William Rose Benet
Biography of William Rose Benet
William Rose Benét (February 2, 1886 – May 4, 1950) was an American poet, writer, and editor. He was the older brother of Stephen Vincent Benét.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Col. James Walker Benét and his wife née Frances Neill Rose, and grandson of Brigadier General Stephen Vincent Benét. He was educated The Albany Academy in Albany, NY and at Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, graduating with a PhB in 1907. He began the Saturday Review of Literature in 1924 and continued to edit and write for it until his death.
Benét married four times: First, on 3 September 1912, he married Teresa France Thomson, with whom he had three children (James Walker Benét, Frances Rosemary Benét, and Kathleen Anne Benét). Teresa died in 1919. Benét's second wife whom he married on 5 October 1923, was poet Elinor Wylie. She died in 1928. Benét's third wife, whom he married on 15 March 1932, was Lora Baxter. They divorced in 1937. Benét's fourth wife, and widow, was children's writer Marjorie Flack.
In 1942, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book of autobiographical verse, The Dust Which Is God (1941).
He is also the author of The Reader's Encyclopedia, the standard American guide to world literature.
His son, James Walker Benét (b. 1914) is the author of two suspense novels and a guidebook to the San Francisco Bay Area.
William Rose Benet Poems
Blake saw a treeful of angels at Peckham Rye, And his hands could lay hold on the tiger's terrible heart. Blake knew how deep is Hell, and Heaven how high, And could build the universe from one tiny part.
How To Catch Unicorns
Its cloven hoofprint on the sand Will lead you—where? Into a phantasmagoric land— Beware!
High on the telephone wires, the paltry pitiful thing Hangs in rags and tatters and loops of string. A slight breeze shakes it, but cannot shake it down. It flutters and flutters forgotten above the town.
The Horse Thief
There he moved, cropping the grass at the purple canyon's lip. His mane was mixed with the moonlight that silvered his snow-white side, For the moon sailed out of a cloud with the wake of a spectral ship. I crouched and I crawled on my belly, my lariat coil looped wide.
"I burned, I wept, I sang: I burn, sing, weep again, And I shall weep and sing, I shall forever burn Until or death or time or fortune's turn Shall still my eye and heart, still fire and pain."
The Marvelous Munchausen
The snug little room with its brazier fire aglow, And Piet and Sachs and Vroom — all in the long ago, — Oh, the very long ago! — o'er their pipes and hollands seen; And on the wall the man-o'-war, and firelight on the screen!
He fought for his soul, and the stubborn fighting Tried hard his strength. 'One needs seven souls for thin long requiting,' He said at length.
He had green eyes, that excellent seer, And little peaks to either ear. He sat there, and I sat here.
Your pursed lips suddenly sucked in a sound that your horse Leapt to. He tossed his head and stretched his muzzle, Hauling the reins, and started off at a canter. Riding astride in your heavy McClellan saddle,
Fold on fold the purple, crimson then— Gold? I shook my head and turned away. What? I turned and glared in that barbaric den. 'Gray!'
Scurvy doctrine, that the world is a bubble— It is much more solid than that! A monument built out of rubble, If you will—a high silk hat
Yon lie the fields all golden with grain, (Oh, come, ye Harvesters, reap!) The dead leaves are falling with autumn's brown stain. (Oh, come, ye Harvesters, reap!) For soon sinks the sun to his bed in the west,
The Red Country
In the red country The sky flowers All day. Strange mechanical birds
The South Wind
I'm as full of wisdom as a tree of leaves, But the South WInd flows, blows and grieves, Quivers every leaf with bewildering desire Till a pallor of blossom ripples forth like fire,
How To Catch Unicorns
Its cloven hoofprint on the sand
Will lead you—where?
Into a phantasmagoric land—
There all the bright streams run up-hill.
The birds on every tree are still.
But from stocks and stones, clear voices come
That should be dumb.