"Maggie's Farm" as written by and Bob Dylan....
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well, I wake in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin' me insane
It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more
No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more
Well, he hands you a nickel
He hands you a dime
He asks you with a grin
If you're havin' a good time
Then he fines you every time you slam the door
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more
No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door
Ah, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more
No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more
Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law
Everybody says
She's the brains behind Pa
She's sixty eight, but she says she's fifty four
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more


Lyrics submitted by roger wilco

"Maggie's Farm" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Maggie's Farm song meanings
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  • +4
    Lyric Correction"She's sixty-eight, but she says she's twenty-four."

    actually in the song, Dylan says that she says that she's FIFTY-four. just wanted to point that out.
    whitexteeon January 25, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe title "Maggies Farm" is a play on "Magee Farm", where Dylan had played in 1963 in support of the Civil Rights movement. When some people were angered by the way he "moved on" to other subjects in his songs, he argued that "protest" was simplistic, and that he had the right to write about whatever the hell he felt like. This song just makes that point.
    elephant_rangeon March 19, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI would also suggest that normal people are not anything that narcissistic artists can relate to.

    I don't think artists have any special understanding of what life is about, but simply a different understanding. That is, if you can justify generalizing that much, which I don't know that you can.

    A great man once said, "An artist is a regular man with special delusions of grandeur." In fact that great man was me, and really there's no reason for me to say it now, except that I wanted to quote myself.

    As far as the meaning of this song, and any Dylan song, and really any song or any work of art...well, the artist may be the kind that knows exactly what his art means and tells his audience exactly what it means, or he may be the kind that suggests any person that wonders about the meaning of his art should decide for him or herself. I think Dylan would probably be the latter kind. There's a certain school that makes a big deal out of it--Symbolism, I think. Anyway, the point I think is that you can't say "think about what you want it to mean, and realize that's not it." Because, that is it. It may not be what the artist intended, or what everybody else thinks, but what does that matter? Personally, as an artist, I don't think I know any better what my art means than anybody else does. And I believe I know what this song means just as well as Dylan himself does. See what I mean about special delusions of grandeur?
    misterbojangleson January 23, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is from the album where dylan goes electric. After another side of bob dylan, where he departed from politically motivated songs (oxford town, blowin' in the wind, masters of war...and some others on freewheelin' bob dylan) to more surreal songs and introspective stream of consciousness lyrics. This made some people angry, both for the fact that he changed his sounds and lyrical subjects. The movie No Direction Home shows how some people began to grow angry at Dylan for straying away from lyrics that tended to fit with the left leaning audience. Maggies farm is his response. He doesn't want to work for them and their political causes. He isn't going to work on the farm. This isn't what he is trying to do. He wants to do what he wants to do. This was followed by the first song on Highway 61 revisited, Like a Rolling Stone, where he completely departs from the folk sound and goes on for six minutes on the same subject. I doubt that this song is an attempt by Dylan to talk about anything directly political.
    TozieDon November 29, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI like Napoleonin Rags interpretation. I will add my own thoughts toward his point. let's keep in mind that Dylan's biggest inspiration was woody guthrie. Now if you are familiar with "Library of Congress Recordings" featuring woody guthrie which I highly recommend for its historical spoken word stories< you will have a better grasp of what the song is about. Much like the Keene Ranch in the grapes of wrath, Maggies Farm is a large scale commercial Grower. In the 1940's the migration of "OKIES" to California left many families with no choice but to cross picket lines to work for these types of usually fruit growers. Housed in Shacks these families bought everything from a company store and were paid 2 1/2 cents a box when 5 cents was minimum pay for a man who wanted to eat. They had no other choice. The Keene Ranch is a good visual example in the G.O.W Film especially to the line and my whole point hangs on this "the national guard stands around the door. The song is historically in line with these farms as an abomination to labor. Trust me, it seems complicated and requires a history lesson. just trust me im right. (oh ya "fines you every time you slams the door" these labor camps enforced strict rules and curfews with fines) Ill keep em shorter from now on guys sorry
    Scofflawon November 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOk, I just took it at face value, didn't really ponder on who this Maggie was, just thought that the song portrayed a young man who worked hard for little cash and got no respect or feedback on his work there. Causing him to get a bit angry. But I see of course, on thinking a little further, the possibly allegorical aspects of it.
    moe2000on May 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the first time Dylan played this song was at the Newport Folk Festival, and it's a slam on the folkies.
    "Well, I try my best
    To be just like I am,
    But everybody wants you
    To be just like them.
    They sing while you save but I just get bored."

    ***Basically, screw you if you don't like me and my music.
    montresoron November 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Maggie's Farm" was first released on 1965's "Bringing it all Back Home", so i'm unsure about the Thatcher theory. I think montresor's theory is most likely...'65 was the year Dylan went electric.
    mrjoneson January 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment There are multiple interpretations of the song, i interpret that he is talking about how the government tells us that we are free and we can be whatever we want to be, which is true, but i think he feels as he's trapped in a dilemma of either too many choices, not enough choices, or his individuality of ideas that he comes up with. But we are also not free at the same time, because when we can be whatever we want to be, we are a product of the government, and he starts to make comparisons like Ex. Social Security Numbers to Serial Numbers.
    macl2on December 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment'Maggies Farm' for me is a masterpiece, wonderfully documenting the frustrations and inhumanity you encounter at work. You’ve got to serve somebody, in this case Maggie and her relations.

    I think a farm is fantastic metaphor for a company, organisation or even nation. You could even read the farm as a family, to which Dylan is related through marriage and no longer wishes to be part of.

    Genius, the man is a complete genius.
    BoHoon May 20, 2005   Link

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