SI Vault
 
WALTZING MATILDA
Robert Cantwell
December 09, 1974
The author of Australia's rollicking ballad sold the rights to it for, well, a song, choosing instead to seek renown and riches on the Sydney turf. But he never found a wonder horse to match...
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 09, 1974

Waltzing Matilda

The author of Australia's rollicking ballad sold the rights to it for, well, a song, choosing instead to seek renown and riches on the Sydney turf. But he never found a wonder horse to match...

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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.

The daylight 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.

"Which will 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.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Related Topics
  ARTICLES GALLERIES COVERS
Waltzing Matilda 1 0 0
Banjo Paterson 1 0 0
Australia 578 0 5
Sydney (Australia) 155 0 2
J.F. Archibald 1 0 0