“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is an English nursery rhyme and one of the best-known poems in the English language. It is also sung as a lullaby to the old French tune Ah! Vous Dirai-Je, Maman, which first appeared in print – without words – in 1761 in Les Amusements d’une Heure et Demy (1761).[a]“Baa, Baa, Black SheepEnglish nursery rhyme the earliest known version of which appears in 1784, perhaps referring to a tax on wool introduced in 1275.” is sung to the same tune. The lyrics and tune were first put together in The Singing Master: First Class Tune Book in 1838.
The poem is written in rhyming couplets and consists of five stanzas, of which only the first is widely known today. It was written by Jane TaylorEnglish children's author (1783–1824), whose best known work is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". and first published under the title “The Star” in Rhymes for the Nursery (1806), a joint work by Jane and her sister Ann.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone, When he nothing shines upon, Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the trav’ller in the dark, Thanks you for your tiny spark, He could not see 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.
‘Tis your bright and tiny spark, Lights the trav’ller in the dark, Tho’ I know not what you are, Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
The rhyme has frequently been parodied, perhaps most notably by the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865):
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at! Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky.
Cryer, Max. Love Me Tender: The Stories Behind the World’s Best-Loved Songs. Francis Lincoln, 2008.
Fuld, J. J. The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk. Crown Publishers, 1971.
Opie, Iona, and Peter Opie. Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1997.
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