RED SIMPSON


Highway Man Lyrics

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, 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 jeweled twinkle, his pistol butts a-twinkle
His rapier hilt a-twinkle under the jeweled 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 old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the hostler listened, his face was white and peaked
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like moldy 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 hurry 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 moonlight
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 Gipsy'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 the casement, the road that he would ride

They had tied her up to attention with many a sniggering jest
They 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 here 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

Trot, trot; trot, trot, had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear
Trot-trot, trot-trot 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 strait and still

Trot, trot, in the frosty silence, trot, trot, 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 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

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 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 a 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, 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 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

these lyrics are submitted by kaan

Songwriter(s): Curtis Leach
Copyright: Lew-bob Songs On Behalf Of Saran Music Company
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