Night appears in literature in many forms, often representing the darker side of our existence - obscurity, the subconscious, terror, the unknown, and even death.
In Greek mythology, Night is personified by the goddess Nyx, the daughter of Chaos. She was one of the first divine beings to come into existence, and by her brother Erubus (Darkness), she was mother to the Moerae (the three Fates), Nemesis (justice and divine retribution), Hypnos (Sleep) and his brother Thanatos (Death), Moros (Doom), the Keres (goddesses of violent death), Oizys (Misery), the Hesperides (Deceit, Friendship, Old Age) and Eris (Strife). She was both helpful and harmful to mankind, bringing either sleep or death.
In his Theogony
, Hesiod describes Nyx's residence:
"There also stands the gloomy house of Night;
ghastly clouds shroud it in darkness.
Before it Atlas stands erect and on his head
and unwearying arms firmly supports the broad sky,
where Night and Day cross a bronze threshold
and then come close and great each other."
, 744 ff.)
Night is also associated with the mysterious remote beauty of the stars against a black sky, and here George Gordon, Lord Byron uses such imagery to describe his love:
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
So take this illustration (ink and Photoshop) as you will, either the primordial dark Goddess Nyx, or the serene beauty of whom Lord Byron waxed poetic. I was going to be ambitious this week and try painting my illustration in response to the challenge Dennis West
put up, but once again, I have way too much work to do and too little time to do it...sigh...