by: Horatio Alger (1832-1899)
- N the far-off Polar seas,
- Far beyond the Hebrides,
- Where the icebergs, towering high,
- Seem to pierce the wintry sky,
- And the fur-clad Esquimaux
- Glides in sledges o'er the snow,
- Dwells St. Nick, the merry wight,
- Patron saint of Christmas night.
- Solid walls of massive ice,
- Bearing many a quaint device,
- Flanked by graceful turrets twain,
- Clear as clearest porcelain,
- Bearing at a lofty height
- Christ's pure cross in simple white,
- Carven with surpassing art
- From an iceberg's crystal heart.
- Here St. Nick, in royal state,
- Dwells, until December late
- Clips the days at either end,
- And the nights at each extend;
- Then, with his attendant sprites,
- Scours the earth on wintry nights,
- Bringing home, in well-filled hands,
- Children's gifts from many lands.
- Here are whistles, tops and toys,
- Meant to gladden little boys;
- Skates and sleds that soon will glide
- O'er the ice or steep hill-side.
- Here are dolls with flaxen curls,
- Sure to charm the little girls;
- Christmas books, with pictures gay,
- For this welcome holiday.
- In the court the reindeer wait;
- Filled the sledge with costly freight.
- As the first faint shadow falls,
- Promptly from his icy halls
- Steps St. Nick, and grasps the rein:
- And afar, in measured time,
- Sounds the sleigh-bells' silver chime.
- Like an arrow from the bow
- Speed the reindeer o'er the snow.
- Onward! Now the loaded sleigh
- Skirts the shores of Hudson's Bay.
- Onward, till the stunted tree
- Gains a loftier majesty,
- And the curling smoke-wreaths rise
- Under less inclement skies.
- Built upon a hill-side steep
- Lies a city wrapt in sleep.
- Up and down the lonely street
- Sleepy watchmen pace their beat.
- Little heeds them Santa Claus;
- Not for him are human laws.
- With a leap he leaves the ground,
- Scales the chimney at a bound.
- Five small stockings hang below;
- Five small stockings in a row.
- From his pocket blithe St. Nick
- Fills the waiting stockings quick;
- Some with sweetmeats, some with toys,
- Gifts for girls, and gifts for boys,
- Mounts the chimney like a bird,
- And the bells are once more heard.
- Santa Claus! Good Christmas saint,
- In whose heart no selfish taint
- Findeth place, some homes there be
- Where no stockings wait for thee,
- Homes where sad young faces wear
- Painful marks of Want and Care,
- And the Christmas morning brings
- No fair hope of better things.
- Can you not some crumbs bestow
- On these Children steeped in woe;
- Steal a single look of care
- Which their sad young faces wear;
- From your overflowing store
- Give to them whose hearts are sore?
- No sad eyes should greet the morn
- When the infant Christ was born.
MORE POEMS BY HORATIO ALGER
|"St. Nicholas" is reprinted from Grand'ther Baldwin's Thanksgiving. Horatio Alger. Boston: Loring, 1875.