Faerie Queen Canto I

As I read Spenser’s Faerie Queen Canto I, I found several elements which were very interesting. As I read the poem, I realized the pattern of the stanzas, particularly the rhyming scheme and the number of lines in a stanza. This led me to look into what poetic form Spenser wrote and it turns out that he had a poetic form named after himself called Spenserian stanza. I noticed that there were nine lines, eight of which had iambic pentameter. The ninth I found to have six iambic feet but yet it rhymed with the eighth line, fascinating! I also found the description of the beast very interesting. I thought this was going to be an ordinary fantasy poem of a knight killing a dragon but Spenser really elaborated on the nature of the beast. It seemed to be half serpent, half woman and had the ability to house its young inside its mouth like a crocodile yet nurse them at her breasts.

Canto II

I am quite surprised of how gory this epic poem is. In addition to the fight scene earlier in Canto I and a lovemaking scene as well in that section, this canto has another bed scene and still more fighting. The blood and gore does not surprise me but knowing that this is a protestant poem, I am surprised there is that much lechery in the book. I also noticed that in this particular canto, Spenser really pulls out some fantasy elements. There are spirits which disguise themselves into the shapes of the Lady and another man and then make love and then there are still more disguises, especially Animago in Stanza IX. There is still more magic involved where we meet the talking tree named Fradubio who was changed into a tree because of a witch’s curse. It seems the magic never ends in this story.