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The nights of October 24th and 25th, 1870, were remarkable for the great brilliancy and beauty of the Aurora Borealis, the newspapers of the latter date containing accounts of the phenomenon of the preceding evening: this the writer was not fortunate enough to see, but, on the evening of the 25th, he had unusual advantages, during a ten mile drive, and will never forget the weird grandeur of a belt of fir trees standing out against a nearly blood-red sky.


The fate of Paris (then in a state of siege) and the recollection of the great battles, only recently fought, associated themselves, he believes, in many minds more or less completely and persistently with the spectacles of those two evenings.

We left the Ipswich lamps behind, and far away before us,
One after one, the country lights came shyly peeping through
The edge of darkness, and above them, and around and o'er us,
The orbs of heaven issued from the ever deep'ning blue.


The skirts of night spread out and touched the far South-East and ended,
For there a golden glory leaped, with sudden-born desire,
And scaled the vault of Heaven, where the light and shadow blended,
While eager-eyed we watched it, as the reflex of a fire.


We turned away a moment and behold the sky was glowing,
On our left hand and our right rose a flush of ruddy flame,
Springing upward to an arc, that was ever deeper growing
In awfulness and splendour as the flashes went and came.


And it seemed, in the silence of that clear October even,
The blood that cried for vengeance from the murder-stainèd sod,
God painted, for a protest, on the canvas of His heaven,
And stars grew wan, beholding there the writing of their God.


An apex of deep blackness into bloody bars diverging,
A nimbus of red glory playing round a darkened brow;
And from out the flame and darkness two mighty streams emerging,
Poured forth their crimson torrents on the guilty earth below:


On earth, whose stricken children lay in ebbing life-blood drowning;
On earth, for aye unmindful of Diviner blood outpoured,
In agony, in scourging, in the piercing and thorn-crowning,
To seal the awful passion, from the body of her Lord.


'Twas thus I read the writing on the blue walls of God's chamber,
While His stars grew pale in Heaven with wonder at the sight--
The "Mene, Mene" written where the silent planets clamber:--
The lurid picture painted to incarnadine the night.


And one found speech and saying, "I should scarce be filled with wonder
If an angel from the deeps of that circle issued forth,"
My fancy saw the angel, all the blackness torn asunder,
Stand centred in the ruby beams and gazing on the earth.


And I think though nevermore I may look on that wrath-glory,
And read the open pages in the record of the sky,
The record of the nations will recount the bloody story
And the record of my heart be unclosèd till I die.