The Wizard Revising
Before the end of "The Legend of Chastitie," Spenser portrays wizard Busyrane
engaged in his own kind of revising. Throughout the scene, Busyrane is depicted as a
poet-figure. He derives his spells from vile books, like a poet who gathers
inspiration and sometimes, verbal formulae, from the work of other, older writers.
When he entraps Amoret, he pens her; when he wounds her, he does so by "figuring
strange characters of his art."
Busyrane's reversal of the spell he has cast on Amoret--a scene of radical revision, a wholesale un-writing--immediately precedes the stanzas that Spenser eventually removed and then replaced.
In the following sequence, the stanzas describing the wounds of Amoret (on the left) are aligned with those describing the undoing of the wound (on the right). Language that unambiguously casts Busyrane in the role of writer is highlighted in red, and the description of the spell's undoing in gray.
Workings of the Wizard's SpellBook 3, Canto 12
1 Her brest all naked, as nett yuory,
2 Without adorne of gold or siluer bright,
3 Wherewith the Craftesman wonts it beautify,
4 Of her dew honour was despoyled quight,
5 And a wide wound therein (O ruefull sight)
6 Entrenched deep with knyfe accursed keene,
7 Yet freshly bleeding forth her fainting spright,
8 (The worke of cruell hand) was to be seene,
9 That dyde in sanguine red her skin all snowy cleene.
1 At that wide orifice her trembling hart
2 Was drawne forth, and in siluer basin layd,
3 Quite through transfixed with a deadly dart,
4 And in her blood yet steeming fresh embayd:
5 And those two villeins, which her steps vpstayd,
6 When her weake feete could scarcely her sustaine,
7 And fading vitall powres gan to fade,
8 Her forward skill with torture did constraine,
9 And euermore encreased her consuming paine.
1 So soone as she was entred, rownd about
2 Shee cast her eies, to see what was become
3 Of all those persons, which she saw without:
4 But lo, they streight were vanisht all and some,
5 Ne liuing wight she saw in all that roome,
6 Saue that same woefull Lady, both whose hands
7 Were bounden fast, that did her ill become,
8 And her small waste girt rownd with yron bands,
9 Vnto a brasen pillour, by the which she stands.
1 And her before the vile Enchaunter sate,
2 Figuring straunge characters of his art,
3 With liuing blood he those characters wrate,
4 Dreadfully dropping from her dying hart,
5 Seeming transfixed with a cruell dart,
6 And all perforce to make her him to loue.
7 Ah who can loue the worker of her smart?
8 A thousand charmes he formerly did proue;
9 Yet thousand charmes could not her stedfast hart re|moue.
Undoing of the Wizard's SpellBook 3, Canto 12
1 And rising vp, gan streight to ouerlooke
2 Those cursed leaues, his charmes back to reuerse;
3 Full dreadfull thinges out of that balefull booke
4 He red, and measur'd many a sad verse,
5 That horrour gan the virgins hart to perse,
6 And her faire locks vp stared stiffe on end,
6 Hearing him those same bloody lynes reherse ;
7 And all the while he red, she did extend
8 Her sword high ouer him, if ought he did offend.
1 Anon she gan perceiue the house to quake,
2 And all the dores to rattle round about;
3 Yet all that did not her dismaied make,
4 Nor slack her threatfull hand for daungers dout,
5 But still with stedfast eye and courage stout,
6 Abode to weet, what end would come of all.
7 At last that mightie chaine, which round about
8 Her tender waste was wound, adowne gan fall,
9 And that great brasen pillour broke in peeces small.
1 The cruell steele, which thrild her dying hart,
2 Fell softly forth, as of his owne accord,
3 And the wyde wound, which lately did dispart
4 Her bleeding brest, and riuen bowels gor'd,
5 Was closed vp, as it had not beene sor'd,
6 And euery part to safety full sownd,
7 As she were neuer hurt, was soone restor'd:
8 Tho when she felt her selfe to be vnbownd,
9 And perfect hole, prostrate she fell vnto the grownd.
1 She much was cheard to heare him mentiond,
2 Whom of all liuing wightes she loued best.
3 Then laid the noble Championesse strong hond
4 Vpon th'enchaunter, which had her distrest
5 So sore, and with foule outrages opprest:
6 With that great chaine, wherewith not long ygoe
7 He bound that pitteous Lady prisoner, now relest,
8 Himselfe she bound, more worthy to be so,
9 And captiue with her led to wretchednesse and wo.