Richard Dalton Williams

Williams, Richard Dalton, a minor poet, "Shamrock" of the Nation newspaper, Dublin, was born in the County of Tipperary, 8th October 1822. Educated at Carlow College, he came up to Dublin to study medicine. The first of his numerous poetical contributions to the Nation was in January 1843. Williams became an ardent nationalist, and in 1848, with his friend Kevin Izod O'Doherty, commenced the Irish Tribune paper. Before the sixth weekly publication, it was seized by Government, and proceedings were instituted against the editors. On the 30th of October 1848, on a third trial, O'Doherty was convicted and transported to Australia; while Williams, tried two days afterwards, was acquitted. He then resumed his medical studies, took out his degree at Edinburgh, emigrated to America in 1851, and became a professor in Spring Hill College, Mobile. Dr. Williams died of consumption at Thibodeaux, Louisiana, 5th July 1862, aged 39. As a poet he excelled in humorous pieces. Of his graver style, "The Irish National Guard to his Sister," "Ben Heder," and the "Dying Girl" are perhaps the best known. After the disappointment of his political aspirations, there was not wanting in his productions a vein of cynical bitterness. His writings turned towards spiritual subjects in his later days. A number of his poems were collected and published as a Christmas supplement to the Nation in 1876; and a notice of his life formed the subject of three articles in the Irish Monthly in 1877.


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