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'The Ace from Snowy River'
Author: Banjo Paterson, Andrew Barton Paterson
Title: 'The Ace from Snowy River' [also known as] 'The Open Steeplechase' An Early Manuscript Poem by Banjo Paterson later published in The Man from Snowy River and other Verse
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Added under Manuscripts
A single leaf of manuscript poetry containing Banjo Paterson's horse ballad from the 1880s, 'The Open Steeplechase', but here presented under its original title: 'The Ace from Snowy River'. The poem by Australia's unofficial laureate is written on both sides of an unwatermarked sheet of paper (15.5x20.5cm) with one horizontal fold and 'Banjo. Longman [?] - May '92' after the last line of the poem. The writer uses black ink and while a comparison with Paterson's hand reveals similarities we think it unlikely that this is an autograph manuscript but instead an early copy. The title appears in the same form as it was originally published a few months earlier in the Christmas 1891 edition of The Bulletin (Vol 11, No 618 ) but we've not been able to compare the text with this version. However a comparison with the later printed version in Paterson's collection of 1895, The Man from Snowy River and other Verses, reveals around a dozen substantive alterations including 'glinted' for the later 'glistened' at 3/5 and the transposition of two lines in the fourth verse. The inscription at the foot of the poem is puzzling: 'Banjo' and the date of composition are clearly legible, but the second word, perhaps a place name, is less straightforward. The manuscript poem was found loosely inserted in an album of largely English manuscript poems and drawings which was compiled in the nineteenth century.