The Poetry Corner

Tommy Corrigan

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

You talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace, Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase. It's right enough, while horses pull and take their faces strong, To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along; Bur what about the last half-mile, with horses blown and beat, When every jump means means all you know to keep him on his feet. When any slip means sudden death, with wife and child to keep, It needs some nerve to draw the whip and flog him at the leap, But Corrigan would ride them out, by danger undismayed, He never flinched at fence or wall, he never was afraid; With easy seat and nerve of steel, light hand and smiling face, He held the rushing horses back, and made the sluggards race. He gave the shirkers extra heart, he steadied down the rash, He rode great clumsy boring brutes, and chanced a fatal smash; He got the rushing Wymlet home that never jumped at all, But clambered over every fence and clouted every wall. You should have heard the cheers, my boys, that shook the members' stand Whenever Tommy Corrigan weighed out to ride Lone Hand. They were, indeed, a glorious pair, the great upstanding horse, The gamest jockey on his back that ever faced a course. Though weight was big and pace was hot and fences stiff and tall, "You follow Tommy Corrigan" was passed to one and all. And every man on Ballarat raised all he could command To put on Tommy Corrigan when riding old Lone Hand. But now we'll keep his memory green while horsemen come and go; We may not see his like again where silks and satins glow. We'll drink to him in silence, boys, he's followed down the track Where many a good man went before, but never one came back. And, let us hope, in that far land where the shades of brave men reign, The gallant Tommy Corrigan will ride Lone Hand again.