Backblock Ballads and Later Verses [by C. J. Dennis, 1918]

[Editor: This book of poems by C. J. Dennis was published in 1918, although many of his works had previously appeared in various periodicals. The majority of the poems included in this volume had appeared in his first book Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913); however, that book did not sell in great numbers (a comparison of the poems included in the two books is available here). Most of the poetry of C. J. Dennis is written in the style of the Australian vernacular.]

Backblock Ballads and Later Verses

By C. J. Dennis
Author of “The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke,” “Doreen,” “The Moods of Ginger Mick,” “The Glugs of Gosh,” etc.


An Old Master
We were cartin’ lathes and palin’s from the slopes of Mount St. Leonard,

Haw! Ai’ve just obteened a pension for mai Paw

The Builders
Behold, I built a fowlhouse in my yard!

“Sowin’ things an’ growin’ things, an’ watchin’ of ’em grow;

The Lovers
One idle hour she sought to see

He was tall and tough and stringy, with the shoulders of an axe-man,

The Chase of Ages
Light of my lives! Is the time not yet?

A Guide for Poits
I ain’t no verse-’og. When I busts in song

Grimbles and the Gnad
It was told me by a bushman, bald and bent, and very old,

“The flamin’ cows!” ’e sez; ’e did, an’ worse;

The Joy Ride
Ah Gawd! It makes me sick to think

The Homeward Track
Once a year we lumber southward with the clip from Yarradee;

Sore Throat
The pale young man he comes to me,

When the Sun’s Behind the Hill
There’s a soft and peaceful feeling

Now, Ma-til-der! Ain’t cher dressed yet? I declare, the girl ain’t up!

Hopeful Hawkins
Hawkins wasn’t in the swim at all in Dingo Flat,

Tell you tales of pleasant cities, where processions never ending

Aw, I’m sick o’ the whole darn human race,

Hymn of Futility
Lord, Thou hast given unto us a land

A Song of Rain
Because a little vagrant wind veered south from China Sea;

The Bore
Ah, prithee, friend, if thou hast aught

The Cultured Constable
Five nights agone I lay at rest

My Poor Relation
I have a poor relation, but

The Boon of Discontent
Once an anthropoidal ape

Son of a Fool
Gyved and chained in his father’s home,

The Silent Member
He lived in Mundaloo, and Bill McClosky was his name,

Aw, go write yer tinklin’ jingle, an’ yer pretty phrases mingle

The High Priest
Nay, why do foolish politicians strive

The Philistine
Smith is a very stupid man;

Work or Reflection
Now, I always have preserved a certain attitude

The March
In early, prehistoric days, before the reign of Man,

The Little Homes
We have heard the cheering, brothers,

The Bridge Across the Crick
Joseph Jones and Peter Dawking

Whed your dose is code as barble,

Vulgar Fractions
Now, when Bill, the pick and shovel man, or Archibald, the clerk

The Minglers
I hold by stern morality,

The Austra——laise
Fellers of Australier,

Angus & Robertson
89 Castlereagh Street

Most of these verses appeared originally in the “Bulletin”; others in the “Lone Hand” (Sydney); “Weekly Times” (Melbourne), “Gadfly,” “Critic,” and “Evening Journal” (Adelaide). To the proprietors of these journals the thanks of the author are due for permission to reprint.

C. J. Dennis, Backblock Ballads and Later Verses, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1918

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