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, speaking to the star in second person, to our tune:

“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.”

Singers today know it to the French tune “Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman” but the tune we used is an anonymous one, as found in Juvenile Harmonist: A Selection of Tunes and Pieces for Children (London: 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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