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Old Town Types No. 28 - Lah-Di-Dah Lane

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

In the old town traditions - as greybeards will explain
One epic tale immortalises Lah-di-dah Lane,
Clerk to a local wheat-buyer in the railway yard.
Some deemed him just a 'masher,' but a few said 'knowing card'
With his waxed moustache, his monocle, his grey 'hard-hitter' hat,
His braided coat of black 'Berlin,' his lavender cravat,
His buttoned boots and finger-ring and thin Malacca cane
Oh, a sight on pleasant Sundays was our Lah-di-dah Lane.

His manners were meticulous, his smile so softly sweet
That he soon became the butt of every urchin in our street.
But he took their banter calmly, and his brow wore ne'er a frown
Till the bully, Turk Trevanion, caused a scandal in the town.
A loud-mouthed blusterer was Turk, a crude, sardonic lout
Who made a set at Lah-di-dah, but failed to draw him out
Till he used, in ladies' hearing, words both blasphemous and vain:
Then, 'I'll meet you on the wiver flat,' said Lah-di-dah Lane.

Discreetly on that Sabbath day the word was passed about,
Till half the town came to the flat to see poor Lane pass out;
And a few expressed their pity; but the most of them were there
To watch in masculine contempt as, with most tender care
He laid aside his monocle, his grey 'hard-hitter' hat,
His braided coat, his collar and his lavender cravat;
And on the pile he neatly laid his thin Malacca cane.
'Now then, I'll thottle you, you thwine!' lisped Lah-di-dah lane.

Of that Homeric battle townsmen talk with bated breath;
For Lah-di-dah in action proved a streak of sudden death.
His straight lefts and upper-cuts revealed amazing form,
Till Turk, a battered, bleeding wreck, went down before the storm.
Then Lane resumed his monocle, his grey 'hard-hitter' hat,
His collar and his braided coat, his lavender cravat,
And under Turk's incarmined nose wagged his Malacca cane:
'Take that, you bwutal bwawler!' murmured Lah-di-dah Lane.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:38 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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