“The Night Before Christmas” was written by Dr. Clement C. Moore.
This is considered a book of verses that tell a story about the titled
plot. The author was born in New York City in 1779. He was the son of
Bishop Benjamin Moore. He became a classical scholar. Dr. Moore was
appointed, in 1821, to become a professor of Hebrew and Greek literature
at the Protestant Seminary in New York.
Most of Dr. Clement C. Moore’s fame is due to the poem, which he wrote
one Christmas for his own children. It was published first as “A Visit from
St. Nicholas.” It was translated in all foreign languages and also, one of
the first to be translated into Braille early on.
Dr. Moore’s words paint pictures that are part of our cultural memoriess,
having heard this poem so many times in your lifetime. If you are from
another country, don’t believe in Santa Claus nor like stories that are
about Christmas, you may still like the way the words flow off the pages.
When he describes the “sugar plums dancing” in the children’s dreams
or the phrasing, “more rapid than eagles his coursers they came,” you
know which poem this is coming from.
When the sleigh flies off into the cold, winter’s night,
“Away they all flew like down of a thistle.”
My edition is a threadbare copy in a burgundy red which has the lovely
illustrations of a more ‘modern’ illustrator. (He was not born in the
Arthur Rackham, an English illustrator, was enlisted to draw for my
edition or version of the poem. He was born of a middle class Victorian
family and was proud to be a “cockney.”
His biography, in the back of my book, mentions in quaint language, that
he had a “precocious talent for drawing as a child” and used watercolors
“since his first day of school, was given as all little boys and girls are,
a shilling paint-box… this craft has been his constant companion.”
This Arthur Rackham has been credited for influencing Walt Disney’s
In the book, “Rip Van Winkle,” (1905) he was considered the foremost
decorative illustrator of the Edwardian period.
His last illustrations that many of my blog readers will recognize more
likely than not, were in “The Wind and the Willows.” I just loved those
drawings and how they went so well with the way the story was told.
What are you very favorite seasonal, holiday books called? What are
some of your memories of your family reading a special story during
the winter months? Do you have a favorite illustrator?
As Dr. Clement C. Moore closes his book with the words,
“But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight–
Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”