Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
From ‘Comus’
By John Milton (1608–1674)
Song of the Spirits

(See full text.)

          SABRINA fair,
    Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
    In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;        5
    Listen for dear honor’s sake,
    Goddess of the silver lake,
          Listen and save!
Listen, and appear to us,
In name of great Oceanus,        10
By the earth-shaking Neptune’s mace,
And Tethys’s grave majestic pace;
By hoary Nereus’s wrinkled look,
And the Carpathian wizard’s hook;
By scaly Triton’s winding shell,        15
And old soothsaying Glaucus’s spell;
By Leucothea’s lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands;
By Thetis’s tinsel-slippered feet,
And the songs of Sirens sweet;        20
By dead Parthenope’s dear tomb,
And fair Ligea’s golden comb,
Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks
Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
By all the nymphs that nightly dance        25
Upon thy streams with wily glance;
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head
From thy coral-paven bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.        30
        Listen and save!
Sabrina rises, attended by Water-Nymphs, and sings:
      By the rushy-fringèd bank,
Where grow the willow and the osier dank,
        My sliding chariot stays,
Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen        35
      Of turkis blue, and emerald green,
        That in the channel strays:
      Whilst from off the waters fleet
      Thus I set my printless feet
      O’er the cowslip’s velvet head,        40
          That bends not as I tread.
      Gentle swain, at thy request
              I am here!
  Spirits—      Goddess dear,
We implore thy powerful hand        45
To undo the charmèd band
Of true virgin here distressed
Through the force and through the wile
Of unblessed enchanter vile.
  Sabrina—Shepherd, ’tis my office best        50
To help ensnarèd chastity.
Brightest Lady, look on me.
Thus I sprinkle on thy breast
Drops that from my fountain pure
I have kept of precious cure;        55
Thrice upon thy finger’s tip,
Thrice upon thy rubied lip:
Next this marble-venomed seat,
Smeared with gums of glutinous heat,
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold.        60
Now the spell hath lost his hold;
And I must haste ere morning hour
To wait in Amphitrite’s bower.
*        *        *        *        *
  Spirits—Come, Lady, while heaven lends us grace
Let us fly this cursèd place,        65
Lest the sorcerer us entice
With some other new device.
Not a waste or needless sound,
Till we come to holier ground;
I shall be your faithful guide        70
Through this gloomy covert wide,
And not many furlongs thence
Is your Father’s residence.

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