In a distant polar region
Sheathed in everlasting ice
Stands an ancient, argent castle
Wrought with wonderous device
That rears alone, aloof and chaste,
Amid the twilight, frozen waste.
The airy halls reverbrate
With songs of elder days
Sung by dimmed, immortal spirits
Along vaulted, empty ways.
They are that angel-kin who fell
And yet were still too good for hell.
They serve their time attending him
Who dwells within those walls.
They go as flames or rushing winds
And are his willing thralls.
Wherever there may mortals be
They probe their hearts of secrecy
And bring them to that private place
Within the hidden heart
Of the silvered winter palace
Where an old man dwells apart
Clothed in miter, cope and stole
And on his hand a ring of gold.
In that inviolate chamber
By a thousand candles' light
He hears the tales of joy and woe
And once a year, at night,
About the time of sun's rebirth
He travels all around the earth
And bestows his glowing blessings
In those that goodness guides,
And those that practice evil
He in pity passes by.
He wanders on and goes his way
Ere the stars can dim with day.
I, sleeping, saw this vision
And so can tell the tale
And saw these things on Christmas Eve
Before my dream could pale.
But I wonder who, without a pause,
Knew 'twas the elves and Santa Claus?