Alfred Noyes

(16 September 1880 – 25 June 1958 / Wolverhamton)

The Highwayman - Poem by Alfred Noyes

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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Form: Ballad

Comments about The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

  • 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

    14 person liked.
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  • 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 Maria Stentiford (6/16/2010 11:42:00 PM)

    This is a great poem.However a few of the words are incorrect unfortunately. (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

  • Rookie Emma Wainwright (2/12/2010 12:23:00 PM)

    This is a great poem Ihave worked on it this week and made a preformence to show th the class (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joriz De Guia (2/5/2010 12:39:00 PM)

    ., this poem is a very nice poem.i have been reading this for years now and it makes me cry.LOL.this poem shows that if you love someone you would do anything for her or him even if you are in an illicit affair.hehe dot was here! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Liezl Columnas (2/4/2010 10:29:00 PM)

    As we discuss this poem, it is really an unbelievable doings just for the sake of love.....because the girl who named as Bess and the highwayman really fight for their love even though they knew that it was a forbidden love that the father of the girl don't want the guy to be with his daughter......imagine how hurt is was for the boy...and what they did is really can make you inspire and feel that is a true love, ....that they both died for their love and they mean to do it, for the 2nd and the no ending life......: =) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ronnie Male (2/4/2010 6:55:00 PM)

    The Highway Man shows that if you love someone you'd do anything for them. I wish all boys would do the for a girl... Doesn't work that way.

    : ( (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Grim Reaper (2/4/2010 7:45:00 AM)

    Although the two lovers perish in a very crucial death but they're love for each other is an everlasting pledge.As I finish reading the poem I was touched by the highwayman's death it was courage and love that gave him the power to keep going on. The highwayman is a man of action because he truly agree his promise to the girl.Maybe love is not found in words but it is found in the way you define it. ^_^ Haheha.! Werty was here.! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kaela Acosta (2/4/2010 6:05:00 AM)

    ....a very heart touching poem that teaches us how to fight for our love...This poem is magnifecent...the poem really incougages us to be true to the person we love till the end of our life...hope this poem will always serve as an inspiration to all of us... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Erika Eguia (2/4/2010 5:11:00 AM)

    , ., tHe pOem wAs aMaziNg, ., iT is aLl aBoUt tHe fOrbidDen lOve sTorY oF tHe hIghwAy mAn (rObBer) aNd tHe lAndloRds dAuGhter Bess, ., aFter we tAcklEd tHe pOem I rEaliZed tHat LOVE wOuld cOnqUer aLl, ., eVen tHouGh deAth cOmes aLong iN beTwEen tHe tWo pErsOns wHo aRe bOth iN loVe tHey sTilL fiGht fOr it aNd diE fOr it, ., (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Menchie Celicious (2/4/2010 3:52:00 AM)

    the poem is is an ode of a forbidden love between a robber and a daughter of a landlord which in the end both of them died but death couldn't tear them apart for the reason that their affection to each other is true and is an ode that gives us idea what true love really means.......even though both of them died, for me it is still a happy ending (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Vezah Marie Rojas (2/4/2010 3:40:00 AM)


    after we tackled up the poem...i realize that you can do everything in the name of love...that's why Bess committed suicide because of the 'FORBIDDEN LOVE'...Forbidden Love? Yes, because Bess' father didn't want the highwayman to be the lover of his daughter. Being a natural individual you can do anything just to fight for your 'LOVE'
    -MARY FAITH AGUSTIN- (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Vezah Marie Rojas (2/4/2010 3:23:00 AM)

    This poem is really amazing...I find it hard to understand at first but when my teacher explained it, I felt an unhappy emotion...and as I understand about this is about 2 couples who loved each other, Bess and the highwayman. When Tim the ostler knew about the relationship, he told King George about their relationship and since in that time highwayman is against the authority, all highwayman must be captured. But when Tim told the king, i believed that he only did this because of his jealousy towards the highwayman because Tim loved Bess but Bess loved the highwayman...when King George sent his men to capture the highwayman, I knew that in their dirty minds that the main reason they went to the landlord's place was to rape Bess because every man would be honored to have Bess in their life...I was so amazed on how brave the couples were because they are willing to die in the name of love...They never thought twice about their love...I was touched on the part where Bess killed herself to warn the highwayman about the king's men but because the highwayman loved Bess so much, he is willing to fight until the end for Bess and in the end they both died. And their love is still felt in the place where they both died and proving that love is eternal. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kimberly Ticzon (2/4/2010 12:11:00 AM)

    the poem was very good. as i've understood the poem its about two lovers who fight for their love. bess and the highwayman die at the end because bess warns the highwayman that its a plot that they are going to kill him.

    hiiii peepholessss; D (Report) Reply

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