Joel Benton (1832-1911)

"A critic and verse writer of repute." (Sharp)

"Born in 1832, and a native of Amenia, Dutchess Co., N.Y., where he resides.  At once a poet, philosopher, and agriculturist, he has written some striking vagrant poems, a paper on Emerson as Poet, etc.  A intimate friend of Horace Greeley, he has celebrated his memory in the sonnet At Chappaqua, which appeared in the Chicago AmericaDahkota is taken from the Century."  (Crandall )


Sea-like in billowy distance, far away
The half-broke prairies stretch on every hand;
How wide the circuit of their summer day--
What measureless acres of primeval land,
Treeless and birdless, by no eyesight spanned!
Looking along the horizon's endless line
Man seems a pigmy in these realms of space;
No segment of our planet--so divine--
Turns up such beauty to the moon's fair face!
Here are soft grasses, flowers of tender hue,
Palimpsests of the old and coming race,
Vistas most wonderful, and vast and new;
And see--above--where giant lightnings play,
From what an arch the sun pours forth the day!

(Text from American Sonnets)

At Chappaqua

His cherished woods are mute.  The stream glides down
The hill as when I knew it years ago;
The dark, pine arbor with its priestly gown
Stands hushed, as if our grief it still would show;
The silver springs are cupless, and the flow
Of friendly feet no more bereaves the grass,
For he is absent who was wont to pass
Along this wooded path.  His axe's blow
No more disturbs the impertinent bole or bough;
Nor moves his pen our heedless nation now,
Which, sworn to justice, stirred the people so.
In some far world his much-loved face must glow
With rapture still.  This breeze once fanned his brow.
This is the peaceful Mecca all men know! 

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