Mica Mica Parva Stella (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

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This was digitally recorded in 1997 with The MIT Muses, an all female a capella choral group.  The recording project was funded by The MIT Council for the Arts.

Latin lyrics:
Mica, Mica, parva stella;
Miror quaenam sis tam bella.
Splendens eminus in illo,
Alba velut gemma caelo.

Quando fervens sol discessit,
Nec calore prata pascit,
Mox ostendis lumen purum,
Micans, micans per obscurum.

Tibi, noctu qui vagatur,
Ob scintillulam gratatur;
Ni mica res, tu non sciret,
Quas per vias errans iret.

Meum saepe thalamum luce,
Specularis curiosa;
Neque carpseris soporem,
Donec venit sol per auram.

Mica, Mica, parva stella;
Miror quaenam sis tam bella.

English lyrics:
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 traveller 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 through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
‘Till the sun is in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

Latin lyrics provided by The American Classical League


10 Responses to Mica Mica Parva Stella (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

  1. Wow, we memorized the first stanza of this years ago in Latin class. I always thought it was catchy. I wasn’t aware of the other lyrics. Thanks for putting it out on the web. The link to the MIT Muses is enchanting. Love it.

  2. The first stanza had been penciled into the back of one of the Latin books I used back around 1944–sorry but I forget which one; maybe it was Caesar’s Gallic Wars? Anyhow my spouse and I met a young lady named Mica, recently, and it reminded me of the verse. Could mean her parents know Latin, or could mean nothing at all. We don’t bump into her often enough to get around to asking. But we like the poem.

  3. We sang this in high school Latin to the tune of “In the Gloaming” and it comes to mind to this day, over 60 years later. How nice to have all these words. Does anyone know who wrote them?

    • Hello Joan-

      The original lyrics were written by English poet Jane Taylor and published in 1806.

      “It is sung to the tune of the French melody “Ah! vous dirais-je, Maman”, which was published in 1761 and later arranged by Mozart for a famous set of variations.”

      Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article detailing the origins of the song: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkle_Twinkle_Little_Star

      I obtained the Latin lyrics back in 1997, from The American Classical league, in a book of songs translated into Latin. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.aclclassics.org/

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the post!


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