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Book IV, Canto II

May 22, 2011

The group of 4 come upon Sir Ferraugh and the false Florimell. Blandamour again urges Paridell to fight for the lady, but he is grouchy after his last encounter and refuses. Blandamour jousts Sir Ferraugh and easily defeats him, winning the snow Florimell for himself. He is thoroughly happy with his conquest and tries to woo her, but she is a wily demon: “Yet he to her did dayly seruice more, / And dayly more deceiued was thereby”.

Ate sees the opportunity to kindle the strife between Blandamour and Paridell, who is incredibly jealous. At Ate’s goading Paridell confront Blandamour and they duel for Florimell. They each unset each other from their horses, and fight on foot furiously. The 3 evil ladies encourage the bloodshed until the Squire of Dames shows up in stanza 20. He blames the ladies for not pacifying the knights, and wonders about the cause of the fight. He is amazed when he sees Florimell alive and well.

He tells the knights how Satyrane had found her girdle, and had worn it until he was harassed by all the other knights who had loved Florimell. Finally he had declared a tournament feast – all knights and their ladies were to come. The lady judged the fairest would receive the girdle, and the knight judged the best fighter would receive the lady. The Squire tells them that they should bring Florimell to this contest so they can win back her girdle.

Upon hearing this, Blandamour and Paridell regain a common cause and stop fighting. They agree to head to the tournament. On the way they meet a group that mirrors their own – two knights and two ladies. The knights are Cambell and Triamond, and the ladies are Canacee and Cambina.

Now the narrative shifts to the backstory of the new characters. Spenser tells us that this part is inspired by Chaucer’s Squire’s Tale. Cambell and Canacee are brother and sister. Canacee is a wise, educated lady who knows lots of science and magic. She was loved by many knights but didn’t love anyone back. That didn’t stop them from fighting over her.

Cambell decided to regulate the fighting by holding a contest. He challenged all the knights to choose 3 among them who were the best, and he would single handedly fight all 3 for the hand of Canacee. But everyone knew that Canacee had given her brother a magical ring that could heal all bleeding wounds.

There were 3 knights, triplets, who would rise to the occasion. Their names were Priamond, Diamond, and Triamond (the names meaning first, second, and third worlds). Their mother was a fay named Agape (love) who conceived them after being raped by a random knight. They were as close as could be, all 3 excelling in battle but Triamond most of all. One day their mother visited the Fates to see the futures of her sons. She was shown their very short and thin threads. She asked if their lives can be extended, which was not possible. She then asked that once the eldest son died, his thread might be added to the next son’s, and when he died, both threads might be woven into the third son’s.

The Fates assented, and she returned home to encourage her sons to “tend their safeties well, / And loue each other deare, what euer them befell.”


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