Star Light, Star Bright

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For the science fiction by Alfred Bester, see Star Light, Star Bright (book) and Star Light, Star Bright (short story).
"Star Light, Star Bright"
Roud #16339
Written USA
Published Late 19thC
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer Traditional
Language English

"Star Light, Star Bright" is an English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 16339.


The lyrics usually conform to the following:

Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.[1]


The superstition of hoping for wishes granted when seeing a shooting or falling star may date back to the ancient world.[2] Wishing on the first star seen may also predate this rhyme, which first began to be recorded in late nineteenth-century America.[3] The song and tradition seem to have reached Britain by the early twentieth century and have since spread worldwide.[2]

References in popular culture[edit]

  • It is used in Aurand Harris's children's play Arkansaw Bear. (1980)
  • It forms some of the lyrics of Kimbra's song, "Settle Down".
  • It forms the name and some of the lyrics of Syl Johnson's song, "Star Bright, Star Lite" (1975).
  • This nursery rhyme appears in the movie 8 mm (1999)
  • The Metallica song, "King Nothing" (1996), features the line "I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight".
  • Is used as title of the episode of Quantum Leap, "Star Light, Star Bright".
  • In the movie The Last Starfighter (1984), the movie begins in a trailer park named "StarLight StarBright".
  • It is used in the Abbott and Costello film In the Navy (1941).
  • It is said by Caroline (Marisa Tomei), in Untamed Heart (1993).
  • It is also mentioned in Samantha: An American Girl Holiday movie. When she hears that she would move in with her uncle, she and her friend run away to Samantha's boathouse and wishes on a star.
  • Jeannie (Barbara Eden) says the Star Light, Star Bright nursery rhyme in the I Dream of Jeannie series, season 1, episode 7, "Anybody Here Seen Jeannie", around the 24th minute.
  • Barbie recites it before she sings the song "The Wish I Wish Tonight" in Barbie: A Perfect Christmas.
  • Lana Del Rey begins a leaked song "Serial Killer" by saying "Wish I may, Wish I might, Find my one true love tonight".
  • Sally Brown sings the nursery rhyme in the movie "Happiness is a Warm Blanket", 2011.
  • It is used on episode 13 of the anime "Is this a Zombie?", during an Uta-garuta tournament.
  • It is the title of the 14th chapter of Streams of Silver from the Forgotten Realms novels, featuring Drizzt Do'Urden.


  1. ^ R. Gerlings, Hey, Diddle, Diddle and Other Best-Loved Rhymes (Windmill Books, 2009), p. 32.
  2. ^ a b I. Opie and M. Tatem, A Dictionary of Superstitions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 175-6.
  3. ^ R. Webster, The Encyclopedia of Superstitions (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2008), p. 245.