Bob Dylan: Cooking Up More Mythologies (Part IX)

by Larry Fyffe

The four ancient basic elements of air, water, fire, and earth are symbols featured in the poetry of William Blake, derived from the teachings of Zarathustra for one; if out of balance in the human body, the imbalance can be damaging to the human spirit.

For example, water, associated more with the female, has its creative side, but can be destructive to the artistic urge within the male, as well as to the external environment, if it rises to a level that is too materialistic; ie, dark Satanic Mills.

A theme expressed in the following song lyrics:

Take care of your body like you care for your soul
Don't you dig yourself into a hole
Until you've paid the price, you can't know what it's worth
The air, water, fire, and earth
(Ben Harper: Well, Well, Well ~ Dylan/O'Keefe)

A motif expressed in the following lines as well ~ ‘earth’/’worth’ rhymed in both lyrics:

Businessmen, they drink my wine
Ploughmen dig my earth
None of them along the line
Know what any of it is worth
(Bob Dylan: All Along The Watchtower)

In Roman/Greek mythology, the female followers of Dionysus are driven into a frenzy by drinking too much alcohol.

A myth modernized, presented realistically albeit satirically, in  the song lyrics below:

There's a woman on my lap, and she's drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin's eyes ...
Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now, I'm expecting all hell to break loose
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)

In the lines beneath, typical of singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, the theme is reversed, satirically turned back to the good old days of Judeo/Christian morality when men were men, and women were woman – women really had no need to flee, like the screech owl Lilith does, from Adam in the Garden of Eden:

You would feel like a baby again
Sitting on your daddy's knee
Oh, how happy you would be
If you belonged to me
(Traveling Wilburys: If You Belonged To Me ~ Dylan/Harrison/Lynn/Petty)

A rather Blakean message is delivered with accompanying music:

What’s required is a  balance regained in the ‘humours’ that make up the human body and soul, they wrought from the basic elements of earth, wind, fire, and water.

The four ancient basic elements of air, water, fire, and earth are symbols featured in the poetry of William Blake, derived from the teachings of Zarathustra for one; if out of balance in the human body, the imbalance can be damaging to the human spirit.

For example, water, associated more with the female, has its creative side, but can be destructive to the artistic urge within the male, as well as to the external environment, if it rises to a level that is too materialistic; ie, dark Satanic Mills.

A theme expressed in the following song lyrics:

Take care of your body like you care for your soul
Don't you dig yourself into a hole
Until you've paid the price, you can't know what it's worth
The air, water, fire, and earth
(Ben Harper: Well, Well, Well ~ Dylan/O'Keefe)

A motif expressed in the following lines as well ~ ‘earth’/’worth’ rhymed in both lyrics:

Businessmen, they drink my wine
Ploughmen dig my earth
None of them along the line
Know what any of it is worth

(Bob Dylan: All Along The Watchtower)

 

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