'Twas The Night Before ...
Transcript: Santa’s Origins In “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”
Episode 1: ‘Twas The Night Before ...
Anapestic Tetrameter sounds like what naughty children find in their stockings. Twice As Sticky as last year’s fruitcake, anapestic tetrameter adheres to your memory.
The poetic meter is used in “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” The first line states:
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Notice how rhythm contributes to the sing-song quality that gets trapped in the folds of your brain. That’s anapestic tetrameter, created by four feet in one line.
Each foot contains two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable. Da Da Dum. Da Da Dum. Da Da Dum. Da Da Dum. Do you hear it?
'Twas The Night Before Christmas, when all through the House
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The poem was first published anonymously, most likely by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823. Moore, a professor of Oriental and Greek literature, claimed authorship in 1837. Legend says he penned the poem after a shopping trip in a sleigh in New York City.