Sunset (or sundown) is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon in the west as a result of Earth's rotation. The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment the trailing edge of the Sun's disk disappears below the horizon in the west. The ray path of light from the setting Sun is highly distorted near the horizon because of atmospheric refraction, making sunset appear to occur when the Sun's disk is already about one diameter below the horizon. Sunset is distinct from dusk, which is the moment at which darkness falls, which occurs when the Sun is approximately eighteen degrees below the horizon. The period between sunset and dusk is called twilight.
- The death-bed of a day, how beautiful!
- Philip James Bailey, Festus (1813), scene A Library and Balcony.
- Sunsets are loved because they vanish.
- Ray Bradbury. From the Dust Returned (2001), Chapter 18.
- It was the cooling hour, just when the rounded
Red sun sinks down behind the azure hill,
Which then seems as if the whole earth is bounded,
Circling all nature, hush'd, and dim, and still,
With the far mountain-crescent half surrounded
On one side, and the deep sea calm and chill
Upon the other, and the rosy sky
With one star sparkling through it like an eye.
- The sacred lamp of day
Now dipt in western clouds his parting ray.
- William Falconer, The Shipwreck (1762), Canto II, line 27.
- There was strong music in the sky: the music of sunset. In the west, a wall of clear red amber through which the sun went blazing down. The remainder of the sky was smoky rose, a color like a perfume—musk. The earth had given up its tinctures. Heights and depths and long dunes were melting into the air.
- Tanith Lee, Delusion's Master (1981), Part 1 “The Souring of the Fruit”, Chapter 1 “Storytellers”
- Down sank the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vapors
Veiled the light of his face, like the Prophet descending from Sinai.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (1847), Part I, Section IV.
- Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon
Like a magician extended his golden wand o'er the landscape;
Twinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest
Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (1847), Part II, Section II.
- Utu, shepherd of the land, father of the black-headed, when you go to sleep, the people go to sleep with you; youth Utu, when you rise, the people rise with you.
- And the gilded car of day,
His glowing axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream.
- The setting sun, and music at the close,
At the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last.
- When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
- For now the sun is verging to the sea,
And as he westward sinks, the floating clouds
Suspended, move upon the evening gale,
And gathering round his orb, as if to shade
The insufferable brightness, they resign
Their gauzy whiteness; and more warm'd, assume
All hues of purple. There, transparent gold
Mingles with ruby tints, and sapphire gleams,
And colours, such as Nature through her works
Shews only in the ethereal canopy.
Thither aspiring Fancy fondly soars,
Wandering sublime thro' visionary vales,
Where bright pavilions rise, and trophies, fann'd
By airs celestial; and adorn'd with wreaths
Of flowers that bloom amid elysian bowers.
Now bright, and brighter still the colours glow,
Till half the lustrous orb within the flood
Seems to retire: the flood reflecting still
Its splendor, and in mimic glory drest;
Till the last ray shot upward, fires the clouds
With blazing crimson; then in paler light,
Long lines of tenderer radiance, lingering yield
To partial darkness; and on the opposing side
The early moon distinctly rising, throws
Her pearly brilliance on the trembling tide.
- Charlotte Turner Smith, Beachy Head (1807, posthumous)
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 769-70.
- Come watch with me the shaft of fire that glows
In yonder West: the fair, frail palaces,
The fading Alps and archipelagoes,
And great cloud-continents of sunset-seas.
- Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Sonnet, Miracles.
- See! he sinks
Without a word; and his ensanguined bier
Is vacant in the west, while far and near
Behold! each coward shadow eastward shrinks,
Thou dost not strive, O sun, nor dost thou cry
Amid thy cloud-built streets.
- Frederick William Faber, The Rosary and Other Poems, On the Ramparts at Angoulême.
- Oft did I wonder why the setting sun
Should look upon us with a blushing face:
Is't not for shame of what he hath seen done,
Whilst in our hemisphere he ran his race?
- Lyman Heath, First Century, On the Setting Sun.
- Forming and breaking in the sky,
I fancy all shapes are there;
Temple, mountain, monument, spire;
Ships rigged out with sails of fire,
And blown by the evening air.
- J. K. Hoyt, A Summer Sunset.
- After a day of cloud and wind and rain
Sometimes the setting sun breaks out again,
And, touching all the darksome woods with light,
Smiles on the fields until they laugh and sing,
Then like a ruby from the horizon's ring,
Drops down into the night.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hanging of the Crane, Part VII.
- Now in his Palace of the West,
Sinking to slumber, the bright Day,
Like a tired monarch fann'd to rest,
'Mid the cool airs of Evening lay;
While round his couch's golden rim
The gaudy clouds, like courtiers, crept—
Struggling each other's light to dim,
And catch his last smile e'er he slept.
- Thomas Moore, The Summer Fête, Stanza 22.
- Long on the wave reflected lustres play.
- Samuel Rogers, The Pleasures of Memory, Part I, line 94.
- Methought little space 'tween those hills intervened,
But nearer,—more lofty,—more shaggy they seemed.
The clouds o'er their summits they calmly did rest,
And hung on the ether's invisible breast;
Than the vapours of earth they seemed purer, more bright,—
Oh! could they be clouds? 'Twas the necklace of night.
- John Ruskin, The Iteriad, Sunset at Low-Wood.
- The lonely sunsets flare forlorn
Down valleys dreadly desolate;
The lonely mountains soar in scorn
As still as death, as stern as fate.
- Robert Service, The Land God Forgot.
- The sun was down,
And all the west was paved with sullen fire.
I cried, "Behold! the barren beach of hell
At ebb of tide."
- Alexander Smith, A Life Drama, scene 4.
- When the sun is setting outside so that you cannot even recognise the hand in front of you, go indoors!
- How fine has the day been! how bright was the sun,
How lovely and joyful the course that he run!
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun,
And there followed some droppings of rain:
But now the fair traveller's come to the west,
His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;
He paints the skies gay as he sinks to his rest,
And foretells a bright rising again.
- Isaac Watts, Moral Songs, A Summer Evening.