Night (Nyx)

With an emphasis on grace and beauty, Bouguereau's "Night" is very different from symbolist painter Gustave Moreau's "Nyx"

Seen here over the HooDoos on the Dinosaur Trail in the badlands near Drumheller, Alberta, our goddess of the night has to deal with a problem more common than the birds in the original oil painting - MOSQUITOES. Of course these aren't ordinary mosquitoes.

The de Havilland Mosquito, named after our pesky friends, was made out of plywood (spruce and balsa) and was powered by twin Rolls-Royce Merlins. Configured as a bomber during WW2, it could fly faster and higher than anything Germany had to throw at it - a good thing too, as it had no defensive armament. As a fighter, the Mosquito claimed over 600 enemy aircraft and 600 V-1 flying bombs. Of the 6710 Mosquitoes built during the war, 1134 were Canadian.

Anyone who has camped in our north knows that the real-life bug is just as ferocious, and sometimes seems just as big, as the well named, man-made version.

Inspired by William Bouguereau’s La Nuit 1883
Translated title: Night
Oil on canvas

Hymns to the Night

I HEARD the trailing garments of the Night
Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
From the celestial walls!
I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
As of the one I love.
I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night,
Like some old poet's rhymes.
From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,--
From those deep cisterns flows.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
And thy complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
Descend, with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
The best-beloved Night!

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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