Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

A.B. Paterson - The Man from Snowy River and other verses, ca. 1895
MLMSS 314/195(A 1909)

There was movement at the station for
the word had passed around
that the colt from the 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 the old man's
blood was
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
saddlegirths 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 race-horse undersized
with a touch of Timor pony - three parts
thorough-bred 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 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
Koscuisko'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 riders have I seen

So he went - they found the horses by
the big momosa clump
they raced away towards the mountains ?
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
And he raced his stockhorses past them
And he made the ranges ring
with the stock whip 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 stock whip
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 echos and
they fiercely answered back

From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead
And upward upward ever 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 might well 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 its 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 mountains standing
saw him ply the stock whip freely fiercely he was
right among them still
And he raced across the clearing in pursuit
then they lost him for a moment where
two mountain gullies meet
In the ranges - but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the
wild horses running yet
with the man from Snowy River at their heels

And he ran them singlehanded 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 pineclad ridges raise
their torn and rugged battlements on high
where the air is clear as crystal and the
white stars fairly blaze
At 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 today
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride