THOMAS P. ROCHE, JR.
The sea lifts, also, reliquary hands.
—CRANE, Voyages III
The marriage of the Thames and the Medway occupies a climactic position in Book IV. From a purely structural point of view it is contrasted to the House of Busyrane in Book III. As Amoret, imprisoned by a wall of flame, is rescued by Britomart; so Florimell, imprisoned by walls of waves, is rescued from Proteus through the occasion of this marriage of rivers. Within its own book the reluctant consent of the Medway (4.11.7) recapitulates Scudamour's winning of Amoret in the preceding canto and anticipates the awakening of Marinell in the next. The marriage is both a commentary and analogue of reluctance transformed to consent in a young lady and a young man—one more example of the theme of discordia concors. In another sense it is a cosmic symbol of the power of the Temple of Venus and on the social level is paralleled by Marinell's sudden love for Florimell.
Although these structural parallels are important in pointing out a significance for the marriage greater than the usual praise of its descriptive beauty, although they direct the reader's attention to the marriage as a symbolic statement of the meaning of the Temple of Venus and the love of Marinell and Florimell, they do not tell why Spenser chose the river____________________