Stick to it now
though your hearts should break,
While the yells and roars make the grandstand shake.
But Australians in
1886 were less demanding, and in retrospect the imagination, the daring and the
knowledge of racing embodied in A Dream of the Melbourne Cup make it a
remarkable creation for a beginner.
The Banjo's next
poem was The Mylora Elopement, the first of several dealing with a man who
neglects a girl for his horses. A valuable station horse has run off to join an
outlaw band led by an earlier runaway, Bowneck. McGrath, the boss of the
station, rides off determined to drive the wild herd into the yard. That gives
a station hand, Jim the Ringer, a chance to be alone with McGrath's daughter
Amelia Jane. Jim reasons that McGrath's horse Sambo will not be quite good
enough to run down Bowneck. He and Jane can easily escape the old man, for
Sambo will be spent on McGrath's return home. They elope.
shines on figures twain
That ride across Mylora plain,
Laughing and talking—Jim and Jane,
"Steadily, darling. There's lots of time."
But at a turn in
the road they meet McGrath. "What's up?" he asks. "Why, running
away, of course," Jim says. The old man says he is beat and Sambo is
exhausted. But the mob of wild horses is just over the next hill. "Will you
go and leave the mob behind?" he asks Jim.
you do? Take the girl away:
Or ride like a white man should today?"
There is no
dispute about it. Jim replied,
"We can holt
some other day, of course.
Amelia Jane, get oft that horse!"
Jim and McGrath
ride off into the hills.
Two distant specks
on the mountainside,
Two stockwhips echoing far and wide...
Amelia Jane sat down and cried.