Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.
Thank you for listening in.
I am you host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.
Clement Clarke Moore, born July 15, 1799, was a writer and American Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, Divinity and Biblical Learning at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in New York City. Clement Moore had strong ties to the seminary for I understand that it was his generosity that led him to donate land, which was his private apple orchard, upon which the seminary was built. The Seminary remains on the same parcel of land, which is located at Ninth Avenue between 20th and 21st streets, in an area known as Chelsea Square
Clement Moore became a wealthy man through the ownership of the estate “Chelsea,” an inheritance he received from the passing of his mother and grandfather. Fast forward to present day, the “Chelsea” area is located on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, between 14th Street to the south, the Hudson River and West Street to the west and Sixth Avenue to the east, with its northern boundary variously described as near the upper 20s or 34th Street.
Clement Moore accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. He was a writer and a poet, a professor and scholar. He served twice in the position of President of Columbia College (now Columbia University) and served as a board member on the New York Institution for the Blind.
But what he is most known for is how he changed the way we see Christmas.
He called the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” It was published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel in 1823. He had second thoughts in 1837 when eventually he told everyone that he had penned the poem. Many believe that it is the most well-known and beloved poem written by an American poet. We read it every Christmas, most generally on Christmas Eve, and then reflect on Christmases past when we were young and heard the familiar words read by our parents and grandparents. Santa and the tradition of Christmas gift-giving was transformed by this poem
Clement Moore published several academic works, including A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language (Collins & Perkins, 1809), but “A Visit from St. Nicholas” more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” captured the hearts of children young and old.
Please join me in reading, A Visit form St. Nicholas AKA ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
‘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 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 a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he 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, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop 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 pedler 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 on 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 bowl full 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!”