Who, that hath life and the gift of perception, loves not more than all the marvels seen far and wide in the space about him Light, the all-gladdening, with its colors, with its beams and its waves, its mild omnipresence as the arousing day? The giant world of restless stars breathes it, as were it the innermost soul of life, and lightly floats in its azure flood; the stone breathes it, sparkling and ever at rest, and the dreamy, drinking plant, and the savage, ardent, manifold-fashioned beast; but above all the glorious stranger with the thoughtful eyes, the airy step, and the lightly-closed, melodious lips. Like a king of terrestrial nature it calls every power to countless transformations, it forms and dissolves innumerable alliances and surrounds every earthly creature with its heavenly effulgence. Its presence alone reveals the marvelous splendor of the realms of the world.
Downward I turn my eyes to Night, the holy, ineffable, mysterious. Far below lies the world, sunk in a deep vault; void and lonely is its place. Deep melancholy is wafted through the chords of the breast. In drops of dew I’d fain sink down and mingle with the ashes. Far-off memories, desires of youth, dreams of childhood, long life’s brief joys and vain hopes appear in gray garments like the evening mist after sunset. Light has pitched its gay tents in other regions. Will it perchance never return to its children, who are waiting for it with the faith of innocence?
What is it that suddenly wells up so forebodingly from beneath the heart and smothers the gentle breath of melancholy? Dark Night, dost thou also take pleasure in us? What hast thou beneath thy mantle which touches my soul with invisible force? Precious balsam drops from the bunch of poppies in thy hand. Thou raisest up the heavy wings of the soul; vaguely and inexpressibly we feel ourselves moved. Joyously fearful, I see an earnest face, which gently and reverently bends over me, and amid endlessly entangled locks shows the sweet youth of the mother. How poor and childish does Light seem to me now! How joyful and blessed the departure of day! Only for that reason, then, because Night turns thy servants from thee, didst thou scatter in the wide expanse of space the shining stars, to make known thine omnipotence and thy return, during the periods of thine absence? More heavenly than those twinkling stars seem to us the everlasting eyes which Night has opened within us. Farther they see than the palest of those numberless hosts; not needing light, they fathom the depths of a loving heart, filling a higher space with unspeakable delight.
Praise be to the queen of the world, to the high harbinger of holy worlds, to the fostress of blissful love! She sends thee to me, gentle sweetheart, lovely sun of the night. Now I am awake, for I am thine and mine; thou hast proclaimed to me that night is life and made a man of me. Consume my body with spiritual fire, that I may ethereally blend with thee, and then the bridal night may last forever.