Alfred Noyes Poems Part 2

Alfred Noyes Poems Part 2,Alfred Noyes was an poet of English descent of some renown, publishing well-loved poems such as The Barrel Organ and The Highwayman.  The latter is a particular favourite, as illustrated in 1995 by a BBC nationwide poll to find Britain’s Favourite Poem and The Highwayman came in at Number 15.

  Born in 1880 in the west midlands town of Wolverhampton, the family soon moved to the Welsh coast where Alfred’s father was a teacher of Greek as well as Latin.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems
The young, budding poet was inspired by the mountains and sea around Aberystwyth and his writing occupied much of his time, even when studying for a degree at Exeter College, based in Oxford.  He failed at the final hurdle here though, partly because he was discussing with his publisher about releasing his first book of poems when he should have been in college taking his finals.
The Loom of Years was that first collection and was published in 1902.  This was followed by a further five collections of poetry over the next 11 years, including the above mentioned Highwayman in 1906.  Epic pieces of work such as an account of Sir Francis Drake’s career which took up two hundred pages, was released in 1908 and 1906 (two separate volumes) and he followed this with a play called Sherwood which was re-written in later years and re-named Robin Hood.
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Alfred Noyes Poems Part 2

The Elfin Artist

In a glade of an elfin forest
When Sussex was Eden-new,
I came on an elvish painter
And watched as his picture grew,
A harebell nodded beside him.
He dipt his brush in the dew.And it might be the wild thyme round him
That shone in the dark strange ring;
But his brushes were bees’ antennae,
His knife was a wasp’s blue sting;
And his gorgeous exquisite palette
Was a butterfly’s fan-shaped wing.And he mingled its powdery colours,
And painted the lights that pass,
On a delicate cobweb canvas
That gleamed like a magic glass,
And bloomed like a banner of elf-land,
Between two stalks of grass;Till it shone like an angel’s feather
With sky-born opal and rose,
And gold from the foot of the rainbow,
And colours that no man knows;
And I laughed in the sweet May weather,
Because of the themes he chose.For he painted the things that matter,
The tints that we all pass by,
Like the little blue wreaths of incense
That the wild thyme breathes to the sky;
Or the first white bud of the hawthorn,
And the light in a blackbird’s eye;And the shadows on soft white cloud-peaks
That carolling skylarks throw,–
Dark dots on the slumbering splendours
That under the wild wings flow,
Wee shadows like violets trembling
On the unseen breasts of snow;

With petals too lovely for colour
That shake to the rapturous wings,
And grow as the bird draws near them,
And die as he mounts and sings,–
Ah, only those exquisite brushes
Could paint these marvellous things.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Highwayman

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping 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, and a bunch of lace at his chin;
He’d a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh!
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle–
His rapier hilt a-twinkle–
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
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.Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim, the ostler listened–his face was white and peaked–
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter–
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter;
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say:”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 moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o’er his breast,
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight
O sweet black waves in the moonlight!,
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon.
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon over the purple moor,
The redcoat troops 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 her casement, with muskets by their side;
There was Death at every window,
And Hell at one dark window,
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest!
They had tied a rifle 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 moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by 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, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest;
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again,
For the road lay bare in the moonlight,
Blank and bare in the moonlight,
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.

Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, 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 came riding–
Riding–riding–
The redcoats 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!
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 who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the casement, drenched in her own red blood!
Not till the dawn did he hear it, and 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 his spurs in the golden noon, wine-red was his velvet coat
When they shot him down in the highway,
Down like a dog in the highway,
And he lay in his blood in the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

And still on a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy’s ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding–
Riding–riding–
The 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
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter–
Bess, the landlord’s daughter–
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Loom of Years

In the light of the silent stars that shine on the struggling sea,
In the weary cry of the wind and the whisper of flower and tree,
Under the breath of laughter, deep in the tide of tears,
I hear the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years.The leaves of the winter wither and sink in the forest mould
To colour the flowers of April with purple and white and gold:
Light and scent and music die and are born again
In the heart of a grey-haired woman who wakes in a world of pain.The hound, the fawn, and the hawk, and the doves that croon and coo,
We are all one woof of the weaving and the one warp threads us through,
One flying cloud on the shuttle that carries our hopes and fears
As it goes thro’ the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years.The green uncrumpling fern and the rustling dewdrenched rose
Pass with our hearts to the Silence where the wings of music close,
Pass and pass to the Timeless that never a moment mars,
Pass and pass to the Darkness that made the suns and stars.Has the soul gone out in the Darkness? Is the dust sealed from sight?
Ah, hush, for the woof of the ages returns thro’ the warp of the night!
Never that shuttle loses one thread of our hopes and fears,
As it comes thro’ the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years.O, woven in one wide Loom thro’ the throbbing weft of the whole,
One in spirit and flesh, one in body and soul,
Tho’ the leaf were alone in its falling, the bird in its hour to die,
The heart in its muffled anguish, the sea in its mournful cry,

One with the flower of a day, one with the withered moon
One with the granite mountains that melt into the noon
One with the dream that triumphs beyond the light of the spheres,
We come from the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Matin-song of Friar Tuck

I.
If souls could sing to heaven’s high King
As blackbirds pipe on earth,
How those delicious courts would ring
With gusts of lovely mirth!
What white-robed throng could lift a song
So mellow with righteous glee
As this brown bird that all day long
Delights my hawthorn tree.
Hark! That’s the thrush
With speckled breast
From yon white bush
Chaunting his best,
Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!II.
If earthly dreams be touched with gleams
Of Paradisal air,
Some wings, perchance, of earth may glance
Around our slumbers there;
Some breaths of may might drift our way
With scents of leaf and loam,
Some whistling bird at dawn be heard
From those old woods of home.
Hark! That’s the thrush
With speckled breast
From yon white bush
Chaunting his best,
Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!III.
No King or priest shall mar my feast
Where’er my soul may range.
I have no fear of heaven’s good cheer
Unless our Master change.
But when death’s night is dying away,
If I might choose my bliss,
My love should say, at break of day,
With her first waking kiss:–
Hark! That’s the thrush
With speckled breast,
From yon white bush
Chaunting his best,
Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Moon is Up

The moon is up, the stars are bright.
the wind is fresh and free!
We’re out to seek the gold tonight
across the silver sea!
The world was growing grey and old:
break out the sails again!
We’re out to see a Realm of Gold
beyond the Spanish Maine.We’re sick of all the cringing knees,
the courtly smiles and lies
God, let Thy singing channel breeze
lighten our hearts and eyes!
Let love no more be bought and sold
for earthly loss or gain;
We’re out to seek an Age of Gold
beyond the Spanish Main.Beyond the light of far Cathay,
beyond all mortal dreams,
Beyond the reach of night and day
Our El Dorado gleams,
Revealing – as the skies unfold –
A star without a stain,
The Glory of the Gates of Gold
beyond the Spanish Main.
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Searchlights

Political morality differs from individual morality, because there is no power above the State. — General von Bernardi.

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,
The lean black cruisers search the sea.
Night-long their level shafts of light
Revolve,and find no enemy.
Only they know each leaping wave
May hide the lightning, and their grave.

And in the land they guard so well
Is there no silent watch to keep?
An age is dying and the bell
Rings midnight on a vaster deep.
But over all its waves, once more
The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

And captains that we thought were dead,
And dreamers that we thought were dumb,
And voices that we thought were fled,
Arise, and call us, and we come;
And “Search in thine own soul,” they cry;
“For there, too, lurks thine enemy.”

Search for the foe in thine own soul,
The sloth, the intellectual pride;
The trivial jest that veils the goal
For which our father lived and died;
The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,
That rend thy nobler self apart.

Not far, not far into the night,
These level swords of light can pierce;
Yet for her faith does England fight,
Her faith in this our universe,
Believing Truth and Justice draw
From founts of everlasting law;

The law that rules the stars, our stay,
Our compass through the world’s wide sea,
The one sure light, the one sure way,
The one firm base of Liberty;
The one firm road that men have trod
Through Chaos to the throne of God.

Therefore a Power above the State,
The unconquerable Power, returns,
The fire, the fire that made her great
Once more upon her altar burns,
Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,
She moves to the Eternal Goal.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

The Sussex Sailor

O, once, by Cuckmere Haven,
I heard a sailor sing
Of shores beyond the sunset,
And lands of lasting spring,
Of blue lagoons and palm trees
And isles where all was young;
But this was ever the burden
of ev’ry note he sung:”O, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land?
Or have you seen her footprints
Upon that shining sand?
Beneath the happy palmtrees,
By Eden whispers fanned…
O, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land?”And, once in San Diego,
I heard him sing again,
Of Amberley, Rye, and Bramber,
And Brede and Fairlight Glen:
The nestling hills of Sussex,
The russet-roofed elfin towns,
And the skylark up in a high wind
Carolling over the downs.”From Warbleton to Wild Brook,
When May is white as foam,
O, have you seen my dearling
on any hills of home?
Or have you seen her shining,
Or only touch’d her hand.
O, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land?”And, once again, by Cowfold,
I heard him singing low,
‘Tis not the leagues of ocean
That hide the hills I know.
The May that shines before me
Has made a ghost of May.
The valleys that I would walk in
Are twenty years away.”Ah, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land…
On hills that I remember,
In valleys I understand,
So far beyond the sunset,
So very close at hand,
O have you seen my true love
In that immortal land?”

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

To The R.A.F

Never since English ships went out
To singe the beard of Spain,
Or English sea-dogs hunted death
Along the Spanish Main,
Never since Drake and Raleigh won
Our freedom of the seas,
Have sons of Britain dared and done
More valiantly than these.Whether at midnight or at noon,
Through mist or open sky,
Eagles of freedom, all our hearts
Are up with you on high;
While Britain’s mighty ghosts look down
From realms beyond the sun
And whisper, as their record pales,
Their breathless, deep, Well Done!
Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

Unity

I.

Heart of my heart, the world is young;
Love lies hidden in every rose!
Every song that the skylark sung
Once, we thought, must come to a close:
Now we know the spirit of song,
Song that is merged in the chant of the whole,
Hand in hand as we wander along,
What should we doubt of the years that roll?

II.

Heart of my heart, we cannot die!
Love triumphant in flower and tree,
Every life that laughs at the sky
Tells us nothing can cease to be:
One, we are one with the song to-day,
One with the clover that scents the world,
One with the Unknown, far away,
One with the stars, when earth grows old.

III.

Heart of my heart, we are one with the wind,
One with the clouds that are whirled o’er the lea,
One in many, O broken and blind,
One as the waves are at one with the sea!
Ay! When life seems scattered apart,
Darkens, ends as a tale that is told,
One, we are one, O heart of my heart,
One, still one, while the world grows old.

Alfred Noyes Poems
Alfred Noyes Poems

 

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