"The Court of the Crimson King" as written by Robert Fripp, Michael Rex Giles, Greg Lake, Ian Mcdonald and Peter John Sinfield....
The rusted chains of prison moons
Are shattered by the sun.
I walk a road, horizons change
The tournament's begun.
The purple piper plays his tune,
The choir softly sing;
Three lullabies in an ancient tongue,
For the court of the crimson king.

The keeper of the city keys
Puts shutters on the dreams.
I wait outside the pilgrim's door
With insufficient schemes.
The black queen chants the funeral march,
The cracked brass bells will ring;
To summon back the fire witch
To the court of the crimson king.

The gardener plants an evergreen
Whilst trampling on a flower.
I chase the wind of a prism ship
To taste the sweet and sour.
The pattern juggler lifts his hand;
The orchestra begin;
As slowly turns the grinding wheel
In the court of the crimson king.

On soft grey mornings widows cry,
The wise men share a joke.
I run to grasp divining signs
To satisfy the hoax.
The yellow jester does not play
But gently pulls the strings
And smiles as the puppets dance
In the court of the crimson king.

Lyrics submitted by KidArt

"The Court of the Crimson King" as written by Robert Fripp, Michael Rex Giles, Greg Lake, Ian Mcdonald, Peter John Sinfield

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Royalty Network

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The Court of the Crimson King song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentFrom one of the most daring debut albums ever recorded by anybody. There was nothing like it in 1969 and still nothing compares. What IS this song about? It's beyond me. There seems to be some drug influence here. (The album cover art reinforces this notion)

    Note: Be sure the CD you buy indicates it was made or distributed by Caroline Records -- earlier versions sound awful.
    kevveron May 19, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe Crimson King is not Satan, but rather 13th century Holy Roman Emporer Frederick II. I won't waste bandwidth here, but anyone interested in reading the lengthy exposition of these lyrics can do so at Pete Sinfield's website, songsouponsea.com.

    I will say I always felt that these lyrics are highly evocative. Take, for instance, all the colors: "purple piper," "yellow jester," "black queen," "evergreen," "gray mornings," and of course... "Crimson King." The verses are filled with sound and taste ("sweet and sour"). There's also a lot of crying, singing, juggling, etc.: the Crimson King = verbs & action.

    I think that Sinfield strives more toward poetry than he does lyric writing, but ultimately succeeds on both accounts. Few writers of rock lyrics have pulled this off successfully, IMO (Dylan comes to mind).
    CrimsonKarlon June 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a culmination of fantasies and imagined dreams by Robert Fripp. Influenced by old world and olde English folklore, he has summarily condensed it down to this song.
    JohnnyGon May 03, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment'the person way above' is wondering if this song inspired Stephen King NOT Stephen King inspiring the writing of this song. Its cool though. Yeah it does seem alot like his Dark Tower series though............. Robert Fripp sounds kinda suspicious for those 'Tower Junkies' out there.. ((mainly RF))
    Vinter43on February 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHere's a very in-depth analysis of the album:
    SkpVwlson August 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm wondering if Stephen King was inspired by this song? The central villian in the Dark Tower series is called the Crimson King and he has already included a few pop culture referrences in the epic in unusual ways. Even one of his own books.
    Tindaloson November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe last 2 minutes without the vocals and the, uh, noises (I don't know what precisely to call it, sounds like a broken machine) are pretty chilling.
    emo_bahon December 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe 'noises' is a mellotron.
    Kaztoron January 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJohnnie G is right on.
    drds63on March 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJohnnyG makes a good point but it's only the musical tone of this piece that comes from Robert Fripp. Peter Sinfield wrote the lyrics for this and most all other KC songs in that era.
    phaelon56on June 03, 2005   Link

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