The Faerie Queene Book I

Passages: Compared and Contrasted

P. 88 [37]:

And after all, vpon the wagon beame

Rode Sathan, with a smarting whip in hand,

With which he forward lascht the laesie teme,

So oft as Slowth still in the mire did stand.

Huge routs of people did about them band,

Showting for joy, and still before their way

A foggy mist had couered all the land;

And vnderneath their feet, all scattered lay

Dead sculs & bones of men, whose life had gone astray.

—This passage mislead me.  At first, it appeared that Sathan riding by was a good thing–worthy of “band[s], showting for joy.”  However, my perception of this passage changed to morose when I read the description of mist and “dead sculs & bones of men, whose life had gone astray.”  What further confirmed my observation of this passage was that the men’s lives had gone “astray”–these men had not simply died, but had, in a way, lost their lives before they even died.

-Another passage is similar but also very different–P. 96 [16]:

Wherewith he goeth to that soueraine Queene,

And falling her before on lowly knee,

To her makes present of his seruice seene:

Which she accepts, with thankes, and goodly gree,

Greatly aduancing his gay cheualree.

So marcheth home, and by her takes the knight,

Whom all the people follow with great glee,

Shouting, and clapping all their hands on hight,

That all the aire it fils, and flyes to heauen bright.

—One obvious similarity stood out in this passage compared to the previous one: “Whom all the people follow with great glee, / Shouting, and clapping all their hands on hight.”  On the other hand, one differing aspect is the “soueraine Queen,” waiting to greet her knight–as opposed to “huge routs of people” (no queen) waiting to praise a man.  Both passages involved a knight’s deceit.  Another contrast was that the former involved a deceiving knight and the latter a deceived knight.  The very shield of the deceiving knight read “sans ioy” (without joy), not to mention his name was Sathan, “and nourish bloudy vengeaunce in his bitter mind.”  The deceived knight was described as “forgetfull of his owne, that mindes anothers cares” and it was said that “many skilfull leaches him abide, / To salue his hurts, that yet still freshly bled.”  Yippee, sounds utterly painless!  (Hope I never get deceived).

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