The Heartland Festival, for whom this work was commissioned, had for years been home to a thriving Shakespearean festival. So when they asked Tony Silvestri and me to write an original work for them, we immediately decided that the poem should be a traditional fourteen line sonnet. I told Tony that I would like to send the work with the phrase “long live fair Oriana,” an homage to the Renaissance works written in tribute to the ‘Virgin Queen,’ Elizabeth I. Not only did Tony include the line at then end of his brilliant sonnet, he made the poem an acrostic: the first letter of each line spells out “HAIL FAIR ORIANA.”
Her Sacred Spirit Soars was commissioned by the Heartland Festival, and is dedicated in gratitude to Dr. Robert Demaree. It was first performed on June 8th, 2002, in Platteville, Wisconsin.
Her Sacred Spirit Soars
Her sacred spirit soars o’er gilded spires,
And breathes into creative fires a force;
In well-tuned chants and chords of countless choirs
Lives ever her immortal shadowed source.
From age to age the roll of poets grows;
And yet, a lonely few are laurel-crowned,
In whose sweet words her inspiration shows,
Revealing insights deep and thoughts profound.
O shall Cecelia, or shall Goddess Muse
Reach then to me across eternal skies?
Is heaven’s quick’ning fire but a ruse,
Abiding rather here before mine eyes?
Nearer than I dream’d is She whose fame
All poets sing, whose glory all proclaim:
“LONG LIVE FAIR ORIANA!”
Charles Anthony Silvestri, 1965-present