"Drifter's Escape" as written by and Bob Dylan Dylan Bob....
Oh, help me in my weakness
I heard the drifter say
As they carried him from the courtroom
And were taking him away
My trip hasn't been a pleasant one
And my time it isn't long
And I still do not know
What it was that I've done wrong

Well, the judge, he cast his robe aside
A tear came to his eye
You fail to understand,he said
Why must you even try
Outside, the crowd was stirring
You could hear it from the door
Inside, the judge was stepping down
While the jury cried for more

Oh, stop that cursed jury
Cried the attendant and the nurse
The trial was bad enough
But this is ten times worse
Just then a bolt of lightning
Struck the courthouse out of shape
And while everybody knelt to pray
The drifter did escape

Lyrics submitted by nitsirhc

"Drifter's Escape" as written by Dylan Bob Bob Dylan


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Drifter's Escape song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentSomeone needs to help me with this one
    musically and for some intangilbe reason this is decidedly my favorite song of all time, but I can't grasp with clarity it's meaning
    John Wesley harding as an album is filled with stories varying from biographical to biblical but are similar in their vague nature
    Drifter's Escape clearly tells the tale of a hobo who has been unjustly or frivolously imprisoned and a cold hearted legal system eventually overpowered by nature
    SO what does all that mean?
    Is this a particular tale or a narrative of the human condition? What is the primary comment Dylan wishes to express
    In the movie Masked and Anonymous which Larry Charles, a Seinfeld writer co wrote with Dylan there is a scene where Dylan's character Jack Fate and his band play the song
    Meanwhile the character discuss the song's meaning
    Penelope Cruz states that she loves the songs Dylan plays because they are not precise and they are completely open to interpretation
    Meanwhile elsewhere John Goodman and Luke Wilson are talking about it
    Luke Wilson says the song is about trying to get to heaven, stating "you gotta know the route before you start out"
    but John Goodman concludes the scene stating that the song is written with a Jekyl and Hyde underlying, with Hyde narrating this particular story.
    that the song is about killing your conscience and accepting debochary as saintly if it please your appetite and your desire
    is the courtroom that of the law, that of God or that of one single man's psyche?
    nmustaphaon July 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe jury is the 'mob mentality' that seems to negate the possiblity of emotion on a personal level.

    the drifter is a free spirit, and though he has done wrong, he's a good man. the judge can empathise, and therefore is troubled even though he knows he himself has done the right thing.

    the jury (mob) are comprimising the beauty of what is an upsetting but beautiful moment. all references to mobs (the jury, crowd outside) are negative, while all the personal references are emotive and sensitive.

    i guess i think its about the power of the individual, and the fact that crowds can create pressure and subvert that power... but when everyone else is following the crowd (bending down to prey) the individual can rise above it and come out the victor!
    stowawayon July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe drifter is Dylan himself. He describes his status in the years of 65 - 66. The bolt of Lightning is his motorcycle accident, which he "used" to escape
    bob_dylan_fanon December 10, 2007   Link

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