Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Christopher Smart

This really should have been posted yesterday, but it wasn't.

On May 21, 1771 Christopher Smart died while in the King's Bench Prison because of debts. He was an English poet and quite a colorful character. He was at one time in his life considered to be mad and put into an insane asylum where he wrote his two most famous poems, "Jubilate Agno" and "Song of David." He would often ask people in the street to pray with him, causing Dr. Johnson to remark, "I'd as lief pray with Kit Smart as anyone else." (Full Wikipedia entry.)

Excerpt from "Song of David":
Glorious the sun in mid career;
Glorious th' assembled fires appear;
Glorious the comet's train:
Glorious the trumpet and alarm;
Glorious th' almighty stretch'd-out arm;
Glorious th' enraptur'd main:

Glorious the northern lights a-stream;
Glorious the song, when God's the theme;
Glorious the thunder's roar:
Glorious hosanna from the den;
Glorious the catholic amen;
Glorious the martyr's gore:

Glorious--more glorious is the crown
Of Him that brought salvation down
By meekness, call'd thy Son;
Thou that stupendous truth believ'd,
And now the matchless deed's achiev'd,
Determin'd, dar'd, and done.

And here is a site with all of his poems (or so it claims).

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