The Olde Days


Now climbing in my time was a far stretch from today

Wooden shoes, chain mail helmets and ropes made of hay

And now that I’m old; my bones to brittle to climb

I can’t help but reminisce of that long ago time.

It was 1231, the year of our lord

When I spied the young bloke who carried a sword

“My lady is locked,” he cried, “in the tower so tall,

“The tower of the Duke; if I climb it I surely will fall.”

“Can you help me,” he asked, in quite a stern tone

“If I don’t get her free I’ll live my life all alone”

And as a lower class page I knew it would not be bright

To refuse the request of such a chivalrous knight.

“Of course, good sir,” I spoke with trembling fear

“Anything to rescue your maiden so dear”

The tower loomed sinister, perhaps five furlongs high

But I started up anyway, towards the dark sky.

My fingers cleared moss from inside the cracks

Any nary halfway up the wall I found it hard to relax

Upon realizing I’d climbed too much to reverse

I found myself cursing in language quite terse.

At last I frictioned to the window above

To rescue the princess in the name of romantic love

And with my first success as an enterprising young chap

I started a business, “Tower Rescues in a Snap.”

Kidnapped women in castles was common in my land

And as demanded exploded, I soon needed a hand

I found an eager pauper from the family of Belay

Who’d been a thief by night and a brewer by day.

“I’ll give you honest work,” I said to the man

“But you must hold my rope and give advice when you can”

And as the Schillings piled higher I bought the latest in gear

Grass rope and leather straps to help stifle my fear

Rescues in the winter were a fair bit more pricey

As many of the towers had walls that were icy

With daggers tied to my boots, I’d climb in the cold

Upwards of six rescues a night; some very bold

On the churches of the city that were too tall for one cord

I swung leads with Belay; the easy parts were ignored

And with our success we grew famous in the state

Sponsored by Earls and York for a good climbing gear rate

I began to see change by the year 1241

When villagers began scaling walls for no other reason than fun!

What had been good work to pay all of my dues

Became so popular it was found in the scrolls of the news.

As time wore on, Belay and I were forgotten

Under a sea of new climbers; all clad in pink cotton

So when you are scared and climbing with a shiny, new cable

Just remember how we did this with nothing to put food on the table.

Roche Castle, County Louth, Ireland.

Roche Castle, County Louth, Ireland.