The All Right ’Un [poem by Banjo Paterson]

[Editor: This poem by “Banjo” Paterson was published in The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses, 1895; previously published in The Bulletin, 5 August 1893.]

The All Right ’Un

He came from ‘further out,’
That land of fear and drought
And dust and gravel.
He got a touch of sun,
And rested at the run
Until his cure was done,
And he could travel.

When spring had decked the plain,
He flitted off again
As flit the swallows.
And from that western land,
When many months were spanned,
A letter came to hand,
Which read as follows:

‘Dear sir, I take my pen
‘In hopes that all their men
‘And you are hearty.
‘You think that I’ve forgot
‘Your kindness, Mr. Scott;
‘Oh, no, dear sir, I’m not
‘That sort of party.

‘You sometimes bet, I know.
‘Well, now you’ll have a show
‘The ‘books’ to frighten.
‘Up here at Wingadee
‘Young Billy Fife and me
‘We’re training Strife, and he
‘Is a all right ’un.

‘Just now we’re running byes,
‘But, sir, first time he tries
‘I’ll send you word of.
‘And running ‘on the crook’
‘Their measures we have took;
‘It is the deadest hook
‘You ever heard of.

‘So when we lets him go,
‘Why then I’ll let you know,
‘And you can have a show
‘To put a mite on.
‘Now, sir, my leave I’ll take,
‘Yours truly, William Blake,
‘P.S. — Make no mistake,
He’s a all right ’un.’

* * * *

By next week’s Riverine
I saw my friend had been
A bit too cunning.
I read: ‘The racehorse Strife
And jockey William Fife
‘Disqualified for life —
‘Suspicious running.’

But though they spoilt his game
I reckon all the same
I fairly ought to claim
My friend a white ’un.
For though he wasn’t straight,
His deeds would indicate
His heart at any rate
Was ‘a all right ’un.’

Andrew Barton Paterson. The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1896 [January 1896 reprinting of the October 1895 edition], pages 117-119

Previously published in: The Bulletin, 5 August 1893

Editor’s notes:
books = bookmakers (bookies); professional betting men who accept bets at racetracks

Riverine = presumably a reference to the Riverine Herald (founded 1863)

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