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Lyceum English 5

Lyceum English 5

Hello dear friends,

As we are nearing Christmas and the first snowflakes of the season are appearing, I thought you might enjoy reading and hearing one of the most classic Christmas poems of all time: Twas the night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore.

And as you visualize the reindeer in the sky and imagine the sound of hoofs on your roof, I hope you won’t be frightened by the sudden arrival of St Nicholas in your chimney!

I am looking forward to the day when we can all meet up again in person for lively discussions. Hopefully we will soon be able to share the joy of seeing each other and, in the meanwhile, I send you my warmest wishes for the Christmas season with your friends and family.

Pamela J

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Full Text of the Classic Poem

By Clement Clarke Moore (1837)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my 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 sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

« Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! 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 toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys 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 cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it 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 jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
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 stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

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,


Not a creature was stirring aucune créature ne bougeait
Snug bien au chaud, douillet, serré
Clatter noise
Sash window which slides up and down
Sleigh un traineau
Coursers reindeer (rennes)
Dash away !Partez vite !
In a twinkling dans une seconde, le temps de cligner les yeux
Prancing caracolant, dansant
Hoof Sabot
Tarnished terni
Soot la suie
Peddler colporteur
Dimples fossettes
Stump le bout (la souche d’un arbre)
Wreath couronne
Chubby, plump fat
to dread to fear
a jerk un mouvement brusque
a nod signe de tête pour dire oui
the down of a thistle le duvet de chardon
ere before
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Lyceum English 2

Lyceum English 2

Hello and welcome to the virtual world ! If you are not already submerged by books, movies, blogs, websites etc… here are a few suggestions that might interest you.

Book Passage Conversations with Authors

This is a live interview with authors in a lovely bookshop in Mill Valley, California. You can listen at any time for two weeks after the live interview ; you just need to register (free) and then watch the interview when you like. Recently I have listened to Isabel Allende and Colum McCann, both highly interesting. I’d really like to read Colum McCann’s new book Apeirogon about two men who lost their daughters, one Jewish and one Palestinian. Their shared grief created a strong bond of friendship between them.

British Institute of Florence Library Cultural Programme Wednesday evening talks :

you can listen to these talks on Wednesdays at 6 pm (or later online) by registering (free). So far I have listened to two talks about the architecture, history and art in Florence. On April 29 I enjoyed listening to Helen Farrell speak about the pandemic in Florence and the way people have learned to adapt. The audience can ask questions at the end. I enjoy the feeling of « being » in the British Institute in Florence, looking out the window at the Arno and seeing the people who live there now.

History of Art

I found a fantastic series of lectures on art history on youtube. I have listened to several modules, each based on a different artist or group of artists. Here is the link to module 8 on Giorgione and Bellini . You can choose other modules easily.


I watched the ballet Nutcracker at the Zurich opera house and was delighted by the costumes, the music, the choreography. There will be a number of operas online available to stream on certain dates :

May 1-3 Nabucco

May 8-10 Romeo and Juliet

May 15-17 Wozzeck

May 21-24 Werther

May 29-June 1 Rigoletto


The MET also has nightly operas online. So far I have only managed to watch the Gala evening when opera singers performed from their living rooms all over the world. An amazing experience !

Take a look at all the operas scheduled for this week :


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Lyceum English 1

Lyceum English 1

For many of you, this has been a time to reflect upon life and nature, to watch the leaves slowly unfolding, the flowers blossoming, taking time to live slowly. I subscribe to a blog called brainpickings which brings to life the thoughts of authors, artists, and scientists both past and present. Below you will find a short article about Mary Shelley’s impressions on her journey through the snowy mountains of the Jura on her way to Switzerland in 1816. She spent several weeks in Geneva with her husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and her half-sister, Claire. Upon arriving in Geneva and finding fine weather, the scent of flowers and the chirp of grasshoppers, she wrote that she felt « as happy as a new-fledged bird. » I hope that you will also find pleasure in the sounds, scents and sights of nature this spring, enjoying the slower pace of life. The excerpts below are from letters Mary Shelley wrote ; how often do people today take time to write such beautiful, thoughtful letters ?

Mary Shelley


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