S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
I invariably experience a variety of sensations when I survey the heavens on a calm, clear night, about the end of the month of May. I can then inhale the sweets of the woodbine and other flowers, whose fragrance is drawn out by the gentle dews of evening. The nightingale breaks the silence by his sweet and varied notes; and the full moon walking in brightness, and rendered still more beautiful by the lustre of so many shining stars, which appear in the wide-extended firmament, completes the loveliness of this nocturnal scene. Then I begin to reflect upon my own insignificance, and to ask myself what I am, that the great Author of the universe should be mindful of me. His mercy, however, then presents itself to me, as well as His majesty, and the former affects me more than the latter. I listen to the bird which appears to be pouring forth his little tribute of gratitude and praise, and my heart prompts me to do the same. The very perfume of the flowers seems to be an incense ascending up to heaven; and with these feelings I am able to enjoy the calm tranquillity of the evening.
There are two periods in the life of man in which the evening hour is peculiarly interesting,in youth and in old age. In youth, we love it for its mellow moonlight, its million of stars, its thin, rich, and shooting shades, its still serenity; amid those who can commune with our loves, or twine the wreaths of friendship, while there is none to bear us witness but the heavens and the spirits that hold their endless Sabbath there,or look into the deep bosom of creation, spread abroad like a canopy above us, and look and listen till we can almost see and hear the waving wings and melting songs of other worlds. To youth, evening is delightful: it accords with the flow of his light spirits, the fervour of his fancy, and the softness of his heart. Evening is also the delight of virtuous age: it seems an emblem of the tranquil close of busy life,serene, placid, and mild, with the impress of its great Creator stamped upon it: it spreads its quiet wings over the grave, and seems to promise that all shall be peace beyond it.