The Faerie Queene Book 1: Holinesse,
Page 786 Canto 7 Argument
The Redcrosse knight is captive made
By Gyaunt proud opprest,
Prince Arthur meets with Una great-
ly with those newes distrest.
This canto is divided into two parts:
o The Orgoglio episode
o And Una is going to come across Arthur, who is going to help the RCK
Just when you think that nobody can help them, Arthur comes to the rescue
Page 786 Canto 7 Stanza 2
Who when returning from the drery Night,
She fownd not in that perilous house of Pryde,
Where she had left, the noble Redcrosse knight,
Her hoped pray, she would no lenger bide,
But forth she went, to seeke him far and wide.
Ere long she fownd, whereas (where) he wearie sate,
To rest him selfe, foreby (beside) a fountaine side,
Disarmed all of yron-coted Plate,
And by his side his steed the grassy forage ate.
Character at rest, no amour on, just letting his horse eat: this is all not good news
Note that the horse is relaxing too; it gets what it wants, since horses usually represent
(a figure of ) passion in these works. The horse gets what it wants
The fountain that he is next to is actually a abode of a nymph that has been punished
by Diana for dilly dallying when he should have been following her
The water of this fountain is magically and causes you to lose yourself
The RCK drinks this water, and he and Duessa comes upon him and they have a
sexual encounter/moment in stanza 7
Page 787 Stanza 7
Yet goodly court he made still to his Dame,
Pourd out in loosnesse on the grassy grownd,
Both carelesse of his health, and of his fame (reputation):
He is vulnerable, Duessa comes up to him, and they have a moment
Immediately what happens is that this hideous giant appears
This giant, called Orgoglio, emerges in response to this situation This giant appears with his club, and there is a weird projection that comes out (a penis
George and Orgoglio sound the same and are actually the same
Spenser wants to see Orgoglio as a projection of the RCK
Page 788 Canto 8 Stanza 5
The same before the Geants gate he blew,
That all the castle quaked from the ground,
And every dore of freewill open flew.
The Gyant selfe dismaied with that sownd,
Where he with his Duessa dalliance fownd,
In hast came rushing forth from inner bowre,
With staring countenance sterne, as one astownd,
And staggering steps, to weet, what suddein stowre
Had wrought that horror strange, and dar'd his dreaded powre.
You guess this same sense of uninterrupted dalliance
RCK is interrupted by Orgoglio, and Orgoglio is interrupted by Arthur (each interrupted
by an enemy)
The idea is that Spenser wants us to identify with them both, and that the RCK battling
Orgoglio is battling himself (since he is a version of RCK)
The giant size means that he is battling somebody who is larger than he is
Page 802 Canto 8 Stanza 24
But soone as breath out of his breast did pas,
That huge great body, which the Gyaunt bore,
Was vanisht quite, and of that monstrous mas
Was nothing left, but like an emptie bladder was.
After Arthur slays him, it is almost as if Orgoglio goes flaccid (once a large and powerful
Once an erect penis, now that he is defeated, he goes flat
Why do you think Duessa wants RCK to be spared by Orgoglio? – because she wants
him to suffer more, and he wants him to be her prisoner for longer
The idea is that he is enslaved by his penis, he is run by his penis
This is Spenser poetry – delighting and teaching at the same time: do not become a slave
to your penis
He key to this is this: in the Canto 7 argument, “By Gyaunt proud oppress
(overwhelmed),” the word proud is actually slang for penis
Having pride and giant is about telegraphing that punch – this is what this is going to be
Shakespeare uses this pun a lot as well, so that is what is going on in the Orgoglio
Arthur and his story We can juxtapose this story with Arthur’s story as well.
Arthur is the one who kills Orgoglio
The RCK is quite tired and frail right now, and is resting.
Now we hear Arthur’s story and what motivates his quest and his being
Page 810-811 Stanzas 9-16
It was in freshest flowre of youthly yeares,
When courage first does creepe in manly chest,
Then first the coale of kindly heat appeares
To kindle love in every living brest;
But me had warnd old Timons wise behest,
Those creeping flames by reason to subdew,
Before their rage grew to so great unrest,
As miserable lovers use to rew,
Which still wex old in woe, whiles woe still wexeth new.
That idle name of love, and lovers life,
As losse of time, and vertues enimy
I ever scornd, and ioyd to stirre up strife,
In middest of their mournfull Tragedy,
Ay wont to laugh, when them I heard to cry,
And blow the fire, which them to ashes brent:
Their God himselfe, grieu'd at my libertie,
Shot many a dart at me with fiers intent, (Cupid is trying is hit Arthur)
But I them warded all with wary government.
But all in vaine: no fort can be so strong,
Ne fleshly brest can armed be so sound,
But will at last be wonne with battrie long,
Or unawares at disavantage found;
Nothing is sure, that growes on earthly ground:
And who most trustes in arme of fleshly might,
And boasts, in beauties chaine not to be bound,
Doth soonest fall in disaventrous fight,
And yeeldes his caytiue neck to victours most despight.
Ensample make of him your haplesse ioy,
And of my selfe now mated, as ye see;
Whose prouder vaunt that proud avenging boy
Did soone pluck downe, and curbd my libertie.
For on a day prickt forth with jollitie
Of looser life, and heat of hardiment,
Raunging the forest wide on courser free,
The fields, the floods, the heavens with one consent
Did seeme to laugh on me, and favour mine intent. For-wearied with my sports, I did alight
From loftie steed, and downe to sleepe me layd;
The verdant gras my couch did goodly dight,
And pillow was my helmet faire displayd:
Whiles every sence the humour sweet embayd,
And slombring soft my hart did steale away,
Me seemed, by my side a royall Mayd
Her daintie limbes full softly down did lay:
So faire a creature yet saw never sunny day.
Most goodly glee and lovely blandishment
She to me made, and bad me love her deare,
For dearely sure her love was to me bent,
As when just time expired should appeare.
But whether dreames delude, or true it were,
Was never hart so ravisht with delight,
Ne living man like words did ever heare,
As she to me delivered all that night;
And at her parting said, She Queene of Faeries hight.
When I awoke, and found her place devoyd,
And nought but pressed gras, where she had lyen,
I sorrowed all so much, as earst I joyd,
And washed all her place with watry eyen.
From that day forth I lov'd that face divine;
From that day forth I cast in carefull mind,
To seeke her out with labour, and long tyne,
And never vow to rest, till her I find,
Nine monethes I seeke in vaine yet ni'll that vow unbind.
Thus as he spake, his visage wexed pale,
And chaunge of hew great passion did bewray;
Yet still he strove to cloke his inward bale,
And hide the smoke, that did his fire display,
Till gentle Una thus to him gan say;
O happy Queene of Faeries, that hast found
Mongst many, one that with his prowesse may
Defend thine honour, and thy foes confound:
True Loves are often sown, but seldom grow on ground.
Arthur is haunted by something that has happened to him.
This experience keeps him searching and to recapture that moment, and there is a kind of
nostalgia that drives his quest, and he tries to recuperate something
This is his great quest, and what is so great about him is that Arthur does the same thing
as the RCK, but he is never vulnerable and is never caught (cupid cann