Old-Fashioned Poems with Classic Forms and Plots
At 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 you'll notice that his poems have an old-fashioned feel. They generally have noticeable, carefully planned rhymes, and deal with beautiful images and classic stories. In the case of the highwayman in particular, he turns back to the old country tales that had fascinated poets who came before him. These are twentieth century poems, but they are purposefully made to feel a lot like what Wordsworth was writing a hundred years earlier. Noyes was a conservative guy, at least as far as poetry was concerned, and it shows in his poems. He's building on the past, not looking to tear it down.