"Will no one lay the laurel wreath
As silence drowns the
Apollo wore a laurel
wreath in memory of Daphne.
"Of Apollo's many loves, one of the best known was Daphne, who fled his
embraces and was turned into his tree, the laurel. From that time on, Apollo
wore a laurel wreath. Laurel wreaths became the prize awarded in athletic and
"In ancient times the
laurel wreath was sacred to Apollo, the Greek god of poetry and music. The
term laureate is derived from the Latin word laurea ("laurel"). In Great
Britain, the poet laureate is named by the sovereign as a member of the royal
household and charged with the preparation of suitable verses for court and
"The ancients believed that laurel
communicated the spirit of prophecy and poetry. Hence the custom of crowning
the pythoness and poets, and of putting laurel leaves under one's pillow to
Apollo was the god of light,
purity, and the sun. He was the son of Zeus. As a sun god, Apollo was called
"Upon the instruments of
The sunlight brightly gleams."
characterized as supremely rational (the Thinking function) as opposed to
irrational Dionysos (the Feeling function).
"The god Apollo, Averter of Evil, god of
purification, god of prophecy (later identified with the sun is often thought
to embody the most conspicuously Greek characteristics of rationality and
order. Among the inscriptions at his shrine at Delphi are the Apollonian
maxims "Curb thy spirit, "Observe the limit," "Hate hybris," "Bow before the
divine"-and "Keep woman under rule."
"Apollo symbolizes, in the Greek imagery, the god of
logic and reason.
A lover of beautiful forms, clearness, order and truth,
Apollo teaches the value of distance and objectivity in forming a sensible
fair opinion about the world and the things.
He's the principle of
consciousness, the representative of Logos, the god that stands for the
rational form of thinking and, consequently, for the possibility of a
However, every god has his or her infirmitas, and the
infirmitas of this apollo is the denial of instinct life, a life inexorably
related to the feminine design.
Apollo offers a model of the masculine that
presents extreme difficulty in relating to the erotic and feminine aspects of
Identified with the patriarchal order, of which he is
considered the most legitimate representative, Apollo is a style of
that presents extreme difficulty in welcoming the anima, the feminine
principle of the psyche and also the basic metaphor of Psychology.
"Apollo certainly introduces a disastrous pattern,
destructible to the psychological life, aloof from anything that has to do
with the feminine ways, be it Cassandra, Dafne or Coronis (whoever he touches
will end up in trouble). On that account, you end up with the feeling that
Apollo does not belong to the sphere of the psyche."
"There was no room around Frederick in which a woman could strike root. All his
wives died after a few years of marriage, and, as far as we know, his
mistresses shared the same fate : none of them survived him. In the rarified
atmosphere of these brilliant heights no human being but himself could thrive :
none even of his friends could hold out for long ; no woman could have breathed
Century Schizoid Man
), the differentiated Thinking
function is represented by the electric guitar, a stringed instrument. Apollo
also played a stringed instrument, the lyre.
"Many stories were told about Apollo's skill
with the lyre, in art his most common attribute. According to a story made
famous by Ovid and beloved by European painters of the sixteenth to
centuries, the satyr Marsyas, master of the double-flute, challenged Apollo
a musical contest, the winner being allowed to do as he liked; Apollo won
easily and flayed Marsyas alive."
Note that Marsyas was a "master of the
double-flute and Ian Mcdonald uses twin flutes to introduce
I Talk to The
Concerto IV: The Musical Contest between Apollo and Marsyas
as patron of music and poetry and leader of the Muses, embodied the civilised
and rational as opposed to the darker Dionysian aspects of Man's nature. In
the legend of the musical contest between Apollo and the satyr Marsyas
(enormously popular after 1500) the former played a lyre and the latter an
aulos - so stringed instruments came to represent reason, harmony and order,
while winds symbolised passion, drunkeness or amorous pursuits.
Marsyas' pipes had been invented by Pallas Athena and almost played
themselves. For some time the Muses (competition judges) favoured Marsyas, so
in order to win Apollo was forced to resort to outrageous tricks - playing
instrument upside down, singing to his own accompaniment and finally
flattering the Muses with praise of Olympus and Helicon. In Renaissance and
Baroque art the most frequent substitute for the Dionysian aulos (often
represented in mythological scenes by instruments which were part of
contemporary musical life) was the phallic recorder, sometimes depicted in
pairs because the aulos was a double pipe; and the lira da braccio or violin
(the latter thought to have been invented by Orpheus) usually replaced the
obsolete lyre as the instrument of Apollo.
I would suggest that the
locus topicus for this concerto was the musical contest between Apollo and
Marsyas, symbolising the conflict between Reason and Passion. This would
certainly explain the unusual choice of instruments and the occasional
immoderate virtuosity of the violin writing (Apollo's tricks); and the way
Bach writes for the pair of recorders strongly suggests a double pipe, with
scale passages and arpeggios in one part against long notes (drone) in the
other, and passages in thirds and in unison."
And so it would seem that, by allowing the
I Talk to the Wind
to prevail over the electric guitar
21st Century Schizoid Man
, King Crimson have reversed the outcome of
the contest between Apollo and Marysas. In fact, after
, the guitar does not play a dominant role in the
"Will no one lay the laurel wreath?"
be interpreted to mean:
1) "Will we discard intellect devoid of Eros?
(symbolized by Apollo's laurel wreath) Here the blame for modern man's
predicament is laid at the feet of Apollo, the Thinking function.
we cease this Promethean over reaching?" Considering the laurel wreath was
given as a prize in competition.
3) Laurel wreaths were sometimes laid at
tombs in memory of the dead. As the song is an "Epitaph", this could be what
Peter Sinfield had in mind - to symbolically lay the laurel wreath
commemorating, "as silence drowns the screams", the repression of Eros, the
anima, the voice of whom the wind could not hear. By finally acknowledging
existence a reconciliation of the divided psychological functions might be