The poem Andy’s gone with the cattle was published in 1888 in The Australian Town & Country Journal. The poem is written by the Australian writer Henry Lawson and the poem is followed by a sequel entitled Andy’s return, published in the same Journal as the first poem.
The action described in the poem takes place in Australia in the rural areas and is placed in a time when cattle-droving was a common practice. In the 19th century, many families in rural Australia chose to drove in order to financially sustain their family. While the practice was often profitable, droving featured dangers that were sometimes overlooked or simply ignored.
In his poem, Henry Lawson presents both sides of droving and instead on focusing only on Andy, the main character who leaves his family to go droving, the poem also focuses on the family and how Andy’s departure affected his family.
The poem has eight stanzas each composed by four lines and has a a-b-a-b type of rhyme. Because of the fixed form of the poem, it is easy to read and understand. The poem’s simplicity only emphasizes the main them of the poem, and that is the suffering endured by the population involved in droving.
Andy’s gone with the cattle is only one of the written works by Henry Lawson that focused on the rural life and droving. In many of his works, the writer chose as his subject the Australian bush, the areas outside the urban areas.