'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The pipistrelles were hung in their bat-box with care,
With hopes that St. Nichomouse soon would be there;
The dormice were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of hazel nuts 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 hibernecula to see what was the matter.
Away through the hedgerow in a prickly flash,
Tore open the logs and threw up the brash.
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 roe deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than peregrines his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and squeaked, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Bittern!
To the top of the fence! 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 treetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of slugs, and St. Nichomouse 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. Nichomouse came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his tail was all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of slugs he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! His whiskers, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a berry!
His furry little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the patch on his belly was as white as the snow;
The remains of a seed he gnawed with his teeth,
And his ears, they encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a pointy face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like dog food in jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old mouse,
And I laughed when I saw him, here in my house;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He squeaked not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his claw aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he goes;
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!”
Poem adapted from ‘A Visit from St.Nicholas’ by Clement Clarke Moore.