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A COAT OF SOLID GOLD

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I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine is a rarely performed classic from Bob Dylan`s 1968 released album John Wesley Harding. 

Like so much on that particular record, its redolent with religious imagery; St Augustine of Hippo did a lot of writing on that great Catholic burden of original sin. No matter what we do in life, we are vile and depraved, because our ancestors actions cursed us way back down the line. The weight of guilt and sin is humanity`s yoke to bear as our souls have already been bought and sold.

It`s not a particularly jovial or realistic take on life, but Dylan was probably feeling a little guilty about his past attitude to God and was attempting to put some of the record straight. It`s a kind of self flagellation of the vanities; he sees St Augustine clothed in gold and wants a piece of the warmth of that glorious sun that faith can give.

Religious imagery strikes like a thunderbolt through Dylan`s writings down the years; it`s never far from all of his best work. Morality means there has to be a reckoning, and Dylan is a highly moral writer, if nothing else. No matter the evil we do in life, our sins, and those of our ancestors will find us out, so it`s always best to get it all off your chest before judgement day.

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