The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol By Bob Dylan

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll

-Drunk man killed Hattie Carroll

With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger

-William Zanzinger was a rich man who walked with a cane.

At a Baltimore hotel society gathering

-A party was happening in Baltimore.

And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him

-Cops called

As they rode him in custody down to the station

-Took him to jail.

And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder

-He was convicted of murder

But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears

-William Zanzinger was an abusive man who was racist and rude to everyone. Bob Dylan is saying that everyone blamed racism on the death of Hattie Carroll, but they failed to realize the real problems in society.

Take the rag away from your face

-Stop hiding yourself.

Now ain't the time for your tears

-Now is not the time.

William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years

He was 24

Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres

-Wealthy tobacco farmer

With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him

-Rich parents

And high office relations in the politics of Maryland

-Had political power.

Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders

-Didn't care about the murder.

And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling

-He was shouting out racial slurs towards Hattie.

In a matter of minutes, on bail was out walking

-The day after the murder, he was bailed out of jail.

But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize fears

-We ignore the social injustices.

Take the rag away from your face

-Stop hiding yourself

Now ain't the time for your tears

-Now is not the time

Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen

-She was a bartender and dishwasher.

She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children

-She had somewhere between 9-14 kids

Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage

-Washed dishes and took out trash.

And never sat once at the head of the table

-Was never the head chef.

And didn't even talk to the people at the table

-She was not allowed to talk to her superiors.

Who just cleaned up all the food from the table

-She just cleaned

And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level

-Was cleaning ashtrays when...

Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane

-She was killed by a cane.

That sailed through the air and came down through the room

-Zanzinger swung the cane


Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle

-With the intention to injure

And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger

-She was innocent

And you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears

-We do not recognize our social injustices.

Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears
In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel

-The judge was the "executioner"

To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level

-To show everyone is equal

And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded

-Justice will be done

And that even the nobles get properly handled

-The protesters will be taken care of

Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em

-The cops will stop them

And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom

-Nobody is allowed to be on the outside of the law.

Stared at the person who killed for no reason

-Even the face of murder will be brought down.

Who just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'

-Even with his cries, justice will be served.

And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished

-Despite hiding himself.

And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance

-He will be penalized for his wrongdoings.

William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence

-For a mere six months is all he serves.

Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears

-The social injustices Bob Dylan has spoke about is racism, political power, and all around social injustices. Despite killing a woman, Zanzinger served a short sentence and was let out free because he had power and the woman was not white.

Bury the rag deep in your face

-These injustices are known, and nobody says anything, everyone is to blame for the wrongdoings of society.

For now's the time for your tears

-Now is the time to speak up and speak out.

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