Welcome to my page of quotations about the beauty of those magical creatures known as unicorns.
The unicorn is one of the most beautiful of the “shapes that haunt thought’s wildernesses”, but he did not attain his beauty all at once… Only in recent years has the legend of the unicorn been turned over to avowed and professional dreamers… ~Odell Shepard, “Shaping Fantasies,” The Lore of the Unicorn, 1930 [Quoted portion is the Fourth Spirit in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound:
“On a poet’s lips I slept,
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept.
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the aërial kisses
Of shapes that haunt thought’s wildernesses.”
When the unicorn arrived, things were different from what had been expected. He was such a noble animal, to begin with, that he carried a beauty with him: it held all spellbound who were within sight. The unicorn was white, with hoofs of silver and graceful horn of pearl. He stepped daintily over the heather, scarcely seeming to press it with his airy trot, and the wind made waves in his long mane, which had been freshly combed. The glorious thing about him was his eyes. There was a faint bluish furrow down each side of his nose, and this led up to the eye-sockets, and surrounded them in a pensive shade. The eyes, circled by this sad and beautiful darkness, were so sorrowful, lonely, gentle and nobly tragic, that they killed all other emotion except love. ~T. H. White (1906–1964), “The Unicorn,” 1939
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.
She did not look anything like a horned horse, as unicorns are often pictured, being smaller and cloven-hoofed, and possessing that oldest, wildest grace that horses have never had, that deer have only in a shy, thin imitation and goats in dancing mockery. Her neck was long and slender, making her head seem smaller than it was, and the mane that fell almost to the middle of her back was as soft as dandelion fluff and as fine as cirrus. She had pointed ears and thin legs, with feathers of white hair at the ankles, and the long horn above her eyes shone and shivered with its own seashell light even in the deepest midnight. ~Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, 1968
The legs, so delicately shaped, balanced a
body wrought of finest ivory. And as
he moved, his coat shone like reflected moonlight.
High on his forehead rose the magic horn, the sign
of his uniqueness: a tower held upright
by his alert, yet gentle, timid gait.
~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), “The Unicorn,” translated from German by Albert Ernest Flemming, 1983
I was bathing in a lake when I saw the unicorn. The water was cool and clear… It was a quiet day — as quiet as it ever gets, only the wind and the rustling of leaves, the accompanying insects… I had seen unicorns before, fleetingly. They were shy, cautious creatures that usually bolted when they sensed me, like quick flashes of sunlight on metal… As I looked upon this creature I knew I had seen nothing to compare to it for sheer beauty… It is an injustice to say merely that its coat was white… Sometimes the sun hit it just right and bright rainbow crescents fanned out like light through a fine spray of water. The hooves were mirror-bright — platinum or silver, I couldn’t tell. A distant lighthouse beacon on a lonely night, the spiral horn rose from the noble head: milky white, warm and welcoming. ~Steven R. Boyett, Ariel, 1983
Unicorn, in all your glory…
You come so cautiously,
Gentle as a petal,
Strong as an ox…
Born from starlight,
Love you bring…
~Jackie Hardcastle, “Unicorn,” Visions In Poetry: A Spiritual Awakening Journey, 2014
And with the sun slanting on the unicorns from beyond the trees, they were like rainbows, all colors and no colors at all. ~Jane Yolen, “The Boy Who Drew Unicorns,” 1987
In the midnight forest the dark oak trees are still under the stars. The pale wildflowers in the clearing have furled their petals for the night. Suddenly he appears, a milk-white creature with the proud form of a horse. You may not notice his cloven hoofs or curling beard, but you see the curved neck, the silver mane, the graceful tail. Then he moves his head, and the moonlight runs like sea water along the pearly spiral of his horn. There is no sound, but at the next heart-beat the clearing is once again empty of all but the night. ~Georgess McHargue (1941–2011), The Beasts of Never: A History Natural & Un-natural of Monsters Mythical & Magical, 1968
Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live alone in one place: usually a forest where there is a pool clear enough for them to see themselves — for they are a little vain, knowing themselves to be the most beautiful creatures in all the world, and magic besides. ~Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, 1968
Unicorn Quotations: Beauty
Original post date: 2015 Sep 21
1st major revision: 2017 May 3
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