The poem took roughly two days to complete. "The Highwayman" is said to be "the greatest ballad poetry for oral delivery in existence."
It was first published in 1770 in Arthur Johnson's collection of poems titled The Works of Mr. Pope.
Highwaymen were common men who worked as guards on major roads outside of town walls. They used their positions to rob travelers of their valuables. The poem describes the life of a highwayman who uses his skills to aid in robberies but eventually gets caught. After being sentenced to death, he decides to confess all his crimes in return for a pardon from the king. However, before he can finish his confession, he dies peacefully in his bed.
The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which is the meter of classical English poetry. It is known by how it sounds rather than what language it is written in. Therefore, although it was written in English, many people believe it to be an original Scottish poem because of its sound.
There are several theories about the author of the poem. Some say it was written by William Cowper while others claim it was Thomas Gray. Still others have suggested Robert Burns or even James Joyce.
It employs strong imagery to depict the setting ("the road was a gipsy's ribbon, circling the purple moor-") and repetitive words to emphasize movement ("A red-coat troop came marching-marching-marching-"). The poem also contains many alliterative lines - words that begin with the same letter - which some scholars say enhances its dramatic effect.
Its fame is based on several factors. First, it is one of only three English poems written before 1700 to become popular throughout Europe (the others are "Gulliver's Travels" and "Paradise Lost"). Second, it has been interpreted by many poets and musicians since its first publication in 1750. For example, Edward Lear included his own version of the ballad in his book Nonsense Songs and Other Poems (1846). A modern poet who has written his own version of the song is John Dowland.
Finally, "The Highwayman" has been used as an example in studies of oral poetry because it is so effective at capturing listeners' attention through its rhythmic structure and vivid images.
It is believed that its original author is Sir Thomas Malory, but this is uncertain. What is known for sure is that it was originally published under the name "Wat Tyler," probably around 1512. He was a revolutionary who led an uprising against taxes imposed by King Henry VIII.
The song "The Highwayman" is written in three sections. The first section is made up of six sestets (six-line) stanzas, the second of nine, and the third of two. The poet creates a soothing... Examine the structure and substance of Alfred Noyes' poem "The Highwayman," concentrating on the issue of love and marriage. Use words from the poem to illustrate your analysis.
The highwayman rides tonight, his horse is white with black shoes and stockings; the highwayman's name is Tamerlane. He has a dark mask over his face and a pistol at his side. When he comes to the bridge across the river the lady will not go with him because she does not love him. So the highwayman shoots her dead.
Now the police come along and they want to know who the highwayman was and where he came from and where he went. But nobody can tell them anything because he had a mask on his face and his name was Tamerlane so no one knew who he was. So they shot him too!
At first glance this poem appears to be about a tragic love story between the lady and the highwayman. However, upon further examination this poem turns out to be about violence and murder. The lady rejects the highwayman when he asks her to go with him because she does not love him. So he shoots her dead.