"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 the bunch of lace at his throat."
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes is a favorite ballad of mine. I love to read it, and dwell on the wonderful images. This is just the culminating stanza when the robber gets his 'just deserts' (yes, I always thought the play on words was spelled 'just desserts too, but no... just deserts), if you will. I think that Ms. Storer and her eighth grade English classroom might be a bit surprised at how far her discussion on the anti-hero in literature has taken me. Ok, even I must agree. How can looking at a stunning red iris, outside a kitchen window, transport me to an old inn yard and 'a Redcoat troop a marching, marching, marching...'?