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Short poem

Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)

Old Santeclaus

              1Old SANTECLAUS with much delight
              2His reindeer drives this frosty night,
              3O'er chimney-tops, and tracks of snow,
              4To bring his yearly gifts to you.

              5The steady friend of virtuous youth,
              6The friend of duty, and of truth,
              7Each Christmas eve he joys to come
              8Where love and peace have made their home.

              9Through many houses he has been,
            10And various beds and stockings seen;
            11Some, white as snow, and neatly mended,
            12Others, that seemed for pigs intended.

            13Where e'er I found good girls or boys,
            14That hated quarrels, strife and noise,
            15I left an apple, or a tart,
            16Or wooden gun, or painted cart.

            17To some I gave a pretty doll,
            18To some a peg-top, or a ball;
            19No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets,
            20To blow their eyes up, or their pockets.

            21No drums to stun their Mother's ear,
            22Nor swords to make their sisters fear;
            23But pretty books to store their mind
            24With knowledge of each various kind.

            25But where I found the children naughty,
            26In manners rude, in temper haughty,
            27Thankless to parents, liars, swearers,
            28Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers,

            29I left a long, black, birchen rod,
            30Such as the dread command of God
            31Directs a Parent's hand to use
            32When virtue's path his sons refuse.


1] For the attribution of this anonymously published poem to Clement Clarke Moore, see Don Foster, Author Unknown: On the Trial of Anonymous (New York: Henry Holt, 2000): 221-75.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: New-Year's Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve (William Gilley, 1821).
First publication date: 1821
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/28

Composition date: 25 December 1821
Composition date note: Christmas
Rhyme: aabb

Other poems by Clement Clarke Moore