Bob Dylan

I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

Composed by Bob Dylan

Song Review by

"I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" is a deeply pensive ballad from Bob Dylan's down-to-earth return to the public eye following a serious motorcycle accident and was written during a nine-month period of reclusive recovery. The entire John Wesley Harding album is a return to the organic with spare, unobtrusive musical accompaniment providing the foundation for Dylan's yarns of rural myth as he spins tales of skewed American folklore. Deliberately paced, delicately played acoustic guitar and drums sway to Dylan's dream of religious philosopher St. Augustine trying to save "the very souls whom already have been sold." The text, while enigmatic, has a dreamlike quality that leaves a lot of room for interpretation but seem to convey a deep-felt, if not quit understood, guilt and sadness. Dylan's vocals are powerfully direct, trying on a newfound, raw emotional sincerity that he had seldom achieved on previous recordings. This comes through most clearly upon his "waking" during the poignant last verse with the lines, "I dreamed I saw St. Augustine/Alive, with fiery breath/And I dreamed I was amongst the ones that put him out to death/Oh, I awoke in anger, so alone and terrified/I put my fingers against the glass/And bowed by head and cried."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
John Wesley Harding 1967 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 3:55
Nashville Skyline/New Morning/John Wesley Harding 1997 Legacy / Columbia 3:55
Bob Dylan [Limited Edition Hybrid SACD Set] 2003 Legacy 3:55
Nashville Skyline/John Wesley Harding 2006 Sony Music Distribution 3:55
The Original Mono Recordings 2010 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 3:53
Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 2013 Audiosonic / Columbia 3:32
The Complete Album Collection, Vol. 1 2013 Columbia / Sony Legacy 3:54
blue highlight denotes editor's pick