January 15, 2015

The Merchant’s Prologue to the Wife of Lynn's Tale

Read the full Prologue here 


Brunham is mediaeval ‘Trade’ but aspirational– a powerful agent of the landed class of kings and courtiers.

Ocean Eyes plays.

Scene 1. In St Margaret’s.

Brunham: Allow me to introduce myself. John Brunham of Bishop’s Lynn, deal-broker. Navigating treaties, steering rivals, roping in partners. Exporting and importing whatever the Warehouse of the Wash needs. Five times Mayor, twice MP, alderman, coroner, justice of the peace, chamberlain, royal agent, merchant-statesman, benefactor-

Enter Geoffrey Chaucer, flustered, late.

Chaucer: Sorry.

Brunham: Pray do not be. Take a pew. (as Chaucer sits) First time in Lynn?

Chaucer: (from audience) Second. I was born here. My wine merchant father paid nativity dues to a Lynn church. London has no birth evidence at all.

Brunham: (recognising this) Ah Master Chaucer! The Father of English Poetry. And a true son of Lynn. I hear you’re up here researching a Merchant’s Tale?

Chaucer: A Reeve."Of Northfolk was this reeve of which I telle/Byside a toun men callen Baldeswelle".

Brunham: A Magistrate’s tale? What for? (sings back) ‘Of Northfolk was this merchant whom you should sing/ In a port that men call Bishop’s Lynn.’ – Are you familiar with the work of Anonymous?

Chaucer: Didn’t he write The Castle of Perseverance?

Brunham: He did indeed. A Norfolk scribe like yourself. Let me give the gist of his World. It’s the Merchant’s life to a T.

David Frost - a Merchant for all periods?

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