Ithkos (Incredible String Band, 1974)

This progressive rock epic is one that has stuck with me for a long time. I still love listening to it when I’m writing. In addition, I just found this bit of a documentary on the band and their discussion of the song itself.




And here’s how the song sounded (at least the first half) on the final album.




Lesbos, dawn, Lesbos, evening
Aegean Sea, dreams fade
Port of Sybaris, go down Sybaris
Huntress, hold my gaze

I sailed out from Sardis just one day past
Ithkos, Ithkos
Sailed out meet the dawn on Lesbos fair
Ithkos, Ithkos

My merchant’s task on this isle is done
I call soft evening forth
To ease up my care

Aphrodite’s temple is sweet with sandorac
Bright torches start the night to praise her
Ithkos wipes his mouth and drops the wineskin
Salt wind fresh in his mind

Bark brown eyes has Ithkos from Sardis newly come
The carmined lips of Lesbos fail to please
And through the noisy night
Just one plaintive song will match his heart

The beautiful Aegean sea
Brings out a weeping need in me
I can’t stand by like a thief in the night
While that aching lovely light shines on

Dreams fade now, a new day rings
Trade pulls the galleon ever on
To rich Sybaris, port of our call
Beyond the blue Aegean

How sweet the sight of peopled shores
To a wanderer as I, known from here to Lydia far
Pale Sybaris knows not my tread
And fear stalks in my heart for reason unknown

Gotta come right out and say it
Pale Sybaris I bear you great scorn
Talkin’ ’bout your fluted pillars and your muted life
It’s worse to me than death’s own chariot rollin’

Oh hold my gaze light of day
That my thoughts they will not stray
To Hippolyta
The vows that set her free, denied me

It was right there in Sybaris famed
That I met with her who’s named
Hippolyta

Oh hold my gaze bring not the sight
Of that awful wondrous night

Far outside the city walls
The Huntress Dance does call Hippolyta
And the vows that set her free, denied me

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About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
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