In the painting above, which was exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1855, Jalabert shows Orpheus, the legendary poet of ancient Thrace (Greece), enthralling with his music nymphs reclining on the bank of a stream.
“Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(In Praise of Mortality, translated and edited by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)