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A Song of St. Nicholas. Rhymes and Jingles by Mary Mapes Dodge for children

Come, ho! sing, ho! ye chimney sprites,
Come and a riddle unravel:
Tell us true, by the dancing lights,
Where does Saint Nicholas travel?

In the twinkling of an eye,
Hither, thither, doth he hie,—
North and south and east and west;
Not a moment doth he rest.
Speeding here and speeding there,
In an instant everywhere.
Valleys, hills, and mountain passes,
Sunny fields and drear morasses,
Silent plains and busy towns,
Yankee meadows, English downs,—
Whether crowded, lone or wild,
So it holds one little child,—
Every spot, he knows by heart;
What if half the world apart?
In the twinkling of an eye
Hither, thither, doth he hie.

Prythee, this riddle unravel:
How does Saint Nicholas travel?

How does he travel? This is the way:
Sun or storm or blue or gray,
Soon as he gathers his stock of toys,
Laughing and nodding, but never a noise,
Laughing and nodding, shaking his sides,
This is the way Saint Nicholas rides:
Not over mountains, not over streams,
But gliding swift through the children's dreams.
Soon as their eyelids in slumber close,
Hither and thither Saint Nicholas goes.

But how do the little ones go to him?
Sing, ho! When the winter waxeth dim,
And, Christmas over, the children say,
"Good Saint Nick! he has gone away,"
Oho! he strokes his jolly old nose,
And lays him down for a quiet doze.
"Ha, ha! the snow is a capital bed!"
And he pulls his nightcap over his head.
Asleep and resting, O good Saint Nick!
Now do the children play him a trick;
For, bright and rosy and lithe of limb,
They travel quick in his dreams, to him.
From every nook and possible place
There peeps a beautiful baby-face.
With joyous murmur and laughing hum,
From every quarter the children come.
Rosy, tender, and snow-flake soft,
They throng about him or float aloft;
Closer they nestle, a hundred thick,
And whisper, "We thank you, dear Saint Nick;
We've come to tell you we love you, dear."
And Nicholas laughs in his sleep to hear.
Oho! sing, ho! and now you know:
As soon as the Christmas lights are dim,
And the saint no more his rounds doth go,
The children flock, in his dreams, to him.

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