Christopher Smart Poems

Poems » christopher smart

Christopher Smart
Christopher Smart (April 11, 1722 May 21, 1771) was an English poet. His works include A Song to David and Jubilate Agno, both of which were at least partly written during his confinement in an insane asylum. Smart was the son of Peter Smart, of an old north country family, was born at Shipbourne, Kent. His father was steward for the Kentish estates of William, Viscount Vane, younger son of Lord Barnard of Raby Castle, Durham. Christopher Smart received his first schooling at Maidstone, and then at Durham School. He spent part of his vacations at Raby Castle, and his gifts as a poet gained him the patronage of the Vane family. Henrietta, Duchess of Cleveland, allowed him a pension of 40 pounds yearly which was paid until her death in 1742. Thomas Gray, writing to his friend Thomas Wharton in 1747, warned him to keep silent about Smart's delinquencies lest they should come to the ears of Henry Vane (afterwards Earl of Darlington), and endanger his allowance. At Cambridge, where he was entered at Pembroke College in 1739, he spent much of his time in taverns, and got badly into debt, but in spite of his irregularities he became Fellow of his college, Praelector in Philosophy and Keeper of the Common Chest in 1745. In November 1747 he was compelled to remain in his rooms for fear of his creditors. At Cambridge he won the Seatonian Prize for a poem "On the Attributes of the Supreme Being" in 1750 (he won the same prize in 1751, 1752, 1753 and 1755); and a farce entitled A Trip to Cambridge, or The Grateful Fair, performed in 1747 by the students of Pembroke, was from his pen. In 1750 he contributed to The Student, or, The Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany. During one of his visits to London he had made the acquaintance of John Newbery, the publisher, whose step-daughter, Anna Maria Carnan, he married with the result of forfeiting his fellowship in 1753. About 1752 he left Cambridge permanently, for London, though he kept his name on the college books, as he had to do in order to compete for the Seaton prize. He wrote in London under the pseudonyms of Mary Midnight and Pentweazle. He edited The Midwife, or The Old Woman's Magazine (1751-1753), and had a hand in many other Grub Street productions. Some criticisms made by Sir John Hill (1716-1775) on his Poems on Several Occasions (1752) provoked Smart's satire of "The Hilliad" (1753), noteworthy as providing the model for "The Rohliad". In 1756 he finished a prose translation of Horace, which was widely used, but brought him little profit. He agreed in the same year to produce a weekly paper entitled The Universal Visiter [sic], for which Samuel Johnson wrote some numbers.

jubilate agno
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serv... [read poem]
Continue in Arabella Eugenia Smith »»»

Page 1 of 1