Chapter Five

- chapter 5 index -
pg. 1 - Lizard | pg. 2 - Prince Rupert Awakes | pg. 3 - Tears of Glass | pg. 4 - Go Polonius or Kneel
pg. 5 - Rainbows' Ends and Gold | pg. 6 - Prophets Chained for Burning Masks
pg. 7 - Frederick II & The Cathars | pg. 8 - Bolero - The Peacock's Tale
pg. 9 - The Battle of Glass Tears | pg. 10 - Big Top

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Prince Rupert

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s we have seen, In the Court of the Crimson King is the Air album wherein imagery surrounding the Sun and Moon Tarot cards is used to describe the process of alchemical transformation. In the Wake of Poseidon , the Water album, corresponds to the Temperance card and again Peter Sinfield uses imagery and concepts associated with a particular Tarot card to portray alchemical transformation.

The lizard is associated with the third element, fire.


- Book of Shadows

In Lady of the Dancing Water , Fire is romantically intrigued by water.

" Blown autumn leaves shed to the fire where you laid me
Burn slow to ash just as my days now seem to be.

The Persian word for lizard is samander.


"Fire elemental. A small salamander manages hearth and furnace and a larger one deals with volcanoes, earthly holocausts and the like. Its emblem is the Lamp. It is, supposedly, drawn by energy and strength but repelled by temperament, irascibility and violence. This powerful nature spirit, however, does not easily communicate with man and is the most difficult for us to understand. Its etymology, of course, is the Persian word for any lizard, samandar."

- The Magician's Dictionary by E.E. Rhemus

"Others maintain that Prester John presented the Emperor with a garment woven by salamanders, which was not consumed by fire."

- The Infidel Emperor
by Paul Wiegler
(p. 156)

Lizard is the King Crimson composition most difficult for us to understand and there is good reason for this. Like a well rendered magic act, Lizard is meant to defy understanding. In composing the works for this album, Peter Sinfield used as his muse the God Hermes, both in his role as God of Messengers and as he appears on the Magician Tarot card. Fire is the element of the Magician card and, of course, the deity associated with this card (and with fire) is Hermes.

In the Court of the Crimson King refers to events in the year 1241. With Lizard , Peter Sinfield returns again to this period in history. This time, provided on the back cover illustration, there is proof of the very specific historical setting of this piece. Prince Rupert Awakes is a song about events in Europe and Asia in the year 1241. In Europe, the subjects are Frederick's political and intellectual struggle with the Church, the abandonment of reason and intellect, the rejection of a free exchange of ideas in favor of religious dogma. In Asia, the Mongol invasions occurring during the reign of Frederick II are addressed. The song is practically a thumbnail sketch of a particular time and place in history. These real historic events are used allegorically to illustrate Prince Rupert's personal quest and also to outline the five stages of alchemical transformation. To put it mildly, there is a lot going on in this composition.

" In his cloak of words strode the ringmaster"

The Magician Card

"Moakley (62-3) identifies the Magician (il Bagatino, il Bagatto) with the Little Juggler Bagatino, a clown in commedia dell'arte, who is identified with the Carnival King.

The motto of this card is:

"Author and instigator of metamorphosis"

Entry of the Chameleons

"Occultists may deplore this ambiguity, but it's inherent in the nature of Hermes, for he is simultaneously the Magician, the Trickster, the Crafty One and the Thief (see Brown, Hermes). He is called shifty and the skin-changing (versipellis), the god of illusion and delusion (Jung, Sp. Merc. 217, 247)."


"To create a new cosmos (order), the old cosmos must be turned upside down. Thus the Magician Hermes is the Lord of Contradiction. First, he is himself a contradictory figure: trickster yet savior, king of misrule yet obedient to justice, deceiving orator yet honest prophet, illusionist yet revealer of truth, fraudulent conjurer yet genuine mage, thief yet honest trader, diabolical yet angelic, material yet spiritual. Second, he governs contradiction, and shows the way that finds unity in opposition."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

Cirkus is Pete Sinfield's homage to Hermes, the magician, the trickster, the Carnival King…the ringmaster. Here, at the outset of the album, we are put on notice that things may not be what they seem. Names and concepts may be intentionally misrepresented.

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Prince Rupert, the 17th century English noble, was involved in the English Civil War, but this is not the conflict alluded to in The Battle of Glass Tears . The album's back cover illustration makes it clear this is an east-west conflict (the very union of opposites so integral to the life of Frederick II). Yes, believe it or not, perfectly in keeping with the magician's penchant for sleight of hand – the ringmaster's cloak of words, Frederick II reappears in this album under the guise of Prince Rupert. The name "Frederick" simply not being aesthetically pleasing, Peter Sinfield appears to have found a name that was – one that also provided several parallels and connections to his true subject.

Pete Sinfield didn't just pull this name, like a rabbit, out of a hat. His decision to use the name "Prince Rupert" to represent Frederick II was quite calculated and deliberate. Rupert and Frederick were both German nobles with a non-German parent. Both found their greatest political and military success in a foreign country (England and Italy respectively). Both were adversaries of the Catholic Church. Both engaged in scientific experimentation and are still known for an accomplishment in their respective fields of endeavor. Frederick's treatise on Falconry is still in use today. Rupert is known today by his discovery, Prince Rupert's Tears and his work in mezzotint. Both are associated with a particular animal. Falcons in Frederick's case, a poodle in Rupert's. A poodle used to accompany Rupert into battle. Incredibly, there is even a direct connection between poodles and Falconry:

" Frederick devotes the whole of Book VI, his entire final section, to "Hawking at the Brook with the Peregrine Falcon" (it was in this phase of falconry--water work--that the Poodle and/or proto-Poodle made himself useful)."

- Falconry/Hawking

As if that were not enough, both are descendants of monarchs named Frederick. Frederick II's grandfather was Frederick I, Barbarossa. Rupert's father was Frederick V, elector palatine of Bohemia.

Frederick I, Barbarossa, inaugurated the Bohemian palatinate, the first palatine being Barbarossa's half-brother.

- Heidelberg and Its Castle In the Light of History by Karl Komel

Both men lived in apocalyptic times. The Rosicrucians of Rupert's Germany believed a new age was imminent, as did the average medieval citizen of the first half of the thirteenth century. In the spirit of Hermes, the trickster, Sinfield's choice for a name also represents a little joke on Fripp: Rupert is the Old German form of the name "Robert". And, as every British schoolboy knows, Prince Rupert is the evil prince in The Prisoner of Zenda a novel all about kidnapping the rightful prince and replacing him with an impostor.

"In 1194, at the age of forty, Constance gave birth to her only child, the future Emperor Friedrich II. Sadly, Constance died on 27 November 1198 and Friedrich II became the ward of the pope while rival factions in Sicily fought for control.
Friedrich II was ignored and would have starved had the poorer citizens of Palermo not taken pity and looked after him. At the age of seven he was kidnapped. Fortunately, however, his kidnapper died a few months later..."

- Friederich II

"The name Rupert is often derided as another mark of the fool, and adds another layer of deception to hide the true meaning of these tales. In French, the name Rupert could be translated as "rue per", the road through the mystical dark night of the soul, the path to illumination."

- The truth about Rupert the Bear

Rupert the Bear can be seen in the letter 'N' on the album cover, flying an airplane.

In the Wake of Poseidon ~ World on the Scales return to
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Lizard ~ Prince Rupert Awakes

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
Works Lyrics
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