The Dance

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



'Heirlums,' 'e sez.  'I've 'ad the trousiz pressed.
Me father married in 'em, that 'e did.
See this 'ere fancy vest?
See this 'ere lid?
Me gran'dad brought that frum 'is native land
In forty-two-an' then 'twas second-'and.'

Clobber?  Oh, 'el!  Pants uv wild shepherd's plaid,
A coat that might 'ave knocked the cliners flat
When father was a lad,
A tall, pot 'at
That caught the mange back in the diggin's days,
A fancy vest that called fer loud 'oorays.

But loud 'oorays don't 'arf ixpress my rage
When Danny comes upholstered fer the jig.
I've seen it on the stage,
Rat comic rig;
But never at a country dance before
'Ave I seen sich crook duds as Danny wore.

'You want to crool my scheme,' I sez, 'with rags
  Like that?  This ain't no fancy dress affair.
Wot sort uv tile an' bags
Is them to wear?
But 'e don't tumble;  )e's as pleased as pie.
'By gum,' 'e sez, 'this ort to catch 'er eye.'

'You posin' fer a comic film, or wot?'
I arsts 'im -' with noorotic togs like those!
Jazz clobber!  Ain't you got
 No decent clo'es?'
But 'e's too tickled with 'imself to 'eed.
'This orter catch 'er eye,' 'e sez, 'this tweed.'

It caught 'er eye, all right, an' many more.
They starts to come before the daylight fades;
An', fer a hour before
The crowd parades,
Ole Danny 'eld the centre uv the stage,
While I stood orf an' chewed me silent rage.

That's 'ow it alwiz is: I try to show
 'Ow I can use me bean in deep-laid lurks;
An' then some fool must go
An' bust the works.
'Ere, I 'ave planned a coop in slap-up-style,
An' Danny spikes me guns with gran'pa's tile.

Rose never seemed so free frum ugly dreams,
Not since she came, as that night at the dance;
But my matchmakin' schemes
Makes no advance;
Fer every time I gits a chance to score,
Doreen butts in, an' crools me pitch once more.

Reel thortless, women is.  She ort to seen
I 'ad intents - in spite uv Danny's clo'es
An' that 'e was reel keen.
Concernin' Rose.
Not 'er.  She larfs, an' chatters with the push,
As if rich 'usbands grew on every bush.

Once, f'rinstance, I gits busy when I seen
Rose sittin' out; an' brings Dan on the run.
'Why, mercy!' sez Doreen.
''Ere's Mister Dunn
Perlite enough to arst me fer a dance.
'E knows us marrid ones don't git much chance.'

An' there she grabs 'im, fair out uv me 'ands!
An' lets young Wally Free git off with Rose;
While like a fool I stands,
 Kickin' me toes
An' cursin' all the fool things women do.
I'd think 'twas done apurpis, less I knoo.

That's 'ow it was all night. I schemed a treat,
Workin' shrood points, an' sweatin' blood, almost;
But every time I'm beat
Right on the post.
All me matchrnakin's bust - the task uv days
Through Danny's duds an' my wife's tackless ways.

Nice chaperong she is!  While Free an' Rose
Dance 'arf the night Doreen jist sits an' beams.
When I seen that, up goes
My 'opes an' schemes.
But all that Danny sez is, 'Stone the crows!
Yeh'd think I'd took 'er eye, with them good clo'es.'

When we git 'ome that night I shows me spleen
By 'intin' Rose will be left on the shelf.
An' then I see Doreen
Smile to 'erself.
'I would n't be su'prised,' she sez, 'to see
Rose marrid, some fine day, to Wally Free.'

To Wally Free!  Yeh could 'ave knocked me flat
With 'arf a brick. I seen it in a flash.
A grinnin' coot like that!
Without no cash!
Besides, a man 'oo'd keep a thievin' cow
Like 'is, won't make no 'usband any'ow.

I'm sick uv everything.  It ain't no joke.
I've tried to do good works; an' now I've found
When you git 'elpin' folk
They jist turn round
An' bite the 'and that feeds 'em, so to speak.
An' yet they sez the strong should 'elp the weak.

Wot rot! ... I wisht I 'ad some reel ixcuse
To push some face in, jist to ease me mind.
Spike Wegg, 'e 'ad 'is use
'Im an' 'is kind.
If I could give me ole left-'ook one swing,
I might feel kinder like to everything.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:52 min read
125

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABXA CDCDEE FGFGHH IJIJKK ALXEAX HMHMFF NONOPP QRQRHH SESLTT SUSURR VLVLXS WXWXEE LQLQLE SYSYZZ D1 D1 XN 2 3 2 3 4 4 E5 X5 6 6
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,718
Words 749
Stanzas 17
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

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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