'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the hive.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mite;
The honey was capped and the bee bread was made,
In hopes that St. Dronolas soon would be there;
The larva were nestled all snug in their cells,
While visions of royal jelly danced in their heads;
And mamma queen and her attendants,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the landing board there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chamber to see what was the matter.
Away to the entrance I flew like a flash,
Tore open the propolis and threw on 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 sleigh, and eight tiny rainbugs,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Dronolus.
More rapid than fireflies his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the honey super! to the top of the hive!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As snow flakes fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, they mount to the sky;
So up to the hive-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of honey, and St. droneolas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the entrance St. dronolas came with a bound.
He was dressed in stripped fur, from his antenna to his tarsus,
And his fuzz was all tarnished with pollen and propolis;
A bundle of honey he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His proboscis was drawn up like a bow
And the pollen of his chin was as white as the snow;
The sprig of a propolis he held tight in his teeth,
And the puff of fresh pollen encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of royal jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Drone,
And I laughed when I saw him, as he resembled my own;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the cells; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his foreleg aside his maxilla,
He gave a nod and up the colony he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a buzz,
And away they all flew like dandelion fuzz,
But I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."