Thank heaven! the crisis The danger is past And the lingering illness Is over at last And the fever called 'living' Is conquered at last
(Edgar Allan Poe: For Annie)
And when the sabbath was past Marry Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James And Salome had bought sweet spices .... And entering into the sepulchre They saw a young man sitting on the right side And clothed in a long white garment And they were affrighted
Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan carries on Poe’s burlesque of the afterlife in a number of song lyrics. Our grave lady of the spades is the consort of poet TS Eliot’s ‘eternal footman’; in the lyrics that follow, she takes good care of the Orpheus-like narrator, and looks after the chambers that house the dead – he’s a poet-musician who is not afraid to look at his mummified Eurydice.
I return to the Queen of Spades And talk with my chambermaid She knows that I'm not afraid to look at her She is good to me And there's nothing she doesn't see She knows where I'd like to be But it doesn't matter I want you, I want you Yes, I want you, so bad Honey, I want you
(Bob Dylan: I Want You)
Mistress D is quite the enchantress – she likes to get around:
One night I was dancin' with a lady in black Wearin' black silk gloves, and a black silk hat She looked at me strange with black velvet eyes She looked at me strange, all cunning and wise I saw the flesh just fall off her bones The eyes in her skull was burnin' like coals
(Rolling Stones: Dancing With Mr. D)
Well, I eat when I'm hungry Drink when I'm dry Live my life on the square Even if the flesh falls off my face It won't matter as long as you are there
(Bob Dylan: Dreamin’ Of You)
And the ship, a Black Freighter With a skull on its masthead will be comin' in Then you gentlemen can say, "Hey, girl, finish the floors Get upstairs, make the beds, earn your keep here" You toss me your tips, and look out at the ships But I'm countin' your heads while I make up the beds 'Cause there's nobody gonna sleep here
(Judy Collins: Pirate Jenny ~ Weill/Brecht)
There's a woman on my lap, and she's drinking champagne Got white skin, got assassin's eyes I'm looking up into sapphire-tinted skies I'm well dressed, waiting for the last train Standing on the gallows with my neck in a noose Any minute not, I'm expecting all hell to break loose
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)
Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one
(Nursery rhyme: Lizzie Borden)
The motorcycle black Madonna Two-wheeled gypsy queen And her silver-studded phantom cause The grey-flannel dwarf to scream As he weeps to wicked birds of prey Who pick up on his bread crumb sins
(Bob Dylan: Gates Of Eden)
See the cross-eyed pirates sitting Perched on the sun Shooting tin cans With a sawed-off shotgun And the neighbours they clap And they cheer with each blast Farewell Angelina The sky's changing colour And I must leave fast
(Bob Dylan: Farewell Angelina)
What else is on the site
You’ll find an index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page. You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.
The index to the 500+ Dylan compositions reviewed is now on a new page of its own. You will find it here. It contains reviews of every Dylan composition that we can find a recording of – if you know of anything we have missed please do write in.
We also have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
And please do note The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.