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The HighwayMan

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The HighwayMan that we all know and love from Stevie's Bella Donna album was actually a poem.  This poem was written by Alfred Noyes(1880-1958)and I wonder if this poem inspired Stevie to write the song.  I'm going to give you 2 versions of this song, Stevie's and one that is done by Loreena McKennitt(which is Alfred Noyes poem except shortened some)and is on her album titled 'The Book of Secrets.' If you do not have this cd, you should really consider it, she has a very wonderful and powerful voice.
I will also give some background on Alfred Noyes at the end.
 
 

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The HighwayMan
 
Alas he was the highwayman
The one who comes and goes
And only the highway-woman
Keeps up with the likes of those
And she in all her magic
With hands as quick as light
Took him to be a challenge
And went into the night
 
And he in all his glory
Was far ahead of her
But she was never sorry
For wishes that would burn
Enter competition
She chases beneath the moon
Her horse is like a dragonfly
She is just a fool
 
And she wonders is this real
Or does she just want to be Queen
And he fights the way he feels
Is this the end of the dream
 
And then he sees her coming
Heartbeats on the wind
Considers slowing down
But then...he could never win
And she...out in the distance
Sees him against the sky
A pale and violent rider
A dream begun in wine
 
And she wonders is this real
Or does she just want to be Queen
And he fights the way he feels
Is this the end of the dream
 
A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
on a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears
 
Today and still today they ride
Will they ever win
He the glory...
She the love...
Still they try again
He the glory...
She the love...
Still they try again
He the glory...
She the love...
And still they...try...again
1975 Welsh Witch Music

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The HighwayMan
 
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.The moon was ghostly galleon tossed upon the cloudy seas.The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor.And the highwayman came riding, riding,riding,.The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
 
He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,. A coat of claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;. They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to the thigh!.And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,. His pistol butts a-twinkle,. His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.
 
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,. And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;.He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there.But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,.Bess, the landlord's daughter,.Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
 
"One kiss my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize tonight,.But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;.Yet if they press me sharply,and harry me through the day,.Then look for me by the moonlight,.Watch for me by the moonlight,.I'll come to thee by the moonlight, though hell should bar the way."
 
He rose upright in stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand.But she loosened her hair I'the casement!His face burnt like a brand.As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;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.
 
He did not come at the dawning;he did not come at noon,.And out o'the twany sunset, before the rise o'the moon,.When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,.A red-coat troop came marching, marching, marching.King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
 
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 the casement, with muskets at their side!.There was death at every window,.And hell at one dark window;.For Bess could see, through the 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 barrel beneath her breast!."Now keep good watch!"And they kissed her..She heard the dead man say-.Look for me by the moonlight.Watch for me by the moonlight.I'll come to thee by the moonlight, though hell should bar the way!
 
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!.Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,. Cold, on the stroke of midnight,.The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
 
Tlot-tlot!Had they heard it?The horse-hoofs were ringing clear.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 came riding,.Riding, riding!. The red-coats looked to their priming!She stood up straight and still!
 
Tlot, in the frosty silence!Tlot, in the echoing night!Nearer he came and nearer!Her face was like a light!.Her eyes grew wide for a moment!She drew one last deep breath,.Then her finger moved in the moonlight,.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 she stood.Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with own red blood!  Not till the dawn he heard it;his face grew grey to hear.How Bess, the landlord's daughter,.The landlord's black-eyed daughter,.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.With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!.Blood-red were the spurs I'the golden noon;wine-red was his velvet coat,.When they shot him down on the highway,.Down like a dog on the highway,.And he lay in his blood on the highway,with the bunch of lace at his throat.
 
Still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,.When the moon is ghostly galleon, tossed upon the cloudy seas,.When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,.A highwayman comes riding,.Riding, riding,.A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

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It seems, from what Loreena states in her cd, that she had come across a local tourist map(of 18th century rural England)which confirms that there was indeed a highwayman in the area a mere two hundred years ago!
 
 
Alfred Noyes
English poet, a traditionalist remembered chiefly for his lyrical verse. 
Noyes first volume of poems, 'The Loom of Years(1902)', published while he was still at the University of Oxford, was followed by others that showed patriotic fervour and a love for the sea.  He taught modern English literature at Princeton University in the United States from 1914-1923.  Of Noyes's later works, the most notable is the epic trilogy 'The Torch-Bearers'(1922-1930), which took as its theme the progress of science through the ages.  His autobiography, 'Two Worlds for Memory'appeared in 1953.
Encylopedia Britanica

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Rock A Little

The horse gif on this page is from a website named, Mikes Free Gifs.  Mike has what seems to be a million gifs and he is very funny!  So, if you're looking for more gifs for your website please check him out. Just click on the horse below to go to his site.  Enjoy!

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Gallop your way to Mike's Free Gifs!

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Gypsy Boots