Stephen Vincent Benet
Campus Sonnets: Before An Examination by Stephen Vincent Benet

Campus Sonnets: Before An Examination by Stephen Vincent Benet

The little letters dance across the page, Flaunt and retire, and trick the tired eyes; Sick of the strain, the glaring light, I rise Yawning and stretching, full of empty rage At ...

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Dinner In A Quick Lunch Room by Stephen Vincent Benet

Dinner In A Quick Lunch Room by Stephen Vincent Benet

Soup should be heralded with a mellow horn, Blowing clear notes of gold against the stars; Strange entrees with a jangle of glass bars Fantastically alive with subtle scorn; Fish, ...

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The Innovator by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Innovator by Stephen Vincent Benet

(A Pharaoh Speaks.) I said, "Why should a pyramid Stand always dully on its base? I'll change it! Let the top be hid, The bottom take the apex-place!" And as I bade they did. The ...

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The Breaking Point by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Breaking Point by Stephen Vincent Benet

It was not when temptation came, Swiftly and blastingly as flame, And seared me white with burning scars; When I stood up for age-long wars And held the very Fiend at grips; When ...

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The Lover In Hell by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Lover In Hell by Stephen Vincent Benet

Eternally the choking steam goes up From the black pools of seething oil. . . . How merry Those little devils are! They've stolen the pitchfork From Bel, there, as he slept . . . ...

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Dedication by Stephen Vincent Benet

Dedication by Stephen Vincent Benet

To W. R. B. And so, to you, who always were Perseus, D'Artagnan, Lancelot To me, I give these weedy rhymes In memory of earlier times. Now all those careless days are not. Of all ...

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The Mountain Whippoorwill by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Mountain Whippoorwill by Stephen Vincent Benet

Up in the mountains, it's lonesome all the time,(Sof' win' slewin' thu' the sweet-potato vine.)Up in the mountains, it's lonesome for a child,(Whippoorwills a-callin' when the sap ...

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1936 by Stephen Vincent Benet

1936 by Stephen Vincent Benet

All night they marched, the infantrymen under pack,But the hands gripping the rifles were naked boneAnd the hollow pits of the eyes stared, vacant and black,When the moonlight ...

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Return – 1917 by Stephen Vincent Benet

Return – 1917 by Stephen Vincent Benet

"The College will reopen Sept. --." `Catalogue'. I was just aiming at the jagged hole Torn in the yellow sandbags of their trench, When something threw me sideways with a wrench, ...

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Campus Sonnets: Talk by Stephen Vincent Benet

Campus Sonnets: Talk by Stephen Vincent Benet

Tobacco smoke drifts up to the dim ceiling From half a dozen pipes and cigarettes, Curling in endless shapes, in blue rings wheeling, As formless as our talk. Phil, drawling, bets ...

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Music by Stephen Vincent Benet

Music by Stephen Vincent Benet

My friend went to the piano; spun the stool A little higher; left his pipe to cool; Picked up a fat green volume from the chest; And propped it open. Whitely without rest, His ...

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Going Back To School by Stephen Vincent Benet

Going Back To School by Stephen Vincent Benet

The boat ploughed on. Now Alcatraz was past And all the grey waves flamed to red again At the dead sun's last glimmer. Far and vast The Sausalito lights burned suddenly In little ...

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Campus Sonnets: Return – 1917 by Stephen Vincent Benet

Campus Sonnets: Return – 1917 by Stephen Vincent Benet

'The College will reopen Sept. -.' `Catalogue'. I was just aiming at the jagged hole Torn in the yellow sandbags of their trench, When something threw me sideways with a wrench, ...

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Elegy For An Enemy by Stephen Vincent Benet

Elegy For An Enemy by Stephen Vincent Benet

(For G. H.) Say, does that stupid earth Where they have laid her, Bind still her sullen mirth, Mirth which betrayed her? Do the lush grasses hold, Greenly and glad, That ...

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Difference by Stephen Vincent Benet

Difference by Stephen Vincent Benet

My mind’s a map. A mad sea-captain drew it Under a flowing moon until he knew it; Winds with brass trumpets, puffy-cheeked as jugs, And states bright-patterned like Arabian rugs. ...

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Love In Twilight by Stephen Vincent Benet

Love In Twilight by Stephen Vincent Benet

There is darkness behind the light -- and the pale light drips Cold on vague shapes and figures, that, half-seen loom Like the carven prows of proud, far-triumphing ships -- And ...

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Colors by Stephen Vincent Benet

Colors by Stephen Vincent Benet

(For D. M. C.) The little man with the vague beard and guise Pulled at the wicket. "Come inside!" he said, "I'll show you all we've got now -- it was size You wanted? -- oh, dry ...

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A Minor Poet by Stephen Vincent Benet

A Minor Poet by Stephen Vincent Benet

I am a shell. From me you shall not hear The splendid tramplings of insistent drums, The orbed gold of the viol's voice that comes, Heavy with radiance, languorous and clear. Yet, ...

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Ghosts Of A Lunatic Asylum by Stephen Vincent Benet

Ghosts Of A Lunatic Asylum by Stephen Vincent Benet

Here, where men's eyes were empty and as bright As the blank windows set in glaring brick, When the wind strengthens from the sea -- and night Drops like a fog and makes the ...

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Poor Devil! by Stephen Vincent Benet

Poor Devil! by Stephen Vincent Benet

Well, I was tired of life; the silly folk, The tiresome noises, all the common things I loved once, crushed me with an iron yoke. I longed for the cool quiet and the dark, Under ...

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Metropolitan Nightmare by Stephen Vincent Benet

Metropolitan Nightmare by Stephen Vincent Benet

I rained quite a lot, that spring. You woke in the morningAnd saw the sky still clouded, the streets still wet,But nobody noticed so much, except the taxisAnd the people who ...

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Nightmare Number Three by Stephen Vincent Benet

Nightmare Number Three by Stephen Vincent Benet

We had expected everything but revoltAnd I kind of wonder myself when they started thinking--But there’s no dice in that now.I’ve heard fellow sayThey must have planned it for ...

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Lonely Burial by Stephen Vincent Benet

Lonely Burial by Stephen Vincent Benet

There were not many at that lonely place, Where two scourged hills met in a little plain. The wind cried loud in gusts, then low again. Three pines strained darkly, runners in a ...

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May Morning by Stephen Vincent Benet

May Morning by Stephen Vincent Benet

I lie stretched out upon the window-seat And doze, and read a page or two, and doze, And feel the air like water on me close, Great waves of sunny air that lip and beat With a ...

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Army Of Northern Virginia by Stephen Vincent Benet

Army Of Northern Virginia by Stephen Vincent Benet

Army of Northern Virginia, army of legend,Who were your captains that you could trust them so surely? Who were your battle-flags?Call the shapes from the mist, Call the dead men ...

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Young Blood by Stephen Vincent Benet

Young Blood by Stephen Vincent Benet

"But, sir," I said, "they tell me the man is like to die!" The Canon shook his head indulgently. "Young blood, Cousin," he boomed. "Young blood! Youth will be served!" -- ...

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Portrait Of A Boy by Stephen Vincent Benet

Portrait Of A Boy by Stephen Vincent Benet

After the whipping he crawled into bed, Accepting the harsh fact with no great weeping. How funny uncle's hat had looked striped red! He chuckled silently. The moon came, sweeping ...

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The City Revisited by Stephen Vincent Benet

The City Revisited by Stephen Vincent Benet

The grey gulls drift across the bay Softly and still as flakes of snow Against the thinning fog. All day I sat and watched them come and go; And now at last the sun was set, ...

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Road And Hills by Stephen Vincent Benet

Road And Hills by Stephen Vincent Benet

I shall go away To the brown hills, the quiet ones, The vast, the mountainous, the rolling, Sun-fired and drowsy! My horse snuffs delicately At the strange wind; He settles to a ...

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Portrait Of A Baby by Stephen Vincent Benet

Portrait Of A Baby by Stephen Vincent Benet

He lay within a warm, soft world Of motion. Colors bloomed and fled, Maroon and turquoise, saffron, red, Wave upon wave that broke and whirled To vanish in the grey-green gloom, ...

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Talk by Stephen Vincent Benet

Talk by Stephen Vincent Benet

Tobacco smoke drifts up to the dim ceiling From half a dozen pipes and cigarettes, Curling in endless shapes, in blue rings wheeling, As formless as our talk. Phil, drawling, bets ...

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Before An Examination by Stephen Vincent Benet

Before An Examination by Stephen Vincent Benet

The little letters dance across the page, Flaunt and retire, and trick the tired eyes; Sick of the strain, the glaring light, I rise Yawning and stretching, full of empty rage At ...

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Nos Immortales by Stephen Vincent Benet

Nos Immortales by Stephen Vincent Benet

Perhaps we go with wind and cloud and sun, Into the free companionship of air; Perhaps with sunsets when the day is done, All's one to me -- I do not greatly care; So long as ...

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The General Public by Stephen Vincent Benet

The General Public by Stephen Vincent Benet

"Ah, did you once see Shelley plain?" -- Browning. "Shelley? Oh, yes, I saw him often then," The old man said. A dry smile creased his face With many wrinkles. "That's a great ...

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The Congressmen Came Out To See Bull Run by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Congressmen Came Out To See Bull Run by Stephen Vincent Benet

The congressmen came out to see Bull Run,The congressmen who like free shows and spectacles.They brought their wives and carriages along,They brought their speeches and their ...

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Rain After A Vaudeville Show by Stephen Vincent Benet

Rain After A Vaudeville Show by Stephen Vincent Benet

The last pose flickered, failed. The screen's dead white Glared in a sudden flooding of harsh light Stabbing the eyes; and as I stumbled out The curtain rose. A fat girl with a ...

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The Hemp by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Hemp by Stephen Vincent Benet

(A Virginia Legend.) The Planting of the Hemp.Captain Hawk scourged clean the seas (Black is the gap below the plank) From the Great North Bank to the Caribbees (Down by the marsh ...

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American Names by Stephen Vincent Benet

American Names by Stephen Vincent Benet

I have fallen in love with American names,The sharp names that never get fat,The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,Tucson and Deadwood and ...

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Minor Litany by Stephen Vincent Benet

Minor Litany by Stephen Vincent Benet

This being a time confused and with few clear stars,Either private ones or public,Out of its darkness I make a litanyFor the lost, for the half-lost, for the desperate,For all ...

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The Fiddling Wood by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Fiddling Wood by Stephen Vincent Benet

Gods, what a black, fierce day! The clouds were iron, Wrenched to strange, rugged shapes; the red sun winked Over the rough crest of the hairy wood In angry scorn; the grey road ...

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Robert E. Lee by Stephen Vincent Benet

Robert E. Lee by Stephen Vincent Benet

The man was loved, the man was idolized,The man had every just and noble gift.He took great burdens and he bore them well,Believed in God but did not preach too much,Believed and ...

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Campus Sonnets: May Morning by Stephen Vincent Benet

Campus Sonnets: May Morning by Stephen Vincent Benet

I lie stretched out upon the window-seat And doze, and read a page or two, and doze, And feel the air like water on me close, Great waves of sunny air that lip and beat With a ...

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The Falconer Of God by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Falconer Of God by Stephen Vincent Benet

I flung my soul to the air like a falcon flying. I said, “Wait on, wait on, while I ride below! I shall start a heron soon In the marsh beneath the moon— A strange white heron ...

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Three Day’s Ride by Stephen Vincent Benet

Three Day’s Ride by Stephen Vincent Benet

'From Belton Castle to Solway side, Hard by the bridge, is three days' ride.' We had fled full fast from her father's keep, And the time was come that we must sleep. The first day ...

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The White Peacock by Stephen Vincent Benet

The White Peacock by Stephen Vincent Benet

(France -- Ancient Regime.) I.Go away! Go away; I will not confess to you! His black biretta clings like a hangman's cap; under his twitching fingers the beads shiver and click, ...

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The Quality Of Courage by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Quality Of Courage by Stephen Vincent Benet

Black trees against an orange sky, Trees that the wind shook terribly, Like a harsh spume along the road, Quavering up like withered arms, Writhing like streams, like twisted ...

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The Ballad Of William Sycamore [1790-1871] by Stephen Vincent Benet

The Ballad Of William Sycamore [1790-1871] by Stephen Vincent Benet

My father, he was a mountaineer, His fist was a knotty hammer; He was quick on his feet as a running deer, And he spoke with a Yankee stammer. My mother, she was merry and brave, ...

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Winged Man by Stephen Vincent Benet

Winged Man by Stephen Vincent Benet

The moon, a sweeping scimitar, dipped in the stormy straits, The dawn, a crimson cataract, burst through the eastern gates, The cliffs were robed in scarlet, the sands were ...

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