A.E. Housman


Their seed the sowers scatter
     Behind them as they go.
Poor lads, ’tis little matter
      How many sorts they sow,
      For only one will grow.

The charlock on the fallow
      Will take the traveller’s eyes,
And gild the ploughland sallow
      With flowers before it dies,
      But twice ’twill not arise.

The stinging-nettle only
      Will still be found to stand:
The numberless, the lonely,
      The filler of the land,
      The leaf that hurts the hand.

It thrives, come sun, come showers;
      Blow east, blow west, it springs;
It peoples towns, and towers
      About the courts of Kings,
      And touch it and it stings.