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