Study Guide

The Highwayman Stanza 6

By Alfred Noyes

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Stanza 6

Lines 31-33

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;

  • Now we hear about the kiss goodbye, which is a pretty romantic moment in the poem.
  • The highwayman stands up in his saddle, and reaches up (Bess must be leaning out of a high window), just barely grabbing her hand. Then she lets her hair down from the window (the casement), a little like Rapunzel. He blushes bright red, like hot iron ("a brand") when her sweet smelling hair tumbles over him.
  • This is definitely supposed to be a sexy scene.

Lines 34-36

And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.

  • The highwayman kisses Bess's hair, and the speaker makes a big deal about its "sweet black waves."
  • Notice that he also mentions the moonlight three times in three lines – it's a big part of the atmosphere of this poem.
  • Then the highwayman grabs the reins of his horse and takes off to do some robbing. That ends the first scene in this poem.

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