The Highwayman
The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes

The Highwayman Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Noyes liked to keep his poetic style pretty traditional, and that really shows in this poem. The poem is broken up into even, regular chunks, and the pattern of the rhymes doesn't change at all fro...

Speaker

By the end of the poem, it's clear that "The Highwayman" is a ghost story, and we think the speaker of this poem tells it like that. We imagine this speaker being like a camp counselor, with all th...

Setting

Have you ever watched an old horror movie, like Night of the Living Dead? If not, go do it, that one especially is awesome. You can imagine the scene, right? Big black clouds in front of a white mo...

Sound Check

We feel like the natural world really sets the tone for this poem, since we start out in the chaos of a stormy night. As the story takes over, we don't hear as much about the weather, but we think...

What's Up With the Title?

"The Highwayman" refers to the main character in this poem, but it means a whole lot more than that. The idea of the criminal-as-hero is a pretty old one, and the highwayman, the dashing thief on h...

Calling Card

Old-Fashioned Poems with Classic Forms and PlotsAt a time when a lot of poets and writers were exploring new territory, Noyes was looking backward to the nineteenth century. No judgment here, but y...

Tough-O-Meter

(3) Base CampIt might take a minute to get into the old-fashioned setting, and there are a few tricky words here and there. Once you're past that, this is a great story, full of action, romance, an...

Brain Snacks

Noyes was only 26 when he wrote the highwayman. (Source)Noyes called James Joyce's legendary novel Ulysses the "foulest book that ever found its way into print." As you can probably tell, he was no...

Sex Rating

PGThere's a ton of violence in this poem, but not much in the way of steaminess. That scene with Bess and her perfumed hair is kind of steamy, but thing don't go very far. We might call this poem m...

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