"HALT! Who goes there?â€ The sentryâ€™s call Rose on the midnight air Above the noises of the camp, The roll of wheels, the horsesâ€™ tramp. The challenge echoed over allâ€” â€œHalt! Who goes there?â€ A quaint old figure clothed in white, He bore a staff of pine, An ivy-wreath was on his head. â€œAdvance, oh friend,â€ the sentry said, â€œAdvance, for this is Christmas night, And give the countersign.â€
â€œNo sign nor countersign have I, Through many lands I roam The whole world over far and wide, To exiles all at Christmastide, From those who love them tenderly I bring a thought of home.
â€œFrom English brook and Scottish burn, From cold Canadian snows, From those far lands ye hold most dear I bring you all a greeting here, A frond of a New Zealand fern, A bloom of English rose.
â€œFrom faithful wife and loving lass I bring a wish divine, For Christmas blessings on your head.â€ â€œI wish you well,â€ the sentry said, â€œBut here, alas! you may not pass Without the countersign.â€
He vanishedâ€”and the sentryâ€™s tramp Re-echoed down the line. It was not till the morning light The soldiers knew that in the night Old Santa Claus had come to camp Without the countersign.