The fountain of Salmacis

Song written by: Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks

From a dense forest of tall dark pinewood,
Mount Ida rises like an island.
Within a hidden cave, nymphs had kept a child;
Hermaphroditus, son of gods, so afraid of their love.
As the dawn creeps up the sky
The hunter caught sight of a doe.
In desire for conquest,
He found himself within a glade he'd not beheld before.
"Where are you, my father?
Give wisdom to your son"
"Then he could go no farther
Now lost, the boy was guided by the sun"
And as his strength began to fail
He saw a shimmering lake.
A shadow in the dark green depths
Disturbed the strange tranquility.
"The waters are disturbed
Some creature has been stirred"
"The waters are disturbed
Naiad queen Salmacis has been stirred"

As he rushed to quench his thirst,
A fountain spring appeared before him
And as his heated breath brushed through the cool mist,
A liquid voice called, "Son of gods, drink from my spring".
The water tasted strangely sweet.
Behind him the voice called again.
He turned and saw her, in a cloak of mist alone
And as he gazed, her eyes were filled with the darkness of the lake.
"We shall be one
We shall be joined as one"
"She wanted them as one
Yet he had no desire to be one"
"Away from me cold-blooded woman
Your thirst is not mine"
"Nothing will cause us to part
Hear me, O Gods"
Unearthly calm descended from the sky
And then their flesh and bones were strangely merged
Forever to be joined as one.
The creature crawled into the lake.
A fading voice was heard:
"And I beg, yes I beg that all who touch this spring
May share my fate"
"We are the one
We are the one"
"The two are now made one,
Demi-god and nymph are now made one"
Both had given everything they had.
A lover's dream had been fulfilled at last,
Forever still beneath the lake.
Hermaphrodite: a flower containing both male and female organs; a person or
animal of both sexes. The child Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and
Aphrodite, the result of a secret love affair. For this reason he was entrusted
to the nymphs of the isolated Mount Ida, who allowed him to grow up as a wild
creature of the woods. After his encounter with the water-nymph Salmacis, he
laid a curse upon the water. According to fable, all persons who bathed in the
water became hermaphrodites.

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