An Overview of the Life and Literary Works of Alfred Noyes
Alfred Noyes was born in Wolver Hampton on 16th September 1880. In 1896, he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself at rowing. His first volume of poems was The Loom of Years (1902). The Highwayman, Noyess best-loved poem, is included in the volume Forty Singing Seamen and other poems. The poem is about a highwayman and his lover Bess. The highwayman is deeply in love with Bess and goes to see her one night. Tim, the ostler was also in love with Bess and was jealous of the highwayman. He quietly listens to the conversation of bess and the highwayman .The highwayman was a felon and was wanted by the red coats. Tim informs the red coats about his next visit. To arrest the highwayman, the redcoats use Bess as bait. They position themselves everywhere in the neighborhood and in the inn. They tie Bess in front the window with a musket under her breast. At midnight she hears the highwayman coming closer and closer. To save him she pulls the trigger of the musket and kills herself. On hearing the shot of the musket, the highwayman flees away. The next day, when the highwayman gets to know about Bess he is furious and spurs on his horse to take revenge. But he is shot down. Even after years, it is said that on a night like that one, one can hear the highwayman on his horse coming to the inn-door, and one can see Bess at the window with her hair let loose waiting for the highwayman. The language of poetry is significantly different from the language of ordinary conversation because it is very often the language of indirection: it uses figures of speech like metaphors, similes, and symbols to get across the experience that the poet is trying to recreate. In the following paragraphs, I have analyzed the poem and stated a few of these figures of speech.
Using the language of poetry, the poet creates a scene and makes the reader imagine his thoughts. In the first verse of his poem, Alfred Noyes, metaphorically describes: the wind to a river, which is flowing through the mountain like trees: the moon to a ship, which floats in a sea of clouds: the road to ribbon, twisting and turning, shining in moonlight, and passing through a marshy piece of land. In the same verse, the poet introduces the highwayman riding a long distance on his horse before arriving to the inn-door. This can be noticed and the poet puns on the word riding and repeats the word over and over again. Another example of the same style of poetry can be seen in the seventh verse, where the red coats arrive to the landlords inn. In this example the pun is on the word marching. In the second and the third verse the poet describes the highwayman and Bess. The highwayman is dressed in rich attire and when he arrives Bess is waiting for him there. The lovers are parted apart, as the landlord doesnt want Bess to meet the Highwayman. This is because in verse, the highwayman is a wanted convict by the red coats. The poet also introduces Tim who takes of the horses and is also in love with Bess, and is jealous of the highwayman. Unlike the highwayman, the poet presents Tim in a very rustic manner.
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Alfred Noyes was born in Wolver Hampton on 16th September 1880. In 1896, he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself at rowing. His first volume of poems […]