Posted by: Anurag Ojha | June 30, 2008

The Highwayman (Alfred Noyes) 1906

I came across a video tribute to Hayao MiyazakiMemories Dance“, the Japanese animation legend, by his studio Ghibli. The video featured a song by Loreena McKennitt “The Mummer’s Dance”. I loved the video and the song. It transported me to a land far away of mountains, trees and of virgin streams. I checked out other songs from Loreena’s album The Book of Secrets. A song particularly caught my eye. it was titled “The Highwayman”

A quick search led me to the original poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes,1906 on WikiSource.

“The Highwayman” is a narrative poem by Alfred Noyes, published in 1906. The poem was written when Noyes was a young man, and brought him immediate and long-lasting success. It tells the story of a nameless highwayman who is in love with an innkeeper’s beautiful daughter named Bess. Tim, the insanely jealous hostler (stableman) betrays the highwayman to the authorities; an action which paves the way for the brutal death of the lovers.

I listened to the audio narration of the poem. It was spellbinding. Absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend the narration by David Shaw Parker and the female voice on WikiSource page. My favourite stanzas of the poem

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him— with her death.

Check out this animation on the poems imagery! I really liked it

  • Here is a version narrated by David Shaw Parker. I liked his narration best.
  • Here is the version of The Highwayman beautifully sung by Loreena McKennitt.
  • Check out these wonderful illustrations of the poem from the book Volume Two, Storytelling and other Poems with clips of the song by Loreena!
  • Here is a video adaptation of the imagery of the poem by Fleetwood Mac in their video Everywhere. It does not quite convey the mood and the song doesn’t help either.(included below ^_^)

Its so much fun to find connections! Am i wasting time :p ?

If you liked this post, drop in a comment 😉 !


  1. Hola ! Pitchblack is of Amrita School of Engineering, Kollam. Well, I cannot say its better or inferior to Heretic. Heretic I guess plays Death, whereas we play 4 different genres and are still experimenting. It doesn’t mean anything, but jus makin a point.

    Thanks for droppin in, and between, you ve got an interesting blog !


  2. you have great blog man

  3. Thanks ^_^

  4. this is undoubtedly one of my favourite poems of all times….i’ve read this a million times over n still it feels wonderful reading it again on ur blog. thank u 🙂

  5. wow im writing a letter on the highwayman and i though it would suck cause it was 4 skool but that video was so inspartional thnx whoeva put that on

  6. Wow – i also did a search for audio versions of this poem, but I did not find the video or the song you posted.

    I wrote a blog post about another illustrated version of The Highwayman – you might like. Check it out:

  7. We are preparing a movie based on the poem and Macleish Day (great-great nephew of Archibald Macleish) who will play the Highwayman recently recorded a reading of the poem which we have added video and images to. You can find it on Youtube, Facebook and Myspace.

  8. well, the poem is for sure wonderful. It hadn’t been so touching in the class as it was no. wonderful presentation!

    three chears 4 u- hip-hip hurray!!!!!!!1

  9. hello friend, can I ask for the reference of this poem in APA format? I badly need it. Thank you very much much.. ^^

  10. […] The Highwayman […]

  11. One of very few heroic poems i’ve cherished lifelong. Thanks for your research and time spent setting up this page.

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