There is a gentle Nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream,
Sabrina is her name, a Virgin pure,
Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
That had the Scepter from his father Brute.
That guiltless damsel flying the mad pursuit
Of her enraged stepdam Guendolen,
Commenced her fair innocence to the flood
That stay’d her flight with his cross-flowing course,
The water Nymphs that in the bottom plaid,
Held up their pearled wrists and took her in …
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lillies knitting
The loose train of they amber-dropping hair,
Listen for dear honour’s sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
Listen and save …
… Rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head
From thy coral-pav’n bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen and save.
By the rushy-fringed bank
Where grows the Willow and the Osier dank,
My sliding Chariot stayes,
Thick set with Agat, and the azum sheen
Of Turkis blew, and Emrauld green
That in the channell strayes,
Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O’er the Cowslips Velvet head,
That bends not as I tread,
Gentle swain at thy request
I am here.
John Milton, Comus (1637), extracts.
In Milton’s masque, Sabrina is the nymph of the River Severn.