Local History Sketches Clarence E. Holden. CCXXXV David Wilson, Poet

In Dr. Hall’s book of his friends to which we have before referred there is a caricature of David Wilson with some verses written by Robert Turner. We are tempted to copy all verses, but will content ourselves with the last stanza:

Wake up, wake up the melodies
That with thy spirit dwell;
Nor let their music only through
Our northern valleys swell.
Thy soul grants inspiration, and
Thy heart can guide the pen,
To give thee glorious station there
Among thy fellow men

At the new year of 1844 he published a poem which contains many fine passages. He had recently been married to a beautiful young lady. In his poem he writes:

I lay it down that love’s omnipotent,
And that the question is beyond dispute —
and he goes on to prove it by the example of several of his friends, including Hitchcock, Jones, Alden, Lemon, Davis, House and others. Then presently he drops into sadder ket:

Perchance someone whose name is herein spoken,
Before there comes another new year’s day,
Will pass with brow all pale and spirit broken,
Down death’s dread vale to darkness and decay.

Little did he suppose that his own young bride was destined within a few short months to pass into that “dread vale,” but she died the following June, aged 20 years. Soon he assumes a more cheerful tone, and opines

Such mournful thoughts like these do ill beseem,
A merry printer’s devil such as I.
In his newspaper articles he generally signed him The Printer’s Devil.
In another little poem he strikes a lighter strain:
As the great world goes jostling by.
‘Tis better far to laugh than cry.
At another time he places his friends, all by name, remember, in the nether regions
and gibes them unmercifully.
Yes, there great Potter heaves the woeful sigh
For all the naughty deeds that he has done.

And this of John H. Boyd:
And Boyd, no more, to see poor devils bored
Will sit and quiz them in that way of his,
The Lord be praised, himself will then be floored,
A change will come over his mischievous phiz.
He does not spare himself, Witness;
And a long train of broken Sabbath days
That should have been in lowly worship passed,
Will call to Wilson’s mind his evil ways

It seemed the proper thing, even then, to take a fling at the poor old board of trustees. In one of his sarcastic poems Wilson compares Canal Street with the Appian Way, and mourns:

Oh, would ‘twere true that here at home
We had trustees like those who once
Took care of ancient Rome.
And yet he insists;
I ‘m not inclined to personalities,
For that would be undoubtedly uncivil,
And the idea of kicking up a breeze
Would not become a modest printer’s devil