Shaggy Doggerel by Eric Finney

Sir Fitz, gallant knight,

Rides over the plain

Wearly now, in darkness and rain.

His day has been full

Of incredible deeds;

A hot bath and bed

Are now just what he needs.

He’s not brought his mac,

And water’s got in at the front

And the back.

Lem, his horse, is exhausted –

He’s a great weight is Sir –

And he hardly responds

To the touch of the spur.

But look! Far ahead

There’s the sight of a light –

For Fitz and his gee gee

A right welcome sight.

‘It’s a castle!’ cries Fitz,

‘One last effort, old nag,

Think of warm stables,

And hay in a bag!’

Soon the drawbridge is lowered,

The portcullis grinds up,

And our heroes plod in

For a bite and a sup.

Can you picture their faces,

Can you see their dismay

When they’re told

By the Lord of the place

They can’t stay?

Sir Fitz, it appears,

Who kills rogues by the dozen,

Has knocked off, amongst them,

The Lord’s second cousin.

‘Besides,’ growls the Lord.

If you want further reason,

We’re full up with tourists

This time of season.’

‘We’re both whacked,’ pleads Sir Fitz,

‘And old Lem’s got a cough.’

But the Lord of the castle again says,

‘Push off.’

‘At least,’ says Sir Fitz

With desperate force,

‘Let old Lem stay with you,

And give me a fresh horse.’

‘We’ve no horses to spare:

None to lend, none to flog;

I’ll tell you what, though,

I can find you a dog.’

‘A dog to ride out on!’ snorts Fitz,

‘Funny joke!’

‘Not at all,’ roars the Lord,

Laughter making him choke.

And the servants bring on,

At his word, a huge cur –

A mean-looking creature

with coarse ginger fur,

Cross-eyed and lop-sided,

Face fixed in a leer,

With a stump for a tail

And only one ear.

‘Well, Sir Fitz,’ says the Lord,

‘Doggy’s raring to go;

Saddle up and get mounted.’

Fitz’s answer came slow:

‘What’s a stupid suggestion;

I’m not going – that’s flat.

You can’t send a knight out

On a dog like that.’


by Eric Finney