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)
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