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Book IV, Canto IV

June 15, 2011

Spenser prefaces this canto with a stanza about the fickleness of friendship. Blandamour and Paridell send their squires to ride up to the 4 persons we met in the last 2 cantos, to see what they are like. Upon hearing the strangers described, Blandamour wishes to fight them but is still sore from his previous exploits. Instead he rides over to them and starts verbally harassing the group. Luckily Cambina is there to do what she does best – calm knights down. They all end up riding together.

Another stranger rides nearby. At first he has his spear ready for combat, but when Paridell approaches he has his spear down like “as if naught but peace and pleasure ment”. Of course this is Braggadochio returned to us. He immediately recognizes the false Florimell and challenges Sir Ferraugh for her. Ferraugh replies that he will gladly fight with Braggadochio for Florimell, if the loser of the fight consents to have Ate the hag as his lady until he can win another.

Braggadochio makes weak excuses that he does not wish to fight for a hag, but would rather fight for a beautiful lady. He is laughed at. Cambell shuts them up by reminding everyone that they should save their anger and quarrels for the tournament.

When the tournament begans, the teams of Spenser’s characters look like this:

Squire of Dames
Braggadochio (his own team)
and the Knights of Maidenhead (including a special guest)

On the first day Triamond’s team is victorious until at the very end Satyrane throws a well-aimed spear into his side. Satyrane wins.

On the second day Cambell wears Triamond’s armor in combat and bests Satyrane until a hundred Knights of Maidenhead surround him and take him captive. When the injured Triamond hears the news, he charges through the mob and he and Cambell scatter them around the field. Cambell + Triamond win.

On the third day, after an epic fight, a stranger knight with Saluagesse sans finesse (“savagery without finish”) shows up on the field and totally owns nine of the Knights of Maidenhead. It’s Arthegall, the one that Britomart has been after since Book III.

Then who should appear but Britomart herself, in disguise (as is her wont), unseating every opponent. She easily wins the third day’s prize for the Knights of Maidenhead.


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