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The Man From Snowy River.

There have been a few questions regarding the horse in the last post and while I was answering them it occured to me that you guys may not know about this. The Man From Snowy River is actually one of our most loved poems, it was written by Banjo Patterson, instead of giving a link to it, I’ve just pasted it here to make it easier for anyone who want to read it.

The movie was based on the poem. Before we start, a couple of bits of trivia (you know how I love my trivia), firstly if you have seen the movie, you would know that they ride down the side of a mountain, that mountain is part of the range that’s behind the horse in the second picture of the previous post.

Secondly, do any of you remember the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics? They had a re-enactment of the muster (roundup) from the Man From Snowy River, you know the bit with all those guys on horseback. Well here’s the thing, the guy riding the horse in the first picture was actually the guy who led the roundup in the opening ceremony. He was given this honour because he supplied 25 of the horses used.

Finally, there is a reference to a Timor pony, he doesn’t mean the island in the Indonesian acrchepeligo, he’s refering to a town about 10 miles from here which to this day is noted for horse breeding.

So without further ado let me present 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.

A.B.(Banjo)Patterson

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16 Responses

  1. 1) You promised an essay, if it has poetry, especially with 13 stanzas, it’s a freakin’ ESSAY!2) I loved that movie but it’s been a thousand years since I’ve seen it, and yes, I remember the scenes you described. VERY COOL @ the stud on the horse! I thought I recognized him from somewhere.3) A peripheral memory is when I came out of the theater following seeing this movie, it was SNOWING! It was not forecast, and anytime it snows in the south, it’s a treat.Must come back to actually READ TMFSR, a poem like this should be savored not inhaled. Like it when you mix things up ;).

  2. Ditto… Robin. I have ta get ta work dang it.And I love Steely Dan too. My all time fav band. I finally got to see them live in the 90’s, since the first go-round, they never toured. Later dude.♥Pam

  3. I also am chomping at the bit to get off to work.Loved the poem.. except for the bloddy spurs. (I’m a bleeding heart)I will be back to read it again tonight*blogger is being horrid 4th attempt this time

  4. Aaaaaah -the entire time I read it – I could picture the scene in the movie – with Young Jim leaping down the hill, cracking his whip. I didn’t know that it all started with a poem. THANKS!

  5. Never saw the movie. Beautiful poem. Thanks for the background tidbits that both add to the poetry and add store for my next Trivial Pursuit round.

  6. Wow. Tenderfoot here. I’d never heard of the movie or the poem. What a great name for a poet, though…Banjo. And is it just my old eyes or is blogger asking for a lot of strange looking letters in the word verification? They all seem to get harder and harder. Or I am getting blinder and blinder. I hate it when they use q and g. They look the friggin same to me…..

  7. You cracked me up over at pensieve, and honestly, I APPRECIATE your net prowess when I have a question (I was ticked I couldn’t pick up a Calvin & Hobbes file…woulda been PERFECT! Calvin’s head exploded…)

  8. Wow. This just makes my poems sound….well….stupid.Banjo creates beautiful imagery here, doesn’t he?

  9. Thank you, Willowtree. The poem is wonderful!! I never knew it existed. I really appreciate you sharing it with us.

  10. I never saw the movie, but the imagery..”the rolling plains are wide”…made me think of being on the prairie at my grandparents’ farm as a child.Thank you for saying such nice things in my comments. 😉 *big smile*Oh, and if you hop over to Marnie’s comments – I left the longest response to something you said in the history of the known world. Feel free to fall asleep halfway through. 😉

  11. I’m surprised you didn’t make the poem a 2 or 3 part post! Hahah.It was beautiful. Never heard it before. Never seen the movie before.Perhaps I should?

  12. Hi,I’ve heard of the movie but have never watched it, nor have I ever read the poem. The poem was really something, a real treat! Thank you for posting it.And speaking of horse movies;My husband and I a while back went to see the movie “Hildago” about a Mustang(America’s wild horse) race horse, the movie is based on the true story of the greatest long-distance horse race ever run. After we got home my husband got out his birth certificate and showed me the town where he was born was Hildago, Texas. The town the horse Hidago was named after.;)Janice~

  13. Good grief this was a long post!!! Well worth it though. I am going to have to come back and print it off so I can re-read it in class. You know some of those professors can be so boring. 🙂 The professor I had today said “Um” 329 times, in an hour and 15 minutes. Love the movie. Yes MJ, you should watch it. For anyone else out there that has not seen this movie – RENT IT!!! And Janice, I loved the story about your husband being born in Hidalgo. Great story! Thanks for sharing!

  14. laura – blogger seems to be particularly irksome of late.susan – your poem wasn’t stupid, it was funny. Don’t forget, this poem is a classic.melissa – I’m on my way over.marnie – you should see the movie, it’s getting a bit old now but still not too bad.janice – I know that movie, from memory it starred Viggo Mortensen.julie – don’t you just love those ‘umming’ people, I think it’s unacceptable for a professor to do it.lastly to robin – thanks for leaving two comments and making it look like I’m more popular than I really am!To everyone who thanked me for the post – you’re more than welcome. In truth I forgot it was that long. When I saw it added to my introductory paragraphs I didn’t think anyone would read it all. I had a pretty tough time posting it because my father used to recite it and I got a bit teary thinking of him, he was a great guy.

  15. I’ll take Splenda AND sugar with my morning coffee…and cream…and a dash of Willowtree. Make it three for one post, nothing new, so I gotta comment here.BUT who couldn’t comment on the last line of your most recent comment??? Actually, I’m at a loss for words…what you said about your father, reciting poetry, getting teary, great guy…poignant without even trying.

  16. Aww. Your Dad recited this poem? That is too cool. When you read it do you hear it in his voice? Sometimes I can hear my Granny’s voice when I read certain hymns.

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