The Man from Snowy River by Andrew Barton `Banjo’ Paterson

The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses (2 ed.) by Andrew Barton `Banjo’ Paterson THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER AND OTHER VERSES by A. B. Paterson (“The Banjo”) with preface by Rolf Boldrewood Preface It is not so easy to write ballads descriptive of the bushland of Australia as on light consideration would appear.
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 26/4/1890
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses (2 ed.) by Andrew Barton `Banjo’ Paterson [Australian Poet, Reporter — 1864-1941.]

[Note on text: Italicized stanzas will be indented 5 spaces. Italicized words or phrases will be capitalized. Lines longer than 75 characters have been broken according to metre, and the continuation is indented two spaces. Also, some obvious errors, after being confirmed against other sources, have been corrected.]

[Note on content: Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson were writing for the Sydney `Bulletin’ in 1892 when Lawson suggested a `duel’ of poetry to increase the number of poems they could sell to the paper. It was apparently entered into in all fun, though there are reports that Lawson was bitter about it later. `In Defence of the Bush’, included in this selection, was one of Paterson’s replies to Lawson.]

[The 1913 printing (Sydney, Fifty-third Thousand) of the Second Edition (first published in 1902) was used in the preparation of this etext. First edition was first published in 1895.]

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER AND OTHER VERSES by A. B. Paterson (“The Banjo”) with preface by Rolf Boldrewood


It is not so easy to write ballads descriptive of the bushland of Australia as on light consideration would appear. Reasonably good verse on the subject has been supplied in sufficient quantity. But the maker of folksongs for our newborn nation requires a somewhat rare combination of gifts and experiences. Dowered with the poet’s heart, he must yet have passed his `wander-jaehre’ amid the stern solitude of the Austral waste — must have ridden the race in the back-block township, guided the reckless stock-horse adown the mountain spur, and followed the night-long moving, spectral-seeming herd `in the droving days’. Amid such scarce congenial surroundings comes oft that finer sense which renders visible bright gleams of humour, pathos, and romance, which, like undiscovered gold, await the fortunate adventurer. That the author has touched this treasure-trove, not less delicately than distinctly, no true Australian will deny. In my opinion this collection comprises the best bush ballads written since the death of Lindsay Gordon.

Rolf Boldrewood

A number of these verses are now published for the first time, most of the others were written for and appeared in “The Bulletin” (Sydney, N.S.W.), and are therefore already widely known to readers in Australasia.

A. B. Paterson


I have gathered these stories afar, In the wind and the rain,
In the land where the cattle camps are, On the edge of the plain.
On the overland routes of the west, When the watches were long,
I have fashioned in earnest and jest These fragments of song.

They are just the rude stories one hears In sadness and mirth,
The records of wandering years,
And scant is their worth
Though their merits indeed are but slight, I shall not repine,
If they give you one moment’s delight, Old comrades of mine.


I have gathered these stories afar,

The Man from Snowy River
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around

Old Pardon, the Son of Reprieve
You never heard tell of the story?

Clancy of the Overflow
I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better

Conroy’s Gap
This was the way of it, don’t you know —

Our New Horse
The boys had come back from the races

An Idyll of Dandaloo
On Western plains, where shade is not,

The Geebung Polo Club
It was somewhere up the country, in a land of rock and scrub,

The Travelling Post Office
The roving breezes come and go, the reed beds sweep and sway,

Saltbush Bill
Now this is the law of the Overland that all in the West obey,

A Mountain Station
I bought a run a while ago,

Been There Before
There came a stranger to Walgett town,

The Man Who Was Away
The widow sought the lawyer’s room with children three in tow,

The Man from Ironbark
It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,

The Open Steeplechase
I had ridden over hurdles up the country once or twice,

The Amateur Rider
HIM going to ride for us! HIM —
with the pants and the eyeglass and all.

On Kiley’s Run
The roving breezes come and go

Frying Pan’s Theology
Scene: On Monaro.

The Two Devines
It was shearing-time at the Myall Lake,

In the Droving Days
`Only a pound,’ said the auctioneer,

`He ought to be home,’ said the old man, `without there’s something amiss.

Over the Range
Little bush maiden, wondering-eyed,

Only a Jockey
Out in the grey cheerless chill of the morning light,

How M’Ginnis Went Missing
Let us cease our idle chatter,

A Voice from the Town
I thought, in the days of the droving,

A Bunch of Roses
Roses ruddy and roses white,

Black Swans
As I lie at rest on a patch of clover

The All Right ‘Un
He came from `further out’,

The Boss of the `Admiral Lynch’
Did you ever hear tell of Chili? I was readin’ the other day

A Bushman’s Song
I’m travellin’ down the Castlereagh, and I’m a station hand,

How Gilbert Died
There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head,

The Flying Gang
I served my time, in the days gone by,

Shearing at Castlereagh
The bell is set a-ringing, and the engine gives a toot,

The Wind’s Message
There came a whisper down the Bland between the dawn and dark,

Johnson’s Antidote
Down along the Snakebite River, where the overlanders camp,

Ambition and Art
I am the maid of the lustrous eyes

The Daylight is Dying
The daylight is dying

In Defence of the Bush
So you’re back from up the country, Mister Townsman, where you went,

Last Week
Oh, the new-chum went to the back block run,

Those Names
The shearers sat in the firelight, hearty and hale and strong,

A Bush Christening
On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,

How the Favourite Beat Us
`Aye,’ said the boozer, `I tell you it’s true, sir,

The Great Calamity
MacFierce’un came to Whiskeyhurst

As I pondered very weary o’er a volume long and dreary —

Under the Shadow of Kiley’s Hill
This is the place where they all were bred;

Jim Carew
Born of a thoroughbred English race,

The Swagman’s Rest
We buried old Bob where the bloodwoods wave

The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses

The Man from Snowy River

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around That the colt from old Regret had got away, And had joined the wild bush horses — he was worth a thousand pound, So all the cracks had gathered to the fray. All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far Had mustered at the homestead overnight, For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are, And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup, The old man with his hair as white as snow; But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up — He would go wherever horse and man could go. And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand, No better horseman ever held the reins; For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand, He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast, He was something like a racehorse undersized, With a touch of Timor pony — three parts thoroughbred at least — And such as are by mountain horsemen prized. He was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that won’t say die — There was courage in his quick impatient tread; And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye, And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay, And the old man said, `That horse will never do For a long and tiring gallop — lad, you’d better stop away, Those hills are far too rough for such as you.’ So he waited sad and wistful — only Clancy stood his friend — `I think we ought to let him come,’ he said; `I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the end, For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

`He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side, Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough, Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride, The man that holds his own is good enough. And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home, Where the river runs those giant hills between; I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam, But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.’

So he went — they found the horses by the big mimosa clump — They raced away towards the mountain’s brow, And the old man gave his orders, `Boys, go at them from the jump, No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right. Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills, For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight, If once they gain the shelter of those hills.’

So Clancy rode to wheel them — he was racing on the wing Where the best and boldest riders take their place, And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made the ranges ring With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face. Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash, But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view, And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash, And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black Resounded to the thunder of their tread, And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead. And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way, Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide; And the old man muttered fiercely, `We may bid the mob good day, NO man can hold them down the other side.’

When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Clancy took a pull, It well might make the boldest hold their breath, The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full Of wombat holes, and any slip was death. But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head, And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer, And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed, While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet, He cleared the fallen timber in his stride, And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat — It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride. Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground, Down the hillside at a racing pace he went; And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound, At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill, And the watchers on the mountain standing mute, Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still, As he raced across the clearing in pursuit. Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet, With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam. He followed like a bloodhound on their track, Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home, And alone and unassisted brought them back. But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot, He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur; But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot, For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise Their torn and rugged battlements on high, Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze At midnight in the cold and frosty sky, And where around the Overflow the reedbeds sweep and sway To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide, The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day, And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

Old Pardon, the Son of Reprieve

You never heard tell of the story?
Well, now, I can hardly believe!
Never heard of the honour and glory Of Pardon, the son of Reprieve?
But maybe you’re only a Johnnie
And don’t know a horse from a hoe? Well, well, don’t get angry, my sonny,
But, really, a young un should know.

They bred him out back on the `Never’, His mother was Mameluke breed.
To the front — and then stay there — was ever The root of the Mameluke creed.
He seemed to inherit their wiry
Strong frames — and their pluck to receive — As hard as a flint and as fiery
Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.

We ran him at many a meeting
At crossing and gully and town,
And nothing could give him a beating — At least when our money was down.
For weight wouldn’t stop him, nor distance, Nor odds, though the others were fast,
He’d race with a dogged persistence, And wear them all down at the last.

At the Turon the Yattendon filly
Led by lengths at the mile-and-a-half, And we all began to look silly,
While HER crowd were starting to laugh; But the old horse came faster and faster, His pluck told its tale, and his strength, He gained on her, caught her, and passed her, And won it, hands-down, by a length.

And then we swooped down on Menindie
To run for the President’s Cup —
Oh! that’s a sweet township — a shindy To them is board, lodging, and sup.
Eye-openers they are, and their system Is never to suffer defeat;
It’s `win, tie, or wrangle’ — to best ’em You must lose ’em, or else it’s `dead heat’.

We strolled down the township and found ’em At drinking and gaming and play;
If sorrows they had, why they drowned ’em, And betting was soon under way.
Their horses were good ‘uns and fit ‘uns, There was plenty of cash in the town;
They backed their own horses like Britons, And, Lord! how WE rattled it down!

With gladness we thought of the morrow, We counted our wagers with glee,
A simile homely to borrow —
`There was plenty of milk in our tea.’ You see we were green; and we never
Had even a thought of foul play,
Though we well might have known that the clever Division would `put us away’.

Experience `docet’, they tell us,
At least so I’ve frequently heard, But, `dosing’ or `stuffing’, those fellows Were up to each move on the board:
They got to his stall — it is sinful To think what such villains would do — And they gave him a regular skinful
Of barley — green barley — to chew.

He munched it all night, and we found him Next morning as full as a hog —
The girths wouldn’t nearly meet round him; He looked like an overfed frog.
We saw we were done like a dinner — The odds were a thousand to one
Against Pardon turning up winner,
‘Twas cruel to ask him to run.

We got to the course with our troubles, A crestfallen couple were we;
And we heard the `books’ calling the doubles — A roar like the surf of the sea;
And over the tumult and louder
Rang `Any price Pardon, I lay!’
Says Jimmy, `The children of Judah
Are out on the warpath to-day.’

Three miles in three heats: — Ah, my sonny, The horses in those days were stout,
They had to run well to win money;
I don’t see such horses about.
Your six-furlong vermin that scamper Half-a-mile with their feather-weight up; They wouldn’t earn much of their damper
In a race like the President’s Cup.

The first heat was soon set a-going;
The Dancer went off to the front;
The Don on his quarters was showing, With Pardon right out of the hunt.
He rolled and he weltered and wallowed — You’d kick your hat faster, I’ll bet;
They finished all bunched, and he followed All lathered and dripping with sweat.

But troubles came thicker upon us,
For while we were rubbing him dry
The stewards came over to warn us:
`We hear you are running a bye!
If Pardon don’t spiel like tarnation And win the next heat — if he can —
He’ll earn a disqualification;
Just think over THAT, now, my man!’

Our money all gone and our credit,
Our horse couldn’t gallop a yard;
And then people thought that WE did it! It really was terribly hard.
We were objects of mirth and derision To folk in the lawn and the stand,
And the yells of the clever division Of `Any price Pardon!’ were grand.

We still had a chance for the money,
Two heats still remained to be run; If both fell to us — why, my sonny,
The clever division were done.
And Pardon was better, we reckoned, His sickness was passing away,
So he went to the post for the second And principal heat of the day.

They’re off and away with a rattle,
Like dogs from the leashes let slip, And right at the back of the battle
He followed them under the whip.
They gained ten good lengths on him quickly He dropped right away from the pack;
I tell you it made me feel sickly
To see the blue jacket fall back.

Our very last hope had departed —
We thought the old fellow was done, When all of a sudden he started
To go like a shot from a gun.
His chances seemed slight to embolden Our hearts; but, with teeth firmly set, We thought, `Now or never! The old ‘un
May reckon with some of ’em yet.’

Then loud rose the war-cry for Pardon; He swept like the wind down the dip,
And over the rise by the garden,
The jockey was done with the whip
The field were at sixes and sevens — The pace at the first had been fast —
And hope seemed to drop from the heavens, For Pardon was coming at last.

And how he did come! It was splendid; He gained on them yards every bound,
Stretching out like a greyhound extended, His girth laid right down on the ground. A shimmer of silk in the cedars
As into the running they wheeled,
And out flashed the whips on the leaders, For Pardon had collared the field.

Then right through the ruck he came sailing — I knew that the battle was won —
The son of Haphazard was failing,
The Yattendon filly was done;
He cut down the Don and the Dancer, He raced clean away from the mare —
He’s in front! Catch him now if you can, sir! And up went my hat in the air!

Then loud from the lawn and the garden Rose offers of `Ten to one ON!’
`Who’ll bet on the field? I back Pardon!’ No use; all the money was gone.
He came for the third heat light-hearted, A-jumping and dancing about;
The others were done ere they started Crestfallen, and tired, and worn out.

He won it, and ran it much faster
Than even the first, I believe
Oh, he was the daddy, the master,
Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.
He showed ’em the method to travel — The boy sat as still as a stone —
They never could see him for gravel; He came in hard-held, and alone.

. . . . .

But he’s old — and his eyes are grown hollow; Like me, with my thatch of the snow;
When he dies, then I hope I may follow, And go where the racehorses go.
I don’t want no harping nor singing — Such things with my style don’t agree;
Where the hoofs of the horses are ringing There’s music sufficient for me.

And surely the thoroughbred horses
Will rise up again and begin
Fresh races on far-away courses,
And p’raps they might let me slip in. It would look rather well the race-card on ‘Mongst Cherubs and Seraphs and things, `Angel Harrison’s black gelding Pardon,
Blue halo, white body and wings.’

And if they have racing hereafter,
(And who is to say they will not?) When the cheers and the shouting and laughter Proclaim that the battle grows hot;
As they come down the racecourse a-steering, He’ll rush to the front, I believe;
And you’ll hear the great multitude cheering For Pardon, the son of Reprieve.

Clancy of the Overflow

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago, He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him, Just `on spec’, addressed as follows, `Clancy, of The Overflow’.

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected, (And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar) ‘Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it: `Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving, and we don’t know where he are.’

. . . . .

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy Gone a-droving `down the Cooper’ where the Western drovers go; As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing, For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars, And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.

. . . . .

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall, And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle Of the tramways and the ‘buses making hurry down the street, And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting, Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste, With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy, For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy, Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go, While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal — But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of `The Overflow’.

Conroy’s Gap

This was the way of it, don’t you know — Ryan was `wanted’ for stealing sheep,
And never a trooper, high or low,
Could find him — catch a weasel asleep! Till Trooper Scott, from the Stockman’s Ford — A bushman, too, as I’ve heard them tell — Chanced to find him drunk as a lord
Round at the Shadow of Death Hotel.

D’you know the place? It’s a wayside inn, A low grog-shanty — a bushman trap,
Hiding away in its shame and sin
Under the shelter of Conroy’s Gap — Under the shade of that frowning range,
The roughest crowd that ever drew breath — Thieves and rowdies, uncouth and strange, Were mustered round at the Shadow of Death.

The trooper knew that his man would slide Like a dingo pup, if he saw the chance; And with half a start on the mountain side Ryan would lead him a merry dance.
Drunk as he was when the trooper came, To him that did not matter a rap —
Drunk or sober, he was the same,
The boldest rider in Conroy’s Gap.

`I want you, Ryan,’ the trooper said, `And listen to me, if you dare resist,
So help me heaven, I’ll shoot you dead!’ He snapped the steel on his prisoner’s wrist, And Ryan, hearing the handcuffs click,
Recovered his wits as they turned to go, For fright will sober a man as quick
As all the drugs that the doctors know.

There was a girl in that rough bar
Went by the name of Kate Carew,
Quiet and shy as the bush girls are, But ready-witted and plucky, too.
She loved this Ryan, or so they say, And passing by, while her eyes were dim With tears, she said in a careless way,
`The Swagman’s round in the stable, Jim.’

Spoken too low for the trooper’s ear, Why should she care if he heard or not? Plenty of swagmen far and near,
And yet to Ryan it meant a lot.
That was the name of the grandest horse In all the district from east to west
In every show ring, on every course They always counted the Swagman best.

He was a wonder, a raking bay —
One of the grand old Snowdon strain — One of the sort that could race and stay With his mighty limbs and his length of rein. Born and bred on the mountain side,
He could race through scrub like a kangaroo, The girl herself on his back might ride, And the Swagman would carry her safely through.

He would travel gaily from daylight’s flush Till after the stars hung out their lamps, There was never his like in the open bush, And never his match on the cattle-camps. For faster horses might well be found
On racing tracks, or a plain’s extent, But few, if any, on broken ground
Could see the way that the Swagman went.

When this girl’s father, old Jim Carew, Was droving out on the Castlereagh
With Conroy’s cattle, a wire came through To say that his wife couldn’t live the day. And he was a hundred miles from home,
As flies the crow, with never a track, Through plains as pathless as ocean’s foam, He mounted straight on the Swagman’s back.

He left the camp by the sundown light, And the settlers out on the Marthaguy
Awoke and heard, in the dead of night, A single horseman hurrying by.
He crossed the Bogan at Dandaloo,
And many a mile of the silent plain That lonely rider behind him threw
Before they settled to sleep again.

He rode all night and he steered his course By the shining stars with a bushman’s skill, And every time that he pressed his horse The Swagman answered him gamely still.
He neared his home as the east was bright, The doctor met him outside the town:
`Carew! How far did you come last night?’ `A hundred miles since the sun went down.’

And his wife got round, and an oath he passed, So long as he or one of his breed
Could raise a coin, though it took their last The Swagman never should want a feed.
And Kate Carew, when her father died, She kept the horse and she kept him well: The pride of the district far and wide,
He lived in style at the bush hotel.

Such was the Swagman; and Ryan knew
Nothing about could pace the crack; Little he’d care for the man in blue
If once he got on the Swagman’s back. But how to do it? A word let fall
Gave him the hint as the girl passed by; Nothing but `Swagman — stable-wall;
`Go to the stable and mind your eye.’

He caught her meaning, and quickly turned To the trooper: `Reckon you’ll gain a stripe By arresting me, and it’s easily earned; Let’s go to the stable and get my pipe, The Swagman has it.’ So off they went,
And soon as ever they turned their backs The girl slipped down, on some errand bent Behind the stable, and seized an axe.

The trooper stood at the stable door
While Ryan went in quite cool and slow, And then (the trick had been played before) The girl outside gave the wall a blow.
Three slabs fell out of the stable wall — ‘Twas done ‘fore ever the trooper knew — And Ryan, as soon as he saw them fall,
Mounted the Swagman and rushed him through.

The trooper heard the hoof-beats ring In the stable yard, and he slammed the gate, But the Swagman rose with a mighty spring At the fence, and the trooper fired too late, As they raced away and his shots flew wide And Ryan no longer need care a rap,
For never a horse that was lapped in hide Could catch the Swagman in Conroy’s Gap.

And that’s the story. You want to know If Ryan came back to his Kate Carew;
Of course he should have, as stories go, But the worst of it is, this story’s true: And in real life it’s a certain rule,
Whatever poets and authors say
Of high-toned robbers and all their school, These horsethief fellows aren’t built that way.

Come back! Don’t hope it — the slinking hound, He sloped across to the Queensland side, And sold the Swagman for fifty pound,
And stole the money, and more beside. And took to drink, and by some good chance Was killed — thrown out of a stolen trap. And that was the end of this small romance, The end of the story of Conroy’s Gap.

Our New Horse

The boys had come back from the races All silent and down on their luck;
They’d backed ’em, straight out and for places, But never a winner they struck.
They lost their good money on Slogan, And fell, most uncommonly flat,
When Partner, the pride of the Bogan, Was beaten by Aristocrat.

And one said, `I move that instanter
We sell out our horses and quit,
The brutes ought to win in a canter, Such trials they do when they’re fit.
The last one they ran was a snorter — A gallop to gladden one’s heart —
Two-twelve for a mile and a quarter, And finished as straight as a dart.

`And then when I think that they’re ready To win me a nice little swag,
They are licked like the veriest neddy — They’re licked from the fall of the flag. The mare held her own to the stable,
She died out to nothing at that,
And Partner he never seemed able
To pace it with Aristocrat.

`And times have been bad, and the seasons Don’t promise to be of the best;
In short, boys, there’s plenty of reasons For giving the racing a rest.
The mare can be kept on the station — Her breeding is good as can be —
But Partner, his next destination
Is rather a trouble to me.

`We can’t sell him here, for they know him As well as the clerk of the course;
He’s raced and won races till, blow him, He’s done as a handicap horse.
A jady, uncertain performer,
They weight him right out of the hunt, And clap it on warmer and warmer
Whenever he gets near the front.

`It’s no use to paint him or dot him
Or put any `fake’ on his brand,
For bushmen are smart, and they’d spot him In any sale-yard in the land.
The folk about here could all tell him, Could swear to each separate hair;
Let us send him to Sydney and sell him, There’s plenty of Jugginses there.

`We’ll call him a maiden, and treat ’em To trials will open their eyes,
We’ll run their best horses and beat ’em, And then won’t they think him a prize.
I pity the fellow that buys him,
He’ll find in a very short space,
No matter how highly he tries him,
The beggar won’t RACE in a race.’

. . . . .

Next week, under `Seller and Buyer’,
Appeared in the DAILY GAZETTE:
`A racehorse for sale, and a flyer; Has never been started as yet;
A trial will show what his pace is; The buyer can get him in light,
And win all the handicap races.
Apply here before Wednesday night.’

He sold for a hundred and thirty,
Because of a gallop he had
One morning with Bluefish and Bertie, And donkey-licked both of ’em bad.
And when the old horse had departed, The life on the station grew tame;
The race-track was dull and deserted, The boys had gone back on the game.

. . . . .

The winter rolled by, and the station Was green with the garland of spring
A spirit of glad exultation
Awoke in each animate thing.
And all the old love, the old longing, Broke out in the breasts of the boys,
The visions of racing came thronging With all its delirious joys.

The rushing of floods in their courses, The rattle of rain on the roofs
Recalled the fierce rush of the horses, The thunder of galloping hoofs.
And soon one broke out: `I can suffer No longer the life of a slug,
The man that don’t race is a duffer, Let’s have one more run for the mug.

`Why, EVERYTHING races, no matter
Whatever its method may be:
The waterfowl hold a regatta;
The ‘possums run heats up a tree;
The emus are constantly sprinting
A handicap out on the plain;
It seems like all nature was hinting, ‘Tis time to be at it again.

`The cockatoo parrots are talking
Of races to far away lands;
The native companions are walking
A go-as-you-please on the sands;
The little foals gallop for pastime; The wallabies race down the gap;
Let’s try it once more for the last time, Bring out the old jacket and cap.

`And now for a horse; we might try one Of those that are bred on the place,
But I think it better to buy one,
A horse that has proved he can race. Let us send down to Sydney to Skinner,
A thorough good judge who can ride, And ask him to buy us a spinner
To clean out the whole countryside.’

They wrote him a letter as follows:
`We want you to buy us a horse;
He must have the speed to catch swallows, And stamina with it of course.
The price ain’t a thing that’ll grieve us, It’s getting a bad ‘un annoys
The undersigned blokes, and believe us, We’re yours to a cinder, `the boys’.’

He answered: `I’ve bought you a hummer, A horse that has never been raced;
I saw him run over the Drummer,
He held him outclassed and outpaced. His breeding’s not known, but they state he Is born of a thoroughbred strain,
I paid them a hundred and eighty,
And started the horse in the train.’

They met him — alas, that these verses Aren’t up to the subject’s demands —
Can’t set forth their eloquent curses, FOR PARTNER WAS BACK ON THEIR HANDS.
They went in to meet him in gladness, They opened his box with delight —
A silent procession of sadness
They crept to the station at night.

And life has grown dull on the station, The boys are all silent and slow;
Their work is a daily vexation,
And sport is unknown to them now.
Whenever they think how they stranded, They squeal just like guinea-pigs squeal; They bit their own hook, and were landed With fifty pounds loss on the deal.

An Idyll of Dandaloo

On Western plains, where shade is not, ‘Neath summer skies of cloudless blue,
Where all is dry and all is hot,
There stands the town of Dandaloo — A township where life’s total sum
Is sleep, diversified with rum.

It’s grass-grown streets with dust are deep, ‘Twere vain endeavour to express
The dreamless silence of its sleep, Its wide, expansive drunkenness.
The yearly races mostly drew
A lively crowd to Dandaloo.

There came a sportsman from the East, The eastern land where sportsmen blow,
And brought with him a speedy beast — A speedy beast as horses go.
He came afar in hope to `do’
The little town of Dandaloo.

Now this was weak of him, I wot —
Exceeding weak, it seemed to me — For we in Dandaloo were not
The Jugginses we seemed to be;
In fact, we rather thought we knew
Our book by heart in Dandaloo.

We held a meeting at the bar,
And met the question fair and square — `We’ve stumped the country near and far
To raise the cash for races here;
We’ve got a hundred pounds or two — Not half so bad for Dandaloo.

`And now, it seems, we have to be
Cleaned out by this here Sydney bloke, With his imported horse; and he
Will scoop the pool and leave us broke Shall we sit still, and make no fuss
While this chap climbs all over us?’

. . . . .

The races came to Dandaloo,
And all the cornstalks from the West, On ev’ry kind of moke and screw,
Came forth in all their glory drest. The stranger’s horse, as hard as nails,
Look’d fit to run for New South Wales.

He won the race by half a length —
QUITE half a length, it seemed to me — But Dandaloo, with all its strength,
Roared out `Dead heat!’ most fervently; And, after hesitation meet,
The judge’s verdict was `Dead heat!’

And many men there were could tell
What gave the verdict extra force: The stewards, and the judge as well —
They all had backed the second horse. For things like this they sometimes do
In larger towns than Dandaloo.

They ran it off; the stranger won,
Hands down, by near a hundred yards He smiled to think his troubles done;
But Dandaloo held all the cards.
They went to scale and — cruel fate! — His jockey turned out under-weight.

Perhaps they’d tampered with the scale! I cannot tell. I only know
It weighed him OUT all right. I fail To paint that Sydney sportsman’s woe.
He said the stewards were a crew
Of low-lived thieves in Dandaloo.

He lifted up his voice, irate,
And swore till all the air was blue; So then we rose to vindicate
The dignity of Dandaloo.
`Look here,’ said we, `you must not poke Such oaths at us poor country folk.’

We rode him softly on a rail,
We shied at him, in careless glee, Some large tomatoes, rank and stale,
And eggs of great antiquity —
Their wild, unholy fragrance flew
About the town of Dandaloo.

He left the town at break of day,
He led his race-horse through the streets, And now he tells the tale, they say,
To every racing man he meets.
And Sydney sportsmen all eschew
The atmosphere of Dandaloo.

The Geebung Polo Club

It was somewhere up the country, in a land of rock and scrub, That they formed an institution called the Geebung Polo Club. They were long and wiry natives from the rugged mountain side, And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn’t ride; But their style of playing polo was irregular and rash — They had mighty little science, but a mighty lot of dash: And they played on mountain ponies that were muscular and strong, Though their coats were quite unpolished, and their manes and tails were long.
And they used to train those ponies wheeling cattle in the scrub: They were demons, were the members of the Geebung Polo Club.

It was somewhere down the country, in a city’s smoke and steam, That a polo club existed, called `The Cuff and Collar Team’. As a social institution ’twas a marvellous success, For the members were distinguished by exclusiveness and dress. They had natty little ponies that were nice, and smooth, and sleek, For their cultivated owners only rode ’em once a week. So they started up the country in pursuit of sport and fame, For they meant to show the Geebungs how they ought to play the game; And they took their valets with them — just to give their boots a rub Ere they started operations on the Geebung Polo Club.

Now my readers can imagine how the contest ebbed and flowed, When the Geebung boys got going it was time to clear the road; And the game was so terrific that ere half the time was gone A spectator’s leg was broken — just from merely looking on. For they waddied one another till the plain was strewn with dead, While the score was kept so even that they neither got ahead. And the Cuff and Collar Captain, when he tumbled off to die, Was the last surviving player — so the game was called a tie.

Then the Captain of the Geebungs raised him slowly from the ground, Though his wounds were mostly mortal, yet he fiercely gazed around; There was no one to oppose him — all the rest were in a trance, So he scrambled on his pony for his last expiring chance, For he meant to make an effort to get victory to his side; So he struck at goal — and missed it — then he tumbled off and died.

. . . . .

By the old Campaspe River, where the breezes shake the grass, There’s a row of little gravestones that the stockmen never pass, For they bear a crude inscription saying, `Stranger, drop a tear, For the Cuff and Collar players and the Geebung boys lie here.’ And on misty moonlit evenings, while the dingoes howl around, You can see their shadows flitting down that phantom polo ground; You can hear the loud collisions as the flying players meet, And the rattle of the mallets, and the rush of ponies’ feet, Till the terrified spectator rides like blazes to the pub — He’s been haunted by the spectres of the Geebung Polo Club.

The Travelling Post Office

The roving breezes come and go, the reed beds sweep and sway, The sleepy river murmurs low, and loiters on its way, It is the land of lots o’ time along the Castlereagh.

. . . . .

The old man’s son had left the farm, he found it dull and slow, He drifted to the great North-west where all the rovers go. `He’s gone so long,’ the old man said, `he’s dropped right out of mind, But if you’d write a line to him I’d take it very kind; He’s shearing here and fencing there, a kind of waif and stray, He’s droving now with Conroy’s sheep along the Castlereagh.

`The sheep are travelling for the grass, and travelling very slow; They may be at Mundooran now, or past the Overflow, Or tramping down the black soil flats across by Waddiwong, But all those little country towns would send the letter wrong, The mailman, if he’s extra tired, would pass them in his sleep, It’s safest to address the note to `Care of Conroy’s sheep’, For five and twenty thousand head can scarcely go astray, You write to `Care of Conroy’s sheep along the Castlereagh’.’

. . . . .

By rock and ridge and riverside the western mail has gone, Across the great Blue Mountain Range to take that letter on. A moment on the topmost grade while open fire doors glare, She pauses like a living thing to breathe the mountain air, Then launches down the other side across the plains away To bear that note to `Conroy’s sheep along the Castlereagh’.

And now by coach and mailman’s bag it goes from town to town, And Conroy’s Gap and Conroy’s Creek have marked it `further down’. Beneath a sky of deepest blue where never cloud abides, A speck upon the waste of plain the lonely mailman rides. Where fierce hot winds have set the pine and myall boughs asweep He hails the shearers passing by for news of Conroy’s sheep. By big lagoons where wildfowl play and crested pigeons flock, By camp fires where the drovers ride around their restless stock, And past the teamster toiling down to fetch the wool away My letter chases Conroy’s sheep along the Castlereagh.

Saltbush Bill

Now this is the law of the Overland that all in the West obey, A man must cover with travelling sheep a six-mile stage a day; But this is the law which the drovers make, right easily understood, They travel their stage where the grass is bad, but they camp where the grass is good;
They camp, and they ravage the squatter’s grass till never a blade remains, Then they drift away as the white clouds drift on the edge of the saltbush plains,
From camp to camp and from run to run they battle it hand to hand, For a blade of grass and the right to pass on the track of the Overland. For this is the law of the Great Stock Routes, ’tis written in white and black —
The man that goes with a travelling mob must keep to a half-mile track; And the drovers keep to a half-mile track on the runs where the grass is dead,
But they spread their sheep on a well-grassed run till they go with a two-mile spread.
So the squatters hurry the drovers on from dawn till the fall of night, And the squatters’ dogs and the drovers’ dogs get mixed in a deadly fight; Yet the squatters’ men, though they hunt the mob, are willing the peace to keep,
For the drovers learn how to use their hands when they go with the travelling sheep; But this is the tale of a Jackaroo that came from a foreign strand, And the fight that he fought with Saltbush Bill, the King of the Overland.

Now Saltbush Bill was a drover tough, as ever the country knew, He had fought his way on the Great Stock Routes from the sea to the big Barcoo;
He could tell when he came to a friendly run that gave him a chance to spread,
And he knew where the hungry owners were that hurried his sheep ahead; He was drifting down in the Eighty drought with a mob that could scarcely creep,
(When the kangaroos by the thousands starve, it is rough on the travelling sheep),
And he camped one night at the crossing-place on the edge of the Wilga run, `We must manage a feed for them here,’ he said, `or the half of the mob are done!’
So he spread them out when they left the camp wherever they liked to go, Till he grew aware of a Jackaroo with a station-hand in tow, And they set to work on the straggling sheep, and with many a stockwhip crack
They forced them in where the grass was dead in the space of the half-mile track;
So William prayed that the hand of fate might suddenly strike him blue But he’d get some grass for his starving sheep in the teeth of that Jackaroo.
So he turned and he cursed the Jackaroo, he cursed him alive or dead, From the soles of his great unwieldy feet to the crown of his ugly head, With an extra curse on the moke he rode and the cur at his heels that ran, Till the Jackaroo from his horse got down and he went for the drover-man; With the station-hand for his picker-up, though the sheep ran loose the while,
They battled it out on the saltbush plain in the regular prize-ring style.

Now, the new chum fought for his honour’s sake and the pride of the English race,
But the drover fought for his daily bread with a smile on his bearded face; So he shifted ground and he sparred for wind and he made it a lengthy mill, And from time to time as his scouts came in they whispered to Saltbush Bill —
`We have spread the sheep with a two-mile spread, and the grass it is something grand,
You must stick to him, Bill, for another round for the pride of the Overland.’
The new chum made it a rushing fight, though never a blow got home, Till the sun rode high in the cloudless sky and glared on the brick-red loam,
Till the sheep drew in to the shelter-trees and settled them down to rest, Then the drover said he would fight no more and he gave his opponent best.

So the new chum rode to the homestead straight and he told them a story grand
Of the desperate fight that he fought that day with the King of the Overland.
And the tale went home to the Public Schools of the pluck of the English swell,
How the drover fought for his very life, but blood in the end must tell. But the travelling sheep and the Wilga sheep were boxed on the Old Man Plain.
‘Twas a full week’s work ere they drafted out and hunted them off again, With a week’s good grass in their wretched hides, with a curse and a stockwhip crack,
They hunted them off on the road once more to starve on the half-mile track.
And Saltbush Bill, on the Overland, will many a time recite How the best day’s work that ever he did was the day that he lost the fight.

A Mountain Station

I bought a run a while ago,
On country rough and ridgy,
Where wallaroos and wombats grow — The Upper Murrumbidgee.
The grass is rather scant, it’s true, But this a fair exchange is,
The sheep can see a lovely view
By climbing up the ranges.

And She-oak Flat’s the station’s name, I’m not surprised at that, sirs:
The oaks were there before I came,
And I supplied the flat, sirs.
A man would wonder how it’s done,
The stock so soon decreases —
They sometimes tumble off the run
And break themselves to pieces.

I’ve tried to make expenses meet,
But wasted all my labours,
The sheep the dingoes didn’t eat
Were stolen by the neighbours.
They stole my pears — my native pears — Those thrice-convicted felons,
And ravished from me unawares
My crop of paddy-melons.

And sometimes under sunny skies,
Without an explanation,
The Murrumbidgee used to rise
And overflow the station.
But this was caused (as now I know) When summer sunshine glowing
Had melted all Kiandra’s snow
And set the river going.

And in the news, perhaps you read:
`Stock passings. Puckawidgee,
Fat cattle: Seven hundred head
Swept down the Murrumbidgee;
Their destination’s quite obscure,
But, somehow, there’s a notion,
Unless the river falls, they’re sure To reach the Southern Ocean.’

So after that I’ll give it best;
No more with Fate I’ll battle.
I’ll let the river take the rest,
For those were all my cattle.
And with one comprehensive curse
I close my brief narration,
And advertise it in my verse —
`For Sale! A Mountain Station.’

Been There Before

There came a stranger to Walgett town, To Walgett town when the sun was low,
And he carried a thirst that was worth a crown, Yet how to quench it he did not know;
But he thought he might take those yokels down, The guileless yokels of Walgett town.

They made him a bet in a private bar, In a private bar when the talk was high, And they bet him some pounds no matter how far He could pelt a stone, yet he could not shy A stone right over the river so brown,
The Darling river at Walgett town.

He knew that the river from bank to bank Was fifty yards, and he smiled a smile
As he trundled down, but his hopes they sank For there wasn’t a stone within fifty mile; For the saltbush plain and the open down Produce no quarries in Walgett town.

The yokels laughed at his hopes o’erthrown, And he stood awhile like a man in a dream; Then out of his pocket he fetched a stone, And pelted it over the silent stream — He had been there before: he had wandered down On a previous visit to Walgett town.

The Man Who Was Away

The widow sought the lawyer’s room with children three in tow, She told the lawyer man her tale in tones of deepest woe. Said she, `My husband took to drink for pains in his inside, And never drew a sober breath from then until he died.

`He never drew a sober breath, he died without a will, And I must sell the bit of land the childer’s mouths to fill. There’s some is grown and gone away, but some is childer yet, And times is very bad indeed — a livin’s hard to get.

`There’s Min and Sis and little Chris, they stops at home with me, And Sal has married Greenhide Bill that breaks for Bingeree. And Fred is drovin’ Conroy’s sheep along the Castlereagh, And Charley’s shearin’ down the Bland, and Peter is away.’

The lawyer wrote the details down in ink of legal blue — `There’s Minnie, Susan, Christopher, they stop at home with you; There’s Sarah, Frederick, and Charles, I’ll write to them to-day, But what about the other one — the one who is away?

`You’ll have to furnish his consent to sell the bit of land.’ The widow shuffled in her seat, `Oh, don’t you understand? I thought a lawyer ought to know — I don’t know what to say — You’ll have to do without him, boss, for Peter is away.’

But here the little boy spoke up — said he, `We thought you knew; He’s done six months in Goulburn gaol — he’s got six more to do.’ Thus in one comprehensive flash he made it clear as day, The mystery of Peter’s life — the man who was away.

The Man from Ironbark

It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town, He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down. He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop, Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber’s shop. `’Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, I’ll be a man of mark, I’ll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark.’

The barber man was small and flash, as barbers mostly are, He wore a strike-your-fancy sash, he smoked a huge cigar: He was a humorist of note and keen at repartee, He laid the odds and kept a `tote’, whatever that may be, And when he saw our friend arrive, he whispered `Here’s a lark! Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from Ironbark.’

There were some gilded youths that sat along the barber’s wall, Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all; To them the barber passed the wink, his dexter eyelid shut, `I’ll make this bloomin’ yokel think his bloomin’ throat is cut.’ And as he soaped and rubbed it in he made a rude remark: `I s’pose the flats is pretty green up there in Ironbark.’

A grunt was all reply he got; he shaved the bushman’s chin, Then made the water boiling hot and dipped the razor in. He raised his hand, his brow grew black, he paused awhile to gloat, Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim’s throat; Upon the newly shaven skin it made a livid mark — No doubt it fairly took him in — the man from Ironbark.

He fetched a wild up-country yell might wake the dead to hear, And though his throat, he knew full well, was cut from ear to ear, He struggled gamely to his feet, and faced the murd’rous foe: `You’ve done for me! you dog, I’m beat! one hit before I go! I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering shark! But you’ll remember all your life, the man from Ironbark.’

He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous clout He landed on the barber’s jaw, and knocked the barber out. He set to work with tooth and nail, he made the place a wreck; He grabbed the nearest gilded youth, and tried to break his neck. And all the while his throat he held to save his vital spark, And `Murder! Bloody Murder!’ yelled the man from Ironbark.

A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the show; He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go. And when at last the barber spoke, and said, `’Twas all in fun — ‘Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone.’ `A joke!’ he cried, `By George, that’s fine; a lively sort of lark; I’d like to catch that murdering swine some night in Ironbark.’

And now while round the shearing floor the list’ning shearers gape, He tells the story o’er and o’er, and brags of his escape. `Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, By George, I’ve had enough, One tried to cut my bloomin’ throat, but thank the Lord it’s tough.’ And whether he’s believed or no, there’s one thing to remark, That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.

The Open Steeplechase

I had ridden over hurdles up the country once or twice, By the side of Snowy River with a horse they called `The Ace’. And we brought him down to Sydney, and our rider Jimmy Rice, Got a fall and broke his shoulder, so they nabbed me in a trice — Me, that never wore the colours, for the Open Steeplechase.

`Make the running,’ said the trainer, `it’s your only chance whatever, Make it hot from start to finish, for the old black horse can stay, And just think of how they’ll take it, when they hear on Snowy River That the country boy was plucky, and the country horse was clever. You must ride for old Monaro and the mountain boys to-day.’

`Are you ready?’ said the starter, as we held the horses back, All ablazing with impatience, with excitement all aglow; Before us like a ribbon stretched the steeplechasing track, And the sun-rays glistened brightly on the chestnut and the black As the starter’s words came slowly, `Are — you — ready? Go!’

Well, I scarcely knew we’d started, I was stupid-like with wonder Till the field closed up beside me and a jump appeared ahead. And we flew it like a hurdle, not a baulk and not a blunder, As we charged it all together, and it fairly whistled under, And then some were pulled behind me and a few shot out and led.

So we ran for half the distance, and I’m making no pretences When I tell you I was feeling very nervous-like and queer, For those jockeys rode like demons;
you would think they’d lost their senses If you saw them rush their horses at those rasping five foot fences — And in place of making running I was falling to the rear.

Till a chap came racing past me on a horse they called `The Quiver’, And said he, `My country joker, are you going to give it best? Are you frightened of the fences? does their stoutness make you shiver? Have they come to breeding cowards by the side of Snowy River? Are there riders on Monaro? —-‘ but I never heard the rest.

For I drove the Ace and sent him just as fast as he could pace it, At the big black line of timber stretching fair across the track, And he shot beside the Quiver. `Now,’ said I, `my boy, we’ll race it. You can come with Snowy River if you’re only game to face it, Let us mend the pace a little and we’ll see who cries a crack.’

So we raced away together, and we left the others standing, And the people cheered and shouted as we settled down to ride, And we clung beside the Quiver. At his taking off and landing I could see his scarlet nostril and his mighty ribs expanding, And the Ace stretched out in earnest and we held him stride for stride.

But the pace was so terrific that they soon ran out their tether — They were rolling in their gallop, they were fairly blown and beat — But they both were game as pebbles — neither one would show the feather. And we rushed them at the fences, and they cleared them both together, Nearly every time they clouted, but they somehow kept their feet.

Then the last jump rose before us, and they faced it game as ever — We were both at spur and whipcord, fetching blood at every bound — And above the people’s cheering and the cries of `Ace’ and `Quiver’, I could hear the trainer shouting, `One more run for Snowy River.’ Then we struck the jump together and came smashing to the ground.

Well, the Quiver ran to blazes, but the Ace stood still and waited, Stood and waited like a statue while I scrambled on his back. There was no one next or near me for the field was fairly slated, So I cantered home a winner with my shoulder dislocated, While the man that rode the Quiver followed limping down the track.

And he shook my hand and told me that in all his days he never Met a man who rode more gamely, and our last set to was prime, And we wired them on Monaro how we chanced to beat the Quiver. And they sent us back an answer, `Good old sort from Snowy River: Send us word each race you start in and we’ll back you every time.’

The Amateur Rider

HIM going to ride for us! HIM —
with the pants and the eyeglass and all. Amateur! don’t he just look it — it’s twenty to one on a fall. Boss must be gone off his head to be sending our steeplechase crack Out over fences like these with an object like that on his back.

Ride! Don’t tell ME he can ride.
With his pants just as loose as balloons, How can he sit on his horse? and his spurs like a pair of harpoons; Ought to be under the Dog Act, he ought, and be kept off the course. Fall! why, he’d fall off a cart, let alone off a steeplechase horse.

. . . . .

Yessir! the ‘orse is all ready — I wish you’d have rode him before; Nothing like knowing your ‘orse, sir, and this chap’s a terror to bore; Battleaxe always could pull, and he rushes his fences like fun — Stands off his jump twenty feet, and then springs like a shot from a gun.

Oh, he can jump ’em all right, sir, you make no mistake, ‘e’s a toff; Clouts ’em in earnest, too, sometimes,
you mind that he don’t clout you off — Don’t seem to mind how he hits ’em, his shins is as hard as a nail, Sometimes you’ll see the fence shake
and the splinters fly up from the rail.

All you can do is to hold him and just let him jump as he likes, Give him his head at the fences, and hang on like death if he strikes; Don’t let him run himself out — you can lie third or fourth in the race — Until you clear the stone wall, and from that you can put on the pace.

Fell at that wall once, he did, and it gave him a regular spread, Ever since that time he flies it — he’ll stop if you pull at his head, Just let him race — you can trust him — he’ll take first-class care he don’t fall, And I think that’s the lot — but remember, HE MUST HAVE HIS HEAD AT THE WALL.

. . . . .

Well, he’s down safe as far as the start, and he seems to sit on pretty neat,
Only his baggified breeches would ruinate anyone’s seat — They’re away — here they come — the first fence, and he’s head over heels for a crown!
Good for the new chum, he’s over, and two of the others are down!

Now for the treble, my hearty — By Jove, he can ride, after all; Whoop, that’s your sort — let him fly them! He hasn’t much fear of a fall.
Who in the world would have thought it? And aren’t they just going a pace? Little Recruit in the lead there will make it a stoutly-run race.

Lord! But they’re racing in earnest — and down goes Recruit on his head, Rolling clean over his boy — it’s a miracle if he ain’t dead. Battleaxe, Battleaxe, yet! By the Lord, he’s got most of ’em beat — Ho! did you see how he struck, and the swell never moved in his seat?

Second time round, and, by Jingo! he’s holding his lead of ’em well; Hark to him clouting the timber! It don’t seem to trouble the swell. Now for the wall — let him rush it. A thirty-foot leap, I declare — Never a shift in his seat, and he’s racing for home like a hare.

What’s that that’s chasing him — Rataplan — regular demon to stay! Sit down and ride for your life now!
Oh, good, that’s the style — come away! Rataplan’s certain to beat you, unless you can give him the slip; Sit down and rub in the whalebone now — give him the spurs and the whip!

Battleaxe, Battleaxe, yet — and it’s Battleaxe wins for a crown; Look at him rushing the fences, he wants to bring t’other chap down. Rataplan never will catch him if only he keeps on his pins; Now! the last fence! and he’s over it! Battleaxe, Battleaxe wins!

. . . . .

Well, sir, you rode him just perfect — I knew from the first you could ride.
Some of the chaps said you couldn’t, an’ I says just like this a’ one side: Mark me, I says, that’s a tradesman — the saddle is where he was bred. Weight! you’re all right, sir, and thank you; and them was the words that I said.

On Kiley’s Run

The roving breezes come and go
On Kiley’s Run,
The sleepy river murmurs low,
And far away one dimly sees
Beyond the stretch of forest trees — Beyond the foothills dusk and dun —
The ranges sleeping in the sun
On Kiley’s Run.

‘Tis many years since first I came
To Kiley’s Run,
More years than I would care to name Since I, a stripling, used to ride
For miles and miles at Kiley’s side, The while in stirring tones he told
The stories of the days of old
On Kiley’s Run.

I see the old bush homestead now
On Kiley’s Run,
Just nestled down beneath the brow
Of one small ridge above the sweep
Of river-flat, where willows weep
And jasmine flowers and roses bloom, The air was laden with perfume
On Kiley’s Run.

We lived the good old station life
On Kiley’s Run,
With little thought of care or strife. Old Kiley seldom used to roam,
He liked to make the Run his home,
The swagman never turned away
With empty hand at close of day
From Kiley’s Run.

We kept a racehorse now and then
On Kiley’s Run,
And neighb’ring stations brought their men To meetings where the sport was free,
And dainty ladies came to see
Their champions ride; with laugh and song The old house rang the whole night long
On Kiley’s Run.

The station hands were friends I wot
On Kiley’s Run,
A reckless, merry-hearted lot —
All splendid riders, and they knew
The `boss’ was kindness through and through. Old Kiley always stood their friend,
And so they served him to the end
On Kiley’s Run.

But droughts and losses came apace
To Kiley’s Run,
Till ruin stared him in the face;
He toiled and toiled while lived the light, He dreamed of overdrafts at night:
At length, because he could not pay, His bankers took the stock away
From Kiley’s Run.

Old Kiley stood and saw them go
From Kiley’s Run.
The well-bred cattle marching slow; His stockmen, mates for many a day,
They wrung his hand and went away.
Too old to make another start,
Old Kiley died — of broken heart,
On Kiley’s Run.

. . . . .

The owner lives in England now
Of Kiley’s Run.
He knows a racehorse from a cow;
But that is all he knows of stock:
His chiefest care is how to dock
Expenses, and he sends from town
To cut the shearers’ wages down
On Kiley’s Run.

There are no neighbours anywhere
Near Kiley’s Run.
The hospitable homes are bare,
The gardens gone; for no pretence
Must hinder cutting down expense:
The homestead that we held so dear
Contains a half-paid overseer
On Kiley’s Run.

All life and sport and hope have died On Kiley’s Run.
No longer there the stockmen ride;
For sour-faced boundary riders creep On mongrel horses after sheep,
Through ranges where, at racing speed, Old Kiley used to `wheel the lead’
On Kiley’s Run.

There runs a lane for thirty miles
Through Kiley’s Run.
On either side the herbage smiles,
But wretched trav’lling sheep must pass Without a drink or blade of grass
Thro’ that long lane of death and shame: The weary drovers curse the name
Of Kiley’s Run.

The name itself is changed of late
Of Kiley’s Run.
They call it `Chandos Park Estate’. The lonely swagman through the dark
Must hump his swag past Chandos Park. The name is English, don’t you see,
The old name sweeter sounds to me
Of `Kiley’s Run’.

I cannot guess what fate will bring
To Kiley’s Run —
For chances come and changes ring — I scarcely think ’twill always be
Locked up to suit an absentee;
And if he lets it out in farms
His tenants soon will carry arms
On Kiley’s Run.

Frying Pan’s Theology

Scene: On Monaro.
Shock-headed blackfellow,
Boy (on a pony).
Snowflakes are falling
So gentle and slow,
Youngster says, `Frying Pan,
What makes it snow?’
Frying Pan confident
Makes the reply —
`Shake ’em big flour bag
Up in the sky!’
`What! when there’s miles of it!
Sur’ly that’s brag.
Who is there strong enough
Shake such a bag?’
`What parson tellin’ you,
Ole Mister Dodd,
Tell you in Sunday-school?
Big feller God!
He drive His bullock dray,
Then thunder go,
He shake His flour bag —
Tumble down snow!’

The Two Devines

It was shearing-time at the Myall Lake, And there rose the sound thro’ the livelong day Of the constant clash that the shear-blades make When the fastest shearers are making play, But there wasn’t a man in the shearers’ lines That could shear a sheep with the two Devines.

They had rung the sheds of the east and west, Had beaten the cracks of the Walgett side, And the Cooma shearers had giv’n them best — When they saw them shear, they were satisfied. From the southern slopes to the western pines They were noted men, were the two Devines.

‘Twas a wether flock that had come to hand, Great struggling brutes, that the shearers shirk, For the fleece was filled with the grass and sand, And seventy sheep was a big day’s work. `At a pound a hundred it’s dashed hard lines To shear such sheep,’ said the two Devines.

But the shearers knew that they’d make a cheque When they came to deal with the station ewes; They were bare of belly and bare of neck With a fleece as light as a kangaroo’s. `We will show the boss how a shear-blade shines When we reach those ewes,’ said the two Devines.

But it chanced next day when the stunted pines Were swayed and stirred with the dawn-wind’s breath, That a message came for the two Devines
That their father lay at the point of death. So away at speed through the whispering pines Down the bridle track rode the two Devines.

It was fifty miles to their father’s hut, And the dawn was bright when they rode away; At the fall of night when the shed was shut And the men had rest from the toilsome day, To the shed once more through the dark’ning pines On their weary steeds came the two Devines.

`Well, you’re back right sudden,’ the super. said; `Is the old man dead and the funeral done?’ `Well, no, sir, he ain’t not exactly dead, But as good as dead,’ said the eldest son — `And we couldn’t bear such a chance to lose, So we came straight back to tackle the ewes.’

. . . . .

They are shearing ewes at the Myall Lake, And the shed is merry the livelong day
With the clashing sound that the shear-blades make When the fastest shearers are making play, And a couple of `hundred and ninety-nines’ Are the tallies made by the two Devines.

In the Droving Days

`Only a pound,’ said the auctioneer,
`Only a pound; and I’m standing here Selling this animal, gain or loss.
Only a pound for the drover’s horse; One of the sort that was never afraid,
One of the boys of the Old Brigade; Thoroughly honest and game, I’ll swear,
Only a little the worse for wear;
Plenty as bad to be seen in town,
Give me a bid and I’ll knock him down; Sold as he stands, and without recourse, Give me a bid for the drover’s horse.’

Loitering there in an aimless way
Somehow I noticed the poor old grey, Weary and battered and screwed, of course, Yet when I noticed the old grey horse,
The rough bush saddle, and single rein Of the bridle laid on his tangled mane,
Straightway the crowd and the auctioneer Seemed on a sudden to disappear,
Melted away in a kind of haze,
For my heart went back to the droving days.

Back to the road, and I crossed again Over the miles of the saltbush plain —
The shining plain that is said to be The dried-up bed of an inland sea,
Where the air so dry and so clear and bright Refracts the sun with a wondrous light,
And out in the dim horizon makes
The deep blue gleam of the phantom lakes.

At dawn of day we would feel the breeze That stirred the boughs of the sleeping trees, And brought a breath of the fragrance rare That comes and goes in that scented air; For the trees and grass and the shrubs contain A dry sweet scent on the saltbush plain. For those that love it and understand,
The saltbush plain is a wonderland. A wondrous country, where Nature’s ways
Were revealed to me in the droving days.

We saw the fleet wild horses pass,
And the kangaroos through the Mitchell grass, The emu ran with her frightened brood
All unmolested and unpursued.
But there rose a shout and a wild hubbub When the dingo raced for his native scrub, And he paid right dear for his stolen meals With the drover’s dogs at his wretched heels. For we ran him down at a rattling pace,
While the packhorse joined in the stirring chase. And a wild halloo at the kill we’d raise — We were light of heart in the droving days.

‘Twas a drover’s horse, and my hand again Made a move to close on a fancied rein.
For I felt the swing and the easy stride Of the grand old horse that I used to ride