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The Shorter Week

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



I worked for fifty hours a week,
And someone said to me,
'Don't be a serf! Throw off your chains,
And show the world you're free!'
So I cut down my working hours
And found, upon the whole,
The leisure time I had to spare
Good for my body's carking care,
And better for my soul.

I worked for forty hours a week,
And someone said to me,
'Release your bonds, you shackled slave!
Show all the world you're free!'
So I reduced my working hours
And found in leisured lull,
The more I sought to play, the more
Amusement had become a bore,
And life was rather dull.

I worked for twenty hours a week,
And someone said to me
'Awake, you mutt! Snap out of it,
And show the world you're free!'
So I cut out my working hours
And found that joy had flit.
Upon black melancholia's brink,
I sometimes used to sit and think
And sometimes merely sit.

I worked for not one hour a week,
And someone said to me,
'You lazy coot! Arise and shine!
You call this being free?'
So I resolved I'd better far
Rejoin the toiling mob.
But when I rose and looked around,
To my intense digust I found
Someone had pinched my job.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:06 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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