Meanwhile I inly curse the bore

Of hunting still the same old coon, And envy him, outside the door,

In golden quiets of the moon.

The winter wind is not so cold

As the bright smile he sees me win, Nor the host's oldest wine so old

As our poor gabble sour and thin.

I envy him the ungyved prance

By which his freezing feet he warms, And drag my lady's chains and dance

The galley-slave of dreary forms.

Oh, could he have my share of din,

And I his quiet !-past a doubt 'Twould still be one man bored within, And just another bored without.

James Russell Lowell.


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through

the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ; The stockings were hung by the chimney with

care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced through their


from my

And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

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 a lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When what to my wondering eyes

should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by

name :


Now, Dasher! now, Dancer ! now,

Prancer! now, Vixen ! On, Comet ! on, Cupid ! on, Donder and Blitzen ! To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall! Now, dash away, dash away, dash 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 coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dress'd all in fur from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and

soot ;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he look'd like a peddler just opening his

pack. His eyes how they twinkled ! his dimples how

merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the


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 laugh’d, like a bowl full of

He was chubby and plump-a right jolly old elf—
And I laugh'd 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 spake not a word, but went straight to his

work, And filled all the stockings; then turn'd with a

jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle ; But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of

sight, · Happy. Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!'



His children early laid away,

His hearthside bright and still,
The farmer's frowns are all that say

The day has brought him ill.

The mother slowly strokes her arms,

Unsleeved and plump and fair ;
In vain you'd try a hundred farms,

To find her equal there.

She softly nears the chimney nook

Before she ventures more :
So waters of a sunny brook

Do woo the moody shore.

If he, if he but lift his face

The hearth flames quicken, spring;
A yielding smile, his old embrace,

And wife and kettle sing.

John Vance CHENEY.


Ye white Sicilian goats, who wander all

About the slopes of this wild mountain pass, Take heed your horny footsteps do not fall Upon the baby dreamer in the


Let him lie there, half waking, and rejoice

In the safe shelter of his resting-place, In hearing of his shepherd father's voice,

In reach of fruity clusters o'er his face.

Look up, sweet baby eyes, look up on high,

To where Olympus merges in the blue. There dwell the deathless gods in majesty,

The gods, who hold a mighty gift for you.

Those little clinging hands shall write, one day,

Rare, golden words, to lift the hearts of men ; Those curling, downy locks shall wear the bay,

A crown that they shall never lose again.

Little Theocritus ! Look up and smile,

Immortal child, for there are coming years, When the great busy world shall pause awhile,

To listen to your singing through its tears.



“Who bears upon his baby brow the round

And top of sovereignty."

Look at me with thy large brown eyes,

Philip, my king!
Round whom the enshadowing purple lies
Of babyhood's royal dignities:

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