(Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett, Rutherford)
Nursery Cryme, 1971
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.
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? "Then he could go no farther
Give wisdom to your son" 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 "The waters are disturbed
Some creature has been stirred" 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 "She wanted them as one
We shall be joined as one" Yet he had no desire to be one"
Hermaphroditus: "Away from me cold-blooded woman
Your thirst is not mine"
Salmacis: "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 "The two are now made one,
We are the 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.