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A Rose And A Nettle

WHAT atime herbs and weeds, and such things could talk,
A man in his garden one day did walk,
Spying a nettle green (as th’emeraude) spread
In a bed of roses like the ruby red.
Between which two colours he thought, by his eye,
The green nettle did the red rose beautify.
“Howbeit,” he ask’d the nettle, “what thing
Made him so pert? so nigh the rose to spring?”
“I grow here with these roses,” said the nettle,
“Their mild properties in me to settle;
And you, in laying unto me your nose,
Shall smell how a nettle may change to a rose.”
He did so; which done, his nostrils so pritcht
That rashly he rubbed where it no whit itched;
To which smart mock and wily beguiling,
He, the same smelling, said smoothly smiling–
“Roses convert nettles: Nay, they be too fell;
Nettles will pervert roses rather, I smell.”


A Rose And A Nettle - JOHN HEYWOOD