Edmund Spenser – The Faerie Queene (ctd.)

Una sets off to look for Redcrosse, dead or alive. On her way she meets a knight, whose name Spenser does not give in the canto itself – you have to go back to the epigraph to find out that it is King Arthur himself. Spenser spends a lot of verse-power to describe his attire in detail – his sword with its sheath and baldrick (not Blackadder’s sidekick, but the sash on which the sword hangs) decorated with gold and precious stones, his helmet with a huge dragon on its crest and colourful plumes. But the most wonderful thing about his armour and his superpower is the shield made of one piece of diamond. He always keeps it in its covers unless he meets his enemies, because the glare of the uncovered shield can turn people to stone and stone to dust. Alternatively, it can make people blind or turn them into any other shape. The shield, armour and the sword were made by Merlin (Arthur is still nameless here and goes by “this young Prince”), and after Arthur’s death the Faerie Queene transported it to Faerie land. I suppose she transported Arthur as well? We’ll see.


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