Silverweed is a rabbit that lives in the Warren of Snares. He is said by Cowslip to be "The finest poet the warren had had in months". Silverweed is indeed quite skilled in poetry. Fiver said that "Silverweed had frightened him with his poem, but he was the only rabbit in the Warren of Snares that he could understand".
Silverweed's poem in the book
"The wind is blowing, blowing over the grass.
It shakes the willow catkins; the leaves shine silver.
Where are you going, wind? Far, far away
Over the hills, over the edge of the world.
Take me with you, wind, high over the sky.
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-wind,
Into the sky, the feathery sky and the rabbit.
The stream is running, running over the gravel,
Through the brooklime, the kingcups, the blue and gold of spring.
Where are you going, stream? Far, far away
Beyond the heather, sliding away all night.
Take me with you, stream, away in the starlight.
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-stream,
Down through the water, the green water and the rabbit.
In autumn the leaves come blowing, yellow and brown.
They rustle in the ditches, they tug and hang on the hedge.
Where are you going, leaves? Far, far away
Into the earth we go, with the rain and the berries.
Take me, leaves, O take me on your dark journey.
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-leaves,
In the deep places of the earth, the earth and the rabbit.
Frith lies in the evening sky. The clouds are red about him.
I am here, Lord Frith, I am running through the long grass.
O take me with you, dropping behind the woods,
Far away, to the heart of light, the silence.
For I am ready to give you my breath, my life,
The shining circle of the sun, the sun and the rabbit."
In the animated television series, Silverweed made his debut in the episode The Easy Life, reciting his poem to the rabbits in the Warren of the Snares, frightening Fiver. He is a seer with mental abilities similar to Fiver, in particular possessing the ability to see into another rabbit's mind by touch. Like Fiver, he will speak in a very frightened tone during particularly disturbing visions.
In the third season, Silverweed is traded to Woundwort to help him seek his destiny, but later ends up on Watership Down and becomes a good friend of the rabbits there. He becomes especially close to Hannah the mouse. In the end, he used the magic he took from her to sacrifice most of his youth to save the warren from Woundwort, losing his power to see tomorrow and freeing him from this ability. The aged Silverweed reassured his friends to not sorrow for him and that he is content that his friends are safe and that Watership Down survives.
Silverweed appears in the miniseries where he is voiced by Peter Guinness.
He is still living at the Warren of snares, and is still the poet. However, he looks somewhat different from the other rabbits in the warren. He has the same purplish-red coloration, but with black spots around the body. He is also missing his right eye. His poem still creeps out Fiver, and it causes him to sense the bones in the roof, which in turn causes him to run away. This is the only time he is ever seen.
It is unknown if he has the ability of sixth senses. It seems unlikely he does, though his words were creepy enough to scare Fiver into sensing the death of many rabbits and seeing the true horror of the warren.
Personality and Abilities
When he is first introduced in the TV series, Silverweed is easily judged to be mad. But in the third season, he is again judged for mentality, but when he is rescued he proves to be extremely sweet and carefree and is always smiling and laughing and cares very deeply about everyone. He proves to be rather hesitant on doing the right thing such as when Spartina persuades him into lying to Watership Down.
Little is known about his and Fiver's relationship, but they both have something in common: an ability each. Fiver can see the future while Silverweed, on the other hand, can see somebody's path to tomorrow when he touches someone. Silverweed has more control over his powers compared to Fiver, and he can see other rabbits' hearts without any problems. He even can control others' minds to see from their eyes, though he can also be controlled by Fiver. Silverweed can even steal magic from another creatures that had been given to them as a temporary gift, demonstrated when he uses magic to save Watership Down instead of Hannah. When Silverweed gives away his youth, he loses his abilities, much to his contentment.
- He is absent in the film, and his poem is said partially by Cowslip, instead. It still pushes Fiver over the edge, and causes him to run away, although it doesn't make him see the bones in the roof.