The Christmas Tree

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Christmas is just one week off,
And Old Santa's in the house;
In the attic heard a cough
Th' other day when not a mouse
Nor a rat, I know, was there.
Mother said, "You'd better be
Good, or else, I do declare!
There won't be a Christmas-tree."

Christmas is next week. And I'm
So excited! In the night
Hardly ever sleep. One time
Woke and heard strange footsteps, right
In the hall, go down the stair;
When I cried to mother, she
Said, "Lie down, now! I declare
If you don't no Christmas-tree."

Yes; next week is Christmas. And
I heard some one laughing sure,
Low, half smothered by a hand,
In the parlor where the door
'S always locked and, my! my hair
Fairly crept. And suddenly
Heard a hoarse voice say, "Take care!
Or you'll get no Christmas-tree."

Mother was a-lying down;
'T was n't she. And then the cook
And my nurse had gone in town.
Father, he was at a book.
Must have been Old Santa there
Just a-lying low to see
If I'm good or I declare!
Trimming up my Christmas-tree.

One night, huh! the kitchen door
Banged wide open. 'T was n't wind.
And three knocks, or was it four?
Shook the window. I just skinned
Out of there and up the stair
Where my mother was; and she
Smiled, "'T was Santa, I'll declare!
Bringing in your Christmas-tree."

And I never pout or cry
When I have to go to bed;
Just get in my gown and lie
Quiet; listening for the tread
Of a foot upon the stair,
Or a voice it seems to me
Santa's saying, "I declare,
It's a lovely Christmas-tree!"

Every one just walks the chalk
Now it's near to Christmas. Yes,
I'm as careful in my talk
As a boy could be, I guess:
"For Old Santa's everywhere, "
Mother says mysteriously,
"And, unless you're good, 'declare
You won't have a Christmas-tree."

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