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The War's First Christmas and A Christmas Poem

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  • G E Mayers
    Gang, With Christmas 2011 extremely rapidly approaching o er us, I thought an article about the War s first Christmas would be in order. Accordingly, please
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 24, 2011
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      Gang,

      With Christmas 2011 extremely rapidly approaching o'er us, I
      thought an article about the War's first Christmas would be in
      order. Accordingly, please see the following:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/the-first-christ
      mas-of-the-civil-war-was-not-very-merry-on-either-side/2011/11/28
      /gIQAlQ6XaO_story.html

      And, to leave you all with best wishes for Christmas, I would
      like to share the following poem, with which many of the
      soldiers, both North and South, would have been familiar:

      Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem 'Twas the night
      before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822.
      It is now the tradition in many American families to read the
      poem every Christmas Eve. The poem 'Twas the night before
      Christmas' has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus.
      Prior to the creation of the story of 'Twas the night before
      Christmas' St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never
      been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!

      Clement Moore, the author of the poem Twas the night before
      Christmas, was a reticent man and it is believed that a family
      friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York
      Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was
      that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain
      anonymous.

      The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an
      immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke
      Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of
      his poetry.

      Twas the Night before Christmas

      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 St Nicholas soon would be there.

      The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
      While visions of sugar-plums 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 the 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 tinny 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, on Donner and Blitzen!
      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 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 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!"

      And finally, in the immortal words of Tiny Tim of Chas. Dickens'
      A Christmas Carol, God Bless Us Everyone!

      Yr. Obt. Svt.
      G E "Gerry" Mayers

      A Yankee by Birth but a Rebel by Choice!
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