The tiniest weed that blooms in fallow ground
Arms all its children for the battle-field.
Its myriad warriors weapon'd cap-a-pie
Swarm forth upon the land. The bursting pods
Their elfin shrapnel scatter far and wide.
Aerial scouts on downy pinions flit,
And awns prick lancet-wise, and clutching burs
Grapple the fleeces of the wandering sheep,
Invade the farm-lands and possess the soil.
The curse of Eden falling on the flowers
Drove them to self-defense and made the world
One vast weed-garden. Yea, more dreadful still,
Buried within the heart of many a plant
Lie deadly drops of poisonous essences,
Nightshade and spearwort, aconite and poppy,
That slay more swift and sure than tempered steel.
The least of little folk, or soon or late,
May by such hidden terrors rule the great.
The least of little folk, unseen, unknown,
May find that saving strength is theirs alone.