Bob Dylan presents in his song lyrics bits and pieces of autobiographical material. The stories about his adventures as a time traveller are particularly interesting – his journey back to the Elizabethan era, for instance:
Though of course nobody living today actually sees him there, the previous ‘Untold’ article entitled ‘The Mystery of W.H. Solved’ supports Dylan’s claim that he also encounters Willy Hughes, William Shakespeare’s boyfriend. Dylan runs into Willy for the last time in ‘Scarlet Town’, where on another time trip, Bob – for compassionate reasons – changes Hughes’ last name to ‘Holme’.
Apparently, some readers are skeptical that Dylan ever met the Bard or his ‘sweet’ buddy for that matter. However, it’s clear that the American singer/songwriter would have had to be fluent in Elizabethan English that the two Wills speak:
(William Shakespeare: Sonnet 154)
While referring to the early ‘psychology’ based on the elements of water, fire, earth, and air, the author of the above sonnet rhymes the word ‘prove’ with the word ‘love’ though in modern English ‘prove’ is pronounced the same as today’s ‘move’.
However, in Shakespeare’s day, the words ‘move’ and ‘prove’ rhyme with ‘love’:
(William Shakespeare: Sonnet 25)
(Hamlet, Act II, sc. 2)
It’s obvious that, due to his travels into times past, Bob Dylan, in some of his writings (not vocalized when sung) lapses into communicating in the language that Elizabethans use:
That is, the singer/songwriter silently rhymes in his mind the words ‘remove’, ‘love’, and ‘ move’. Modern scholars examining Dylan’s song lyrics, like Christopher Ricks in ‘Dylan’s Visions Of Sin’, miss the autobiographical influence of time travel thereon, and declare that pairing words like ‘move’ and ‘love’ be merely the creation of ‘sight’ rhyme.
Oscar Wilde speculates that Shakespeare, like Dylan, provides Willie Hughes with an alias, calling the boy ‘Hues’ in “The Sonnets”. Not all of Dylan’s songs reflect on the writer’s life, but it is important to keep an open mind for that aspect in his lyrics lest their true meaning be swept aside by a broom too broad.
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