Clement Clarke Moore

Clement Clark Moore

Last evening I had the pleasure of attending a Victorian Christmas Celebration at the Valenzano Winery.  We were treated to wonderful theater and enjoyed the taste of many great wines.  Wine and theater, what more could we ask for?  For me, I heard a holiday poem that I had never heard before.  I think just about everyone knows Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem, A Visit From Saint Nickolaus, otherwise known as the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas but he had other works.  I had never had cause to explore his other works and it definitely has a different tone than his famous poem.  I give you Old Santeclaus.

Old SANTECLAUS with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night,
O’er chimney-tops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

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The steady friend of virtuous youth,
The friend of duty, and of truth,
Each Christmas eve he joys to come
Where love and peace have made their home.

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Through many houses he has been,
And various beds and stockings seen;
Some, white as snow, and neatly mended,
Others, that seemed for pigs intended.

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Where e’er I found good girls or boys,
That hated quarrels, strife and noise,
I left an apple, or a tart,
Or wooden gun, or painted cart.

Thomas Nast’s most famous drawing, “Merry Old Santa Claus”, from the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly.

Thomas Nast’s most famous drawing, “Merry Old Santa Claus”, from the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly.

To some I gave a pretty doll,
To some a peg-top, or a ball;
No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets,
To blow their eyes up, or their pockets.

No drums to stun their Mother’s ear,
Nor swords to make their sisters fear;
But pretty books to store their mind
With knowledge of each various kind.

Covering-Ears

But where I found the children naughty,
In manners rude, in temper haughty,
Thankless to parents, liars, swearers,
Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers,

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I left a long, black, birchen rod,
Such as the dread command of God
Directs a Parent’s hand to use
When virtue’s path his sons refuse.

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Yes definitely a different tone to this Clement Clarke Moore poem.  I think I will stick to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

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