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Ballad In Plain D

Bob Dylan © 1964 Warner Bros. Music

(Official lyrics @

9 June 1964

  Another Side session, Columbia Studio A, NYC - 9.jun.1964, take 5, album version  

I once loved a girl, her skin it was brown
With the innocence of a lamb, she was gentle like a fawn
I courted her proudly but now she is gone
Gone as the season she's taken.

In a young summer's youth, i stole her away
From her mother an' sister tho close did they stay
Each one of them sufferin' from the failures of their day
With strings of guilt they tried hard to guide us.

Of the two sisters i loved the young
With sensitive instincts she was the creative one
The constant scapegoat, she was easily undone
By the jealousy of others around her.

For her parasite sister i had no respect
Bound by her boredom her pride to protect
Countless visions of the other she'd reflect
As a crutch for her scenes an' her society.

Myself, for what i did, i cannot be excused
The changes i was goin thru can't even be used
For the lies i told her in hope not to lose
The could-be dreamed lover of my lifetime.

With unseen consciousness i possessed in my grip
A magnificent mantelpiece, tho its heart bein' chipped
Noticin not that i'd already slipped
To the sin of love's false security.

From silhouetted anger to manufactured peace
Answers of emptines, voice vacancies
Till the tombstones of damage read no question but
"Please, what's wrong, what's exactly  the matter?''

An' so it did happen like it could've been foreseen
The timeless explosion of fantasy's dream
At the peak of the night, the king an' the queen 
Tumbled all down into pieces.

"The tragic figure'', her sister did shout
"Leave her alone, goddamn you get out''
An i in my armor, turnin' about
An' nailin' her in the ruins of her pettiness.

Beneath a bare lightbulb the plaster did pound
Her sister an' i in a screamin' battleground
An' she inbetween, the victim of sound
Soon shattered as a child to the shadows.

All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight 
I gagged in contradiction, tears blindin' my sight
My mind it was mangled, i ran into the night
Leavin all of love's ashes behind me.

The wind knocks my window, the room it is wet
The words to say i'm sorry i haven't found yet
I think of her often an' hope whoever she's met
Will be fully aware of how precious she is.

Ah my friends from the prison they ask onto me
How good, how good does it feel to be free?
An' i answer them most mysteriously
Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?  up

 Recording dates & record list