Alfred Noyes

Biography of Alfred Noyes

Alfred Noyes was born on September 16th, 1880 in a town called Wolverhampton (England). He attended Exeter College in Oxford, but he did not earn a degree. In 1902, Alfred published his first collection of poetry titled The Loom Of Years. He married a woman by the name of Garnett Daniels in 1907 and had three children. Since he had failed to earn a degree, Alfred and his family lived off royalty checks earned through his growing popularity. In 1914, Alfred got a teaching position at Princeton University. There he taught English Literature until 1923. His work at this time was criticized for mocking anti-modernism and not accepting this view. After the death of his first wife, Alfred married Mary Angela Mayne Weld-Blundell in 1929. He continued to publish many works including a book called The Torch Bearers (1922) which was published in three volumes: Watchers of the Sky (1922), The Book of Earth (1925), and The Last Voyage (1930). In 1929, Alfred and his family moved to Lisle Comb, St. Lawrence, located on the Isle of Wight. Here he wrote many essays and poems including the collection of Orchard's Bay (1939). Alfred Noyes died on June 25th, 1958, and was buried on the Isle of Wight.



Alfred Noyes believed that man was not in control but that the leadership and control belonged to a higher power such as a god. Many of his poems are about either a higher power being in control, or showing how man is not in control.

In his poem The Highwayman, the landlord’s “black-eyed daughter” (Noyes) is waiting for her love to return. King George’s men came to the landlord’s help, hoping to catch the highwayman, who is also the man that the daughter loves. They gagged the daughter and tied a rifle to her, right near her chest. When she heard the clattering of hooves, signaling the return of the Highwayman, she pulls the trigger on the gun, killing herself, and warning her love of the danger. This shows that King George’s men are not in control. “Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky” (Noyes). This line can be taken as if the Highwayman is cursing a higher power for taking away the landlord’s daughter from him.

Fishers of Men talks quite about about a higher power. In many lines, such as “Was this His high intent” ‘He’ is referred to many times, and yet is not told who He is until the end. “God help us, if we fight/ For right and not for might/ God Help us if we seek...” (Noyes). These are one of the only lines that mention the word God. The entire poem is about God guiding someone through life, and being in control of man and what goes on in the world.

“Life’s end draws near/ As if, that gift be ours/ God needed our new powers/ In worlds elsewhere” (Noyes). This line in the poem The Open Door talks about how God is in control of our life and how he ultimately makes our fate. “And crown His plan” (Noyes) refers to God’s plan for each and every person on this earth. The poem Compensations talks about the same things that The Open Door talks about. Both have quite similar topics and themes.

Poetry Analysis

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Poems By: Alfred Noyes

(Hard Copy in Folder)

Danielle Halucha


A lonesome man did come across two trails

And yet knew not what to him would await.

He remembered fables and old wives tails

Of how God chooses all of mankind’s fate.

He looked to the left, he looked to the right,

He prayed for a sign of what he should do.

When god did appear in a blinding light,

God was now here to help guide this man through.

Day by day, man believes the choice is his,

But what happened this day proved that untrue.

Man thinks his fate is made by his choices,

A higher power will choose it for you.

Mankind is not in control of all life,

Because there would be great struggle and strife.

Works Cited

"Biography of Alfred Noyes.", 16/Jan/2011. Web. 11 Jan 2011. < >.

"Alfred Noyes." Literary Heritage. Shropshire County Council, 17/May/2010. Web. 11/Jan/2011. <>.

Noyes, Alfred. "The Highwayman." Web. 02/Jan/2011. <>.

Noyes, Alfred. "The Open Door." Web. 02/Jan/2011. <>.

Noyes, Alfred. "Compensations." Web. 02/Jan/2011. <>.

Noyes, Alfred. "Fishers of Men." Web. 02/Jan/2011. <>.