This article continues from “Can’t Escape from you, part 1”
In the seventh verse:
“I'm neither sad nor sorry I'm all dressed up in black I fought for fame and glory And you tried to break my back”
So, Dylan or DYLAN is resigned to his fate as he is “neither sad nor sorry” and he certainly knows his ultimate fate, as he is “all dressed up in black.” And while he lived to gain “fame and glory”, “you”, this time maybe his lost love, maybe Sara, who tried to get Dylan or DYLAN to see the folly of his ways. Now one can say that DYLAN in his resigned state, has given up that fight for fame and glory.
I find the eighth verse a little ambiguous (and what else is new):
“In the far off sweet forever The sunshine peeking through We should've walked together I can't escape from you”
The “far off sweet forever” is likely the hereafter. Is DYLAN saying to his lost love that “we should’ve walked together” and never been apart or is he saying they will or should walk together in the hereafter. DYLAN says, “I can’t escape from you”. Does he mean lovesickness or that his lost love is fated to be with him forever in the hereafter?
Connecting this thought to Psalm 49, the lost love may refer to someone that DYLAN is actually grieving, ie. a person or a relationship that has died. By reciting the mourning prayers, in Judaism, it is understood that he is connecting forevermore, to those who are dear and have gone before him. Hence, “can’t escape from you” ties into Psalm 49.
In the tenth verse, life is uncertain and changing with its “winding path”:
“The path is ever winding The stars they never age The morning light is blinding All the world's a stage”
Here, by contrast, the stars are not “falling” but represent something that is permanent. I find, “All the world’s a stage” interesting because Dylan treats his concert performances, in costume, and playing roles, like in a stage play. And never-ending concert touring is virtually the “world” for Dylan.
As Tony Attwood points out, this last line of the last verse, alludes to Shakespeare’s As You Like It:
“All the world’s is a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts” (ie. Man is always changing)
Certainly, it is evident that Dylan has changed enormously over time. This might also explain DYLAN’s description of his lost lover’s “ever changing face” further down, in the second to last verse.
In the next verse, the eleventh, Dylan recognizes there are two forces in the world:
“Should be the time of gladness Happy faces everywhere The mystery of madness Is propagating in the air”
Dylan is removed from or can’t relate to those people who are happy. He is more affected by the madness that propagates “in the air”.
The twelfth verse is also worth considering:
“I don't like the city Not like some folks do Isn't it a pity I can't escape from you?”
Contrast DYLAN’s “I don’t like the city”, where he now lives, with Country BOB DYLAN when he is starting to feel the urge to leave the country for the city, as in “Wish I was back in the city” from Watching the River Flow.
I got to believe, “Isn’t it a pity” is a reference to his good buddy, George Harrison and his song, Isn’t it a Pity, where two lovers can’t help themselves by breaking each other’s hearts.
In the Bible, when words or phrases are repeated in the same passage, they usually signify special importance and meaning. No different here, when DYLAN repeats the song title, “I can’t escape from you?”, except in this verse there is a question mark added to the end of the phrase. I may be stretching it (again) but when I read the first line in the next verse, “We ploughed the fields of heaven”, I think of Isaiah (2:4):
“God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore.”
I think Dylan is wishing that he and his lost lover can turn their personal battlefield of war into a field of peace.
The same verse ends with words of regret:
“I hope I can be forgiven If any words of mine offend”
Is this verse personal? Is it Dylan talking to Sara? The following verse accentuates this idea:
“All our days were splendid
They were simple, they were plain
It never should have ended
I should’ve kissed you in the rain”
Maybe I am missing something, but I can’t help remembering that Dylan and Sara lived happily when they lived together, for some time, simply and plainly, in the country. Their relationship, in Dylan’s or DYLAN’s mind, should never have ended, and he should have kissed her during their spat, to make up with her.
With “primrose and clover”, I believe Dylan or DYLAN is alluding to a simple life of pleasures, bequeathed to them by G-d.
Note in the last verse Dylan or DYLAN deliberately ends with “I can’t escape from you.”:
“Can't help looking at you You made love with God knows who Never found a gal to match you I can't escape from you”
Dylan or DYLAN acknowledges that his lost lover likely had many lovers after him, like him, but he still has never found a girl to match her.
But if “can’t escape from you” is connected to the mourning psalm 49, and Sara is still alive, then the lost love is not Sara. Possibly Suze Rotolo. Or again, it is DYLAN because it describes the condition of anyone who is grieving over a lost one. Or it is not the physical loss but the conceded permanent loss of a relationship?
Can’t Escape from You (Studio Outtake – 2005) and included in The Bootleg Series Volume 8, Tell Tale Signs, Rare and Unrealized, 1989-2006.