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The Genesis of Gloom [Australian Variety]

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

Once upon a time, in days remote,
A politician bought a vote.
The price he paid is not quite clear,
But probably a pot of beer
Secured his end. But he got in;
So folk excused this venial sin.

Now if the thing had stayed right there,
We might have dodged a load of care.
But pots of beer soon failed to serve
The candidate of dash and nerve;
And, with cold cynicism, came
The urge to organise the Game.

Soon the political machine
Beheld the profit it might glean
Thro' gifts spread thro' electorates
To help the 'Outs' the 'Ins' frustrate;
While shrewd 'Ins', not to be outdone,
Increased the offers two to one.

Later, the craftiest M.P.'s
Perceived that loans from overseas
Might help them hand out cakes and ale
Upon a most colossal scale;
And Parties with each other vied
To spread their largesse far and wide.

Railways were built from here to there
That served no purpose anywhere,
And public works that did not pay
Like mushrooms, sprouted in a day,
With promises were issues fought,
And whole electorates were bought.

Millions and yet more millions flowed
To go the same old easy road. . . .
Till, with a dearth of easy cash
The game was up; and came the crash.
'Tis pitiful; but there you are.
With pots of beer in some back bar
  This evil had its genesis

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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