Alfred Noyes

Alfred Noyes was the son of Alfred and Amelia Adams Noyes. He was born on the 16th of September in the year 1880 in the town of Wolverhamton, England. His father was a teacher and taught Latin and Greek and in Aberystwyth, Wales. In 1898, Alfred attended Exeter College in Oxford. Though he failed to earn a degree, the young poet published his first collection of poetry, The Loom of Years, in 1902.

Between 1903 and 1908, Noyes published five volumes of poetry including The Forest of Wild Thyme (1905) and The Flower of Old Japan and Other Poems (1907). His books were widely reviewed and were published both in Britain and the United States. Among his best-known poems from this time are The Highwayman and Drake. Drake, which appeared serially in Blackwood’s Magazine, was a two-hundred page epic about life at sea.

Noyes married Garnett Daniels in 1907, and they had three children. His increasing popularity allowed the family to live off royalty checks. In 1914, Noyes accepted a teaching position at Princeton University, where he taught English Literature until 1923. He was a noted critic of modernist writers, particularly James Joyce. Likewise, his work at this time was criticized by some for its refusal to embrace the modernist movement.

In 1922 he began an epic called The Torch Bearers, which was published in three volumes (Watchers of the Sky, 1922; The Book of Earth, 1925; and The Last Voyage, 1930). The book was inspired by his visit to a telescope located at Mount Wilson, California and attempted to reconcile his views of science with religion.

After the death of his wife, Garnett in 1926, Noyes converted to Roman Catholicism and married his second wife, Mary Angela Mayne Weld-Blundell. In 1929, the family moved to Lisle Combe, St Lawrence, Isle of Wight where Noyes continued to write essays and poems, culminating in the collection, Orchard’s Bay (1939). Alfred Noyes died on June 25, 1958, and was buried on the Isle of Wight.