Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1144. A Man by the Name of Bolus
 
By James Whitcomb Riley
 
 
A MAN by the name of Bolus—(all ’at we ’ll ever know
Of the stranger’s name, I reckon—and I ’m kindo’ glad it ’s so!)—
Got off here, Christmas morning, looked ’round the town, and then
Kindo’ sized up the folks, I guess, and—went away again!
 
The fac’s is, this man Bolus got “run in,” Christmas-day;        5
The town turned out to see it, and cheered, and blocked the way;
And they dragged him ’fore the Mayor—fer he could n’t er would n’t walk—
And socked him down fer trial—though he could n’t er would n’t talk!
 
Drunk? They was no doubt of it!—W’y, the marshal of the town
Laughed and testified ’at he fell up-stairs ’stid o’ down!        10
This man by the name of Bolus?—W’y, he even drapped his jaw
And snored on through his “hearin’”—drunk as you ever saw!
 
One feller spit in his boot-leg, and another ’n’ drapped a small
Little chunk o’ ice down his collar,—but he did n’t wake at all!
And they all nearly split when his Honor said, in one of his witty ways,        15
To “chalk it down fer him, ‘Called away—be back in thirty days!’”
 
That ’s where this man named Bolus slid, kindo’ like in a fit,
Flat on the floor; and—drat my ears!—I hear ’em a-laughin’ yit!
Somebody fetched Doc Sifers from jest acrost the hall,—
And all Doc said was, “Morphine! We ’re too late!” and that ’s all!        20
 
That ’s how they found his name out—piece of a letter ’at read:
“Your wife has lost her reason, and little Nathan’s dead—
Come ef you kin,—fergive her—but Bolus, as fer me,
This hour I send a bullet through where my heart ort to be!”
 
Man by the name of Bolus!—As his revilers broke        25
Fer the open air, ’peared like, to me, I heard a voice ’at spoke—
Man by the name of Bolus! git up from where you lay—
Git up and smile white at ’em with your hands crossed thataway!
 

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