Rhymes For The Nursery "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
by Jane Taylor

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"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Jane Taylor, daughter of Isaac Taylor, an engraver, a nonconformist pastor, and an author of books for children, is herself best known for children's verse. With her sister Ann (1782-1866) she composed numerous poems which have delighted children for more than a century. Their first publication was the immensely popular Original Poems for Infant Minds in two volumes (1804-1805). A second venture, Rhymes for the Nursery (1806), includes Jane's "The Star," perhaps the most memorable single entry. In this delightful poem the author attempts to capture the voice of a child's curiosity as he gazes at the mystery of the night sky pierced by the twinkling rays of the countless stars. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) attests the popularity of the verse by parodying it in his children's classic some fifty years later. He writes: "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!/ How I wonder what you're at!/ Up above the world you fly,/ Like a tea-tray in the sky" (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865). Miss Taylor's poem begins:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.