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The High Priest

Nay, why do foolish politicians striveTo win a fleeting popularity?In vain, in vain, they jealously contriveTo turn the doting Public Eye from Me.What was this land, this nation, destined for?For Art, Trade, Politics? All out of place.Behold, I am the Sporting Editor!I call the race!
Reviewers, leader writers - what are they?Subs., poets, novelists? Scribes of a sort Mere puny scribbling creatures of a day;While I, the people's idol, stand for Sport!For mark, when inspiration falls on me,What recks the public of that nameless band?I ope' my lips, and wisdom, gushing free,O'erflows the land.
I lift my voice, and, lo! an army wakes A mighty host, a hundred thousand strong To spread the message; while the nation quakesAnd thunders with the burden of my song:'Ten lengths from home 'Gray Lad' outstripped 'The Witch,'And passed the post by just a short neck, first.'These are the words, the pregnant words, for whichThe land's athirst.
They are the children of my brain, mine own!These mighty words for which the people yearn;The product of my genius alone!Would you begrudge the laurels that I earn?Mark you, yon sturdy native, strong o' limb,That leans against the lamp-post o'er the way Approach, and learn of my great fame from him.Approach and say:
'Awake! Arise! A curse on him who waits!Behold, young man, thy country needs thy like;The yellow hordes are panting at our gates.Arouse, young patriot, go forth and strike!Awake, and cast they reeking 'fag' away!Arise, and take the white man's burden up!''I'll lay you ten to one, in 'quids,'' he'll say:'Wot's won the Cup?'
Behold, the High Priest of the people's creed!Proclaim his genius! The bays! The bays!Come, crown the Sporting Editor - indeed,He is familiar with bays - with grays.'Ten lengths from home!' How exquisite! How chaste!''Gray Lad' outstripped 'The Witch'!' What style! What grace!Come, beauty, twine a laurel wreath. Nay, haste!He calls the race!

About the author

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis photo
Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis
721 works

About the poet

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 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. He later went on to publish in The Bulletin.

C. J. Dennis is buried in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne. The Box Hill Historical Society have 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.

20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1916 publication of The Sentimental
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