Works in the Herald 1933

A caricaturist who paid so much attention to Mr Bruce's spats when he was in Australia must feel chastened today. Mr Bruce has been selected by the noted artist, Edmond Kapp, to represent us in the British Museum and in the National Gallery, as owner of a striking head, characteristic of the best Australian type.

What have we missed?  Now he returns no more
We are left with but our blindness to deplore,
But, concentrating on his spats instead,
Missed all the lure of that impressive head.
Caricaturists, gazing at his feet,
Drew little else, and deemed the sketch complete;
Likewise cartoonists, whose gaunt fingers crept
Unconsciously to limn him as they slept.
And we poor Aussies of the rough hewn "dile,"
Think to salve our vanity the while,
Who said: "Though we've a gargoyle for a face,
At least 'tis typical of our strong race" --
Where are we now?  Where is our last excuse
For owning features so unlike a Bruce?
The Bruce, round whom admiring artists flock
Because he owns the dinkum Aussie block.
He kept his block; and keeping it became
A classic type to spread his country's fame.
While we poor groundlings, with our eyes cast down,
Saw only feet to bolster his renown.
Could we not raise our eyes?  And now, bereft
Of pride, we've but this consolation left;
Still humble members we -- plain as we are --
Of that proud race that claims him avatar.

Herald, 11 October 1933, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002