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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"Go Polonius or kneel
The reapers name their harvest dawn
All your tarnished devil's spoons
Will rust beneath our corn."

Polonius was the counselor to the King who ends up being killed by Hamlet. Now this may be just another disparaging characterization of the Pope, referring to him as a subordinate, the meddlesome counselor in Shakespeare's play, but there are parallels in the real life story of Frederick's counselor, Pietro della Vigna.

Like Polonius, De Vigna's garrulousness may have brought about his death, and, like the devil's spoons, his reputation was tarnished by allegations of betrayal.

"Some rumors spread abroad that at the Council of Lyons (1245), though Frederick had forbidden all his representatives from holding private intercourse with the Pope, De Vigna had many secret conferences with Innocent, and was accused of betraying his master's interests."

- Longfellow's footnotes to Dante's Inferno

As in Hamlet, poison was part of the plot. It was rumored that Vigna had attempted to poison Frederick. Della Vigna, like Polonius, was caught up in, and inevitably fell victim to, court intrigues.

"Pietro della Vigna, chief minister of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, distinguished himself as a jurist, poet, and man of letters. His sudden fall from power and tragic death captured the imagination of poets and chroniclers, including Dante.
In 1249, Pietro was accused of plotting to poison the emperor. Arrested at Cremona, he was carried in chains from city to city until, finally, he was blinded at San Miniato, near Florence. It is not certain whether he died there from the injury or near Pisa by suicide."

Significantly, in the song Prince Rupert Awakes , Polonius is referred to primarily to bring up the question of loyalty.

"The question of the guilt of the man who, according to Dante, "held both keys of Frederick's heart" preoccupied contemporary writers, most of whom absolved him."

- Encyclopedia Britannica

Interestingly, here again Peter Sinfield uses anachronism to make his point. Polonius was not to be the name of the king's advisor in Hamlet for several centuries.

"The reapers name their harvest dawn
All your tarnished devil's spoons
Will rust beneath our corn."

The reapers (another reference to death) are soldiers who will name the time of their attack. Rupert describes the enemy's weapons as harmless "tarnished devil's spoons" and predicts victory for his side.

"our corn"

"The Emperor was not only free from export duties, he was also the largest land proprietor in the kingdom, and consequently the greatest corn producer. The harvests of both of wool and corn under this skilled administration must have yielded immense profits.
The Emperor was himself and agricultural expert. He once amazed the Italians in Lombardy by investigating the type of soil and then advising them whether to sow corn or beans or some other crop. He tried every sort of experiment with new crops : he made plantations of henna and indigo, improved date groves, or encouraged the use of sugar cane in Palermo by establishing sugar refineries.
No private person could compete with the quantity of State corn, especially as the Crown with its immense money resources could buy up private supplies. And the Emperor was not only able to export his corn free of tax, but to load it up on his own ships of the imperial fleet. Hence arose a virtual, though veiled, monopoly in corn, for the State possessed every means of crippling competition." (p. 286)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

"Now bears Prince Rupert's garden roam
Across his rain tree shaded lawn"

Another passage referring to the Mongol invaders. Because they were entering Europe through Russia, the Russian Bear represents the Mongols.

The nickname of a Russian is "a Bear,” or the “Northern Bear.”

- Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

"1240 CE: Medieval Europe - Mongols enter the state of Kiev and create a new state on the Volga River, from where they rule Russia for two centuries."

- EAWC Chronology: Medieval Europe by Anthony F. Beavers

These formidable wild animals are on Rupert's metaphorical lawn, the frontier of Frederick's empire. The lawn is "rain tree shaded" to indicate an area where the light of learning was not likely to enter.

There were also bears to be found, literally, on the lawn of Frederick II.

"Leopards and lynxes, apes and bears, panthers and lions were led on the chain by Saracen slaves. The emperor even possessed a giraffe. Add to these countless dogs, hawks, barn owls, horned owls, eagles and buzzards, every type of falcon, white and colored peacocks..." (p. 311)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

"Lizard bones become the clay --
And there a Swan is born."

A statement of hope that, out of the destruction, the light of reason and learning could be re-ignited, and a statement noting the transition between the first and second stages of alchemical development. Just as Frederick hopes the light of reason will enter Europe, in the second stage, the White Swan stage, "the alchemist begins to experience the inner world as being light filled."

"Hermes teaches us that the worst evils can be transformed to good. He provokes us into new insights."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

Lizard ~ Go Polonius or Kneel return to
chapter & page index
Lizard ~ Rainbows' Ends and Gold

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
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