Sounding Childhood

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star"

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star” or “The Star” was written by Ann and Jane Taylor, daughters of a Congregational minister who wrote this classic for Original Poems (1804-5); they also wrote poems for Rhymes for the Nursery (1806).  It has several verses, some lesser known like the verse 2 we sing, putting the story of the star in first person:

“Then the trav’ller, in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not tell which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
and often thro’ my curtains peep;
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.”

We know it to the French tune “Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman” but the tune we use is an anonymous one, as found in Juvenile Harmonist: A Selection of Tunes and Pieces for Children (Sunday School Union, 1843).  Jane and Ann Taylor also wrote Hymns for Infant Minds (1808) which was one of the most popular hymn books for children of the era; it contained popular hymns of the period like “Great God, and wilt Thou condescend” and “I thank the goodness and the grace.”

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