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'Me, A Sinner'

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

Should it occasion much surprise
That criminals should deal in blame,
As all of us, and recognise
The full depth of another's shame.
The burglar blames the bigamist
As something partially insane,
And Bluebeards equally insist
That burglars are a sinful bane.

And, getting further up the scale,
To normal men, like you and I,
The rule is never known to fail,
While egotism throned on high,
Sets cunning traps for you and me,
Blind with the illusion of our worth,
To ape the smirking Pharisee,
And see sin stalking o'er the earth.

In a community of saints,
Where all sins save fault-finding die,
One still might look for grave complaints
Concerning haloes worn awry.
But as this sinful earth is trod,
He who, of Jezebel or Cain,
Says, 'There, but for the grace of God,
Go I,' is the most nearly sane.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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