Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Highwayman: Poetry to Music

Often while teaching, I strive to relate similar creative elements, including figurative language, are found in both poetry and music.

A solid example is The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, first published in 1906.

The Highwayman



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.


He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
...the rest of the poem can be found here:  The Highwayman by Noyes at PoemHunter.com
In addition to the written form, Loreena McKennitt recently put the poem to music:



  1. Replies
    1. Glad you think so, Angie. Some of my students like it. They prefer the music to reading it, however (or listening to me read it).