Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A MAN BY THE NAME OF BOLUS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A MAN BY THE NAME OF BOLUS, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: A man by the name of bolus -- (all 'at we'll ever know
Last Line: Git up and smile white at 'em, with your hands crossed thataway!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Christmas; Drinks & Drinking; Strangers; Nativity, The; Wine

A MAN by the name of Bolus -- (all 'at we'll ever know
Of the stranger's name, I reckon -- and I'm kind o' glad it's so!) --
Got off here, Christmas morning, looked 'round the town, and then
Kind o' sized up the folks, I guess, and -- went away again!

The fac's is, this man Bolus got "run in," Christmas-day;
The town turned out to see it, and cheered, and blocked the way;
And they dragged him 'fore the Mayor -- fer he couldn't er wouldn't
walk --
And socked him down fer trial -- though he couldn't er wouldn't

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!
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 didn't wake at all!
And they all nearly split when his Honor said, in one of his witty ways,
To "chalk it down fer him, 'Called away -- be back in thirty days!'"

That's where this man named Bolus slid, kind o' like in a fit,
Flat on the floor; and -- drat my ears! I hear 'em a-laughin' yit!
Somebody fetched Doc Sifers from jes' acrost the hall --
And all Doc said was, "Morphine! We're too late!" and that's all!

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
Fer the open air, 'peared-like, to me, I heerd 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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