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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"Gone soon Piepowder's moss-weed court
Round which upholstered Lizards sold
Visions to their leaden flock
Of rainbows' ends and gold.

"Pie Poudre was a court held at a fair to compel peddlers and hawkers to live up to their contracts.
(French, pied poudreux, dusty foot. A vagabond is called in French pied poudreux. )"

- The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by E. Cobham Brewer

Frederick is equating this disreputable court with the thirteenth century papacy, who offered "Visions to their leaden flock", visions of paradise. Portrayed as comparable in authority (moral and otherwise) to Pie Powder's court, Frederick is also implying the Pope does not offer a true path to spiritual growth. Instead, "upholstered Lizards" (Catholic clergy dressed in their finery) sell visions of paradise to the gullible public. This idea of visions being sold to the ignorant is also present in a book alleged to have been written by Frederick II, The Three Impostors .

"The vulgar reverence these follies because they firmly believe what the Prophets have said, although these visionaries among the Hebrews, were the same as the augurs and the diviners among the pagans. They consult the Bible as if God or nature was therein expounded to them in a special manner.
Christians would rather adore this phantom than listen to the law of Nature which God -- that is to say, Nature, which is the active principle -- has written in the heart of man. All other laws are but human fictions, and pure illusions forged, not by Demons or evil spirits, which are fanciful ideas, but by the skill of Princes and Ecclesiastics to give the former more warrant for their authority, and to enrich the latter by the traffic in..."

"Visions to their leaden flock"

"...an infinity of chimeras which sell to the ignorant at a good price."

- The Three Impostors

"According to the Gnostics the human being is able to discover God in himself hidden under the material part of the body. This revelation can come as the result of an intuition or, more often, as the result of a long "ascese" based on renunciation and precise procedures. The wise man knows that the best marriage on earth gathers the soul of man and the spirit who lives in it. In all ages, there has been groups of people to initiate a strange search. Those have considered that one and only one salvation path is open to the human soul: the "Knowledge" linking the researcher and the object of his quest. The Christian Gnosis and the religion that emerged out of it lead us directly to the medieval Catharism."

- Catholics, Heretics and Heresy
by G. C. H. Nullens



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"The Albigenses were the descendants of those heretical Christians who had continued to follow the doctrines of the Persian Mani (Manichaeus), who had been flayed and crucified in the year 277. His principal doctrine, expressed in the words of The Bhagavad-Gita, was that "Light and Darkness are the world's eternal ways." From the third century onwards the Manichean doctrines began to spread rapidly, especially among the Cathars of Bulgaria and the Albigenses of southern France."

- Great Theosophists
Roger Bacon


"At the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians, thrived across what is now the Languedoc in southern France but was then a patchwork of city-states and principalities beholden to neither king nor bishop. The Cathars held revolutionary beliefs that threatened the authority of the Catholic Church as well as the legitimacy of feudal law."

- The Perfect Heresy

"According to the notes of Bernard Gui, their greatest offenses involved refusing to pay priests for Church services such as fees for anointing oil, papal indulgences for forgiveness, and baptismal processing fines. The local churches (and their coffers) were consistently empty, and this was openly blamed on the corrupt nature of the priests. The Cathars, also called the Albigensians, instead practiced something very close to Christianity, and were peaceful and altogether unthreatening in their practices. They were also, it would seem, a flourishing culture. They were vegetarian or ate solely fish, practiced but did not require monastic acts, married and un-married at will, though the practice of marriage was generally discouraged. They often took vows against harming anything living. They openly mocked the Catholic priests, but never took action to threaten or expel them. They practiced a communal form of worship, involving the rotation of reading and preaching between men and women."

- Liberatrix

The Cathars viewed the clergy as "upholstered Lizards" who sold secondhand "visions".

"The Cathars rejected the orthodox Catholic Church and denied the validity of all clerical hierarchies, all official and ordained intercessors between man and God. At the core of this position lay a gnostic tenet - the repudiation of "faith," at least as the Church insisted on it. In the place of "faith" accepted at secondhand, the Cathars insisted on direct and personal knowledge, a religious or mystical experience apprehended at firsthand."

- Churches War on the Cathars

Compared to the Cathars, the Catholic clergy were ostentatiously dressed, "upholstered".

"In 1203 Innocent III launched a preaching campaign to convert all who were straying from the true path. In the chief towns of the Languedoc a series of public debates was arranged. Leading heretics were to meet the Pope's legates and each side was to expound its teaching. It was a remarkable gesture to allow heretics to speak on equal terms with the orthodox, but the Pope imagined that the truth of Catholic dogma must win the day.

The legates arrived in their splendid robes with cavalcades of followers, demanding almost royal hospitality; while the Cathar Perfecti appeared in their modest simplicity. The populace loved the "bons hommes" and despised the haughty representatives of Rome; so the Catholics made little progress."

- Churches War on the Cathars

Frederick II was also known to describe the Papacy in less than divine terms:

"The Church, he said was a stepmother, not a mother."
"He had already done his best to rouse the cardinals against Gregory, telling them that the pope was no more than a kind of chairman of their college…"

- The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils: 325-1870

"…the pharisee who sits on the plague-stricken seat, anointed with the oil of wickedness."

- The Imperial Menace To The Freedom Of Religion: The Emperor Frederick II

The word "leaden" does not just indicate dullness, or being weighted down (earthbound), but from an alchemical standpoint, it represents being about as far from the objective (gold) as one can get. Even the word "flock" suggests alchemical symbolism. From a Christian standpoint, the "flock" is a congregation (composed of sheep). But, in Lizard , bird symbols are used to indicate levels of alchemical transformation, so, for the alchemist, "flock" could as well refer to the birds symbolizing alchemical transformation. The rainbow is not just a reference to paradise, but also a reference to the alchemical peacock's tail. And gold is not just what the streets of heaven are paved with, but the ultimate goal of the alchemist.

"Rainbows' ends and gold," a symbol of the after-life, is yet another reference to death. Remember that, in Prince Rupert Awakes , we are in the alchemical blackening which is likened to a death process, so these references are altogether appropriate. What is interesting to note is that life after death has now been referred to twice. Eden was guaranteed solely on his word in the first stanza, and now we have rainbow's end and the gold of paradise sold to a flock of sheep. These are disdainful references to the hereafter. Frederick II didn't think much of the concept either:

"…wishing thereby to show that the soul perished utterly, as if he might say the word of Isaiah 'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.' For he was an Epicurean; wherefore, partly of himself and partly through his wise men, he sought out all that he could find in Holy Scripture which might make for the proof that there was no other life after death, as for instance 'Thou shalt destroy them, and not build them up': and again 'Their sepulchres shall be their houses for ever.'

- From G. G. Coulton, St. Francis to Dante, (London: David Nutt, 1906), pp. 242-43

Rupert (Frederick) uses the phrase "gone soon" to vow that he will soon drive the Pope out of Rome. This, in fact, is what he was working on while the Mongols were in his backyard. It is a "moss-weed" court because, just as the light of reason cannot penetrate a "rain tree shaded lawn," it also cannot penetrate an area where moss grows.
Rupert describes Eastern Europe under Mongol occupation with the appealing image "rain tree shaded". The papacy, on the other hand, is characterized by a lower life form, mossweed, evoking images of stagnation and immobility ("a rolling stone gathers no moss"). The idea of light representing learning also alludes to Frederick's role as the sun in In the Court of the Crimson King .


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Anagrams & Anachronisms

Two words beginning with "P" to represent the Pope, Polonius and PiePowder, suggest Pete Sinfield is playing word games, and, indeed, there are a few interesting anagrams to be found here. "Weird pope" and "we rid pope" are anagrams of Pie Powder. Simply reversing "P" and "N" in Polonius yields "nolo pius", a Latin phrase meaning unwilling to be, or wishing not to be, conscientious; patriotic, dutiful, pious; holy or godly.

This is very similar to some of the rhetoric coming out of Frederick's court at the time:

"...the height of satire is reached in a bogus address of Pope Gregory to his hierarchy, sent to ' fornicacioni vestre', 'your Fornication', instead of 'fraternitati vestre'."

- Fredercik II: A Medieval Emperor by David Abulafia. p. 266

Combining "Polonius" and "Pie Powder" produces the following anagrams:

Swoop, ruin idle Pope.
Wound Pope. Ripe soil.
Pope, widen our spoil.
Pope lied. Pious worn.
Pope lied. Swoop, ruin.
Pope: pious old winer.
Noise would rip Pope.
Irons wipe loud Pope.
Pious lie. Drown Pope.
Woo, dispel ruin Pope.
Poised. Ruin low Pope.
Rue, poison loud Pope.

In Lizard , Prince Rupert, Polonius and peacocks (as a symbol of Persia), are all used anachronistically by Peter Sinfield. Curiously, all three of these anachronisms rightfully belong to the 17th century. Prince Rupert was born in 1619. It was in 1601 that Shakespeare first used the name "Polonius" to identify the advisor to the fictional king Hamlet. The Peacock Throne was built during the reign of the Indian emperor Shah Jahan, who also presided over the construction of the Taj Mahal (1628-58). The peacock was not associated with Persia until 1739, when Persian conquerers stole the throne from India.




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