The Poetry Corner

When Dacey Rode The Mule

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

'Twas to a small, up-country town, When we were boys at school, There came a circus with a clown, Likewise a bucking mule. The clown announced a scheme they had Spectators for to bring, They'd give a crown to any lad Who's ride him round the ring. And, Gentle reader, do not scoff Nor think a man a fool, To buck a porous-plaster off Was pastime to that mule. The boys got on he bucked like sin; He threw them in the dirt. What time the clown would raise a grin By asking, "Are you hurt?" But Johnny Dacey came one night, The crack of all the school; Said he, "I'll win the crown all right; Bring in your bucking mule." The elephant went off his trunk, The monkey played the fool, And all the band got blazing drunk When Dacey rode the mule. But soon there rose a galling shout Of laughter, for the clown From somewhere in his pants drew out A little paper crown. He placed the crown on Dacey's head While Dacey looked a fool; "Now there's your crown, my lad," he said, "For riding of the mule!" The band struck up with "Killaloe", And "Rule, Britannia, Rule", And "Young Man from the Country", too, When Dacey rode the mule. Then Dacey, in a furious rage, For vengeance on the show Ascended to the monkeys' cage And let the monkeys go; The blue-tailed ape and the chimpanzee He turned abroad to roam; Good faith! It was a sight to see The people step for home. For big baboons with canine snout Are spiteful, as a rule, The people didn't sit it out, When Dacey rode the mule. And from the beasts he let escape, The bushmen all declare, Were born some creatures partly ape And partly native-bear. They're rather few and far between, The race is nearly spent; But some of them may still be seen In Sydney Parliament. And when those legislators fight, And drink, and act the fool, Just blame it on that torrid night When Dacey rode the mule.