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The Highwayman

The Highwayman


by Alfred Noyes

Analysis: 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 the sound of the wind is still there. We almost feel like gusts of wind are tearing though this poem, pushing it along. The words whirl and whip and scurry along – they have all the energy of wind at night: "Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed" (line 13) or "Nearer he came and nearer!" (line 74). The lines are urgent and exciting, like gusts of wind. Like the wind, the poem settles down every now and then, and there's a calm moment, but it always picks back up again, blowing as hard as ever.

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