'Twas the night before drinking, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The growlers were stacked in the cooler with care,
In hopes that St. Hokelaus soon would be there;
The Brew-ers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of pale ales danced in their heads;
And Zach in his 'kerchief, Papa Dave in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature keg, quite full of beer,
With a sharp-taken breath, nearly did I choke,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Hoke.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Devin! Now, Devin! Now, Jer'My and Jake!
On, Taco! On Frank! On, Derrick and Blake!
To the top of the league! 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 house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of beers, and St. Hokelaus too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard something neat:
The prancing and pawing of each monst'rous cleat.
Stein in my hand, I was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Hokelaus came with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue, he had been for days
And his clothes were all tarnished with highlighter maize.
A bundle of beers 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 heart yearned for Roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as clean as the snow;
The neck of a bottle he held tight in his teeth,
And the haze it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a big ol' round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old coach,
And I laughed when I saw him, above all reproach;
A wink of his eye and a double-point with glee,
Soon gave me to know I had no reason to flee;
He pulled down his keg, seeming so far from frail
And poured full all the growlers with Bells' Christmas Ale!
"It's spicy! and malty! and not even bitter!",
And giving a nod, he gathered his litter;
He sprang to his sleigh, 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 Bowl Season, Michigan Faitfhul, and to all a good-night."