‘Twas the night before harmony when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a hawk.
The Yerbas were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Dariel soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of wubs danced in their heads.
Mama in her pash, and I in my harems,
had just settled in for a mid-spring nap.
When out on the roof, 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 shutter and threw up the past.
The moon on the breast of the dew dampen grass,
gave the lustre of midday to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and 12 tiny hawklings.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Dariel.
More rapid than owls, his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
“Now Hunter! Now Joey!
Now Mary and Nor!
On, Andre! On, Selbe!
On, Josh and Ashley!
To the top of Chicago!
To the top of Maine!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!”
With the sleigh full of goodies, and St. Dariel too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pecking of each little beak.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Dariel came with a bound.
He was dressed all in black, 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 hawk,
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—