"Though my soul set in darkness,
It shall rise in perfect light
For I have loved the stars
To be fearful
Of the night"
Ian Rankin titled his Inspector Rebus novel Set in Darkness after the lines and quoted them in the introduction. In an interview, Rankin linked the quote to the rise of a restored Scottish Parliament and the redemption of the Inspector in the novel.The poem is written from the perspective of an aged astronomer on his
deathbed bidding his student to continue his humble research. The lines
have been chosen by a number of professional and amateur astronomers as
Sarah Williams (December 1837
–April 25, 1868) was an English poet and novelist, most famous as the
author of the poem "The Old Astronomer". She published short works and
one collection of poetry during her lifetime under the pseudonyms Sadie and S.A.D.I., the former of which she considered her name rather than a nom de plume.Her posthumously published second poetry collection and novel appeared under her given name.
Williams was born in December 1837 in Marylebone, London, to Welsh father Robert Williams (c. 1807–1868) and English mother Louisa Ware (c. 1811–1886).She was very close to her father and considered her "bardic" interests to come from him.As a young child unable to pronounce 'Sarah', she inadvertently gave herself the nickname 'Sadie'. An only child, she was educated first by her doting parents and later governesses.
Although Williams was only half Welsh by birth and never lived
outside London, she incorporated Welsh phrases and themes in her poems
and Sadie was considered a Welsh poet.