In how few words, for instance, the Greeks would have told the story of Abelard and Heloise, making but a sentence of our classical dictionary.... We moderns, on the other hand, collect only the raw materials of biography and history, "memoirs to serve for a history," which is but materials to serve for a mythology.
Henry David Thoreau
We have scholars galore, and kings and emperors, and statesmen and military leaders, and artists in profusion, and inventors, discoverers, explorers - but where are the great lovers? After a moment's reflection one is back to Abelard and Heloise, or Anthony and Cleopatra, or the story of the Taj Mahal. So much of it is fictive, expanded and glorified by the poverty-stricken lovers whose prayers are answered only by myth and legend.