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Quotations about the
Night Sky, Moon, & Stars


The Night walked down the sky
With the moon in her hand...
~Frederic Lawrence Knowles, "A Memory," Love Triumphant, 1904

So that at eve, at Nature's shuddering hour...
Sirius appears, and on the horizon black,
Bids countless stars pursue their mighty track,
The clouds the only birds that never sleep,
Collected by the winds through heaven's steep—
The moon, the stars, the white-cap't hills...
~Victor Hugo, "The Vanished City," translated by Henry Carrington

The sun is a luminous shield
Borne up the blue path
By a god;
The moon is the torch
Of an old man
Who stumbles over stars.
~Eda Lou Walton, "The Lights," c. 1919

When a calm, clear evening follows a warm day we see the mist gathering in the valleys, creeping stealthily and silently up the hillsides, and rising into the air in long, low, horizontal streaks which are made beautiful by the silent, silvery light of moon and stars. ~Alfred Rowland, "The Clouds: God's Angels of the Sea," in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884

A furious night wind whips tree branches into a violent frenzy.
The moon replies
with a poem.
~Dr. SunWolf, 2012,

He stretched himself out... looking up at the moon. The sky was a midnight-blue, like warm, deep, blue water, and the moon seemed to lie on it like a water-lily, floating forward with an invisible current. One expected to see its great petals open. ~Willa Sibert Cather, One of Ours, 1922

I am mad with the sight of stars, and frenzied with the beauty of the silver, wanton moon. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Prayers of a Worldling: V," A Soul's Faring, 1921

How beautiful this night!...Heaven's ebon vault,
Studded with stars unutterably bright,
Through which the moon's unclouded grandeur rolls,
Seems like a canopy which love had spread
To curtain her sleeping world...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab

The moving Moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide.
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside—
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars... and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit, in God's out-of-doors — these are little guide-posts on the foot-path to peace. ~Henry Van Dyke, "The Foot-Path to Peace"

Indigo yearnings, starry hopes, dark forebodings. It's a storied sky tonight, telling ancient tales. ~Dr. SunWolf, tweet, 2011,

How pleasant now, pale empress of the sky... ~Henry Heavisides (1791–1870), "Moonlight Musings"

It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad.
~William Shakespeare, Othello, c.1604  [V, 2, Othello]

The twilight tints have left the sky, and night commences her watch over the world, high in the heavens is her taper lit, around which will soon glow a thousand kindred flames. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation II: Footsteps on the Sand," 1850

Give me nights perfectly quiet... and I looking up at the stars... ~Walt Whitman

If stars were notes upon a musical sky
      the night what a song of beauty!
~Terri Guillemets

Metaphor for the night sky: A trillion asterisks and no explanations. ~Robert Brault,

Venus has left the stars of the Virgin behind, and is sailing into the Claws. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2007  #virgo  #libra  #scorpius

Lightning is but a circlet of light about my throat...
Stars are but fireflies — I catch them in my playful hands.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Life-Freedom: VI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Look out into the July night, and see the broad belt of silver flame which flashes up the half of heaven, fresh and delicate as the bonfires of the meadow-flies. Yet the powers of numbers cannot compute its enormous age,—lasting as space and time,—embosomed in time and space. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Progress of Culture"

...The stars,
Which stand as thick as dewdrops on the fields
Of heaven...
~Philip James Bailey, Festus: A Poem, 1838

Orion the Hunter is above the hill. Taurus, a sparkling V, is directly overhead, pointing to the Seven Sisters. Sirius, one of Orion's heel dogs, is pumping red-blue-violet, like a galactic disco ball. As the night moves on, the old dog will set into the hill. ~Karen Emslie, "Broken sleep,", 2014

Clouds tie-dye the night. ~Terri Guillemets

Bearded with dewy grass the mountains thrust
Their blackness high into the still grey light,
Deepening to blue: far up the glimmering height
In silver transience shines the starry dust...
~Æ (George William Russell), "On a Hill-Top," Homeward Songs by the Way, 1894

Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light... ~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, c.1594  [I, 2, Capulet]

...these blessed candles of the night... ~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c.1596  [VI, 1, Bassanio]

Ah, what tales the Moon can tell! ~Hans Christian Andersen, "What the Moon Saw," translated by H. W. Dulcken

      The sky was clear — remarkably clear — and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse. The North star was directly in the wind's eye, and since evening the Bear had swung round it outwardly to the east... The kingly brilliancy of Sirius pierced the eye with a steely glitter, the star called Capella was yellow, Aldebaran and Betelgueux shone with a fiery red.
      To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this, the roll of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement... the impression of riding along is vivid and abiding. The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, first enlarging the consciousness with a sense of difference from the mass of civilized mankind, who are horizontal and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars. After such a nocturnal reconnoitre among these astral clusters, aloft from the customary haunts of thought and vision, some men may feel raised to a capability for eternity at once. ~Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 1874

Let her shine as gloriously
As the Venus of the sky.
~William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, c.1595  [III, 2, Oberon]

Day is a solar cathedral, night a starry sanctuary. ~Terri Guillemets

Each full moon brings a different season to my tipi. Thirteen seasons a year. Seasons that have no names other than that of their moon. The November moon of the first strong snows. The August moon of hot days and thunderstorm nights... High winter, the February moon, was when you first wished winter would end and when you first knew that it would not. ~Craig Childs, Crossing Paths: Uncommon Encounters with Animals in the Wild, 1997

I stood, I knew not why,
Without a wish, without a will,
I stood upon that silent hill
And stared into the sky until
My eyes were blind with stars and still
I stared into the sky.
~Ralph Hodgson, "The Song of Honour"

Stars:  pearls round the tiara of midnight, mysterious heaven-lights to serve the spirit's flight to paradise. ~Thomas Clark Henley, "Beauty," 1851  [a little altered —tg]

The stars — pearls round the tiara of night — lamps guiding winged Fancy's flight to Heaven... ~Thomas Clark Henley, A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

There are few instruments which yield more pleasure and instruction than the Telescope. ~R.A. Proctor, Half-Hours with the Telescope, 1878

Rejoice, sing and rejoice in a song of love and death,
For this is heaven's voice beyond all mortal breath:
Sing flowers, birds and trees, sing nature, sing ye stars.
Be vocal Pleiades! sing, fiery breath of Mars!
      Rejoice for death, rejoice.
~Cora L. V. Scott Richmond, "A Requiem to Ouina, Sung Over Her Grave," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

MOONLIGHT  Sunlight with the heat turned off. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914

...the great Cross glittered at the pole
Orion and his wrath were red
and the Milky Way white overhead
all heaven a well-lit cyclorama
for such a fine resounding drama...
~R. A. K. Mason, "Twenty-Sixth October," Collected Poems, 1963

The night sky is a miracle of infinitude. ~Terri Guillemets

The stars are the street lights of eternity. ~Author unknown

Look up. There is the endlessness of space — the great stars made of fire and ice, wide silver rivers flung across the sky... ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Granddaughter, 1993,

The moon was falling into our street
      Out of a tree,
And we walked slow, and the night was sweet,
      And there were three
Stars huddled together in the space
That is the sky, and in your face
Was a little laughing, a little pain
And the fear that there could not be again
A night so dear as this night had been.
And we said Good-by, and I went in.
And you walked away; and the church clock spoke.
And the moon fell into our street and broke.
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Moments: V: Our Street," Youth Riding, 1919

The moon rose in the silvery sky, empearling the clouds around her. Below, the pond shimmered in its hazy radiance. Just beyond the homestead was the church with the old graveyard beside it. The moonlight shone on the white stones, bringing them out in clear-cut relief against the dark trees behind. "How strange the graveyard looks by moonlight!... How ghostly!" ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

I am a dreamer. Stars of Summer night,
I owe ye much that in the quiet spell
With which your gaze has charmed my very soul,
I learned to dream of heaven wherein ye dwell.
And I have fancied that each fleecy cloud,
Flitting across the midnight quiet sky,
Has borne upon its frail and shadowy form
The image of some dear departed one.
I am a dreamer...
~Fanny Fielding, "Dreaming," 1800s  [pseudonym of a "talented and educated lady" from Virginia —tg]

Life is so much clearer under the stars than under a roof. ~Terri Guillemets

All its being belted
With a glory bright,
While into heaven it melted
In a dream of light.
Never more glance crossed it
In the sky-heart far,
But where I had lost it
Shone the evening star.
~"The Cloud," Excelsior: Helps to Progress in Religion, Science, and Literature, Vol. VI, edited by James Hamilton, 1856

Perhaps you did not know how bright last night...
Those stars were lit with longing of my own...
~John Robinson Jeffers, "And the Stars"

Thou fair-hair'd angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
~William Blake (1757-1827), "To The Evening Star"

O that moon last night!
No wonder everyone needs
an afternoon nap.
~Teitoku, translated by Harry Behn, 1971

The moon comes out, and gleaming through the clouds, braids its light, fantastic bow upon the waters. You feel calmer as the night deepens. The darkness softens you... ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons

Men track the path of Saturn as he swings
Around the sun, circled with moons and rings;
But who shall follow on the awful flight
Of huge Orion through the dreadful deep?
Far on the dark abyss he seems to sleep,
Yet wanders the shoreless, old, inscrutable night.
~Edwin Markham, "Imagination," Gates of Paradise and Other Poems, 1920

...the twinkling anatomy of Orion and his skymates... ~Terri Guillemets

Twilight wraps the fading day
In folds of golden clouds
And unrolls the dark night
Noiselessly from the calm sky.
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "Twilight," 1903, The Poems of a Child, Being Poems Written Between the Ages of Six and Ten, 1904

The Moon is like a big round cheese
That shines above the garden trees,
And like a cheese grows less each night,
As though some one had had a bite.
~Oliver Herford, "The Moon," The Kitten's Garden of Verses, 1911

Two A.M. stars are unknown to those who sleep in stuffy inns. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Saddle Your Dreams, 1964  [a little altered —tg]

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there's but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; 'tis furnish'd well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,
And constant do remain to keep him so.
~William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, c.1599  [III, 1, Cassius]  [Did you know that Polaris was not always the North Star as it is now? When the Egyptians built the pyramids, for example, it was Thuban (α Draconis), in the Draco constellation. The North Star is also known as the Lodestar, or the Pole Star. —tg]

the moon and plum tree
make flow'ry springtime shadows—
lovers of the night
~Terri Guillemets

A new moon visible in the east. How unexpectedly it always appears! ~Henry David Thoreau, journal, 1851

The moon was but a chin of gold
      A night or two ago,
And now she turns her perfect face
      Upon the world below.
Her forehead is of amplest blond;
      Her cheek like beryl stone;
Her eye unto the summer dew
      The likest I have known...
And what a privilege to be
      But the remotest star!
For certainly her way might pass
      Beside your twinkling door.
Her bonnet is the firmament,
      The universe her shoe,
The stars the trinkets at her belt,
      Her dimities of blue.
~Emily Dickinson

The full risen moon that dapples the ground beneath the trees, touches the tall church spires with silver; and slants their loftiness — as memory slants grief — in long, dark, tapering lines, upon the silvered Green. ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons

The moon is but a silver watch
      To tell the time of night;
      If you should wake, and wish to know
      The hour, don't strike a light.
Just draw the blind, and closely scan
      Her dial in the blue:
      If it is round and bright, there is
      A deal more sleep for you.
She runs without an error,
      Not too slow nor too quick,
      And better than alarum clocks—
      She doesn't have to tick!
~Christopher Morley, "Full Moon"

Night-time moon —
glowing, muted, soft
distant light to soothe
our harshly lit days
~Terri Guillemets

...there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night...
~John Milton

I listened, there was not a sound to hear
In the great rain of moonlight pouring down,
The eucalyptus trees were carved in silver,
And a light mist of silver lulled the town.
I saw far off the grey Pacific bearing
A broad white disk of flame,
And on the garden-walk a snail beside me
Tracing in crystal the slow way he came.
~Sara Teasdale, "Full Moon (Santa Barbara)"

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, c.1594  [II, 2, Juliet]

Imagine how many glorious winters and springs
The stars from their celestial perches have seen.
~Terri Guillemets

My cave is snug and sweet—but sweet—
      And the lamps are burning bright,
And Margot says I'll catch my death
      If I go on the roof, to-night.
But I say that I want to see my star;
      For something has gone wrong
In the way that I hitched my wagon on,
      And I promise I won't stay long...
I know I'm a fool, but what can I do
      When the house top's calling me?...
I'm a king, on my own house top,
      And the moon is all my own;
There's never a soul in sight to-night
      And it's good to be alone...
~Jean Wright, "A Fool on a Roof: Et in Arcadia Ego"

Light of the moon
Moves west, flowers' shadows
Creep eastward.
~Buson (1716–1784)

Die down, O dismal day! and let me live.
And come, blue deeps! magnificently strewn
With colored clouds — large, light, and fugitive —
By upper winds through pompous motions blown.
~David Gray

The stars were mingled with my dreams... ~William Wordsworth

The moon is a vampire to-night. She has sucked from the stars
Their splendour of silver: they lean to us weary and white
Like prisoners' faces pressed pale against window bars,
And the wind is full of whispering dust to-night.
~Nora Chesson, "A June Night," The Waiting Widow and Other Poems, 1906

...see, when I talk of eyes, the stars come out! Whose eyes are they? If they are angels' eyes, why do they look down here and see good men hurt, and only wink and sparkle all the night? ~Charles Dickens, 1841

Come out into the open air on a clear calm night when you can see three thousand eyes gazing upon you from the sky, and say if it is wonderful that there should be star-worshippers? There is not a more sublime view in Nature. ~Thomas Clark Henley, A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

The angels all were singing out of tune,
And hoarse with having little else to do,
Excepting to wind up the sun and moon,
Or curb a runaway young star or two,
Or wild colt of a comet, which too soon
Broke out of bounds o'er th' ethereal blue,
Splitting some planet with its playful tail,
As boats are sometimes by a wanton whale.
~Lord Byron

...Stars with blazing hair... ~Alexander Pope, "The Temple of Fame: A Vision," 1711

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c.1596  [V, 1, Lorenzo]

High in the air rises the forest of oaks, high over the oaks soar the eagle, high over the eagle sweep the clouds, high over the clouds gleam the stars... high over the stars sweep the angels... ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

How long have standing men, by such a stone
As this I watch from on this windless night,
Beheld Antares and the Snake aright.
The Scales were up when not an Arab walked
On sand that soon was paved with names of stars;
Boötes herded, and the Giant stalked
Past the curved Dragon, contemplating wars...
The Eagle and the Swan, that sailed so long,
Floating upon white wings the Arrow missed,
Tilted at midnight, plunging with a song
Earthward, and—as they sank—deep Hydra hissed.
Leo had long been growling in his lair
When Pegasus neighed softly in the East,
Rising upon a wind that blew his hair
Freshly, until Aquarius increased...
~Mark Van Doren, "Now the Sky," 1926

I have of late — but wherefore I know not — lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire — why, it appeareth no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, c.1600  [II, 2]

Under the stars, the world is a different place. ~Terri Guillemets

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Morituri Salutamus"

Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

...i saw the moon rise out of a skyscraper...
~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University

...the moon set later on,
and the sky, suddenly very dark, was star clear...
~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University

Swim, white Moon, in the dusky blue,
      Swim in the still dark sky...
Swing, white Moon, to the breeze that blows
      From the Milky Way so bright...
~Sarah Noble Ives, "The Moon," Songs of the Shining Way, 1899

Venus... the surface air temperature nears 900 degrees Fahrenheit. On Venus you could cook a 16-inch pepperoni pizza in seven seconds, just by holding it out to the air. (Yes, I did the math.) ... It's no accident, by the way, that Venus is hot. It suffers from a runaway greenhouse effect, induced by the carbon dioxide in its atmosphere, which traps infrared energy... eventually creating — and now sustaining — a remarkable pizza oven. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, 2007  [In 1980, Tyson changed the popular planets mnemonic from "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Prunes" to "Nine Pizzas." Pizzas was the beloved Pluto. —tg]

Moon —
the nightlight
for our souls.
~Terri Guillemets, "Faith well lit," 2011

There at a certain hour of the deep night,
A gray cliff with a demon face comes up,
Wrinkled and old, behind the peaks, and with
An anxious look peers at the Zodiac.
~Edwin Markham, "In High Sierras"

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