Book I, Canto VI
I bet you’re wondering where I’ve wandered off to! Well you can stop searching your local Renaissance fairs for me, because I’m back. A lot has happened in my personal life in the past few months and I had to shelve The Faerie Queene.
My life is still in the midst of upheaval (I am preparing to move cross-country in the coming weeks), but I am still excited about this blog and will strive to post cantos are regularly as I can-to.
Redcross is greatly relieved at his narrow escape, and resumes searching for Una.
Una is trapped with Sansloy, who has lead her into a forest to try and seduce her. Since he cannot, of course, he becomes aggressive and attempts to rape her. Una’s screams attract the attention of a nearby troupe of fauns and satrys. When these strange creatures show up in the glade, Sansloy is terrified and runs away.
Una appears to be terrified also. Spenser likens her predicament to the lamb-victim of a wolf fighting a lion. But we should know by now that Una can tame even lions. The goat-people are humble and compassionate before her, so she follows them to Sylvanus, the forest god. He has been wondering what all the clamour is about.
When Sylvanus sees Una’s beauty, he is amazed. All the goat-people worship her in spite of her protests –
But when their bootless zeale she did restraine
From her own worship, they her Asse would worship fayn.
Just then a random knight arrives on the scene, and we learn about his past. He is mixed race, half-satyr and half-human. His human mother’s husband was an unsatisfactory spouse who preferred hunting to his wife. One day his wife went looking for him in the woods (with the implication that she wanted sex) but found a satyr instead. She slept with and bore a child to the satyr, leaving the baby in the woods with his father.
As the baby grew up hs satyr father taught him to have no fear of wild animals. He became a fearsome presence in the wood. He would capture and yoke dangerous beasts for fun. One day his mother appeared to find her son being chased by a lioness whose cubs he was carrying away. She implored him to stop playing with animals and flirting with death. We learn his name – Satyrane.
Satyrane eventually left the woods to find new foes. He became known throughout the land for his prowess, but he always came back to his woods. This is where the story picks back up.
Una tells the goat-people and Satyrane her tale, and as usual she weeps prodigously. The knight is impressed. When she plans an escape from the goat-people, he agrees to help her.
They sneak out together while all the fauns and satyrs are away with Sylvanus. After riding for most of the day they see a pilgrim on the road. Eager for news, they approach him. He declares that Redcross is dead and Una faints. She hears the whole story – the pilgrim saw Redcross stabbed by a Saracen, and says that the Saracen is at a fountain nearby.
Satyrane heads to the fountain and sees Sansloy. He challenges him, Sansloy replies that he slew Archimago in disguise and not Redcross. Satyrane and Sansloy fight in true Malory fashion. Sansloy becomes distracted when Una appears, but is rebuked by Satyrane and they continue to fight while Una flees.
And the pilgrim who directed them full circle to Sansloy? None other than Archimago himself, who is now in hot pursuit of Una.