To a Fair lady Amongst Flowers



To a Fair Lady, Playing With a Snake

Strange! that such horror and such grace
Should dwell together in one place;
A fury’s arm, an angel’s face!

’Tis innocence and youth which makes
In Chloris’ fancy such mistakes
To start at love, and play with snakes.

By this and by her coldness barr’d,
Her servants have a task too hard:
The tyrant has a double guard!

Thrice happy snake! that in her sleeve
May boldly creep; we dare not give
Our thoughts so unconfin’d a leave.

Contented in that nest of snow
He lies, as he his bliss did know
And ’to the wood no more would go.

Take heed, fair Eve! you do not make
Another tempter of the Snake:
A marble one so warm’d would speak.

Edmund Waller, 1606-1687

Digital image created using source image of  Ophelia ( 1889 oil painting by John William Waterhouse  ).

6 thoughts on “To a Fair lady Amongst Flowers

    1. elmediat

      Thanks for putting me in August company – he did prepare the way for the emergence of the heroic couplet in the Augustan Age . 🙂 😀

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