Clement Clark Moore's Poetry
Clement Clark Moore
Brought to you by the website of Henry Livingston, the author of A Visit From St. Nicholas

As appears in his 1844 book, Poems.
Moore's version differs significantly from the original 1823 version,
and is based on the 1830 Troy Sentinel Broadsheet,
which he received before publishing Poems.

The original 1823 version is assumed to have been close to that of Henry Livingston's.


1'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
2Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
3The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
4In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
5The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
6While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
7And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
8Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap;
9When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
10I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
11Away to the window I flew like a flash,
12Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
13The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
14Gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
15When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
16But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
17With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
18I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
19More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
20And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
21"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
22On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
23To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
24Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
25As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
26When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
27So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
28With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
29And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
30The prancing and pawing of each little hoof--
31As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
32Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
33He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
34And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
35A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
36And he look'd like a pedlar just opening his pack.
37His eyes--how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
38His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
39His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
40And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
41The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
42And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
43He had a broad face and a little round belly,
44That shook when he laughed, like a bowlfull of jelly.
45He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
46And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
47A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
48Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
49He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
50And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
51And laying his finger aside of his nose,
52And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
53He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
54And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
55But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
56"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Compare Moore's 1844 version of the poem with other early ones to see how his version incorporated the work of editors, rather than being the version first published in 1823.

The correction of the rhythm of the reindeer names in this version was done by Tuttle in the 1830 Troy Sentinel Broadsheet. Moore took Hoffman's 1837 change of the reindeer name Dunder to Donder. The only change Moore, himself, made was the change of the reindeer name Blixem to Blitzen, ignoring earlier changes to the poor name-challenged reindeer of Blixen and Nixen.


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