Published on Academy of American Poets (

Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec'd.

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.


This poem is in the public domain.

About this Poem

From Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain's parody of obituary poetry popular in the late 19th century.


Mark Twain

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. An American humorist, journalist, literary critic, and novelist, Twain is most widely known for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (American Publishing Company, 1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Charles L. Webster & Co., 1885).

Twain also wrote over 120 poems in his lifetime, mostly in his later years. While mostly published in magazines and pamphlets, his verse was eventually collected in the 1966 book On the Poetry of Mark Twain with Selections from His Verse (University of Illinois Press). He died on April 21, 1910 near Redding, Connecticut. 

Date Published: 1885-02-02

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