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Quotations about Night & Evening
[T]he longest day at last bends down to evening... ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister's Travels: or, The Renunciants, 1821, translated from the German by Thomas Carlyle, 1824
A little pause in life, while daylight lingers
Between the sunset and the pale moonrise,
When daily labor slips from weary fingers,
And soft grey shadows veil the aching eyes.
~Sarah Doudney, "Between the Lights," c.1875
The light is out—I am now seated at my window, gazing upon the city. There is such a calm in the heavens and upon the earth, I almost fear the world will never wake again.... What an impressive sight! a slumbering city. The beating of its mighty heart has ceased. Filled as it is with the power of man, it is now as helpless as an infant on its mother's breast. ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840
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
To me at least was never evening yet
But seemed far beautifuller than its day.
~Robert Browning, The Ring and the Book
For the happiest life, rigorously plan your days, leave your nights open to chance. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
[A]nother clock flings its heavy clang over the slumbering town, with so full and distinct a sound.... You count the strokes — one — two, and there they cease....
If you could choose an hour of wakefulness out of the whole night, it would be this. Since your sober bedtime, at eleven, you have had rest enough to take off the pressure of yesterday's fatigue; while before you, till the sun comes... to brighten your window, there is almost the space of a summer night; one hour to be spent in thought, with the mind's eye half shut, and two in pleasant dreams, and two in that strangest of enjoyments, the forgetfulness alike of joy and woe.... Yesterday has already vanished among the shadows of the past; to‑morrow has not yet emerged from the future. You have found an intermediate space, where the business of life does not intrude; where the passing moment lingers, and becomes truly the present; a spot where Father Time, when he thinks nobody is watching him, sits down by the way side to take breath. Oh, that he would fall asleep, and let mortals live on without growing older!
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Haunted Mind," 1835
The day has eyes; the night has ears. ~David Fergusson
No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky. ~Llewelyn Powys, quoted in Highs by Alex J. Packer
Night is a dead monotonous period under a roof; but in the open world it passes lightly, with its stars and dews and perfumes, and the hours are marked by changes in the face of Nature. What seems a kind of temporal death to people choked between walls and curtains, is only a light and living slumber to the man who sleeps afield. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
So dear night the half of life is,
And the fairest half indeed.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Night's black Mantle covers all alike. ~Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas
The objects which in day familiar seem
Like spectral shadows stand before us now,
More large and gaunt the moonlit forests gleam,
More steep and distant hangs the mountain's brow.
~Fanny Charlotte Wyndham Montgomery (1820–1893), "Moonlight," 1846
One of the reasons I like the very late night and very early morning hours is that they are quieter. The sounds of civilization dwindle to an almost inaudible hum.... This is the best time for writing or thinking. Even when I have been awake for most of the day and should, by all normal measures, be physically and mentally exhausted, my brain seems energized by the relative quiet.
It is, in fact, something of a mystery to me that I can think at all straight in noisy places. Perhaps my belief that I do is an illusion; I may be thinking straight only in comparison to everyone else who is trying to think in the midst of distracting din. Perhaps, too, the world is as crazy as it is – and becoming crazier – because we are attempting to use our brains in a noisy world that is becoming noisier. It is something to ponder, in the relative quiet of the hours between midnight and first light. ~Richard E. Turner (1937–2011), The Grammar Curmudgeon, a.k.a. "The Mudge," "In Search of Quiet," June 2005
How magnificent the city is by the June moonlight! — after the streets are empty and silent. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens
The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose... ~Percy Bysshe Shelley
Some praise the Lord for Light,
The living spark;
I thank God for the Night
The healing dark.
~Robert William Service, "Weary"
Dawn seemed to follow midnight with indecent haste. ~J.K. Rowling
While midnight oil was consumed, the lamp of life was being exhausted when it should have been being replenished.... To retire at 9 o'clock—once the old-fashioned hour for grown folks—is now too early for children, even. Society calls us away from home just when we most need its quiet. We dress for parties just when we should "wrap the drapery of our couch about us and lie down to pleasant dreams." If our friends are worthy of our attention, let us give them our best thoughts, our sane moments—not the products of a brain exhausted by the labors of the day and then exhilarated by the dissipation of the night....
"Late sitting up has turned her roses white;
Why went she not to bed?—because 'twas night."
~Rachel Brooks Gleason, M.D. (1820—1905), "Sleep," Elmira Water Cure, November 1867
Look how the pale queen of the silent night
Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her....
~Charles Best, "A Sonnet of the Moon"
The stars are the street lights of eternity. ~Author Unknown
A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders. ~Edward Plunkett
How like a queen comes forth the lonely Moon
From the slow opening curtains of the clouds
Walking in beauty to her midnight throne!
~George Croly, Diana
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night. ~Paul Simon, "A Poem on the Underground Wall"
Fooey! The porchlight is burnt out, and I can't see whether it's dark outside or not. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), tweet, 2008 December 20th
Out of the wood of thoughts that grows by night
To be cut down by the sharp axe of light,—
~Edward Thomas (1878-1917), "Cock-crow"
[T]ake a sitting-bath of one minute's duration... in the night after the first sleep, such a simple application will likewise have a wholesome effect. If you are very poor and have no bathing-tub, I advise you to walk with bare feet in the evening, say from 5 to 15 minutes, on a cold floor or wet stones. You will thus draw much fatigue out of the body; the blood will be conducted from the head and upper part of the body into the feet; the head will be relieved and your whole temper will become more cheerful. ~Sebastian Kneipp, Thus Shalt Thou Live: Hints and Advice for the Healthy and the Sick on a Simple and Rational Mode of Life and a Natural Method of Cure, 1889, translated from the 19th German edition
How long the night seems to one kept awake by pain. ~Bernard-Joseph Saurin, Blanche et Guiscard, translated from French
The night is forever. I can't sleep.
The clear moon is so bright, so bright.
I almost think I hear a voice call me,
and to the empty sky say, Yes?
~Zi Ye, translated
Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o'clock is a scoundrel. ~Samuel Johnson
There is something in the nature of silence which affects me deeply. Why it is I know not; but I do know that I love to be alone at such an hour as this. I love to forget the outward world and hold communion with the beings of the mind. ~Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840
Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night. ~Philip K. Dick
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"
It is one of life's bitterest truths that bedtime so often arrives just when things are really getting interesting. ~Lemony Snicket
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. ~Vincent Van Gogh
Day hath put on his jacket, and around
His burning bosom buttoned it with stars.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., "Evening"
'Tis evening, and the round red sun sinks slowly in the west,
The flowers fold their petals up, the birds fly to their nest,
The crickets chirrup in the grass, the bats flit to and fro...
~G.T. Lanigan, "Millionaire and Barefoot Boy," c.1883
You can't stand up to the night until you understand what's hiding in its shadows. ~Charles De Lint
[I]t seemed as if the streets were absorbed by the sky, and the night were all in the air. ~Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
...So let us welcome peaceful evening in. ~William Cowper
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"
In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing. It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time. ~Somerset Maugham
Stars are the daisies that begem
The blue fields of the sky.
I seldom went to bed before two or three o'clock in the morning, on the theory that if anything of interest were to happen to a young man it would almost certainly happen late at night. ~E.B. White (1899–1985)
A violet dusk slowly deepens, while bits of Tomorrow start sticking to the last pieces of Today. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2015 tweet, professorsunwolf.com
The night was clear and frosty, all ebony of shadow and silver of snowy slope; big stars were shining over the silent fields; here and there the dark pointed firs stood up with snow powdering their branches and the wind whistling through them. ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Every sleepy boy and girl in every bed around the world can hear the stars up in the sky whispering a lullaby. ~Mary Chapin Carpenter
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!
In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
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
I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley
...I thought I would step out into the cool night-air.... It was a glorious night. The moon had sunk and left the quiet earth alone with the stars.... They awe us, these strange stars, so cold, so clear.... [I]t seems so full of comfort and of strength, the night. In its great presence, our small sorrows creep away, ashamed. The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand upon our fevered head, and turns our little tear-stained faces up to hers, and smiles; and, though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889
Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889
For the night shows stars and women in a better light. ~Lord Byron, Don Juan
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
Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark tonight turning to partly light in the morning. ~George Carlin
We spend our midday sweat, our midnight oil;
We tire the night in thought, the day in toil.
Give me my Romeo; and, when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
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
Cherries of the night are riper
Than the cherries pluckt at noon...
In the cherry pluckt at night,
With the dew of summer swelling,
There's a juice of pure delight,
Cool, dark, sweet, divinely smelling...
I rise and turn back.... leaving the rest of the world to coyotes who are now running across the mountain together, howling and yipping behind me, calling for the frozen night to come. ~Craig Childs, The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild
There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ~George Carlin, Brain Droppings, 1997
A wolf howls his soul into the misty night. The moon answers with glowing silence. ~Terri Guillemets
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, 1855
And from my heart poured out the feeling of love;—it poured forth with wild longing into the broad night. The flowers in the garden beneath my window breathed a stronger perfume. Perfumes are the feelings of flowers, and as the human heart feels most powerful emotions in the night, when it believes itself to be alone and unperceived, so also do the flowers, soft-minded, yet ashamed, appear to await for concealing darkness, that they may give themselves wholly up to their feelings, and breathe them out in sweet odours. ~Heinrich Heine, "The Hartz Journey" (1824), Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, 1855
Sometimes on lonely nights the man in the moon is my best friend. ~Terri Guillemets
By day each soul must walk within its shadow.
Only night can make us whole again...
~Nicholas Gordon, www.poemsforfree.com
At nightfall, colors disappear. Moon's paintbrush has only a palette of shadows: creamy gray, inky black, illusive indigo. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2013 tweet, professorsunwolf.com
How lovely are the portals of the night,
When stars come out to watch the daylight die.
~Thomas Cole, Twilight
There is one ghastly hour, between the midnight and the dawn, an hour through which I have passed again and again, when the veils of seeming and circumstance are stripped away from the soul, and one sees oneself as one is, and not as one appears to the outer world. It is after a first sleep, I think, that these wakeful moments of an over-stimulated consciousness are most overwhelming. On laying our heads upon the pillow at the beginning of night, we are still possessed by images of the cheerful day: soothed by not unflattering intercourse with friends, our souls narcotised, so to speak, by the influences of music, art and literature—"drawing the curtain of our fancy close between us and the coldness of the world." But that first short sleep puts a blank between us and the day. We start straight out of nothingness, and face ourselves. And then we see ourselves indeed. We remember the inexpressible meannesses of which we have been guilty, the base, ignoble deeds, the failures of our will, the weaknesses of our heart, the cowardice, the bitter, ingrained badness of our whole nature, and bad as we are, we stand appalled at the revelation. The anger of God and the contempt of man lie upon us with a weight heavier than we can bear. It seems as if our hearts lay open, naked and ashamed, to the eye of the whole human race. At such moments—not unknown I think, to most of us—we surely suffer something of what is meant by the pains of hell. ~Adeline Sergeant, The Story of a Penitent Soul: Being the Private Papers of Mr. Stephen Dart, Late Minister at Lynnbridge in the County of Lincoln, 1892
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
[O]ne moon lights a thousand forevers... ~Meng Chiao
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 woke in the night. ~J.M. Barrie, The Little Minister, 1891
Above the tower — a lone, twice-sized moon.
On the cold river passing night-filled homes,
It scatters restless gold across waves...
Empty peaks, silence: among sparse stars,
Not yet flawed, it drifts. Pine and cinnamon
Spreading in my old garden.... All light,
All ten thousand miles at once in its light!
~Tu Fu, "Full Moon," translated by David Hinton
[T]he sun moves far too slowly, I would fain lash on his steeds that they might advance more rapidly.—But when he sinks hissing in the sea, and the night rises with her great eyes, oh! then true pleasure first thrills through me like a new life, the evening breezes lie like flattering maidens on my wild heart, and the stars wink to me, and I rise and sweep over the little earth and the little thoughts of mankind. ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855
'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
Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday's omissions and regrets. ~William Faulkner
The night is dark and velvety,
All Nature seems asleep;
The moon has covered, well, her face,
As if in sorrow, deep.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Prayer of the Moon" (1940s)
We wake in the night, to stereophonic silence. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
That orbed maiden, with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the moon.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Cloud
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, Hyperion
Midnight! the outpost of advancing day!
The frontier town and citadel of night!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Two Rivers
A frenzied day
languidly calms itself,
~Dr. SunWolf, 2014 tweet, professorsunwolf.com
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence.
~John Milton, Paradise Lost
Thank Heaven, the sun has gone in, and I don't have to go out and enjoy it. ~Logan Pearsall Smith
The young moon has fed
Her exhausted horn
With the sunset's fire.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley
These blessed candles of the night. ~William Shakespeare, referring to stars, Merchant of Venice
With finger on her solemn lip,
Night hushed the shadowy earth.
It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky... a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe. ~Victor Hugo
Acknowledgment: Thank you very much to John C. Shepard of the GIGA Quotes Home Page for sharing some of the wonderful quotations on this page!
Related Quotations: Dreams, Sleep, Morning, Fear, Light, Sky, Solitude