If this isn't a thought provoking question, I don't know what is! I am giving you my interpretation, but, there are no guarantees with Dylan! I tend to believe a lot of people over interpreted a lot of his stuff because he was so well read. He used complex wording and phrasing to express simple ideas. But, who cares, what's not to love about Bob Dylan?
So, here goes:
*Crimson flames tied through my ears, rolling HIGH AND MIGHTY TRAPS, : All fired up with visions and ideals that inspire such passion that you get catch up in their traps, they snare you, ’possess you’ if you will...compel you to take up their cause. Causes that roll through your mind like flames, ensaring you.
*Bounced with fire on flaming roads, using ideas as my maps: causes creating a direction, a course of action. Feelings of passion directed by the formation of ideas as to how to achieve these passions, goals, ideals.
*We’ll meet on the edges, soon, I said Proud beneath heated brow: Taking these ideals to their limit and pushing the envelope of the status quo, walking the edge where new thought dismantles what came before. Proudly, impassioned, going forward. Protest of the old as the new charges in, creating a new edge to be walked consisting of the old and new, known, and unknown.
*Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now: Irony at it’s finest. The power of the unabashed, newfound sense of authority one feels in youth, compared to the openness, surrender, wisdom, receptivity one feels after living more of life, becoming more flexible in one’s perception of right and wrong...good and bad, learning how to chose your battles more wisely.
*Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth. "Rip down all that hate, I screamed, lies that life is black and white spoke from my skull: A voice inside his mind screaming to the world to stop the debilitating prejudice of racial ignorance, hate separating people and creating wars. It’s a lie that life is black and white. Life is something much deeper containing black and white. He questions concepts of duality as evidenced in his next line:
*I dreamed romantic facts of musketeers foundation deep somehow: One for all, and all for one. A notion that comes from a very deep understanding of life. The soul of unity. Everyone fighting for the rights of one another. Romanticising ideals that arise from a deep foundation within humanity.
*Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now: Ideals he worshipped, as his life has moved on are changing. As he has experiences the hard knocks of the world, he questions whether these earlier ideals can actually be reached. Or, if they can be reached, maybe it's not in the way he originally thought they could. He’s not even so sure it can happen now. Perhaps he was naive. More irony. When I was busy being a grown-up, I was really immmature in my ability to comprehend the changes needed then.
*Girls faces formed the forward path, from phony jealousy to memorizing politics of ancient history, flung down by corpse evangelists unthought of though, somehow: He was very influenced by women and at first, relationships were catching a great deal of his attention, as well as ’The corpse evangelists’ (steeped in tradition, dead to new thought) who "flung down facts about politics, history, and reality that they did not give ’deep thought to’ (unthought of though, somehow) who tried to mold people’s perception of reality and right and wrong. A time in his life.
*But I was so much....etc...: He’s saying, he was too old to challenge that nonsense because he thought he was being grown up, mature, but, he’s younger than that now...more flexible, open, he sees beyond the limitations and superficial allure that caught him up before.
In the next stanza, he questions what he ’learned’ equality was by the self proclaimed authority figures. He found their definitions falling way short, as this definition was not being enacted in the real world. The word was precious to him, and stoked feelings of devotion, but as he became older, and experienced the ignorance in the world still prevalent, he began to wonder at how feasible that word really was.
*In a soldiers stance....etc etc. He is talking about a fervent, almost disciplined, skilled criticism towards those who taught what life was supposed to be like, rather than honoring individual perception, original thought. They were the enemy. He didn't’t fear then, that the minute he himself began ’preaching’ his own ideals, he would be just like them...ie, the enemy. Now he is questioning himself and his motivation.
His path then, became confusing for him, a push pull, as he began to challenge his own prior thoughts about life.
*Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats, too noble to neglect, deceived me into thinking I had something to protect