quotations about the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis quote

You cannot rob me of free nature's grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face.

JAMES THOMSON, Castle of Indolence


Tags: James Thomson, nature

When I look at the northern lights ... I see our ancestors dancing around a sacred fire, lighting the way for us when it's time for us to cross over from this physical world and join them.

MOLLY LARKIN, "What do the Northern Lights mean for us?"


Tumultuous streams of glory gushed,
Ten thousand thousand rainbows rushed
And revelled through the boundless sky,
In jousting, flashing radiancy.
Careering around the welkin's brim
Like bright embattled Seraphim;
Or soaring up to the dome of Night,
Flooding the Milky-way with light;
Or streaming down on the mountain peaks,
On the muirland wastes, and the heather brakes;
On lake and river, on tower and tree,
Showering a sky-born galaxy,
Like a storm of pearls and diamonds driven,
Imbued with the gorgeous hues of heaven!

DAVID VEDDER, "The Aurora Borealis"


Tags: Heaven

Aurora had but newly chased the night,
And purpled o'er the sky with blushing light.

JOHN DRYDEN, Palamon and Arcite


Tags: John Dryden

The north! the north! from out the north
What founts of light are breaking forth,
And streaming up these evening skies,
A glorious wonder to our eyes!

HANNAH FLAGG GOULD, "The Aurora Borealis"


The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from Heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer.

PHILIP PULLMAN, The Golden Compass


The aurora borealis is a fickle phenomenon. A week can pass without a flicker ... then bang! The Northern Lights come on like a celestial lava lamp.

NIGEL TISDALL, "Northern Lights: Light at the end of the tundra", The Telegraph, November 10, 2008


The northern cheek of the heavens,
By a sudden glory kissed,
Blushed to the tint of roses,
And hid in an amber mist,
And through the northern pathway,
Trailing her robe of flame,
The queenly Borealis
In her dazzling beauty came!

MAY RILEY SMITH, "Aurora Borealis"


The stars are putting on their glittering belts.
They throw around their shoulders cloaks that flash
Like a great shadow's last embellishment.

WALLACE STEVENS, "The Auroras of Autumn"


Tags: Wallace Stevens

With strange, fantastic shapes they haunt my brain;
A sky of amber, streaked with silver rain;
A blaze of glory, Heaven's resplendent fires;
A temple gleaming with a thousand spires;
A sea of light that laves a shore of stars;
The gates of Paradise, swift-rolling cars;
A golden pulse, quick-beating through the night;
Contending armies mailed in armor bright;
A gauzy curtain drawn by unseen hands;
Night's gorgeous drapery looped with starry bands;
Vast, burning cities, that lie far away;
Blushes on Nature's face--pale ghosts of Day;
A boundless prairie swept by phantom fire;
The vibrant strings of some gigantic lyre;
Emblazoned chariots ever skyward driven;
God writing in the open book of Heaven;
The flaming banner of the North unfurled;
The mystery that dares a boasting world!

ALBERT LAIGHTON, "The Aurora Borealis"


Tags: Albert Laighton

In fiction, they have been used as a gateway to a parallel universe. In song, they've inspired prog rockers and Welsh psych-poppers alike. In real life, the northern lights are just as spectacular, offering an unforgettable display of colourful lights that put even the stage shows of French electro legend Jean Michel Jarre to shame.

JAMES WALSH & PETER KIMPTON, "How do I ... see the northern lights?", The Guardian, October 16, 2015


In the days of yore, when the fur-wrapped peoples of the Arctic looked up at the celestial disco we now know as the aurora borealis, they would see warriors with burning swords, shimmering shoals of fish and the spirits of the dead playing football with a walrus skull. Our modern eyes can't help but see more contemporary likenesses, yet this sense of wonder binds us through time like a heartbeat.

NIGEL TISDALL, "Northern Lights: Light at the end of the tundra", The Telegraph, November 10, 2008


With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence. It was an old song, old as the breed itself--one of the first songs of the younger world in a day when songs were sad.

JACK LONDON, The Call of the Wild


Tags: Jack London

Blush upon the cheek of night,
Posthumous, unearthly light,
Dream of the deep sunken sun,
Beautiful, sleep-walking one,
Sister of the moonlight pale,
Star-obscuring meteor veil,
Spread by heaven's watching vestals;
Sender of the gleamy crystals
Darting on their arrowy course
From their glittering polar source,
Upward where the air doth freeze
Round the sister Pleiades;--
Beautiful and rare Aurora,
In the heavens thou art their Flora,
Night-blooming Cereus of the sky,
Rose of the amaranthine dye,
Hyacinth of purple light,
Or their Lily clad in white!



Tags: night

Oh, it was wild and weird and wan, and ever in camp o' nights
We would watch and watch the silver dance of the mystic Northern Lights.
And soft they danced from the Polar sky and swept in primrose haze;
And swift they pranced with their silver feet, and pierced with a blinding blaze.
They danced a cotillion in the sky; they were rose and silver shod;
It was not good for the eyes of man -- 'Twas a sight for the eyes of God.

ROBERT SERVICE, "The Ballad of the Northern Lights"


Tags: God

For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, A Midsummer Night's Dream


Tags: William Shakespeare, night

The phantom-host has faded quite,
Splendor and Terror gone--
Portent or promise--and gives way
To pale, meek Dawn.

HERMAN MELVILLE, "Aurora Borealis"


Tags: Herman Melville, morning

Some believe that whistling and making other sounds at the aurora will either cause it to become more active, use it as a way to speak to their ancestors or even that the aurora will come down and take their heads off, thus making them observe it in silence and awe.

ANDY LONG, Photographing the Aurora Borealis: How to Shoot the Northern Lights


It leaps through us, through all our heavens leaps,
Extinguishing our planets, one by one,
Leaving, of where we were and looked, of where
We knew each other and of each other thought,
A shivering residue, chilled and foregone,
Except for that crown and mystical cabala.

WALLACE STEVENS, "The Auroras of Autumn"


Tags: Wallace Stevens

At last, the golden orientall gate
Of greatest heaven gan to open fayre,
And Phoebus, fresh as brydegrome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his dewie hayre;
And hurls his glistring beams through gloomy ayre.

EDMUND SPENSER, The Faerie Queene


Tags: Edmund Spenser