Spenser’s 'golden squire' and the 'golden Meane': numbers and proportions in Book II of the Faerie Queene
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The essay interprets Spenser's arithmetical and geometrical metaphors of temperance in their primary, mathematical sense, and argues that the 'golden squire' used to measure out a 'mean' of temperance refers to the masonic triangle, particularly the so called 'golden' or 'royal' square, based on the Golden Section 0.618, used widely in medieval architectural design. The Golden Mean as a geometrical representation of temperance is first used in Book II in the description of the mutual relations between the three sisters and their male partners in the Castle of Medina, and later in the famous and notoriously obscure stanza on the geometrical design of he Castle of Alma. Here the Golden Section diagram is found to contain all the geometrical and numerological elements from the design of the Castle, thus reinforcing its significance as an architectural emblem of the human body and soul internally harmonized through temperance.