“A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore – Analysis and Poem

“A Visit from St. Nicholas” is one of the most read poems in history. Let’s take a look at a synopsis of this Christmas poem and an analysis of the figurative speech used, and then discuss the differences between various editions of the poem.

Synopsis of “A Vist from St. Nicholas”

Twas the Night Before Christmas book coverThis poem, commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” is attributed to Clement Clarke Moore under the title “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. However, there is some speculation that the poem was actually written by Henry Livingston, Jr. and is an ongoing controversy on who was the real author. The poem was written in 1822 and is now a holiday favorite.

This writing tells the now very well-known and followed tradition of Christmas in America with Santa arriving, leaving presents, and then leaving quickly with his eight reindeer (Rudolph wasn’t brought into common custom until the song “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” almost a hundred years later).

The story happens as follows:

1st Stanza shows children placing stockings near the fireplace.
2nd shows the children in their beds and ready to sleep.
3rd shows the speaker jumping out of bed and opening his curtains to see what was happening outside.
4th shows a sleigh and eight reindeer outside.
5th shows St. Nick for the first time.
6th has Santa shouting out the reindeer in his famous call of their names.
7th displays the sleigh flies to the top of the roof.
8th Santa goes down the chimney.
9th Santa is shown wearing his famous suit (fur at the time of writing) and with a sack of toys.
10th describes his facial features.
11th describes his body.
12th continues describing his body and calls him an “old elf”.
13th shows him do his work without speaking a single word.
14th has him finally say “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” (more…)