Bob Dylan And Joseph Drake

By Larry Fyffe

Joseph Rodman Drake be a member of the Knickerbocker group of writers, a number of whom are influenced by George Byron –  the British poet serves as a link between Joseph Drake and Bob Dylan.

In the lengthy poem below, a fairy of the night-meadows receives a sentence consisting of travails imposed by the elfin court because he falls in love with a mortal; the fairy makes it all the way to the heavenly-lit palace of the Queen of the Air who takes pity on him; she bids him stay, but he declines because he cannot forget the memory of his earth-bound lover:

'Twas the middle watch of a summer's night
The earth is dark, but the heaven's are bright
Nought is seen in the vault on high
But the moon, and the stars, and the cloudless sky
(Joseph Rodman Drake: The Culprit Fay)

There’s rhymed ~ ‘night’/’bright’.

Brings to mind the following poem:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
George Byron: She Walks In Beauty)

There’s ~ ‘night’/’bright’ again rhymed.

In the song lyrics beneath, the situation is somewhat similar to that in Drake’s poem except there are no fairies anywhere to be seen – a satire, not a sylph, is in the air:

One more night, the stars are in sight
But tonight I am as lonesome as can be
Oh, the moon is shining bright
Lighting everything in sight
But tonight no light will shine on me
(Bob Dylan: One More Night)

There’s ~ ‘sight’/’bright’ rhymed.

A gnostic-like, black humoured jokerman prevails in a number of lyrics by the singer/musician:

I've never lived in the land of Oz
Or wasted my time with an unworthy cause
It's hot down here, and you can't be overdressed
(Bob Dylan: Key West)

In the ironic style of satire, Bob ‘Byron’ Dylan (as he once signed himself) wears the masque of a mortal Don Juan flittering about in a dimly-lit meadow full of hellish flowers.

As depicted in the following song lyrics:
Charlotte's a harlot, dresses in scarlet
Mary dresses in green
It's soon after midnight, and I've got a date
With a fairy queen
(Bob Dylan: Soon After Midnight)


He’s a physical-bodied, and chained-down-to-earth culprit, for sure:

Don't know what I'd without it
Without this love we call ours
Beyond here lies nothing
Nothing but the moon and stars
(Bob Dylan: Beyond Here Lies Nothing)

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