‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a clank;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Steam Santa soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of steam-engines danced in their heads;
And mamma in her goggles, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the 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 lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a gigantic sleigh, and eight clockwork reindeer,
With a jolly old driver, all covered in soot
I knew in that moment who it must be.
More rapid than airships his engines they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Sooty! now, Smoky! now, Steamy and Sparky!
On, Piston! on Sprocket! on, Clanker and Klaxon!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now full steam away! Away! Away 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 engines they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and Steam Santa too.
And then, in a whoosh, I heard on the roof
The clanking and clanging of each iron hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Steam Santa came in with a bound.
He was dressed all in leather, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his goggles so shiny!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And pulling a leaver; then twisting a valve,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He flew to his sleigh, and stoked up the boiler,
And away they all flew with a great rush of steam.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”