- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part I
- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part II
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part III)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part IV)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part V)
- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy (Part VI)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part VII)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part VIII) (and 7 Curses, as nowhere else)
- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part IX
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part X)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part XI)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part XII)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part XIII)
by Larry Fyffe
Take what you have gathered from coincidence. Seems Bob Dylan is aware at least somewhat of the works of the “Late Victorian” writer Thomas Hardy – keep in mind that most of Hardy’s novels are first published in a weekly or monthly serialized format.
In “Two On A Tower” by Thomas Hardy, the following passage is befitting of the emotional Lady Constantine’s love/lust for astronomer Swithin rather than for her Lord’s showy false love:
Weren't aught to me I bore the canopy With my extern the outward honouring Or I laid great bases for eternity Which prove more short than waste or ruin (William Shakespeare: Sonnet CXXV)
In the song lyrics below, William Shakespeare and Charles Darwin are fighting in the Captain’s Tower – William in his pointed shoes and bells from the days when “love” and “move” rhyme:
She' everything I need and love But I can't be swayed by that It frightens me, the awful truth Of how sweet life can be But she ain't a-gonna make a move I guess it must be up to me (Bob Dylan: Up To Me)
In Hardy’s story, Lady Constantine, who married into her title, is left alone by her husband who’s off hunting lions. She becomes sexually attracted to a handsome young man who aspires to become a professional astronomer; he observes the stars from a tower on the Lord’s estate.
The Lady buys Swithin a new telescope, and thinking her husband dead in Africa, puts the moves on the young astronomer who’s interested more in science than in sex. They secretly wed, and after a while the Lady becomes pregnant.
Swithin inherits some money on condition that he remain single until he becomes a professional; he abandons Lady Constantine. Her Lord husband, two-timing in Africa, commits suicide; to save face, the Lady marries the local Bishop. Alas, the Bishop soon passes away.
Swithin returns, and out of duty asks the the Lady for her hand in marriage; she, prematurely ‘aging’, drops dead on the spot.
Things end up okay, however – Swithin has got another gal lined up, and she’s younger than he is.
In “Two On A Tower”, when the Bishop, the Lady, and Swithin are together, the author describes the scene as follows:
(F)rom the repose of his stable figure it was like an evangelized King of Spades come to have it out with the Knave of Hearts.
Reminds of the song lyrics beneath:
It was known all around that Lily had Big Jim's ring And nothing would ever come between Lily and the King No nothing ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts
(Bob Dylan: Lily, Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts).