Bob Dylan And Andrew Marvell (Part II): Visions Of Juliana

Bob Dylan And Andrew Marvell Part 1

By Larry Fyffe

Take what you have gathered from coincidence, but both poet Andrew Marvell, and singer/songwriter Bob Dylan present to their audience a Gnostic-like vision of the Cosmos; it’s physical side, pierced by darkness and death; its spiritual side full of light.

A love lost cuts down any thoughts of the beauty in natural environment:

Unthankful meadows, could you so
A fellowship so true forego
And in your gaudy May-games meet
While I lay trodden under feet
When Juliana came, and she
What I do to grass, does to my thoughts and me
(Andrew Marvell: The Mower's Song)

Akin to the  sorrowful sentiment expressed in the song lyrics below:

Shadows are falling, and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feels like my soul has turned into steel
I still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
(Bob Dylan: Not Dark Yet)

At the very least, there is a Jungian link to the lines quoted beneath; detracted the mower be, and accidently cuts his flesh with his own scythe:

Hark how the Damon mower sung
With love of Juliana stung
While everything did seem to paint
The scene more fit for his complaint
Like her fair eyes the day was fair
But scorching like his amorous care
Sharp like his scythe his sorrow was
And withered like his hopes the grass
(Andrew Marvell: Damon The Mower)

In the following rural poem, the physical plane, represented by blinking glow-worms, is no match for the idealized plane, represented by Juliana, who’s beloved by the narrator – the loss of contact with the spiritual world of light, that she represents to him, displaces his mind:

Your courteous lights in vain you waste
Since Juliana is come
For she my mind hath so displaced
That I shall never find my home
(Andrew Marvel:The Mower And The Glow-Worms)

The glow-worms are replaced by a night watchman in the song lyrics below:

We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it's him or them that's insane
Louise, she's all right, she's just near
She's delicate, and seems like the mirror
But she's just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna's not here
(Bob Dylan: Visions Of Johanna)

In the above city song, the physical plane is represented by Louise with her handful of rain; she is no match for the idealized plane, represented by Johanna, who’s beloved by the narrator – the loss of contact with the spiritual world of light, that she represents to him, conquers his mind:

Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In the room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

However, there’s still hope for both artists – Marvell and Dylan – who have suffered in the physical world – their art will give them life after they’ve gone:

He writes, everything's been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my consciousness explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys in the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain
(Bob Dylan: Visions Of Johanna)

Do you have a tale to tell via Untold Dylan?

We now have over 2000 articles on this site, and many of them are personal tales about attending a concert, listening to Dylan, cover versions, or the individual writer’s own appreciation of Dylan and his music.

These articles are written for Untold by Dylan fans, and if you have a view of Dylan that you feel could be of interest to others, we’d love to hear from you.

To see the variety of approaches we have included in this site, just go to the top of the page and look at the various headings under the picture – each one contains an index of articles on a Dylan theme.  Or look at the latest series listed on our home page.  If you write a piece you can add to these, or create your own theme, or simply send in a one-off contribution.   As long as it gives a different insight into Dylan and his work, we may be well interested in publishing it.

Sadly, we don’t have the funds to pay, but Untold Dylan does have a very wide readership, so your work will be seen by a huge number of people.   If you have an article please email   If the article is ready, please attach as a word file.

One other thing: we never ask for donations, and we try to survive on the income from our advertisers, so if you enjoy Untold Dylan, and you’ve got an ad blocker, could I beg you to turn it off while here. I’m not asking you to click on ads for the sake of it, but at least allow us to add one more to the number of people who see the full page including the adverts.   Thanks.

And one other, other thing: we also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with around 8500 active members. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link    And because we don’t do political debates on our Facebook group there is a separate group for debating Bob Dylan’s politics – Icicles Hanging Down

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *