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Lyr Req: The Turtle and the Asp (Martin Simpson)

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Wolfgang 17 Feb 05 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,MMario 17 Feb 05 - 01:34 PM
Peace 17 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Feb 05 - 08:36 PM
Wolfgang 20 Feb 05 - 12:42 PM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 05 - 02:35 AM
Wolfgang 22 Feb 05 - 07:59 AM
Anglo 23 Feb 05 - 02:03 AM
Wolfgang 23 Feb 05 - 07:08 AM
My guru always said 04 May 10 - 06:10 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp
From: Wolfgang
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 01:16 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics to Martin Simpson's song 'The turtle and the asp'. I think I could transcribe most of it, but perhaps someone has it already in a postable format?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 01:34 PM

SingOut! Vol 41 issue #2 - which I think is webbed - but is blocked for me.

try http://www.singout.org/412toc.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp
From: Peace
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM

You can e-mail him here:

martin@martinsimpson.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 08:36 PM

Martin & Jessica Simpson sing THE TURTLE AND THE ASP on their album "Red Roses," Rhiannon CD #5001, 1995.

Damien Barber also sings THE TURTLE AND THE ASP on his album "The Furrowed Field," 2003.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 12:42 PM

Thanks for the responses. I think I'll first try a transcription and then mail Martin Simpson. I'm curious whether my impression (after the first listening) that I could do it is correct. I'll post it if I'm half contented.

Wolfgang


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Subject: ADD: the Turtle and the Asp (Martin Simpson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 02:35 AM

The Turtle and the Asp
(Martin Simpson, 1994)

"Carry me," said the asp.
But the turtle cocked his eye
And withdrew his wrinkled neck
And whispered, 'Why should I?"
And the serpent asked again,
He said, "Carry me, aged brother.
Across the river must travel
And I have no other way to go."

CHORUS
And the water it is rising
Out across the land.
And the sluices are all closed now
The river they have damned.

The turtle from his shell's depth
Again he asked, "Why?
For if I should show my flesh to you
Then surely I should die."
"But if I should kill you," said the asp,
"Then I myself should perish,
And that would be a foolish end,
I wish my race to flourish."
CHORUS

The turtle then considered
With the steadiness of age,
And with the clarity of experience,
With the wisdom of the sage.
He slowly stuck his neck out
And opened his eyes a crack.
"If you mean me no harm, brother,
Why then, climb upon my back."
CHORUS

He slid into the water,
And he swam against the flood,
And the asp has struck him in the neck
And poisoned his heart's blood.
And the turtle's mind has blurred with pain,
Asking "Why?" as he sank down.
"It is my nature," said the asp
In the moment that he drowned.
CHORUS
\\Simpson took this story from Aesop's Fables

from Sing Out!, Vol 41, #2
Aug-Sept-Oct 1996


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp (Martin Simpso
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 07:59 AM

Thanks a lot, Joe. I came here with my transcription from last night and don't have to type now. I'm glad to see I had it all right except one word in the last verse I didn't get. My transcription comes from Barber's singing on the CD 'Furrowed field'. Very few bits he sings just slightly different from the SingOut version.

But for one word I have decided for a different reading which I think makes sense: I have noted 'dammed' where SingOut has 'damned' so my line is

'the river they have dammed'.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp (Martin Simpso
From: Anglo
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 02:03 AM

Wolfgang, I would say you're right on. Well done!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The turtle and the asp (Martin Simpso
From: Wolfgang
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 07:08 AM

Simpson took this story from Aesop's Fables

That's what I would have bet too. The story sounded so familiar to me. But it is my nature to check things. A site claiming to have all of Aesop's fables had several fables with turtles and several with asps but none with both. I got curious and I found no mention of any story about a turtle and and asp except in this song title. What I found, however, is the story of the turtle and the scorpion and not by Aesop, possibly even a bit older.

On this site they call it an old Zen tale:

A turtle was sitting beside a fast flowing river about to cross it,when a Scorpion approached him and asked to ride on his back to the other side.The Turtle was not too keen on the idea and said "you are very poisionous and could kill me with one bite".The Scorpion said "It is true,but I am a sensitive and caring creature and would not do that sort of thing".
"Very well " said the Turtle,"Lets go across".So they set off.
Halfway across the Scorpion stung the Turtle.The Turtle said "Why did you do that? Now we will both die."
The Scorpion replied--"It is in my nature".


This story must have been in Martin Simpson's mind when writing the song "The turtle and the asp".

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Turtle and the Asp (Martin Simpson)
From: My guru always said
Date: 04 May 10 - 06:10 AM

So glad to find this here, thanks!!!


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