A Dirge of the Morning After

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

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (wailing dismally):
'Who can deliver us, Lord of our destiny!
Out of the depths comes our passionate cry,
Wrung from the soul of us. Aid for the whole of us!
Tell us, we pray, that our succor is nigh.

'Where is the super-man? Where the deliverer?
Where is the Captain to win us relief
Surcease from sorrowing, respite from borrowing?
Oh, for a philtre to deaden our grief!'

ANXIOUS VOICE FROM RIGHT WING:
'Patience, 0 populace! Wait for a little while!
Labor shall succor you - cleave to your Jim!
James and the rest of them, sure, are the best of them
Jimmy, the agable, trust ye to him!

'Lo, from the Chosen lures he the capital.
Bright golden, capital! Glorious loans!
Millions and mill-i-ons! Soon 'twill be bill-i-ons!
Patience awhile till he floats 'em.' (Loud groans.)

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (irritably):
'Jim? Oh, be d-d to him. Doors are all slammed to him
Cohen's and Isaac's and old Ikey Mo's.
We would live decently! Up the spout recently
He has shoved everything barring our clothes.

(Again dolefully)
'Who can deliver us? Is there no saviour?
Is there no Chief with a Will and a Plan?
Not in a city-full? Oh, it is pitiful!
The hour it is striking - but where is the man?'

VOICE FROM LEFT WING (eagerly)
'Cheer up, my countrymen! Here is your Gregory!
Long he!s been shut from the councils of State.
He'll banish care for you; he'll do and dare for you.
 Wade is the captain to fashion your fate.

'Long was he languishing, sunk in obscurity;
Now his wise counsel the populace seeks.
He is the man for you; he'll plot and plan for you.
Rest on his Liberal bosom.' (Wild shrieks.)

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (petulantly)
'Out on your Gregory! Visions of beggary
Haunt us whenever we bear of his name.
Labor or Liberal, Jimmy or Gregory.
Wade or McGowen, they're both much the same.

(With increasing anguish):
'Who can deliver us? Who is to win for us
Money at four per cent., five per cent., ten?
In what futurity, out of obscurity,
Shall there arise this great leader of men?'

GREASY VOICE FROM THE FLIES:
'Sufferin' Solomon! Vot is dis howl aboudt?
Hary to yer Uncle, he'll tole yer vot's right;
Not more at four per shent. - no, nor at more per shent
 Can you get capital! Monish is tight.

'Listen, goot beobles, your beano is finished mit;
Und obligations you neffer can shirk.
Monish vos tight, my tears; dot vos all right, my tears.
Loans vas maturin'. You'll haf to get vork.'

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (howling):
'Work? O preposterous! What are we coming to?
Is there no super-man armed with a scheme
Scheme to win capital? Is there no chap at all
Willing to plan for us? Work! Do we dream?

(Desperately):
'Who can deliver us? Who can win ease for us?
Rescue us out of this ocean of debt?
We've come to wreck in it; up to the neck in it
Won't someone help us get out of the wet?'

(With gloomy reiteration):
'Who can deliver us? Who can deliver us?
Are none to pit such desperate elves?
Here or in other State? Oh, the poor Mother State!'....
CHORUS FROM THE GALLERY (in disgust):
'Aw, turn it up, an' deliver yerselves.'

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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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