Stephen Crane was born on November 1, 1871, in Newark, New Jersey. He was the fourteenth and last child of Dr. Jonathan Townley Crane, a Methodist minister, and Mary Crane. He rebelled against his father's teachings, and religious and social traditions in general. His family frequently moved around the New York and New Jersey area. In 1878 they moved to Port Jervis in upstate New York where the setting of Whilomville Stories, The Third Violet, and his famous story, The Monster, took place. In 1880 his family moved to Asbury Park, New Jersey, after the death of his father.

Crane never took a liking to school. His stay at Lafayette College to study mining engineering was brief, he left without completing his first semester. In 1891 he enrolled at Syracuse University, where he is most remembered playing baseball and boxing. He passed only one course during this time - English literature. When his mother died he left the university and never finished his degree.

He worked as a freelance reporter in New York for such newspapers as the Tribune and Herald. His first published work, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, inspired by the slums of New York City, was written in 1891 and published in 1893 under the pseudonym Johnston Smith, a story centered around the life of a prostitute. It was met with very little recognition. His second book, The Red Badge of Courage, was met much more successfully. It is a novel about the American Civil War although he had never been in a war at that time. A book of short stories from the war, The Little Regiment, was also published in 1896. Crane continued to work as a journalist in Mexico, Cuba and Greece, and covered many wars. Active Service, published in 1899, was based on his experiences during the the Greco-Turkish War.

At the age of twenty eight, Crane died of tuberculosis in a health spa in Badenweiler, Germany, on June 5, 1900. He was buried in his family plot in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Much of Crane's work centers around characters who are forced to deal with situations that push them physically and mentally to their extremes, but under such harsh pressure they show courage and strength. His writing is often labeled as realism or naturalism.
The Black Riders And Other Lines, published in 1905, contains all of the most prevalant literary techniques Stephan Crane employed throughout his works, especially irony (real irony, not the Alanis Morrisette kind), paradox, and religion.

One of my favorite passages is The Black Riders And Other Lines: LIV:

"It was wrong to do this," said the angel.
"You should live like a flower,
Holding malice like a puppy,
Waging war like a lambkin."

"Not so," quoth the man
Who had no fear of spirits;
"It is only wrong for angels
Who can live like the flowers,
Holding malice like the puppies,
Waging war like the lambkins."


  1 - Black riders came from the sea
  2 - Three little birds in a row
  3 - In the desert
  4 - Yes, I have a thousand tongues
  5 - Once there came a man
  6 - God fashioned the ship of the world carefully
  7 - Mystic shadow, bending near me
  8 - I looked here
  9 - I stood upon a high place
 10 - Should the wide world roll away
 11 - In a lonely place
 12 - Well, then, I hate Thee, unrighteous picture
 13 - If there is a witness to my little life
 14 - There was crimson clash of war
 15 - Tell brave deeds of war
 16 - Charity, thou art a lie
 17 - There were many who went in huddled procession
 18 - In Heaven
 19 - A god in wrath
 20 - A learned man came to me once
 21 - There was, before me
 22 - Once I saw mountains angry
 23 - Places among the stars
 24 - I saw a man pursuing the horizon
 25 - Behold, the grave of a wicked man
 26 - There was set before me a mighty hill
 27 - A youth in apparel that glittered
 28 - "Truth," said a traveller
 29 - Behold, from the land of the farther suns
 30 - Supposing that I should have the courage
 31 - Many workmen
 32 - Two or three angels
 33 - There was One I met upon the road
 34 - I stood upon a highway
 35 - A man saw a ball of gold in the sky
 36 - I met a seer
 37 - On the horizon the peaks assembled
 38 - The ocean said to me once
 39 - The livid lightnings flashed in the clouds
 40 - And you love me?
 41 - Love walked alone
 42 - I walked in a desert
 43 - There came whisperings in the winds
 44 - I was in the darkness
 45 - Tradition, thou art for suckling children
 46 - Many red devils ran from my heart
 47 - "Think as I think," said a man
 48 - Once there was a man
 49 - I stood musing in a black world
 50 - You say you are holy
 51 - A man went before a strange god
 52 - Why do you strive for greatness, fool?
 53 - Blustering god
 54 - "It was wrong to do this," said the angel
 55 - A man toiled on a burning road
 56 - A man feared that he might find an assassin
 57 - With eye and with gesture
 58 - The sage lectured brilliantly
 59 - Walking in the sky
 60 - Upon the road of my life
 61 - There was a man and a woman
 62 - There was a man who lived a life of fire
 63 - There was a great cathedral
 64 - Friend, your white beard sweeps the ground
 65 - Once, I knew a fine song
 66 - If I should cast off this tattered coat
 67 - God lay dead in Heaven
 68 - A spirit sped
 69 - A man builded a bugle for the storms to blow
 70 - When the suicide arrived at the sky, the people there asked him: "Why?"
 71 - A man said: "Thou tree!"
 72 - A warrior stood upon a peak and defied the stars
 73 - The wind that waves the blossoms sang, sang, sang from age to age
 74 - When a people reach the top of a hill
 75 - Rumbling, buzzing, turning, whirling Wheels
 76 - Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind
 77 - What says the sea, little shell?
 78 - To the maiden
 79 - A little ink more or less!
 80 - Have you ever made a just man?
 81 - I explain the silvered passing of a ship at night
 82 - I have heard the sunset song of the birches
 83 - Fast rode the knight
 84 - Forth went the candid man
 85 - You tell me this is God?
 86 - On the desert
 87 - A newspaper is a collection of half-injustices
 88 - The wayfarer
 89 - A slant of sun on dull brown walls
 90 - Once, a man, clambering to the house-tops
 91 - There was a man with tongue of wood
 92 - The successful man has thrust himself
 93 - In the night
 94 - The chatter of a death-demon from a tree-top
 95 - The impact of a dollar upon the heart
 96 - A man said to the universe
 97 - When the prophet, a complacent fat man
 98 - There was a land where lived no violets
 99 - There was One I met upon the road
100 - Ay, workman, make me a dream
101 - Each small gleam was a voice
102 - The trees in the garden rained flowers
103 - Intrigue
104 - Love forgive me if I wish you grief
105 - Ah, God, the way your little finger moved
106 - Once I saw thee idly rocking
107 - Tell me why, behind thee
108 - And yet I have seen thee happy with me
109 - I heard thee laugh
110 - I wonder if sometimes in the dusk
111 - Love met me at noonday
112 - I have seen thy face aflame
113 - A man adrift on a slim spar
114 - Chant you loud of punishments
115 - A naked woman and a dead dwarf
116 - Little birds of the night
117 - Unwind my riddle
118 - Ah, haggard purse, why ope thy mouth
119 - One came from the skies
120 - A god came to a man
121 - There is a grey thing that lives in the tree-tops
122 - If you would seek a friend among men
123 - A lad and a maid at a curve in the stream
124 - A solder, young in years, young in ambitions
125 - A row of thick pillars
126 - Oh, a rare old wine ye brewed for me
127 - There exists the eternal fact of conflict
128 - On the brown trail
129 - All-feeling God, hear in the war-night
130 - A grey and boiling street
131 - Bottles and bottles and bottles
132 - intermingled
133 - The patent of a lord
134 - Tell me not in joyous numbers
135 - My cross!

These poems are public domain

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