The Way of Love
(An Old Legend)
When darkness hovers over earth
   And day gives place to night,
Then lovers see the Milky Way
   Gleam mystically bright,
And calling it the Way of Love
   They hail it with delight.
She was a lady wondrous fair,
   A right brave lover he,
And sooth they suffered grievous pain
   And sorrowed mightily,
For they were parted during life
   By leagues of land and sea.
She died. Then Death came to the man.
   He met him joyfully,
And said, “Thou Angel Death, well metl
   Quick, do thy will with me,
That I may haste to greet my love
   In Heaven’s company.”
Now on one side of Heaven he dwelt
   And on the other, she;
And broad between them stretched sheer space
   Whereon no way might be,
The empty, yawning, awful depth,
   Unplumbed infinity.
The deathless spheric melody
   Came gently to his ear,
And dulcet notes, the harmonies
   Of Seraphs chanting near.
He heeded not for listening
   His lady’s voice to hear.
The Saints and Martyrs round him ranged
   A goodly company,
The Virgin, robed in radiance,
   The Holy Trinity.
He heeded not, but strained his eyes
   His lady’s face to see.
At last from far across the void
   Her voice came, faint and sweet.
The bright-hued walls of Paradise
   Did the glad sound repeat;
The distant stars on which she stood
   Shone bright beneath her feet.
“Dear Love,” she said, “Oh, come to me I
   I cannot see your face.
O will not Lord Christ grant to us
   To cross this sea of space?”
Then thrilled his heart with Love’s own might.
   He answered, by Love’s grace.
“The world is wide, and Heaven is wide,
   From me to thee is far,
Alas! across Infinity
   No passageways there are.
Sweetheart, I’ll make my way to thee,
   I’ll build it, star by star!”
Through all the curving vault of sky
   His lusty blows rang out.
He smote the jewel-studded walls
   And with a mighty shout
He tore the gleaming masonry
   And posts that stood about.
He strove to build a massive bridge
   That should the chasm span.
With heart upheld by hope and love
   His great task he began,
And toiled and laboured doughtily
   To work his God-like plan.
He took the heavy beams of gold
   That round him he did see;
The beryl, jacinth, sardius,
   That shone so brilhantly,
And no fair jewel would he spare
   So zealously worked he.
He stole the gorgeous tinted stuffs
   Whereof are sunsets made,
And his rude, grasping, eager hands
   On little stars he laid;
To rob God’s sacred treasure-house
   He was no whit afraid.
And so for centuries he worked.
   Across the void at last
A bridge of precious mold did stand
   Completed, strong and fast.
So now the faithful lovers met
   And all their woe was past.
But soon a shining angel guard
   Sped to the throne of gold
And said, “Lord, see yon new-made bridge,
   A mortal, overbold,
Has built it, scorning thy desire!”
   Straightway the tale he told.
Then said: “Now, Master, Thou mayst see
   The thing that has been wrought.
Speak, then, the word, stretch forth Thine hand
   That with the speed of thought
This poor presumptuous work may fall
   And crumble into naught.”
God looked upon the angel then
   And on the bridge below.
Then with His smile of majesty
   He said: “Let all things know,
This bridge, which has by Love been built,
   I will not overthrow.”
When darkness hovers over earth
   And day gives place to night,
Then lovers see the Milky Way
   Gleam mystically bright,
And calling it the Way of Love,
   They hail it with delight.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created April 5, 2001; not revised.