In dead of dark to his starry North
Saint Nicholas drew near--
He had ranged the world this wintry night,
His elk-bells jangling clear.
Now bitter-worn with age was he,
And weary of mankind, for few
Had shown him love or courtesy.
His sacks lay empty—all save one;
And this to his affright
Stirred as he stooped with fingers numb,
Ablaze with hoar-frost bright.
Aghast he stood. Showed fumbling thumb,
Small shoulder, a wing—what stowaway
Was this, and whence was ’t come?
And out there crept a lovely Thing--
Half angel and half child:
“I, youngest of all Heaven, am here, to be thy joy,” he smiled.
“O Nicholas, our Master Christ thy grief hath seen; and He
Hath bidden me come to keep His tryst, and bring His love to thee:
To serve thee well, and sing Nowell, and thine own son to be.”