Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part XX)


An index to the whole series can be found at Dylan and Hardy

By Larry Fyffe

In a vault of the ‘Untold Archives”, there’s a copy of the original rendition of a well-known song by Bob Dylan.

Exclusively for our dear readers, the original lyrics of the first verse of the song are revealed to go like this:

Tom Wessex Hardy
Was a friend to the poor
He travelled with Shelley to every land
All along the countryside
He opened many a book
He was never known to injure
A farmer's hand

Obviously, before the  song was recorded and released, the original lyrics were changed to make them more appealing to American audiences.

Exclusively again for our readers, the original lyrics of the second verse go like this:

'Twas down in Dorset County
A time he talks about
With Lady Emma by his side
He took a stand
And soon the situations there
Were all written out
Tom Hardy was never known
To leave unhurt the heroine

Here’s the original third and  final verse of “Tom Wessex Hardy” from the ‘Untold’ vault:

All across the telegraph
Tom's name it did resound
No charge of plagiarism against him
Could they prove
There was no critic around
Who could track or chain him down
He was hardly known
To make a foolish move

Note: in regards to “The Trumpet-Major”, Thomas Hardy was accused of plagiarizing bits concerning military drills, but he vehemently denied doing so.

Bob Dylan explains how he first became aware of the works of authors such as Thomas Hardy:

– typical grammar school reading that gave you a way of looking at life, an understanding of human nature, and a standard to measure things by. I took all of that with me when I started composing lyrics. And the themes from those books worked their way into many of my songs, either knowingly or unintentionally. I wanted to write songs unlike anything anybody ever heard, and these themes were fundamental.

(Bob Dylan: The Nobel Lecture)

Limited laminated copies of Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “Tom Wessex Hardy” can be purchased by mail from the ‘Untold Offices’ at a very reasonable price!

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