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'Ned'

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

When Ned was a neophyte nobody heeded him.
No man could prophesy, none could foretell
How, when the day came that the populace needed him,
Quite a new Ned would emerge from his shell
For he blithered and blathered and talked without end
In a manner provoking to foe and to friend.

In days of prosperity, peevish asperity
Ever informed his debate in the House
Some hint or suspicion of fault or omission,
And Ned would arise, without thinking, and rouse.
But 'tis strange what a change has come over the fellow
Who, faced with stern duty, grown thoughtful and mellow.

When clowns are stampeded and strong men are needed
'Tis well that the man has arrived with the hour
Who, wielding a sabre, as ever, for Labor.
Sees prejudice wane as he waxes in pow'r.
And 'mid froth and faction can still keep his head.
While we gasp at the grit of the latter-day Ned.

There are men, it is written, who, when they are smitten
By fate, may develop new firmness and calm.
Tho' other men curse it, he thrives on adversity,
Lately for doggedness taking the palm.
And arising refreshed to the popular joy,
A leader new-armed, and a broth of a boy.

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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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