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Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618). Poems. 1892.


Sir Walter Raleigh to his Son

THREE things there be that prosper all apace,

And flourish while they are asunder far;

But on a day, they meet all in a place,

And when they meet, they one another mar.

And they be these; the Wood, the Weed, the Wag:

The Wood is that that makes the gallows tree;

The Weed is that that strings the hangman’s bag;

The Wag, my pretty knave, betokens thee.

Now mark, dear boy—while these assemble not,

Green springs the tree, hemp grows, the wag is wild;

But when they meet, it makes the timber rot,

It frets the halter, and it chokes the child.