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"Night Before Christmas" by Henry Livingston Kindle Edition FREE for Christmas 2017
Amazon Kindle ^ | December 2016 | Henry Livingston, Not Clement Moore

Posted on 12/24/2017 12:19:11 PM PST by mairdie

89 illustrations from 21 different vintage editions of "The Night Before Christmas," set to the original text from the Dec 23, 1823 Troy Sentinel.

From Don Kidwell's (Top 1000 Reviewer) 5 Star Review:

A Veritable Treasure!

1) Why I chose this book : Christmas grab with a cover that caught my eye, yet didn't realize what a wonderful surprise was in store!

2) Type of book : Part holiday children's book, part mystery behind whom really wrote "The Night Before Christmas"

3) Formatting/Editing : Superbly done

4) Best/Worst aspect of book : Glorious artwork from long ago, nice introduction to the life of Henry Livingston not known before, puts a lot of pressure on finding a book of this high caliber to follow

5) Favorite passage : Livingston being quite the poet I chose another nifty poem outside the usual we already know that read "But now comes blithe Christmas, while just in his rear, Advances our saint, jolly, laughing, NEW YEAR."

6) Bottom-line : Loved it! 5 stars!

TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Poetry
KEYWORDS: christmas
Right-click View Image for larger image

1 posted on 12/24/2017 12:19:11 PM PST by mairdie
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To: mairdie
Vassar President Henry Nobel MacCracken:

There runs through all Professor Moore's verse a kind of frustration. He feels he should be a greater man than he is, a greater poet. The public did not agree with him, even about his poetry. His friendst ried to get him to relax, but he never let down his moral guard. Dr. Willy Bard tried to get him to come to a dance, but Moore answered the famous physician in a surly poem. He was a self-torturing Midas; all around him was a rich harvest of poetry, which he turned to lead.

U of Pennsylvania Professor of English and Co-founder of the Folklore Department Tristram Potter Coffin

The truth probably is that Moore heard verses about a visit from St. Nicholas somehow, somewhere, perhaps from the "Dutch gardener," perhaps in his twenties from a governess or guest. He probably reworked these verses, possibly adding enough that he came to think of them as his own. Probably the original from which he worked and which had come to him via the gardener or "young lady" was a poem by Henry Livingston, Jr. Certainly, Livingston makes a better father for this particular brainchild than Moore. Moore was a learned, ponderous man, "educated for the church," with a limited penchant for gaiety, while Livingston was a whimsical chap who once switched the lyrics in his music book from "God Save the King" to "God Save Congress" and who produced a steady stream of light, occasional verse, much of it in the same meter as "The Night Before ..."

Auckland University Professor Emeritus Mac Jackson

It must be emphasized that the most significant tests conducted here are not of lexical items whose presence or absence depends on content. They are of the frequencies of common words such as "the," "on," "as," "at," "to," "that," "would," and "some"; locutions such as "many a" and "in vain"; and phoneme pairs comprised of the last phonetic symbol in one word and the first in the next. These elements of composition are not readily subject to imitation. Their rates of use are largely beyond a writer's conscious control. They distinguish Moore's verse from Livingston's and they classify "The Night Before Christmas" with the latter. The reasonable conclusion is that "The Night Before Christmas" was composed by Henry Livingston.
2 posted on 12/24/2017 12:19:56 PM PST by mairdie
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To: mairdie
From the 1819 Carrier Address

Believe me, dear patrons, I have wand'red too far,
Without any compass, or planet or star;
My dear native village I scarcely can see
So I'll hie to my hive like the tempest-tost bee.
Hail home! sacred home! to my soul ever dear;
Abroad may be wonders but rapture is here.
My future ambition will never soar higher
Than the clean brushed hearth and convivial fire;
Here I lounge at my pleasure, and bask at my ease,
Full readily sooth'd, and desirous to please,
As happy myself as I happy can be,
I wish all the circle as happy as me.

But hark what a clatter! the Jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the midst of their merry-make Juvenile throng;
But I burst from their grasp: unforgetful of duty
To first pay obeisence to wisdom and Beauty,
My conscience and int'rest unite to command it,
And you, my kind PATRONS, deserve & demand it.
On your patience to trespass no longer I dare,
So bowing, I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR.


I rise when I please, when I please I lie down
Nor seek, what I care not a rush for, renown:
The rattle call'd wealth I have learnt to despise
Nor aim to be either important or wise.

Let women & children & children-like men
Pursue the false trollop the world has called fame.
Who just as enjoyed, is instantly flown
And leaves disappointment the hag in her room.

If the world is content not to stand in my way
The world may jog on both by night & by day
Unimpeded by me - not a straw will I put
Where a dear fellow-creature uplifteth its foot.

While my conscience upbraids not, I'll rise and lye down
Nor envy a monarch his cares and his crown.


Without distinction, fame, or note
Upon the tide of life I float,
A bubble almost lost to sight
As cobweb frail, as vapor light;
And yet within that bubble lies
A spark of life which never dies.


I LOVE my feeble voice to raise
In humble pray'r and ardent praise
Till my rapt soul attains that height
When all is glory and delight.

I LOVE to read the book of Heav'n
Which Grace to fall'n man has giv'n;
Where evr'y page and evr'y line
Proclaims its origin divine.

I LOVE that consecrated Fane
Where GOD has stamp'd his holy name:
United with my brethren there
We hear the word and join in pray'r.

I LOVE to join the pious few
And there the covenant renew,
Recount our joys, relate our grief
And jointly ask from GOD relief.

I LOVE on Pity's wing to fly
To sooth the deep expiring sigh,
To wipe the tear from wan distress
And light a smile on Sorrow's face.

I LOVE to view domestic bliss
Bound with the ligature of peace,
Where Parents - Children - All agree
To tune the lute of harmony.

I LOVE the morning's roseate ray,
I bless the glorious march of day,
And when the lulling ev'ning comes
I love the night amidst its glooms.


For Timmy Dwight, the son of his cousin Yale President Rev Dr Timothy Dwight

Master Timmy brisk and airy
Blythe as Oberon the fairy
On thy head thy cousin wishes
Thousand and ten thousand blisses.

Never may thy wicket ball
In a well or puddle fall;
Or thy wild ambitious kite
O'er the Elm's thick foliage light.

When on bended knee thou sittest
And the mark in fancy hittest
May thy marble truly trace
Where thy wishes mark'd the place.

If at hide and seek you play,
All involved in the hay
Titt'ring hear the joyful sound
"Timmy never can be found."

If you hop or if you run
Or whatever is the fun,
Vic'try with her sounding pinion
Hover o'er her little minion.

But when hunger calls the boys
From their helter skelter joys:
Bread and cheese in order standing
For their most rapacious handling
Timmy may thy luncheon be
More than Ben's as five to three.

But if hasty pudding's dish
Meet thy vast capacious wish -
Or lob-lollys charming jelly
Court thy cormorantal belly
Mortal foe to megre fast
Be thy spoonful first & last.


On this thy natal day permit a friend -
A brother - with thy joys his own to blend:
In all thy gladness he would wish to share
As willing in thy griefs a part to bear.

Meekly attend the ways of higher heav'n!
Is much deny'd? Yet much my dear is giv'n.
Thy health, thy reason unimpaired remain
And while as new fal'n snows thy spotless fame.
The partner of thy life, attentive - kind -
And blending e'en the interests of the mind.

What bliss is thine when fore thy glistn'ing eye
Thy lovely infant train pass jocund by!
The ruddy cheek, the smiling morning face
Denote a healthy undegenerate race:
In them renew'd, you'll live & live again,
And children's children's children lisp thy name

Bright be the skies where'er my sister goes
Nor scowling tempests injure her repose -
The field of life with roses thick be strow'd
Nor one sharp thorn lie lurking in the road.
Thy ev'ry path be still a path of peace
And each revolving year thy joys increase;
Till hours & years & time itself be o'er
And one eternal day around thee pour.

3 posted on 12/24/2017 12:20:45 PM PST by mairdie
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To: mairdie
A good example of Moore's ponderous poetry. He was always perfect in rhythm and rhyme. Just boring. That was one of the literary hints that Night Before Christmas was Henry's, before the statistical analysis. NBC in the 1823 version is sloppy, like Henry's fast writing. Most of the edits that ended up in Moore's 1844 version came not from Moore, but from the Troy Sentinel editor who sent a copy of the massively edited 1830 version to Moore when Moore asked if the editor knew when he published who had written the poem. Don called that "the coast is clear" letter.

Full well I know what direful wrath impends,
From Fashion's gay and numerous host of friends,
O'er all who blindly list not in her cause,
Nor swear eternal fealty to her laws.
I know with what despotic sway she rules
O'er old and young, o'er wise as well as fools;
In what imperious tones she bids the throng
Obey her word, though Heav'n pronounce it wrong.

Yet, though my crimes against this power so high
Be numberless, and oft of deepest dye,
Leave I entreat to extenuate my blame:
A right which guiltiest criminals may claim;
E'en they who fly not at a Lady's call,
And dare withstand the attraction of a ball.

Of magic zones and rings you oft have heard,
By fairies on their favorites conferred,
Which pinch'd the wearers sore, or made them bleed,
Whene'er they went astray in thought or deed.
Nor think these stories false because they're old,
But true as this which soon I will unfold.

Sweet sleep had shed its mists around my eyes,
And fancy's motley forms began to rise,
When, 'mid these fleeting phantoms of the night,
A vision stood distinct before my sight.
Though far below the human size it seem'd
A dazzling brightness from its visage beam'd.
My airy dreams it seem'd to chase away,
And thus in sweetest accents deign'd to say:

"Hail, Youth! In me behold a friendly power,
Thy guard in every place, at every hour,
Who thus appear expos'd to mortal view,
Clearly to mark the course you should pursue.
To me 'tis giv'n your virtue to secure
From custom's force and pleasure's dangerous lure.
I watch the motions of your youthful mind,
Rejoicing when to virtue 'tis inclin'd;
But when a growing folly is descried,
To root it out, no art I leave untried.
Those drugs I mix in pleasure's luscious bowl
Which pain the body to preserve the soul.
That listlessness, those qualms, those aches I send
Which dissipation's giddy round attend.
Nor let these warnings, by your Guardian giv'n,
By winning pleasure from your thoughts be driv'n.
For if, regardless of my friendly voice,
In Fashion's gaudy scenes your heart rejoice,
Dire punishments shall fall upon your head:
Disgust, and fretfulness, and secret dread.
Unmeaning forms shall swim before your eyes,
Wild as the clouds which float in vernal skies.

But if true wisdom all your thoughts employ,
I promise lasting peace and health and joy.
A mind untouch'd by malice or by spleen
Shall make your slumbers light, your thoughts serene;
And through the ills which mortals must betide
I still will be your counsellor and guide."

So spoke the friendly power; then, waving light
His azure pinions, vanish'd from my sight.
Such is the guardian Genius, ever near,
Whose love I strive to gain, whose wrath I fear.
But, when his favoring smiles I would secure,
Complaining friendship's frown I oft endure;
And now, for open breach of Fashion's laws,
A criminal, am forc'd to plead my cause.
Such is my lot; and though I guilty prove,
Compassion sure my Judge's breast will move.
Not pardon for my fault I hope to find;
But humbly pray, you'll change to one more kind
The threaten'd sentence, cruel as 'tis hard,
To lose forever your benign regard.

4 posted on 12/24/2017 12:21:28 PM PST by mairdie
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To: mairdie
Auckland University Professor Emeritus Mac Jackson spent over two solid years conducting statistical analysis of the writing of Clement Moore and Henry Livingston in order to determine which poet was the most likely author of "The Night Before Christmas." The result of his investigation was to give the nod to Henry Livingston.

I worked with Mac, and with Don Foster before him, to provide data for Mac to analyze. My computer background is in computer languages, and I took early retirement from IBM Research in 1993, along with my husband, Paul Kosinski, who provided the programs that collected the data. I used to chair the computer group SIGPLAN under the ACM, and have been on the ACM's SIGBOARD, run two newsletters, and chaired and co-chaired five computer language conferences. Paul's PhD is in computer science from MIT. My friend Lyn Bates was president of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Her PhD is from Harvard.

Lyn suggested to Mac that he use the online dictionary from Carnegie-Mellon, on which she had worked, to analyze the poetry by phoneme analysis. Mac knew this approach and had only demurred at the amount of work he would lay on us. We were up to it and transcribed every word of every poem by both poets into phonemes - the sounds of the words. Phonemes track how the tongue and lips move while reciting the poetry aloud. This was one of the important new approaches Mac used for his authorship attribution analysis.

Mac's Data:
"And " versus "And,"

Moore starts a line with "And" 307 times out of 2873 lines. In 40 of those instances, the word is followed with a comma:


Livingston starts 212 out of 1892 lines with "And" and the word is never followed by a comma.

"And" starts 12 out of 56 lines in "Night Before Christmas" and is never followed by a comma.

Let's look at the data.

    Initial Ands for Visit and Moore
    Initial Ands for Visit and Henry
    Ands for All, including Plus Henry

The data linked above includes the text of all poems examined. Plus Henry is not included in the details. The set was a rough idea of poems that might be Henry's and was tested to see how they individually fit within the body of Henry's work. We are currently working on a methodology to test whether a particular poem can be identified as being by Henry or by a sample of poets writing in the same timeframe and publications as Henry.

Mac's Data:
Henry-Favored and Moore-Favored Phoneme Pairs

Mac's Chapter on "Individual Phoneme Pairs More Favored by Moore or Livingston
All phoneme pairs falling within either Moore's or Livingston's top hundred, in terms of frequency of use, were tested by chi-square to determine whether they were used significantly more often within the overall corpus of one or other poet. This significance testing uncovered, neatly though coincidentally, ten phoneme pairs more favored by Moore and ten more favored by Livingston.

Moore's were:

T/DH   T/F   T/S   Z/W   S/W   Z/T   IY/T   D/P   S/S   Z/CH

Livingston's were:

AH/N   AH/F   AH/S   AH/B   AH/K   AH/L   AH/P   N/AH   Z/AO   ZIH

Mac's phoneme pair lists would mean more if you could listen to their sounds. Taking all the phoneme pairs from a single poem for each poet, the phoneme pairs are the sound at the end of the first word and the sound at the beginning of the next word.

Moore Favored Phoneme Pairs in "Saratoga"
Phoneme Pair     Word Pair
T/DH at the
T/F not for
T/S That spoke
Z/W comes we'll
S/W chance were
Z/T waters to
IY/T we take
D/P and plenteous
S/S fierce soe'er
Z/CH his children

Henry Favored Phoneme Pairs in "Invitation to the Country"
Phoneme Pair     Word Pair
AH/N The nightingale
AH/F The flimsy
AH/S the side
AH/B a bush
AH/K The copses
AH/L the lawn
AH/ the plains
N/AH season of
Z/AO flits o'er
Z/IH gambols in

Let's look at the data.

    Favored Phoneme Pairs for Individual Poems - Moore
    Favored Phoneme Pairs Summary - Moore
    Favored Phoneme Pairs for Individual Poems - Henry
    Favored Phoneme Pairs Summary - Henry
    Favored Phoneme Pairs - "Night Before Christmas"
    Favored Phoneme Pairs Summary - "Night Before Christmas"

In the table below, Mac was able to discriminate between Henry's poetry and Moore's by dividing Henry-favored pairs by the sum of Henry-favored and Moore-favored pairs.

Because poems with too few favored phonemes would yield random results, poems with less than 12 total phoneme pairs were eliminated from each poet's set. Since Henry wrote shorter poems, on the average, this meant 25 poems were removed from his set, while Moore only lost 6 poems. But for the ones remaining, tests could be trusted to be statistically significant. What is being analyzed is 1483 lines by Henry and 2750 lines by Moore.

Poet     Means of Percentage
for Individual Poems
H-fav/(H-fav + M-fav)
Henry 66.654
Moore         42.912
Visit 64.912

So, for phoneme pairs, a completely unconscious writing characteristic, Mac's calculations showed that "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" sat firmly in Henry's camp at 64.912.

5 posted on 12/24/2017 12:25:35 PM PST by mairdie
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To: mairdie
Mac's Data:
Frequency of Common Words

Common Words That Discriminate
Despite the context-sensitive character of many pronouns and verbs, they have been used effectively in dozens of authorship studies, along with other high-frequency words. Very common words that, unlike "that," are ineffective as stand-alone discriminators may have value as members of a substantial group of words, each with some discriminatory power. So, as an initial trial, from word lists, ordered by frequency, for Moore and for Livingston, there were extracted each poet's top fifty words.

    All Words in All Poems
    Word Frequencies in All
    Word Frequencies in Moore
    Word Frequencies in Henry
    Word Frequencies in Visit

Mac pulled from the frequency listing twenty-six words that were in both Moore and Henry's poetry, and which appeared twice in "The Night Before Christmas." These he placed in rank order. Mac then applied Spearman's rank-order correlation, a simple statistical test, to determine whether the rank order for Visit of these twenty-six words more closely matches the rank order for Henry or the rank order for Moore.

From this data, Mac found the correlation between Visit and Henry to be .7638. The correlation between Visit and Moore was .6633. Which meant that the way the words are used in Visit is closer to the way they're used in Henry's poetry rather than the way they're used in Moore's.

Next Mac identified words favored by Henry more than Moore (Henry Favored Words), and by Moore more than Henry (Moore Favored Words). After dropping words that had been evaluated in other tests, so as to keep the tests independent, Mac was left with

Henry Favored Words:
I   his   my   her   on   as   is   was   at    thy   will    day   When   me   Where   While

Moore Favored Words:
to   from   your   for   they   be   With   this   our   not   which   so   would   For   it    heart   Of   are   we

    Henry and Moore Favored Words in Poems

Using a t-test, Mac found it unlikely that Henry's poems and Moore's poems fit within a single population. So he had a differentiator. Looking at "The Night Before Christmas," Mac found that it fit neatly within Henry's percentages, but was an outlier for Moore, that it, it was at the extreme end of Moore's percentages.

Mac's Data:
Frequency of Less Common Words

Words of Medium-High Frequency
The success of high-frequency (top 50) words in discriminating between poems by Moore and poems by Livingston is an encouragement to experiment with words of medium-high frequency - the sixty next most highly ranked in either poet's body of verse. From lists of these were extracted the words that were used at rates at least 1.2 times higher by Moore than by Livingston, and vice versa. It turns out that only two were between 1.2 and 1.3 times as frequent, and both of these were very close to a more demanding 1.3 cut-off point. Sixty words were checked, rather than the fifty of the previous test, because, being of lower frequency, items in this category naturally provided fewer data, in terms of total occurrences.

    Henry and Moore Favored Words in Poems

After examining the sixty words, Mac found thirty-four Henry Favored Words and thirty-seven Moore Favored Words. He chose to analyze only those poems that contained at least ten of the favored words.

This time there was no subtlety to the separation of the two bodies of poetry. Mac explained that "Livingston's mean of 60.814 for individual poems with at least ten test words is more than twice Moore's of 29.489. The percentage of 53.704 for 'The Night Before Christmas' lies just outside Moore's actual range of 14.583-53.333 for such poems but well within Livingston's of 30.000-89.474."

Mac's Data:

Sometimes examining grammatical constructions to uncover potential statistically analyzable data is subjective, which doesn't mean the technique shouldn't be used. Rather, it means that you have to have safeguards that your analysis is consistent over a single body of work, as well as between separate bodies of work.

For Moore and Livingston, the difficulty is that Livingston's poetry is so pleasant to read, and Moore's so boring, that it takes extra effort to be sure that Moore isn't being shortchanged by the desire to get through his analysis as quickly as possible.

We approach the problem of achieving uniform analysis in several ways. One way is to perform the entire analysis several times, over both canons. Painful, yes. Necessary, also yes.

The other protection is to make the categorization as obvious as possible so that Mac can come in and quickly skim the results for any mistakes I've made in categorizations. My husband Paul automated the process so that each repetition pattern appears on a page with the category criteria showing at the top, the patterns in Night Before Christmas following, and then all the poems of the poet being analyzed. I enter the first pass of categorization, then Mac, in New Zealand, looks over the results (shown large and bold) and makes any changes he deems necessary. Each change is instantly reflected in the gathered statistics. Blessed Paul.

    Repetition Categories
    Identical Initial Words on 3 Consecutive Lines   His/His/His   And/And/And
    Multiple Identical Words   His eyes how they twinkled/His dimples how merry
    Identical Middle Word   Tore open the shutters/threw up the sash
    Identical End Words   to all, and to all
    Word And Word And Word   whistled, and shouted, and call'd
    Simple Repetition   dash away/dash away/dash away;
    Inner Identical, Outer Same Parts of Speech   wink of his eye/twist of his head
    Repeated Words with Connector   His cheeks were like roses/his nose like a cherry
    Initial Pivot Words   in their beds/in their heads;

    Repetition in All
    Repetition in Henry
    Repetition in Moore
    Repetition in Visit

6 posted on 12/24/2017 12:28:02 PM PST by mairdie
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To: ADemocratNoMore


7 posted on 12/24/2017 12:32:03 PM PST by mairdie
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