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Old Town Types No. 9 - Long John, The Snob

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

Long John McDougal, the wax-end and leather man,
Solon of the main street, full of curious lore,
Keen-eyed and frugal, politician, weather man,
Pegging there, or stitching by his shop front door;
Keen-eyed and frugal, Long John McDougal
Talked as he toiled there, or harked to others' woes,
With his tousled old grey head and steel-rimmed spectacles,
His old steel spectacles perched on the end of his nose.

Long John the leather man: boots, bridles any a thing
Fashioned out of leather, could his wise hands mend.
'Cease your foolish blether, man! For I have cobbled many a thing
Cobbled it and cured it wi' me strong wax-end.
Cease your foolish blether, man. 'Tis Long John, the leather man
Has shod the feet of half the town, an' no complaints from those.'
And his old head would waggle and his steel-rimmed spectacles
His smeared old spectacles perched on the end of his nose.

Long John, the cobbler, sets aside his sowing owl,
Sets aside his apron and gives his hands a rub,
And trots off for his nobbler, just as he has been going all
These long years for his whisky at the Railway pub.
Long John, the cobbler, calling for his nobbler:
One I'll tak', or two I'll tak', but I'm content wi' those.'
And he gazes e'er so wisely thro' his steel-rimmed spectacles
His bent old spectacles perched on the tip of his nose.

Long John McDougal sat to have a crack there,
Just within his shop door the day I left the town,
Keen-eyed and frugal. And if I ever went back there
I know I'd find him fadeless, his wise law laying down
Kind-eyed and frugal, Long John McDougal,
Spouting weather prophesies, downing fiscal foes,
Peering, with his head back, thro' grime-dimmed spectacles
His old steel spectacles perched on the tip of his nose.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:34 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 1,717
Words 312
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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