The Pundit is going to take Mrs. Pundit and the Junior Pundits off to Disney World for Christmas, and then we will be back home before New Years for a family wedding. We’ll be monitoring the world, and if something crucial happens we will cover it with the usual insights, but we’ve selected some great “Best Of The Pundit” pieces that we’ll run again during this holiday week.
You may have missed these key pieces during the hectic work day, or it may be an opportunity to review some of our more reflective pieces in an unhurried atmosphere. In any case, we think you will enjoy reading some of our best stuff.
If you have the time and inclination, remember you can always peruse our archives and look at Pundits you may have missed or enter words in our search function and look for information on topics you are interested in.
As we go off to the holidays, this Pundit just wanted to say THANK YOU for allowing us to be part of your daily lives. Since we launched our first page on August 7 of this year, hundreds and hundreds of e-mails and letters, even more phone calls, have poured in.
The Pundit was born to the industry and has been part of it as an adult for over 20 years, but the intimacy of a daily, the interconnectivity of e-mail and the internet means that we feel like we have friends we never had before. So we get to wish a fantastic holiday season and a wonderful 2007 to so many people at once.
If you celebrate Christmas, and even if you don’t, it is a great American literary tradition to read to the children “Twas the Night Before Christmas” each Christmas Eve. It was first published anonymously in the Sentinel, a newspaper in upstate New York, on December 23, 1823, and was an instant success.
Two decades later Clement Clarke Moore acknowledged authorship. The author’s father, Benjamin Moore, was President of what is now Columbia University and the Bishop of New York. He officiated at the swearing in of George Washington as the first President of the United States and gave last rites to Alexander Hamilton as he lay dying after a duel with Aaron Burr.
Though Clement Clarke Moore was a noted scholar of Hebrew, was conversant in five languages and an accomplished real estate developer, he is remembered only because he gave us this gift and, in doing so, defined for generations how we imagine Santa Claus. Which shows that words have a power that is hard to overstate.
Here at the Pundit, we try hard to be worthy of that responsibility.
Here is the poem. You can click on ‘Print Article’ to get a nice copy to read with the family. By the way, a “Courser” is a swift horse or a charging horse and Donder is Dutch for thunder, whereas Donner is German for thunder:
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Clement Clarke Moore
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 our brains 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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!”