'Twas the Night Before Christmas

    '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 down
    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 tiny 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, Donder 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 hand,
    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."

'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863

Christmas Corner | Holiday Books

Graphics (c) Wendy Hogan, 1998-2001