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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v014.n008
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 15:34:45 

On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 Sgt. Rock wrote:

> I've been poring over 5th head lately (after getting out of a lengthy
> stay in sick bay), and my attention was caught by the following words,
> uttered by one of Marsch's interrogators:
> "I have examined your papers, and letters follow your name. I shall call
> you:
> 'A Polish Count, a Knight Grand Cross,
> 	Rx. and Q.E.D.;
> Grand Master of the Blood Red Dirk,
> 	and R.O.G.U.E.' 
> You seem to me very young."
> This is a real head-banger. What _does_ it mean? First of all, it's in
> quotes. Does that mean it _is_ a quote from somewhere? If so, can anyone
> identify it?
> I can only make vague guesses about the meaning of this doggerel.
> "Knight Grand Cross" is in fact a rank in various orders of
> knighthood--and in Masonic orders. "Grand Master" is certainly a Masonic
> title. But what means the reference to "A Polish Count"?

It certainly sounds like a quote, but I can't identify it.  As for what it
means, in a general sense the interrogator is clearly implying that
"Marsch's" academic credentials are fraudulent.  One possibility that
occurs to me for "A Polish Count" is that in Poland before it lost its
independence at the end of the 18th century, a high percentage of the
population was noble and many nobles were impoverished,
and so being a Polish count would have meant very little in terms of
status.  Another possibility is that in Western Europe, where this
doggerel presumably originated, it would have been difficult to check on
the bona fides of someone claiming to be a Polish count, so many impostors
might have claimed this title and it might have come to symbolize such
imposture.  But this is just speculation.  (My feeling is that contra
Tony Ellis, the "titles" of the poem don't correspond one-to-one to
genuine academic titles.)


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