Definitions by C.J. Dennis

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If Bradman continues as he has begun on English wickets there is a danger that he will lose all claim to the title of "batsman," not so much because of his unconventional methods, as because of the sheer lack of any means of comparison.  He is a class apart.

We have heard it.  Oft we heard it long before we came of age.
In whatever fields we practise, art whatever arts engage:
   Ever praise for the performance, still begrudging utmost fame,
   From who would extol the action yet withhold its hallowed name.
Thus, in painting, think how often, praise is mingled with complaint:
"No, of course the man's no 'artist' but, by jove, sir he can paint!"

As in fields of art and letters, tho' Australian pride has swelled
We may never match our betters while the title is withheld,
   So in sport. Consider racing. This young champion. What a horse!
   At all distances breaks records, old and new, on every course.
But the veterans, harking backward, ban the upstart with a word:
"Yes; no doubt the nag has speed. sir. But a 'racehorse'? Bah! Absurd!"

When the Digger put a show up Over There -- some push or road --
He won almost fulsome praise: "The bravest thing God made."
   But it seemed he still lacked something -- something vague and undefined
   That would make him, if he had it, the supremest of his kind.
And 'twas said in all good feeling of the valiant Aussie band:
"These men never will make 'soldiers'. But as fighters? Gad, sir! Grand!"

Tho' he skittled English wickets till their very hope grew bleak,
Ernie Jones was ne'er a "bowler". No, sir. Just a sort of freak.
   There's a danger in perfection that may set a man apart,
   What he gains in execution he may lose, 'twould seem, in art.
Now there's Bradman, freak run-getter, making scores till all is blue.
Can we call this man a "batsman". Speaking honestly, would you?  

First published in The Herald, 4 May 1938

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 4, 2013 6:44 AM.

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