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Book IV, Canto IX

June 18, 2011

The introduction to this canto states that the Squire of low degree (Amyas) married Poeana. For a few minutes I was worried for Aemylia, but things turn out differently. I take comfort in the fact that this poem is so intense that Spenser himself got lost in it sometimes. 

Arthur has a brilliant idea to break into Corflambo’s castle. He reassembles the giant’s head and body and puts his corpse back on the horse, arranging everyone so that it appears Corflambo is bringing back the captive Placidas. This gets them all the way to Poeana. Aemylia and Amyas are reunited, and Poeana suffers the double misfortune of realizing that her father is dead and that the man whose love she wanted loves another. Everyone wonders at the extreme resemblance between Placidas and Amyas.

For some strange reason, Arthur advises Placidas to marry Poeana. He does. It seems like they live happily ever after, as she “thenceforth reformd her wais, / That all men much admyred her change, and spake her praise.”

After these events Arthur and Amoret leave. Amoret, like every other woman in this book (except Britomart) is really paranoid about being raped, but luckily Arthur is a gentleman. They come upon a scene of six knights tussling thanks to the interference of Ata and Duessa. Four knights (Paridell and Blandamour from Book III, along with new faces Druons and Claribell), who represent four different attitudes towards love, are fighting with each other while Britomart and Scudamour look on. When the four notice Britomart and Scudamour, they remember how Britomart won the tourney and start attacking them instead. Arthur can’t handle this uneven match and tries to stop it, first with words, then with his sword.

This leads to explanations, which leads to Scudamour’s backstory, which will be told in the next canto.


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