‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the woods
Not a creature was stirring, not even in hoods;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Sylvanus soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Titania danced in their heads;
And Gwyn in her chemise, and I in my cloak,
Had just settled down with a nice, cold Coke,
When out on the field 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 the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should see,
But a majestic wyvern, flying straight at me,
With wings spread wide, and the air a chill,
I knew in a moment it must be ol’ Syl.
More rapid than eagles he flew right by,
And he growled, and sputtered, and rose to the sky;
“Now, FENCERS! now, GYPSIES! now, DANCERS and BARDS!
On, RANGERS! on SOLDIERS! on, CITIZENS and GUARDS!
To the top of the porch, and in through the hall!
Just to ensure all is well with you all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the wyvern, he flew,
With a belly of fire, and watchful eyes too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard in awe
The scratching and crunching of powerful claws.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Sylvanus came without sound.
He was brown all over, from his head to his foot,
And his scales were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A neat row of spikes he had along his back,
And he looked like a dragon, but different in fact.
His eyes — how they glistened! the color of berry!
It struck me so sudden, he wasn’t that scary!
His wings were folded and drawn up like a bow,
Strong and worn with age, a touch of white as the snow;
Small bursts of fire slipped through his sharp teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a long tail that flicked back and forth,
In his presence, I could feel, the room filled with warmth.
He was quiet and wise, a body of strength,
And I smiled when I approached him, close to arms length;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
A thought came to my mind, “Go back to bed!”;
He spoke not a word, but turned with a jerk,
He inspected our home, fulfilling his work,
Once spreading his wings, I instantly froze,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to the sky, with a roar and a rumble,
And I was left with a feeling, ever so humble.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he soared out of sight,
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOODNIGHT!