Mica Mica Parva Stella (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

Click on the audio link to hear the recording:

Mica Mica Parva Stella

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.  It was used as an audio loop in an installation created for my MFA Thesis Exhibition.

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


    1. I took Latin from 7-9th grades. I had two teachers, both wonderful. Mr. Dolan taught us to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Now that my great neice is named, Stella (star), I had to find this song. Here it is. I am so glad I learned Latin. I am so glad my mom encouraged me to take it.

  1. 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?

    1. 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!


  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. 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.

  4. Ты сияй на небе ясном.
    Как же ты звезда прекрасна,
    Как мне мил твой чудный пламень,
    Неба драгоценный камень.
    Солнце сядет, легким стадом
    Попастись придет прохлада,
    И проглянет в темной выси
    Высверк вскоре чистый-чистый.
    Все. кто в ночь бредут устало,
    Благодарны искре малой,
    Что укажет всем заблудшим
    На какой дороге лучше.
    Ты ко мне заглянешь тоже,
    Сон мой чуткий не тревожа,
    А сама сиять готова
    До рассвета золотого.
    Так сияй на небе ясном,
    Как же ты звезда прекрасна.

    1. Wonderful! Google Translate gives the following from Russian to English:

      You shine in the clear sky .
      How are you beautiful star ,
      How dear to me is your wonderful flame ,
      Heaven gem.
      The sun sits , easy herd
      Will get cool,
      And peep into the dark heights
      Vysverk soon clean – clean.
      All. who wander wearily into the night,
      Thanked the small spark ,
      What will indicate all the lost
      Which way is better .
      You will glance to me , too ,
      Sleep my sensitive without disturbing ,
      And she is ready to shine
      Before dawn golden .
      So shine on the clear sky ,
      How are you beautiful star .

  5. What a thrill! I was an evacuee from England in the USA (Connecticut) from 1940 to 1944 and for some reason we learned all 4 verses in Latin and am delighted to see I have remembered it almost perfectly.
    DAS 28 May 2018.

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