Ariko weeps as her boat drifts in the moonlight

Ariko weeps as her boat drifts in the moonlight  .jpg

In the Noh play Ariko no Naishi, the Heian court lady-in-waiting Ariko is despondent over an unrequited love. As she prepares to jump from the boat and drown herself, she recites the following verse:

“How hopeless it is – it would be better for me to sink beneath the waves – perhaps then I could see my man from Moon Capital.”

The Moon Capital seems to have been imagined poetically either as the moon itself, or as a moon-illumined mountain where the courtiers were “dwellers above the clouds”. (printed September 1886)

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