The New International Encyclopædia/Drake, Joseph Rodman

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DRAKE, Joseph Rodman (1795-1820). An American poet. He is chiefly remembered for his poems “The American Flag” and “The Culprit Fay,” and for the eulogy by his friend Halleck (see Halleck, Fitz-Greene), beginning “Green be the turf above thee.” Drake was born in New York City, was early left an orphan, and had a hard struggle in his first years. He managed, however, to study medicine, graduating in 1816, and the same year married the daughter of Henry Eckford, a ship-builder, much to the bettering of his circumstances. The same year also he wrote “The Culprit Fay,” his longest work, a fanciful poem which aimed to show that American rivers were not unadapted to romance and romantic treatment. In 1818 he went to Europe, and on his return wrote a series of verse satires for the New York Evening Post on current events. They were done in conjunction with Halleck, and are generally known as The Croakers. The verses were distinctly witty and very popular. In 1819 Drake went to New Orleans to recover his health, but the following year he died of consumption in New York. The Culprit Fay and Other Poems (including “The American Flag”) was published in 1835. There have been two later editions. The Croaker verses were collected in 1880.