By Larry Fyffe
- Bob Dylan and Robert Herrick (Part I)
- Bob Dylan And Robert Herrick (Part II)
- Bob Dylan And Robert Herrick (Part III): Visions Of Juliana)
Bob Dylan is singing out:
We sit here stranded, though we are all doing our best to deny it And Louise holds a handful of rain, tempting you to defy it (Bob Dylan: Visions Of Johanna)
He’s on a freight train coming up around the bend with a bunch of odds and ends on board – including Robert Herrick, Andrew Marvell, Edward Taylor, and William Blake.
As the train chugs along the tracks, they sip on a few pints; make up songs together.
First Rob comes up with the verse below ; he sings it in a loud voice:
And, as a vapor, or a drop of rain Once lost, can never been found again .... All love, all liking, all delight Lies down with us in endless night (Robert Herrick: Corinna's Going A-Maying)
Bill chimes in:
Every morn, and every night Some are born to sweet delight Some are born to sweet delight Some are born to endless night (William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence)
Bob finishes it off:
And stopped into a strange hotel With a neon burning bright He felt the heat of the night Hit him like a freight train
(Bob Dylan: Simple Twist Of Fate)
Everyone has a few more sips, and Eddie starts a new one:
Who spread its canopy, or curtains spun Who in this bowling alley bowled the sun Who made it always when it rises set To go at once both down, and up to get (Edward Taylor: The Preface)
Andy jumps in with:
Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball And tear our pleasures with rough strife Through the iron gates of life (Andrew Marvell: To His Coy Mistress)
And it’s closed out by Bobby:
I shook his hand, and said, "Goodbye" Ran out to the street When a bowling ball came down the road And knocked me off my feet (Bob Dylan: 115th Dream)
A couple of bottles of wine are opened up; Rob takes a gulp from one of’em; breaks into a hymn:
In the hour of my distress When temptations me oppress And when I my sins confess Sweet Spirit comfort me
(Robert Herrick: His Litany To The Holy Spirit)
They’re all having a great time; Bob takes a mouthful, and comes up with this mournful ending:
In the time of my confession In the hour of my deepest need .... There's a dying voice within me Reaching out somewhere Toiling in the danger And in the morals of despair
(Bob Dylan: Every Grain Of Sand)
It’s all in fun, serving as a bit of distraction from being stuck on the freight train that’s running on tracks
…. ’til Rob gets a bit to tipsy, raises his glass, and proposes a toast to Andy’s girlfried whose name is Juliana:
Breathe, Julia, breathe, and I’ll protest, Nay more, I’ll deeply swear, That all the spices of the east Are circumfused there.
(Robert Herrick: on Julia’s Breath)
Without thinking, Bob steps in between them when Andy pulls out a penknife, and threatens to kill Rob right there and then; ad libbing, Bob picks up his guitar, and sings a song in opera style to Rob, who’s scared ….I mean, really scared:
Blowing through the flowers on your tomb Blowing through the curtains in your room Idiot wind Blowing every time you move your teeth You're an idiot, babe It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe
(Bob Dylan: Idiot Wind)
Anyway, all hell breaks loose with fists a-flying, bottles a-breaking, ….the engine, boxcars …. everything jumps off the tracks, ….everybody gets scalded by the steam.
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