(17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941 / New South Wales)

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 Matilda 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 thorough-bred;
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

User Rating: 3,3 / 5 ( 82 votes ) 7

Comments (7)

A wonderful romantic poem set in the out back in an era in Australia, which has become the land of myth and legend. Hard to come from down under and not know this poem, especially as a song, which invokes many memories. I always found the ending haunting and wondered what the sentence during the time setting of the poem was, for stealing a jumbuck, was the punishment for sheep stealing a long jail sentence by death by hanging. Banjo Paterson is an endearing poet with a wonderful eye for detail and the feel of the time expressed in many of his other popular poems.
I did not know that the song Waltzing Matilda was originally a poem. I cannot help but sing it in my head as I read this...
This used to be a popular song when I was a kid (many, many years ago) . I guess many songs started out as poems (such as A Boy named Sue by Shel Silverstein, later sung by Johnny Cash) .
One of the great poems. Can feel the song and dance in the words.
Very nice poem with good imagery and great cadence, to say the least. This poem has a Dr. Seuss like firmiliarity about it! Great poem indeed! :)
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