The Man From Snowy River

By A. B. Paterson’s Poem

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 horse­men 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 the 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 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 far­ther 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 reed-beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The Man from Snowy River is a house­hold word today,
And the stock­men tell the story of his ride.