What does Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts mean?

Bob Dylan: Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts Meaning

Album cover for Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts album cover

Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts Lyrics

The festival was over and the boys were all planning for a fall
The cabaret was quiet except for the drilling in the wall
The curfew had been lifted and the gambling wheel shut down
Anyone with any sense had already left town
He was standing in...

  1. bobdylanisgod
    click a star to vote
    Jul 15th 2023 !⃝

    My dad and I used to watch a lot of westerns. They’re really simple, when you get right down to it. The struggle between good and evil. Watch “Unforgiven” for the best western experience.

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 20th 2021 !⃝

    Think of Lily and the Jack of Hearts are the same person...He is a cross dresser that is out to get Big Jim...

  3. MarcO
    click a star to vote
    Jul 12th 2015 !⃝

    As I read it the situation in the song is a little different than what is suggested. Big Jim and Rosemary are backstage with Lily as the Jack of Hearts burst in dressed as a monk and cocks his gun. At this point Big Jim already knows that someone is out to get him which is why he is not surprised. Rosemary also knew she was going to sacrifice herself to stop Big Jim. So they are all in on it, including the robbery. So, the brand new coat of paint could be a brand new false wall to hide the boys while they drill from the cabaret into the bank.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 26th 2013 !⃝

    a pen knife is usually referred to as a pocket knife. it has only 1 blade that folds into the handle. usually no more than 4" long

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 24th 2013 !⃝

    One thing, I have to admit, among many things which I find fascinating and rather confusing about this story which is uravelling here, has to do with the weapon used to kill Big Jim (whoever that is supposed to be).

    In one place we see one of the ladies (Rosemary) seeing the reflection of herself in the KNIFE.

    Later, "...the door to the dressing room burst open and a cold Revolver (or could it be a COLT Revolver?) clicked." By the way, very interesting to note that Rosemary was right beside Big Jim (supposedly) when this happened.

    Then lastly, near the end of the story..."Big Jim lay covered up, killed by a 'PENKNIFE' in the back..." I don't know exactly what a "penknife" is, or how it differs from any other knife, but...you get my point...

    Does anyone else have any ideas about these things, or is it just me?

  6. m320753
    click a star to vote
    Dec 13th 2012 !⃝

    this song is in the same vein as black diamond bay. it has a theme that contains many more themes/ side stories in it's main theme which is about a love affair, thank turns into a robbery, to a trial and back to the love story between 2 stars of a traveling music show. it also has a willing to be mistress just yearning to tell the jack of hearts( DYLAN?) that he can have her at his will. as he usually does dylan just goes off on little side trips in writing a song. probably just a dream he once had

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 8th 2012 !⃝

    Has anyone ever considered the possible similarities between this song, and the story (and movie) of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid?

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 2nd 2011 !⃝

    This is a robbery taking place w/some other side bars happening along the way

More Bob Dylan songs »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Demon Of The Fall anonymous
Rebel Yell anonymous
Softcore anonymous
The Chains Are On anonymous
Bounce anonymous
Lake of Fire anonymous
Evil Woman anonymous
Hello Kitty anonymous
The Mighty Quinn anonymous
Hermit the Frog Hjkxx100
Hole in the Bottom of my Brain anonymous
Pretender (Acoustic) anonymous
Disintegration anonymous
Love Love Love anonymous
My Darling anonymous

(We won't give out your email)