Clement Clarke Moore

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

A Visit From St. Nicholas - Poem by Clement Clarke Moore

‘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 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 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 pedler 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.”

Topic(s) of this poem: christmas

Comments about A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

  • Practicing Poetess (11/24/2018 8:31:00 PM)

    ... And I always thought the title was 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' ! Thank you, PH!
    Saving this childhood favourite to My Poems List.

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio Frosini (12/25/2016 6:17:00 AM)

    this lovely poem was first published anonymously on Dec.23,1823, in a newspaper (I think it was 'The Sentinel) (Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kim Barney (12/25/2015 2:41:00 PM)

    One of my all-time favorite Christmas poems, but someone has made a typo, I'm sure, when typing the poem into PH's poem base. I remember the one reindeer's name as DONNER, not DONDER. DONNER means THUNDER in German. (BLITZ means LIGHTNING, by the way.) (Report)Reply

    13 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (12/25/2015 12:13:00 PM)

    No wonder what your beliefs, a wonderfully charming poem is a wonderfully charming poem and a treat toi the heart and soul of children of all ages (Report)Reply

    29 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (12/25/2015 4:09:00 AM)

    A superb masterpiece of a Christmas poem enjoyable by reader of any age. Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (12/18/2015 4:04:00 PM)

    a delightful presentation / narration of the visit done so endearingly. a treat to the reader during the season of Christmas (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (12/14/2015 4:49:00 PM)

    The best Christmas poem ever written and a childhood favorite.. (Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Rajesh Thankappan (12/12/2015 11:35:00 PM)

    An excellent narration of a beautiful and unexpected occasion. (Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Sumit Ganguly (12/12/2015 9:13:00 AM)

    Lively. The whole episode is enacted to the reader. (Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Spock The Vegan (12/11/2015 10:46:00 AM)

    Great poem - one of my favorites] (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (12/7/2015 9:06:00 AM)

    A very beautiful poem on christmas and its great. (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/10/2015 8:34:00 AM)

    I didn't know the poem was by Clement Clarke Moore.. shame on me.. and thanks PH.. (Report)Reply

    Kim Barney(12/25/2015 2:28:00 PM)

    I knew the poem was by Clement C. Moore; I just didn't know his middle name was Clarke!

    28 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • (6/19/2015 9:47:00 AM)

    What can anyone say about one of the most popular poems in the world. (Report)Reply

    19 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • (12/25/2014 8:52:00 AM)

    ........a real true masterpiece....and I feel it's well deserving of a gold medal.... (Report)Reply

    15 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (12/25/2014 7:56:00 AM)

    Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night......... Great poem. (Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Edgar Stevens (12/15/2014 2:18:00 PM)

    this is a great poem...a plus (Report)Reply

    10 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Read all 17 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Poem Edited: Thursday, December 11, 2014

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