Of all the Knights in Appledore
The wisest was Sir Thomas Tom.
He multiplied as far as four,
And knew what nine was taken from
To make eleven. He could write
A letter to another Knight.
No other Knight in all the land
Could do the things which he could do.
Not only did he understand
The way to polish swords, but knew
What remedy a Knight should seek
Whose armour had begun to squeak.
And, if he didn’t fight too much,
It wasn’t that he didn’t care
For blips and buffetings and such,
But felt that it was hardly fair
To risk, by frequent injuries,
A brain as delicate as his.
His castle (Castle Tom) was set
Conveniently on a hill;
And daily, when it wasn’t wet,
He paced the battlements until
Some smaller Knight who couldn’t swim
Should reach the moat and challenge him.
Or sometimes, feeling full of fight,
He hurried out to scour the plain,
And, seeing some approaching Knight,
He either hurried home again,
Or hid; and, when the foe was past,
Blew a triumphant trumpet-blast.
One day when good Sir Thomas Tom
Was resting in a handy ditch,
The noises he was hiding from,
Though very much the noises which
He’d always hidden from before,
Seemed somehow less....Or was it more?
The trotting horse, the trumpet’s blast,
The whistling sword, the armour’s squeak,
These, and especially the last,
Had clattered by him all the week.
Was this the same, or was it not?
Something was different. But what?
Sir Thomas raised a cautious ear
And listened as Sir Hugh went by,
And suddenly he seemed to hear
(Or not to hear) the reason why
This stranger made a nicer sound
Than other Knights who lived around.
Sir Thomas watched the way he went -
His rage was such he couldn’t speak,
For years they’d called him down in Kent
The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak!
Yet here and now he looked upon
Another Knight whose squeak had gone.
He rushed to where his horse was tied;
He spurred it to a rapid trot.
The only fear he felt inside
About his enemy was not
‘How sharp his sword?’ ‘How stout his heart?’
But ‘Has he got too long a start?’
Sir Hugh was singing, hand on hip,
When something sudden came along,
And caught him a terrific blip
Right in the middle of his song.
‘A thunderstorm!’ he thought. ‘Of course!’
And toppled gently off his horse.
Then said the good Sir Thomas Tom,
Dismounting with a friendly air,
‘Allow me to extract you from
The heavy armour that you wear.
At times like these the bravest Knight
May find his armour much too tight.’
A hundred yards or so beyond
The scene of brave Sir Hugh’s defeat
Sir Thomas found a useful pond,
And, careful not to wet his feet,
He brought the armour to the brink,
And flung it in... and watched it sink.
So ever after, more and more,
The men of Kent would proudly speak
Of Thomas Tom of Appledore,
‘The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak.’
Whilst Hugh, the Knight who gave him best,
Squeaks just as badly as the rest.