If I'd Got There First

The Highwayman
The Highwayman

If I’d Got There First

or

Sorry, Mr Noyes

A very beautiful and sad poem based loosely on

'The Highwayman'

by

Alfred Noyes

 

It was a cold and dark, dark night

Oh cold, and dark and chill the night

Only the moon was shining bright

Or to use the adverb, it brightly shone,

The lonely road it shone upon

On that windswept moor; that awful night.

 

The horseman came on his horse (of course).

What use is a horseman without his horse?

He’d slipped a fine saddle upon his horse

Well, not slipped, for a saddle’s a huge pile of crap

With skirt, seat, and cantle and heavy girth strap

And irons for the stirrups which all need great force.

View from out of the inn's window. The Highwayman approaches.

 

He came to the inn yard. On the great door he tapped

And he tapped and he tapped and then loudly rapped

He rapped yet more loudly, till his temper near snapped

Then inserted his fingers and the letterbox he flapped

Then looking around him he saw on the floor;

Lying all by itself near the great inn yard door

A brick, which in very nice paper he wrapped.

Brick, for those who need some pictorial evidence

 

On the paper he’d written, “To my dearest Bess,

“I tried to gain entry, but I must confess,

“Though I knocked quite politely… Well, more or less,

“Nobody answered; I’ve had no success”.

Then he took up his brick in the message he’d wrote

(Oops! I should have said wrapped in the note

That he’d written) and threw with finesse.

 

He threw it with feeling right over the wall

Like a bowler at Lords; like the Paki they called;

“The Rawalpindi Express” at that match in Lahore.

And a voice from within shouted, “Oi! What’s that for?”

“There’s no one here; they’ve all gone out: King George’s boys

“The landlord’s gone; Bess has gone; and Alfred Noyes

It’s just me, the ostler, just Tim… and that’s all”.

King George's men popping out for the evening. Probably to be nasty to someone, or just out for a bit of more innocent fun.

 

“So bugger off, mate!” said the voice from inside,

“You’ve missed your chance, horseman. You should decide

“When going out visiting, if on horse, you’re astride

“Just plan in advance, and let this be your guide:

“Your Bess has been courting one of King George’s chaps.

“Her dad’s in agreement, so you’re out, friend… But perhaps

“If you’ve got nothing planned, I could let you in and we could watch a bit of TV and send out for kebabs and French fries”.

More by this Author


Comments 21 comments

donna bamford profile image

donna bamford 5 years ago from Canada

I like. I like your sense of humour. Got a good chuckle. Which is nice because I just came in from outside where it is about -2000 so to chuckle at all

at anything is a gift. Thank you! keep them coming!

Much appreciated.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks, Donna. From you, that is really special. Wrap up warm and think of walking across the Pont Alexandre III in Paris (where else?) in Summer.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

I wonder how well you could deal with Poe? Enjoyed this though I noted the absence of such skill in the current NZ v Pakistan ODI series here. Well done mate, I think you are an awesome wordsmith, so I have clicked the awesome and funny buttons above 46 times! Take Care TL. Thanks for sharing your talents.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

And thank you for stopping by. You were my first follower, and that makes me feel great. From a wordsmith of your standing and integrity (You'll know to what I am referring) that is a bonus.

And Poe? Poe frightens me... as he no doubt meant to; but in many levels.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..well what incredible fun I had reading this - you are a truly a creative anomaly and in a poetic universe all of your own with a language that is so unique - and with such a keen wit - especially the keen wit - it's fabulous - and so are you!!!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

You're a rollicking funster, Ian. Sheer genius! I'm green with envy! What fun to be able to do that! And no less, to read it!

By the way - I have an online friend from Lahore. :-)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you Nellie

I love the Alfred Noyes version. I used to love reading it to children in my classes, but it’s a bit of a tear jerker, isn’t it?

But Genius???

I must remember that the next time I go out in my chariot, I should have a slave standing beside me, whispering in my ear, "You are only human!"

Lahore, I have heard, is a very beautiful city. Old Lahore, I mean. Strangely enough, I have seldom met a single Punjabi who has ever said that he was not from Lahore. I’m talking about Pakistani Punjabis, of course.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ah - It would be such fun to hear you reading "The Highwayman"! You ought to record it and share it with us. Why not do that? Yes, it is a tear-jerker story, in the classic mold.

Speaking of which, tell more about your chariot and slave! ;->

I was not exaggerating, though. You have a genius for writing brilliant, interesting, provocative prose and poetry! That's so. Who else would even have thought of making a tongue-in-cheek take-off from such a somber & less-known poem?

I have pretty good reason to accept that Aftab is from Lahore. He's shared pictures & yes - it does look quite beautiful.

But what an interesting observation that Lahore is the most claimed city for a Pakistani, which is his nationality, by the way. Wonder why they claim it? Perhaps it's along the lines of people being, say, from Pflugerville, Texas, but just saying they are from Austin, to save explanations, since it's quite nearby and people are more likely to have heard of Austin than of Pflugerville? Or someone may say he is from New Albany, Indiana, rather than Speed, Indiana - for the same reason & geographical proximity? These are both actual claims I've heard.

In my case, having been born in Del Rio, there was nothing else to claim nearer than a couple hundred miles! LOL. Also - a charlatan quack doctor there broadcast his powerful radio station (from over the border in Mexico) up through the U.S. For years I didn't meet many people who had not heard of Dr. Brinkley and Del Rio,Texas! LOL


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Caesar, when riding in his chariot in a Triumph, would have s lave whispering in his ear, "You are only human", as the crowd would have been calling out such things as "Caesar is a God". Also known as keeping ones feet on the ground.

It is the Punjabi who claims to have come from Lahore. I asked my truly lahori friends, and they say that frequently it is the people from the villages who claim, this; villagers are looked down on for their parochial ways.

My Baluch friends would be so annoyed to be referred to as a Lahori or a Punjabi, as they look on the Punjabis with less than favourable eyes. My dearest friend is a Harara frpm NWFP and is very proud of his background.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 5 years ago from St. Louis

My friend...again, your words dance across the page leaving tiny shadowed footprints on my mind and memory. Well done!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

And you are the person who maintains he doesn't write or "go for" poetry? That is so beautifully worded, Chris.

Thank you for ploughing through my effort. Your comments and visits mean a lot to me, but I think you know that.


theseus profile image

theseus 5 years ago from philippines

So full of wit and charm. I liked it.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you Theseus. I loved writing it... I love the original, and I am sure Mr Noyes wouldn't send out King George's men on a punative expedition, on account of it.

Thank you so much for stopping by to read it.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Twilight. Another lovely well worked poem, brushed lightly with subtle humour.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Gosh! And i meant it to be deep and meaningful and New Age. Ah well! Must try harder, next time.

Now back to reality. Thanks for coming and reading. Always welcome, my compatriot friend.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Well written. I like your writing style and your creativity. I bet you typed it fast too. (LOL) Keep writing, keep sharing and a very warm welcome to hubpages.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you toknowinfo, I appreciate your visit and your comments.

Take my word for it, you won't have to bang too loudly on the shutters of Twilight Lawns plc; you are always welcome to look around.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 5 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

An entertaining twilight time read. You are a word smith for sure. I will be back....saddled with other responsibilities at the moment.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Demas. I only come on HP to read others' hubs and comments, so it is interesting and rather nice to see that, occasionally, someone reads one of my scribblings.

You and I, I feel , are at polar opposites politically, but I read your input with interest and must say that I admire your balance, capabilities and journalistic flair.

If I were an American, I am sure that I would be a Democrat. I also am a Socialist, although I have voted Tory once or twice, mainly to "save us" from the "Rabid Reds" (Joke intended).

However, I feel we must agree to disagree, as I feel you are an exceptional contributor to this site, and class will always be class.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 5 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

I agree to disagree, though you may be surprised at times by future narrow differences. Did you see the choices we are "stuck with" piece?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 months ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Not yet, but I'm going in search of it right now.

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