About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;

from Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Rime Of The Ancient Mariner on Rap Genius


Sailors at sea often saw this phenomenon, known as St. Elmo’s Fire. It is electricity discharged from pointed objects, such as masts, during storms. The phenomenon can also be seen on land on trees or towers that rise to a point. Today, it can also be seen in the air on wings and propellers of aircraft.

Death-fires are, predictably, an omen of death.

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