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He did not come at noon;. And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,. 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! 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!

She heard the doomed man say—. Watch for me by moonlight;. 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. The tip of one finger touched it!

The Highwayman

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;. 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

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.

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Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,. 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. Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear.

The Highwayman | Maclean's | SEPT.,

Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there. Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,.

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  • 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;. And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

    The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

    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, 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. Source: Collected Poems Learn more, including about available controls: Cookies Policy. Email or Phone Password Forgot account?

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