Waltzing Matilda
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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Once a jolly swagman sat beside the billabong,
Under the shade of a coulibah tree,
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong,
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.

Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me,
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong,
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.

Down came a jumbuck to drink beside the billabong
Up jumped the swagman and seized him with glee
And he sang as he tucked jumbuck in his tuckerbag,
'You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.

[Chorus:]

Down came the stockman, riding on his thoroughbred,
Down came the troopers, one, two, three.
Where's the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tuckerbag?
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me'.

[Chorus:]

Up jumped the swagman and plunged into the billabong,
You'll never catch me alive, cried he!
And his ghost may be heard as you ride beside the billabong,
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.





[Chorus:]

Overall Meaning

The song "Waltzing Matilda" by Jimmie Rodgers is one of Australia's most iconic and beloved songs. The lyrics tell the story of a swagman, or a traveling worker, who is resting beside a billabong, or a small body of water. As he waits, he sings a song inviting a passerby to join him in walking ("waltzing") with him. Suddenly, a jumbuck, or a male sheep, comes to drink from the billabong and the swagman captures it to eat. When confronted by the authorities, the swagman jumps into the water and drowns himself, saying "you'll never catch me alive." His ghost is said to haunt the billabong, singing the same refrain and inviting others to come with him on his journey.


The song has become a symbol of Australian culture and the identity of the "bush" or the Australian outback. It is often performed at sporting events and other patriotic occasions. The lyrics are rich with Australian slang, such as "jumbuck," "swagman," and "billabong," which add to the song's folkloric quality. The story of the swagman's rebellion against authority also resonates with many Australians, who view their country's early history as a struggle for freedom and independence.


Line by Line Meaning

Once a jolly swagman sat beside the billabong,
There was a happy wanderer who rested beside the small lake.


Under the shade of a coulibah tree,
He relaxed below the cover of a eucalyptus tree.


And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong,
The traveler sang while he rested next to the peaceful water.


You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.
He invited someone to dance with him to a song called Matilda.


Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
This is the chorus of the song, repeating the invitation to dance.


Down came a jumbuck to drink beside the billabong
A sheep approached the water to drink.


Up jumped the swagman and seized him with glee
The traveler happily caught the sheep.


And he sang as he tucked jumbuck in his tuckerbag,
He placed the sheep in his bag and continued to sing.


You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.
He repeated his invitation to dance while carrying the sheep in his bag.


Down came the stockman, riding on his thoroughbred,
A cowboy on his horse came along.


Down came the troopers, one, two, three.
Police officers arrived in a group of three.


Where's the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tuckerbag?
They asked the traveler where the sheep in his bag went.


You'll come a waltzing matilda with me'.
They gave the same invitation to dance to the traveler.


Up jumped the swagman and plunged into the billabong,
The traveler quickly jumped into the water.


You'll never catch me alive, cried he!
He shouted that he would never let them catch him alive.


And his ghost may be heard as you ride beside the billabong,
It is said that his ghost can still be heard by the water.


You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.
The song ends with a repeat of the invitation to dance.




Contributed by Callie C. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

TheOlhaeuaqui

Great man!Great voice!A voice sweeter than wine!

Mila Courson

Jimmy Rogers,why is your voice so soothing to my ears that I can sleep with it like my lullabye

minabalay47

One of my favorites Jimmy's songs. Been waiting for someone to post this song. Thanks futykoolz for sharing.

Shirley Borces

Jimmie Rodgers is one of my favorite singers too!

Oscar Fernandez

Musta mam shirley? Hope you are enjoying life. All the best!

Ruth Cooper

My husband is singing along. One of our favorite singers. There were so many wonderful songs when we were youngsters.

kathy fowler

the best version I have ever heard

Dan Neumann

Have you heard the pogues version of this song?

M Long

Ok, I love the Seeker's version at that Soccer match(they are Australian!), and I've of course heard Rolf's (funniest!) and Slim's, but I 'knew' there was another that was also very uplifting - even knowing the story, probably the one I 'grew up' with, and now listening to this, this is it. Thanks for putting it up and bringing back memories

lalo50pe

Have listened to this version dozen times but still come for more

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