The Dark Romantic Dylan

By Larry Fyffe

Singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan places in many of his song lyrics visions of a recurrent view of history wherein light and dark forces are entangled with one another on both the micro- and macro- levels  ~ a viewpoint that the artist considers has roots in reality.

Julius Caesar, who invades Italy, is partially bald which he covers up by wearing a laurel wreath.

Could be said worthy of playing with ambiguous words in order to present a burlesque thereof:

How long can it go on
I embrace my love, put down my hair
And I crossed the Rubicon
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)

Another time, though ambiguous as all-get-out, it could be mused that Athena’s “aegis” serves a similar purpose:

How long can it go on
I based my love up on top of my head
And I crossed the Rubicon
(Bob Dylan: I Crossed The Rubicon)

Signs of aging are depicted as a thing of breauty in the lines below:

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind
(John Keats: To Autumn)

Less so the correlative in the song lyrics beneath:

The killing frost is on the ground
And the autumn leaves are gone
I lit the torch, I looked to the East
And I crossed the Rubicon

And in another rendition thereof:

The killing frost is on the ground
And the early days are gone
I lit the torch, I looked to the East
And I crossed the Rubicon
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)

Drawn from a following brighter poetic well:

The old that is strong does not whither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost
From ashes a fire shall be woken
A light from the shadows shall spring
(JRR Tolkien: All That Is Gold)

But more in touch with the dark Romanticism expressed below:

Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern
in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place
And cried incessantly, "I seek God, I seek God!"

The madman sarcastically tells those at the market place whither God hath gone:

 "God is dead. God remains dead.
And we have killed Him"
(Friedrich Nietzsche: The Gay Science ~ translated)

Not the first writer to say who is responsible for the death of God, or at least of His Son:

Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him
Not only because He had broken the Sabbath
But also said that God was His Father
Making Him equal with God
(Gospel Of John: 5:18)

Thus, it could be said, bringing a retort that is directed not at St. Augustine, not at Christ, not at God, but at St. John, The Lord of the Flies, who twists with his forked tongue, the Word of God:

I'll cut you up with a crooked knife, Lord
And I'll miss you when you're gone
(Bob Dylan: Crossing The Rubicon)


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4 Responses to The Dark Romantic Dylan

  1. Larry Fyffe says:

    Printed lyrics above that sound incorrect:

    can for “could”
    better for “redder”
    hide for “heart”

  2. Larry Fyffe says:

    * does not wither/ Deep roots ….

  3. Larry Fyffe says:

    Corrected printed lyrics given in video:

    What are these dark days I see

  4. Larry Fyffe says:

    *thing of beauty

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