We open with more tiresome banging on about love. We do get a mention from our special guest;
"Begin then, o my dearest sacred Dame,
Daughter of Phoebus and of Memorie,
That does enoble with immortal name
The warlike Worthies, from antiquitie,
In thy great volumes of Eternitie:
Begin, o Clio and recount from hence
My glorious Soveraines goodly ancestry,"
Since Edmund is calling on Clio, muse of history we know this is going to be what an Elizabethan guy thinks is history rather than what an Elizabethan guy thinks is Legend, which means from our perspective it is about 20% more accurate.
The nurse, Glauce, if trying to fix Britomart, can't think of what to do so they go and see Merlin.
"Forthwith themselves disguising both in straunge
And base attyre, that none might them bewray,
To Maridunum, that is now by chaunge
Of name Cayr-Merdin cald, they tooke their way:
There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say)
To make his wonne, low underneath the ground,
In a deepe delve, farre from the view of day,
That of no living wight he mote be found,
When so he counseld with his sprights encompast round."
Merlin is insanely 4th-Edition powerful;
"For he by words could call out of the sy
Both Sunne and Moone, and make them him obay:
The land to sea, and sea to maineland dry,
And darksome night he eke could turne to day:
Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay,
And hostes of men of meanest things could frame,
When so him list his enimies to fray:
That to this day for terror of his fame,
The feeds so quake, when any him to them does name."
And he gets a really cool opening;
"First entering, the dreadfull Mage there found
Deepe busied bout workes of wonderous end,
And writing strange characters on the ground,
With which the stubborn feends he to his service bound."
|Walter Crane getting the goddamn memo for once.|
Which is going to make everything he does in this Canto overwhelmingly boring. becasue what he does is prophecy that its ok for Britomart to be in love with this random dude for they are destined to birth a race of kings.
So that's good.
And then he goes on, and relates all of recorded Elizabethen history up until the Tudors. So firstly, that takes a long, long fucking time, and secondly, even Elizabethan history is incoherent as a legendary story;
"You will birth a race of kings."
"Who will then be deafeated by Saxons."
"But, the saxons are then defeated by Vikings!"
"The vikings are then defeated by .. Normans!"
"I'm not sure how this is good for me."
"But then, after only several hundred years, the Normans will (sort of) fall apart and be replaced by a dynasty which is (sort of) British (in the old pre-saxon style). I mean, they have red hair and speak English in private life and everything!"
"It's a kind of Saxon language, don't worry too much about that part."
Ok so thats where the Tudors come from. There are some fragments of decent poetry in here but they are scattered;
"Great Gormond, having with huge mightinesse
Ireland subdewd, and therin fixt his throne,
Like a swift Otter, fell through emptinesse,
Shall overswim the sea with many one
Of his Norueyses, to assist the Britons fone."
I don't know how an Otter is fell through emptyness but it makes for a good line. Verse 42 on the Saxon conquest is pretty good;
"Then woe, and woe, and everlasting woe,
Be to the Briton Babe, that shalbe borne,
To live in thraldom of his fathers foe,
Late King, now captive, late Lord, now forlorne,
The worlds reproch, the cruell victors scorne,
Banisht from Princely bowre to wastfull wood:
O who shall helpe me to lament, and mourne
The royall seed, the antique Trojan blood,
Whose Empire lenger there, then ever any stood."
And this on (what I think is) the rise of the Tudors;
"Tho when the terme is full accomplishd,
There shall a sparke of fire, which hath long-whiel
Bene in his ashes raked up, and hid,
Be freshly kindled in the fruitfull Ile
Of Mona, where it lurked in exile;
Which shall breake forth into bright burning flame,
And reach into the house, that beares the stile
Of royall majesty and souveraigne name;
So shall the Briton bloud their crowne againe reclame."
Then, when merlin comes to the end of his Wikipedia article;
"... There Merlin stayd,
As overcomen of the spirites powre,
Or other ghastly spectacle dismayd,
That secretly he saw, yet note discoure:
Which suddein fit, and half extatick stoure
When the two fearefull women saw, they grew
Greatly confused in behavioure;
At last the fury past, to former hew
Hee turned againe, and chearfull looks as earst did shew."
Which is the most interesting and dramitic thing he does all Canto. Just for reference;
Archimago - sex demons, illusions, disguises, power of flight, sword-stealing.
Merlin - wikipedia article from the future, has a fit.
So thats all very nice to hear and helps Britmart and Glauce to about zero per-cent so they are back off home.
There, the Glauce has a 'topping scheme';
".. Let us in feigned armes our selves disguize,
And our weake hands (whom need new strength shall teach)
The dreadfull spear and sheild to exercize:
Ne certes daughter that same warlike wize
I weene, would you misseme; for ye bene tall,
And large of limbe, t'atchieve an hard emprize,
Ne ought ye want, but skill, which practize small
Will being, and shortly make you a mayd Martiall.
Britomarts father has been fighting Anglea, Queen of the Angles (that's where the name comes from in Spenser) and has managed to grab some armour meant for her, along with a spear. he has hung both in the rafters of one of his churches as a trophy.
The spear was enchanted by Bladud a magical british king, the shield with the armour also has some kind of magical power but its not declared what.
And so Britomart and Nurse grab the arms and are off into Faerie, where we are brought up to date. Flashback over.