'Twas the Night Before Christmas...
12/24/2003

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Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
    Not a creature was stirring... not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the fireside with care,
    In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
Silly animated mouse
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
    While visions of sugar-plums danced through their heads,
And she in her kerchief and I in my cap
    Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

W
hen out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from my 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 luster of mid-day to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
Santa and his sleigh on the new-fallen snow
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;
Laughing Santa
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 round little 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 a 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,
    "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Santa in his sleigh