From the Bootleg Series notes (John Bauldie)
This hastily written song draws closely on Biblical allusion - in the verse which combines the drowning of Pharoah's tribe and the defeat of Goliath, and in the reference to chapter seven of Revelation which speaks of the stoping of the winds on Judgement Day before the rising of the saved and the torture of the lost souls commences. It's possible he also uses a Brechtian source, the song "The Black Freighter", Pirate Jenny's fantasy of revenge. And just for good litary measure, it's conceivable that Dylan drew his "chains of the sea" image from Dylan Thomas' poem "Fern Hill", which ends: "Though I sang, in my chains, like the sea."
also, according to a posting on rec.music.folk:
Another variant on "the Lass of Roch Royal" (Child #76?), I believe. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I haven't had a chance to check this out yet.
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