Edmund Spenser – The Fairy Queene (ctd.)

Canto 6 begins with Redcrosse casting a melancholy look behind, like sailors who have just had a lucky escape from an underwater crag but can’t quite believe their luck. He is also distressed at having to leave Duessa behind. So it means he hasn’t heard her call to Sansjoy and still believes she loves him? And if he still believes so, what about the chivalric policy “no lady left behind”? (I believe it was on page 62 of the Chivalry Code). He is also still worried about Una’s apparent unfaithfulness, which allows Spenser to segue back to Una, in the previous episode kidnapped by Sansloy. Sansloy first tries seduction, but when Una rebuffs him, he tears off the veil from her face and aroused by her beauty proceeds to take her by force. The shrieks of Una resound through the forest. Will nobody help her? As it happens, there is a band of fauns and satyrs dancing nearby while their god Sylvanus is asleep under a tree. When they hear Una’s cries, they run to check what is going on. Sansloy, scared by seeing so many of these creatures, whom he has never seen before, gets on his horse and runs away. Una, “with ruffled rayments and fair blubbred face” (I, 6: 75) still is not quite certain whether she has just had a lucky escape or not, like a lamb which has been taken by a wolf who seeing a lion approaching throws down his prey and runs away. She has every good reason to be afraid, as satyrs are not exactly known in mythology for their sexual continence.


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