Clement Clarke Moore

(15 July 1779 – 10 July 1863 / New York City, New York)

Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas


'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 Mama 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 sight should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
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 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 look'd like a pedlar 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 bowlfull 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 fill'd 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."

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004
Edited: Friday, April 13, 2012

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  • Bronze Star - 7,045 Points * Sunprincess * (7/15/2014 2:00:00 PM)

    .......this is my most favourite poem of all time......I have always Loved this poem....it's a true masterpiece....a true work of art....it's a delight to read, and holds a world of wonder for adults and children alike...I would love to have taken lessons from this poet....and you know, I never knew this was the name of this poem....I always thought it was ~ 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.....and I am so pleased I found it here on my favourite site! (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 2,533 Points Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (12/10/2007 3:35:00 AM)

    Epic work, that has thrilled the hearts & minds of Children and adults alike for scores upon scores of years!
    The soul of a family Christmas Eve is about tradition and memories that are indeliblly etched for a lifetime, as well as a childs gift of sharing those traditions with their own familes, one day.Clement C. Moore may not be the most popularly read Poet year round, but aside of Dickens Christmas Carol....i hold '''A Visit From St. Nicholas...a grassblade-close second as a most popularly read ^ revered Christmas tale! Merry Christmas 2007 Poemhunter's.

    ~ FjR ~ (Report) Reply

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