Reprint: Vale "Den" by R. R. Perry

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   Livin' and lovin'; learning to fergive
   The deeds and words of some un'appy bloke
   Who's missed the bus -- so 'ave I come to live
   And take the 'ole mad world as 'arf a joke.

That was the philosophy of life of C. J .Dennis, poet, journalist, amateur carpenter, and deep student of human nature, who died in Melbourne on Wednesday, June 22, aged 62. Dennis -- or "Den" as he was affectionately known to thousands -- was born in Auburn, South Australia, in 1876. He was the son of a retired master mariner, and early in his boyhood showed an aptitude for writing verse. He joined the staff of the Critic in Adelaide in 1897, became its editor in 1904, and later founded the Gadfly. In between this newspaper work he wrote and published many volumes of verses, covering a wide field. The first of these was "Backblock Ballads" (1913). "The Sentimental Bloke" followed in 1913. It was when he wrote of "The Bloke" or Ginger Mick that his appeal was widest, for in these he put into words the thoughts that many an uneducated man might feel but could never hope to express.  He was a lover of mankind, and his deep belief in the inherent goodness of men and women found expression in most of his verses. In the "Glugs of Gosh" he had a sly dig, which went over the heads of many. I mention the work merely by way of indicating his versatility, which, indeed, needs no emphasis for those countless readers of his daily verses written at short notice on every conceivable subject. He was to the average Australian what O. O. Mclntyre was to the average American reader, except that Dennis, wrote in verse and O.O. (who also died recently) in prose gossip. Both had been through lean times; both wrote their way into the hearts of the people because of their wide sympathies, their ability to see into the hearts of men and women.

First published in The Queenslander, 29 June 1938

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 24, 2011 9:22 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #270 - Across the Sea Wall by C. J. Koch was the previous entry in this blog.

Great Australian Authors #45 - C. J. Dennis is the next entry in this blog.

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