This starts as a doleful love song with the opening couplet, "I'm searching for phrases to sing to your praises." However as the narrator moves through the moonlight, it takes a sinister turn as we hear Dylan sing: "I've been down to the killing floors. I'm in no great hurry. I'm not afraid of your fury, I've faced stronger walls than yours."
Dylan's reference to the "Killing Floors" was likely borrowed from Howlin' Wolf's song "Killing Floor," which was a hit for the blues great in the early '60s. The tune later formed the basis of Led Zeppelin's 1969 track, "The Lemon Song."