Prologue to the Monk's Second Tale
As night drew in, young Geoffrey Chaucer's band
Of pilgrims, sensing darkness was at hand,
Demanded that the next narration told
Should terrify and make the blood run cold.
So at a woodland inn the palmers stopped
And off their carts and weary mounts they hopped.
Then gath'ring in the hostelry they sought
To keep on track their storytelling sport.
They asked for one who'd spread a dose of fear
To frighten them whilst supping wine and beer.
The Monk spoke up to volunteer a tale,
Then putting down a flagon full of ale
Requested that the keeper of the inn
Suppress all boist'rous revelry and din.
"Illuminate this cheerless, brooding room
With candles," added he, "then in the gloom,
Amidst the spooky shadows I shall tell
Of grave events and horrors that befell
The peasants and the gentlefolk who dwelt
Round Nottingham and in the woodland belt
Surrounding that fair town some years ago.
"Yet ere from twixt my lips this tale doth flow
Of Death's reanimations and of days
Spent fighting Satan's devilish malaise,
Allow me to describe the stricken state
Of England when King Richard's sovereign fate
Was hanging in the balance and his lands
Were held, in trust, in crafty Prince John's hands."
The landlord did as bidden to arrange
For candles put in every sconce till strange
And ghostly silhouettes of those arrayed
About the room upon the four walls played.
Then once an air of creepiness was set
The Monk fulfilled his storytelling debt.