Presented by Paisley Kirkpatrick
(A short excerpt of this Christmas story)
'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 in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, 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 luster 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.
For almost 180 years, families have loved and shared a joyous poem of Christmas with their families. The poem, A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, more commonly known as 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, has been a classic since its first appearance in the Troy Sentinel in 1823. The poem was published anonymously and, as excitement over the verses grew, everyone wanted to know the name of the author. In 1837 Clement Clarke Moore, a biblical scholar in New York City, allowed his name to be attached as author and, in 1844, he included the piece in his own book, POEMS. Moore explained that he had written the poem on the Christmas Eve of 1823.
One would think that that would have put the issue to rest. But there was a problem.
The problem was that for at least fifteen years before the poem saw the light of a Troy New York day, by 1808 at the latest, a group of children had been listening to Henry Livingston read them the poem.
Whether Henry, dead by the time Moore took credit for the poem, would have cared for the fame and attention is doubtful.
Whether he would have appreciated someone appropriating his work, though, is a completely different thing.
For over a century and a half, those who remembered have passed on the story to the next generation. Descendants collected one another's memories in the hopes that some stray thread would be found that could be pulled on, and maybe, just maybe, unravel the curtain preventing their story from emerging. But for all that time, and all that effort, the Livingston descendants failed to make a case strong enough to put up against the word of the son of the Rector of New York City's Trinity Church. There was no smoking gun. The original in Henry's handwriting had burned in a Wisconsin fire.
Taken from Christmas Tree Farm Network