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Quotations about Fireworks



In childhood the daylight always fails too soon — except when there are going to be fireworks; and then the sun dawdles intolerably on the threshold like a tedious guest. ~Joyce Anstruther, Mrs. Miniver, 1930s


Once more the air is stirred by drifting flakes of emerald fire that, illumining the space around, reveal tens of thousands of spectators collected, with up-turned eyes, gazing at the pyrotechnic wonders. Up bound the serpents — orange and brazen. How they twizzle and fizzle with their bright curves in the soft night air! Then the Roman candles pop out the little red balls of fire, suggesting to the mind an endless visitation of electrical sugar-plums. The wheels flash and dart forth their spiral threads of light... This grand display is the omega of the day's expenditure of gunpowder. ~Henry Howard Paul, "Fourth of July in the United States," 1851


The "Ætna Volcano" was worth the price — that Vesuvius was plumb-full of red balls and green balls and blue balls and crimson stars and fizzlegigs and whole torrents of tiny crackers and chase-me-quicks, and when you about thought he was never going to stop he shot up a silver spray and a gold spray and very considerable burst. ~Lloyd Osbourne, "ffrenches First," 1902  [a little altered –tg]


What was that cluster of stars that fell with a sudden hiss into the blue waters of the bay. A sky-rocket? True — it is time for the fireworks to commence; and now we shall have the really brilliant phase of the festivities of this day of jubilee. Bang! bang! bang!... Turn an ear to the city, and the noise is terrific. Glance along the vista; how the little shooting-crackers sparkle and coruscate, as if the stars had condescended to come upon earth, and have a regular jolly row, just for the fun of the thing. ~Henry Howard Paul, "Fourth of July in the United States," 1851


The Fourth of July, when we get to play our favorite American guessing game — fireworks or gunshots? ~Author unknown


It is a queer custom, this setting-off of fireworks, but it is observed in many countries; among others, in England on the Fifth of November, in China on New Year's Day, and in South America on all suitable and unsuitable occasions. ~William H. Rideing, "Fire-Crackers and the Fourth of July," 1874


The evening might have been ordered with the fireworks; it was cold, still, and starry, with a commendable absence of moon. And when the first rocket went up Mrs. Miniver felt the customary pricking in her throat and knew that once again the enchantment was going to work. Some things — conjurers, ventriloquists, pantomimes — she enjoyed vicariously, by watching the children's enjoyment; but fireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach. ~Joyce Anstruther, Mrs. Miniver, 1930s  [Guy Fawkes Night —tg]


A good many elderly people are afflicted with dreadful head-aches on the Fourth of July; but I suspect they don't mind it very much, for in every puff of blue smoke that wreathes itself under their noses, they see a boy's or a girl's happy face. ~William H. Rideing, "Fire-Crackers and the Fourth of July," 1874


Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them, at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the phantasmal garden of a witch. ~G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions, "The Glory of Grey"


Fourth of July! It is a day, in the United States, in a manner described to the Goddess of Gunpowder. Ælius, in the classic fable, dedicated one day in the week to burn incense to the memory of Jupiter, and the patriotic, liberty-loving citizens of the United States set aside this day of every year to explode gunpowder by way of commemoration of the Declaration of Independence — the spirit of which document is still cherished with characteristic national fervor. It has often struck us as being an odd way of celebrating an event in the annals of history by burning, whizzing, and streaming fireworks. The whole country, from the borders of Maine to the mouth of the Mississippi, is a scene of din and smoke... Shops are shut, tradesmen suspend business, and even bankers and usurers seem to agree that toil shall have a gala-day... ~Henry Howard Paul, "Fourth of July in the United States," 1851


There was one bursting now, a delicate constellation of many-coloured stars which drifted down and lingered in the still air.... The final rocket went up, a really large one, a piece of reckless extravagance. Its sibilant uprush was impressive, dragonlike; it soared twice as high as any they had had before; and the moment it had burst, Mrs. Miniver remembered. "Brightness falls from the air" — that was it! The sparks from the rocket came pouring down the sky in a slow golden cascade, vanishing one by one into a lake of darkness.
      Beauty is but a flower
      Which wrinkles will devour;
      Brightness falls from the air;
      Queens have died young and fair;
      Dust hath closed Helen's eye —
It was quite irrelevant, really, a lament by Nashe in time of pestilence, nothing to do with fireworks at all. But she knew that it was just what she had needed to round off the scene for her and to make its memory enduring. Words were the only net to catch a mood, the only sure weapon against oblivion. ~Joyce Anstruther, Mrs. Miniver, 1930s


You hate me and I hate you,
      And we are so polite, we two!
But whenever I see you I burst apart
      And scatter the sky with my blazing heart.
      It spits and sparkles in stars and balls,
      Buds into roses, and flares and falls.
Scarlet buttons, and pale green disks,
      Silver spirals and asterisks,
      Shoot and tremble in a mist
      Peppered with mauve and amethyst.
I shine in the windows and light up the trees,
      And all because I hate you, if you please.
And when you meet me, you rend asunder
      And go up in a flaming wonder
      Of saffron cubes, and crimson moons,
      And wheels all amaranths and maroons.
Golden lozenges and spades,
      Arrows of malachites and jades,
      Patens of copper, azure sheaves.
      As you mount you flash in the glossy leaves.
Such fireworks as we make, we two!
      Because you hate me and I hate you.
~Amy Lowell, "Fireworks," 1915





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