See the pretty snowflakes,
Falling from the sky;
On the wall and housetops,
Soft and thick they lie.
On the window ledges,
On the branches bare;
Now how fast they gather,
Filling all the air.
Look into the garden,
Where the grass was green;
Covered by the snowflakes,
Not a blade is seen.
Now the bare black bushes,
All look soft and white,
Every twig is laden,
What a pretty sight!
Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
- Robert Frost
Annie And Willie's Prayer
'Twas the eve before Christmas. "Good night," had been
And Annie and Willie had crept into bed;
There were tears on their pillows, and tears in their eyes,
And each little bosom was heaving with sighs,
For tonight their stern father's command had been given
That they should retire precisely at seven
Instead of at eight-for they troubled him more
With questions unheard of than ever before:
He had told them he thought this delusion a sin,
No such creature as "Santa Claus" ever had been.
And he hoped, after this, he should never more hear
How he scrambled down chimneys with presents each year.
And this was the reason that two little heads
So restlessly tossed on their soft, downy beds.
Eight, nine, and the clock on the steeple tolled ten,
Not a word bad been spoken by either till then,
When Willie's sad face from the blanket did peep,
And whispered, 'Dear Annie, is 'ou fast as'eep?"
"Why no, brother Willie," a sweet voice replies,
"I've long tried in vain, but I can't shut my eyes,
For somehow it makes me so sorry because
Dear papa has said there is no 'Santa Claus.'
Now we know there is, and it can't be denied,
For he came every year before mamma died;
But, then, I've been thinking that she used to pray,
And God would hear everything mamma would say,
And maybe she asked him to send Santa Claus here
With that sackful of presents he brought every year."
"Well, why tan't we p'ay dest as mamma did den,
And ask Dod to send him with p'esents aden?"
"I've been thinking so too," and without a word more
Four little bare feet bounded out on the floor,
And four little knees the soft carpet pressed,
And two tiny hands were clasped close to each breast.
"Now, Willie, you know we must firmly believe
That the presents we ask for we're sure to receive;
You must wait very still till I say the 'Amen,'
And by that you will know that your turn has come then."
"Dear Jesus, look down on my brother and me,
And grant us the favor we are asking of thee.
I want a wax dolly, a teaset, and ring,
And an ebony workbox that shuts with a spring.
Bless papa, dear Jesus, and cause him to see
That Santa Claus loves us as much as does he;
Don't let him get fretful and angry again
At dear brother Willie and Annie. Amen."
'Please, Desus, 'et Santa Taus turn down tonight,
And b'ing us some p'esents before it is light,
I want he should div' me a nice 'ittie s'ed,
With bright sbinin' 'unners, and all painted red;
A box full of tandy, a book, and a toy,
Amen, and then, Desus, I'll be a dood boy."
Their prayers being ended, they raised up their heads,
With hearts light and cheerful, again sought their beds.
Tley were lost soon in slumber, both peaceful and deep,
And with fairies in dreamland were roaming in sleep.
Eight, nine, and the little French clock had struck ten,
Ere the father had thought of his children again:
He seems now to hear Annie's half-suppressed sighs,
And to see the big tears stand in Willie's blue eyes.
'I was harsh with my darlings," he mentally said,
'And should not have sent them so early to bed;
But then I was troubled; my feelings found vent,
For bank stock today has gone down ten per cent!
But of course they've forgotten their troubles ere this,
And that I denied them the thrice-asked-for kiss:
But, just to make sure, I'll go up to their door,
For I never spoke harsh to my darlings before."
So saying, he softly ascended the stairs,
And arrived at the door to hear both of their prayers;
His Annie's "Bless papa" drew forth the big tears,
And Willie's grave promise fell sweet on his ears.
'Strange-strange-I'd forgotten," said he with a sigh,
'How I longed when a child to have Christmas draw nigh."
"I'll atone for my harshness," he inwardly said,
"By answering their prayers ere I sleep in my bed."
Ilen he turned to the stairs and softly went down,
Threw off velvet slippers and silk dressing gown,
Donned hat, coat, and boots, and was out in the street,
A millionaire facing the cold, driving in the sleet
Nor stopped he until he had bought everything
From the box full of candy to the tiny gold ring;
Indeed, he kept adding so much to his store,
That the various presents outnumbered a score.
Then homeward he turned. When his holiday load,
With Aunt Mary's help, in the nursery was stowed.
Miss Dolly was seated beneath a pine tree,
By the side of a table spread out for her tea;
A workbox well fitted in the center was laid,
And on it the ring for which Annie had prayed,
A soldier in uniform stood by a sled
"With bright shining runners, and all painted red.'
There were balls, dogs, and horses, books pleasing to see,
And birds of all colors were perched in the tree!
While Santa Claus, laughing, stood up in the top,
As if getting ready more presents to drop.
And as the fond father the picture surveyed,
He thought for his trouble he had amply been paid,
And he said to himself, as he brushed off a tear,
'I'm happier tonight than I've been for a year;
I've enjoyed more pure pleasure than ever before;
What care I if bank stock falls ten per cent more!
Hereafter I'll make it a rule, I believe,
To have Santa Claus visit us each Christmas Eve.'
So thinking, he gently extinguished the light,
And, tripping down stairs, retired for the night.
As soon as the beams of the bright morning sun
Put the darkness to flight, and the stars one by one,
Four little blue eyes out of sleep opened wide,
And at the same moment the presents espied;
Then out of their beds they sprang with a bound,
And the very gifts prayed for were all of them found.
They laughed and they cried, in their innocent glee,
And shouted for papa to come quick and see
What presents old Santa Claus brought in the night
(just the things that they wanted,) and left before light:
'And now," added Annie, in a voice soft and low,
'You'll believe there's a 'Santa Claus', papa, I know"-
While dear little Willie climbed up on his knee,
Determined no secret between them should be,
And told in soft whispers how Annie had said
That their dear, blessed mamma, so long ago dead,
Used to kneel down by the side of her chair,
And that God up in heaven had answered her prayer.
'Den we dot up and prayed dust well as we tould,
And Dod answered our prayers: now wasn't He dood?"
'I should say that He was, if He sent you all these,
And knew just what presents my children would please.
(Well, well, let him think so, the dear little elf,
'Twould be cruel to tell him I did it myself.")
Blind father! who caused your stem heart to relent,
And the hasty words spoken so soon to repent?
'Twas the Being who bade you steal softly upstairs,
And made you His agent to answer their prayers.
- Sophia P. Snow
Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through
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 down 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 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
On, Comet! on Cupid! 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 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.”
- Clement Clarke Moore
Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl---ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes curls an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake--
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for belly-ache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat.
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, “Oh, ye never teched me!”
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibals that live in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm as good as I kin be!
And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': “What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: “How improved our Willie is!”
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!
For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
And don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and “Yessur” to
An' when they's company, don'a pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!
- Edgar Albert Guest
The mistletoe hung in the castle hall,
The holly branch shone on the old oak wall;
And the baron's retainers were blithe and gay,
And keeping their Christmas holiday.
The baron beheld with a father's pride
His beautiful child, young Lovell's bride;
While she with her bright eyes seemed to be
The star of the goodly company.
“I'm weary of dancing now,” she cried;
“ Here, tarry a moment — I'll hide, I'll hide!
And, Lovell, be sure thou'rt first to trace
The clew to my secret lurking place.”
Away she ran-and her friends began
Each tower to search, and each nook to scan;
And young Lovell cried, “O, where dost thou hide?
I'm lonesome without thee, my own dear bride.”
They sought her that night, and they sought her next day,
And they sought her in vain while a week passed away;
In the highest, the lowest, the loneliest spot,
Young Lovell sought wildly-but found her not.
And years flew by, and their grief at last
Was told as a sorrowful tale long past;
And when Lovell appeared the children cried,
“ See! the old man weeps for his fairy bride.”
At length an oak chest, that had long lain hid,
Was found in the castle — they raised the lid,
And a skeleton form lay moldering there
In the bridal wreath of that lady fair!
0, sad was her fate!-in sportive jest
She hid from her lord in the old oak chest.
It closed with a spring! — and, dreadful doom,
The bride lay clasped in her living tomb!
- Thomas Haynes Bayly
It's “be a good boy, Willie,”
And it's "run away and play,
For Santa Claus is coming
With his reindeer and his sleigh.”
It's mind what mother tells you,
And it's put away your toys,
For Santa Claus is coming
To the good girls and the boys.
Ho, Santa Claus is coming, there is Christmas in the air,
And little girls and little boys are good now everywhere.
World-wide the little fellows
Now are sweetly saying “please,”
And “thank you,” and “excuse me,”
And those little pleasantries
That good children are supposed to
When there's company to hear;
And it's just as plain as can be
That the Christmas time is near.
Ho, it's just as plain as can be that old Santa's on his way,
For there are no little children that are really bad to-day.
And when evening shadows lengthen,
Every little curly head
Now is ready, aye, and willing
To be tucked away in bed;
Not one begs to stay up longer,
Not one even sheds a tear;
Ho, the goodness of the children
Is a sign that Santa's near.
It's wonderful, the goodness of the little tots to-day,
When they know that good old Santa has begun to pack his sleigh.
- Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season's here;
Then he's thinking more of others than be's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.
When it's Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he's seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.
If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I'd wait
Till he'd fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I'd not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of pelf,
On the long days and the dreary when he's striving for himself.
I'd not take him when he's sneering, when he's scornful or depressed,
But I'd look for him at Christmas when he's shining at his best.
Man is ever in a struggle and he's oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that's in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don't know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.
- Edgar Albert Guest
in Olden time
Heap on more wood! - the wine is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We'll keep our
Christmas merry still.
Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for fested cheer:
Even, heathen yet, the savage Dane
At Iol more deep the mead did drain;
High on the beach his galleys drew,
And feasted all his pirate crew;
Then in his low and pine--built hall,
Where shields and axles decked the wall,
They gorged upon the half-dressed steer;
Caroused in seas of sable beer;
While round, in brutal jest, were thrown
The half-gnawed rib and marrow bone,
Or listened all, in grim delight,
While scalds yelled ou the joys of fight.
Then forth in frenzy would they hie,
While loudly loose their red lock fly,
And dancing round the blazing pile
They make such barbarous mirth the while,
As best to the mind recall
The boisterous joys of Odin's hall.
And well our Christian sires of old
Loved when the war its course had rolled,
And brought blithe Christmas back again,
With all it hospitable train.
Domestic and religious rite
Gave honor to the holy night;
On Christmas eve the bells were rung:
On Christmas eve the mass was sung;
That only night in all the year;
Saw the the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dressed with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Then opened wide the baron's hall
To vassal, tneant, serf, and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside,
And Ceremony doffed his pride;
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose;
The lord, undergating, share
The vulgar game o "post and pair."
All hailed with uncontrolled delight
And general voice the happy night
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.
The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall table's oaken face,
Scrubbed till it shone the day to grace,
Bore then upon it smassive board
No mark to part the squire and Lord;
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old blue-coated serving-man;
then the grim bore's head frowned on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garbed ranger tell
How, when, and where the monster fell;
What dogs before his death he tore,
And all the baiting og the boar.
The wassail round, in good brown bowls,
Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls,
There the huge sirlion reeked; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie,
Nor failed old Scotland to produce
At such high tide, her savory goose.
Then came the merry maskers in;
And carols roared with blithsome din,
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
Who lists may in their mumming see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White skirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But, oh! what maskers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light?
England was merry England, when
Old Christmas borught his sports again.
'T was Christmas broached the mightiest ale!
'T was Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year.
- Sir Walter Scott
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm
So hallow'd and so gracious is that time.
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
In the rush of the merry morning,
When the red burns through the gray,
And the wintry world lies waiting
For the glory of the day,
Then we hear a fitful rushing
Just without, upon the stair,
See two white phantoms coming,
Catch the gleam of sunny hair.
Rosy feet upon the threshold,
Eager faces peeping through,
With the first red ray of sunshine
Chanting cherubs come in view;
Mistletoe and gleaming holly,
Symbols of a blessed day,
In their chubby hands they carry,
Streaming all along the way.
Well we know them, never weary
Of their innocent surprise;
Waiting, watching, listening always
With full hearts and tender eyes,
While our little household angels,
White and golden in the Sun.
Greet us with the sweet old welcome —
“ Merry Christmas, everyone!”
Christmas has come, let's eat and drink—
This is no time to sit and think;
Farewell to study, books and pen,
And welcome to all kinds of men.
Let all men now get rid of care,
Then 'tis the same, no matter which
Of us is poor, or which is rich.
Let each man have enough this day,
Since those that can are glad to pay;
There's nothing now too rich or good
For poor men, not the King's own food.
Now like a singing bird my feet
Touch earth, and I must drink and eat.
Welcome to all men: I'll not care
What any of my fellows wear;
We'll not let cloth divide our souls,
They'll swim stark naked in the bowls.
Welcome, poor beggar: I'll not see
That hand of yours dislodge a flea,
While you sit at my side and beg,
Or right foot scratching your left leg.
Farewell restraint: we will not now
Measure the ale our brains allow,
But drink as much as we can hold.
We'll count no change when we spend gold;
This is not time to save, but spend
To give for nothing, not to lend.
Let foes make friends: let them forget
The mischief-making dead that fret
the living with complaint like this —
He wronged us once, hate him and his..
Christmas has come; let every man
Eat, drink, be merry all he can.
Ale's my best mark, but if port wine
Or whisky's yours — let it be mine;
No matter what lies in the bowls,
We'll make it rich with our own sould.
Farewell to study, books and pen,
And welcome to all kinds of men.
to the Night
I heard the trailing garments of the Night
Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
From the celestial walls!
I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
As of the one I love.
I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night
Like some old poet's rhymes.
From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there, —
From those deep cisterns flows.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
And they complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
Descend with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
The best-beloved Night!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Mary's Christmas Tree
If I were a Christmas tree,
Waiting to be sold.
I'd try to look dejected,
Worn out, tired and old.
I'd twist my trunk,
And droop my limbs,
And turn my color brown.
So folks who came to look at me,
Would shake their heads and frown.
For I'm not just a plain old tree,
God made me for a little girl,
A special girl named Mary.
And when she comes to pick a tree,
She'll know I'm the one.
For I'm a very special tree,
I know what must be done.
I'll stand up straight, and turn real green,
And hold my branches high.
And when she looks around the lot,
I'm sure to catch her eye.
She'll take me home and fix me up,
With lights of green and red.
Kiss her Mom and Dad goodnight,
Then run off up to bed.
While she's asleep, her Mom and Dad,
Will sit in fireplace glow.
And wonder at the little tree,
And somehow they will know.
That I'm not just an ordinary tree,
For an ordinary child.
I was sent by God himself,
On Mary He had smiled.
But Christmas trees are special,
Just one day of the year.
But you're FOREVER special,
'Cause your Daddy loves you dear.