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Book IV, Canto VIII

June 17, 2011

Timias continues to wail and moan his lost love. A passing turtledove hears his crying and pities him. She sings her sad songs, and he sings his, and they become very close. Eventually he gives her a jewel that Belphoebe had given him – a heart-shaped ruby with a golden chain. He ties it around the bird and she flies away, causing him to be even more depressed.

But the bird knows what’s up. She flies to Belphoebe and shows off her jewel, leading her by hopping and fluttering back to Timias’ cottage. Belphoebe does not recognize him and asks the cause of his present state, whether it be through heaven’s decree, the cruelty of another man, or his own inward torment? Timias at lasts responds and blames her directly. She feels bad and takes him back.

Arthur is still out wandering in the world. He meets poor Amoret and Aemylia, who are in bad shape after their recent events. He hears their tale, saves them with his magic liquor, and lets them ride on his horse while he walks. At evening they come to a house in the woods. It is the home of Schlaunder (slander), a terrible hag with a terrible mouth. Of course she rails at them the entire time. Spenser here reminds us that antiquity was much more moral than the 16th century and Arthur did NOT have sex with either of these ladies. That doesn’t stop the slanderous hag from screaming lewd things at them when they leave in the morning.

As they progress slowly, a squire rides up to them with a dwarf on his saddle, chased by yet another giant – this one a pagan with laser eyes. He asks for Arthur’s help and of course Arthur assists him in slaying the giant. We hear the story from the squire as follows:

The giant was a mighty warrior names Corflambo. He had a daughter, Poeana, who is beautiful but lascivious. The squire that Amoret was planning to run away with (Amyas) was caught by Corflambo just as she was caught by the lust giant. Poeana rescued the squire out of the dungeons in exchange for him as paramour, but she did not free him as promised. He was held captive in her gardens with the dwarf guarding him.

The squire who is telling this story (Placidas) decided to rescue Amyas. They happened to look tremendously alike, so they pulled a switch-a-roo on Poeana. Placidas makes his escape, carrying the dwarf on horseback.

So now Amoret knows that her love is still alive.


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