Stay Lovely viper, hast not on


A Song of the Canibals, out of Montaigns Essays done into English Verse paraphras'd

Primary Texts:

MS's F-H 283, 40*; Folger, 3-4.
Stay lovely Viper, hast not on,
Nor curl in various fold's along,
Till from that figur'd coat of thine,
Which ev'ry motion, makes more fine,
I take, as neer as art can doo,
A draught, of what I wondring view
Which, in a bracelet for my Love,
Shall be, with carefull mixtures wove,
So, may'st thou finde thy beauty's Last,
As thou dost now retard thy hast.

So may'st thou, above all the Snakes
That harbour in the neighbouring brakes,
Be honour'd, and where thou dost pass,
The shades be close, and fresh the grass.

Secondary Ed:

1903 Reynolds reprints Folger text, 120 (with error: she omits first word "Stay").


Montaigne, "Couleuvre, arrest toy; arrest toy . . . ", from Des Cannibals", Essais, 1965 ed. P. Villey, 213.


Rpt of 1903: 1987 Rosenthal, 362 (repeating Reynolds's omission).


Original, playful Donnian 14 line elaboration on a brief flat sentence; the speaker woos the snake to stay still so he can make a bracelet of it for his love; the snake thus will be honored forever.
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated 26 January 2003