Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
"Rip down all hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.



Lyrics submitted by roger wilco


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41 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:"Using ideas as my maps...."

    I have that line tattooed. There's no way anyone can dispute the beauty of these lyrics. It's poetry by a genius poet.
    cherujon January 14, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:Zero, you had it right the first time. He was talking about his past when he would point fingers at leaders/politicians/teachers out of anger for them having preached their ideas to the public, but he didn't realize that he was no better by doing the same thing.

    Anyway, you guys pretty much hit the nail on the head in my opinion. He's taking a step back from the "savior of a generation" status everyone bestowed on him and basically saying, "You know, I was growing up and expressing my ideas through my work, thats all. I didn't necessarily have all the right answers for you all...I know more now than I did then."
    songofishon November 19, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:I would really like to know one thing. How could someone in their teens come up with this:
    "Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
    Too noble to neglect
    Deceived me into thinking
    I had something to protect"
    I was 50 before I saw the truth of this kind of serenity. I mean the ego taking over and a fighting attitude towards perceived threats that have nothing to do with what we really are in essence. Read The Power of Now if you interested in what i am getting at.
    tomconway53on April 17, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:"Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now" Man, no words for that!
    DarkLedBetteron July 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:How could you forget the other one? He's the best of the lot - Roger McGuinn from the Byrds, the band that best interpreted Dylan and made his music accessible to the masses.

    The bset rendition of this song is on the 30th anniversary concert done in about 1993. A classic, as is Mr Tambourine Man.

    Song's meaning? About being indoctrinated at a young age and thinking that you knew it all and that there was nothing left to learn. Later you realise that you have a lot more to learn ie. "But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now"
    chrisb1on January 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:dylan is lamenting having been too idealistic for compromise, finding himself the mirror image of those he defined as 'the enemy' and realizing the world is more grey than black/white. he's describing being more aware of the world the way it is rather than how he felt it could be. it's a bit of a reconciliation between an older man (who feels younger, having been freed from his idealism and hard-charging, never-ending, and exhausting soldier for righteousness character) and settled to being more realistic about his surroundings and where he and society are going. or something.
    Infinitly Surrealon October 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Dylan accepted an award presented by a New York liberal institution called the Emergency Civil Rights Committee on the evening of December 13, 1963. Dylan said "It's taken me a long to time to get young, and now I consider myself young." Perhaps this is where the refrain from this song came from, and his rejection of well-meaning left rhetoric.
    BernadetteBenedicton June 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:"another side of bob dylan" was released in 1964, a year before he went electric at newport.

    the reaction of the crowd to his electric sound has nothing to do with song.
    sun_gianton January 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:To quote another 20th century genius,Bucky Fuller-"We're all born a genius, but life has a way of de-geniusing you". I believe that this lyric indicates that open mindedness gets crushed early in life due to indoctrinations of many kinds .We can only become young and open minded again when we are mature enough to realize this and learn to see and observe with the honesty of a true Artist.
    motomanon December 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:For what it's worth, my interpretation is it's similar to what Michael Stipe wrote in 'What's the Frequency Kenneth' in the line 'irony was the shackles of youth'. The irony being that when you're young you're so certain you know everything as if you're old & wise and when you're older you are less certain as if you're actually young and don't know much, more circumspect and aware things can be shades of grey. So it's the irony in 'I was so much older then I'm younger than that now', that's it's all ass(arse) about face. Older wiser is being freed from the shackles

    Great to hear from other passionate Dylan fans out there.
    skiwion October 21, 2011   Link

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