Edmund Spenser – “The Faerie Queene” (ctd.)

The king bestows many precious gifts upon the knight and then invites him for a feast to his palace. They all celebrate the victory with a sumptuous meal, but behaving though courteously, without false pride or putting on airs, because as Spenser writes, such behaviour was unknown in the ancient times. One curious thing – Spenser writes that the floors of the palace are “bespred with costly scarlot of great name, on which they lowly sit”. So does he mean their lives were so simple they were sitting on the floor? After the meal the king and queen listen to the story of Redcrosse’s adventures, often expressing their compassion. When the story is finished, the king says now they can offer him “everlasting rest” (which sounds a bit… menacing), but the knight refuses, saying that he promised the Faerie Queene to come back and fight in her army with the Paynim for six years. This, as the footnote informs us, refers to the fact that the era of the eternal happiness, symbolized by the marriage between Jesus and the church can come only at the end of times, and in the meantime we have to keep on fighting. The king is unhappy about it, but oaths are oaths, he says. After six years St George will return to marry Una and become the king’s heir, as he promised long ago to the one who would kill the dragon.

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