1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Smart

Anonymous, "Variety: Christopher Smart" Saturday Magazine [Philadelphia] 1 (17 November 1821) 480.



The late Christopher Smart is said to have written poems at four years of age. His Song to David, has been justly deemed a wonder in the moral world; and deserving as much the investigation of the philosophers, as the admiration of the lover of poetry; and yet this poem was composed while the unfortunate bard was confined in a mad-house; and in the absence of pen, ink, and paper, which were denied him, was written on the walls of his room with a key. It is a sublime production, and glows with religious fervour. In his fits of insanity, religion was his ruling passion; and he was frequently so impressed with a sense of it, as to write on his knees. When at large, he would say prayers in the streets, and insist that the people he met should pray with him.