Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots by Mark Twain
Ode To Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d
by Mark Twain
EIL Editior’s note: Originally appearing in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a work by Emmaline Grangerford (a caricature of Twain’s contemporary Julia A. Moore), Twain intended Ode To Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d as an example of “the touch that makes an intentionally humorous episode pathetic and an intentionally pathetic one funny.”
And did young Stephen sicken,
And did young Stephen die?
And did the sad hearts thicken,
And did the mourners cry?
No; such was not the fate of
Young Stephen Dowling Bots;
Though sad hearts round him thickened,
‘Twas not from sickness’ shots.
No whooping-cough did rack his frame,
Nor measles drear, with spots;
Not these impaired the sacred name
Of Stephen Dowling Bots.
Despised love struck not with woe
That head of curly knots,
Nor stomach troubles laid him low,
Young Stephen Dowling Bots.
O no. Then list with tearful eye,
Whilst I his fate do tell.
His soul did from this cold world fly,
By falling down a well.
They got him out and emptied him;
Alas it was too late;
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft
In the realms of the good and great.
If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy EIL’s collection of other Mark Twain poetry. Of course, in addition to fiction and poetry, Mark Twain was also an excellent writer of prose pieces. EIl’s selection of these can be found here.
When will you read Mark Twain’s writing in Excellence in Literature?