Meaning of “The Highwayman” by Stevie Nicks

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“The Highwayman” by Stevie Nicks is a poetic and mystical song that explores themes of love, pursuit, and the elusive nature of desires. The song tells the story of a highwaywoman in pursuit of the mysterious highwayman, a figure who represents both a challenge and a romantic ideal. It weaves a tale of a relentless chase, driven by passion and the thrill of the pursuit.

The lyrics paint a picture of a dynamic between two people, characterized by a mix of admiration, desire, and the complexity of unattainable love. The song touches on the idea of chasing dreams and the never-ending quest for something just out of reach, symbolized by the constant pursuit of the highwayman.

Delve into the enigmatic world of Stevie Nicks’ “The Highwayman”, a song that paints a picture of pursuit, passion, and the ephemeral nature of desire. Let’s explore the mystical journey woven in its lyrics.

“The Highwayman” Lyrics Meaning

The song opens with “Alas he was the highwayman / The one that comes and goes,” introducing the enigmatic character of the highwayman, symbolizing the elusive nature of certain desires or dreams.

“And only the highwaywoman / Keeps up with the likes of those” suggests a counterpart, the highwaywoman, equally elusive and driven, perhaps representing the pursuit of unfulfilled desires or aspirations.

The lines “And she in all her magic / With hands as quick as light / Took him to be a challenge / And went into the night” depict the highwaywoman’s intrigue and determination to pursue the highwayman, adding a sense of adventure and romantic challenge to the chase.

“And he in all his glory / Was far ahead of her / But she was never sorry / For wishes that would burn” shows the distance between them, both literally and metaphorically, and the burning desire of the highwaywoman to catch up.

The chorus, “And she wonders is this real / Or does she just want to be queen / And he fights the way he feels / Is this the end of a dream?” reflects the internal conflicts of both characters – the highwaywoman’s questioning of her intentions and the highwayman’s struggle with his emotions.

“Her horse is like a dragonfly / She is just a fool” could symbolize the highwaywoman’s swift but perhaps misguided pursuit, driven by her emotions.

The conclusion, “Today and still today they ride / Will they ever win / He the glory, she the love / And still they try again,” leaves the story open-ended, suggesting a continuous cycle of pursuit and longing.

Overall, “The Highwayman” is a metaphorical exploration of the chase for unattainable dreams or desires, portrayed through the lens of a romantic pursuit.

Why Was “The Highwayman” Written?

“The Highwayman” was likely written as a reflection on the pursuit of elusive dreams and desires. The state of mind of the songwriter, Stevie Nicks, could have been one of introspection, exploring the themes of longing, unfulfilled aspirations, and the complexities of romanticized pursuits.

The song serves as an allegory for the human experience of chasing after something that seems just out of reach, whether it be a dream, a goal, or even a romantic interest. It’s a poetic expression of the eternal human quest for fulfillment and the beauty and pain of that journey.