Banjo Paterson

(17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941 / New South Wales)

Waltzing Matilda - Poem by Banjo Paterson

OH! there once was a swagman camped in the Billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;
And he sang as he looked at his 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 water-bag—
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee;
And he sang as he put him away in his tucker-bag,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!”

Down came the Squatter a-riding his thorough-bred;
Down came Policemen—one, two, and three.
”Whose is the jumbuck you’ve got in the tucker-bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.”

But the swagman, he up and he jumped in the water-hole,
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree;
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong,
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?”


Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

Form: Ballad


Comments about Waltzing Matilda by Banjo Paterson

  • Gold Star - 13,409 Points Terry Craddock (6/2/2015 11:54:00 PM)

    A wonderful romantic poem set in the out back in an era in Australia, which has become the land of myth and legend. Hard to come from down under and not know this poem, especially as a song, which invokes many memories. I always found the ending haunting and wondered what the sentence during the time setting of the poem was, for stealing a jumbuck, was the punishment for sheep stealing a long jail sentence by death by hanging. Banjo Paterson is an endearing poet with a wonderful eye for detail and the feel of the time expressed in many of his other popular poems. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Veteran Poet - 1,599 Points Kay Staley (6/2/2015 4:44:00 PM)

    I did not know that the song Waltzing Matilda was originally a poem. I cannot help but sing it in my head as I read this... (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 19,508 Points Kim Barney (6/2/2015 10:01:00 AM)

    This used to be a popular song when I was a kid (many, many years ago) . I guess many songs started out as poems (such as A Boy named Sue by Shel Silverstein, later sung by Johnny Cash) . (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 161 Points Castellenas John (6/2/2015 4:34:00 AM)

    One of the great poems. Can feel the song and dance in the words. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 154 Points Michael Gale (6/2/2015 1:14:00 AM)

    Very nice poem with good imagery and great cadence, to say the least. This poem has a Dr. Seuss like firmiliarity about it! Great poem indeed! :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Fouzia Shazad (10/21/2012 12:37:00 AM)

    I liked this poem a lot but didn't understand it properly. Please can anybody explain it? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Emancipation Planz (8/15/2008 9:41:00 PM)

    Cannot believe this has but not a single comment... came here a special... to remember school days, ants, and singing merrily through transitioning of baby teeth to big 'uns... morning assemblies in the sun... drinking from milk bottles at little lunch every day... and today... I sang again.. poetry to please... (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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