“The Highwayman” irritates me.
I’m listening to Loreena McKennit, and she does a lovely version of it. It’s lovely. I’ll admit that. I like listening to it.
The lyrics, however, by Alfred Noyes way back when, irritate the hell out of me.
I mean, if I spent five or six hours tied to a bed with a gun, and finally, at the critical moment, shot myself in the chest in order to warn the love of my life off–and then a few hours later he comes tearing back like a moron and gets shot by the very same people!–I’d be pretty damn pissed. I mean, if you’re gonna act like that, why am I bothering to shoot myself? You’re a bloody idjit, you’re gonna die anyway, and I could’ve lived to a ripe old age, inherited the inn, and married some sexually inexhaustible plowboy from down the road.
My mother had this poem memorized and would recite it occasionally, along with about half of “Xanadu.”
My father had one epic poem memorized, which was “The Iceworm Cocktail” and that probably tells you everything about my parents that you really need to know.