Stacks Image 34
Bass – John Tracey
Cello – John Gallagher
Drums – Simon Jeffrey
Flute – Dave Corsby
Guitar – Derek Heffernan
Keyboards – Chris Randall
Lute – Geoffrey Alexander
Oboe – Michael Smith
Recorder – Jeremy Mortimer
Viola – Piers Mortimer
Violin – Jenny Benwell
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Paul Roland

Recorded 1988 - Copyright (c) – Lithon Music
Recorded At – Oakwood Studios, Elsewhere Studios

Knights
The Crimes Of Dr Cream
Reptile House
Spring Heeled Jack
Nosferatu
At The Edge Of The World
Alice's House
Menagerie
The King Must Die
A) Over The Hills And Far Away
B) The King Must Die
C) The King Is Dead
 
Bonus Tracks
Witchfinder General
Madame Guillotine
Death Or Glory
Cairo
Twilight Of The Gods
Gabrielle
Blades Of Battenburg
Knights
Crimes Of Dr Cream
The King Is Dead
Knights
The joust begins, the King
has called his knights to combat.
This toad grey day the King
and Council will brook no quarter,
Like mute black crows they gather
for a sporting slaughter.
 
The wager stands,
the hand of the rotund royal daughter,
Whose toothless grin stays
the suitors who would court her.
 
To honour the truth and to uphold the right,
To one love be faithful, this the code of the knights.
 
Each his lance, a broadsword
and rust tarnished armour,
whose joints are stiff and bow
the gait of his wheezing charger.
 
The joust is done but none rise
from the 'field of honour'.
 
(note: brook = not allow; ‘no quarter’ = no mercy; charger = horse)
 
The Crimes Of Dr Cream
They say he was a tall gent
& curiously cross eyed,
He’d none of Dr. Jekyll,
but all of Mr. Hyde,
His bedside manner
was lax in the extreme,
His preference was poison
and his name was Dr. Cream.
 
By day he lodged in Lambeth
& on Sunday led the hymns,
By night he savoured Stamford Street,
its Music Hall and inns,
He stalked the streets of London
with his powders and his pills,
A cure-all for the working girls,
an end to all their ills.
 
In the milky white solution
he dipped his poison pen,
and turned his hand to blackmailing
the sons of gentlemen,
But Scotland Yard was close behind
and soon the trap was sprung
Followed by another
for Dr. Cream was hung.
 
Reptile House
Everyday is like the last,
each a pleasure when it’s past.
Come inside, it’s warm – inviting,
Liquid lights dance on the ceiling
And you can see my friends.
 
Now follow closely if you please
I like the dark I’m quite at ease
Put your ear up to the curtain
Listen close I’m almost certain.
You can hear my friends
 
The zoo has closed,
No need to go
They like you sir,
They told me so,
See the lizards they are sleeping
Very soon now they’ll need feeding
And you can feed my friends
 
Spring Heeled Jack
Who lurks down the lane crouched in the shadows, no lantern to light his way?
Whose laughter rings like a Music Hall villain? The ladies faint dead away.
 
Who pulls on the bell when God-fearing Christians are tucked in or bound for bed?
Who rings again and thinks it fine mischief to singe them and crack their heads?
 
Whose heels mark the snow, lead up to high walls and puzzle the Peelers so?
Whose prints were found ringing the rooftops, the hooves of the devil? No!
 
It’s Spring Heeled Jack that elusive fleet footed felon
It’s Spring Heeled Jack, one bound and he’s over the roof tops
Another and he’s far away.
 
(note: Peelers = 19th century Policemen)
 
Nosferatu
He dines alone in empty rooms
with sweet bouquet of withered blooms,
His teeth long rotted to the root
he sucks the pulp of bruised fruit.
Gone the bearing and the grace,
sad sunken eyes and charnel face,
He’ll dye his hair and paint his nails
and rouge the cheeks that aging pales.
And when he stands before the glass
no reflection does he cast,
This vile disease that taints his line
burns the fabric of his mind.
He writhes accursed in his bed,
the wretched sleep of the undead,
The slow parade of faded friends,
the long dark sleep that never ends.
His great house weeps with rank decay,
he walks by night and sleeps by day,
He’ll rail the Reaper, curse him low,
he who waits and mocks him so.
 
At The Edge Of The World
Once sailors brought back tales of how they found a far land
Where sculpted cliffs with old men’s frowns scowled down on black sand
Where lightning walked and dark clouds thundered
To wake the Kraken from its slumber at the far edge of the world.
There marbled waves would rear before the shore like stallions
To beach the bleached ribs and the carcass of lost galleons
Where in her eyrie grins the old crone
sewing shrouds for sailors white bones at the far edge of the world.
There did they know the Furies and their fearful four gales
And when becalmed Poseidon’s breath would fill their tall sails
And so on through uncharted waters,
Lured by the siren and her daughters to the far edge of the world.
 
Alice’s House
As a child I dreamt I fell
headlong down a hungry well,
To land upon a leafy floor,
just like Alice years before.
In fact she’d left a note for me,
‘If you’re free, please come to tea.’
And so without further ado
I left just as she asked me to.
Asked Tweedledum and Tweedledee,
But neither one knew where Alice’s house could be.
I asked the knight, I asked the hare,
But neither could direct me there.
And yet, somehow, I reached her gate,
Whose notice read, ‘You’re far too late’.
 
Menagerie
A fellow of the Royal Society his house
played host to a menagerie,
Where a penguin dressed in butler's tails
served him port and brought the mail.
His parakeets could impersonate
the st-st-stutter of the magistrate
who lived next door but rarely called
for he found no amusement in it all.
Evenings in were seldom tame for
he'd taught his pets to entertain,
The chimp would start on violin
and soon the others would join in,
An orangutan would play the spoons from
a repertoire of familiar tunes
And exotic birds would harmonise
for pale sweet meats and sugared flies.
 
The King Must Die
a) Over The Hills And Far Away
The last great knight has left the lists
too fat to fit his breeches,
He seeks succour in foaming ale
and the Apothecary's leeches.
The Queen completes her tapestry
begun she knows not when,
And now she's done, unpicks each stitch
and starts over again.
The King looks out on cloistered courts
his gardens in full flower,
But the men who made this golden age
are dead drunk in the tower.
 
(note: leeches were used to bleed the sick in the belief their blood was contaminated)
 
(b) The King Must Die
The King sleeps late is seldom seen,
his crusted beard is quite unclean,
His fingernails of lichen green
brush crumbs from his great bed.
Arthritic hands of mottled brown
turn moths from out his dressing gown,
He'll search at some length for the crown
which nests upon his head.
He'll talk aloud unto himself,
Curse his cough and wretched health
And run a finger along the shelf
where his pills and potions reign.
And if his limpid Chancellor
should chance to peer around the door
He'll bellow like a wounded boar
And repel him with good aim.
Ill meet the Council of the King
in Midnight Court conspiring
A seditious hooded gathering
Concur the King must die.
I fear they whisper sinister
the Bishop and the Minister
A poison to administer in a veal and venom pie.
Gut, the cook, girth aptly wide
surveyed the pie with paternal pride
quite aware of what lay inside
and feigned a modest tone.
And all the while the Council schemed
how best to pick the kingdom clean
While those who would did court the Queen
With one eye on the throne
 
c) The King Is Dead
The court, the keep and corridors
are ankle deep in dust,
And cobwebs hang like tapestries
in the armouries of rust.
Beat the black draped, muffled drum,
cast orchids on his bed
Sound the carved white funeral horn
for lo, the King is dead.
The banners in the banquet hall
have faded like dull rags,
And feasting on the crumbs beneath
a brood of wretched hags.
The servants drank the cellars dry
and stole the silverware,
The jailor and the jester danced,
a most ungainly pair.
In the room of cracked spines and parchment
Sat the scribe, quill poised and back bent
Blowing dust from the Black Book of Hours.
The widowed Queen she does not mourn,
but wears a funeral gown,
Hides a smile beneath her veil,
teases baubles from the crown.