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William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gath'rin'
And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears.

William Zanzinger who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering and his tongue it was snarling
In a matter of minutes on bail was out walking
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears.

Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn't even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger
And you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
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
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way witout warnin'
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fearsv
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears.



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/b/bob_dylan/the_lonesome_death_of_hattie_carroll.html

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  • u
    +1
    UnregisteredMar 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm
    I have puzzled over the refrain but now perhaps have some idea:
    first few lines of "philosophize" represent those who dont truly understand the tragedy, but at the end when the 6 months absurd sentence is handed down, dylan now says its time for you to cry due to the injustice plain and simple.
  • u
    +1
    UnregisteredDec 18, 2011 at 4:53 am
    The rich get away with crimes against the poor because the system is owned by the rich. The poorer the victim the less worry the rich have,
  • u
    -0
    UnregisteredFeb 27, 2014 at 1:11 am
    This story is very sad. I learned about this song from season 6, episode 3 of Homicide: Life on the Streets, which took place in Baltimore. I was disheartened, thought unsurprised, to learn that it was a true story. Another rich scumbag literally got away with murder, then went on to live an unrepentant life. People like Bob Dylan are invaluable to our cultures.
  • u
    -0
    UnregisteredAug 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    I taught this novel two years ago with my senevth graders. It was such a fun unit. There were so many elements i introduced the kids to through the book (music, history, television, cost). Oh and the story! It's slow paced, and because of that my students wanted to complain frequently, but it was one of those stories that took ahold of them when they were not expecting it. By the end after the big ending they were all beside themselves. Powerful stuff.

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