Tag Archives: Edmund Spenser

Fae Friday: Spenser’s Belphoebe

What is more wondrous and expressive of spring’s energetic regeneration than a lovely verse and exquisite painting?

Her name means Beautiful Moon.

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Henry Fuseli [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But to this fair Belphoebe in her Birth
The Heavens so favourable were and free,
Looking with mild Aspect upon the Earth,
In th’ Horoscope of her Nativity,
That all the Gifts of Grace and Chastity
On her they poured forth of plenteous Horn;
Jove laugh’d on Venus from his sovereign See,
And Phoebus with fair Beams did her adorn,
And all the Graces rock’d her Cradle, being born.
The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, 1590

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Astraea the Star Maiden

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Astraea by Salvator Rosa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today is the Feast Day of the Star Maiden, Astraea. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker traces the birth of Astraea to Libya. During the Phoenician era of the Libyan region, a cultural hub sprang up in the great city of Carthage. The apex of the energy featured Astraea, a winged goddess who holds the scales of justice in balance. Astraea later went on to influence the Greek and Roman eras. She loved humans and sought to teach them to express the important values of justice, fairness, and purity.

By faire Astræa, with great industrie,
Whilest here on earth she liued mortallie.
For till the world from his perfection fell
Into all filth and foule iniquitie,
Astræa here mongst earthly men did dwell,
And in the rules of iustice them instructed well.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

The ancient Greeks described five ages of man, starting with the Golden Age. Each subsequent age further deteriorated in morals and actions. Disgusted by the growing degeneration and evil of humans, one by one the gods left the earth. Astraea was the last of the immortals to depart, doing so during the Iron Age. She stayed here longer than the other gods because of her compassion and hope for the ultimate goodness of mankind. Finally, even she could no longer withstand the violence, brutality, and greed. With sadness, Astraea fled from earth and reclaimed her place among the stars.

Now when the world with sinne gan to abound,
Astraea loathing lenger here to space
Mongst wicked men, in whom no truth she found,
Return’d to heauen, whence she deriu’d her race;
Where she hath now an euerlasting place.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

As divine virgin she is affiliated with Virgo.

And is the Virgin, sixt in her degree,
And next her selfe her righteous ballance hanging bee.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

It is believed that when Astraea returns once more to earth, setting a golden shod foot onto the beloved verdant mantle of her former home, she shall usher in a new golden age of enlightenment for humankind.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

 

THE FAERIE QUEENE

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John Melhuish Strudwick [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Author – Edmund Spenser
First Published – 1590
Genre – Allegorical Epic Poem based on the legend of King Arthur and his knights. King Arthur symbolized the virtue of Magnificence. Book I – Holiness, Book II – Temperance, etc.
Setting – a mythical faerieland
Protagonist – the Redcrosse Knight, representing Holiness
Heroine – Lady Una 
Antagonist – evil wizard Archimago
Star of the Book – The Faery Queene Gloriana, who symbolized Queen Elizabeth I. On one level the poem is a political allegory extolling her virtues and those of the Tudor Reformation. Queen Elizabeth became Spenser’s patron.
Favorite Secondary Character – a tie among the villainess Duessa and several fascinating dragons
Fun Tidbit – Spenser used language that was archaic for his time. Today it is at times even more difficult to decipher—but well worth it!
Favorite Line – “Gather the Rose of love, whilest yet is time.” The line is from the section known as the Bower of Bliss, which occurs in Book II, the Temperance section.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Ireland and Yeats

???????????????????????????????“Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by.” This is the famous epitaph on the grave of my favorite poet William Butler Yeats, 1856-1939. A few months ago my friends Karen and Lori visited Ireland, and part of their tour included paying homage to the great Irish poet and playwright. Knowing how much I love Yeats, and being the sweetlings they are, Karen and Lori made sure to take some good pictures for me and leave a tidbit of my energy in Ireland in honor of Yeats. This picture is Karen blowing a kiss for me to Yeats. It’s only fitting, for the poet himself, and also because much of my family heritage and Kelly’s in Wytchfae Runes is from that area. Thank you, Karen and Lori!

Today’s post and two subsequent ones are dedicated to Yeats, Karen, and Lori. They had a blast in Ireland, and I understand quite a few pints were raised. Rightly so.

In today’s post we’ll take a peek at Yeats’ poetry. It ranges from the exquisitely lyrical to verses with sparser, harsher imagery. In his younger years he sometimes wrote from the stance of a wise old man and, when he had grown old, his poems took on the raw physicality of a young man’s view. His earliest poems are lush and draw upon the works of two other favorite poets of mine, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Edmund Spenser. The poems of his middle period are more masculine and forceful. His later poems are imbued with the mysticism and occultism that informed much of his life. Celtic mythology and Irish folk tales are interwoven throughout his works, and Yeats did much to revive and preserve the old stories. Lucky for us!

One of my favorites of his poems starts out, “Who will go drive with Fergus now, and pierce the deep wood’s woven shade?” Another is about an ancient Irish warrior: “Cuchulain stirred, stared on the horses of the sea, and heard the cars of battle and his own name cried; and fought with the invulnerable tide.” Fergus has the “dreaming wisdom” of poetic imagination, mystic knowledge, and the old ways, and Cuchulain is the man of action who takes charge and gets things done in the world. The dichotomy is prominent in Yeats’ poetry. (Selected Poems and Two Plays of William Butler Yeats, edited and with an introduction by by M.L. Rosenthal, the Macmillian Company, 1962– yes, this is my old college book!) book3

See you next week for another installment of Karen and Lori’s Irish journey as pertains to Yeats.