by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891)

Aurora Borealis
Language: English 
What power disbands the Northern Lights 
  After their steely play? 
The lonely watcher feels an awe 
  Of Nature's sway, 
    As when appearing, 
    He marked their flashed uprearing 
In the cold gloom -- 
  Retreatings and advancings, 
(Like dallyings of doom),
  Transitions and enhancings, 
    And bloody ray. 

The phantom-host has faded quite, 
  Splendor and Terror gone --
Portent or promise -- and gives way 
  To pale, meek Dawn; 
    The coming, going, 
    Alike in wonder showing -- 
Alike the God, 
  Decreeing and commanding 
The million blades that glowed, 
  The muster and disbanding -- 
    Midnight and Morn.

Confirmed with Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War by Herman Melville, New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Franklin Square, 1866, pages 148-149.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2014-01-10
Line count: 22
Word count: 88