Alfred Noyes

(16 September 1880 – 25 June 1958 / Wolverhamton)

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The Highwayman

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
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101 person liked.
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Comments about this poem (The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes )

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  • Rookie T. R. Crissian (11/29/2011 1:54:00 PM)

    Oh, how this poem is powerful! So strong with the feelings it creates.....every time I read it I shiver. Whether it's a shiver of excitement or fright I still love it! ! ! Oh, such a poem.... *sigh* (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points R K Summers (11/2/2011 3:42:00 PM)

    This poem... It gives me a shiver. A good shiver, though. The singer Loreena McKennitt put this to music, and her voice makes the words come alive. Look it up, it's amazing! I love this poem so much, one of my favourites. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sarah Taylor (2/25/2011 6:56:00 AM)

    I read this a few years ago in primary school and I loved it then, a really good poem with a really good rhythm! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Threa Rae Tudas (2/10/2011 10:55:00 PM)

    The poem, HIGHWAYMAN, is one of the best poem I ever read because the story is so peculiar..Its unusual for a robber to love & court a red-lipped & black-eyed girl who he never thought would love him back more than he showed his love to Bess..I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS POEM.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Cs Vishwanathan (1/7/2011 7:22:00 AM)

    This is one of those poems which are always remembered by every school- boy/girl who had read it. I also do. Another poem by Noyes which I remember reading is the one of Robin Hood. One of the reasons for remembering these schooldays poems is their expert versification due to which their rhythm and lilt become embedded in memory and remain part of our boyhood consciousness. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Christopher Jones (10/7/2010 10:20:00 AM)

    I first came across this poem at the age of 9 or 10 when my junior school teacher read it out to the class. He read it to the rhythm of a horse trotting along the road and I immediately fell in love, both with the poem and with horses – not to mention highwaymen.

    Two or three years later, in senior school, my new English teacher also read this poem to the class. I can only assume that this particular teacher was not very fond of English Literature, (even though this was supposed to be his subject) as he read it in a very bored, mono-syllabic voice with absolutely no rhythm or inclination whatsoever. I thanked God that I had already been aware of this poem as, if I had relied on this particular teacher, I would never have experienced the true value of such a wonderful work of art.

    Now, in later life, I have heard it recited many times (always with feeling and rhythm) and I have recited it to others. It never fails to move me and, I hope, others get the same pleasure. Unlike some other contributors, I don’t mind too much about the odd word being incorrect, it does not really detract from the beauty, the sadness and the joy portrayed in Noyes’s original work. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Twas Brillig (9/30/2010 7:25:00 PM)

    I found this poem in grade school (1960's) and found it touched a nerve of sorry and loss that it still does to this day. I love to memorize and recite poetry, but this is one I am unable to do- my voice always cracks on the line 'He turned and spurred to the westward...' right after Bess makes her sacrifice, and I can't even read it to myself without getting teary-eyed, like I am right now. But please- have your editors look up the original text - there are several errors in the text on this site. In the first line it should read 'among the gusty trees' not 'upon', and in the line referred to above, it should be 'spurred to the westward' not 'spurred to the West' etc. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Rinki Nandy (9/30/2010 12:59:00 PM)

    I first read the poem as a schoolgirl in 7th grade and visualized it from the first word to the last. The rhythm, the beauty and the ancient storyline pierced my heart and went straight through leaving me with visions i'd have eveytime i close my eyes and think of the poem. Even today when i read it after years, the entire episode flashes and has an everlasting effect....this makes me speechless and i won't score it coz it's beyond numbers... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Greg Barnes (7/22/2010 7:23:00 PM)

    50+ years ago my mother recited this poem on long drives. I used to listen intently as my imagination created the landscape of Noyes' metaphor (or allegory?) . Last week I recited the first 2 lines of the 1st stanza. Her face lit up & within 5 minutes she recited the poem word for word. Not bad for a 79 year old. She had learned it as a child listening to her older sister memorizing it for an elementary school class. I intend to memorize it & recite it this Christmas as a gift and a tribute to her. I was & am a lucky son. Thanks, mom. You are the best! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Wilford Fraser (6/26/2010 12:19:00 PM)

    class as part of a mandatory assignment back in 1986. All I can say after reading it again for the first time in 24 years I can't believe I did it. And after all these years, the only line I was able to recall from this poem was 'Her face was like a light'. Such wasted potential. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie William Sparkes (6/15/2010 9:05:00 PM)

    An unforgettable teacher read this unforgettable poem to me when I was eleven years old in England. The profoundness of it struck me in a way that I never forgot it. At 73 years of age, it is still my favorite poem with a timeless impact. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Emily McAbee (2/17/2010 7:41:00 PM)

    In class, we are focusing on this poem in our L.A. books. My teacher loves this poem/story about a highwayman. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie R. L. Paschal (2/15/2010 2:41:00 AM)

    Salute to Miss Emma Royal, who taught us this fine poem at Daggett Jr. High, Fort Worth, TX,8th grade,1958. I can still hear her inimitable voice intoning all those image-rich words. (Report) Reply

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