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Best Famous Christopher Smart Poems

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Written by Christopher Smart | Create an image from this poem

The Pig

 In ev'ry age, and each profession, 
Men err the most by prepossession; 
But when the thing is clearly shown, 
And fairly stated, fully known, 
We soon applaud what we deride, 
And penitence succeeds to pride.
-- A certain Baron on a day Having a mind to show away, Invited all the wits and wags, Foot, Massey, Shuter, Yates, and Skeggs, And built a large commodious stage, For the Choice Spirits of the age; But above all, among the rest, There came a Genius who profess'd To have a curious trick in store, Which never was perform'd before.
Thro' all the town this soon got air, And the whole house was like a fair; But soon his entry as he made, Without a prompter, or parade, 'Twas all expectance, all suspense, And silence gagg'd the audience.
He hid his head behind his wig, With with such truth took off* a Pig, [imitated] All swore 'twas serious, and no joke, For doubtless underneath his cloak, He had conceal'd some grunting elf, Or was a real hog himself.
A search was made, no pig was found-- With thund'ring claps the seats resound, And pit and box and galleries roar, With--"O rare! bravo!" and "Encore!" Old Roger Grouse, a country clown, Who yet knew something of the town, Beheld the mimic and his whim, And on the morrow challeng'd him.
Declaring to each beau and bunter That he'd out-grunt th'egregious grunter.
The morrow came--the crowd was greater-- But prejudice and rank ill-nature Usurp'd the minds of men and wenches, Who came to hiss, and break the benches.
The mimic took his usual station, And squeak'd with general approbation.
"Again, encore! encore!" they cry-- 'Twas quite the thing--'twas very high; Old Grouse conceal'd, amidst the racket, A real Pig berneath his jacket-- Then forth he came--and with his nail He pinch'd the urchin by the tail.
The tortur'd Pig from out his throat, Produc'd the genuine nat'ral note.
All bellow'd out--"'Twas very sad! Sure never stuff was half so bad! That like a Pig!"--each cry'd in scoff, "Pshaw! Nonsense! Blockhead! Off! Off! Off!" The mimic was extoll'd, and Grouse Was hiss'd and catcall'd from the house.
-- "Soft ye, a word before I go," Quoth honest Hodge--and stooping low Produc'd the Pig, and thus aloud Bespoke the stupid, partial crowd: "Behold, and learn from this poor creature, How much you Critics know of Nature.
"
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A Song to David (excerpt)

 Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
And drops upon the leafy limes;
Sweet Hermon's fragrant air:
Sweet is the lily's silver bell,
And sweet the wakeful tapers smell
That watch for early pray'r.
Sweet the young nurse with love intense, Which smiles o'er sleeping innocence; Sweet when the lost arrive: Sweet the musician's ardour beats, While his vague mind's in quest of sweets, The choicest flow'rs to hive.
Sweeter in all the strains of love, The language of thy turtle dove, Pair'd to thy swelling chord; Sweeter with ev'ry grace endu'd, The glory of thy gratitude, Respir'd unto the Lord.
Strong is the horse upon his speed; Strong in pursuit the rapid glede, Which makes at once his game: Strong the tall ostrich on the ground; Strong thro' the turbulent profound Shoots xiphias to his aim.
Strong is the lion--like a coal His eye-ball--like a bastion's mole His chest against the foes: Strong, the gier-eagle on his sail, Strong against tide, th' enormous whale Emerges as he goes.
But stronger still, in earth and air, And in the sea, the man of pray'r; And far beneath the tide; And in the seat to faith assign'd, Where ask is have, where seek is find, Where knock is open wide.
Beauteous the fleet before the gale; Beauteous the multitudes in mail, Rank'd arms and crested heads: Beauteous the garden's umbrage mild, Walk, water, meditated wild, And all the bloomy beds.
Beauteous the moon full on the lawn; And beauteous, when the veil's withdrawn, The virgin to her spouse: Beauteous the temple deck'd and fill'd, When to the heav'n of heav'ns they build Their heart-directed vows.
Beauteous, yea beauteous more than these, The shepherd king upon his knees, For his momentous trust; With wish of infinite conceit, For man, beast, mute, the small and great, And prostrate dust to dust.
Precious the bounteous widow's mite; And precious, for extreme delight, The largess from the churl: Precious the ruby's blushing blaze, And alba's blest imperial rays, And pure cerulean pearl.
Precious the penitential tear; And precious is the sigh sincere, Acceptable to God: And precious are the winning flow'rs, In gladsome Israel's feast of bow'rs, Bound on the hallow'd sod.
More precious that diviner part Of David, ev'n the Lord's own heart, Great, beautiful, and new: In all things where it was intent, In all extremes, in each event, Proof--answ'ring true to true.
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.
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For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry (excerpt Jubilate Agno)

 For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord's poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually--Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
Written by Christopher Smart | Create an image from this poem

Epistle to Mrs. Tyler

 It ever was allow'd, dear Madam, 
Ev'n from the days of father Adam, 
Of all perfection flesh is heir to, 
Fair patience is the gentlest virtue; 
This is a truth our grandames teach, 
Our poets sing, and parsons preach; 
Yet after all, dear Moll, the fact is 
We seldom put it into practice; 
I'll warrant (if one knew the truth) 
You've call'd me many an idle youth, 
And styl'd me rude ungrateful bear, 
Enough to make a parson swear.
I shall not make a long oration in order for my vindication, For what the plague can I say more Than lazy dogs have done before; Such stuff is naught but mere tautology, And so take that for my apology.
First then for custards, my dear Mary, The produce of your dainty dairy, For stew'd, for bak'd, for boil'd, for roast, And all the teas and all the toast; With thankful tongue and bowing attitude, I here present you with my gratitude: Next for you apples, pears, and plums Acknowledgment in order comes; For wine, for ale, for fowl, for fish--for Ev'n all one's appetite can wish for: But O ye pens and O ye pencils, And all ye scribbling utensils, Say in what words and in what meter, Shall unfeign'd admiration greet her, For that rich banquet so refin'd Her conversation gave the mind; The solid meal of sense and worth, Set off by the desert of mirth; Wit's fruit and pleasure's genial bowl, And all the joyous flow of soul; For these, and every kind ingredient That form'd your love--your most obedient.
Written by Christopher Smart | Create an image from this poem

Jubilate Agno (excerpt)

 For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord's poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually--Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
Written by Christopher Smart | Create an image from this poem

from Jubilate Agno Fragment B lines 695-768

 For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord's poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually--Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
Written by Christopher Smart | Create an image from this poem

On My Wifes Birth-Day

 'Tis Nancy's birth-day--raise your strains, 
Ye nymphs of the Parnassian plains, 
And sing with more than usual glee 
To Nancy, who was born for me.
Tell the blythe Graces as they bound, Luxuriant in the buxom round; They're not more elegantly free, Than Nancy, who was born for me.
Tell royal Venus, tho' she rove, The queen of the immortal grove, That she must share her golden fee With Nancy, who was born for me.
Tell Pallas, tho' th'Athenian school, And ev'ry trite pedantic fool, On her to place the palm agree, 'Tis Nancy's, who was born for me.
Tell spotless Dian, tho' she range, The regent of the up-land grange, In chastity she yields to thee, O Nancy, who was born for me.
Tell Cupid, Hymen, and tell Jove, With all the pow'rs of life and love, That I'd disdain to breathe or be, If Nancy was not born for me.
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Wheres the Poker?

 The poker lost, poor Susan storm'd, 
And all the rites of rage perform'd; 
As scolding, crying, swearing, sweating, 
Abusing, fidgetting, and fretting.
"Nothing but villany, and thieving; Good heavens! what a world we live in! If I don't find it in the morning, I'll surely give my master warning.
He'd better far shut up his doors, Than keep such good for nothing whores; For wheresoe'er their trade they drive, We vartuous bodies cannot thrive.
" Well may poor Susan grunt and groan; Misfortunes never come alone, But tread each other's heels in throngs, For the next day she lost the tongs; The salt box, colander, and pot Soon shar'd the same untimely lot.
In vain she vails and wages spent On new ones--for the new ones went.
There'd been (she swore) some dev'l or witch in, To rob or plunder all the kitchen.
One night she to her chamber crept (Where for a month she had not slept; Her master being, to her seeming, A better play fellow than dreaming).
Curse on the author of these wrongs, In her own bed she found the tongs, (Hang Thomas for an idle joker!) In her own bed she found the poker, With the salt box, pepper box, and kettle, With all the culinary metal.
-- Be warn'd, ye fair, by Susans crosses: Keep chaste and guard yourselves from losses; For if young girls delight in kissing, No wonder that the poker's missing.
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On a Lady Throwing Snow-Balls at Her Lover

 [From the Latin of Petronious Ascanius.
] When, wanton fair, the snowy orb you throw, I feel a fire before unknown in snow.
E'en coldest snow I find has pow'r to warm My breast, when flung by Julia's lovely arm.
T'elude love's pow'rful arts I strive in vain, If ice and snow can latent fires contain.
These frolics leave: the force of beauty prove, With equal passion cool my ardent love.
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The Sweets of Evening

 The sweets of evening charm the mind, 
Sick of the sultry day; 
The body then no more confin'd, 
But exercise with freedom join'd, 
When Phoebus sheathes his ray.
While all-serene the summer moon Sends glances thro' the trees, And Philomel begins her tune,.
And Asteria too shall help her soon With voice of skillful ease.
A nosegay, every thing that grows, And music, every sound To lull the sun to his repose; The skies are colour'd like the rose With lively streaks around.
Of all the changes rung by time None half so sweet appear, As those when thoughts themselves sublime, And with superior natures chime In fancy's highest sphere.
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Psalm XXIII

 The shepherd Christ from heav'n arriv'd, 
My flesh and spirit feeds; 
I shall not therefore be depriv'd 
Of all my nature needs.
As slop'd against the glist'ning beam The velvet verdure swells, He keeps, and leads me by the stream Where consolation dwells.
My soul He shall from sin restore, And her free pow'rs awake, In paths of heav'nly truth to soar, For love and mercy's sake.
Yea, tho' I walk death's gloomy vale, The dread I shall disdain; For Thou art with me, lest I fail, To check me and sustain.
Thou shalt my plenteous board appoint Before the braving foe; Thine oil and wine my head anoint, And make my goblet flow.
But great still Thy love and grace Shall all my life attend; And in Thine hallow'd dwelling place My knees shall ever bend.
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The Long-Nosed Fair

 Once on a time I fair Dorinda kiss'd, 
Whose nose was too distinguish'd to be miss'd; 
My dear, says I, I fain would kiss you closer, 
But tho' your lips say aye--your nose says, no, Sir.
-- The maid was equally to fun inclin'd, And plac'd her lovely lily-hand behind; Here, swain, she cry'd, may'st thou securely kiss, Where there's no nose to interrupt thy bliss.