Ballad of Captious Critics

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

Stuffed with tradition and trammels of yore,
Cramped in their studies, they sneer and scold
At the strange, new passions young hearts would pour
Thro' a sunlit land, and a tale unfold
Of youth's ambition - new-minted gold
Fresh from life's furnace, all aglow
With none of its worth are their hearts cajoled,
If it waken no echo of things they know.

Their minds close cluttered with olden lore,
Their praise for the new is charity doled;
Their memories, clogged with a moss-grown store
Of dead men's wisdom, naught also may hold,
The flight of an eaglet, overhold,
Is an impudent thing, so their judgements go;
And the song of a bush bird leaves them cold,
If it wakes no echo of things they know.

Songs have sprung from this virgin shore,
Tales that are turned from an unworn mould,
These be but follies that grieve them sore
Rhymes the old troubadours have not trolled.
Themes must be borrowed from urn of old;
For originality irks them so,
And the voice of the bush must be controlled,
If it wakes no echo of things they know.

  ENVOI

Prints - aye, and reprints, tales retold.
Shadows - for these do their plaudits grow;
But the bard stays dumb, and the book unsold
If it waken no echo of things they know.

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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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"Ballad of Captious Critics" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 8 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6209/ballad-of-captious-critics>.

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