The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Sot-weed Factor: or, A Voyage to
Maryland, by Ebenezer Cook

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Title: The Sot-weed Factor: or, A Voyage to Maryland
       In which is Describ'd The Laws, Government, Courts and
              Constitutions of the Country

Author: Ebenezer Cook

Release Date: May 7, 2007 [EBook #21346]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Bryan Ness and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by the
Library of Congress)

Transcriber's Notes:

  1. The original spellings of words have been retained.
  2. Typos or suspected typos have been noted by [sic.].
  3. The long "s", which appears as an "f" with the right part of the cross missing, has been replaced with "s".
  4. Lines joined with brackets in the original have been indented three additional spaces.
  5. Quote marks at the beginning of successive lines have been changed to the modern convention of one opening double quote and one ending double quote at the end of the quoted text.
  6. Footnotes in the poem appear as lower-case letters in parentheses. They are alphabetical from (a) to (oo) (excluding j, like in the original) and have been grouped at the end of the book.

[Pg i]

S H E A' S


No. II.

[Pg ii]


Sot-weed Factor:

Or, a Voyage to




In which is describ'd

The Laws, Government, Courts and Constitutions of the Country, and also the Buildings, Feasts, Frolicks, Entertainments and Drunken Humours of the Inhabitants of that Part of America.

In Burlesque Verse.

By Eben. Cook, Gent.


Printed and Sold by D. Bragg, at the Raven in Pater-Noster-Row. 1708. (Price 6d.)

iiiaa (9K)

[Pg iii]

iiibb (8K)

e have no means of knowing the history of Master "Ebenezer Cook, Gentleman," who, one hundred and forty-six years ago, produced the Sot-Weed Factor's Voyage to Maryland. He wrote, printed, published, and sold it in London for sixpence sterling, and then disappeared forever. We do not know certainly that Mr. Cook himself was the actual adventurer who suffered the ills described by him "in burlesque verse." Indeed, "Eben: Cook, Gent." may be a myth—a nom de plume. Yet, there is a certain personal poignancy and earnestness about the whole Story that almost forbid the idea of a secondhand narrative. Nay, I think it extremely probable that it was "Eben: Cook, Gent." or, some other equally afflicted gentleman assuming that name, who—

"Condemn'd by Fate to wayward Curse,
Of Friends unkind and empty purse,

fled from his native land to become a Sot-Weed factor in America.[1]

The adventures and manners described are ludicrous and certainly very unpolished. Although Mr. Cook [Pg iv]calls his poem "A Satyr," there is, in his account of early habits in Maryland, so much resemblance to what we observe in the rude society of all new settlements, that it is possible the story is not so much a Satire as a hightened description of what an unlucky traveler found in certain quarters of the colony, Anno Domini, 1700. When "Mr. Cook," with an anathema in his mouth, makes a final bow to his readers, he expressly adds, in a note, on the last page, that "the Author does not intend by this any of the English Gentlemen resident there;" still, excepting even all these select personages, he doubtless found un-gentlefolk enough among the rough farmers and fishermen of obscure "Piscato-way" and the adjacent country, to justify his discontent. At all events, we may, I imagine, very reasonably suppose "Eben: Cook" to have been a London "Gent:" rather decayed by fast living, sent abroad to see the world and be tamed by it, who very soon discovered that Lord Baltimore's Colony was not the court of her Majesty Queen Anne, or its taverns frequented by Addison and the wits; and whose disgust became supreme when he was "finished" on the "Eastern-Shoar,"[2] by

"A pious, Concientious Rogue"

who, taking advantage of his incapacity for trade, cheated him out of his cargo and sent him home [Pg v]without a leaf of the coveted "Sot-weed!" This poem is, very likely, the result of that homeward voyage. With proper allowance for breadth and burlesque, angry exaggeration and the discomforts of such a "Gentleman" as we may fancy Master Cook to have been, it is well worth preservation as hinting, if not photographing, the manners and customs of the ruder classes in a British Province a century and a half ago.

The "Sot-Weed Factor" was first printed in London, in 1708, in a folio of twenty-one pages. It was reprinted, with a poem on Bacon's Rebellion, by Mr. Green, at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1731. Mr. Green cautiously reminds the reader that it was a description written twenty years before, and "did not agree with the condition of Annapolis at the time of its publication!"

The edition, now published, is taken from the London copy of 1708, as "Printed and sold by B. Bragg, at the Raven, in Pater-Noster-row (price 6d.)"

In Stevens's Bibliotheca Americana, 1861, we find the following title: "Sot-Weed Redivivus; or the Planters Looking-Glass. In Burlesque Verse, Calculated for the Meridian of Maryland, by E. C. Gent: Annapolis; William Parks, for the Author. 1730. viii and text 28 pp. 4°." Mr. Stevens describes the book as "alike curious as an early specimen of printing in Maryland, and as an example of American poetry."

"E. C. Gent:" of 1730, at Annapolis, may be the[Pg vi] "Ebenezer Cook, Gent:" of London, 1708,—"redivivus,"—returned to America and turned Author again at Annapolis, under the auspices of our early Colonial printer, William Parks. But we have never seen this rare book, published twenty-two years after the Sot-Weed Factor was first issued in England, and know nothing of its character or authorship.


Baltimore, October 20, 1865.


[1]Sot-Weed, i. e. the sot making or inebriating weed; a name for tobacco, used at that time. A Sot-weed Factor, was a tobacco agent or supercargo.

[2]The "eastern shoar" of the Chesapeake bay: this portion of Maryland is still familiarly called so in that state.

[Pg 1]


Sot-weed Factor;

Or, a Voyage to

Maryland, &c.

Condemn'd by Fate to way-ward Curse,
Of Friends unkind, and empty Purse;
Plagues worse than fill'd Pandora's Box,
I took my leave of Albion's Rocks:
     With heavy Heart, concerned that I
     Was forc'd my Native Soil to fly,
     And the Old World must bid good-buy
But Heav'n ordain'd it should be so,
And to repine is vain we know:
Freighted with Fools from Plymouth sound
To Mary-Land our Ship was bound,
Where we arrived in dreadful Pain,
Shock'd by the Terrours of the Main;
For full three Months, our wavering Boat,
Did thro' the surley Ocean float,
And furious Storms and threat'ning Blasts,
Both tore our Sails and sprung our Masts;
[Pg 2] Wearied, yet pleas'd we did escape
Such Ills, we anchor'd at the (a) Cape;
But weighing soon, we plough'd the Bay,
To (b) Cove it in (c) Piscato-way,
Intending there to open Store,
I put myself and Goods a-shoar:
     Where soon repair'd a numerous Crew,
     In Shirts and Drawers of (d) Scotch-cloth Blue
     With neither Stockings, Hat nor Shooe.
These Sot-weed Planters Crowd the Shoar,
In hue as tawny as a Moor:
Figures so strange, no God design'd,
To be a part of Humane kind:
But wanton Nature, void of Rest,
Moulded the brittle Clay in Jest.
At last a Fancy very odd
Took me, this was the Land of Nod;
Planted at first, when Vagrant Cain,
His Brother had unjustly slain;
Then Conscious of the Crime he'd done
From Vengeance dire, he hither run,
And in a hut supinely dwelt,
The first in Furs and Sot-weed dealt.
And ever since his Time, the Place,
Has harbour'd a detested Race;
Who when they cou'd not live at Home,
For refuge to these Worlds did roam;
[Pg 3] In hopes by Flight they might prevent,
The Devil and his fell intent;
Obtain from Tripple-Tree reprieve,
And Heav'n and Hell alike deceive;
     But e're their Manners I display,
     I think it fit I open lay
     My Entertainment by the way:
That Strangers well may be aware on,
What homely Diet they must fare on.
To touch that Shoar where no good Sense is found,
But Conversation's lost, and Manners drown'd.
     I cros't unto the other side,
     A River whose impetuous Tide,
     The Savage Borders does divide;
In such a shining odd invention,
I scarce can give its due Dimention.
The Indians call this watry Waggon
(e) Canoo, a Vessel none can brag on;
Cut from a Popular-Tree or Pine,
And fashion'd like a Trough for Swine:
In this most noble Fishing-Boat,
I boldly put myself afloat;
Standing erect, with Legs stretch'd wide,
We paddled to the other side:
Where being Landed safe by hap,
As Sol fell into Thetis' Lap.
A ravenous Gang bent on the stroul,
Of (f) Wolves for Prey, began to howl;
[Pg 4] This put me in a pannick Fright,
Least I should be devoured quite;
But as I there a musing stood,
And quite benighted in a Wood,
A Female Voice pierc'd, thro' my Ears,
Crying, You Rogue drive home the Steirs.
     I listen'd to th' attractive sound,
     And straight a Herd of Cattel found
     Drove by a Youth, and homeward bound;
Cheer'd with the fight, I straight thought fit,
To ask where I a Bed might get.
The surley Peasant bid me stay,
And ask'd from whom (g) I'de run away.
Surprized at such a saucy Word,
I instantly lugg'd out my Sword;
     Swearing I was no Fugitive,
     But from Great-Britain did arrive,
     In hopes I better there might Thrive.
To which he mildly made reply,
I beg your Pardon, Sir, that I
Should talk to you Unmannerly;
But if you please to go with me,
To yonder House, you'll welcome be
Encountring soon the smoaky Seat,
The Planter old did thus me greet:
"Whether you come from Goal or Colledge,
You're welcome to my certain Knowledge;
And if you please all Night to stay,
My Son shall put you in the way.
[Pg 5] Which offer I most kindly took,
And for a Seat did round me look;
When presently amongst the rest,
He plac'd his unknown English Guest,
Who found them drinking for a whet,
A Cask of (h) Syder on the Fret,
Till Supper came upon the Table,
On which I fed whilst I was able.
So after hearty Entertainment,
Of Drink and Victuals without Payment;
For Planters Tables, you must know,
Are free for all that come and go.
While (i) Pon and Milk, with (k) Mush well stoar'd,
In Wooden Dishes grac'd the Board;
With (l) Homine and Syder-pap,
(Which scarce a hungry dog wou'd lap)
Well stuff'd with Fat from Bacon fry'd,
Or with Mollossus dulcify'd.
Then out our Landlord pulls a Pouch,
As greasy as the Leather Couch
On which he sat, and straight begun
To load with Weed his Indian Gun;
In length, scarce longer than one's Finger.
[Pg 6] His Pipe smoak'd out with aweful Grace,
With aspect grave and solemn pace;
The reverend Sire walks to a Chest,
Of all his Furniture the best,
Closely confined within a Room,
Which seldom felt the weight of Broom;
From thence he lugs a Cag of Rum,
And nodding to me, thus begun:
I find, says he, you don't much care
For this our Indian Country Fare;
     But let me tell you, Friend of mine,
     You may be glad of it in time,
     Tho' now your Stomach is so fine;
And if within this Land you stay,
You'll find it true what I do say.
This said, the Rundlet up he threw,
And bending backwards strongly drew:
I pluck'd as stoutly for my part,
Altho' it made me sick at Heart,
And got so soon into my Head
I scarce cou'd find my way to Bed;
Where I was instantly convey'd
By one who pass'd for Chamber-Maid,
Tho' by her loose and sluttish Dress,
She rather seemed a Bedlam-Bess:
Curious to know from whence she came,
I prest her to declare her Name.
She Blushing, seem'd to hide her Eyes,
And thus in Civil Terms replies;
In better Times, e'er to this Land,
I was unhappily Trapann'd;
[Pg 7]      Perchance as well I did appear,
     As any Lord or Lady here,
     Not then a Slave for twice two (m) Year.
My Cloaths were fashionably new,
Nor were my Shifts of Linnen Blue;
But things are changed, now at the Hoe,
I daily work, and Bare-foot go,
In weeding Corn or feeding Swine,
I spend my melancholy Time.
Kidnap'd and Fool'd, I hither fled,
To shun a hated Nuptial (n) Bed,
And to my cost already find,
Worse Plagues than those I left behind.
Whate'er the Wanderer did profess,
Good-faith I cou'd not chuse but guess
The Cause which brought her to this place,
Was supping e'er the Priest laid Grace.
Quick as my Thoughts, the Slave was fled,
(Her Candle left to shew my Bed)
Which made of Feathers soft and good,
Close in the (o) Chimney-corner stood;
I threw me down expecting Rest,
To be in golden Slumbers blest:
But soon a noise disturb'd my quiet,
And plagu'd me with nocturnal Riot;
[Pg 8] A Puss which in the ashes lay,
With grunting Pig began a Fray;
And prudent Dog, that feuds might cease,
Most strongly bark'd to keep the Peace.
This Quarrel scarcely was decided,
By stick that ready lay provided;
But Reynard, arch and cunning Loon,
Broke into my Appartment soon:
In hot pursuit of Ducks and Geese,
With fell intent the same to seize:
Their Cackling Plaints with strange surprize,
Chac'd Sleep's thick Vapours from my Eyes;
Raging I jump'd upon the Floar,
And like a Drunken Saylor Swore;
With Sword I fiercely laid about,
And soon dispers'd the Feather'd Rout
The Poultry out of Window flew,
And Reynard cautiously withdrew:
The Dogs who this Encounter heard,
Fiercely themselves to aid me rear'd,
And to the Place of Combat run,
Exactly as the Field was won.
Fretting and hot as roasting Capon,
And greasy as a Flitch of Bacon;
I to the Orchard did repair,
To Breathe the cool and open Air;
Expecting there the rising Day,
Extended on a Bank I lay;
     But Fortune here, that fancy Whore,
     Disturb'd me worse and plagu'd me more,
     Than she had done the night before:
[Pg 9]      Hoarse croaking (p) Frogs did 'bout me ring,
     Such Peals the Dead to Life wou'd bring,
     A Noise might move their Wooden King.
I stuffed my Ears with Cotten white,
For fear of being deaf out-right,
And curst the melancholy Night;
But soon my Vows I did recant,
And Hearing as a Blessing grant;
When a confounded Rattle-Snake,
With hissing made my Heart to ake:
Not knowing how to fly the Foe,
Or whither in the Dark to go;
By strange good Luck, I took a Tree,
Prepar'd by Fate to set me free;
     Where riding on a Limb a stride,
     Night and the Branches did me hide,
     And I the Devil and Snake defy'd.
Not yet from Plagues exempted quite,
The curst Muskitoes did me bite;
Till rising Morn' and blushing Day,
Drove both my Fears and Ills away;
And from Night's Errors set me free.
Discharg'd from hospitable Tree;
     I did to Planter's Booth repair,
     And there at Breakfast nobly Fare
     On rashier broil'd of infant Bear:
I thought the Cub delicious Meat,
Which ne'er did ought but Chesnuts eat;
[Pg 10] Nor was young Orsin's flesh the worse,
Because he sucked a Pagan Nurse.
Our Breakfast done, my Landlord stout,
Handed a Glass of Rum about;
Pleas'd with the Treatment I did find,
I took my leave of Oast so kind;
Who to oblige me, did provide,
His eldest son to be my Guide,
     And lent me Horses of his own,
     A skittish Colt, and aged Rhoan,
     The four-leg'd prop of his Wife Joan:
Steering our Barks in Trot or Pace,
We sail'd directly for a place
In Mary-Land, of high renown,
Known by the Name of Battle-Town.
     To view the Crowds did there resort,
     Which Justice made, and Law their sport,
     In that sagacious County Court:
Scarce had we enter'd on the way,
Which thro' thick Woods and Marshes lay;
But Indians strange did soon appear,
In hot persuit of wounded Deer;
No mortal Creature can express,
His wild fantastick Air and Dress;
     His painted Skin in Colours dy'd,
     His sable hair in Satchel ty'd,
     Shew'd Savages not free from Pride;
     His tawny Thighs, and Bosom bare,
     Disdain'd a useless Coat to wear,
     Scorn'd Summer's Heat, and Winter's Air;
His manly shoulders such as please
Widows and Wives, were bathed in grease,
[Pg 11] Of Cub and Bear, whose supple Oil
Prepar'd his Limbs 'gainst Heat or Toil.
Thus naked Pict in Battel fought,
Or undisguis'd his Mistress sought;
And knowing well his Ware was good,
Refus'd to screen it with a Hood;
     His visage dun, and chin that ne'er
     Did Raizor feel or Scissers bare,
     Or knew the Ornament of Hair,
Look'd sternly Grim, surprized with Fear,
I spur'd my Horse as he drew near:
But Rhoan who better knew than I,
The little Cause I had to fly;
Seem'd by his solemn steps and pace,
Resolv'd I shou'd the Specter face,
Nor faster mov'd, tho' spur'd and lick'd,
Than Balaam's Ass by Prophet kick'd.
Kekicknitop (q) the Heathen cry'd;
How is it, Tom, my Friend reply'd,
Judging from thence the Brute was civil,
I boldly fac'd the Courteous Devil;
And lugging out a Dram of Rum,
I gave his Tawny worship some:
     Who in his language as I guess,
     (My Guide informing me no less,)
     Implored the (r) Devil, me to bless.
[Pg 12] I thank'd him for his good Intent,
And forwards on my Journey went,
Discoursing as along I rode,
Whether this Race was framed by God,
Or whether some Malignant pow'r,
Contriv'd them in an evil hour,
And from his own Infernal Look,
Their Dusky form and Image took:
From hence we fell to Argument
Whence Peopled was this Continent.
My Friend suppos'd Tartarians wild,
Or Chinese from their Home exiled,
     Wandering thro' Mountains hid with Snow
     And Rills did in the Vallies flow
     Far to the South of Mexico:
Broke thro' the Barrs which Nature cast
And wide unbeaten Regions past,
Till near those Streams the humane deludge roll'd,
Which sparkling shin'd with glittering Sands of Gold
And fetch'd (s) Pizarro from the (t) Iberian Shoar,
To rob the Natives of their fatal Stoar.
I smil'd to hear my young Logician
Thus reason like a Politician;
[Pg 13] Who ne're by Father's Pains and Earning
Had got at Mother Cambridge Learning;
Where Lubber youth just free from birch
Most stoutly drink to prop the Church;
Nor with (u) Grey Groat had taken Pains
To purge his Head and Cleanse his Reines:
And in obedience to the Colledge,
Had pleas'd himself with carnal knowledge:
And tho' I lik'd the youngster's Wit,
I judg'd the Truth he had not hit;
And could not chuse but smile to think
What they could do for Meat and Drink,
Who o'er so many Desarts ran
With Brats and Wives in Caravan;
Unless perchance they'd got the Trick,
To eat no more than Porker sick;
Or could with well contented Maws
Quarter like (v) Bears upon their Paws.
Thinking his Reasons to confute,
I gravely thus commenc'd Dispute,
And urged that tho' a Chinese Host,
Might penetrate this Indian Coast,
Yet this was certainly most true,
They never cou'd the Isles subdue;
For knowing not to steer a Boat,
They could not on the Ocean float,
[Pg 14] Or plant their Sunburnt Colonies,
In Regions parted by the Seas;
I thence inferr'd (w) Phœnicians old,
Discover'd first with Vessels bold
These Western Shoars, and planted here,
Returning once or twice a Year,
With Naval Stoars and Lasses kind,
To comfort those were left behind;
Till by the Winds and Tempest toar,
From their intended Golden Shoar,
They suffer'd Ship-wreck, or were drown'd,
And lost the World so newly found.
But after long and learn'd Contention,
We could not finish our dissention;
And when that both had talk'd their fill,
We had the self same Notion still.
Thus Parson grave well read and Sage,
Does in dispute with Priest engage;
The one protests they are not Wise,
Who judge by (x) Sense and trust their Eyes;
And vows he'd burn for it at Stake,
That Man may God his Maker make;
The other smiles at his Religion,
And vows he's but a learned Widgeon:
     And when they have empty'd all their Stoar
     From Books or Fathers, are not more
     Convinc'd or wiser than before.

[Pg 15]

Scarce had we finish'd serious Story,
But I espy'd the Town before me,
And roaring Planters on the ground,
Drinking of Healths in Circle round:
Dismounting Steed with friendly Guide,
Our Horses to a Tree we ty'd,
And forwards pass'd among the Rout,
To chuse convenient Quarters out:
But being none were to be found,
We sat like others on the ground
Carousing Punch in open Air,
Till Cryer did the Court declare;
The planting Rabble being met
Their Drunken Worships likewise set;
Cryer proclaims that Noise shou'd cease
And streight the Lawyers broke the Peace:
Wrangling for Plantiff and Defendant,
I thought they ne'er wou'd make an end on't:
With nonsense, stuff and false quotations,
With brazen Lyes and Allegations;
And in the splitting of the Cause,
They used much Motions with their Paws,
As shew'd their Zeal was strongly bent,
In Blows to end the Argument.
A reverend Judge, who to the shame
Of all the Bench, cou'd write his (y) his Name;
At Petty-fogger took offence,
And wonder'd at his Impudence.
[Pg 16] My Neighbour Dash with scorn replies,
And in the Face of Justice flies;
The Bench in fury streight divide,
And Scribble's take or Judge's side;
The Jury, Lawyers and their Clyents,
Contending fight like earth-born Gyants;
But Sheriff wily lay perdue,
Hoping Indictments wou'd ensue,
And when———————————
A Hat or Wig fell in the way,
He seized them for the Queen as stray:
The Court adjourn'd in usual manner
In Battle Blood and fractious Clamour;
I thought it proper to provide,
A Lodging for myself and Guide,
So to our Inn we march'd away,
Which at a little distance lay;
Where all things were in such Confusion,
I thought the World at its conclusion;
A Herd of Planters on the ground,
O'er-whelm'd with Punch, dead drunk, we found;
Others were fighting and contending,
Some burnt their Cloaths to save the mending.
A few whose Heads by frequent use,
Could better bare the potent Juice,
Gravely debated State Affairs.
Whilst I most nimbly trip'd up Stairs;
Leaving my Friend discoursing oddly,
And mixing things Prophane and Godly;
Just then beginning to be Drunk,
As from the Company I slunk,
[Pg 17] To every Room and Nook I crept,
In hopes I might have somewhere slept;
But all the bedding was possest
By one or other drunken Guest:
But after looking long about,
I found an antient Corn-loft out,
Glad that I might in quiet sleep,
And there my bones unfractur'd keep.
I lay'd me down secure from Fray,
And soundly snoar'd till break of Day;
When waking fresh I sat upright,
And found my Shooes were vanish'd quite;
Hat, Wig, and Stockings, all were fled
From this extended Indian Bed;
Vext at the Loss of Goods and Chattel,
I swore I'd give the Rascal battel,
Who had abus'd me in this fort,
And Merchant Stranger made his Sport.
I furiously descended Ladder;
No Hare in March was ever madder;
In vain I search'd for my Apparel,
And did with Oast and Servants Quarrel;
For one whose Mind did much aspire
To (z) Mischief, threw them in the Fire:
     Equipt with neither Hat nor Shooe,
     I did my coming hither rue,
     And doubtful thought what I should do:
Then looking round, I saw my Friend
Lie naked on a Table's end;
[Pg 18] A sight so dismal to behold,
One wou'd have judg'd him dead and cold,
When wringing of his bloody Nose,
By fighting got we may suppose;
I found him not so fast asleep,
Might give his friends a cause to weep:
Rise (aa) Oronooko, rise said I,
And from this Hell and Bedlam fly.
My Guide starts up, and in amaze,
With blood-shot Eyes did round him gaze;
At length with many a sigh and groan,
He went in search of aged Rhoan;
But Rhoan, tho' seldom us'd to faulter,
Had fairly this time slipt his Halter;
And not content all Night to stay
Ty'd up from Fodder, ran away:
After my Guide to ketch him ran,
And so I lost both Horse and Man:
Which Disappointment tho' so great,
Did only Mirth and Jests create:
Till one more Civil than the rest,
In Conversation for the best,
Observing that for want of Rhoan,
I should be left to walk alone;
Most readily did me intreat,
To take a Bottle at his Seat;
A Favour at that time so great,
I blest my kind propitious Fate;
And finding soon a fresh supply,
Of Cloaths from Stoar-house kept hard by,
[Pg 19] I mounted streight on such a Steed,
Did rather curb, than whipping need;
     And straining at the usual rate,
     With spur of Punch which lay in Pate,
     E'er long we lighted at the Gate:
Where in an antient Cedar House,
Dwelt my new Friend a (bb) Cockerouse;
Whose Fabrick tho' 'twas built of Wood,
Had many Springs and Winters stood;
When sturdy Oaks, and lofty Pines
Were level'd with (cc) Musmillion Vines,
And Plants eradicated were,
By Hurricanes into the air;
There with good Punch and Apple Juice,
We spent our Hours without abuse;
Till Midnight in her sable Vest,
Persuaded Gods and Men to rest;
And with a pleasing kind surprize,
Indulg'd soft Slumbers to my Eyes.
Fierce (dd) Ęthon courser of the Sun,
Had half his Race exactly run;
     And breath'd on me a fiery Ray,
     Darting hot Beams the following Day,
     When snug in Blanket white I lay:
But Heat and (ee) Chinces rais'd the Sinner,
Most opportunely to his Dinner;
     Wild Fowl and Fish delicious Meats,
     As good as Neptune's doxy eats,
     Began our Hospitable Treat;
[Pg 20] Fat Venson follow'd in the Rear,
And Turkies wild (ff) Luxurious Chear:
But what the Feast did most commend,
Was hearty welcom from my Friend.
Thus having made a noble Feast,
And eat as well as pamper'd Priest,
Madera strong in flowing Bowls,
Fill'd with extream delight our Souls;
Till wearied with a purple Flood,
Of generous Wine (the Giant's blood,
As Poets feign) away I made,
For some refreshing verdant Shade;
Where musing on my Rambles strange,
And Fortune which so oft did change;
In midst of various Contemplations
Of Fancies odd, and Meditations,
I slumbered long————————
Till hazy Night with noxious Dews
Did sleep's unwholsom Fetters lose;
With Vapors chil'd, and misty air,
To fire-side I did repair;
Near which a jolly Female Crew,
Were deep engag'd at Lanctre-Looe;
In Night-rails white, with dirty Mein,
Such Sights are scarce in England seen:
I thought them first some Witches bent,
On Black Designs in dire Convent.
Till one who with affected air,
Had nicely learn'd to Curse and Swear;
[Pg 21] Cry'd Dealing's lost is but a Flam,
And vow'd by G——d she'd keep her Pam.
When dealing through the board had run,
They ask'd me kindly to make one;
Not staying often to be bid,
I sat me down as others did;
We scarce had play'd a Round about,
But that these Indian Froes fell out.
D——m you, says one, tho' now so brave,
I knew you late a Four-Years Slave;
What if for Planter's Wife you go,
Nature designed you for the Hoe.
Rot you replies the other streight,
The Captain kiss'd you for his Freight;
And if the Truth was known aright,
And how you walk'd the Streets by night
You'd blush (if one cou'd blush) for shame,
Who from Bridewell or New gate came:
From Words they fairly fell to Blows,
And being loath to interpose,
Or meddle in the Wars of Punk,
Away to Bed in hast I slunk.
Waking next day, with aking Head,
And Thirst, that made me quit my Bed;
I rigg'd myself, and soon got up,
To cool my Liver with a Cup
Of (gg) Succahana fresh and clear,
Not half so good as English Beer;
Which ready stood in Kitchin Pail,
And was in fact but Adam's Ale;
[Pg 22] For Planter's Cellars you must know,
Seldom with good October flow,
But Perry Quince and Apple Juice,
Spout from the Tap like any Sluce;
Untill the Cask's grown low and stale,
They're forc'd again to (hh) Goud and Pail:
The soathing drought scarce down my Throat,
Enough to put a ship afloat,
With Cockerouse as I was sitting,
I felt a Feaver Intermitting;
A fiery Pulse beat in my Veins,
From Cold I felt resembling Pains:
This cursed seasoning I remember,
Lasted from March to cold December;
Nor would it then its Quarters shift
Until by Cardus turn'd adrift,
And had my Doctress wanted skill,
Or Kitchin Physick at her will,
My Father's Son had lost his Lands,
And never seen the Goodwin Sands:
But thanks to Fortune and a Nurse
Whose Care depended on my Purse,
I saw myself in good Condition,
Without the help of a Physitian:
At length the shivering ill relieved,
Which long my Head and Heart had grieved;
I then began to think with Care,
How I might sell my British Ware,
That with my Freight I might comply,
Did on my Charter party lie;
[Pg 23] To this intent, with Guide before,
I tript it to the Eastern Shoar;
While riding near a Sandy Bay,
I met a Quaker, Yea and Nay;
A Pious Consientious Rogue,
As e'er woar Bonnet or a Brogue,
Who neither Swore nor kept his Word
But cheated in the Fear of God;
And when his Debts he would not pay,
By Light within he ran away.
With this sly Zealot soon I struck
A Bargain for my English Truck
Agreeing for ten thousand weight,
Of Sot-weed good and fit for freight,
Broad Oronooko bright and sound,
The growth and product of his ground;
In Cask that should contain compleat,
Five hundred of Tobacco neat.
The Contract thus betwixt us made,
Not well acquainted with the Trade,
My Goods I trusted to the Cheat,
Whose crop was then aboard the Fleet;
And going to receive my own,
I found the Bird was newly flown:
Cursing this execrable Slave,
This damn'd pretended Godly Knave;
On dire Revenge and Justice bent,
I instantly to Counsel went,
Unto an ambodexter (ii) Quack,
Who learnedly had got the Knack
[Pg 24] Of giving Glisters, making Pills,
Of filling Bonds, and forging Wills;
And with a stock of Impudence,
Supply'd his want of Wit and Sense;
With Looks demure, amazing People,
No wiser than a Daw in Steeple;
My Anger flushing in my Face,
I stated the preceeding Case:
And of my Money was so lavish,
That he'd have poyson'd half the Parish,
And hang'd his Father on a Tree
For such another tempting Fee;
Smiling, said he, the Cause is clear,
I'll manage him you need not fear;
     The Case is judg'd, good Sir, but look
     In Galen, No—in my Lord Cook,
     I vow to God I was mistook:
I'll take out a Provincial Writ,
And trounce him for his Knavish Wit;
Upon my Life we'll win the Cause,
With all the ease I cure the (kk) Yaws;
Resolv'd to plague the holy Brother,
I set one Rogue to catch another;
To try the cause then fully bent,
Up to (ll) Annapolis I went,
A City Situate on a Plain,
Where scarce a House will keep out Rain;
The Buildings framed with Cyprus rare,
Resembles much our Southwark Fair:
[Pg 25] But Stranger here will scarcely meet
With Market-place, Exchange, or Street;
And if the Truth I may report,
'Tis not so large as Tottenham Court.
     St Mary's once was in repute,
     Now here the Judges try the Suit
     And Lawyers twice a year dispute.
     As oft the Bench most gravely meet,
     Some to get Drunk, and some to eat
     A swinging share of Country Treat.
But as for Justice right or wrong,
Not one amongst the numerous throng,
Knows what they mean, or has the Heart,
To give his Verdict on a Stranger's part:
Now Court being call'd by beat of Drum,
The Judges left their Punch and Rum,
When Pettifogger Docter draws,
His Paper forth, and opens Cause;
And least I shou'd the better get,
Brib'd Quack supprest his knavish Wit.
So Maid upon the Downy Field
Pretends a Force, and Fights to yield:
The Byast Court without delay,
Adjudg'd my Debt in Country Pay;
In (mm) Pipe staves, Corn or Flesh of Boar,
Rare Cargo for the English Shoar;
Raging with Grief, full speed I ran
To joyn the Fleet at (nn) Kicketan;
[Pg 26] Embarqu'd and waiting for a Wind
I left this dreadful Curse behind.

May Canniballs transported o'er the Sea
Prey on these Slaves, as they have done on me;
May never Merchant's trading Sails explore
This Cruel, this inhospitable Shoar;
But left abandon'd by the World to starve,
May they sustain the Fate they well deserve;
May they turn Savage, or as Indians Wild,
From Trade, Converse and Happiness exil'd;
Recreant to Heaven, may they adore the Sun,
And into Pagan Superstitions run
For Vengence ripe————————
May Wrath Divine then lay those Regions wast
Where no Man's (oo) Faithful, nor a Woman Chast.


(a) By the Cape is meant the Capes of Virginea[sic.], the first Land on the Coast of Virginia and Mary-Land.

(b) To Cove is to lie at Anchor safe in Harbour.

(c) The Bay of Piscato-way, the usual place where our Ships come to an Anchor in Mary-Land.

(d) The Planters generally wear Blue Linnen.

(e) A Canoo is an Indian Boat, cut out of the body of a Popular-Tree [sic., Poplar-Tree].

(f) Wolves are very numerous in Mary-Land.

(g) 'Tis supposed by the Planters that all unknown Persons run away from some Master.

(h) Syder-pap is a sort of Food made of Syder and small Homine, like our Oatmeal.

(i) Pon is Bread made of Indian-Corn.

(k) Mush is a sort of hasty-pudding made with water and Indian Flower.

(l) Homine is a dish that is made of boiled Indian Wheat, eaten with Molossus, or Bacon-Fat.

(m) 'Tis the Custom for Servants to be obliged for four Years to very servile work; after which time they have their Freedom.

(n) These are the general Excuses made by English Women, which are sold, or sell themselves to Mary-Land.

(o) Beds stand in the Chimney-corner in this Country.

(p) Frogs are called Virginia Bells and make (both in that country and Mary-Land) during the Night, a very hoarse ungrateful Noise.

(q) Kekicknitop is an Indian Expression, and signifies no more than this, How do you do?

(r) These Indians worship the Devil, and pray to him as we do to God Almighty. 'Tis suppos'd, that America was peopled from Scythia or Tartaria, which Borders on China, by reason the Tartarians and Americans, very much agree in their Manners, Arms and Government. Other persons are of Opinion, that the Chinese first peopled the West-Indies; imagining China and the Southern part of America to be contiguous. Others believe that the Phœnicians who were very skilful Mariners, first planted a Colony in the Isles of America, and supply'd the Persons left to inhabit there with Women and all other Necessaries; till either the Death or Shipwreck of the first Discoverers, or some other Misfortune, occasioned the loss of the Discovery, which had been purchased by the Peril of the first Adventurers.

(s) Pizarro was the Person that conquer'd Peru; a Man of a most bloody Disposition, base, treacherous, covetous and revengeful.

(t) Spanish Shoar.

(u) There is a very bad Custom in some Colledges, of giving the Students A Groat ad purgandas Rhenes, which is usually employ'd to the use of the Donor.

(v) Bears are said to live by sucking of their Paws, according to the Notion of some Learned Authors.

(w) The Phœnicians were the best and boldest Saylors of Antiquity, and indeed the only Persons, in former Ages, who durst venture themselves on the Main Sea.

(x) The Priests argue, That our Senses in point of Transubstantiation ought not to be believed, for tho' the Consecrated Bread has all the accidents of Bread, yet they affirm, 'tis the Body of Christ, and not of Bread but Flesh and Bones.

(y) In the County-Court of Mary-Land, very few of the Justices of the Peace can write or read.

(z) 'Tis the Custom of the Planters to throw their own, or any other Person's Hat, Wig, Shooes or Stockings in the Fire.

(aa) Planters are usually call'd by the Name of Oronooko, from their Planting Oronooko-Tobacco.

(bb) Cockerouse, is a Man of Quality.

(cc) Musmilleon Vines are what we call Musk milleon Plants.

(dd) Ęthon is one of the Poetical Horses of the Sun.

(ee) Chinces are a sort of Vermin like our Bugs in England.

(ff) Wild Turkies are very good Meat, and prodigiously large in Mary-Land.

(gg) Succahana is Water.

(hh) A Goud grows upon an Indian Vine, resembling a Bottle, when ripe it is hollow; this the Planters make use of to drink water out of.

(ii) This Fellow was an Apothecary, and turned an Attorney at Law.

(kk) The Yaws is the Pox.

(ll) The chief of Mary-Land containing about twenty-four Houses.

(mm) There is a Law in this Country, the Plaintiff may pay his Debt in Country pay, which consists in the produce of his Plantation.

(nn) The home ward bound fleet meets here.

(oo) The Author does not intend by this any of the English Gentlemen resident there.


[Pg 27]


Cockerouse: a man of Quality.
Chinces: chinches,—bed-bugs.
Froes: women;   frau (German)
                vrouw (Dutch).
Hoe (at the): working in the field.
Lanctre-Looe: the game at cards of loo.
Night-rails: night cloathes.
Oast: host.
Oronooko: tobacco, also a nick-name, in those days, for a planter.
Pam:       in loo the knave or clubs generally, and sometimes
      the knave of trumps, is agreed on as the
      highest card, and called Pam.
Sot-weed: tobacco.
Sot-weed Factor: tobacco-agent or supercargo.
Succahana: water.
Tripple-Tree: gallows.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Sot-weed Factor: or, A Voyage to
Maryland, by Ebenezer Cook


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