A Visit From St. Nicholas

Twas the night before Christmas Poem | Clement Clarke Moore
Twas the night before Christmas Poem | Clement Clarke Moore

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Twas The Night Before Christmas Poem | Clement Clarke Moore

Clement Clarke Moore, the American poet from the 1800s, was most noted for the vastly conflicted ‘Twas the night before Christmas” poem. The poem, cited as ‘arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American’ by  Burrows & Wallace* is a landmark poem in the career of Clement Clarke Moore. 

Origins of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ poem

Titled ‘A visit from St. Nicholas‘ the poem is popular by the name of ‘Twas the night before Christmas” poem. Originally published anonymously in the year 1823, no one laid claim to the poem until it became hugely popular appearing in multiple newspapers, anthologies and more. Clement Clarke Moore laid claim to the poem and illustrated how he had written the poem for his children and recited it to the them on the Christmas eve of 1822.

Who else holds the claim?

Noted writer Henry Livingston Jr. is often cited as the original author of the “A visit from St. Nicholas’. However, Livingston, during his life, never ever laid claim to it and there is no record of any publication of the poem under his name in any of his works.

List of books by Clement Clarke Moore

  • A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language
  • George Castriot, Surnamed Scanderbeg, King of Albania
  • Twas the night before Christmas
  • The night before Christmas and other popular stories for children
  • A Christmas carol and the night before Christmas
  • The teddy bear’s night before Christmas
  • Night before Xmas
  • Poems
  • Sermons
Twas the night before Christmas poem | Clement Clarke Moore
Twas the night before Christmas poem | Clement Clarke Moore

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 our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When 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 a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he 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, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop 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 on 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 bowl full 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!”

It is already the holiday season and we hope you’re feeling the spirit of Christmas in the air. We wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that you liked this beautiful post about Christmas. Share ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ poem with your friends and family to spread the holiday cheer.

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