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My Namesake

Severn, the RiverSabrinaJohn Milton (1608–1674) From “Comus, a Mask
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 sceptre from his father Brute.        5She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuitOf her enragéd step-dame Guendolen,Commended her fair innocence to the flood,That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course.The water-nymphs, that in the bottom played,        10Held up their pearléd wrists and took her in,Bearing her straight to aged Nereus’ hall;Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,And gave her to his daughters to imbatheIn nectared lavers, strewed with asphodel:        15And through the porch and inlet of each senseDropped in ambrosial oils, till she revived,And underwent a quick immortal change,Made goddess of the river: still she retainsHer maiden gentleness, and oft at eve        20Visits the herds along the twilight m…