Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Spots Through the Ages

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 Blo…

Romance goes out of everything in these days of ill grace,
And even old John Barleycorn grows 'standardised' apace;
Once henchman of gay gallantry, a kindlier part he played.
Scene: Tavern door. A saucy wench. A merry, ruffling blade.
He stops. She smiles. Arm round her waist. 'Could Eve be more divine?
See, a kiss, my pretty sweetling. Then, I pray, a stoup of wine.'

'Twas in a 'silver' tassie' that Rab Burns pledged his lass
(The current one, 'tis understood). But days grows drab, alas.
Scene: London pub. Tiles. Glittering glass: and there, behind the bar,
A brass-haired goddess, proud, aloof from this meek gutter child.
'A pot o' four-'arf, thank yeh, miss. An' please to dror it ild.'

The scene shifts to Australia, 'where a man can raise a thirst.'
(See Kipling). From 'long-sleevers' now they drained the stuff acurst.
Back of beyond, by Clancy's run they've a had a six months' drought.
Scene: Old bush shanty. Summer. Flies. Six shearers 'cutting out.'
A shirt-sleeved, whiskered barman. Says Bill: 'By gum, it's 'ot!
Breast up, blokes. Name yer gargle. Rybuck, boss; mine's a pot.'

But mass-production now debunks old John, for olden sins;
They've 'synthesised' him, 'standardised' him, soldered him in tins.
Grog goes no more with gallantry, nor wine with poesy.
Scene: Chain store-grocer's. Pickles, clothes-pegs, jam, tinned salmon, tea.
Smug grocer (strict abstainer). enter cove in working duds.
He slings a sprat across the joint: 'Hoy! Gissa tinna suds!'