From Harper’s Weekly December 26, 1857
Beyond the ocean many a mile,
And many a year ago,
There lived a wonderful queer old men
In a wonderful house of snow;
And every little boy and girl,
As Christmas Eves arrive,
No doubt will be very glad to hear,
The old man is still alive.
In his house upon the top of a hill,
And almost out of sight,
He keeps a great many elves at work,
All working with all their might,
To make a million of pretty things,
Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys,
To fill the stockings, hung up you know
By the little girls and boys.
It would be a capital treat be sure,
A glimpse of his wondrous ‘shop;
But the queer old man when a stranger comes,
Orders every elf to stop;
And the house, and work, and workmen all
Instantly take a twist,
And just you may think you are there,
They are off in a frosty mist.
But upon a time a cunning boy
Saw this sign upon the gate,
Nobody can ever enter here
Who lies a-bed too late:
Let all who expect a good stocking full,
Not spend too much time in play;
Keep book and work all the while in mind,
And be up by the peep of day.
A holiday morning would scarce suffice
To tell what was making there;
Wagons and dolls, whistles and birds,
And elephants most rare:
Wild monkeys drest like little men,
And dogs that could almost bark,
Watches, that, if they only had wheels,
Might beat the old clock in the Park.
Whole armies of little soldier folk,
All marching in grand review,
And turning up their eyes at the girls,
As the City soldiers do.
Engines, fast hurrying to a fire,
And many a little fool
A-trudging after them through the streets,
Instead of going to school.
Tin fiddles, and trumpets made of wood,
That will play as good a tune
As a Scotch bag-piper could perform
From Christmas-day till June.
Horses, with riders upon their backs,
Conches, and carts, and gigs,
Each trying its best to win the race,
Like the Democrats and Whigs.
Some little fellows turning a crank,
And others beating a drum:
Little pianos, so exact
You could almost hear them thrum,
Tea-sets and tables quite complete,
With ladies sitting around,
Chatting as older ladies do,
But a little more profound.
Steamboats made to sail in a tub,
And fishing-smacks ahoy,
And heats and skiffs with oars and sails,
A fleet for a sailor boy.
Ships of the line, equipt for sea,
With officers and crew,
Each with a rod cap on his head,
And a jacket painted blue.
Bold pewter men with pistols armed,
Like duelists se smart,
Each very wickedly taking aim
At his little comrade’s heart!
And nimble Jacks with stipple joints,
That when you pull a string,
Will give you an easy lesson how
To dance the Pigeon Wing.
Ugly old women in a box,
As some younger ones ought to be,
Which, when the cover is lifted off,
Fly out most spitefully.
Ripe wooden pears like real fruit,
Somehow made to unscrew;
Kittens with mice sawed to their mouths,
And tabby cats crying mew.
Gay Humming-tops that spin about,
And snake a senseless sound,
Like windy representatives
In Congress often found.
Fine marbles, and ride China—men,
That you can play from taw,
As lawyers play rich clients down
The ring-pits of the law.
Bright caskets filled with jewelry,
Chains, bracelets, pins, and pearls,
All glittering with tinsel, like
Some fashionable girls.
Delightful little picture books,
And tales of Mother Goose,
More witty than most novels are,
And twenty, times their use.
But it were an endless task to tell,
The length that the list extends,
Of the curious gifts the queer old man
Prepares for his Christmas friends.
Belike you are guessing who he is,
And the country whence lie came.
Why, he was born in Germany,
And St. Nicholas is his name.