Thus, when the night comes down in this calm, changeless realm, nothing indicates its approach; the sun pursuing his path of fire, appears suddenly to hear some mysterious mandate summoning him to abandon his dominion, and, drunk with his own glory, he seems impelled to perish as he lived, in radiance unendurable, for, rushing headlong down the steep blue vault, he plunges suddenly below the dark horizon and is seen no more!
One moment his beams stretch across the heaven, like the great bars of the golden gate of paradise, then he draws them after him and leaves the empire to his rival–Night.
She meanwhile rises in her gloomy garments, as though to be his great chief mourner, and ascends with swiftest tread the ethereal vault, devouring as she moves along the ruins of the sunshine, whilst from her deepening shadows, brightest stars are born—in token that the Eternal can cause the darkness to bring forth light. Then when like a queen she has taken her throne in heaven, she stretches out her heavy mourning veil and lets it fall upon the sunless earth, over whose shrouded beauty she sits brooding till the dawn.
–Felicia Skene (1821–1899)
Painting: Claude Monet, Cathedral at Rouen