Legs And The Man

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



Alas, my dear, be you high-born,
Or just a Sydney cutie,
I fear you've earned a he-man's scorn
Thro' failing in your duty.
A lady would avert her eyes,
Taught by her caste to realise
That the male leg without disguise
Is not a thing of beauty.

Even when used to underpin
A dress-reforming dandy,
‘Tis still a prop of reddened skin,
Mostly knock-kneed, or bandy.
And, oh, my dear, you must have known
How sensitive are those who own
These knobby knuckles thickly sown
With ebon hairs, or sandy.

And oh, my dear, be you de Vere,
Or just some saucy Sadie,
To goggle when male shanks appear
Is positively shady.
But should you giggle - Oh, dear!  Oh!
No matter how grotesque the show,
All proper gentlemen must know
You're low.  You ain't no lady.

But oh, my dear, and ah, my dear,
Learn etiquette.  For when, dear,
You in those fetching shorts appear
At tennis now and then, dear;
Men may stare hard, they may stare long,
Their heads a-whirl, their hearts a song;
Yet, save your scorn.  There's nothing wrong.
They still are gentlemen, dear.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

58 sec read
42

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABCCCB DBDBEEEB FBFBGGGB FFFFHHHF
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,017
Words 191
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8, 8

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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