The Fly Young Knight is a poem that was written by Frederick L. Whiting in 1927. It was copyrighted and made into 12″ x 22″ posters in 1950. As I understand, the original with mounted wet flies, hangs in the Adirondack League Club clubhouse in New York. According to their website, there is an address in Old Forge, New York, but that is a PO Box and I am uncertain of the actual clubhouse location. This group is open to membership, and is dedicated to “the preservation and conservation of the Adirondack forest and the propagation and proper protection of fish and game in the Adirondack region.”
A copy of The Fly Young Knight also hangs in The Angler’s Club of New York. According to the writer, this whimsical poem was written about the Gray Knight, an old wet fly pattern given a mythical life in verse as the Gray Knight, with this distinction in the second line of the poem: “Emblazoned on his shield he bore a Parmacheene Belle.” Thus the poem continues with more fly patterns named as the tale unfolds.
When Jim Deren, owner of The Angler’s Roost in Manhattan passed away in 1983, Judith Bowman and Hoagy Carmichael, Jr., cleaned out Jim’s shop and his infamous “backroom.” They found a stack of rolled poster copies of The Fly Young Knight, and decided to engage a fly tier from Massachusetts to make ten sets of the flies, then mounted and framed them and sold them at a sale for $250.00. That was in 1985.
I never heard of The Fly Young Knight until last summer when a friend sent me a copy of the poem in the mail as a surprise gift. I recently tied the patterns for a customer in Connecticut, he was going to mount the flies himself. I took photos of the patterns and have copied The Fly Young Knight into a computer file with the intent to post the poem and fly photos inserted among the verses on the blog. Here it is:
The Fly Young Knight
by Frederick L. Whiting
Forth to the fight a good
rode manfully and well.
Emblazoned on his shield he bore a
And from his tried and trusty lance there glittered in the sun
From which you’ll please to understand, don’t fail to get this right,
The flies were on his armor, but there was none on the
No heed he gave to life or limb, nor fear lest he might fall,
He’d often fought in
Two squires attended his needs and with him cast their lot,
The one a
and the other
They polished off their golden spears; they oiled their gear and tackle.
And on their silken bonnets wore a
The banner each one held aloft, renowned in song and story,
Was garnished with a
Two husky heralds named
made all the welkin ring,
And from a wood hard by appears a dashing
With haughty mien he makes salute, his plume waves in the wind,
While he defies the world to match the charm of
What ho! Responds the proud
none ever yet heard tell
Of a maid so fair as can compare with
Quick to the list these champions, their sturdy charges drew,
Each laid his trusty lance in rest and dashed across the flat
When in the eye of
there flew a fierce
This put his optics out of whack, he tumbled in the dirt.
He “bust” the buttons off his pants and split his undershirt.
So when he loudly yelled for help and made a great to do
They brought him a
Their ministrations hurt him so he gave them both a kick,
And for a fee he handed each a
on a stick.
In kicking them he hurt his toe which made him more forlorn
plaster then upon his knightly corn.
was placed in bed attended by his daughters,
And she who bathed his injured eye was called the
This goes to show that knights of old when walloped in the eye
Would belly ache about their pain like any other guy.
The Fly Young Knight, written, 1927, by Frederick L.Whiting. 1950 is the copyright date on the poster.