Jorge Luis Borges

history of night

Through the course of generations men brought the night into being. In the beginning were blindness and dream and thorns which gash the bare foot and fear of wolves. We shall never know who fashioned the word for the interval of darkness which divides the two twilights. We shall never know in what century it stood for the starry spaces. Others began the myth. They made night mother of the tranquil Fates who weave all destiny and sacrificed black sheep to her and the rooster which announced her end. The Chaldeans gave her twelve houses; infinite worlds, the Stoic Portico. Latin hexameters molded her, and Pascal’s dread. Luis de León saw in her the homeland of his shivering soul. Now we feel her inexhaustible as an old wine and no one can think of her without vertigo, and time has charged her with eternity. And to think that night would not exist without those tenuous instruments, the eyes.

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