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James Whitcomb Riley's "Doc Sifers"

The following is the complete text of James Whitcomb Riley's "Doc Sifers." Our presentation of this classic poem comes from The Works of James Whitcomb Riley: Vol. IV -- Pipes o' Pan at Zekesbury (1899). The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.

Visit these other works by James Whitcomb Riley
"The Bear Story"
"Chairley Burke's in Town"
The Champion Checker-Player of Ameriky
"A Child's Home Long Ago"
"Christine Braibry"
A Large Collection of his Short Poems
"Das Krist Kindel"
"Dead Selves"
"Dot Leedle Boy"
"Down to the Capital"
"Erasmus Wilson"
"Ezra House"
"Farmer Whipple--Bachelor"
"Grandfather Squeers"
"He Called Her In"
"The Hoosier Folk-Child"
"How John Quit the Farm"
"Jack the Giant-Killer"
"Kingry's Mill"
"Last Christmas Was a Year Ago"
"Little Johnts's Chris'mus"
"Little Mandy's Christmas Tree"

"Maymie's Story of Red Riding-Hood"
"Mr. What's-His-Name"
"My Philosofy"
"Mylo Jones's Wife"
"A Nest-Egg"
"A New Year's Time at Willards's"
"Old John Clevenger on Buckeyes"
"An Old Sweetheart"
"The Old Swimmin'-Hole"
"On the Banks o' Deer Crick"
"The Pathos of Applause"
Poems from "Rhymes of Childhood"
"The Preacher's Boy"
"Regardin' Terry Hut"
"The Rossville Lecture Course"
"The Runaway Boy"
"That-Air Young-Un"
"This Man Jones"
"Thoughts fer the Discuraged Farmer"
"To My Old Friend, William Leachman"
"Tradin' Joe"
"What Chris'mas Fetched the Wigginses"

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

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* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a short story or poem for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.

"Doc Sifers" by James Whitcomb Riley



Of all the doctors I could cite you to in this-'ere town
Doc Sifers is my favorite, jes' take him up and down!
Count in the Bethel Neighberhood, and Rollins, and Big Bear,
And Sifers' standin's jes' as good as ary doctor's there!

There's old Doc Wick, and Glenn, and Hall, and Wurgler, and McVeigh,
But I'll buck Sifers 'g'inst 'em all and down 'em any day!
Most old Wick ever knowed, I s'pose, was whisky! Wurgler--well,
He et morphine--ef actions shows, and facts 's reliable!

But Sifers--though he ain't no sot, he's got his faults; and yit
When you git Sifers one't, you've got a doctor, don't fergit!
He ain't much at his office, er his house, er anywhere
You'd natchurly think certain fer to ketch the feller there.--

But don't blame Doc: he's got all sorts o' cur'ous notions--as
The feller says; his "odd-come-shorts," like smart men mostly has.--
He'll more'n like be potter'n 'round the Blacksmith Shop; er in
Some back lot, spadin' up the ground, er gradin' it ag'in.

Er at the work-bench, planin' things; er buildin' little traps
To ketch birds; galvenizin' rings; er graftin' plums, perhaps.
Make anything! good as the best!--a gun-stock--er a flute;
He whittled out a set o' chesstmen one't o' laurel root,

Durin' the Army--got his trade o' surgeon there--I own
To-day a finger-ring Doc made o' sealin'-wax and bone!
And glued a fiddle one't fer me--jes' all so busted you
'D 'a' throwed the thing away, but he fixed her as good as new!

And take Doc, now, in aigger, say, er cramps, er rheumatiz,
And all afflictions thataway, and he's the best they is!
Er janders--milk sick--I don't keer--k-yore anything he tries--
A felon; er a frost-bit ear; er granilated eyes!

There wuz the Widder Daubenspeck they all give up fer dead--
With fits, and lig'ture-o'-the-neck, and clean out of her head!
First had this doctor, what's-his-name, from "Puddlesburg," and then
This little redhead, "Burnin' Shame" they call him--Dr. Glenn.

And they "consulted" on the case, and claimed she'd haf to die.--
I jes' wuz joggin' by the place, and heerd her dorter cry,
And stops and calls her to the fence; and I-says-I, "Let me
Send Sifers--bet you fifteen cents he'll k-yore her!" "Well," says she,

"Light out!" she says: And, lipp-tee-cut! I loped in town--and rid
'Bout two hours more to find him, but I scored him when I did!
He was down at the Gunsmith Shop, a-stuffin' birds! Says he,
"My sulky's broke." Says I, "You hop right on and ride with me!"

I got him there!--"Well, Aunty, ten days k-yores you," Sifers said,
"But what's yer idy linger'n' when they want you Overhead?"
And there's Dave Banks--jes' back from war without a scratch--one day
Got ketched up in a sickle-bar, a reaper-runaway.--

His shoulders, arms, and hands and legs jes' sawed in strips! And Jake
Dunn starts fer Sifers--feller begs to shoot him, pity's sake!
Doc, 'course, wuz gone, but he had penned the notice, "At Big Bear--
Be back to-morry; Gone to 'tend the Bee Convention there."

But Jake, he tracked him--rid and rode the whole endurin' night!
And 'bout the time the roosters crowed they both hove into sight.
Doc had to ampitate, but 'greed to save Dave's arms, and said
He could 'a' saved his legs ef he'd got there four hours ahead.

Doc's wife's own mother purt' nigh died one't 'fore he could be found,
And all the neighbers fur-and-wide a-all jes' chasin' round!
Tel finally--I had to laugh--'t'uz jes' like Doc, you know,--
Wuz learnin' fer to telegraph, down at the old deepo.

But all they're faultin' Sifers fer, they's none of 'em kin say
He's biggoty, er keerless, er not posted, anyway:
He ain't built on the common plan of doctors nowadays,--
He's jes' a great, big, brainy man--that's where the trouble lays!

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