Sunday, September 05, 2004

Waltzing Matilda

Oh! There once was a swagman camped in the Billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;
And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling,
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matildah with me?

“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling,
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag,
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?”

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee;
And he sang as he put him away in his tucker-bag,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!”

Down came the Squatter a-riding his thoroughbred;
Down came Policemen—one, two and three.
“Whose is the jumbuck you’ve got in the tucker-bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.”

But the swagman, he up and he jumped in the water-hole,
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree;
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong,
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?”

—Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson,

Roff Smith got a very good article published in National Geographic this August, with photographs by David Allan Harvey. I've never heard of these two guys, but I'm enjoying reading this article, a little at at time, given my life with these two little kids, a wife, three jobs, and a surviving desire to become a published writer myself.


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