'The Man From Snowy River' by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson
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There was movement at the station, for the word has 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 had learnt to ride while droving on the plains.
And one was there, a sripling 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,
For 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 Kosiosko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough;
Where the horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flintstones every stride,
There the man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders in the mountains make their home,
Wher the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many riders 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 his 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 their stock-whips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
from the cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where the mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob good-day,
For 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;
For the wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip meant death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have its head,
He swung his stock-whip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down that mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.
He sent the flintstones flying, but the pony kept its 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, over 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 he climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the hillside, standing mute,
Saw him ply the stock-whip fiercely; he was right among them still,
As he raced across a 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 flanks were white with foam;
He followed like a bloodhound in their track,
Till they halted, cowed and beaten; and 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 Kosiosko, 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
Of a 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,
There the man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.
Submitted by Maddy
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Man From Snowy River: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Wow, what a classic! The Man From Snowy River by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson is an iconic poem that captures the spirit of the Australian bush and its people. With its vivid descriptions, colorful characters, and thrilling plot, this poem has become a beloved part of Australian folklore and literature. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, imagery, symbolism, and language of The Man From Snowy River and analyze its cultural significance and artistic merit.
The Plot and Characters
First, let's recap the plot and characters of the poem. The Man From Snowy River tells the story of a young horseman who goes on a wild ride down a steep and treacherous mountain to recapture a valuable colt that had escaped from his father's herd. The man's bravery and horsemanship impress the other stockmen who had failed to catch the colt and earned him their respect and admiration. The man returns to his home in the high country, proud of his achievement and ready to face any challenge that comes his way.
The main character, the man from Snowy River, is a symbol of the rugged and independent spirit of the Australian bushmen. He is brave, resourceful, and skilled in the art of horsemanship, which is a vital part of life in the bush. The other characters in the poem, such as Clancy of the Overflow, Jim Craig, and Harrison, represent different aspects of the bushman's life and values, such as friendship, loyalty, and hard work.
The Man From Snowy River explores several themes that are relevant to Australian literature and culture. One of the most prominent themes is the contrast between the wild and untamed beauty of the natural environment and the harsh and demanding life of the people who live in it. The poem celebrates the beauty of the bush and its wildlife, such as the brumbies (wild horses), the eagles, and the mountain ash trees, but also acknowledges the dangers and challenges of living in such a remote and unforgiving place.
Another theme that the poem addresses is the tension between tradition and progress, which is a common theme in Australian literature. The man from Snowy River represents the traditional values and skills of the bushmen, such as horsemanship and self-reliance, while the city slickers and the townies who come to the high country represent the modern and urban way of life, which is often seen as a threat to the bushman's identity and culture.
The theme of gender roles is also present in the poem, as it portrays women as passive and domesticated creatures who stay at home and take care of the household while men go out to the bush to hunt, herd, and explore. However, the poem also acknowledges the importance of women in the bushman's life, such as the man's sister who helps him prepare for the ride and who is proud of his achievement.
The Imagery and Symbolism
The Man From Snowy River is a poem full of vivid imagery and powerful symbolism, which enhances its emotional impact and artistic merit. One of the most striking images in the poem is the description of the man's wild ride down the mountain, which is both exhilarating and terrifying. Paterson uses vivid and sensory language to convey the speed, danger, and excitement of the ride, such as "And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam" and "He steered himself by falling sideways in his saddle".
Another powerful symbol in the poem is the colt that the man recaptures, which represents not only his skill and bravery but also his connection to the land and his family. The colt is not just a valuable asset, but also a living symbol of the bushman's way of life and his relationship with his environment. By riding the colt down the mountain and bringing it back to his father's herd, the man proves his worth and his loyalty to his family and his community.
The horses and the landscape are also important symbols in the poem, as they represent the beauty and the power of the bush and its wildlife. The brumbies, which roam freely in the bush, are a symbol of the untamed and wild spirit of the Australian landscape, while the mountain ash trees and the snow-capped peaks represent the majesty and the grandeur of nature.
The Language and Style
The Man From Snowy River is written in a lively and rhythmic style, which makes it easy to read and appreciate. Paterson's use of rhyme, meter, and repetition creates a musical quality that echoes the sounds and rhythms of the bush. The poem's language is also rich in colloquialisms and idioms, which reflect the Australian vernacular and add to the poem's authenticity and charm.
One of the most notable features of the poem's language is its use of dialects and accents, which distinguish the different characters and their backgrounds. For example, Clancy of the Overflow speaks in a refined and cultured manner, which contrasts with the rough and laconic speech of the other stockmen. This use of language not only creates a sense of realism and authenticity but also highlights the diversity and complexity of Australian society.
The Cultural Significance
The Man From Snowy River has become a beloved part of Australian culture and literature, and it has inspired countless adaptations, interpretations, and tributes. The poem has been adapted into films, TV shows, and theater productions, and it has become a symbol of the Australian identity and the bushman's way of life. The poem's themes, imagery, and language have also influenced the development of Australian literature and contributed to its distinctive style and voice.
The poem's cultural significance lies in its ability to capture the spirit and the values of the Australian people, and to express them in a way that is accessible, entertaining, and inspiring. The poem celebrates the beauty and the challenges of the bush, and it honors the resilience, the independence, and the resourcefulness of the bushmen who live in it. The poem's message of courage, loyalty, and self-reliance resonates with Australians of all ages and backgrounds, and it continues to inspire and entertain generations of readers and audiences.
In conclusion, The Man From Snowy River is a classic poem that embodies the spirit and the values of the Australian bushman. With its vivid imagery, powerful symbolism, and lively language, the poem captures the beauty and the challenges of the bush and celebrates the resilience, independence, and resourcefulness of the people who live in it. The poem's themes of contrast, tradition, and gender roles, as well as its cultural significance and artistic merit, make it a timeless work of literature and a beloved part of Australian folklore. So, saddle up, and join the man from Snowy River on his wild ride down the mountain!
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Man From Snowy River: A Classic Poem of Adventure and Bravery
The Man From Snowy River is a classic Australian poem written by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson in 1890. It tells the story of a brave young man who sets out to recapture a group of wild horses that have escaped into the mountains. The poem is a celebration of the Australian bush and the people who live there, and it has become a beloved part of Australian culture.
The poem begins with a description of the rugged and wild landscape of the Snowy River region. The mountains are steep and rocky, and the valleys are deep and treacherous. The poem sets the scene for the adventure that is about to unfold, and it creates a sense of excitement and anticipation in the reader.
The main character of the poem is a young man who is known only as "the man from Snowy River." He is a skilled horseman and a fearless adventurer, and he is determined to capture the wild horses that have escaped into the mountains. The man is described as being "hardy, brown, and lean," and he is portrayed as a symbol of the rugged and independent spirit of the Australian bush.
The man sets out on his quest with a group of other horsemen, but he soon finds himself alone in the mountains. He follows the trail of the wild horses, and he eventually comes upon them in a steep and treacherous valley. The horses are wild and untamed, and they are led by a powerful stallion that is known as "the leader of the pack."
The man from Snowy River is undaunted by the challenge before him, and he sets out to capture the horses. He rides his horse down the steep and rocky slope of the valley, chasing after the wild horses. The man and his horse are both fearless and determined, and they are able to keep up with the wild horses as they race through the mountains.
The poem reaches its climax as the man from Snowy River catches up to the wild horses and manages to capture them. He is hailed as a hero by the other horsemen, and he is praised for his bravery and skill. The man from Snowy River has proven himself to be a true bushman, and he has shown that he is capable of facing any challenge that comes his way.
The Man From Snowy River is a classic poem that celebrates the spirit of adventure and bravery that is so important to the Australian bush. It is a story of a young man who is willing to take on any challenge in order to achieve his goals, and it is a tribute to the rugged and independent spirit of the Australian people.
The poem is also notable for its vivid and evocative descriptions of the Australian landscape. Paterson's use of language is masterful, and he is able to paint a picture of the Snowy River region that is both beautiful and awe-inspiring. The poem is a celebration of the natural beauty of Australia, and it is a reminder of the importance of preserving the country's unique environment.
In addition to its literary merits, The Man From Snowy River has also had a significant impact on Australian culture. The poem has been adapted into a popular film, and it has inspired countless other works of art and literature. It has become a symbol of the Australian bush and the people who live there, and it is a beloved part of the country's national identity.
In conclusion, The Man From Snowy River is a classic Australian poem that celebrates the spirit of adventure and bravery that is so important to the Australian bush. It is a story of a young man who is willing to take on any challenge in order to achieve his goals, and it is a tribute to the rugged and independent spirit of the Australian people. The poem is also notable for its vivid and evocative descriptions of the Australian landscape, and it has had a significant impact on Australian culture. The Man From Snowy River is a true classic, and it will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.
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