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

We have heard it. Oft we heard it long before we came of age.
In whatever fields we practise, art whatever arts engage:
 Ever praise for the performance, still begrudging utmost fame,
 From who would extol the action yet withhold its hallowed name.
Thus, in painting, think how often, praise is mingled with complaint:
'No, of course the man's no 'artist' but, by jove, sir he can paint!'

As in fields of art and letters, tho' Australian pride has swelled
We may never match our betters while the title is withheld,
  So in sport. Consider racing. This young champion. What a horse!
  At all distances breaks records, old and new, on every course.
But the veterans, harking backward, ban the upstart with a word:
'Yes; no doubt the nag has speed. sir. But a 'racehorse'? Bah! Absurd!'

When the Digger put a show up Over There - some push or road -
He won almost fulsome praise: 'The bravest thing God made.'
  But it seemed he still lacked something - something vague and undefined
  That would make him, if he had it, the supremest of his kind.
And 'twas said in all good feeling of the valiant Aussie band:
'These men never will make 'soldiers'. But as fighters? Gad, sir! Grand!'

Tho' he skittled English wickets till their very hope grew bleak,
Ernie Jones was ne'er a 'bowler'. No, sir. Just a sort of freak.
  There's a danger in perfection that may set a man apart,
  What he gains in execution he may lose, 'twould seem, in art.
Now there's Bradman, freak run-getter, making scores till all is blue.
Can we call this man a 'batsman'. Speaking honestly, would you?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:25 min read

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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