Beautiful Star (Star of the Evening)
DESCRIPTION: "Beautiful star in heav'n so bright, Softly falls thy silvr'y light, As thou movest from earth afar, Star of the evening, beautiful star. Beautiful star, Beautiful star, Star of the evening, beautiful star." The singer asks the star to watch over his love
AUTHOR: James M. Sayles
EARLIEST DATE: 1855 (sheet music published by J. H. Hidley of Albany)
KEYWORDS: nonballad love
FOUND IN: Britain
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ADDITIONAL: Florence Milner, "Poems in Alice in Wonderland" (1903), now reprinted in Robert Phillips, editor, _Aspects of Alice_, 1971 (references are to the 1977 Vintage paperback), pp. 250-251, ""Star of the Evening" (1 text, with "Alice"-related context)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(4352), "Beautiful Star," H. Such (London), 1849-1862; same (?) sheet as Harding B 11(4352); also Harding B 19(10), "Beautuful (sic.) star! in heaven so bright " [another trimmed version as 2806 b.9(272), another as 2806 c.15(96)]; Harding B 11(4067), "Beautiful Star," J. Harkness (Preston), 1840-1866; same (?) sheet as Harding B 11(4068); Firth b.26(74); Harding B 11(1669); 2806 c.13(81), "Beautiful Star," James Lindsay (Glasgow), after 1851
NOTES: This obviously isn't a folk song, but there are slight hints of it in oral tradition -- including the fact that the Liddell sisters sang it for Lewis Carroll. Which inspired its far more famous parody (which is the reason I list it here): Carroll used it as the basis for "Beautiful Soup" ("Soup of the evening, Beautiful Soup"), as sung by the Mock Turtle.
How much more famous? Granger's Index to Poetry has two references to "Beautiful Star." Both are books of parodies linking it to "Beautiful Soup" -- which has *five* entries in Granger's.
For further details, one may consult Carroll/Gardner, p. 108
Alice Liddell Hargreaves (as she came to be) also referred to singing this song. In an account repeated in Jones/Gladstone, p. 102, she mentions how she and her sisters sand "Star of the evening, beautiful star," "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," and "Will you walk into my parlour?" on their expeditions with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and the Rev. Robinson Duckworth.
The song seems to have been very popular with parodists (which is an indication of its popularity in the late 1850s); Carroll/Green, p. 263, notes that J. H. Byron parodied it in 1860 in a burlesque "Cinderella." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
- Carroll/Gardner: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition by Lewis Carroll with Introduction and Notes by Martin Gardner, W. W. Norton, 2000
- Carroll/Green: Lewis Carroll, Alices Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, edited with an introduction and notes by Roger Lancelyn Green, 1971 (I use the 2008 Oxford University Press paperback edition)
- Jones/Gladstone: Jo Elwyn Jones & J. Francis Gladstone, The Red King's Dream or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland, 1995 (I use the 1996 Pimlico edition)
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.