A. BARTLETT GIAMATTI
In Book II, the garden of Proserpina gives us a perverted Eden where the consequences of intemperance echo far beyond the limits of a simple temptation to indulge in the goods of the material world. From both Phaedria and Proserpina's gardens, Guyon has learned of the various types of temptations in and of the material world, and he has learned how both imply the inversion of the values of God. Guyon has seen both these versions of the evil garden, and now he is ready, or will be after his sojourn at Alma's, for the grand garden of Book II, which sums up all the gardens and all the temptations—the Bower of Bliss.
At Alma's, Guyon learns that if the body submits to "reasons rule obedient," there is a place for pleasure in a temperate man's constitution. The banquet Alma serves to her guests—"attempred goodly well for health and for delight" (xi, 2)—is indicative of Spenser's ability to conceive of pleasure and virtue existing in harmony. This is a very important consideration for the virtue of Temperance in Book II, especially for the Bower of Bliss, and it marks the essential difference between Spenser's treatment of the Bower and Tasso's of the garden of Armida.
Now ginnes this goodly frame of Temperaunce
Fayrely to rise....
Guyon is ready to complete his quest.
Guyon's odyssey to Acrasia's Bower has been fully treated by others____________________