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Night (or nighttime) is the period of time when the sun is below the horizon. The opposite of night is day (or "daytime" to distinguish it from "day" as used for a 24-hour period). The start and end times of night vary based on factors such as season, latitude, longitude and timezone. At any given time, one side of the planet Earth is bathed in light from the Sun (the daytime) and the other side of the Earth is in the shadow caused by the Earth blocking the light of the sun. This shadow is what we call the darkness of night.


  • Night comes, world-jewelled, * * *
    The stars rush forth in myriads as to wage
    War with the lines of Darkness; and the moon,
    Pale ghost of Night, comes haunting the cold earth
    After the sun's red sea-death—quietless.
  • I love night more than day—she is so lovely;
    But I love night the most because she brings
    My love to me in dreams which scarcely lie.
  • For the night
    Shows stars and women in a better light.
  • 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.
  • O radiant Dark! O darkly fostered ray!
    Thou hast a joy too deep for shallow Day.
  • The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind,
    And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind:
    These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
    And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
  • 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?
  • * * * And when night
    Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
  • Where eldest Night
    And Chaos, ancestors of nature, hold
    Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
    Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
  • * * * For now began
    Night with her sullen wings to double-shade
    The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd,
    And now wild beasts came forth, the woods to roam.
  • Darkness now rose,
    As daylight sunk, and brought in low'ring Night
    Her shadowy offspring.
  • Silence, ye wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
    And makes night hideous;—Answer him, ye owls!
  • In the dead vast and middle of the night.
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600-02), Act I, scene 2, line 198. "Waist" in many editions; afterwards printed "waste." "Vast" in the quarto of 1603.
  • 'Tis now the very witching time of night,
    When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
    Contagion to this world.
  • Come, seeling night,
    Skarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
    And with thy bloody and invisible hand,
    Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
    Which keeps me pale!
  • Light thickens; and the crow
    Makes wing to the rooky wood:
    Good things of the day begin to droop and drowse;
    Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
  • How beautiful this night! the balmiest sigh
    Which Vernal Zephyrs breathe in evening's ear
    Were discord to the speaking quietude
    That wraps this moveless scene. Heaven's ebon vault,
    Studded with stars, unutterably bright,
    Through which the moon's unclouded grandeur rolls,
    Seems like a canopy which love has spread
    To curtain her sleeping world.
  • Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
    In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
    Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world.
    Silence, how dead! and darkness, how profound!
    Nor eye, nor list'ning ear, an object finds;
    Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse
    Of life stood still, and nature made a pause;
    An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night I, line 18.
  • How is night's sable mantle labor'd o'er,
    How richly wrought with attributes divine!
    What wisdom shines! what love! this midnight pomp,
    This gorgeous arch, with golden worlds inlaid
    Built with divine ambition!
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night IV, line 385.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 554-57.
  • Night is a stealthy, evil Raven,
    Wrapt to the eyes in his black wings.
  • Wan night, the shadow goer, came stepping in.
  • When it draws near to witching time of night.
  • The Night has a thousand eyes,
    The Day but one;
    Yet the light of the bright world dies
    With the dying sun.
  • The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
    Of the snow-shining mountains—Beautiful!
    I linger yet with Nature, for the night
    Hath been to me a more familiar face
    Than that of man; and in her starry shade
    Of dim and solitary loveliness
    I learn'd the language of another world.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Now deep in ocean sunk the lamp of light,
    And drew behind the cloudy vale of night.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book VIII, line 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.
  • Watchman, what of the night?
    • Isaiah, XXI. 11.
  • Night, when deep sleep falleth on men.
    • Job, IV. 13; XXXIII. 15.
  • The night cometh when no man can work.
    • John, IX. 4.
  • '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?
  • O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
    What man has borne before!
    Thou layest thy fingers on the lips of Care,
    And they complain no more.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Night hath a thousand eyes.
    • John Lyly, Maydes Metamorphose, Act III, scene 1.
  • Quiet night, that brings
    Rest 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.
  • 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.
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), The Wanderer, Book II, The Portrait.
  • Night is the time for rest;
    How sweet, when labours close,
    To gather round an aching breast
    The curtain of repose,
    Stretch the tired limbs, and lay the head
    Down on our own delightful bed!
  • Then awake! the heavens look bright, my dear;
    'Tis never too late for delight, my dear;
    And the best of all ways
    To lengthen our days
    Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear.
  • But we that have but span-long life,
    The thicker must lay on the pleasure;
    And since time will not stay,
    We'll add night to the day,
    Thus, thus we'll fill the measure.
    • Duet printed 1795. Probably of earlier date.
  • There never was night that had no morn.
  • The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
    The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
    The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
    And the highwayman came riding.
  • Day is ended, Darkness shrouds
    The shoreless seas and lowering clouds.
  • O Night, most beautiful and rare!
    Thou giv'st the heavens their holiest hue,
    And through the azure fields of air
    Bring'st down the gentle dew.
  • Ce que j'ôte à mes nuits, je l'ajoute à mes jours.
    • What I take from my nights, I add to my days.
    • Ascribed to Rotrou in Venceslas (1647).
  • Qu'une nuit paraît longue à la douleur qui veille!
  • To all, to each, a fair good night,
    And pleasing dreams; and slumbers light.
  • How beautiful is night!
    A dewy freshness fills the silent air;
    No mist obscures, nor cloud nor speck nor stain
    Breaks the serene of heaven.
  • Dead sounds at night come from the inmost hills,
    Like footsteps upon wool.
  • I was heavy with the even,
    When she fit her glimmering tapers
    Round the day's dead sanctities.
  • Now black and deep the Night begins to fall,
    A shade immense! Sunk in the quenching Gloom,
    Magnificent and vast, are heaven and earth.
    Order confounded lies; all beauty void,
    Distinction lost, and gay variety
    One universal blot: such the fair power
    Of light, to kindle and create the whole.
  • Come, drink the mystic wine of Night,
    Brimming with silence and the stars;
    While earth, bathed in this holy light,
    Is seen without its scars.
  • When, upon orchard and lane, breaks the white foam of the Spring
    When, in extravagant revel, the Dawn, a Bacchante upleaping,
    Spills, on the tresses of Night, vintages golden and red
    When, as a token at parting, munificent Day for remembrance,
    Gives, unto men that forget, Ophirs of fabulous ore.
  • Mysterious night! when our first parent knew
    Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,
    Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
    This glorious canopy of light and blue?
  • The summer skies are darkly blue,
    The days are still and bright,
    And Evening trails her robes of gold
    Through the dim halls of Night.
  • Night begins to muffle up the day.
  • Mine is the night, with all her stars.

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