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NIGHT
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[ Also see Bed Blindness Darkness Day Evening Light Midnight Nature Oblivion Obscurity Shadows Sky Sleep Stars Sunset Twilight ]

Awful Night! Ancestral mystery of mysteries.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross)

O radiant Dark! O darkly fostered ray!
  Thou hast a joy too deep for shallow Day.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross),
        The Spanish Gypsy (bk. I)

Dark the Night, with breath all flowers,
  And tender broken voice that fills
    With ravishment the listening hours,--
      Whisperings, wooings,
        Liquid ripples, and soft ring-dove cooings
          In low-toned rhythm that love's aching stills!
            Dark the night
              Yet is she bright,
                For in her dark she brings the mystic star,
                  Trembling yet strong, as is the voice of love,
                    From some unknown afar.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross),
        The Spanish Gypsy (bk. I, song)

For there is no day however beautiful that is not followed by night.
  [Fr., Car il n'est si beau jour qui n'amene sa nuit.]
      - Epitaph,
        on the tombstone of Jean d'Orbesan at Padua

As his wife has been given to man as his best half, so night is the half of life, and by far the better part of life.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind,
  And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind:
    There all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
      And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
      - Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village
         (l. 121)

A late lark twitters from the quiet skies:
  And from the west,
    Where the sun, his day's work ended,
      Lingers as in content,
        There falls on the old, gray city
          An influence luminous and serene,
            A shining peace.
      - William Ernest Henley, Margaritoe Sorori

The smoke ascends
  In a rosy-and-golden haze. The spires
    Shine and are changed. In the valley
      Shadows rise. The lark sings on. The sun
        Closing his benediction,
          Sinks, and the darkening air
            Thrills with the sense of the triumphing night,--
              Night with train of stars
                And her great gift of sleep.
      - William Ernest Henley, Margaritoe Sorori

Now deep in ocean sunk the lamp of light,
  And drew behind the cloudy vale of night.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios"), The Iliad
         (bk. VIII, l. 605), (Pope's translation)

At night, to his own dark fancies a prey,
  He lies like a hedgehog rolled up the wrong way,
    Tormenting himself with his prickles.
      - Thomas Hood,
        Miss Kilmansegg and her precious Leg

'Tis the witching hour of night,
  Orbed is the moon and bright,
    And the stars they glisten, glisten,
      Seeming with bright eyes to listen-
        For what listen they?
      - John Keats (1), A Prophecy (l. 1)

How absolute and omnipotent is the silence of night! And yet the stillness seems almost audible! From all the measureless depths of air around us comes a half-sound, a half-whisper, as if we could hear the crumbling and falling away of earth and all created things, in the great miracle of nature, decay and reproduction, ever beginning, never ending,--the gradual lapse and running of the sand in the great hour-glass of Time.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is done, and the darkness
  Falls from the wings of Night,
    As a feather is wafted downward
      From an eagle in his flight.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the trailing garments of the Night
  Sweep through her marble halls.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        Hymn to the Night

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
  What man has born before!
    Thou layest thy fingers on the lips of Care,
      And they complain no more.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        Hymn to the Night

Then stars arise, and the night is holy.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion
         (bk. I, ch. I)

And the night shall be filled with music
  And the cares, that infest the day,
    Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
      And as silently steal away.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        The Day is Done

God makes sech nights, all white an' still
  Fur'z you can look or listen,
    Moonshine an' snow on field an' hill,
      All silence an' all glisten.
      - James Russell Lowell, The Courtin'

Night hath a thousand eyes.
      - John Lyly (Lylie or Lyllie),
        Maydes Metamorphose (act III, sc. 1)

A night of tears! for the gusty rain
  Had ceased, but the eaves were dripping yet;
    And the moon look'd forth, as tho' in pain,
      With her face all white and wet.
      - Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton ("Owen Meredith"),
        The Wanderer (bk. II, The Portrait)

Fair eldest child of love, thou spotless night!
  Empress of silence, and the queen of sleep;
    Who, with thy black check's pure complexion,
      Mak'st lovers' eyes enamour'd of thy beauty.
      - Christopher Marlowe

Quiet night, that brings
  Best to the labourer, is the outlaw's day,
    In which he rises early to do wrong,
      And when his work is ended dares not sleep.
      - Philip Massinger, The Guardian
         (act II, sc. 4)

Now began
  Night with her sullen wing to double-shade
    The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd,
      And now wild beasts came forth, the woods to roam.
      - John Milton

O thievish Night,
  Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end,
    In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars,
      That nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps
        With everlasting oil, to give due light
          To the misled and lonely traveller?
      - John Milton, Comus (l. 195)

. . . And when night
  Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost (bk. I, l. 500)


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