The Old Brass Rail

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

Foot on the rail in the olden days,
For all the world to see,
A jolly old lot, they took their pot
All unashamed and free,
Passing their jest from lip to lip,
Puffing away the foam,
Till a small voice cried from the path outside:
 'Ma says, you're to come on home.'

Foot on the rail they faced the world
And cared not who should know;
And many they went, thro' a life mis-spent
 As man a man must go
Straight to the dogs from the old brass rail,
 Lost and ruined and wrecked:
But he went to his fate with the game played straight:
And he went with his head erect.

Then came the camel, with his lip adroop,
Calling an end to fun.
Tho' his cause was strong, his way was wrong,
And his task was most ill done.
Turning a man to a furtive sneak,
Stealing by ways obscure,
Bad if you will was the old, old ill;
But worse by far was the cure.

Oh, man will sin as his fathers sinned
Since ever this world was made;
But, if he must sin, then let him sin
In the open, unafraid;
Foot on the old brass rail again
For all the world to see.
A jolly old lot who takes his tot
All unashamed and free.

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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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"The Old Brass Rail" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 6 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6737/the-old-brass-rail>.

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