By Larry Fyffe
Many of the songs previously mentioned are in the form of dramatic monologues that reveal the characteristics of the narrator thereof; some would claim of the author himself.
Though observed previously by a number of analysts of Bob Dylan’s songs and music, after he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, more and more recently published books recognize that the singer/songwriter/musician, whether directly or indirectly, draws from the artistic well of high and low works of literature (including traditional ballads) from which he often creates his own thematic variations thereon.
If I may indulge myself for a moment, it’s about time – noticed by me long ago:
The meadows still as Sunday The shut eye tasselled bulls, the goat and daisy dingles Nap happy and lazy (Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood)
The somewhat similar song lyrics below cannot be by pure coincidence:
The cloak and dagger dangles Madams light the candles (Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)
I noticed too that another Dylan song gives a nod to a poem by Edward Taylor.
Perhaps, the following song lyrics suggest the author thereof notices the same thing:
But now it's cloak and dagger Walk on eggshells, and analyse Every particle of difference Ah, gets like mountains in our eyes (Joni Mitchell: Good Friends)
That poem being:
Your want clear spectacles: your eyes are dim Turn inside out, and turn your eyes within Your sins like motes in the sun do swim: nay, see Your mites are molehills, molehills mountains be (Edward Taylor: The Accusation Of The Inward Man)
In any event, the strikingly similar lines be:
With your silhouette when the sunlight dims Into your eyes where the moonlight swims (Bob Dylan: Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands)
And more power to Bob Dylan for bringing these artists of yore to the attention of his readers and listeners.
Including a thematic twist on the “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe:
My love she's like some raven At my window with a broken wing (Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)