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Clancy Of The Overflow



A poem by 'Banjo' Paterson


ANDREW BARTON 'BANJO' PATERSON was born in Narrambla, NSW, on February 17, 1864.  Banjo grew up in the Yass region in southern NSW, but he left the area at age 10 to finish his schooling in Sydney.  In his twenties he found work as a lawyer, then as a journalist. It was around this time he also started publishing poems under the pseudonym 'the Banjo' in the Bulletin and Sydney Mail. His work is often compared to that of Henry Lawson, who wrote about the Australian outback around the same period, but with less romanticism. "One of things that appealed to Paterson's urban readers was the vision of the bush and bushman that he presented. The bush was rough and adventurous, but not as bleak as Lawson's vision," says David. "He presents an image of Australia as pastoral, adventurous...and free of difficult questions about the way this country displaced its indigenous population."



"Clancy Of The Overflow" Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson ALLdownunder.com

Listen to "Clancy of the Overflow"  - performed by Redgum & The Vagabond Crew

- John Schumann.com.au     Play MP3 light version here


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I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just 'on spec', addressed as follows, 'Clancy, of The Overflow'.


And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."


In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving `down the Cooper' where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.


And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond'rous glory of the everlasting stars.


I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all


And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the 'buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.


And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.


And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal --
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of 'The Overflow'.




Image 1 - www.abc.net.au/

Image 2 - http://flickrhivemind.net/

Image 3 - www.theaustralian.com.au/

Image 4 - www.bbc.co.uk/

Image 5 - www.abc.net.au/







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