Silks and Spices in the Time of Marco Polo

We recently visited Venice, one of the places where Marco Polo is reputed to have been born. At the time, I must have been about 13 and we were learning about the Middle Ages.

The cinnamon, the pepper
The nutmegs and the cloves
The strong spicy ginger
The smell of it he loves
The incense burning
The spinning machine
The Chinese kept the secret well
Before ’twas rarely seen
The silkworm
Her silk cocoon
You hear her lightly tread?
Before ’twas never, never seen
And never ever said!
They spun and wove it lightly
For ladies dresses ’t soon would be
Ladies dresses of the finest degree
The gifts of Mother Nature
The finest gifts betrothed
The ginger, saffron, incense
The poppy, silk and cloves

By Sarah Downing

My name is Sarah. I was born and grew up in England and currently live in Düsseldorf, Germany, with my fiancé Corey and my cuddly cat Biscuit. I work as a translator and writer for my own company Aardwolf Text Services ( and I love vintage clothes and music, as well as singing karaoke.

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