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Quotations about the
Scorpius Constellation

Welcome to my page of quotations about Scorpius, the scorpion — IMHO, the most beautiful constellation in the sky!  —ღ Terri

A Star Professor at the big college in New York taught us the Scorpion. I really think it looks like a Scorpion, with its tail curled over its back. He says a good way to find Scorpio is to face south, and the handle of the Dipper points to it. But if you face south, you can hardly miss it, as An-tá-res, the Scorpion's heart, is so very bright and red, and bright green, too. It is a funny color, but very pretty. ~Gertrude Chandler Warner, Star Stories for Little Folks, 1918

Whiles Scorpio, dreading Sagittarius' dart
Whose bow prest bent in flight, the string had slipp'd,
Down slid into the Ocean flood apart,
The Bear, that in the Irish seas had dipp'd
His grisly feet, with speed from thence he whipp'd...
~Thomas Sackville, "The Induction," Mirour for Magistrates, 1563

There is a place above, where Scorpio bent,
In tail and arms surrounds a vast extent;
In a wide circuit of the heavens he shines,
And fills the place of two celestial signs.
~Ovid (43 BCE–17 CE)

Scorpio is one of the most ancient of the constellations, originally much extended in the direction of Virgo, the claws of the Scorpion occupying the region of the sky where we now see the constellation Libra. ~William Tyler Olcott, "Scorpio, The Scorpion," Star Lore of All Ages, 1911

Now rising you may see with naked eye
The brilliant Star in Corde Scorpii,
Whose changing colours on a Summer's night,
When culminating, shine so clear and bright,
And twinkling change with red and silver light.
~Ovid (43 BCE–17 CE)

Scorpio is in a region of the heavens famous for the appearance of novæ, the wonderful temporary stars that occasionally flash upon our view the light that spells a great conflagration or mighty cataclysm far out in space, the enormity of which is beyond our comprehension. ~William Tyler Olcott, "Scorpio, The Scorpion," Star Lore of All Ages, 1911

Now had the season returned when the nights grow colder and longer,
And the retreating sun the sign of the Scorpion enters...
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Antares — α Scorpii — the brilliant first magnitude star in the Scorpion, is one of the so-called four "Royal Stars," known as such from remote antiquity. The Arabs called Antares "the Scorpion's Heart." Chinese documents of great antiquity refer to it as "the Fire Star" or "Great Fire." On the Euphrates, it was known as "the Lusty King" or "the Vermilion Star." Some of the ancient temples of Egypt were oriented to Antares. ~William Tyler Olcott, "Scorpio, The Scorpion," Star Lore of All Ages, 1911

From my highest hill
      I watched for Antares.
      Brief would be his glimmer
      Where the long line of mountains
      Duped the horizon
      With vague, rambling mist.
And I shall never know
      If that was Antares'
      Eye on the earth-line,
      Or the gleam of a lantern
      The wild poet carried;
      For God who saw both
      Only laughs when I ask him.
~Olive Tilford Dargan (1869–1968), "Who Shall Measure?"

Scorpio is a very beautiful group of stars, and easily traced out in the heavens. It furnishes striking evidence of the facility with which most of the constellations may be so accurately delineated, as to preclude every thing like uncertainty in the knowledge of their relative situation. ~Elijah H. Burritt, The Geography of the Heavens, 1833

Antares' fire burns low — with huge embers it glows like sullen demons doomed to death, a flame-scourged sun awaiting the frigid touch that time bestows on life. ~William Tyler Olcott, "Scorpio, The Scorpion," Star Lore of All Ages, 1911

The Akkadians called Scorpio "the Seizer" or "Stinger." ~Richard Hinckley Allen, Star-Names and Their Meanings, 1899

Antares carries concealed in its rays a green jewel, a tiny emerald companion, which can be seen with a telescope. When the air is steady and the companion can be well viewed, there is no finer sight among the double stars. ~Garrett P. Serviss, Pleasures of the Telescope, 1901

Scorpius is not a scorpion to everyone. The Javanese people of Indonesia call this constellation Banyakangrem, meaning "the brooded swan" or Kalapa Doyong, meaning "leaning coconut tree." In Hawaii, it is known as the demigod Maui's Fishhook. In Chinese mythology, the constellation was part of the Azure Dragon. ~Kim Ann Zimmermann, "Scorpius Constellation: Facts About the Scorpion,", 2017

The Scorpius constellation lies in the southern sky, one of the oldest constellations catalogued. Located near the centre of the Milky Way, it contains a number of notable stars and deep sky objects, including the bright stars Antares and Shaula, the Butterfly Cluster, Ptolemy Cluster, Cat's Paw Nebula, Butterfly Nebula, and the War and Peace Nebula. Scorpius contains 55 stars, including 13 stars with known planets as well as the Alpha Scorpiids and Omega Scorpiids meteor showers. In ancient times, the constellation was significantly larger and comprised of two halves, one with the scorpion's body and sting, and one containing the claws. The latter was called Chelae and was separated into the Libra constellation, or the Scales., 2012

...The sky to-night
Is of a clearer blackness than is wont,
And far within its depths the colored stars
Sparkle like gems — capricious Antares
Flushing and paling in the Southern arch...
~Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–1867), "The Scholar of Thebet Ben Chorat"

Although both Orion and Scorpio were honored by the celestials with a place among the stars, yet their situations were so ordered that when one rose the other should set, and vice versa; so that they never appear in the same hemisphere at the same time. ~E. H. Burritt, 1833

...Antares winks green and gold, crimson and rust
As Scorpius swings its tail at the southern horizon...
~Terri Guillemets, "Galactic gathering," 2020

To chase th' dread Scorpion, proclaim'd a great Evil,
That kill'd Orion th' boaster, whom it stung in th' Head.
~R. Machan, A New System of Astronomical Mnemonics, 1826

The ancient poets of Greece tell us, that this is the Scorpion which Diana sent to wound Orion for usurping her office. Ovid tells us, that this serpent was produced by the earth, to punish Orion's vanity for having boasted that there was not on the terraqueous globe any animal which he could not conquer. ~Alexander Jamieson, A Dictionary of Mechanical Science, Arts, Manufactures, and Miscellaneous Knowledge, 1827

In Scorpio, distinguished by a train of conspicuous stars, there are several very beautiful objects:— The star Antares is one of the most beautiful of the red stars and is the most brilliant star in that region of the skies. It is a double star, its companion being a minute green sun. The star β Scorpionis is a fine optical double with colours of white and lilac, σ Scorpionis white and maroon, triple ξ Scorpionis white and grey. ~R. A. Proctor, Half-Hours with the Telescope, 1878  [mash-up quote with E. H. Burritt –tg]

Words that provoked the gods once from him fell.
No beasts so fierce, said he, but I can quell;
When lo! the earth a baleful Scorpion sent,
To kill Latona was the dire intent.
Orion saved her, though himself was slain,
But did for that a spacious place obtain
In heaven. To thee my life, said she, was dear,
And for thy merit shine illustrious there.

Scorpio:  This animal is famous in fiction on account of his hatred of Orion, who always sets when Scorpio rises. Hence the death of Orion was attributed to the bite of a scorpion. The chastity of Diana being attacked by this hunter, the goddess incited a scorpion to sting him mortally, and Jupiter placed her avenger in the heavens. ~Jonathan Duncan (1799–1865), The Religions of Profane Antiquity; Their Mythology, Fables, Hieroglyphics, and Doctrines, Founded on Astronomical Principles, n.d., c. 1830

Antares, the bright star in the heart of the Scorpion is known by the rapid permutations of colour exhibited by its twinkling. ~T. Forster, The Perennial Calendar, and Companion to the Almanack, 1824

Next in the rank the Scorpion behold,
Emblem of Autumn's pestilential force;
Him Jupiter, for fierce Orion slain,
As mystic fables sing, plac'd in the Stars:
For as the monitress of latent truth,
Sweet Poesy, suggests, the Sire of Heaven,
Detesting Violence and brutal Wrong,
Amidst the stars exalts the conquerors
Of Tyranny, deliverers of man.
The Heart, with lustre of amazing force,
Refulgent vibrates: faint the other parts,
And ill defin'd by stars of meaner note.
~Capel Lofft, Eudosia: or, A Poem on the Universe, Book III: "The Seasons and the Zodiac," 1781

As the Scorpion rises in the eastern sky, Orion, as if in fear, disappears from view in the west. ~William Tyler Olcott, "Scorpio, The Scorpion," Star Lore of All Ages, 1911

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published 2007 Sep 7
revised 2007, 2016, 2017
last saved 2022 Sep 18