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The Disagreeable Musician

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



'E wouldn't play the flute; the sulky cow.
An', after all the trouble that we took
To try an' cheer,'is spirits up some'ow,
'E jes' sat there an' slung a glarsy look
To orl the crowd. The diserbligin' coot!
'E wouldn't play the flute.

After we'd done our gilt in on the spread
Fish from the Dago joint, an' bottled beer,
An' froot, an' 'am, an' saverloys an' bread
'E wouldn't eat. Jes' shook 'is silly 'ead.
An' though we begged 'im for some choonful toot,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

I puts it to yeh: Wuz we actin' fair?
Wot more could neighbors do to cheer a bloke?
We knoo they 'e 'ad troubles fer to bear,
An' jes called in to 'ave a friendly joke.
An', though we tempted 'im with 'am an' froot,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

There wuz Flash Liz, an' me, an' Ginger Mick.
An' Mother Gumphy frum the corner store.
An' Bill the Rabbit-o, an' Dirty Dick,
An' Nan the Nark, an' 'arf a dozzing more.
But strike! It seemed the comp'ny didn't soot!
'E wouldn't play the flute.

I want yer dead straight griffen. Wuz we right?
Wuz it unneighborly to look 'im up
An' 'ave a little beano on the quite?....
Fer Grief an' 'im wuz cobbers on that night.
But there 'e sat, like 's if 'e'd taken root,
An' wouldn't play the flute.

We sung a song er two to give 'im 'eart,
'An' jes' to show yeh wot a nark 'e wuz,
'E wouldn't sing. 'E wouldn't take no part.
'E wouldn't eat no matter wot we does.
'E wouldn't drink, 'e wouldn't touch the froot.
Or play 'is flamin' flute.

A blimed wet blankit at our little feast.
Thet's wot 'e wuz. 'E jes sat there an' stared
Straight out afore 'im. Wouldn't take the least
Account o' wot we did. 'E'd never cared
If we wuz rooned wif buyin' fish an' froot.
'E wouldn't play the flute.

Aw, it wuz crook! I swear I never seen
So mean a coot. An' 'e could play a treat
Play like a blinded angel, for 'e'd been
A star pufformer - played afore the Queen!
An', though 'e knoo we knoo of 'is repute,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

We knoo 'e'd been a bonzer in 'is day
Afore 'e struck the slum in Scrooge's Lane.
I've orfen 'eard it said 'e useter play
In some swell orchestrer fer fancy pay.
An' there 'e sat, in 'is ole shabby soot,
An' wouldn't play the flute.

We knoo 'e'd struck tough luck an' drifted down
'Im an' 'is missis - till they come to live
On 'arf o' nothink in our part o' town.
It weren't no fault of ours that they wuz driv
Frum bad to worse, till they wuz destichoot.
'E wouldn't play the flute.

'E wouldn't play. Jes shook 'is silly 'ead.
We done our best to cheer 'im, fer we knoo
'Is wife wuz lyin' in the nex' room, dead.
Died 'cause of sooicide, the neighbors said.
But, spite of all we done, the selfish brute,
'E wouldn't play the flute.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:48 min read
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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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