is an online magazine of the literary arts.

2 June 2004 | Vol. 4, No. 2

from A Song to David

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 through the turbulent profound

        Shoots Xiphias to his aim.

Strong is the lion—like a coal

His eyeball,—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 prayer,

        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.

Precious the penitential tear;

And precious is the sigh sincere,

        Acceptable to God:

And precious are the winning flowers,

In gladsome Israel's feast of bowers

        Bound on the hallow'd sod.

Glorious the sun in mid career;

Glorious th' assembled fires appear;

        Glorious the comet's train:

Glorious the trumpet and alarm;

Glorious the Almighty's stretched-out arm;

        Glorious th' enraptured main:

Glorious the northern lights astream;

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 believed;—

And now the matchless deed 's achieved,

        Determined, dared, and done!

About the author:

1722-71. With the exception of one brief intermission, Christopher Smart remained hospitalized for mental insanity from 1756 through 1763, during which he wrote the poems considered his best work: A Song to David (1763) and Jubilate Agno, first published in 1939 by W. F. Stead. Though critics of his own time accused A Song to David of incoherence, it experienced a surge of praise and interest in the nineteenth century by such poets as Browning and Yeats. Only fragments of Jubilate Agno remain today; best known of these fragments is the cataloging homage to his cat Jeoffry, companion during Smart's incarceration. Smart has been considered a forerunner of poets varying from John Clare and William Blake to Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman.

Learn more about the life and work of Christopher Smart at Wikipedia.



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