By the time the Washington Reporter reprinted the hugely popularAccount of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” the name of the author was well known, though it didn’t always appear with the reprinting, as it does here. This seems to be the Reporter’s version of the poem: other reprintings in later years by the newspaper include the punctuational oddities in the roster of reindeers, and the saint lays more than one finger aside of his nose in order to rise up the chimney; he calls out his Christmas greeting as he drives out of sight, instead of before. Once you’d printed a popular poem once, it must have made sense to go back to that printing in subsequent years.


http://www.merrycoz.org/moore/1843Washington.xhtml
“A Visit from St. Nicholas” (from the Washington Reporter [Washington, Pennsylvania] 23 December 1843; p. 1.)
A Visit from St. Nicholas.
BY CLEMENT C. MOORE.

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced thro’ their heads;

And Ma’ in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had 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 the lustre of mid-day to objects below;

When, what to my wandering [sic] 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 Saint 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! now Vixen!

On Comet! on Cupid! on Donder and Blixen!

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 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 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 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 fingers 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, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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