On The Death Of Joseph Rodman Drake Quotes

"None Knew Thee But To Love Thee"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In 1819 The Croaker Papers, a series of humorous, satirical odes appeared in the New York Evening Post; these were the joint effort of Fitz-Greene Halleck and Joseph Rodman Drake. A few months after the popular success of these poems, Drake, who was a medical doctor by profession and a poet by avocation, died. His collaborator, who was a banker by profession and a poet by avocation, wrote this elegy for his friend and fellow-poet. Though Edgar Allen Poe, in his Literati sketch, rated Halleck second after Bryant among American poets of the time, Halleck is probably now only known by most readers as the author of this poem on Drake. As an epigraph for his elegy, Halleck used the following well-known lines from Wordsworth, "The good die first,/ And they, whose hearts are dry as summer dust,/ Burn to the sockets." Halleck goes on in his own words:

Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
None knew thee but to love thee,
Nor named thee but to praise.
Tears fell, when thou wert dying,
From eyes unused to weep,
And long, where thou art lying,
Will tears the cold turf steep.
When hearts, whose truth was proven,
Like thine, are laid in earth,
There should a wreath be woven
To tell the world their worth.