This is the third in a series of poems about East Anglia, which we are publishing to mark National Poetry Day. The region has inspired many poets, especially in Norfolk and Suffolk. So each day for a week we are publishing one poem, covering between them all the centuries since the 16th, and all the counties of the region.
Colchester was famous for its oysters which were believed to have strong aphrodisiac powers. In the past much of the production has been exported to Europe, but that has been severely affected by Brexit.
Charming oysters I cry: My masters, come buy, So plump and so fresh, So sweet is their flesh, No Colchester oyster Is sweeter and moister: Your stomach they settle, And rouse up your mettle: They'll make you a dad Of a lass or a lad; And madam your wife They'll please to the life; Be she barren, be she old, Be she slut, or be she scold, Eat my oysters, and lie near her, She'll be fruitful, never fear her.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)