Welcome to my page of quotations about unicorns — the only thing I’ve ever collected other than quotes and books. In grade school, I had a minor obsession with the beautiful creatures and would save up my chore allowance to get a poster or knick-knack when I could.
The Unicorn — the wild, white, fierce, chaste Moon, whose two horns, unlike those of mortal creatures, are indissolubly twisted into one, whose brilliant horn drives away the darkness and evil of the night. ~Robert Brown, The Unicorn: A Mythological Investigation, 1881 [a little altered
Our Unicorn sings ravishing melodies for those who possess the inner ear of mystics and poets. ~James Huneker, Unicorns, 1906–1917 [The book is a collection of essays about musicians, writers, artists, literature, &c.
…the unicorn is noble,
He knows his gentle birth,
He knows that God has chosen him
Above all beasts of earth.
~Volkslied (German folk song)
When it rained, the patter on the barn roof took on a soporific rhythm, and often the unicorns would doze and dream. Their dreams were always about running over great green swards, the wind through their white manes. Always. ~Jane Yolen, “The Lady’s Garden,” Here There Be Unicorns, 1994 [a little altered
The Unicorn with the long white horn
Is beautiful and wild.
He gallops across the forest green
So quickly that he’s seldom seen
Where Peacocks their blue feathers preen
And strawberries grow wild.
He flees the hunter and the hounds,
Upon black earth his white hoof pounds…
~William Jay Smith, “Unicorn,” 1957
The unicorn, she said, was a marvelous beast, shining with honor, wisdom and strength. Just to see him strengthened the soul. ~Megan Lindholm, “The Unicorn in the Maze,” 1987, in Bruce Coville, The Unicorn Treasury: Stories, Poems, and Unicorn Lore, 1988
Oh how in our childlike hearts still we mourn
The passing of the Unicorn.
Of gentle beauty and infinite grace,
A creature unfit for our world’s pace.
Yet wait! For who’s to say?
Perhaps even now in some far distant forest glade,
There still moves quietly in the cool and leafy shade
That timeless creature of a golden age,
That spirit of a shining dawn,
That magic beast, The Unicorn.
~Author unknown, “The Lost Unicorn”
The best use for a unicorn’s horn is to adorn a unicorn. ~Femeref adage, Benevolent Unicorn card, Magic: The Gathering, Richard Garfield, Wizards of the Coast
The eldest of the three unicorns in the Lady’s garden, Wishart, had skin that was almost translucent, a kind of pearly white, like the inside of shells. When he walked — and he never ran — he moved with an ancient grace. His breath smelled musty, like a bowl of crushed flower petals. The second oldest, Tartary, had skin like vellum. The third oldest — Infanta —still had a bit of spirit to her walk and a bit of flint in her amber eyes. Even her horn was still the gold of new-minted coins, while the others had horns more like the color of the full moon. ~Jane Yolen, “The Lady’s Garden,” Here There Be Unicorns, 1994 [a little altered
That unicorns may be betray’d with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But, when I tell him, he hates flatterers,
He says, he does; being then most flatter’d.
~William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, c. 1599 [II, 1, Decius Brutus]
Unicorns are the wariest of all wild things, but they sleep soundly when they sleep. ~Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, 1968
Everything today has been
Heavy and brown.
Bring me a Unicorn
To ride about town.
Bring me a unicorn
As little and white
As the new moon
On its first night…
And I will kneel each morning
To polish his bright hoofs
That they may gleam each moonlight
We ride over roofs.
~Anne Spencer Morrow, “Unicorn,” 1927
The unicorn could hear the sounds of the Earth growing: grass and leaves and timothy in the fields. She could distinguish between oak and ash on the rise, though the sound of rowan growing made her tremble all over. ~Jane Yolen, “The Lady’s Garden,” Here There Be Unicorns, 1994 [a little altered
Carry fire leaping from your starhorn
With your flaming starhorn…
~Shirley Rousseau Murphy, “Starhorn,” 1987
If the horne have this situation, and be so forwardly affixed, as is described, it will not be easily conceived, how it can feed from the ground… ~Thomas Browne (1605–1682)
Two lovely dames, whose air and habit show’d
That not to lineage mean their birth they ow’d;
Nor seem’d brought up in humble cottage state,
But bred in rich apartments of the great;
Each on a beauteous unicorn was plac’d,
Whose snowy hue the ermin’s white defac’d.
~Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533), Orlando Furioso, translated from Italian by John Hoole, 1783
Original post date: 2000 Mar 22
1st major revision: 2017 May 3
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