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Una is rescued from thraldom to the Paynim Sansloy by the unexpected succour
of a troop of Satyrs, who adore first her, and then her ass. Sir Satyrane finds ber among them, and presently helps her to flee. As they go, they are led by Archimago to Sansloy; with bim Sir Satyrane fights, and during the contest Una escapes.
Notice in this Canto the spirited character of Sir Satyrane. It is not quite obvious whether Spenser is drawing a class of society, or whether he had some one in particular in his eye; but the simple truthfulness and good faith of the knight, half-satyr, half-man, must strike every reader. Perhaps Spenser intended to represent the honest rough Englishman, fond of the country and of country-sports, open to truth, hating courtier life, and contrasting favourably with those courtiers for whom Spenser had so deep a contempt. See Mother Hubberd's Tale, 797-914.
1, 3. her wrack for to bewaile ;-—' in order to accomplish, bring about, her wreck. See Gloss. Bewaile. 6. bis fool happie oversight ;
;- ' his happy though foolish ignorance.' The mariner had but just escaped “unwares.
2,7. She wandred had from one to other Ynd; she would have wandered from East to West Indies.'
7,7. Faunes and Satyres ;—the Fauns are described as monsters, halfgoat, half-man, with horns on their heads, a human face and upper_paris, a goat's tail and shaggy“ backward-bent” legs, and horny hoofs. Faunus gradually became identified with Arcadian Pan, and Fauns (the Latin woodgods) with the Satyrs (the Greek wood-gods); hence Spenser's phrase; and Ovid. Met. 6. 392, has
“Ruricolae, sylvarum numina, Fauni,
Et Satyri fratres." 9. Sylvanus ;—a Latin divinity of the fields and woods. He is described as a cheerful old man, fond of music, and of the company of the Fauns and Nymphs.
sownd ;—to sleep sound or soundly' may be referred to the Old English • soune'=swoon, .sweven.'
10, 6. A lyon spyes ;—the objective case, 'he'omitted; or perhaps · who' is omitted after
a greedy Wolfe.”
9. chaunge of feare ;-before, the lamb feared the wolf, now, the lion. 11,6. rustick borror ;—the roughness of their shaggy foreheads.'
7. a semblance glad ;—'an appearance of joyfulness.'
9. Their backward bent knees, &c. ;— teach their knees (formed like the hinder legs of goats, and therefore bending backwards, not forwards) to obey her humbly.'
12, 4. Late learnd ;-having been lately taught,'
basty trust ;-she had too readily believed Archimago to be the Red Cross Knight.
13, 4. without suspect of crime ; — with no suspicion of possible accusation, or reproach :' she fears no slander arising from going with the wood-gods.
5. birdes of joyous prime ;-either 'in the glad morning,' or ' in the glad spring-time.' See Gloss. Prime. 14, 3. horned feet ;— horny,' their hoofs of horny substance.
8. on cypresse stadle stout ;-on the firm foundation (or support) of a cypress-wood staff. (See Gloss. Stadle.) The legend ran that Silvanus (see below, on st. 17) carried a little cypress-tree in his hand, as a symbol ; so Virg. Geor. 1. 20, has
“ Teneram ab radice ferens, Silvane, cupressum.” But Spenser has changed the character of the wood-god, who is never represented by the ancients as infirm.
15, 2. Or Bacchus, &c.;-whether they had discovered the cheerful grape, the fruit of Bacchus,' the wine-god.
3. Or Cybeles franticke rites ; —Cybele, or Rhea, “ the great mother of the gods," was worshipped in woods and mountains by her . frantic' priests, the Corybantes, with drums, cymbals, horns, and wild dances. Her rites were supposed to be a matter of direct' enthusiasm’or inspiration,
6. that mirrhour rare ;—the term “mirrhour' is either used to denote her bright beauty, or, as it is used of the mirror of chivalry,” to denote the perfection and pattern of chivalry.
8. Dryope; - a daughter of King Dryops, whom the Hamadryads stole and carried into the forest, where she became a nymph. 16, 5. In doubt to deeme ;- in doubt whether to deem.'
9. misseth bow, &c.; — Diarra is always described as the huntressgoddess, with bow and quiver, and buskins to the knee.
17, 2. dearest Cyparisse ;—the legend ran that Silvanus, who was attached to Cyparissus, one day by chance killed a hind belonging to the youth ; whereon the boy died of grief, and was turned into a cypress, which afterwards became the symbol of Silvanus, who is represented as carrying one in his hand. Cp. note to st. 14.
4. not faire to this ;—not fair (if compared) to this.'
9. selfe-wild annoy;--self-willed, or self-imposed ennui, or distress. 18, 1. Hamadryades ;-these were the nymphs of trees; abiding in trees, and dying with them. But Spenser, with poetical licence, disengages them from their trees, and sends them running to see Una.
3. Naiades ;—these were the nymphs of fresh waters, whether rivers, lakes, or springs.
8. their woody kind ;-' their wood-born nature.' 19, 1. luckelesse lucky maid ;
;-a Greek phraseology; it means “lucky (in her deliverance, and in the worship of the Fauns), though unlucky (in the loss of her knight, and in her wanderings).'
7. made her th’image of idolatryes ;-Spenser wishes to shew that half-instructed minds will worship the outward symbol or declaration of truth, while they are ignorant of its substance; and that they are forbidden to do this, that then they will descend to worship even the grotesque accidents connected with truth : so the Satyrs fall to adoring the white ass on which Una rode. Todd thinks that there is an allusion here to the pagan notion that the Christians worshipped the ass. It clearly refers to the * Festival of the Ass,' celebrated by the mediæval Church in honour of the ass on which our Lord rode when He entered into Jerusalem.
20, 1. a noble warlike knight ;-Sir Satyrane. He indicates the point of combination between the savage and the civilized-courteous chivalry and untaught woodland life. His father is a Satyr, his mother a noble lady; and he himself, brought up in the woods, has a hunter's tastes, a certain love of the brutal and animal life, together with a capacity for refinement and a desire of truth. Upton says that by Sir Satyrane was shadowed forth “ Sir John Perrot, whose behaviour, though honest, was too coarse and rude for a court. 'Twas well known that he was a son of Henry VIII.”
24, 1. he taught the tender ymp;-imitated from Ariosto, Orl. Fur. 5. 57. 25, 2. maister of bis guise ;—who had taught him his way of life.
3. bis horrid vew ;-'the roughness of his appearance.' 26, 4. the tigre cruell ;-the accent is thrown on to the last syllables.
both fierce and fell ;-ed. 1590 reads "swifte and cruell :' but it is corrected in the Faults Escaped. In the Malone copy the word “fierse and fell” are on a slip of paper, pasted over the older reading, probably cut from a copy of the 1596 ed. [Rev. W. H. Bliss.]
29, 9. worth was blown ;-as by Fame's trumpet.
30, 4. offspring auncient ;— his ancient descent'-whence he sprung. Upton renders it " to see his ancient sire, and his sire's offspring,” so escaping from the strangeness of the epithet. Though 'auncient' does probably refer to
sire,' it certainly also relates to offspring. Spenser uses the word ofspring' in the sense of (not descendants, but) parents in Bk. II. ix. 60. See Gloss. IŤ.
9. Trew sacred lore ;-does not this refer to the Reformation making its way in country places, teaching the dull rustics ?
31, 3. compare ;-is this ‘gather together,' or 'learn,' or compare with her misfortunes ?' The first usage would be most after Spenser's manner.
5. Blaming of fortune ;-we now say “blaming Fortune'--though the older idiom remains in use among the people. 33, 3. The gentle virgin ;-is objective to 'he led away.'
5. to satyres, &c. ;--that is, ' for satyrs,' &c.; or, ' for it to be told to the satyrs.'
34, 5. newes, that did abroad betide ;—' new things which happened in the world.'
35, 7. a Jacobs staffe ;-St. James is usually represented with a pilgrim's hat and staff. The staff was used in pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostela. Or the Jacob may be the patriarch, who “worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.” Heb. II. 21; Gen. 32, 10. Cp. also Shakespeare, Merch. of Venice, 2. 5. 37, 4. With dying fit;~' with a seizure like that of death.'
8. The further processe, &c.;~'the details, yet unknown, of her sorrow.'
9. can beare ;—a Latin construction: the verb in the principal sentence following a subject (nom. case) "he' involved in the relative 'who' of the dependent sentence.
38, 7. so greedily imbrew, &c. ;—'imbrue themselves so greedily in blood, that, though drunk with it, yet each thirsted after the life of his foe.' • Thristed' by metathesis for 'thirsted'; as crudled' for 'curdled.'
39, 2. that ever wonne ;-' that ever won the victory. In line 7 of this canto, the word 'wonne' signifies ‘wone,' • dwell.' As has been before remarked, two words of the same sound and spelling may rhyme together, if their senses differ.
41, 5. with like treason ;-' endeavour to fight me with the same “guile and trecherous train” with which you have slain the Red Cross Knight.'
8. tbree-square ;—of three equal sides; so four-square' is of four equal sides. In Book II. vii. 5, he speaks of 'wedges square.' 'Square' (Ital. squadro, from Latin quadrare) is rightly used only of four-sided figures. 42, 4. blent ;-blended, mixed up, my name, &c.
7. where earst his arms were lent;- refers to Archimago's counterfeit suit of armour, in which he personated the Red Cross Knight. 8. Th' enchaunter vaine ;
;-vain’ is here either foolish,' or 'in vain ;' “the foolish magician would not have rued.' Should rue'=' should haye rued, as is not uncommon in Spenser.
43, 3. Each other bent bis enimy to quell ;-'each, bent on killing his enemy, assails the other.' Ed. 1590 inserts a comma after other; ed. 1596 omits it.
4. plate and maile ;-armour of whole sheets of steel, and woven
6. That it would pitty, &c.;—' that any eye would feel pity for it.' 44, 1. full ;-ed. 1596 reads.fell.'
2. fainting each, themselves, &c.; - that each of them fainting, they let (permit) themselves to breathe ;' or, 'they let (restrain) themselves so as to get back their breath.'
4. As when two bores ;-imitated from the fight between Palamon and Arcite in Chaucer's Knightes Tale, 1160.
5. gory sides ;—pierced, or wounded. So we speak of a bull goring a person,
7. foming wrath ;-a construction corresponding to that of the 'cognate accusative' in Latin, Spenser (v. 28) has “foming tarre,” of the horses of Night.
8. the wbiles ;- shews the passage of this word from substantive to conjunction of time: 'the whiles' is the times,' the moments' when ; thence while,' whilst,' is during the time that.'
45, 1. bad breathed once ; — when once they had recovered breath.'
47, 7. lovers token on thy pate ;-a lover's token was the lady's glove, kerchief, or the like, worn by her lover on his helmet. The Saracen here speaks disdainfully—take my hard knock on thy helmet, instead of a lover's token.'
8. So they two fight;—so ed. 1596; but ed. 1590 has so they to fight'='s
'='so they fall to fight,' like the ordinary phrase, so they to dinner.' 48, 1. which that leasing cold ; — who told that lie,' or which that’ is equivalent to 'who.'
7. to ber last decay ;-'to utter ruin.'
9. will need another place ;-place for the “ battels end” never was found. The thread would doubtless have been picked up in one of the later Books, had the work ever been finished.
The Red Cross Knight is pursued and found by Duessa. She beguiles bim
into doffing his armour, and drinking of an enchanted spring; whence his strength fails him, and he is made captive by Orgoglio. The dwarf escapes, meets with Una, and tells her of his sad fall. Una in her trouble is found by Prince Artbur, to whom she opens ber grief. He promises to belp her.
Notice especially in this canto the grand personage of Prince Arthur, who is the centre of the whole Poem. Spenser puts forth all his strength in describing him.
1, 4. dyed deep in graine ; — deeply ingrained.' See Gloss. Grain. 2, 3. Where she had left;-ellipsis of him.'
5, Phoebe ;-one of the names of Artemis, answering as a fem. to Phoebus, as Diana to Dianus, Janus.
9. all that drinke thereof, &c. ;-the fountain of Salmacis, described by Ovid, Met. 15. 17. Tasso, Gier. Lib. 14. 74, has a fountain of like powers.
6, 6. at first themselves not felt;~' at first did not feel themselves to be changed.'
7, 9. bis unready weapons ;-ihe Knight, dallying with Deceit (or Rome in the reaction' of the latter half of the sixteenth century), lays aside his Scriptural armour, and is taken by Orgoglio (Antichrist) at a disadvantage.
8, 4. An hideous geant ;-Orgoglio, or Pride, a fine piece of Spenserian mythology, born of Earth and Wind, that is, of base matter and false puffing-up spirit; his foster-father, Ignorance. Brutality, falsehood and bragging, ignorance, here are the three chief elements of giant character, as drawn in Gothic romance. Compare the two forms of Pride drawn by Spenser, Lucifera, the pride of luxury and worldliness, and Orgoglio, the pride of brutality.
5. That with his tallnesse, &c. ;-50 Horace, Od. 1. 1. 36, “Sublimi feriam sidera vertice." 6. The ground eke groned, &c. ;-So Ariosto, Orl. Fur. 7. 5. 6.:
“ E fa tremir nel suo venir la terra.” 10, 6. left to losse ;-abandoned by his better mind and heavenly armour, and given up to disgrace. 11, 1. That when ;- so that;' or 'that’ may refer to his mace.
2. insupportable ;—the accent must lie on the second syllable. 12, 2. That could ; – that (it, the stroke) could;' so too were not'= were (it) not.'
4. pouldred all ;— altogether beaten to dust.'