“I dig old books.” ™
Quotations about Unicorns
Welcome to my page of quotations about unicorns — the only thing I've ever collected other than quotes. In fourth grade, 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. And speaking of fantasy, one of my fondest childhood memories is a boy I had a crush on coming to my classroom during a rainy day film to give me a plastic stained "glass" unicorn. I've probably never blushed so fiercely in my life. Anyway, whatever memories you have or are making, I hope you enjoy these quotes I've collected over the years.
The music beat on among youthful leaves, into the darkness, beneath the gold and mute cacophony of stars.... stars were golden unicorns neighing unheard through blue meadows spurning them with hooves sharp and scintillant as ice. ~William Faulkner, Soldiers' Pay, 1926
He had lost his body.... It was as though vision were a bodiless Eye suspended in dark-blue space, an Eye without Thought, regarding without surprise an antic world where wanton stars galloped neighing like unicorns in blue meadows. ~William Faulkner, Soldiers' Pay, 1926
See! the gay Unicorn the Wood adorn,
Fair sign of Plenty with his Iv'ry Horn!
~John Whaley (1710–1745), "A Journey to Houghton. A Poem."
I think he kept a unicorn
in his garden, or even himself was
partly a unicorn and reverted to the form at certain
seasons, or under the influence of the moon or
the scent of unidentified herbs,
or the echo of hoofbeats among the constellations
inaudible to most ears.
~Peggy Pond Church, "Elegy," c.1957
There is no such thing as a great man or a great woman. People believe in them, just as they used to believe in unicorns and dragons. The greatest man or woman is ninety-nine per cent just like yourself. ~George Bernard Shaw, 1932
The brilliance of the stars increased.... He focused on one star which throbbed with peculiar intensity. A beam of light as strong as a ladder but clear as water flowed between the star and Charles Wallace, and it was impossible to tell whether the light came from the piercing silver-blue of the star or the light blue eyes of the boy. The beam became stronger and firmer and then all the light resolved itself in a flash of radiance beside the boy. Slowly the radiance took on form, until it had enfleshed itself into the body of a great white beast with flowing mane and tail. From its forehead sprang a silver horn which contained the residue of the light. It was a creature of utter and absolute perfection. ~Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, 1978
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," c.1929
She who calls for unicorns
A fitting bride shall be
For one who guides a soaring ship
Upon a cloud-tossed sea.
For no one but a poet true
Would ever dream to choose
A unicorn so fleet and small
With brightly polished shoes...
And when the day is sort o' brown
And bird-men climb the skies,
O, may she ride about the town
A poem in disguise.
~Alfaretta Lansing, "Reply for Anne Spencer Morrow," c.1929
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.... [T]he mane that fell almost to the middle of her back was as soft as dandelion fluff and as fine as cirrus.... 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 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 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
Hey, I like unicorns. Unicorns are just weaponized ponies. ~Damon Suede, Bad Idea, 2013
In this volume of poetry for animals you will find... study guides or questions.... Do not be alarmed! Unlike most study guides, these are not meant to terrify and confuse, until the young reader starts slavering like a mad dog and gnawing bits out of Teacher's leg. (You know what I mean — surely you've had the experience of coming to the end of a poem about, say, a girl and her unicorn, only to be asked the question, "How did the author use the unicorn as a metaphor?" when all the time you thought the unicorn was used as a form of transportation.) No, the study guides included in this volume are meant both to spare Teacher's leg, and also to provide ever greater opportunities for pleasure and happiness. ~I.H. Smythe, "Preface," Poetry for Animals, 2011
The people who see them share some of the unicorn's traits. They're lonely, with virtuous hearts. ~David E. Kelley, "Making Spirits Bright," Ally McBeal (S2, E10, 1998, Maxwell)
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"
Only in recent years has the legend of the unicorn been turned over to avowed and professional dreamers; throughout the greater part of its history it has been shaped chiefly by practical men—hunters, physicians, explorers, and merchant-adventurers—who regarded mere poetry with the healthy contempt shown by Shakespeare's Theseus. Yet the literary allusions to the animal are of course very numerous. ~Odell Shepard, "Shaping Fantasies," The Lore of the Unicorn, 1930
The unicorn and I are one:
He also pauses in amaze
Before some maiden's magic gaze,
And, while he wonders, is undone.
On some dear breast he slumbers deep,
And Treason slays him in that sleep.
Just so have ended my life's days;
So Love and my Lady lay me low.
My heart will not survive this blow.
~Thibaut, Count of Champagne
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," 1988
A long time ago, when the Earth was green
There was more kinds of animals than you've ever seen
They'd run around free while the Earth was being born
And the loveliest of all was the unicorn...
~Shel Silverstein (1930–1999)
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
I've heard when John was younger
He was taken with a hunger
To see the white-horned wonder
They call the unicorn.
But when that star-horned, moon-maned dancer
Finally called, John could not answer;
Fear held him like a prisoner,
And he watched it walk away...
I know there's nothing sadder
Than a heart that feared its dreams.
If a unicorn should call to you
Some moon-mad night all washed in dew,
Then here's the prayer to whisper:
Grant me the heart to follow.
~Beatrice Farrington, "Old Ragged John"
He was such a noble animal... 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 Once and Future King, 1958 (The Queen of Air and Darkness, 1939)
I can only eat glitter and rainbows. Darn my sensitive stomach! ~Bob Shea, Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great, 2013
I just saw Twilight.
It's labeled a vampire film,
but I don't know why.
Those were not vampires.
If sunlight makes you sparkle,
you're a unicorn.
~Ryan Mecum, Vampire Haiku, 2009
Despite its worldwide fame, there are those who believe there are no more unicorns. One reason people give for their disappearance is that when Noah built the Ark, the unicorns didn't make it on board, either because they were too large, or too silly—playing games and frisking about until Noah couldn't wait any longer.
Others think they were simply hunted into extinction.
Still others believe that the unicorns left when the world became less sympathetic to the old magic, fleeing to someplace better suited to their strange beauty.
Saddest of all are those who believe there never were any unicorns to begin with....
But here's what I believe: wherever else they may have come from, unicorns live inside the true believer's heart.
Which means that as long as we can dream, there will be unicorns.
~Bruce Coville, "The Lore of the Unicorn," 1987
Being a person is getting too complicated. Time to be a unicorn. ~Popular internet meme, c.2013
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)
This weary ol' workhorse is a unicorn, my friend. ~Terri Guillemets, "New start in an old house," 2006
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
Unicorns have always occupied a peculiar position in the opinion of the people as animals of good omen. There is an old legend, that a unicorn made its appearance at the birth of Confucius. The unicorn has been seen as a symbol of love for mankind. Unicorns have from a very early age been entrusted with the guardianship of tombs from unseen evil influences and the neutralisation of misfortune. ~J.J.M. de Groot, The Religious System of China, 1894, wording slightly altered
When someone told me that I live in a fantasyland, I nearly fell off my unicorn. ~Internet meme, c.2010 #infj
The unicorn stands alone, still as frost. It keeps watch down the corridors of time. The past and the future meet in the presence of the unicorn; the darkness and light become one. Patient as a candle flame, inviolate, here is our guardian, keeper of the silent unknown. ~Josephine Bradley, c.1980
Think of the Unicorn, that curious symbol of retirement from the world... ~Edward Carpenter, "Tradition, Convention, and the Gods," c.1898
Never play leapfrog with a unicorn. ~Sage advice
No one can vouch for the origins of the medieval proverb, "No true virgin plays leapfrog with a unicorn in the forest on a spring night." ~Muriel Segal, Virgins Reluctant, Dubious & Avowed, 1977
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
Unicorns are just horny ponies. ~Internet meme
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.... [A]s 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, originally published 1983
In the sea, the fish have learned to fly,
On a moonlit night on wings of silver,
As the enchanted stars sail serenely by.
Do they know where do unicorns go?
Where winged horses fly?...
~Jimmy Webb, "In the Sea," Das Letzte Einhorn, 1982
Don't you love it that Prince doesn't use Twitter? Don't you think he's somewhere on a unicorn? ~Bruno Mars, quoted by Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 2012
I believe that the Unicorn may come to represent... the realm of art.... Bereft of a complete fable, the Unicorn has earned a place in our imagination as an arcanum, an emblem of what we do not know. ~Roger Shattuck (1923–2005), "The Sphinx and the Unicorn," Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography, 1986
[I]f 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)
Of all the legendary animals of art, folklore, and literature, the unicorn is the one with the greatest hold on our imaginations. Other fabulous beasts are clearly inventions, existing only in a mythical landscape of our own collective creation. But the unicorn strikes us as more than imaginary. It seems possible, even probable — a creature so likely that it ought to exist. ~Nancy Hathaway, The Unicorn, 1982