The Disillusioned Fuse

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

Beneath a lamp in Spring-street, on a recent calm spring night,
I came unwittingly upon a most pathetic sight;
A sorry spectacle of woe - a limp, despondent Bloke
Who leaned against a post and sobbed and said his heart was broke!
'I've lorst me trust in 'uman men; I've done me dash ter-day;
Fer my own cobber's done me in, and guv me game away!'

'Nay, nay,' said I, 'cheer up, good Bloke.  The prospect may look blue;
But Fate is wont to deal hard knocks to folk like me and you.
Remember, men have fought and won an uphill fight before,
Pray, tell me what's befallen you that you should grieve so sore.
Say, has your wife deserted you, or have you lost your tin?'
But still the Bloke said bitterly: 'Me cobber's done me in!'

'Me moniker's Deakook,' he said, 'but blokes calls me 'The Fuse.'
(Oh, 'struth! I nearly dropped me bundle when I 'eard the noos!)
I gets a job o' work to do - a real soft cop it wus,
With no foreman over me ter see 'ow much I does,
Excep' some coves they calls the Press - a noisy sorter crew
Thet allus nags an' growls at yer no matter watcher do.

'Some wanted this, some wanted that, an' uvers wanted bofe.
Thinks I, 'Between 'em all it's up ter me ter do a loaf.'
So I jus' took ter sittin' round all day an' crackin' jokes,
An' dealin' out a bit o' stoush ter Opposition blokes.
There wus a press cove called the HAGE took ter me frum the first;
But blimey' - (Here the poor Bloke sobbed as though his heart would burst.)

'Yuss, frum the first 'e took ter me, an' we wus goin' fine,
Until I come ter look on 'im as quite a pal o' mine.
Fer when 'e sez, 'You'll 'ave ter graft on this 'ere job, yer know,'
I winks an' murmurs 'Dicken,' an' 'e winks an' sez 'Righto!'
An' when I jus' perten's ter graft 'e cracks 'e doesn't see;
So I jus' grins an' winks at 'im, an' 'e jus' winks at me.

'O, blimey!  Them was golding days, wif not a stroke ter do
Excep' ter line up ev'ry week an' dror me bloomin' screw.
O' course, ther's some thet chips at me an' bellers in a rage;
But I jus' grins an' tips the wink ter 'im they calls the HAGE.
An' 'e speaks up quite serious: ''Ow kin I work,' sez 'e,
'When these 'ere Opposition blokes are all obstructin' me?'

'My oath, it wus an orlright cop!  I thort I'd struck it rich.
'Ow could I know' (again he sobbed) 'thet 'e would crool me pitch?
One day 'e sez, quite sudding like, 'This job must be put thro','
An' I jus' winks an' murmurs, 'Dicken,' like I useter do.
But strike!  You could 'ave outed me in one, when, 'fore I knowed,
'E turns around on me and sez, quite narsty, 'You be blowed!'

''You'll 'ave ter get ter work,' 'e sez, 'on this 'ere job, or leave.
Fer w'y,' 'e sez, 'I'm sick o' this 'ere game o' make-believe.
Yer jus' perten' ter work,' 'e sez. 'Yer're loafin' day an' night.
Don't grin an' wink at me,' 'e sez, 'yer blanky hippercryte!
Wot are yer 'ere fer anny way?  Wot did we pay yer for?
We wants more solid graft,' 'e sez, 'an' less infernal jore!'

'An' that wus 'im I called me pal - me cobber staunch an' true!
'E turns around on me like that an' gives me graft ter do!
Graft, w'ich was the mean sorter thing I allays 'ad despised.
Oh, 'ow wus I ter know 'e wus a sorter John disguised?
'E let me loaf fer munce and munce, an' sets me workin' now.
An', blimey, Mister, I would work, but, 'struth, I dunno 'ow!

'I dunno 'ow ter do the work; an' spare me, if I did,
I couldn't go ter do it, 'cos me doctor 'as forbid.
'E sez that I'm worn out in ev'ry part excep' me cheek;
An' if I start ter graft I'll go ter pieces in a week.
An' if I lose me job I'll 'ave no tucker, bed or roof.
For w'y?  Me cobber's done me in! 'E's gone and told the troof.'

I tried to soothe the stricken Bloke, and still his mournful din;
But yet he murmured brokenly, 'Me cobber's done me in!'
And if you roam in Spring-street when the House adjourns at night,
You'll probably encounter this most pitiable sight.
He leans against his post and sobs, prostrated by the news
The Bloke whose cobber did him in, the disillusioned Fuse.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:07 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 3,945
Words 817
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 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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