Add Explanation
Add Meaning
New! Read & write lyrics explanations
  • Highlight lyrics and explain them to earn Karma points.
Phish – Colonel Forbin's Ascent lyrics

Colonel Forbin stared up at the mountain
And wiped away the beads of sweat
That glistened on his brow
His tired feet were buried in the quagmire
And his bloodshot eyes saw all that lay between him
And fulfillment of his vow

And he felt his fingers wrap around a knotted root
And pulled his body upwards
To a sea green mossy boulder
And he dragged his weary carcass [or "shit-ass"] up the mountain

And he climbed so slowly
He climbed so slowly

Suddenly he heard the crack of thunder
And the rocks began to crumble overhead
And tumble down the mountain to the
Dismal swamp that lay beneath the jagged cliffs
Through which his path had led
And the earth began to quake beneath his feet
And the mighty mountain changed before his eyes
And he stood amidst a sea of dust and rocks and stones
Cascading down the mountain
And a thousand birds were headed for the sky. Oh...

The sacred creed will be yours
And if you wait until tomorrow
The sacred creed will be yours
To devour
To seize
And to obey

When the dust had cleared, the colonel lifted up his head
And was driven to his knees by a blazing beam of light
And he saw the silhouette that stood before him
And he bowed in reverence
Trembling in the shadow of the mighty legend's form
Icculus the prophet stood before his eyes
Looking down on Colonel Forbin
Where he shuddered in the puddles and the muck
And he quietly addressed him

And he spoke so slowly
He spoke so slowly
He said

Colonel Forbin I know why you've come here
And I'll help you with your quest to gain the knowledge that you lack
I call upon my faithful friend the mockingbird
To fly and seize the helping book and bring it to your shack
And a tree of knowledge in your soul will grow
And the Helping Friendly Book will plant the seed
But I warn you that all knowledge seeming innocent and pure
Becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of avarice
And greed

The sacred greed will be yours
And if you wait until tomorrow
The sacred creed will be yours
To devour
To seize
And to obey
And to obey

And the famous mockingbird swooped down out of the sky and landed on Icculus's shoulder, and Icculus whispered into the bird's ear, and it flew off toward Wilson's castle in the valley below.

Lyrics taken from

  • Email
  • Correct


  • u
    Within the gamehenge saga (a story set to music by trey anastatio, performed by the band phish), colonel forbin is an outsider, having arrived recently in that world through a magic door in time and space. This song, following (thematically) lizards>tela>wilson>ac/dc bag, describes the quest that colonel forbin agrees to undertake on behalf of the lizards, "a race of people practically extinct from doing things smart people don't do... ". This dangerous display of selfless nobility (even if foolhardy) is a powerful nod (imho) to charity, and helping those less fortunate, and less aware. The ascent and the following famous mockingbird are two of the most emotional and surprising pieces of music within the gamehenge family of phish songs. Awesome, and worth many listens. Start with the 1994 show in west virginia (available on YouTube). Thank you!
    Add your reply

    Write about your feelings and thoughts

    Know what this song is about? Does it mean anything special hidden between the lines to you? Share your meaning with community, make it interesting and valuable. Make sure you've read our simple tips.
    Min 50 words
    Not bad
    This page is missing some information about the song. Please expand it to include this information. You can help by uploading artist's image, adding song structure elements or creating lyrics explanation.