« AnteriorContinuar »
Let no rude sound invade from far,
CHRISTOPHER SMART, an unfortunate and irre
gular man of genius, was born in 1722 at ShipBut if some pilgrim through the glade
bourne in Kent. His father was steward to Lord Thy hallowed bowers explore,
Barnard (afterwards Earl of Darlington), and dying O guard from barm his hoary head,
when his son was eleven years of age, the patronage And listen to his lore; For he of joys divine shall tell,
of Lord Barnard was generously continued to his That wean from earthly wo,
family. Through the influence of this nobleman, And triumph o'er the mighty spell
Christopher procured from the Duchess of CleveThat chains his heart below.
land an allowance of £40 per annum. He was ad
mitted of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, in 1739, For me, no more the path invites
elected a fellow of Pembroke in 1745, and took his Ambition loves to tread;
degree of M.A. in 1747. At college, Smart was No more I climb those toilsome heights, remarkable for folly and extravagance, and his By guileful Hope misled;
distinguished contemporary Gray prophesied truly Leaps my fond fluttering heart no more
that the result of his conduct would be a jail or To Mirth's enlivening strain;
bedlam. In 1747, he wrote a comedy called a Trip For present pleasure soon is o'er,
to Cambridge, or The Grateful Fair, which was acted And all the past is vain.'
in Pembroke College Hall, the parlour of which was
made the green-room. No remains of this play have The Hermit.
been found, excepting a few songs and a mock
heroic soliloquy, the latter containing the following At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
humorous simile:And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove, When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill, Thus when a barber and a collier fight, And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove: The barber beats the luckless collier white; 'Twas thus, by the cave of the mountain afar, The dusty collier heaves his ponderous sack, While his harp rung symphonious, a hermit began : And, big with vengeance, beats the barber black. No more with himself or with nature at war,
In comes the brick-dust man, with grime o'erspread, He thought as a sage, though he felt as a man. And beats the collier and the barber red;
Black, red, and white, in various clouds are tossed, . Ah! why, all abandoned to darkness and wo,
And in the dust they raise the combatants are lost. Why, lone Philomela, that languishing fall ? For spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
From the correspondence of Gray, it appears that And sorrow no longer thy bosom inthral:
Smart's income at Cambridge was about £140 per But, if pity inspire thee, renew the sad lay,
annum, and of this his creditors compelled him to Mourn, sweetest complainer, man calls thee to mourn; assign over to them £50 a-year till his debts were O soothe him, whose pleasures like thine pass away: paid. Notwithstanding his irregularities, Smart Full quickly they pass—but they never return. cultivated his talents, and was distinguished both Now gliding remote on the verge of the sky,
for his Latin and English verse. His manners were The moon half extinguished her crescent displays :
agreeable, though his misconduct appears to have But lately I marked, when majestic on high
worn out the indulgence of all his college friends. She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.
Having written several pieces for periodicals pubRoll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue lished by Newberry, Smart became acquainted The path that conducts thee to splendour again;
with the bookseller's family, and married his stepBut man's faded glory what change shall renew? daughter, Miss Carnan, in the year 1753. He now Ah fool! to exult in a glory so vain!
removed to London, and endeavoured to subsist by 'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more ;
his pen. The notorious Sir John Hill-whose wars I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
with the Royal Society, with Fielding, &c., are wellFor morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
known, and who closed his life by becoming a quack Berfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew: latter replied by a spirited 'satire entitled The Hil,
doctor -- having insidiously attacked Smart, the Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
liad. Kind Nature the embryo blossom will save.
Among his various tasks was a metrical But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn!
translation of the Fables of Phædrus. He also O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave !
translated the psalms and parables into verse, but
the version is destitute of talent. He had, how. 'Twas thus, by the glare of false science betrayed, ever, in his better days, translated with success, and That leads, to bewilder; and dazzles, to blind ; to Pope's satisfaction, the Ode on St Cecilia's Day. My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to in 1756 Smart was one of the conductors of a shade,
monthly periodical called The Universal Visiter ; and Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.
to assist him, Johnson (who sincerely sympathised, “O pity, great Father of Light," then I cried,
as Boswell relates, with Smart's unhappy vacillaThy creature, who fain would not wander from thee; tion of mind) contributed a few essays. In 1763 we Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride :
find the poor poet confined in a mad-house. • He From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free !" has partly as much exercise,' said Johnson, as he And darkness and doubt are now flying away,
used to have, for he digs in the garden. Indeed, No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn.
before his confinement, he used for exercise to walk So breaks on the traveller, faint, and astray,
to the ale-house ; but he was carried back again. I The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn. did not think he ought to be shut up. His infirSee Truth, Love, and Mercy, in triumph descending, mities were not noxious to society. He insisted on And Nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom ! people praying with him (also falling upon his On the cold cheek of death smiles and roses are knees and saying his prayers in the street, or in any blending,
other unusual place); and I'd as lief pray with Kit And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.' Smart as any one else. Another charge was, that
he did not love clean linen ; and I have no passion for it.' During his confinement, it is said, writing materials were denied him, and Smart used to indent his poetical thoughts with a key on the wainscot of his walls. A religious poem, the Song to David, written at this time in his saner intervals, possesses passages of considerable power and sublimity, and must be considered as one of the greatest curiosities of our literature. What the unfortunate poet did not write down (and the whole could not possibly have been committed to the walls of his apartment) must have been composed and retained from memory alone. Smart was afterwards released from his confinement; but his ill fortune (following, we suppose, his intemperate habits) again pursued him. He was committed to the King's Bench prison for debt, and died there, after a short illness, in 1770.
Song to David.
To praise the King of kings :
Clear as a clarion rings :
Of gratitude in throngs;
With dances and with songs:
Which thou mayst now receive; From thy blest mansion hail and hear, From topmost eminence appear
To this the wreath I weave. Great, valiant, pious, good, and clean, Sublime, contemplative, serene,
Strong, constant, pleasant, wise! Bright effluence of exceeding grace ; Best man! the swiftness and the race,
The peril and the prize !
Which is the people's voice;
The man of God's own choice.
Whom God's just laws abhor;
The weapons of the war.
(The seraph in his soul :) Foremost to give the Lord his dues, Foremost to bless the welcome news,
And foremost to condole.
His aspect and his heart :
And Shimei's blunted dart.
To fasting and to fear-
To play the sword and spear.
To God the eternal theme;
O'er meaner strains supreme.
The Sabbath-day he blest; 'Twas then his thoughts self-conquest pruned, And heavenly melancholy tuned,
To bless and bear the rest.
How sweetly Kidron purled-
When God had calmed the world.
In sempiternal night;
To his undaunted might.
To Jonathan his friend
His endless fame attend.
Priest, champion, sage, and boy ;
Majestic was his joy.
Of all the most reviled;
And counsel to his child.
For all the pangs that rage;
The Abishag of his age.
On which all strength depends;
Commences, reigns, and ends.
Or with their citterns wait;
The cherub and her mate.
For infinite applause
The world--the clustering spheres he made,
Dale, champaign, grove, and hill;
And wisdom hides her skill.
Choice gums and precious balm; Bless
the nosegay in the vale, And with the sweetness of the gale
Enrich the thankful psalm.
That live in peace, or prey;
The raven, swan, and jay.
Devouring man to shun:
And love the glancing sun.
Nor yet the shades arouse ;
The kids exult and browse.
Their darts of lustre sheath;
Among the mines beneath.
And did for audience call;
The frantic throes of Saul.
And sense and soul detained ;
Or in delight refrained.
As blush to blush she stood;
And plays his hymns so good.'
His wisdom drew the plan;
From Christ enthroned to man.
Of light and blaze of day;
And heaven itself its stay.
And is with sapphires paved ;
The crimson veil, are waved.
Of never-wasting bloom ;
The trowel, spade, and loom.
The illustrious lights that are;
Held rule with every star.
In thankful safety lurks ;
Of God's recorded works.
And man of all the chief;
For ocular belief.
For gratitude and thought;
And closed the infernal draught.
And infinite degree;
The lion and the bee!
By pleasures unenticed;
And saw the God in Christ.
And, smitten to the heart,
Replied, O Lord, Thou Art.
All flesh thy bounties share:
Are meekness, peace, and prayer.
God armed the snail and wilk;
For her that yields thee milk.
Which says thou shalt not die:
Use all thy passions !- love is thine,
Thine hope's eternal fort,
And rapture to transport.
Till not with ass and bull :
Nor work thy flax with wool.
Resort with those that weep:
And render as you reap.
To make thy welcome last ;
Look upwards to the past.
And for thy neighbour feel;
By knowledge and by zeal.
The genuine word repeat !
That keeps the fool's conceit.
And good to goodness add :
The Lord is great and glad.
And David in the midst; With God's good poor, which, last and least in man's esteem, thou to thy feast,
O blessed bridegroom, bidst.
Adjust, attract, and fill:
By the descending rill.
And fruit-trees pledge their gems ;
And bell-flowers bow their stems.
For Adoration springs :
The scalēd infant clings.
And lizards feed the moss ;
No longer roar and toss.
The weaned adventurer sports ; Where to the palm the jasmine cleaves, For Adoration 'mong the leaves
The galo his peace reports.
The opposing spirits tilt ;
For Adoration gilt.
The western pilgrim's staff ;
Embower the social laugh. Now labour his reward receives, For Adoration counts his sheaves
To peace, her bounteous prince ; The nect'rine his strong tint imbibes, And apples of ten thousand tribes,
And quick peculiar quince. The wealthy crops of whitening rice 'Mongst thyine woods and groves of spice
For Adoration grow ;
Where wild carnations blow.
Upon the snow-clad earth :
And bless the sight from dearth.
With fear eludes offence :
Where frosts the wave condense.
The squirrel hoards his nuts :
For Adoration shuts.
And he, who kneels and chants,
Which for translation pants.
The soft flute's ivory touch ;
The damsel's greedy clutch. For Adoration, in the skies, The Lord's philosopher espies
The dog, the ram, and rose ; The planets ring, Orion's sword ; Nor is his greatness less adored In the vile worm that glows.
For Adoration, on the strings
The captive ear to soothe-
Or bids the sca be smooth!
Ranked 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, decked and filled, When to the heaven of heavens they build
Their heart-directed vows.
Beauteous, yea beauteous more than these, The Shepherd King upon his knees,
For his momentous trust;
And prostrate dust to dust.
The largess from the churl:
And pure cerulean pearl.
Acceptable to God :
Bound on the hallowed sod.
For Adoration, incense comes
And from the civet's fur:
Than galbanum or myrrh.
God sends to tempt the taste ;
Commands desire be chaste.
Of purity refresh ;
Who triumphs o'er the flesh.
And on his olives perch :
Within his Saviour's Church.
Sweet Hermon's fragrant air:
That watch for early prayer.
Sweet when the lost arrive: Sweet the musician's ardour beats, While his vague mind's in quest of sweets,
The choicest flowers to hive. Sweeter, in all the strains of love, The language of thy turtle-dove,
Paired to thy swelling chord ;
Respired unto the Lord.
Which makes at once his game :
Shoots xiphias to his aim.
His chest against the foes :
Emerges as he goes.
And far beneath the tide :
Where knock is open wide.
More precious that diviner part
Great, beautiful, and new:
Proof--answering true to true.
Glorious the comet's train : Glorious the trumpet and alarm; Glorious the Almighty's stretched-out arm;
Glorious the enraptured main: Glorious the northern lights astream ; Glorious the song, when God's the theme ;
Glorious the thunder's roar: Glorious hosannah from the den ; Glorious the catholic amen ;
Glorious the martyr's gore:
By meekness called thy Son ;
Determined, Dared, and Done.
RICHARD GLOVER (1712–1785), a London merchant, who sat several years in parliament as member for Weymouth, was distinguished in private life for his spirit and independence. He published two elaborate poems in blank verse, Leonidas and The Athenais, the former bearing reference to the memorable defence of Thermopylæ, and the latter continuing the war between the Greeks and Persians. The length of these poems, their want of sustained interest, and lesser peculiarities not suited to the existing poetical taste, render them next to unknown in the present day. Yet there is smoothness and even vigour, a calm moral