Stephen Vincent Benet (July 22, 1898 - March 13, 1943)
Born: 22nd July, 1898
Died: 13th March, 1943
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, New York City, New York
Notable works: "The Devil and Daniel Webster", "John Brown's Body", "Western Star", "A Book of Americans"

Stephen Vincent Benet Facts

Biography

Stephen Vincent Benet, (born July 22, 1898, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.--died March 13, 1943, New York, New York), American poet, novelist, and writer of short stories, best known for John Brown's Body, a long narrative poem on the American Civil War.

Born into a military family with literary inclinations, Benet was reared on army posts. His father read poetry aloud to Stephen, an older brother, William Rose, and a sister, Laura, all of whom became writers. Stephen published his first book at age 17. Civilian service during World War I interrupted his education at Yale University. He received his M.A. degree after the war, submitting his third volume of poems instead of a thesis.

After publishing the much-admired Ballad of William Sycamore 1790-1880 (1923), three novels, and a number of short stories, he went to France, where he wrote John Brown's Body (1928), his most widely read work. Dramatized by Charles Laughton in 1953, it was performed across the United States.

A Book of Americans (1933), poems written with his wife, the former Rosemary Carr, brought many historical characters to life for American schoolchildren. Benet's preoccupation with historical themes was also the basis for Western Star, an ambitious epic verse narrative on American history that Benet first planned in 1934 to consist of as many as five books but was left uncompleted at the time of his death. Book I, complete in itself and finished in 1942, was published posthumously. In all, Benet published more than 17 volumes of prose and verse. His best-known short story, "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1937), a humorous treatment of a theme from folklore, was the basis for a play by Archibald MacLeish, an opera by Douglas Moore, and two motion pictures (1941, 2001).

Top 22 Stephen Vincent Benet quotes

We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.
Because
Had
Power
Thought
Wisdom
Honesty is as rare as a man without self-pity.
Honesty
Honesty is
Man
Rare
Self-pity
Without
Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.
Day
Dragging
Dying
Life
Lost
Minute
Small
Thousand
Ways
I have fallen in love with American names, the sharp names that never get fat.
American
Fallen
Fat
Get
Love
Names
Never
Sharp
Dreaming men are haunted men.
Dreaming
Haunted
Men
A man with a mouth like a mastiff, a brow like a mountain, and eyes like burning antracite - that was Dan'l Webster in his prime.
Brow
Burning
Eyes
His
Like
Man
Mountain
Mouth
Prime
Yes, Dan'l Webster's dead - or, at least, they buried him. But every time there's a thunderstorm around Marshfield, they say you can hear his rolling voice in the hollows of the sky.
Around
Buried
Dead
Every
Every time
Hear
Him
His
Least
Rolling
Say
Sky
They say
Thunderstorm
Treat a boy like a fool and he'll act like a fool, I say, but there's some folks need convincing.
Act
Boy
Convincing
Folks
Fool
He
Like
Need
Say
Some
Treat
You work hard, and you'll rise. But, if you've got any foolish notions, just knock them on the head and forget them.
Any
Foolish
Forget
Got
Hard
Head
Just
Knock
Notions
Rise
Them
Work
Work hard
You
You can't depend on the kind of folks people think they are - you've got to go by what they do. And I wouldn't give much for a man that some folks hadn't thought was a fool, in his time.
Depend
Folks
Fool
Give
Go
Got
His
Kind
Man
Much
People
Some
Think
Thought
You call my candidate a horse thief, and I call yours a lunatic, and we both of us know it's just till election day. It's an American custom, like eating corn on the cob. And, afterwards, we settle down quite peaceably and agree we've got a pretty good country - until next election.
Afterwards
Agree
American
Both
Call
Candidate
Corn
Country
Custom
Day
Down
Eating
Election
Election day
We can no longer take our own way of life for granted - we know that it may be challenged. And we know this, too - and know it ever more deeply - we know that freedom and democracy are not just big words mouthed by orators but the rain and the wind and the sun, the air and the light by which we breathe and live.
Air
Big
Breathe
Challenged
Deeply
Democracy
Ever
Freedom
Granted
Just
Know
Life
Light
Live
We cannot be a house divided - divided in will, divided in interest, divided in soul. We cannot be a house divided and live.
Cannot
Divided
House
Interest
Live
Soul
We cannot
Will
It is hard to put aside partisanship. It is hard to give up the easy wisecracking jeer that divides and destroys. It is hard - very hard - to have worked sincerely and wholeheartedly for a cause and to have lost. Most of all, it is hard to put aside personal prejudices. And yet we must put these things aside.
Aside
Cause
Destroys
Divides
Easy
Give
Hard
Lost
Most
Must
Partisanship
Personal
Prejudices
Put
Let us be bold enough and free enough to follow the great examples - the men of good will and honor who put aside little ways and petty hatreds to build the American dream.
American
American dream
Aside
Bold
Build
Dream
Enough
Examples
Follow
Free
Good
Great
Honor
Let us
We cannot afford the creeping paralysis that destroys the effective will of democracy - the paralysis carried by hate and rancor, between class and class, person and person, party and party, as plague is carried through the streets of a town.
Afford
Between
Cannot
Carried
Class
Democracy
Destroys
Effective
Hate
Paralysis
Party
Person
Plague
Streets
Let each one of us say, 'I am an American. I intend to stay an American. I will do my best to wipe from my heart hate, rancor and political prejudice. I will sustain my government. And, through good days or bad, I will try to serve my country.'
Am
American
Bad
Best
Country
Days
Each
Each one
Good
Government
Hate
Heart
I am
Intend
You can't do business with a man who doesn't know the meaning of a contract. You can't do business with a firm who swears they'll do one thing one day and does just the opposite the next. You can't do business with a company who takes your goods on a cash basis and then pays you off in bum harmonicas.
Basis
Bum
Business
Cash
Company
Contract
Day
Does
Firm
Goods
Just
Know
Man
Meaning
It is forbidden to go east, but I have gone, forbidden to go on the great river, but I am there. Open your hearts, you spirits, and hear my song.
Am
East
Forbidden
Go
Gone
Great
Hear
Hearts
I am
Open
River
Song
Spirits
You
Truth is a hard deer to hunt. If you eat too much truth at once, you may die of the truth.
Deer
Die
Eat
Hard
Hunt
May
Much
Once
Too
Too much
Truth
Truth is
You
Trouble with women. Can't do any art and be married if you're in love with your wife.
Any
Art
Love
Married
Trouble
Wife
Women
You
Your
There are many trials that seem hard to bear at first which prove true blessings later when we see of what false materials they were first composed.
Bear
Blessings
Composed
False
First
Hard
Later
Many
Materials
Prove
See
Seem
Trials
True

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