By Alfred Noyes 1880—1958
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.
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.
And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened. His face was white and peaked.
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter.
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—
“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”
He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.
He did not come in the dawning. He did not come at noon;
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord. They drank his ale instead.
But they gagged his daughter, and bound her, to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest.
They had bound a musket beside her, with the muzzle beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest.
Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and 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—
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 nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.
He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shouting a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high.
Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with 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 highwayman comes riding—
A 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.
There were once men, playing a lying game.
They had no heart, they knew no shame.
Like Sirens, what their songs told,
were stories of flesh on beds of gold.
Merely this, is what their songs were about,
for wine and flesh they lusted sparing doubt.
For all their bubbles, fizzle, show and gleam,
true love for them was but a funny little dream.
Some, it is true, had the voices of blue suede kings.
Yet, danced on rubble, coughing smoke, 'n' kissing rings.
Thankfully, their lyrics were quite naturally cold,
faintly sparkling true hearts, despite their gold.
No songs can, in the spirit, ever remain,
or one's path meaningfully ingrain,
unless dotted by a hearty blood stain.
Still, some blind and sleepy were enticed,
those who dropped their heart, who'd lost their feist.
Much like a robber, who rests his gun in a heist.
Others, scrambled to plug their ears
wishing to avoid both song 'n' tears.
They knew not, that when fighting fear,
'tis not enough to keep it from getting near.
Simply stuffing their ears with wax,
failed to fade the hottest new tracks,
cause tanks groove on these tracks.
As tanks, they pop 'n' roll till you die.
Therefore... relax, pick your time, and lie,
not to your conscience, but on the ground,
so they pass over you, leaving you safe 'n' sound.
"You cannot fear what you haven't tried."
Remember, Odysseus wasn't deaf, only tied.
He, chose to fight and listen to the Sirens' songs,
using threads of logic, to keep from snapping their thongs.
Tightroping on wrong, he but fell to the song.
He wailed and spat, yet, somehow grabbed the gong.
And after a short but needed rest, after this soul defining test,
he did not lament the virgins lost, but carried on with his quest.
He, knew the lying men and their calls were real,
but to forms he didn't kneel, nor aimed to cut a deal.
He, stuck to his dreams doing his best to warn and tell the rest,
that though Sirens charm, they harm. "'Tis Ithaca who gives zest.'"
So, next time you see the chanting men of lies,
and their enchanting plastic bunnies in bow ties,
know that rhyme and shine may polish coal,
but listening to your heart should be the goal.
"With a twist of logic to correct your steer,
you will run through fear, and forever, keep it rear."
This hollowness is tinged with thick longings a mystery that shadows your whole existence it at
Times is palpable it’s like you can touch it roll it in your fingers this elusive connection that fades in
And out its read on your face but you are unaware of its origin but in its grip you are swept up into a
Monastery high on a mountain as the vista staggers you with the grandeur a conciseness void fills
Instantly with resplendent light you see two figures the brilliance is to great seeing is impossible you
Can’t make them out but a lost familiarity floats unbound to the soul what rapture a great emotional
Waterfall crashes the body begins a dance of wonder the mind is cleansed from all impurities the heart
Finds depths of satisfying love it never has known before a peace pervades it forms a vortex that pulls
Everything into to the waiting soul it sways as the waves pass over the soul feels the mind go into
Overdrive it sees flocks of white doves flying under skies with white broken clouds above them who
Stretched the clouds and then left a great whole that creates perspective first white doves then height
Is hinted then at the perfect spot a whole in the cloud carries you aloft then stunning flows up ward with
Your feet on the ground you just continue higher and higher I stole the airy heaven there I was riveted
To hollowness an emptiness that filled me till I could receive no more the joy I felt if you are from
The desert, mountains, or forest you can go to many areas live there a long time but on those occasions
You close your eyes to dream they instantly fill with trees sand or granite peaks we are sojourners in a
Strange place yes we will ever identify with the strata of rock the soil and grass that is the earth’s
Vesture and then the mist rolls in and our minds are troubled I have no trouble associating with all
Earthen things but something seeps within this human frame it suggests an allegiance a primary
Elemental cohesive tie that I know is unbreakable but then it all begins the fading I am left trembling
Exposed because of a great moment of importance has slipped through my fingers the thought floats
Through me you can drink water but you will thirst again soulful expediency churns and throbs it makes
Me to know that I am so much more by faith it starts to create a processions of thoughts mortal is my
First birthright but continue the facts on and you are immortal coldness want sorrow belong and will
Reside in the mortal you so many times are in pain and loneliness they are in a bitter winter happiness was the first
Casualty everything else you loved fell like dominos stop stand still break out the tent that is made from
Moon beams create a colossus over head that speaks and sings of your immortal roots truly you will find
Hidden springs the unicorn may have vanished from earthen waterholes but he will drink from the
Nearby pool the night will stir with enchantment and maybe for the first time you will see the
Unalterable Truth time is getting ready to flee as shadows the trifles that man so desired will be
Consumed by glories Power and brilliance to stand you need to kneel and with mortal tongue pray that
You will be given the Grace and power to see and read the true word that will make you truly ready to
Be sons and daughters of the great Holy King Jesus all your life he has been there but he does have a
Demand that you follow Bible salvation or you will be as the word says a thief or a robber that tries to
Enter in unlawfully and you will be cast out you just can’t say or want to go to heaven you must obey
What his word says and you will truly live out of this world while confined in it
Yet again, I got robbed
There was no smoking gun or sharp-cutting knife
But still I got robbed
And this unarmed robber spared my life
He spared my life so I could feel the trauma
He spared my life cos he enjoyed my beat-yourself-up drama
I always put on a show after each soul-crushing robbery
How does he get away with robbing me without any form of thuggery?
Next time, I will kick him in the groin
I will look him in the eye and say his name.
You will not rob me of another precious coin!
You evil thief who loves to tear, break and maim!
And even when I feel him approaching in the dark
I will scare him away with a light that knows no fright
I will imprint on his face an indelible mark
To remind him of the last time he tried to rob me of my light
I will say to him loud and clear,
You will not rob me ever again
Yes, you will not rob me again
You evil unarmed robber called FEAR
They say that time is the great thief,
Robber of beauty and of looks,
I have heard it spoken times before,
Have read of it in books,
But as the years go by with you,
I realize more and more,
You just get that much better,
So much better than before.
For what may have caught my eye,
Was surely your pretty face,
But over the years I have come to know,
Your true beauty and inner grace,
For your true beauty is not seen,
Not what you choose to show,
It is your beauty that lies inside,
The beauty I've come to know,
And as the years pass on by,
You age just like fine wine,
And every year that passes by,
Makes me glad you're mine.
Far from your beauty ever fading,
I feel that I must say,
You just keep on getting better,
And more beautiful every day.
Sometimes, we should see ourselves through the eyes of a child.
The way they works to impression their love of joy.
The way they brings a smile to you.
With nothing but total love.
Through your eyes you can reflect.
That you wouldn't forgo knowing them for anything.
Sure you hear that one or maybe two reminds people of you.
And like the denial of a robber.
You profess to your family and friends that ain't true.
While knowing the honest truth is they do.
Through your eyes.
You see hope of dreams you wish for them.
Hopes you want to come true.
All because they are apart of you.
And through your eyes.
You see their love.
And as time passes.
You glad to be blessed.
That your seed is consider some of the best.
Which through your eyes.
You can honestyly confess.