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On This Day in 1938 - C. J. Dennis Australian Poet Died.

C.J. Dennis was born on September 6, 1876 in Auburn, South Australia, Australia as Clarence Michael James Dennis. He was a writer, known for The Sentimental Bloke, His Royal Highness and Ginger Mick. He was married to Olive Harriet. He died on June 22, 1938 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Hist! . . . . . . Hark!

The night is very dark,

And we've to go a mile or so

Across the Possum Park.

From ‘Hist’, ‘ A Book for Kids’ by C.J. Dennis

There's a very funny insect that you do not often spy,

And it isn't quite a spider, and it isn't quite a fly;

It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,

But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.

Its name is quite a hard one, but you'll learn it soon, I hope.

So try:




From ‘Triantiwontigongolope’, A Book for Kids’ by C.J. Dennis

Wot's in a name? -- she sez . . . An' then she sighs,

An' clasps 'er little 'ands, an' rolls 'er eyes.

"A rose," she sez, "be any other name

Would smell the same.

Oh, w'erefore art you Romeo, young sir?

Chuck yer ole pot, an' change yer moniker!"

Doreen an' me, we bin to see a show --

The swell two-dollar touch. Bong tong, yeh know.

A chair apiece wiv velvit on the seat;

A slap-up treat.

The drarmer's writ be Shakespeare, years ago,

About a barmy goat called Romeo . . .

. . . Then things gits mixed a treat an' starts to whirl.

'Ere's Romeo comes back an' finds 'is girl

Tucked in 'er little coffing, cold an' stiff,

An' in a jiff,

'E swallows lysol, throws a fancy fit,

'Ead over turkey, an' 'is soul 'as flit.

Then Juli-et wakes up an' sees 'im there,

Turns on the water-works an' tears 'er 'air,

"Dear love," she sez, "I cannot live alone!"

An' wiv a moan,

She grabs 'is pockit knife, an' ends 'er cares ...

"Peanuts or lollies!" sez a boy upstairs.

From ‘The Sentimental Bloke’,‘The Play’ by C.J. Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, (7 September 1876 – 22 June 1938) 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 1916 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 collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets.

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"

C. J. Dennis was born in Auburn, South Australia. His father owned hotels in Auburn, and then later in Gladstone and Laura. His mother suffered ill health, so Clarrie (as he was known) was raised initially by his great-aunts, then went away to school, Christian Brothers College, Adelaide as a teenager.

At the age of 19 he was employed as a solicitor's clerk. It was while he was working in this job that, like banker's clerk Banjo Paterson before him, his first poem was published under the pseudonym "The Best of the Six". He later went on to publish in The Worker, under his own name, and as "Den", and in The Bulletin. His collected poetry was published by Angus & Robertson.

He joined the literary staff of The Critic in 1897, and after a spell doing odd jobs around Broken Hill, returned to The Critic, serving for a time c. 1904 as editor, to be succeeded by Conrad Eitel. In 1906 he founded The Gadfly as a literary magazine; it ceased publication in 1909. From 1922 he served as staff poet on the Melbourne Herald.

C. J. Dennis is buried in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne. The Box Hill Historical Society has attached a commemorative plaque to the gravestone. Dennis is also commemorated with a plaque on Circular Quay in Sydney which forms part of the NSW Ministry for the Arts - Writers Walk series, and by a bust outside the town hall of the town of Laura. (Wiki)

©Jeff Guess 2017

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