Friday, December 19, 2014
Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"?
Do we really know for sure? The very well known and loved poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" but which is more often called by the first line of the poem, " The Night before Christmas" is thought to have been written by Clement C. Moore who was a professor at Columbia College (now Columbia University.) It seems that he was a bit embarrassed by this poem, he wrote very lengthy books on languages that he felt were much more important!
Perhaps he didn't like to be reminded of it since he didn't really write it? The poem was published anonymously in a newspaper in Troy, New York on Dec. 23, 1823 It is believed by many that Henry Livingstone, Jr. wrote the poem! The Livingstone family was surprised to see that Clement C. Moore claimed ownership of this poem since the children of Henry Livingstone, Jr. knew that their father had read it to them for years! Why would they not dispute it? It is believed that it could have something to do with the fact that Mr. Moore was the only child of a bishop in the Episcopal church in New York City!
A mock trial was conducted recently and the verdict was that Mr. Livingstone was indeed the true author! In fact, December 23, 2014 has now been declared Henry Livingstone, Jr. Day in Troy, New York.
Now, I really don't know for sure, but it seems to me that the arguments in favor of Henry Livingstone, Jr. are pretty sound. If you read the different writings of both men, you should come to the same conclusion that I did...how could Clement C.Moore have written this? You can read some of the writings of Clement C. Moore but I wouldn't recommend it! They sound NOTHING like the fun and joy of "A Night Before Christmas"! Henry Livingstone Jr's poems and letters sound very much like the rhyming scheme and joyful tone found in the famous "Night Before Christmas".!
For one thing...the reindeer names.. Donner and Blitzen (thunder and lightning in German)...were really Dunder and Blixem (thunder and lightning in Dutch). Apparently, Clement C. Moore knew German but not Dutch. Could he have made this change simply because he thought the person who wrote the poem didn't know how to spell? The words are close enough to make one think so, without taking the time to look it up!
Also, it is on record that Clement C. Moore wrote a letter to Troy, New York, ASKING about the authorship of the poem! This is called the smoking gun. You can read more details about it if you click on that link I just gave you!
The best argument for Mr. Livingstone's authorship of the poem is in the other poems and letters that he wrote in his lifetime. I have not read all of them. but I read a good many of them and in one of the letters he wrote, " A Thousand kisses for the baby and a thousand blessings upon you!". Also, he even wrote "Happy Christmas" in one of the letters and that is in the last line of the poem! Now, go and read Clement C. Moore and compare his letters and poems to those of Henry Livingstone, Jr.
What do you think? Whoever did write it, I have always loved it and I always will! I read it often enough to the boy you see in the photo below! I think I can almost recite it from memory.
"...but I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!"
And don't even get me started on Dr. Seuss and "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"! I knew that one by heart from reading it so often to my brothers and sister! Hey ! I still do! And You KNOW I had to try to read it in my BEST fake English accent! Thanks, Boris Karloff for such a wonderful reading of the story, it was truly wonderful!