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Book VI, Canto XII

July 22, 2011

This is it!

They arrive at the castle of Belgard. Its lord and lady have an interesting past. Sir Bellamour and Lady Claribell were lovers when they were young, but Claribell’s father intended to marry her to a prince. Instead she secretly married Bellamour. When her father found out, he threw him in a dungeon, but Bellamour was friends with his guards and often came to visit his wife. She got pregnant and had to get rid of the child so her father wouldn’t kill the baby girl.

Her servant Melissa left the baby in a field after taking note of her tiny yet distinctive birthmark (Spenser says it looked like a rose). The servant waited behind the bushes to see what would happen. A shepherd came by and carried the crying baby off. Eventually Claribell’s father died and she and Bellamour inherited the castle and lived in happiness.

Now Bellamour previously knew Calidore as a fellow knight, and Calidore is reminded of his quest for the Blatant Beast. He resolves to finish his duty. Pastorella stays at the castle. The same servant Melissa is taking care of her. When she sees Pastorella’s chest, she sees the birthmark she remembers from the long-lost babe, and runs to tell Claribell. Thus Pastorella is reunited with her biological mother and father.

Meanwhile Calidore is following the Beast’s trail of destruction. He corners it in a certain monastery where the Beast had defiled everything inside. Calidore is confronted by the Beast’s giant mouth, with double rows of iron teeth and a thousand tongues. The tongues are various voices, some animal, some human, some literally poisonous, most verbally poisonous. The human tongues gossip, blaspheme, revile, and hate.

Calidore triumphs and muzzles the Beast with iron. He leads it all the way back to Gloriana’s court. Spenser tells us, however, that someday the Beast is let free again…

Ne may this homely verse, of many meanest,
Hope to escape his venemous despite,
More than my former writs, all were they clearest
From blamefull blot, and free from all that wite,
With which some wicked tongues did it backebite,
And bring into a mighty Peres displeasure,
That neuer so deserued to endite.
Therfore do you my rimes keep better measure,
And seeke to please, that now is counted wisemens threasure.


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