1699: a Primer

“First positively identified yellow fever epidemic that ravaged the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The outbreak began in late August 1699 and killed between 160 and 180 city dwellers and another 10 or 11 people who resided in the country. According to a private correspondent, 125 English, 37 French, 16 Indians, and one black died of yellow fever in Charleston (first called Charles Towne) during the late summer and early fall of 1699.”

First printed appearance of these English words : 1699.


ACCOUNTANCY is what is shy away from

ANONYMOUSLY is how it write it.


ATELIER , a haunt for my fellow

BACCHANTS, and pleasure-seeking artisans.


BROCCOLI build up your strength;

BIG TOE is what you kick it with.


CHOPSTICKS require no fork or knife;



BUNNY, you ran in front of my car,

COUP-DE-GRACE for you was quick.


DESPONDENT over yellow fever:

DISPENSARY jammed with victims.


FINNISH isn’t practical in Charleston;

FIRST HAND friendships will further English.


FROLICSOME gamboling frightens the snakes;

GREEN SNAKE won’t bite you.


GUINEA WORMS are drawn out

with the worm wrapped around a matchstick.

HALF LENGTH worm means it’s still in your leg.


HOLY YEAR will begin in 1700.

INSIGNIFICANT? a Jubilee is for those

seeking forgiveness, solidarity, hope, justice,

commitment to serving God and our brothers.


KUMQUATS are for dessert.

LADYBUGS love their aroma.


MARDI GRAS has come to Charleston.

MODERN GREEK, not yet. We still parade in Creole.


MUCH AS I like charcoals,

OIL PAINTING is a better investment.


OLIVE GREEN alligators

OSSIFY very slowly.


PICTURE BOOKS are popular,

PUNSTERS not at all. We are not the French.


PURISTS did not count me among the aristocrats.

“RAPSCALLIONS need not apply.”


RESIGNED at my literary exclusion:

SALONS will chatter about me.


SKINFLINTS are shocked–

STOVEPIPE hats are dear!


“UNLASH me from the mast,” Ulysses cried.

“WUD have the Sirens driven me.”


Like a talk-show writer, I show a flash of brilliance


like our our President, a disturbing lack of coherence.

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