THE ENGLISH COLONY AT JAMESTOWN
‘Twas 1606 and England’s King parceled out
The woods of Virginia in America’s south.
And with charter in hand, the new settlers lay down
A small scatter of homes, by name of Jamestown.
But the life they would find wasn’t ices and cakes,
What with sweltering swamps and malaria outbreaks.
As the lowly mosquito did spread this disease,
With a sting more deadly than any hornet’s or bee’s.
And the settlers themselves didn’t take to their work,
-- Planting crops was no fun, and their chores they did shirk.
With many fishing for gold and refusing to farm,
They hooked little to eat and caught themselves harm.
‘Til one dashing bold soldier, the Captain John Smith,
Took charge of affairs and soon grappled with
The unruly and lazy, not earning their bread,
Demanding work from them all, if they wished to be fed!
Yes, the same daring John Smith told adventurous tales
Of his capture by Indians and his frightening travails.
And how the kind Pocohantas, the Chief’s lovely daughter,
Did save our great hero from a fate of manslaughter.
A fine legend, ‘tis certain, but more fine than fact,
-- Though some credit is due for putting Jamestown on track.
But, alas, they still struggled and did barely survive,
As they starved through the winter and failed to contrive
A peace with the natives, who might kindly have shown
Just how and just where some food could be grown.
Instead, a “starving time” came and we know from their logs
They ate what they could: cats and toadstools, snakes and dogs.
Though concerning one crop, Brits picked up the habit,
-- And it thrived in the soils they now did inhabit.
Tobacco was planted every spot one could find,
As smoking this weed became a favorite pastime.