"Portrait of an Old Woman," Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt photo.
“Portrait of an Old Woman,” Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt.

Part 2: Iolanthe and Berylia

Restless nights, visions of ancient sylvan
deities, morning light I took to mountain
Paths, guidance of mystic crone, mad some
Said, potion making in stone hovel. Gifts of
Fruit and honeyed bread, for recognition
I awaited, lest I break her trance, sage mind
Dwelled not of this world. Hands touching,
Mine, she cried aloud, “Clay-molded child,
Image of divine, light tree-mingling, remnant
Of creation you have perceived.”

“Stirred I was by their light, Crazed One,
Their holy name revealed, Ancient Sylvae.”
“Child, approach them not, for within their
Light, creation bursts forth like rain-swollen
Streams, swept away you’ll be.” Sight soaring
To earth-rounded spheres, she blurted, “Take
Me to this place, as legend tells of  life new-
Budding.” Thus, Berylia, or so she was called,
To cedar-clad hills we strove.

Chorus:
O! What fates await shepherdess Iolanthe,
Frenzied crone, Berylia? Approaching Ancient
Sylvae, secluded in exultant solitude, by their
Thoughts earth took shape, great wind of life-
Motion, storms dwell within, raising tall oaks,
Causing them to fall. Light’s plurality, Sylvae
Appear as one, benevolence in song. To worship
At their stony crags or rambling steams is most
Sacred of rustic rituals preserved.

"Voices of Evening," Gustave Moreau, 1885, WikiArt.
“Voices of Evening,” Gustave Moreau, 1885, WikiArt.

Two together, Berylia and I watched over
Grazing flocks, music of moving bells, dog
Ekho at my side, sunlit clouds, shadow-
Swept flowered meadows, we dared not gaze
At wind-waving cedar stands. Our hearts
Thunderstruck, illumination descended on
Fiery wings, alighting at sacred grove, from
Granite fissure water spouted forth, Sylvan
Words mind-spoken, “Come drink from us.”

“I’m under great thirst and perishing, but give quickly
cold water from Memory’s lake. And they will give you
to drink from the divine fountain and, then you will 
reside with other heroes.”
“From Man, You Became God,” Oprhica. 

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