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39,6. Tethys ;-in the Greek mythology she was the daughter of Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth), and wife of Oceanus.
7. Cynthia ;—one of the surnames of Artemis the moon-goddess, derived from mount Cynthus in Delos, her birthplace. (Similarly the pairgod to Artemis, Apollo the sun-god, is called Cynthius.)
40, 1. Whose double gates, &c. ;-imitated from Hom. Od. 1. 562; or from Virgil's Aen. 6. 894:
“Sunt geminae somni portae; quarum altera fertur
“ Altera candenti perfecta nitens elephanto.” The ivory gate was held to send up false dreams, the horn gate (which Spenser for more poetic effect overlays with silver), true visions.
4. before them farre do lye ;— lie at a distance in front of them.'
9. be takes keepe ; —' he takes heed.' 41, 1. And more ;—the student ought to take notice of the perfect rhythm and musical sound of this stanza. Compare the opening stanza of Tennyson's Lotos Eaters. Chaucer, in describing the house of Morpheus, has a passage which Spenser probably had in mind :
“ A fewe welles Came rennynge fro the clyffes adoun That made a dedely slepynge soun.
Boke of the Duchesse, 160. 8. carelesse Quiet ;-Virgil's " secura quies.”. Notice Spenser's strong power of personification. Quiet is here introduced, just like Care and Sleep in st. 40, as a personage, not as a quality.
42, 3. So sound be slept ;—for this description of Morpheus cp. Ovid, Met. 11. 617.
6. that forced bim ;-'that it (or he) forced him.'
7. dryer braine ;--the ancients thought that those dreams were true which came from a dry brain ; but Spenser seems here to hold that a dry brain is the cause of " troubled sights and fancies weake.”
9. all ;-probably here means altogether.' 43, 3. Hecate ;-a powerful and mysterious female divinity of classical days; a mystic goddess, invoked with strange ceremonies. The mythologies feigned that she accompanied Demeter to the infernal regions in her search for Persephone, and remained behind in the shades. Thence she came to be regarded as mistress of all demons and phantoms, and it was thought she was wont to send these forth upon earth. It is to this that Spenser here alludes. 9. the sleepers sent ;
-the sleeper's sensation :' 'scent' was originally spelt thus, 'sent' being the short form of sensation.'
44, 2. A diverse dreame ;-a dream which would divert or distract their minds.'
46, 6. borne without her dew ;—' fashioned by him in an undue and unnatural manner.'
The Red Cross Knight, deceived by Archimago, flees by night, leaving Una to
her fate. On his way he meets the Paynim Sansfoy, and the false Duessa : him the Knight slays, and carries her off in triumph. Their adventure with Fradubio and Fraelissa, once human, now trees.
1, 1. the northerne wagoner ;--the constellation Boötes. Boötes was either wagoner to Charles' Wain, or keeper (arctophylax) to the Great Bear, according to the name given to the chief northern group of fixed stars.
2. His sevenfold teme;—the constellation called Charles' Wain, i. e. the Churl's (countryman's) Wain or wagon: or it may come from Karl, Karl being the Teutonic name corresponding to Odin. In the north these seven stars were first called Odin's Wain; and when they entered into German mythology their name was naturally changed to Karl's Wain.' Others again connect the name with Karl the Great (Charlemagne). Also called the Great Bear, or Ursa Major.
2, 3. the stedfast starre That was, &c.;—the Pole star, which never sets in our latitude.
7. Phoebus fiery carre ;- the sun; alluding to the mythological belief that the sun-god drives his chariot daily across the sky.
7, 1. The Red Cross Knight, beguiled by the phantoms of Archimago's magic, could not rest, but rose at earliest dawn and fled. Thus Spenser would indicate the struggle between truth and falsehood at the Reformation period; and how the wrong slandered the right. Nor is allusion wanting to the gross and cruel libelson Queen Elizabeth, which were scattered abroad on the continent (and at home too in secret) by the Jesuit writers at this time. Their aim was, of course, to destroy the English belief in the Queen's truthfulness and fitness to be the leader of the nation, and to draw England back into allegiance to the Court of Rome (Spenser's false Duessa). The misfortunes undergone by the Knight in consequence of his faithlessness, his perils in the house of Pride, his bondage to Orgoglio (i. e. Antichrist), his risks in the cave of Despair, all spring from this first false step.
rosy-fingred morning faire ;—a Homeric phrase, pododáktulos ’Hás.
2. aged Tithones saffron bed ;-according to the mythologies he was beloved by Eos (Morning), who obtained for him immortality, but not eternal youth; whence the constant epithet ‘aged.'
4. Titan ;—the sun.
5. drowsy-hed ;– hed' = hood. There were two forms in Old Engl., • hede' and ' hod,' whose modern representatives, 'head' and hood,' are seen in God-head, man-hood.
8, 3. For him so far, &c. ;-because his steed had borne him, who was stung with wrath, &c., so far, that (it) was but fruitless pain to follow him.'
9. He so ungently ;-elliptical; 'in that must be supplied before • He.'
9, 6. doth make ;—'machinate,' devise, (machinari). This seems to indicate a connection between the Gr. unxavh and the Teutonic make, A.S. ge-macian, Ger, machen.
7. unto her ;-her' is here the personal, and not the possessive pro
10; 3. in seeming wise ;-' in appearance, not in reality.'
4. Proteus ;—is described in the myths (Homer, Od. 4. 365, and Virg. Geor. 4. 392), as the prophetic old man of the sea, who tends the flocks of seals belonging to Poseidon. If seized by any one, he could change himself to any shape—lion, snake, fire, &c., in order to escape, if possible, from being compelled to prophesy.
9. might of magicke spell ;-we must not forget that at the end of the sixteenth century the belief in magic was strong, and sufficient to give to Archimago a real, as distinct from a merely poetical or imaginative, interest, (such as we may feel for Tennyson's Merlin). The Magician was believed to be a real power, not a mere creation of the poet's brain. He was the link between man and what may be called the lower supernatural.' Nor should it be forgotten that the wiles and falsehoods of the Spanish court were often at that time believed to be coupled with supernatural agencies. It was thought that the Devil was working with them against the English and Hollanders ; and Philip was looked on as a kind of Magician in his Escurial laboratory. Sir T. Browne in his Religio Medici, written about 1635 (section 30, 31), holds that a disbelief in witchcraft is 'obliquely' a sort of atheism. See also Lecky, History of Rationalism, vol. i.
11, 1. person to put on ;—a Latinism, “personam induere,' to wear the mask of, or, as we now say, to personate,' some one else.
9. Saint George himself ;-the pattern and patron (the two words used to be the same) of all good knightly souls.
12, 2. The true Saint George ;-the Red Cross Knight (see c. x. 61) is declared to be a changeling, sprung really not from elfin brood, but from an ancient race of Saxon kings;' and he shall be called
“Saint George of mery England, the signe of victorie,” shewing that Spenser intended him to be not merely Lord Leicester, but knightly England doing battle for the truth.
4. Will was his guide ; — he followed his own wilfulness, not the fixed purposes of truth, as he had done while Una guided him towards her father's kingdom. 5. him chaunst ;-another impersonal verb without a pronoun.
It will not be necessary again to point these out to the student.
6. A faithlesse Sarazin ;—the Saracen and Duessa, Pagan and Papal grouped together, (as half a century later we have them in the Pilgrim's Progress,)—the “miscreant' and the ‘false,'
-were to men's minds in those days a proper couple. Though England herself was but little affected by the Turkish power, still she had a great interest (and since the defeat of the Armada had largely changed the balance of power at sea, a very real, though not yet realised, interest) in the progress of the Paynim supremacy in the East and on the Mediterranean. Perhaps, too, Spenser had in his mind the coquettings which had often taken place between Pope and Sultan. The three Paynim brethren Sansfoy, Sansjoy, Sansloy—faithless, joyless, lawlessindicate the point of view from which the age looked at the Saracen power.
That age, filled with its own struggles, could not do justice to what good there was in the Mohammedans—they were content with Spenser's summary :
“Full large of limbe and every joint He was, and cared not for God or man a point." 13, 2. A goodly lady ;-Duessa, or Fidessa-Falsehood, shadowing forth the false faith of Rome_" clad in scarlot red." Under her name is more especially signified Mary Queen of Scots, as the representative of Romish hostility to Elizabeth. This is worked out at length in Bk. V. xxxviii.
4. a Persian mitre;-a high mitre-like cap, a tire or tiara. Cp. Rev. 17. 4. We shall find her later on (c. vii. 16–19) riding on the seven-headed beast. 15. 3. and towards ride ;— ride towards (him).'
9. yeeldeth land ;-gives way, recoils. 16. 1. As when two rams, &c. ;-cp. Apol. Rhod. Argon. 2. 88; Virg. Aen. 12. 715.
6. banging victory;-doubtful, evenly balanced.
their former cruelty ; — their former (or late) rage against each other ;' or it solely refers to their spears shattered—“the broken reliques”— in the onset.
17. 4. Each others equall puissaunce envies ; - each grudge the equal valour of the other, and each seeks with cruell glances to pierce through the other's iron sides'-looks for a weak point in his armour. Notice the • their,' and cp. Matth. 18. 35: If ye forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
6, 7. yields No foote to foe, &c.;' pedem referre,' to give way before. 18. 2. the bitter fit ;—the painful throes of death. 5. assured sitt ;
-get into a place of safety,' or 'sit firm in your saddle, as I am going to hit hard.
7. With rigor so outrageous ;— he smote him with so stiff a blow.' 8. it;—the Paynim's sword. Spenser does not mention it before.
9. from blame bim fairly blest ;--Church says “acquitted him of having given but an indifferent blow.” But surely Spenser connects this • him with the following who;' so that it is the Red Cross Knight who is “ blest from blame," whatever it may mean. Perhaps it means that the Paynim's sword fairly delivered the Red Cross Knight from blame, blemish, harm,—did not wound him at all. This sense of the verb 'to bless' occurs also in such phrases as “God from him me bless.' See Gloss. Bless.
19, 3. at bis baughtie belmet making mark ;—we should now 'make a mark of his helmet.' Spenser uses it in the sense of taking aim at.'
7. bis grudging ghost did strive ;-' his spirit grumbling (or unwilling to depart) strove with his flesh.'
21, 7. And said ;—the subject of the sentence is here omitted : 'and be said.'
8. Much rueth me ;-' your overthrow grieveth me much.' The verb “to rue' is used in early writers impersonally as = to grieve. So Wicliffe, 2 Cor. 7. 8: “It rewith me not, though it rewide."
22, 2. unbappy bowre ;-Fr. malbeur; It. malora. But Professor Max Müller derives malbeur from malum augurium : if so, Spenser's use of "howre' in this place is analogous to the Fr. phrase 'un mauvais quart d'heure,' and to our « an evil hour,' rather than to malheur.
4. before that angry heavens list to lowre ;-before it pleased the angry heavens to lower,' to look darkly on me. •List' is here used as an impers. verb, with a dative of the person or thing; as in c. vii. 35, 'when him list.' Some edd. read lift ;' but list' is the reading of edd. 1590, 1596.
7. the sole daughter of an Emperour ;-false Duessa thus represents the Papacy, sprung in a sense from the Roman Emperors and wielding part of their power. The Popes at Rome looked on themselves (partially at least) as inheritors of the Imperial position.
23, 8. fone ;-old pl. of foe. 27, 4. is said ;—' is a saying.'
9. dainty maketh derth ;-what dainty (fastidious or coy) makes desire for it. By holding back coyly Duessa hoped to allure the Knight on. The proverb rightly means that extravagance and daintiness in food bring the glutton to dearth: but it is here used in the sense that what is dainty (or exquisite) is dear (dearth signifying dearness); as in the Latin “ quae rara cara."
28, 8. ne wont there sound ;—nor was accustomed to sound there.'
2. With goodiy purposes ;-— pleasant and courteous conversation.
8. out of whose rift, &c.;—this conceit of human beings changed into trees occurs in Virg. Aen. 3. 23, where the fortunes of Polydorus are narrated. But Spenser is here following Ariosto, Orl. Fur. 6. 27. The
piteous yelling voice” is “con mesta e Hebil voce ;” “ in this rough rynd,” “ sotto ruvida scorza." The passage in Ariosto is, on the whole, superior to this of Spenser. The falling leaves; the first thin voice, like the noise of undried wood hissing on the fire; the address of Ruggiero to the myrtle,-are all finer than the corresponding passages of Spenser. The student is recommended to compare the two descriptions. Dante also (in the Inferno) has men changed to trees; where, however, the conception is quite different.
31, 2. spare to teare ;-a Latinism, imitated from Virgil's parce pias scelerare manus,” Aen. 3. 41, in the corresponding description of Polydorus.
32, 5. Limbo lake ; — The ‘Limbus patrum' was supposed by the Schcolmen to be on the border (Lat. limbus, hem) of hell— a kind of circumfluent lake, corresponding to the Oceanus of the old mythologies which flowed round the earth. Here dwelt the souls of those who were awaiting the Resurrection. Spenser however seems to use the term of the abode of lost spirits; as also does Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well, 5. 3. Hence it came to be used as a slang term for a prison. It was divided by the Schoolmen into three or four compartments: 1, the ‘limbus puerorum,' of unbaptised children ; 2, the “limbus patrum,' or the district in which the Fathers of the Church abide; 3. Purgatorium,' the department filled with the souls of average good people, being cleansed and prepared for heaven; and in some accounts, though not in all, 4, a limbus fatuorum' or after-death abode of lunatics. To this last Milton alludes, P. L. 3. 495 :
“A limbo large and broad, since callid The paradise of fools.'