The Highwayman
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The Highwayman

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  2,516 ratings  ·  89 reviews
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.

In Alfred Noyes's thrilling poem, charged with drama and tension, we ride with the highwayman and recoil from the terrible fate that befalls him and his sweetheart Bess, the landlord's daughter. The vivid imagery of the wr...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 23rd 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

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This book might be the single biggest factor in my daughter's fascination with the macabre and spooky.

Seven years old now, Brontë loves anything horror. She loves to be scared, and her artwork reflects that. She draws zombies and vampires and all the girls in her pictures look like the lead actresses from any Tim Burton movie you'd like to choose.

When she was very little, just a toddler, some friends gave us The Highwayman, and it's rhythm fast made it a favourite around our house. Both Brontë...more
As I am starting to write this review I am listening to "All Soul's Night" by Loreena McKennitt, which is fitting because she is the reason why I read this poem. I find it impossible to talk about this poem without talking about her. She's great; she's a bard.

I first encountered her poem on the first ablum of McKennit's I ever listened to - this was back when they were still producing tapes. I still have the tape, by the way. On her The Book of Secrets McKennitt set this poem to music and sang i...more
I have always loved ballads as a child, because of the wonderful romantic dramas that came packaged in attractive rhyming stanzas. Yet according to me, out of the hundreds of ballads that I've read/heard, i guess that this is forever going to be the BEST one ever!

We had it as a part of our school text when I was in my 8th standard, and thanks to the wonderful skills of our lovely English teacher Mrs. Basu, we went on to appreciate it even more than if I'd just read it on the go! Even though its...more
This version combines the classic, tragic--romantic poem with art deco 1920s style illustrations. An unusual but visually stunning and beautiful mix.
★ Jess
My absolute favorite poem of all time. It is written incredibly well, full of remarkable imagery and an utterly heartbreaking plot. Its a quick read, but I will never forget this stunning piece of work.
Tell me this is not the greatest stanza written in the english language:

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,
And the highwayman came riding-
Riding, riding-
I've been in love with this poem since I first read it in my 7th grade English class. The terrible fate of the two lovers, Bess and her Highwayman, is so tragic. I love how the ending implies that their spirits still linger at the old Inn after death. It's a beautiful poem and a personal favorite of mine.
The Highwayman has a girlfriend called Bess who, while the highwayman is off committing his robberies is tied up and used as bait to catch him. How will she warn him?

Fantastic for teaching metaphors and similes. The story line had really hooked the children in my class (low ability ks3/upper ks2)
lots of resources including a fantastic comic of the final stanza which shows the moon upon clouds when using metaphors to describe this.
even in the EDP the children who had been to previous schools...more
Eşkıya ve Hancı kızı Bess'in öyküsünü anlatır. Ay'ın gökyüzünde hayalet bir gemi gibi süzüldüğü bir gecede karşılaşırlar. Bess hanın üst kattaki penceresinden bakmaktadır ve Eşkıya'nın geldiğini görür. Eşkıya gelip ondan bir öpücük ister, Bess onun yerine upuzun simsiyah saçlarını uzatır. Saçlarının kokusunu alan Eşkıya, "Beni bekle, şu an bir görevdeyim fakat cehennem engel olsa bile geri geleceğim." der. Ve gider...

Yoldan Kral'ın adamlarının ayak sesleri yankılanır bu sefer. Hancı ve kızı Bess...more
Charlotte Stevens
The Highwayman is a dark poem set in 18th Century England. It tells the story of a Bess, the landlord’s daughter, whose dull life in a small rural town is turned upside down when she meets and falls in love with the strapping nameless Highwayman. Vowing to return he leaves her, longing for him to come back to her. However, marching into the village, King George’s men soon arrive. Much to her surprise Bess is tied up and gagged by the military men, as she hopes the Highwayman will return and save...more
Sharon Sye Rhorer
Another favorite poem of mine!
Rowan E.
Highway Man by Alfred Noyes is about a highway man that goes to an inn keeper's daughters house and they are in love. But, someone tells the the police about them. I think people should read this because it's not that complicated to understand but it is still interesting. By that I mean there aren't so many twists and turns you'll get confused, but there is excitement and tension.

I think the author was trying to say, that people will do anything to protect the people they love. I think that bec...more
Naytari Oak
All of the most luscious tragedies end like this. Why would someone want to read one that isn't? My love for these stories is what has warped my own mind's ability to sacrifice for true love. I would rather my true love live without me than be dead on a highway. Might sound selfish of me, but in some of my most passionate private thoughts I replay like a movie what would happen if I didn't. I don't mind to die, I do it everyday, I could sacrifice myself in an instant, but the thought of my love...more
The Highwayman, this short narrative Western poem, is a widely beloved story of a highwayman and his tragic fate after his visit to his sweetheart, black-eyed Bess. The poem has a musical rhythm that lingers in mind and ear especially if you're familiar with Loreena Mckennitt's magnificent performance of the poem( yes, I seem to be recommending Mckennitt quite much lately, but this cover is too powerful to be ignored: The Highwayman.)

And what a beautiful, beautiful poem it is! Noyes's words are...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Collins
This is a dark and moving a poem about a highway man who falls in love with the daughter of an inn keeper. The level of descriptive writing and good selection of powerful images in the book make it accessible to a range of children with varying capabilities. This poem could be slightly overwhelming or confusing for children younger than year 5 and I would suggest that is circulated within years 5 and 6 only.

There are some great cross curriculum opportunities within this poem due to it being set...more
I couldn't find the edition I really wanted, and this one they say was the closest match. This book is apparently out of print and hard to find. My version was published in 1983 by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard books and illustrated by Charles Mikolaycak.

I forgot how much I love this poem. It's so romantic and heartbreaking to read (though you really must read it out loud). Plus the illustrations are amazing. It is the story of the Highwayman, a robber, who is in love with as she is with him, Bess...more
I first read it ten years ago and again a few months ago. A clever little poem. I would describe it as dark, chilling, thought provoking, provocative and abrupt. When I first read it I was quite young with a seemingly endless imagination, It was found lodged in my primary school library and I still have doubts to whether I should have read it so young. Anyway, I believe that it led me to appreciate and be prepared for the darker more gothic side of fiction, and of course movies in popular cultur...more
The highwayman is a story of love and loss. The highwayman loves the landlords daughter and they have to keep their love secret.
I read it with school and found it spooky but worded splendidly with lots of metaphors and similes. A good read and I praise it will be a classic as it is now.
Huda AbuKhoti
The writer's given me an amazingly vivid and clear picture of all the events occurring during that highwayman absence... All the little details of his love, Bess, waiting and being being scared of him getting hurt, shooting herself to warn her lover and that tragic end for both...

If not for the last lines of this poem I would've been quite upset with the writer and that painful love story. I do believe that in certain winter nights, his ghost still rides down the highway to meet Bess.

I do not b...more
Rebekah Jones
I love this tale. It's that beautiful mix of love and tragedy. It's also a bit dark, which I quite like.

To review this book as a whole though, I should include my thoughts on the accompanying artwork. Although I can understand how much of challenge Murray Kimber had in illustrating a story that must already have been illustrated so many times, I think the poem trips over the imagery when stanzas clearly talking about a horse are illustrated with a motorcycle. The art as a standalone, I quite lik...more
The Highwayman is one of my all-time favorite poems (and, unfortunately, the first thing that comes to my mind when someone says "love poetry"; even though I know this is a terrible idea of what true love is, I feel that this the most romantic love can get). I know it by heart and recited it to myself frequently.

"The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas."

"Breeches of brown doe skin that fitted with never a wrinkle--his boots were up to the thigh"!

"I'll come to thee by the moonlight...more
Apr 24, 2008 Meagan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of ghost stories
Recommended to Meagan by: one of my elementary school teachers
The Highwayman is "offically" a children's book, but it is easily one of the most devastating, tragic tales of romance ever put onto paper. It's not so appropriate for a child, unless you as a parent are prepared to explain away the tragedy to your child, or you are a child with morbid sensibility (like I was). The truly AMAZING thing about this book, though, are the illustrations. Completely beautiful and frightening, the story is told in two parts: the living world, and the afterlife. The illu...more
Rhissanna Collins
Sometimes the illustrations matter. This edition of The Highwayman is matched and enhanced by Keeping's wild and fragile images.
This book holds the story of a haunting love story between a highway robber and black-haired daughter of a landlord. The illustrations are done in a sort of melting watercolor collage, where the illustrations overflow slightly into the white space of the margin, giving it the feel of watching a silent colored movie. The faces are never drawn in, so that one feels that one is constantly looking at colored shadows or silhouettes of the characters. Overall, this is a beautiful depiction of a haunti...more
Sneh Pradhan
liked it .... reminded me of the film " Braveheart "....
Feb 22, 2011 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All. Very interesting poem. *.*
Shelves: romance, classics, poetry
"The wind was a torrent 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."

Oh does this poem bring back memories! In seventh grade, my Lit teacher made the whole class memorize the first and/or second verses. Of course after so many years I don't remember a single line of the Highwayman. But I always remember the first...more
This is one of my favorite poems of all time.
The poem is always a beautiful, tragic classic. However, I have to specifically point out the illustrations for isbn 0688021174 by Charles Mikolaycak (unfortunately out of print). This particular rendering of the poem features stunning black and white images accompanied by the sole color red to highlight important areas. You'll find the red-coats, of course, in red, as well as Bess's ribbon and other major highlights. The effect is really beautiful. If you have the opportunity to pick this versi...more
Corissa Rain
love the twist
Pathways gleam and shadows loom over the story of an innkeeper’s daughter and the “highwayman” she loves. An old and famous poem of banditry, jealousy, love and sacrifice is given new life as the illustrator shifts forward this romantic tale and sets it during the Prohibition era. Alfred Noyes’s poem, that makes its point with repetition and meter, is ably accompanied by the geometric patterns, sepia tones with lurid reds and cool blues of the illustrator, Murray Kimber.
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Alfred Noyes was the son of Alfred and Amelia Adams Noyes. His father was a teacher and taught Latin and Greek and in Aberystwyth, Wales. In 1898, Alfred attended Exeter College in Oxford. Though he failed to earn a degree, the young poet published his first collection of poetry, The Loom of Years, in 1902.

Between 1903 and 1908, Noyes published five volumes of poetry including The Forest of Wild T...more
More about Alfred Noyes...
Secret of Pooduck Island Collected Poems of Alfred Noyes - Vol I Collected Poems of Alfred Noyes Tales of the Mermaid Tavern Forty Singing Seamen and Other Poems (1907)

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“And still on a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy's ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding--
The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred,
He whistles 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 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.”
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