Sarah's Stars

Alfred Noyes. The Highwayman
KCP Poetry  $18.95  ISBN 1-55337-425-8  42 pages
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 14

The wind was a torrent
   of darkness, among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon
   tossed upon 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.

This beautiful old ballad is retold in great splendour. A French highwayman, masked with a handkerchief, rides a silvery motorcycle. Bess, the landlord's daughter, waits for her love in the moonlight. It's a wonderful story, a romantic tragedy that will delight all die-hard romantics. Though the modern illustrations of Murray Kimber don't match the era The Highwayman was written in, they nonetheless match the story’s mood perfectly with the grays, blacks and blues on brown. 

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart,
   I'm after a prize to-night.
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 moonlight,
       Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight,
   though hell should bar the way."

All those who have ever read The Highwayman, and those who have just discovered it, will be thrilled with this new version. It's such a sad story, and it's told so beautifully and simply that it never fails to bring a tear to my eye. I would recommend The Highwayman for children ages 12 and up. Unfortunately, Valentine's Day has just passed, but for those people looking for something for their special someone or for anyone who likes poetry, this would be a wonderful gift.

I would give The Highwayman a golden five out of five stars.


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