A Tempest Commonplace

Collection by Scott Warmuth

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Material that Bob Dylan may have considered while writing his new album. A collection of observations from numerous keen-eyed individuals.

Scott Warmuth
The sixth verse of "Narrow Way" begins with, "This is hard country to stay alive in." I think that Dylan is referencing a key line from the 1953 film Escape From Fort Bravo. The film is about a Union prison fort that holds Confederate soldiers. William Holden stars as Captain Owens. The film begins with Owens returning to the fort with an escaped prisoner, who he has been torturing by dragging him behind his horse on a rope.

The sixth verse of "Narrow Way" begins with, "This is hard country to stay alive in." I think that Dylan is referencing a key line from the 1953 film Escape From Fort Bravo. The film is about a Union prison fort that holds Confederate soldiers. William Holden stars as Captain Owens. The film begins with Owens returning to the fort with an escaped prisoner, who he has been torturing by dragging him behind his horse on a rope.

This passage from "To Avis Keene" by John Greenleaf Whittier is referenced in the song "Scarlet Town."

This passage from "To Avis Keene" by John Greenleaf Whittier is referenced in the song "Scarlet Town."

A revised verse in "Long and Wasted Years" published in the 2016 lyrics book shows Dylan using a line from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey.

A revised verse in "Long and Wasted Years" published in the 2016 lyrics book shows Dylan using a line from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey.

The Tempest song "Pay In Blood" uses a line from The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters by Ovid. The same page includes a line that Dylan used in the song "Workingman Blues #2" on his Modern Times album.

The Tempest song "Pay In Blood" uses a line from The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters by Ovid. The same page includes a line that Dylan used in the song "Workingman Blues #2" on his Modern Times album.

In "Soon After Midnight" Dylan sings, "Charlotte's a harlot, dresses in scarlet." For folkniks with an interest in the prurient this brings to mind the song "Charlotte The Harlot," as recorded by Oscar Brand for instance. Charlotte is the "cowpuncher's whore." In 2011 I wrote an essay on Dylan's identification of himself as cowpuncher in Chronicles: Volume One. Check out the link.

The New Yorker and Bob Dylan the Cowboy Dandy

In "Soon After Midnight" Dylan sings, "Charlotte's a harlot, dresses in scarlet." For folkniks with an interest in the prurient this brings to mind the song "Charlotte The Harlot," as recorded by Oscar Brand for instance. Charlotte is the "cowpuncher's whore." In 2011 I wrote an essay on Dylan's identification of himself as cowpuncher in Chronicles: Volume One. Check out the link.

The brothel-keeper from this passage of the Peter Green translation of Juvenal's Satire 6 shows up in one of the 45 verses of Bob Dylan's song "Tempest." I first wrote about Dylan's use of Juvenal in two posts on my blog back in 2009. Check out the link.

Together Through Life dispatch #7 - Sideshow Bob

The brothel-keeper from this passage of the Peter Green translation of Juvenal's Satire 6 shows up in one of the 45 verses of Bob Dylan's song "Tempest." I first wrote about Dylan's use of Juvenal in two posts on my blog back in 2009. Check out the link.

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "You've been cooped up on an island far too long" (this phrase also shows up on page 139).

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "You've been cooped up on an island far too long" (this phrase also shows up on page 139).

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "Rags on your back just like any other slave"

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "Rags on your back just like any other slave"

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "They tied your hands and they clamped your mouth" (and consider the other line from page 132, as well as the photo of the Pallas Athena fountain on the cover of Tempest).

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "They tied your hands and they clamped your mouth" (and consider the other line from page 132, as well as the photo of the Pallas Athena fountain on the cover of Tempest).

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "Your bones are weary, you're about to breathe your last"

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "Your bones are weary, you're about to breathe your last"

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "They'll trap you in an ambush before you know" and "You've been cooped up on an island far too long." Other lines from this translation show up in "Duquense Whistle" and "Early Roman Kings."

SITO ITALIANO DI BOB DYLAN

Compare this passage from the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey to "Roll on John": "They'll trap you in an ambush before you know" and "You've been cooped up on an island far too long." Other lines from this translation show up in "Duquense Whistle" and "Early Roman Kings."

In the song "Long and Wasted Years" Dylan sings, "What you doing out there in the sun anyway?/Don't you know the sun can burn your brains right out." This seems to be derived from the folktale "Uglier Than A Grinning Buzzard," specifically the version retold by Louise Anderson in the book Talk That Talk: An Anthology of African-American Storytelling. It is a tale about a trickster who gets tricked. A clever monkey is out in the sun, about to give the buzzard his comeuppance.

In the song "Long and Wasted Years" Dylan sings, "What you doing out there in the sun anyway?/Don't you know the sun can burn your brains right out." This seems to be derived from the folktale "Uglier Than A Grinning Buzzard," specifically the version retold by Louise Anderson in the book Talk That Talk: An Anthology of African-American Storytelling. It is a tale about a trickster who gets tricked. A clever monkey is out in the sun, about to give the buzzard his comeuppance.

Considering Dylan's fondness for Juvenal's Satire 6 one must consider that the line "Gonna put you on trial in a Sicilian court" in "Early Roman Kings" may be tied to this passage. Susanna Morton Braund, in her translation, notes that "The tyrants of Sicily, Phalaris of Agrigentum and Dionysius I of Syracuse, were bywords for cruelty." Check out the link.

Goon Talk

Considering Dylan's fondness for Juvenal's Satire 6 one must consider that the line "Gonna put you on trial in a Sicilian court" in "Early Roman Kings" may be tied to this passage. Susanna Morton Braund, in her translation, notes that "The tyrants of Sicily, Phalaris of Agrigentum and Dionysius I of Syracuse, were bywords for cruelty." Check out the link.

This passage from "The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier is referenced in the song "Scarlet Town."

This passage from "The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier is referenced in the song "Scarlet Town."

This passage from "The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier is referenced in the song "Scarlet Town."

This passage from "The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier is referenced in the song "Scarlet Town."