Bob Dylan: Still Love 

By Larry Fyffe

The reality of mournful death marches into the flowery pastures of the American NeoTranscendentalist Romantic poem quoted beneath:

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed
And the great star early drooped in the western sky in the night
I mourned, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring
(Walt Whitman: When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomed)

So too in the song lyrics quoted below:

There's a far and distant river
Where the roses are in bloom
A sweetheart who is waiting there for me
And it's there I pray you take me
I've been faithful, don't forsake me
I'll be with her when the roses bloom again
(Billy Bragg: When The Roses Bloom Again ~ Cobb/Edwards)

A dreamland sentimentality, burlesqued in the following lines:

You belong to me, baby, without a doubt
Don't forsake me, baby, don't sell me out
Don't keep me knocking about
From Mexico toTibet
True love, true love, true love tends to forget
(Bob Dylan: True Love Tends To Forget)

In the song beneath, the lover’s not dead, but she ups and departs in search of a better life:

Oh, I thought I heard that steamboat whistle a-blow
And she blowed like she never blowed before ....
I'm afraid my little lover's on that boat
And it will take her to the Lord knows where
(Shirkey & Harper: Steamboat Man)

The chance of love best seized quickly, it seems:

I can hear that whistle blowing
I see that station master, too
If there's a poor boy on the street
Then let him have my seat
'Cause tonight, I'll be staying here with you
(Bob Dylan: Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You)

Parody abounds around a love that’s supposed to be everlasting – lovers  reunited after death:

I was going down the river to my little cottage home
The revenue men were waiting there for me
I was coming up the hill
When they caught me with the still
I'll be with you when the roses bloom again
When the roses bloom again beside the river
And the robin redbreast sings his melody

(Shirkey & Harper: When The Roses Bloom Again  For The Bootlegger)

Yes, indeed, he loves her still:

Oh, I see by the angel beside me
That love has a reason to shine
You're the one I adore
Come over here, and give me more
Then, Winterlude, this dude thinks you're fine
Winterlude, my little apple
Winterlude, by the corn in the field

(Bob Dylan: Winterlude)


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