Monday, July 6, 2009

Christopher Smart: My Cat Jeoffrey

For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey.
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 when 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 fore-paws 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 fore-paws 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 instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider'd 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 busi-
ness 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
& a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concern-
ing the cats at te 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 fore-
paws of any of the quadrupeds.
For the dexterity of his defence is an inst-
ance of the love of God to him exceed-
ingly.
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 and perpetuality--
Poor Jeoffrey! poor Jeoffrey! the rat has
bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that
Jeoffrey is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body
to sustain it in a compleat cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it
has in purity what it wants in musick.
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 pat-
ience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick which is pat-
ience 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 the miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refused the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first mo-
tion 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 pern-
icious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting
again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness
of his attention.
For by stroaking 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 sub-
stance, 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 other quadrupeds.
For he can tread to all the measures upon
the musick.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep......

From Rejoice in the Lamb: A Song from Bedlam by Christopher Smart, 1722-1771.
And many thanks to "P----" at the RI forum for turning me on to this as the saying goes-geez I love that-must bring it back into vogue! Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!
Christopher Smart

4 comments:

Justin Russell said...

For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

Love it! A most enjoyable little piece Devin.

Devin said...

Justin so very glad you enjoyed-and I very very much enjoyed your latest article -really got me thinking -best to you as always my friend!!!

Autumnforest said...

Okay, that's it. I'm coming back as a cat in the next life. That was really beautiful.

Devin said...

Autumnforest -I am so glad you enjoyed this also! I thought it was beautiful when I first read it and had always meant to put it up on the blog and forgot about it-best to you as always!!