Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Music: Lay Down Your Weary Tune

Bob Dylan Meets Thomas Aquinas (and The Byrds were the first to sing about it!)


Bob Dylan wrote "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" in 1963 and recorded it for his album The Times They Are a-Changin' but decided not to include it. Thus, The Byrds were the first to release a recording of the song which appeared on their second album, Turn! Turn! Turn! When Dylan heard The Byrds' cover of his song, he told Roger McGuinn, "Up until I heard this I thought you were just another imitator...but this has got real feeling to it." (1)

The words from the chorus, Lay down the song you strum / And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings / No voice can hope to hum, reminds me of St. Thomas Aquinas, who’s Summa Theologica was his attempt to put in writing all that could be said about theology. He continued to write prolifically, then toward the end of his life he had a mystical experience.  “I can write no more,” he told his secretary, “for all that I have written seems like straw in comparison to what I have seen.” (2) Aquinas had experienced that which no pen could dare write, and "no voice can hope to hum."





Lay Down Your Weary Tune
By Bob Dylan

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum

Struck by the sounds before the sun
I knew the night had gone
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum

The ocean wild like an organ played
The seaweed’s wove its strands
The crashin’ waves like cymbals clashed
Against the rocks and sands

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum

I stood unwound beneath the skies
And clouds unbound by laws
The cryin’ rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum

The last of leaves fell from the trees
And clung to a new love’s breast
The branches bare like a banjo played
To the winds that listened best

I gazed down in the river’s mirror
And watched its winding strum
The water smooth ran like a hymn
And like a harp did hum

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum


Copyright © 1964, 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1992, 1993 by Special Rider Music

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1.  See Wikipedia article, Lay Down Your Weary Tune
2. See Christian History Institute article, "I Can Write No More"

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