested by the shared etymology of ‘chivalry’ and ‘cavalry’ from L caballarius horseman. In Le Morte Darthur, Sir Lamerok berates his brothers, unhorsed in jousting, by demanding ‘What is a knyght but whan he is on horseback? For I sette nat by a knytht whan he is on foote’ (10.48).
barbes: protective coverings for the chest and flanks of a war-horse
double burden: his own armor and that of Mordant
Built on a rocke: Cf. the ‘wise man, which hathe buylded his house on a rocke’ at Matt 7:24.
by equall shares in equall fee: The sisters inherit equal shares and equal rights to hold those shares.
drew them in partes: divided them into factions
13.7-13.9 13.7-9: Cf. Aristotle: ‘the extreme states are contrary both to the intermediate state and to each other, and the intermediate to the extremes’ (Nic Eth 2.8).
14.4 Medina: From L mediana in the middle, and perhaps also medens physician. Cf. SC Julye 234, Thomalin’s emblem, In medio virtus, glossed by E.K. with reference to ‘the saying of olde Philosophers, that vertue dwelleth in the middest, being environed with two contrary vices’. At Julye 236 this motto is counterpoised by Morrell’s emblem, In summo foelicitas, which replies to Thomalin’s ‘with continuaunce of the same Philosophers opinion, that albeit all bountye dwelleth in mediocritie, yet perfect felicitye dewlleth in supramacie’. The philosophers in question, who start out in the plural and then seem to coalesce into a single figure, are apparently Aristotle and Plato respectively.
enterprize: take in hand
14.9 enterprize: From L inter between and prendere to take.
courted: paid courteous attention to
15.6 15.6 ‘Beyond what would normally be the rational capacity of one so young’ (the paradoxical excess of the golden mean).
her selfe . . . did frame: directed her efforts and actions
wanton: Has a wide range of possible meanings, from ‘undisciplined’ to ‘amorous’ to ‘lewd and lascivious’.
Accourting: Cf. ‘comely courted’ at 15.2 above; this courting may simply be extravagant (‘lavish’), or it may be amorous. OED cites only this instance.
countenaunce: make a show of or pretend
16.8 countenaunce: OED cites only this instance for the sense ‘make a show of or pretend’.
17.2 Huddibras: The ‘great . . . name’ of an early English king whose role in Briton moniments resembles that of Medina rather than of his namesake in this episode: ‘Next Huddibras his realm did not encrease, / But taught the land from wearie wars to cease’ (x.25.4-5). The knight’s name associates him here with his chief quality (Huddi hardy + Fr bras arm) and with his armor of ‘shyning bras’; cf. Job 6.12, ‘is my flesh of brasse?’
17.8 He was more temperamental than courageous.
18.1 Sansloy: Last seen at the close of I.vi engaged in combat with Sir Satyrane.
middle space: Medina’s proper turf.
the scorned life to quell: Their rage is ultimately suicidal.
20.6-20.7 20.6-7 See 12.6-9n and 20.5n; the conflict between extremes not only disturbs the occupants of the castle but threatens its foundations (‘raysd’ = ‘raised’, but the secondary sense ‘razed’ threatens).
fouldring: flashing
20.9 fouldring: From L fulgere to flash and fulgur lightning-flash.
enraunged: arranged in an orderly fashion
21.5-21.9 21.5-9 The anticlimax of ‘to understond’ emphasizes the comedy of Guyun’s rushing in wielding sword and shield complete with Homeric epithet (‘sunbroad’) in order to ‘pacifie’ the combatants—not ‘as well he can’ (which the meter would favor), but ‘well as he can’, which turns out to be not very well. Having lost his horse and borne his armor as a ‘burden’ (12.4), Guyon is learning the limited value of armor and weapons in achieving temperance.
lybicke: Lybian
22.6 lybicke Ocean: Presumably the desert with its wave-like dunes, since bears and tigers would be unlikely to fight in a literal ocean.
surbet: footsore, bruised
22.7 surbet: Cf. III.iv.34.5.
24.1-24.9 St. 24 Cf. Ariosto, OF 21.53.1-6: Come ne l’atro mar legno talora, / che da duo venti sia percosso e vinto, / ch’ora uno inanzi l’ha mandato, et ora / un altro al primo termine respinto, / e l’han girato da poppa e da prora, / dal più possente al fin resta sospinto (‘As a ship on the high seas will sometimes be driven and buffeted by two winds, and one wind will thrust it onwards until the opposing wind blows it back whence it came; and it is slewed round, stem and tern, by the winds until the stronger of the two prevails’).
conduct: handling
dismade: Dismayed, i.e. discouraged, but the secondary pun ‘dis-made’ undercuts the narrator’s double . . praise (25.9) by suggesting that Guyon’s intervention partakes of the same destructive impulses that motivate the combatants. Cf. 20.5-7 and notes, and note further how Guyon ceases to be differentiated from the other two knights in 26.1-27.1, where the adjectives ‘valiaunt’, ‘miserable’, and ‘furious’ apply equally to all three.
darraine: engage in (combat)
26.2 darraine: With an emphasis (ironic, here) on the orderly drawing up of ranks in preparation for battle (cf. ‘enraunged’, 21.4).
triple warre: Cf. 13.7-9n.
jarre: strife
St. 27-33 Cf. IV.iii.46-52, where Cambina reconciles Triamond and Cambel.
27.2-27.3 tresses torne, / And naked brest: Conventional signs of grief.
bad: past tense of ‘bid’ (command)
28.2 bad: The line-ending floats ‘not good’ as a momentary (and apt) possibility.
pursew the end of: not put a stop to, but fight to the finish of
revoke: restrain, hold in check; or call back (to a state of reason)
fell: ferocious
29.2 Erinnys: The Erinyes (Roman name, Furies) are spirits of vengeance in Greek myth. Cf. ‘mortal vengeaunce’ and ‘fowle revenging rage’ at 30.4 and 30.9, as well as i.61.7, ii.10.8, and the repetition of ‘bloodguiltinesse’ cited in ii.4.5n. See also E.K.’s gloss to SC Nov 164 naming the three Furies.
29.2-29.3 29.2-3 At Aen 7.456-57 one of the Furies, Allecto, flings a torch at Turnus et atro / lumine fumantis fixit sub pectore taedas (‘and fixed in his breast the brand, smoking with lurid light’).
parts: attributes
thrust: stab
29.6 thrust: By metathesis, a 16th-c form of ‘thirst’.
liefest: dearest
jarre: strife
31.1 lovely Concord: See IV.x.34-35.
31.3 31.3 Cf. i.57.7-8, ‘The strong it weakens with infirmitie, / And with bold fury armes the weakest hart’.
31.7 Olive girlond: Cf. SC Apr 124, ‘Olives bene for peace’.
meeds: rewards
appall: subdue
abase: bow
requests: petitions
32.7 requests: Subjects petitioning the king were heard by a part of the council called the Court of Requests.
as a law: Compare the legal language here with allusions to passages on the law in Rom 7, glossed at i.54.5, 55.3, and 55.9.
32.9 32.9 I.e., they gave their word as knights to observe the terms of the treaty.
treague: truce
33.3 treague: From medieval Latin treuga and Goth triggwa, covenant.
grace to reconcile: to restore good feeling or mutual regard
grace to reconcile: L gratiam reconciliare.
to spoile / Themselves of soiled arms: to take off their armor, soiled in combat
froward: stubborn, perverse
all were they: although they were
34.6-34.8 34.6-8 Cf. Ps 39:11, ‘When thou wt [with] rebukes doest chastise man for iniquitie, thou as a mothe makest his beautie to consume: surely every man is vanitie’.
grutch: grouch or grudge
frett: consume
th’utter: the outermost
cheare: hospitality
35.1 Elissa: From Gr ελασσων elassōn (‘too little, inferior’). Cf. 34.9: having ‘too little’ appetite for pleasure, she presumably considers the ‘cheare . . . too mutch’.
solace: enjoyment
froward: hostile
governaunce: conduct
36.1 Perissa: from Gr περισσoς perissos (‘too much, excessive’), would be the sister who ‘thought her [Medina’s] cheare too litle’ (34.9). Throughout these stanzas Spenser plays with the irony of apparent opposites that actually mirror each other.
light: frivolous; also, wanton or unchaste
measure in her mood: In late medieval music ‘mood’ is a technical term used in describing aspects of rhythm, as for example in the singing of psalms. OED cites Sternhold et al. 1572: ‘To set out a full and absolute knowledge of the nature of the Scale: what moodes there are, & how many: what is perfection, what imperfection . . .’ (sig. Aviiv).
poured out in pleasure: Cf. I.vii.7.2, where Redcrosse lies ‘pourd out in loosnesse’.
exceeded her owne might: outdid herself
tire: attire
pranck: adorn
mineon: companion kept for sexual favors
francker franion: less restrained paramour
parts: qualities
Malecontent: A common character-type in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama; eventually (1604) the title of a play attributed to John Marston.
hardiment: boldness
extremities: points of utmost intensity
38.4 extremities: Cf. arg.3n.
outrage: extravagance
38.5-38.7 forward . . . froward: Cf. i.37.1n.
accorage: hearten
kept . . . her selfe in heed: kept watch over herself
attempered: harmonized
39.3-39.4 39.3-4 The turn from feasting to storytelling is repeated several times in Homer and Virgil, e.g. Il 1.469, Od 8.430-32, Aen 1.723, Aen 8.184-85.
39.8-39.9 39.8-9 Cf. Aen 2.1-2: Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant. / inde toro pater Aeneas sic orsus ab alto (‘All were hushed, and held their gaze bent upon him; then from his lofty couch father Aeneas thus began’).
lofty seige: place of honor
shene: bright
sustene: sustain
40.9 Echoing Ps 85:10, ‘Mercie and trueth shal mete: righteousnes and peace shal kisse one another’.
Idole: image
41.9 Idole: It is conventional to say that a monarch is the earthly resemblance of God’s magnificence. It is possible as well to suspect that offering ‘sacred reverence’ to a mortal ‘idol’ might evoke the sense, ‘Any thing or person that is the object of excessive or supreme devotion, or that usurps the place of God in human affection’ (OED), but the poet is careful not to say so.
magnificence: Identified in FQ Letter as ‘the perfection of all the rest’ of the virtues, and as represented ‘in the person of Prince Arthure’ (38-39).
42.4 Order of Maydenhead: Una tells Arthur that she was drawn to Gloriana’s court to seek aid against the dragon by the fame of ‘that noble order hight of maidenhed’ (I.vii.46.4), alluding to the Elizabethan Order of the Garter. For subsequent references see II.ix.6.6 and IV.iv.17-25.
42.6-43.9 42.6-43.9 This account revises the version given at FQ Letter 49-52 and 70-74, where the Palmer arrives at court with the infant Ruddymane already in hand.
make: The rhyme-scheme calls for ‘hold’, and some editors emend.
42.7 Traditionally the year was thought to begin on March 25, but Spenser begins SC in January, and more than half of the ‘Generall Argument’ is given over to a defense of this choice. If Gloriana holds her feast on the twelve days of Christmas, then this line probably refers to January 1.
44.1-44.2 44.1-2 Three months have passed.
roiall presence: Referring to the Presence Chamber, where the Queen, surrounded by her attendants, received visitors.
44.4 entrold: Cf. Zurcher 2007: ‘a curious and apparently textually corrupt word . . . that has excited the confusion and creativity of editors for three centuries. Its situation as a rhyme-word at the end of the fourth line of its stanza . . . links ‘world’ to ‘hold’ and ‘told’, which without . . . some phonetically hingeing or elastic word cannot be knit successfully together; its function as a phonetic bridge, with the trill moving metasthetically between ‘entrold’ and ‘entorld’ (a feat more straightforward in Elizabethan pronunciation than our own), strongly suggests that Spenser intended this exact spelling. . . . [T]he word itself also combines . . . enroll and enter--the Tudor legal senses of which words make semantic sense in a passage where Guyon is swearing a sacred oath to avenge the loss of Ruddymane's parents . . .’ (52).
45.1-45.4 45.1-4 Medina already knows the moral she wants the story to illustrate.
bale: suffering
45.5 I.e., misfortune or evil often leads to or procures good results when treated as an example.
46.1-46.3 46.1-3 Cf. SpE s.v. ‘constellations’. Orion has set beneath the horizon, followed in the night sky by the constellation Hydra.
wist: knew
1 Braggadocchio: Adds an augmentative suffix from Italian to the English ‘brag’, perhaps reflecting a common Tudor prejudice against ‘Italianate’ manners. Coined by Spenser, the name became an English noun meaning boastful swagger.
4 Belphoebe: Prefixes the Italian bella handsome to the Greek name for the goddess of the moon; cf. ii.44.1, where ‘faire Phebe’ anticipates and translates the name. Cf. also FQ Letter 36-37, where Spenser explains his invention of the name as an epithet for Queen Elizabeth ‘according to your owne [Ralegh’s] excellent conceipt of Cynthia, (Phoebe and Cynthia being both names of Diana)’.
behight: One of Spenser’s creative archaisms. Here may mean named or mentioned, with reference to Guyon’s account of his quest at dinner the night before (ii.43-45). But since the OE meaning is to promise or vow, the sense ‘pledged’ is also relevant.
many-folded: Cf. Il 7.220, where Ajax carries ‘a shield of bronze with sevenfold bull’s hide’ (χαλκεον εταβoειον, o οι Τυχ𝜄ος καμε τε𝜐χων; chalkeon etaboeion, o oi Tuchios kame tenchōn). The epithet ‘seven-folded’ is picked up by classical poets (e.g. Ovid, Virgil); it reappears at II.v.6.2-3 (Guyon’s ‘seven-folded shield’) and III.ii.25.7 (Arthegall’s ‘shield enveloped sevenfold’).
Congé: formal farewell
conjure: put under oath
2.3 conjure: Etymologically, ‘swear together’.
all that gentle noriture ensueth: everything that follows from, or is proper to, an aristocratic upbringing
2.8 Ruddymane: Combining ‘ruddy’ with L manus hands to translate the epithet ‘bloody-handed’.
2.8-2.9 2.8-9 The narrator seems unaware that teaching Ruddymane vengeance might be inconsistent with his training in ‘vertuous lore’ (because vengeance is sinful or belongs to the Christian God).
3.1-3.5 3.1-5, 9 The halting rhythm and the pun on ‘boot’ suggest an amused perspective on Guyon’s predicament, while the Palmer footing it ‘no more alone’ recalls the knight’s too-hasty response to Archimago and Duessa in canto i. These suggestions are gathered up in the final line of the stanza, where we read that Guyon ‘rushed in on foote’ to aid Amavia, abandoning his horse and spear.
Patience perforce: Proverbial (Smith 1970, no. 598).
kestrell kynd: a small breed of hawk that supports itself by facing into the wind
kestrell kynd: As a term of contempt it means something like windbag: thus Nashe in 1596 refers to ‘One of these kistrell birds, called a wind-sucker’ (Saffron Walden Kij). Making Braggadocchio into a species of hawk, the phrase recalls by way of a pun the argument’s statement that he ‘is of fayre / Belphoebe fowle forlorne’.
vaine: vein
4.5 vaine: With a pun on ‘vainglory’.
full light: ‘Light’ functions both as an adverb meaning ‘nimbly’ and as adjective meaning, in a military sense, ‘lightly armed’, while also suggesting that Braggadocchio lacks gravitas. ‘Full light’ is thus a complex oxymoron: being altogether or entirely frivolous, he is fully empty.
5.1 jollity: Carries a range of meanings including festivity, sexual pleasure, gallantry, splendor, jocularity, and, most immediately relevant, insolent presumption. The concentrated assonance of the back-vowels helps make the point, reinforced by the link between ‘swell’ and the wind-sucking behavior of the kestrell (4.4n).
personage: Close in range of meanings (physical appearance, image) to ‘person’, but more important-sounding. The personage is what Braggadocchio impersonates, taken in by his own imposture.
portaunce: carriage or bearing
gree: favor
5.9 t’advaunce his first degree: To get a promotion, now that he has knighted himself.
6.3 avaunting: Boasting, with an ironic echo of ‘advaunce’ (5.9).
6.3 bravery: Both bravado (looking back to ‘avaunting’) and finery (looking forward to line 4).
6.4 Cf. 4.4n.
prank: show off
ranck: headlong, recklessly
dead dog: A Biblical insult specific to the books of Samuel: 1 Sam 24:14, 2 Sam 9:8, 2 Sam 16:9.
thrall: slave or prisoner
Miser: wretch
Offall: piece of refuse
hold of him in fee: Legal phraseology (to hold land by virtue of one’s submission to a feudal lord) marking the scene as a parody of the homage ritual.
liegeman: vassal sworn to the service of his feudal lord

Trompart: From Fr tromper to deceive, by analogy to English ‘trump’, ‘trumpant’, ‘trumpery’, also derived from tromper and its forms trompant and tromperie. Parodies the ‘trumpets sterne’ of I.pr.1.4 much as Trompart parodies the function of the epic poet to ‘blazon forth’ praise; the name thus seems to emerge comically from the ‘bellowes’ of the preceding line.

Trompart and Braggadocchio have been read at least since Upton 1758 as glancing satirically at the courtship of Elizabeth by the duc d’Alencon and his agent Simier. For the literary antecedents of these characters in Ariosto, OF, and other texts, see the article on each in SpE.

vaunting eye: Translating the name ‘Braggadocchio’ through a pun on Ital occhio eye (Hamilton 2001).
10.3-10.4 10.3-4 Note the echo of 4.5 in ‘Vaineglorious’ and the expansion of 4.4 (‘kestrell kind’) in ‘when fluttring wind does blow / In his light winges, is lifted up to skye’—amplifying both the argument’s anticipatory pun on ‘fowle’ and the name ‘Trompart’ as associated with bellows and trumpet.
10.5 10.5 Cf. arg.2-3.
10.8-10.9 10.8-9 Honor as the reward of virtue (opposed to honor ‘without desert’) is most highly regarded among those who are nobly descended; or, honor as the reward of virtue carries its blossom (praise) within its seed (noble deeds).
11.2 Archimage: Last seen at i.25 provoking Guyon to attack Redcrosse.
thondring with his feet: With Braggadocchio in the saddle, even the horse’s gallop turns to bombast; the pun on ‘feet’ extends the parody of epic poetry (cf. 10.1n).
Efsoones: promptly
11.7-11.9 11.7-9 Archimago’s adversarial role both mirrors and opposes the linking of the virtues; cf. i.5.4-5n and i.34.2n.
golden sell: Repeated from ii.11.6.
sell: saddle
through hard assay forgone: ‘Lost in a difficult adventure’ or ‘renounced in a difficult test’. ‘Despight’ in line 8 may favor the first possibility, whereas at 17.6-9 Braggadocchio will elaborate the second.
12.7-12.8 12.7-8 ‘Has sworn never to wear another sword until he has avenged himself of that outrage’.
weened well: confidently supposed
foyle: defeat
Tho: then
louting: bowing down
13.7-13.8 13.7-8 Archimago’s lies typically misrepresent events that have occurred in the narrative, as if he were competing with the narrator for control over the course of the story; cf. i.10.3-9n and 11.7-9n.
gin: either the general quality of cunning or a specific trick
wreak: punish or avenge
14.3 14.3 As if their lives had been entrusted to him.
doughtie valiaunce: stout courage
meed: reward
areed: declare
prowest: worthiest; most brave or gallant
approved: tested or proven.
hard assay: Cf. 12.6.
to quayle: I.e. to daunt or overawe. Given the way bird-references flock to Braggadocchio it is difficult not to hear a pun on ‘quail’.
wotest: know
17.3 on even coast: Hamilton 2001 compares FQ 1596 IV.iii.24.8 on equall cost, suggesting that the phrases may mean either on level ground or on even terms.
17.6-17.9 17.6-9 A more boastful explanation than the one offered by Trompart at 12.6-8. Cf. OF 14.43 and 23.78, where Ariosto’s Mandricardo, armed only with a spear, swears he will bear no sword but Orlando’s.
17.7 17.7 Comically echoing ‘Seven at one stroke’, the motto of the ‘brave tailor’ in a folktale from the ‘Jack’ cycle. See SpE s.v. ‘folklore’.
Perdy: a mild oath
18.1 Perdy: From ME ‘par dieu’, ‘by God’.
blive: promptly
purchase to: obtain for
18.9 what mote that Monster make: What could bring about that wonder (L monstrum marvel or prodigy).
of: off
20.4 Cf. Ps 53:5, ‘There they were afraied for feare, where no feare was’; Lev 26:36, ‘the sounde of a leafe shaken shall chase them’; and Wisd Sol 17:1-18, ‘whether it were an hyssing winde . . . these feareful things made them to swone’.
bug: ghost, scarecrow, or hobgoblin
20.5 20.5 FE corrects ‘vnto’ in this line to ‘greatly’. 1596 and 1609 read ‘their haire on end does reare’, which we take to be authorial revision rather than correction of compositorial error.
faine: dissemble
Eft: then or soon (archaic)
21.3-21.4 21.3-4 In Sidney’s New Arcadia the shepherd Dametas ‘fell down flat of my face’ when frightened by a bear, and is seen ‘lying with his breast and head as farre as he could thrust himselfe into a bush: drawing up his legges as close unto him as hee coulde: for, like a man of a very kind nature, soone to take pittie of himselfe, he was full resolved not to see his owne death’ (ed. Dennis 1970, 83-84). Sidney left the revision of his New Arcadia (published in 1590) unfinished at his death in 1586. It is not known whether Spenser saw a copy in manuscript.
Eftsoone: then or soon (archaic)
great worth: elevated rank
stately portance: dignified bearing
stately portance: Contrast with the ‘gay portaunce’ (5.7) that Braggadocchio ascribes to the court.
21.9 borne of heavenly birth: The surmise of divinity is a frequent motif in Spenser. See SC Apr 163-65 and note, where the emblems trace this courtly compliment back to Aeneas’s wondering recognition of his divine mother, Venus, disguised as a maiden huntress in the woods outside Carthage. Many of the terms used to describe ‘Eliza’ in Colin’s song reappear in the description of Belphoebe. The phrasing ‘borne of . . . birth’ is pure redundancy unless the verb also suggests the past participle of ‘bear’ (carry, endure), a nuance supported by the proximity of ‘portance’, which means ‘bearing’. At Aen 1.405, Aeneas recognizes the disguised Venus by her stride: et vera incessu patuit dea (‘and in her step she was revealed, a very goddess’).

St. 22-31 These ten stanzas comprise a blazon, or formal pictorial description of female beauty. The primary motive is honorific, but satiric touches can be discerned. The passage interweaves echoes from Tasso’s Rinaldo, Ariosto’s OF, Virgil’s Aen, and Song Sol, which Ponsonby in 1591 (Complaints, ‘The Printer to the Gentle Reader’) says he ‘understands’ Spenser to have translated, although no such text survives.

The Virgilian echoes come from separate but related passages. They include details from the description of Venus as she appears to her son virginis os habitumque gerens et virginis arma (‘with a maiden’s face and mien, and a maiden’s arms’; Aen 1.315): namque umeris de more habilem suspenderat arcum / venatrix dedratque comam diffudere ventis, / nuda genu nodoque sinus collecta fluentis (‘For from her shoulders in huntress fashion she had slung the ready bow and had given her hair to the winds to scatter; her knee bare, and her flowing robes gathered in a knot’; Aen 1.318-20). These details link Belphoebe also to Diana, whom Venus partly impersonates with her virginal disguise; thus when Virgil compares Dido to Diana later in Book 1, the description echoes that of Venus: illa pharetram / fert umero gradiensque deas supereminet omnis (‘she bears a quiver on her shoulder, and as she treads overtops all the goddesses’; 1.500-501). Spenser mingles both passages in the blazon, suggesting that Belphoebe (and allegorically, Elizabeth) combines the beauty of Venus with the chastity of Diana.

22.3-22.4 22.3-4 Her face shines (L clarus) without blemish because the four humors are well-blended in her physical constitution. Cf. Song Sol 4:7, ‘Thou art all faire, my love, and there is no spot in thee’.
22.5-22.6 22.5-6 Cf. SC Feb 130-32, ‘Lilly white, and Cremsin redde, . . . Colours meete to clothe a mayden Queene’. The pairing of lilies and roses, frequent in Renaissance poetry, goes back to Song Sol 2:1, ‘I am the rose of the field, and the lilie of the valleis’. Its use to describe the complexion of the face, also conventional, may owe something to Song Sol 5.10, ‘My welbeloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousand’. Also influential are Virgil’s description of Lavinia’s blush, mixta rubent ubi lilia multa / alba rosa (‘white lilies blush with many a blended rose’; Aen 12.68-69) and Ovid’s description of Corinna’s blush, Quale rosae fulgent inter sua lilia mixtae (‘Like roses gleaming among the lilies where they mingle’; Amores 2.5.37).
ambrosiall: Resembling ambrosia, variously the nectar, food, or ointment of the Gods, which has the power to confer immortality; cf. Virgil’s description of Venus: ambrosiaeque comae divinum vertice odorem / spiravere (‘and from her head her ambrosial tresses breathed celestial fragrance’; Aen 1.403-4).
22.8-22.9 22.8-9 Belphoebe’s cheeks evidently combine the powers of the well and tree of life in Eden (I.xi.30.1, 48.7-8). As indirect royal praise, this stanza’s hyperbolic attribution to Elizabeth of both divinity and the power to convey it to her beholders comes perilously close to blasphemy—or mockery. As Sidney in the New Arcadia drily observes of the queen of Laconia, ‘She was a queen and therefore beautiful’ (The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, ed. Evans 159).
23.1-23.2 23.1-2 Expanding the epithet ‘Cleare as the skye’ (22.3n), these lines will be echoed in FH, where ‘lampe’ and its forms recur as figures for eyes, beauty, light-giving heavenly bodies, Christ, and God’s Beloved (e.g. HL 131, HB 59, HHL 170, HHB 274). This pattern reflects both the Neoplatonic definition of beauty as light and the biblical associations of ‘lamp’ (which appears some three dozen times from Exodus to Revelations).
23.2-23.9 23.2-9 The conventional notion of female beauty as a fire kindled in heaven, which is then darted out through the eyes to pierce the beholder’s gaze, is elaborated in FH, which also develop the contrast between the effects of cupidity (HL 106-140) and those of chaste love (HL 169-203). Spenser seems to be glancing at Ariosto’s description of Alcina’s eyes: intorno cui par ch’Amor scherzi e voli, / e ch’indi tutta la faretra scharchi / e che visibilmente i cori involi (‘around which Love seemed to play and flutter, and from whence he would empty his quiver, and which would visibly steal hearts’; OF 7.12.4-6; trans. modified from Waldman 1974).
persant: piercing
bereav’d: took away
24.1-24.6 24.1-6 Presumably Love has not yet engraved any triumphs in the broad, white expanse of Belphoebe’s forehead, since her face remains ‘withouten . . . blot’ (22.3) and the infinitive verbs (for Love . . . to engrave, / And write) suggest rather an inviting prospect than a finished inscription. All good and honour must therefore be red in the blank smoothness of the tablet’s untouched, virginal surface rather than in the text of Cupid’s battles and triumphs—all the more likely if, as 23.9 informs us, Belphoebe’s majesty breaks his warlike instruments. Less elaborately, Ariosto compares Alcina’s fronta lieta (‘serene brow’) to terso avorio (‘polished ivory’; OF 7.11.7). Tasso mentions Clarise’s fronte d’avorio (‘brow of ivory’; Rin 1.55.5), while of the Queen of Media he says, Sembrava a lei ch’Amor quivi locato / Tutte le sue vittrici insegne avesse, / E quale in carro suol di palme ornato / Trionfator altier, lieto sedesse (‘It seemed that Love had leased to her all his triumphant insignia, and that in his carriage ornamented with palms, the proud victor sat happily’; Rin 9.15.1-4).
table: tablet
dropping honey: Cf. Song Sol 4:11, ‘Thy lippes, my spouse, droppe as honie combes’.
rubins: rubies
24.8 rubins: Cf. Am 15.8, ‘if Rubies, loe, hir lips be Rubies sound’, and 81.10, ‘The gate with pearles and rubyes richly dight’. This and the lily-rose image from 22.6 are conventional enough that echoes may be incidental, but both occur together with the ivory brow in a single stanza of Tasso (Rin 1.55); cf. also RS 737.1-2: Quell’Angelica voce che si frange / tra bianche perle e bei rubini ardenti (‘That angelic voice [voice of Angelica] that breaks forth between white pearls and [bei] fiery rubies’; Rizzoli 1.713). Ariosto combines coral and pearls with the lily and rose in the description of Isabel: interotta da fervidi signiozzi, / che dai corali e da le preziose / perle uscir fanno i dolci accenti mozzi. / Le lacrime scendean tra gigli e rose (‘ardent sighs kept interrupting the flow of soft words which issued brokenly from her coral lips, which parted to disclose such precious pearls. Her tears descended between lily and rose’; OF 12.94.2-5; trans. Waldman, modified in last line).
24.9 silver sound: ‘Silver’ is one of Spenser’s favorite adjectives: cf. SC June 61 and note.
25.1-25.2 25.1-2 Cf. Am 40.3-4: ‘on each eyelid sweetly doe appeare / an hundred Graces as in shade to sit’, and SC June 25 gloss: ‘thys same Poete in his Pageaunts sayth. An hundred Graces on her eyeledde satte. etc.’.
belgardes: amorous glances
25.3 belgardes: Coined by Spenser from Ital bel guardo, ‘lovely look’.
retrate: Either retreat (from Fr retraite and L retrahere) or portrait (from Ital ritratto). For Spenser’s repeated play on the etymology of drawing and the metaphor of tracking, see II.i.12.7n. Here the combination of portraying-and-withdrawing repeats the dynamic of Love’s inscription at 26.1-6.
25.6-25.7 25.6-7 Cf. I.iv.2, ‘Mirrour of grace and Majestie divine’; this echo followed closely by ‘soveraine’ brings the reference to Elizabeth near the surface. She is a reflection both of her God’s grace and of his majesty, and (therefore) a reminder of her mortal subjects’ allegiance to their sovereign. For the link between ‘moniment’ and L monere to remind see glossary.
25.8-25.9 25.8-9 The inexpressibility topos makes explicit the back-and-forth between inscription and erasure or withdrawal reflected in the preceding lines. Spenser has translated (and intensified) Ariosto’s reference to painting: Di persona era tanto ben formata, / quanto me’ finger san pittori industri (‘She was so beautifully modeled, no painter, however much he applied himself, could have achieved anything more perfect’; OF 7.11.1-2).
descrive: describe or write down
camus: tunic
26.5 Purfled upon with many a folded plight: Ambiguous because of the doubled prepositions, and because ‘purfled’ can mean either ‘embroidered [upon]’ or ‘bordered [with]’. The simplest construal is to read as if a comma separated upon from with, which then would begin a new descriptor. Thus unfolded, the line might be paraphrased, ‘Embroidered and having many pleats’.
aygulets: spangles
26.9 The pattern of writing/withdrawing in the blazon, made explicit by the inexpressibility topos, is now made literal by the unfinished alexandrine, ‘broken’ like Cupid’s darts (23.9). Other half-lines appear at II.viii.55.9, III.iv.39.7, III.vi.26.4 (1590 only), and III.ix.37.5.
embayld: Spenser appears to be fusing the verbs ‘bale’, to hoop or bind, and ‘embay’, to surround. In TCM he will refer to Faunus in the custody of Diana’s nymphs as ‘within their baile’ (VII.vi.49.2); he uses the verb embay several times to describe immersion in a liquid, most recently at II.i.40.7 where Ruddymane ‘did embay / His little hands’ in his mother’s blood.
27.3 gilden buskins of costly Cordwayne: Knee-boots made of fine leather (named for the Spanish town of Cordova, where it was made), ornamented with gold-leaf.
bendes: bands
entayld: engraved
curious antickes: elaborately wrought grotesque figures
aumaled: enamelled
Before: in front
entrayld: interwoven
27.7-27.9 27.7-9 As Hamilton 2001 notes, this description suggests virginity (‘that none might see’) and thus evokes the phrase ‘virgin knot’. Ariosto has little to say about Alcina’s attire; it is her biondo chioma lunga that he describes as annodata (‘her long blond tresses . . . gathered in a knot’; OF 7.11.3). Tasso describes Clarice’s gambe snelle / sino al ginocchio ricoprendo ornava / di cuoio azzurro, e qual con aurei nodi / era da poi legato in mille modi (‘slender legs, up to the knee adorned with a covering of sky-blue leather, which was tied with golden knots a thousand ways’; Rin 5.13.4-8). For the Virgilian echo, see 22-31n.
28.1-28.4 28.1-4 Cf. Song Sol 5:15: ‘His leggs are as pillers of marble, set upon sockets of fine golde’, and 1 Cor 6:19: ‘Know ye not, that your bodie is the temple of the holie Gost . . .’. Given the discreet but persistent attention in the preceding lines to Belphoebe’s ‘golden fringe’ and ‘fouldings close enwrapped’, the ‘temple of the Gods’ supported by these ‘faire marble pillours’, which typologically represents the body as a whole, may be somewhat comically localized in the genitals. In such a reading, the festival crowds resorting to the temple become a preposterously indecorous image, perhaps travestied from the description of Dido’s first approach to Aeneas: regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido, / incessit, magna iuventum stipante caterva (‘the queen, Dido, moved towards the temple, of surpassing beauty, with a vast company of youths thronging about her’; Aen 1.496-97).
port: gait or bearing
28.5 port: Cf. ‘stately portance’ (21.9).
play: The stanza-form calls for a b-rhyme here (cf. ii.7.7n); Church 1758 suggests ‘sport’.
knit: fastened
bauldricke: leather belt or girdle
29.5 bauldricke: Derived from the cingulum militare given by Roman emperors when awarding knighthood to equestrian soldiers. For the traditional use of the baldric as a symbol of knighthood (and in some contexts of chastity or temperance), see Leslie (1983:172-74).
Athwart: across, usually (as here) diagonally
29.5-29.7 29.5-7 For a visual analogue of Spenser’s emphasis on the baldric as accentuating Belphoebe’s breasts, see the band running across the breast of the Virgin Mary in Michelangelo’s first Pietá.
young fruit in May: Ariosto describes Alcina’s breasts as due pome acerbe, e pur d’avorio fatte, that vengono e van come onda al primo margo, / quando piacevole aura il mar combatte (‘a pair of apples, not yet ripe, fashioned in ivory’, that ‘rose and fell like the sea-swell at times when a gentle breeze stirs the ocean’; OF 7.14.3-5, trans. Waldman). The Chorus in Tasso’s Aminta sings about a golden age when naked virgins unveiled le poma del seno acerbe e crude (‘the young and unripe apples of their bosoms’; I.2.692).
29.8-29.9 29.8-9 Cf. Ariosto: Non potria l’altre parti veder Argo: / ben si può guidicar che corrisponde / a quel ch’appar di fuor quel che s’asconde (‘Argus himself could not see them entire, but you could easily judge that what lay hidden did not fall short of what was exposed to view’; OF 7.14.6-8, trans. Waldman).
crisped: curled
30.1-30.5 30.1-5 Tasso says that Rinaldo saw il crin parte ondeggiar al vento / parte in belli aurei nodi avolto e stretto (‘part of the hair to flutter in the wind, and part in lovely golden knots tightly wound’; Rin 1.54.3-4). For the Virgilian echo, see 22-31n.
flouring: blossoming
30.7 flouring: Combines ‘flowering’ and ‘flourishing’, both from L florere.
rude: natural, uncultivated
30.8 rude: Cf. line 6.
30.8-30.9 30.8-9 For a visual analogue to this description see Boticelli’s Primavera.
31.1-31.2 31.1-2 Another echo from the first book of the Aeneid (see 21.9n and 28.1-4n), once again alluding to Dido’s appearance on her first approach to Aeneas: qualis in Eurotae ripis aut per iuga Cynthi / exercet Diana choros (‘Even as on Eurotas’ banks or along the heights of Cynthus Diana guides her dancing bands’; 1.498-99). Eurotas is the principle river in Laconia, named after a legendary king of the region; Cynthus is a hill on the island of Delos where the goddess Diana was born, from which Roman poets derived the epithet ‘Cynthia’.
31.5-31.6 that famous Queene / Of Amazons: Penthesilea, at whose picture Aeneas is gazing when Dido approaches him: ducit Amazonidum lunatis agmina peltis / Penthesilea furens mediisque in milibus ardet, / area subnectens exsertae cingula mammae, / bellatrix, audetque viris concurrere virgo (‘Penthisilea in fury leads the crescent-shielded ranks of the Amazons and rages amid her thousands; a golden belt binds her naked breast, while she, a warrior queen, dares battle, a maid clashing with men’; Aen 1.490-93).
31.6 whom Pyrrhus did destroy: Most classical authors report that Penthesilea was slain at Troy by Achilles, not his son Pyrrhus. The exception is Dares Phrygius in de bello Troj (Upton 1758, qtd Var 2.218), but as Upton points out, this exception was the version that entered into the romance tradition, where Spenser would have found it echoed by Lydgate, Caxton, and Sir Philip Sidney.
31.7-31.9 31.7-9 According to Apollodorus, Proclus, and other classical sources, Penthesilea was first seen by Priam when she came to be purified of guilt for the accidental slaying of her sister Hippolyte while hunting (the fate that threatens Braggadocchio in Spenser’s episode). Presumably ‘The day’ refers forward to line 8, not backward to line 6: Caxton and Lydgate, for example, both report that Penthesilea fought with Pyrrus and the Myrmidons for a month before she was slain (III.96; Troy Book IV.4260-64). Spenser does seem to have picked up details from Caxton’s account: the verb ‘succour’ appears there in connection with Penthesilia (‘When she knew that the Greeks had beseiged Troy, she went to succor it with a thousand Virgins, for the love of Hector’; III.93), and at the end of her first day’s combat with the Greeks, ‘Queen Penthasilia returned into the City with glory and honour where King Priamus received her with joy, and gave her many rich jewels’ (The Destruction of Troy, in Three Books [ed 1670], III.94).
hartlesse: without courage or passion
Groome: a male servant
right haunch: Tasso’s Clarice is likewise pursuing a deer wounded entro la spalla destra (‘in the right shoulder’; Rin 1.53.8).
stedfast arrow: An arrow well-trimmed for accurate flight. Cf. Ascham 1545: ‘To make the ende compasse heauy with the fethers in fliyng, for the stedfaster shotyng’ (2.127).
St. 33 Following closely the address of Aeneas to Venus:‘nulla tuarum audita mihi neque visa sororum, / o—quam te memorem, virgo? namque haud tibi voltus mortalis, / nec vox hominem sonat; o dea certe!’ (‘None of thy systers have I heard or seen—but by what name should I call thee, O maiden? for thy face is not mortal, nor has thy voice a human ring; O goddess surely!’; Aen. 1.326-28; cf 21.9n). Tasso’s Rinaldo asks Clarice qual che vi siate, o donna o dea (‘whatever you may be, woman or goddess’; Rin 1.58.6). The topos originates with Odysseus’ address to Nausicaa: ‘I beseech thee, O queen,--a goddess art thou, or art thou mortal?’ (Od 6.149-50).
goodlyhed: Excellence either of appearance or of character (a deferential mode of address).
mewd: hidden
34.3 mewd: Hawks and falcons are ‘mewed’, or enclosed in a cage, while moulting; barnyard poultry are ‘mewed’ for fattening.
to marke the beast: to pinpoint its location
stowre: predicament
wight: creature or being
emprize: chivalric undertaking
35.6-35.9 nest . . . crest . . rowze: Cf. arg.3-4n, 4.4n, and 10.3-4n, reinforcing the sense of ‘rowze’ (both technical and rare) as a reference to the action of a hawk in ruffling its feathers. Cf. I.xi.9, where the dragon shaking his scales is compared to an eagle that ‘His aery plumes doeth rouze’.
St. 36 The mock-epic simile in this stanza unpacks the diction of 35.6-9 while reversing the species implied: Braggadocchio is no longer hunter but prey (or no longer ‘Scarcrow’, as at 7.1, but scared crow). These passages culminate a series of jesting references to birds at arg.4, 6.4, 7.1, 10.3-4, and 34.3.
silly: defenseless
36.7 fowle: Pun intended.
prune: preen
transmewd: transmuted
37.4 transmewd: Echoing ‘mewd’ at 34.3.
38.2 Braggadocchio awkwardly conflates Belphoebe’s ‘words’ with the ‘deeds’ and ‘vertue’ they praise (37.8-9)—as might be expected of one whose deeds exist only in words.
38.8 Above the Moone: Cf. ‘O fairest under skie’ (38.1), and Aen. 1.379: fama super aethera notus (‘my fame is known above the stars’).
with laurell girlond cround: Cf. I.i.9.1-2, ‘The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours, / And Poets sage’. As a conqueror who awards himself the laurel for purely verbal feats of arms, Braggadocchio offers a moment of sly self-parody by the poet whom Helgerson describes as a ‘self-crowned laureate’ (1983); cf. 10.1n.
St. 39 Cf. st. 5; Braggadocchio is himself en route to the court, where he hopes ‘to be receiv’d / For such as he him thought, or faine would bee’.
is fit . . . is fitt: Cf. 37.4, ‘Soone into other fitts he was transmewd’.
St. 40 The irony of putting this speech into the mouth of a character identified with queen Elizabeth is unmistakable. For precedents in Boiardo and Tasso, see OI 2.1.36-36 and GL 17.61-63.
40.6-40.7 who his limbs with labours, and his mynd / Behaves with cares: Who exercises his limbs with activity and regulates his mind with attention to serious matters (as Spenser’s own paraphrase in the next two lines suggests).
she: honor
41.7-41.9 41.7-9 Reprising the contrast from Book I between the House of Pride (iv.2.8-9) and the House of Holiness (x.5.9), which in turn restate Matt 7:13-14. These passages also echo Hesiod, Works and Days 287-91: ‘Badness can be got easily and in shoals: the road to her is smooth, and she lives very near us. But between us and Goodness the gods have placed the sweat of our brows: long and steep is the path that leads to her, and it is rough at the first’.
42.5-42.6 42.5-6 At this point Braggadocchio corresponds neither to Aeneas beholding Venus in the Aen nor to Ruggiero greeting Alcina in OF, but to Ruggiero when Angelica escapes from his grasp (11.1-9).
bastard: debased; unauthorized
Pesaunt: Here, a broad term of abuse implying both low social status and contemptible character.
fowle blott: For the pun on fowle, see the notes to the argument and subsequent references throughout the canto; blott signifies ‘disgrace’.
43.9 leave so proud disdain: Presumably Braggadocchio should mean to say that she leaves ‘with so much’ proud disdain; what he actually says is that she leaves the disdain behind, which implies that it is his, not hers (at 46.6-9 it passes over to Guyon’s horse). He projects his own affect onto Belphoebe more coherently in line 6, ‘Ne car’d he greatly for her presence vayne’.
Perdy: a mild oath
grace: mark of divine favor
Weening: supposing
chevalree: knightly skills of combat, esp. (as here) horsemanship
erne: yearn
Furor: madness fueled by anger
1 arg.1 Aquinas writes that ‘the first reaction of anger is called wrath; enduring anger is called ill-will; when it seeks an opportunity for revenge it is [furor] . . . the Greek word θυμωσις thymosis, which in Latin becomes furor, may imply both quickness to anger and a firm intention to obtain revenge’ (Summa I, qu. 21, art. 108-11, translation modified).
occasion: See OED for the personification of Occasion in 15th- to 17th-c usage, typically as a figure representing opportunity—a commonplace that dates back to late antiquity in the Roman poets Ausonius and Phaedrus, appears in the Greek Anthology, and is illustrated in contemporary emblem books such as Whitney (1586, no. 181, In Occasionem). Given the extended allegory of sin and the law in canto i, with its texture of allusions to Romans 5-7, the mention of ‘occasion’ here will also recall Paul’s celebrated definition of the law as the ‘occasion’ of sin (Rom 7:8); the provocative inversion of causality on which Paul insists (the law creates sin) foreshadows the repeated compounding of cause and consequence in this episode. Cf. also Paul’s admonition against using ‘liberty as an occasion unto the flesh’ (Gal. 5:13-16).
3 Phaon (Phedon 1596): Phaon is the young man addressed by Sappho in Ovid’s Heroides 15. Phedon is mentioned by Aulus Gellius (Noctes Atticae 2.18) and by Ficino (In convivium 6.16) as a handsome young man rescued by Socrates from sexual slavery.
vulgar . . . seed: the common people
pretence: purpose or intention
borne: carried; born;
native influence: birth rather than training
1.5 native influence: ‘Seed’ and ‘blood’ stress ancestry, but ‘influence’ also suggests the effect of the stars at nativity.
skill to ride: Etymologically, chivalry, originally a synonym for ‘cavalry’, but in extended use a term for both the military skills and the ethos of gallantry specific to armed knights in the late Middle Ages.
faine: ‘pretend’ (feign), with a play on ‘wish’ (fain)
menage: handle
1.9 As a noun, ‘menage’ names the ability both to ride horses and to train them.
2.2 The repetition of ‘menage’ emphasizes the allegorical connection, reinforced by the ambiguity of the pronoun ‘his’, between the knight’s horse and the knight’s passionate nature. Cf. the tensions in the opening procession of Book I, where Una rides slowly on a donkey while Redcrosse both spurs his steed and reins it in, or in the first canto of Book II, where Guyon rushes ahead leaving the Palmer behind. Such passages reflect the tradition descending from Plato’s Phaedrus in which the passions are represented as a horse resistant to the bit (cf. 34.1-2, ‘most wretched man / That to affections does the bridle lend’). Here the passion in question is pride, humbled by the need to go on foot; in canto i, it was anger leading to haste.
yeed: go
2.3 yeed: In ME, ‘yeed’ is the past tense of ‘go’; the infinitive ‘to yeed’ appears only in pseudo-archaic usage by 16th-c poets.
slide: go astray
2.6-2.9 2.6-9 Cf. the Palmer’s moralization of the polarity of strength and weakness at i.57.7-9; both passages reflect Aristotle’s concept of virtue as a mean between the excess and deficiency of a given quality (Nic Eth 2.6-9).
3.2, 5 See 10.2-5n. Spenser’s equivocations echo the simile describing Aeneas’s glimpse of Dido in the underworld: qualem primo qui surgere mense / aut vidut aut videsse putat per nubila lunam (‘even as, in the early month, one sees or fancies he has seen the moon rise amid the clouds’; Aen 6.454). Milton echoes this echo in a conspicuously Spenserian moment at the close of PL 1, when ‘Some belated peasant sees / Or dreams he sees’ a fairy dance by moonlight (781-88).
agree: conciliate
3.4 in hast it to agree: For Guyon’s tendency to respond ‘in haste’, see i.13.1-2, i.39.2, ii.25.1, and especially ii.21.6-7.
3.5-3.7 3.5-7 In ‘Slander, A Warning’ (an essay widely known in the Renaissance), Lucian describes a painting by Apelles that shows Slander ‘haling a youth by the hair’ (Works 4.2). He explains that Apelles—falsely accused of conspiracy and nearly executed—transformed his experience into an allegorical painting. For a full account of the Renaissance literary and pictorial tradition to which Lucian’s brief essay gave rise, see Cast (1981).

st. 4-5 Spenser’s allegorical portrait of the ‘wicked Hag’—not named until the Palmer identifies her as Occasion at 10.9—draws upon literary and iconographic traditions for several related figures, including Occasion, Penitence, Fortune, Envy, Discord, and Punishment. Within these traditions, the attributes, appearances, and accoutrements of such figures continually alter as the concepts they embody are redefined. Kiefer (1979), for example, describes the gradual conflation of Fortune with Occasion in the literature, emblems, paintings, and imprese of the Italian Renaissance, as the medieval view of an arbitrary force imposed upon largely passive victims yields to a rival conception of Fortune as a variable set of conditions to be met and mastered by the resourceful human agent.

Occasion is regularly depicted in emblems as a naked young woman with winged heels, not a lame hag clothed in rags. The lameness of Spenser’s hag in 4.3 may echo a verse from Horace used by Van Veen in Horatii Flacci Emblamata (Plate 27a): raro antecedentem scelestum / deseruit pede Poena claudo (‘Punishment with her lame foot rarely forsakes the fleeing criminal’; Odes III.ii.31-32); it may also echo Homer, who says that the sharp-tongued detractor Thersites was ‘bandy-legged and lame in one foot’ (Il 2.217). See Var 2.225-27 and Manning and Fowler (1976).

Beyond these echoes, Spenser recombines elements from at least three sources, Lucian, Ausonius, and Boiardo. From Lucian he takes the image of the young man dragged by the hair—transferring it from Calumny, a beautiful woman, to his ‘mad man’. (The theme of calumny will resurface when this young man’s story is revealed). Unlike Calumny, Spenser’s ‘wicked Hag’ comes stalking after the young man dragged by his hair, in the place of Lucian’s Penitence. As a provocateur in this oddly trailing position, she reflects a persistent motif in canto iv wherein temporal sequences are reversed.

In Ausonius, Epigram 33, Occasio and Metanoea (Regret) appear together as a before-and-after pair. Boiardo offers a similar conception: Orlando, failing to grasp the forelock of Fata Morgana, is set upon by a hag with a flail who identifies herself as ‘Penitenza’ (OI II.ix.1-20). The forelock is a familiar attribute of Occasion, as in the proverb ‘Seize occasion (opportunity, time) by the forelock’ (Smith 1970, no. 777) and in the emblem tradition illustrating it, e.g. Whitney’s In occasionem: ‘What meanes longe lockes before? that suche as meete / Maye houlde at firste, when they occasion finde. / The head behinde all balde, what telles it more? / That none shoulde houlde, that let me slippe before’ (lines 9-12; see arg.2n).

Spenser joins the forelock of opportunity to the abusive speech of Calumny, the ‘vengeaunce’ visited upon her victims by Punishment, and the trailing position of Penitence. This conception mingles figures of consequence with those of cause, suggesting, for example, a connection between the youth dragged along by his hair in st. 3 (consequence) and the forelock (st. 4) by which ‘cause is caught’ (44.6). This compounding of before-and-after reflects the broad irony by which characters in the canto, having mistaken an allegorical figure for the causes of wrath (arg.2n) as the conventional emblem of an opportunity to be grasped, find themselves pursued by the uncontrolled fury they have sought (cf. 32.1n).

4.1-4.2 4.1-2 Cf. Lucian’s description of Penitence, as translated by Melanchthon: A tergo, lugubri habitu, pullata laceraque Poenitentia subsequitur (‘Following behind in mourning guise, black-robed and with torn hair, comes [I think he named her] Repentance’). Bull conjectures that Spenser read pullata as ‘filthy’ rather than ‘black’ (1997, n10).
n’ote: could not, a contraction of ‘ne mote’
walke: ‘move briskly’ (unlike her feet)
5.1 5.1 Cf. Jas 3.6: ‘set among our members . . . [the tongue] defileth the whole bodie, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fyre of hell’; to which the Geneva gloss adds ‘the intemperancie of the tongue is as a flame of hel fyre’.
raught him: ‘brought him’, from ME past tense of ‘reach’ in the sense of ‘give, pass’ (OED).
impetuous: rash
6.3 6.3 See ii.21.5-9n for Guyon’s previous effort to pacify with force.
mighty hands: Cf. Medina’s contrast between ‘mighty hands’ and ‘rightful cause’ at ii.29.8-9.
6.8 The madman’s lack of governance (7.2) is anticipated here in the disarticulated flailing of his hand-to-hand combat, which resembles a tantrum.
wist: knew
6.9 avengement: Trisyllabic.
mickle: much
7.2 governaunce: See i.29.9n for the link to Guyon’s rash anger in the opening episode of Book II.
wyde: Echoing the efforts of passion ‘from the right way . . . to draw him [Guyon] wide’ (2.7).
blent: blinded
7.7 reason blent through passion: Cf. I.ii.5.7, ‘The eie of reason was with rage yblent’.
at randon: Randomly; from OF randir to run fast, hence also impetuously (cf. 6.3).
menaging / Of armes: skilled handling of weapons
8.3-8.4 menaging / Of armes: Cf. 1.9, 2.2; Guyon’s skill is contrasted to the madman’s lack of governance (7.2).
nathemoe: not at all
more enfierced: provoked to greater fierceness
8.8-8.9 The first of several suggestions that in wrestling with the figure of rage Guyon wrestles himself.
villein . . . clownish: peasant . . . rustic
9.1-9.2 villein . . . clownish: Cf. the emphasis on social class in st. 1, and note the contrast between ‘clownish fistes’ and ‘manly face’.
in the place: right then and there
9.4 in the place: For the figurative treatment of space in this episode, see 32.4n.
emboyling: boiling, agitated
unbrace: loosen
10.2-10.5 10.2-5 Echoing the equivocations at 3.2 and 3.5, the Palmer tells Guyon that he only ‘seems to see’ Furor. Having personified both Furor and Occasion as embodied agents whose features, actions, and accoutrements call for interpretation, the allegory now insists they are not really embodied agents after all. Spenser’s allusion to the ‘Calumny of Apelles’ topos, with its emphasis on the artistic processes of embodiment and depiction (see 3.5-7n), anticipates this self-conscious undoing of personification. The Palmer’s decoding sheds light as well on the motif of inverted cause and consequence (st. 4-5n), which complements the transposition of self and other whereby Guyon misreads his own affective state as an embodied adversary (8.8-9n).
10.6-10.9 10.6-9 Here as often, names are disclosed not when a character first appears, but in a climactic moment, to signal that the character’s nature has been revealed. In this instance, the moment of naming confirms an interpretation in which personification as such is revealed to be a symptom of rage.
10.9 10.9 The Palmer seems less concerned that Guyon repress anger’s consequences than that he discern its causes. To disentangle self from other in dealing with rage is also to clarify the relation of causes to consequences.
St. 11 Cf. 2 Cor 11:12: ‘that I may cut away occasion, from them which desire occasion’. The Palmer’s advice that anger needs to be prevented (L pre + venire to come before) arrives belatedly, much as Occasion, with whom he says Guyon ‘Must first begin’, trails after the fury she provokes, introduced with the words ‘And him behynd’ (4.1). On the episode’s play with hysteron proteron, see the notes to 10.2-5 and st. 4-5.
amenage: domesticate
11.2 amenage: From ménage as household, but cf. 1.9, 2.2, and 8.3-4. The emergence of this term as a motif underlines the allegory of horsemanship as anger-management.
corage: wrath
eath: easy
ydle: unoccupied
wood: mad
11.9 11.9 Blocking a river without stopping its source will cause it to flood. Cf. Smith (1970, no. 731), ‘The stream (current, tide) stopped swells the higher’, and Prov 17:14, ‘The beginning of strife is as one that openeth the waters; therefore or [ere] the contention be medled with, leave off’. The Palmer’s advice points to the consequences (flooding) of not attending to causes (stopping the source).
emprise: undertaking
hent: seized
12.2-12.3 12.2-3 Belatedly realizing the proverb ‘to seize occasion by the forelock’ (Manning and Fowler 1976: 264).
n’ould she stent: she would not cease
n’ould she stent: ‘n’ould’ is a contraction of ‘ne would’, ‘stent’ a form of ‘stint’.
he: Guyon
an yron lock: Evoking the branks, or scold’s bridle, ‘a kind of iron framework to enclose the head, having a sharp metal gag or bit which entered the mouth and restrained the tongue’ (OED).
the last help: Both Furor and (as lines 4-5 retroactively suggest) the hands she uses to summon him.
note: could not
defaste: undone
14.3 defaste: The sense ‘destroy, demolish’ reflects the Latin roots of the word (de + facere to make, to do). Given the canto’s emphasis on allegorical personification, the sense ‘mar the face, disfigure’, with its proximate etymology in Fr deffacer (de + face face), suggests that Furor’s defeat is accomplished by undoing the personfication that had given a face and body to an affective state.
at earst: promptly
quaild: daunted
re’nforced: reinforced
15.1-15.2 hundred yron chaines . . . And hundred knots: See Jupiter’s prophecy of the Augustan pax in Virgil: Furor impius intus / saeva sedens super arma et centum vinctus aënis / post tergum nodis fremet horridus ore cruento (‘within, impious Rage, sitting on savage arms, his hands fast bound behind with a hundred brazen knots, shall roar in the ghastliness of blood-stained lips’; Aen 1.294-96).
strakes: streaks
15.5-15.6 15.5-6 Wrath’s eyes similarly give off sparks of fire in the House of Pride (I.iv.33.5-6).
15.5-15.9 15.5-9 The red of Furor’s eyes, the copper of his hair, and the yellow- or orange-brown of his beard are all conventional signs of an irascible temperament. Humoral theory ascribed this temperament to an excess of choler, called ‘yellow bile’ and often associated with the color red.
rank: extreme
16.1 Guyon Furor had captivd: On the episode’s deliberate confounding of self and other, see notes to 8.8-9 and 10.2-5. The question whether Guyon will ‘captive’ Furor or be ‘captivd’ by him has been the crux of the passage; here, the juxtaposition of names underlines the reversibility of the syntax even as context resolves the question.
lying on ground, all soild with blood and mire: The posture of this ‘wretched Squire’ echoes that of the prostrate Mortdant in canto i: cf. ‘the soiled gras’ upon which ‘the dead corse of an armed knight was spred, / Whose armour all with blood besprincled was’ (41.1-3).
respyre: Literally, to breathe; figuratively, ‘To breathe again, after distress, trouble, etc.; to recover hope, courage, or strength’ (OED).
recured: Combining the senses of ‘cured’ and ‘recovered’.
16.9 caytives: Wretch’s, villain’s, but the more specific sense ‘captive’s’, followed by the doubling of ‘thrall’, emphasizes the circularity of Furor as a form of self-captivity or self-defeat.
St. 17-35 The following inset narrative derives from Ariosto (OF 4.42-6.61) and reappears in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (see Evans 2010 on the relations among the three texts). Spenser’s is the only version related in the first person. Tales of friendship destroyed by love (or love destroyed by false friendship) have a distinguished history that includes Chaucer’s ‘Knight’s Tale’ and Shakespeare’s Othello. The story recalls Archimago’s use of a fabricated tale and a disguised female to provoke Guyon at II.i.9-30, and his earlier use of disguised sprights to enrage Redcrosse at I.ii.3-6.
17.2-17.5 17.2-5 These lines introduce a self-exculpating motive that reappears throughout the squire’s tale.
whelming: engulfing
17.5 whelming: In earlier usage, the mention of Fortune refers to the downward turn of her wheel; the sense of submerging under water also recalls Fortune’s association with the sea in the emblem books. Using the term to describe her ‘lap’ may recall the Palmer’s complaint to Gloriana that the ‘wicked Fay’ Acrasia had ‘many whelmd in deadly paine’ (ii.43.3-4), especially as it anticipates the reiterated association of the Bower of Bliss with various female laps (v.36.3, vi.14.6-7, vi.15.4-5, xii.76.9). Fortuna and Occasion were sometimes described as beautiful (or depicted as nude) to emphasize their potentially deceptive allure.
weake wretch: Either one who is helpless and miserable or one who is morally feeble and hence contemptible.
mischiefe: misfortune
trech: trick
17.8 trech: Not in OED; probably formed from ME ‘treche’, to deceive or betray. The c-rhymes in this stanza are revised or corrected in 1596, replacing ‘her guileful trech’ with ‘through occasion’ to rhyme with ‘weakest one’ and ‘light upon’.
18.3 The shared breast of their nurse identifies the two as foster-brothers.
Attonce: together
It was my fortune: Echoes both the opening of st. 18, ‘It was a faithless Squire’, and the emphasis on fortune and ‘hap’ in st. 17. The squire, who characterizes ‘Misfortune’ in terms of female sexual allure (17.5n) even though he knows his male friend to be the source of the ‘guilful trech’ (17.8) that brought him to mischief, fails even now to distinguish his fortune from his misfortune.
partake: inform
20.1 Philemon: From Gk φιλημων philēmōn affectionate. A common Greek proper name, it became the title of ‘The Epistle of Paul to Philemon’ and hence a Christian name of some currency in 16th-c England.
privitie: personal business, intimacy, or secrets
grace: favor
21.1 grace: Cf. ‘gratious’ (20.4), meaning courteous or benevolent, with a secondary sense of charming or pleasing.
Affyaunce: betrothal
mariage make: Cf. Epith 216-17: ‘sacred ceremonies . . . / The which do endlesse matrimony make’.
falser: very false
toward: approaching
22.2 toward: The related sense ‘favorable or propitious’ is also relevant.
assynd: allotted
distaind her honorable blood: stained her family’s honor
stay: pause
22.9 stay: Phaon’s diction in this stanza is marked by legalisms, including treason, assynd, bynd, and stay.
sad: Relevant senses include wise, discreet, sober, grave, mature, sorrowful, and distressing.
infixed: Used twice previously in the poem, both times to describe the action of stinging, first by Errour’s brood (I.i.23.6) and then by the Dragon in Eden (I.xi.11.8). Cf. ‘out wrest’ (23.5) and ‘mortall sting’ (33.5).
engreeved: ‘filled with grief’
23.4 engreeved: Given the legal coloring of Phaon’s diction in this passage, the sense ‘made into a grievance, taken as a ground of accusation’ may be relevant (OED).
sacred band: Cf. 18.6. Phaon’s language reflects a set of attitudes and social practices characteristic of early modern friendship in one of its specific forms: a learned tradition, with classical and medieval roots, in which the formal exchange of vows solemnizes a degree of intimacy, intensity of affect, and sense of mutual obligation that modern custom more often reserves to the marriage relation or domestic partnership.
boorded: approached
boulted: sifted
24.2 boulted: The proverb means that Philemon has found out the truth. Spenser may be echoing Chaucer, CT Nun’s Priest 7.3240: ‘But I ne kan nat bulte it to the bren’.
groome of base degree: A groom is a serving-man or other male of inferior position. Phaon and Philemon have both been identified as squires (16.2, 18.1), a rank just below knighthood. The distance between Phaon’s rank and that of the groom is real, then, but may be less than the distance between himself and his lady of ‘great degree’. His phrasing recalls the ME romance ‘The Squire of Low Degree’, which similarly turns on a deception that keeps the squire apart from his beloved, the king’s daughter.
partener Paramoure: partner by way of sexual desire
24.4 partener Paramoure: The adverbial sense of ‘Paramoure’ reflects its derivation from OF par amour, by or through love. Spenser here plays the sexual sense against the polite usage in which it meant ‘for the sake of love’ or ‘if you please’. Partener glances at its synonym ‘parcener’, familiar in such standard legal phrases as ‘parcener per le cours de commune ley’ and ‘parcener per le custome’ (partner in the course of common law, partner by custom). Spenser’s mock-legalese implies that the ‘groome of base degree’ is a ‘parcener per amour’, that is, a joint tenant in Claribell by virtue of an adulterous liaison.
that: that which
nearer move: more closely affect
gracelesse: Unregenerate, lacking decency; cf. 21.1, 20.4, and 25.4, ‘more pleasing to appeare’.
embosome: cherish; conceal
25.6 Pryene: From L prae before + iens going. Gk πυρ pyr ‘fire’ is also suggested by the reference to ‘blazing pride’ at 26.3. Note the alliterative link to ‘proud through praise’ at 27.1.
25.7-25.9 25.7-9 Cf. 17.4-8, 19.1 for the recurrent emphasis on fortune.
deface: outshine
25.9 deface: Immediate context suggests the sense ‘outshine by contrast’, but the word and its etymology also link Phaon’s tale to the preceding episode’s concern with the poetics of ‘impersonation’ (see 14.3n).
blent: blinded
26.3 blent: Cf. 7.7. She blinds ‘their blazing pride’ by outshining it. In ME the verb can also mean to conceal or put out of sight.
26.5 Claribell: From L clara famous or bright + bella beauty.
as thou art: The rhyming pair (‘all her art’) pointedly contrasts the being ascribed to Pryene with the artifice attributed to Claribell—ironically, since Pryene will soon be dressed in Claribell’s identity.
26.8 Pryene’s impersonation of Claribell, mingling social advancement with pride in ‘gorgeous geare’, recalls the themes of Braggadocchio’s knightly imposture in the previous canto (see esp. iii.5) as well as the emphasis throughout this canto on the trope of allegorical personification.
treachour: traitor; deceiver
27.3 treachour: At 17.8 Phaon ascribed the ‘guilful trech’ to Fortune; here he more properly ascribes it to Philemon, but the accusation still serves to shift his own guilt onto another.
27.3 did remove: Hamilton suggests ‘moved again’ (2001), although OED does not record such a usage. Alternatively, Phaon may be saying that Philemon ‘transferred’ the deception to him; ‘Me leading’ suggests that Phaon is as much self-deceived as betrayed by another.
engin: plot, scheme
27.6 Phaon does not recognize himself as the subject of ‘his’ tragedy.
proper: own
weend: supposed
assayd: afflicted
28.7 assayd: According to OED influenced by ‘assail’.
28.8-28.9 28.8-9 ‘I would rather suffer death ten thousand times than the pain of jealousy and the shame of disgrace’.
deathes: Disyllabic.
priefe: Proof, test. The action of passing through (‘proving’) death is central to Book II, from the allegorical tableau of Mortdant and Amavia in canto i to Guyon’s swoon in canto viii and Arthur’s confrontation with Maleger in canto xi.
gealous worme: serpent of jealousy
repriefe: disgrace
chawing: chewing; ruminating
29.6-29.7 29.6-7 ‘For when, asked the cause of my outrageous deed, I laid out [my justification] for all to see . . .’.
30.1-30.5 30.1-5 The movement from ‘my selfe’ to ‘him’, reinforced by the repetition of ‘first’, shows Phaon displacing the cause of his ‘hellish fury’ to a source outside himself, in keeping with the self-exculpatory motives of his tale. In replacing himself with another as the source of his rage, Phaon enacts the reversal central to the allegory in this canto (see 10.2-5n).
vengeable despight: cruel injury
vengeable despight: Suggesting an outrage that calls for vengeance (cf. 29.2).
faytour: impostor
washt away his guilt: Sardonic reference to absolution. In a Book marked by failed absolutions (Ruddymane in canto ii, Pilate in canto vii), Phaon’s poison is the one instance of efficacious ‘washing’.
31.4-31.5 31.4-5 Playing on the Latin etymology of the name (see 25.6n).
31.5-31.6 first . . . last: In a canto filled with reversals of sequence (see 4-5n and 10.2-5n), Pryene’s move from first to last in Phaon’s program of vengeance suggests that he imagines himself to be working back from consequences to causes (see 30.1-5n). That his confidence is deluded may be suggested by the phrase ‘poursewing my fell purpose’, which implies that he is chasing his own anger.
ghastly dreriment: ‘Dreriment’ is coined by Spenser from ‘dreary’, by analogy to merry/merriment; synonyms are ‘drerihed’ and ‘dreriness’. ‘Dreriment’ appears 12 times in FQ, and is ‘ghastly’ a third of the time.
enforst: compelled; reinforced
32.1 32.1 The rage that ‘enforst’ Phaon’s flight takes embodied form as the ‘mad man’ who pursues him. This emergence of the allegorical personification out of passionate delusion reverses, and retroactively explains, the Palmer’s earlier undoing of the personification allegory (see notes to 10.2-5 and 10.9).
Till: Spenser often uses temporal succession to imply causality.
in middle space: Allegorically the place where extremes are moderated (see ii.20.3); also the rhetorical space in which the relations of first/last, cause/effect, and self/other are subject to chiasmus, or reversal.
32.5 The pattern of self/other reversal is mirrored in the chiasmus of the pronoun sequence ‘I her . . . he me’.
sore chauffed: severely chafed; raged
32.8 The metaphor acknowledges that Furor’s power arises from Phaon’s ‘heat’.
me doen to dye: they have almost killed me
stubborne handeling: ruthless treatment
mortall: deadly
33.5 mortall: Also, characteristic of mortal existence; capable of depriving the soul of grace (as in ‘mortal sin’).
diseasd: Afflicted with illness, but the rhyme-partner ‘easd’ calls attention to the broader meaning implicit in the etymology: deprived of comfort, tormented.
St. 34 For the polarity of strength and weakness as central to temperance, cf. i.57.7-8, ‘The strong it weakens with infirmitie, / And with bold fury armes the weakest hart’, and ii.31.3, ‘Weake she makes strong, and strong thing does increace’.
affections: passions
the bridle lend: See 2.2n.
betimes: speedily; before it is too late
perfect: mature or complete
34.6 perfect: From L perfectus fully grown.
34.7-34.8 34.7-8 Cf. xi.1.1-4 and the attacks on Alma’s castle in cantos ix and xi.
St. 35 Abraham Fraunce quotes these lines in full in Arcadian Rhetoric (1588, E3r) as an example of polyptoton, ‘the repetition of a word in different cases or inflections within the same sentence’ (OED). The four passions on which the elaborate patterning of the syntax is based correspond to the four humors: wrath to choler, jealousy to phlegm, grief to black bile, and love to blood.
do thus expell: This and the verb phrases in lines 6-8 are to be construed as imperatives; cf. Col. 3:8: ‘But now put ye away even all these things, wrath, angre, maliciousnes’.
filth: lust; sins of the flesh
35.4-35.5 35.4-5 ‘The fire bred from sparks, the weed bred from a little seed, the flood bred from drops, and filth bred the Monster’. The lines employ a version of zeugma known as syllepsis: three intransitive clauses are paralleled with a fourth transitive clause, all linked by zeugma to the verb ‘breede’. The effect, in an episode concerned with reversals of sequence, is unsettling.
delay: allay; dilute or temper
outweed: weed out
mischiefe: Cf. the squire’s self-exculpating accusation against ‘Misfortune’ at 17.8, and ‘Unlucky’ in line 1
36.4 governaunce: Cf. Guyon’s ‘goodly governaunce’ (i.29.8n) and Furor’s manifest lack of it (7.2).
36.4-36.5 36.4-5 Cf. John 5:14, ‘Sinne no more, least a worse thing come unto thee’.
read: tell
advaunce: bring forth; raise up
36.7 Phaon: Ovid’s Sappho, yearning for Phaon, laments Uror, ut indomitis ignem exertibus Euris / fertilis accensis messibus ardet ager (‘I burn—as burns the fruitful acre when its harvests are ablaze, with untamed east-winds driving on the flame’; Heroides 15.9-10).
36.7 advaunce: With tendentious senses implied: extol, promote, elevate, put forward as a claim. Cf. ‘rayse . . . to honour’ in line 9.
36.8 Coradin: Gray suggests L cor heart + Atin (2006); cf. 42.5.
37.1 37.1 As at 32.3, succession implies causality.
varlet: male servant
37.2 varlet: May be used as a synonym for either ‘groom’ or ‘squire’
soyld: Cf. Phaon ‘Lying on ground, all soild with blood and myre’ (16.4).
bashed not / For: ‘was unabashed by’
Guyons lookes: Guyon’s glances
eyglaunce at him shot: Punning on ‘glance’ as a blow or impact, as in Hakluyt: ‘they saile away, being not once touched with the glaunce of a shot’ (1589: 1.153).
38.3-38.4 field . . . wreath: Heraldic terms referring to the surface of the shield and to the ornamental border in which the motto is inscribed.
Burnt I doe burne: See arg.2n. This riddling motto makes its first person pronoun at once the subject and the object of its doubled verb: ‘I burn (myself/another) because I am burnt’. It thus condenses the play with cause and consequence, self and other, that runs throughout the canto: ‘Having been burnt by another/myself, I burn myself/others as if in an act of retribution’.
redoubted: dreaded or respected
dartes: javelins or light spears
flit: swift
dight: prepared
place: Cf. the ‘middle space’ of 32.4. The varlet’s belated claim to have preempted this space of figuration extends the canto’s exploration of the relation between preventative and precipitate action.
39.6-39.9 39.6-9 Instead of rising to the bait, Guyon lets go the ‘opportunity’ for rage presented by the varlet’s ‘great boldness’, checking his scorn in order to discover the cause; the internal rhyme ‘not to grow of nought’ emphasizes that Guyon has learned the Palmer’s lesson: ‘who so will raging Furor tame / Must first begin’ with ‘Occasion, the roote of all wrath’ (10.9-11.2).
to him, that mindes his chaunce t’abye: ‘to him who intends to take his chances’, responding to the challenge at 39.5; ‘abye’ in this sense is influenced by ‘abide’.
assay: proven worth
stay: wait for
41.2 Pyrochles: Gk πυρ pyr fire + οχλεω ochleō to be swept away. The correction in FE, reducing the consonant cluster of ‘Pyrrh-’ to ‘Pyr-’, may be calculated to reduce the possibility that a reader will construe the syllable as metrically promoted. In classical quantitative scansion, a syllable spelled ‘Pyrrh’ might be regarded as ‘long by position’ and therefore metrically prominent; the correction thus seems to confirm that the first syllable is not to be regarded as promoted by its orthography and that the first foot of the line therefore conforms to Spenser’s iambic. (For more on Spenser’s interest in the relation of quantitative meter to English verse practice, see the introduction to Letters).
41.5 Cymochles: Gk κυμα kuma wave + οχλεω ochleō to be swept away. For both brothers’ names, meter suggests that the accent should fall on the second syllable.
41.6 Acrates: See II.i.51.2-4n on the etymology of Acrasia as ‘lack of self-control’.
41.7-41.9 41.7-9 Phlegeton is the river of fire in the classical underworld, crossed by Duessa and Sansjoy at I.v.33.3 on their way to visit Aesculapius. Jarre is discord; Herebus is Erebus, generally the region of the underworld. Hesiod, Theog 123-25, makes Erebus and Night the children of Chaos. In making Erebus the son of Aeternitie, Spenser may be adapting Boccaccio (Gen Deor 1.1), who derives Night from Herebus and Litigium (Jarre), who in turn derive from Demogorgon and Aeternitie.
41.8 41.8 The hypermetric line creates an unusual double alexandrine in this stanza. The isochronic tendencies of these lines build on the marked pattern of repetition begun in lines 6-7 to intensify the archaic theogonic turn given to the brothers’ genealogy.
race: ancestry
Drad: dreaded
derring doe: Bold action, courage, a usage derived from misunderstanding of the ME idiom, which meant ‘daring [to] do’; cf. SC Oct 65 gloss by E.K., ‘manhoode and chevalrie’.
His am I: i.e. his attendant
42.5 Atin: From Gr ατη atē (‘mischief’ or ‘ruin’), + OF atine incitement to battle (Heiatt 1975: 185); the line thus suggests that Atin is not only Pyrochles’ attendant but his occasion, riding ahead to start the cycle of fury anew. Ate, the Greek goddess of discord who provoked the Trojan War (II.vii.55.4-9) will appear as a character in Book IV.
stead: place
42.8 stead: Cf. 39.3n.
confusion: destruction
behight: commanded

44.1-7 The Palmer’s comment in these lines brings out the implicit irony of an allegorical figure who combines the iconography of strife with that of opportunity (Occasio; see st. 4-5n). Only from the point of view of Atin and his lord, Pyrochles, does strife appear as an opportunity to be ‘caught’ by the forelock. The rhyming pair ‘seeke’ and ‘followes eke’ (like the epithet ‘mad man’, repeated from 3.5) link Pyrochles’ reversal of sequence to the predicament initially faced by Guyon and then elaborated in

Phaon’s tale (see notes to 30.1-5 and 31.5-6).

rusty: reddish-brown with dried blood
cause is caught: ‘occasion [for anger] is seized’. In formulating the reversal of sequence by which Pyrochles, already inflamed, looks for a reason to be angry, this phrase condenses the canto’s sustained meditation on cause and effect with its reversals of pursuit.
upbray: reproach (cause to be blamed)
silly: defenseless
45.5-45.7 45.5-7 Echoing Dido’s bitter reproach to Aeneas: egregiam vero laudem et spolia ampla refertis / tuque puerque tuus; magnum et memorabile numen, / una dolo divum si femina victa duorum est (‘Splendid indeed is the praise and rich the spoils ye win, thou and thy boy [Ascanius]; mighty and glorious is the power divine, if one woman is subdued by the guile of two gods!’; Aen 4.93-95).
thrillant: piercing
vengeable despight: See 30.3n; here ‘despight’ suggests rather ‘contempt’ than ‘injury’.
intended: guided
empight: implanted itself
46.6-46.8 46.6-8 Cf. Eph 6.16, ‘Above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye may quench all the fyrie dartes of the wicked’, and Whitney, Calumniam contra calumniatorem virtus repellit (‘virtue beats back slander against the slanderer’; 1586, no. 138b, trans. Green 1866).
2-4 arg.2-4 In 1596 these lines are revised to read ‘And Furors chayne unbinds, / Of whom sore hurt, for his revenge / Atin Gymochles finds’ (‘G’ for ‘C’ in Cymochles being an error carried over from the 1590 text). This change extends the summary of the action beyond Atin’s departure, related at 25.4-9, to include his discovery of Cymochles in the Bower, described in st. 28-36.
apply: devote
frame: shape or discipline
stubborne perturbation: Alluding to the Gk etymology shared by the names of the brothers Pyrochles and Cymochles: ὀχλεω ochleō to be swept away, to disturb by tumult.
embatteiled: apparelled for combat
2.4-2.5 2.4-5 A consistent allegory of the elements fire (anger) and water (desire) attaches to the brothers in this canto, culminating in Pyrochles’ failed baptism (vi.42-51). These lines introduce the motif by mingling the apparent opposites, perhaps to suggest that they are closely related (allegorically brothers) after all; cf. i.34.7-9 for the anticipation of this hint in the combination of wrath and concupiscence that overtakes Guyon in his near-assault on Redcrosse.
stire: stir, excite to action
chaffar: bandy
3.2 chaffar: Literally, exchange for profit (cf. Mother Hubberd 1159, ‘He chaffred Chayres in which Churchmen were set’). Cf. i.25.9 and note; Guyon here encounters his own previous error, now objectified in Pyrochles.
prickt: Allegorically the knight is spurring his own animal passions, represented by the horse he rides; cf. 36.1 and 38.9, where Atin pricks the recumbent Cymochles first with ‘his sharp pointed dart’ and then ‘with spurs of shame and wrong’.
smouldring: suffocating
smoke: to go with the ‘sparkling fire’ of 2.6, both suggested by the etymology of the name ‘Pyrochles’ (see iv.37.4-7 and 41.2n)
sturdy: in ME and early modern usage, violent, fierce, or cruel; cf. E.K.’s gloss to SC Feb 149, ‘Sterne strife) said Chaucer .s. fell and sturdy.’
sell: saddle
truncked: truncated
St. 4-5 The accidental beheading of your opponent’s horse is bad form in chivalric romance. For variations on this typical incident, see Bevis of Hampton 1885-98, Morte D’Arthur 10.42, OI 3.8.38, and OF 24.105-6.
shent: scolded
5.7 It is unclear how Pyrochles would know anything about Guyon’s past behavior.
6.2-6.3 the upper marge / Of his sevenfolded shield: See iii.1.9n. Spenser’s phrase here may translate Aen 12.925, clipei extremos septemplicis orbis, (‘the sevenfold shield’s utmost circle’).
targe: shield
bever: visor
disarme: disable
7.7 disarme: Punning grimly on the idea of cutting the arm off altogether; cf. vi.14.6-7, where Phaedria lays Cymochles’ ‘head disarmed / In her loose lap’.
bate: bit
dint: blow
grieved: afflicted with pain and/or mental suffering
entyre: inwardly and utterly
8.4 added flame unto his former fire: Cf. I.i.19.3 where Una urges Redcrosse to ‘Add faith unto your force, and be not faint’; the alliterative echoes as well as the similar formulation make Pyrochles a parody of holiness; instead of godly virtue to righteous effort, he adds anger to itself.
molt: melted
approved: proven
warlike gyre: A combat maneuver that involves circling sharply around to strike.
saufgard: safety; defensive stance
foynd: thrust
throwes: violent strokes
athwart: obliquely
t’illude: to deceive
St. 10 Cf. Timon of Athens 4.3.336-8: ‘wert thou the unicorn, pride and wrath would confound thee and make thine own selfe the conquest of thy fury’. The lion’s trick is referred to in Julius Caesar 2.1.203-5 and described in Topsell 1607, which also characterizes the unicorn as ‘a beast of an untamable nature’ (p. 557). Job 39:13 asks, ‘Canst thou binde the unicorne?’
him . . . applyes: ‘Places himself in contact with’; possibly a comic echo of the canto’s opening line.
precious horne: Thought to have magical medicinal properties.
fayld: deceived
11.1 fayld: From L fallere to decieve; cf. III.xi.46.9, ‘So lively and so like, that living sence it fayld’.
queint: quenched, extinguished
the Saint: Gloriana
11.7 the Saint: Cf. i.28.7, ‘that faire image of that heavenly Mayd’, and IV.pr.4.2, ‘But to that sacred Saint my soveraigne Queene’.
offer of: opportunity for
offer of: The irony implicit in ‘offer’ is contradicted by Pyrochles’ cry for mercy in lines 7-9, but cf. his call for death at vi.45.5 and his scornful rejection of Arthur’s offered mercy at viii.51-52.
12.8 12.8 ‘Do not judge your force according to the unjust judgment of fortune’ (Hamilton 2001). Smith 1909, following Jortin 1734, suggests ‘but’ for ‘by’.
maugre: A verb expressing defiance: ‘damn her spite’.
13.2 advizement slow: As opposed to ‘hasty wroth’.
th’equall die: impartial luck
th’equall die: With a pun on die.
hazardry: gambling, taking risks
grated: clenched
sandy: yellowish red
14.4 sandy: Cf. Furor’s red eyes, copper hair, and tawny beard (iv.15.5-9n).
14.9 14.9 ‘Whose bounty he wondered at more than his might, yet he wondered at both’; or, ‘Whose bounty was greater than his might, yet he wondered at both’.
St. 15 The narrator addresses Guyon in similar terms at III.i.7.5-9.
15.5 ‘Yet soon gained far more than he had lost’.
15.9 15.9 Cf. Guyon’s self-defeating combat with Furor, iv.8.8-9.
16.1 16.1 Echoing Medina’s exhortation, ‘O fly from wrath, fly, O my liefest Lord’ (ii.30.5).
lesser partes: The bodily sources of the passions, internal organs and humors.
jarre: discord
16.4 hartmurdring love: Like that of Mortdant and Amavia.
16.7-16.9 16.7-9 Echoing Redcrosse’s question to Guyon at i.29.5-9.
dread: dreadfulness
St. 17 Pyrochles misconstrues the allegorical tableau as an opportunity for chivalric rescue. See 3.2n and cf. Archimago’s provocation of Guyon, i.9-11.
17.2-17.5 17.2-5 It is unclear who could have made this complaint, since Pyrochles arrives just after Atin flees (see 2.9).
bare: unprotected
effort: compulsion
17.4 effort: From ‘efforce’; cf. xii.43.6-7, ‘wisdomes power, and temperaunces might, / By which the mightiest things efforced bin’.
assoyled: released
use: customary behavior
streight: promptly
garre: cause
garre: See E.K.’s gloss SC Apr 1.
20.3 Alluding to the theological point that human nature resists grace; Furor belongs entirely to the ‘lesser partes’ that ‘move’ war within the self (16.1-2).
wood: insane
affronted: confronted
uncouth: strange or unseemly
wroke: avenged
dishabled: belittled
21.7 At i.5.2 Archimago lies in wait for Redcrosse ‘In hope to win occasion to his will’.
entise: incite or inflame
21.9 entise: Probably from L titio firebrand.
durt: mud
22.6-22.9 22.6-9 Cf. Jas 3:6, ‘And the tongue is fire’ and iv.5.1.
22.7 Stygian: Relating to the river Styx, or more generally the classical underworld of Hades where Styx and four other rivers ran. Normally Phlegethon is the infernal river associated with fire (cf. ‘flaming Phlegeton’ at vi. 50.9). OED notes that Styx (Gk Στυξ) is etymologically linked to ‘hate’ and ‘hateful’.
disdeignd: regarded with indignation
wretched man: Cf. Rom 7:24 ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’
gan him dight: prepared himself
25.4-25.9 25.4-9 Atin, having fled at the close of the previous canto (iv.46.9, v.2.1), here flees a second time.
late: lately
for terrour of his name: I.e., ‘to make his reputation more terrifying’.
26.8-26.9 26.8-9 When Redcrosse fights Sansloy, Sansfoy’s shield is displayed on a tree as the spoils (with Duessa) of the combat (I.v.5.7-8).
Dame: From L domina, suggesting domination or command.
St. 27-35 These stanzas offer a preview of the ‘Bowre of Blisse’, extensively described in the final canto of Book II. A number of specific verbal echoes link the two passages.
27.2 Acrasia: See i.51.2-4n for the etymology of the name.
hewes: shapes
mewes: cages
by kynd: by nature
28.3-28.5 lust and loose living . . . he has pourd out his ydle mynd: Cf. I.vii.7.1-3, where Redcrosse pours ‘out in loosnesse’ with his ‘Dame’ Duessa; the lustful activity seems to have a similar weakening effect on both Cymochles and the hero of Book I.
delices: delights
28.7 28.7 The mollification of Mars by Venus, derived from the invocation to Lucretius De Rerum (1.1-49) is a common topos in the iconography and Neoplatonic philosophy of the Italian Renaissance that recurs with frequent variations in FQ. Cf. I.pr.3.7-9n.
29.1-29.2 29.1-2 The idea that art’s imitation of nature can turn into a rivalry is common in early modern discussions of art and literature. Spenser harks back to Ovid’s description of the grotto sacred to Diana (Met 3.155-62), by way of Tasso, GL 16.9-12. Spenser will develop this topos with extensive echoing of both passages in canto xii.
29.3 wanton Yvie: Sacred to Bacchus, ivy is wanton because it clings to everything; see I.i.48.9n.
fragrant Eglantine: Sweet-briar, a species of rose featuring ‘strong hooked prickles, pink single flowers, and small aromatic leaves’ (OED).
29.5 prickling armes: ‘Eglantine’ derives from L aculentus prickly.
29.8 Zephyrus: the west wind; cf. Chaucer, CT Gen Pro, ‘And Zephyrus eke with his sweete breath / Inspired hath in every holt and heeth / The tendre croppes’ (3-5).
pumy stones: lava rock
Traveiler: one who journeys; one who labors
thristy: thirsty
display: sprawl
31.2-31.5 31.2-5 These lines mingle references to the oak, sacred to Jove (Od 14.327-28, repeated at 19.296, and Met 1.106), and the poplar, sacred to Hercules (Idylls 2.121 and Ecl 7.61; Georg 2.66; Aen 5.134, 8.276-77). Olympick Jove further suggests the olive, used to crown victors at the Olympic Games (Statius, Thebaid 6.5-8).
31.5 Nemus: Where Hercules slew the Nemean lion.
comfort: delight, refreshment
displaid: Cf. 30.7.
follies: lewd actions
32.6 follies: From Fr folie, akin to the modern theatrical use, as context indicates.
disaray: undress
32.7 disaray: With a glance at ‘put into disorder’.
meet habiliments: proper attire
32.9 The description of the damsels as both ‘naked’ and ‘deckt’ may simply mean that they are adorned with jewelry, not garments. But the apparent contradiction, underlined by the juxtaposition ‘naked, deckt’, extends the confusion of art and nature (29.1-2n) to the female body, suggesting that this body is ‘ornamented’ by nature. Cf. the description of Belphoebe, where details of her attire and its highly ornamented description (‘golden fringe’, ‘close enwrapped’ knots, ‘the temple of the Gods’, breasts that ‘through her thin weed their places only signifide’) signify anatomical features not otherwise revealed (iii.26-29).
St. 33-34 Upton identifies these stanzas as a direct translation of GL 16.18-19. The contrast between the aggressive solicitation of the maidens and Cymochles’ feigned slumber emphasizes the perversity of his desire to ‘steale a snatch’ of what is so freely offered.
aggrate: gratify
glancing: casting momentary looks; flashing or shining
dropping like honey dew: Cf. Prov. 5.3, ‘For the lippes of a strange woman drop as an honie combe, and her mouth is more soft then oyle’. The Geneva gloss adds, ‘By oyle and honie he meaneth flattering and craftie intisements’.
bathed kisses: Perhaps an ellipsis for ‘bathed [him with] kisses’.
embrew: soak or pour
sugred licour: sweet fluid
33.6 sugred licour: From L liquor liquidity.
33.9 all for tryall: Repetition and orthography suggest a pun.
wanton eies: Echoing the ‘wanton Yvie’ of 29.3.
snatch: hurried grab; fragment; portion seized on; a trap or snare
conceipt: fantasy
34.6 conceipt: Either the general power of conceiving, or a specific notion. The spelling recalls an etymological link to L capere seize, reinforced by the phrase ‘steale a snatch’.
receipt: recipe or ingredients
34.9 receipt: Also ‘act of receiving’, in pointed contrast to Cymochles’ fantasy of seizing.
35.1 St. 35 For the topos of rousing an erstwhile warrior from his lapse into sensuality, cf. Aen 4.265-76, OF 7.57-64, and GL 16.32-33.
35.6 Acrates: For the etymology linking this name to ‘Acrasia’ see iv.41.6 and i.51.2-4n.
dart: Cf. the poison darts borne by Atin on his first appearance at iv.38.7, and the recurrent association of Pyrochles with ‘pricking’ (3.3n).
36.2 36.2 Cf. GL 16.33.2-3: qual viltà l’alleta? / Su su (‘what sloth doth thee infect? / Up, up’; trans. Fairfax).
prowest: worthiest, most brave or gallant
weetlesse: unaware
sencelesse ground: An unconventional instance of transferred epithet, since in fact the ground is senseless.
utmost grudging spright: final unwilling breath and/or spirit
37.7 Furies: See ii.29.2n.
deare dismay: costly defeat
38.8-38.9 pricketh . . . pricks: See 3.3 note.
immodest: lewd
1 immodest: From L modus measure, by way of immodestus excessive, immoderate. See 37.4 for the only other use in the poem.
1.1 St. 1 Paraphrasing Nic Eth 2.3, to the effect that pleasure is harder to resist than anger. Aristotle adds that both art and virtue address themselves to what is difficult, since the greater the difficulty, the greater the success. The analogy between art and virtue is especially resonant for FQ.
Continence: self-restraint
1.1 Continence: The ability to ‘contain’ appetites and impulses. In Aristotle, ευκραςια eukrasia. Cf. akrasia in i.51.2-4n.
uneathes: not easily
faine: eagerly
abstain: Transitive use is unusual, according to OED ‘probably a literary imitation of the trans. use of L abstinere’. It means either that ‘feeble nature’ can hold her enemies at bay or that she can keep herself away from them. The 1596 reading, ‘restraine’, is more conventional and less equivocal.
St. 2-19 Some narrative details in this episode derive from OI; see Var 2.240-41; Kostic, Spenser’s Sources 272-80 and 368.
Gondelay: Gondola
2.7 Gondelay: A light skiff with cabin amidships, rising to a point on each end.
arbours: Vines or shrubs trained on a lattice or other framework.
3.4 Pope Jone: Legendary medieval figure reported to have held the papacy in the 9th century while disguised as a man. Cf. Boccaccio, De mulieribus claris CI, De Iohanna anglica papa (‘Joan, an Englishwoman and Pope’). The phrase as merry as Pope Joan was proverbial (Smith 1970, no. 529); Foxe, quoting the proverb, associates its mirth with ‘the pleasures of Venus, Bacchus, and Ceres’ (Actes 1583, 159). Pope Joan was invoked often by anti-Catholic polemicists in the 16th century, but in 1587 the French antiquary de Raemond debunked the legend using methods of humanist textual scholarship, and by 1596 Spenser has replaced this proverb with the phrase ‘that nigh her breth was gone’.
3.7-3.9 3.7-9 Cf. Aristotle’s disapproval of vacuous laughter at Nic Eth 4.8.
barke: ship
painted: artificially colored
St. 5 Echoing Homer on the ships of the Phaecians, which ‘have no pilots, nor steering-oars . . but of themselves understand the thoughts and minds of men’ (ου γαρ Φαιηκεσσι κυβερνητηρες εασιν, / ουδετι πηδαλι’ εστι, τα τ᾽ αλλαι νηες εχουσιν: / αλλ᾽ αυται ισασι νοηματα και φρενας ανδρων; on gar phaiēkessi kybernētēres easin, / oudeti pēdali’ esti, ta t’ allai nēes echousin: / all’ autai isasi noēmata kai phrenas andrōn, Od 8.557-9). Similar boats appear in OF 30.11 and GL 14.57-65.
liquid: transparent
5.2 liquid: As a modifier for air or sky, a distinctively Spenserian usage, following poetic use of L liquidus by Virgil, Horace, and other Roman authors.
pin: wooden peg
apply: steer
5.7 apply: From nautical senses of L applicare ‘to bring (a ship to a destination), to land’ (OED).
wanton: frivolous
6.1 wanton: Implying a promiscuity not limited to sex.
purpose: conversation
6.3 purpose: ‘That which is propounded; a proposition, a question, an argument; a riddle’ (OED). Phaedria’s purpose lacks, as it were, purpose.
merry tales: A phrase that appears in the titles of popular jestbooks like Merie tales by Skelton, one of four volumes Spenser lent Gabriel Harvey in 1578.
feign: fashion
6.4 feign: From L fingere to shape or pretend.
toys: flirtatious behaviors
aguize: deck
plight: braided
frigot: frigate, a small light ship built for speed
sovenaunce: memory
8.3 sovenaunce: From L subvenīre to come into the mind.
8.8-8.9 8.8-9 Cf. the role of Medina at ii.27-32.
9.3 and what that usage ment: cf. I.iii.32.8, ‘what the Lyon ment’.
cott: ‘A small roughly-made boat, used on the rivers and lakes of Ireland; a “dug-out”’ (OED).
9.7 Phaedria: From Gk φαιδρος phaidros glittering, cheerful; cf. arg.1. Familiar from Euripides, Seneca, Ovid, Virgil, and Renaissance mythographers as the name of the ‘wanton stepdame’ (I.v.37.5) whose destructive passion led to the death of the chaste Hippolytus.
10.2 Idle lake: Cf. Gen 14:3, ‘the salte Sea’, for which the Geneva gloss reads: ‘Called also dead Sea, or the lake Asphaltite nere unto Sodom and Gomorah’. Joseph Wybarn in 1609 seems to be making this connection when he refers to those who have ‘drowned themselves in the dead sea of pleasure’; a marginal gloss beside the phrase refers readers to ‘The Legend of Phaedria in the 2. booke of the Faeyerie Queene’ (Sp All, 120).
swelling Neptune . . . thundring Jove: waves . . . storms
waste and voyd: uncultivated and uninhabited
waste and voyd: Cf. 11.9-12.1 for its fertility.
floted: Cf. Conti Myth 9.6 on the island of Delos as instabilis per illud tempus, sub vndis forte e delitescebat (‘unstable and at that time as it happened hidden under the waves’; 273.33); also Aen 3.73-77, and Met 6.189-91. Other classical references to floating islands are found in Homer, Herodotus, Pindar, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Hyginus, and Lucian. Early maps show floating ‘Isles of St. Brandan’ in various parts of the Atlantic, and European navigators went in search of them. See Hereford Mappa Mundi, Richard of Haldingham (1280); Paolo Toscanelli’s World Map (1476); Erdapfel globe, Martin Behaim (1492); one helpful source is Peter De Roo’s History of America Before Columbus According to Documents and Approved Authors; J.B. Lippencott Company; 1900; the first chapter of the second volume is completely dedicated to the legend and history of the islands.
12.1-12.2 12.1-2 Cicero, in de Oratore, imagines Odysseus, when Calypso and Circe offer him immortality, declaring his preference for ut Ithacam illiam in asperrimis saxulis, tamquam nidulum (‘that Ithaca of his, lodged like a tiny nest upon the roughest of small crags’; I.196); cf. Od 9.29-36. Transferred to a simulacrum of the Bower of Bliss, the simile insinuates the locale’s seductive allure as a false image of the home one longs for.
12.6-12.7 12.6-7 Initiates a series extending into st. 13 that inventories the bounty of the island entirely through negation. Cf. Gen 2:5: ‘And every plant of the fielde, before it was in the earth, and every herbe of the field, before it grewe’.
arborett: little tree
12.7 arborett: The first recorded use in OED.
St. 13 Cited by Robert Alott in England’s Parnassus (1600) as an example of ‘the choysest Flowers of our Modern Poets’ (475). The first six lines had been adopted by Thomas Watson in 1593 for The Tears of Fancie (51).
ditt: words for music
13.4 ditt: From ME ‘dite’ (something written) by association with ‘ditty’ (song).
fild: filled or defiled
head disarmd: Literally unhelmeted, but the comical pun calls attention to the idea that Cymochles’ mind is defenseless.
fearing not be harmd: Ellipsis for ‘not t’ be harmd’, with the contraction assimilated to the final ‘t’ in ‘not’.
charmd: From L carmina song.
St. 15-17 Phaedria’s song mingles allusions to classical, Biblical, and Italian precedents, including the Lotus-eaters in Od 9, Gen 3:10, Matt 6:25-34, and the Siren’s lullaby to Rinaldo in Tasso (GL 14.62-64).
15.1-15.3 15.1-3 ‘O man, who takes toilsome pains, behold how the flowers, etc., make themselves an example to you’.
15.4-15.5 15.4-5 ‘While nature, not at all envious, throws them forth out of her fruitful lap’.
pompous: magnificent, full of pomp
E.K. glosses flowre deluce as ‘Flowre delice, that which they use to misterme, Flowre de luce, being in Latine called Flos delitiarum’ (SC Apr 144). L deliciae delights, charms.
to them . . . yield: I.e., ‘yield to their example’.
stoure: turmoil
16.9 ‘She leaves all the worrying to Mother Nature’.
17.1-17.2 17.1-2 Echoing Ps 8:6-8, to which the Geneva gloss reads, ‘By the temporal gifts of mans creation he is led to consider the benefites which he hathe by his regeneration through Christ’.
Who shall him rew, that: ‘Who is going to pity the man that’.
thrist: thirst (by metathesis)
18.2 wordly: 1596 ‘worldly’, of which wordly is an archaic form, as in Skelton’s phrase ‘wordly wondre’ (Vox Populi xi.38).
slouthfull: Echoing its root-word ‘slow’.
griesy: 1596 ‘griesly’. Related forms, both similar to the modern ‘grisly’, horrible; in context (cf. slouthfull), 1590 also puns on ‘greasy’. Cf. agrise at 46.7.
wefte: wafted, i.e. sailed
strond: strand, i.e. the shore
where him she byding fond: ‘Where she found him waiting’.
sad: serious
tooke a boord: In colloquial use, ‘sexually accommodated’.
19.7-19.9 19.7-9 Cf. 4.8-9, ‘but Atin by no way / She would admit, albe the knight her much did pray’. Phaedria’s gondola responds to her wishes, suggesting that her motions are self-willed (see st. 10); hence Guyon’s ‘guide’ (20.1) must be excluded. Cf. xii.3.1, where the Boatman rowing Guyon and the Palmer to Acrasia’s island bids the Palmer ‘stere aright’.
flitt: swift
obaying to her mind: See st. 5n.
guize: conduct
21.1 guize: Cf. ‘style’ at 22.1.
reare: begin
jollity: pleasure, with sexual connotation
gibe: taunt
geare: jeer
bonds: boundaries
23.2-23.5 23.2-5 Cf. what the narrator says about winds and tides at 20.8-9, and Phaedria’s own comments on her navigation at 10.2-9.
mote: must
fields did laugh: Cf. Ps 65:13, where pastures and valleys ‘showte for joye, and sing’ because they are covered with sheep and corn; the Geneva gloss adds, ‘That is, the dumme creatures shall not onely reioyce for a time for Gods benefites, but shal continually sing’. For discussion of this echo and comparison of eight different English translations of the Biblical passage, see Shaheen (1976: 52, 190-91). Cf. Petrarch’s phrase Ridono i prati (RS 310.5, ‘the meadows laugh’), Lucretius’ invocation to Venus in De Rerum, tibi suavis daedala tellus / summittit flores, tibi rident equora ponti (‘for you the wonder-working earth puts forth sweet flowers, for you the wide stretches of ocean laugh’; 1.7-8), and Arthur’s memory of the day he dreamed of Gloriana: ‘The fields, the floods, the heavens with one consent / Did seeme to laugh on me, and favour mine intent’ (I.ix.12.8-9).
25.4 native musicke . . . skilful art: Yet another intertwining of ‘natural’ beauty with (potentially malicious) artifice.
martiall guize: armor
26.2 26.2 Hamilton 2001 suggests plausibly that Guyon’s ‘posture declares his control over the fountain of affections’. John Bulwer in Chirologia (1644) catalogues the hand upon the heart as gesture LII, Conscienter affirmo, glossing it as a token of ‘sincere asseveration’ (88-89).
thewed: mannered
part: ‘a piece of conduct, an act’ (OED)
steme: steam
27.5 steme: OED cites this as the sole instance in which the sense ‘to emit, send out in the form of vapor’ is used figuratively to mean ‘evaporate’. Hamilton 2001 suggests ‘steep’ or ‘dissolve in steam,’ implying that ‘steme’ works with ‘quench’ in the next line to portray the ‘molten heart’, plunged into a cold bath of sloth, expending its heat in steam.
28.7-28.9 28.7-9 Echoing Deut 28:26, ‘And thy carkeis shal be meat unto all foules of the ayre’, one of the ‘threatenings’ levelled against those who defy the Mosaic law. The Geneva gloss stresses that the disobedient will be ‘cursed bothe in thy life and in thy death’ because the burial here denied is a ‘testimonie of the resurrection’. Cf. also the taunts between David and Goliath in 1 Sam 17:44 and 46.
importune: violent
29.2 importune: Perhaps with ‘untimely’ or ‘inopportune’ as a secondary sense.
prepard to field: prepared for combat
valew: valor
29.4 valew: ‘Value’ and ‘valor’ are etymologically so intertwined in ME and early modern usage that the phrase inevitably suggests a moral as well as martial equivalence between the combatants.
29.5 haberjeons dismayld: ‘Knocked the metal plates off their sleeveless coats of mail’.
29.5 dismayld: ‘Divested of armor’, with the punning sense ‘unmanned’.
spalles: shoulders
entayld: carved or engraved
giambeux: leg-armor
29.9 giambeux: Hamilton 2001 suggests that this spelling may derive from Chaucer, CT Thopas 875.
grudging: aggrieved by
wroke: vindicated from or avenged for
enhaunst: raised
sway: swing
St. 32-36 Cf. Medina’s intervention at ii.27-32.
feld: cast down.
32.3 feld: The reflexive use of ‘felled’ is not recognized in OED.
wo worth: woe unto
race: descent
authour: source, cause
in bale to sterve: to die in grief
scarmoges: skirmishes
34.5 scarmoges: The ‘cruell’ game may disarm her skirmishes or they may disarm the game; this ambiguity of syntax, together with the hypallage between her erotic ‘game’ and the knights’ combative ‘scarmoges’, anticipates the extended troping of love as combat in the ensuing lines.
34.6-34.9 34.6-9 It is difficult to escape the implication that Phaedria is here proposing a sexual encounter in which she will yield a ‘pleasaunt victory’ to both knights, leaving them nothing to fight over. Since hypallage is Greek for ‘interchange, exchange’, there may be a witty subtextual parallel between Phaedria’s rhetoric and her sexual ethos.
Alarmes: calls to ‘arms’
shend: disgrace
commend: grace or adorn
35.6-35.9 35.7-9 Cf. the invocation to Cupid at I.pr.3.7-9.
extremities: Cf. ii.38.4, ‘The strong extremities of their outrage’.
36.3 Prov 15:1, ‘Soft answer putteth away wrath: but grievous wordes stirre up angre’.
clemency: mildness
that other part: the farther shore of the lake
he light did pas: he regarded lightly
he light did pas: ‘Light’ modifies either ‘he’ or ‘pass’, from Phaedria’s point of view, but from Guyon’s it modifies ‘delight’, to which it is drawn by the internal rhyme.
solemne sad: Cf. the description of Redcrosse at I.i.2.8.
coy: modest, reserved
That: i.e. so that
37.9 amove: The narrator uses a relatively uncommon sense (‘To remove [a person or thing] from a position; to dismiss [a person] from an office’) to characterize Phaedria’s displeasure at her failure to ‘amove’ Guyon in the more usual sense of arousing him.
The which: Referring to her ‘swift bote’.
salied: jumped
shard: gap
38.9 shard: I.e. the lake regarded as a ‘perlous’ break in the continuity of ‘terra firma’.
tracted . . . trade: tracked . . . path, footprints
invade: assail
famous enimy: Presumably Pyrochles.
passion fraile: an ellipsis for ‘passion that, strong in itself, makes human nature frail’
which him late did faile: OED labels this construction ‘the dative of the person’, citing as another example the King James rendering of 1 Kings 2:4, ‘There shall not faile thee . . . a man on the throne of Israel’. The preposition to is understood.
40.9 delayd: cooled, quenched; postponed
St. 41-42 At OI 3.1.20-21, Mandricardo dashes through fire and leaps into a fountain to save himself.
stept: steeped
flasht: For the mingling of fire and water, see v.2.4-5n. The syntax of lines 6-7 is latinate, with ‘the waves about’ serving as the object of both ‘flasht’ and ‘swept’: i.e. he flasht the waves about (with his raging arms) and his armor swept the waves about (so that it was washed clean).
bet: beat
43.6 Harrow . . . and well away: A cry of alarm; cf. Chaucer, ‘John . . . gan to crie “Harrow!” and “Weylaway! / Oure hors is lorn (CT Reeve 4071-73).
dismall: evil or cursed
dismall: Echoing L dies mali evil days; two days of each month were so designated in the medieval calendar. 1590 gives this line as ‘What dismall day hath lent but this his cursed light’, a reading that is both nonsensical and hypermetrical; 1596 revises to ‘What dismall day hath lent this cursed light’. There is no evidence as to whether the change is compositorial or authorial; we take it to be compositorial, and prefer to correct by removing ‘but this’. It is possible that the untenable 1590 reading resulted from a two-stage misconstrual of manuscript copy. If Spenser originally wrote ‘What dismall day hath lent vs [or ‘his’] cursed light’, and then added ‘this’ and ‘his’ [or ‘vs’] side by side above the line as possible replacements, the compositor could have misconstrued the unfinished revision as an insertion (stage one misconstrual). At the same time, he misread ‘vs’ as ‘but’: the heavily inked descender on a secretary hand ‘v’ makes it possible to read it as a ‘b’, and Spenser’s own terminal ‘s’ resembles the rounded form of a terminal ‘t’.
damnifyde: injured; damned
43.8 damnifyde: Cf. modern ‘indemnify’.
St. 44 In the details of immersion and of death as a means ‘to respyre’, there is a generalized allusion to the language of Romans 6 on baptism. Cf. i.55.3, 55.9 and notes.
implacable: Accented on the first syllable.
45.4 And dying dayly, dayly yet revive: a cruel parody of Paul’s instructions about daily death (Rom 12:1, 1 Cor 15:31).
his owne health remembring now no more: Parallels the lack of ‘sovenaunce’ at 8.3.
46.6-46.9 46.6-9 For the muddy waters of Cocytus (Cocyti stagna) in the classical underworld seeVirgil (Aen 6.323-30). In Tasso, Armida’s castle is surrounded by an asphalt lake (GL 10.61-62, acque . . . bituminose e calde / e steril lago) in which nothing can sink. Cf. also the Stygian marsh in Dante, Inf 7.108-130.
Engrost: thickened
agrise: horrify
arming: belonging to the armor of a knight
hath at earst thee hent: has seized you now
secret bowelles: the hidden recesses of the body cavity
bedight: treated
50.2 bedight: ‘Dight’ has a specifically scriptive range of meanings, ‘from L dictare to dictate, compose in language, appoint, prescribe, order; in med L to write, compose a speech, letter, etc’ (OED).
50.3 livers: The liver was considered the seat of the passions.
50.9 Phlegeton: In the classical underworld, a river of fire.
felly: fiercely
priefe: proof, test
qualifyde: tempered, moderated
algates: Hamilton suggests ‘otherwise’, a sense not recorded in OED. Usually, ‘in any case’ or ‘by all means’.
Mamon: Aramaic for ‘wealth’; see Kellogg and Steele 1965: ‘The Syriac word was misunderstood by some early commentators of the Gospels who interpreted it as the name of one of the fallen angels and, from the New Testament context, the god of earthly wealth’ (8.1-2n). Where the Geneva Bible translates ‘Ye can not serve God and riches’ (Matt 6:24, Luke 16:13), the Bishops’ and other Elizabethan bibles read ‘God, and mammon’. Spenser’s conception of Mammon as both a god of riches and an underworld deity probably reflects the influence of Boccaccio, Genealogia 8.6, which conflates Pluto, the classical god of the underworld, with Plutus, the god of riches; Conti distinguishes the two but does mention that Strabo identified Pluto as the god of wealth (Myth 250). The descent to Mammon’s cave blends allusions to the hero’s descent to the underworld in classical epic (e.g. Od 11 and Aen 6), Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13), and a number of folktale motifs (e.g., taboos against eating food or touching treasures in the underworld; cf. Thompson, Motif-Index 1955, C211.1 – C211.2.2, C542).
delve: excavation
threasure: the (perhaps silent) ‘h’ marks the etymology of ‘treasure’ in L thesis aurum, or the ‘placing’ of gold, and so glances at the episode’s biblical concern with where we ‘lay up treasures’ (Matt 6:19-21). Cf. 32.9, ‘before thee laid’, and 33.3, ‘before mine eyes I place’.
hore: hoary, white or grey with age
1.1 St. 1 The simile of the experienced navigator both looks back to the topic of new world exploration in the proem and anticipates the sense of perilous exploration removed from heaven’s light (3.2) that attends upon Guyon’s venture into the subterranean kingdom of Mammon. Cf. 14.1-5.
a stedfast starre: cf. I.ii.1.2 ‘the stedfast starre’. Typically Polaris, in the constellation Ursa Minor (also referred to as the lodestar, the Northern Star, or the Pole Star; cf. II.x.4.7, III.iv.53.3). The hint of relativity in the indefinite pronoun might reflect awareness that the identity of the star closest to the pole depends upon the position of the observer in space and time. Thus Taylor 1971 reports the common belief that the southern hemisphere also had a fixed star to match Polaris in the north, the idea being that these two stars were like the ends of the earth’s axis (or “axle”) and provided similar navigational aid in their respective hemispheres (162). If Mammon’s cave is deep enough, there might be a reminiscence of Dante’s passage with Virgil through the center of the earth, from the northern to the southern hemisphere, at the close of the Purgatorio.
yblent: obscured
1.4 yblent: Past participle of two different verbs, the first meaning ‘to blind’ and the second meaning ‘to combine’. The first can sometimes mean ‘to conceal’, while the second, in its p ppl, can mean ‘confused’. Spenser’s usage here may itself be a blending of the forms. Cf. 10.5, ‘fowly blend’, and 13.2, ‘confound’.
card and compas: The ‘card’ is a chart or geographical description; in combination with ‘compas’ it might also refer to a card on which the 32 points of the compass are marked, although this tends to be a later usage.
maysters: masters
experiment: experience
1.7 maysters: A ‘Master Mariner’ was the captain of a merchant vessel; here, navigational instruments are personified as the pilot’s teachers (L magister).
apply: steer
2.1 2.1 The orthographic resemblance of ‘guyd’ to ‘Guyon’ suggests that, like the ‘Pilot well expert’, Guyon deprived of the Palmer will fall back on the ‘card and compass’ of ‘his owne vertues’ as an internalized guide.
2.4-2.5 2.4-5 Guyon comforted with his own virtues may exemplify Aristotle’s description of ‘the Great-minded man’ as one ‘who values himself highly and at the same time justly’ and who prizes his own self-sufficiency (Nic Eth 4.3, 1123b-1125a). The episode tests the limits of self-sufficiency, reached when Guyon collapses in st. 66.
yode: went
reedes: judges
wastfull: uninhabited
desert: desolate
wildernesse: See Matt 4:1, ‘Then was Jesus led aside of the Spirit into the wildernes, to be tempted of the devil’. The Spirit’s role in leading Jesus into the wilderness is more explicit in other translations. Cf. King James: ‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.’ The gloss to the New International Version notes that the Greek for ‘tempted’ can also mean ‘tested’.
Whereas: where
3.6-3.9 3.6-9 Mammon’s description suggests the appearance of a blacksmith; cf. st. 35-36.
bleard: See Langland, Piers Plowman 5.190 [Text B], where Avarice has ‘two blered eyghen’, and Matt 6:23, ‘if thine eye be wicked, then all thy bodie shalbe darke’. The emphasis through the canto’s opening is on concealment and on vision obscured by layers of darkness, mist, or grime, presumably because ‘Regard of worldly mucke doth fowly blend’ (10.5). Meanwhile the tissue of allusions to the Sermon on the Mount links this episode with Phaedria’s song at II.vi.15-17.
bedight: clothed
4.1 overgrowne with rust: See Matt 6:19, ‘Lay not up treasures for your selves upon the earth, where the mothe and canker [Bishops’ Bible: “rust”] corrupt’.
4.2 underneath enveloped: A gold surcoat surrounds the iron that, beneath the gold, is overgrowne with rust, like another surcoat. The phrasing is difficult but, in its tendency to confound the opposites of ‘underneath’ and ‘enveloped’, evokes the action of the episode, in which Mammon leads Guyon underground to entrap him with the sight of hidden gold. As in the Bower of Bliss, where the ‘Virgin Rose . . . fairer seemes, the lesse ye see her may’ (xii.74.4-6), the secrecy of the treasure adds to its allure.
entayle: ornamental carving
mould: fashioning
antickes: grotesques
told: counted
feede his eye: Combines the two principal motifs of the canto, feeding (2.4-5) and gazing (3.6 and note).
5.2 never could be spent: The treasure is ‘hore’ (arg.2) because it is hoarded, withheld from circulation.
5.3-5.4 5.3-4 Earlier cantos have explored water as a purifying element; in Mammon’s cave raw materials undergo purification by fire. The recurrent emphasis on looking as a kind of feeding suggests an analogous tempering by heat in the form of digestion, an analogy that will become explicit in canto ix.
rude: From L rudis unwrought—but also ‘inexperienced’, implying by analogy that Guyon himself is ‘purifide’ by the ‘devouring element’ in the course of his ‘long experiment’ (1.7) in Mammon’s realm.
5.4 Mulcibers devouring element: Mulciber, or Vulcan, is the Roman god of fire.
driven, and distent: smelted and beaten out
Ingowes: ingots
5.6 Ingowes: In Spenser’s distinctive variation, Hamilton 2001 hears ‘Ingas’, the Elizabethan form of ‘Incas’, famous for the city of gold.
moniment: ‘image and superscription’ (cf. Matt 22:20-21; Mark 12:16-17; Luke 20:24-25).
kesars: emperors (from ‘Caesar’); for the conventional doublet with ‘kings’, cf. Teares 570; FQ III.xi.29.9, IV.vii.1.4, V.ix.29.9, and VI.iii.5.7.
7.4 right usaunce: See Matt 25:14-30, the Parable of the Talents.
Thereat: thereupon
askaunce: sidelong
7.5 askaunce: Indicating ‘disdain, envy, jealousy, [or] suspicion’ (OED). Cf. SC March 21; FQ III.i.41.6, ix.27.3, and xii.15.2.
read: pronounce
pelfe: Puttenham calls this ‘a lewd terme to be given to a Princes treasure’ (1589: 3.22.217).
8.1-8.2 God of the world . . . god below the skye: See arg.1n and 5.7n. Mammon’s self-description (‘I me call’; cf. 9.6, ‘thy godheads vaunt’) confounds the distinction Jesus draws between worldly and heavenly jurisdictions. Cf. 2 Cor 4:4, ‘the god of this worlde’; John 12:31, ‘the prince of this worlde’.
envye: refuse
principality: Cf. Matt 4:8, ‘all the kingdomes of the worlde, and the glorie of them’; also Luke 4:5-6.
8.7-8.9 8.7-9 Contrast the pretense of unfettered bounty in lines 3-4 and 8. The goods for which ‘men swinck and sweat incessantly’ may flow from Mammon ‘into an ample flood’, but the implied direction of the flow (from me into the world) is put in question by the way lines 8-9 move, as it were, upstream to the underground breeding-place of gold. For the tendency of Mammon’s rhetoric to give with one hand what it takes away with the other, see 5.2, 9.5, 10.3, and especially 19.6-9, confirming that Mammon withholds the ‘ample flood’ of wealth from proper circulation.
hollow: empty or concave; vain
8.9 hollow: Cf. ‘the hollow grownd’ (20.8).
eternall: Mammon ascribes divine attributes to worldly goods, here with implicit self-contradiction, since ‘brood’ as a verb or noun of birth cannot be eternal.
9.1 serve and sew: Cf. Matt 4:9, ‘All these wil I give thee, if thou wilt fall downe, and worship me’.
these mountaines: Conflating the earth with its ‘brood’ of riches.
nombred francke and free: The verb takes back what the adverbs purport to give freely; cf. the contradiction noted in 8.7n.
thy godheads vaunt: your divinity’s boast; your boasted divinity
derdoing: derring-do
10.1 derdoing: See ‘derring-do’ in glossary.
suit: pursuit
vowed daies: Guyon binds himself with a sacred oath at II.i.61.
bounteous baytes: See 9.5n. Here the noun takes back what the adjective offers, as Mammon’s apparent liberality turns out to be no more than ‘bait’.
witchest: beguile
10.4 witchest: OED records this as the first figurative use of the verb.
blend: blind or defile
10.5 blend: See 1.4n.
heroicke: OED records only one prior use of the adjective in this sense (Complaynt of Scotlande, 1549), although Sidney and Puttehnam use it to describe a kind of poetry or poet.
crownes: Also the name of a coin; cf. 5.8-9.
in twinckling of an eye: Cf. Luke 4:5: ‘The devil . . . shewed him all the kingdomes of the worlde, in the twinkeling of an eye’.
11.6 I kings create: Cf. Prov 8:15, ‘By me, Kings reigne’, with the Geneva gloss: ‘honors, dignitie or riches come not of mans wisdome or industrie, but by the providence of God’.
rowme: appointed place, office, or position
lust: list, i.e. please
read: judge
roote of all disquietnesse: Cf. 1 Tim 6:10: ‘For the desire of money is the roote of all evil’.
12.9 1590 prints ‘in great dishonour’. The reading we adopt from 1596 is easier to construe, and has been preferred by modern editors; 1590’s ‘in’ implicates the noble heart in the evils it ‘doth despize’.
confound: bring to ruin; throw into confusion
incline: bend; dispose
13.8 Cf. Marlowe, 2 Tamburlaine 5.2.26: ‘Kingdomes made waste, brave cities sackt and burnt’.
private state: private life
14.3-14.4 Caspian sea . . . Adrian gulf: Proverbial for storms. Horace calls the south wind, Auster, Dux inquieti turbidus Hadriae (‘stormy master of the restless Adriatic’; Odes 3.3.4-5). See st. 1n: the simile of the storm-tossed voyager reintroduces the motif that implicitly answers Mammon’s question in the second half of the stanza—men are ‘fond and undiscreet’ because ‘Regard of worldly mucke doth fowly blend’ (see notes to 3.6 and 1.4).
14.7-14.9 14.7-9 ‘[Why do men] complain when they don’t have money, and find fault with it when they do?’
St. 15-17 For the distinction between need and superfluity and the fall from a golden age of simplicity, see Boethius Cons Phil 2.prose.5 and 2.meter.5; Chaucer, ‘The Former Age’; Ovid, Met 1.89-150.
empeach: hinder
15.6 empeach: This and the two verbs below may reflect the specific phrasing of Chaucer’s translation of the passage from Boethius cited above: ‘thow wolt achoken the fulfillynge of nature with . . . thinges . . . anoyous’ (2.prose.5).
annoyes: interferes with
accloyes: obstructs, chokes
16.3 unreproved: Contrast with 14.9, ‘complaine, and . . . upbrayd’.
truth: sincerity
soveraine: supreme
corn-fed steed: Proverbial; cf. Smith (1970, no. 121), citing Gascoigne: ‘cornfed beasts, whose bellie is their God’.
16.6-16.9 16.6-9 I.e. the pride of later age abused her (the age’s) plenty and her increase, to the end of excessive, unrestrained pleasure. Note the repeated feminine pronoun, indicating Guyon’s view that when the ‘antique world’ degenerates from innocence and purity to ‘fat swolne encreace’, it also declines from masculinity to femininity of the sort described by Parker 1987.
wombe: Cf. 8.9, ‘brood’.
great Grandmother: the earth
17.3-17.4 17.3-4 Mining is here compared to robbing a temple, the etymological sense of sacrilege (L sacra legere to purloin sacred objects).
17.6-17.7 17.6-7 ‘He combined gold and silver into the material cause of his desire’ (OED s.v. ‘matter’); ‘compound’ may also glance at financial senses of the verb that involve agreeing to terms for a payment.
through his veines: Glancing at the veins of ore mined from the earth; Barkan 1975 notes stanza’s movement ‘from an anthropomorphic cosmos [‘wombe’] to a cosmomorphic human body [‘veins’]’ (212).
wage: pledge; sell for wages
life for gold engage: ‘Pledge your life in exchange for gold’.
18.9 Cf. 14.9.
19.1-19.2 19.1-2 Cf. Nic Eth 4.1 (1120a), on the unwillingness of the ‘Liberal man’ to ‘receive from improper sources’. Guyon’s desire to understand (‘Did feed his eyes, and fild his inner thought’, 24.4) is contrasted with Mammon’s desire to possess (‘to feede his eye / And covetous desire’, 4.8-9). Milton, insisting that ‘the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world . . . necessary to the constituting of human virtue’, praises Spenser for bringing Guyon through both Mammon’s cave and the Bower of Bliss (II.xii) ‘that he might see and know, and yet abstain’ (Areop 729).
bereave: plunder
lott: apportioning (of wealth or fortune)
19.6-19.7 19.6-7 See 1 Cor 2:9, ‘The things which eye hathe not sene, nether eare hathe heard, nether came into mans heart’.
mew: hiding-place; prison
20.1-20.5 20.1-5 See John 1:38-9: ‘And they said unto him, Rabbi . . . where dwellest thou? He said unto them, Come, and se’.
wonne: abode
20.3 wonne: Possibly with a hint of the archaic sense ‘treasure’.
20.6-20.7 20.6-7 The entrance to Mammon’s cave resembles the exits to the House of Pride (I.v.52.7-53) and the castle of Alma (ix.32), and the ‘hinder gate’ of the Gardens of Adonis (III.vi.32.9-33.4), which is both an entrance (to the Garden) and an exit (from the state of life).
20.7-20.9 20.7-9 Cf. Virgil: Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram / perque domos Ditis vacuas et inania regna ( ‘On they went dimly, beneath the lonely night amid the gloom, through the empty halls of Dis and his phantom realm’; Aen 6.268-9).
St. 21-25 Spenser’s description of the approach to the underworld draws on Virgil, Aen 6.273-81. Lotspeich 1932: 65-66 adds Statius (see Theb 7.40-62), Cicero (see Nat Deor 3.17), Conti (Myth 622), Chaucer (see CT Knight 1982-2040), and Bocccacio (Genealogia 8.6), which allegorizes Virgil’s House of Dis as a House of Riches.
broad high way: See Matt 7:13, ‘the wide gate, and broad waye that leadeth to destruction’.
21.4 Plutoes: In Roman mythology, Pluto ruled Hades (see arg.1n).
rayne: realm
21.5-21.6 21.5-6 Cf. 12.7. In general, the personifications of stanzas 21-23 correspond to the evils listed by Guyon in st. 12.
21.5 infernall: 1590 prints ‘internall’, not an impossible reading (cf. III.x.59.8, ‘internall smart’), but one that awkwardly undercuts the work of projection that turns affects into personages throughout the passage.
strayne: grip, wield
thother side: Cf. Virgil’s adverso in limine (‘on the threshold opposite’, Aen 6.279) in the passage cited above, st. 21-25n.
consort: group
shroud: hide
Lamenting Sorrow: Cf. the allegorical figure of Sorrow in Mirror for Magistrates (1563), Induction 106-112.
23.1 horror: Like ‘shame’ in the preceding line, uncapitalized in 1590. Only 1609 capitalizes ‘horror’; both 1596 and 1609 register personification by capitalizing ‘shame’. We retain the uncertainty of 1590 because the series of capitalized personifications in stanzas 21 and 22 is preceded, at 20.9, by an encompassing but not quite personified 'dread and horror', suggesting that the mechanism of personification is on display in this passage; cf. II.ii.26.4-9 for a comparable play on the uncapitalized personification of 'love'. As these examples show, the distinction between personified and non-personified abstractions is not absolute: it is more like a spectrum than a switchpoint.
23.3-23.5 23.3-5 On owles and night-ravens as omens, see I.v.30.6-7, Epith 345-6, and SC June 23-24 with gloss by E.K.
dolor: grief, sorrow, or physical pain
23.6 Celeno: Chief of the harpies, defilers of the feast Aeneas and his men prepare in Aen 3. Celeno rebukes the Trojan remnant for offering only war in exchange for the cattle they have slaughtered, and utters the cryptic prophecy that they will not build their city in Italy until famine has forced them to devour the tables they eat from.
24.4 On the combination of feeding with gazing, see 4.8n and 19.1-2n.
gaped wide: Cf. Virgil: noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis (‘night and day the door of gloomy Dis stands open’; Aen 6.127).
spoile: plunder
25.7 Cf. Hesiod: νυξ δ᾽ ετεκεν στυγερον τε Μορον και Κηρα μελαιναν / και Θανατον, τεκε δ᾽ Ὕπνον, ετικτε δε φῦλον Ὀνειρων (nyx d’ eteken stygeron te Moron kai Kēra melainan / kai Thanaton, teke d’ Hypnon, etikte de Oneirōn; ‘And Night bare hateful Doom and black Fate and Death, and she bare Sleep and the tribe of Dreams’; Theog 211-12).
St. 26-27 The fiend who follows Guyon recalls the ‘fury’ in the ancient Eleusinian mysteries who followed initiates to enforce their observance of ritual procedures; Spenser could have learned about this from Claudian’s De Raptu Proserpinae (early fifth century A.D.) or Pausanias’s Description of Greece (second century A.D.)
dismall day: from L dies mali evil days; see vi.43.7n.
stalke: stride
26.8 stalke: Includes the sense that he is stalking Guyon.
likte him: pleased him
likte him: Cf. Ben Jonson’s ‘On My First Son’: ‘For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such, / As what he loves may never like too much’ (11-12).
27.2-27.4 27.2-4 These ‘fatall Stygian lawes’ are derived in part from the myth of Persephone, who remains in the underworld for half the year because she ate seven seeds from a pomegranate (Met 5.530-38), and in part from folktale motifs (see arg.1n).
27.9 >Stygian lawes: Laws of the underworld (from Styx, the river the dead must cross over to enter hell), ‘fatall’ both because they punish with death and because they govern the realm of the dead.
28.3 Arches of stone are said to ‘hang’ from the vaulted ceiling like pants in tatters. The image evokes something like a ‘natural’ gothic arch.
Embost: Ornamented with raised surfaces bulging in relief. OED s.v. ‘boss’ records a specifically geological sense ‘applied chiefly to masses of rock protruding through strata of another kind’, although this use is not noted prior to 1605.
of glorious guifte: Although seemingly offered, this gold is hoarded, not given. Accordingly, the preposition suspends guifte as an attribute of the substance, absent an actual giver, gift, or recipient.
28.5 28.5 I.e. every rift [was] loaded with rich metal.
ruine: collapse
28.6 ruine: From L ruire to fall.
28.7-28.9 28.7-9 Arachne challenged Athena to a weaving contest and was punished by being turned into a spider; cf. Muiop 257-352 and Met 6.5-145. ‘High did lifte’ suggests envy or ambition; ‘cunning’ and ‘subtile’ suggest a trap; ‘smoke’ and ‘clouds’ recall the ‘rust’ and ‘filthy dust’ of 4.1-3 and anticipate the ‘dust and old decay’ of 29.2.
29.1-29.5 29.1-5 These lines reprise several motifs from the initial description of Mammon in st. 3 and 4.
hew: color, appearance, or form
29.6-29.9 29.6-9 Like st. 21-25, these lines echo Virgil’s description of Aeneas’s descent into the underworld: quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna / est iter in silvis, ubi caelum conditit umbra / Iuppiter, et rebus nox abstulit atra colorem (‘even as under the grudging light of an inconstant moon lies a path in the forest, when Jupiter has buried the sky in shade, and black Night has stolen from the world her hues’; Aen 6.270-72). The Virgilian simile is picked up by Tasso, GL 13.2 and 14.37. Spenser’s ‘lamp, whose life does fade away’ may also echo Ariosto’s finí come il debol lume suole, / cui cera manchi (‘he ended like a weak flame running low on wax’; OF 24.85.3-4).
bends: bands
weene: expect
30.6-30.9 30.6-9 Recalling the valley of bones to which the prophet is transported in Ezek 37, although the ‘dead mens bones’ in this scene will not be resurrected like their biblical counterparts.
31.2-31.3 31.2-3 See Acts 12:10: ‘they came unto the yron gate, that leadeth unto the citie, which opened to them by it owne accorde’. The gate that opens to Peter leads out of imprisonment, not into it.
Commaunded: assigned
n’ill: ne will, i.e. will not (accept)
33.2-33.4 33.2-4 Guyon’s play on the word happines may allude to the first book of Aristotle’s Nic Eth, where happiness or the ‘chief good’ of the soul is defined.
33.8-33.9 33.8-9 Guyon’s preference for ruling the rich echoes a popular anecdote about the Roman Manius Curius. See Cicero De Senectute 16.56; Elyot retells the story to illustrate a distinction between ‘abstinence’ and ‘continence’ (1531: 3.17).
33.9 sclave: Archaic spelling preserves the etymology from Med L sclavus.
greedie pray: Transferred epithet (if Guyon were greedy, the fiend would not lack his prey).
weened: believed, supposed
take . . . assay: touch
take . . . assay: See arg.1n on the taboo against touching treasures in the underworld.
34.6 34.6 ‘More swiftly than a dove in the clutches of a falcon’.
34.7 34.7 An exclamation directed to the reader.
decay: downfall
34.7 decay: From L de + cadere to fall.
wist: knew of
35.2-35.3 35.2-3 See 31.2-3n.
raunges: fireplaces or grates
pight: placed
tryde: As a term of art in metallurgy, to ‘try’ is ‘to separate (metal) from the ore or dross by melting’ (OED).
St. 36 This stanza echoes details from Virgil’s description of the cave beneath Mt. Aetna where Vulcan’s team of Cyclops forge a shield for Aeneas (Aen 8.416-51).
dying bronds: embers
36.5 Vulcans rage: the fire’s heat
scumd: skimmed
36.7 36.7 Milton echoes this line in Paradise Lost at 1.704 in a description of Mammon’s foundry that is indebted to Spenser.
swincke: toil
battailous: combat-ready
staring: In 15th-c. usage, ‘shining’; cf 7.5 and note.
Till that: until
Till that: Spenser often uses ‘that’ as a complementizer with prepositions.
Avise thee: think it over
withstood: refused
emprise: enterprise, undertaking
no’te: might not
no’te: Contracted form of ‘ne mote’ (see glossary).
mesprise: misprision, scorn
40.1-40.2 40.1-2 Cf. ‘the gate of Hell, which gaped wide’ (24.6).
40.5 if that: FE lists ‘the that’ as a correction for page 283. We correct ‘if the’; other plausible candidates appear at 42.4, 42.8, and 43.2. See 37.9 above and 49.8 below for other examples of Spenser’s habitual use of ‘that’ as a complementizer with conjunctions and prepositions.
40.6-40.7 40.6-7 For all of the gold in Mammon’s realm, there is also a great deal of iron: see 4.1, 21.7, 23.2, 30.2, and 36.4. Cf. also the ‘later times’ of 18.4 with Met 1.141-44.
weld: wield
stomacke: pride, anger, or stubbornness
portaunce: bearing
41.6 the Titans race: A brood of gigantic immortals, the offspring of Uranus and Ge in Greek mythology, who overthrew their father and were overthrown in turn by their own offspring, Zeus and the other Olympian deities.
deface: discredit, abash, or overshadow
glitterand: glittering
42.1 glitterand: The archaic suffix reflects OE, Old Frisian, and Old Saxon forms (‘-ende’, ‘-and’) out of which ‘ing’ evolved in the fifteenth century.
hurtle: brandish
42.3 hurtle: OED describes Spenser’s use of the verb in this sense as ‘erroneous’.
42.5-42.9 42.5-9 Cf. Guyon’s encounter with Furor at iv.3-10.
dight: prepare
43.1 43.1 Underlining the irony of Mammon taking over the Palmer’s role.
Carle: churl
Gyeld: guildhall
43.4 Gyeld: On the likelihood of topical references here and elsewhere in the scene to the Royal Exchange, the Templar knights, and the Tower Mint, see Owens 2005: 156-64.
full deare: richly
43.8-43.9 43.8-9 The third of the temptations that Satan offers to Christ in the wilderness includes ‘all the kingdomes of the worlde’ (Matt 4:8). Commentators vary as to how closely Mammon’s temptation of Guyon follows Satan’s three temptations of Christ; parallels would be mediated by the extensive body of medieval and renaissance theology devoted to classifying the temptations. Milton’s treatment of the temptations in Paradise Regained is clearly informed by Spenser’s Mammon episode.
route: crowd
preaced: An archaic spelling of ‘pressed’; cf. the noun ‘preace’ at 46.5 and 48.2.
44.5-44.9 44.5-9 Cf. Langland’s description of Lade Meed, Piers Plowman B.2.8-17.
siege: ‘A seat, esp. one used by a person of rank or distinction’ (OED).
44.8-44.9 never earthly Prince . . . pompous pryde display: A parody of Christ’s call for simplicity and contentedness in Matt 6:28-29; turning the natural beauty of the lilies (‘even Solomon in all his glorie was not arrayed like one of these’) into an over-abundance of ornamentation and pomp.
St. 46 The ‘great gold chaine’ held by the ‘woman gorgeous gay’ (44.6) alludes to the golden chain in Homer with which the other gods sought unsuccessfully to pull Jove down from heaven (Il 8.18-27). The image gains historical resonance as both classical and, later, Christian commentators interpret it as a symbol of cosmic order. Lotspeich 1932 cites as precedents for Spenser’s use of the image Plato, Theat 153D; Boethius, Cons Phil 2.meter.8; Chaucer, Troilus 3.1744-1771, and CT Knight A 2987-93; Rom Rose 16988-9; and Conti Myth 116 (64). See also I.ix.1 and note for Spenser’s use of the chain as a positive symbol linking the virtues and their patron knights in an alliance of ‘noble mindes’. His use of the symbol here to suggest avarice follows Conti in combining both interpretations.
sty: ascend
dignity: rank or office
46.9 dignity: ‘Ambition’ was denounced in Elizabethan orthodoxy as a form of rebellion against social order, but if the ranks are links in the chain of ambition, as this line seems to say, then ambition is less a force opposed to hierarchy than its inevitable consequence.
St. 47 Cf. Colin’s satiric portrait of the English court in Colin Clout 688-730.
49.1 Philotime: ‘love of honor’ from Gk φιλος philos love + τιμη timē honor (cf. Timon, I.ix.4.1-2; Timias, III.i.18.9). Meter calls for the final ‘e’ to be voiced, with the primary accent falling on the second syllable.
49.2 49.2 Cf. ‘greatest god below the skye’ (8.2) and note.
the gods: Mammon, though himself a Biblical figure, seems to recognize only pagan deities.
lust: wish, but also desire sexually
works and merits: Alluding to the theological distinction between works and faith; see OED s.v. ‘merit’: ‘Theol. In pl. Good works viewed as entitling a person to reward from God’.
Gramercy: thanks
50.1 Gramercy: An unexpectedly ‘gentle’ reply, compared to the scorn Guyon has exhibited earlier (st.13-17, 33, 39). Perhaps Guyon has overcome Disdayne after all—but the etymology of ‘gramercy’ contains a pointed riposte to Mammon’s last offer, for as OED notes, ‘The primary sense of merci was “reward, favour gained by merit”; hence grant merci originally meant “may God reward you greatly’’’.
50.5 and mine unequall fate: ‘and [I know] my fate [to be] unequal’ to such an ‘immortal mate’.
yplight: pledged
remove: disavow
forcing it to fayne: Ellipsis for ‘forcing [himself] to dissemble it [the wrath]’ or ‘forcing it [the wrath] to dissemble [itself]’.
redd: declared
51.8-51.9 51.8-9 Echoing Proteus’s description of caligantem nigra formidine lucum (‘the grove that is murky with black terror’) through which Orpheus passes upon entering the underworld in his quest to recover Euridice (Virgil, Georg 4.467-68).
St. 52 In contrast to the description offered by Claudian, De Raptu 2.290, where Pluto is praising the beauties of the realm he promises to his bride. Pausanius says ‘black poplars and willows’ grow there (Desc 10.30.72).
52.2 Gall: Gall Oak whose misnamed ‘fruit’ or ‘oak-apple’ is a gall, or spongy spherical deformation of the leaf-bud caused by wasp larvae.
Heben: black ebony
52.2 Heben: Cf. Georg. 2.117 hebenum, glossed by T. Cooper: ‘A tree whereof the wode is blacke as jette within, and beareth nor leaves nor fruite’ (1565, s.v. ‘Hebenus’). OED cites Gower, Conf. 2. 103, ‘Of hebenus that slepy tre’.
52.3 Hellebore: Used as a purgative.
52.4 Coloquintida: Cf. 2 Kings 4:38-41: Elisha shreds wild gourds into ‘the pot of pottage’ during a famine, but the men who eat from it cry out that ‘death is in the pot’. The Geneva gloss identifies the gourds as ‘colloquintida . . . moste vehement and dangerous in purging’.
52.4 Tetra: Hunt 1883 identifies this as ‘the tetrum solanum, or deadly nightshade’ (85).
52.5 Samnitis: Not known, but Upton 1758 guesses (because the ancient Samnites dwelt next to the Sabines on the Italian peninsula) that it refers to the savin, used because of its poisonous properties as an anthelminthic and abortifacient.
Cicuta: hemlock
52.6-52.9 52.6-9 The friend who attends on Socrates at his death is Crito; Critias was an enemy. Commentators have proposed Xenophon, Hellenica 2.3.56, and Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 1.40, as sources for an error here.
last Philosophy: Philosophy of ‘last things’, i.e. the soul’s immortality (which would explain ‘quaffing glad’); philosophy delivered at the point of death.
53.1 Gardin of Proserpina: Cf. Od 10.509-40, where Circe describes the garden Odysseus will pass through on his way to Hades, and st. 52n.
overdight: overspread
entreat: occupy herself with
53.5 entreat: Cf. Romeo and Juliet 4.1.40: ‘My lord, we must entreat the time alone’.

golden apples: Mentioned by Claudian, De Raptu: est etiam lucis arbor praevives opacis / fulgentes viridi ramos curvata metallo (‘There is, moreover, a precious tree in the leafy groves whose curving branches gleam with living ore’; 2.290-91).

Typology would associate Proserpine’s golden apples with the fruit taken by Eve in Gen 2. Spenser may also allude to the golden bough in Virgil: latet arbore opaca / aureus et foliis et lento vimine ramus, / Iuonini infernae dictus sacer (‘There lurks in a shady tree a bough, golden in leaf and pliant stem, held consecrate to nether Juno’; Aen 6.136-38).

54.5-54.6 54.5-6 Hercules’ eleventh labor, to fetch the golden apples of the Hesperides (‘great Atlas daughters’) is discussed by Conti, Myth 622. The labors of Hercules were typologically associated by many Renaissance writers with Christ’s victory over evil.
54.8-54.9 54.8-9 The story of Hippomemes (‘th’Eubæan young man’) racing for the hand of Atalanta is told by Ovid (Met 10.560-680) and mentioned by Conti, Myth 624-25. Spenser links the apples of Hercules and Atalanta in Am 77, a dream vision of his beloved’s breast that associates the apples of the Hesperides with those of Song Sol 2.5 (‘comfort me with apples: for I am sicke of love’) and distinguishes them from the fruit in Gen (‘yet voyd of sinfull vice’). Cf. the description in the same sonnet of how Cupid transplanted these apples from ‘paradice’ into his own garden. Cf. also Ronsard, Amours 1.145.
sold: derived
55.1-55.3 55.1-3 Ovid tells how Acontius used an apple to trick Cydippe into marrying him (Her 20).
55.4-55.9 55.4-9 References to the apple of discord as the origin of the Trojan War are found in various classical sources; Conti Myth 555 quotes from Lucian, Ovid, Strabo, and Euripides in his summary of the story. (Spenser’s substitution of Ate for the figure of Eris in Greek myth may proceed by way of Conti’s Discordia).
55.6 Idæan: From Mount Ida, the setting for the Judgement of Paris. The apple thrown ‘emongest the Gods’ at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, inscribed ‘for the fairest’, was claimed by Hera, Athena, and Venus.
fee: wealth
without: beyond
56.8 Cocytus: Gk Κωκυτoς Kōkytos wailing; one of the rivers in the classical underworld.
of: by
shrightes: shrieks
resounden wide: echo into the distance
liquour: liquid
drouth: thirst
couth: could
ment: intended; signified
59.2 ment: The ambiguity raises the question whether Tantalus controls his own meaning— whether he appears as agent or as emblem.
againe: in reply
59.5-59.9 59.5-9 Details of the scene are drawn from Homer (Od 11.582-92), although the fruits after which Tantalus reaches in Homer (pears, pomegranates, apples, figs, olives) would presumably be edible, unlike the ‘golden apples’ in Spenser, which nudge Tantalus in the direction of Midas. Tantalus appears in many classical and medieval texts, often as a symbol of greed: cf. Pindar, Olympia 1; Horace, Satires 1.1; Ovid, Ars Am 2.601-6; Dante, Inf 8.31-39; Boccaccio, Genealogia 1.14; Conti Myth 531-535; Alciati, Embemata 85.
59.6 59.6 Tantalus sought to test the omniscience of the Gods by serving his own son Pelops to them at a banquet. Pelops was restored to life, Tantalus consigned to hell.
59.9 give to eat: Echoing Mark 6:37, ‘Give ye them to eat’.
St. 60 See 59.2n above; in this stanza one ambiguity is resolved—Tantalus is told to ‘be’ an emblem—while another ambiguity opens up. In 1590 Guyon instructs Tantalus to be an emblem of ‘mind more temperate’, whereas in 1596 and 1609 the instruction reads ‘Ensample be of mind intemperate’. Either version can make sense: Tantalus may be an emblem of intemperance punished, but if he does ‘abide the fortune’ of his ‘present fate’, he may become an example of ‘mind more temperate’.
60.6-60.9 60.6-9 Cf. Rev 16:9, ‘And men boyled in great heat, and blasphemed the Name of God, which hathe power over these plagues, and they repented not, to give him glorie’. The Geneva gloss identifies the ‘great heat’ of this passage as ‘Signifying famine, drought and hote diseases which procede thereof’.
dye: i.e., eternally
drent: drowned
61.4-61.5 61.4-5 Cf. Isa 1.15: ‘And when you shal stretch out your hands, I wil hide mine eyes from you: and thogh ye make manie prayers, I wil not heare: for your hands are ful of blood’.
61.6-61.9 61.6-9 Pilate’s failed effort to wash his hands of guilt echoes Guyon’s failed attempt to wash the hands of Ruddymane (ii.3).
fayned: ‘fained’ (desired) and ‘feigned’ (pretended)
62.3-62.9 62.3-9 Based on Matt 27: 22-26.
62.5-62.7 62.5-7 Echoing Acts 3:14-15.
doome: verdict
62.8-62.9 62.8-9 Cf. Ps 26.6, ‘I wil wash mine hands in innocencie’, as well as the Geneva gloss to Isa 1:16: ‘By this outward washig [sic], he meaneth the spiritual’.
63.7-63.9 63.7-9 Cf. the stratagem used by Pluto to ensnare Theseus and Pirithous when they journey to Hades to kidnap Persephone: ‘on the pretence that they were about to partake of good cheer Hades bade them first be seated on the Chair of Forgetfulness, to which they grew and were held fast by coils of serpents’ (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.24). Cf. I.v.35.8n and Aen 6.617-18: sedet aeternumque sedebit / infelix Theseus (‘hapless Theseus sits and evermore shall sit’). For a modern retelling that shows the influence of Spenser’s passage, see Lewis, The Silver Chair. Some commentators suspect a reminiscence of the ‘forbidden seat’ of the Eleusinian mysteries, as described (for example) by Clement of Alexandria in ‘Exhortation to the Heathen’: ‘For Demeter, wandering in quest of her daughter Core [Proserpine], broke down with fatigue near Eleusis, a place in Attica, and sat down on a well overwhelmed with grief. This is even now prohibited to those who are initiated, lest they should appear to mimic the weeping goddess’ (32).
frayle intemperaunce: Transferred epithet: intemperance is itself the frailty.
lust: appetite or desire
beguile the Guyler: Cf. Piers Plowman 18.159-60: ‘the old law granteth, / That beguilers be beguiled’.
three dayes of men: Cf. Matt 12:40: ‘For as Jonas was thre dayes, and thre nighs in the whales bellie: so shal the Sonne of man be thre dayes and thre nights in the heart of the earth’. Brooks-Davies 1977 reports that three days ‘was generally agreed by commentators to be the “permitted time” granted to Aeneas’ in the underworld (157; Aen 6.537).
outwrought: completed
For thy: therefore
66.2-66.3 66.2-3 Upton 1758 cites Plutarch’s de genio Socratis as the source for ‘two nights and one day’ being ‘allowed for surveying, according to the sacred mysteries, the infernal regions’ (490; 590A in Plutarch’s text describes the ritual time allowed for underworld exploration).
66.5-66.6 66.5-6 Cf. Marlowe, Tamburlaine: ‘when this fraile and transitory flesh / Hath suckt the measure of that vitall aire’ (II.v.43-44).
in swowne: See vii.66.8-9. Varying designations of Guyon’s state may be tracked through the present canto.
Acrates sonnes: For the etymology shared by Acrates and Acrasia, see i.51.2-4n.
despoyld: stripped of his armor
Whom: Guyon
1.1 1.1 OED glosses the exclamatory use of ‘and’, ‘expressing surprise at, or asking the truth of, what one has already heard’. Spenser intensifies the sense of wonder by opening with the device, leaving unstated ‘what one has already heard’. A possibility would be 1 Pet 5:7, ‘Cast all your care on him: for he careth for you’. Contrast Virgil, tantaene animis caelestibus irae? (‘Can resentment so fierce dwell in heavenly breasts?’; Aen 1.11). The sense of wonderment at something already there, apprehended yet unapparent, in Spenser’s opening line may intimate the prevenience of grace.
1.2 1.2 Biblical precedent for the ministration of angels may be found at Ps 34:7, Matt 4:11, and Heb 1:14.
evilles: sufferings
1.7 Cf. Ps 145:9, ‘his mercies are over all his workes’.
Angels: From Gk αγγελος aggelos messenger.
succour: aid, assist, or bring reinforcements to
flitting: unstable
Pursuivant: a royal messenger
2.5 militant: Warlike or disposed to combat (cf. ‘Squadrons’); stationed at the end of the clause, ‘militant’ describes the manner of angelic ‘ayd’, but other senses are also available: ‘they militant’ and even ‘us militant’, where the zeugma draws ‘our’ militancy together with ‘theirs’ (the function of grace according to Calvinist doctrine). On spiritual warfare, see 2 Cor 10:4: ‘the weapons of our warrefare are not carnal’. Reformed theology distinguished between the Church Militant, comprised of Christians on earth engaged in combat against sin, and the Church Triumphant, comprised of those in heaven who have triumphed over sin. Cf. Eph 6:11-12: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the assaultes of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and against the worldly governours, the princes of the darkenes of this worlde, against spirituall wickednesses, which are in the hie places’.
2.7 2.7 See Ps 34:7: ‘The Angel of the Lord pitcheth rounde about them, that feare him, and delivereth them’.
2.7-2.8 And . . . and . . .and: Polysyndeton, ‘characterized by the number of connecting particles employed’ (Quintilian, Inst 9.3.51). See 1.1n.
2.9 2.9 See Ps 8:4, ‘What is man, say I, that thou art mindful of him? and the sonne of man, that thou visitest him?’ Also 144:3, ‘Lord, what is man that thou regardest him!’, and Job 7:17, ‘What is man, that thou doest magnifie him, and that thou settest thine heart upon him?’
3.2-3.3 3.2-3 Phaedria denies the Palmer passage on her gondola at vi.19.4-9.
whyleare: formerly
efforced: uttered with effort
4.3 efforced: OED cites only this instance.
by and by: immediately
sunne his threasury: On Mammon’s ‘threasure’, see vii.arg 2n.
senceles dreame: Transferred epithet, applying properly to the dreamer; a dream with no sensory content would be no dream at all. See arg.1n on the ambiguity of Guyon’s state, and compare Redcrosse on the second night of the dragon battle in Book I, lying ‘as in a dreame of deepe delight’ (50.4) while his wounds are healed by a stream of balm trickling from the tree of life.
Beside his head: See I.ix.22.1-2, ‘they might perceive his head / To bee unarmd’, and note. Also John 20:12, ‘[Mary] sawe two Angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feete’.
a faire young man: See Mark 16:5, ‘So they went into the sepulchre, and sawe a yong man siting at the right side, clothed in a long white robe’; also the description of Gabriel in Tasso, GL 1.13-14.
equall peares: coevals
5.5 his snowy front: L frons forehead. See Matt 28:2-3, ‘the Angel of the Lord descended from heaven . . . And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snowe’.
Phoebus: the sun’s
winged sheares: A metaphor for the wings, in which the tenor reappears as an adjective modifying the vehicle.
diverse: multi-colored
5.8 like painted Jayes: Cf. Chaucer, Parl 356, ‘the pekok, with his aungels fetheres bryghte’.
St. 6 The angel is winged like Cupid, but the simile goes on to specify when the resemblance is apt: when Cupid has laid his bow aside (cf. I.pr.3.5) to play with Venus and the Graces, shadowing Christian agape, divine beauty, and grace. For an account of this simile in the context of a Spenserianian ‘theodicy of Cupid’ that integrates human with divine love, see SpE s.v. ‘Cupid’ and ‘angel, Guyon’s’.
6.1 Idæan hill: Mount Ida; see vii.55.6n.
his goodly sisters: The three Graces are reputed daughters of Venus (Servius ad Aen 1.720, Boccaccio Genealogia 3.22, Conti Myth 325). Cf. VI.x.22 and Teares 401-6.
through sleepe beguild: Sleep in Spenser is regularly associated with deception; see ii.46.6-7 and v.34, as well as the extended tableau of the sleeping Verdant at xii.72-80.
childe: In ME ballads and romances, a young noble awaiting knighthood; Spenser uses the term more generally as a chivalric and slightly archaic title designating a young man of gentle birth.
corage bold respire: again breathe courageous spirit
8.1 8.1 See Ps 91:11, ‘For he shal give his Angels charge over thee to kepe thee in all thy waies’.
arrett: entrust
offend: attack
8.7 offend: From L offedere to strike against.
painted: brightly colored
as . . . flight: ‘As [if he were a] fowle escapt by flight’.
courd: covered
9.8 courd: We make an exception here to our policy of modernizing u/v orthography because the spelling ‘courd’ appears meant to capture a particular pronunciation (a phonetic reduction) in the service of monosyllabic scansion. The phonetically reduced form of ‘covered’ allows it to merge with ‘cured’. OED identifies ‘cure’ as an elided form of ‘cover’, although ‘cure’ (as in ‘curate’, from L curare to care for) is also relevant. (Cf. recured and note at iv.16.7 and discure as a form of ‘discover’ at ix.42.8.)
9.8-9.9 9.8-9 Cf. Matt 23:37, ‘I have gathered thy children together, as the henne gathereth her chickens under her wings’. The syntax (‘courd it . . . from’) indicates a defensive gesture.
newly hatcht: For the hatchling as a conventional symbol of the soul’s immortality, see e.g. Camerarius 1590, Symbolorum et Emblamata Centuria 3.69, Nulla mihi mora est (‘death is nothing to me’)
Paynim: heathen
10.2 Paynim: The ‘two sonnes of Acrates’ are not identified as Saracen knights during their earlier appearance in cantos iv-vi.
10.3 Archimago plays the Palmer’s part, as in the first episode of Book 2.
10.6 two sonnes of Acrates: See arg.2 and i.51.2-4n.
10.7-10.8 10.7-8 At vi. 47-51 the brethren encounter Archimago on the shore of the ‘Idle lake (vi.10.1-2).
dearly: heartily; keenly; at a high cost
11.4-11.5 11.4-5 Cf. Prov 26:21, ‘As the cole maketh burning coles, and the wood a fyre, so the contentious man is apt to kindle strife’.
stryful: strife-full
11.4 Atin: See iv.42.5n.
whot: hot
slombred: unconscious; corse: body
11.7 slombred: A Spenserianism. Cf I.vii.15.6, the sole instance cited by OED.
debate: combat
brutenesse shendst: stupidity disgrace
comely: In ME usage, ‘applied in courtesy to those of noble station’ (OED). Cf. i.7.2.
caytive: vile
stile: title
13.7 envy . . . to barke: Cf. SC ‘To His Booke’ 5, ‘And if that Envie barke at thee’. Early modern envy commonly barks and often bites as well.
14.5 Proverbial (Smith 1970, no 336).
14.7-14.9 14.7-9 Misapplies a well-known saying attributed to Solon the Lawgiver by Herodotus (Persian Wars 1.30) and Plutarch (Parallel Lives, Solon 37).
recke: care
hire: spoils
blame: bring into disrepute
16.4-16.5 16.4-5 See Mark 15:24 on the soldiers casting lots for Christ’s garments; Faith’s rebuke to the Roman soldier who wounds Christ’s body on the cross in Langland, Piers Plowman: ‘Cursede caytyues! Knighthood was it nevere / To misdo a dead body, by daye nor by nyght’ (Crowley 1550, 18.96-97,); and Achilles’ treatment of Hector’s corpse in Homer (Il 22.375-404).
weed: garments
trap: deck
dight: decked with trappings
16.9 16.9 See Goliath’s threat to David at 1 Sam 17:44, ‘I wil give thy flesh unto the foules of the heaven, and to the beastes of the field’.
heben: ebony
17.7 17.7 For the shield covered to protect onlookers from its blinding brightness, see I.viii.19 and OF 2.55-56.
Well kend him so far space: Archimago recognizes Arthur from a distance.
amenaunce: bearing
bylive: ‘belive’, immediately
prowest: worthiest, having the most ‘prowess’
Sar’zins: Saracens
18.6 Sar’zins: From late L Saracēni, the people of Arabia. Applied to Muslim combatants in the Crusades; a medieval etymology going back to Jerome derives the term from the name of Abraham’s wife Sarah while identifying the Muslims who bear the name as descendants of Hagar.
19.1 19.1 The first mention of this lack, although Pyrochles is described at vi.41.3-4 as having abandoned his horse.
faine: willingly
Beteeme: yield
kend: understood, discovered
20.5 Medæwart: Herb also known as ‘meadow-sweet’. The etymology of the name is uncertain; see OED s.v. ‘meadwort’.
20.7 Aetna: The location of Vulcan’s forge, where both the sword of Turnus and the armor of Aeneas were made.
20.8-20.9 20.8-9 Virgil reports that the sword of Turnus was tempered in ‘the Stygian wave’ (Stygia tinxerat unda, Aen 12.91); it was also in the ‘Stygian lake’ that Occasion is said to have kindled the fire-brand she brings to Furor (v.22.6-8).
20.8 seven times: The number of times Elisha tells Naaman to dip himself in the river Jordan to be cleansed (2 Kings 5:10).
20.9 which hidden vertue to it gave: Cf. the near-total invulnerability conferred upon Achilles when, according to Statius, he was dipped in the river Styx as an infant. (Achilleid 1.133-34, 266-71).
fone: ME plural of ‘foe’, still current in the 16th-c.
his: its
21.6 Morddure: From L mordere to bite + durus hard, perhaps by way of Fr; cf. English ‘mordant’. Sound evokes also Fr mort death, and English ‘murder’, and may echo ‘Durlindana’, the sword of Orlando in OF.
brond: poeticism for ‘sword’
22.4 22.4 See 20.8-9n above, and v.22.6-9, where Occasion arms Furor with ‘a flaming fyer brond’ that is not a poetically-designated sword but literally a fire-brand: Furor is then ‘armed with fire’.
His Lords owne flesh: The scriptural resonance of the phrasing, while not a precise echo, does recall the language of passages like John 6:48-60, and in this way touches on the allegory that makes Arthur a type of Christ bringing life to fallen man: ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Sone of man, and drinke his blood, ye have no life in you’ (6:53). John’s emphasis on this flesh as the only food that can nourish the soul (e.g., 6:48-51 and marginal glosses) may also be relevant to Guyon’s famished state.
vertuous: Morally righteous, but also having occult powers.
salued: saluted
23.2 salued: Cf. Caxton, ‘He salued theym curtoysly’ (Sonnes of Aymon iii.75.28).
stomachous: angry
demayne: demeanor
magnanimity: The culminating virtue in Aristotle’s Nic Eth. Cf. FQ Letter 38-40, where Spenser uses ‘magnificence’ to designate the virtue that is ‘(according to Aristotle and the rest) . . . the perfection of all the rest’, and ascribes this virtue to Arthur.
redoubted: feared or reverenced
cace: condition (of his body)
deface: destroy
25.9 deface: If the etymology is taken from L facere, the sense might be ‘undo’.
ghost: soul or spirit
26.7-26.8 26.7-8 On the special power of temperate or temporizing language, see 22.1-2, vi.36.3-5, III.ii.15.5-6, IV.ii.2.5-6, IV.ix.14.6-7, and VI.v.30.6-8.
patronage: guardianship
Not to debate the chalenge of your right: To ‘challenge right’ is to lay a claim to, or assert a right, so that ‘not to debate the chalenge of your right’ means ‘not to take up the claim (of right) that you have laid/entered’: Arthur indicates that he is not going to dispute the legal basis of the knights’ quarrel with Guyon, but rather ask ‘pardon’ for him on essentially compassionate grounds. At the same time there is a play on the word ‘chalenge’, because medieval trials of right usually took the form of ordeal, including combat. In a chivalric encounter of this kind, a ‘challenge’ is a summoning or defiance offered by one contestant to others. Hence the ‘chalenge’ here might also be ‘an offer of battle, a defiance’, linked to the ‘matter of right’ being contested between the brothers and Guyon; cf. ‘debate’ as combat at 11.9 and 54.6. (On the concentration of legal diction in this episode see Zurcher 2007:70).
28.2 See Job 9:33: ‘Neither is there any dayesman to lay his hande betweene us’ (Bishops’ Bible; Geneva reads ‘Nether is there any umpire that might laie his hand upon us bothe’.
prolong: delay
let: prevent
deare abye: pay dearly
29.1-29.6 29.1-6 Arthur’s definition of God’s justice in these lines is based on the second commandment, Exod 20:5.
Nephewes: grandson’s
29.3 Nephewes: From L nepos.
bereave: take away
29.5 bereave: Normally the thing taken is valued, with the verb expressing a sense of loss.
streightly: strictly
29.7 upreare: Breaks the rhyme-scheme. Hamilton 2001 notes that ‘“upheaue” would satisfy the “b” rhyme, though that word is never used in the poem while “upreare” is common’.
felon: villain
30.4 Termagaunt: ‘An imaginary deity held in mediæval Christendom to be worshipped by Muslims’ (OED); cf. 33.3.
sad: heavy
no’uld: ne would (would not)
sell: saddle
31.6-31.7 31.6-7 The notion of a ‘law of armes’ goes back to Roman authors, but was revived and elaborated in form of the ‘chivalric code’ by medieval writers like Jean de Meun and Christine de Pizan. To ‘strike foe undefide’ was to attack without first issuing a formal challenge; see i.25.9n.
miscreaunt: misbeliever
defast: disfigured; discredited; erased
bent: aimed
32.5 32.5 Pyrochles lays ‘rude hand’ on Guyon’s shield at 17.1.
stownd: shock, attack
33.3 Mahoune: A form of the name ‘Mohammed’, but also another imaginary deity held in the Middle Ages to be worshipped by Muslims; see 30.4n.
aby: pay for; cf. 28.8.
Els mote it needes: Otherwise it must (OED s.v. ‘needs’).
doe him small redresse: give him little help
importable: insupportable
his ground to traverse: to shift his ground
stowre: battle, onslaught
35.4 stowre: Etymologically linked to ‘storm’ (see 48.2).
assay: attack
poynant: piercing
puissant sway: powerful force
gryde: Cf. SC Feb. 4 E.K. gloss, ‘Gride) perced: an olde word much used of Lidgate’.
plesh: puddle
his Gods: Termagaunt (30.4) and Mahoune (33.3).
rayle: gush
very felnesse: utter rage
Caytive: wretch
brond: See 22.4n.
he: Cymochles
thother: Pyrochles
The one: conflating the knight (now Pyrochles) with his swordstroke.
his owner byte: Pyrochles wields Morddure (see 21.6n and 22.5n).
troncheon: spear-stump
th’other: now Cymochles
38.5 truncheon: From L truncus trunk.
hacqueton: jacket worn under the chain mail
importune: inopportune; pressing
dint: blow
38.9-39.2 38.9-39.2 ‘But one of the souldiers with a speare perced his side, and forthewith came there out blood and water’ (John 19:34). For the medieval tradition that locates this wound on the right, see Gurewich (1957: 359b). Cf. 22.5n.
at warde: in a defensive stance
his foot revoke: retreat
raught: reached
as he it ought: as he who owns it (Guyon)
40.7-40.9 40.7-9 The simile is scriptural: cf. 2 Sam 17:8, Prov. 17:12, Hos 13:8.
wood: mad
yond: savage
40.9 yond: OED suggests Spenser may have misunderstood a line from Chaucer: ‘Beth egre as is a Tygre yond in Ynde’ (CT Clerk IV 1199)’.
throwes: strokes
told: numbered
hart-thrilling: heart-piercing
42.1 St. 42 Imitated from a simile in Ariosto: Chi ha visto in piazza rompere steccato, a cui la folta turba ondeggi intorno,immansueto tauro accaneggiato, stimulato e percosso tutto 'l giorno (‘Imagine a wild bull pent up in a public square, goaded and struck all day long until, in a fit of rage, he breaks out . . . .’; OF 18.19.1-4).
42.2 ‘Once rancor goads him with rage’.
smitt: smote
43.3 The portrait on Guyon’s shield is mentioned previously at i.28.7-8 and v.11.7-8.
For ‘stowre’, see 35.4n.
no’te: ne mote (may not)
appeached: accused
haubergh: armor that protects the neck and shoulders
thore: through (archaic)
renfierst: re-enfierced
45.1 renfierst: OED cites only this instance.
burganet: helmet
45.6-45.9 45.6-9 See the death of Turnus in Virgil, ast illi solvuntur frigore membra / vitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras (‘But the other’s limbs grew slack and chill, and with a moan life passed indignant to the Shades below’, Aen 12.951-52).
german: brother
frayd: made afraid
46.8 Harrow and well away: See vi.43.6 and note.
lenger day: a day longer
47.2 47.2 The desire for revenge blends with the desire for death; cf. the confusion of retribution with self-destruction in Pyrochles’ motto (iv.38.5 and note).
47.4 Pyrochles flies fiercely at Arthur with Arthur’s own sword.
foynd: lunged or thrust
this . . . that: Pyrochles . . . Arthur
Prince Arthur: 1590 prints ‘Sir Guyon’, an error not corrected until 1609.
49.1-49.7 49.1-7 See Tasso’s description of the combat between Tancred and Argante (GL 29.17).
50.2-50.4 50.2-4 Imitated from Virgil Aen 11.721-24; cf. Ovid Met 6:516-18.
Bittur: bittern
50.2 Bittur: A smaller cousin of the heron.
sad melancholy: sullen anger
great mind: Magnanimity, from L magna great + animus spirit; see 23.9n and Aristotle, Nic Eth 4.3.
decay: destruction
dismall day: day of doom
51.5 dismall day: From L dies mali; see vi.43.7n.
miscreaunce: misbelief
51.6 miscreaunce: Cf. 31.6.
liegeman: ‘A vassal sworn to the service and support of his superior lord, who in return was obliged to afford him protection’ (OED).
for ay: for ever
valiaunce: valor
sovenaunce: memory
Foole: Cf. Matt 5:22, ‘whosoever shal say, Foole, shalbe worthie to be punished with hel fyre’.
52.2 52.2 Cf. Virgil, utere sorta tua (‘use thou thy chance’; Aen. 12.932). The allusion to Virgil’s Turnus may pass though Tasso’ Argantes at GL 19.26.
52.8-52.9 52.8-9 The elliptical treatment of the decapitating blow in these lines recalls a similar ellipsis in Virgil’s description of the death of Priam, Aen 2.554-58. In combining a reminiscence of Priam’s death with that of Turnus, Spenser here anticipates Shakespeare’s conflation in Hamlet (2.2.468-497) of the same Virgilian moments.
her sencelesse foe: Transferred epithet: life’s foe is senselessness itself.
53.9 53.9 See Recrosse’s similar address to Una at I.ix.17.4-5.
the tokens trew: The visible evidence that the Palmer’s words are true.
embayd: bathed
55.2 embayd: Possibly with baptismal overtones.
the Patrone of his life: Cf. 26.9, ‘thy knights last patronage’; also I.ix.17.6, II.xi.16.9.
my liege: See 51.7n.
55.9 55.9 This half-line remains in later editions; Church 1758 observes that Arthur may cut Guyon off. If so, then in preempting Guyon’s speech Arthur closes the canto as it opens, with a formal mimesis of the prevenience of grace.
Infant: prince
56.1 Infant: From Span Infante.
56.1-56.3 56.1-3 For the contrasting economies of merit and grace, see 2.8 and vii.49.9n.
56.7-56.8 56.7-8 ‘In this way they devised together a substantial conversation about kindness and the courteous giving of grace’. For ‘aggrace’ as a noun, OED cites only this instance. As a verb it means to convey grace, as at I.x.18.7, where it describes the action of Fidelia in preparing Redcrosse to read scripture.
1-2 arg.1-2 Spenser’s ‘house of Temperance’ as the dwelling-place of the soul finds precedents in Langland’s castle of Anima (Piers P 9.48-52), Gower’s ‘Alme’ and her castle (Mirrour de L’omme, 11281-92, 14713-24), and du Bartas Div Wks 1.6; in Paul’s definition of the body as ‘the temple of the holie Gost’ (1 Cor 6:19); and in Plato’s account of how the body was constructed to house the soul and the passions (Tim 65-75). For a more extensive listing of precedents, see Var 2.285-89. Phineas Fletcher amplifies Spenser’s allegory of the body in The Purple Island (1633); Helkiah Crooke uses the description of Alma’s castle to structure his anatomical textbook Microcosmographia (1615), especially books II-VII (although Crooke, unlike Spenser, in books IV-V does include the ‘parts of generation’).
sober: serious, dignified, sedate
2 sober: The word reappears at 1.4 (cf. i.7.7, ii.14.5).
Alma: Ital alma soul; Heb Almah maiden; L alma kind, nourishing.
straunger: Because they are new arrivals to the house of Temperance.
1.1-1.4 1.1-4 Cf. 1 Cor 12:24, ‘God hathe tempered the bodie together’.
1.1 Of all Gods workes: Cf. ‘all his workes with mercy doth embrace’ (viii.1.7).
adorne: In the technical sense of ornament as betokening cosmos, Gods workes decorate the macrocosm by mirroring its structure. (For ornament as ‘cosmic image’, see Fletcher 1964: 108-117.)
1.4 government: Cf. ‘governaunce’ (i.29.8 and note). In the analogy between the body and the body politic, temperance corresponds to government; see 48.9, where the counselors in the tripartite brain counsel Alma ‘how to governe well’, and 59.9, where Arthur reads about the reduction of Briton ‘to one mans governements’.
1.5 indecent: FE corrects 1590 incedent, which better fits the meter and might, as ‘incident’, imply an etymological pun on L in + caedere to fall. The metrical torque on ‘indecent’ suggests a comparable pun on ‘in descent’.
Distempred: Having the bodily humors thrown out of balance.
incontinent: immediately; concupiscent
his: its
loose: lose
1.8 his: ‘His’ is both the neuter and the masculine form of the possessive pronoun in OE and ME. Spenser is writing on the threshold of the change from ‘his’ to ‘its’ (Shakespeare, for example, varies in his usage), so the pronoun does not decisively distinguish the natural gender of ‘mans body’ as masculine rather than epicene—especially since that body is ‘it’, not ‘he’, in lines 4, 5, and 7.
1.8 loose: Carries a strong scriptural sense: ‘To destroy, ruin, bring to destruction or perdition’ (OED). Hamilton 2001 quotes Elyot on the soul that ‘loseth hir dignitie, and becommith minister unto the sences’ (1946: 119-20).
this place: ‘A particular part of or location in a book or document’ (OED). The reference to ‘one and other’ is indefinite enough to imply that Alma’s castle may be contrasted with any number of incontinent bodies, including Maleger and the rascal route, the transmogrified lovers in the Bower of Bliss, and the many sunderings of the body politic in the chronicle materials of canto x.
yfere: together
2.3 yfere: Cf. viii.56.7, ‘So goodly purpose they together fond’, and note the internal rhyme with ‘in fayre’.
with gentle court did bord: Addressed in a courteous/courtly manner.
read: learn, study
2.7-2.8 2.7-8 The portrait on Guyon’s shield is mentioned previously at i.28.7-8, v.11.7-8, and viii.43.2-6.
scord: cut
semblaunt: image; countenance
vertue: power
3.3 lively-head: the living original of ‘that Ladies head’, with a punning use of the suffix -head, corresponding to modern ‘-ness’ (‘liveliness’) or ‘-hood’ (‘likelihood’); cf. ‘Maydenhed’, 6.6.
bounty: goodness; generosity
3.6 bounty: Cf. 5.4-5.
hew: form
3.5-3.9 3.5-9 Through equivocation, the diction and phrasing here blur the line between spiritual qualities and effects of wealth and power, even as they draw the line more firmly between these and the visible beauty of ‘mortal hew’. As a result the explicit contrast between Gloriana (here and at 5.4-5) and Philotime at vii.44-50 is somewhat hedged.
retraitt: portrait
4.2 retraitt: Coined by Spenser, the word combines ‘portrait’ with ‘retreat’: the visible ‘semblaunt’ incised in the ‘substance’ of the shield retreats from view as it passes over into ‘the beauty of her mind’.
liefe: beloved
liege: feudal lord
4.5 liege: Cf. viii.51.7 and note, viii.55.5.
4.6-4.7 4.6-7 Cf. the language describing Elizabeth at I.pr.4.3-4, Una at I.xii.21.5-9, and the damsels bathing in Acrasia’s fountain at II.xii.65.1-2.
countenaunce: appearance; expression; visage; patronage; repute
amenaunce: conduct
to die at her desire: The movement away from the visible image in st. 3-4 is qualified by the erotic charge of this phrasing. See the story of Arthur’s dream at I.ix.13-16 and his response to the shield’s image at II.viii.43.1-6.
meed: wages; reward
sold: salary (root of soldier)
6.6 knights of Maydenhed: Mentioned previously at I.vii.46.4 and II.ii.42.1-5. Faery counterpart to the English Order of the Garter, founded by King Edward III in the late 14th century.
remaine: await
6.9 Arthogall: Arthegall, the patron knight of Justice in Book 5.
6.9 Sophy: Gk σοφια sophia wisdom. Hamilton 2001 notes that Drayton mentions a holy Welsh king bearing this name (1931-41: 41:4.482).
7.5-7.6 7.5-6 See i.33.6n and ‘Introduction’ 00 for the symbolic rather than realistic time-scheme of the narrative. The seven solar years mentioned in these lines correspond to the seven years that Alma’s castle has been under siege (12.8), but not to the ‘three years’ Praysdesire says Arthur has sought Gloriana (38.9). 1596 revises these lines: ‘Seven times . . . Hath walkte’ at 7.5-6 becomes ‘Now hath . . . Walkt round’, reducing the number of solar years from seven to one, and ‘three years’ at 38.9 becomes ‘twelve moneths’. These revisions bring Arthur’s reckoning into alignment with Guyon’s: at the corresponding moment in Book I, Arthur tells Una and Redcrosse he has sought Gloriana for nine months (ix.15.9), and at ii.44.1-4 Guyon reports that his quest has been underway for three months. For ‘the Sunne with his lamp-burning light’, cf. Virgil, postera Phoebea lustrabat lampade terras (‘The morrow’s dawn was lighting the earth with the lamp of Phoebus’; Aen 4.6).
7.7 I have sought the sight: Responding to Guyon’s rhetorical question at 3.1-4.
Fortune: Iconographic details associated with Fortuna appear in Spenser’s portrait of Occcasion (see iv.4-5n).
chevisaunce: chivalric enterprise
8.1 chevisaunce: Cf. gloss by E.K. at SC May 92: ‘sometime of Chaucer used for gaine; sometime of other for spoyle, or bootie, or enterprise, and sometime for chiefdome’.
subdew: Context suggests ‘achieve’; OED cites only this example.
9.5-9.8 9.5-8 On the differing versions of this story see i.35.5-36.1, ii.42.6-43.9, and the note to each.
wagon: chariot
hospitale: hospice
10.7 10.7 First mention of Guyon on horseback since the disappearance of his ‘loftie steed’ at ii.11.5-7.
avale: dismount
loup: loop-hole
10.9 loup: An opening in the wall of a castle.
11.3-11.5 11.3-5 Cf. Timias’s challenge to Orgoglio at I.viii.3-5.
neare decay: imminent destruction
12.8 Seven yeares: Cf. 7.5 and 22.7. Commentators have seen the number as alluding to various learned or proverbial sevens: deadly sins, ages of man, ages of the world, days of creation, number of known planets, or the esoteric numerology of the Roman philosopher Macrobius in his Commentary on the Dream of Scipio (1.6).
villeins: serfs
13.2 villeins: Details in the description of these ‘villeins’ reflect Ariosto’s account of the strana torma (‘fantastic throng’) that attacks Ruggiero on his way to the castle of Logistilla, OF 6.60-67. They also resemble Spenser’s accounts in A Vewe of the Irish and their warlike forbears: ‘a flyinge / Enymie hydinge him self in woodes and bogges’ (the Irish, at 3968-69); attacking with ‘atyrrible yell / and Hubbubbe’ (the Scythians and Parthians, at 2175-76); a ‘confused kynde of march in heapes’ (the Irish, at 3211); and ‘feirce rvnninge vpon theire / Enemies’ (the Irish, at 2313-14).
13.6-13.7 13.6-7 Echoing Virgil: Non iam certamine agresti, / stipitibus duris agitur sudibusve praeustis ( ‘Not now do they contend in rustic quarrel with heavy clubs or seared stakes’; Aen 7.523-4).
rusty: OED 4.a, ‘Lacking polish or refinement’ is relevant in context.
steares: steers
heares: hairs
maine: physical force, as in ‘might and main’
raskall routs: Common term for a mob; Todd cites its use by Heywood in The First Part of King Edward IV to characterize popular rebellions (1.2.29)
orders: ranks
idle: empty
15.8-15.9 15.8-9 See Virgil’s description of Aeneas trying to combat shades in the underworld (Aen 6.290-94).
the fennes of Allan: a great bog in central Ireland; New Abbey, the County Kildare property Spenser leased in 1582, was located near its north-eastern border. The simile fuses personal experience with literary allusion: Spenser refers in A Vewe to the attacks of the Irish gnats, ‘whch in the Countrey doe more annoye the . . . rebels, whilst they kepe the woodes and doe more sharpelie wound them then all theire Enemies swords or speares, whch can seldome come nigh them’ (2089-83); Homer compares the Greeks drawn up to attack the Trojan forces to ‘the tribes of swarming flies that buzz about the herdman’s farmstead in the season of spring’ (Il 2.469-73).
equipaged: furnished; ordered by rank
17.9 ‘Received them graciously, as was fitting’.
18.1 St. 18-19 Spenser’s description of Alma borrows such details as her golden hair and garland of roses from medieval allegories both of courtly love (e.g. Rom Rose) and of the soul (e.g. Pearl). As mistress of the body-castle, Alma corresponds to the ‘rational soul’ as defined by Burton: it ‘includes the powers, and performs the duties of the two other [the sensitive and vegetable souls], which are contained in it, and all three faculties make one soul, which is inorganical of itself, although it be in all parts, and incorporeal, using their organs, and working by them’ (Anatomy
18.9 18.9 As the soul, Alma may be wooed by many but is reserved as the bride of Christ.
19.1-19.2 19.1-2 Cf. Rev 7:9, 13, where the multitude standing before the throne of God are ‘araied in long white robes’; Geneva gloss reads, ‘In signe of puritie’.
Braunched: embroidered
tire: head-dress
Rosiere: the branch of a rosebush
liberall: bountiful

St. 21-32 The balance of the canto is given over to a description and tour of the human body, represented as a medieval castle.

St. 21 describes the material (flesh) from which the walls are built, st. 22 the mystical proportions of the architecture. St. 23 figures the mouth, into which Alma leads the knights (st. 26) as they are allegorically swallowed and digested, rising from the stomach through the breast to the brain. (‘Not where he eats,’ as Hamlet says of Polonius, ‘but where he is eaten’; cf. the recurrent image of feeding the eyes in canto vii.) Meanwhile st. 23-26 describe the lips, chin, beard, moustache, nose, tongue, and teeth. St. 27-28 describe the dining hall (throat), governed by Diet and Appetite, followed in st. 29-31 by the kitchen (stomach), cooled by ‘a great payre of bellowes’ (30.4; the lungs). St. 32.6 mentions a ‘secret’ waste disposal system ‘that none might . . . espy’.

fensible: defensible
21.4-21.6 21.4-6 Cf. the building of Babel, Gen 11:3: ‘So thei had brycke for stone, and slyme had they in steade of morter’. Also the creation of Adam, Gen. 2.7: ‘The Lord God also made the man of the dust of the grounde [Vulgate, de limo terrae], and breathed in his face breath of life, and the man was a living soule’.
21.5 AEgyptian slime: Cf. I.i.21, III.vi.8.
21.6 king Nine: Ninus, king of ancient Assyria, identified in T. Cooper Thes Ling as founder of Ninevah; associated at I.v.48.1-4 with Nimrod, who is in turn linked with Babel at Gen 10:8-10.

St. 22 Since the seventeenth century this has been the most commented-upon stanza in the poem. William Austin (1637) and Sir Kenelm Digby (1643) have long been identified as the earliest glossators in this tradition, but recent work on Ben Jonson’s marginalia establish Jonson’s copy as the almost certain source of Digby’s elaborate Observations on the 22. Stanza. Jonson identifies the circle as the human soul and the triangle as the body, with the quadrate fixed between them signifying the principal humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile). He also identifies the numbers seven and nine with the ‘Planetes and the Angells which ar[e] distributed into a Hierarch[y] which governe the body’ (Riddell and Stewart 1995, 107, 175-76.)

Specific verbal resemblances link this stanza to a discussion of the nature of the soul in Bryskett's A Discourse of Civill Life (1606), a dialogue in which Spenser figures as a participant. Mills (1973) establishes the probability that the passage in Bryskett is an immediate source for this stanza, and demonstrates the explanatory power for understanding this language of the philosophical context toward which Bryskett points: the ‘mortalist controversy’ inspired by the dispute between Aquinas and the Muslim scholar Ibn Rushd (known in Europe as Averroes) over the relationship among the vegetative, sensitive, and rational souls and the mens, or contemplative soul.

The tradition that assigns occult symbolism to numbers and geometrical forms derives from Plato’s Timaeus and was elaborated in the early 5th century by Macrobius, who glosses seven, for example, as ‘the number by which man is conceived, developed in the womb, is born, lives and is sustained’ (The Dream of Scipio I.vi.62-82; trans. Stahl 112). For further discussion of the intellectual traditions behind this stanza and of the critical tradition it has generated, see Fowler (1964), Mills (1973), Hamilton (2001: 238-39) and D. L. Miller (2006: 148-150).

22.4-22.5 22.4-5 The gendering of the body as feminine and the soul as masculine is a commonplace of Western literature and philosophy, deeply imbedded in Christian and Platonic discourse. As the presence of Alma indicates, the soul is also just as traditionally represented as feminine.
compacted: composed, joined together
22.9 goodly diapase: >Complete harmony, alluding to the mathematical basis of scales and intervals in music (the octave as the mean between seven and nine).
th’other: The one behind, as opposed to ‘The one before’. Cf. st. 32; in keeping with the decorum of the Porter and his ‘larumbell’ at 25.7-8, the stanza describing the mouth maintains a dignified reticence concerning ‘th’other’.
23.7-23.9 23.7-9 Cf. Ps 141:3, ‘set a watche, O Lord, before my mouth, and kepe the dore of my lippes’.
Jett: black marble
from Ireland: Todd 1805 reports that marble was quarried near Spenser’s residence at Kilcolman.
24.4-24.5 24.4-5 Alma’s beard remains an awkward detail for interpreters who justify the absence of genitals in the castle architecture by arguing that ‘as ‘the temple of the holie Gost’ (1 Cor 6:19), the human body is epicene, containing only what both sexes have in common’ (Hamilton 2001). Like the supposedly ‘impersonal’ use of the masculine pronoun, the ‘epicene’ body, deriving from the perfect sphere of Plato’s Timaeus, privileges an implicitly masculine definition of ‘the human’.
Enchaced: ornamented
wanton: luxuriant
Portcullis: ‘A strong barrier in the form of a grating of wooden or iron bars, usually suspended by chains above the gateway of a fortress, a fortified town, etc., and able to secure the entrance quickly by being released to slide down vertical grooves in the sides of the gateway’ (OED).
comely compasse: pleasing proportion
compacture strong: compact construction
compacture strong: The first use recorded by OED.
Barbican: outer fortification
25.5 25.5 Spenser’s official position as ‘secretary’ defined him as a keeper of secrets.
blazers of cryme: Presumably those who utter slander, sedition or the like.
larumbell: alarm
25.8 never out of time: appropriate timing is integral to temperance; see II.iv.4-5n on the iconography of Occasion.
25.9 at evening and at prime: Respectively the sixth and first ‘canonical hours’ of the Western Church, and hence appropriate ‘timing’ for prayer.
porch: Cf. Chaucer’s translation of Boethius, Cons Phil 5.metrum.4.1: ‘The porche (that is to seyn, a gate of the toun of Athenis there as philosophris hadden hir congregacioun to desputen)’.
warders: guards
26.2 warders: Jonson cites Plutarch on the ‘Wall, or Parapet of teeth set in our mouth, to restraine the petulancy of our words’ (1925-52.8.573).
Tall: handsome; stout
enraunged: from ‘rank’, arranged in an orderly fashion
obeysaunce: homage
lout: bow
gestes: gestures
drapets: tablecloths
Against: in preparation for [when]
viaundes: victuals
ministred: served
menaged: wielded
Steward: caterer
27.8 Steward: Spenser’s duties as a sizar, or scholarship student, at Cambridge would have included waiting at table, and his ancestral name (Fr De Spencier; cf. Proth 130-31n) is synonymous with Steward; hence the pun in CV H.B., addressed to the Muses and referring to the poet as ‘this rare dispenser of your graces’ (line 3). This pun is echoed by Richard Carew’s reference to Spenser in 1598 as the ‘Muses despencier’ (Cummings 1971: 95). For Spenser’s own play with the etymology of his name see 29.1, xii.42.8, V.i.7.5, and notes.
Marshall of the same: Member of a noble household responsible for seating guests on formal occasions.
attone: together (‘at one’)
nicenesse: delicacy
28.9 nicenesse: Alma does not out of delicacy omit to show them the kitchen.
dispence: expenditure, provision
29.1 dispence: See 27.8n.
raunges: fireplaces or grates
29.2 raunges: See vii.35.4 for the corresponding moment in the tour of Mammon’s cave, and cf. vii.5.3-4n with st. 21-32n above for the suggestion that as the knights are allegorically ‘digested’ in the castle, Guyon is correspondingly ‘purified’ in his tour of Mammon’s realm.
29.5-29.7 29.5-7 Galen of Pergamum, a second-century Greek medical writer recognized as authoritative in the Renaissance, characterizes digestion as similar to boiling in a passage that mentions the volcanic Mount Aetna, also known as Mongiball (Nat Fac 3.7).
delay: temper
ordinaunce: management
styre: stir, move
accoyld: gathered
30.6 accoyld: OED cites only this instance.
31.1 Concoction: In Renaissance physiology, the first stage of digestion, from L con together + cocquere to boil.
31.3 Digestion: The second stage of digestion, from L digerere to distribute.
Achates: Provisions, from Anglo-Norman and Middle French achat purchase.
St. 32 Describing the third stage of digestion, elimination.
noyous: harmful
nought: worthless, unfit for consumption; nothing
32.5 nought: May represent ‘naught’ (as in ‘naughty’) or ‘nought’, from ne not + aught anything.
secret wayes: Cf. 25.5, ‘Utterers of secrets he from thence debard’.
close: covertly
32.7 close: With a likely glance at ‘close-stool’, a toilet.
32.8 Port Esquiline: The gate in ancient Rome that led to the sewer and city dump.

avoided: expelled; evaded

privily: privately, with a pun on ‘privy’
their mindes did fill: In contrast to the action of excreting at 32.9, the knights are allegorically feeding on the spectacle of human digestion. One of several places where Spenser plays on the mise en abyme of a human body populated by allegorical homunculi who posses bodies of their own; see 33.8-9n, 38.4n, 43.9n. For the corresponding moment in Mammon's cave, see vii.24.4.
so straunge a sight: Emphasizing the miracle of that which is most familiar, since the ‘sight’ the knights behold is their own anatomy.
33.5 33.5 The knights turn ‘backe againe’, reversing their descent toward the body’s midsection, to ascend into the heart. Appropriately, this turn occurs in the fifth line of the stanza. For analogous moments of discreet turning-away, see 39.6, 44.2-3, 44.6.
33.5-34.5 33.5-44.5 The function of coupling from which the knights turn aside in 33.5 is represented differently: ‘digested’ into the ‘goodly Parlour’ of the heart (33.6), where the allegory is likewise refined from the corporeal-architectural basis of its first phase to the comedy of manners that ensues as each knight encounters a female personification embodying the form of his desire, and experiences a resulting moment of painful self-consciousness (st. 39, 44). On the shifting of representational modes in this canto see Davis 1981: 124-25.
arras: tapestry
33.8-33.9 33.8-9 Alma’s royall arras contrasts strikingly with the elaborate tapestries at the House of Busirane (III.xi.28-46) and the Castle Joyeous (III.i.34-38). The chiasmus in Spenser’s phrasing suggests a mirroring in which nothing is reflected back to nothing, and hence an undoing of figuration as such, located appropriately at the (literal) ‘heart’ of his allegorical figuration of the body. On this reading the tapestry is, paradoxically, a figure for the mise en abyme of representation referred to above (33.3n). Alternatively, Mills suggests that the unwrought tapestry contains ‘the simplest of perceived sensory forms awaiting conceptualization’ (1970: 569), reading but as ‘except’ to suggest that the tapestry is not entirely empty.
jolly: amorous; handsome; lively
amate: accompany
34.4 amate: The earliest instance of this sense cited by OED.
aggrate: gratify
34.8-34.9 34.8-9 At 18.2 we are told that Alma ‘had not yet felt Cupides wanton rage’; for Cupid’s gesture in laying his bow aside, a recurrent motif in FQ, see viii.6n. Cupid’s ‘fierce wars’ are detailed in Busyrane’s tapestries; see III.xi.29.5, ‘And eke all Cupids warres they did repeat’.
35.1 St. 35 The affections personified in this stanza divide between ‘some’the forward, or concupiscible passions (associated in canto ii with Perissa and in canto v with Cymochles)—and ‘other some’—the froward, or irascible passions (associated with Elissa and Pyrochles).
consort: harmony; fellowship
faund: cringed
coy: disdainful
gnaw a rush: Possibly related to ‘rush’ as a figure of speech for something unimportant, as in ‘not worth a rush’.
dispose: prepare
36.5-36.6 chose . . . by chaunce: See the similar coincidence of chance with choice when the knights select books to read at 59.5 and 60.1. Spenser’s characteristic play with chance and providence suspends the action of the poem between romance errancy and epic destiny, e.g. at I.ix.6-7 and III.iii.24.
light: settle his choice
Poplar braunch: Sacred to Hercules, hence an emblem of heroic labor; Servius reports in his commentary on Virgil’s Eclogues that Hercules made himself a crown of poplar upon his return from Hades (Comm in Verg Buc 7.61). The story of his choosing virtue over pleasure, attributed to Socrates by Xenophon (who relates it in his Memorabilia, 2.1.21-34), established Hercules as a popular Renaissance symbol of temperance.
spill: spoil
thus ill apayd: repayed you so evilly; so dissatisfied you
advise: notice
advise: From L ad to + visere to look at carefully.
Him ill beseemes: mirroring the phrase ‘beseemes you ill’ at 37.9.
three years: 1596 ‘twelve moneths’; see 7.5n.
sought one: Gloriana
semblaunt: appearance
39.6 See 33.5, 44.2-3 for corresponding moments of turning-aside, which link the self-consciousness of the blushing knights to the pudor (modesty, or Shamefastnes [43.9]) of the allegory at the body’s midsection. See 33.5-44.5n.
39.8 Praysdesire: See vii.49.1n; Arthur’s anima contrasts with the match made in Hell that Mammon offers Guyon. On the importance of the pair shamefastness and desire of praise as ‘the most necessarye things to be observed by a maister in his disciples or scholers’, see Elyot 1580: 23.
demayne: demeanor
tyre: attire
40.7-40.9 40.7-9 Neither ‘the bird’ nor a source for the story of her sexual violation by Pan has been identified. Upton 1758 notes that Pan had by Echo a daughter named Jynx, who was turned into a bird, and suggests that it may be the cuckoo, which accompanies the figure of Jealousy in Chaucer (CT Knight 1930). Others have suggested the owl, the nightingale, or the turtle-dove, identified by Valeriano as an emblem of Pudicitia (Hieroglyphica 1602: 223-24). Since the bird in question ‘shonneth vew’ out of shame, perhaps we are not meant to know its name; cf. 25.5.
commoned: kept company
41.1 commoned: In ME, also to have sexual intercourse; cf. 42.4, 43.3-4 and notes.
41.3-41.7 41.2-7 For the literary genealogy of this simile, see Homer, Il 4.141; Claudian, R Pros 1.271-4; Statius, Achill 1.304-8; Ovid, Amor 2.5.34-40, Met 330-32; and Ariosto, OF 10.98-99.
Castory: castor, or castoreum
Castory: If the damsel knows that castoreum is a greasy, strong-smelling, evil-tasting reddish-brown substance extracted from glands in loins of the beaver, it is no wonder that she blushes.
42.4 See 39.6n. The echoes of st. 32 (‘secret’, ‘close’) are extended in 43.1 (‘nought’) and 44.1 (‘privitee’). For ‘the secret of your heart’ as Biblical language, see e.g. Ps 44:21, ‘Shal not God searche this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart’; Ps 51:6, ‘Beholde, thou lovest trueth in the inwarde affections: therefore hast thou taught me wisdome in the secret of mine heart’; 1 Cor 14:25, ‘And so are the secrets of his heart made manifest’.
devyse: conjecture
42.8-42.9 42.8-9 Since revealing the source of her discomfort is exactly what will please the damsel least, Guyon's offer ‘To ease you of that ill’ has the opposite effect.
discure: discover
42.8 discure: A ‘reduced form’ resulting from vocalization of the v; cf. ‘courd’ at viii.9.8 and note. With a possible pun on ‘dis-cure’, since as the comedy of the scene makes clear, to ‘discover’ shamefastness only intensifies its discomfort.
43.3-43.4 43.3-4. Cf. 39.3-5. In the present situation, Alma’s choice of diction (‘that, which ye so much embrace’) seems likely to set off another furious round of blushing, especially as it follows the series of echoes mentioned in 42.4n.
uncouth: unknown, unfamiliar
modestee: temperateness or discretion
43.8 modestee: According to Thomas Wilson’s Art of Rhetoric, ‘An honest shamefastness’ (76); shame or discomfiture in Lily, Mother Bombie: ‘I can neither without danger smother the fire, nor without modestie disclose my furie’ (3.1.5-6).
43.9 43.9 Another instance of chiasmus as the trope of mirroring; see 33.8-9n, 38.4n. For ‘Shamefastnes it selfe’, see the pseudo-Chaucerian Court of Love, ‘Eke Shamefastenesse was there as I toke hede, / That blushed red, and darst not been aknowe / She lover was . . .’ (1198-1200).
44.1 44.1-2 Blushing by its nature is not able to be contained ‘in privitee’; this is why Guyon turns his face away.
faynd to oversee: pretended not to notice
44.4-44.5 44.4-5 Apparently the narrator follows Alma’s example in deciding not to notice the knights’ discomfiture, despite having just described it; see 39.6n.
44.5 44.5-58 At 44.6-9 Alma leads the knights up an alabaster stairway (the ten vertebrae of the neck) to view her castle’s circular Turret (44.8, the head), and the allegory once again modulates, this time from the comedy of self-consciousness to an explicitly historical and typological mode, as references to Thebes and Troy (45.6-9) prepare for a comparison with ‘that heavenly towre, / That God hath built for his owne blessed bowre’ (47.4-5). St. 47-58 describe the three principal chambers of the turret, occupied by ‘three honorable sages; (47.8): Phantastes (st. 49-52) or the fantasy; an unnamed ‘man of ripe and perfect age’ (54.2) who exercises the faculty of judgment (st. 53-54); and the aged Eumnestes with his boy Anamnestes, representing memory and recollection (st. 55-58). In the chamber of Eumnestes the knights come upon the chronicles they will read in canto 10.
thence away them sought: ‘Invited them to come away’, echoing 33.5, ‘Thence backe againe faire Alma led them right’.
Alablaster: Early modern spelling of ‘alabaster’, a pure white translucent stone.
compassed around: encompassed, bounded with a circle
survewd: surveyed, overlooked
45.4 survewd: Contrasting with its etymological partner ‘oversee’ at 44.3.
45.5-45.6 45.6-7 Cadmea, the acropolis at Thebes, built by Cadmus (Met 3.1-130) and destroyed by Alexander the Great in 335 B.C.E.
richly guilt: Cf. Virgil: auratasque trabes, veterum decora alta parentum (‘gilded rafters, the splendours of their fathers of old’; Aen 2.448).
45.9 young Hector: Astyanax, son of Hector, was cast over the battlements of Troy (Met 13.415-17).
over head: literally
herbars: arbours
in watches stead: in place of watchmen
46.5 living fire: Belphoebe’s eyes are described as ‘living lamps’ that dart fire (II.iii.23.1-3); the eyes of the dragon in Eden are compared to flaming beacons (I.xi.15.1-4). In Am Spenser apostrophizes the lady’s eyes as ‘full of the living fire / Kindled above unto the maker neere’ (8.1-2), and says they ‘kindle living fire within my brest’ (7.12). Contrast III.viii.7.1-2 on the witch’s construction of the False Florimell: ‘In stead of eyes two burning lampes she set / In silver sockets, shyning like the skyes’.
sly: finely crafted
that heavenly towre: the New Jerusalem
47.4 that heavenly towre: Cf. the vision shown to Redcrosse by Contemplation at I.x.55-57.
47.4-47.5 47.4-5 The description of the human head—framed by comparisons to heaven (see 45.2), between which are contained the negative similes (45.6-9, ‘Not that . . . Nor that’) referring to great edifices of pagan antiquity—marks another shift in the symbolic mode of the allegory, from the comedy of courtly manners that prevails in the parlor of the heart to a typological mode appropriate to the head as the seat of the immortal soul and of the intellectual faculties of foresight and memory.
47.6-47.9 47.6-9 Medical tradition descending from Galen identified four ventricles in the human brain, to which were assigned the faculties of fantasy or foresight, judgment, and memory, with fantasy occupying the first two. Chaucer neatly sums up this tradition in CT when he lists the medical authorities studied by the doctor of physic: ‘Olde Ypocras, Haly and Galyen, / Serapion, Rasiz and Avycen’ (Gen Pro 431-32). E. D. Harvey 2003 offers a well-informed summary of the medieval medical and philosophical traditions that lie behind Spenser’s conception of the animating forces within the body.
St. 48 The negative similes in this stanza parallel those in st. 45.
48.1-48.2 48.1-2 The Delphic Oracle reportedly declared Socrates the wisest man alive (Plato, Apology 21A).
doome: judgment
by many parts: many times over
48.4-48.7 48.4-7 Cf. Homer, ηδυεπης ανορουσε λιγυς Πυλιων αγορητης, / του και απο γλωσσης μελιτος γλυκιων ρεεν αυδη: / τω δ᾽ ηδη δυο μεν γενεαι μεροπων ανθρωπων / εφθιαθ᾽, οἵ οι προσθεν αμα τραφεν ηδ᾽ εγενοντο / εν Πυλῳ ηγαθεῃ, μετα δε τριτατοισιν ανασσεν (ēdnepēs anorouse ligys Pyliōn agorētēs, / tou kai apo glōssēs melitos glykiōn rheen audm: / tō d’ ēdē dyo men geneai meropōn anthrōpōn / ephthiath’ , oϊ oi prosthen ama traphen md’ egenonto / en Pylō mgathem, meta de tritatoisin anassen; ‘Nestor, sweet of speech, the clear-voiced orator of the men of Pylos . . . . Two generations of mortal men he had already seen pass away . . . and he was king among the third’; Il I.248-52).
praise of pollicies: counsel on the practice of governing
sondry: individually
48.9 48.9 Cf. ‘government’ at 1.4 and note.
49.1-49.3 49.1-3 Identified in both medical and philosophical tradition as phantasia (fantasy), cogitatio (judgment), and memoria (memory).
could one of these comprize: ‘one of these three could comprehend and contain it’
quicke prejudize: lively ability to anticipate
working: active
thin: insubstantially, intangibly
50.4-50.5 50.4-5 Cf. Sidney, Defense, arguing that only poets can invent ‘forms such as never were in nature’.
50.8-50.9 50.8-9 An unstructured series that may (by the reader’s cogitatio) be analyzed into three groups of four—although Hippodames remains a joker in this deck, since as a mythological creature it would be classed with the first three terms, but as an exotic natural creature, classed with the second four (see 50.8n).
Centaurs: mythological creatures, half-human, half-horse
50.8 Hippodames: Literally, horse-trainers; possibly an error for either ‘hippocampus’, a mythological sea-horse ‘having two fore-feet, and the body ending in a dolphin’s or fish’s tail, represented as drawing the car of Neptune and other sea-deities’ (OED), or ‘hippotame’, the 16th-c spelling of ‘hippopotamus’.
51.1-51.5 51.1-5 See the similes at I.i.23, describing the attack of Errour’s monstrous brood upon the Redcrosse knight, and st. 16 above, describing the attack of Maleger’s troops upon Arthur and Guyon. To have ‘a bee in your bonnet’ is a proverbial expression equivalent to having a screw loose; cf. Nicholas Udall 1553, ‘Who so hath suche bees as your maister in hys head’ (Roister D. [Arb.] 29).
51.6-51.9 51.6-9 See 50.8-9 for a parallel group of twelve.
Devices: notions, contrivances of the mind
leasings: lies
wonned: dwelt
52.2 Phantastes: Gk φανταστηζ phantastes visionary or dreamer.
52.4-52.6 52.4-6 For these details as signs of melancholy humor, see Burton Anat; ‘sharpe staring eyes’ suggest foresight.
52.8-52.9 52.8-9 For Saturn’s traditional association with melancholy, see Klibansky, Panofsky, and Saxl 1964. In astrology Saturn is the planet of baleful adversity (the ‘great Malefic’), ‘oblique’ when it stands at an adverse angle to one or more of the other natal planets. It is especially adverse when passing through the twelfth house of the zodiac (‘th’house of agonyes’).
53.1 St. 53 Cf. Aristotle, Nic Eth 6.5-8: ‘Practical wisdom [ϕρονησις phronesis] is a rational faculty exercised for the attainment of truth in things that are humanly good and bad . . . . In the popular mind prudence is more associated with the self and the individual—a usurpation of the title of prudence, which actually belongs to all forms and kinds, including those designated as domestic economy, constitution-building, the art of the lawgiver, and political science which again is subdivided into deliberative and judicial science’. Such wisdom differs from pure reason, which ‘apprehends the truth of definitions which cannot be proved by argument, while prudence involves knowledge of the ultimate particular thing’ (6.6, 182).
gestes: deeds
picturals: pictures
53.4 picturals: OED cites only this instance. Note that this noun governs the rest of the list, so that the chamber is described as containing not laws, judgments, and the like, but images of these things.
decretals: decrees
science: knowledge
53.8 science: From L scientia.
ay thought wittily: ever thought wisely
ripe and perfect age: See 27.8-9 and 27.8n. The verbal echo associates this unnamed figure with Diet (and hence with the poet) as the mind’s steward, governing its digestion of the materials taken in through the senses (‘who them did meditate’).
personage: appearance
they declind: decayed
55.4 they declind: Sloped downward, following the shape of the skull.
55.5-55.9 55.5-9 Cf. the description of Contemplation’s weak eyes and strong ‘spright’ at I.x.47.1-6
scorse: trade-off
55.8 scorse: The only instance of the noun cited by OED.
56.1-56.3 56.1-3 Another instance of this canto’s recurrent interest in the mise en abyme (see 33.3 and 33.8-9 notes). An ‘infinite’ record of all things, made on the spot ‘as they did pas’, would be caught in an endless loop, deprived of any temporal or spatial perspective in which to order and contain events (cf. ‘withouten end’, 58.2; ‘endlesse exercise’, 59.2).
immortall scrine: See the ‘everlasting scryne’ of the Muses at 1.pr.2.3. In both instances the transferred epithet applies properly to the contents rather than to the container. A ‘scrine’ is a wooden chest in which records or valuables were kept; see Anderson (2008: 82) for the association of ‘scrine’ with shrine and hence with the body as a temple, as in Nicholas Udall’s translation from Erasmus: ‘The mynde or solle of manne is covered, and . . . housed or hidden within the tabernacle or skryne of the bodye . . . .’ (1542: 145v).
56.5-56.6 56.6-7 Contrast ‘immortall’ and ‘incorrupted’ with the description of Emnestes and his dwelling as ‘decrepit’, ‘ruinous and old’ (55.6, 1).
56.8-56.9 56.8-9 The ‘warres’ mentioned in these lines are older than the Trojan war: King Ninus founded Ninevah (see 21.6n), Assaracus was an ancestor of Aeneas, and Inachus was a river god, founder of Argos and father of Io.
57.1-57.2 The yeares of Nestor . . . Mathusalem: Nestor live three hundred years, according to T. Cooper 1565; Methushélah, according to Genesis 5:27, ‘nine hundred sixty and nine’.
57.6-57.9 57.6-9 Unlike the first two chambers, where imagery predominates, this chamber contains written records.
fett: fetch
58.8 Anamnestes: Gk αναμνησς anamnesis remembrance.
58.9 Eumnestes: Gk ευμνηστος eumnestos well-remembering.
avise: examine
avise: From L videre to see.
59.5, 60.1 chaunced . . . chaunst: On Spenser’s characteristic equivocation between chance and providence, see 36.5-6n.
moniments: written memorials
59.6 moniments: From L monere to remind
59.9 governements: Echoing ‘government’ at 1.4. The macrocosmic analogy between the temperate body and the well-governed body politic is realized when the chronicle history of British rule is found in Eumnestes’ chamber, although this proves in canto x to be a history largely of misgovernance. In this sense the moniments may be understood as admonitory.
Antiquitee: Associated in Spenser with an ideal era, and hence contrasted to the warning function of moniments.
Spenser’s chronicle of Briton kings relies chiefly on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historium Regum Britanniae (c. 1135), with additional material from John Hardyng, Chronicle (1543); John Stowe, Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1580); Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles (1577, 1587); and A Mirror for Magistrates (1559). Its chief epic antecedent is the procession of Roman worthies in Virgil (Aen 6.756-885).
Brute: Brutus, descendant of Aeneas and legendary founder of Britain, to which he gives his name; see 9.6-13.5 and III.ix.48-50, as well as 69.7n.
Uthers rayne: Uther Pendragon is Arthur’s father. His reign is contemporary with the action of the poem (see st. 68).
rolls: registry
3 rolls: Cf. ‘antique Regesters’, ix.59.4.
Elfin Emperours: Rulers of Faeryland, in a chronology fabricated by Spenser.
time of Gloriane: Historically, Gloriana is contemporary with Uther Pendragon, ruling Faery land as he rules Britain; allegorically, she is a figure for Elizabeth I, and in this sense contemporary with Spenser.
1.1 St. 1-4 The canto opens with a kind of invocation (a rhetorical question, implicitly answered at 3.6-7). Together with the apostrophe to Elisabeth (4.1), this invocation marks the first four stanzas as a proem-within-the-poem, implying that the chronicles to follow, like a great battle scene in classical epic, call for a special elevation of the poet’s spirit (cf. I.xi.6.6-8.9).
1.1 St. 1 Spenser’s stanza translates Ariosto (OF 3.1). Both as a ninth line and in its final word, Spenser’s hexameter (‘By which all earthly Princes she doth far surmount’) wittily surmounts the tribute paid to the house of Este in Ariosto’s ottava rima pentameter.
2.1-2.3 2.1-3 Cf. Ariosto: di cui fra tutti li signori illustri, / dal ciel sortiti a governar la terra, / non vedi, o Febo, che ‘l gran mondo lustri, / più gloriosa stirpe o in pace o in guerra (‘than whom, among all the illustrious lords ordained by heaven to govern the earth, you do not see—O Phoebus, who light up the great world—a more glorious lineage in peace or in war’; OF 3.2.1-4).
A labor huge: referring to 1.8, ‘I recount’.
disparaged: overmatched
St. 3 Once again closely tracking Ariosto (OF 3.3).
3.1 Mœonian: Homer’s surname was Mæonides (‘native of Maeonia,’ or Lydia).
quill: plectrum, pipe, or reed pen
3.2 Phoebus rote: The lyre of Apollo, god of music and poetry. (Rote, slightly archaic by 1590, designates a medieval stringed instrument.)
3.3-3.5 3.3-5 In the war between the gods and Titans (parallel to Brute’s conquest of the giants in England), the giants tried to assault the heavens by piling Mount Ossa on top of Mount Pelion in a battle that took place in Phlegra. See Ovid: adfectasse ferunt regnum caeleste gigantas / altaque congestos struxisse ad sidera montis. / tum pater omnipotens misso perfregit Oympum / fulmine et excussit subiectae Pelion Ossae (‘they say that the Giants essayed the very throne of heaven, piling huge mountains, one on another, clear up to the stars. Then the Almighty Father hurled his thunderbolts, shattered Olympus, and dashed Pelion down from underlying Ossa’; Met 1.152-55).
some relish: a little taste
His learned daughters: the muses
report: L re back, again + portare to carry.
blazon: proclaim
this renowmed Prince: Arthur
mace: scepter
Northern starre: Polaris, ‘the stedfast starre’ at I.ii.1.2 (see vii.1.2n).
that old mans booke: Introduced at ix.59.5-9.

St. 5-68 Stanzas 5-68.2 contain Spenser’s chronicle of British kings from Brute to Uther Pendragon. Mills (1976) points out that, like the human body, the account of British and Faery dynasties is ‘Proportioned equally by seven and nine’ (ix.22.7). Briton moniments is summarized in 63 nine-line stanzas that list 62 kings (Arthur will be the 63rd), while the Antiquitee of Faery Lond (70-76) takes up seven stanzas, or 63 lines. Hamilton 2001 adds that 63 is the number of the ‘grand climacteric’, a notion that goes back to Greek astrology, mathematics, and philosophy.

Occurring every seven years in life, climacterics were thought to be turning points. The ‘grand climacteric’ (usually the ninth) was seen an especially dangerous moment of crisis. Spenser’s time-scheme, which identifies Arthur allegorically with the advent of Elizabeth, thus implies that both reigns are historically fraught. Since his history is punctuated by lapses of the royal line when monarchs died childless (36.1, 54.1, 61.8), the allegorical advent of Elizabeth/Arthur may be fraught in part because the succession is disrupted.

paysd: poised, balanced
5.8 Holinshed reports that England was ‘joined without any separation of sea to the maine land’ (1965: 1.427).
5.9 Celticke mayn-land: Brittany, formerly inhabited by Celtic tribes
6.2-6.4 6.2-4 The southeastern coast of England is famously lined with white chalk cliffs, the source of the name Albion (L albus white). T. Cooper (1565) suggests a supplementary derivation from Gk Oλβιον Olbion happy or blessed, because ancient mariners arriving there considered themselves fortunate.
safety: trisyllabic
6.6 6.6 1596 and 1609, which read ‘safeties sake’, probably read Spenser’s trisyllabic ‘safety’ as disyllabic.
6.9 invade: enter, in a neutral sense (L in + vadere to go), but anticipating the hostilities mentioned at 9.9.
hideous: horrific, with the added sense of monstrous size: cf. ‘Of stature huge and hideous he was, / Like to a Giant for his monstrous hight’ (V.xii.15.1-2).
Roebucke: The roe is a species of small deer; the buck is the male of the species.
7.7 liveden: An archaic verb form appropriate to the ancientness of the inhabitants.
to wene: to comprehend or believe
That monstrous error: The error is both that of the antiquarians who credit the story of Diocletian’s daughters, and that of the daughters in the story when they couple with fiends.
assott: besot, make foolish
8.4 Dioclesians fifty daughters: Spenser is conflating two similar myths, one of the Assyrian King Diocletian and another of the Egyptian King Daunus. Cf. Holinshed, 1965: 1.434-36. Cf. also Gen. 6:4: ‘There were gyantes in the earth in those dayes: yea, and after that the sonnes of God came unto the daughters of men, and they had borne them children, these were mightie men, which in olde time were men of renoume.’
shene: lovely
companing: copulating
Geaunts: This spelling alludes to an alternative myth of origin for the giants, identified by many Renaissance writers with the Titans of classical myth, descended from Uranus and Ge (sky and earth). See Holinshed 1.3 on the derivation from Gk Γιγινες Gigines, ‘Borne or bred of or in the earth’ (1965: 1.434). This subtext becomes explicit in 9.1-5, where ‘this land’ figures as ‘their owne mother’, ‘polluted’ by their ‘unkindly crime’, who therefore ‘gan abhorre’ them even though they were ‘borne of her owne native slime’.
9.6-9.7 See arg.2 and note. Assarac founded Troy; he was great-grandfather to Aeneas, who in turn was great-grandfather to Brutus.
fatall error: fated wandering; see the description of Aeneas as fato profugus (‘exiled by fate’), where profugus also has the sense of ‘fugitive’ (Aen 1.2). Cf. III.ix.49.1, ‘by fatall course’.
fone: foes
groning flore: perhaps a transferred epithet, although the earth (floor) may equally be groaning with the sheer weight of their corpses (see III.ix.50.5-6: ‘th’earth full cold, / Which quaked under their so hideous masse’).
westerne Hogh: Plymouth Hoe (hill) on the southwest coast of England.
10.7-10.9 10.7-9 Spenser follows Geoffrey of Monmouth Historia (28). Goëmot is also known as Goegmagog (cf. Goemagot, III.ix.50.3); Corineus was a general under Brutus who specialized in wrestling giants.
St. 11 Sources for the stories mentioned in this stanza have not been identified, but for evidence suggesting Irish legends as a source for the story of Coulin’s fatal leap, see Forste-Grupp (1999).
11.2 Debon: one of Brutus’s followers.
11.3-11.4 grownd, . . . fell: We conjecture that the comma and semi-colon were transposed by the compositor in 1590.
11.3 Coulin: one of the giants, mentioned again at III.ix.50.4.
lugs: a lug is a measure of length varying from 15-20 feet, sometimes equivalent to a ‘rod’ (16.5 feet).
11.6-11.7 11.6-7 For the story of Albion’s defeat at the hands of Hercules, see Holinshed (1965: 1.433).
11.8-11.9 11.8-9 Godmer and Canutus do not appear in Spenser’s known sources, but the story that Godmer threw ‘three monstrous stones’ (line 5) at Canutus echoes Holinshed’s description of Hercules’ army turning the tide of battle against the forces of Albion by stoning them.
12.1-12.5 12.1-5 Based on Geoffrey, Historia (20).
12.6-12.9 12.6-9 The derivation of Devonshyre from Debon and of Kent from Canute are invented by Spenser, presumably by analogy to Corineus-Cornwaile.
from the rest: ‘away from the rest’, because Kent is to the east of the other shires.
13.5 Inogen of Italy: Both Geoffrey and Holinshed record that she was daughter to the Greek king Pandrasus, given in marriage to Brutus when he fled to Greece after his exile from Italy.
parted: divided
Northerne part . . . Albania: Scotland
Camber . . . depart: Wales (L Cambria)
quart: portion, fourth
14.4 quart: This is the only instance cited in OED for this usage.
14.5 14.5 Camber’s portion is separated from Logris (England, so called after Locrine) by the Severn river.
15.1 St. 15 Overrunning seven consecutive lines of the stanza, this period imitates the aggressive expansion of the Huns (‘a nation straung’), halted in the final couplet by Locrine’s defense.
16.2-16.3 16.2-3 This river appears in the 1574 addition to A Mirror for Magistrates, where the Huns ‘over Abi streame with haste did hie’ (‘Locrinus’ line 65, in Campbell 1946: 80). The 1587 edition of William Harrison’s Description of Britaine in its account of the Humber does mention an author, ‘Ptolomie Abie, Leland Aber, as he gesseth’ (1807; AMS 1965: 156).
16.7-16.9 16.7-9 The Hun chieftan Humber gives his name to the ‘mighty streame’.
17.6-17.9 17.6-9 Geoffrey and Holinshed report that Locrine fell in love with Estrild after taking her captive when he defeated Humber, and wished to marry her; he wed his niece, Guendolene (to whom he was promised), only under pressure from her father Corineus. He kept Estrild secretly as a concubine, and after the death of Corineus put aside Guendolene in her favor.
overhent: overtook
attached: seized
stoure: 1590 has ‘upon the present floure’. 1596 and 1609 read ‘in that impatient stoure’. The misreading of ‘st’ as ‘fl’ would be easy in secretary hand; we conjecture a correction (‘stoure’) combined with a revision (‘in that impatient’), and adopt the first but not the second.
19.6-19.9 19.6-8 Retold by Milton in Comus (824-842).
poure: Cf. ii.6.8, on fountains that ‘Had vertue pourd into their waters bace’.
20.5-20.9 20.5-9 Spenser embellishes the chronicle accounts of Guendolene to combine indirect praise of Elizabeth with an implicit lesson to her.
21.1 Madan: Geoffrey says Madan ruled ‘well and in peace for forty years’ (34), but Holinshed ascribes to the father both the tyranny and the manner of death that in Geoffrey belong to the son Mempricius. Stow combines both accounts, recording first of Madan and then of Mempricious that each was devoured by ‘wilde Woolves’ (Summarie 1587: 3).
fild: filled; defiled.
being consorted: i.e., sharing rule
21.3-21.5 21.3-5 Spenser heightens the perfidy of ‘Memprise’ by giving Manild a degree more legitimacy than do the chronicles, which suggest that ‘thirst of single kingdom’ was shared by both brothers.
salved: remedied
21.6 21.6-24 Spenser’s account follows Stow’s Chronicles (see Summarie 1587: 3-4) in a number of details.
warreyd: made war
21.7 Brunchild: Stow and Holinshed record this battle as having been fought by Ebranck’s son Brutus (4; 1965:1.445).
Henault: Hainaut, a province in southern Belgium
envies: resents
22.7-8 germans are brothers (L germanus having the same parents), but the etymology, given in Stow, is invented.
22.8-22.9 22.8-9 Geoffrey and Holinshed both assert that Ebrank returned victorious from France (34; 1965: 1.445). Stow in Chronicles of England (1580), citing continental writers, adds a reference to Ebrank having been ‘driven back by Brunchildis, Lord of Hanalt, with no small losse of his men’ (20).
St. 23-24 The account of Brutus’s victory over Brunchildis at Estham bruges appears in Stow (p.4); see 21.7n.
recur’d: repaired
spoiles: acts of plunder
Scaldis . . . Hania: rivers in the Belgian province of Hainaut
Estham bruges: Bruges, ‘which to this day is called Estam bruges, of the station and camp of Brutus’s (Stow 1587: 4).
24.4 Elversham and Dell: Not mentioned in Spenser’s known sources.
Henalois: men of Henault
24.6-24.7 Brunchildis (‘brown-shield’) saw ‘The greene shield’ (Brutus’s surname in the chronicles is ‘Greenshield’) dyed red: ‘vermell’ = vermillion.
24.8-24.9 Scuith gruridh . . . y Scuith gogh: Welsh for ‘green shield’ and ‘red shield’. These phrases do not appear in the known sources; presumably Spenser adds them in a nod to Elizabeth’s Welsh ancestry. See Bruce 1985.
Cairleill: Carlisle
Cairleon: Caerleon, site of a Roman legionary fortress
25.3 Cairleill: From Celtic cair city + ‘of Leill’.
25.3 Cairleon: From Celtic cair city + ‘of the Legion’.
preace: press, i.e. crowd
science: knowledge
wondrous faculty: the ‘artes’ mentioned at 25.6
Cairbadon: the city of Bath
quick Brimston: naturally-occurring sulphur
26.6-26.7 26.6-7 The naturally hot wells at Bath have been popular a health resort since Roman times, bringing (‘welling’ forth) prosperity to the surrounding area.
26.8-26.9 26.8-9 Stow records that Bladud overreached his ‘artes’ when he ‘presumed to flie, but by falling on his Temple, he brake his necke’ (1587: 5).
27.1 St. 27-32 For the story of King Leyr Spenser draws on Geoffrey, 36-44. Shakespeare’s play (1608) draws on Spenser in turn.
28.4 when ever it were proov’d: I.e., whenever put to the test, an ironic qualification that emphasizes the merely rhetorical nature of Leyr’s testing in contrast to the more sensible ‘proof’ to come (31.3-4). Interestingly, Geoffrey describes Cordelia as the one putting her father to the proof: ‘Cordellia understood that he had succumbed to the flattery of her sisters and proceeded to answer differently, in order to test him’ (38).
th’one . . . thother: Goneril, Regan
Cambria: Wales
29.2 Cambria: Cf. 14.4-5.
Celtica: France
Albania: Scotland
30.1-30.2 30.1-2 Proverbial. Cf. Smith (1970, no. 588).
weeke: wick
30.2 weeke: With a glance at ‘weak’.
regiment: rule
30.3 regiment: L regere to rule over.
drouping day: declining years
cheare: entertainment
avise: consider
31.3-31.4 Too truely tryde . . . to prove the rest: Cf. ‘when ever it were proov’d’ (28.4 and note).
leav’d: levied
after wild: Afterward willed, in that after he died his will decreed that Cordelia should succeed; or willed that Cordelia should succeed afterward (which amounts to the same thing).
weld: wield
St. 33 Cf. st. 21. The motif of fratricidal rivalry, introduced by the sons of Madan, is revived by the sons of Goneril and Regan.
33.8 33.8 Glamorgan: According to Holinshed, from Glau Margan, Welsh for ‘Margans Land’ (1965: 1.448).
St. 34-35 These two stanzas closely track the account in Geoffrey.
his dead rowme: his place after he died
Cæcily: Sisillius
34.3 Cæcily: Male in Geoffrey.
34.6 Gorbogud: Subject of the first English tragedy, Thomas Sackville’s Gorboduc (1561).
Arraught: obtained (ppl of ‘areach’)
drew: withdrew (allegiance)
St. 35 Cf. 21.3-5n, st. 33n. The motif of fratricidal rivalry recurs yet again. Its cyclical nature is hinted at by the prepositions (‘Stird Porrex up to put his brother downe’), but the cycle is clearly spiraling downward when the brothers’ ‘mother mercilesse’ steps in to avenge the death of Ferrex, and in so doing brings the lineage itself to an end (36.1).
35.4-35.5 35.4-5 Ferrex, having fled to France, gathers support there and returns to attack Porrex, but is killed in the battle.
oppresse: attack; take by surprise
St. 36 On the lapse of Brutus’s lineage see Harper (1910): ‘Here Spenser has made two additions to Geoffrey’s narrative: the first, that the line of Brutus ended with Ferrex and Porrex, and the second, that the progeny of Brutus ruled 700 years. The first statement has ample authority in Holinshed and Stow. The second seems to be based on the figures in the Polychronicon, quoted by Holinshed, according to which the accession of Dunwallo was 703 years after the arrival of Brutus. Spenser may have identified the accession of the new line with the end of the old, and so have spoken of the 700 years that the line of Brutus reigned. But, while both additions to Geoffrey’s story may thus be accounted for by Holinshed, Spenser’s expansion of this part of his story and his emotional treatment of it, in strong contrast with Warner’s brevity, suggest an influence from the lament of Eubulus in the Tragedy of Gorboduc. To this lament Spenser’s lines bear a decided resemblance’ (91).
36.4 See Guyon’s comparison of Ruddymane at ii.2.6 to a ‘budding braunch rent from the native tree’
moniment: trace, record
a man: Disclosure of his name is deferred, perhaps because, as the founder of a new lineage, he must make rather than inherit his ‘name’.
stressed: distressed
oose: scattered, not unified
37.6 loose: anticipating Donwallo’s later role (cf. 38.4-5n).
38.2 of Logris miscreate: Illegitimately made king of England (Logris; see 14.5n), implicitly in contrast to the precedent established by Donwallo (39.9), who according to Holinshed ‘caused himselfe with great solemnitie to be crowned . . . and bicause he was the first that bare a crowne heere in Britaine, after the opinion of some writers, he is named the first king of Britaine’ (1965:1.451).
38.4-38.5 38.4-5 Cf. st. 29. Albany (Scotland) and Cambria (Wales), formerly distinct kingdoms, are now first united into great Britany (39.6).
Albany: accented on the second syllable
39.1-2 The institution of ‘sacred lawes . . . reveald in vision’ identifies Donwallo with Moses, and insofar as they share divine inspiration, perhaps also with the visionary poet. Donwallo’s visions, not mentioned in the chronicle sources, may be Spenser’s invention.
39.6 gratious Numa: An equivocal epithet, honorific insofar as Numa is remembered for his wisdom and virtue in creating Roman law and religious culture, but with a slightly subversive edge insofar as he is remembered for fabricating the story of his divine instruction by ‘the goddess Egeria’ (Livy 1.18-21; qtd phrase 1.19.5).
pollicy: No less equivocal than the reference to Numa, this word carries senses that range from ‘statecraft’ to ‘cunning’. The pairing of ‘strength’ and ‘pollicy’ echoes that of ‘matchlesse might, / And wondrous wit’ at 37.1-2.
39.9 Contrast 38.2 and note.
40.1 Donwallo: Named only here, at the end of the passage describing his reign (see 37.1n).
40.1 St. 40 Geoffrey describes Brennius and Belinus as another pair of fraternal rivals whose conflict closely parallels that of Porrex and Ferrex, although this time the rivalry ends in reconciliation, followed by military victories over France, Germany, and Rome (48-58; see st. 35n). Spenser omits mention of their rivalry and includes the ransacking of Greece, which derives from later chronicles (Harper 1910: 96).
40.2-40.3 40.2-3 Rome ‘did assay’ (tested) the ‘pearelesse prowesse’ of the brothers, a decision that cost the Romans ‘dearely’ because it led to the sacking of the city.
40.4 40.4 According to Geoffrey, the consuls governing Rome negotiated a treaty with the brothers, then violated the agreement by joining forces against them with the Germans (56).
perjured: trisyllabic, accented on the second syllable
Gurgiunt: disyllabic, ‘Gurg-yunt’
41.1 Spenser follows the spelling in Geoffrey; Holinshed gives ‘Gurgunt’.
Easterland: In The First Inhabitation of Ireland (1587), Holinshed mentions Norway, Denmark, and “other those parties, called Ostomanni, or . . . Easterlings, bicause they lie East in respect of us, although indeed they are by other named properlie Normans, and partlie Saxons” (1965: 6.93).
foy: fealty
41.6-41.9 41.6-9 This story, repeated by Geoffrey and other chroniclers, reiterates the mistaken belief that Ireland was first settled by the Spanish (60). Holinshed in First Inhabitation recycles a fanciful etymology that traces the Latin name for Ireland, Hibernia, back to the Latin for Spain, Hiberia (1965:6.1-2). Spenser’s version uses the story to legitimize British sovereignty over Ireland.
hayre: heir
found: discovered; devised
layes: laws
Fayes: Faeries
42.7-42.8 42.7-8 See notes to 39.1-2 and 39.6: here again Spenser goes beyond his sources to associate the royal lawgiver with Faery inspiration personified by a female muse-figure; he is still hedging (‘many deemd’) about the authenticity of the inspiration mediated by this equivocal muse—but never about the value of the laws so derived.
43.1 Sisillus Sifillus in all three early editions. Chronicle sources for this passage record the forms Sicillus, Cecilius, Sicillius, and Sisillus (Harper 1910: 100-01), of which Spenser presumably chose the last. The error of ‘f’ for long ‘s’ may easily result from misreading or foul case.
43.8 Morands: From L Morini the Flemish people.
43.9 43.9 Geoffrey and other chroniclers report that Morvidus (Spenser’s ‘Morindus’) was swallowed ‘like a little fish’ in single combat with a sea monster (62). They also describe his savage treatment of foes defeated in combat.
pitteous: translating L pius, given to Elidurus as a surname after he restored the crown to his deposed brother out of pity; also suggesting ‘to be pitied’, in anticipation of 44.9-45.2.
disthronized: dethroned
44.9 disthronized: A rare form—OED records only one previous instance, in Stubbes (1583), Anatomy of Abuses, and only three instances in all.
outraigned: reigned to the limit of
45.2 outraigned: another rare form, the only earlier usage recorded by OED in the poems of Charles, Duke of Orleans (c1450).
reseized: ‘Seise’ is a technical term in law meaning to be in possession of a feudal holding; hence resiezed means ‘reinstated’.
dew successe: rightful succession
reædifye: rebuild
46.5 Troynovant: ‘New Troy’, founded by Brutus and later called London (Lud’s town).
that gate: Ludgate
Eme: uncle
blazed: trumpeted
dominion: power to rule
renforst: Normally ‘reenforced’, but here apparently ‘compelled again’ (the only instance if this usage recorded in OED).
perdie: Literally ‘by God’, echoing Geoffrey’s claim that the Romans were driven back by divine providence (70).
foyle: overthrow; defile
49.4-49.5 49.4-5 According to Geoffrey, Nennius was mortally wounded during the first Roman attack (70). Spenser (perhaps following Hardyng) narrates the death of Nennius following the third attack, where it figures as a climax to the series; and he invents the detail that Caesar’s sword— buried with Nennius, according to Geoffrey (71)—is ‘yet to be seene this day’.
49.8 that reckoning defrayd: paid that account—ironically, since he put an end to the payment of tribute. The phrasing anticipates (Arthur’s reign will recall) both Kimbeline’s refusal of tribute, and the greater reckoning defrayed by Christ (st. 50).
swayd: moved against in a hostile manner
49.9 swayd: Cf. II.viii.46.6-8, ‘how ever may / Thy cursed hand so cruelly have swayd / Against that knight’.
50.2-50.4 50.2-4 Echoing Romans 8.3, ‘God sending his owne Sonne, in the similitude of sinful flesh, and for sinne, condemned sinne in the flesh’, and 1 Cor. 15.22, ‘For as in Adam all dye, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’.
warrayd: waged war against
50.8-50.9 50.8-9 Geoffrey records that ‘Kymbelinus . . . was so fond of the Romans that he freely paid them tribute’ (80), which was later refused by his son Guiderius. Holinshed too records that ‘Kymbeline . . . lived in quiet with the Romans’, adding that he does not know which British ruler refused tribute (1965: 1.479). As Harper 1910 notes, Spenser appears to have followed Harison in transferring ‘the story of Guiderius to Kimbeline’ (111).
with him: with Kimbeline
Treachetour: traitor
51.3 Treachetour: Possibly from trechet to deceive. OED suggests an error for ‘treacherour’, but the same form reappears in 1596 at VI.viii.7.4.
by that draught: bowshot
magnifide: praised
gent: gentle, noble
Evangely: Gospel
53.6-53.9 53.6-9 The movement from ‘true it is’ to ‘(they say)’ creates a mild version of the effect Milton will achieve at PL 1.746-7 with ‘thus they relate, / Erring’. According to Matt 27:57-60, Joseph of Arimathea was the disciple who interred Jesus. His association with the Grail of Arthurian romance is legendary but not attested in the chronicles.
54.1 The death of Lucius without heir brings the line of Donwallo to an end, the second extinction of the royal lineage (see 36.1).
54.6 Bunduca: Also called ‘Boadicea’ (‘Boudicca’ in Tacitus, Agricola 16). Not mentioned in Geoffrey but celebrated by later chroniclers for leading a military revolt against the Roman occupation in C.E. 61. On the details of Spenser’s treatment see Harper (1910: 117-120). Spenser mentions Bunduca again at III.iii.54 and Time 106-12.
streight: promptly
Paulinus: Roman emperor who led his army to battle against Bunduca
on the victor serv’d: used ironically
moniment: memorable instance
56.1 moniment: From L monere to remind.
56.2 Semiramis: Wife of Ninus (see ix.21.6n), a warrior-queen who disguised herself as her own son to perform ‘many noble enterprices and valiaunt actes’ (T. Cooper 1565).
56.4 Hypsiphil: queen of Lemnos who rescued her father (Statius Thebaid 5.28-39; Chaucer, Legend 1466-1468).
56.4 Thomiris: queen of Scythia (Massagetae) who slew Cyrus the Great (Herodotus Histories 1.214).
56.5 Dion Cassius puts the number of Bunduca’s soldiers at 230,000; T. Cooper reports that Thomiris was aided by 200,000 Persians in her defeat of Cyrus (1565).
reliques: surviving remnant of her forces
57.1-57.4 57.1-4 Spenser’s account here draws on the Mirror for Magistrates.
57.6 57.6 He secured command of a Roman fleet and then used it to attack the Romans.
57.7-57.8 57.7-8 Allectus, sent from Rome, slew Carausius on the battlefield; Harper conjectures that treacherously may reflect a reference in Mirror for Magistrates to Carausius’s ‘trustleless trayne’ (1910: 124). The ‘robe of Emperoure’ put on by Allectus was presumably the one that, according to Stow, Carausius ‘usurped’ when he gained dominion over Britain (1587: 32).
58.3 Holinshed reports that Allectus ‘dispoyled himself of the imperiall robes, bycause he would not be knowen if he chanced to be slayne’ (1965:1.524).
58.6-58.7 58.6-7 I.e., Coyll, after much debate, became the first ruler since Lucius to be crowned as king.
mickle might: great power
thewes: good qualities—habits, attributes, personal characteristics
hight: called
curious: demanding skill
aies: songs
60.1 Constantine: First Christian emperor of Rome, frequently cited as a precedent for Elizabeth because he was born English and ruled both church and state.
roome: place, office
doome: judgment
60.6-60.9 60.6-9 Constantine sent Trahern to reclaim Britain from the usurper Octavius, who ‘justified’ his royal title by defeating the Romans and slaying Trahern.
61.7 Maximinian: Probably a variant of Maximian; Holinshed uses both forms. According to Geoffrey, Maximian ‘the Empire wan’ by conquering Gaul and Germany, but left Britain undefended against the Huns and Picts, who invaded in his absence (106; 108-110).
61.8 61.8 The third time the royal lineage has lapsed (see 36.1, 54.1).
war-hable: able to fight
62.8 Spenser’s mention here of the two houses of Parliament (Peares = Lords) is an anachronism.
spoylefull: plundering
Easterlings: Cf. ‘Easterland’ (41.3).
63.4 bordragings: Probably an Anglicized version of a Gaelic original, for which more than one candidate has been proposed. A variant of bodrags, border raids; see CCCHA 315.
Scatterlings: wanderers or refugees
outbarre: keep out
pyonings: earthworks, dug by ‘pioneers’.
63.9 from Alcluid to Panwelt: Coastal sites in northern England mentioned by Holinshed (1965:1.541). Spenser departs from the chronicle accounts in ascribing the construction of the Roman wall to Constantine II.
Alcluid: disyllabic, ‘Al-clewd’
pupillage: minority
gathering to feare: inferring reason to fear
64.5 Armorick: Armorica, the Roman name for Brittany.
He: Vortigere
straunge: foreign
hoyes: small boats used to ferry goods and passengers
their: between Vortigere and his sons’ partisans
civile jarre: domestic conflict
aband: abandon
his faire daughters face: According to Geoffrey, Vortigere was smitten by Hengist’s daughter Rowen, and married her (128-30).
66.8-66.9 66.8-9 Geoffrey reports that Merlin assisted Constantine’s son Aurelius Ambrose (see 67.2, 7) in moving the stones (‘Giant’s Ring’) from Ireland to the scene of the massacre (172-4), which Holinshed locates on Salisbury plain (1965: 1.565).
67.7-67.8 peaceably did rayne, / Till that through poyson stopped was his breath: The story of the king’s poisoning by a Saxon pretending to be British appears in Geoffrey (176-78) and Holinshed (1965: 1.566).
68.1 Pendragon: Welsh pen head + dragon; see the description of Arthur’s helmet at I.vii.31.
68.2-68.3 68.2-3 The pun on Caesar/ceasura (L caedere to cut) underpins the analogy between royal succession and syntax, both of which are interrupted in Spenser’s unpunctuated but metrically unruffled line 2. Since this epic chronology is broadly indebted to the procession of Roman Worthies in Virgil, Aen 6, Spenser may be imitating the grammatical/genealogical rupture of Marcellus’s death at 6.882-83 (see Miller 2003: 70 n.22).
th’Author selfe: Since the ‘untimely breach’ is caused by the irruption of the present moment of the narrative (the reign of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon), there may be a pun: it is ‘th’Arthur self’ who must ‘attend / To finish’ the next chapter of the chronicle.
brutish: As opposed to British.
70.5-70.9 70.5-9 Spenser’s account of the Promethean creation derives from Conti (Mythologiae 4.6), Horace (Odes 1.16.13-16), and Ovid (Met 1.76-88).
71.1-71.2 Elfe . . . Quick: The etymology is Spenser’s invention.
Quick: living
author: progenitor
71.4 the gardins of Adonis: Described at III.vi.29-52.
71.8 Fay: fairy. The surmise of divinity that inspires this naming is a characteristic Spenserian trope, deriving from Virgil (Aen 1.327-28) and repeated with variations in many contexts, beginning with the emblems to ‘Aprill’ in SC.
St. 72-75 Commentators have suggested various historical figures, from Osiris and Hercules to Lucius and Constantine, as referents for the early rulers of Faeryland, but the progressive unfolding of the dynasty suggests rather a kind of abstract or historical paradigm, in which conquerors alternate with builders as empire expands. This pattern converges with British history in the figure of Elficleos as Henry VII.
warrayd: see 50.8, ‘the Romanes him warrayd’.
73.8-73.9 73.8-9 Echoing Rev 15: 2, ‘And I sawe as it were a glassie sea . . .’. ‘Hevens thunder’ has an appropriately apocalyptic rumble, but also vividly describes the sound likely to be made by passage across a bridge made of brass.
75.6-75.9 75.6-9 Arthur, the oldest son of Henry VII, died at age 16. His younger brother Henry took his place both on the throne and in marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
That: either a pronoun referring to ‘seat’, suggesting that the throne itself has become a monument to Oberon, or an ellipsis for ‘so that’, with ‘remaines’ construed as intransitive (his wide memorial yet remains).
76.4-76.5 76.4-5 The diplomatic phrasing of these lines omits the reigns of Edward IV and Mary I and forgets that prior to his ‘last will’ (testament), Henry had designated Mary his successor and had Elizabeth declared illegitimate.
76.6-76.9 76.6-9 After so many stanzas chronicling the uncertain fortunes of the British throne, the controversy over Elizabeth’s failure to produce an heir and subsequent refusal to name a successor makes itself felt even in Spenser’s terms of praise for her (‘this howre . . . Long mayst thou Glorian live’).
desire: i.e., desire to know
77.2 desire: Also suggesting desire for their countries’ welfare.
Maleger: The name suggests both ‘badly sick’ and ‘evil-bearing’, from L mal evil + either aeger sick or gerens bearing. In Ovid, ‘Maleager’ is the son of Oeneus, King of Calydon, and his wife Althaea. At his birth, the fates cast a log onto the fire, declaring that Maleager and the burning brand shall enjoy ‘an equal span of life’. Althaea snatches the burning brand from the flames and douses it. When Maleager slays her two brothers in a dispute over the killing of the Caledonian boar, she ends his life by casting the log back into the flames (Met 8.525-546).
deface: destroy
4 deface: From L de + facere make or do.
1.1 St. 1 In its emphasis on ‘captivity’, ‘infirmity’, ‘tyrrany’, and the ‘partes, brought into . . . bondage’, this and the following stanza echo language from Romans chapters 6 and 7: ‘Nether give ye your membres as weapons of unrighteousnes unto sin’ (6:13); ‘the infirmitie of your flesh’ (6:19); ‘my membres, rebelling against the law of my minde, and leading me captive’ (7:23). These echoes associate the Maleger episode with the deaths of Mortdant and Amavia in canto i.
vellenage: serfdom
1.9 vellenage: From L velle ‘to wish’ or ‘to be willing’, the bondage through which the corrupt will subordinates the flesh to sin.
2.1-2.5 2.1-5 The language of governance and sovereign rule in these lines reinforces the connection between the chronicles in canto x and the allegory of the temperate body in cantos ix and xi; see ix.1.4n.
His: its
2.2 His: On the use of ‘his’ as a neuter pronoun, see ix.1.8n.
2.3 ‘And permits her that ought to wield the scepter [reason] to do so’.
banket dight: serve a banquet
Attempred: blended, moderated
cremosin: crimson
3.2 windowes of bright heaven: Echoing the biblical account of Noah’s flood, which began when ‘the windowes of heaven were opened’ (Gen 7:11).
behight: ordered
St. 5 Maleger’s ‘wicked band’ is modeled in part on the strana torma who attack Ariosto’s Ruggiero (OF 6.61.1). More broadly, the seige of Alma’s castle reflects an allegorical tradition reaching back through medieval texts such as The Castle of Perseverance, Piers Plowman, and the Ancrene Riwle to Philo Judaeus in antiquity, in which deadly sins beseige the soul by way of the senses.
villeins: serfs
5.3 villeins: See 1.9n; these serfs owe their fealty to mortal sin.
5.8-5.9 exceeding feare / Their visages imprest: 'their faces imprinted surpassing fear' on the beholder.
St. 6 In contrast to the earlier emphasis on the ‘huge and infinite . . . numbers’ of the attackers (5.6) and the later emphasis on the disorder of a ‘monstrous rablement’ (8.1), the troops are here carefully enumerated and disposed into an order that both mimics and parodies the organization of the body, so that ‘each might best offend his proper part’ (6.3).
steades: positions
offend: attack
6.3 offend: In biblical usage, to sin against or cause to sin.
6.3-6.4 his proper part, / And his contrary object: The yoking of these phrases, apparent opposites that function as synonyms, suggests a mirroring between the troops and their objects of attack.
deface: destroy, as at arg.4, but now also echoing the ‘fowle and ugly . . . visages’ of 5.8-9, which disfigure with fear the faces they oppose, making them reflect their opponents’ ugliness. As the troops become more orderly in their address to the organized body (‘As every one seem’d meetest in that cace’), so the defenders of that body become more ‘monstrous’ (8.1) in response to their attackers.
6.6 Seven of the same: Seven suggests the deadly sins.
the Castle gate: The mouth; see ix.23 and ix.23.3n.
closely: covertly
7.1 The other five: Five suggests the senses; cf. Ancrene Riwle 21, ‘The heart’s wardens are the five senses: sight, hearing, speaking, and smelling, and every limb’s feeling’.
pyle: castle
arrett: entrust
7.3 arrett: See OED (s.v. ‘aret’ 4) and glossary, and cf. viii.8.1, ‘The charge, which God doth unto me arrett’.
T’assayle with open force or hidden guyle: This phrasing will be echoed by Jove in the Mutability cantos when he asks the assembled pantheon whether they should resist the assault of the Titaness ‘by open force, or counsell wise’ (TCM vi.21.8), and again by Satan in Paradise Lost when he asks the demons in hell whether they should assault heaven through ‘open Warr or covert guile’ (2.41).
apply: put into effect
importune: urgent; persistent; grievous
there their: See 6.3-4n.

St. 8 Spenser draws in a broad way on classical and medieval pictorial traditions that associate sins and senses with specific animals, as well as on natural histories and bestiaries that retail proverbial lore about the special attributes of different animal kinds. The bestiaries, because they amass references from widely diverse sources, provide a store of anecdotes, judgments, and observations at once copious, random, and contradictory enough to justify almost any associative link. An additional layer of complexity arises from the allegorical emphasis on animal shapes as ‘portraying’ temptations (11.7); because this technique tends to translate all five senses into visual terms, it cuts against the system of classification that disposes the allegory.

A troop of animal-headed monstrosities appearing in Ariosto (see st. 5n) is taken by Harrington to represent the seven deadly sins (80). Spenser’s rablement is associated rather with the senses, which in st. 8-13 follow the traditional sequence based on Aristotle, De anima, 2.6-12.

8.3-8.4 8.3-4 Spenser’s owls, dogs, and gryphons may correspond to the ‘lawlesse lustes, corrupt envyes, / And covetous aspects’ of lines 8-9: dogs are associated with envy and gryphons with covetousness (Carroll 1954: 99, 105). Owls are not noted for lawless lust, but they are associated with noctural activity generally.
beckes: beaks
Lynces eyes: The lynx (for which Spenser gives the Italinate form) is proverbially sharp-sighted (see Ripa 1603, s.v. ‘Viso’, and Harvey, Speculum Tuscanismi, in Familiar Letters: ‘Not the like Lynx, to spie out secretes’). The Greek hero Lynceus was said to have preternaturally sharp vision (Apollodorus 1.7.8-9, 3.10.3; Hyginus, Fabulae 100).
bow and arrowes: Cupid’s weapon of choice, conventionally figuring looks that penetrate the heart.
lawlesse lustes: See 1 Pet 2:11, ‘fleshlie lustes, which fight against the soule’.
withhault: pseudo-archaic 16th century form of ‘withheld’
engins: either machines of combat or deceptions, instruments of ‘open force or hidden guyle’ (7.4)
Beautie, and money: Corresponding to Guyon’s two chief adversaries, Acrasia and Mammon.
lent: brought to bear
10.2 assignment: 1596 revises to ‘dessignment’ (enterprise, undertaking), which seems more apt than any attested sense of ‘assignment’, the passivity of which sits uncomfortably against the force of the verb phrase ‘makes against’. Cf. Othello 2.1.21-22: ‘The desperate Tempest hath so bang’d the Turks, / That their designment halts’.
10.3-10.5 10.3-5 As with the sense of sight, Spenser’s animal associations for hearing seem partly conventional and partly the product of ‘straunge difference’. His ‘Harts’ coincide with Harvey, Speculum (‘A vultures smelling, Apes tasting, sight of an Eagle, / A Spiders touching, Hartes hearing, might of a Lyon’), but where Spenser has ‘wilde Bores’, Ripa (who does mention vna Cerua, a doe, s.v. ‘Vdito’) refers not to boars but to l’orecchia d’un Toro (‘the ears of a Bull’). Snakes are linked to backbiting and slander in Ancrene Riwle (36).
10.6-10.8 10.6-8 The evils that assault the sense of hearing resemble those in Ancrene Riwle: foul speech, heresy, lying, backbiting, and flattery (35).
crakes: boastings
assayd: put to the test
11.4-11.5 11.4-5 Note that where Harvey’s Ape (10.3-5n) embodies the sense of taste, Spenser associates apes with smell. Spenser’s ‘Puttockes,’ or buzzards, do on the other hand answer to Harvey’s vulture. The link to ‘houndes’ is proverbial because of their function in the hunt.
abusions: impostures; also the English translation of catachresis, or perversion of terms
grysie: grisly
12.3 grysie: From OE ‘grise’, to shudder with fear. See glossary.
12.4-12.5 12.4-5 Oystriges are said by Caxton to eat iron (Myrrour of Worlde 1481: 2.16.101). Toades were thought to be poisonous: see Shakespeare’s Duke Senior on ‘the toad, ugly and venemous’ (As You Like It 2.1.13).
luxury: From L luxuria prodigality; Spenser anticipates later usage (for 16th-century senses, OED records only ‘lasciviousness, lust’).
12.7 unthriftie waste: As Hamilton 2001 notes, embodied in the ‘waistless swine’ of lines 5-6.
St. 13 Touch, the bulwark so sensitive it cannot be named in the text. Snails were a common image for extreme sensitivity: see Shakespeare on ‘the snail, whose tender horns being hit, / Shrinks backward in his shelly cave with pain’ (Venus and Adonis 1033-34). Cf. Harvey on ‘A Spiders touching’, 10.3-5n. ‘Urchins’ are hedgehogs (porcupines).
hew: shape
13.5-13.8 13.5-8 Although snails and hedgehogs respectively suffer and inflict pain, the weapons 'Cruelly' employed by the fifth troop are all pleasurable sensations—except, perhaps, ‘stinges of carnall lust’. In Book III we will learn that to Paridell, ‘nothing new . . . was that same paine, / Ne paine at all’ (ix.29.6-7), and that Cupid, in addition to wounding the rest of the pantheon, ‘Ne did . . . spare sometime to pricke himselfe’ (xi.45.3).
effort: power
Ordinaunce: ordnance, artillery
play: The grammatical subject may be either ‘troupes’ or ‘Ordinaunce’; the general sense either way is of heavy weaponry brought to bear on all five bulwarks, with the added suggestion that the rabblement enjoy their work.
decay: destruction
assay: Cf. 11.2.
peece: fortress; work of art
assieged: besieged
ward: garrison
stonds: defensive positions
two brethren Gyauntes: The hands (Gilbert 1955); in a passage allegorizing the body as a dwelling, Eccles 12:3 refers to ‘the kepers of the house’, identified in the Geneva gloss as ‘The hands, which kepe the bodie’. See ‘Extremities’ at ii.arg.3.
mayne: Also the heraldic term for ‘hand’.
pretend: attempt
Carle: villain, with a suggestion of low birth
remercied: thanked
16.9 remercied: From the Anglo-Norman and Middle French remercier. Echoing ‘recomfort’ to emphasize the reciprocity between Alma and Arthur.
glitterand: glittering
dight: dressed
17.1 glitterand: See vii.42.1n.
hent: took
conge: a formal leave-taking
behight: commanded
thee: thrive (an archaism)
gent: valiant and courteous; well-born
18.1-18.2 18.1-2 See Virgil, fundunt simul undique tela / crebra nivis ritu (‘at once from all sides they shower darts as thick as snowflakes’; Aen 11.610-11 ).
18.4-18.9 18.4-9 See Virgil, rapidus montano flumine torrens / sternit agros, sternit sata laeta boumque labores / praecipitisque trahit silvas (‘the rushing torrent from a mountain-stream lays low the fields, lays low the glad crops and labours of oxen and drags down forests headlong’; Aen 2.305-7); and non sic, aggeribus ruptis cum spumeus amnis / exiit oppositasque evicit gurgite moles, / fertur in arva furens cumulo camposque per omnis / cum stabulis armenta trahit (‘Not with such fury, when a foaming river, bursting its barriers, has overflowed and with its torrent overwhelmed the resisting banks, does it rush furiously upon the fields in a mass and over all the plains sweep herds and folds’; Aen 2.496-99).
vowes: prayers
his headlong ruine may sustayne: ‘May withstand the force of the water’s descent’; ‘may bear up against the husbandman’s fall’.
hayle: ‘A storm, shower, or volley of something falling like hail’ (OED)
raskall flockes: Varying senses of the adj come into play: applied to persons generally, it means ‘forming or belonging to the rabble or the lowest social class’ (OED); applied to soldiers it means ‘belonging to the lowest rank, common’; applied to animal flockes it means ‘young, lean, inferior’. Cf. ‘raskall routs’, ix.15.4.
before: under his stroke
19.4 19.4-5 Echoing the simile at ii.2.6-7 that compares Ruddymane to ‘budding braunch rent from the native tree, / And throwen forth, till it be withered’, these lines complete a seasonal cycle in the imagery of the passage, from winter (18.2) through summer and harvest (18.4-9) to late autumn as it passes back into winter. See SC Sept 49 gloss: ‘the tyme of the yeare, which is in in thend of harvest, which they call the fall of the leafe: at which tyme the Western wynde beareth most swaye’. Given the association of Maleger and his troops with mortality, it is not surprising that the imaged cycle elides spring and doubles the end of the year. Note also that while ‘flockes’ dehumanizes the troops, ‘locks’ anthropomorphizes the trees.
19.7 19.7 Spumador: golden foam (Ital spuma foam + d’oro of gold). Cf. the echo of spumeus from the Virgilian allusion above (18.4-9n), which reflects a common Virgilian epithet for horses in battle (e.g. Aen 6.881, spumantis equi), and may therefore associate Spumador’s ‘fierce’ disposition with the passions embodied in Maleger’s troops; see iv.2.2n for the conventional association in Spenser between the horse and the rider’s passions. Such hints throughout the episode suggest one reason for Arthur’s difficulty in combating the threat represented by his allegorical opponent.
19.8-19.9 19.8-9 These lines conflate the Solis equi of Ovid (Met 2.154, 162) with the horses of Aeneas in Homer (Il 5.263-73). See Lotspeich 1965, s.v. ‘Laomedon’. This mingled genealogy offsets the glory of descent from ‘heavenly seed’ with darker hints: Laomedon’s horses were originally given to Tros by Zeus as recompense for the kidnapping of Ganymede; the horses of the sun in Ovid are invoked at the moment of Phaëton’s fall; Laomedon is said to have cheated Hercules out of the horses given by Zeus, promised as a reward for the rescue of Hesione (Met 11.211-215); and Aeneas inherits horses through the purloining of their sires’ seed: ἵππων oσσοι εασιν ὑπ᾽ ηω τ᾽ ηελιον τε, / της γενεης εκλεψεν αναξ ανδρων Ἀγχισης (hippon ossoi easin hup’ ēō t’ ēelion te, / tēs geneēs eklion / tēs geneēs eklepsen anax andrōn Hagchoēs; ‘from this stock the lord of men Anchises stole’; Il 5.268-9).
Laomedon: a king of Troy, grandson of Tros and father of Priam
yode: went
a Tygre swift: Medieval and early modern bestiaries inaccurately derived the name ‘tiger’ from the word for ‘arrow’ in Greek and other languages, ‘in reference to the celerity of its spring’ (OED). See White (1954: 12), Woodbridge (1993: 29), Topsell (1967: 1.547-8).
20.8 subtile substance and unsound: Rarefied and insubstantial stuff (cf. ix.15.9, xi.30.3).
21.1-21.4 21.1-4 See 20.4n on the supposed etymological connection of ‘tiger’ and ‘arrow’. For arrows representing the assault of sin upon the upright heart, see Ps 11:2 and Eph 6:16.
21.5 the Indians: See SpE ‘visual arts’ Fig. 1 for a reproduction of Indian with Body Paint from The Drawings of John White, 1577-1590.
their . . . their: there . . . there
tine: hurt
leane and meagre: Playing on the sound of 'Maleger'.
as a rake: Proverbial: cf. Chaucer, CT Gen Pro 287, ‘As leene was his hors as is a rake’.
a dryed rooke: ‘A heap or stack of combustible material, esp. when to be used as fuel’ (OED s.v. ‘ruck’). See the story of Maleager in Ovid (arg.4n), and the ‘raging flame’ with which Impatience is armed (23.9).
as cold and drery as a Snake: See Virgil, frigidus in pratis . . . anguis (‘the cold snake in the meadows’; Ecl 8.71); White: ‘Now all Serpents are cold by nature’ (1954: 186); also Woodbridge (1993: 195). The combination of cold and dry humors associates Maleger with melancholy.
22.6 canvas thin: Not the thicker fabric used for sailcloth, but the coarse and lightweight material worn by Shakespeare’s ‘hempen home-spuns’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 3.1.77). Together with Maleger’s belt of ‘twisted brake’ and his resemblance to a stack of kindling, this garment suggests the image of a scarecrow.
twisted brake: bracken, ferns
22.8-22.9 22.8-9 Maleger’s helmet-skull confirms the suggestion running throughout the description that he personifies ‘the bodie of this death’ (Rom 7:24), glossed in the Geneva Bible as ‘This fleshlie lump of sinne and death’; cf. 20.9. Rollinson takes exception to this view in SpE (s.v. ‘Maleger’). The helmet may also allude to the myth of Antaeus, who roofed a temple to his father, Poseidon, with the skulls of defeated opponents. Boccaccio cites Fulgentius on Antaeus as ‘lust of the flesh’ (libidine ex carne; Genealogia 1.14).
23.1 Maleger: See arg.4n.
other: One of two (OED; see II.iv.4.3-4, ‘Her other leg was lame, that she no’te walke, / But on a staffe her feeble steps did stay’, where there has similarly been no mention of ‘one’ leg to precede the ‘other’.) Upton suggests that in both passages, Spenser is playing on Homer’s description of Thersites as ετερον ποδα heteron poda lame in one foot (lit. ‘the other foot of two’), signifying ‘left foot’ (Il. 2.217). Spenser is saying, more or less, that the lameness of Occasion and Impotence makes them ‘heteropods’.
23.8 Impotence: From L impotentia lack of power. Latin usage associates power with self-mastery; as lack of self-control, 'Impotence' suggests a condition almost opposite to its modern meaning. Her kinship with Occasion signals a deeper connection between the two episodes: to cope with Furor, Guyon needs the Palmer’s aid to solve the riddle of uncontrolled strength that turns to weakness. This motif begins with Mortdant and Amavia in canto i: ‘The strong it weakens with infirmitie, / And with bold furie armes the weakest hart’ (57.7-8).
23.9 Impatience: From the L impatienta failure to bear suffering. Although impotence and impatience suggest an etymological contrast between active doing and passive suffering, their alliance in this episode reflects a common ground: impotence, construed not as the inability to do but as the inability to refrain, is in good company with the inability to suffer passively.
raging flame: Cf. Pyrochles’ shield and motto at iv.38.
felly: fiercely
quarrell: ‘A short, heavy arrow or bolt with a four-sided (typically square) head for shooting from a crossbow or arbalest’ (OED)
to him . . . at him: The mirroring language may imply that at this stage of the combat Arthur (like the beseiged castle, earlier; see 6.3-4n) bears some resemblance to his foe. The retaliatory motive mentioned in the next line may reinforce this suggestion.
raught: reached
hide: i.e. ‘hied,’ past tense of ‘hie,’ to hasten
26.2 26.2 This hyperole assumes the extromissive theory of vision that coexisted with intromissive theory in early modern England.
26.6-26.9 26.6-9 Spenser would have found descriptions of Tartar horsemen shooting backward while fleeing in Mandeville (1964: 237-238) and in Marco Polo (1958: 101). Maleger fleeing while turning to face his pursuer may extend the pattern of mirroring between opponents in this canto (see 6.3-4n and 25.2n).
27.2 Insofar as the knight is ‘greedy’ he may be drawing ‘nigh to’ his foe as well in resemblance as in pursuit.
27.3-27.4 27.3-4 Marco Polo (see 26.6-9n) refers to the Tartars as ‘occasionally pretending to fly’.
St. 28 See Guyon’s discovery in canto iv that to restrain Furor he must ‘bind’ Occasion (st. 11-14), followed by Pyrochles’ insistence on releasing her (v.17-19).
St. 29 See Furor’s ‘rude assault’ upon Guyon (iv.6-9) and later Pyrochles (v.22-23).
lent: leaned
rude: ungentle, harsh
gryesly graplement: grisly grappling
29.3 gryesly graplement: OED records no other instance of graplement.
29.8-29.9 29.8-9 See the squire’s previous defense of Arthur at I.viii.12.7-9.
St. 30 The narrator here treats Arthur’s vulnerability as a generic condition (‘life unsound’, line 3) rather than an individual character flaw.
30.4-30.5 30.4-5 Echoing the Geneva gloss to 2 Cor 5:1: ‘After this bodie shalbe dissolved, it shalbe made incorruptible and immortal’.
prowest: superlative of prow, valiant, worthy
30.7 Britayne land: Wales and Cornwall, ‘the place in southwestern Great Britain from which the Briton characters enter Faeryland’ (Erickson 1996: 87).
30.9 30.9 As an instance of divine grace extended to fallen mortals (‘thing on ground’, ‘may never stand’), the squire’s intervention reiterates on a smaller scale the general significance of Arthur’s five eighth-canto appearances in the poem, this time applied to Arthur himself.
31.2 Jade: OED glosses this instance under n.1, 2. ‘A term of reprobation applied to a woman’.
behinde invade: attack from behind
31.6-31.9 31.6-9 Compare the revivals of Cymochles (vi.27) and Guyon (viii.53). Athur’s 'Revivyng thought', or animating principle, is Praysdesire (ix.38.7, 39.8).
St. 32 The simile compares resurgent Arthur to a volcanic eruption, thought to result from fire trapped underground. Plato’s Phaedo talks about an underground river of fire (‘Pyrephlegethon’) that feeds volcanoes through a system of cold and warm waters (Phaedo, 113 b3-5); Lucretius too believed that subterranean fires akin to furnaces are source of volcanic activity (he thought winds drive the flames up in eruptions; De Rerum 6.680-703); finally, German geologist Georgius Agricola in his work De re Metallica argued that chemical vapors erupted under extreme pressure and spewed flames of basalt and mountain ‘oil’ (12.566). The theory of the elements holds that each of them naturally gravitates toward its ‘native seat’: see Ovid, ignea convexi vis et sine pondere caeli / emicuit summaque locum sibi fecit in arce (‘the fiery weightless element that forms heaven’s vault leaped up and made place for itself upon the topmost height’; Met 1.26-7).
32.5 infest: 1596 and 1609 give 'unrest'. The use of infest as a noun meaning 'outbreak' or 'attack' is without known precedent in sixteenth century English but not without justification in context. The 1596 revision is not necessarily authorial.
his: Maleger’s
caytive bands: bonds of captivity
33.2 caytive bands: Cf. Archimago’s escape from ‘caytives handes’ at i.1.7.
touzd: past tense of ‘touse’, ‘of a dog: to tear at, worry’ (OED)
33.4 33.4 It is unclear how the ‘curres’ of line 3 have acquired ‘hands’.
33.7-33.8 his hands / Discharged: Maleger lays his bow and arrows aside, the verb ‘discharged’ wittily transferred from the action of shooting an arrow to that of discarding the weapon.
quar’le: quarrell
33.8 quar’le: See 24.8n.
marle: earth
33.9 33.9 Arthur was prone when Maleger dismounted: ‘his foe flatt lying’ elides ‘his foe who was then flatt lying’.
St. 34-46 Arthur’s combat with Maleger is modeled on Hercules’ wrestling with Antaeus. See Lucan (Pharsalia 4:680-739).
manhood meare: unaided manhood
fild his place: I.e., he takes Arthur’s (former) place (33.9); or, as Arthur is about to discover, ‘the ground’ belongs to Maleger in a special way.
weened: believed, expected
35.3-35.4 35.3-4 A parody of the resurrection; also of the resurgences of Guyon (viii.53) and Redcrosse (I.xi.53).
bend: apply
35.7-35.9 35.7-9 See Aen 12.897-98, where Turnus hurls at Aeneas ‘a giant stone and ancient, which haply lay upon the plain, set for a landmark, to ward dispute from the fields’ (saxum antiquum, ingens, campo quod forte iacebat, / limes agro positus litem ut discerneret arvis). As a literary landmark, this stone links Arthur to Turnus at the moment when the doomed hero’s strength is leaving him. Virgil in turn is recalling two distinct moments from the Iliad—one in which Diomedes wounds Aeneas (5.302-4) and a second in which Aeneas prepares to hurl a boulder at Achilles (20.283-87)—and is combining these with the famous dream-simile from the scene of Hector’s defeat (22.199-201). One effect of this complex allusive network is to link Arthur at this moment to heroes on the brink of defeat. Another is to linka him to a series of reversals: Aeneas as the target of a stone; then Aeneas hoisting a stone to throw it at Achilles; then Aeneas as the target once again, with Turnus taking his place hoisting as he re-experiences Hector’s sense of dreamlike unreality in flight from Achilles. This series of reversals echoes hints throughout this canto that link Arthur to Maleger, and suggests that on closer examination, the epic ‘land-marke’ will indeed become a ‘signe of sundry way’.
sundry way: fork or crossroads
meant decay: intended destruction
souse: the act of swooping to strike
36.7 souse: OED cites Spenser as the first instance of this sense, which it speculates may be due to confusion with the sense, ‘The act, on the part of a bird, of rising from the ground, as giving the hawk an opportunity to strike’. Given this canto’s persistent tendency implicitly to identify attackers and their targets, it is tempting to speculate that the ‘confusion’ is deliberate.
sternely: fiercely
37.8-37.9 37.8-9 The internal rhyme adds a weirdly comic note to the nightmarish quality of the moment.
nathemore: a Spenserianism, ‘never the more’
in amaze: A favorite pun in Spenser: in amazement and in a maze.
aery spirite: A spirit made of air—not the proper element for Maleger, but Arthur is in a state of shock from which he must recover in order to interpret correctly what he is beholding.
39.9 hellish feend raysd up through divelish science: See I.v.32-44 where Duessa takes Sansfoy to hell to seek Aesculapius’ medical skill (40.1: ‘Such wondrous science in mans witt’).
St. 40 For a possible answer to the stanza’s series of riddles, see 22.9n, above. There are seven riddles, a number associated with the body (see ix.22n).
appeach: accuse
40.8 For the parodox of strength through weakness, see 23.8n.
Give over to effect: give up trying to accomplish
41.6 Mordure: See viii.21.6n. The sword’s name, evoking a vocabulary of death (murder, mordant, mors), may suggest a reason for its inability to wound Maleger.
exprest: literally, pressed out
wrest: a twisting or wrenching motion
42.7 wrest: A reminder that Arthur has resorted to ‘wrestling’. Antaeus forced strangers passing through his kingdom to wrestle him.
his mother earth: Antaeus derived strength from the earth because Ge was his mother; Maleger derives strength from the earth because earth is metonymically the origin of human mortality, and the mortal weakness of the flesh is Maleger’s strength (see 44.6-45.6).
Joves harnesse-bearing Bird: the eagle, bearer of Jove’s thunderbolt
quarrey: prey
43.5 A suggestive line insofar as Arthur is combatting, in Maleger, the consequences of the Fall of Man, experiencing a second fall so that he can double back to imitate the undoing of the first by means of divine grace.
travell: travail
44.3 this lifelesse shadow: FE corrects ‘his’ to this, presumably to retain the latency of the sense, suggested throughout the episode, in which Maleger is indeed Arthur's ‘shadow of death’ (Ps 23).
mayne: physical force
44.6-45.6 44.6-45.6 In remembering that had bene sayd, Arthur is recalling the myth of Hercules’ combat with Antaeus, interpreted in Medieval and Renaissance literature as his victory over the lusts of the flesh (see 22.9n).
with usury: with interest
scruzd: Coined by Spenser; OED suggests that it combines the verbs ‘screw’ and ‘squeeze’, which would suggest a wringing motion.
three furlongs: three-eighths of a mile
three furlongs: Originally, ‘furlong’ signified the length of a furrow in a plowed field.
standing: stagnant
46.6 standing: See Shakespeare’s reference to ‘a sort of men, whose visages / Do cream and mantle like a standing pond’ (The Merchant of Venice 1.1.88-89).
th'one of them: Impatience, ‘arm’d with raging flame’ (23.9)
47.6 Imitating both Pyrochles at vi.42 and the Gadarene swine possessed by demons at Mark 5:13.
conquerour: Cf. I.xii.6.1n. The term associates Arthur with Christ.
49.5 Cf. 1.5, ‘Their force is fiercer through infirmity’, and 40.8, ‘most strong in most infirmitee’.
despoyled: undressed
49.7 despoyled: Contrast the image of Verdant disarmed and recumbent in the Bower of Bliss, attended to by Acrasia, xii.72-80.
1-2 through . . . through passing (by . . . passing through 1596): 1590 is infelicitous but not incoherent; the compositor may have misread copy already marked for the revision effected in 1596. An ethical question in play throughout the canto is whether the ‘Palmers governaunce’ leads Guyon to pass through perils on his journey or demands that he pass by them (cf. Milton on the importance of confronting vice, vii.19.1-2n).
Acrasy: See i.51.2-4n on the etymology of the name, which associates Acrasia with Impotence as lack of self-control (see xi.23.8n) and opposes her to ‘Palmers governaunce’.
1.1 St. 1 The unmistakably erotic connotations of the language in this stanza are difficult to reconcile with an allegorical program in which Arthur’s victory over fleshly lust in the person of Maleger provides a ‘foundation’ for Guyon’s capture of Acrasia.
frame: structure; system
1.1 frame: Cf. Daniel (1930): ‘All verse is but a Frame of Words’ (Defense of Rhyme 88-89). The ‘frame of Temperaunce’ is Alma’s castle, hence the human body, ‘rising’ in triumphant contrast to the ups and downs of Maleger in the preceding canto (see the pun on ‘in descent’ at ix.1.5); it is also the allegorical architecture for the Legend of Temperance, which attains full articulation as the narrative approaches its conclusion.
adorned: decorated with honors, perhaps crowned
pricke: acme
highest: May be a transferred epithet, although it works as a modifier for both ‘pricke’ and ‘prayse’.
Formerly grounded: Arthur’s defeat of Maleger in the previous canto ‘grounds’ the House of Alma by overcoming the death inherent in its ‘goodly workemanship’, which ‘must turne to earth’ (ix.21.8-9). The pun in ‘grounded’ suggests that Maleger’s Antaeus-like resurrection is opposite-yet-identical to the House’s demise.
bountyhed: goodness
1.5 bountyhed: L bonitatem.
1.7-1.8 Now comes . . . sensuall delights: Point and pricke can be synonyms; the alliterative language here suggests a bodily allegory in which the highest praise is pinpointed within the greatest peril at the sensitive tip (glans) of the penis. This passage may be recollected in section 28 of Whitman's ‘Song of Myself’, on the sense of touch (‘the treacherous tip of me’, line 3).

St. 2-41

The chief literary model for Guyon’s voyage is found in Homer, Od 12. Spenser cites Ulysses in FQ Letter as Homer’s exemplary ‘vertuous man’, a conventional assessment that accords with Natale Conti’s interpretation of Ulysses in Mythologiae 9 as the rational soul embattled on the one hand by emotions like fear, anger, or grief, and on the other by sensual pleasures (814-15). Harvey offers a similar assessment when he mentions his plan to read Leicester ‘suche a Lecture in Homers Odysses, and Virgil’s Æneads’ before his Lordship’s travel abroad that he will need no further instruction (Letters 5.162-70). Other antecedents for Guyon’s voyage include Virgil, Aen 2-3, and medieval accounts of the voyage of St Brendan (e.g. in Legenda Aurea; see Var. 2.448-49). The most immediate antecedents are Tasso, GL 15 and Richard Eden’s 1555 translation of Peter Martyr’s Decades, one of the earliest and most widely circulated accounts of new world exploration.

Read (2000) notes that ‘there are times when perils of the kind described in the Decades offer more immediate and vivid models than could be found in Spenser’s traditional sources’ (96), but the modeling at work in Spenser’s use of exploration narratives is far more indirect than in Tasso. In GL Carlo and Ubaldo travel through clearly identified Mediterranean and Atlantic topographies, and their voyage includes an explicit prophecy of the Christianization of the heathen New World, complete with an apostrophe to Christopher Columbus. Guyon and the Palmer, by contrast, encounter literary rather than geospatial landmarks, in keeping with the redefinition of ‘place’ introduced in the proem to Book II, where voyages of exploration are introduced as a trope for reading. Guyon’s voyage with the Palmer develops the trope in some detail.

2.4 the third Morrow: The scriptural resonance of this phrase (Matt 12:40, ‘For as Jonas was thre days, and thre nights in the whales bellie: so shal the Sonne of man be thre dayes and thre nights in the heart of the earth’) amplifies the connotations of the canto’s opening declaration (‘Fayrely to rise’) and reinforces the link between Arthur’s victory over the son of the earth and Guyon’s pending encounter with the temptations of the flesh.
2.5 2.5 Spenser’s image recalls two moments in the Aeneid. In the first, Aeneas, having just buried his nurse Caieta, sails past Circe’s island as splendet tremulo sub lumine pontus (‘the sea glitters beneath [the moon’s] dancing beams’; 7.9). In the second, Aeneas as he contemplates the approach of war in Latium magno curarum fluctuat aestu (‘tosses on a mighty sea of troubles’; 8.19), turning his thoughts sicut aquae termulum labris ubi lumen aënis / sole repercussum aut radiantis imagine lunae / omnia pervolitat loca (‘as when in brazen bowls a flickering light from water, flung back by the sun or the moon’s glittering form, flits far and wide’; 8.22-24). Ariosto picks up this image to describe Orlando’s distracted mood just before he abandons the siege at Paris to go in search of Angelica: qual d'acqua chiara il tremolante lume, / dal sol percossa o da’ notturni rai, / per gli ampli tetti va con lungo salto / a destra et a sinistra (‘[his thoughts] were like the tremulous gleam which a limpid pool gives off under the rays of the sun or moon--high and low, to right and left it fans out’; OF 8.71, trans. Waldman). Spenser at first appears to be moving the image back toward its more serene initial context, but the intervening traces of mental disquiet reappear in the immediately following lines.
acquight: aquit
3.3 acquight: Includes the sense of deliverance by paying or cancelling a debt.
Gulfe of Greedinesse: Based on Homer’s Charybdis by way of Virgil and Conti (Od 12.101-110, 234-59; Aen 3.420-32, 555-67; Myth 748-51).
hideous: immense
4.1-4.2 4.1-2 Spenser replaces Homer’s Scylla and her monstrous anatomy with a magnet (L magnes), masculine in gender and only residually shaped like a body. See ‘the rock of the Adamant’ in Huon of Bordeux (ch. 109).
Depending: hanging down
rift: The use of ‘rift’ to signify a projecting edge rather than a fissure is unusual, but characteristic of Spenser. Compare the rhyme-word clift, which is Spenser’s preferred form of ‘cliff’ even though it is also a variant form of ‘cleft’. For the pairing of these terms, see e.g. Eden, ‘The ryftes and clyftes’ (1555: 134), or Holinshed (1965:1:217), in a passage Spenser remembers at III.iii.8-9, describing a ‘rift or clift’ near the shore of ‘a little rockie Ile in Aber Barrie’. Compare also the ‘ragged breaches’ hanging down at II.vii.28.3.
wawes: waves (archaic)
4.9 wawes: Cf. Coverdale (1535: Jas 1.6), ‘For he that douteth is lyke the wawes of the see’.
5.7-5.8 5.7-8 See Prov 1.12, ‘We wil swallowe them up alive like a grave even whole, as those that go downe into the pit’.
6.4 Tartare: Tartarus, the region of the classical underworld Hades specifically reserved to the damned.
ruinate: collapse
7.2 ruinate: From L ruo to hurl down. With ‘broke’, suggesting financial ruin.
exanimate: lifeless
7.5 exanimate: From L ex out + anima breath, with a possible play on animus soul.
7.6-7.9 7.6-9 Echoing 1 Tim 6:9, ‘For they that wil be riche, fall into temptation and snares, and into many foolish and noysome lustes, which drowne men in perdition and destruction’. See also 1 Tim 1:19, ‘Having faith and a good conscience, which some have put away, and as concerning faith, have made shipwracke.’
blent: obscured, destroyed
Reproch: disgrace, infamy
Meawes: the common gull
Seagulles: Proverbially greedy; see Nashe 1599 (Lenten Stuffe 60), ‘That greedy seagull ignorance is apt to devoure any thing’.
Cormoyraunts: A large, voracious seabird, proverbially a figure for gluttony, greed, or the rapacity of userers. See Chaucer, ‘The hote cormeraunt of glotonye’ (PF 362).
thrift: savings
8.9 drift: ‘Floating matter driven by currents of water’ (OED); see Hakluyt 1907 ‘Foure leagues from the lande, you finde . . . many drifts of rootes, leaves of trees, [etc.]’ (Voyages 3.249). Here the context suggests an accumulation of such flotsam, or the place where it accumulates.
lustfull luxurie: excessive indulgence, especially sexual excess
reliques: remnants; memorials
counselled: With a pun, counsel- led.
10.1 Ferryman: See Conti (Myth 170): ‘God’s goodness is the source of our hope and of the joy that is the vehicle which ferries us across those troubled waters—that is, Charon’. The Ferryman enables Guyon’s boat to ‘apply’ (steer) a ‘course’ as opposed to being ‘driven’ to a ‘drift’ (8.9).
fordonne: ruined or destroyed
seeming now and then: ‘appearing now here and then elsewhere’
certein wonne: fixed dwelling
stragling plots: wandering pieces of land
wandring Islands: Mentioned earlier at i.51 and vi.11.3-4; cf. Homer’s πετραι επηρεφεες petrai epmrephees overhanging rocks (Od 12.59). On floating islands see Herodotus (Histories 2.156), Pliny the elder (Natural History 1.17) and Pliny the younger (Letters 8.20).
many a: disyllabic, ‘man-ya’
recure: recover
St. 13 For the story of Latona giving birth to Apollo and Diana on the isle of Delos, see Ovid (Met 6.186-91) and Virgil (Aen 3.73-77); also Conti (Myth 838, 840).
traveiling that way: traveling; travailing, in labor
temple: ‘honor’ 1596
herried: praised, glorified
14.2 The purposive forward progress of the voyagers combines two motifs that recur throughout the episode. One is a contrast between linear progress and ‘wandering’ in illusion; the other links temperance to timing, as the voyagers resist delay but pause to deliberate.
fleet: float
touchen: For a ship, to call in passing; for a man, to have sexual contact.
skippet: skiff
can: did
cause: Plays etymologically and homophonically with case, cosa, and chose, echoing the Wife of Bath’s ‘bele chose’ (CT Wife of Bath D 510) and sustaining the double-entendre of ‘to touchen there’.
light: quickly
sort: manner
bord: accost; nautical sense, ‘come alongside to attack’; also ‘jest’
purpose diversly: make small talk
16.2 bord: See Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (1.3.56-7): ‘“Accost” is front her, board her, woo her, assail her’.
wite: blame
St. 17-20 The mermaids, the ‘quickesand of Unthriftyhead’, and the ‘Whirlepoole of decay’ form a series analogous to Phædria, the Gulfe of Greedinesse, and the Rocke of Reproch. There are distinctions to be made (e.g., greediness is a moral condition that incurs shame, whereas unthriftyhead is a behavior that leads to decay), but as the monsters and water-hazards proliferate there is also a sense of redundancy, reminding us that all the moral threats in this canto are forms of excess. At times the allegory itself seems in this way to be infiltrated by the forces it seeks to demonize. On a formal level, this tension plays out the ethical distinction between ‘passing through’ and ‘passing by’ perils (see arg.1-2n).
17.2 17.2 The awkward caesura after ‘him’ recapitulates within the line Guyon’s experience of his ferry ride, interrupted by an unscheduled stop and an unwanted invitation to dally, even as Phædria renews her effort to delay ‘their gate’ (see 14.2n).
gate: path or journey
avyse: look around, take thought
17.6 avyse: Contrast this well-advised pause with Phædria’s attempt to delay the voyage.
safety: trisyllabic
17.9 See Circe’s description of the Sirens in Homer (Od 12.37-54).
the narrow way: Matt 7:14, ‘the gate is streicte, and the way narowe that leadeth unto life’.
discoloured: With a pun on ‘discolour-red’.
18.9 Unthriftyhed: Cf. 8.8, ‘lost credit and consumed thrift’.
mesprize: mistake
19.4 mesprize: From Fr méprise, from prendre ‘take’.
hazardize: predicament
19.5 hazardize: A nonce-word for which OED records no other instance.
recur’d: recovered
backe recoyle: drive or force back
doole: grief
earnest: ‘heedful’ 1596
21.3 21.3 They reach (‘fetch’) the far end of the ‘narrow way’ (18.4) that separates the whirlpool from the quicksand.
21.7-21.9 21.7-9 The land- and seascape of Guyon’s voyage is frequently imbued with affective states proper to the moral hazards signified. Conti cites classical interpreters who rationalize Scylla as a promontory shaped like a woman, with caves whose roaring sound resembles howling dogs (Myth 748-49); Spenser, who follows a similar impulse at 4.1-2 (see note), nevertheless sustains a residual or figurative animation of the seascape.
guise: customary manner
Outragiously . . . enraged: See OED s.v. ‘outrage’: ‘In English often reanalysed as out prefix + rage n., a notion which affected the sense development’.
horrour: (L horrere to bristle, shudder) can describe both the action of the waves and the voyagers’ response; likewise ‘reare’ can describe the upsurging of the water or the upsurge of emotion of those who witness it.
22.9 living sence: Cf. pr.2.1 (‘with better sence advize’) and pr.4.4 (‘his sence . . . too blunt and bace’), linked to the figure of reading as a voyage of discovery; and 26.1, where ‘living sence’ is corrected by ‘the Palmer well aviz’d’.
23.1 St. 23-24 Spenser’s principal sources for these stanzas are Pliny Naturalis Historiae, Gesner, Historiae animalium. vol. 4, and Olaus Magnus Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus. For detailed discussion see Var 2.359-64; SpE reproduces a sampling of Gesner’s woodcuts (‘natural history’ figs. 1-3).
23.2-23.5 23.2-5 Dame Nature as artist with ‘cunning hand’ mirrors the poet: his ‘pourtraicts of deformitee’ are her deformed portraits (‘fowle defects’).
23.6 Spring-headed Hydres: The Hydra was a serpent whose heads when cut off would sprout again; see Theatre 12.13 on the Hydra’s ‘seven springing heads’. In the second of his twelve labors, Hercules slew the monster by cauterizing its neck-stubs before new heads could grow (Virgil, Aen 6.576-77; Ovid, Met 9.68-74). The notion of the Hydra as a sea-beast may derive from Boccaccio, Genealogia 13.1 (Gesner 4.457-60).
sea-shouldring Whales: A phrase famous for the response it elicited from John Keats, who when he read it as a schoolboy was said to have sprung up from his seat to imitate the Whales’ action (Clark 126, qtd Var 2.360).
Scolopendraes: Sea-serpent reputed to cast up its entrails to eject the hook after swallowing bait (Gesner 4.839). P. A. Robin traces confusions regarding this creature in natural histories from Aristotle to Rondelet (Animal Lore in English Literature 120-22, excerpted in Var 2.360-61).
Monoceros: accented on the first and third syllables
immeasured: immense (not previously recorded in English)
23.9 Monoceros: The narwhal, a tusked Arctic whale (Gesner 4.547).
24.1-24.2 24.1-2 The walrus, a.k.a. ‘morse’ or mors marine (L mors death).
Wasserman: Ger ‘water-man’ (not previously recorded in English).
Sea-satyre: If there are mermaids and mermen, then it stands to reason that there must also be mer-satyrs; Gesner reproduces a drawing of one (7.4.999), and mentions reports from fishermen who have heard human cries before a storm at sea (Lemmi in Var 2.363).
24.7 Huge Ziffius: From Gk ξιφιας xiphias, swordfish (Gesner 4.1049).
24.9 Rosmarines: either the walrus (mors marine) or the sea-horse, said to climb out of the water to graze on promontories.
enrold: rolled up
25.4 enrold: Cf. IV.iii.41.5, Gnat 257.
bugs: i.e. bugbears, bogys, bugaboos
25.8 bugs: From Welsh bwg ghost, hobgoblin.
entrall: entrails
St. 26 The Palmer’s reassuring demystification of sea-monsters enacts the skeptical and rationalizing impulse implicit in many interpretations of Homer’s monsters and marvels. In the present episode this impulse plays against the recurrent tendency of Spenser’s imagery to animate the seascape (see 21.7-9n).
vertuous: potent; magical; imbued with moral virtue
26.6-26.7 26.6-7 See Exod 14:16, where Moses divides the Red Sea with his rod; Matt 8:26, where Christ calms the sea; 2 Kings 2:14, where Elisha crosses Jordan with Elijah’s mantle; Virgil, Aen 1.142-3, where Neptune calms the sea; and Tasso, GL 14.73, where Ubaldo wields a similar magic wand.
Tethys: originally a Titaness and sea-goddess; here a name for the sea
St. 27-29 Recalling Duessa’s cameo in the role of distressed maiden in the first episode of Book II. The play on ‘seemely’ (comely) and ‘seemed’ (27.6, 8) points to the mingling of erotic and chivalrous motives that imperils the knight’s judgment in both episodes, as the Palmer explains at 28.9.
streight: immediately, with an ironic glance at Guyon’s instruction to steer the boat off-course
28.1 streight: See 29.5-6, where the line-break unfolds the pun.
know: in this context suggesting both to apprehend and to have carnal acquaintance
28.7-28.8 28.7-8 See st. 26n. The compressed syntax, asserting that the maid is not a real woman but ‘onely womanish fine forgery’, echoes the Palmer’s dismissal of the sea-monsters at 26.2, and implicates the process of personification in a kind of reverse derivation: if English obtains the adjective womanish from the noun woman, allegory here converts the adjective back into a noun and then embodies the noun in a fictional referent.
courage: heart
29.1 courage: From L cor heart.
embosome: implant
29.3 embosome: The maid's ‘bayt’ implies a hook—taken not into the mouth, but into the heart and mind, as the phrase ‘embosome . . . in your mind’ indicates.
stayed: firm, well-supported
bayt: rest, with a punning reference to its rhyme-partner in the second line
St. 30-32 Spenser’s Mermayds (30.2) derive from the Sirens in Homer (Od 12.39-54, 165-200), but many details in his account come from later sources, including Virgil, Ovid, Pausanius, Boccaccio, and Conti. Homer does not specify the bodily form of the Sirens. Genealogia 7.20, Myth 645, and T. Cooper refer to them as mermaids; Pausanius and Conti also represent them as winged and birdlike.
30.2 Hamilton 2001 notes the emphasis placed on still by the enjambment here, together with its repetition as a rhyme-word at mid-stanza. Stillness is both the temptation the Sirens offer and the fate they threaten: sailors wooed to sleep by their song never awaken (see Conti Myth 642: ‘they would lull them [sailors] into a very deep sleep. And once these sailors were asleep, they would toss them into the sea and kill them’). Cf. the pun on bayt in st. 29.
30.2-30.6 30.2-6 Echoing Virgil’s description of the bay (‘a haunt of Nymphs’) where Aeneas and his men take shelter after the opening storm in the Aeneid, the prelude to his encounter with Dido (1.157-73).
30.7-30.9 30.7-9 Implying that the theater ‘trades’ in illusion and is therefore ‘deceiptfull’, analogous to ‘womanish fine forgery’ (28.8).
30.8 five: In classical accounts, two or three, expanded to five presumably to correspond to the senses, to which they appeal (cf. ‘a straunge kinde of harmony; / Which Guyons senses softly tickeled’, 33.6-7, and the repeated emphasis on the senses in the proem).
trade: ‘course, way, or manner of life’ (OED)
31.1-31.2 31.1-2 Pausanius relates that the Sirens ‘were persuaded by Hera to compete with the Muses by singing’ (Desc 9.34.3), though his Sirens are avian rather than piscine in form. (His version may reflect the influence of Ovid, Met 5, in which it is the Paeonian sisters rather than the Sirens who compete with the Muses in song; they are transformed into Magpies.)
th’Heliconian maides: the Muses
moyity: half
surquedry: presumption
hew: form
applyde: addressed
32.2 applyde: Also ‘adapted’, because the Sirens were said to ‘pick out the precise melody that each man would enjoy hearing’ (Conti Myth 644). Thus in the following lines, the Sirens sing directly to Guyon: ‘O thou fayre sonne of gentle Faery, / That art in mightie armes most magnifyde / Above all knights’.
magnifyde: praised
32.7-32.9 32.7-9 The temptation offered by the Sirens is variously glossed as wisdom, voluptuous pleasure, sloth, or flattery. Spenser’s Sirens, like Despair (I.ix) and Phædria when she sings Cymochles to sleep in canto vi (15-17), offer rest to the weary (see 30.2n).
St. 33 The sea, surf, and west wind accompany the song of the Mermaids to make up a four-part harmony comprised of alto (mermaids), treble (Zephyrus), tenor (surf), and bass (sea).
33.3 33.3 The trochaic substitution in the fourth foot of this line, combined with the length of the preceding syllable ‘waves’, creates a striking metrical imitation of ‘waves breaking’.
Meane: an intermediate part in polyphonic music; measured: made proportional
Zephyrus: the west wind
33.5 Zephyrus: Zephyrus also wafts through the Bower of Bliss, where he appeals to the senses of sight and smell (v.29.8-9).
34.1-34.4 34.1-4 Ulysses had to be bound—twice over—to the mast of his ship; the contrast is heightened when Guyon and his Palmer pass the Mermaids’ bay at mid-line with barely a caesura, and are already ‘descrying’ something else by the end of line three—their forward momentum further emphasized by the enjambment of ‘gan descry / The land’.
leveled: aimed
a grosse fog: One of the details Spenser’s episode has in common with the Celtic Legend of St. Brandan (see st. 2-41n).
desert: uninhabited (‘deserted’) region
34.5-34.9 34.5-9 The final lines suggest a return to primal chaos; Hamilton 2001 notes the etymological pun in Universe, from L unus one and vertere to turn. Lines 5-7 amplify the disorienting effects of the fog with contortions of the syntax. The sense is, ‘With his dull vapour, a grosse fog has over spred that desert and enveloped heavens chearefull face’.
34.7 heavens chearefull face enveloped: Cf. the Wandring Wood, ‘Whose loftie trees yclad with sommers pride, / Did spred so broad, that heavens light did hide’ (I.i.7.4-5).
wastefull: causing ‘devastation, desolation, or ruin’ (OED)
For: eliding ‘for fear of’
36.1 St. 36 Cf. the ‘Owles and Night-ravens’ haunting the entryway to Mammon’s cave (vii.23 and notes), accompanied by ‘sad Celeno’ (the leader of the Harpies, according to Virgil). For details in this stanza, T. P. Harrison (1956: 64-65) suggests both Gesner (3.524-26) and Magnus (692) as likely sources (see st. 23-24n).
36.1-36.2 36.1-2 Cf. Rev 18:2 on the fallen Babylon as ‘a cage of everie uncleane and hateful byrde’.
unfortunate: omens of misfortune
ill-faste: ill-faced, ugly.
36.4 ill-faste: Maleger’s ‘first troupe’, sent into battle against the bulwark of sight, includes ‘some . . . Headed like Owles’ (xi.8.1-3).
trump: trumpet
drere: dreariness, gloom
Strich: screech-owl
36.7 Strich: Hamilton 2001 notes that it is also called the ‘lich-owl’ (‘lich’ = corpse) ‘because its cry was supposed to portend death in the house’ (OED).
whistler: a nocturnal bird of ill-omen
36.8 whistler: This is the first use recorded in OED. On ‘the Seven Whistlers’ as birds of ill-omen in English folklore, see The English Dialect Dictionary, 19-20.338, s.v. ‘Seven’.
hellish: Virgil’s Aeneas encounters the Harpies among many other monstrous apparitions at the mouth of hell (Aen 6.289). They are ‘prophets of sad destiny’ because they foretell hardship to Aeneas and his men (3.245-58).
37.1-37.3 37.1-3 The deflating effect of the adversatives (‘Yet’, ‘but’) in line 3, like the mention of rowing in line 4, suggests that fear, for all the verve of the phrase ‘fild their sayles with fear’, actually has little propulsive force of its own.
stifly: steadfastly
37.7-37.9 37.7-9 The Palmer’s exhortation to Guyon echoes Una’s words to Redcrosse as they approach her parents’ usurped kingdom (I.xi.2.1-2).
sacred: accursed
37.8 sacred: A Latinism illustrated by Virgil’s auri sacra fames (‘accursed hunger for gold’; Aen 3.57) and mentioned in A Vewe when Irenius reports the ancient name of Ireland to have been ‘Sacra Insula, taking /sacra for accursed’ (3725-26). Also found in Livy and Horace. See Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus 2.1.120-1, ‘our empress, with her sacred wit / To villainy and vengeance consecrate’.
crooked: curved
39.1-39.2 39.1-2 As Aeneas and his men sail past Circe’s island, they hear gemitus iraeque leonum / vincla recusantum et sera sub nocte rudentum, saetigerique sues atque in praesepibus ursi / saevire, ac formae magnorum ululare luporum (‘the angry growls of lions chafing at their bonds and roaring in midnight hours, the raging of bristly boars and encaged bears, and howls from shapes of monstrous wolves’; Aen 7.15-18).
urquedry: See 31.5; here context suggests not presumption but surfeit, especially of sexual pleasure.
39.4-39.9 39.4-9 Homer’s Odysseus reports that the beasts on Circe’s island ουδ᾽ οἵ γ᾽ ωρμηθησαν επ᾽ ανδρασιν, αλλ᾽ αρα τοι γε / ουρησιν μακρησι περισσαινοντες ανεσταν (oud’ oï g’ ōrmēthēsan ep’ andrasin, all’ ara toi ge / ourēsin makrēsi perissainontes anestan; ‘did not rush upon my men, but pranced about them fawningly’; Od 10.214-15). According to Ovid’s Macareus, the animals did ‘rush on us, filling us with terror’ initially; he continues, ‘But there was no need to fear them . . . Why, they even wagged their tails . . . and fawned upon us’ (Met 14.254-58).
upstaring: standing on end
39.8 upstaring: Cf. the ‘heares / Upstaring stiffe’ of Trevisan, I.ix.22.2-3.
40.1-40.6 40.1-6 For literary precedents to the Palmer’s staff, see 26.6-7n. The staff protects Guyon as the magical herb moly protected Odysseus and his men from Circe’s powers (Od 10.287-94). In Tasso, Ubaldo subdues Armida’s threatening beasts with a verga aurea immortale (‘everlasting staff of gold’; GL 15.49.5).
fraying: frightening
40.6 them selves: An intensifier, but may also suggest that the beasts fear themselves, like Archimago at I.ii.10.7-8.
41.3-41.8 41.3-8 In Homer it is Mercury who gives Odysseus the herb moly as an antidote to Circe’s charms (Od 10.276-309; see 40.1-6n); later, Homer describes the god using Caduceus to lead dead souls into the underworld (24.1-5). Virgil ascribes to Mercury’s staff power over the living and the dead (Aen 4.242-4). Mercury is the messenger god, said by Conti to represent divine reason and wisdom (Myth 369-70). None of these sources mention what kind of wood the Caduceus was made of.
Stygian realmes: the infernal regions
41.4 Stygian: from Styx, one of the rivers that bound the underworld.
Orcus: another name for Dis or Pluto, the god of the underworld
vertue: power
41.9 vertue: Cf. 26.6.
42.2 Bowre of Blisse: See the description at v.27-35 and notes. Spenser’s Bower condenses two Homeric sites, the island of Circe (Od 10) and the garden of Alcinous (7.112-32), combining these with the history of the corresponding topoi, the enchanted isle and the locus amoenus. Cf. the islands of Ariosto’s Alcina (OF 6.19-25) and Tasso’s Armida (GL 15.53-66, 16.1-26), and the garden of Trissino’s Acratia (ILG Books 4 and 5; see Kostic 1969: 297-301 and Var 2.443-44). These literary places are at once similar and opposed to the biblical garden celebrated in the Song of Solomon: ‘My sister my spouse is as a garden inclosed, as a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed up’ (4.12). Spenser plays on this topos with a light touch in Am, apostrophizing his beloved’s bosom as ‘the bowre of blisse, the paradice of pleasure’ into which his thoughts have, like Guyon in st. 63-69, been ‘too rashly led astray’ (76.3, 6).
42.3-42.4 42.3-4 These lines define the Bower as a ‘choyce’ locus of art, and hence a ‘place’ in the textual and rhetorical as well as the spatial sense (see ix.1.9n). As a topos, it has been singled out by the most skillful mimetic artists living. Cf. the description of Phædria’s island in canto vi as ‘a chosen plott . . . As if it had by Natures cunning hand, / Bene choycely picked out from all the rest’ (12.1-4). The recollection of this motif now, with the destruction of the Bower impending, evokes Gen 13:11, ‘Then Lot chose unto him all the plaine of Jorden’, especially in conjunction with the preceding verse: ‘So when Lot lifted up his eyes, he saw that all the plaine of Jorden was watered every where: (for before the Lorde destroyed Sodom and Gomorah, it was as the garden of the Lorde . . . )’.
42.5-42.7 42.5-7 The place where all sweet things come together, with its mingled appeal to ‘sense’ or ‘fantasy’, is the locus amoenus, a topos traced by Curtius (1953: 195-200). See 42.2n.
aggrate: gratify
42.8 This line covertly identifies Spenser himself as the artist of the Bower by inflecting the familiar pun on his ancestral name (De Spencier) as a nominalized verb of sexual release: What Shakespeare in sonnet 129 would call ‘th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame’ is here the dispense of pleasure in an erotic fantasy. (For other instances of this play on the poet’s name see Cummings 1971: 95 and CV H.B. 5.3, along with FQ II.i.36.1-3, II.ix.29.1, V.i.7.5, and notes.) The emphasis on copiousness alludes in part to the fact that, at 87 stanzas, this is by far the longest canto in the poem.
affluence: profusion
enclosed: Cf. Song Sol 4:12 and 42.2n.
43.4, 8-9 The weakness of the fence and insubstantiality of the gate suggest that they may be intended less to prevent trespass than to provoke it. The Bower is a hortus as much inconclusus as conclusus.
Nought feard theyr force: ‘The force of the beasts was not at all feared’.
fortilage: fortress
43.5 fortilage: An ironic term for the invitingly ill-defended Bower.
efforced: forced open or gained by force
43.7 efforced: The language throughout this stanza flirts with the distinction between ‘pleasure’ and ‘battery’.
St. 44-45 The ‘famous history’ of Jason and Medea is told at length in Ovid, Met 7 and Appolonius Rhodius, Arg 3. Medea is Circe’s neice.
44.1 yvory: This detail may come from Trissino, ILG 5.165, although the common source for both writers is likely to be the gate of false dreams in Virgil (Aen 6.693-96).
ywritt: drawn, incised
44.4 ywritt: Cf. viii.43.3, where the portrait of Gloriana is ‘writt’ on Guyon’s shield.
44.5-44.6 44.5-6 Medea’s ‘mighty charmes’ are potions made up from magic herbs; ‘her furious loving fitt’ is the overwhelming passion for Jason that compelled her to betray her father, King Aeëtes, by helping to ensure Jason’s ‘conquest of the golden fleece’ in return for his promise of marriage. According to Conti, ‘The ancients made up . . . the things that they said about Medea to encourage us to keep our feelings in check, and to try to live a decent life. Other writers thought that Medea was a criminal and an indecently passionate woman. For in fact she betrayed her parents, her kingdom, and her native land because she lusted after Jason and had an insane longing for him’ (Myth 489).
44.7 44.7 Jason later set Medea aside to take a new bride, Creüsa. Conti, in the passage quoted above, continues: ‘And she sought after this stranger, this treacherous impostor, this man who had a habit of forgetting what people had done for him’ (Myth 489). The phrase ‘falsed fayth’ may recall Chaucer’s accusation against Jason in LGW: ‘Ther other falsen one, thou falseste two’ (1377).
44.8-44.9 44.8-9 These lines jump back to the beginning of the story: Jason gathered the finest young warriors in Greece to sail in quest of the golden fleece. Aboard the ‘venturous’ ship Argo, they sailed across the Black Sea to the kingdom of Colchos, ruled by Aeëtes.
45.1 Ye might have seene: This is the first in a series of ekphrastic passages that will carry through Book III, all marked by references to trompe l'oeil verisimilitude. Spenser is consistently skeptical about the mimesis of appearances: the value of sensuous appeal in art is questioned in the proem to Book II and in the exchange between Guyon and Arthur over the image of Gloriana ‘so goodly scord’ on Guyon’s shield (ix.2-3), and the same appeal to (and power to deceive) the senses is the stock in trade of the 1590 poem’s major villains, Archimago, Duessa, Acrasia, and Busirane. Interestingly, Conti remarks that to some writers, ‘Medea represented Art, the sister of Circe or Nature; for Art tries its best to imitate Nature, and the closer it gets, the better art it's supposed to be’ (Myth 489). For Spenser’s introduction of this motif as a keynote of Book II, see the notes to the proem, st. 4 and 5.
fry: foam
45.3-45.4 45.3-4 Here the force of mimetic illusion is seen as blurring the distinction between represented content (nature) and the medium of representation (art), a metamorphosis in which the medium and the thing represented seem to turn into each other. See Introduction, 00.
sprent: sprinkled
45.6 In the course of her ‘furious loving fitt’ Medea dismembered her brother Apsyrtus, casting pieces of his body into the sea to slow the king’s pursuit when she fled with Jason.
vermell: vermillion
45.9 45.9 Still experiencing love as a ‘furious . . . fitt’ when Jason abandoned her, Medea sent his new bride Creüsa a poisoned robe that burned her to death.
red: As writing, carving, and painting are all comprehended in the verb ywritt (44.4n), so reading, seeing, and interpreting are all compounded in the verb read (cf. the puns in the rhyming pair ‘discovered’ and ‘measured’, pr.2.4, 7).
46.2-46.3 46.2-3 Cf. the weakness of the fence enclosing the garden (st. 43).
looser: too loose
46.9 Cf. Idleness, who ‘greatly shunned manly exercise’ (I.iv.20.2).
St. 47-48 Both the name Agdistes and most of the detail in these stanzas derive from Conti (Myth 243-245), but the ‘celestiall powre’ contrasted with the Genius of the Bower also has much in common with Conti’s Mercury (361-71), who in turn is associated with the Palmer (see 41.3-8n). According to Conti, Mercury was in charge of re-embodying ‘souls who had completed their stay in the Elysian fields’ (368), and was identified with ‘God's will . . . insofar as it brings things to life or sends them off to burial or the underworld’, and ‘with that divine power implanted by the gods in men’s minds, the power that wonderfully puts all our human activities in perspective and keeps them from falling apart. And since the ancients thought that this power is the source of our dreams, they said that Mercury was in charge of dreams’ (371). Elsewhere Conti does use the phrase ‘celestial power’ to describe Genius (901). He derives the name ‘Genius’ from L gignendo, ‘bringing forth’ (244). (For a more extensive canvassing of sources for Genius in both his guises, see Var 2.375-76.)
47.8-47.9 47.8-9 Spenser is one of the earliest writers in English to use the word self as a substantive rather than a pronoun or adjective (see Am 45.3, ‘in my selfe, my inward selfe I meane’). The description in these stanzas suggests links to L ingenium (lit. ‘genius within’) and English inwit, but these (though often personified by medieval writers) are faculties rather than entities. Spenser follows Conti in treating the self as a spirit distinct from the person it supervises, and consequently stresses the paradoxical way in which the Genius-self is non-identical with the ‘we’ whose self it is, who can ‘perceive’ its indwelling presence but cannot ‘see’ it directly. Spenser differs from Conti in treating this spirit as a generic or collective presence, ‘our Selfe’, inhabiting the individual (‘him selfe’).
porter: gatekeeper
devizd: appointed; perhaps also designed; feigned; conceived or imagined
48.8 porter: See Chaucer, CT Second Nun G 2-3, ‘Ydelnesse..porter [v.r. poter] of the gate is of delices’. Porter comes from the n. port ‘gateway’, but insofar as this Genius leads, or misleads, his title may also owe something to the verb meaning ‘convey’.
48.8 devizd: Cf. i.31.8: ‘That deare Crosse uppon your shield devizd’.
for more formalitee: as an emblem of office
Mazer: a maple goblet
49.3 Mazer: Cf. SC Aug 26, ‘A mazer ywrought of the Maple warre’; also the goblets of Duessa (I.viii.14.1-5) and Acrasia (II.i.55). Circe enchanted her victims by offering them ‘a potion in a golden cup’ (Od 10.316). In a Christian context such cups of enchantment parody the Holy Grail and the wine of the Eucharist (a reference anchored here by ‘sacrifide’). Given Spenser’s fondness for the pun in ‘amaze’, the sense of maze as ‘bewilder’ is probably also present.
sacrifide: consecrated
And broke his staffe: Already showing Guyon’s responses verging on the excessive; see 57.3-6n. The Porter’s staff with its powers of illusion is opposed to the Palmer’s 'mighty staffe, that could all charmes defeat’ (40.3).
49.9 charmed semblants sly: Cf. 48.6, ‘guilefull semblants, which he makes us see’. ‘Sly’ (cunning) may describe either the semblants or the act of conjuring them—or both. The Bower’s Genius personifies an aesthetic technique that uses suggestion to elicit erotic fantasies—a technique that is on offer in the present canto as early as its first stanza and recurs frequently in the descriptions of the Bower. See 45.3-4n on the temptation presented by the ornamentation on the ivory gate.
St. 50 The syntax implies a deferred main clause that never in fact arrives: the travelers behold a plain whose ground, mantled and beautified . . . . The suspension of sense amid sprawling ornamentation anticipates the fate of Verdant with his ‘ydle instruments’ (80.1).
her mother Art: By introducing Art as the mother of Flora, Spenser inverts the aesthetic theory Polixenes will later espouse in The Winter’s Tale (4.4.88-97): in the Bower of Bliss, Nature is created by Art. (The flowers may be artificially created by the kind of cross-breeding Polixenes defends; they may also be flowers of rhetoric.) Nature is also denigrated by Art, the comically officious mother of the bride who insists on ‘too lavishly’ adorning her not-pretty-enough daughter. For Nature as artist-manque, see 23.2-5.
50.8-50.9 50.8-9 The concluding shift from past tense (‘Did decke her’) to present (‘forth . . . she comes’) reinforces the loss of orientation in the face of spectacle that is implicit in the failure of syntactic closure. The travelers are rendered passive (‘they behold’) by a display of excess that takes over both energy and initiative as it comes forward to greet them.
51.1 Joviall: ‘Under the influence of, or having the qualities imparted by, the planet Jupiter, which as a natal planet was regarded as the source of joy and happiness’ (OED). Ironic in the present context insofar as Jove’s usurpation ended the golden age of Saturn’s reign and thereby initiated seasonal change (Ovid, Met 1.113-18).
lovely: lovingly
51.5-51.9 51.5-9 See Chaucer, PF 204-6: ‘Th’air of that place so attempre was / That nevere was ther grevaunce of hot ne cold; / There wex ek every holsom spice and gras’ (also Tasso, GL 15.53-54, and Homer, Od 4.567-69, 6.43-45). The language of these lines (‘intemperate . . . moderate . . . attempred’) suggests that the Bower presents Guyon with a simulacrum of the virtue he espouses.
51.8-51.9 51.8-9 Given the tendency of the diction throughout the stanza to half-animate and half-personify the locus amoenus, the secondary senses of ‘disposd’ as ‘put into a favorable mood’ and ‘spirit’ as ‘disposition, or temper existing in, pervading, or animating, a person or set of persons’ (OED) are also in play.
disposd: arranged
51.8 disposd: Cf. ‘Words well dispost’ (viii.26.7).
spirit: breath
St. 52 The set of competing loci amoeni listed in this stanza are all (except Parnassus) contaminated by associations of lust and violence. The allusions to these places are likewise shot through with misdirection, as if imitating the Bower’s technique of seduction-by-distraction.
52.1-52.3 52.1-3 Rhodope, ‘the pleasaunt hill’ where Orpheus sang (Met 10.86-105), is also the place where he was later dismembered (11.39-43); Ovid twice calls Orpheus Rhodopeius (‘Rhodopean’, 10.11-12, 50). Spenser’s version of the background story about the nymph may derive from the treatise Libellus de Fluviis, once attributed to Plutarch, which reports that she bore a ‘gyaunt babe’ fathered by Neptune and then arrogated to herself the name ‘Juno’, commanding the gods to worship her. She was punished by being turned into the mountain.
52.4 Thessalian: Tempe is the valley where Apollo pursued Daphne, whose transformation into the laurel is the prototypical metamorphosis in Ovid (Met 1.452-567). Spenser compresses the narrative, in which it was technically Cupid who gored Apollo’s heart with love: he shot Apollo with a golden-tipped dart to kindle love, Daphne with a lead-tipped dart to inspire flight.
52.6 Mount Ida, near Troy—where Venus and Anchises conceived Aeneas—was also the setting for the infamous judgment of Paris, which gave rise to the Trojan War (see vii.55 and notes).
repayre: retire
52.8 Mount Parnassus is the haunt of the Muses and a frequent reference for Spenser: cf. SC Apr 41, June 28, 70, and Julye 47; Gnat 21-22; Teares 58; DS Ormond and Ossory; FQ I.x.54 and VI.pr.2.
52.9 Eden selfe: See Gen 2:8, ‘And the Lord God planted a garden Eastwarde in Eden’, and the Geneva gloss: ‘a place . . . moste pleasant and abundant in all things’.
53.4 See Prov 4:25, ‘Let thine eyes beholde the right, and let thine eyeliddes direct thy way before thee’.
53.6-53.9 53.6-9 The vegetation growing up around this ‘gate, / No gate’ seems to have its arms at once wide open (‘did broad dilate’) and closing in all around (‘clasping’). Cf. the ambiguities in Spenser’s description of the first gate (st. 43). The alliteration in the final line very nearly turns the branches’ ‘wanton wreathings’ into wanton writhings (an example of the aesthetic technique mentioned in 49.9n).
St. 54 See 51.8-9n on the tendency to half-personify the landscape, which at times intensifies to more than half. At such moments the resulting vegetable fantasia starts to resemble an anamorphic orgy. Cain (1978: 92-93) notes echoes in this and the following stanza of New World reports describing the mines of Peru and the gardens of the Incas. The same lines also contain echoes of the Garden of Proserpina in canto vii.
54.7 Hyacine: Hyacine in 1590 gets corrected to Hyacint, perhaps not by the author. The hyacinth is ‘deepe empurpled’ because it springs from the blood of Apollo’s beloved companion, whose name it bears. See Ovid: ecce cruor, qui fusus homo signaverat herbas, / desinit esse cruor, Tyrioque nitentior ostro / flos oritur formamque capit, quam lilia, si non / purpureus color his, argenteus esset in illis (‘behold, the blood, which had poured out on the ground and stained the grass, ceased to be blood, and in its place there sprang a flower brighter than Tyrian dye. It took the form of the lily, save that the one was of purple hue, while the other was silvery white’; Met 10.210-13).
54.7-54.9 54.7-9 The progression from purple through red to green shows the fruit un-ripening as if in coy retreat from the solicitation described at mid-stanza.
Rubine: ruby
Emeraudes: emeralds
55.1 Cf. the apples of the Hesperides in Proserpine’s Garden (vii.54-55).
55.3-55.4 55.3-4 As the fruit goes from being metaphorically to literally artificial, the figurative suggestion of a coy retreat from the hands and eyes of ‘covetous guest’ also becomes explicit. The subtextual allusion would seem to be to Midas and Tantalus (see vii.58-60 and 59.5-9n, and the provocations implied in the description of the Bower’s outer gate, st. 43 and notes).
rich load: Grapes made of gold would indeed be much heavier than edible grapes.
Cf. the ‘looser garment’ of Genius (46.7-9).
Cup of gold: Cf. the ‘mighty Mazer bowle of wine’ set beside Genius (49.3).
sappy: succulent
56.3-56.6 56.3-6 The delicacy with which this ‘comely dame’ bursts the grapes in her ‘fine fingers’ creates a remarkably juicy image—one that will be remembered by Milton when Eve crushes fruit to prepare refreshments for the angel Raphael in Eden (PL 5.344-47), and by Keats in ‘Ode on Melancholy’: ‘him whose strenuous tongue / Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine’ (27-28). The line-break, ‘with fulnesse sweld, / Into her cup’, admits of a momentary impression (or ‘guilefull semblant’, 49.9n) that the juice swells into the cup without assistance.
scruzd: squeezed
daintie: nice, delicate, but also delightful, as at 58.1
breach: ‘the action of breaking’ (OED)
56.4 breach: Perhaps also the delicate parting of the fingers, which prevents any ‘fowle empeach’ (hindrance) of the ‘sappy liquor’ on its way into her cup. The slight hindrance offered by the enjambment of lines 4-5 (itself a ‘daintie breach’) is sufficient to evoke another false semblant or two (49.9n) from the associations clustering around the phrase ‘daintie breach’; cf. ‘Their dainty partes’, 63.9).
without foul empeach: without making a mess
56.5 empeach: There is also a pun on ‘peach’. Gerard (1597) describes the red peach as ‘very like to wine in taste, and therefore marvellous pleasant’ (1448). His description of the white peach is suggestive enough to gloss the florid polymorphous sexuality of the fruit in Spenser’s Bower: ‘The fruit or Peaches be round, and have as it were a chinke or cleft on the one side; they are covered with a soft and thin downe or hairie cotton, being white without, and of a pleasant taste; in the middle whereof is a rough or rugged stone, wherein is contained a kernell like unto the Almond; the meate about the stone is of a white colour’.
guise: custom
56.9 guise: Cf. 21.8, 66.2.
57.3-57.6 57.3-6 Cf. 49.7-9; this time, Guyon doesn’t just overturn the cup ‘disdainfully’, he shatters it ‘violently’. The joke in ‘Excesse exceedingly was wroth’ may implicate the knight insofar as his response to Excesse is excessive. Cf. Milton, Comus 651-52 and the interlinear scene direction following 813, where the brothers cast down the sorcerer’s cup and shatter it.
57.6 Excesse: Her name and office as sommelier recall Eph 5:18: ‘be not drunke with wine, wherein is excesse’. At Matt 23:25, Jesus denounces the scribes and pharisees as hypocrites, ‘for ye make cleane the utter side of the cup, and of the platter: but within thei are ful of briberie and excesse’. The Geneva glosses ‘excesse’ (which translates the Gk ακρασια akrasia) as ‘intemperancie’.
57.8-57.9 57.8-9 Since the porch of Excess is not really a gate but only like one (53.6-7), it remains unclear whether she suffers Guyon and the Palmer to ‘passe’ by or through (see arg.1-2n).
daintie: Cf. 56.4.
58.2 58.2 The characteristic action of the Bower.
sober: solemn, serious; also, because he has just refused the wine in st. 57, not drunk
58.2-58.4 58.2-4 We are told at 53.2-3 that Guyon ‘suffred no delight / To sincke into his sence’, but here again the syntax fosters a ‘guilefull semblant’ (49.9n) in which all pleasures seem to abound plenteously in the knight’s sober eye, where they enjoy a happiness unmarred by jealousy or rivalry. The awkward implication would be that Guyon, in reasserting the sobriety of his eye and repudiating the pleasures that have abounded there, is enacting envy of ‘others happinesse’.
painted: In literary usage, commonly used to mean ‘brightly coloured or variegated, as if painted’ (OED), but the artificiality of the Bower leaves open the possibility that they are literally colored with paint. See also 50.6n for the possibility that the flowers, like the ‘streak’d gillyvors’ disdained by Perdita (‘no more than were I painted’) in The Winters Tale (4.4.82, 101), are artificial in that they are hybrids.
58.7-58.9 58.7-9 Translating Tasso, GL 16.9.7-8: e quel che ’l bello e ’l caro accresce a l’opre, / l’arte, che tutto fa, nulla si scopre. Ironically, the art that ‘appeared in no place’ concludes a list of all the features that the ‘Paradise . . . doth offer to his sober eye’. The motif of offering modulates into that of display alternating with concealment: see st. 54-55, 63-66 and notes.
christall: streams
aggrace: grace; add grace to
St. 59 Cf. Ovid, simulaverat artem ingenio natura suo (‘Nature by her own cunning had imitated art’; Met 3.158-9). Spenser’s stanza is based on Tasso, GL 16.10. Spenser’s stanza dilates the first half of Tasso’s, amplifying both the resentment of the competitors and the paradox whereby their conflict inadvertently yields harmony—a parody of the classical commonplace of concordia discors, or harmony in discord. On the paragone of Art and Nature, see Hagstrum (1958: 81-88), SpE s.v. ‘nature and art’, and 50.6n, above. Fairfax, translating Tasso in 1600, shows the influence of Spenser’s stanza.
wantonnesse: affectation, naughtiness, playfulness, or extravagance
ensude: followed; imitated the example of
repine: complain
in fine: in conclusion
St. 60-68 Based on Tasso, GL 15.58-66. The substitution of a fountain for the pool in which Tasso’s damsels bathe may reflect Acrasia’s ‘fountain of concupiscence’ in Trissino, (ILG 5.520-00; see Var 2.444). Tasso’s maidens swim and display themselves but do not ‘wrestle wantonly’ (63.8)—an elaboration so tempting that it resurfaces in Fairfax’s translation of the passage from Tasso. On the verbal differences between Spenser and Tasso, see Pollock (1980).
fountaine: Recalling the fountain at I.vii.2.8-7, also associated with lust. Contrast the antithetical well at II.ii.3-10, so ‘chaste and pure’ that it won't wash the blood off Ruddymane’s hands, and the sister-bride in the Song of Solomon, described as ‘a spring shut up, and a fountaine sealed up’ (4: 12).
60.6 overwrought: Not recorded in OED. Presumably, as Hamilton suggests, ‘wrought all over’, with the added suggestion that the ornamentation is overdone. There is also the suggestion that the implicitly phallic fountain mirrors the language of the passage, so insistently ‘overwrought’ with the ‘curious ymageree’ of those guilefull semblants the Bower’s Genius makes us see (49.9n). Insofar as these semblants are latent and fleeting fantasies thrown off by the diction, imagery, syntax, sounds, and rhythms of the verse, they also remain only half-seen. (See 58.7-9n on the motif of display yielding to concealment.)
wanton toyes: amorous dallying; playful caresses
embay: bathe, soak
60.9 60.9 The phrase ‘liquid joyes’ melts the pleasures depicted on the fountain into the waters coursing through its channels. In simultaneously desubstantializing the water (‘liquid’ becomes an adjective) and half-substantializing the joys, the phrasing here may offer a gloss on the ‘sappy liquor’ of 56.3 (cf. I.vii.7.2, II.v.28.5). The liquidity of these joys is further insinuated by the rare substitution of a comma for the expected full stop at the end of the stanza.
61.1 St. 61 Cf. st. 59, v.29, and notes. With its trompe l’oeil imitation of nature, metallic ivy with anthropomorphically lascivious arms, and faux crystal teardrops, this tableau brings together several of the principal motifs in the canto, including the half-animation of the landscape, the paragone of art and nature, and the evocation of sexual fantasies.
Low: Implies a homophonic deictic ‘Lo’.
61.8 fearefully: Becomes ‘tenderly’ in 1596 and 1609.
for wantones: A recurrent term in the description of the Bower, its senses fluctuate among lasciviousness, naughtiness, affectation, luxury, insolence, extravagance, recklessness, and caprice, none of which seems an obvious motive for tears—but see Acrasia’s faux pity and moist eyes at 73.9 and 78.3-9. The water droplets on the ivy at once simulate post-coital triste and insinuate the motives of a predatory mock pietá.
three cubits: ancient unit of measurement based on the length of the forearm, variable but typically 18-22 inches
62.6 three cubits: Three of these make neither a great ‘depth’ nor a great ‘hight’.
62.6-62.9 62.6-9 Parodic echoes of Rev 4: 6 (the ‘sea of glasse like unto cristal’ with God’s throne in the midst) and 21:11 (the New Jerusalem ‘shining…like unto…a Jasper stone cleare as cristal’).
sayle: In architecture, ‘to project from a surface’ (OED). The upright fountain with its ‘Infinit streames’ and ‘ample laver’ combines a number of opposites: the motions of welling and falling, depth and height, motion and stasis—this last an ironic anticipation of the moment when the voyager Guyon will ‘slacke his pace’ in response to the temptations in the fountain (68.4; see 14.2, 17.2, where the motif of slowing forward progress with delay prepares for Guyon’s slacking of his pace).
margent: edge (margin)
Laurell trees: See 52.4-5n. Daphne, fleeing Apollo, was transformed into the laurel, ‘meed of mightie Conquerours / and Poets sage’ (I.i.9.1-2). These laurels seem to remember their origin in Ovid, insofar as they continue to ‘defend / The sunny beames’, but their ‘shady’ defense has been co-opted by the Bower’s strategic deployment of reluctance as provocation (see st. 43 and notes).
63.6-63.9 63.6-9 The spectacle in which the maidens ‘seemed to contend’ simulates in a playful vein the paragone of Art and Nature, ‘striving each th’other to undermine’ (see st. 59 and notes). C. S. Lewis notoriously (and dismissively) referred to the damsels as ‘Cissie and Flossie’ (1936: 331), but as aquatic wrestlers they might answer to ‘Guyon’, from the Edenic river Gihon (Hebrew Giħôn, interpreted as ‘Bursting Forth, Gushing’), and gyon, glossed as ‘wrestler’ in The Golden Legend (see SpE s.v. ‘Guyon’, Fowler 1960, and Snyder 1961). Their spectacle thus combines exhibitionism and homoeroticism with narcissism (Guyon is beholding a displaced image of his own desire), and in this respect it resembles the song of the Sirens, who according to Conti adapt their song to reflect the desires of the listener (see 32.2n). Cf. the hermit’s description in Tasso of Armida bending over Rinaldo sì che par Narciso al fonte (‘so that she resembles Narcissus at the spring’; GL 14.66.8). Much as the Bower itself parodies temperance (51.5-9n), the wrestling damsels parody Guyon’s binding of Furor (iv.6-15), Arthur’s defeat of Maleger (xi.41-46), and with these, the theological topoi on which they are based: that of wrestling against ‘spiritual wickednesses’ (Eph 6:12) and of Christ as ‘an holy wrasteler’ (Caxton’s phrase, fol.clviv).
ne car’d to hyde: On the motif of alternating concealment and display in this and the following stanzas, see 58.7-9n.
Their dainty partes: See 14.8, 15.3n and 56.4n. These maidens exposing their dainties are contrasted specifically to the pair Arthur and Guyon court in the parlor of Alma’s castle (their antithesis is Shamefastnesse, representing Guyon’s desire for modesty), and more generally to the allegory of the temperate body, which modestly ‘avoids’ the genitals in favor of the parlor-heart (see ix.32-44 and notes).
plong: plunge
64.3 as over maystered by might: Cf. Guyon ‘maystering his might’ (53.5), and the interplay of provocation with defense at the Bower’s outer gate, st. 43 and notes.
unhele: uncover
amarous: amorous
64.9 amarous: The spelling might also suggest L amarus bitter (cf. Virgil, amores . . . amaros, ‘the bitters of love’; Ecl 3.109-110).
that faire Starre: Venus, the morning star
His: On ‘his’ as neuter pronoun, see ix.1.8n.
the Cyprian goddesse: Venus.
65.3 the Cyprian goddesse: Conti relates, ‘Right after she was born, they say that Venus emerged from the sea and used both her hands to wring the sea water from her hair and face’ (Myth 315). He goes on to quote Antipater of Sidonia on the beauty of Apelles’s portrait of Venus ‘rising from the sea’.
Ocean’s . . . froth: The froth is ‘fruitfull’ because it derives from ‘the genitals of Heaven, which Saturn cut off and threw into the sea. [Venus] . . . was conceived from the foam that crests the water, a foam that was created when Saturn hurled the genitals into the sea’ (Conti, Myth 314).
65.7 Whom such when Guyon saw: I.e., the simile comparing these damsels to the birth of Venus expresses Guyon’s perception: the birth is occurring in the beholder’s eye.
65.9 65.9 Cf. ‘her guilefull bayt / She will embosome deeper in your mind’, 29.2-3 and 29.3 note; also 58.2-4 and note.
guise: appearance
66.2 guise: Given their own nudity, OED sense 4, ‘condition with regard to dress’, has some relevance.
66.3-66.9 66.3-67.9 On the motif of alternating concealment with display see 58.7-9, 60.6, 63.8, and notes.
avise: look at
bewrayd: revealed (often with the sense of divulging a secret)
St. 67 Translating Tasso, GL 15.61.
lockes: tresses
67.8 lockes: With the addition of ‘lookers theft’ (not present in Tasso’s Italian) punning on locks that take keys.
68.1-68.3 68.1-3 See ix.41-44 on the blushing of Shamefastness. The interplay here of blushing and laughing (associated with Phædria at vi.3.3-9, 6.7, 7.6-7, and xii.15.4) parallels the alternation of concealing with displaying. Both in turn align with the forward/froward pair introduced in the first episode of Book II (see i.34.7-9, i.37.1, and notes). Tasso’s damsel likewise exhibits both pleasure and shame: a lor si volse lieta e vergognosa (‘from them she turns away pleased and ashamed’; GL 15.61.9), but does not laugh.
corage cold could reare: could arouse (literally, erect) unaroused sexual appetite
corage cold could reare: Guyon’s ‘pace’ may slacken, but his libido is as taut as a piano-wire.
69.3-69.4 69.3-4 Undistracted forward progress has been a keynote of Guyon’s journey in canto xii, but travel in the landscape of Faeryland is rarely linear: having entered the Bower of Bliss twice already (st. 50 and 57-58), the knight and his Palmer only now ‘come nigh’. The repetition of ‘Now’ emphasizes that they are verging upon ‘point of that same perilous sted, / Where Pleasure dwelles in sensuall delights’ (1.7-8).
69.8 Acrasia: For the derivation of the name, see II.i.51.2-4, xii.57.6, and notes.
all our drift despise: disregard or disdain our entire scheme
attonce: at once
read: guess, conjecture

70.9 The Bower’s all-inclusive harmony combines vocal and instrumental music with sounds of apparently natural origin; see st. 59n on the paragone of Art and Nature, here seemingly reconciled. Appearances may be deceptive, however: in the episode from Tasso that Spenser is tracking closely in these stanzas, we are told that L’auro, no ch’altro, è de la maga efetto (‘the breeze itself, not to speak of the rest, is made by the sorceress’; GL 16.10.5); see below, 72.1-2: 'There, whence that Musick seemed heard to bee, / Was the faire Witch herselfe’. The stanza in Tasso that stands behind Spenser’s 70.8-71 is 16.12, but in Tasso there are no voices and instruments.

Spenser seems to combine Tasso’s stanza with two later descriptions of the enchanted forest that do mix human and natural music (18.18, 24). Those illusions are explicitly demonic, however, whereas the wind’s harmonizing in this stanza is ambiguous (caso od arte, ‘chance or art’). Tasso’s a prova (‘in contest’) does imply competition, but his birds are competing with each other, not with Art. Contrast vi.24-25, where Phædria joins in the song of the birds, but ‘would oftentimes . . . strive to passe . . . Their native musicke by her skillful art’ (25.2-4). The presence of art in the harmonics described by Tasso at 16.12 is not explicit, but is implied in the formal patterning of the interchange of birds and breezes.

71.1 St. 71 The elaborate patterning of this stanza, inspired by the interchange of birds and wind in Tasso, is clearly meant to imitate the music it describes, as Hughes (1750) observes: ‘an Imitation of Tasso, but with finer Turns of the Verse: which are so artificial, that he seems to make the Musick he describes’ (Var 2.385-6). John Hollander, in SpE s.v. ‘music’, observes that ‘Stanza 71 represents this blended music with remarkable skill, punning on base and meet, troping the interlocking of rhyme and the intertwining of syntax as the relations of vocal and instrumental polyphony in the Elizabethan “broken” (mixed) consort’ (483).
shrouded: took shelter
71.1 shrouded: The additional sense of putting a winding-sheet on a corpse for burial does add an ominous note; cf. I.i.8.2-3.
attempred: Cf. ‘disposd’ (51.8 and note).
71.3-71.4 Angelicall . . . divine: See the ‘heavenly noise / Heard sownd through all the Pallace’ when Una and Redcrosse celebrate their betrothal (I.xii.39.1-2).
72.3 a new Lover: glancing implicitly at his predecessor, Mortdant (i.51-55).
St. 73 The description in this stanza derives from Lucretius by way of Tasso. Its Lucretian origins connect the stanza with the love of Mars and Venus invoked repeatedly in Spenser (see I.pr.3.7-9 and note). Lucretius begins De Rerum with an invocation to Venus that includes a prayer for peace, which she can grant because Mars succumbs to her charms (1.33-40). Tasso echoes the Lucretian invocation in his description of Rinaldo alseep in Armida’s lap (GL 16.18.7-19). In translating Tasso with the phrase ‘her soft breast’, Fairfax will chasten the Latin gremium and Italian gremio, which can mean either lap or breast, whereas Spenser (at 76.9) will prefer the more sexually suggestive ‘lap’.
73.3-73.4 73.3-4 In Lucretius, Mars feeds his eyes on Venus. Tasso gives the metaphor a paradoxical turn as Rinaldo consumes himself while feeding his gaze on Armida. Fairfax slightly softens this paradox. Spenser by contrast sharpens the paradox while shifting it from Verdant to Acrasia ‘seeking medicine, whence she was stong’. At the same time, Spenser detaches the paradox from the trope of feeding, which he also shifts to Acrasia, giving it a decidedly predatory rather than self-destructive turn: Latin pascit and Italian pascendo give way to the animalistic and more violent depasturing, which means not just feeding on but utterly consuming. At this point the reversal (and transvaluation) of Lucretius is complete, having proceeded by way of an intertextual troping that enacts the figure of hypallage or exchange, nicknamed by Puttenham ‘the Changeling’ (see 45.3-4 and note).
73.6-73.7 73.6-7 Upton proposed that the ‘lips’ and ‘eyes’ in these lines were transposed in printing, and that the correct reading would have Acrasia sucking the knight’s soul out through his parted lips (Var 2. 387-88). Alternatively, the transposition of lips and eyes may simply extend the work of hypallage described in the preceding note. Lucretius describes Mars’s breath hanging upon Venus’s lips, an image that almost suspends the act of respiration in the luxuriance of the kiss. Tasso imagines Rinaldo sighing, with the transfer of his soul into Armida represented as a simile or impression. Spenser literalizes the transmigration of the warrior’s soul while transferring the action to Acrasia: not his sighing but her sucking carries his soul into her.
73.9 This line completes the stanza’s remarkable fantasy of erotic hypallage: Rinaldo’s sigh now reappears as Acrasia’s, and the as if of similitude travels with it, reappearing not as the impression that the knight’s soul leaves him, but as the mocking suggestion that Acrasia pities him: poor baby! This sexualized mock pietá, like other details in the passage, parodies Venus’s relation to Adonis in Malecasta’s tapestry (III.i.36-38) and to ‘her deare brood, her deare delight’ (III.vi.40.4) in the Garden of Adonis episode.
St. 74-75 This carpe diem lay, a counterpart to Phaedria’s siren song at vi.15-17, is based on Tasso, GL 16.14-15. Tasso’s singer is a male parrot. Fairfax changes the bird’s sex; he also chastens the flower’s nudo . . . sen (‘naked breast’) to the less vivid ‘beauties’. Spenser leaves the singer unspecified, but captures the sense of sen with ‘bared bosome’. His translation is so close, and so inspired, that it must have set a daunting precedent for Fairfax (see the exchange on this subject between Hazlitt and Lamb, Var 2.289). Spenser’s striking innovation is the closing phrase ‘equall crime’, which makes the pleasure more salacious than in Tasso, since the consciousness of sinning seems to constitute a distinct pleasure in its own right (cf. ‘pleasant sin’, 77.2.)
74.1 74.1 Cf. vi.14.9, ‘The whils with a love lay she thus him sweetly charmd’.
74.4-74.8 74.4-8 On the motif of alternating concealment with display see 58.7-9n. In mingling the motives of bashfulness and exhibitionism, the rose behaves like the damsels bathing in the fountain at st. 66.
75.5 Three successive y-a combinations in this line mark syllabic elisions (man-ya Lad-yand man-ya). In this way the line gathers extra syllables ‘whilest yet is time’ even as it also inserts a comma to preserve the impossible caesura following Lady’. The caesura tries to hold the Ladies and their Paramours apart as the elision runs them promiscuously together.
deflowre: Another distinctive touch, not found in Tasso. The implication is that since time will eventually pluck the virginity of ‘mortall life’, we might as well get there first.
76.7 As the forward march of knight and palmer turns stealthy, the syntax of the line calls awkward attention to the ‘covert’-ness of their approach by foisting onto them the agency of the verb ‘display’, which properly belongs to Acrasia. Unlike the maidens in the fountain (66.1), she does not see Guyon seeing her, but the description in the following stanza makes it clear that she actively solicits the viewing eye.
76.9 Cf. st. 73n. Tasso writes nel grembo molle / le posa il capo (‘in her soft lap / he rests his head’); Spenser transfers the softness (across the line-break, as it were) from the lap to the action of arranging the head.
77.1 St. 77 The ‘vele of silke and silver thin’ worn by Spenser’s Acrasia comes not from Tasso but from the description of Venus in Chaucer, PF 265-73. Spenser’s description of the Bower more than once echoes Chaucer’s description of the garden outside the Temple of Venus (see 51.5-9 and note). Chaucer’s lines on Venus derive in turn from Boccaccio, Tes 7.65. On Spenser’s use of both passages, see Anderson (2008: 137-39), who notes the resurfacing of Boccaccio’s sottil in Spenser’s subtle web. See Ariosto’s description of the gown in which Alcina greets Ruggiero, also described as suttile (OF 7.28.4-8).
As faint through: Hints at the posed quality of the tableau.
dight to: prepared for
pleasant sin: Cf. ‘equall crime’ (75.9).
77.7 77.7 Arachne was also present in Mammon’s cave (vii.28.7-9). The spider was associated with the sense of touch (cf. Harvey, Speculum Tuscanismi, in Familiar Letters, and xi.13.3), but Acrasia’s veil seems woven to entangle the gaze.
77.8-77.9 77.8-9 Gossamer, woven by the balloon-spider, though Spenser seems to think it is made of sun-dried dew.
bare to ready spoyle: See st. 43 and notes. The Bower’s structures and its anamorphic vegetation (insofar as these may be distinguished) consistently mimic the motives and postures of Acrasia.
n’ote: ‘ne mote’, i.e. could not
languor: weariness, resulting from sexual exertions
78.3 languor: Spenser’s syntax associates the drops of perspiration rather with the lassitude that accompanies them than with the ‘sweet toyle’ which produces both.
Few drops: ‘distild’ and compared to ‘Nectar’, Acrasia’s drops of perspiration recall the ‘sappy liquor’ that Excesse ‘scruzd’ into her golden cup at 56.1-6.
78.6-78.9 78.6-9 Although Acrasia’s eyes moisten ‘their fierie beames’, they do not quench the flames those beams kindle when they pierce the hearts of observers; rather they seem to intensify the brightness of those beames. This description catches up and summarizes a motif introduced in Guyon’s opening encounter with Duessa, formulated again in the brothers Pyrochles and Cymochles, and repeated with variations throughout Book 2: fire and water seem to be opposites, but the irascible and concupiscent passions associated with them are mutually reinforcing (see i.34.7-9n).
deface: literally undo, unmake
79.4 deface: The emphasis in the following lines on the knight’s ‘sweet regard’ and ‘well-proportiond face’ as a visual map of the good qualities and budding prospects going to ruin in Acrasia’s embrace suggests a pun on de-face: the knight’s identity is being obliterated.
80.2 hong upon a tree: Like trophies taken in battle. Cf. I.v.5.7-9, V.v.21.7. In SC Dec 141, Colin Clout hangs up his shepherd’s pipe on a tree because he has failed in love.
moniments: L monumentum (from monere, to remind) refers not only to statues and tombs, but also to written records and works of literature; their erasure here contrasts with Arthur’s discovery of Briton moniments in the chamber of Eumnestes (ix.59.5-6).
ra’st: razed, scraped out;
80.4 ra’st: Echoing deface: the coat of arms has been eradicated from knight’s escutcheon as his face and his memory of himself fade away.
spend: expend
80.8 spend: For the punning reference to orgasm, see 42.8 and note.
blend: blind; obscure; mingle or combine (i.e., with Acrasia)
80.9 blend: Cf. iv.7.7, iv.26.3, vii.1.4, and notes.
a subtile net: The counterpart to Acrasia’s veil (see st. 77 and notes), the Palmer’s net derives from the snare ‘fine as spider’s webs’ (ηυτ᾽ αραχνια λεπτα, ēut’ arachnia lepta) that Hephaestus uses to catch Aphrodite and Ares in the act of adultery (Homer, Od 8.280; cf. Ovid, Met 4.171-89). It thus catches up both the reference to Arachne (77.7) and that to Venus disarming Mars (st. 73). The adjective suggests both the thinness of the material and the skill with which it is woven.
formally: ‘according to the principles of art or science’ (OED)
fowler shame: Punning on the meaning of fowler as a hunter who uses nets to catch wild birds.
opprest: subdued
distraine: tear apart
Verdant: ‘green with vegetation’
82.8 Verdant: See 73.4 and 79.8-9 for implication that Verdant is Acrasia’s pasturage. His name contrasts him to Mortdant (i.49.9), whom he has just avoided becoming.
St. 83 Guyon’s destruction of the Bower echoes Josiah’s destruction of the images, places, and implements of idolatrous worship (along with the ‘houses of the sodomites’) surrounding Jerusalem, described at 2 Kings 23:4-16. See also Isa 13.9: ‘Beholde, the day of the Lord cometh, cruell, with wrath and fierce angre to lay the land waste: and he shal destroy the sinners out of it’. Spenser here departs significantly from Tasso, where Armida herself summons infernal powers to destroy her garden and palace (GL 16.68-69).
the tempest of his wrathfulnesse: The echo of tempest in temperance may suggest the irony of Guyon’s intemperate wrath.
83.6-83.8 deface . . . race: This rhyming pair connects Guyon’s destruction of the Bower to the erasure of Verdant’s knightly demeanor and coat of arms at 79.4 and 80.4. If, as Aquinas argues, ‘all irascible passions arise out of concupiscible passions’ (Summa I, qu. 81, art. 2, ad. 1; cf. i.34.7-9n), then Guyon’s rampage may be an alternative response to the sexual arousal brought about by the scenes he has witnessed—a means of refusing to ‘spend’ in the way Verdant has done (80.8). This would properly oppose his counter-orgasmic destruction of the Bower to its creation, encoded in the phrase ‘poured forth with plentifull dispence’ at 42.8 and would complete the physical allegory of male arousal begun in st. 1 (see st.1n and 1.7-8n). It would also link his destruction of the Bower to his aborted attack on the Redcrosse knight in canto i.
Cabinets: bowers or summer-houses
83.8 race: As Verdant’s shield was ‘fowly ra’st’ at 80.4.
sorrowfull and sad: As there is no mention of shame, it remains unclear whether Verdant or Acrasia regret Guyon’s behavior or their own. This ambiguity will surface at 86.4-5, when some of the men restored to human form exhibit ‘inward shame’ while others exhibit ‘wrath, to see their captive Dame’.
84.4-84.5 84.4-5 Described in st. 39-40.
84.9 84.9 Not the only time a character in the poem requests a gloss: see I.iii.32.8, where Archimago inquires of Una (no doubt with some nervousness) ‘what the Lyon ment’.
St. 85-87 Acrasia’s prototype in turning men to beasts is Homer’s Circe (Od 10), but as Hamilton 2001 notes, it is Conti and not Homer who suggests that the men’s animal shapes reflect the passions that dominate their minds (Myth 476). In Homer, Circe’s victims retain human intelligence, transformed in body only. Whitney (1586), following Conti, reports that Circe’s menagerie prefer to retain their animal forms: ‘when they might have had their former shape againe, / They did refuse, and rather wish’d, still brutishe to remaine’ (82). In Spenser, the ‘sad end . . . of life intemperate’ (85.6) is evidently reversible, but both this end and its reversal seem provisional; Spenser neither follows Homer nor hews to the Conti-Whitney revision, but splits the difference between them.
85.3 85.3 Continuing the implication that Acrasia devours the humanity of her lovers (see 82.8n).
86.7 Grylle: From Gk γρυλλος gryllos hog. Derived from Plutarch’s satiric dialogue ‘Beasts Are Rational’ (MoraliaI 986B), in which one of Ulysses’ companions named Gryllus declines to reclaim his human form, arguing that beasts are in fact more temperate than men. For the subsequent history of Plutarch’s Gryllus in texts by Gelli, Machiavelli, and Petrus Costalius, see SpE s.v. ‘Grill’; on the pertinence for Book II of the tradition of philosophical skepticism embodied in Gryll, see Loewenstein (2007).
87.8 Echoing Rev 22:11, ‘he which is filthie, let him be filthie stil’, and 2 Pet 2:22, ‘the sowe that was washed, [is returned] to the wallowing in the myer’.
87.9 Cf. 83.4, the tempest of his wrathfulnesse: Temperance includes good timing, grasping the moment as opposed to seizing the day. The Palmer’s emphasis on timing thus implicitly contrasts Acrasia’s carpe diem topos (st. 74-75) with that of binding Occasion: as Kiefer observes, Occasion in Renaissance portrayals acquires maritime imagery previously associated with Fortuna because ‘seizing the tide was regarded as parallel to the idea of seizing the forelock’ (1979: 21). Cf. iv.4.5-8.
Building display . . .
Re-selecting textual changes . . .


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Textual Changes

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Off: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, (blest. And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely (FQ I.ii.18.8-9) On: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely blest.

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Off: Sweet slõbring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes: (FQ I.i.36.4)

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Off: And all the world in their subiection held, Till that infernall feend with foule vprore (FQ I.i.5.6-7) On: And all the world in their subjection held, Till that infernall feend with foule uprore

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Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine (FQ I.i.14.9) 14.9. Most lothsom] this edn.; Mostlothsom 1590

(The text of 1590 reads Mostlothsom, while the editors’ emendation reads Most lothsom.)


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And shall thee well rewarde to shew the place, (FQ I.i.31.5) 5. thee] 1590; you 15961609

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To my long approoved and singular good frende, Master G.H. (Letters I.1) 1. long aprooved: tried and true, found trustworthy over a long period