-- A Collection
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 barbers shop.
"Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, Ill be a man of mark,
Ill go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark.
The barber man was small and flash, as barbers
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 Heres a lark!
Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from Ironbark.
There were some gilded youths that sat along
the barbers 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,
Ill make this bloomin yokel think his bloomin throat is cut.
And as he soaped and rubbed it in he made a rude remark:
I spose the flats is pretty green up there in Ironbark.
A grunt was all reply he got; he shaved
the bushmans 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 victims 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 murdrous foe:
Youve done for me! you dog, Im beat! one hit before I go!
I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering shark!
But youll remember all your life, the man from Ironbark.
He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous
He landed on the barbers 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, thats fine; a lively sort of lark;
Id like to catch that murdering swine some night in Ironbark.
And now while round the shearing floor the
listning shearers gape,
He tells the story oer and oer, and brags of his escape.
Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, By George, Ive had enough,
One tried to cut my bloomin throat, but thank the Lord its tough.
And whether hes believed or no, theres one thing to remark,
That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.
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:
Clancys gone to Queensland droving, and we dont 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 drovers 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 wondrous 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 Id
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 hed suit the office, Clancy, of The Overflow.
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 wont 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, youd 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 hell be with us when hes wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.
He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciuskos
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horses 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 mountains 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 mountains 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
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.
copyright Banjo Paterson