Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part IX

Previously in this series…

By Larry Fyffe
Woe unto the Loadiceans, saith the Holy Bible:
I know thy works
That thou are neither cold nor hot
I would thou wert cold or hot
So then because thou art lukewarm
And neither cold nor hot
I will spue thee out of my mouth
(Revelation 3: 15,16)
In the song lyrics below, the narrator therof does no agree with the harsh admonishment:
My love speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn't have to say she's faithful
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire
(Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)
The song lyrics beneath sound like they’re narrated by a modern-day Laodicean:

In ‘A Loadicean’, a novel by Thomas Hardy of the Late Victorian era, Paula Power cannot decide which man she should marry. She’s caught in the middle between George Somerset, a ‘modernist’ young architect; and the older ‘romantic’ Captain De Stancy, a descendant  of an aristocratic family.

The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
(Robert Frost: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening)
The song lyrics beneath sound like they’re narrated by a modern-day Laodicean:In ‘A Loadicean’, a novel by Thomas Hardy of the Late Victorian era, Paula Power cannot decide which man she should marry. She’s caught in the middle between George Somerset, a ‘modernist’ young architect; and the older ‘romantic’ Captain De Stancy, a descendant  of an aristocratic family.

Her father, who made his wealth constructing railways, leaves Paula a half-ruined castle in his will, a medieval structure that once belonged to the Stancy family.

Paula’s enthralled by modern technology such as the telegraph; however, she accepts the Captain’s proposal of marriage. Unknown to her is that the Captain’s son is a drinker and ne’er-do-well who hopes to get his gambling hands on her money. He’s faked a telegram ‘exposing’ young George as a drunk and gambler.

Finding out about the deceit, pretty Paula decides to marry the  architect instead ; the Captain’s no-good son sets a fire in the castle;  George says he’ll design a modern house for the couple to live in.

Still Paula’s torn between fantasies of the ‘romantic’ past, and the ‘realism’ of the present –  the times they are a-changing.

Charles Darwin hath ploughed asunder the idealiism of poet William Wordsworth’s transcendentalist views of a divinely driven Nature.

“A Loadicean” by Hardy is partially a lament for this having happened, and partially a paean to the evolution of modern technology.

In the verse below, the middle-of-the-road poet sides with both Wordsworth and Darwin; he sees beauty in the natural environment, but feels no divine spark within it:

The river whispers in my ear
I've hardly a penny to my name
The heavens never seemed so near
All my body glows with flame 
The tempest struggles in the air
Unto myself alone I sing ....
The evening sun is sinking low
The woods are dark, the town is too
They'll drag you down, they'll run the show
(Bob Dylan: Tell Old Bill)
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1 Response to Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part IX

  1. Larry fyffe says:

    correctuions-sorry about the computer problems-

    *The sentence above the video, and the short paragraph directly under the video shouldn’t be there and Robert Frost’s poem belongs after ” feels no divine spark with it”:

    Followed by the sentence-
    ‘The lyrics beneath sound like they’re narrated by a modern-day Loadicean:’ then:
    “Tell Old Bill”

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