Waltzing Matilda 

Waltzing Matilda
by Banjo Patterson
1895

Oh, there once was a swagman camped in the billabongs
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree;
And he sang as he looked at the 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 waterbag
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?


Once There was a Swagman

Up came the jumbuck to drink at the waterhole;
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee!
And he sang as he put him away in the tuckerbag
You'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 waterbag
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Up came the squatter a-riding his thoroughbred;
Up came policemen one! two! three!
Whose is the jumbuck you've got in the tuckerbag?
You'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 waterbag
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Up sprang the swagman and jumped in the waterhole;
Drowning himself by the Coolibah tree.
And his voice can be heard as it sings in the billabongs
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Swagman - a drifter, often a shearer who carried all his belongings wrapped in a blanket-- This was his 'swag.'
Billabong - a waterhole near a river
Coolibah - a eucalyptus tree
Billy - a pail or a tin can with a wire handle used to boil water
Jumbuck - a sheep
Tucker Bag - a bag for keeping food
Squatter - a landowner
Trooper - mounted policeman

In those days, in Australia, stealing a sheep was like cattle rustling in the American West.
It was a 'hanging offense.'
To escape that unhappy fate would explain why our swagman chose to drown in the billabong.

Midi: Waltzing Matilda





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