[Editor: This preface by Henry Lawson was published in The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke.]
Preface to first edition
My young friend Dennis has honoured me with a request to write a preface to his book. I think a man can best write a preface to his own book, provided he knows it is good. Also if he knows it is bad.
The “Sentimental Bloke,” while running through the Bulletin, brightened up many dark days for me. He is more perfect than any alleged “larrikin” or Bottle-O character I have ever attempted to sketch, not even excepting my own beloved Benno. Take the first poem for instance, where the Sentimental Bloke gets the hump. How many men, in how many different parts of the world — and of how many different languages — have had the same feeling — the longing for something better — to be something better?
The exquisite humour of “The Sentimental Bloke” speaks for itself; but there’s a danger that its brilliance may obscure the rest, especially for minds, of all stations, that, apart from sport and racing, are totally devoted to boiling
“The cabbitch storks or somethink”
in this social “pickle found-ery” of ours.
Doreen stands for all good women, whether down in the smothering alleys or up in the frozen heights.
And so, having introduced the little woman (they all seem “little” women), I “dips me lid” — and stand aside.
Sydney, Ist September, 1915.
C. J. Dennis. The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1917 [first published 1915], pages xi-xii
Leave a Reply