Bob Dylan On His Wagon

By Larry Fyffe

Sure it be that Julius Caesar has no pocket watch, but he likely travels a lot by “painted wagon”, not on a stallion as romanticized by poets, and painters.

Placing his faith on the power of the sword, not on the what the entrails of a bull might foretell, he’s about to cross the Rubicon:

Born from a modest spring
It is parched by the heat of summer
But then it's volume was increased by winter ...
(Lucan: Pharsalia ~ translated)

So too Julius Zimmerman romanticizes his persona:

I crossed the Rubicon on the fourteenth day
Of the most dangerous month of the year
At the worst time, and the worst place
That's all I seem to hear
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)

The city of Rome corrupted by greed is envisioned by Caesar as in distress; the city personified as female, wants him to be tolerant, and hold her hand.

However, Julius, as a son of Jove, finds no peaceful option available; certainly it’s not his fault, but civil war it will be.

Like a lion, he leads his legions across the Rubicon, and onward to Rome:

His shall hold the guilt who forces me 
To act as your enemy
Then he let loose the bonds of war
And led his standards swiftly over the swollen stream
(Lucan: Pharsalia ~ translated)

In the song lyrics below, it might be said that corrupted America, figuratively speaking, replaces Rome as the New Babylon.

Hyperbole abounds in the lyrics beneath – the Almighty is not left unscathed since He allows the New  Promised Land to be lost.

Eden’s gone again:

Well, you defiled the most beautiful flower in all of womanhood
Others can be tolerant, others can be good
I'll cut you up with a crooked knife, Lord
And I'll miss you when you're gone
I stood between heaven and earth
And I crossed the Rubicon
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)

A Scottish Romantic poet called upon in the following song lyrics.

The low road represents the path for the dead:

Oh, ye'll take the high road
And I'll take the low road
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye
(Robbie Burns: The Bonnie Banks Of Loch Lomond)

Taking the cue from the ballad above, the Caesar in the following song lyrics be not as confident of success as the one in Lucan’s epic poem:

Take the high road, take the low road
Take any one you're on
I poured the cup, I passed it on
And I crossed the Rubicon
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)

Apparently, only Mona, the Moon Goddness, keeps him hanging on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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