I'm supposing here that Medina's referring to the knights and so forth when
she mentions "the womb that had them bore" for various reasons, one of
which is that, as you say, Medina and her sisters have different mothers!
But do the knights have the same mother? Well...in a /sense/...they do (and
so does everybody else). Perhaps?
I'll admit it's a stretch, but FQ III.vi.35-37 gives us another sort of
womb in its discussion of the Gardin of Adonis:
Infinite shapes of creatures there are bred,
And vncouth formes, which none yet euer knew,
And euery sort is in a sundry bed
Set by it selfe, and ranckt in comely rew:
Some fit for reasonable soules t'indew,
Some made for beasts, some made for birds to weare,
And all the fruitfull spawne of fishes hew
That seem'd the Ocean could not containe them there.
Daily threy grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the world, it to replenish more;
Yet is the stocke not lessened, nor spent,
But still remaines in euerlasting store,
As it at first created was of yore.
For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
In hatefull darkeness and in deepe horrore,
An huge eternall Chaos, which supplyes
The substances of natures fruitfull progenyes.
All things from thence doe their first being fetch,
And borrow matter, whereof they are made,
Which when as forme and feature it does ketch,
Becomes a bodie, and doth then inuade
The state of life, out of the griesly shade. [...]
The characters in question may have had different mothers as we usually
think of the term, but all--apparently--went through this interesting
process involving the "wide wombe of the world" and the Gardin before their
earthly births, "from thence did their /first/ being fetch," and at that
stage were "fit for reasonable soules t'indew." They have that in common
as well as their "loues" and "knighthood."
Still, I can't think that Medina would in a state of passion be referring
to anything half so abstruse. I'd prefer to think of her wracking her brain
here to find a real commonality between the knights to get them to cease
fighting. She mentions the womb, but they have different mothers. She goes
on to mention loves, but they have different lovers. She settles on
knighthood, which she's sure they have in common; and that solution seems
to work, because stanza 31 consists almost entirely of images that knights
would find appealing ("Braue be her warres, &c.") and the final agreement
they come to (see stanza 32) "in word of knights they did assure."
The only image I can find in Alciato that corresponds to a good woman with
"naked brest" and "tresses torn" is emblem 48,
http://www.mun.ca/alciato/images/l048.gif, "On Victory borne of Deceit" (it
depicts a mourning Virtue). Could that have anything at all to do with
Medina here? Leigh Harrison
At 01:10 PM 2/7/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>Warning: this is just silliness; delete at will.
>At FQ 2.2.13, Spenser says that in Medina's castle there are "three
>sisters...of sundry sort, / The children of one syre by mothers three."
>See, however, stanza 27, in which Medina tries to mediate the fight between
>the two boyfriends, Sans loi and Sir Huddibras:
> Whilst thus they mingled were in furious armes,
> The faire Medina with her tresses torne,
> And naked brest, in pitty of their harmes,
> Emongst them ran, and falling them beforne,
> Besought them by the womb, which them had born,
> And by the loues, which were to them most deare,
> And by the knighthood, which they sure had sworn,
> Their deadly cruell discord to forbeare,
> And to her iust conditions of faire peace to heare. (FQ 2.2.27)
>Medina is trying to emphasize things that the two knights have in common:
>they are both in love with sisters and they are both members of the order
>of knighthood. There is also "the womb, which them had born." Where came
>that womb in? Sans loi and Huddibras are not, as Forrest Gump might say,
>"relations." The sisters, though, have different mothers (as we just
>learned in st. 13), so they didn't come from the same womb, either. What,
>then, is Medina appealing to: is it the fact that everyone has a mother?
>This leaves me, I confess, a little cold.
>Can anyone propose a better solution? Extra points if you can identify an
>iconographical or literary source for the image of the bare-breasted
>peace-weaver in line 3. (And no, Janet Jackson is _not_ a peace-weaver.)
>David Wilson-Okamura http://virgil.org [log in to unmask]
>East Carolina University Virgil reception, discussion, documents, &c