One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space. Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life. My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be seen many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will. ~Rachel Carson
There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery. ~Joseph Conrad
So dear night the half of life is,
And the fairest half indeed.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence.
~John Milton, Paradise Lostbook V
The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand. ~Frederick L. Knowles
Dawn seemed to follow midnight with indecent haste. ~J.K. Rowling
It was a lovely evening. Night was out hunting on her black steed, and the long cloud mane fluttered on the wind. I stood at my window watching the moon. Is there really a “man in the moon?”… When I was little they told me that the moon was a fruit, and that when it was ripe, it was picked and laid away, amid a vast collection of old full moons, in a great bureau, which stood at the end of the world, where it is nailed up with boards. ~Heinrich Heine, “The Hartz Journey” (1824), Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, 1855TPVgb, Qe2
Stars are the daisies that begem
The blue fields of the sky.
~D.M. MoirDublin University Magazine
How long the night seems to one kept awake by pain. ~Bernard Joseph Saurin, Blanche et Guiscard, translated
For the happiest life, rigorously plan your days, leave your nights open to chance. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966CSN, TPV
You can’t stand up to the night until you understand what’s hiding in its shadows. ~Charles De Lint
What I take from my nights, I add to my days. ~Leon de Rotrou, "Vencelas," translated
The young moon has fed
Her exhausted horn
With the sunset’s fire.
~Percy Bysshe ShelleyHellas – Semi-Chorus II
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night. ~Paul Simon, "A Poem on the Underground Wall"
Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; ’tis almost fairy time.
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
With finger on her solemn lip,
Night hushed the shadowy earth.
Press close, bare-bosomed Night! Press close, magnetic,
Night of south winds! Night of the large, few stars!
Still, nodding Night! Mad, naked, Summer Night!
O wild and wondrous midnight,
There is a might in thee
To make the charmed body
Almost like spirit be,
And give it some faint glimpses
~James Russell Lowell, Midnight
Beware thoughts that come in the night. They aren’t turned properly; they come in askew, free of sense and restriction, deriving from the most remote of sources. ~William Trogdon
How magnificent the city is by the June moonlight! ? after the streets are empty and silent. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate StephensTPVgb, Smith b.1849-d.1877, Stephens b.1853-d.1938; Smith was Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Kansas from 1872-1875
We wake in the night, to stereophonic silence. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960CDN, TPV
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 DoneMCTO, QSO
A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night. ~J.M. Barrie, Little Ministerquoted in Night by Ezra Jack Keats, photographs by Beverly Hall, 1969
We spend our midday sweat, our midnight oil;
We tire the night in thought, the day in toil.
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. ~Vincent Van Gogh
O radiant Dark! O darkly fostered ray!
Thou hast a joy too deep for shallow Day.
~George Eliot, The Spanish Gypsy
In my age, as in my youth, night brings me many a deep remorse. I realize that from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the race – never quite sane in the night. ~Mark Twain
‘Tis midnight now. The bend and broken moon,
Batter’d and black, as from a thousand battles,
Hangs silent on the purple walls of Heaven.
~Joaquin Miller, Ina
Metaphor for the night sky: A trillion asterisks and no explanations. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night." ~Charles M. Schulz
Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o’clock is a scoundrel. ~Samuel Johnson
Most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber!
~Lord Byron, Childe Haroldcanto III, st 93
Is there not
A tongue in every star that talks with man,
And wooes him to be wise? nor wooes in vain;
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
~Anna Letitia Barbauld, A Summer Evening’s Meditation
Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery
A hand omnipotent, in endless space,
From chaos, formed a world and found a place,
Where, through the countless ages, yet unborn,
A star might shine from dusk to rosy morn….
~Author Unknown, "The Fall of Man"
There they stand, the innumerable stars, shining in order like a living hymn, written in light. ~N.P. Willis
Look how the pale queen of the silent night
Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her….
~Charles Best, "A Sonnet of the Moon"
A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders. ~Edward Plunkett
Learn to reverence night and to put away the vulgar fear of it, for, with the banishment of night from the experience of man, there vanishes as well a religious emotion, a poetic mood, which gives depth to the adventure of humanity. ~Henry Beston
By day each soul must walk within its shadow.
Only night can make us whole again…
~Nicholas Gordon, www.poemsforfree.com
Day, like a weary pilgrim, had reached the western gate of heaven, and Evening stooped down to unloose the latchets of his sandal shoon. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperionbk IV, ch V
Moon hangs, almost full
pieces of cloud scatter,
glide in soft, summer breeze.
We lay in our meadow
listening to the sound of night….
~Daniel James Burt, "Meadow Again"
No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky. ~Llewelyn Powys, quoted in Highs by Alex J. Packer