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'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Posted by Ward on December 25, 2003

In Reply to: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas posted by Word Camel on December 24, 2003

: An oldy but a goody (and never copyrighted so I feel I can cut and paste with impunity)

: Wishing all of you at Phrasefinder Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and an abundant 2004. Thanks for brightening my life!

: Camelita

: A Visit from St. Nicholas

: by Clement Clarke Moore
: (1779-1863)

: also attributed to
: Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

: Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
: Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
: The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
: In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

: The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
: While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
: And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
: Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

: When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
: I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
: Away to the window I flew like a flash,
: Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

: The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
: Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
: When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
: But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

: With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
: I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
: More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
: And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

: "Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
: On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
: To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
: Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

: As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
: When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
: So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
: With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

: And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
: The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
: As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
: Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

: He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
: And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
: A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
: And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

: His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
: His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
: His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
: And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

: The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
: And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
: He had a broad face and a little round belly,
: That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

: He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
: And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
: A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
: Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

: He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
: And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
: And laying his finger aside of his nose,
: And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

: He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
: And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
: But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
: "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

::: And to you all --- here's a happy holiday wish from California, USA, where we speak a rich and especially exotic version of our favorite language.