Bob Dylan And The Dylavinci Code (Part XVII)

by Larry Fyffe.

An index to past episodes and an index of the cover versions of Dylan songs from this series are given at the end of the article.


The associative Postmodernist Dylavinci Odyssey continues; things get downright interesting.

Mary Magdalenes’s body gets placed in the judgement hall of Christ.

That is, in the Egyptian Sphinx, the ‘way out’ that allows the wayward drifter to escape.

Time traveller Bob Dylan, shape-shifts into Christ (plays a joke on Henry, a Scottish Rastafarian, which fools Queen Mary into committing suicide when Jesus and wife Mary Magdalene vacation in Ethiopia).

Sure enough, Jesus swears to God Almighty that He’ll never again be taken in, never again be enticed, by bright eyes like those of the demonic darling Mary Magdalene.

So beautiful Magdalene be; so like Annabel Lee, a distant cousin of the high-born Scotchman Henry Lee:

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of beautiful Annabel Lee
And so, all the night tide, I lay down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
In her sepulchre there by the sea
In her tomb by the side of the sea
(Edgar Allan Poe: Annabel Lee)

Maggie of Magdala, so like the dead beauty laid out in a hospital that’s named after St. James the Great, one of the twelve apostles, and the patron saint of Spain – aka “Big Jim”:

I went down to St. James Infirmary
Saw my baby there
Stretched out on a long white table
So cold, so sweet, so fair
(Louis Armstrong: St. James Infirmary ~ traditional)

Everything is delivered by the song lyrics quoted below when the Dylavinci Code therein is unravelled as carefully as a wrapped-up mummy.

With second thoughts, Jesus muses that perhaps there was no need to rush headlong into redemption.

Maybe there’s still time to be enticed yet again into temptation by Mary who lies so sweetly stretched out in her cold sepulchre within the walls of the Sphinx.

But perhaps not:

You're the queen of my flesh, girl
You're my woman, you're my delight
You're the lamp of my soul, and you torch up my life
But there's violence in the eyes, girl, so let us not be enticed
On the way out of Egypt, through Ethiopia 
    to the judgement hall of Christ

(Bob Dylan: Precious Angel)

According to the Code, Jesus is angry, thinks Mary’s sister can be damned:

Ring them bells Sweet Martha for the poor man's son
Ring them bells so the world will know God is one
(Bob Dylan: Ring Them Bells)

And Saint Jerome, with his ‘original sin’, can be damned too:

You bring it up to Saint Jerome
You can bring it all the way over
Bring it all back home
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

Which brings us back to the play on words, such as “home”/”Holme”, in the following song about Sin City:

Scarlet Town in the month of May
Sweet William Holme on his deathbed lay
Miss Mary by the side of the bed
Kissing his face, and heaping prayers on his head
So brave, so true, so gentle is he
I'll weep for him as he would weep for me
Little Boy Blue come blow your horn
In Scarlet Town where I was born
(Bob Dylan: Scarlet Town)

The Dylavinci Code Index to videos (songs without links are in the article above)

Index to past episodes


  1. Omitted in the Weather Station song be the rather ambiguous verse that
    says ‘let us NOT be enticed….to the judgement hall of Christ’, an omission
    which lightens the meaning somewhat, suggesting that there is a redeeming light rather than including lyrics about religious faith which claims to have a shining light therein even though the external world is filled with moral darkness; ie, with an anti-environmental agenda , and a history of slavery.

  2. For sure, Friedrich Nietzsche did not write the following song lyrics:

    Heal the sick, and raise the dead
    Let Your light from the lighthouse
    Shine on me
    (Blind Willie Johnson: Let Your Light Shine On Me)

    The light shed by William Blake’s poetry shines among the living:

    Shine your light
    Move it on
    You burned so bright
    (Bob Dylan: Roll On John)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *