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The Night Before Christmas

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Danielle Gorree
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« on: December 21, 2007, 02:30:12 am »

The Night Before Christmas
by Clement Clarke Moore 

The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" from its first line, and first published in 1823, is largely responsible for the contemporary American conception of Santa Claus, including his appearance, the night he visits, his method of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably.— Excerpted from A Visit from St. Nicholas on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The last two reindeer names were Dunder and Blixem when the poem was first published anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel on 1823-12-23. When Moore later published the work as his own (Poems, 1844), the names were spelled Donder and Blitzen. In a number of later reprintings, Dunder/Donder's name is further simplified to Donner.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 02:30:46 am by Danielle Gorree » Report Spam   Logged

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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2007, 02:31:29 am »


'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 Saint Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down 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 wondering 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 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, Dunder and Blixem!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry 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 hand, 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 of 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 bowlful 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."
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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2007, 02:32:55 am »

Cover of a 1912 edition of the poem, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith.

The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line), first published in 1823, is largely responsible for the contemporary conception of Santa Claus, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and his delivery of toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably.
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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2007, 02:34:19 am »

The poem was first published anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel on December 23, 1823, and was reprinted frequently thereafter with no name attached. Authorship was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore and the poem was included in an 1844 anthology of his works, but his connection with the verses has been questioned by some. Moore's wife was of Dutch descent, being a descendant of the Van Cortlandt family via her mother. She shared bloodlines with Henry Livingston, Jr. and Clement Clarke Moore's family was married into the Livingston family as well. Henry Livingston, Jr., a New Yorker with Dutch and Scottish roots, is considered the chief candidate for authorship if Moore did not write it.

In An American Anthology, 1787–1900, Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed., reprinted the Moore version of the poem, including the German spelling of "Donder and Blitzen" he adopted, rather than the earlier Dutch version from 1823, "Dunder and Blixem." Both phrases translate as "Thunder and Lightning" in English, though the German word for thunder is actually "Donner," and the words in modern Dutch would be "Donder en Bliksem."

Today, some printings alter the grammar and spelling of the poem and replace somewhat archaic words, such as ere, with ones more familiar to modern readers. The final line, originally written as "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night," has been changed in many editions to "Merry Christmas to all," in accord with the standard Christmas greeting current in the United States and other English speaking countries.

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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2007, 02:34:57 am »

Four hand-written copies of the poem are known to exist, and three are in museums. The fourth copy, written out and signed by Clement Clarke Moore as a gift to a friend in 1860, was sold by one private collector to another in December, 2006. According to Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, which brokered the private sale, it was purchased for $280,000 U.S. by an unnamed "chief executive officer of a media company" who resides in Manhattan. Newswire reports at the time made no mention of the authorship controversy.
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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2007, 02:41:08 am »

Authorship controversy
Evidence to support Moore as author

•   "Professor Moore" is credited as author in the December 25, 1837 Pennsylvania Inquirer and Daily Courier.
•   Moore claimed the poem in 1844. This was at the request of his children. He had preferred to be known for more scholarly works.[citation needed]
•   Moore may have had access to A History of New York by "Dietrich Knickerbocker" (Washington Irving) which covers the story of Sinterklaas.
•   Moore and Irving were members of the same literary society in New York City and were friends.
•   Although some say Moore falsely claimed authorship once before, this has since been challenged. He signed a book as a gift, as one dedicates a book they give to another person. He did not claim authorship. Document historian Seth Kallar has answered this charge and other related arguments.
•   Rev. David Butler, who allegedly showed the poem to Sentinel editor Orville L. Holley, was a relative of Moore's.
•   A letter to Moore from the publisher states "I understand from Mr. Holley that he received it from Mrs. Sackett, the wife of Mr. Daniel Sackett who was then a merchant in this city."
•   Although Moore wrote darker poems, Nissenbaum argues that it could have been a social satire of the Victorianization of Christmas.
Evidence to support Livingston as author
•   Use of anapaestic rhyme scheme and metre consistent with Livingston.
•   Use of Dutch "Dunder and Blixem" - Livingston's mother was Dutch.
•   Phraseology consistent with other Livingston poems.
•   Livingston wrote cheerful poems, Moore typically more miserable ones.

Evidence to discredit Moore as author

•   Moore "tried at first to disavow" the poem.
•   Moore may falsely have taken credit as a book's translator, althugh other researchers regard this as a misinterpretation of a book dedication(see above).
•   Moore claimed that only two changes were introduced in the first printing, yet it differs from his own on 23 points.

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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2007, 02:42:46 am »

Adaptations and Parodies

Being a very well-known poem, there are many parodies of A Visit from St. Nicholas. Most of the parodies that can be found on the Internet are intended to be humorous, or satirical.
•   In the series 9 episode The One with Christmas in Tulsa of Friends, Phoebe begins the episode by singing the last four lines of The Night Before Christmas, "from He sprang to his sleigh" to the end, to Joey claiming she wrote it.
•   In the Garfield comic strips published during the week of December 19–24, 1983, the text of the poem was drawn above scenes of Garfield acting out the part of the narrator.
•   In the Luann comic strip, Luann's dad has read The Night Before Christmas to the wife and kids, and when he reads the verse 'Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash', he leaves out 'the sash', providing great merriment to Luann and her brother Brad.
•   In A Muppet Family Christmas, the Muppets from Sesame Street perform a play based on the poem, with Ernie narrating as the father (the main character) and Bert as Mamma (he lost a coin toss). The monsters appear as the reindeer, with the Two-Headed Monster as Santa (and Grover as the mouse who is not stirring, literally). The narration omits the line "The children were nestled, all snug in their bed(s)/While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads", because of the homosexuality rumor.
•   Episode 55 of Animaniacs featured a skit titled "The Day Before Christmas," in which Ralph the Guard is given the task of delivering Yakko, Wakko, and Dot's Christmas presents. The short is presented as a bedtime story told by Slappy Squirrel to her nephew Skippy and is narrated in the poetic form as the original story. This cartoon was adapted into comic book form in a special comic book published by DC Comics in October 1994.
•   The Histeria! episode "The Return of the American Revolution" featured a sketch about George Washington's famous trip across the Delaware River, narrated in the poem's fashion.
•   The Tim Burton 1993 stop-action film The Nightmare Before Christmas is a parody on the title.
•   In "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", a short animated TV movie from 1974 by Rankin/Bass, the characters and portions of the plot are loosely based on the poem.
•   A hip-hop animated version of the poem was made as an hour long animated special, The Night B4 Christmas.
•   In the FoxTrot strip published on December 24, 1998, Roger and Andy are shown reading the poem in bed when they suddenly hear the kids sneaking downstairs. Roger comments that the poem was "surely written by someone who never had kids".
•   The comedy musical 'Twas the Night by Lani Brockman and Susan Bardsley is based on the poem.
•   In the web comic Ctrl+Alt+Del a series of comics titled a "A Winter-Een-Mas Story" parodies with poems about the spirits of Winter-een-mas.
•   In the Dave Van Ronk song "Yas Yas Yas" the poem is parodied in the verse " twas the night before Christmas, all was quiet in the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, when from the lawn there came a big crash. It was Father Christmas landing on his yas yas yas."
•   The poem was set to music by Ken Darby and performed at Christmastime airings of Fibber McGee and Molly, usually introduced by Teeny, the neighbor girl as their "Christmas Carol".
•   In the movie Die Hard, Theo alerts his friends to the SWAT team's arrival with the opening line of this poem.[7]
•   "Trosclair" (1992). Cajun Night Before Christmas, 20th Anniversary edition. Pelican Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-882-89940-6. 
•   The Internet Engineering Task Force's Request for Comments has a poem about the start up of the internet titled "Twas the night before Start-up."[8]
•   On Laurie Z.'s 2001 recording Heart of the Holidays, actor Jack Palance narrates the poem.
•   There is a poem centered around the computer game Doom called "The Night before Doom" which appears in the Official DOOM F.A.Q.[9]
•   There's a Pokιmon version of this poem on the CD "Pokιmon Chistmas Bash".
•   The title of the Danny Phantom episode The Fright Before Christmas is a parody of the poem. Like "The Night Before Christmas", the episode is almost entirely in rhyme.
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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2007, 02:46:59 am »

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Danielle Gorree
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2007, 02:48:18 am »

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Using rocks and minerals to heal the earth and us.

« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2007, 03:22:35 am »

« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 03:35:50 am by rockessence » Report Spam   Logged


Thus ye may find in thy mental and spiritual self, ye can make thyself just as happy or just as miserable as ye like. How miserable do ye want to be?......For you GROW to heaven, you don't GO to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there.

Edgar Cayce
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