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 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.
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.
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.
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.