Alfred Noyes was born in Wolver Hampton on 16th September 1880. In 1896, he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself at rowing. His first volume of poems was The Loom of Years (1902). The Highwayman, Noyes's best-loved poem, is included in the volume Forty Singing Seamen and other poems. The poem is about a highwayman and his lover Bess. The highwayman is deeply in love with Bess and goes to see her one night. Tim, the ostler was also in love with Bess and was jealous of the highwayman. He quietly listens to the conversation of bess and the highwayman .The highwayman was a felon and was wanted by the red coats. Tim informs the red coats about his next visit. To arrest the highwayman, the redcoats use Bess as bait. They position themselves everywhere in the neighborhood and in the inn. They tie Bess in front the window with a musket under her breast. At midnight she hears the highwayman coming closer and closer. To save him she pulls the trigger of the musket and kills herself. On hearing the shot of the musket, the highwayman flees away. The next day, when the highwayman gets to know about Bess he is furious and spurs on his horse to take revenge. But he is shot down. Even after years, it is said that on a night like that one, one can hear the highwayman on his horse coming to the inn-door, and one can see Bess at the window with her hair let loose waiting for the highwayman. The language of poetry is significantly different from the language of ordinary conversation because it is very often the language of indirection: it uses figures of speech like metaphors, similes, and symbols to get across the experience that the poet is trying to recreate. In the following paragraphs, I have analyzed the poem and stated a few of these figures of speech.
Using the language of poetry, the poet creates a scene and makes the reader imagine his thoughts. In the first verse of his poem, Alfred Noyes,... Continue Reading