A Duty Done - 1933

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)



A duty done ... What else was there to do?
A simple matter; and as simply solved.
His straight young mind worked straightly - worked as true
As ever youth's clean mind.  Here no involved
And weighty pondering of faith or fact.
Duty demanded; and he leapt to act.

He leapt and died . . . Could he but tell it now,
There would, be sure, come no heroic tale.
'What else would any man do, any how?'
This thing cried to be done.  How could he fail?
The cry; the danger; Duty's sudden call;
Then - well, a bit of bad luck.  That was all.

They say that youth grows cynical: too prone
To weigh advantage; thro' some modern plan
Changed from the clear-eyed youth old days had known:
More of a crafty huckster, less a man.
They say - and they are answered by one youth,
Proving again one wholesome human truth.

A duty done; and valiantly done.
Tho' death came in the doing, yet, who knows
At what wise ordering?  No living one
May say how kind death be to such as those
Youth, unjustified, triumphing on his way,
Quiet hero of this world of work-a-day.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

59 sec read
102

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABCC DEDEFF GHGHII JKJKLL
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,028
Words 198
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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