The Sot-Weed Factor
Reserved for Guest Editor
In the last years of the seventeenth century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who, like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and sting-taut with similes stretched to the snapping point.
However, either his warning got about or else his complaint that Maryland's air––in any case, Dorchester's––ill supports the delicate muse was accurate, for to the best of the Author's knowledge her marshes have spawned no other poet since Ebenezer Cooke, Gentleman, Poet Laureate of the Province.
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