Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
as he weheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
grinning shop assistant said, ‘Excuse me, can you ride?’
here, young man.’ Said Mulga bill, ‘from Walgett to the sea,
Conroy’s Gap to Castlereagh, there’s none can ride like me.
good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
I’m not the one to talk – I hate a man that blows.
riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
what I’ll sit, while hide will hold the girths and straps are tight:
ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.’
Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
perched above the Dead Man’s Creek, beside the mountain road.
turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
ere he’d gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man’s Creek.
shaved a stump by half an inch, It dodged a big white-box:
very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man’s Creek.
Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
said, “I’ve had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five pound bet,
this was the most awful ride that I’ve encountered yet.
give that two-outlaw best; it’s shaken all my nerve
feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
safe at rest in Dead Man’s Creek, we’ll leave it lying still;
horse’s back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.’
A. B. Paterson
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