William Kirby by Fisher Davidson

william kirby

william kirby
William Kirby, 1817-1906. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

In old Niagara town, long aisles of ancient trees
Stand sentinel along the storied ways,
Tall, sturdy patriarchs of other days,
Whose busy leaves are ever whispering memories.
And one there was who walked beneath their arching shade:
True, gallant type of Christian gentleman,
He, faithful, passed the full, allotted span
Within this hoary town whose cause his own he made;
And always at his side there moved a shadowy throng:
Simcoe and Brock and noble Addison,
All who with axe and plough and sword and gun,
Laid firm its deep foundations that have lasted long,
All who, sojourning in this place, did love it well.
He was like to the Roman Livy, he
Who loved his town and ever strove to be
Worthy its great traditions and its annals tell.
So let his country keep his memory one pure sheen,
And bring him, there beside the ivied wall,
Beneath still other forest-veterans tall,
French whites and English roses, ‘twined with Maple green.

Source: E.J. Pratt, (ed). Canadian Poetry Magazine. vol. 6, no. 1, December 1941.

Biographical information on George ‘Fisher’ Davidson prepared by historian Arden Phair:

George ‘Fisher’ Davidson was born in Batavia, NY, October 19, 1912, the son of George Lee Davidson and Florence Irene Fisher.  The family left the United States on February 27, 1918 and settled in Grantham Township where they took up farming.  Fisher’s father died in October 1926 and his brother in February 1929.  By March 1929, Fisher and his mother are living in Welland.  After graduating from the University of Toronto in  1935, he returned to Welland where he was a teacher, remaining there until at least 1940.  In 1947 he was in Hornepayne, Ontario, then is found in Toronto in 1948, residing there until at least 1961.  In the 1950s, his employment in Toronto is listed as “customs.”  Davidson apparently died in Hamilton, January 19, 1995, though no official record of the details of this event can as yet be located (either in Hamilton, Welland, or elsewhere).


George ‘Fisher Davidson,
Class of ’35,
University College Torontonensis

In high school, he was acknowledged as an accomplished orator, reaching the Ontario District semi-finals in 1929.  Ten years later, he was playwright for “The Canal”, a production whose focus is on a Canal widow at the 1932 Official Opening of the waterway.  Her story is told as she reflects upon the tragedies that led up to the day’s events.  His original play was performed by members of the Anglican Young Peoples Association (A.Y.P.A.) of Trinity Anglican Church in Welland.  In January 1939, the play was awarded The Lewis Cup as the best of six plays at the A.Y.P.A. Niagara District Drama Festival.


Davidson had poems and short stories published in a variety of journals and newspapers including the Canadian Historical Association Annual ReportCanadian Poetry MagazineCanadian Forum, and The Globe/Globe & Mail.  He was also a member of the Toronto branch of the Canadian Authors Association.


Fisher Davidson’s published works include:  Two Sonnets for a Centenary (ca. 1939), Dominion and Other Poems: 1948), Principal Boy (1954), and Mists of Quebec (1960). 

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