It is the plea for immortality beyond the illumined wrack where the sun goes to sea, a life within a liquid and diaphanous sun propped out of sight by waves. We can look at the sun at its going, and thither we are drawn in fantasy, forsaking the eastern dark for some low, nocturnal day lit by occidental beams to which the wandering sun returns for plenitude.
The Greeks, too, created myths from such emotion, but neither the sun nor any other elemental power had the exorbitance in that climate to submerge their poetry with over-compulsive longing. Theirs was the full life, theirs the life-giving poetry for which each element of Nature was loved for its seemingly wayward and informal behests. Man will make of them formal gods, statues for the sea and the rain, and even for the momentary lightning, eyeless statues of human stature. As sculpture are the lands, as sculpture the mountains and their vales, as sculpture the promontories and the tesselated seas.
And when Plato again set his thoughts upon the west, upon Atlantis, he was questioning the whole egocentric position on which Greeks and Romans in particular constructed Mediterranean culture. In the Renaissance, that culture attained its potent affirmation: its final affirmation; for already men were moving further west: soon America, soon Copernicus and his theories by which the astronomical foundation of egocentric feeling was destroyed, leading away from grandiose fantasies based upon the senses, leading on to pure science and the industrial age. Science has tracked the western sun: it is true that it does not set.
But what Atlantis is this that we have found?