Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part X)

Previously in this series…

By Larry Fyffe

Thomas Hardy’s novel “Desperate Remedies” takes it inspiration from an English Baroque opera that’s based on Virgil’s story about the Trojan Aeneas and Queen Dido’s love for him; she’s fled in fear of Pygmalion (see ~ Untold: The Hart Of The Matter):

Pursue thy conquest, love
Her eyes confess the flame her tongue denies
(Henry Purcell/Nathum Tate: Dido And Aeneas)

Without revealing who wrote that which he quotes, Thomas Hardy accompanies his prose with poetic lines from various sources.

He quotes from a hymn:
Like some fair tree which, fed by streams
With timely fruit doth bend
He still shall flourish, and success
All his designs attend
(Nicholas Brady/Nahum Tate: How Blessed Is He Who Does Not Consent)
The hymn in turn is based on the following lines from the Holy Bible:
Blessed is the man that walkest not in the counsel of the ungodly ...
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
That bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither
And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper
(Psalm I: 1,3)

In the novel, Hardy quotes from a poet who influences William Shakespeare:

Love Is a sour delight, a sugared grief
A living death; an ever-dying life
A breach of reason's law; a secret thief
A sea of tears; an everlasting strife

(Thomas Watson: The Passionate)

He quotes from an opera, a musical that’s inspired by the Tate and Purcell composition mentioned above:

Yet, were he now before me
In spite of injured pride
I fear my eyes would pardon
Before my tongue could chide
(Thomas Lingley Sr.& Jr.: The Duenna)

From a poem penned in the Age of Romanticism, Hardy quotes:

Its passions will rock thee
As the storm rock the ravens on high
Bight reason will mock thee
Like the sun from a wintry sky
(Percy Shelley: When The Lamp Has Shattered)

In the novel, Hardy shares with his readers the title of an Early Victorian poem; he quotes from it:

He looked at her as a lover can
She looked at him, as one who is awake
The past was a sleep, and their life began
(Robert Browning: The Statue And The Bust)

“Desperate Remedies” tells the story of Cytherea who’s poor; she works as a maid for a lady; Cytherea loves architect Edward, but he’s engaged. She weds Aeneas, son of her employer; the son brings in someone to pose as his former wife when he comes under suspicion that he killed her; Edward comes to the rescue of Cytherea; they get married.

From “Mythology” by Edith Hamilton in regards to Aphrodite

(Venus), the mother of Aeneas:

This sea-birth took place near Cythera,  from where she was wafted to Cyprus. Both islands were ever after sacred to her, and she was called Cytherea or the Cyprian as often as by her proper name … ‘Wonder seized them all as they saw/Violet-crowned Cytherea’.

Singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan likewise borrows from works of literature and  musicals to support themes, like love found and love lost, that are presented in his song lyrics:

But, oh, what a wonderful feeling
Just to know that you are near
Sets my heart a-reeling
From my toes to my ears
(Bob Dylan: The Man In Me)

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