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Posted: 24 December 2012
Author: Stewart Tricker
The beers were nestled all snug in their kegs,
While visions of strong ales danced in our heads.
And staff in their cellars no casks to tap,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the hill there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
With fear for what fell with such a crash.
The moon on the dusting of new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to vessels below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature dray, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old drayman, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! , on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the fermenter! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the mill room the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of ales, stouts, and lager too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the fermenter St Nick came with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue, with golden crooks dotted
Other Shepherd Neame logos discreetly were spotted
A bundle of hops he had flung on his back
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The tankard of ale he held tight in his hand,
And the aroma of hops fair filled the land.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his dray, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, cheers and to all a good-night!"