On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake, of New York, Sept., 1820.
“The good die first,
And they, whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
Burn to the socket.”
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;
And I who woke each morrow
To clasp thy hand in mine,
Who shared thy joy and sorrow,
Whose weal and woe were thine:
It should be mine to braid it
Around thy faded brow,
But I’ve in vain essayed it,
And feel I cannot now.
While memory bids me weep thee,
Nor thoughts nor words are free,
The grief is fixed too deeply
That mourns a man like thee.
Fitz-Greene Halleck [1790–1867]