1889 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Rodman Drake

Edmund Gosse, in "Has America produced a Poet?" 1889; Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 4:661.



A commonplace of American criticism is to compare Keats with a certain Joseph Rodman Drake. They both died at twenty-five and they both wrote verse. The parallel ends there. Keats was one of the great writers of the world. Drake was a gentle imitative bard of the fourth or fifth order, whose gifts culminated in a piece of pretty fancy called The Culprit Fay. Every principle of proportion is outraged in a conjunction of the names of Drake and Keats. To compare them is like comparing a graceful shrub with the tallest pine that fronts the tempest on the forehead of Rhodope.