Analysis of "The Highwayman" – A Poem written by Alfred Noyes

The Background
"The Highwayman" is an interesting narrative poem written by Alfred Noyes. It was first published in the Scottish "Backwoods’s Magazine" of August 1906 edition. In the following year, it was published in the Alfred Noyes’ collection captioned "Forty Singing Seamen and Other Poems".

The structure
The poem is written in 2 parts. Part 1 contains 6 stanzas while Part 2 contains 11 stanzas. The poet made extensive use of imagery, alliteration, metaphor, simile, personification and other poetic devices in conveying his message.

The Meaning
The highwayman in the poem is unnamed. He’s actually a robber who stopped and robbed people on the highway. The entire poem tells a story of this highway robber who fell in love with an innkeeper’s daughter known as Bess. He usually visits the lady at the inn. After his visit one day, he promised the lady that he’ll come back to visit her the next day. Later on, the highwayman was betrayed by a friend what wanted to hand him over to the British soldiers. On the particular day of his next visit to the lady, the soldiers laid an ambush to capture him near the inn. They tied Bess his lover. The lady later sacrificed her life just to warn him about the ambush set to capture him. She did this by firing a gun close to her. The death of his lover forced him to seek revenge by all means. He actually died in the attempt. He was shot dead on the highway. Shortly after, the ghosts of the two lowers met once more on a winter night. They continued their love affair in the land of the other world.
From the above, the poem portrays the mysterious nature of love. It shows that the spirit of lovers still linger on even after their death. True lovers may still have the opportunity of continuing their love adventure when they depart this world.