Last Saturday night, I was sitting in my chair looking for something to watch on TV to help me unwind from a day of laundry and soccer games. I couldn”t find anything that interested me, so I moved on to Netflix to see if there was anything available for instant watching that would suit. I scrolled through a long list of title, nothing sparking until I hitThe Man From Snowy River. Suddenly I couldn”t wait to start it.
I”ve probably seen the movie at least three or four times, but it never loses it”s appeal. Man and horse working as one to overcome odds and win the girl. What could be better? But as I watched the opening credits, I noticed something for the first time. “Based on the poem, The Man From Snowy River.” This movie was based on a poem? I had no idea.
As it turns out, the poem that inspired the movie was written by an Australian bush poet named Banjo Patterson, and it first appeared in print in an Australian news magazine on April 26, 1890. I found a copy and read through it, amazed at how closely the screen writer kept the movie to the original poem. The romance thread was added, and I for one am glad, being a sucker for romance that I am, but I thought you might enjoy reading parts of this poem. It is too long to post in its entirety here, but you can find the full text here.
There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
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 stockhorse 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.
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,
For a long a 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.
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,
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 stringybarks 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 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.
I don”t know about you, but every time I see Jim and his horse go over the edge of that cliff and ride down, I get chills. Have you ever seen The Man From Snowy River or read the poem? The next time you need a movie night, give it a try. Next to Hugh Jackman in Australia, it”s one of the best Aussie westerns out there.