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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Number 18

As MacDonald P. Jackson demonstrates at the tail end of Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"? (Appendix III, pages 173-4), the broadsheet of "A Visit from St Nicholas" published by the Troy Sentinel and now owned by the great Museum of the City of New York served as the printer's copy for "Visit" in the 1844 volume, Poems by Clement C. Moore.

N. Tuttle. Account of a visit from St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus.
Museum of the City of New York. 54.331.17
Jackson documents numerous and distinctive textual features of the 1830 broadsheet that appear in the 1844 book version, as well as handwritten changes made by Moore himself, including the notable correction or revision of "Blixem" to "Blitzen."

Additional evidence, not cited by Jackson, supports his finding that Moore used the Sentinel broadsheet in 1844 when preparing "Visit" for republication by Bartlett & Welford. As still faintly visible, a faded or penciled "X" indicates deletion of all prefatory matter including the heading "A Gift for Christmas" and the delightful engraving by Myron King. At the very top of the page, above the ornamental, arabesque border in color, another direction for the printer can be seen, apparently also in pencil or faded ink: "Nu 18" or "No 18." Can this abbreviated "Number 18" refer to the Christmas poem? Yes, absolutely: counting down in the table of contents for Moore's 1844 Poems, A Visit from St. Nicholas is the eighteenth piece in the book. Voila!


TABLE OF CONTENTS.
  1. A Trip to Saratoga
  2. To My Children, with my Portrait
  3. To THE Fashionable part of my Young Countrywomen
  4. The Mischievous Muse — Translation,
  5. Lines written after a Fall of Snow
  6. To Young Ladies who attended Philosophical Lectures
  7. On seeing my Name written in the sand of the sea-shore
  8. On Cowper the poet
  9. To Petrosa
  10.  Translation of an Ode of Metastasio
  11.  A Song
  12. Old Dobbin
  13.  Apology for not accepting an Invitation to A Ball
  14.  Answer to the above, by Mr. Bard
  15. Translation of a chorus in Aeschylus
  16. Lines accompanying some Balls sent to a Fragment Fair
  17. To a Lady
  18. A visit from St. Nicholas
  19. From a Husband to his Wife
  20. Lines by my late Wife, written in an Album....

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