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And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now Dancer! now, Prancer and 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 housetop the coursers they flew,
With a 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 dressed all in fur 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 pedlar 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 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 bowl full of jelly.
IIe 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 dreaa.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
IIe sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down off a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere they drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
HANNAH F. GOULD.
[In a lively descriptive style.]
The frost looked forth on a still, clear night,
And whispered, "now I shall be out of sight;
So thro' the valley and over the height
In silence I'll take my way.
I will not go on like that blust'ring train,
The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain,
That makes such a bustle and noise in vain,
But I'll be as busy as they."
So he flew to the mountain, and powdered its crest;
He lit on the trees, and their boughs he dressed
With diamonds and pearls; and over the breast
Of the quivering lake he spread
A coat of mail, that it need not fear
The glittering point of many a spear
Which he hung on its margin, far and near,
Where a rock could rear its head.
He went to the window of those who slept,
And over each pane like a fairy crept;
Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped,
By the morning light were seen
Most beautiful things; there were flowers and trees;
There were bevies of birds, and swarms of bees;
There were cities, and temples, and towers; and these
Ail pictured in silvery sheen.
But he did one thing that was hardly fair;
He peeped in the cupboard, and finding there
That all had forgotten for him to prepare,
"Now, just to set them a-thinking,
I'll bite this basket of fruit," says he;
"This costly pitcher I'll burst in three!
And the glass of water they've left for me
Shallchick' to tell them I'm drinking."
If I were to give you a motto to go through life with-one that would stand you for a warning and counsel in any strait in which you might find yourselves, I would give it in this one word "NOW." Don't waste your time, and your strength, and your opportunities. by always meaning to do something-DO IT! Only weakness comes of indecision. Why, some people have so accustomed themselves to this way of dawdling along from one thing to another, that it really seems impossible for them to squarely make up their minds to anything. They never quite know what they mean to do next; their only pleasure seems to consist in putting things off as long as possible, and then dragging slowly through them, rather than begin anything else.
Don't live a single hour of your life without doing exactly what is to be done in it, and going straight through it from beginning to end, Work, play, study, whatever it is, take hold at once, and finish it up squarely and cleanly, and then do the next thing without letting any moments drop out between. It is wonderful to see how many hours these prompt people contrive to make of a day; it's as if hey picked up the moments that the dawdlers lost. And if you everfind yourself where you have so many things pressing that you hardly know how to begin, let me tell you a secret: take hold of the very first one that comes to hand, and you will find the rest fall into file and follow after like a company of well drilled soldiers; and though work may be hard to meet when it charges in a squad, it is easily vanquished when brought into line. You may have seen the anecdote of the man who was asked how he accomplished so much in life. "My father taught me," was the reply, "when I had anything to do to go and do it." There is the secret-the magic word "NOW!"
THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS.
'Twas the night after Christmas, when all thro' the house
Every soul was abed, and as still as a mouse.
Those stockings so lately St. Nicholas' care
Were emptied of all that was eatable there.
The darlings had duly been tucked in their beds,
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 nursery rose 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 pale little 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 breathings 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, flapdoodle, dinner and all.
Like pellets, which urchins from pop-guns 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 of Santa Claus, too.
I turned from the sight, to my bedroom stept back,
And brought out a vial marked Pulv. Ipecac.
When my Nancy excla med, 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 of sherry.
He hadn't been shaved for a fortnigl.t 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 his waistcoat beneath,
He felt of each pulse, saying, "each little belly
Must get rid"-here he laughed-" of the rest of tnat jelly.”
I gazed on each plump, chubby, 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 straight to his 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!”
[Recite in a descriptive vein, imitating the call at the end of each stanza.]
Over the hill the farm boy goes,
His shadow lengthens along the land,
A giant staff in a giant hand;
In the poplar tree, above the spring,
The katydid begins to sing;
The early dews are falling.
Into the stone heap darts the mink;
The swallows skim the river's brink;
And home to the woodland fly the crows,
And over the hill the farm boy goes,