PATRICIA A. PARKER
Readers frequently have sensed, in reading Book VI [of The Faerie Queene], that the poem, if not demonstrably ending, is beginning, retrospectively, to explore its own implications. Humphrey Tonkin finely remarks in it a tension between two types of romance—the chivalric and pastoral—which is finally a tension between The Faerie Queene's two archtypes, quest and circle, forward movement towards end or accomplishment, and the bower, or embowered moment, along the way. The task of the knight of Courtesy is the accomplishment of the end Artegall does not reach—the subduing of the Blatant Beast. But just as in the Legend of Friendship the resolution of end, conflict, or "travail" is suspended in favor of a discordia concors, so in the Legend of Courtesy, the emphasis falls not only on the completion of the quest but on the delights—and discoveries—of the "way." The opening stanzas of the Proem extend this dwelling upon, or dilation of, that middle space to the delightful "wanderings" of the poem itself:
The waies, through which my weary steps I guyde,
In this delightfull land of Faery,
Are so exceeding spacious and wyde,
And sprinckled with such sweet variety,
Of all that pleasant is to eare or eye,
That I nigh rauisht with rare thoughts delight,
My tedious trauell doe forget thereby;
And when I gin to feele decay of might,
It strength to me supplies, and chears my dulled spright.
(VI. Pro. 1)
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Edmund Spenser. Contributors: Harold Bloom - Editor. Publisher: Chelsea House. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1986. Page number: 181.