When Dacey Rode the Mule

When Dacey Rode the Mule  (1893) 
by Banjo Paterson

'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.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)