Fat man lookin' in a blade of steel
Thin man lookin' at his last meal
Hollow man lookin' in a cottonfield
For dignity

Wise man lookin' in a blade of grass
Young man lookin' in the shadows that pass
Poor man lookin' through painted glass
For dignity

Somebody got murdered on New Year's Eve
Somebody said dignity was the first to leave
I went into the city, went into the town
Went into the land of the midnight sun

Searchin' high, searchin' low
Searchin' everywhere I know
Askin' the cops wherever I go
Have you seen dignity?

Blind man breakin' out of a trance
Puts both his hands in the pockets of chance
Hopin' to find one circumstance
Of dignity

I went to the wedding of Mary-lou
She said ÒI don't want nobody see me talkin' to youÓ
Said she could get killed if she told me what she knew
About dignity

I went down where the vultures feed
I would've got deeper, but there wasn't any need
Heard the tongues of angels and the tongues of men
Wasn't any difference to me

Chilly wind sharp as a razor blade
House on fire, debts unpaid
Gonna stand at the window, gonna ask the maid
Have you seen dignity?

Drinkin' man listens to the voice he hears
In a crowded room full of covered up mirrors
Lookin' into the lost forgotten years
For dignity

Met Prince Phillip at the home of the blues
Said he'd give me information if his name wasn't used
He wanted money up front, said he was abused
By dignity

Footprints runnin' cross the silver sand
Steps goin' down into tattoo land
I met the sons of darkness and the sons of light
In the bordertowns of despair

Got no place to fade, got no coat
I'm on the rollin' river in a jerkin' boat
Tryin' to read a note somebody wrote
About dignity

Sick man lookin' for the doctor's cure
Lookin' at his hands for the lines that were
And into every masterpiece of literature
for dignity

Englishman stranded in the blackheart wind
Combin' his hair back, his future looks thin
Bites the bullet and he looks within
For dignity

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
Dignity never been photographed
I went into the red, went into the black
Into the valley of dry bone dreams

So many roads, so much at stake
So many dead ends, I'm at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take
To find dignity


Lyrics submitted by roger wilco

Dignity song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentBob Dylan wrote this song after hearing that Pete Maravich had died at 41 while playing a pick-up basketball game.
    FreePabloon October 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentif one doesn't feel dignified by his peers or superiors, then they will seek a place where they can gain a sense of dignity and self-worth. dignity is intangible and extremely difficult to come by.

    frankly, i'm sick of searching.
    roger wilcoon May 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Dignity never been photographed."

    Yes, indeed.

    Bob, you are a genius.
    BoHoon February 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is one of Dylan's most profound songs. How many of us truly earn dignity and receive it?
    mwahahaaon June 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is one of Dylan's most profound songs. How many of us truly earn dignity and receive it?
    mwahahaaon June 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou cant "get" dignity from your peers or superiors, dignity is something you have to find for yourselfe. And we all look for it, but in very different directions, that is what this masterpice tells me. I espessially enjoy the third last verse, about the englishman. I picture the WW2 and the London blitz; his future looks thin. The englishman takes the pain and suffering, and according to my opinion found dignity within.

    And yes, dignity has beened photograpehd, look no further than to the picture of the student who stops 4 tanks at sinnamon square (not sure of the english translation), thats dignity.

    im not english, but respect to those who are ;)
    WChurchillon January 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthouse on fire, depts unpaid. good stuff man. one on my favorite dylan songs. i dont know how this man does it. every time i hear it it still seems to be powerfull.
    martindxon February 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanother Dylan song, another Biblical Reference "The Valley of Dry Bones" is a scripture in the bible, for whatever thats worth.
    markrobion July 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinitely one of Dylan's all time best tracks. I never tire of it. I find it moving on a very basic level, the search for honor and respect in a society replete with tawdry commercialism, exploitation, and pervasive hucksterism and dishonesty. The search has religious overtones, e.g., the "valley of dry bone dreams" is a biblical reference. "I'm on a rollin' river, in a jerkin' boat" recalls the Rimbaud poem, The Drunken Boat. Many of the lines are nonetheless puzzling, e.g., "Footsteps running across the silver sand, steps goin' down into tattoo land" -- ? I haven't a clue what that means. Yet this is a Seeker's song, I am sure of that. It is about the lifelong search for Dignity, which ultimately cannot be found outside of our own hearts.
    Mojo09on June 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my favourite Dylan songs - lyrics so simple yet poetic. I love the upbeatness of the melody, and I think Dylan's singing is at just about its best here.
    paddygilberton April 11, 2012   Link

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