Monday, December 26, 2011

The Night After Christmas

Not too many people remember that Clement Moore wrote "Night Before Christmas" while visiting the Constable family of Constableville in Very Northern New York State.  It is said that the beauty of that evening in this small hamlet nestled between the Adirondack Park and Lake Ontario inspired him to write this timeless poem.  I spent most of my life living near Constable Hall and so this poem has special meaning to me.  When visiting the hall I can look across the rolling lawn and surrounding farmland and imagine what it looked like that evening.  For this reason, and because it is just a wonderful little story, it's a tradition to read "Night Before Christmas" to my children. 

I'm not posting Clement Moore's poem.

I thought you might enjoy this parody:

The Night After Christmas

‘Twas the night after Christmas, when all through the house
Every soul was abed, and as still as a mouse;
The stockings, so lately St. Nicholas’ care,
Were emptied of all that was eatable there.
The darlings had duly been tucked in their beds –
With very full stomachs, and pains in their heads.
I was dozing away in my new cotton cap,
And Nancy was rather far gone in a nap,
When out in the nurs’ry arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my sleep, crying — “What is the matter?”
I flew to each bedside — still half in a doze –
Tore open the curtains, and threw off the clothes;
While the light of the taper served clearly to show
The piteous plight of those objects below;
For what to the fond father’s eyes should appear
But the little pale face of each sick little dear?
For each pet that had crammed itself full as a tick,
I knew in a moment now felt like Old Nick.
Their pulses were rapid, their breathing the same,
What their stomachs rejected I’ll mention by name –
Now Turkey, now Stuffing, Plum Pudding, of course,
And Custards, and Crullers, and Cranberry sauce;
Before outraged nature, all went to the wall,
Yes — Lollypops, Flapdoddle, Dinner and all;
Like pellets which urchins from popguns let fly,
Went figs, nuts and raisins, jam, jelly and pie,
Till each error of diet was brought to my view,
To the shame of Mamma and Santa Claus, too.
I turned from the sight, to my bedroom stepped back,
And brought out a phial marked “Pulv. Ipecac.,”
When my Nancy exclaimed — for their sufferings shocked her –
“Don’t you think you had better, love, run for the Doctor?”
I ran — and was scarcely back under my roof,
When I heard the sharp clatter of old Jalap’s hoof.
I might say that I hardly had turned myself round,
When the Doctor came into the room with a bound.
He was covered with mud from his head to his foot,
And the suit he had on was his very worst suit;
He had hardly had time to put that on his back,
And he looked like a Falstaff half fuddled with sack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! Had the Doctor got merry?
His cheeks looked like Port and his breath smelt ofSherry,
He hadn’t been shaved for a fortnight or so,
And the beard on his chin wasn’t white as the snow.
But inspecting their tongues in despite of their teeth,
And drawing his watch from the waistcoat beneath,
He felt of each pulse, saying — “Each little belly
Must get rid” — here he laughed — of the rest of that jelly.”
I gazed on each chubby, plump, sick little elf,
And groaned when he said so, in spite of myself;
But a wink of his eye when he physicked our Fred
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He didn’t prescribe, but went straightway to work
And dosed all the rest, gave his trousers a jerk,
And, adding directions while blowing his nose,
He buttoned his coat; from his chair he arose,
Then jumped in his gig, gave old Jalap a whistle,
And Jalap dashed off as if pricked by a thistle;
But the Doctor exclaimed, ere he drove out of sight,
“They’ll be well by to-morrow — good-night, Jones, good-night!”

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