spenser's faery queene

4

Tales of knights and virtues that pulled readers out of the soot and smog of the industrial age were the ideal material for Arts and Crafts designers. This 1898 edition of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene was published by J.M. Dent and illustrated with woodcuts designed by Louis Fairfax-Muckley, who had previously worked for William Morris’s Kelmscott Press.  This edition is remarkable for its binding decorations, which were hand-painted by Fairfax-Muckley and bound by Cedric Chivers, using a technique called “Vellucent.” With this process, artists painted and gilted directly onto the boards, before covering their artwork with an ultra-thin and translucent piece of vellum to protect the images. DB

Penelope for her Ulisses sake,
Deviz’d a Web her wooers to deceave:
In which the worke that she all day did make
The same at night she did again unreave:
Such subtile craft my Damzell doth conceave,
Th’ importune suit of my desire to shnone:
For all that I in many dayes doo weave,
In one short houre I find by her undonne.
So when I thinke to end that I begonne,
I must begin and never bring to end:
For with one looke she spils that long I sponne,
And with one word my whole years work doth rend.
Such labour like the Spyders web I fynd,
Whose fruitless worke is broken with least wynd.
—  Edmund Spenser, “Amoretti XXIII: Penelope for her Ulisses sake”

George Frederic Watts (1817-1904)
“Una and the Red Cross Knight” (1860)
Oil on canvas
Symbolism
Located in St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, England

Inspired by Book I from “The Faerie Queene” by Edmund Spenser. In the story the Red Crosse Knight and his lady Una travel together.

Belgard

Noun

(bel-gärd)

1. Obsolete. a loving look.

Origin:
From Italian bel guardo.

“Upon her eyelids many Graces sate, / Under the shadow of her euen browes, / Working belgards, and amorous retrate […].
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

Shameless Self-Promotion

Because I do not have school-assigned summer reading this year, I have elected to give myself some. 

My friend Dana and I are reading Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene this summer, and it is already promising to be a wild ride. If you would like to come along on our adventure, check out our blog, Grace and Dana Read Books

The Faerie Queene is an Elizabethan allegory generally considered to be the longest poem in the English language. We are reading the six main books, each of which deal with the story of a knight that represents a virtue. Book One is about Redcross, an allegorical representation of England, and his adventures fighting monsters and evil wizards. If this sounds like the sort of thing you’d be into, check out Grace and Dana Read Books, and enjoy two teenagers’ commentary on one of the greatest English poems. 

So passeth, in the passing of a day,
Of mortal life, the leaf, the bud, the flower;
Ne more doth flourish after first decay,
That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower
Of many a lady and many a paramour.
Gather therefore the rose whilst yet is prime,
For soon comes age that will her pride deflower.
Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time,
Whilst loving thou mayst lovèd be with equal crime.

~ Edmund Spenser

So Passeth, In The Passing Of A Day
Book 2 - Canto 12 - Stanza 75
The Faerie Queene
by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
Read by David Timson

So passeth, in the passing of a day,
Of mortal life, the leaf, the bud, the flower;
Ne more doth flourish after first decay,
That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower
Of many a lady and many a paramour.
Gather therefore the rose whilst yet is prime,
For soon comes age that will her pride deflower.
Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time,
Whilst loving thou mayst lovèd be with equal crime.

John Dickson Batten, The Garden of Adonis (Amoretta and Time), 1887.

Amoretta is one of the main characters from Edmund Spensers epic poem “The Faerie Queene”. Amoretta and her sister Belphoebe were twins of Chrysogone, born of immaculate conception. The goddess Diana adopted Belphoebe, and the goddess Venus adopted Amoret. Spenser uses the twins to represent “chaste love and virginity,” each representing one virtue. Amoret was supposed to marry Scudamour but was kidnapped on her wedding night, then the female knight Britomart saves her. Where Belphoebe represents virginity, Amoret represents married love, or chaste love. She is also another portrayal of the Virgin Queen. She is loyal to the one she loves, eventually reunites with him, and they marry. Amoret means “little love,” and likely that it is a Spenser-style variation of the Italian word amore, meaning love, with a possible French twist (the T at the end). Occasionally the name is spelled Amoretta, making it seem more Italian.