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Alfred Noyes: Literary Genius Essay

752 words - 4 pages




Alfred Noyes,the British poet renowned on account his ballad “The Highwayman,” was declared to be “one of the most prolific, most popular, and most traditional of British poets.”1 He wrote mostly in ballad form of the country of Wales; some of his works were set to music by Sir Edward Elgar. Furthermore, despite having failing eyesight as a senior, he persisted in writing almost until his death.

Noyes was born on September 16, 1880 in Wolverhampton, England, to Alfred and Amelia Adam Rawley Noyes. He composed his first poetry at the relatively young age of nine, and had produced his initial epic, an allegory consisting of over one thousand lines, by the time he was fourteen. ...view middle of the document...

Alfred Noyes finally died in the year 1958, at the age of seventy-eight, and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

In physical appearance, Noyes provided a “sharp contrast to the traditionally frail and esthetic poet,”3 for during his college years he had laboured as a first-rate oarsman, and possessed a sturdy, immensely athletic frame. At the age of sixty, seventeen years preceding his death, he was tall, and of a broad stature, with a head piled with thin, sandy hair, and small facial features; also “he had a most noticeable cupid's-bow mouth, which he tended to conceal while contemplating and discussing the structure of his renowned ballad “The Highwayman.””4

This poem,”The Highwayman,” set in 18th century England, describes the demise of an unnamed and putatively valiant highwayman, who is courting Bess, the alluring daughter of a landlord. Tim, an ostler, observes the couple's nightly vigil, and promptly betrays the robber to the British military, who march forth to the landlord's inn. Bess is bound to her bedstead, and forced to await the highwayman's return at midnight, and she in turn terminates her own life, sacrificially...

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