Advanced search

I want to find a poem i vaguely remember from school...

(13 Posts)
varyingdegreesofdeafness Fri 04-Mar-11 21:23:06

... and I remember so few details this might not work, but mumsnetters have been so fab at finding songs that i liked without much info that i'm hoping some one can do the same poem wise?

ok, this is all i know:

it's old!

it is no more than three verses long, but i suspect it might be two.

the verses i'm sure are 6 lines, poss eight lines, but def not four lines!

Brief poem, something about nightime, but in the night the caller / mysterios person / errand person's horses hooves gallop along the forest floor?

i'm sorry this is a bit shite but i've been thinking of this for a while now because it was a poem that wasn't egging it for sentimentality, but the last couple of lines suggest that some one is galloping through the forest night to put things right?

any help really appreciated!

McDreamy Fri 04-Mar-11 21:32:22

Is this it?

Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

varyingdegreesofdeafness Fri 04-Mar-11 21:38:49

McDreamy, not that 's not it, but thank you for posting it, because I remember it from school and it's one of the poems that i loved! Do you know / remember the fleetwood mac video tell me lies where there is a mysterious horseman staying away from a tavern or somewhere while the woman sings... is it tell me lies? Thats the sort of faux romantic image i have with this poem!

It is something in the last two lines about hooves thiundering on the floor and earl;ier in the poem poss it is clear it's night / darkness... arrggghhhh!

Your poem has made me a bit teary, it's the notion of there being help / responsibility being offered / needed in times of darkness ( I am a bit emotional at, ahem, certain times! grin )

hattyyellow Fri 04-Mar-11 21:46:54

It's not the Paul Revere poem is it? It's longer than you describe but perhaps you might have studied an extract?

Or there is Frost's "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening"...

Any good?

meditrina Fri 04-Mar-11 21:49:39

Try searching on Poemhunter. You can put in the words you remember, and see if it can find.

Macdog Fri 04-Mar-11 21:50:09

Fleetwood Mac song is Everywhere

Don't know the poem, sorry

iwastooearlytobeayummymummy Fri 04-Mar-11 21:53:30

is this it?
Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)
The Highwayman



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—
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 the 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.


And 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 red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—


"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."


He rose upright in the 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 moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.



He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o' the tawny 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—
King George's men came matching, 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 at 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 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 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, 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!


The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to 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 of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain .


Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs 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 red-coats 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 musket, drenched with her 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 his 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.

* * * * * *


And still of 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 ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A 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.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 04-Mar-11 21:54:27

I know which one you're tlkaing about. The highwayman it was called.

Hang on.


varyingdegreesofdeafness Fri 04-Mar-11 22:09:14

hattyyellow! it was the stopping by wodds...

thankyou mcdreamy, hattyellow, meditrina, macdog (always gos to know the correct fleetwoodmac! grin ), iwastooearlytobeayummymummy and fuzzywuzzy, i appreciate you answering my post, and i'm really pleased i've got the poem!

I don't know why, but it still sends chills down my spine, i don\t know whether it is because it is a lonely, determined consiencious (ah, spelling....) voice or... but thank you everybody for taking the time and effort to respond, I'm really happy i've got my poem smile

varyingdegreesofdeafness Fri 04-Mar-11 22:12:02

glad to see my description of the layout of the poem wa absoluetly knackers... grin

hattyyellow Sat 05-Mar-11 19:40:41

I'm so pleased it was the right one. I always put this in the same bit of poems I like in my mind - so I thought you might like this one too. It has the same feeling of a dark desolate winter but something comforting through nature.

The Darkling Thrush

by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited ;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

nineyearoldsarerude Wed 09-Mar-11 22:58:33

That's lovely!

peachy80sbaby Mon 09-Oct-17 22:41:02

i used to also sing this in primary school i think the 2nd verse starts like this "Look at the children playing" and i am so sorry but i cant remember the rest : D

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: