The scene represents the corner of a valley in the Thebaid. On the right hand of the stage is a cavern. In front of the cavern stands a great crucifix.
On the left [sand dunes].
The sky is blue like the inside of a cup of lapis lazuli. The hills are of red sand. Here and there on the hills there are clumps of thorns.
FIRST MAN: Who is she? She makes me afraid. She has a purple cloak and her hair is like threads of gold. I think she must be the daughter of the Emperor. I have heard the boatmen say that the Emperor has a daughter who wears a cloak of purple.
SECOND MAN: She has birds' wings upon her sandals, and her tunic is of the colour of green corn. It is like corn in spring when she stands still. It is like young corn troubled by the shadows of hawks when she moves. The pearls on her tunic are like many moons.
FIRST MAN: They are like the moons one sees in the water when the wind blows from the hills.
SECOND MAN: I think she is one of the gods. I think she comes from Nubia.
FIRST MAN: I am sure she is the daughter of the Emperor. Her nails are stained with henna. They are like the petals of a rose. She has come here to weep for Adonis.
SECOND MAN: She is one of the gods. I do not know why she has left her temple. The gods should not leave their temples. If she speaks to us let us not answer, and she will pass by.
FIRST MAN: She will not speak to us. She is the daughter of the Emperor.
MYRRHINA: Dwells he not here, the beautiful young hermit, he who will not look on the face of woman?
FIRST MAN: Of a truth it is here the hermit dwells.
MYRRHINA: Why will he not look on the face of woman?
SECOND MAN: We do not know.
MYRRHINA: Why do ye yourselves not look at me?
FIRST MAN: You are covered with bright stones, and you dazzle our eyes.
SECOND MAN: He who looks at the sun becomes blind. You are too bright to look at. It is not wise to look at things that are very bright. Many of the priests in the temples are blind, and have slaves to lead them.
MYRRHINA: Where does he dwell, the beautiful young hermit who will not look on the face of woman? Has he a house of reeds or a house of burnt clay or does he lie on the hillside? Or does he make his bed in the rushes?
FIRST MAN: He dwells in that cavern yonder.
MYRRHINA: What a curious place to dwell in!
FIRST MAN: Of old a centaur lived there. When the hermit came the centaur gave a shrill cry, wept and lamented, and galloped away.
SECOND MAN: No. It was a white unicorn who lived in the cave. When it saw the hermit coming the unicorn knelt down and worshipped him. Many people saw it worshipping him.
FIRST MAN: I have talked with people who saw it.
SECOND MAN: Some say he was a hewer of wood and worked for hire. But that may not be true.
MYRRHINA: What gods then do ye worship? Or do ye worship any gods? There are those who have no gods to worship. The philosophers who wear long beards and brown cloaks have no gods to worship. They wrangle with each other in the porticoes. The [ ] laugh at them.