You’re in a dark cave …

Everyone is asleep except Duessa who sneaks out to find Sans Joy and feed him a story about how she had the hots for Sans Foy and now is pleased that Sans Loy’s hunky brother is there to take his place.

Now whenas darkesome night had all displayd
Her coleblacke curtein ouer brightest skye,
The warlike youthes on dayntie couches layd,
Did chace away sweet sleepe from sluggish eye,
To muse on meanes of hoped victory.
But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace
Arrested all that courtly company,
Vp-rose Duessa from her resting place,
And to the Paynims lodging comes with silent pace.

Whom broad awake she finds, in troublous fit,
Forecasting, how his foe he might annoy,
And him amoues with speaches seeming fit:
Ah deare Sans ioy, next dearest to Sans foy,
Cause of my new griefe, cause of my new ioy,
Ioyous, to see his ymage in mine eye,
And greeu’d, to thinke how foe did him destroy,
That was the flowre of grace and cheualrye;
Lo his Fidessa to thy secret faith I flye.

With gentle wordes he can her fairely greet,
And bad say on the secret of her hart.
Then sighing soft, I learne that litle sweet
Oft tempred is (quoth she) with muchell smart:
For since my brest was launcht with louely dart
Of deare Sansfoy, I neuer ioyed howre,
But in eternall woes my weaker hart
Haue wasted, louing him with all my powre,
And for his sake haue felt full many an heauie stowre.

At the same time wily Duessa is feeding Sans Loy’s anger and making sure Sans Loy understands that she was not willingly involved with the murderer of Sans Foy (she refused to do naughty things with the Knight in question ..  Oh, Duessa is so pure).

At last when perils all I weened past,
And hop’d to reape the crop of all my care,
Into new woes vnweeting I was cast,
By this false faytor, who vnworthy ware
His worthy shield, whom he with guilefull snare
Entrapped slew, and brought to shamefull graue.
Me silly maid away with him he bare,
And euer since hath kept in darksome caue,
For that I would not yeeld, that to Sans-foy I gaue.

There is an interesting confession, however, that Duessa is no longer “pure” .. suggesting that Sans Foy got lucky before he got dead.

Here comes the gauntlet

Of course, our knight is accused of treachery since that is the only way the most excellent Sans Foy could possibly have been defeated.

Ah dearest Dame, (quoth then the Paynim bold,)
Pardon the errour of enraged wight,
Whom great griefe made forget the raines to hold
Of reasons rule, to see this recreant knight,
No knight, but treachour full of false despight
And shamefull treason, who through guile hath slayn
The prowest knight, that euer field did fight,
Euen stout Sans foy (O who can then refrayn?)
Whose shield he beares renuerst, the more to heape disdayn.

And to augment the glorie of his guile,
His dearest loue the faire Fidessa loe
Is there possessed of the traytour vile,
Who reapes the haruest sowen by his foe,
Sowen in bloudy field, and bought with woe:
That brothers hand shall dearely well requight
So be, O Queene, you equall fauour showe.
Him litle answerd th’angry Elfin knight;
He neuer meant with words, but swords to plead his right.

Sans Joy is a man of action and intends to avenge the death of his brother, Sans Foy. But first, since we’re in such the Disneyland of sin, let’s have Gluttony cater a pre-fight feast and afterwards Sloth can help them all to sleep-off.

But threw his gauntlet as a sacred pledge,
His cause in combat the next day to try:
So been they parted both, with harts on edge,
To be aueng’d each on his enimy.
That night they pas in ioy and iollity,
Feasting and courting both in bowre and hall;
For Steward was excessiue Gluttonie,
That of his plenty poured forth to all:
Which doen, the Chamberlain Slowth did to rest them call.

A shield attracts attention

When Satan shows up, you have to consider this something more evil than just a merry band of naughty allegories.

And after all, vpon the wagon beame
Rode Sathan, with a smarting whip in hand,
With which he forward lasht the laesie teme,
So oft as Slowth still in the mire did stand.
Huge routs of people did about them band,
Showting for ioy, and still before their way
A foggy mist had couered all the land;
And vnderneath their feet, all scattered lay
Dead sculs & bones of men, whose life had gone astray.

Notice how Spenser weaves the good with the bad:  fresh flowring fields and the fowle Duessa.

So forth they marchen in this goodly sort,
To take the solace of the open aire,
And in fresh flowring fields themselues to sport;
Emongst the rest rode that false Lady faire,
The fowle Duessa, next vnto the chaire
Of proud Lucifer’, as one of the traine:
But that good knight would not so nigh repaire,
Him selfe estraunging from their ioyaunce vaine,
Whose fellowship seemd far vnfit for warlike swaine.

When they all return to the castle, Sans Joy sees the scutcheon of his slain brother and seeks to take vengeance on the page who presumable betrayed Sans Foy. The elfin knight intercedes and rescues the page.

So hauing solaced themselues a space
With pleasaunce of the breathing fields yfed
They backe returned to the Princely Place;
Whereas an errant knight in armes ycled,
And heathnish shield, wherein with letters red
Was writ Sans ioy, they new arriued find:
Enflam’d with fury and fiers hardy-hed,
He seemd in hart to harbour thoughts vnkind,
And nourish bloudy vengeaunce in his bitter mind.

Who when the shamed shield of slaine Sans foy
He spide with that same Faery champions page,
Bewraying him, that did of late destroy
His eldest brother, burning all with rage
He to him leapt, and that same enuious gage
Of victors glory from him snatcht away:
But th’Elfin knight, which ought that warlike wage,
Disdaind to loose the meed he wonne in fray,
And him rencountring fierce, reskewd the noble pray.

Now the knights enter into fierce battle only to be stopped by the displeasure of the queen who commands that the two knights should joust the next day and the winner proving his right to the shield. So tune in tomorrow for news from the lists (jousting fields).

Therewith they gan to hurtlen greedily,
Redoubted battaile ready to darrayne,
And clash their shields, and shake their swords on hy,
That with their sturre they troubled all the traine;
Till that great Queene vpon eternall paine
Of high displeasure, that ensewen might,
Commaunded them their fury to refraine,
And if that either to that shield had right,
In equall lists they should the morrow next it fight.

 

Satan and Duessa on the evil buckboard

Now we see that Satan is whipping this bunch of naughty brutes through the killing fields of medieval allegory.

And after all, vpon the wagon beame
Rode Sathan, with a smarting whip in hand,
With which he forward lasht the laesie teme,
So oft as Slowth still in the mire did stand.
Huge routs of people did about them band,
Showting for ioy, and still before their way
A foggy mist had couered all the land;
And vnderneath their feet, all scattered lay
Dead sculs & bones of men, whose life had gone astray.

Duessa is there, alongside Lucifer, but the knight sees that this isn’t the wagon train he should travel on. Which knight is this?

So forth they marchen in this goodly sort,
To take the solace of the open aire,
And in fresh flowring fields themselues to sport;
Emongst the rest rode that false Lady faire,
The fowle Duessa, next vnto the chaire
Of proud Lucifer’, as one of the traine:
But that good knight would not so nigh repaire,
Him selfe estraunging from their ioyaunce vaine,
Whose fellowship seemd far vnfit for warlike swaine.

It’s an interesting image that the evil ones are taking the deadly sins out for some air and frolic in the fresh grass and pristine fields (even demons need to escape the stench of evil sometimes). But then they turn around and head back to the castle.

So hauing solaced themselues a space
With pleasaunce of the breathing fields yfed
They backe returned to the Princely Place;
Whereas an errant knight in armes ycled,
And heathnish shield, wherein with letters red
Was writ Sans ioy, they new arriued find:
Enflam’d with fury and fiers hardy-hed,
He seemd in hart to harbour thoughts vnkind,
And nourish bloudy vengeaunce in his bitter mind.

Is the knight Sans Joy or is this a second knight. One thing is certain:  this knight is pissed.

 

This guy has a hand-problem

Here comes Wrath. Do we use that term much anymore? I know Sloth is a bit dated, but Wrath seems like it might only be found in old battle hymns or crossword puzzles.

And him beside rides fierce reuenging VVrath,
Vpon a Lion, loth for to be led;
And in his hand a burning brond he hath,
The which he brandisheth about his hed;
His eyes did hurle forth sparkles fiery red,
And stared sterne on all, that him beheld,
As ashes pale of hew and seeming ded;
And on his dagger still his hand he held,
Trembling through hasty rage, whe[n] choler in him sweld.

I immediately stopped when reading that Wrath “had no government” over his hands. In a Bobby Brown world this is a significant problem (but Bobby Brown dresses much sharper).

His ruffin raiment all was staind with blood,
Which he had spilt, and all to rags yrent,
Through vnaduized rashnesse woxen wood;
For of his hands he had no gouernement,
Ne car’d for bloud in his auengement:
But when the furious fit was ouerpast,
His cruell facts he often would repent;
Yet wilfull man he neuer would forecast,
How many mischieues should ensue his heedlesse hast.

Interestingly, Wrath was the only deadly sin that allowed repentance.

“Ire” is another good crossword puzzle word. The spleen is the organ that engenders Wrath. The image of Wrath in a Frenzy, shaking with Palsey, and casting fire from his eyes is quite vivid (I had an ex-wife that could have played the part easily).

Full many mischiefes follow cruell VVrath;
Abhorred bloudshed, and tumultuous strife,
Vnmanly murder, and vnthrifty scath,
Bitter despight, with rancours rusty knife,
And fretting griefe the enemy of life;
All these, and many euils moe haunt ire,
The swelling Splene, and Frenzy raging rife,
The shaking Palsey, and Saint Fraunces fire:
Such one was VVrath, the last of this vngodly tire.