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"A Visit from St. Nicholas" (även känd som "The Night Before Christmas" eller "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" från första strofen) är en dikt som först utgavs anonymt år 1823. Den har haft en stor roll i utvecklingen av Jultomten från mitten av 1800-talet till i dag, både vad gäller hans utseende, hans nattliga besök i husen, hans transportmedel, antalet och namnen på hans renar, samt icke minst att han kommer med leksaker till barnen.
Två personer hävdade senare att var diktens författare, nämligen Henry Livingston, Jr. (engelska) och Clement Clarke Moore (engelska) varav den sistnämnde numera är den erkända författaren.[källa behövs]
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the houseHappy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
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 danc'd in their heads,
And Mama 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 luster 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 call'd them by name:
"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder 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 dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look'd 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 laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh'd 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 fill'd all the stockings; then turn'd with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung 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
- Wikisource har originalverk relaterade till A Visit from St. Nicholas.
- Wikimedia Commons har media som rör A Visit from St. Nicholas.
- A Visit from St. Nicholas, fritt tillgänglig på Project Gutenberg (utgåva från 1912 illustrerad av Jessie Willcox Smith)
- First published text from the 1823 Troy Sentinel and a picture of its 1830 edited broadside edition.
- Text attributed to Livingston, at University of Toronto's Representative Poetry Online.
- Photos of illustrated texts as old as 1840, credited to Moore
- Photos of an 1860 manuscript autographed by Moore
- Bloggers' Night Before Christmas
- Free audiobook from LibriVox
- Article about a change in the poem at en:Urban Legends Reference Pages
- Moore version online at Bartleby
- Complete text and Reading of "The Night Before Christmas" (Downloadable mp3 or streaming audio)
- The Night Before Christmas at Story Resources
- TheNightBeforeChristmas.com with many of scans of favorite antique illustrated versions as old as 1825
- VisitFromStNicholas.com with hundreds of scans of illustrated texts as old as 1825
- Many scans of illustrated texts as old as 1837
- http://www.mrdrinkwater.com The famous poem revisited.