The Ballad of the Gliding Swan

One of the songs (re-?)written(?) and performed by Bob Dylan for the TV show Madhouse on Castle Street (1962)
Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem

Capo 4th fret (sounding key E major)


C                C7
Tenderly William kissed his wife.
        F                      D7/f#
Then he opened her head with a butcher's knife.
        C           G          Am      F
And the swan on the river went gliding by.
    C                      G       C
the swan on the river went gliding by.

G
Lady Margaret's pillow was wet with tears.
Nobody's been on it in twenty years.
And the swan on the river goes gliding by.
The swan on the river goes gliding by.
Little Billy Brown will shake with fright.
He's got a new daddy and mommy every night.
And the swan on the river goes laughing by.
The swan on the river goes laughing by.
"I've got a sad surprise" the doctor said.
"A twenty-pound baby without any head."
The swan on the river went lookin' ...

Spoken version

This version of the text is recited after the song in one of the circulating snippets. I don’t know who reads them or who wrote them; they seem to be the “Captain Subtext” version.

Tenderly William kissed his wife.
Her ... were white on the kitchen knife

Lady Margaret's pillow was wet with tears.
No one has fucked her in twenty years.

The doctor gave Sally a sad surprise,
a thalidomide baby with no eyes.

Little Billy Brown will shake with fright.
He has a new uncle – every night.

My father has cancer, my mother’s insane
The girl I’m in love with takes cocaine

When will the swan begin to sing?
I am weary of everything.