ARISTARCHUS

(The Name of the Mountain in the Moon)

It was long and long ago our love began;
   It is something all unmeasured by time's span:
   In an era and a spot, by the Modern World forgot,
We were lovers, ere God named us, Maid and Man.

   Like the memory of music made by streams,
   All the beauty of that other lifetime seems;
But I always thought it so, and at last I know, I know.
   We were lovers in the land of Silver Dreams.

   When the moon was at the full, I found the place;
   Out and out, across the seas of shining space,
On a quest that could not fail, I unfurled my memory's sail
   And cast anchor in the Bay of Love's First Grace.

   At the foot of Aristarchus lies this bay
   (Oh! the wonder of that mountain far away)
And the Land of Silver Dreams all about it shines and gleams,
   Where we loved before God fashioned night or day.

   We were souls, in eerie bodies made of light;
   We were winged, and we could speed from height to height.
And we built a nest called Hope, on the sheer Moon Mountain Slope,
   Where we sat and watched new worlds wheel into sight.

   And we saw this little planet known as Earth,
   When the mighty Mother Chaos gave it birth;
But in Love's conceit we thought all those worlds from space were bought
   For no greater aim or purpose than our mirth.

   And we laughed in love's abandon, and we sang,
   Till the echoing peals of Aristarchus rang,
As hot hissing comets came, and white suns burst into flame,
   And a myriad worlds from out the darkness sprang.

   I can show you, when the moon is at its best,
   Aristarchus, and the spot we made our nest.
Oh! I always wondered why, when the moon was in the sky
   I was stirred with such strange longing and unrest.

   And I knew the subtle beauty and the force
   Of our love was never bounded by Earth's course.
So with Memory's sail unfurled, I went cruising past this world.
   And I followed till I traced it to its source.

World Voices by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York : Hearst's International Library Company 1916.


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