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Lyr Add: The Highwayman (Alfred Noyes)

DigiTrad:
HIGHWAYMAN


Related threads:
The Highwayman (musical sound poem) (44)
Tune Req: The Loom of Years (Alfred Noyes) (5)
Lyr Req: The Highwayman (Jimmy Webb) (32)
Lyr/Chords Add: The Highwayman (Jimmy Webb) (15)
BS: The Highwayman (16) (closed)
Req Only: the highwayman (Noyes) (5) (closed)
Lyr Req: The Highwayman as sung by Phil Ochs (9)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Highwayman (Noyes & Webb) (12)
Lyr Req: Highwayman:I'll come back again and again (8)


Ezio, Italy 06 Dec 97 - 02:28 AM
judy 06 Dec 97 - 12:52 PM
judy 06 Dec 97 - 12:55 PM
Alan of Australia 06 Dec 97 - 11:36 PM
alison 07 Dec 97 - 06:05 PM
judy 08 Dec 97 - 01:50 AM
alison 08 Dec 97 - 05:22 PM
judy 08 Dec 97 - 07:01 PM
Jen 08 Dec 97 - 11:24 PM
judy 09 Dec 97 - 01:29 PM
Joe Offer 09 Dec 97 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 08 Jun 10 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Tom Nelligan 08 Jun 10 - 06:06 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM
JHW 08 Jun 10 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Gerry 08 Jun 10 - 06:35 PM
Francy 08 Jun 10 - 08:50 PM
Leadfingers 08 Jun 10 - 08:59 PM
Effsee 08 Jun 10 - 11:10 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jun 10 - 03:08 AM
Darowyn 09 Jun 10 - 04:26 AM
GUEST 09 Jun 10 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 09 Jun 10 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Gerry 10 Jun 10 - 02:18 AM
DonMeixner 10 Jun 10 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Gerry 10 Jun 10 - 08:01 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jun 10 - 08:19 PM
DonMeixner 10 Jun 10 - 10:25 PM
breezy 11 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM
Taconicus 11 Jan 11 - 12:17 AM
Sailor Ron 11 Jan 11 - 08:34 AM
Taconicus 11 Jan 11 - 09:30 AM
SuperDave 30 Oct 18 - 01:32 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HIGHWAYMAN (Alfred Noyes, D Doyle)^^
From: Ezio, Italy
Date: 06 Dec 97 - 02:28 AM

THE HIGHWAYMAN
(Alfred Noyes)
(reduced version by Danny Doyle)

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 highwyman came riding--
Riding--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 butt 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 shuters, 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 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 rose 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 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 of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop 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 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 muzzle beneath her breast!
"Now, keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the doomed 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 muzzle 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 blood!
Not till the dawn he heard 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, shouting 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 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 highway man comes riding--
Riding--riding--
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
And he taps with his whip on th 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.
----------------------------------
Sung by Danny Doyle^^


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: THE HIGHWAYMAN (Noyes, Ochs)^^
From: judy
Date: 06 Dec 97 - 12:52 PM

This one is from the Phil Ochs website. Thank you, Ezio, for adding this beautiful song. I've never heard of it sung by anyone but Phil Ochs.

The Highwayman

By Alfred Noyes and Phil Ochs

The wind was a torrent of darkness
On the gusty trees
The moon was a ghostly galleon
Tossed upon cloudy seas
And the road was a ribbon of moonlight
Over the purple moor
When the highwayman came riding, riding, riding
Up to the old inn door

Over the cobbles he clattered
And clashed in the darkened yard
And he tapped with his whip at the window
But all was locked and barred
So 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
Braiding a dark red love knot
Into her long black hair

One kiss, my bonny sweetheart
For I'm after a prize tonight
But I'll be back with the yellow gold
Before the morning light
But if they press me sharply
Harry me through the day
Oh, then look for me by moonlight
Watch for me by moonlight
And I'll come to thee by moonlight
Though Hell should bar the way

He did not come at the dawning
No he did not come at the noon
And out of the tawny sunset
before the rise of the moon
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon
Looping the purple moor
Oh a redcoat troop came marching, marching, marching
King George's men came marching
Up to the old inn door

And they bound the landlord's daughter
with many a sniggering jest
And they bound the musket beside her
With the barrel beneath her breast
Now keep good watch and they kissed her
She heard the dead man say
"Oh look for me by moonlight
Watch for me by moonlight
And I'll come to thee by moonlight
Though Hell should bar the way"

Look for me by moonlight
Hoof beats ringing clear
Watch for me by moonlight
Were they deaf that they did not hear
For he rode on the gypsy highway
Then her finger moved in the moonlight
Her musket shattered the moonlight
And it shattered her breast in the moonlight
And warned him with her death

Oh he turned and he spurred on to the west
He did not know who stood
Out with her black hair a flowing down
Drenched with her own red blood
Oh not 'til the dawn had he heard it
And his face grew gray 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

C                      Em
Back he spurred like a madman
Am
Shrieking a curse to the sky
Em F
With the white road smoking behind him
Dm G
And his rapier brandished high
C Em
Blood red were his spurs in the golden moon
Am
Wine red his velvet coat
F C
When they shot him down on the highway
E Am
Down like a dog on the highway
F C
And he lay in his blood on the highway
F G
With a 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 ribbon of moonlight
Over the purple moor
Oh the highwayman comes riding, riding, riding
Yes the highwayman comes riding
Up to the old inn door.

Notes:

I also have the original poem, The Highwayman Phil dropped several stanzas and made some other minor changes.

Chords supplied by J. Martino (mart2904@pop.ou.edu)

29 Nov 96 trent

^^


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: judy
Date: 06 Dec 97 - 12:55 PM

Ezio,

How about a favorite Italian folk song or two? Maybe in a new thread.


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 06 Dec 97 - 11:36 PM

G'day,
This is also on Vera Aspey's (probably unobtainable) LP "The Blackbird", and in Sydney a friend of mine, Yuri the Russian Story Teller does an absolutely breathtaking recital of the poem.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: alison
Date: 07 Dec 97 - 06:05 PM

Hi

It's on the new Loreena Mckennitt CD - takes about 10 minutes to sing.

Yuri does a really chilling version of it, in a dark room, his face lit only by a candle......

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: judy
Date: 08 Dec 97 - 01:50 AM

Alan,

How are the fires down there? Not too close I hope. I hear the rain was helpful. Some areas around here got their first taste of El Nino. As much as 6 inches, but we only got 2 inches

Ezio,
I'm going to start an Italian thread with a few songs I have. Hope you can join it. Others too.

judy


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: alison
Date: 08 Dec 97 - 05:22 PM

Hi Judy,

Thanks for the concern. (I'll answer seeing as Alan hasn't yet).

The nearest fires to us are about 25kms away. Sydney is a huge city, and there were fires all around the outskirts and some of the suburbs last week. These are under control now, it's been raining for the last few days. The really big fires were in Northern New South Wales, nowhere near us.

We may not be that close to the fires but we can smell the smoke in the air.

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: judy
Date: 08 Dec 97 - 07:01 PM

Glad you're all okay. We have many fires in this area in September. I haven't been involved in any but my husband takes pictures sometimes.

Join us in an Italian thread

judy


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: Jen
Date: 08 Dec 97 - 11:24 PM

Personally, my favorite highwayman song is "The Naked Highwayman" :-)


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: judy
Date: 09 Dec 97 - 01:29 PM

How about "The Female Highwayman" titled as "Sovay" in the database?

judy


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Dec 97 - 03:20 PM

Jen, is the "Naked Highwayman" in the database? I couldn't find it. Sounds like it would be a good one to share with the rest of us. I beg for enlightenment.
-Joe-

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Subject: The Highwayman, Noyes
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 05:52 PM

The old Alfred Noyes poem, "The Highwayman" has been a family tradition of sorts. I have done dramatic readings of it and shared it, on occasion, in the midst of a song set as "something totally different." Has anyone done it as a song? How was it received (attention spans being what they are these days)?


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Subject: RE: The Highwayman, Noyes
From: GUEST,Tom Nelligan
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:06 PM

Phil Ochs recorded a great musical version back around 1964, and I've heard at least one other by a singer whose name I can't remember. Of course back then, attention spans were longer. :-)


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM

I'd say the Phil Ochs tune has become the definitive musical interpretation of the Noyes poem - it's a very spooky melody, and Loreena McKennitt adds sexiness to it (see below-I was wrong about McKennitt). It has been recorded by numerous artists.
Anybody know of other musical settings?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: JHW
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:31 PM

Look away now if you're enchanted by this poem.


Sorry but it's such a put up job. Why would the troopers abandon a serviceable weapon, why on earth would they tie it to the breast of the landlord's black eyed daughter, what business indeed had they in tying her up at all?
Only to make the song work.


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:35 PM

Joe, you're confusing me - the Ochs and McKennitt settings are completely different. I thought the Ochs setting was definitive until I heard Andy Irvine do the McKennitt - now I can't decide which one I like better. I have heard a couple of other settings, one a good 15 or 20 years ago by a singer named Barbara Brown, but they don't seem to have caught on the way the Ochs and McKennitt tunes have.

There have been other threads on this poem, we're probably repeating conversations of days gone by.


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Francy
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:50 PM

Katy Moffatt's recording of this classic is on Watermelon CD "Midnight Radio" circa 1996...I am listening to it right now....Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:59 PM

I've only ever heard one version , and not sure who's but its a STORMING good song ! And a LONG bugger too , but well worth the effort one day !!


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Effsee
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 11:10 PM

Seems to me that Tim the ostler was the guilty party in all this...but doesn't get his com-uppence in the tale!


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 03:08 AM

Gerry, you caught me. Now I'm wondering what female voice I heard singing the Phil Ochs tune. Now that I listen to the Loreena McKennitt version, I agree it's not the Ochs tune, and I don't like it as well as the Ochs tune.
So, who was the woman who sang the Ochs tune, somebody with a voice similar to McKennitt's?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Darowyn
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 04:26 AM

"Look for me by moonlight
Hoof beats ringing clear
Watch for me by moonlight
Were they deaf that they did not hear."

That must be a Phil Ochs interpolation.
Taken from a poetry book, I sing,

"Trit Trot* in the frosty moonlight.
Trit trot in the echoing night.
Nearer he came and nearer,
Her face shone like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment.
She drew one last deep breath.
Then her finger moved in the moonlight... etc"
* the book has "Tlit Tlot" here, but I defy anyone to sing that!

I also include the previous verse, because it builds up the tension

"She twisted her hands behind her,
But all the knots held good.
She writhed her hands 'till her fingers,
Were wet with her sweat or blood.
She 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!

I remembered the Phil Ochs version from an LP that a university room neighbour had in the late sixties, and when I started to sing "The Highwayman", twenty five years later, I thought I was singing the Phil Ochs tune.
It was not until the CD version became available that I discovered that I'd "Folk processed" it somewhat- but I'm used to my version now, so that's how it is.
I say it's 'inspired by' the Phil Ochs tune!
I have sung this in a pub reputedly used by Dick Turpin.
I have sung it at a Halloween gig, where, because I was using some sequenced backing from the laptop on another song, I used some storm sound effects, and at the end, the sound of a horse's hooves approaching, footsteps then a hammering on the door.
This was in an old, lonely, hill top pub, and there were some very alarmed glances at the door when the audience heard that!

If you read the whole original poem, there is a lot of near fetishistic stuff about tightly fitting clothes and hair which doesn't feel too comfortable in a post Freudian world!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 09:03 AM

Joe, run, don't walk, to your local CD store and get the Andy Irvine album, Way Out Yonder. Even if you don't like his recording of the McKennitt setting of The Highwayman (and I find it hard to imagine anyone not liking his recording), there is so much good stuff on that CD....

Dave, Ochs left a lot out to get it down to 5 minutes. McKennitt leaves out nothing (I think) and it weighs in at over 9 minutes (on the Irvine recording).


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 09:21 AM

I heard Vera Aspey doing this song years ago and, although her source must have been Phil Ochs, I felt that she must have heard the song third hand and as a result the melody had been altered somewhat.


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 02:18 AM

Sorry, the nameless guest, two posts up, urging Joe to buy an Andy Irvine CD, was me.


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: DonMeixner
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 09:08 AM

Now if McKennitt could have come up with a less dull melody and added some of the excitement that PHil Ochs put into his version I would be more impressed with McKennitt's effort.

Phil made a ripping good song of a poem I have loved since my Mom read it to me 50 years ago. Lorena takes the excitement out of the poem and her tempo puts me to sleep.

The best job I have ever heard of Phil's version is the job done by Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen.

Don


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 08:01 PM

Don, have you heard Andy Irvine's recording?


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 08:19 PM

Gerry, I listened to the Andy Irvine recording on Spotify, and it was very good. Thanks for the recommendation.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: DonMeixner
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 10:25 PM

Hi Gerry,

Nope I Haven't. But I am willing to accept that it's Lorena Thats dull. Andy Irvine could make "Chopsticks" exciting.

Don


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: breezy
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM

Coincidently had to sit through a 'listen' to a recitation of it last night.

I have 'Way out yonder' from when Andy played my club.

The song takes over 9 minutes so its a great execise in concentration

There are some other good songs on it too, 'When the Boys are on Parade' is IMHO one of the best ever written. By Marcus Turner from N Z


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Taconicus
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 12:17 AM

Chords for Phil Ochs' The Highwayman, as I sing it.

C, Em, Am
G, Am, D7, G/G7
C, Em, Am
F, C, G, Am
F, C/Am, Dm, G7


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 08:34 AM

Being very pedantic, was Bess deformed? A brown Bess musket was well over 5 feet long, so allowing for the stock, the trigger would be some 3' 6" or 4'fom the muzzel. If it was against her breast her arms could never have reached it. Of course if she was 6 '6" she might just have managed it!


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: Taconicus
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 09:30 AM

You must be forgetting that sometime around 1630-60, at least in England, according to C.H.Firth, Cromwell's Army (1972 4th ed.) p. 80, the musket barrel was cut down from 4 feet to 3 feet. But in any case, she wouldn't have had to actually reach the trigger with her own hand. Presumably, a British soldier's finger was already at the trigger, else the entire "barrel at her breast" exercise would have been useless. If the musket were actually "bound beneath her breast" she would only have had to slowly lean forward, and then swiftly lean back, to utilize the soldier's ready hand as the instrument of firing.

"Her finger moved," you object? Poetic license, say I!


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Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
From: SuperDave
Date: 30 Oct 18 - 01:32 PM

Maybe a topic for the Mythbusters: Could Bess have shot herself with a musket?


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