Last Week by Banjo Paterson

Last Week by Banjo Paterson

The Perils of Procrastination – Analyzing ‘Last Week’ by Banjo Paterson

Banjo Paterson’s humorous ballad ‘Last Week’ pokes fun at a newcomer to the bush who constantly arrives just too late to enjoy its offerings. Through comic irony, Paterson cautions against procrastination and delays.

We follow the hapless new-chum bungling his attempts to experience the Australian wilderness. Whether hunting wildlife, photographing nature or socializing, he always just misses the ideal moment.

The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson - Book Cover

The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses

by Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

Paterson masterfully employs the repetitive phrase “he should have been there last week” to highlight the absurdity and frustration of the new-chum’s unfortunate timing. There is a delightful absurdity in the escalating mishaps, from missing game to drowning risks.

The poem’s sustained ironic tone ridicules the new-chum’s tardiness, building to the amusing anti-climax where the man cannot even host drinks for his guests. Paterson humorously conveys that hesitancy and poor planning reap their own rewards.

However, underlying the comedy is a message about seizing opportunities promptly before they slip away. Paterson suggests we may too often reflect “I should have been there last week” and advises making the most of the present moment.

With entertaining wit, ‘Last Week’ pokes fun at human fallibility while also reminding us of time’s swift passage. Paterson’s comic vignettes issue an amusing but pointed warning against the perils of procrastination.

Last Week

Oh, the new-chum went to the back block run,
But he should have gone there last week.
He tramped ten miles with a loaded gun,
But of turkey or duck he saw never a one,
For he should have been there last week,
They said,
There were flocks of ’em there last week.

He wended his way to a waterfall,
And he should have gone there last week.
He carried a camera, legs and all,
But the day was hot, and the stream was small,
For he should have gone there last week,
They said.
They drowned a man there last week.

He went for a drive, and he made a start,
Which should have been made last week,
For the old horse died of a broken heart;
So he footed it home and he dragged the cart —
But the horse was all right last week,
They said.
He trotted a match last week.

So he asked the bushies who came from far
To visit the town last week,
If they’d dine with him, and they said `Hurrah!’
But there wasn’t a drop in the whisky jar —
You should have been here last week,
He said,
I drank it all up last week!

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