Category Archives: Braille

A Very Famous Christmas Poem

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“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

1700’s!)

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

art style.

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.”