The Creed of Old George Jones

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

A little of fretting, a little of getting,
A little of slaving and saving, may be;
A little of spending, a little of lending
And giving up living be easy and free:
But a man gathers, and all a man owns
Goes out at the finish (said old George Jones)
Like a spark in the dark, and the sum of his trying,
A name and a memory drifting and dying.

A little of blund'ring, a little of wond'ring,
A little of scheming and dreaming when young;
A little of grieving; a little believing,
In secret, strange things that come slow to the tongue;
For every man is a being apart,
And none may look deep in his fellow-man's heart
Scholars and strangers, chance met in life's college;
But tolerance grows with the sum of our knowledge.

And I, who have tarried o'er long with the living,
Have come to a creed that gives hope of content;
In getting and spending is grief; but in giving
Is all that this riddle of life ever meant.
For life is a riddle; an, tho' I grow old,
Still fit as a fiddle, to one creed I hold:
'Tis getting moves man while to life he is cleaving;
But giving looms large when it comes to his leaving.

A little of sorrow, of plans for tomorrow,
A little of helping the weak and the fool;
A little of laughter, and all that comes after
Is one lesson learned in life's arduous school,
For all a man gathers, and all a man owns
But ends in a heartache (said old George Jones),
Like a spark in the dark comes an end to his living,
And all that live after, the sum of his giving.

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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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