The Highwayman

by Alfred NoyesPart OneThe 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—Riding—riding—The highwaymale came riding, approximately 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 also breeches of brvery own doe-skin.They fitted via never before a wrinkle. His boots were approximately the thigh.And he rode via a jewelled twinkle,His pistol butts a-twinkle,His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.Over the cobbles he clattered and claburned in the dark inn-yard.He tapped with his whip on the shutters, however all was locked and also barred.He whistled a tune to the window, and also that must be waiting thereBut the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,Bess, the landlord’s daughter,Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her lengthy black hair.And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creakedWhere Tim the ostler listened. His confront was white and peaked.His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair choose mouldy hay,But he loved the landlord’s daughter,The landlord’s red-lipped daughter.Dumb as a dog he listened, and also he heard the robber say—“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,But I shall be ago through the yellow gold before the morning light;Yet, if they push me sharply, and also harry me with the day,Then look for me by moonlight,Watch for me by moonlight,I’ll pertained to thee by moonlight, though hell have to bar the way.”He climbed upappropriate in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,But she loosened her hair in the casement. His challenge scorched choose a brandAs the babsence cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,(O, sweet babsence waves in the moonlight!)Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped ameans to the west.

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Part TwoHe did not come in the dawning. He did not come at noon;And out of the tawny suncollection, prior to the rise of the moon,When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,A red-coat troop came marching—Marching—marching—King George’s guys came marching, as much as the old inn-door.They shelp no word to the landlord. They drank his ale instead.But they gagged his daughter, and also bound her, to the foot of her narrowhead bed.Two of them knelt at her casement, through muskets at their side!Tbelow was fatality at eexceptionally window;And hell at one dark window;For Bess can watch, through her casement, the road that he would certainly ride.They had tied her up to attention, via many type of a sniggering jest.They had bound a musket alongside her, through the muzzle beneath her breast!“Now, save great watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the doomed male say—Look for me by moonlight; Watch for me by moonlight;I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell must bar the way!She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots hosted good!She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!They stretched and also strained in the darkness, and the hrs crawled by prefer yearsTill, now, on the stroke of midnight,Cold, on the stroke of midnight,The pointer of one finger touched it! The cause at leastern was hers!The guideline of one finger touched it. She strove no even more for the rest.Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.She would certainly not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;For the road lay bare in the moonlight;Blank and also bare in the moonlight;And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horsehoofs ringing clear;Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,The highwayman came riding—Riding—riding—The red coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still.Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!Nearer he came and also nearer. Her face was favor a light.Her eyes prospered wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,Then her finger moved in the moonlight,Her musket shattered the moonlight,Shattered her breastern in the moonlight and warned him—with her fatality.He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stoodBowed, through her head o’er the musket, drenched via her very own blood!Not till the dawn he heard it, and his confront grew grey to hearHow Bess, the landlord’s daughter,The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and also died in the darkness tright here.Back, he spurred favor a madguy, shrieking a curse to the skies,With the white road cigarette smoking behind him and also his rapier brandimelted high.Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;When they swarm him down on the highway,Down like a dog on the highway,And he lay in his blood on the highmeans, through a bunch of lace at his throat.. . .And still of 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 ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,A highwaymale comes riding— Riding—riding—A highwayguy comes riding, approximately the old inn-door.Over the cobbles he clatters and also clangs in the dark inn-yard.He taps through his whip on the shutters, however all is locked and also barred.

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He whistles a tune to the home window, and also who should be waiting thereBut the landlord’s black-eyed daughter, Bess, the landlord’s daughter,Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her lengthy black hair.