Octopus | Syd Barrett, 1969 & Henry Newbolt | Rilloby-Rill, 1912

Minoan octopus stirrup jar


Octopus

Trip to heave and ho, up down to and fro'
You have no word
Trip trip to a dream dragon
Hide your wings in a ghost tower
Sails cackling at every plate we break

Was cracked by scattered needles
The little minute gong coughs and clears his throat

Madam you see before you stand
Hey ho never be still
The old original favorite grand
Grasshoppers green her Barian band
And the tune they play is in us confide

So trip to heave and ho, up down to and fro'
You have no word

Please leave us here
Close our eyes to the Octopus ride

Isn't it good to be lost in the wood
Isn't it bad so quiet there in the wood
Meant even less to me than I thought
With a honey plough of yellow prickly seeds
Clover honey pots and mystic shining feed

Well the mad cat laughed at the man on the border
Hey ho huff the Talbot
Cheat he jumped shouting Kangaroo
It's true in their tree they cried

Please leave us here
Close our eyes to the Octopus ride

Please leave us here
Close our eyes to the Octopus ride

The mad cat laughed at the man on the border
Hey ho huff the Talbot

The winds ain't blew and the leaves in white
They'll never put me in their bag
The seas will reed you'll always see
So high you go so low you creep

The wind it blows in tropical heat
The drones they throng on mossy seats
The squeaking door will always squeak
Two up two down we'll never ever meet
So merely trip and go my side

Please leave us here
Close our eyes to the Octopus ride


 Syd Barrett,  Octopus, 1969



''I carried that about in my head for about six months before I actually wrote it so maybe 
that's why it came out so well. The idea was like those number songs like Green Grow the 
Rushes, O where you have, say, twelve lines each related to the next and an overall theme.
 It's like a fool-proof combination of lyrics, really, and then the chorus comes in and 
changes the tempo but holds the whole thing together.''

Syd Barrett

Greek coin from Eretria with octopus, c. 500-465 BC 


'Octopus' directly quotes a section from the poem 


'Rilloby-Rill' by Henry Newbolt, 1862-1938


Grasshoppers four a-fiddling went,
Heigh-ho! never be still!
They earned but little towards their rent
But all day long with their elbows bent
They fiddled a tune called Rilloby-rilloby,
Fiddled a tune called Rilloby-rill.

Grasshoppers soon on Fairies came,
Heigh-ho! never be still!
Fairies asked with a manner of blame,
"Where do you come from, what is your name?
What do you want with your Rilloby-rilloby,
What do you want with your Rilloby-rill?"

"Madam, you see before you stand,
Heigh-ho! never be still!
The Old Original Favourite Grand
Grasshopper's Green Herbarian Band,
And the tune we play is Rilloby-rilloby,
Madam, the tune is Rilloby-rill."

Fairies hadn't a word to say,
Heigh-ho! never be still!
Fairies seldom are sweet by day,
But the Grasshoppers merrily fiddled away,
O but they played with a willoby-rilloby,
O but they played with a willoby-will!

Fairies slumber and sulk at noon,
Heigh-ho! never be still!
But at last the kind old motherly moon
Brought them dew in a silver spoon,
And they turned to ask for Rilloby-rilloby,
One more round of Rilloby-rill.

Ah! but nobody now replied,
Heigh-ho! never be still!
When day went down the music died,
Grasshoppers four lay side by side,
And there was an end of their Rilloby-rilloby,
There was an end of their Rilloby-rill.


Henry Newbolt, Rilloby-Rill, Poems: New and Old, 1912 


Henry Newbolt by William Strang, 1898



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