World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hafren

Article Id: WHEBN0006495667
Reproduction Date:

Title: Hafren  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: River Severn, Estrildis, Sabrina, Welsh folklore, Locrinus
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Hafren

Hafren was a legendary British princess who was drowned in the River Severn (Welsh: Hafren; Old Welsh: Habren) by her repudiated stepmother Gwendolen. The legend appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudohistorical chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae. According to Geoffrey, Hafren is the eponym of the Severn, which bears one of Britain's most ancient river names (recorded as early as the 2nd century in the Latinized form Sabrina).[1]

Historia regum Britanniae

In Geoffrey's Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain, c. 1138), Habren was the beautiful daughter of King Locrin of the Britons by his secret lover, a Germanic princess named Estrildis. Her mother had been abducted by the Nordic "Huns" under Chief Humber and brought to Britain during their invasion following King Brutus' death; eventually the Hun invasion was suppressed by Locrin, Brutus' eldest son, who fell in love with Estrildis upon discovering her in one of Humber's ships.

Locrin been forced into a "diplomatic" marriage to Gwendolen, the daughter of King Corineus of Cornwall, but upon the death of Corineus, Locrin divorced her and made Estrildis his queen—thereby legitimizing Habren. Locrin's scorned first wife, the mother of his heir Maddan, raised a Cornish army against him, defeated him in battle, and had his widow and daughter drowned in the River Severn:

For [Gwendolen] commanded Estrildis and her daughter Sabre to be thrown into the river now called the Severn, and published an edict though all Britain, that the river should bear the damsel's name, hoping by this to perpetuate her memory, and by that the infamy of her husband. So that to this day the river is called in the British tongue Sabren, which by the corruption of the name is another language Sabrina. [from Thompson's 1718 translation of the Latin Historia (revised and corrected by Giles, 1842)][2]

In literature

The Welsh tale of Hafren (variously referred to as Averne, Sabre, Sabren, Sabrina, etc.) was adapted by Milton for his masque Comus (1634), in which the following verses are addressed to the water nymph "Sabrina":[Notes 1]

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;
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
Listen and save!

The Romanized form Sabrina was also used by Edmund Spenser in his poem The Faerie Queene (1590).

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ See also Arthur Rackham's 1921 illustrations for Comus, including "Sabrina Rises, attended by water-nymphs"

Citations

  1. ^
  2. ^  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.